The Mets have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. It's finally over. The most disappointing season in recent memory will very soon be an afterthought in our hearts and minds. The healing can begin soon. Winter will come and the snow will fall, chilling us to the bone and numbing us of the pain of Luis Castillo's dropped fly ball against the Yankees. Soothing hot chocolate (with the little marshmallows of course) will make it easier to forget Daniel Murphy's defensive blunders. Delicious and copious amounts of egg nog will free our minds and allow us to let go of this lost season. In the spring, new life will resurrect the barren and dead landscape.
Pitchers and catchers report in around 150 days. It cannot come soon enough.
Forget about what's going on right now in the baseball world. It's unimportant to us. There's only one October but I'll be looking forward to wearing costumes and eating candy rather than post season baseball. Mr. November may win his 5th ring but all that's on my mind is Thanksgiving turkey. There's no story lines to look forward to. We don't even have an epic collapse to look forward to -- the team took care of that in July. Delgado and Reyes won't be back this season so there's nothing really to look forward to there. For all I care, the baseball season ended when Pedro Martinez ripped out our throats last Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.
So what is there to talk about or be excited about in the world of orange and blue? What's the point in writing another stomach churning and blood pressure raising article about how the team's wOBA is too low or that half the team is below replacement level? Or another article about how absolutely incompetent Jerry Manuel is or the embarrassing village idiot status that Omar Minaya has created for himself?
It's all too cliche. Too depressing. Too negative.
I've been on a real 90s kick recently. I've been thinking back to those days a lot, back when I was a kid and all of baseball was new to me. I still remember my first game at Shea when I was 5 years old. I fell in love with the game and its players. I marveled at the finesse that these players showed on the field. While I knew in my heart of hearts that the home team I was watching wasn't very good (in fact they were terrible) I still loved them for the lovable losers that they were. When I watch this team, I get the same feeling I did as a child watching Bernard Gilkey, Tim Bogar, Generation K, or any other number of horrible to mediocre players that took the field during those years.
"Down in a hole and I don't know if I can be saved," Layne Staley sang on Alice in Chains' second studio album Dirt way back in 1992. Despite the nostalgic feelings I get watching my favorite motley crew lose, I honestly wonder to myself if the Mets can be saved. There's been no indication that there is any competence in the front office. Their antiquated thinking, such as refusing to draft any players who possess a social networking site account such as a facebook page or twitter account, has severely crippled this franchise. It's indicative of an extremely low level of thinking. Having a manager that doesn't believe in statistics or a general manager who thinks that having two closers is the greatest thing since a college freshman discovering Ayn Rand for the first time has absolutely demolished any chance that this team will get out of that hole.
It's been 15 years since Kurt Cobain committed suicide yet the Mets are worse off now in 2009 than they were then back in 1994. There seems to be no focus to their team design, throwing a mishmash of high OBP guys (like Wright, Reyes, Beltran, and this season at least Castillo) with other people who literally cannot take a walk (Tatis, Murphy, and worst of all Francoeur who once said that if OBP was so important "why don't they put it on the scoreboard?" Which, actually, they do). Your pitching staff includes Johan Santana (well, not anymore at least not this season) and a bunch of life sized cardboard cutouts of Tom Seaver.
"Hey! Wait! I got a new complaint." The farm system is completely barren. Outside of a handful of prospects who don't project all that high, the system actually can barely support itself. In fact, they had to wait until the minor league season was over before they could bring up Josh Thole because, get this, the didn't have enough players. If your infrastructure is that damaged there's something seriously fundamentally wrong with the team's philosophy and design. This past offseason was the time to strike with players like Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn available for extremely cheap. If you don't believe that Dunn's high wOBA and 40 homers or Abreu's ability to get on base wouldn't have helped this team immensely and for cheap you're simply diluting yourself. The team could have signed both of them for less than Oliver Perez's horrible contract. But I guess the fact that Dunn strikes out too much or plays terrible defense or "doesn't care about the game" makes brains completely shut down even though we have that same player in Jeff Francoeur. You know, minus the ability to get on base or hit for power.
I'm anxiously waiting for the offseason. I want to see what direction this team is going to go in. While the free agent market may be barren there are a couple of intriguing names that could have an immediate impact. I'm excited to see how the Mets are going to draft considering they have a top 6 draft pick wrapped up. Maybe the team will spend their money wisely, make some intelligent personnel moves, draft over slot, and perhaps even contend next season with Beltran, Reyes, and Santana all healthy.
"It's fun to lose and to pretend."