Part of being a Mets fan in 2011 seems to be that you are segmented off into two groups. One group, wants the future to be bright while hoping to remain competitive. The other group seems to want to focus on 2011, and only 2011.
To me, the second group is what got us in trouble to begin with. In my view, there is a lot to be excited about right now but I’m cautiously optimistic.
Some may choose to call it negative, I choose to call it realistic. In 2007, 2008 and again in 2010 we were all fooled by the NY Mets. In 2007 and 2008, we were fooled to think this team had what it took to overcome a drastic tailspin and regain composure to propel into the playoffs.
In 2010, this team was actually in the lead for the wildcard on June 30, 2010. Lets not lose sight of what I just said. On June 30th, the Mets beat the Marlins in Puerto Rico to maintain a 1 game lead on the Dodgers for the Wildcard.
They were 44-34, and with all due respect to players like Jesus Feliciano, Alex Cora, Rod Barajas, and Jeff Francoeur… this year’s team is better than the guys who were on the field in June of 2010.
So I’m not ready to buy in fully. It doesn’t mean that I don’t watch every game. It doesn’t mean that I hope they lose, or root against them so I can see players like Beltran traded. It means I refuse to be fooled again by this team. I take each game day by day, and try to remain focused on the idea that at some point this team needs an overhaul of the farm system.
I enjoy watching Jose Reyes have an incredible season, one likely none of us have ever seen before. I remain committed to the idea that if the Mets are struggling to maintain a +.500 record after the Phillies series that follows the All-Star Game, that the Mets need to listen to offers on Reyes, Beltran and K-Rod.
I do not think they will get enough value for Reyes, so I expect in a worst case scenario where the 2011 Mets are under .500, that they would still keep Reyes, offer him a fair contract and if he walks, he walks.
But I can wait and see.
With all of that said, I realize there are people that wish to think that Sandy Alderson had or has nothing to do with this team’s success. I also realize those are the people that decided they disliked Alderson from day #1 because his name appears in 1 line of “Moneyball.”
From the start, Alderson had a plan and it started with Terry Collins. How many of you were begging, no in fact groveling for Wally Backman to be named Manager and then when they named Collins, you chose to reference the Astros & Angels failures to support your lack of support?
In a post on this site here are some quotes prior to Collins being hired: “Let me put it to you this way, if Collins does become the manager of the Mets, consider him the iceberg and the Mets the Titanic.”
“Nobody wants Backman? Maybe some people on this site don’t want him, but I do, there’s a movement on Twitter for him and in my opinion I bet if you took a poll of most regular fans who don’t blog or read blogs I’d be surprised if he wasn’t the favorite.”
“Collins seems to have had lost his clubhouse in Anaheim, but Bobby V lost his clubhouse, too, and he was probably the fan’s first choice.”
“Wow, this guy Terry Collins is kinda scary. What has he done to deserve such high praise from our front office? He seems like the worst out of all the candidates.”
“Terry Collins is another in a long list of mediocre choices for the Mets to interview for Manager. I have no problem with interviewing people on that list. What disturbs me is that Sandy Alderson has bought into the Wilpon’s DNA here… and that is, mediocrity is less expensive”
For the sake of full disclosure, in early November I supported Clint Hurdle as Mets Manager but was not down on Collins’ candidacy at all.
If somebody else was the GM (including Minaya) of this team, I frankly have 0 doubt that Wally Backman would have been hired to please the fan base. An attempt to fool the fans into thinking this team would be worth buying a ticket for, just because of their Manager.
No, instead Alderson hired the man that he felt was BEST for the JOB. Not best for a casual fan to come see dressed in a Mets uniform to relive their championship glory days.
When Collins was hired, our own Xtreemlcon posted a blog about how receptive to the hiring our younger players were.
Some interesting quotes exist in this post, including:
“You definitely know what he wants. Just by talking to him, you know he’s going to expect the best out of everyone, and expect everyone to do everything to give him the best. But, at the same time, he does it in a very respectful manner. And he doesn’t pull the wool over anybody’s eyes. He’s very straightforward with what he thinks. He’ll tell you what he thinks. You’ve got to respect that and like that as a player.” – Dillon Gee
Even within that post, several Mets fans were skeptical of Collins based on the fact that Alderson made the hire. Now, we look at the 2011 Mets and see players such as Gee, Turner, Thole, Pridie, Duda, Tejada making some sort of impact, all players that Collins worked with during his time with the Mets previous to his new role.
The critics of Alderson and his staff can try in every way possible to make it seem like 2011’s “success” has nothing to do with him. They’d be wrong.
Hiring Collins to be the Manager when he could have hired Wally Backman to please the majority of the fans, or hiring Bob Melvin who always seemed to be pegged as the Manager To Be after Jerry would have been the easy way out for Alderson.
Also, you can say what you’d like about the off-season acquisitions, not every move can work out, and you can’t sign every player. Did Chris Young get injured? Yes. Did a Rule 5 pick not work with Emaus? Yes. It happens, but the mere fact the Mets needed to try and find a starting 2B through the Rule 5 draft says a lot.
If Alderson signs 1 player for twice as much money for say Capuano, then likely he has less money to work to fill another hole.
You can choose to ignore the fact that the Mets had limited funds to work with but managed to bring in Beato, Byrdak, Capuano, Paulino, Turner, Hairston, Harris, Pridie, Buchholz, and Isringhausen to the mix.
That’s 10 Major Leaguers who are on this team all in some way making a positive impact on the team. How many GM’s NEEDED to fill in 10 big league roles with limited funds to work with? Heck, how many needed to fill 10 big league roles period?
Before anybody tries to say Turner was Omar’s guy. Omar had every chance in the world to call Turner up in September and chose not to. Despite what he said on Mike Francesa’s show, Turner played in the final AAA game of the year last September and hit for the cycle! He was not injured.
With regard to Pridie, he also showed no confidence in Pridie. Seeing as Jesus Feliciano was chances on the big league roster and Pridie was given none.
Instead of doing it the way we’re used to which is buying 1 free agent and pretending everything is alright, he hired the Manager he believed could do the best job possible and didn’t do the easy thing which was to hire Wally Backman when he would have been blindly praised for it.
He brought in 10 major leaguers to fill a 25 man roster, he has proven committed to the draft through his front office hirings and firings and has always considered the franchise first before making any decisions.
Frankly, nobody can or should be arguing that point today on June 30, 2011, and I still do not understand why his critics act as though the Mets in 2011 are not in better hands than they were prior to his hiring.