Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Negativity? Here's Where To Find Some

One of my favorite Mets blogs had this to say a while back:
"I just can't believe how negative some Mets fans have become, scouring the blogosphere I've seen nothing but negative comments about how the Mets are handling the off-season."-Mets Fever
What Ed says is interesting because it's something I investigate in myself from time to time. Currently, I'm spending long chunks of time in deep meditation with the help of some mind altering drugs in far away caves (code for "too busy playing Bejeweled"). Seriously, it's a daily struggle not to turn this blog into the Rego Park version of "Hey You Kids, Get Off My Lawn". And if the Mets wouldn't give me so much material, maybe I'd be a bit friendlier and more optimistic.

But I'm trying. For example, here's how low my standards have gotten: The Mets signed Mike Hessman today. If Mike Hessman came up to me and hit me in the head with a baseball bat, I wouldn't know who he was. Then again, if Mike Hessman came up to me and hit me in the head with a baseball bat, I'd be happy just because he made contact (he's a .229 career minor league hitter). And, he's 32 years old. For the Mets, that's a youth movement.

But negativity is unavoidable this off-season, no matter what. Forget what has happened the last three seasons. Forget that this fan base is generally angry. Forget that my seminal moment in person with the Mets this season was turned into a Washington Nationals Christmas card (my constant heckling of the team immediately after this game did not make the card ... now that would have been a Christmas greeting.) But any direction the Mets go, whether it's an actual direction or whether it's just going around in a circle chasing your tail, has negativity involved.

Here are some of the options this off season:
  • First tier: Holliday, Lackey, Bay, Hudson
  • Second tier: Pineiro, Molina, Wolf, Torrealba, Marquis
  • Trades: Hart, Bradley, Phillips, Harang, Matthews, Burrell, Halladay
  • The Caulking Gun Strategy: Blanco, Hessman
Now the best case scenario for the Mets would be the Pu Pu Platter Approach ... one from each column. Ideally, it's the only scenario. Realistically, the Mets are going to be that guy from the Toyota commercial left without a car during the Dealathon, yet there's nobody there to tell them that there's more cars in the back. The ideal approach would require imaginative thinking that, frankly, I don't think this organization has. Certainly not the type of thinking and guts that brought a certain other team in town Curtis Granderson. Hell, this team's idea of imaginative thinking is changing the pinstriped uniform from white to cream. They can't even come up with good ideas for ticket plans before Christmas, so why should I accept a multi pronged approach to player personnel? Walking and chewing gum at the same time would be a good first step.

My ultimate point is this: even the best case scenario for this off-season isn't without its risks. It's not like 2007-08 when there was one end game for off season success in Johan Santana, or even last season when, even though the Mets had a few holes, the bullpen was by far the leakiest faucet. Whatever the Mets do, whether it be sign either Holliday, Bay, Lackey or Hudson and risk that their best days aren't behind them, sign Pineiro or Wolf and risk a drop in production, trade for Hart, Phillips/Harang or Matthews and risk the player they trade away become a superstar, or trade for Burrell and risk having to send a search party to find him in left field sometime during the sixth inning, nothing this winter is a slam dunk.

But that's not to give the Mets an out here. Conversely, this is the type of off-season where the Mets have to show the imagination they've rarely shown or even had to have shown. For example, that John Maine for Corey Hart rumored deal shows some of that. But if you're going to tell Met fans that Corey Hart, and not Bay or Holliday is their left fielder, you had better also tell them that one of the dominoes that need to fall for that deal to happen is John Lackey, or else the negativity is going to be out in full force, rather than the half force that you would get if you just signed, say, Bay and Lackey.

But hell, even Bay, Lackey and Holliday each have their question marks, whether it be an ability to navigate the Citi outfield, or being injury prone. But the biggest question mark would be whether it's worth it to spend big for 2010 when, let's be honest, the Phillies are still pretty much going to dominate the division, while bigger free agents are on the horizon for 2011 and beyond.

So whatever happens, it's going to be hard not to be somewhat negative. The only question is how much so. Are the Mets going to make the risky yet bold moves? Are they going to do just enough to throw out the mirage of competitiveness? Or am I going to have to gently tell the neighborhood Christmas carolers to get off my lawn?


Schneck said...

We, as fans, have every right to be negative with this organization. Many use the injuries of the past season as an excuse for the complete failure of this team but things could have been done to lessen the damage. Management screwed up when it came to our stadium, our team, and our players. They owe us explanations and some semblance of success. We owe them nothing (other than the portion of my 2009 season ticket plan that I'm still paying down on my credit card). We have every right to be negative unless they give us a compelling reason not to be. Some choose to live with that battered wife mentality of it will get better tomorrow but I need to see some action before I buy into it.

Trash Man said...

Great points in your article.

How can Mets fans not be negative when the two teams they hate the most are playing each other in the World Series?

The Mets entire off-season strategy so far is just to blitz the media saying they are interested in every player available. Even ones that make no sense. It's almost like an Uncle Bernie Ponzi Scheme. They talk a lot, but they do nothing. Your analogy of the Toyotathon fits them exactly. And I'm sure that will be their excuse in the end.

Someone said that Minaya has hardly been seen in the lobby of the hotel, reasoning that it must be because he's meeting with so many agents and GMs. I think if truth be known, he was probably just catching up on some sleep or dreaming up excuses why that won't get the job done.

The Metmaster said...

How the hell do the Yankees do it?! Cashman must be like Rasputin among the other GMs, holding them in his spell. The Yankees have the greatest propaganda apparatus set up since Joe Goebbels sold Germany that Hitler was a great guy. All they have to say is that their prospects are "can't miss" and every other GM beats a path to their door to trade with them. The Granderson deal is just the latest example. Ian Kennedy did squat when he was on the big team, but he was a key component in the trade. F-Mart had a brief, lousy stay with the Mets and now he is tainted, with whispers that he might not be as good as originally advertised. Has anyone even seen Austin Jackson play? Has there ever been a traded Yankee prospect that develops into a star that comes back to haunt them? The Yankees can swing these kind of deals with a farm system that is rated as mediocre, just like the Mets'. We need a propaganda guru, or at least a hypnotist.

RT said...

The Mets farm was weak even before they traded for Santana. They just don't have the pieces to put together a good trade package that'll net them the kind of player(s) who'll put them over the top, let alone into the playoffs.

And with all their cash tied up in too few players, a blockbuster FA signing ain't happening either.

The Phillies are just too good right now, and the Braves seem to be positioning themselves to be serious contenders in 2010. If the Mets were smart, they'd be in rebuilding mode right now.

Hazeleyes said...

The Wilpons never admit that things are a nightmare and it's time to rebuild.

But it's time to rebuild. Draft well. brimg guys along and not trade them for old men.

I don't want to be negative. But after the past couple of years what am I supposed to do? I ain't no stinkin' Pollyanna.