A long time ago, a young pup of a blogger compared the beginning of the Sandy Alderson era of Mets baseball to 1980, the beginning of the Frank Cashen era. Well, we’ve now come full circle. The sad end of Alderson’s tenure as General Manager now coincides with a feeling that this season is much like 1977, the year that started the team’s famous slide into irrelevance, a state that lasted seven seasons. It’s funny that the Mets that year also had a manager with little experience screw up a lineup card and have the crew bat out of order. And of course, the Yankees are great again, so there’s that aspect as well. The only difference is that it doesn’t appear the Bronx will be on fire anytime soon, nor would Yankee skipper Aaron Boone confront Giancarlo Stanton in the dugout. The Mets left relevance at the airport when they flew to Atlanta on April 19.
This is what happens when there is truly no hope for a franchise. The unending string of bad news causes fans to go uncomfortably numb. In the delirious days of 1986, the New York Post ran a back page headline during a long Mets’ winning streak, “Ho-Hum…Another Win.” That’s now become, “OK…Another Loss.” When a team is as bad as the Mets have been – 19-42 since April 19 — it just becomes expected. Something like that becomes a “new normal,” and after awhile you don’t even notice it. It becomes the air you breathe, the water you swim in. It’s a droning presence you barely pay attention to anymore. Unless, something unexpected happens, like the terrible news of Alderson’s cancer recurrence. Alderson had come under harsh scrutiny this season – harsher than any he’d had to endure since he arrived eight years ago – for his performance in the GM’s chair, but of course, all that get pushed aside and we are reminded that the man is also a man, a flesh-and-blood human being who is more than just the collection of skills he brings to the job. Alderson is an attorney, an ex-Marine, a husband, a father and a grandfather, not just the guy who traded for Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes, not just the guy who signed Jose Reyes and Jay Bruce to free agent contracts. For all the criticism he has taken this year, I think I can speak for a vast majority of fans who wish him good health and a full recovery, even though it’s clear he won’t be returning to the team.
No. His job has been taken over by a three-headed monster, John Ricco, Omar Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi. How that will work is anybody’s guess right now, but the immediate reaction is that this now opens the door for more input from Jeff Wilpon. Great. Just what this team needs: a three-man committee, with disputes settled by a definition of nepotism who knows nothing about baseball. Meanwhile, that faint buzz you hear is yet another season whizzing by without the hope of a title.
In other words, the drone of losing.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.