Friday, May 31, 2013

Why the Mets Sweeping the Yankees Means Nothing and Everything at the Same Time

The Mets swept the Subway Series from the Yankees this week. It's never happened before and who knows if it will happen again. The fact that the Mets were able to win every game in the series isn't as surprising as who they won it with. To call the Mets lineup fearsome is as laughable as calling Tom Green an actor.

In the grand scheme of things this series win means nothing in 2013. The Mets will most likely still finish the season under .500. They won't be going to the playoffs and there isn't an expectation of them winning any division titles. It was just a nice winning streak in the second month of the season that will just be a blip on the radar come the off season.

But then this series also means quite a bit.

The Mets were on the precipice of losing their entire fan base for the rest of the 2013 season. No one wanted to watch the product on the field, let alone go to the ballpark. This mini winning streak and the fact that it came against the cockiest fan base of them all, Yankees fans, makes it all that much more sweet.

The even bigger reason this sweep meant so much is because it switched the discussion from the litany of problems with the Mets to the positives. From Valdespin to Ike to Terry Collins, there have been enough of negative headlines and minutia discussed online and radio about the circus that is the 2013 Mets. Winning solves most problems and this was a huge one. While Ike Davis still deserves to be demoted to the minors, for one week Terry Collins hasn't had to deal with the same questions over and over and over.

You have to also give credit to what The 7 Line is doing for Mets fans. Sure it's a business, but honestly The 7 Line has done more to energize the fan base than the Mets organization has done in the last decade. The idea of bringing a contingency of Mets fans to Chicago and then to the Bronx to occupy the home team's ballpark is just genius. I wasn't able to go in person to either of those venues, but not only was I aware of it but was excited by it as well.

I guess The 7 Line is capitalism and free enterprise at its best and it's probably the best thing to happen to the Mets fan base in a long time. Darren Meenan deserves a lot of credit and our thanks even if you've never bought one of his t-shirts (but you probably should because they're pretty great).

So where do the Mets go from here? Who knows. Maybe they'll continue to win and surprise us. Maybe they'll quickly return to their irrelevant status, but whether you want to mock it or not this series has meant a lot for the Mets and especially for their fans.

Wining makes baseball so much more fun...especially at the expense of the Yankees.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Trustless in Flushing

Some Mets fans and especially vocal ones on social media will try and call you out for criticizing this team. They may say you're not a "true fan" or spout how they love this team regardless of the record. They are well within their rights to do so.

But as a fan of this team for the better part of 30 years this is the most faithless I've been in a long time. While the last half decade has been anything but ideal, there have been injuries that prevented players from succeeding or stop-gap players were the core of the lineup that you knew was just a placeholder for the current season.

Look at the names in the current Mets lineup and in the starting rotation and what you'll see is that the majority of them are the homegrown players the organization has been hoping to build around. Names like Duda, Davis and Tejada. Pitchers like Gee, Niese and Hefner. These were pieces we did not trade because the Mets saw them as being more valuable in the future than what they could get for them right now.

So here the Mets sit. 10 games under .500 and it's not even June. Ike Davis is about to slump further into oblivion. Duda can only drive in runs with a solo homer. Tejada who made us forget Reyes last year is now reminding us of Rey Ordonez except without the SportsCenter highlights in the field. Jon Niese looks lost. Dillon Gee is on the John Maine path to success.

Fortunately Murphy and Wright are pulling their weight, and of course Matt Harvey is living up to expectations.

What is my point here? Besides just needing to vent, it's that how can anyone trust the idea that the Mets are planning for future success? The future of 2009 is on the field right now and looking like a Double A lineup. You want to give them more time? I say it only gives them more rope with which to hang themselves.

I can't point the finger at any one person because I honestly believe the entire culture of the organization is poisoned from the front office to the bullpen to the hitting coach.It has become a culture where losing is acceptable because our investment lies in the ever elusive "future."

I'm emotionally invested in this team. I have been for 3 decades, but that doesn't mean I'm blinded to the ineptitude and the false hope that's unraveling before our very eyes.

Trust is the most valuable commodity on the planet earth. It's invaluable when you have it and will make you broke if you don't. Once trust is loss it's a long and arduous road to get it back.

Why would anyone trust the Mets at this point? A culture change has to happen. Not in the future. Not at some point. It has to happen now before trust is gone for good.

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's Time for Sandy Alderson to Be Held Accountable

Betting on futures can be a dangerous game. Futures can be used either to hedge or to speculate on the change in price of tan asset. For example, a producer of wheat could use futures to lock in a certain price and hedge their bets on risk. On the other hand, anybody could speculate on the price movement of wheat by going long or short using futures.

I'm not going to pretend I understand all the intricacies of futures trading, but I feel I have a reasonable grasp on the futures exchange that Sandy Alderson is trying to sell us. He's saying 2014 and beyond is where the Mets will compete.

Here's the thing about Alderson's futures plan. It can't be disproven in the present. In fact Alderson has had several years to prove his mettle, but we continue to be sold that 2014 is the year. Could he be right? Sure, but what if he's not? What if his master plan ends up falling apart? Then we've been left with continued years of being awful only to not get any better.

So then Alderson gets fired. Who cares? The Mets and their fans are the ones that will suffer. The moves Alderson has made has been about freeing up money and acquiring young talent. So far not much has been done to improve the team.

All of the assets Alderson has attained currently reside in our minor league system. Matt Harvey is the lone exception. Wheeler could be great. So far the Dickey trade for D'Arnaud & Buck looks genius, but none of Alderson's moves have translated into wins. Isn't that what really matters?

The two biggest flaws with the Mets over the last 3 years have been its bullpen and outfield. Nothing has been done to rectify that. Cowgill was being touted in spring training and now we're longing for Cowgill given that we have to endure Brown & Lagares & Byrd at the plate. Anyone with eyesight can see the Mets bullpen is atrocious. Sure you can say they're overworked, but honestly there are no room for excuses when you continually blow leads and opportunities year after year after year.

But don't worry Mets fans. Next year is 2014. It will all magically turnaround. How? I don't know. But there's a master plan right? Has to be.

But what if there's not. Instead of slowly filling holes the Mets still have gaping chasms that need to be addressed before they can compete in what is becoming the ridiculously talented NL East. From the bullpen to the entire outfield to the now absence of a reliable bat first base, the Mets are in need of more than just a few moves.

So while the Mets season quickly fades away even before summer arrives, someone should start holding Sandy Alderson accountable. Before you know it he'll be named the new commissioner of baseball and the Mets will be left trying to piece together this master plan of his.