Somewhere In Between

As Mets fans continue to wait for the 2011 Manager Sweepstakes to wrap up, I am sure we all can’t help but wonder what the on-field product will look like.  In my first post to Kiner’s Korner, I introduced myself and my thoughts on the Mets, and painted a picture that the “best is yet to come.”  While I truly believe that, I have wondered what the pulse is of this fanbase.

Mets fans have had to sit and basically pray that one of their archrivals did not win a World Series (especially Philly), while their own team was stuck in turmoil.  And while things are moving forward toward fixing this mess, I wonder how much patience the fans have next year.  Are the flushing faithful prepared to endure a 70-75 win season?  Are we prepared to watch Philly run to another NL East title and watch the rest of the division continue to fortify and build up their squads?

It is a painful and long process to get back to being a winner in baseball.  This is especially true when you have a season like the Mets are facing in 2011, in which you are waiting for bad contracts/bad attitudes to come off the books in the hopes of building towards 2012-2013.  Between the Madoff scheme that paralyzed the Wilpon’s finances, and the lackluster attendance in the first two seasons at Citi Field, this is a tricky spot that Mets fans and ownership are in.

Both sides have certain things they need in order to tick.  The fans need a winner, and need meaningful baseball to warrant going  day in and day out to the Citi Field and spending the money on the team that the owners so desperately need.  I cannot blame the Mets fans one bit for not wanting to go watch this team play late the last few years with the product that was on the field.  At the same time, though, the fans want ownership to consistently sign top notch free agents and bring in high priced talent.  Despite the constant talk that ownership is cheap, I disagree wholeheartedly with that assessment.  As I said in my first piece, they have always brought in a top priced guy.  Not always the right guy for the right price, but definetly expensive pieces.  This team’s problem has been surrounding and building the depth within the team and farm system.

Basically I am throwing this out there to Mets fans.  This season is going to be tough.  Unless, Sandy pulls a rabbit out of his marine’s hat, and rids the team of Ollie, Castillo and maybe even Beltran’s contracts, it will be another long, arduous season.  If you know, however, that things are being put into place to fix this team long-term, are you guys ok with that?  I would hope that the masses of Mets fans would rather correct this thing properly, and build a winner for the next 7-10 years, rather than a one year crack at it.  But then again, after four years of letdowns, I can understand if the patience is wearing thin.  I know that mine is.

This is a swing year for the Mets.  I am hopeful to see the young players from last year get some more cracks at it, and grow even more.  I am hopeful that the now loaded front office can pull 2 or 3 bargain basement signings and one trade to bring in some high ceiling guys that pan out.  But with no substantial budget in place, and a season of uncertainty with Johan Santana, it will most likely be a mediocre year.  It pains me to say that and I will of course root our team on as much as ever, but I need to be realistic here.

This is a rare time where the fans need to step up and stay behind this team 100% and show up as much as possible.  Not only for the financial aspects, but to show we are behind this team and this new regime.  And most importantly, as the team builds anew, the fans have to build a new foundation.  Mets fans always wait for other shoe to drop (and rightfully so) rather than just be loud and confident in the ballclub.  2011 needs to be a year to start building a home field advantage like Philly has done in a short time at Citizens Bank Park, so that when 2012 and the rest of the future arrives, everything is in order to be celebrating at Citi.

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