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Mets: Slide Continues And The “Ya Gotta Believe” Fans Still Believe?

It doesn’t seem that the Mets and fans of the team realize how bad this team is. In a moment, I’ll show you how bad things are in Metland. But of more importance is the inaction of the organization to improve itself…we see nothing…absolutely nothing.

Mets fans, let’s start with a little quiz. Besides J.T. Realmuto, can anyone name three players in the Miami Marlins regular lineup and two of their starting pitchers? Times up, and neither can I. And yet, take a look at this snapshot of the NL East standings as play begins on Friday.

NL East Standings, June 15, 2018
NL East Standings, June 15, 2018 Source: ESPN.com

The Mets are closer to last place than they are to third place, able to win only one of their last ten games while the lowly Marlins have managed to win six of their last ten, taking two of three from the Cardinals and three of four against the Giants.

But, here’s the rest of the story. According to ESPN.com, the Mets own the bottom of the National League in team batting average, a woeful .225, they are second to last in runs scored, dead last in total bases, and next to last in on-base percentage (.302), meaning they fail to reach base seven out of every ten times a hitter walks to the plate.

And just in case Sandy Alderson hasn’t figured this out yet, let me enlighten him to the fact that his Mets are not likely to score runs without men on base.

Mets Fans
Mets Fans Photo Credit: Newsday

Rabid Mets fans go absolutely crazy when I point to facts about the team. I receive comments from posts I place on various Facebook Mets Group pages that can’t be printed here or anywhere else. These are the same fans who cannot escape from the grasp of the summer of 1973 when Tug Mcgraw laid down the law with one of these best team slogans ever when he coined, “Ya Gotta Believe”

The only problem with that is, if my math is correct, that was 45 years ago, and regretfully, even McGraw himself has passed from the baseball scene. The past has passed, and ’73 indeed was a wonderful year for the Mets. But, what about today? What about tomorrow? Are Mets fans going to leave their fate in what almost seems like the hands of God, “believin” that something good is just around the corner when it’s not?

A few days ago, I made a similar plea to this corner of Mets fans. And one comment, in particular, struck me. The reader argued that being a fan of the Mets is not only about winning, as compared to say being a fan of the Yankees. The reader went on to say, Mets Fandom is family and a feeling of belonging to a tribe (my word).

I empathize, but there should be more. Because these are the same fans who spend their hard earned dollars to attend games (yes, the plural) at Citi Field with the hope of seeing the Mets competitively challenging the opposition with the belief their team is capable of winning.

Unless, of course, these same fans have some sort of masochistic tendencies, and they come to the ballpark only to talk at work the next day about how much the Mets suck.

Pointing out the positives about a team is normal and acceptable. Mickey Callaway is becoming an expert at digesting a 5-3 loss by pointing out, for example, Jacob deGrom went six strong innings and leaving with a one-run lead. And that play Amed Rosario made was something to behold.

But a loss is a loss, and you can bet, or at least hope, that deGrom and Rosario see no upside to the fact that their team lost another game, and the season is slipping away.

Sandy Alderson, GM New York Mets
Sandy Alderson, GM New York MetsPhoto courtesy of SNY-TV

Which leads me to the main thrust of today’s column, which is that in spite of the obstacles presented to him, namely in the form of inept and cheap ownership, there should be something Sandy Alderson can do to improve his team.

At one time, Alderson was the most creative General Manager in the game, teaming with Billy Beane to create the concept of Moneyball, which became the craze of baseball. Where has that motivation gone?

Are you telling me the Mets can’t send Michael Conforto down for a breather at Triple-A, and the team won’t be hurt (how can it get any worse?), while at the same time giving this young man and a future centerpiece of the team a chance to regroup?

Or that the Mets would rather lose with Jacob deGrom than without him, even though the potential for the near future can be maximized with the influx of athleticism brought to the team via a trade? Ditto Noah Syndergaard.

We’ve been over the deGrom scenario before, and the pros and cons are all too striking. But again, what is the future of the Mets if they sit idle and do nothing?

The Mets were improbable winners of the World Series in 1973. Take a glance, though, at the roster the Mets presented that season, and tell me you can find the players on their roster today who are capable of even reaching the .500 mark in the 2018 season, let alone a World Championship, or even reaching a Wild Card this season.

Seek, and ye shall find, though. If only Alderson wants to put in the hard work to do so by recalling the energy he used to turn the baseball world upside down by finding players who were flying under the radar to build a winning team in Oakland. Albeit it, that was many moons ago.

Those moons have passed, and Mets fans should not take this on the chin, rolling with the punches, and believing tomorrow will be better. As one of those “Ya Gotta Believe” Mets fans (if you are), you can’t be waiting for an act of God to transform this team. Because if that’s what you are looking for, it ain’t gonna happen.

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