Jeff McNeil, A Hitter's Hitter (Photo: New York Post)

Mets: Five Reasons To Stay With The Team In The Second Half

Mets fans have obvious reasons to abort the team for the second half of the 2019 season. But here are five reasons to hang in there…

Mets fans are all too familiar with the reasons for disappointment in the team’s performance in the first half of the season. But beneath the veneer of the obvious are several reasons why fans should not give up the fight yet…

1) Mickey Callaway Believes In His Players

By and large, Mets fans are done with Mickey Callaway. Almost daily, comments from readers demand his dismissal. But the one thing we never hear, because it doesn’t exist, are comments from Mets players wishing him gone.

Mickey Callaway, New York Mets Manager (Photo: Associated Press)
Mickey Callaway, New York Mets Manager (Photo: Associated Press)

Mickey Callaway, despite suffering the indignity of being told by his boss, Czar Van Wagenen, to “go do your f_ _ _g press conference”, did just that. Callaway went out there like the man he is, never mentioning the so-called “meeting” with Van Wagenen, and answered every question coming his way.

When players are dissatisfied with their manager, you hear whispers from “anonymous” sources. You’ll see signs on the field indicating players are quitting on a manager. A general malaise sets in. We see none of that, except for Robinson Cano being Robbie Cano.

Moreover, Mickey Callaway believes in his players. He’s upbeat and he’s keeping his team upbeat. He still makes strategy mistakes, but he learns from every one of them and you never see the same error twice.

2) Pete Alonso, Mets ROY Candidate

Pete Alonso is a major league hitter. 30 home runs at the All-Star break speaks for itself. But that’s only a portion of the skill-set he possesses and demonstrates. He’ll bat .280-.290 this year, separating him from the all or nothing home run leaders on the board.

Peter Alonso, New York Mets Photo Credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Peter Alonso, ROY Candidate Photo Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Alonso thinks. He studies pitchers and his at-bats. He watches the video before and after games. It’s all about wanting to get better.

For Pete Alonso, it’s also about winning. He dreams of the Mets in a World Series. He dreams of winning the Home Run Derby.

Pete Alonso “gets” what Mickey Callaway is preaching. The MetsĀ are better than what the team has shown so far.

He believes, and more importantly, he doesn’t let the negativity emanating from players like Cano and Jason Vargas affect him. If no one else, the at-bats and overall play of Pete Alonso are reasons to watch the Mets in the second half.

3) Watching Brodie Van Wagenen Self-Combust

This is what happens when you put yourself in the spotlight. You’re fine until you are not fine. And then, all hell breaks loose.

Back in April, Brodie Van Wagenen was the toast of the town. Young and brash, he had used the offseason to bolster the Mets with new talent. He had just closed the deal with Jacob deGrom and he was floating on air with predictions the Mets were the “team to beat” in the NL East. The suits he wore never looked snappier.

Brodie Van Wagenen (Photo: Associated Press)
Brodie Van Wagenen, (Photo: Associated Press)

The true measure of a person is how they cope with adversity and failure. Brodie Van Wagenen is failing the test.

That “meeting” he called with Mets coaches? Throwing a chair? Belittling his own manager? That’s only the tip of the iceberg. Brodie Van Wagenen is Billy Martin without a baseball uniform. It’s my way or the doorway – and by the way – I never make a mistake.

I also don’t do the things you know I do. Like, call down to the trainer’s room to have deGrom prematurely removed from a game – managing games from home? I never did that. Or, insisting that Cano hit third because you were once Cano’s agent – No, that’s Mickey’s job. Sure Brodie, sure.

Stay tuned. Czar Brodie is just getting warmed up…

4) Jeff McNeil, Mets Sparkplug

I’m a channel flipper between ballgames. But I never miss one of Jeff McNeil‘s at-bats. Never. He’s a throwback, a little runt who runs rampant on a baseball field. A guy you just can’t help but admire and respect for the way he plays the game.

Jeff McNeil, Team Sparkplug (Photo Credit: YouTube)
Jeff McNeil, Team Sparkplug (Photo Credit: YouTube)

Oh yeah, he also has a good chance to win the NL Batting Title. And you can be sure he won’t be sitting out those final at-bats like Jose Reyes did to win his title, so many years ago.

Wind him up, put him in left field, right field, third base, second base – anywhere you want. You’ll always get the same effort.

5) A Wild Card Spot Is Still In Play

Yes, it true. The Mets need to jump over eight teams to snare the final Wild Card spot. But of those eight teams, only two (the Brewers and D’Backs) have a better than .500 record. and neither is more than three games over (MLB Wild Card standings 7/8/2019).

Are the Mets not a better team than the Reds, the Giants, Pittsburg, St. Louis?

Next question. Do the Mets have it in them to put together a run over twelve or fifteen games? Are they capable of playing .600 baseball during the second half?

The Mets have yet to put together a winning streak of any consequence this year. They are due for one. After one streak, confidence sets in to create another one. 7-3, 6-4 over ten games a couple of times and all of a sudden, it’s a new day.

If you don’t buy into this, have fun watching the Jets and Giants grinding through the preseason and the first month of the NFL competition. See if that makes you feel any better. For me, this Mets team still has something left to show…

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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