Archive Page 2

Mets Splits

Another disappointing Mets season but things are looking brighter for the future. Here are the 2014 splits for anyone who is interested. The total record for the season was 79-83. It’s the second time in franchise history to end with the same record (2010).

The Mets vs. the NL East – 38-38
Vs. Atlanta – 10-9
Vs. Miami – 11-8
Vs. Philadelphia – 13-6
Vs. Washington – 4-15

The Mets vs. the NL Central – 16-18
Vs. Chicago – 2-5
Vs. Cincinnati – 4-2
Vs. Milwaukee – 3-4
Vs. Pittsburgh – 3-4
Vs. St. Louis – 4-3

The Mets vs. the NL West – 14-18
Vs. Arizona – 4-2
Vs. Colorado – 4-3
Vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – 2-4
Vs. San Diego – 3-3
Vs. San Francisco – 1-6

The Mets vs. the American League – 11-9
Vs. Houston – 2-1
Vs. Los Angeles Angels – 1-2
Vs. New York Yankees – 2-2
Vs. Oakland – 2-2
Vs. Seattle -2-1
Vs. Texas – 2-1

The Mets by month –
March – 0-1
April – 15-10
May – 11-18
June – 11-17
July – 15-10
August – 12-17
September – 15-10

The Mets by Days of the Week -
Sunday – 16-11
Monday – 8-10
Tuesday – 14-10
Wednesday – 10-13
Thursday – 6-13
Friday – 13-12
Saturday – 12 -14

The Mets in…
Extra innings – 7-8
Scoring first – 56-30
Scoring second – 23-41 (does not include being shut out)
Shutouts – 11-12
Rubber games – 11-7
Walk Offs – 6-9
By one run – 26-29
By two runs – 16-13
By three runs – 9-18
By four runs – 9-8
By five runs – 7-4
By six or more runs – 12-11
Vs. Right handed pitching – 62-67
Vs. left handed pitching – 17-16
At home – 40-41
Away – 39-42
Night – 48-64
Day – 31-19
Doubleheaders – split 2
Longest winning streak – 4 (twice)
Longest losing streak 6

Something Positive Moving Ahead

On the day the Derek Jeter film concluded production in the Bronx with an outlandish ending where the hero saves the day by driving in the winning run after the Orioles’ closer blew it, the Mets lost in Washington to guarantee another losing season.

But why are we so dismayed. This is a franchise (the Mets that is) that has losing at its core. It is the sixth consecutive season the Mets have played to a losing record. In fact, Citi Field has never seen the home team win more games than they have lost. But it’s not the first time we have endured such a streak. And if you are as old as I am then you know what I am talking about.

From 1962 through 1968: losers. From 1977 through 1983: losers yet again. From 1991 to 1996: yep, losers. Then again in 2002 through 2004 and now since 2009. A National League franchise in the greatest baseball city, historically speaking, in the world and they can’t break the mold of losing more often than winning.

Why, what is stopping this team from taking the next step? Where do we begin? At the top I guess.

It has to start with the Wilpons. I’m not saying its money. That’s not the only way to build a team. There are many clubs who spend more than the Mets and lose. However, a team needs to have the financial flexibility to get that key player when opportunity knocks.  There was a time when that was true. It was true when part owner Nelson Doubleday put his two cents in and demanded that GM Steve Philips trade for Mike Piazza. Sorry Fred and Jeff, Nelson may have been your nemesis but without him, Todd Hundley would have continued to be the catcher. And if that happened, do 1999 and 2000 ever happen?

In fairness, the Wilpons wrote out many checks in care of Omar Minaya for Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Billy Wagner, Carlos Delgado, and Paul Lo Duca. Those moves got the Mets back to the playoffs. So how do you say the Wilpons don’t spend? The evidence suggests otherwise. The problems of post 2006 stem from the Wilpons not knowing how to plan for a rainy day. Under Minaya, the Mets did nothing for a deteriorating farm system. They spent way too little on player development and way too much on older players as if they were attempting to fix a severed leg with a band aid. There was never a singular mission statement for the organization. Players at different levels of the Mets system received contradictory messages, and mostly from a tyrannical head of player development more interested in challenging minor league players to a fist fight. There was confusion and no clear vision. But that all changed when the Mets were almost forced to bring in Sandy Alderson by a commissioner doing his best to help his friend Fred hold on to his team. But no sooner was Alderson hired when another ugly truth became known.

Bernie Madoff certainly had an influence on the Mets fortunes. It really wasn’t clear what the Mets finances would be once the smoke cleared after the Ponzi scheme was exposed. And regardless of the spin at the top levels of the organization, the money did not appear to be as liquid as it once was. As the Mets continued to flounder, SNY’s ratings began to dwindle and the turnstiles stopped turning. The Mets no longer had the deep pockets to simply rob Peter to pay Paul the way the Yankees did when George Steinbrenner took over the Yankees in 1973.

Now back to Alderson. He really is the right person to turn around this franchise. And by that I mean turn it around in a way we have not seen before, or at least in a very long time. A complete reboot, not a quick fix to satisfy a disgruntled fan base starving to win, a fan base that has had to endure Yankee rule for two decades.

When Alderson looked closely at the organization known by many as the New York Mess, he realized this was not going to be an overnight repair. It would start at the bottom and work its way up. The key word is infrastructure. Any successful endeavor must have a solid infrastructure, a singular mission statement that all within the organization can follow.  In the case of a successful baseball team, the infrastructure must include the ability to draft, teach, and develop their young players through a top notch farm system. There must be continuity. The right players must be drafted then signed (that costs money and its money well spent). They then must be taught an organizational philosophy, one that is carried through each level of the system. It must be a methodology that prepares the young players for the major league level.

One of the positives we can take from this sixth losing season in a row is that this year, we began to see the fruits of the toil. We began to see Mets players coming up from the system and contributing in a positive way. Obviously there is a way to go but this can only continue to get better as players from all levels gain experience.

Twice before we have seen these organizational philosophies lead to championships. The first was during the early to mid-sixties when the brand new franchise focused on young players. It happened again when the team was sold in 1979. And now it is happening again. The key this time is to sustain the process. After the 1969 World Series, the Mets sat on their laurels and did little to continue the process that brought them their first championship in ’69 and a pennant in ’73. Again in the late 80’s after their second world championship and another post season appearance two years later, the Mets became complacent and failed to continue the process of supplementing the talent from within.

The St. Louis Cardinals are the ultimate in demonstrating how to perpetuate a winner. They are the model franchise of baseball and of course they are not alone. Other clubs have followed that model successfully. Now the Mets are hoping they are not too far away from doing the same. There certainly is a lot of room for optimism when you look at how the Mets farm system has progressed the last four seasons. There are lots of very good prospects in the organization, especially pitching. But it’s not going to be easy. Many organizations, including most in the Mets division have good young pitching. It’s not like the Mets have figured something out no one else has. For the Mets to improve next season, they are going to have to supplement the offence with more guys who put the ball in play.

When the Mets scored first this season, their record was 56-30 (.651). This speaks volumes about how far the pitching has come. It suggests that Met pitchers were able to hold leads (and in many cases, those leads were slim). However in games where the opposition scored first, the Mets record was a paltry 23-53 (.302) including being shut out 12 times. Obviously this indicates a lack of ability to score late and often.

So the positive for next year and hopefully years to come is the Mets have a very talented stable of pitchers to round out the rotation and bullpen. A rotation of Wheeler, DeGrom, Harvey, Gee, Colon, and Niese could be very daunting. Then there is Syndergaard,  Montero,and  Matz in the wings. You can never have enough pitching.

But a couple of these pitchers may have to go in a trade. If David Wright and Curtis Granderson had close to their career years this past season, maybe we would be singing a different song today. Maybe one of those wild card games might have been held at Citi Field or at the very least, the Mets would have finished with a winning record. But the fact is they didn’t. Granderson was a bust for most of the season and David’s shoulder was definitely more of a problem than he ever let on. The Mets can’t simply go into next season assuming that both these players will regain their form. Or that Lucas Duda will put up the numbers he did this season as well. It would be wonderful if those things happen but the Mets simply have to bring in a left fielder and/or a shortstop that has some pop.

Speaking of Duda, he was certainly another positive this season. I was completely convinced that the Mets blew it when they traded Ike Davis to the Pirates and kept Duda. I can admit when I am wrong. Duda gained confidence and began to hit homeruns, thirty of them in all with 92 RBI. He still needs to figure out left handers more consistently. If he can figure out how to use the entire field the Mets may really have something in the quiet first baseman. By contrast, Davis contributed to the Bucs drive to the wild card but not nearly with as much production as Duda. Alderson got this one right so give him credit when the popular thinking was to keep Davis.

It should be an interesting off season. Alderson and his staff have their work cut out for them. The Mets improved by five games in 2014 but it should have been more. As Alderson said himself after the last game of the season, the Mets need to improve 11 or 12 games to get to that elite 90 win mark. Hopefully another year under the belt of the Mets young players, a good trade and free agent signing will get them to where they want to be next fall. It’s easy to be negative after another losing season, the sixth in a row. But at least this time there are a great many things to be positive about heading into next season.

Losers

Jacob deGrom strikes out the first eight batters he faced setting a Mets record and tying a major league record. What a great game to add to the Mets Classics library. There is just one problem. The Mets lost the game. Kind of reminds me of a game several years ago when Jose Reyes hit for the cycle. Can’t wait to see that one again. Oh, that’s right—the Mets lost that one too (and they lost Reyes). Oh, and who can ever forget the unbelievable catch made by Endy Chevez in game seven of the 2006 NLCS playoffs. Hmm, a pattern is developing here.

With all due respect to that 2006 team that came so close to making it to the World Series, it is painfully obvious to me that the Mets are what they are, a losing franchise. Since the 2009 season when they moved into the house Jeff built without the team in mind, the Mets have had losing seasons. And that inaugural season at Citi Field was preceded by two collapses in 2007 and 2008, the former a monumental debacle (the numbers 7 and 17 will never be the same).

If you haven’t already figured it out, I am attempting to make a point here. This Mets organization has losing at its core and a lot of it is not just on the field. The team just seems to project a losing atmosphere. How is it that the players, coaches, and manger did not rise to the occasion last night and protect something great that was happening right in front of them? They managed to take back the lead briefly, with a loud “no, not this time”. “This game is ours.” But then the bullpen that has been so reliable this year gave up the lead and a great Mets day turned into another footnote. Where is the passion to win? Where are those in the organization crying out “I’m not going to take it anymore”?

From a talent perspective, I don’t believe the Mets should be in the playoffs this season. However, they should be a .500 team, at least I think. But regardless of what I think, I really believe the club needs an attitude adjustment. But honestly I am not sure how that is going to happen when the owner of the club (and I am referring to the son, not the father) seems to meddle in everything and project the Mets as a second class citizen in New York, baseball wise. You only have to look at the history of Citi Field to understand that.

The Mets new ballpark (now five years old) opened with hardly any adornments of the team and their history. The dimensions of the field stripped their star player of his God given ability to hit the ball the opposite way over the right field fence. Quite simply, there is and always has been a disconnect between this ownership group and the team’s fan base. And how will that change unless the owner is changed and folks, that’s not going to happen, at least not yet.

One of the more recent things to give Mets fans pause is there apparent stance on next year’s payroll. Look, I’m not saying the Mets need to spend Yankee money to field a contender. However, this idea that a team in the New York market must stick to an 88-90 million payroll is absurd and sends a cloudy message to the fan base. We have heard from Jeff Wilpon in the past that if there is a player Sandy Alderson wants, the money will be there. But actions speak louder than words. Nelson Cruz was available last year. The Orioles got him and now they are a win away from clinching the American League East.

I know what Alderson said about Cruz. At the time the Mets were looking, Cruz and his people wanted 60 million over four years. The O’s got him for much less because they waited out the market while the Amazin’s brought in Curtis Granderson. The point is the Mets stock is down and they are going to have to overpay to get quality players to come here. Unfortunately regardless of how true or false, the Mets are perceived by fans and players as cheap and unwilling to do what it takes to win. And that’s a tough sell in a market where the New York Yankees play.

In fairness, I applaud the work Sandy Alderson has done since he took over. The organization was in complete disarray. The head of minor league development was an out of control lunatic who obfuscated any kind of organizational philosophy if there was one. Alderson came in and realized he had to rebuild from the ground up to create a St. Louis/Atlanta/ San Francisco type of organization. With his assistants JP Ricciardi, Paul DePodesta, and John Ricco, the Mets now have one of the top farm systems in all of baseball. Other teams are drooling over the Mets young arms and even some of their position players at the lower levels.

But ultimately the problem with this team lies at the top, an ownership group that does not seize the opportunity to take the next step. The message should not be that our payroll will be around what it was this season. The message should be—we will do whatever it takes to win. And frankly if ownership cannot make that statement then they lose me as a fan. In fact, this will be the first season in many, many years that I have not gone to a Mets game. They apparently need to watch their money very carefully. Well so do I and I can assure you that I have nowhere the funds these people have.

In retrospect, it’s easy to criticize Omar Minaya from many of the bad deals he made that financially strapped this club all while being fleeced by Bernie Madoff. But one thing I remember about Minaya was how when he took over, he told the Wilpons he was going to turn the Mets into a winner. He projected that from the outset when he told the owners he was going to sign Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez. Omar became a media sensation with his claims in the media that the Mets would be a force to reckon with and within two seasons, the Mets were in the playoffs. Unfortunately his inability to focus on the entire organization was his downfall but his attitude was correct. He wanted everyone to know the Mets were going to contend. We could use a little of that now on top of what Alderson has done with the organization. And if the Wilpons can’t stomach the cost or simply really have never recovered from Madoff then they should do the right thing and sell the team. It’s doubtful that will happen but look at the stands of Citi Field. They are empty.  And they will remain empty until things change. And if they don’t change, the Wilpons will have no choice but to sell or provide the support Alderson and his staff need.

I want the Mets to succeed but I am tired of being a sucker. All this club needs is a couple of good bats to fortify the lineup. And with these exciting kids they have coming up, the Mets could be an exciting team for many years to come. But the owners have to step up and invest in the product. If you build it we will come and I’m not taking about the stadium, I’m talking about the team. Build the team and we will come.

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Another meaningless September begins. With all due respect to Billie Joe Armstrong, wake me up when September ends. Then I will begin to look forward to the Winter Meetings when likely nothing will happen there either.

The Mets are headed for their sixth consecutive losing season. At ten games below .500, the Mets would have to go 17-7 to reach the .500 mark. That ain’t happening folks. This is a team whose high water mark for the season was four games over on April 30 (15-11). The Mets were two games back of Atlanta at the time. You should have turned your sets off then. Who says spring training records do not foretell the future?  The Mets were 14-16 (.467) this spring. They are .464 now.

At the end of last season, Sandy Alderson trolled the airways with this positive breakdown of the 2013 season. He said “The Mets were .500 over the last 100 games of the season.” What will you say this October Sandy?

The Mets continued their “.500 trend” for 38 games into this season. But since they were 19-19 they have gone 45-55, ten games under. Well, there still are twenty-four games left but if I were you Sandy, I would come up with some new spin and in a hurry.

They (Sandy and the front office) will talk of the positives. They will claim the Mets have one of the best minor league systems in all of baseball. And they would be correct. This season, the Mets seven minor league affiliates produced a 434-330 record. That’s a .568 winning percentage. That’s outstanding and three teams, Las Vegas (AAA), Binghamton (AA) as well as Savannah (A), made the playoffs. The Brooklyn Cyclones lost the tie breaker for the wild card in the New York Penn. League. All teams finished at .500 or better with the Kingsport Mets (Rookie) having the worst record at 34-34 (.500) and Savannah playing to an organizational best 85-51 (.645). It’s no secret the Mets system is full of fine young arms, many of them knocking on the major league door. There are some very nice position players as well but they tend to be at the lower levels.

Sandy will also promote the Mets bullpen this season. No question, their bullpen is much improved over the brought in, washed up retreads of the past several seasons. Like their starting staff, the relievers are young and there are plenty of them coming up.  Another piece is Dilson Herrera, recently called up.  At twenty, it’s easy to see why most scouts think this kid will be a better than average second baseman even with his two errors yesterday. Don’t forget, the kid is just twenty. There’s Juan Lagares, an outstanding defensive center fielder. Maybe Wilmer Flores is the shortstop of the future. Perhaps Lucas Duda becomes the cleanup hitter any contending team truly needs. So there are a lot of positives to be excited about. There’s just one problem…

The Mets stink right now.

When the major league team is 64-74 going nowhere, it’s hard for the fans to be excited about young players on the club or in the farm system. Fans in New York want results and they want it now. The Mets have been losing since 2009. Even the melt downs of ’07 and ’08 were still winning seasons from a win loss perspective.  But since then it has been no better than a fourth place finish and could actually be worse this season.*

Meanwhile across the river, an aging and falling apart team wearing pin stripes still manages to stay in the wild card hunt. They lost most of their starting staff and can’t score runs much better than the Mets but the Yankees are at least somewhat relevant while the Mets remain a big market team that just cannot seem to turn the corner and figure out how to win more games than they lose. Now I am a patient person but I have to admit my frustration with this club is at an all-time high.  There are other bad teams too. The Padres, Astros, Cubs to name three. But they seem to be improving too and maybe at a more rapid pace than the Mets. Don’t get me wrong, these teams are awful but they appear to be making strides to the promised land a bit quicker than the big market Mets.

The fact is, the Mets simply continue to flounder, outstanding farm system or not. Fans are disgusted and tired of the same old thing year after year. I know it is not a question of money as often is the rant you hear from the more angry fans. The Mets have spent tons of money in the past and partly because of that is why this club is in such a mess today. So Sandy is going to have to get creative. Some of the young pitchers will have to go to bring in a left fielder with pop, and maybe a shortstop too. In fact, no Met should be untouchable because the numbers do not lie. This group of players simply cannot break the .500 mark let alone contend. If you think Matt Harvey is the answer well maybe he could be. But the reality is he is coming off of Tommy John surgery and there is no assurance he will be the dominant pitcher we saw in 2013. And that’s a shame because his lust for winning is what this team needs and frankly I don’t think they get that from the manager.

So Sandy trade away. Do what you need to do to get some hitters in here because the epitaph of this team is simple. They just do not score runs. While everyone says pitching is everything, it’s not. At the end of the game, the winner is not determined by the number of strikeouts. It’s determined by what team has the most runs. And too often, the Mets are the team that doesn’t.

*Correction, the Mets record of 74-88 was good enough to have them finish third, last season, not fourth.

Mets vs. Yanks

As we head into the final two months of the baseball season, two questions continue to pop up in my mind. 1 – will the Mets ever reach the .500 mark and 2 – will the Yankees ever reach the .500 mark—going the other way?

The Mets, who just finished a winning month (15-10) for the first time since April (15-11), are beginning to show signs that give Mets’ fans hope. The pitching has been outstanding, both the starters and relievers.  As Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud continue to become more dangerous hitters, the Mets offense has begun to come to life. They still need to be better at tacking on runs but the signs of improvement are there. So at 52-56 there is hope this team can actually climb to and hopefully above the .500 mark. A winning record at the conclusion of the season would go a long way to improving the self esteem of this team. And make no mistake, the Mets are talented, young, and hungry. It’s just a matter of confidence and that will hopefully be what August and September are about.

By comparison, the cross town Yankees lack talent, are old, and perhaps the hunger is not there anymore. There is little youth and no real hot prospects down on the farm. They traded away a double A player who has hit 33 home runs for Martin Prado. Some would say why give up that power for a guy who really won’t make much of a difference. Well, the truth is the 24 year old Peter O’Brian may have power but not much else. He has poor plate discipline and a liability in the field. It points out that the Yankees really don’t have a lot to offer from their system. Ask any fan which players would you rather have over the next few years, the Mets with their stockpile of prospects including some really good power arms or the Yankees’? If they are honest they would pick the Mets.

But here’s the thing. That all sounds good on paper from a Mets perspective but the reality is the Yankees are still in a better position in the standings, at least for this season. Today, they are only five games back of Baltimore and only 3.5 games back for the second wild card position. The Mets are 7.0 games back of Washington and 4.5 games back of the second wild card.  The Yankees continue to hover over .500 by three or four games. The Mets continue to remain under that mark, now at four games.

The point I am making here is that there is a lot of positive coming from the Mets and things associated with the Yankees appears negative. But the Yanks continue to rebound when it looks like they are heading south and the Mets continue to disappoint when it looks like they are turning the corner. I do think confidence is key. The experience the Yankees have plays a big part in at least not having a losing record. For the Mets, that .500 mark remains elusive. A group of players can become comfortable losing. It’s familiar to them. The Mets need to find it in them to believe they truly belong with the upper exhalant teams of the league. For that they should look across the river. For all the prediction of demise for the Yanks, they continue to hang around. Look, I’m not stupid. The Mets still need another bat or two but even as constructed, they should be winning a few more games than they are losing.

As mentioned earlier, July is the first month since April that the Mets finished with a winning record. Will the Mets continue to play the way they have this month, especially at home? Or will it be like the last couple of years when they tanked the last two months of the season? I’m being optimistic because the young pitching is finally starting to deliver. The hitting must continue or the pitching will get tired and things will get ugly in a hurry.

It should be an interesting final two months of the season. The Mets need to win 29 of their final 56 games of the season to reach the .500 mark. That’s a .518 winning percentage and I believe doable. It’s a worthy goal, one I would be happy with if the Mets could reach.

I’m Done…for now.

I haven’t written anything for a while because I am thoroughly disgusted. I simply cannot stand the losing anymore. I have gotten to the point where I loathe this team. Night after night it is the same thing. Good pitching and absolutely no hitting. The defense is lacking and the base running is often atrocious. This is a losing team, plain and simple.

A couple of friends were excited when the Mets took two of three from the Padres. Are you kidding? The only team with worse hitting than the Mets is the Padres. And the Mets were shut out in one of those games. Look, even the worst baseball team wins on average at least twice a week.  Think about it. Two wins a week times 26 weeks is 52 wins. Let’s suppose the Mets can win on average 3 games a week, that’s 78 wins. That’s just plain bad.

The Mets minor league affiliates all have winning records. Savannah of the South Atlantic league (A) has already clinched the first half for the southern division. The Florida State League (A+) St. Lucie Mets are a half game out fighting to get to first to win the first half title with a few games left. The Binghamton Mets of the Eastern League (AA) are in second place in a wild card spot at the moment and Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League (AAA) is leading their division by about 7 games. This tells you there is a winning trend in the organization. It just has not reached the major league level. We will likely have to wait another season or two or they must trade some of the young talent to get better faster in Flushing.

I think the front office led by Sandy Alderson has done a fine job of rebuilding the lower levels of the organization. But this is New York and we should not have to wait this long for a competitive club. Notice I said competitive, I didn’t say championship club. My expectations have been so lowered that I would be happy with a team that could be a couple of games above .500. We don’t even have that to route for.

I have always tried to write something about the Mets in a positive way. I was a blogger who tended to defend the Wilpons when everyone else was trashing them. You know what; maybe the other bloggers were right. Maybe the Wilpons are really not fit financially and emotionally to own a major league team. They just do not seem to be able to promote a winning feeling around the club. Jeff Wilpon always seems to be apologetic when discussing the team. Look at the way they opened Citi Field, with hardly anything representative of the Mets. Contrast that to other big league parks including the one seven miles away where there are banners and statues depicting the greats of their franchise history. Sure, the Mets corrected all that in the seasons that followed but not after an outcry from the fan base. And not that money is any guarantee of winning but a New York team with a payroll rivaling lower market clubs is embarrassing.

Then there was WFAN who booted the Mets out the door. Now they are better off even with the Yankees lack luster play so far this season. At least they remain over .500 and in striking distance if a deal or two are made. I know it is not a big deal if the Mets are on a new radio station but it’s the perception. Mets fans just constantly feel beaten over the head by this organization.

So I will write no more for a while and I certainly will not pay to go watch this latest disaster of a baseball team. I will have to get my baseball jollies this summer elsewhere, yet again.

Interview With Sandy

The interview Sandy Alderson had with Michael Kay regarding the state of the Mets dismal season so far has generated a lot of chatter. Here’s my take of many points made during the interview.

It’s clear that the firing of Dave Hudgens was a gangland style hit with the purpose of sending a message. The message was to the players who simply don’t hit with runners on base. Look, this is nothing new in baseball. You can’t fire the twelve or so hitters on the team. So a GM fires the hitting coach hoping that a new voice, a new face, even professing the same philosophy makes a difference. Time will tell if it does.

Clearly Mets hitters are spooked at home. Do they try too hard as Hudgens suggests in an attempt to win over the few fans actually showing up to Citi Field? Perhaps they do. So maybe then a new voice will help. Hopefully Lamar Johnson can help these hitters relax and stay within themselves. Clearly the Mets hit better away from Citi Field but any comparison to the road Mets and the 1927 Yankees Murderous Row would be an absurdity. The Mets don’t hit that well on the road either.

So the move is clearly to try and get more out of the hitters the Mets have. The Mets are not going to win the division and likely not even a wild card. But they should be better than this. They should be around where they were at the end of April, three or four games over .500.

A point was made that I have been railing about for years. The question was asked to the Mets GM why in the world is the most distant part of the ballpark in right center field where the Mets star third baseman has most of his power.  Alderson said that was a good question. Here’s my take on that one.

It’s because Jeff Wilpon had far too much input into the construction of the ballpark. It was more exciting for him to build cute into the park instead of practical. Why does the outfield wall have to have all those ridiculous bends and turns when the tract of land the park sits on does not dictate those restrictions? It made no sense, especially when Wright hit so many homeruns to right center field at Shea Stadium.  And as pointed out by Alderson himself, they now have Curtis Granderson for four years and the huge dimensions are not helping him either.

In fairness I do recall the purpose of the Mo-Zone. It was to give Jose Reyes a lot of room to hit for triples. It also was a selling point for party groups behind the right field wall. Well Reyes is long gone showing that the ownership of this team really has no clue of what the team is all about. It was clear that Sandy may consider again changing the dimensions of the outfield wall.

Kay and his sidekick Don La Greca also picked apart the bullpen. Sandy was quite clear that pitchers like Velverde and Farnsworth were bridge type guys until Vic Black, Josh Edgin, and others were ready to come up and take over–nice to see Black’s 98 MPH fastball last night. Welcome! Alderson made the point that overall, the pen is about in the middle of the pack in the league, certainly not the worst one in baseball. It should get better as more young players come up and more experience is acquired. Clearly, he said, the problem is the Mets do not score enough runs. It is a difficult task for pitchers to constantly work with the game tied or with a slim lead. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Mets could score six or seven runs once in a while?

A big part of the interview revolved around payroll. Specifically the question was asked if Mets ownership is not giving Alderson the money he needs to field a competitive team. As a good soldier, Alderson deflected blame away from others and assumed all responsibility for the Mets failures including the payroll. However Alderson did make reference to the fact that payroll would go up if revenue went up and that would require the Mets to win.  His exact quote was “I do believe the payroll will go up if the revenue will support that and that’s why we have to win.”

After the interview, Kay went on quite the tirade that this philosophy was wrong. In his words why should the fans pay to come to Citi and watch a crappy team for payroll to go up? Why is it the fan’s responsibility? I have to agree with Kay (and La Greca). It’s an absurd business model. It would be like opening a pizzeria and telling potential customers that our pizza sucks right now but if you come and buy some, we can make better pizza in the future. Uh no, it doesn’t work that way. Now Kay’s argument is in my opinion 100 percent valid however I think it’s a bit unfair to suggest that’s exactly what Alderson meant. If you read is quote carefully he’s stating a fact that the Mets must win in order for payroll to go up. He did not say it was the fans fault and their lack of support is the reason why the Mets cannot spend money. Honestly I think Alderson is the unfortunate middleman here. In fact the Mets cannot spend money because ownership is weak. The Wilpons simply want to own the Mets. I don’t think they should own a team in New York because they don’t have the finances to make it work. George Steinbrenner’s success with the Yankees was due to him investing heavily in the team from his other assets. His philosophy that it takes money to make money turned the Yankees from a laughing stock into the greatest sports franchise in the country if not the world.

Now in fairness, it needs to be pointed out that there are teams with payrolls around where the Mets are who are doing far better and have even won championships recently. The point is the highest payroll does not always win but a high payroll at least gives a team a chance to compete at a serious level. While I might even squawk if the Mets had a payroll rivaling the Yankees or Dodgers, an 87 million dollar payroll is less than what you would expect for a New York team.  So yes, I am on the bandwagon supporting the idea that the Wilpons and Saul Katz should sell their shares and go off into the sunset living a rich and happy life. But that is unlikely unless things become so bad that financial institutions not getting their loans paid force their hand. But fellow fans, for that to happen we will have to head into much darker times than where we currently are. So be careful for what you wish for.

Another point was made in regards to free agents. Why didn’t the Mets sign Nelson Cruise who is having a great year in Baltimore? The Orioles got him for one year around 8 million, roughly the same deal the Mets gave Chris Young who has been a bust so far. Unfair claimed Alderson and he’s right. At the time the Mets spent the money on Young, Cruz was asking for 65 million over four years. When it became apparent no team was willing to spend that much, his demands dropped and ultimately signed for far less money and only one year. That was long after the Mets had signed Young. Of course Kay and La Greca never claimed mea culpa when that was pointed out.

Alderson also fielded questions about the Mets broadcasters. Hudgens made the claim that Cohen, Hernandez, and Darling’s were constantly criticizing his approach to hitting. Alderson defended the broadcasters and admitted what is said on the telecast has no bearing on the field.

Is Sandy’s job in danger? That was the last topic broached. He said you need to ask someone else but I’ll answer for him. I hope not. For all the criticism he is getting these days, let’s look at some facts. The farm system is in far superior shape than when Mr. Minaya was shown the door. You want a team like the Cardinals, the Braves, and the Giants? Well then you need a strong farm system. Look at the minor league teams. Las Vegas, St. Lucie, and Savannah are all leading their respective divisions. Binghamton is close to first place. There is outstanding pitching at all levels. Position players are strong at the lower levels. There is a winning philosophy that has been put in place throughout the organization. Unfortunately and most notably it has not taken hold at the major league level. If Sandy and his staff including JP Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta are blown up now, then where are we? Who runs the show then, Jeff Wilpon? If that happens forget it, this franchise is doomed and I will never step foot in Citi Field again.

Look, the Mets should be better. I get that. But there still is time. They have had an awful month but sometimes, that happens in the course of a long season. What the Wilpons need to do is make sure they can provide Alderson with the funds he needs and if they can’t they should seriously consider selling (I know that will not happen).

The ’86 Mets were developed over time. It took that regime four years before the Mets were finally able to win 90 games (in their fifth year). We are almost to that point now. But the one thing missing is the Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter type trade that truly turned the Mets around in the mid 80s. We have yet to see that from Alderson but that could be coming. After all, not every prospect is going to make it. Some of that bright young pitching will have to be traded to bring in the pieces that will turn this Mets team around.

But until things truly change for the better, expect more crying out from a fan base, one of the most loyal in baseball, that is truly fed up and disgusted with all the losing.