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Love Hurts

Joyce MandelkernMonday, October 1, 2007
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.

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 (12)

Joyce, that was the best and most logical post I've read since the end of our season - that is why this is my favorite site - no mass hysteria or knee-jerk reactions.

The only thing I disagree with is the belief that the Mets would do it. I had a sinking feeling even when up 7 games. Their lack of fire this year was all too obvious.

I would like to add that Beltran never gave up. He was one of the few who played hurt and played well down the stretch. Yet, many still don't appreciate him.

I agree with you totally on Glavin. I always liked him but a HOF'er can't perform like he did down the stretch and his post-game comments were unacceptable.

That you for a great year on this blog! The Mets will return better next year and I look forward to hearing from you and Mike!

Joyce, that was the best and most logical post I've read since the end of our season - that is why this is my favorite site - no mass hysteria or knee-jerk reactions.

The only thing I disagree with is the belief that the Mets would do it. I had a sinking feeling even when up 7 games. Their lack of fire this year was all too obvious.

I would like to add that Beltran never gave up. He was one of the few who played hurt and played well down the stretch. Yet, many still don't appreciate him.

I agree with you totally on Glavin. I always liked him but a HOF'er can't perform like he did down the stretch and his post-game comments were unacceptable.

That you for a great year on this blog! The Mets will return better next year and I look forward to hearing from you and Mike!

Joyce, I've really enjoyed your passionate writing about our Mets on this site. As another serious fan, I appreciate you sharing the joy and (far too much) hearbreak that defines what it means to be a Met fan. I hope you continue to contribute to the site. For the most part, I agree with your suggestions about next year's team; here's a few of my thoughts:

1) Henderson and Glavine must go

2) I'm not as enthralled with Milledge as many Met fans are, but think he could be a valuable trade piece (added with others) this winter (the Mets need a top-end starter and a couple of good relievers).

3) The lack of competent, younger catchers is a major concern, but while I admire LoDuca's spirit and enthusiasm, he is hurt every year now (and a defensive liability), and Castro is also a major concern with an arthritic back (on a man with a large frame). That combination is an accident waiting to happen next year. Does anyone really want to be subjected to another long stretch of DiFelice or Alomar Jr.? Speaking from experience, a big person that's in their 30's and already has an arthritic back is a bad bet to be depending on. If Pudge Rodriguez is the only option though, I pass and throw the dice with LoDuca and Castro one more year.

4) I'm not a Randolph guy; never have been. I dislike the idea of giving him another year if Omar is leaning towards pulling the plug if the team starts badly next year or shows the same lack of fire. Why throw away the whole year with a talented team? If that's the case, can him now and bring in someone like Frank Robinson for a year or two while you groom HoJo or someone else for when all the young players come along. Frank is one guy that would command the "respect" that Randolph supposedly commanded (and is well-liked and respected by most players), and the vets wouldn't be able to run all over him like they might a rookie mgr. Otherwise, let Randolph choose his staff (as long as Henderson GOES) and go with it. I just don't think a manager can regain control of a team after they have collapsed like this team did, and it's obvious that there are a different set of
rules for younger and veteran players; not good.

5) David Wright? Looks like he's born to be the leader for many years

6) Jose Reyes? Bring in someone, anyone, that can get inside his head and fix it

It will be a long off-season for sure. This site helps make being a Met fan much more tolerable, and together, we Met fans will get through this and come back for more next year.

joe - you are right about beltran and i should've mentioned how big he came up down the stretch

george - i, too, thought about frank robinson...as you know, i'm not the biggest willie fan around...that being said, there is plenty of blame to be shared by everyone

thanks for the kind words, guys

A few things. First, I love the job that Mike and the rest of you do with this site. Second, Joyce: I love your passion for the Mets but I am tired of you and other fans trying to scapegoat Rickey Henderson for the Mets collapse. As if it was somehow Rickey's fault that no one in our bullpen could hold a lead in September or that players hit into double plays at inopportune times (we hit into 4 of them on Tuesday night against the Nationals).

It's amazing how quickly people forget that a lot of Reyes' improvement (drawing walks, getting on base, not swinging at the low and away breaking ball) was in part a product of the sessions he has had with Rickey during the last two spring trainings. Did Reyes regress? Yes. Should he have stolen fewer bases in August so that he would be fresh in September? Yes. Hopefully, he learns from the experience and is better able to pace himself next season.

I know the blame game and worrying are part of the experience of being fans but I think we all need to do a better job of looking at the whole picture before we jump to conclusions as to which players, coaches and manager the team keeps. It's okay to express an opinion but we should at least try to have a factual basis for doing so. Given the way this season ended, that is something which is easier said than done.

I agree with you 100%. You are one of the craziest but most knowledgeable met fans.

Hoo boy, dissecting this season is no fun whatsoever. I don't even want to read the newspapers.

Personally I don't want Lo Duca back. He is too old, unlikely to get any better, he can't stay healthy, and he's not much of a hitter. He is all that other stuff, an emotional team leader and all that, but it won't be enough in 2008.

So, who catches for the Mets in 2008? Think MannyActa would give us Jesus Flores back? Looks like he can catch and throw a little; too bad the Mets allowed him to slide on waivers while screwing around with Sandy Alomar Jr., et cetera.

paid like mike - i am not scapegoating rickey henderson any more than i "blame anyone else" and i did not specifically tie reyes' second half trouble to henderson. his spring training contributions are noted. i know you did not ask, but what i don't like about henderson is, that as a long time mets fan, i can't get past the fact that during a nlcs game, he was playing cards in the clubhouse with bobby bonilla, and i don't think a player with this sort of non-chalant attitiude towards the game should be coaching first base. since a "lack of urgency" on the part of the players was one of the many issues this team had during the season, and "boredom" was another, as stated by delgado himself, i don't think henderson was a wise choice. and moreover, he wasn't willie's choice. managers should be able to choose their own coaches to be successful. and by the way, the henderson story is indeed a fact...you can look it up ... or talk to any long-time mets fan...we are all still fuming about it...i'm sorry you are tired or me and other mets fans being upset about rickey - but try and understand where we're coming from...i merely made a suggestion...try and relax...geez

I agree with Paid Like Mike that Reyes would be better off stealing less. I hate to say this, but Jimmy Rollins made a good point that when you play such a demanding position as SS, all that running takes a toll, mentally & physically. Personally, I think Jose would better off if he aimed for 40-50 SB a year rather than 70-85 SB.

peter h - you are both completey correct - reyes probably should steal less bases...and guess who is telling him to steal steal steal steal...run run run???

Joyce, I wasn't trying to attack you with my post. Just to be clear, I am a big fan of your posts and love your passion for the Mets. Look, I am a Mets fan and a Rickey Henderson fan and I don't dispute the cardplaying incident. I just think that the cardplaying incident was very much overblown. To put it this way, had Kenny Rogers not walked in the winning run and the Mets won that game in Atlanta, it would have been a non-issue much like Keith Hernandez drinking beer in the clubhouse with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. I guess I was too upset about Kenny Rogers walking in the winning run to get worked up about Rickey playing cards.

From my perspective, as a Henderson fan, I just think that fans focus too much on the negative with him. Look, even as a Henderson fan, I realize that Rickey has done some things wrong in the past. I just think that Mets fans overlook his contributions to the 1999 team (.315 batting average, 37 stolen bases and helping Roger Cedeno actually look like an actual major league player) because of the cardplaying incident.

Finally, you make a good point that managers should be able to select their own coaches. If Willie doesn't want Rickey on his coaching staff, he should get rid of him. We can all have our own separate opinions on that matter but, at the end of the day, it should be Willie's decision.

paid like - thanks for clarifying...kenny rogers-ugh!! hes on my list with tom glavine and steve trachsel...that walk will live in mets infamy...i still have nightmares...

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