Another year of getting sand kicked in our face by the kids next door. The kids in this case are the Yankees, next door is the Bronx.
For the past couple of years, I keep waiting for the Yankees to grow so old they begin the long overdue decent to the lower end of their division. But that just never seems to happen. I thought the Mets kids like Ike Davis, Dan Murphy, Josh Thole, Mike Pelfrey, and Jon Niese, combined with veterans David Wright and Jose Reyes (oops) would have already begun the transformation of city ownership back to the Mets. But that just never seems to happen either. Instead, for what is now going on 18 seasons, the Yankees will continue to dominate and out “fan” the Mets at about a 60-40 percent clip.
It’s funny how this winter, the Yankees and Mets have both done very little in terms of transforming their team. However, you know the move of catching prospect Jesus Montero to Seattle for pitching phenom Michael Pineda will turn to gold for the Bombers.
I am not as confident in the Mets bringing in Andres Torres in exchange for Angel Pagan. Look, Angel needed a change of scenery, no doubt, but Torres is not the long term answer in center. But the deal was really centered around obtaining pitcher Ramon Ramirez (finally the Mets get a Ramirez, just not the one we were hoping for a few years back). Hopefully Ramon will do the job and help improve a very leaky bullpen from a year ago.
Perhaps I have become too cynical. But I just know that every move the Yankees made will outshine every move the Mets made. An aging Derek Jeter will rise up each time a big moment comes. A-Rod with his aching hip, now infused with magical medicine off the American continent, will likely rebound and hit 44 home runs and drive in over 110. Mark Teixeira will have his typical slow start then be ripping the cover off the ball by June. And their pitching staff could be one of the best in baseball. By mid season, the same old story will be playing out. The Yanks will be on their way to another playoff spot while the Mets with a very questionable starting pitching staff will be struggling to stay near .500.
The Yankees will continue to fill their house and pay their bills while the Mets shiny new park will rival crowds at Brooklyn Cyclones games. Mets management will be spending more time on where to get another loan to pay their bills instead of thinking who they can get at the trade deadline for the playoff push.
The real tragedy about all this doesn’t effect fans like me, or perhaps you, who have been Mets fans for so many years. But the young fans of the tri-state area who are just discovering the magic of baseball will gravitate to the team that always wins. Why shouldn’t they? What parent who truly loves their children would encourage them to begin a lifetime of misery by becoming a Mets fan?
However, I really believe the Mets brass understand this…finally! Let’s face it, there are two things currently threatening the Wilpon’s ability to remain owners of this franchise. One of course is the ongoing Madoff soap opera. The other is the waning fan base, disgusted with the Madoff situation and completely fed up with the losing.
Do not think for a minute that Bud Selig did not have a huge hand in getting Sandy Alderson into the Mets organization. Selig is a friend of Fred Wilpon who has always supported the commissioner in baseball matters. But more importantly, Selig recognizes MLB’s need to have a very strong National League franchise in New York. That called for the complete restructuring of the Mets organization that had become completely dysfunctional. From the lousy long term contracts to the director of minor league operations ripping off his shirt challenging double A players to a fight, the Mets became the laughing stock of baseball.
They are getting it right now. The minor league system is beginning to develop better ball players. Alderson has recognized how ludicrous the Citi Field dimensions were and is now repairing that. Little by little, Alderson with the help of the talented people he has brought in are beginning to turn this franchise around.
Unfortunately Rome, or the Mets, was not built in a day. And more unfortunately, while the Mets should improve somewhat this year, if they can overcome the loss of Reyes, they still are a few years away of becoming anything close to what goes on across the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (when did they change that from Tri-Borough Bridge?).
As I have said before, pitching is the key. Right now, there are just too many question marks in the Mets rotation and bullpen to believe something Giant like can happen in Flushing. But I will continue to wait. What else can I do?