The Mets lost a squeaker, as Jose Reyes smacked a ground ball to Gaby Sanchez with two outs in the ninth and the tying run on third. Damn — particularly with Angel Pagan having looked a bit leisurely on a ball off the wall that arguably led to a fatal extra Marlin run. Still, the Mets fought back and played well other than that blip, with Ike Davis tripling (Ike’s right — he’s not that slow once he gets moving) and Josh Thole chipping in two more hits and making a nifty tag play at the plate on a short hop. For the first time in a while, I was a bit surprised we lost, and didn’t want to throw anything after we did.
What makes me want to throw things? It’s the constant peddling of messages. Take a recent sampling:
1. From MetsBlog, regarding Omar Minaya’s chat with the media: “Minaya still thinks the team is in the playoff race, and says they are trying to win games and hopefully they have a run in them down the stretch.”
2. Jerry Manuel last week, saying his priority isn’t developing young players: “That’s not the case. The case is to win games and put what you think is the best team out there.” (Why? Because he thought the .500 Mets were within reach of a playoff spot.)
3. From the middle part of Adam Rubin’s three-part series on where the Mets are and where they might be going: “While a team official suggested the discussions have not yet advanced to this level, he acknowledged one possible course of action is to sell a youth movement to fans and trumpet the home-grown players.”
1. We’re not still in the playoff race.
2. We’re not still in the playoff race, so that should damn well be your priority.
I’ve given up wondering why the Mets worry so much about what everybody might say about them, and so little about what they ought to do. It’s maddening, but it’s not going to change. A while back Greg observed that the Mets don’t bother locking barn doors at night, but worry terribly how they will be perceived should a horse be seen trotting down the highway the next morning. That pretty much nails it, alas.
So, in that vein: Fellas, quit trying to sell shit to me.
For casual fans, Citi Field is a nice place on a summer’s night whether the Mets are 10 games over .500 or 10 games under. It’s clean and nice and there are lots of bathrooms and you can get Shake Shack, Taqueria, or both. Whatever some of us in the fanbase may feel about attention paid to team history, that Ballpark on a Summer Night part is fixed. It ain’t Shea, so stop worrying about it. (Well, OK, the people you employ are getting rude and/or incompetent again. You could work on that. But the rest’s fine.)
That leaves the rest of us. I can read the standings. I know how our club stacks up against the Braves and the Phillies and the Giants and the Cardinals and the Rockies and the Dodgers and the Marlins. Don’t tell me we’re in the hunt when I had to write down that many names in late August. And I know who’s young and who’s old and who’s cheap and who’s expensive and who’s homegrown and who’s an import. If next year’s roster is young and cheap and homegrown, I’ll know it’s a youth movement. I won’t need anything trumpeted. I won’t appreciate anything trumpeted. “Ballgame tonight” will be enough, just like it always has been. I’ll make up my own mind regarding the rest, just like I always have.
You don’t need to sell to the first group of fans. You can’t sell to me and all the other people like me. So please, just stop selling.
You want a message that will work on me? Stop talking and do stuff. Get guys who cannot help this team off the roster, even if it means a financial hit and a couple of days of articles about what a waste of money they were. Get the guy who’s a horrible tactical manager out of the dugout in favor of someone who won’t do so much active harm. Get the GM who can’t seem to enter an offseason with a coherent plan out of his office in favor of someone who can. (And then get out of that guy’s face and let him work.) Figure out what’s most likely to win games down there on the field when a playoff spot is actually within reach, and make it happen.
Do that, and you don’t have to say a word. You could say nothing, and other teams would start hiring mimes and monks. Continue to get in your own way while failing to do that, and everything you say makes it worse.