The Appaling Microcosm Game
Watching what has transpired during the bottom of the eighth inning of tonight’s game between the Mets and the Phillies–a game that the Mets desperately needed to win to give themselves and their fan base any hope for the rest of the season–has so disgusted me I couldn’t even wait until the end of the game to vent. I was actually going to hold off on another blog post until after the Philly series, figuring these three games would signify either a modicum of a pulse or the pulling of the plug. In this corner, consider the plug pulled.
But why should I be surprised? Could any reasonable Mets fan really believe that this team would carry a Jon Niese 2-1 gem to the finish line on the winning side? How can you when you’re only up 2-1 after 7 innings against one of the worst starting pitchers in the league this year? Of course the bottom of this game was going to drop out once Niese was gone.
But really, how can this game not be seen as anything but another microcosm of what’s wrong with this team now and has been for four years? No heart, no passion, no leadership, no clue. When watching tonight’s game why should we be surprised that…..
.…the Mets offense would completely disappear in a crucial game against a mediocre pitcher
….that Carlos Beltran would bring absolutely nothing to the table in a big game
….that Jerry Manuel–a nice man who should not be responsible for managing a major league team–would decide that his hottest reliever would be better served staying in the bullpen UNTIL the game was really at risk of being lost
….that Pedro Feliciano–one of the most overrated relievers in baseball and who should have been traded at the deadline–would walk a lefty with the bases loaded
….that this is all happening after Fred Wilpon sent the message yesterday that Omar Minaya’s job was safe even after just one playoff appearance in what will be five years when this season is over
Were our expectations too high for this team this year, especially after that heady hot streak in June? No, they weren’t. Not when you consider the talent, the payroll and the fact that this division was winnable this season. That the Mets are caving now during a year when the Braves are merely better than mediocre and the Phillies have been wracked with injuries is another cruel tease and joke on top of the ones from past seasons. You know what, if you take out 2006 this team and organization has been in a complete morass since the Bobby Valentine years ended. The Mets’ organization is a mess with no clear direction, no leadership, no vision, no self-awareness which combines with vastly overrated talent.
I’m sorry to have to say this folks: at the risk of total despair, we need to come to this conclusion that this organization is going no place with the Wilpons as the owners. While losing 2 of 3 or all three to the Phillies this weekend might have the positive effect of FINALLY getting Jerry Manuel (and Dan Warthen and Howard Johnson) fired, I’m afraid that’s not going to be enough. You can bring in Valentine, Backman, Torre or Gil Hodges’ ghost, but a Wilpon family owned team will never win anything again. It’s a joke.
….one more microcosm note now that the game is over…OF COURSE they would get three runs in the ninth inning and still lose.
About the Author: Stephen Hanks
Stephen Hanks (Tom Terrific) is a magazine editor and writer based in Brooklyn, NY, who has been the publisher and editorial director of publications ranging in subjects from sports to health to archaeology. Hanks began his career at the late, great SPORT Magazine in 1977 and in 1983, he co-founded NEW YORK SPORTS Magazine (which ceased publication in 1985). He has written and edited coffee table books on baseball history, penned unauthorized biographies of Bo Jackson and Wayne Gretzky, and in 1990 authored "The Game That Changed Pro Football," an oral history of the 1969 New York Jets Super Bowl Season. Stephen has also played baseball for 45 years and currently plays in an Over-40 hardball league based in Northern New Jersey. Even though he grew up near Yankee Stadium, he loathes the team from the Bronx and has been a die-hard Mets fan since attending his first game at the Polo Grounds in 1963.
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