The Mets had the spotlight on Michael Conforto during their last home game of the season. But the change in the air was more far-reaching.
The Mets’ final game at Citi Field was a compelling scene of nostalgia, forgiveness, disappointment, and acceptance.
While the focus remained on a player who has worn the #30 jersey for the Mets for seven years, together with the questions surrounding whether or not Michael Conforto would return to the team next year, an air of more far-reaching change was in the air.
You could taste it in the cheers and murmurs that came from the 24.312 fans who showed up on a brisk fall Thursday night, the tinge of uncertainty in the voices of Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling‘s comments during the telecast.
But most of all, it came from the Mets players and coaches, who themselves wondered where they would be on Opening Day, 2022.
For a select few like Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso, and Francisco Lindor (if only by contract default), it was just another game on a grueling six-month tour across America and a renewal of the failure of the Mets to make the playoffs.
Mets: Change Is In The Air
But for most of the other players and coaches, there was a reckoning with the fact that Michael Conforto was not the only one facing the trepidation that accompanies change.
And that Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson were in the final stages of making some in a matter of days and weeks that would follow.
The changes will come to the Mets because there is no other choice. It will follow in dribs and drabs, piece by piece, some big and others so small they’ll barely be a footnote in New York newspapers the next day.
The changes will come because the Mets are at a crossroads, filled with minefields yet to be detected.
But mainly, change will come because Mets fans have served their time and performed their penance.
Their patience is exhausted by the dysfunction associated with the Wilpon years, and promises can no longer be accepted in a vacuum of despair and “Ya Gotta Believe” slogans.
A Complicated Array Of Decision Areas
The complicated array of decision-making spreads wide across the Mets organization, extending to areas like the thirteen players eligible for free agency, the eleven Mets eligible for arbitration, and most of all, the glaring vacancies that exist in the front office.
Significantly, that doesn’t even consider the work that needs to be done to continue fortifying their minor league system and the efforts of the Mets marketing people to recreate a brand and culture suitable to the organization.
While the task is imposing, and at least for the moment, is solely in the hands of one person, Sandy Alderson, each step in the process must be handled with deliberation and decisiveness because there is no room for error.
This Is Far From Rocket Science
The needs of the Mets are well known and evident to any fan who follows the team.
First and foremost, the Mets need a seasoned major league manager, and age should be last as a consideration on that person’s resume.
They need a group of proven major league players who do not need to be taught skills like baserunning, situational hitting, proper preparation routines, and the all-important intangibles that produce a winning team effort.
Mets: Steve Cohen In The Spotlight
More than ever, though, the first shot across the bough must come from Steve Cohen the moment the season ends.
It must come with a declaration he makes himself that acknowledges the honeymoon is over, and ready or not, he will take charge and lead the franchise towards accelerating his three-year goal.
In his meet with reporters earlier this week, Sandy Alderson stated that no one connected to the Mets should consider their job safe.
That may draw a chuckle from Mets fans who consider Alderson why the team is where they are, and he should be the first to go, but like it or not, he’s The Man at the moment.
However, it’s because of that feeling that it has to be Steve Cohen saying the same thing, with the confidence and forcefulness that can only come from a team owner.
The upcoming changes will be made with the singular goal of improving the Mets organization. Some of the moves may require unpopular (Conforto, Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil) but necessary personnel decisions.
Where Will They Take Us?
Population-wise, there may be room enough for two major league teams in New York, but make no mistake, this is as much about the Yankees and their impending success as a playoff team as it is about the Mets.
While Mets fans are rightly heralded for their loyalty and patience, the Mets 2021 season was a disaster filled with false starts and empty hearts.
The palpable air of change present at Citi Field on Thursday was real and expectant.
All we can do is wait and see…
Here’s what Readers Are Saying…
Dave Silvers A heavy dose of speculation. We can assume things will change. We can assume some moves will be made. We can, yes, assume, guys like Conforto, McNeil, Davis, and Smith may be gone—but they’d still have to be replaced. Ownership and management need to be aggressive for once in our lives. That’s from the farm system/minor leagues/scouting on up. We’ve settled for mediocrity for 60 years…it’s time to change that.
Raul Ramirez We can’t go with the same team. Change must come. Get rid of some of them. Losing is contagious. Keep these three. Nimmo, Alonso, and Baez and build around them.
Hank Meyer Keep in mind, DH comes to Queens. Good point.
Geoff Bermingham Good dude, a good player, a good team man. He’s kind of like a Gardy for the Yanks. Not being a superstar is no crime whatsoever.
Jim Kenny How SA keeps his job is mind-boggling…Callaway, Porter, Scott. Cespedes fell into his lap (he wanted Carlos Gomez!). He pushed hard for Bauer. Awful hires. Terrible judge of character.
Daniel Arthur-Gay I am not convinced Sandy knows how to spend well after years of having to penny pinch. Cohen needs to find Sandys replacement SOON