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Keeping the Faith

Joyce MandelkernMonday, June 1, 2009
By Joyce Mandelkern

Well, people, color me shocked. If someone would've told me that the Mets would be 19 - 9 in May, after having lost their starting first baseman, their starting shortstop, their starting leftfielder, one of their starting pitchers, and their backup shortstop, I would've had them committed. Then add to the mix the fact that our starting centerfielder is gimpy and ill and missed a few games. We have career minor leaguers starting and players playing out of position and we are still playing winning baseball. I have to ask the question, are we still talking about my Metsies? Yes we are. Unbelievably enough we are. And yet, there are those of us who are still complaining. Please - stop. Just stop.

We've wanted to see this team show some toughness. Well, we are seeing just that. It would have been so easy to fold the tents after that lousy half inning of "creative" baseball in Los Angeles. They were swept away in as ugly a baseball series as you will ever see. Lo and behold, they go into Boston, where they have had trouble playing before, and what do they do? They actually take the series. Who are these guys? Then they came home and did exactly what they needed to do and were supposed to do - fatten up on the soft part of the schedule and play well at home. Hopefully, they will continue to do so this week. I like that they are not using injuries or lack of experience as an excuse for losing.

Yet, people still complain. We Met fans want perfection. We want to win every game. Its baseball, folks. You can't win every game. We're doing this with smoke and mirrors. Can't we be thankful that we are doing more than drowning or even more than treading water? Have you guys checked the standings lately? Need I remind you that when you guys whine and complain that you sound more like Yankee fans than Met fans? We're doing fine. It's June 1st. We're more than surviving a rash of what could've been season-destroying injuries. I'm not saying I'm happy with Tim Redding, I'm not. I'm not saying that I'm not getting frustrated with J.J. Putz, I am. I am just trying to look at the big picture and I realize that May could've been so much worse.

I was ready to kill Omar for having us play short. I was yelling about our depleted farm system and what a disadvantage it is to play short in the National League. In hindsight, I probably would've hated it more had he made some dumb panicky move. There are plenty of gm's who would've done this to secure their jobs, if for no other reason. Omar, to his credit, was willing to let this play out and sit tight. Obviously, we don't know whether he got lucky or knew what he was doing, but it is working so far. Other teams would have held us up for a king's ransom, sensing our desperation, had we moved too soon. So, kudos to you Omar. I felt as most of you did on Saturday, that we did not have a shot to win the game with that lineup and Redding pitching. Honestly, though, what was Manuel to do? Wright was in desperate need of a day off. If he had played and struck out 4 times and made an error, we would've been all over him. Shefffield is 40 yrs old and we need to protect him a bit, since he is now our "power" guy. Beltran tried to gut it out (if you'll excuse the pun). One catcher cannot catch 162 games. These are our starters for now. Get used to it. Our starting pitching has kept us winning. If Redding had been decent, maybe we could've pulled it out. And while I'm on the subject of pitching, may I just say with all due respect to Billy Wagner, I don't miss you at all.

So, let's keep the faith people. Let's wrap everyone in bubble wrap, get out the Purell, look for another starting pitcher and hold our collective breath. The month of May could've been a lot worse.

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 -->

Comments (7)

Great article, Joyce. I agree with everything you say except about Wagner.

If we ever got him back at the end of the season it could make a huge difference.

mark - actually, you might be right about getting wagner back - if healthy, he could be a great addition to the bullpen, especially as a lefty...i was speaking strictly in terms of closers - i prefer frankie to billy when the game is on the line...joyce

And then they blow a 5-0 lead last night AND Philly won again.

One of Mike's earlier posts mentioned how uncomfortable he has been with the Mets after 2006. And I agree with him. While you're right that I should be happy, Joyce, as soon as I allow myself to relax, something like last night's game happens to return me to the cranky state I've been in as a fan the last three years. Do I need to bring up the lack of hustle on ground balls around home plate? Wilson Valdez has the potential to be as useful to the Mets as the Exxon Valdez was to Alaskan seals 20 years ago.

We can't win every game, but I get mad at the games we should have won and don't win.You said: May could've been so much worse. I say May should have been so much better. We still leave to many men on base, we still never go for the kill, we seem to back off with a thats good enough attitude. There is still a lack of baseball (101)missing 3rd base, missing ground balls, missing fly balls, just plain missing simple baseball play.Could have been much worse? They were worse then Binghamton and thats AA, worse then that you can't call it pro ball.

guys - last night's game was like a flashback to 2008 - we didn't get a hit after the 3rd inng, but given the lineup, i'm not that surprised; the bullpen blew the lead, and we could've played better baseball in the field...sheff appears hobbled and is compromised in both the field and on the bases, valdez made a costly error and i'm not sure why livan was taken out when he was - i would've let him keep going - i certainly would've used the bullpen differently - it was a winnable game and that is what makes it so frustrating - when we lose, we lose badly - it is always a bad loss...that being said, it is one game and we don't have alot to work with right now -if we take the next 3 from the bucs, last nite is forgotten - maintain perspective...at some point i have to wonder if they are doing the best they can with what they have to work with...compare the opening day starting position players with tonite's lineup...i still think it is amazing we are where we are in the standings - seriously. joyce

Joyce - God bless you for your optimism. Be assured that I do everything I can on a daily basis NEVER to be confused with a YankMee fan. It's true, one loss is one loss, and you get no points taken off for ugly ones.

I'd say, "Imagine where they'll be once they start firing on all cylinders". But I said that last summer and the summer before, too. We're just uneasy, is all.

The Mets will be fine in the long run- Reyes, Wagner, Cora, and hopefully Delgado, will all be back. Their starting pitching at least their 1 through 4- are good, and the bulk of their bullpen is good. They have some holes, but I think their holes are smaller than those of the Phillies (horrible rotation, horrible bullpen, wait for injuries). And all those possible trades we keep hearing? Matt Holliday? Roy Halladay? If Omar can swing it, I'm game.

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