Your intrepid columnist likes to think he has a pretty good memory, especially about things that wouldn’t appear to particularly important to anybody else. I can forget work-related things with the best of ‘em. If I have to remember to mail something out, it’s a better than even chance I won’t remember to do it until it’s already too late. But trivia? Baseball stuff? Movies & TV? Old rock ‘n’ roll? I’m your man.
So I remember the joy that abounded when Sandy Alderson arrived in December, 2010 to deliver us from the Omar Minaya financial follies. I remember that he brought hope to the then-masses of Met fans, that the ridiculous contracts — given out to the likes of Moises Alou, Jason Bay, Francisco Rodriguez, Jose Valentin and a cast of thousands – were a thing of the past. The Mets were finally going to be run intelligently by the acclaimed “Godfather Of Sabermetrics.” Sandy Alderson, always the smartest man in the room, was here to save the franchise from the evil clutches of Bernie Madoff and save Jeff Wilpon from himself. Things would turn around. It wouldn’t be as quick as some of us fans would like, we were assured, but most of us could stomach that, seeing as things were going to be done the “right way” from now on. If that means building up the farm system? Great. If that means beefing up the scouting and development staff? Perfect. Absolutely the proper way to go. When asked when he could envision the Mets fielding a contender at the major league level, Sandy estimated that we would see the fruits of his efforts in 2013.
We could live with that, but as Alderson got further into the job, he was able to see what a Herculean task rebuilding the Mets actually was. After the trade of Carlos Beltran and the defection of Jose Reyes, when hey! there was going to be actual money coming off the books, the timetable was revised to 2014. OK. We could live with that, as well. We could see progress being made with the farm arms – Matt Harvey, especially – and at the MLB level with guys like Bobby Parnell, Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis. Add in the fact that by that year, the budget would no longer be chewed up by the contracts of Bay and Johan Santana. So we all began to hang our hats on likely Wild Card contention in good ol’ ’14.
Taking a look at this team and its system as presently constituted, anybody can see that that ain’t happenin’. Ken Rosenthal sat for an interview with blogger Andrew J. Kahn and said that due to the youth and quality of the Nationals and Braves, Mets fans shouldn’t be getting their hopes up until 2015… AT THE EARLIEST. The carrot keeps dangling further and further out in front of us and it seems like it’ll never be caught. By this time next year, we should probably have our sights focused solidly on 2017…maybe 2018…err better make that 2019.
Is it any wonder Citi Field is empty? Is it any wonder what’s left of the fan base is fed up? More than a few fans feel as though they’ve been duped all along. To quote Casey Stengel, “We’re a fraud again!” More and more it becomes apparent that the purpose of the New York Mets is not to win games, not to fly pennants, not to fill stadiums: it is solely a vehicle to help its owners pay off their debts and maintain their current lifestyle.
Like the team itself, that stinks.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley