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Gentlemen - This is a Baseball

Joyce MandelkernMonday, July 6, 2009
By Joyce Mandelkern

To say that I'm disappointed would be an understatement. To say that I'm embarrassed, frustrated, and aggravated would also be an understatement. This team, this season, has me reeling. I no longer know what to think; because I am seeing things I never thought I would see in a baseball game. And I'm seeing them over and over again. All from one team, all in one season. Actually, make that half of a season, but who's counting?

I walked out of the Cardinal series so proud of my Metsies. We're going to be alright, I stupidly thought. Won that tough game in Pitt, more proof that we have what we need to make this difficult situation work. I'm an idiot. I admit it. I choose to believe over and over again, contrary to what I see that we can win when we have to, when we need to. Historically, I have absolutely no reason to believe this of my Mets. And yet, dummy that I am I continue to believe and even worse, hope. There really is something seriously wrong with me.

I don't ask for much. I understand we are severely depleted by injuries. I understand that physical errors happen. I don't understand mental errors and base running mistakes. I was under the impression that these guys have been playing this game since they were little boys. If I know which base you're supposed to throw to, or cover, and when to hit the cutoff man, shouldn't they? I even know that when you don't catch the ball and it goes past you, you should run after it instead of standing there. And I was never allowed to play Little League. And even if they didn't play organized baseball as children, aren't you supposed to learn this stuff in the minors? Call me crazy but I thought you were supposed to have the fundamentals down by the time you made it up to the bigs. Ya know, the basics, like don't pass the guy ahead of you on the base paths, step on the actual base pad when you're running the bases, when the bat makes contact with the ball - run. Little things like that.

I have toyed with the idea of giving up on this season and saying that it's just not our year. It wouldn't even be our fault, really, with all the major long-term injuries. I just don't have it in me to give up. It's not in my make-up. There is a lot of baseball left to play and things can't get much worse, so they have to get better. I keep asking myself if we've hit rock bottom yet so I know that the only way to go is up. I can't do this alone. The Mets need to help me. The other teams in our division have been somewhat cooperative, surprisingly enough.

I have a few misgivings. Even if we get our guys back, who knows how productive they will be? I fear that Minaya is counting on that to save our season and that is why no deals will be made. Which begs the question do we give up top prospects to make a deal in hopes of saving our season? At what point do we panic and should we even panic? All that goes through my head is Kazmir-Zambrano. I haven't recovered from that one yet and I don't want a repeat. I also don't think Wilpon really wants to increase the payroll regardless of what has been said publically. I think he too prefers to count on Reyes, Beltran and Delgado. I don't know about you, but I don't trust Ollie one little bit and Maine has yet to prove he can stay off the DL long enough to help us since having his surgery. Will Putz return in good form? Your guess is as good as mine. And the biggest question of all is will we be so far out of the race by the time we get these guys back that their productiveness will be inconsequential? It's just a big mess. But hey, that's why Omar gets the big bucks. We just pay the big bucks to watch this mess of a team.

This would be so much easier if we were 10 or 15 games out. But like everything else the Mets do, they make it difficult on us. They keep it close enough for all of us to start believing in them and hoping that they can hang in there and keep it a race and pull through. Then they get swept by Philly and make us miserable and ready to throw in the towel once again. I don't know what to think or believe anymore. Every time I think they stink, they come back and show me how tough they are. My head is spinning from them. I think I need the All Star Break more than they do.

Will the real New York Mets please stand up?

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 (10)

YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD, We all need the all-star break, just to clear our thoughts and dreams. As for me I know it's only July but I am looking forward to football season. Or worst towards spring training.

Well; here's my thought.

Putting aside the lousy defensive play we've been growing used to lately, I see the Mets' problem thusly: when Carlos Beltran went down, a sea change occurred in the Mets' ability to score runs.

Baseball is a sequential game; the game takes place within sequences of nine innings of three outs each. Offense, excepting solo home runs, is also sequential; someone needs to get on, often someone needs to move a runner along; and someone needs to drive the baserunner home -- all within the context of three outs.

With every good hitter the Mets lost, the sequences got more dicey. Carlos Beltran was the tipping point; with him gone, it quickly became too much for this team to put together a successful offensive sequence.

Because, the Mets are a talented team but a thin team, without enough firepower on the bench or in the system.

One could make a similar analogy for the pitching staff of course -- or two, one for the starting five and one for the pen. Anyhow, that is my read on what we have been watching.

DD - i agree with your take re: the offense, but it still does not excuse the shoddy defense...even their starters, when healthy, were lacking in baseball IQ

rev al - i, too, find myself longing for football season...that is until eli (i'm a ny giants fan) throws his first pick 6! and then i'll be counting the days till spring training! it's a vicious cycle, isn't it?

I hear what you are saying but seasons being a Met fan is not easy. I dont know how disappointed to really be when over the past couple months they have thrown out a lineup full of not much and expect a different result. I dont think you give up on a season in July and being mathematically only 4 games out but you honestly have to temper your expectations with this 2009 squad. The are talented when healthy and can win 90 games but with injuries they are a sub.500 team and I am not really surprised. Maybe having a year like this will force the Mets and their fans to take a hard look at themselves. This is when you find who are the true fans or ones who hopped on the bandwagon in 2006.

My opinion is that if this season goes bad there should be changes and the ownership should look outside the organization to right the ship. No retreads (i.e Bobby V) no blasts from the past (Backman, Teufel). It would be time to look for people who have been in successful situations over the past 5 years (i.e. Red Sox, Angels, Cardinals).

Great post. As bad as things are right now, and I admit they are pretty horribly bad, for me anyway - it is not as bad as watching the regulars play mediocre .500 baseball as they have done so much for the last two seasons, notwithstanding July and August of 2008. At least there is a legitimate injury excuse.

Of course, as you point out, the Mets have to add insult to injury by dropping pop-ups and not touching third base.

But, ya know, gotta keep believin'.

I guess I am at the point where I don't think that the Mets will win anything even if the guys come back. For twwo years I have felt they were a little "off." It's hard to pinpoint; is it player development with a lack of stress on fundimentals, is it attitude, is it NYC, is it the new park? Many questions but the result is they never quite synch up. They still have a glaring need with regard to a legit number 2 starter if they ever expect to win in the post season, (I like Big Pelf, but he isn't a number 2 guy) and even if they get Delgado back this year and he is productive they need a solid, consistent right handed power bat who plays good defense. They have limited production from 2b and catcher as well, again, even with Beltran, Reyes and Delgado in the lineup. That's 1/3 of the lineup with marginal or little production when you include the pitcher.

The farm has some talent but it is mostly very young. Unfortunately, I think they need to become sellers and re-tool/reconstruct the team. This winter I think they should pick up the options on Putz and Wagner and move them for solid higher level prospects... 2-3 guys per deal would help add talent, depth and flexibility to the organization, even if they have to eat some of the money owed as part of the options. I would seriously consider a Reyes, Neise or Maine and a reliever deal for Halliday at this trade deadline, and-or a trade for a guy like Ben Zobrist from the Rays who hits for decent average, .281, decent power 16 Hrs and plays infield and outfield. Whatever happens, I think the team needs a real shake-up if they ever are going to have a real chance to win the WS.

This has been about a Jekyll & Hyde season as I have ever witnessed by our Mets. I too feel like they may be able to comback in the second half, but at the same time I am not too confident given the current team play. They can play a great game one night and then play like the three stooges the next. It is the inconsistancies that I have been ranting about all year. The product was flawed from the begining, I guess we were just unaware of how flawed. I love my Mets, but this team is a little harder to root for than some "busted" Met teams in the past. I am trying to remain as optimistic as I can, but that does not mean I am not disappointed, or angry at some of the Mets play. It still irks me how the offense seems to go into shut-down mode when the "Ace" or someone else pitches a gem of a game. You lose 3 straight to the Phils and Hammels does not pitch in any game, you make Blanton look like Drysdale and Moyer look like Carlton? That is just unacceptable. Omar has to inject some new blood here soon. Go. Mets 2009!

Nice to hear from you again Joyce. I have to admit I've been worried about the blog's future given Mike's personal issues and the team's play. I'll be at Citi Friday for the first and probably only time this year. What's even scarier is I may end up rooting more loudly for Joey Votto. He's my favorite non-Mets player and I'm rooting for him even harder now given his own personal issues.

I hate to tell you this, but I think the real Mets DID stand up this weekend in Philadelphia - and sat back down and crossed their legs limply. When the season started, I told anyone I knew that this was an 85-win, 3rd-place team. Not sure if it was how the last two years ended or the bad offseason decisions excluding K-Rod, but something didn't feel right. Unfortunately, it seems like I've been proven right. Yes, there are a lot of injuries, but every team has them, including Philly. Last weekend should have been the Mets' moment to seize control of their season. Instead they dropped it like a Roman candle.

On a lighter note, I'm a Giants fan too. Eli won my respect and borderline admiration with his play in the 2007 postseason and the Super Bowl win, though beating the Packers and Patriots was gravy for me after he beat the Cowboys in Dallas. That's the football equivalent of beating the Braves in the NLCS! Not sure I'll ever truly love Eli the way I loved Phil Simms, but he has improved over the years so I'll live with the occasional INT.

1)can't hit 2) can't pitch 3)can't field 4)can't run the bases 5)the replacements stink 6)ticket prices are way too high 7)the wilpons are senile 8)fred and jeff made d wright into a singles hitter 8)the ballpark pays homage to some bums from brooklyn when u walk in 9)all the players on the dl, who serial chokers the last 2 years, will come back and lead the mets to the playoffs this year..DID I FORGET ANYTHING???

Joyce -- I read your piece after I wrote mine (posted July 9th). Amazing that we're all seeing and feeling the same thing about our team. We're supposed to be patient because of the injuries, but I think they exhausted our patience with their pathetic collapses the last two years. I don't think anyone faults Minaya or Manuel for the defensive lapses and the brainless mistakes. Starting the season, the Mets really didn't have a lack of depth. But they did have two veteran utility pickups who have languished in Buffalo -- Cory Sullivan and Rob Mackowiak. Why not give Sullivan a shot in place of Fernando Martinez? They both are left-handed hitting outfielders -- Martinez is 20 and struggling, Sullivan is a veteran who's had major league time and some decent seasons. Mackowiak could give Castillo and Cora a break at second and short. Now that they've sent down Argenis Reyes, is Tatis going to back them up?
Anyway, great piece. And intelligent comments, too.

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