Already, the 2018 season for True Mets fans is shaping up to be another rollercoaster ride filled with elation, despair, hope, reconciliation, anger, more elation, and ultimately, frustration. Anger is the word of the day, though.
There are fans of the Mets and then there are Mets Fans. I’m one of the fans, only because the Yankees stole my heart even before the Mets were born. I root for the Mets, though, mainly because some of the best pitchers in baseball have passed through the team. And because fundamentally, baseball is all about pitching.
Mets Fans are of a different breed though, and this column is dedicated to them. They are not a patient sort when they talk among themselves, but somehow they hang in there even as they witness colossal and continuous mistakes and misjudgments made every day by team management.
Just today, for instance, the Mets announced that Jacob deGrom was placed on the 10-day DL and will skip his next start. On the surface, Mets fans and Fans would agree this is a good decision that is designed to protect one of their two franchise pitchers from further injury, something the Mets have had a problem in doing in the past.
Except that the hemming and hawing by Mickey Callaway and his pitching coach, Dave Eiland, cost the team valuable days being lost when the same decision could and should have been made days ago bringing their ace back sooner than next Sunday when deGrom is scheduled to pitch against the Phillies.
Even when the Mets do something right, Mets Fans smell something wrong in the background noise. Mets fans applaud Matt Harvey being DFA’d, but Mets Fans also ask the question of Mets management, why did it take you so long? We’ve known he was a distraction and a detriment to the team for two years, going on three. And why didn’t you trade him during the offseason to at least get something in return, before he self-destructed on the mound in April?
The Mets are not as good as the 11-1 run that began the season. Nor are they as bad as 6-14 debacle since then. They’re somewhere in-between, a good team, but not a great team. The National League East is filled with teams of the same caliber, some on the way up like the Braves and Phillies, and some coming down from the stratosphere like the Nationals to meet the rest of the pack. Hell, even the Marlins are holding their own.
The recent slide is not the player’s fault. I repeat, not the player’s fault. This is what happens when a team goes into a funk together. Asdrubal Cabrera has the second most home runs on the team (6) and not Jay Bruce or Todd Frazier. Amed Rosario is not the Gleyber Torres the Mets hoped he would be, at least not yet.
Steven Matz, according to Dave Eiland is a head case. He still pitches like a wuss, unable or unwilling to trust his stuff, despite numerous pleas to come inside to challenge hitters and to “trust his stuff.” And he still can’t make two consecutive quality starts. Jason Vargas looked good on the way in but he’s working his way to stink up the joint on his way out if the Mets can make a deal for him.
Zack Wheeler has shown signs of brilliance since his return from Las Vegas, but he also was unable to provide some relief in his last start to help halt the slide. Noah Syndergaard (2-1 in eight starts), and deGrom when he returns, can’t do it alone.
The same can’t be said for Yoenis Cespedes who took himself out of another game on Sunday with an injury for which no one on the Mets, can seem to agree on the cause or the status of how dangerous it is. God-given talent and nothing else will make Cespedes numbers look good.
The gall of Sandy Alderson, who was once a shining star as a GM in MLB, in believing Mets fans are gullible enough to swallow his mantra that the catching situation is okay takes the cake. Even when Travis d’Arnaud was playing, Alderson was wrong. He’s doubly-wrong now in thinking all will be well when Kevin Plawecki returns from injury.
This should anger Mets Fans, and there should be signs all over Citi Field when the Mets return home calling for the resignation or firing of Alderson – yesterday.
“Ya Gotta Believe” doesn’t extend this far. And that slogan (Tug McGraw RIP), needs to be replaced with “Ya Gotta Get Angry.” Very angry. At the ballpark where it’s seen on television if SNY dares show it, in the broadcast booth where Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez need to cut it loose, making some noise, if only to recover some of the Mets pride, that was present in the days they played.
Mickey Callaway has a handle on his players, and he will hold them accountable. Amen, Harvey. So, Mets Fans need not gang up on him or the 25 guys in the clubhouse. The problem lies elsewhere where it has been for the last several years.
The Wilpon brothers and Stan Katz are more formidable, and therefore more difficult to deal with than Alderson. But I’m telling ya, REAL METS FANS can make the difference. The media will love your story and gravitate to it every night on the 6 & 11 O’clock News.
It’s called mutiny; it’s called a revolution. When a small band of brothers and sisters rise to overthrow the empire, to take back the franchise they support with their hard-earned dollars and sleepless nights following this team, the suits will be forced to listen.
You think I’m kidding. Think again.