Think back to that first car you owned. Wont it always have a special place in your heart? Remember all the great memories and the feeling of freedom that came with it. Cruising around with your friends, stereo blasting. Driving a bit too fast, too reckless. Finding that one special dimly lit place to make out with your favorite girl.
Then it all begins to change so slowly at first that you don’t even notice. The upholstery starts tearing. Headlights burn out. You need a couple of tires. Brake pads get replaced. Oil starts leaking. The transmission goes. You spend your money to keep it on the road for as long possible until reality sets in. It’s finally time to say farewell to your youth and move on to something newer, something better, something more economical. After all, you cant keep throwing good money after bad.
I’m wondering when the Wilpon’s will reach this point—if they haven’t already.
Fans, sportswriters and bloggers (myself included) have been critical of Fred and Jeff ‘Coupon’ for not spending money the way WE feel they should. To them, the Mets are a business and nothing more. If it’s not good for the bottom line, why bother? To us fans, however, it’s personal. We are Mets fans for life, for better or worse, through thick and thin.
Yes, the Wilpons have been criticized and crucified for not giving us our elusive 3rd Championship. And it sure is easy to blame them. We cheer players, not owners. We buy jerseys with names like ‘Reyes’ and ‘Wright’ and ‘Santana’ on the back. I have never seen a t-shirt with the name Wilpon on it.
But in their defense, do they deserve all the blame? True they should have spent money better, wiser. Just throwing a lot of big dollars at players does not guarantee victory. However, when all is said and done, we have the 3rd highest payroll in Baseball. Tell someone in Pittsburgh or Kansas City that our owners don’t want to win.
They have opened their wallets time and time again. They have put the best product on the field and given us the tools needed to build a championship. It’s the players who have failed us, NOT the owners.
Take a step back. Don’t look at who we haven’t gotten but who we HAVE. Over the past 5 years, they have put together what should have been a championship team. We signed future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez. Then signed another future Hall of Famer in Tom Glavine, both who definitely know a thing or two about winning pressure games. We locked up 5 tool superstar Carlos Beltran for 7 years in the prime of his career. We acquired slugger Carlos Delgado who, as his career was winding down, had a deep seeded desire to play in a World Series. We signed the best LHP in the game in Johan Santana because he wanted to play for a champion. When our bullpen crumbled we obtained Francisco Rodriguez fresh off his record 62 saves. We brought in Gary Sheffield for his veteran presence and post-season experience. In a free agent market with limited hitting, we signed Jason Bay after he hit 36 HR’s and 119 RBI’s.
The Wilpon’s also hired Willie Randolph as skipper. Randolph, who by himself, has more championship rings then the entire Mets roster.
And all of this in addition to our own homegrown talent of David Wright, arguably the best hitter in team history, and Jose Reyes, the best lead-off hitter we’ve ever had.
And lets not forget the fact that they gave us fans a brand new stadium to call home.
Despite all of these moves, acquisitions, free agent signings, despite the fact our payroll has increased close to 50% in 5 years, what has it gotten us? One–ONE–division title!!!
The old expression says that if you keep trying the same thing over and over again, you will get the same result. The Wilpons have spent and spent and spent–but not much has changed. The clock is ticking. The end dates to contracts for the heart of our team are on the horizon. Time is running out for this team to win.
Like our first car, I wonder if and when the Wilpon’s may decide to stop throwing good money after bad and try something new, something different. Something more economical.