In the Jerry Bruckheimer film, ‘The Rock,’ John Patrick Mason turned to Stanley Goodspeed and uttered a classic movie line: “Your best? Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and get a World Series ring.” No…wait, that wasn’t it. But this website is suitable for all ages. (I pause now so we can all do our own personal Sean Connery impression.)
As another Mets season comes to an August close yet again, the excuses are already beginning.
Fellow MMO bloggers Craig Lerner and Joe D. wrote excellent pieces on the effect that Citi Field has on our offensive stats as well as on the psyche of this team. And they are both right. The Mets have allowed the dimensions of Citi Field to get into their heads. It is obvious that this team has no home field advantage. We play 81 games on the road and 81 in what seems to be a neutral stadium.
However, the dimensions of Citi Field are just the latest in a long list of excuses. Albeit well-deserved. But still, excuses nonetheless.
Remember Aaron Heilman? He was the Anti-Christ in a Mets hat. After surrendering the HR to Yadier Molina that shockingly ended our 2006 quest for a championship, Heilman was ridiculed by the media and booed by Mets fans for the following season. In 2007, Heilman posted a 3.03 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. By comparison, our current closer (and I use the word “closer” lightly) Jason Isringhausen has posted a 4.32 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP. He has blown more then half the saves he earned. But surely, it was Heilman who was the root of all evil and once we get rid of him, things will drastically improve. Heilman was sent packing, but not a thing changed.
After the discarding of Heilman showed no improvement, it was now Willie Randolph’s turn to face the guillotine. Although he posted a 544 winning percentage over 3+ seasons, 2nd highest in team history, Randolph was fired in the middle of the night. Replacing him was Jerry Manuel. At first the Mets responded positively and played well for a couple of weeks. Fans were already considering him to be the reincarnation of Gil Hodges.
But Manuel quickly wore out his welcome. His laid back approach was clearly the cause of the Mets continued decline. Manuel was fired after posting a 489 winning percentage, more then 50 points lower then his predecessor.
And in came the straight shooting no nonsense Terry Collins. In my opinion, Collins has done a hell of a great job considering the hand he’s been dealt. But still, as of now, his winning percentage is lower then both Randolph and Manuel. How long until we start blaming him?
And of course, the same goes for Oliver Perez. His attitude sucked. He didn’t care about the team and clearly he was the cause of the Mets woes. But yet, he was sent away…and nothing changed. The same can be said of Luis Castillo. And Francisco Rodriguez. And Omar Minaya.
People keep leaving…and things keep getting worse.
Every season we put the blame on someone new. Every year there is someone who is the one and only root cause of everything wrong with this club. Even Carlos Beltran, who put up some incredible numbers while he was here, was constantly under scrutiny.
Now it’s not even the fault of a person anymore but rather the fault of a structure, a building.
True, Citi Field is 24th in HR’s allowed and no Met has yet to reach 30. But if, in fact, Citi Field is heavily favored towards pitching then why are no pitchers frothing at the mouth to play here? Lee, Halladay, Oswalt, Sabathia. None of them had any interest. Why not?
In 2010, Jason Bay had the worst offensive season of his career. This year, Bay is hitting 50 pts higher at home. Of his 9 HR’s, 5 have come in Flushing. The same can be said for recently departed Carlos Beltran. He, too, was hitting 50 points higher at home and 60% of his HR’s this year came at home.
If Citi Field is so heavily geared towards pitching, then why are some of our hitters more productive at home? And why is Alderson’s phone not ringing off the hook with agents who want their clients to pitch here?
And why do the Mets have the 4th worst ERA in the league but yet 2nd highest team BA?
Since 2000, 13 teams now have a new stadium. Some have prospered. Others have not. But I don’t see other teams blaming their misfortunes on a stadium. Our own Terry Collins recently stated, “Our struggles at home are not because of the size of the ballpark. I still think if you use the field for what it is, you can still put up some decent numbers here.”
There is talk of management bringing in the fences as well as lowering the height of the wall. I am sure that will have a huge effect…just like how drastically things improved when Heilman left, when Randolph was fired, when Minaya was run out of town and so on.
Sometimes we must face facts. It’s not the fault of any one player, one GM or one stadium. Sometimes one must admit the simple fact that while we love our Mets, they are simply not a good team.
I’m just growing tired of the excuses. Or, as Sean Connery would say, the whining.