Due to technical difficulties, this site was down for a month and a half. There are still a couple of bookkeeping issues with Doubleheader Dip and all that I will not be able to finish up until 2015. We missed the Mets Gift of the Year—just give a gift card or gift certificate: Make it out to the Wilpons for whatever amount you can, hopefully something in the nine-digit range. Or higher.
So we’re skipping right to Reflections of a Mets Life for this season just past. This also being the Festivus time of year, we are going to list this year’s reflections in the form of aired grievances.
- 79 wins. Hey, it’s more than last year, but for the love of Pete can we hit 80 wins again in this lifetime? The last time the Mets went longer between 80-win (or more!) seasons was the dark ages of 1977-83. You’d better do something because there’s an angry mob forming… online, that is. In reality, there might be handful of people standing outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda looking at their phones, getting announcements of moves by other teams.
- Getting a shortstop. Say what you want about current management, they have not stuck us with a Mo Vaughn-esque contract. Troy Tulowitzki may be a future MVP, or he may be the next fragile statue who sells a lot of jerseys and then spends weeks, months, and years on the DL with a salary that keeps the team from making any upgrades, or worse, forces trades of good players due to get big raises in order to keep paying a perpetually disables player. Let someone else take the risk on his $20 million per year brittle physique. When you think Tulo, think Mo. And Mo Vaughn was at least a nice guy with local ties… before he ate large sections of the tri-state area.
- 3. Moving in the fences. I was on their side about Tulo, but man, oh, Manischewitz have I been holding this grievance for months. Moving in the fences—a second time in the Sandy Alderson era—is the most misguided thing the Mets have done, well, since the last time they moved in the fences. (No matter what they do, opponents still keep hitting more home runs. Perhaps because they are actually better.) You have a franchise that has nothing but young pitchers learning the ropes, so your solution is to move in the fences and take away their safety net and lessen the importance of having the league’s best defensive center fielder: Juan Lagares. Have you seen those three world championships won by the Giants in the last five years? Did you notice how big their ballpark is? Do you guys not watch the World Series? Or at this point do you figure it’s more useful to watch The Big Bang Theory? Even their version of baseball is more entertaining than what passes for the game at Citi Field in the Alderson era.
- Matt Harvey. Matt, I say this as a fellow Matt and a big Mets fan. Tone it down. Let your Twitter account go. Don’t listen to the FAN. (I ditched them when they ditched the Mets and I feel much better now.) Save the intensity for the mound. Listen to the doctor. Tell the team when you don’t feel well. But above all else—pitch like the guy who started the 2013 All-Star Game.
- Go easy on Harvey, Mets brass-holes. Come up with a regimen that works for Matt Harvey. Start him in the minors to open the year, if you must. Start him on the disabled list, if need be. But make sure that, God willing, if the Mets ever see October, Harvey won’t have to be pulled from the rotation due to innings limits. If that happens and the Mets lose because of it—see Strasbourg, Nationals, 2012—those fans who were looking at their phones before really will storm the gate.
- Stop with the BS. I’ve been reading about collusion in the 1980s, about how Sandy Alderson was caught in the middle of it when he ran the A’s. The ’86 Alderson gives the same answers as now, referencing markets and changes in direction as to why the loss in interest about free agents. We understand you don’t have money. But please make a trade if the team is close. The rotation only holds five, maybe six, slots for pitchers. Be wise choosing the ones you keep and the ones you trade. The lack of a deal in July 2008 kept the last game at Shea from being a playoff game. All it would have taken to fix their bullpen was trading the immortal Fernando Martinez at the deadline. Know your personnel. Trust your people. reward your fan base, when the situation is right.
- Playoffs. Whenever that word came up in 2014, it was like Jim Mora’s sarcastic refrain. (Come to think of it, he does kind of look like a relative of Terry Collins.) Sure, October/November is watered down in baseball. But all we want for Christmas is a playoff game. Santa, I can’t say we’ve been good, but we have been patient.
- Beat the Nationals… once in a while. The year began with the bullpen blowing what would have been an awesome Opening Day win. But it was the first in another season of drubbings by Washington. The Nats have beaten the Mets like a drum the past three years, to the tune of 15-41. In 2014 it hit bottom at 4-15. Go 9-9 against them and maybe finishing second isn’t a joke like it was last year, sitting 17 games out; nine out of the Wild Card.
- Win in the second half. We’ll end on a positive note. The Mets have had a batter second half than first half each of the past two years! In 2013 the Mets were still under .500 in the second half, but they played slightly better. Last year the Mets had a winning second-half record at 34-33. It marked the first time since the Mets moved into Citi Field that the Mets were over .500 in the second half. In 2013, the Mets played .465 ball in the second half, compared with .451 in the first half. The other years of Citi’s existence were Mr. Hyde second halves after first halves that Dr. Hyde might have enjoyed. In 2012 the second-half percentage was .167 lower, in 2011 it was .068 lower, in 2010 it was down .126, and in 2009 it was .110 lower. Keep those second halves coming and we’ll remember 2014 as the year the Mets started becoming a second-half team. Because second-half teams make historic runs at the postseason. They are fun to watch. They sometimes even win the big games. That’s the takeaway from ’14—maybe one day we can say this is where it all began.