Ya Gotta Believe is Dying

ya_gotta_believe_160Poor Tug Mcgraw.

It’s bad enough he’s stuck in the middle of a border war escalating by the season between NY and Philadelphia, but a message by the late Mets pitcher is slowly being buried next to him.

New York Mets fans have been through a lot the last three seasons. It seems like ever since Aaron Heilman left up a fat changeup and Carlos Beltran looked at strike three that the franchise has been on an up and down roller coaster. We’ve seen the previous ace go down in injuries, and a perfect storm bring in a better one. We’ve seen Brooklyn’s Own canned out west and a Gangsta bring new life. We’ve seen closers exploding at others while their body imploded. With every Pelfrey came a Brian Lawrence. With every Good Ollie there’s been a Bad Ollie. We’ve seen future Hall of Famers go from nearly waived to nearly MVP. We saw a team last year that for every bad blown save, every disheartening loss they came back the next day.

Except one.

Two years in a row with the season on the line in the last game, and both times they lost. To the same team. Losing the division to the same rival.

And just for good measure, Florida and Philly took out both NY football teams just so that the knife will not only go through the heart, but get wedged stuck in there.

It has taken it’s toll on many in the fan base.

There are many people among the blogosphere and in many baseball forums who have become disheartened with Mets management. Despite Omar fixing the main problem by bringing in not one but TWO closers (with the most significant player lost being Joe Smith, a good but not overly needed situational Righthander) many feel the Mets are toying with the fan base.

Where is Manny?

Where is Ollie?

Why didn’t we give the 4th year to Lowe?

There are even those that will say the Mets do not want to win, because of an article that claims some clubs may prefer to come in second, so they will have high attendance and viewers without spending on a full payroll.

Let’s put some holes into this. First, the Mets have the third highest payroll in baseball, behind the Red Sox and the Yankees. Despite being in the same city, the Mets are not in competition with their Bronx Bretheren. They play them six times a year. That is as far as competition they would have with them unless they meet in Subway Series II.

The Mets are not happy they came in 2nd place. The amount of revenue they would make from Playoff Ticket Sales, TV advertisement and ratings, merchandise and concessions for just a single round of the playoffs far exceed the extra millions they would make on the payroll. However, you cannot bank on that revenue.

The fact this argument is up shows me how little the fan base believes this team will win. Despite a core of Johan, Wright, Reyes, Beltran, and newly acquired K-rod and Putz.

Are there questions? Certainly. Delgado might revert to the 1st half of 2008 again. Tatis may lose what he had last year and Murphy could suffer a sophomore slump. Maine could be held back by injuries. Pelfrey could regress. K-rod and Putz could struggle under the NY Spotlight.

However, that is not the only way to look at this team. Delgado ended the year strongly and through his career the slump ending in 07 and continuing in 2008 was his only prolonged slump of his career. An argument could be made he’s more likely to have a good year than to regress.

John Maine was hurt throughout most of 2008. He pitched in pain nearly every game, and gutted it out for over 2/3 of the season. He still had 10 wins despite not pitching since August 23rd. This is the same John Maine who pitched a near complete game the 2nd to last game of 2007. He will only be 28 this May. There are reasons to believe that he will have a better year.

Mike Pelfrey was a 1st round pick, projected to possibly be Ace potential. He might regress, but who is to say he will not take a step forward? Perhaps while the fans may not believe, management does and HE could be why the Mets passed on Lowe, and are treading carefully with Ollie. The #2 starter might be here already.

Tatis and Murphy CAN repeat their 2008 performances, the chances of Murphy particularly surpassing them are very good indeed. K-rod and Putz are likely to make those 30 blown saves into 25 – 30 wins.

Every team has questions coming into a season, and the offseason is not over yet, the building’s foundation is up but the roof is not finished.

Ya Gotta Believe may be dying, but I know there are many fans like myself who will NOT let it die. We have seen too many teams in recent years with less resources, less stars, less money invested into a team win championships to believe that the Mets cannot, or are not trying.

If you want to say they cannot find, but when the Mets do raise their next banner at Citifield, whether it be this year, next or another 20, do not say you always believed it will come.

Either Ya Gotta Believe or You Don’t.

Tugger, it’s tough but we’re still believing.



Posted By Robert Z


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