Sunday Paper (Year 2, Volume XXXIV)
It's hard to believe 2006 was just four years ago.
When the Mets lost Game 7 of that year's National League Championship Series, it should have been just the beginning of a stretch of success.
Instead, it's been four miserable years.
A quick recap - a huge collapse in 2007, followed by a smaller collapse (a mudslide?) in 2008. 2009 was lost to injuries, but the injuries just masked the fact that the Mets were going nowhere anyway. And now 2010 - a quick start that faded into a series of scandals and mediocre baseball.
The Mets are a big-market team; they should not be a one-shot-at-the-World-Series-and-done type of team. But that's what they are. And right now I'm all about pointing fingers. So who's to blame?
You have to look at the constants - who has been with the team since 2006? Well, guys like Oliver Perez and John Maine are disappointments in the big picture, but could hardly be held responsible for four years of disappointments. Mike Pelfrey wasn't really a factor until 2008, and he pitched well that year and almost single-handedly helped the Mets to this year's quick start. I don't think much responsibility lies with the pitchers - even Perez. Remember, for all his faults he pitched great in Game 7 in 2006 and outperformed Tom Glavine when he pitched on the final day of the 2008 season and gave a better effort than the future Hall of Famer did in 2007.
Position player-wise, Carlos Beltran is still around, and he's been fine. But he never really took the team on his back the way you always hoped he would to back up his talk of the Mets being the 'team to beat'. It's amazing he is going to be entering the final year of his contract.
The only other two left to blame are Jose Reyes and David Wright, and I almost feel like the Mets need to trade one of these guys to shake up the roster and get players who will win. It's been seven years - these two together have been unable to win the Mets a championship. I'm scared to death the Mets would trade Wright...but if I could choose, I'd trade Reyes. I've made this argument before - he gets hurt too often, he sometimes hurts the Mets more than he helps them when he overswings in clutch situations - and the Mets could get a very good haul for him. I'm not saying Reyes is a bad ballplayer - he's extremely talented. But I'm getting frustrated watching him play and thinking about how good he could have been if he had performed at the top of his game since the day he was called up. He hasn't, and he won't - let him be exciting and championship-less somewhere else. I just don't think he's built to win. Wright, I feel, plays to win all the time...and though he's failed in the clutch on more than one occasion, he has had some good Augusts and Septembers while the rest of the team has tanked.
And then there's Omar Minaya. You can't change all the players. You can't keep changing managers (he's done that already). Sometimes you have to change the decision-maker. Because what he's done hasn't worked either.
*I understand the union's stance on the Francisco Rodriguez contract situation. If he hurt his hand in the punch, how could he have pitched the first day he was eligible to come back? They can point to the fact that the Mets want to go back on the money they owe Rodriguez. But I understand where the Mets are coming from as well - they should NOT have to pay Rodriguez the remainder of his contract if he hurt his hand in a non-baseball related incident. For the good of the organization, I hope Rodriguez did admit that he hurt the hand in the punch, as he reportedly told the training staff. And I hope the Mets do not lose this case to the union...because I do not want Francisco Rodriguez to pitch again for the Mets. (Omar Minaya said he believed Rodriguez would be back next year. I don't think we have to worry about what Minaya thinks about anything beyond September.)
*Thursday night was the Jets 2010 "Rookie Show" at training camp. That'll be an entertaining part of next week's 'Hard Knocks'.
*Speaking of sports documentaries - if it's replayed on MLB Network you should try to see "Triumph and Tragedy: The Story of the 1994 Montreal Expos". It originally aired last Sunday night. It's well done (and includes an appearance by Hall of Famer Gary Carter, since it delves into the franchise's history). It should be called "Tragedy and Tragedy", though, because there is no triumph at all. Interestingly, the Southern Bureau and I were talking about how none of the Expos history is represented at Nationals Park in Wahington - not even retired numbers. Don't know if they'll ever be. I didn't know this, but in the documentary it showed an Expos banner being raised at the Montreal Canadiens' arena (Molson Centre?) with all of the Expos' retired numbers. I wonder if that means that history stays in Montreal.
*If you want to read a great article, and maybe cry, check out Joe Posnanski's profile of Jets fullback Tony Richardson
. I know there's a real chance Richardson might lose his job to John Conner...but I hope the Jets find a way to keep him - I think these Jets need Tony Richardson and his leadership.
*One more opportunity for you - 200 Miles From The Citi is now on twitter @200miles_citi
. If you are on twitter, follow the site (and me) there. I also have a new e-mail for you to get me at - firstname.lastname@example.org. We're retiring the 'johnnymets' handle.