Perhaps this is not the appropriate forum, but I need to release some frustration regarding the Mets. In general, being a Mets fan is more of a curse than a blessing. Although great teams and great characters occasionally surface in Flushing, the franchise is better known for annually assembling motley casts of unlovable losers. Whether it's off-field incidents such as Vince Coleman throwing a lit firecracker at fans or Bret Saberhagen spraying Shea Stadium patrons with a water gun full of bleach, or on-field incidents like the Mets' collapses in 2007 and 2008, player-fan relations are not always rosy. As such, many Mets fans, myself included, have a deep sense of mistrust and, at times, an outright dislike, for the team.
In April and early May of 2009, the Amazins have done nothing to assuage their fans' fears that this year's team will be nothing more than a cheap imitation of the 2007 and 2008 outfits. While Citi Field is shiny and new, the effort of the players and the quality of play, like Shea Stadium, is rank. After collapsing in September for two consecutive years, one might think that the team would be amply motivated to atone for prior mistakes. Instead, the same apathy that has pervaded the previous years' Mets teams has resurfaced this year. To wit, in one month of play, the following gaffes have already occurred:
- Carlos Beltran failing to slide on a close play. Twice. In the same week.
- Daniel Murphy misplaying several routine fly balls, thereby leading to close defeats. Errors occur, but Murphy has failed to deliver on his promise to use two hands to catch the ball, thus making his mistakes difficult to forgive.
- David Wright posing at home plate to admire a homerun that barely cleared the wall against the Padres.
- Gary Sheffield similarly posing on all deep fly balls.
- A consistent refusal to run hard from the batters box by Carlos Delgado, Ramon Castro and others.
If there was any hope that the Mets possess the mental makeup to compete for the pennant this year, it was removed this week with ownership's decision to remove all New York newspapers from the clubhouse. Evidently, the players are too emotionally fragile to deal with criticism from those meanies over at the Post and Daily News. Needless to say, this doesn't exactly portend success in high pressure September games, assuming the Mets can stay in contention.
Leaving aside a defective starting rotation and the fact that Jerry Manuel seems to be morphing gradually into Willie Randolph, the Mets simply lack the desire to win. I realize that the players are making a lot of guaranteed money, but is it too much to ask for a consistent effort each night? Is it too hard to run hard on the four or five balls hit in play per game? Is it too hard to use two hands in the field or, for Delgado, to reach down on groundballs? For these Mets, the answer is "yes."