|More Mets Musings - Fun Again At Shea||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on May 21, 2003
In fact, a strange thing has happened to the Mets. We’ve actually begun to enjoy the games again and I think a lot of fans are feeling the same way. Perhaps it’s because the Mets are not fielding a team of overpaid, underachieving, over-the-hill stars. Sadly, they are still on the payroll but due to injuries not on the field.
When you look at this team and see the NY Mets irregulars (C Vance Wilson, 1B Jason Phillips, SS Joel McEwing, 3B Ty Wigginton, OF Raul Gonzales and tonight’s hero Marco Scutaro) on the field it’s almost refreshing and it makes you believe that this team is beginning to head in the right direction. It even makes you forgive Roger Cedeno (who has been looking like a real ballplayer again) who is obviously trying in the outfield and making contact with the baseball at the plate.
In fact the only real sore spot left, which is eating at us, is the presence on the field of the incredibly indifferent and apathetic Roberto Alomar who shows as much interest in the game as would a tree stump. Alomar is quite obviously only playing with half a mind in the game and is doing what he can only for one last payday. It’s appalling and an insult to anyone who must watch him play for the Mets.
We realize that it’s all an illusion of course; the Mets are not rebuilding. While we are enjoying watching the young players, players who actually give a damn and are trying hard, the assembly of ancients that Steve Phillips has assembled are slowly healing. Eventually they will be thrust back onto the field, assuming of course that they can even get back to playing shape (something very much in doubt with both Vaughn and Piazza).
However, what we seem to be noticing is that everyone seems to be having fun; the players are having fun, the fans are having fun, and the games are fun. That is something that has been sorely missed at Shea the last several seasons. What we have seen is a disappointment that many fans felt was akin to armed robbery.
The team Steve Phillips has assembled has no purpose. They were not contenders in 2001, not contenders in 2002, and are not contenders in 2003. In fact looking down the pike, the Mets are not even built for 2004, 2005 or 2006. There is no core of young stars that will play in Shea for the next 5 years or even the next decade. There are prospects and the Mets need to keep them. In many ways Steve Phillips is the Frank Lane of modern baseball; there is not a prospect or rookie he will not trade for an older player who might have one good season left. Worse than that, like Frank Lane who traded away a young Roger Maris, Rocky Colavito and so many others, Steve Phillips cannot admit to a mistake.
It’s time for the Mets to clean house. Let the young players have fun and the fans will follow them and have a good time too. You may lose a few more games, but at least there will be hope for the future. It’s time for the Mets to take a new blueprint and not to be afraid of fan reactions when favorites, like Mike Piazza who should have been dealt in 2001, are traded. Instead what the Mets have are a lot of almost valueless players, who’ve dragged the team down and the fan base and support as their skills decline.
This can’t happen while Steve Phillips runs the Mets. I don’t think anyone believes that Phillips can keep his job. The axe is poised, and waiting to be swung. If Wilpon can’t do it, and do it soon, the Mets are in worse trouble than anyone envisioned. The real nightmare is that Phillips be left to squander the Mets young players and prospects on another veteran to “put the Mets over the top.”