Rounding The Bases: Mets Attendance Down Again, Keep Thole, DePo on Wheeler

In this Saturday edition of Rounding The Bases, some great links to several interesting Mets narratives with a quote from R.A. Dickey for good measure. Enjoy.

An outfielder and it’s not close. Josh Thole struggled this year but I don’t think the Mets should bail on him quite yet; he’s still only 25, he’s a lefty-hitting catcher, before this season he always got on base at a reasonable clip, and he can catch the knuckleball. None of those qualities is easily replaced. I don’t know if his offensive nosedive this season is related to the concussion or plain old-fashioned randomness, but either way the Mets should keep him around for 2013. – Ted Quarters

Bobby Parnell will handle closing duties during the final road trip of the season, Terry Collins said. Frank Francisco will probably never officially be shut down. But, Collins noted, Francisco has not even tossed a baseball in five days. So it’s highly unlikely he appears again this season. Francisco, who is under contract for $6.5 million in 2013, last appeared for the Mets on Sept. 16. – ESPN New York

“It’s certainly nice to be mentioned with some of the names that have been through ‘Metsville,’ and even other names for that matter. That part is pretty neat. When you set the bar at a certain height, people expect you to leap over it again and again and again. The reality is that usually doesn’t happen. I’ll be the first to admit: If I try to have the season that I’m having this year next year, I’m probably going to fail miserably. So I’m not going to do that. I’m going to just try to put one good outing after another up there and hopefully remain healthy enough to pitch over 200 innings again.” – R.A. Dickey

The Mets have now posted four straight sub-.500 seasons, and unless they win five of their final six games, their win total will have dropped in consecutive seasons. Despite the end of the Madoff suit and the influx of minority investors, owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz still face considerable financial constraints, and concerns abound over their ability to fund a competitive large-market team, or to re-sign Wright and Dickey after next season. Still, for a team that came into the year offering low expectations, the Mets did provide their fans — and the rest of the baseball world — more thrills than most losing teams, thanks particularly to Santana and Dickey. – Sports Illustrated

During their meltdown after the All-Star Game, the Mets tried everything to get fans to go to Citi Field: T-shirts on Tuesdays, half-price tickets for those who brought Pepsi cans and free tickets for children. In the end, the promotions did only so much. The Mets drew 4.7 percent fewer fans than in 2011, the third consecutive annual decline since moving into Citi Field. In all, the Mets sold 2,242,803 tickets, though how many were redeemed is unclear. At some games in the worst of the Mets’ slide, Citi Field looked as empty as a movie theater on a sunny summer’s day. The team drew 109,793 fewer fans this year even though the Mets cut ticket prices in the off-season on more than 80 percent of seats. They also used a dynamic pricing model, which gave them the flexibility to raise or cut prices up to game time. – New York Times

Harvey’s July callup was earlier than initially anticipated, but his midseason arrival — and ensuing success — laid out a game plan for how the Mets will approach Wheeler in 2013. As it stands, Wheeler will almost assuredly open the season with Triple-A Buffalo before following Harvey’s footsteps and joining the Mets midway through the season. “Each one is an individual case,” said Mets vice president of player development and amateur scouting Paul DePodesta. “We try to build each guy up to a point where hopefully they can get to that 200, 200-plus [innings] level, but it takes a few years. But he’s getting a lot closer to that now; he had a pretty full year this year. I don’t envision a whole lot of limitations on him next year. It’s all a matter of when we think he’s going to be ready.”  –

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.