Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A pattern of bad behavior

I just want to elaborate on an opinion that I've shared with a few bloggers in the form of comments on posts. It's completely my opinion.

The Mets are in a bit of a tailspin, and I'm not surprised by it. This fits into a loose pattern, and I can only go by what I lived through as a fan starting with the 1987 season.

  • After the Mets lost in the 1988 NLCS to the Dodgers, the team started to slide the next season. It was a series they should have won, and after it, things got really bad for a few seasons. It really wasn't until Bobby Valentine was hired as manager and Steve Phillips came in as GM before things turned around.

  • After the Mets lost Game 1 of the 2000 World Series to the Yankees, the team started to slide the next season. They shouldn't have won the series, but they shouldn't have lost that first game either. They really really had a chance to win and let it get away. Then things got bad. It wasn't until Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph came in to save the franchise that things turned around.

  • After the Mets lost Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS to the Cardinals, the team started to slide. We all remember the 7 game lead with 17 to play in 2007, and the bullpen collapse of 2008. This season is just the next paragraph in that story. Next season probably will be too, unless the Wilpons get smart and fire Omar and Jerry and their staffs in (or before) the off season.

You can pinpoint moments in 1988 (Kirk Gibson in game 4 of the NLCS), 2000 (mental mistakes that I have partially blocked out of my consciousness in game 1 of the WS), and 2006 (not scoring after the Chavez catch in game 7 of the NLCS).

You can see the parallels and patterns - sliding from 1989 to the "world team money could buy" in 1992 and rebounding around 1995/1996; sliding from 2001 to the Art Howe era ending in 2004 and rebounding in 2005; sliding from September 2007 into 2008 and falling in 2009.

It ain't pretty. I can see why Fred & Jeff Wilpon want to ignore this history, but they're doomed to repeat it.


  1. Very well analyzed from a historical standpoint, but this time around there should be no black hole baseball for 3 to 5 years. This team still has too many quality players, yes they've lacked grit, toughness, and mental smarts at times, but they have more talent now than in 2001 or '02. My fear is they will be a throw the baby out with the bathwater mentality when it comes to the players. Management? don't really care what happens at this point, but if Omar and Jerry M, are nowhere near the playoffs by mid-season 2010, bring back Bobby V!

  2. Ah, anonymous friend, I want to disagree with you, or at least not jump to agree, on your first point. There very well could be a black hole. 3 to 5 years may be longer than we expect, but I can see tagline for the 2012 season - "Rejuvinated at 50".

    There are a lot of quality players on this club. Some are injured, some may be past their prime ("some of these guys never had a prime"). The 1992 team had that too, on paper, and never should have been that bad. A common theme to fixing it was cleaning house. New baseball minds.

    And I would love to see Bobby V come back, but somehow, I just don't see it. The Bobby V years were the most fun I ever had as a Mets fan.

    And as always, thanks for reading.

  3. It looks like you've documented how common it is for the Mets to fail to build on any success. It's like they rest on their laurels and do nothing to close the gap and improve the team. It pisses me off. Omar is not a proactive GM he only reacts. If he didn't have the luxury of the Wilpons $145 million dollars, he would be seen as the bad GM he really is.

    I tried to post with name/url but it wasn't working. Saw your link on metsmerized. Met Maniac

  4. thanks for reading Met Maniac. Check out the polls and my other posts if you haven't already done so. I'm not the biggest fan of the commenting setup here, but there isn't much I can do.

    I always thought Omar was the brains behind the Steve Phillips regime for the time when he was there. Now I'm not so sure. Omar may really have been handcuffed this season by the Wilpon's losses to Madoff. But it's not an excuse for the facts that led up to this season. I think there's been some dysfunction (and I've been saying that long before the article from last weekend was written) inside the Mets (and not necessarily in the clubhouse) for some time now, and Omar is part of that, but so are the controlling Wilpons.

  5. "The Bobby V years were the most fun I ever had as a Mets fan."

    Yeah, blowing the wild card in '98 was a blast. So was the perpetual ownage by the Braves and watching them zoom past the Mets every September. And who can forget watching Kenny Rogers walking in the winning run to end the NLCS?

    I will never, ever understand the fascination with Bobby Valentine. Sure, the Mets made the playoffs twice. But it was by the skin of their teeth both times--at least one of those after holding a division lead in August--despite the "Best Infield Ever" and a slew of .300 hitters anchored by a future Hall of Famer.

    If Jerry or Willie were on the bench when Timo didn't run out that fly ball in Game One, people would've been calling for their heads, complaining about the lackadaisical play, and wondering where the accountability was. With Valentine, it's just part of the lore.