I have a problem with the condition of the Mets.
MLB released the 2013 schedules. The Subway Series against the Yankees will be reduced from six games to four. When asked for a reaction, R.A. Dickey offered the media his opinion why he believes playing the Yankees is unfair. David Wright insinuated playing the Bombers is not necessarily in the Mets best interest. Wright added he enjoys playing in the series, “…but, the Yankees are always a good team.”
By themselves, Robert Dickey’s and David Wright’s comments are innocuous enough; harmless even. I’ll take it a step further. I agree with them to the extent less games are better. I am pretty much done with inter-league as a fan and a New Yorker. The reasons why I’m through with inter-league will have to wait for another time however.
There is a part of me that feels their comments came off as whiny. This is my exploration into the reason why.
At face value, their comments are indeed somewhat whiny. What a fan wants to hear emanating from their player’s mouths should exude confidence. In my world, the proper response would have been – It doesn’t matter who we play. It is our job to defeat them. I would not be taking issue with Dickey’s, nor Wright’s comments today had it not been for the condition which permeates this organization. So please, read on.
The Mets strong first half seems like seasons ago. In the midst of a second half collapse, General Manager Sandy Alderson and field boss Terry Collins both tried re-establishing adherence to short term objectives. Sticking with a rebuilding mentality, the two expressed a short term goal to end the season in third place. Further down the line, the goal was downgraded to finishing above the .500 mark. As it turns out, finishing third is proving to be a very challenging proposition, as is the latter modified goal.
In a condition similar to Dickey and Wright, where if isolated from other pollutants, mid-level management was guilty of nothing more than being pragmatic. All things considered, let’s agree they were just being reasonable. Sandy Alderson has maintained all along, this season was an evaluation.
Here now, is a second alternative angle in the Alderson/Collins effect. In every sense, we as fans were recipients of double speak. We were given some pre-trade deadline jive. Then at some point during the club’s second half collapse, instead of post deadline drivel, Mets mid-level management grabbed a set of blue and orange pom-poms, and together waved them in our collective faces while cheering for a .500 finish, and promising back flips if the team finished third.
Here is my problem with that. It is not so much they implied such lofty goals, but why imply them at all? I prefer to hear my General Manager speak with displeasure regarding team performance. Not that Sandy hasn’t. And to be fair, Terry Collins has done his best to keep players accountable. But why voice such goals as finishing .500, or finishing third out loud? For me, that’s a fan’s job; not mid-level management. This is precisely why the Mets are increasingly viewed as a second rate organization when compared to their cross-town rivals. Calling them a rival is a misnomer in the first place and loosely eludes to what David Wright was saying. I was never a fan of George Steinbrenner. All gripes withstanding, could you ever imagine The Boss fixing his face to say he strives to finish third? There are so many other tact’s to take with regards to speaking on behalf of a bad team. Why pick this one?
I repeat; why express such a sentiment at all? I prefer such things go left unsaid. What are the major repercussions for speaking of such folly? None really. It just strikes me as impish. Back when the GM and Coach Collins spoke of such things, I somewhat pondered their situation and considered reacting then. I gave it a pass however. Like R.A. Dickey and Wright today, isolated, the situations didn’t warrant much discussion in my opinion.
Start piecing events together however, and now you have my attention. In the case of the Mets, it all starts at the top. From the supreme organizational commander, we got this: “I just want to play meaningful games in September.”
Here in lies the root of my angst! In this town, something like that sound absurdly second rate. And just in case you didn’t know, your owner said that years ago. Since Fred Wilpon uttered those infamous words, the mold consuming Roosevelt Avenue perpetuates still. Fred’s (feeble) comment remained as a background joke all these years. Then the Madoff Mess gave fans bigger and better matters to feed on. The condition however, had already been set.
Lets put this all in perspective now. At the very top of the organization, the owner’s stated, and continuing goal is to play meaningful games in September. I’m sorry. That’s lame speak. Late this summer, mid-level management’s effort to qualify the season sounded nothing short of impotent. Actively championing third place not only reminded me of the owner’s mantra, it reinforced it. Then at the bottom rung of the ladder, a pair of uniformed employees recently came off sounding, in my view, whiny to the media.
Dealing with the media is hard enough. So forgive me for singling out R.A. Dickey and David Wright in this manner, for this is not necessarily about them. Apparently however, Lame; Impotent; and Whiny have seemingly won the day. For me perhaps, this is a case of three strikes and you’re out, and maybe is the reason why I am dismayed over Dickey’s and Wright’s comments.
Now I’m finally saying it. The whole thing wreaks! From the top down, it all wreaks of defeatism. It all sounds too desperate to me. The perception of the Mets I fear, remains unnecessarily skewed. I’m not sure if the answer lies with an internal attitude adjustment or mood modification. Maybe the owner needs to voice new marching orders? All I know is the owner is the one responsible for setting this condition in place.