Thursday, October 23, 2008

America's Cuddly Villains

The world hates the Mets. Here's proof, from noted baseball sociologist Pat Gillick:

"If you want to know the best thing we had going for us this year, it was the fact that all the other teams in our division hated the Mets’ guts. It started with Atlanta and all the hostility they had with the Mets through the years. Then Fredi Gonzalez left Bobby Cox to manage the Marlins and he didn’t forget everything that went on between the Braves and Mets. Look what Florida did for us the past two years (beating the Mets two out of the three in each of the last series of the season to prevent them from making the postseason)! Washington doesn't like them very much either, and all those teams seemed to really get up for the Mets."
The NL East apparently has a hate list.

Where's my freaking royalties?

So what Pat is telling you is that Fredi Gonzalez, a third base coach, took some sort of Mets hatred from the Braves/Mets rivalry ... not really a rivalry at all since they've pounded the Mets through the years ... and brought it to the Marlins? They get up for the Mets because Fredi Gonzalez of all people hated the Mets?

Yeah, great logic. Hey, the Mets didn't do themselves any favors losing two of three to those guys two seasons in a row in the final series. But since the playoff participants are decided on the strength of teams' record throughout the season and not solely in September, let us blow a hole in Gillick's theory right now:

2008 record vs. the Marlins:
Mets: 10-8
Phillies: 8-10

But against the Phillies, I guess the Marlins were just going through the motions, right?
"Washington doesn’t like them very much either."
2008 record vs. the Nationals:
Mets: 12-6
Phillies: 12-6

Gasp! You mean the Nationals didn't get up to play against Philadelphia? Blasphemy! If the Nationals would get up to play against the Phillies like they do against the Mets, the Mets would have won the division?

Yeah. Here's the thing: By saying that, Gillick is unwittingly admitting that the Phillies aren't nearly as good a team as the Mets, but that the Phillies are in because eveyone hates the Mets. One problem: The former statement isn't true. The Phillies must be better than the Mets because they're preparing to play Game 2 of the World Freakin' Series. Meanwhile, the Shea Stadium scoreboard has come crashing to the outfield while the Mets roster isn't preparing for anything right now except their tee shot at hole one and ribbon cuttings at the new Shake Shack at Citi Field.

Hatred didn't fuel the Mets second collapse in a row, folks. Hatred didn't blow a four run lead to the Phillies in the ninth inning, or gave up a two run single to Steve Pearce, or got swept by the San Diego Padres in June. Nor did hatred give up back-to-back home runs to Wes Helms and Dan Uggla.

You know what did?

Here's a hint ... it's the bullpen, stupid!

I guarantee you that Jose Reyes was nowhere near the pitchers mound doing the Cha-cha, Merengue, or the Pasodoble when any of the above events happened.

I'll give you that the division hates the Mets. I've been saying that forever. That much was proven when the Braves, after a game where they almost got into a brawl with the Phillies, spent their postgame cooldown signing "Meet the Mets" after they blew a game in the final week against the Cubs. But if you're telling me that caused the Mets to lose the division, you're nuts. And if you're telling me that the Mets would spend one minute of time trying to figure out how to make the rest of the league like them instead of using that minute trying to figure out how to fix their bullpen, then you are wasting your minutes.

Forget trying to be nice to everyone: Because as long as America hates the Mets, it's time for the 2009 roster, however it's assembled, to stop being sweet and nice and say all the right things. And instead of taking its anger out on Jon Heyman, start taking its anger out on the rest of the division, since it's obviously scientific fact that hating human beings and organizations guarantees higher production and better performance.

Maybe the Mets should put bounties on players. Or maybe Fred Wilpon needs to go all Al Davis on the rest of the league and start having rambling news conferences with overhead projectors, reading verbatim some letter that Joe McIlvane wrote to him.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. This is a non-story. Can you imagine a GM trying to assemble a team that is hated less? Who would be on a team like that? People seem to really like that David Eckstein...maybe if we had him instead of Luis Castillo people would have gotten less up for us and we'd be in the playoffs.

There's also another element to this. There are some sports where hatred is a factor. See hockey, soccer, basketball, etc. These are sports with flow where physical contact between the sides frequently occurs. You can play dirty and pick fights and get guys thrown out in ridiculous ways. You can have one of those "refuse to go down" type rocky moments where your heart is beating and you can't feel your legs but you keep pushing when you'd normally worry about your health. But this is baseball...these people are paid to do either:
A) Defense -
1) Set up in defensive position
2) Put the ball into play
3) Attempt to make the most efficient out
B) Offense
1) Stand in a box
2) Watch the ball being put into play
3) Attempt to not make an out, either by a balls on base, a hit, or forcing an error of some sort
4) When there is a more efficient solution to producing a run than 3, attempt to do that (e.g. bunt, sac fly, etc.)

Please explain to me which one of those steps is improved by anger?

MetFanMac said...

It's official: the Phillies are the new version of the 1980s Cardinals, right down to their claim that "everyone hates the Mets because of their arrogance."

What bulls***.

Unser said...

Whatever . . . I'm tired of this everybody hating the Mets thing. Play ball. Mover runners over. Make your pitches. Play good defense . . .

And, as Johan says, act like a MAN.