Time to reflect on another lost Mets season

Posted: October 4, 2010 in Mets

The Mets’ season has been over for all intents and purposes for three months, giving me plenty of time to absorb the blow of them not making the postseason again. I find myself thinking about what feels worse, the collapses of 2007 and 2008 or the ineptitude of the past two seasons. The collapses were like huge gut punches, taking the air right out of you. You feel so full of hope for 162 games and then in almost a blink of an eye, it’s all gone. These last two seasons, the outcome was sealed in July, giving you plenty of time to digest the fact the Mets were going nowhere again. After thinking for a bit, I definitely prefer the huge gut punches. The feeling was worse at the end, but the ride was much more fun. Every game meant something, and watching those September games were an intense experience. These last two years, I still followed every game (I’m a Mets fan, we’re gluttons for punishment) but was more interested in individual players than what the team did. I enjoyed watching young players like Jon Niese, Josh Thole, Ike Davis, Dillon Gee, Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada get some playing time, wondering if they will be part of the core of the next Mets’ playoff team or just blips on the radar. Niese and Davis are definite keepers, Thole showed promise while the others showed flashes of being useful major-leaguers. I counted down the days of the Omar Minaya/Jerry Manuel regimes, an era of missed opportunities and injury-plagued monstrosities. Fortunately, that era looks like it will last a few more hours as I write this. It will be an interesting five months, that’s for sure. I just hope the clueless Wilpons make the right choice and the next general manager has a much better longterm plan than “Patchwork” Omar ever did. Also hope the new manager can light a fire under these players. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a fiery guy, but I’d like to see them go that route after the laid-back regimes of Art Howe, Willie Randolph and Manuel (although looking back, Willie doesn’t seem so bad compared to the other two). I don’t think the team should go after too many pricey free agents, as that hasn’t really helped the team the last few years. They need to construct a roster much better than they have, and with Omar gone, I believe they can do that. In my estimation, Omar’s main weakness was the tendency to look at the main problem the team had the year before and address that one area with a free agent signing or trade. After the 2008 debacle, he went after bullpen upgrades, bringing in KO-Rod and J.J. Putz. Last year, with the power outage during the first year at CitiField, he went for a power hitter (in theory anyway) in Jason Bay. The last few years, he neglected the bench for the most part, or signed useless guys like Alex Cora to guaranteed deals when they could have had better players for a similar price. And while Omar has generally done a nice job with his minor-league contracts (R.A. Dickey, Hisanori Takahashi), he canceled those thrifty moves out by signing Kelvim Escobar (his right arm held together by duct tape and rubber bands) to guaranteed money. In general, I just want to see the team make sound decisions again. Enough of the terrible, longterm signings like Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, who weren’t that great to begin with, especially for the money and years Omar gave them. A new general manager doesn’t have to be perfect, just much better than shortsighted Omar. And so the offseason begins for Mets fans. Sure, there is playoff baseball to be played and I’ll watch with a passing interest (especially to root against the hated Phillies), but I’ll have that empty feeling of not being able to follow Mets games until next spring. Hopefully, the product is more exciting than the one we’ve had to endure the last two years.

COMING UP: My postseason report cards (Two guys will get A’s, guess which ones)

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