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Shea is Ain't So...Good

Joyce MandelkernThursday, June 21, 2007
By Joyce Mandelkern

I don't get it. I can no longer say that we are in a slump. At this point, I'm beginning to think that we are no longer a good baseball team playing poorly. I'm honestly beginning to think that maybe we're just not that good. In any case, I'm here to tell you what it has been like to be at Shea during our 6th consecutive series loss.

Monday night Shea seemed almost empty. Don't listen to the numbers they give you, that is for paid attendance. It felt so empty in fact, that we remarked to each other that it felt like the early 80's when we used to be able to take the boys in their strollers and park them in the aisle because no one minded. Of course that was because no one was there. Prior to the game starting, the loudspeaker blared, "I'm Still Standing" which I found rather amusing. I love a team with a sense of humor. And boy, does this team need one now. There was also a video with an upbeat song called "Mister Delgado." We had never heard that before and found it odd given his recent struggles. Then we noticed Carlos changed the way he wore his socks. He had a terrific game and then I realized that all along it had been his socks!!! So simple - of course--the socks!!! It was nice having the stadium somewhat empty. I had a clear line of vision to the batter's box and the pitcher's mound. If you've never been to Shea, it is often difficult to see in front of you when people are sitting there because of the way the rows are aligned. I'm on field level behind first base and I still have a difficult time unless I'm leaning forward in my seat. There was no one for a few rows in front of me so it was clear viewing. We could stretch out to all sides and given how tight the seats are at Shea this was a real bonus. Other than the fact that we were assaulted with the "vote for Paul LoDuca" or else threat literally every two minutes it was a great night. By the way, I voted 25 times online in case the voting police are reading this post. My Mets were back! We were hitting, we were pitching. Problems over! We left happily to "Taking Care of Business" and the PA announcer saying, "here is your happy recap". I really miss Murph. Our June Swoon reminds me so much of him.

I don't want to talk about Tuesday night.

I had penciled us in for a sure win last night based on the pitching matchup. Shows you what I know. Still not many people there. Perez did not pitch badly. Obviously the walks killed him, but he kept us in the game. We were getting hits, but not runs. Shea was subdued. Normally, when a pitcher has 2 strikes on a pitcher, everyone at Shea stands and applauds to motivate the pitcher for the strikeout. For the most part, that has not been happening, and if it has, it has been fairly quiet. Things were going along fairly well until Torii Hunter's homerun. Honestly, I think everyone in the stadium knew at that point that the game was over. I know how ridiculous it sounds to say that a one run lead is insurmountable, but that was the feeling that this Met team was giving us. Joe Smith didn't help and when Willie brought in Schoeneweis, all hell broke loose. I do believe that was the first time I ever heard a crowd boo a relief pitcher BEFORE he threw a pitch. As soon as he stepped on the mound and was introduced, the crowd was all over him. You know what happened next so there is no point in going over it. I got a text from my son in California when they brought Schoeneweis in, saying "oh no" (ok, I'm cleaning it up for print) and Pete and I were not happy either. For me, it is like waving the white flag and saying ok, game over - we give up. I decided to spend the rest of the game scoreboard watching and rooting for Boston and Cleveland and wondering if we could back into the playoffs if neither the Mets, the Braves, or the Phillies win another game all season long. I will tell you that when we are losing I do not feeling like singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" or "Sweet Caroline" and I cannot understand why there are people around me who are still so happy that they can sing and dance. We though for a moment in the 8th that maybe we could have a come from behind victory and then we remembered that that was last year when we used to do that, not this year. And therein the problem lies.

Well, at least we can't lose today. Pete and I will be back out there tomorrow night and hopefully there will be a happy recap. I don't know about you guys, but this is not fun anymore.

About Joyce: I am an insanely passionate die-hard Mets fan since 1962 who is also a season ticket holder and usually can't bear to look and buries her head in her hands or starts pacing when I'm home when things get tense...   Read More -->

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Comments (2)

(Long post alert.)

I don't believe in crucifying a General Manager over a bad personnel decision, so long as I generally have confidence in that manager's good judgement. It's not because I am such a nice guy -- I'm a right bastard, ask anybody -- but rather because I don't wish to disarm the fellow from making the next decision without an exaggerated fear of the outcome. I want him to be able to continue to exercise that good judgement, in other words.

But there's a corollary to that thought: if your decision maker makes a decision that proves to be a bad decision, then he must have the fortitude to correct that mistake; otherwise that decision maker is sentencing you to ALL of his actions, both good and bad, and who needs that? I'm thinking about Scott Schoeneweis, as you might have gathered.

Mr. Schoeneweis was given a three year contract, for something like $10 million as I recall. That's not looking like a very good move today, as he sports an ERA of just under six runs a game. Why that should be a surprise to anyone eludes me, since his LIFETIME ERA is over five, but we've all seen what Minaya can do, and I was willing to follow along with that signing. Pretty willing, anyway.

Today, I see no good reason to continue with this pitcher. Yes, he has been reasonably good at recording outs from the other side's left handed batters -- but if the other side pinch hits a righthander, any righthander, he's suddenly facing a vintage Todd Helton with an extra hundred points of slugging percentage. A pitcher can't succeed, allowing righthanders an OBP over .400, a slugging percentage over .700.

Releasing Schoeneweis would be costly, indeed -- but that is a cost already borne by the Mets, whatever they do next. Will the signing decision come to look better if the team gives him another hundred innings? I see no reason to believe that.

Curiously, this year the Mets have been connected with two of the worst free agent signings in baseball history besides Schoeneweis. Damon Easley signed a long term contract with the Tigers; when he was cut before the 2003 season his was the highest contract for a player to be released, something over $6 million. And I have read at least two articles that traced the Texas Rangers' decline to the signing of Chan Ho Park.

Everyone is human and therefore liable to errors in judgement. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, declare error, fix the error and move on. If you can't do that, I'm not so sure I want you to be the one to make that next judgement call.

dd - my problem with the schoeneweis signing is two-fold...i wasn't in favor of signing him to a 3 year deal, but knowing that he has a severed tendon behind his knee, which he has said has compromised his ability to pitch, i can't understand why they insist on running him out there...to justify the signing and the contract?? to me that is utter nonsense and just bad business and baseball...thanks for the thoughtful commentary joyce

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