The New York Mets and the legacy of losing

ZenOk, so the loss of Matt Harvey goes pretty deep.  The last time I had a reaction like that was back on July 30, 2004, when the Mets dealt Scott Kazmir to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato.

I have to say, though, that the team’s reactions and the articles I’ve seen posted here, elsewhere, and in print have all been exceptionally forward-looking. Maybe, we (as a team and a fan-support network) have finally turned the corner on ourselves.

We’re not saying, “here we go again” or “aaaagh” (well maybe I did momentarily think that on Monday night) but it seems different to me somehow.  We aren’t rolling over and we aren’t saying, “we’re doomed”.  This isn’t Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown.

The Mets have had history of losing, which dates back to the beginning of the Franchise.  They drafted players well past their prime and went through years of being the “lovable losers”.  Casey Stengel called them, “The Metsies”.

Gil Hodges, Jerry Grote, Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and the rest of the players during that era changed that culture.  When Hodges passed away and when the team didn’t pull off another World Series championship, it eventually fell back into the doldrums.

The organization’s outlook changed again in the eighties, when Dwight Gooden, Daryl Strawberry, Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, and Ray Knight helped the team emerge as the “premier” team.  Does anyone remember Knight getting into a fistfight with Eric Davis of the Reds?  It meant something.

We were all rocked in the nineties, when Paul Wilson, Jason Isringhausen, and Bill Pulsipher all went down.  “Generation K” was the generation that never-was. Again, we floundered.

Maybe we’ve finally all read, “Zen in the Art of Archery” by Eugen Herrigel, or “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Timothy W. Gallwey, or “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu and finally understand that “winning” is a state of mind.

Maybe we’re seeing the deeper results of Sandy Alderson’s leadership wherein the loss of this pitcher as great as Harvey is, isn’t the end of it all.  We aren’t built on a single player or a single future.  We’ve got other players, we’ve got other talent, we’ve got other ways to win…

Things just feel different this time.

5 comments for “The New York Mets and the legacy of losing

  1. August 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I like thinking that we “have finally turned the corner on ourselves.” I hope you’re right.

  2. Lorinda was Better
    August 31, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    But you know what, we really didn’t flounder after the loss of Generation K in 1996. Coincidentally, that was the last time the Mets had someone in their organization with a voice and an opinion that led to winning baseball games and that was Bobby Valentine.

    After 1996, it looked like we were left for dead with Pulsipher never to regain form and Isringhausen and Wilson flaming out before the 1997 season started. But something happened on the way to the graveyard- Bobby Valentine and the kids- Hundley and Alfonzo and Ordonez and Huskey and Ochoa and Carl Everett, and coaxing tremendous pitching out of an all star named Bobby Jones, a journeyman in Armando Reynoso, and faith put in Rick Reed. Not to mention Joe McIlvaine taking a flyer on a miscast line drive hitter in Toronto named John Olerud. The Mets would add Al Leiter and Dennis Cook after the 97 season and Piazza in mid-1998 which ultimately would lead to three years in contention from 1998-2000 with a pennant and another playoff appearance as well as a nice run in late 2001 which ended in the double Benitez implosion late in that last week of the year.

    See what happens when you have a manager with the balls to tell the GM who should play for him?

    There is a legacy of bad ownership which was from 1975-1979 and has existed from 2002 until today. Not a legacy of losing.

  3. john wahl
    September 1, 2013 at 8:12 am

    this goes back to 1957 when yankee owners dan topping and bill webb lined the pockets of robert moses to assure that dodger owner walter o malley would have no recourse to move his team to california

  4. Jim OMalley
    September 1, 2013 at 11:17 am

    interesting pre-history note about Robert Moses. I had never heard that.

  5. John Fitzpatrick
    September 1, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Robert Moses was porbably one of the most ambitious and driven men in American history. Single handidly, he built NYC into the Metrpolis it is today. His public works achievements are un-parraled and among the most complex and massive the world has seen. That being said,, he had his faults, although history has turned significantly in his favor in recent years. It is unlikely we will ever see anyone wield so much power over so many facets of government and private enterprise with such success and swiftness as Moses did. He was a pure visionary. In addition, he was know to have lived a frugal life and, although he had his faults, no historian has accused him of getting his pockets lined or accepting funds in exchange for the use of his power.

    As for the Dodgers and Moses, O’Malley had stated to look to relocate the dodgers as early as 1953, well before the suggested Yankee conspiracy. The attendance was failing (They did not sell out World Series games in the 50′s) and the stadium was a dump. O’Malley wante Moses to use his power to give him valuable land in Brooklyn on the cheap. The land could only hold a stadium…Moses felt that any project must include public works and parks etc…As a result, he pushed for O’Malley to accept a new stadium out in Flushng. This is a known fact and O’Malley rejected the offer, hence, it defies the statement that Moses was pushing O’Malley out for money from the Yankees. Why then did the Yankees allow the Mets???. Regardless, O’Malley was bluffing, he too was a visionary and travel and TV gave him new options, plus, in 1956, LA offered him an unbeaqtable economic package. The deal was done. Their is video footage available showing O’Malley telling Moses he was leaving with Mayor Wagner present and Moses is obviously teed off.

    Again, Moses had hisw faults, but to suggest he was a crook is wrong.

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