Stop Trying to Fix the Mets

An article by posted on May 2, 2014

wilpon alderson

Everybody wants to fix the Mets, and it seems that in doing so, we tend to forget the recent past.

When articles get written by the New York Times or ESPN’s Adam Rubin we tend to forget that the Mets were on the verge of something truly amazing in 2006.

Here’s the truth about the Mets, and it’s one of the reasons I love them yesterday, today and tomorrow. They aren’t the Yankees. They don’t have to be the Yankees to earn my loyalty, they can do gimmicky promotions and I simply do not care. Whether they wear 100 different uniforms, send an e-blast, or walk around Citi Field with banners – it doesn’t impact my passion for the team one bit.

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The people that suggest it does, I would counter with concerns that they are only happy when it rains. 

In everybody’s “fix” the knocks on ownership spending is almost certainly going to pop up. From 2001-2011, this ownership AVERAGED a payroll of more than $116 million and what did they get for it? They got ONE playoff appearance and an average of 79 wins.

Spare me this idea that they didn’t have the tools to win either, the Wilpon’s did NOTHING wrong in 2007 and 2008 in terms of giving the team it’s best chance to win.

Ignoring the fact that their personal finances were impacted thanks to Bernie Madoff is ignoring reality. But instead of recognizing that maybe re-signing an injury prone star SS to more than $100 mil while simultaneously being sued for $1 billion is unrealistic – we see others circle that moment as a refusal to spend money on the baseball team.

But if you try to say these owners refuse to spend money in order to win – you’re just plain lying. They spent a TON of money while trying to win, and it got them nothing.

By the way, in spite of our struggles at SS this year and potentially moving forward, the Mets were right about Reyes. You can stomp your feet all you want, but he had a career year and gave Miami one of his worst seasons in return, and then since joining Toronto he hasn’t been able to stay on the field.

Back to the Mets though.

Stephen Drew

Rubin suggests the Mets should spend money to make money by signing guys like Stephen Drew, or LaTroy Hawkins.

Can we get real, please?

Why should the Mets be the only team to go sign Stephen Drew to a stupid contract? Are they the ONLY team in baseball in need of a SS right now? Yet, it’s May and Drew isn’t on a team – if the Mets wanted him, they wouldn’t even need to stand in line. Yet signing him is a sign of what? A willingness to be desperate?

Hawkins was offered a closer’s job with Colorado. The Mets couldn’t offer that. It would have been nice to have him back, but he got a better offer with a team that was a better fit. It happens. So again, we’re going to ignore the reality of the situation and force the Mets to make poor financial choices just because spending other people’s money makes us feel good?

The Mets are building a young core, I’m not going to sit here and force the Wilpon’s to apologize for the fact young homegrown players don’t make as much money as overpriced past their prime free agents.

The payroll doesn’t matter, and trying to equate payroll to wins is so “steroid era.” Anybody who covers baseball will tell you that the St. Louis Cardinals are one of, if not the best run organization in the sport. They rarely if ever go through a long rebuilding phase, and yet they consistently find themselves in the playoff mix.

Yet, during the same 11 year period of 2001-2011, the Cardinals AVERAGED a payroll of just over $89 million, they averaged 90 wins and had 7 playoff appearances, with 2 World Series victories – no big deal.

So why is the common thread on fixing this team based on players getting paid when the National League blueprint franchise is proving that isn’t what matters?

This obsession with trying to be the Yankees is growing tired. From 2001-2011, which team do you think had happier owners, the Cardinals or the Yankees?

Just recently, former Mets outfielder Marlon Byrd said this about the current Mets team:

“There’s a reason they should believe they should win 90 games — or more,” Byrd said. “Then you bring in character guys like a Curtis Granderson, a Chris Young, Bartolo (Colon). And guys that can actually play. They’re good, and they help a team win. With the chemistry of the guys over there, it was all about getting better.”

But hey writers who get paid to cover the team, let’s not expand on that thought – let’s instead focus all of our attention on an e-blast that leads to “how to fix the Mets” type thoughts. Meanwhile, guys who were just here are trying to tell you things aren’t as bad as you HOPE they are.

When GM Sandy Alderson set the goal at 90 wins, you couldn’t click on a Mets related site or twitter feed without somebody mocking the thought. Yet here’s a guy who was just here last year, he says the team SHOULD win 90 games and suddenly we hear crickets from the commentary? That is, until an e-blast goes out and all of a sudden everybody who can type has to try and rip it apart in an attempt to ensure the negativity continues.

It’s common for fans to look down on ownership during tough times, but it’s funny that in 2006 I don’t remember cries for new owners in Flushing. It’s odd that in 1999 or 2000, the Wilpon’s seemed to be a good enough fit for this team. I wonder why that is?

The truth is, the Mets make odd marketing decisions sometimes (ie Shea closing ceremony, Citi Field not celebrating the franchise etc.) but that doesn’t truly impact me as a fan.

The truth is, the “little brother” mentality is influenced by the people who enjoy mocking everything the Mets do and hoping they make poor decisions (such as spending money on players nobody wants) just for the sake of making them.

I don’t care about an e-blast, I don’t get offended by e-marketing piggy backing off a silly comment made at the Granderson press conference, I don’t care what uniform they wear in an attempt to sell jerseys or what bobblehead they give away because quite frankly, casual fans like bobbleheads. Promotions are not geared toward a die-hard fan, they are geared toward the people who think voting for David Wright as the “Face of Baseball” actually means something, or to the people who need an extra incentive to purchase a ticket.

What impacts me as a fan is what happens on the field – when the team wins I’m happy, this team is playing winning baseball yet you might not even notice it if you listen to the commentary.

If it’s going to take more than winning baseball to get you to feel good about being a Mets fan, then perhaps the Mets don’t need new owners, perhaps they need new fans.

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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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