"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:
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:
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.