I’m a fan. I’d like to think I’m a realistic, objective fan, but I know I border on being a fanboy. The Mets are my team and I root for them come hell or low wins. They say love is blind and in the world of the fanboy, it’s also deaf and dumb. I teeter back and forth between the two. In a perfect world, I’d be celebrating a virtually unbroken string of success and pennants. I would be able to start preparing for the post-season sometime shortly after the All-Star break. Then I shake my head vigorously and realize that that sort of thing only happens across town.
Do I get mad when they do something stupid? Of course. Do I rail when fundamental mistakes on the field are made? Certainly. It’s not like the Mets can do no wrong. I see the flaws. If they weren’t patently obvious from watching this team day by day, I am reminded of them ad nauseumby the MSM – no homers, not enough pitching, weak bullpen, crazy ballpark. The owners have no money and are about to lose more in a civil lawsuit. Whatever useful players they have right now, they won’t be able to pay them next year, so it will never get any better.
That’s a nice, convenient narrative for the MSM to follow. The articles practically write themselves, don’t they? I can get it, seeing as they have history on their side: the prior GM/manager combo was inarticulate and inept. They could always be counted on to do the wrong thing, and then compound the error via miscommunication. Even with the new front-office regime, the narrative has still been expected to play out by the fans and the media.
As George Gershwin so memorably told us, “It ain’t necessarily so.”
In his first six months at the helm Sandy Alderson has already earned his Houdini wings. He jettisoned Frankie Rodriguez and that ridiculous, stifling, hamstringing vest option – not to mention whatever residual off-the-field baggage might remain from last season. He turned Carlos Beltran – supremely talented, still marvelous, but aging and with slightly brittle knees — into an elite pitching prospect. Well done.
As necessary – and bordering on brilliant — as these moves might have been, the MSM is heralding them the death knell for the 2011 season. It ain’t necessarily so.
As I write this, the Mets find themselves at 54-51, fresh off a road sweep of the Cincinnati Reds. Setting aside the current standings, I figure the winner of the Wild Card will need 90 wins to reach that little slice of Nirvana. Since that dreadful 5-13 start, the Mets have gone 49-38. 11 games over .500. For 90 wins, the Mets only need to go 36-21 in their final 57 games. Fifteen games over .500.