By Joyce Mandelkern
First and foremost, I want to thank Mike for his incredible work and insight during this entire 2007 season. The amount of time and effort it takes to keep this blog current and running is enormous and to write in addition to that, and at the level he does it, deserves a standing ovation at the very least. I would like to personally thank him for giving me the opportunity to be a small part of his excellent site. I would also like to thank all of you who have read and responded to what I have written, positively or negatively, and afforded me the chance to be heard. I value all of your opinions and I truly appreciate the warm reception you have given me in my first season as a contributing writer on Mike's site. With Mike's blessings, I hope to be able to continue to contribute in a positive way.
As far as this season goes, what can I say that hasn't already been said? We all saw this coming. The season was not lost yesterday. It was lost over the last month, with every lead that was lost, every error that was made, with every game that was not won. In actuality, we began to lose the division after the all-star break, when we began playing mediocre ball. The only thing that prevented us from losing the division lead earlier, was that the Braves and Phillies were actually playing worse than we were. Maybe if that had been the case, we would have gotten our act together when we needed to.
This season collapse certainly hurts. I take my sports very seriously, some would say too seriously and I won't deny that fact. I haven't yet gotten over last year's NLCS defeat. And oddly enough, last year upset me more than this year does. I never liked this team as much as I liked last year's team. And what I mean by that is that I thought last year was our chance to win it all. The last time I saw this year's team play really good baseball was the end of May. I know all about the injuries but where was the heart? Nothing gets handed to you in life - you have to work for everything and somewhere along the line the 2007 Mets seem to have forgotten that. Watching this team in September was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. There was no devastating walk-off. It was a month long lingering death scene.
The Mets did not deserve to win this division. It hurts me to say it, but its the truth. I wanted them to win it, but they didn't earn it. They were given every opportunity to win it and fell short. There is more than enough blame to go around if you want to play the blame game.
Just a couple of knee-jerk reactions on the day after...
1. I want Paul LoDuca back as catcher. I know why management doesn't want him back and I disagree. I like how he handles pitchers and I like his fire and his heart. Besides, you have a better alternative?
2. If I never see Tom Glavine in a Mets uniform again, it will be a day too soon. I have never been a fan (read a previous post from way back when), but his starts in September, followed by this post-game comments yesterday sealed the deal for me. I know he had a "good" year, but I can't get past those comments. He is now Steve Trachsel to me. Even if he had to fake it, he should have.
3. I don't ever want to see Rickey Henderson in a Met uniform again.
4. Someone needs to fix Jose Reyes' head.
5. I liked Lastings Milledge last year and I like him even more this year. I think he has been treated very unfairly in the media for the most part.
6. Thank you David Wright a million times over - you are everything that is right with baseball and the Mets.
7. The media got one thing terribly wrong. Met fans did NOT give up on the team. I have been complaining about the booing all year, absolutely, but when push came to shove, we were solidly behind this team, believing, when they gave us no reason to, that they would pull this thing out for us. It is not only about the fans who go to Shea, but the fans who watch and root from home, and I promise you, that everyone I spoke to, believed, that we were going to get this done. We are a tight group and we understand each other and we don't need others judging us. Especially not a SF Giant fan (who would rather play tennis than see his favorite team play at Shea) and a Yankee fan, if you get my drift.
It has never been easy to be a Met fan. Today is no different. They say that, "that which does not kill us makes us stronger." I guess we are all a little stronger today.