Monday, October 01, 2007

The Manifesto

"It hurts doesn't it? Your hopes dashed, your dreams down the toilet. And your fate is sitting right besides you." -John Malkovich in Rounders
Well team, you did it.

For a franchise that gave us the Terry Pendelton home run, the Mike Scioscia home run, the Worst Team Money Could Buy, Bobby Valentine's fake mustache, a bases loaded walk to end a playoff series, the 2000 Subway Series, eighteen Brian Jordan grand slams, countless losses to Atlanta, trading a number one prospect who would one day lead the American League in strikeouts for a guy who ran off the field with an arm injury never to be seen at Shea Stadium again, a game seven loss to an 83 victory St. Louis Cardinal team that had no business getting as far as they did, you...the 2007 New York Mets...have done the impossible.

You topped 'em all.

You blew a seven game lead with seventeen games to play.

Amazin'.

But it goes much deeper than that.

You had the two bottom teams in the division over the last two weeks...and nothing but the last two teams in the division.

You had a two and a half game lead with seven games left. Oh, that's seven home games left.

You went 1-6 during a group of games that you really should have won at least four of just by rolling out of bed.

You allowed a team that pulled a bush league stunt by announcing publicly that tickets to a one game playoff would go on sale at 11AM, then starting the sale an hour early yet only telling their own fan base, steal the division from you.

You wiped the 1964 Phillies off the map, and brought their franchise back to even when it comes to these things.

You allowed a man who once punched his wife with a closed fist on a Boston street throw his glove in the air and feel feelings that I should have been feeling tonight.

You proved right a man who made a stupid statement at the beginning of the season when he said "finally, we have the best team on paper." I said then that Jimmy Rollins was wrong, and I still say he's wrong. The Philadelphia Phillies did not have the best team on paper. The New York Mets, however, did.

But guess what the Philadelphia Phillies are: They're the best team in the National League East. And that's what counts.

And guess what you New York Mets are, for having the best team on paper: you're a bunch of underachievers who have become the joke of baseball...except there's no punch line besides the ones being written by Leno and Letterman. There's just a punch to my gut.

And you pulled all of this off during the same season that the Yankees came back from about 48 games behind the wild card to make the playoffs for the hundredth straight season, ensuring that Mets fans are going to be ridiculed for the rest of their natural lives.

Oh, and by the way, you have let them off the hook for choking away a 3-0 ALCS lead in 2004.

Anybody who wants to tell me that the 2004 ALCS is still a worse choke than the 2007 Mets were, I'm cutting you off at word one. The Yankees lost four straight games to a World Champion Boston Red Sox team. The Mets, meanwhile, lost six games out of seven to a bunch of B-list stunt doubles who had nothing to play for.

Let me repeat that because it's vaguely important: Nothing to play for.

And now, you're just like them. Because you have nothing to play for.

But I bet the champagne tastes sweeter, right Willie?

But here's what Willie said that bugged me even more...he said it after today's final nail, when he was asked if he had anything to say about the fans:

"Real Met fans know we played our hearts out."
Gee, that's sounds a lot like "Real Met fans aren't going to criticize this team...they're going to say aw shucks and we'll get 'em next season and stuff like that."

Yeah, Mr. Randolph, I want to ask you a follow up question if I may: Who are you to tell me what a real Met fan is or does? I'm sorry, have you been here playing, managing, or watching this team for thirty years? No, you haven't. You've been here for four years. Three as a manager, one as a player. And you're going to tell me what a real Met fan does? Or does your years as a Yankee give you the entitlement to tell me who I am?

Here's the problem, and it's something I absolutely despise when I hear it from a player or a manager: They like to say "You've never put on a uniform...you don't know what it's like to be me." And everybody who's ever said that has been right.

But guess what, that works both ways, Willie. You see, you, and everybody who plays for you have never...ever...been in my shoes. And I think you all need to be reminded of that. You don't blindly invest your time, money, and faith in a group of men who don't know you from Adam, but you know way too much about them. And you support them. You support them with your money...with your time...and with your allegiance. You support them because you hope that one day they'll give you that feeling of exhilaration that makes you feel like you're actually one of them.

You hope that. You hope for the best. And you expect the worst. But beyond your wildest dreams you never expect that the worst is going to include a future hall of fame pitcher giving up seven runs in a third of an inning, and hit an opposing pitcher for the first time in his career, and then tells me that he's merely "disappointed", in what surely will be his last outing before he embarks on his farewell tour back in Atlanta, where he will get a standing ovation just for what he did on Sunday.

And guess what else you don't get to experience: at the end of the season, you get to talk to the media for a day, and then you go home for three months. You go to your nice homes, with your wonderful families, and shelter yourselves from everything until spring training.

Meanwhile, we're stuck here. We're stuck to carry the brunt of what you failed to accomplish. We get to hear it from Yankee fans who ring our phones, taunt us for hours on end, and in turn affect our wonderful families who, with word and deed, live and die with us as we live and die with you.

Mostly die.

And speaking of die, here's what else we get to deal with:

Wallace Mathews, at this very moment, is doing a jig while writing his latest Met-bashing column...this one he doesn't even have to work at.

John Kruk has probably poisoned himself alcoholically with all the toasts he's drunk to tonight.

Mike Francesa and Chris Russo? They're probably lathering each other in Crisco, giggling like school girls in anticipation of the piling on they're going to do tomorrow.

You, the 2007 New York Mets, have proved them all right. The Mount Rushmore of baseball stupidity? You've raised their IQ about 100 points in one fell swoop.

Congratulations. It must have taken a lot of work to do all that you did. More work than, oh I don't know, winning one or two more games down the stretch like you were supposed to do.

Good thing it's just a game, right boys?

You must think I'm a little bit harsh. Well, you have it coming. Being a Met fan sometimes is like learning how to ride a bicycle...teetering back and forth trying to find your balance between being a supporter, and being a smart ass. You won the division title last season while blowing the field away. With that, you won the benefit of the doubt. You lost Game seven to the Cardinals, but they did go on to win the World Series. So you got a pass.

You didn't look the same in 2007 as you did in 2006. But you had the division lead over two improved teams in Atlanta and Philadelphia...and we all knew that you wouldn't run away with it in '07 like '06. So you got a pass.

Your bullpen blew lead...after lead...after lead. You lost four straight heartbreaking games to the Phillies in Philadelphia. But you went and got that seven game lead. So you got the benefit of the doubt.

When you lost the lead, and you lost the playoffs, you have lost the benefit of the doubt.

You lost the benefit of the doubt when you all tried to steal third base with two outs. You lost the benefit of the doubt when you couldn't hold a three run lead in the bottom of the ninth...or a five run lead in the top of the fourth. You lost the benefit of the doubt when you forgot that there was a force play at third base with runners on second and third. You lost the benefit of the doubt when you stopped running out grounders, and started socializing with every middle infielder every time you got to second base...which wasn't very often down the stretch.

You know what I've lost? Hope. After Yadier Molina, after Adam Wainright? After that happened? I hoped that spring training would start the next day. Things were still going rather well. You actually went farther than the Yankees, you had something to build on, and 2007 was the season for "the next step."

Little did I know that "the next step" would be right off a cliff. Because do you know what you've made me hope for now? You've made me hope that when spring training starts in 2008, I hope you guys don't show up. I hope you take a sabbatical. I hope that there's a Mets-free 2008. I hope Tradition Field stays locked up. Because to see you guys swing bats and run pitching drills and dig out curveballs from the dirt is only going to drive me to drink all over again...just as you did tonight.

What's the point? What's the point in going through all of this again if you're just going to find new ways to crush our spirit? So you can have that inevitable spring training brawl with the Marlins to get your revenge? Oooh, I can't wait! That'll make me feel better.

I know that's not possible. I know you'll be back. Well, at least some of you will be back. And against what I think is my better judgement, I know I'll be back. I know that hoping for a sabbatical is unrealistic. But did it turn out to be any less realistic than hoping that you'd make the playoffs this season?

So go. Enjoy your offseason. But lord help you if I see a picture of any of you in the act of actually enjoying your offseason. Lord help you if I see you in any stupid photo layouts for fashion magazines, or eating fancy steak dinners with your agents. The only thing I want to see you eating is the humble pie that you've forced all of us to eat as local and national media will continue to ridicule the Met fans you leave behind...who's only crime was throwing their allegiance behind you...while we have to sit back and take every last drop of it because there's nothing we can say on these blogs to defend you.

Hey, after the humble pie, you can have some chicken if you subscribe to that "you are what you eat" theory.

Just make sure it's boneless.

38 comments:

kyle in newport news said...

Thank you for taking the time (and this one, for both length and craft, obviously took some time) to write this. Now send a few copies off in the mail--everyone's got plenty of time to read their letters now...

MetFanMac said...

Anyone who didn't see this coming, raise your hand.
...
Anyone?

Nah, me neither. The way the Mets have been playing ever since reaching the Seven Games Ahead plateau for the last time, I don't know if I should blame Mota, or Reyes, or Schoeneweis, or Wright, or Sele, or Glavine, or Lo Duca, or Wagner, or Delgado, or Beltran, or Sosa, or Heilman, or Minaya, or Randolph, but I do know this: the Mets did not deserve to play in this postseason.

That's right. You've read it correctly: the 2007 New York Mets did not deserve to play in the postseason.

Had we won the East--what of it? I would PRAY for a quick first-round farewell. HAD we won the World Series, I would not dare do what the fans in St. Louis did last year, and cheer. I would mutter "Fluke" and wait for April. They were fourteen games above .500 but that did not matter.

I shall not stop cheering for the New York Mets. I stopped cheering long ago for their 2007 version.

Because this team, as a whole, was so far less than the sum of its parts, it was unbelievable.

Besides when they were playing us, the Phils (whose 2007 roster--particularly Rollins--I shall hate forever, but not their franchise, or even their fans) didn't exactly come charging up San Juan Feliciano Hill. After the 4-game sweep, they muddled their way back to 7 games behind. After the 3-game sweep, they continued to muddle right 'til the end of the season. The Mets could have swooped in for the kill at any given moment.

They did not.
They could not.

Because they lacked the ability to clinch their way out of a wet paper bag.

ONE game against the Phillies, at any point in the season, ending up with a "W" instead of an "L", would have won for us the division. Any ONE of a billion gajillion excruciating losses all year that we could have turned around, and we still end up in a tie.
The 2007 Mets did not play with the heart, or the will, or the guts of a champion. As Metstradamus so correctly pointed out, a 5-1, 4-2, or even 3-3 run over the last six games was not only feasible, it could have--and indeed would have--won us the division.

The 2007 Mets went 1-5.

I'm not crying. I cried in 2000 (my first year as a fan) and in 2001 and at 5:00 AM local time, sitting in front of an unfeeling computer monitor, in 2006.
I'm not crying in 2007. I'm just resigned.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, all those shots with a sledgehammer to the solar plexus? They weren't capricious bad luck brought on via the baseball gods. They were the 2007 Mets in action. They were a truly bad team. All those billion gajillion excruciating losses were brought on by themselves and no one else.

Incompetence? Maybe. Lack of drive? Probably.

All-around general suckiness? Oh yes, definitely.

Farewell, 2007 Mets. I'm looking forward to meeting the new you in 2008.

Toasty Joe said...

Great post, Metstra. Well done as usual. As I told my wife last night - I was upset for a while, then I realized: To hell with these losers. If they don't care, why should I? I think we'll see an entirely new look in 2008, one which hopefully won't include Willie Randolph. As far as I'm concerned, Wright, Reyes, Chavez, Maine, Beltran and Ollie can all stay, the rest can go to hell.

katherine said...

All summer long I have been defending the Mets, making excuses for them. I am just too depressed to do it anymore.
But Metstradamus, as humiliated as we feel, I believe they have got to feel worse. Especially Willie.

I am very worried about Jose R. There is something really wrong there - poor play, attitude problems, highlights in his hair - I hope it doesn't all add up to a serious problem.
I guess Paul Lo Duca won't be back - I know his hitting wasn't as good this year, but he's my favorite Met - he really added LIFE to the team. Without him, they would have really seemed like a bunch of business men coming in to do their jobs.
Considering how bad the state of affairs was with our pitching - what's the likelihood things will be substantially different next year? Even if we could pick up one great new starting pitcher somewhere, we're still going to be depending on Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde performances of Ollie Perez, John Maine, Mike Pelfrey and the Humber kid?
Plus, don't we basically need a whole new bullpen? Joe Smith is such a great kid - what HAPPENED to him?? And there seems to be bad blood between Willie and Wagner.
Carlos Beltran is so moody and sensitive - this debacle is going to affect his play next year - I guarantee it.
Moises can be counted on to excel - but for 2 months only?? Is that really enough?
Next year will be the year Lastings gets into some serious legal or substance problems.
Can we get Xavier Nady back, please???
Signed, Already Depressed About 2008.

Mike said...

Reyes certainly sucked down the stretch. But more than a bad attitude or whatever, I think he ran out of gas. Those 23 or whatever steals in August took its toll. There's a reason very few infielders lead the league in steals.

I remember another Met infielder limping in to the finish line last year.

And he did all right this year, no?

Kellibear said...

Oh, Metstradamus!

I think deep down, we knew this day would come. In all my years of being a Mets fan, I have come to terms with the heartbreak of the end of the season. The most heartbreaking thing I've seen is the front page of today's NY Post... That little boy crying captures the emotions of all Mets fans. So sad! To quote Pedro Martinez after yesterday's horrific loss, "We f*cked it up!"

JAMMQ said...

Perfectly said.

/Raising fist in Met fan solidarity/

Unser said...

"socializing with every middle infielder every time you got to second base" - I totally concur. This really sticks in my craw. Nothing like watching Jose plafully slap Ronnie Belliard on the ass after Belliard crushed a two run double, erasing another Met lead.

Can we ditch all the fraternizing with the opposition? Can we stop the idiotic and choreographed dances after each meaningless home run? Here's a question - what do you think Reyes and Delgado spent more time on this year, infield drills or designing their 5 step home run dance?

No discipline, no heart, no postseason.

Justin said...

Very well put, I'm with you on just about all of that.

One focus point I see is the hiring of of Ricky Henderson as a full time coach. Possibly the worst dugout influence I could imagine

:: Justin ::

craig said...

I think you said it all!!!!

I hope Willie reads it Everything you said is just how we us real die hard Mets Fans feel with tears in our eyes...

Lets Go Mets 2008

Craig.

X said...

Excellent post. I'm sharing it with all my fellow Phillies fans. Nice choke, guys! See you in the postseason...from the field.

The Metmaster said...

The Wilpons must be deleriously happy. The Mets have become The Brooklyn Dodgers complete with the old "Wait till next year" crapola.

Minaya today must do the following: Shit-can Ricky Henderson. You can't tell me he's not a clubhouse cancer. No other team in baseball wants any part of him except the boobs who run the Mets.

This loss is catastrophic financially. No playoff revenue. Think of the ad revenues lost by SNY. Wilpon will go back to being called "Freddie Coupons".

We're on the front page of every newspaper in the country this morning. We are the laughingstock of baseball again. Yup, Wilpon got his wish. We are "Dem Bums".

Metstradamus said...

Fair warning (and you know who you are): I WILL use the delete button. You know who you are.

APV said...

Metstra,

Promise you won't do anything rash if you see any of these guys enjoyng themselves during the offseason. I'd rather not read that your future entries will be coming from behind bars.

That said, this Mets team got what it deserved. In fact, I might have saluted this team with two middle fingers as they walked off the field after the top of the ninth had I been there yesterday. The only Met teams I like less than this one were those from 1993 and 2002. And the only difference is this one actually finished over .500.

The only guy who escapes criticism from me is Endy Chavez; part of that due to injury, the other part due to the death of his sister. Otherwise, I'm done with this team. No, not forever, just this year's team. However, I am pulling for Colorado tonight. That Rockies team has heart, young talent, and a manager who really does know how to run a team.

P.S. You think Pedro feel sorry that he came back?

Demitri said...

Yesterday, my wife told my 2 1/2 year old daughter that daddy was sad.

She said, "You sad 'bout the meet the mets?"

Thats when I wanted to cry.

I said yes and she said, "I'm sorry."

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

On the nose, Metstra. On the nose.

Anonymous said...

Almost Useless Mets NLDS Home Game #2 tickets...... E*Bay Item number: 170154949319

Jerry said...

Nice piece. Captures everything extremely well. Everyone in the Mets world is writing the same thing today, but this was the best that I've read so far.

Anonymous said...

They need to get Hendersen away from Reyes, like, yesterday. The kid just wasn't the same after he came in.

Carole said...

Actually,Mike and the Mad Dog were not too bad today. I mean really, what could they possibly say that wasn't true. That's the saddest part...true fans who find themselves unable to articulate anything positive, unable and unwilling to protect their team.
Citi Field in '09! We'll still be in recovery in '08.

Josh said...

I agree with metfanmac, they didn't deserve to make the playoffs, and I kind of didn't want them to (even though I had NLDS tix). They need to be sent to their room to think about what they did. And they're not allowed to come out until April.

beezermess said...

This is like a kick in the nuts...

This is so much worse than Beltran leaving the bat on his shoulders in game 7 against the Adam Wainwright....

Let's Go Rangers!!!!!!!

Charity said...

This actually brought a tear to my eye. I couldn't have said it better. I mean all the crap I got today at work...it just cuts like a knife... and the kids I teach who get excited to "play baseball" because "I'm David Wright" how do you tell them that the Mets just choked on a big one. That David Wright and Jose "showoff" Reyes (I still love him but he better get his head back in the game NOW) couldn't even keep a freaking 7 game lead. That they couldn't even win more than 1 out of 7 at home. Its freaking ridiculous. You know I'm having a Mets wedding and at this point I'm ready to change it all together.

katherine said...

Charity, you go ahead and have your Mets wedding - I still think that sounds like fun.
You want to hear something REALLY horrible? I have to carpool to work with a Phillies fan.

Anonymous said...

I wish it that ANY of our Mets were more than chicken, and would read this, and just have the balls to post back "TRUE."

Anonymous said...

I was with you until the last few lines of your post.

This team needs a boycott for many years. I have been calling for the Wilpons to sell for years. 2006 was so good that I stopped.

Now I see it as an illusion. The 2007 Mets were the Bonilla/Coleman/Saberhagen Mets with more wins and less nastiness. Otherwise, the lethargy and indifference was right there with that hatable 1993 mob.

I am convinced this team will SUCK as long as the Wilpons own it. There affirmative action chapter (Minaya/Randolph) will last many years, because if they fire those two bums (ok - Minaya is a racist bum; Randolph is simply a bad manager but not a bum), rev Al and rev Jesse will be so far up their asses with pickets and accusations that both black people who attended Mets games in 2007 will consider never coming back.

But I digress on an angry white male tirade.

back to my original point: i agree with you except for the 2008 enthusiasm. boycott. stay away. punish the wilpons with our wallets until they sell or learn not to mix running a baseball team with assuaging whatever white liberal guilt motivated them to bring in amingo minaya and his homeys lastings, julio, guillermo, etc.

katherine said...

OK "anonymous", we're all disappointed with what happened - but blaming it on Willie being black and Omar being hispanic is VILE

upstate met fan said...

If Willie comes back I better see a killer instinct next year. I wanna see stumping on other teams. I wanna see finishing games. I wanna see critical outs and timely hits. I wanna see crisp baseball. I wanna see Heilman gone. I wanna see hustle, yes Mr. Reyes, Hustle. I wanna see Humber in the starting rotation. I wanna see less dancing after a meaninless HR or hit. I wanna see professionalism. I wanna see decent baseball. I wanna see meaninful finish in 2008. I wanna see more hustle. I wanna see a better bullpen. I wanna see Glavine gone. I wanna see Delgado gone. I wanna see filthy Sanchez pitching.

Is that too much?

bryan said...

This is the single greatest post I have ever read on a blog. Period. Kudos to you for authoring such a brutally honest piece.

I will give you a big shout out on my blog.

Bryan
metslifer.com

upstate met fan said...

I can't find tonite's game. Is SNY showing it tonite?

metsnyc said...

At least the prolonged wait of seeing this team come to its demise is finally over.

Kevin said...

Absolutely brilliant commentary -- the best I've seen yet.

Charity said...

Any comments on the email we all received?

Jeterboy said...

Metstra

Really good post. I lot of thoughts that are similar to what I had in 2004 after the Red Sox series. Take a break, step back, and allow time to heal. For us, it was 90 years of history crashing down. For the Mets it will also be something that will not be soon forgotten. NY baseball has really been something over the past few years...some real heartache since 2000 for both clubs.

Don't give this up...just take a break. Knowing you well, I believe you're a bit burned out and I'm a little concerned after reading your blog over the past couple of weeks.

Mike said...

Among all the posts I've seen in the past few days on numerous blogs, I have to congratulate three Metstra readers with a tie for the most idiotic of all: it's Rickey Henderson's fault???

Yeah, he was a terrible pitching coach. And his decision to trade Heath Bell was appalling. And since we're on it, I will ask why Rickey kept bringing in Mota.

Not to mention, there were the 10 errors he made in 2 games, plus that 1/3 inning debacle in the final game. And didn't he direct the commercials with those annoying McNuggets guys?

Damn Rickey, he screwed up everything.

Anonymous said...

yeah! heath bell was AWESOME for the mets! why would ANYONE trade away a 5+ era and a 1.5 WHIP?!

Anonymous said...

First things first:

I'm a Yanks fan. Bronx born and raised.

But I will not gloat, or insult the Mets fanbase, because members of my family who aren't Yanks fans root for the Mets. And, tbqh, I root for the Mets to win the NLCS because I always root for a Subway Series that actually counts.

Like in 2000.

Remember 2000?

Not the Mets loss (again, I'm not gloating), but the feeling and excitement around the city at the time. It felt...it felt like it must've felt for the old-timers anytime the ol' Brooklyn Dodgers or NY Giants hooked up against the Yanks for the Series.

And then '01 came...and we all know what happened in '01 that just made baseball pretty meaningless.

I wanted it to feel like we all felt in '00, when the most important thing in Sept. is what would happen in October, when both of our teams could possibly meet (could they? would they?). And when they did meet it was...it was...fun. It was fun walking around NYC, where just about everyone, even those who weren't really fans at all, picked sides. And how we all, even when on opposing sides, came together to watch a series of games, to share beers, to joke and laugh and argue and cheer and boo and create memories, good memories that we hoped would last forever.

And then '01 came. And it's really never been the same since, has it?

I wanted a Subway Series because I wanted to care about baseball as I did in '00. Before the world went crazy...or rather, before we figured out just how crazy the world really is, and how meaningless this game is in the big picture.

I wanted a Subway Series because I wanted to forget the world, and remember the game.

The game is still here, but it isn't the same. We need a Subway Series, a real Subway Series.

Here's hoping for next year.

Christine said...

I am a die-hard Mets fan who lives in Ct and doesn't make that much money. I however schlept to Shea several times a week spending my time and money there, NOT TO MENTION the serious abuse I take from pretty much ALL other MLB fans.... This pretty much sums up how I feel and I want to thank you for the release. I think this made my blood pressure drop, because you said exactly what I felt.
This team is like an awful boyfriend... you keep coming back even though you know you are going to have your heart broken again and again.
Thank you....