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Rollercoaster 2009

Joyce MandelkernMonday, June 15, 2009
By Joyce Mandelkern

I have spent the last two series trying to figure out what to make of our Mets. People, I'm at a loss. My head is spinning. I have no clue what direction our team is heading in at this point in time. Our team is certainly playing at a major disadvantage due to the incredible amount of injuries to key players and even their backups. To make matters worse, some of the players who are playing are clearly not near 100%. We are playing short-handed, which is a no-no for a national league team. We are getting no offensive production from our backup first basemen, and our power numbers are virtually non-existent. The bottom line is we are constantly swimming upstream.

And yet, we fight. To their credit, these 2009 Mets have showed me something. Every time I think we've hit rock bottom and can't recover, we do. Blow after blow, injury after injury, they keep working. They don't quit. They hang in there, they pick each other up and they keep battling. They don't make excuses, they don't blame each other, and most importantly, they've got each other's backs. Could this be the tough team we've all been waiting to see the last couple of years?

The problem is this is only one piece of the winning puzzle. As we all know, there are no moral victories in sports. I am glad we can hold our own against the "good" teams, given our situation, but we still have to be able to close the deal and win those games. What is so frustrating is that we work so hard to get a lead and play well, and then we literally hand the game back to the other team to win - they don't win it, we lose it. We still make that crucial error, that one bad pitch, that one mental mistake, that one base running blunder and the wheels start to come off and we can't close the deal. While we are fighting the other team, we are also fighting ourselves. We are still our own worst enemy, except for maybe the umps, but that's a post for another day.

The Mets have become adept at turning the page and moving on. They have the ability to do this. It is the only way they can get through a 162 game season. We fans only have the very bitter taste of the last two seasons that we haven't been able to move past. Their ability to do this will serve them well in the long run. As a Mets fan I have always come to expect the worst and I am rarely disappointed. Perhaps it is time that I try to move on from the disappointment of the last two seasons take this season for what it is -a tossup. Maybe everyone gets healthy and we play great baseball and we win. Or maybe we fall so far behind in the next month that we can't get back into the race. Who knows? I guess that's why sports are the best reality show around. I do know that we can't afford any more setbacks. I also know they are going to have to keep working and fighting. And unlike other teams, they must fight both their opponents and themselves. They always have to do things the hard way, don't they? They have earned my respect for hanging tough when it would've been a lot easier to fold. If we can translate this toughness into actual wins, we might actually have something here.

As always, the Mets are exasperating and emotionally exhausting. The late great Bob Murphy was right when he would tell us to "fasten our seatbelts". The Met rollercoaster of 2009 is not ending anytime soon. Hang on, if you're tough enough.

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 (6)

Hi Joyce, good to see you didn't put your head in the oven.Man this has been a rough ride so far.I know we have to find some pitching and power, but we also have to find the person that has the Met vodo doll.A team spirit has come about them without Reyes and Delgado, and I am not sure if thats a good thing or a bad thing we see?Even when we had these two playing we still needed a power bat and a number two starter. So if and when they come back,we are still short of having a full team. They have to make some moves to stay in this.

It's everything that has taken place this season that is maddening. It seem as if on hurdle is crossed, something discouraging comes right after. If they are playing consistent baseball, an injury happens. If they have a chance to string a few games together, sombody muffs that chance. When they are leading and have chances for wins, errors, bad pitching, mental gaffes continue to plague these guys. I try to stay optimistic, really I do. As soon as I moved, I went out and got my MLB package so I could catch my Met games here in Atlanta, because I support my Mets. I know these guys are trying, and they are doing it with smoke and mirrors. I just feel at this point, they can't stand pat, they need to acquire some help. If something is wrong with Johan or Sheff, or Beltran, they are basically done. I want to know how long do they wait for the calvary? Go Mets 2009!

rev al and l.j. - from what i've been reading, they are going to wait it out till the we get closer to the trade deadline to make any moves. their thinking is that prices will go down and they will have a better idea of where delgado is at that point in time. although i understand their thinking, i hope it won't be too late at that point. joyce

Hi Joyce- I haven't done a post about our Mets since I stopped blogging back in 2007 to pursue other interests but still watch almost every game I have to vent after last night's loss.

This team has money to spend, and they rarely invest in players in their prime. Beltran, was a fluke, and Santana & K-Rod were acquired to prevent us fans from losing total interest in this team . Wright & Reyes are homegrown. Even though Delgado got it last year he is still in his late 30s, and guys that age cannot make it through a 162 game season if they are everyday players. Now they have to put all of their hopes on Gary Sheffield who is having a leg problem. They do this to themselves every year-trying to patch together a line up that goes down hard due to injury in June. Have they learned nothing from Moises Alou? I hated that deal, and for good reason I knew he would never stay healthy.

I would also love to know who is in charge of warming these guys up before games-how can so many players be injured at one time? Even young guys like Pagan and Reyes and Church are having issues.
When will this team ever learn?

hi shari - i share your concern re: the injuries. the training and medical staff need to be re-evaluated after the season. its not just that the injuries happen, its how they are handled and treated, in my opinion. as to your other points, i'm not really sure how much money the mets had to spend this season given the madoff debacle. sheffield was a cheap fix. and they spent big money on santana, so no way they cheaped out there. i think they have more of a problem with the years these players want, as opposed to the amount of money they are asking. i also don't think there are that many players in their prime usually available for signing and we do always have to compete for them against that other big market team across town that drives the price up. it is hard to find the right mix of vets and young players but when we go too young, everyone complains that the team is not built to win. my main problem with this past offseason was not signing orlando hudson - i will never understand signing castillo to a 4 year deal for that money when no one else even wanted him - especially at this age coming off double knee surgery - that is the one deal that omar has made that has made me crazy and made me scratch my head...we just never seem to get it right, do we?

I agree- Castillo for 4 years? I was also pissed that they traded Ramon Castro away, I would rather have seen Schneider traded. He can't hit (I know he hit 2 HRs the last few days but still) and he is always injured too. Now Beltran is having an MRI Good Lord. If he goes on the DL that is that.

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