Have you felt it?
The losses piling on. The ticking of the games going by. The amount of sighs Keith Hernandez is letting out on a daily basis?
Yes, it’s the end of a Losing Season in Flushing.
We’re a little over 2 weeks away from the end of the Damaged 2009 season. And with that comes the Losing Mentality of New York.
What is the Losing Mentality of New York? It’s the feeling that the answers to a horrific season are not simple. That there are greater mysteries to be solved, errors to be corrected, and the reset button must be pressed over an organization.
You see, in the Metro area no team ever JUST goes through a bad season, like other cities. Unless of course you’re an under-the-radar franchise like the New Jersey Devils or perennial losers like the New York Islanders and more recently the New York Knicks.
No, for NY there is always a “bigger picture.” The Mets cannot have just an unlucky year where the stars get hurt and they lose the season. No, there has to be fundamental flaw in the clubhouse, a chemistry issue, a lack of a winning formula, a foul smelling underbelly in what should be prized jewel in Flushing.
It can’t just be there was lack of talent cause of injuries. That’s not a good reason. That’s an excuse you see. Any team should do well with 3 All-star players on the DL for most of the year. There should definitely be replacements who can fill the void left by players the caliber of Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran. It’s easy to go through a season when 2 starting pitchers you relied on for about 12-15 wins apiece go down for half to most of the season. And the rookie replacement. And the replacement to the rookie replacement. And so on…….
This is not to say the organization in blameless. Far from it. Omar Minaya has a lot to answer for, and he did himself no favor by trying to pass the buck to a well-respected beat reporter in Adam Rubin.
However, must there always be a mass upheaval, mass change? Change for change sake doesn’t solve anything. That is why the Mets are in the predicament. Every time they build a system, a plan, they tear it down within 5 years. All of the successful franchises have gone through a period of hell before reaching heaven. This season has been hell, and we may force the Mets to do something stupid, like dealing Reyes or Beltran or Wright, before trying to reach greener pastures.
How many times have we heard someone say, “the injuries are not an excuse.”
No, they are not an excuse.
They are a fact. The Mets would not be in the current predicament if they were not devastated by injuries. Sometimes there are seasons like that. No team survives with 3 All-Star caliber players out for half to most of the season. Look at the struggles the Yankees had when A-rod alone was out! How good are the Phils if you remove Rollins, Utley and Howard? How good are the Dodgers if you remove two starting pitchers who can give the team 12-15 wins?
And that is where the Losing Mentality comes in. It’s making the simple complicated. It’s the fan who thinks admitting the injuries will be an issue will excuse Omar Minaya, Jerry Manuel, and the Wilpons from their mistakes. That it excuses the Collapse of 2007. The Failure of 2008. It’s the idea that if this was acknowledged, that this will give the Mets free reign to do nothing.
It’s the idea it excuses all. It doesn’t.
In order to build a team you have to be able to be passionate about winning, but be able to organize without passion. That means taking into account each and every reason for the fault, and like it or not the injuries are reason number 1.
There obviously will be things done regarding the medical and training staff. The minor league system is already undergoing change. Most importantly, despite what many think the Mets are not using the injuries as an excuse to not acknowledge and work on their needs. They already have admitted that a defensive catcher who will work well with pitchers is a priority. Rumblings are already coming out about #2 pitchers they may be targeting. Manuel has admitted that role players like Pagan and Murphy cannot be relied on without significant additions in other areas.
There is reason to be hopeful about 2010. You don’t need to close your eyes to the most logical reason of the failures of 2009 to not see that. You don’t need to be ranting and raving to see things done to make this team grow. You want to go to the games, watch playoff baseball. You want to win it all. So do the Mets. They know the fan base are bitter, hungry, and angry. But we’re New Yorkers. Let’s be smart and be cognizant of everything before we go off ranting or raving.
We wouldn’t want to be confused with Philly fans, would we?
Posted by Robert Z