After a demoralizing month of June that saw the New York Mets win just five games while losing 21, it’s tough to get excited about anything these days. What was supposed to be a season that saw the Mets make their third playoff run in four years, has instead veered terribly off course and now the Not-So-Amazins are locked into a battle with the Miami Marlins to avoid last place. A sad turn of events indeed for our hapless team.
With all due respect to Sandy Alderson, to whom I wish a heartfelt recovery, let’s face it, the longtime executive who helped spark the sabermetric revolution, had seen the game pass him by. Locked in a mindset that focused on home runs and walks with a callous disregard for strikeouts, it led to an organizational decision-making process at the player evaluation and developmental levels that was fraught with short and longterm negative repercussions that made it nearly impossible to build any offensive consistency at the major league level.
Add to that a curious indifference toward defense that bordered on sheer negligence. Especially when you consider that they fancied themselves as a team built around a core of young and extremely talented pitchers that were supposed to carry the team into an era of sustained championship caliber baseball.
It all sounded so wonderful at the start of Alderson’s tenure with the Mets – so much so – that we all went along with it, thinking that the new Mets Ivy League braintrust must’ve known something we didn’t. Time would prove that this lack of attention to defense was a fatal faux pas and just another sign that the game was evolving far more rapidly than Sandy Alderson was.
After reaching the World Series in 2015, riding much of the talent left behind by his predecessor, Alderson did very little to sustain that success and you could say things began to go downhill and devolve after that. It all unraveled.
Nobody wanted to see Alderson go out the way he did, but the hard truth was that his time at the helm of the Mets was way past its expiration date, and he should have been fired along with Terry Collins last fall.
Of course, that lack of making a clean break and giving the Mets a fresh start with new leadership, falls squarely on the dysfunctional ownership of Fred and Jeff Wilpon, the latter of which has become the face of all that is wrong with the franchise. His outward buffoonery coupled with his incessant meddling has been an obstacle that all too often negatively impacted the team both at a performance and operational level, but he also severely tarnished his own Mets brand as well which illustrates just how toxic he can be at times.
The shame of it all is that there’s not much of anything that we as fans can do about Jeff Wilpon, who has a relentless need to stick his grubby little fingers into every aspect of the team, even having the gall to put his thumb on the scale when it comes to making medical decisions.
Sure, there have been protests, and billboards, and many fans have even taken to boycotting the team and refusing to buy tickets or even tune into SNY – which the Wilpons also own. But nothing seems to work and in fact they have become more and more entrenched as the years drag by.
So while I’m resigned to the realization that Jeff Wilpon is here to stay, I take solace in the fact that even teams with bad ownership have won championships over the years, in spite of ownership.
Moving onto our current predicament, that of our three interim general managers running the team, another one of those half-baked ideas by Jeff Wilpon, I just can’t see any good coming out of this. It’s tough enough to get two alpha-males to agree on anything let alone three. The hope is that this arrangement is very temporary and one GM will be named sooner rather than later.
My hope is that we go outside the organization because Omar Minaya, John Ricco and J.P. Ricciardi represent more of the same and I want to get as far away as possible from this current Mets quagmire. We seriously need to put some distance between this era of futility and dysfunction and what will hopefully be a better and brighter era with no stigma holding us back.
My final little quip goes to the heart of the matter – Mickey Callaway.
When Sandy Alderson tapped Callaway to try and resurrect a Mets team that was coming off a 92 loss season, it caught me completely off guard. With zero managing experience of any kind under his belt, could this former pitching coach fix the myriad of problems surrounding the team and put them back in contention for a championship – and doing it under the glare of New York media spotlight? I had my doubts.
With a manager this raw, sure I expected a learning curve, but what we’ve seen and heard over the last two months makes me wonder about the fairness in saddling him with a new GM rather than letting him choose his own manager. Opposing managers have run rings around Callaway, who finds himself getting outwitted at every turn.
I know there’s a sympathy choir building for Callaway by those who don’t want to hold him accountable for being handed a bad team by Sandy Alderson, but I urge them to forget the roster for a moment and focus instead on his poor in-game strategy, appalling bullpen management, and very weak support from the players themselves. With the 2018 season already out the window, do you really want to risk any subsequent seasons because you feel sorry for Mickey Callaway?
I hate giving Mike Francesa any voice on MMO, but his recent rants against Callaway have been spot on and indisputable.
Callaway in the postgame said his team “plays the right way” every day. If he thinks that, the Mets need a new manager.
— Mike Francesa (@MikeFrancesa) June 30, 2018
He’s right you know. He tweeted that out after that three error game against the Marlins that saw Jose Reyes take a slow jog to first, Amed Rosario flub a routine grounder, and Wilmer Flores failing to charge a slow grounder to first. Callaway made excuses for all three – this from the guy who was supposed to be all about accountability.
Callaway’s press conferences have become must-see TV because all too often he says some of the most preposterous things or explains away his many bad decisions with some head-scratching explanations that are far removed from rational deduction or logic.
From him complaining about how tough it is to play in New York, to getting snarky with reporters who questioned his bullpen usage, to repeatedly pointing out how much money the team is paying Yoenis Cespedes, or when Asdrubal Cabrera bunted on his own but Mickey said it was his idea, the whole Michael Conforto to the minors episode, giving Rosario four days off in the midst of a .317 batting streak, starting Jerry Blevins… I mean the list just goes on and on and he’s only been a big-league manager for just over three months.
Look, I’m just saying that if we’re going to rebuild or retool with a new general manager calling all the shots, lets do it right this time… Let the new GM name his own manager and choose his own coaching staff. Is that so much to ask?