I understand that The NY Mets not making the MLB postseason is old news with everything that's gone on since, but still, it was a legendary collapse. Sean Block, esteemed friend of CSR and a Mets fan, wrote this brilliant little two-cents piece (unfortunately, I am late to the party as it was obviously written prior to the Yankees playoff loss - but it's still a great read). I liked it so much that I'm sharing it with you. Hopefully, this won't be the last you hear from Mr. Block.
"Your Season Has Come..." - The slogan for the New York Mets 2007 campaign. That is where the problems started. It was a guarantee of World Championship success concocted in February before any sort of pitching rotation was figured out. It was a guarantee of success regardless of the age and physical conditioning of the highest-paid players on the club. It was a guarantee of success for basically the same team that failed the previous season.
I don't blame Omar Minaya for not improving on the 2006 team. I am a believer that if it isn't broke, don't fix it. The 2006 New York Mets were the best team in Major League Baseball in 2006 (that argument is for another day, but they were). So a couple of small moves should have gotten them over the hump - a Moises Alou batting in the six hole, sufficient replacements for departing members of the best bullpen in baseball, young franchise players with another year under their belt. They were a team that was hurt and hungry from a heart-breaking defeat. Those that wanted Alfonso Soriano or Barry Zito wanted to buy a championship. I hate that. I liked the 2006 team. I really, really liked them. I liked the players and their attitude and they had a magic that doesn't happen at all in professional sports in today's climate. I wanted to see that team win. I didn't want a mercenary coming in for a big paycheck. That is pre-2006 New York Yankee philosophy, a philosophy that brings regular season success and post-season head-scratching.
The difference between the 2006 New York Mets and the 2007 New York Mets can be summed up in one word: HEART. 'Heart' meaning fight, attitude, desire, hustle, loyalty, yadda, yadda, yadda. I can go through the entire season and pick apart everything but it's a dead issue. It's over. Your Season Has Came and Went. Good riddance. It is horrible, but it is not painful. The National League Championship was painful. This is more like putting a bullet in the head of a rabid dog that has bitten a neighborhood kid. How to deal with the letdown? I know that the Yankee fan is going to let the Met fan have it. Actually, any fan of any team other than the New York Metropolitans is going to let the Met fan have it. The Met fan doesn't deserve it. Pardon my French, but the New York Mets fucked their fans.
And you know what? The Yankee fan is in the right. Mets fans were quick to bury the Yankees in May. They were quick to announce that the Mets were the new kings of New York. It was almost like the Met fan was happier that the Yankees were not in first place than they were that the Mets were in first place. I love the Mets, but going to Shea for game 2 of the NLCS and witnessing the crowd chant "Yankees suck" after a moment of silence for Cory Lidle made me realize that Mets fans are the worst. I don't like Mets fans and I hate going to Shea. After this collapse, the whole franchise has left a sour taste in my mouth.
If the Met fan took a moment to notice, they would realize that the Yankee fan generally ignores the Mets. The Yankee fan is not concerned with the Mets. Maybe the Yankee fan doesn't respect the Mets, but what reason have they to show the Mets respect? What have the Mets done to earn respect? Granted, they were headed in the right direction beginning in 2005. They were earning respect and they were building a club that would be much like the Atlanta Braves and possibly the Yankees themselves. They would have been a club that consistently won with a mixture of proven veterans and promising rookies. The whole formula was beautiful, but for some reason, the HEART disappeared and any respect that the franchise was achieving has been thrown out the window.
Unlike the Yankee fan, the Met fan is quick to compare the Mets to the Yankees when the Mets are doing well. It's as though fans think of the Mets as the Yankees' kid brother and they watch baseball with the sole purpose of seeing the Mets be better than their older brother. To be blunt, it's pathetic. I admit, it is horrible to watch the Yankees succeed every year and it is especially horrible to watch it this year, but that's reality. If the Yankee fan you work with or live with or hang out with is gloating, well it's because the Yankee fan has every right to gloat this time. I never see a Yankee fan gloat unless they are prodded by a wise-ass Met fan that thinks all the success the Yankees have is unfair and is at the expense of the Mets. The Yankee fan stuck with their team and their team pulled themselves together - as they do every year - and battled adversity. The Mets were cocky and arrogant and played like they deserved the post-season before the calendar turned to June. They fell apart and it's their own fault.
They fucked their fans. To be fair, I think fans should boycott the first Shea Stadium homestand next season. No fans should show up. The Mets should play to an empty stadium to show that this attitude will not be tolerated by the people paying money to support them. It's a ridiculous idea, I know, but it would send the message. The only way to hurt them is by hurting their pockets. This performance doesn't deserve support. This franchise doesn't deserve fans. The New York Mets need to win their fans back. That must be their top priority. Your Season Has Come indeed.
However, the Wilpons will land a huge free agent and there will be a huge trade because this team must succeed. They'll have a new stadium in 2009 and a real shitty television channel to worry about. They will create reason for excitement next season. They will drum up profit anyway that they can. It is a business after all. Personally, and I may sound like I'm not a true fan, but if any of the following players are on the Mets in 2008, I am boycotting the team: Carlos Delgado, Tom Glavine, Orlando Hernandez, Shawn Green, Guillermo Mota, Jose Valentin, Moises Alou and/or Aaron Sele. I look at the Mets as a business instead of as my favorite baseball team at this point in time. If I went out to eat at a restaurant and I got fucked the way the Mets fucked me over in the last four months, I would never go out to eat at that restaurant again. How is the New York Mets franchise any different than a restaurant? They are both businesses that are vying with other businesses for my patronage. I commit time and emotion and money to this team and this is what I get? It's not a question of other teams being better. It's a question of whether or not the Mets gave a crap. And the answer is NO, THEY DIDN'T. They had NO HEART.
We, and I say 'we' as in the Met fans, don't deserve this. We will never hear the end of it - mostly because of the years of shit-talking Met fans who are more concerned with the Yankees losing than they are with the Mets winning. This is the worst collapse in baseball history and the fan - the poor working-class schlub - is the guy that gets hurt the most. Not the million dollar ballplayer who says, "It's very disappointing. We'll have to do better next year," and then drives off in his Corvette or Lincoln Navigator to his huge piece of property in a beautiful neighborhood... or goes on a vacation to a private, tropical island... or buys a private, tropical island to make himself feel better. It's the fan scraping together seven bucks to buy a beer at Shea Stadium that gets hurt. It's not the Wilpons who were able to sell more tickets to Shea than at any other point in the history of the stadium. It's the fan charging tickets on a maxed-out credit card because they want to see Jose Reyes hit a triple live and in person. It's not Omar Minaya who has the luxury of throwing his coaching staff under the bus before his job is ever in jeopardy.
I have ideas as to what the franchise should do. Like every other fan, I think that I would be a better General Manager than anybody that is actually a General Manager. But I don't know what the job entails. It is a tough position and especially with baseball, many things are hit or miss. The New York Mets, like any other big-market ball team, are a business. And if they don't provide the product that I want, I will boycott that business. I did it when Steve Phillips threw Bobby Valentine under the bus and brought in Mo Vaughn and Robbie Alomar and Roger Cedeno and all those other chumps in 2002. I am more than happy to boycott the 2008 New York Mets if a serious change in direction is not made.
Baseball is just a game and the beauty of it is that there is always 'next year.' That's not going to work for me. Here's my advice for fans of the New York Mets:
1. Stop worrying about talking shit about the New York Yankees. They are a proven winner. They are much more successful than the Mets and they always will be. They've had a large historical head start and maybe one day the Mets will have the legacy that the Yankees do, but this will not be in our lifetime.
2. Boycott Shea for the first homestand. It's punishment for the bullshit the team put us through this year. They deserve to take a financial hit and we deserve to send the team a message.
3. Look at the team as a business and not your heart and soul, because the team is a business and has no heart and soul.
I'll conclude this long-winded essay on the 2007 New York Mets with the lone bright spot in the entire season: David Wright. He has matured into a leader and he will be captain of the team sooner rather than later. He strapped the team to his back at many times late in the season and he pushed them up a mountain. He will be the greatest everyday player in Met history. He deserves the money he makes and if it weren't for Jimmy Rollins, he would be the MVP of the National League. He will, and I repeat WILL, win them a World Series. Unfortunately, unless things change, I don't think it will be until Shea Stadium is dead and buried.