|Where to Place Blame for Mets Woes|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on August 24, 2009
It's hard to watch the Mets. Yeah I've watched them through all of the bumbling years, the games where the over-under per game was four or even five errors. I've seen them in triumph and I've seen them in ignominious defeat, but in all the years I've followed the team I've never seen them look so wretched and so hard to watch.
I mean what can you say when the in stands debate typically is if the best everyday player on the field for the team is Jeff Francour or Luis Castillo? That is how bad it's gotten among the Mets faithful.
There are plenty of voices calling for changes on this team -- almost any sort of change, from owners, to manager, to coaches, to medical staff and to the players themselves (not to mention plenty of calls for Citi Group to get its name off of a rather nice ballpark). Each of the calls has a certain ring to it -- someone should take the blame for this season, and most likely for the ones coming up in the immediate future.
That's the big problem for National League fans in New York, even with Beltran, Reyes, Wright, Maine, Perez and Delgado healthy next year; things do look bleak just a short distance down the road.
The farm system is essentially bankrupt and ownership, while not quite that bad off, can't be feeling all that well either. Besides the $700 million hit the Wilpons took by investing with Bernie Madoff, they've lost a good chunk of net worth in their real estate holdings, not to mention their quasi-private funding of Citi Field, and the debacle of this season's Mets (who sure aren't attracting enough fans to fill those very expensive seats), almost certainly aren't helping fill the coffers.
And owners who are losing money, and no help down on the farm are not a good combination no matter how you spin it. It sure wasn't what ownership envisioned when opened this season in the new ballpark. No, that script read more along the lines of new park, championship quality team who were leading the division due to their superior pitching and balanced offensive attack, adding pieces like Matt Holliday and Cliff Lee as they rolled towards a World Series appearance in October. Instead they've faced empty seats since July.
While there is blame to be had, it's not blame to be had at the Major League level. The owners were willing to spend money; the players were all in place. The Mets pure and simple got "snakebit" with injuries. They could have survived two of them, probably could have managed to survive three of them, maybe even more if the minor league system could have come up with some serviceable replacements, but all of them? No team in the game could survive that.
So who is to blame? The trainers? The medical staff? It's a little hard to believe that they are the culprits here, as they are among the best experts that money can buy. No the truth is that this team has had some very bad luck. That is the true end of story.
If you want to blame anyone, blame general manager Omar Minaya for not keeping atop what was going on at the minor league level, but you can't crucify the man for the Mets team he fielded at the start of this season.
Sadly the wretched crew the are fielding right now just rank low on the major league scales, and watching them reminds us far too much of the bad old days. All we can do is hope that is not a harbinger of things to come.