I should be numb after last night, but quite frankly I’m not. I’m not scared, devastated, or hopeless either. In fact I’m not feeling any of the emotions I’ve encountered in the Mets blogosphere this morning ranging from sad and pathetic to whiny and unsettling.
Maybe it’s because watching the Mets offense get no-hit didn’t surprise or shock me. Or maybe it’s because in the grand scheme of things it was just one loss, no different or worse than any other, but stark in that it put an exclamation point on what the real underlying issue has been for the past month and a half. Yes, that must be it, I’m sure of it…
Last night was a call to arms for a general manager who has watched idly as the Mets absorbed one big hit after another in the losses of David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud and Daniel Murphy. A general manager who has watched his team go from a surprising 15-5 start only to spiral into a 16-23 drunken stupor while somehow continuing to maintain a flimsy and unlikely hold on first place in the National League East.
And let’s face it, the Mets offense was just as impotent and underwhelming during their wickedly hot start when they were healthy, as they are now. They needed help even before Wright ended up on the shelf.
The difference between the team we saw in the first three weeks of the season and the one we’ve seen over the last four weeks is undoubtedly the starting pitching. They’ve gone from ridiculously dominating to just plain old good. And coupled with the same woeful lack of offensive production… Well, you see what’s happening… A lot of narrow victories and too many crushing defeats. Or as I tabbed it last week, our Mets reality.
Not much has changed really. The Mets still need the same two things to happen if they are serious about playing October baseball this season – something they wouldn’t stop squawking about back in March and April.
They need Sandy Alderson to add a true difference-maker and Fred Wilpon to open up his wallet. Two things that seem as far-off and distant today as it was three years ago.
Back then, when I wrote that going after a significant difference maker – either by trade or by contract – simply wasn’t in Alderson’s DNA, I was met with a lot of negative feedback and fans unwilling to believe it.
“Sandy will get a big bat when the team is ready!” represented the overwhelming majority of retorts I was getting. And three years later I still stand by what I said. It’s not in his DNA.
So you take a stance like that and couple it with an ownership unwilling to spend what it would take to fix the team and what do you get?
More moving of the goalposts…
And in the last few days alone I’ve read in the Post, Daily News and today in the Record, things like this:
“Management’s fallback is to say they’re really targeting 2016.”
From 2014 to 2015 to 2016…
After a while you get tone deaf from hearing ownership and management say, “This is the year!” every offseason and spring training.
It’s really become more of a marketing ploy to see how many loyal fans they can get to buy season tickets.
The phrase has lost its luster and impact because nobody trusts the owners or management.
Thanks to a few great returns when the Mets pawned off their only major league stars in a fire sale – props to Sandy for that – and reaping the rewards of the past regime’s so-called barren system – props to Omar for that – the Mets find themselves in first place this morning.
However staying in first place is another story and one whose final chapter has yet to be written.
How bad does management and ownership want to win this season?
Well, that’s the paradox for this Mets team. I fear that team brass is already transitioning into 2016 by the looks of it. Sink or swim, the players are on their own this season.