Written by Jonathan Leshanski
Published: 01 October 2007
I have been preparing to write the obituary of the New York Mets all week. The only question was when would the final nail go into the coffin? Thursday night seemed to a good night to start an article tentatively called “Fall from Grace”, which would highlight the demise of the 2007 Mets. Friday would have been a good day too.
Then came Saturday’s game and a ray of hope. I sat here all day wondering if the obituary would be needed for Monday morning, or perhaps Tuesday morning or maybe the Mets would turn this improbable collapse into an improbable comeback story. I almost started writing in the first inning when Tom Glavine gave up seven runs and recorded just a single out. But then the Mets loaded the bases in the second and again in the third and even managed to put runners on in the fourth and fifth.
But no one on the Mets made it across the plate in seven innings and with only six outs left in the game I realized it was time to put my fingers to the keyboard to talk about the greatest collapse in baseball history.
There are many words and phrases that could be used to describe the last three weeks of Mets’ baseball. Inept, poorly played, meltdown, cataclysmic, awful, miserable, catastrophic and appalling are just a few that come to mind, but perhaps the most appropriate is revealing.
The Mets didn’t deserve to be in first place most of the season and they didn’t deserve to go to the playoffs. The Mets, all in all were an uninspired team who weren’t capable of playing .500 ball after May. Over the last 110 games the team was a miserable 54-56 and that isn’t the record of a champion.
You can blame the starting pitching, you can blame the relievers, you can blame offense, the front office, age, injury, or bad luck, but the truth is there was no excuse for this team not to have made the playoffs. Unless perhaps you want to blame a manager that failed to keep his players focused on fundamental baseball and failed to discipline them when they got out of line.
This was Willie Randolph’s team and he failed to lead them. The youngsters and the veterans ran amok. Players failed to run out plays, failed to focus on the field, made mental errors and failed to execute. And the blame for that belongs to the manager who allowed it and the players who needed the prodding which never came.
In retrospect it was a miserable season and no amount of words will change that. There is no justification for this team’s failure. Playing less than .500 ball from May on was a massive failure which should be unacceptable to a team with this much talent, or this much payroll.
You can’t blame Tom Glavine for yesterday’s game, or Paul Lo Duca, David Wright, the starting pitcher or the others guys who have left it on the field all season. No, it's time to look at the slackers, those who failed to execute, and those who didn’t lead. And it’ll be a long off-season to think about that.