Mental Toughness Starts On The Road

An article by posted on March 29, 2011

In New York, there’s popular opinion and there’s the correct opinion. When you look at the Mets from afar, there is one opinion that seems to overtake all others, even though it’s not true.

The opinion we’ve all heard is that the dimensions of Citi Field in some way halt the Mets from winning at home. I know you’ve heard that before, and you’ve probably at some point subscribed to that theory.

Move the walls in, raise the fences, yada yada (see: Seinfeld). Well maybe I’m in the minority, but I’ve never subscribed to that theory. Not once.

In the last two years, the Mets have gone through so many ups and downs with regards to injuries, contract issues, and some rough losing streaks. However, Citi Field isn’t the reason for any of it.

In fact, over the last two years the Mets have won 88 games out of 162 at Citi Field. In contrast, over the same two years, the Mets have won just 61 games on the road. At home, they are playing like a team that would finish 2 games out of the 2010 NL Wildcard, while on the road they play like a last place team (Seattle 2010.)

This evening, the Mets and Terry Collins were gracious enough to let several bloggers join a conference call and ask Terry their one question.

I knew what my question would be if given the chance, and so I asked Collins what he can do as Manager to get the team to focus on traveling and playing better on the road.

Collins recognized the value of the question, which told me that this is an issue he is not only aware of but that they are working on it right now. Collins explained that he will be addressing it in the locker room, and focusing on the struggles on playing on the road and how to overcome them during his pre-game address.

He needs his team to get used to the ballpark they are playing in quicker, and on the flip side when playing at home they need to use Citi Field even more to their advantage.

Collins went on to say that crowd noise is not and should not be a factor when playing on the road, he went on to reference Gordie Howe saying that if the crowd is booing you, then you must be good.

The Mets open up with 6 division games on the road, and during the month of April they head into every divisional opponents home ballpark, with only Washington coming to Citi Field during the first month of the season.

Mental toughness has been one of the key ingredients many of thought to be missing from the Mets players over the last several seasons. Terry Collins appears not only aware of that issue, but also prepared to deal with it head on.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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