“You Suck… That’s what everybody out there is saying about you.”.
“You can either accept that and do nothing, or you can take control and prove them all wrong.”
This was the first thing that Terry Collins said to his club in Spring Training of 2012. In the first half of the season, it certainly appeared that this club had chosen the latter. After baseball’s finest left Kansas City and returned to their respective thirty clubs however, it appeared that this team decided that they would very well accept their “suckitude” rather than prove them all wrong. Although you will hear every player in that clubhouse deny it until they are blue (and orange) in the face, it was quite clear to everyone following this team or anyone who flipped on a Mets broadcast for all of five minute, that this team had indeed quit, that they had packed it in and were thinking about 2013, and that was no more apparent than in the 16-1 loss to the Phillies this past Thursday.
This pitiful, embarrassing loss to a rival looking to make a postseason push prompted Collins to make the comments implying that they did indeed quit. Whether accurate or not, the Mets skipper took a lot of heat for his words following what was arguably the worst loss all season. It got around very quickly throughout the Mets blogosphere that TC’s making public of his thoughts on the team did not sit well with the players; the feeling that he had finally lost the clubhouse began to set in.
However, in the three games since, the Amazin’s haven’t looked this good since June when they were among the National League’s best. They have capitalized on their solid pitching rather than allowing for it to go to waste as they have done all second half long. Even with Wright going 1-for-12 in the series the offense has scored more runs in these past three games than they did in the previous nine home games prior to the Marlins coming into town.
David Wright expressed the importance of finishing strong, using this year’s Orioles as an example for what he hopes to to see for his Mets in 2013:
“It’d be nice to finish on a strong note,” Wright said. “You look at, for example, what the Orioles did, they finished strong last year and it kind of carried over into this year. It’d be nice to do that. And I think there’s a lot of individuals that want to finish strong and we as a team and an organization would like to finish strong.”
For the entire second half of the 2012 season, this team played like how we expected them to, however in these past three ballgames, the Mets are performing at the level we hoped for and at the standard they set for themselves for the entire first 80 or so ballgames of the season.
Is this good performance just a fluke, a matter of a small sample of only three games against a last place team? Or does this have something to do with the fact that Terry Collins’ controversial comments resonated with this team. Did the players possibly go home, reflect upon themselves and their teammates performance –or lack their of– since the All-Star Break and come back, ready to finish strong and start anew in 2013?
You be the judge, but for me however; I’ll chose the latter.