The lost cause of 2009 should be a time for the Mets to consider September as a really early spring training. The games are meaningless, except for a few "pride games" so the Mets might as well use the rest of the season to celebrate the fundamentals and punish those that ignore it.
Think of it as in-season scrimmages. Winning or losing doesn't matter. It's making sure the young players are playing the game the right way and the veterans are doing the little things consistently.
Here is what the Mets should be promoting:
This pitiful starting rotation should at the very least get it in their heads that walking the leadoff batter is unacceptable. Walk a leadoff batter, you're fined $1,000. Walk three batters in the game, you're fined $5,000 and immediately pulled from the mound. These walks are ridiculous. Throw it over the plate and put the ball in play.
Hitting the ball to the opposite field
This is something that is greatly lacking from the lineup, especially with runners in scoring position. Murphy and Franceour should get rewarded every time they go the opposite way.
Getting the runner over
If you're up with a runner on first or second base and less than two outs and don't at least get the runner over, you're fined $1,000. How many times have we seen innings begin with a runner on second and no one out and they still don't score. Unacceptable.
Reward/Punish Poor Hitting
You go 2 for 4 in a game, you're guaranteed to play the next day. You put up an 0 for 4, you're benched for 1 game. 0 for 2 with a walk and a sac bunt, you live to play another day. 1 for 5 but your hit came with 2 outs and runners in scoring position, you get the game ball.
These are little league level things, but it's obvious the Mets need to be worked on at that level. No one is watching these games once football season is under way, so the Mets should envision September 2009 as a way to work on developing their players and if wins come along the way so be it.
Don't give me the "they need to put fans in the seats" argument either. Fans aren't flocking to this team no matter what they do, so we might as well watch some fundamentally sound baseball. Anything is better than what we've seen over the last week.