Thursday, September 15, 2011

N.Y. Mets ~ Are We There Yet?

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET



What does this percentage mean to you?

NEW YORK METS:  Tragic Numbers and Prophecy.   ...And How Exactly Do You Run Into The Ground?

The Mets have hit their Tragic Number.  No playoffs for you!  And for Fred, no September chock-full-o-meaningful games for him neither.  The Mets beat themselves and won the right to go home in a timely manner at the conclusion of the season.  But the above percentage isn't about clinching a confirmation in your in-box regarding the 2011 playoffs.  The above percentage represents something much more tragic; if you will.

That percentage my friend, is the rate at which the Mets have participated in the playoffs since the 2003 season; the first year of the burgeoning SAUL B. KATZ DILEMMA; or, if I must; - the first year of sole ownership under the Wilpons.

Met Year Nine A.D. (After Doubleday) has ended in yet another season of not making the playoffs.  In the Age of WILPONianism, that makes eight out of nine years without a New York National League representative in the post-season.

I predicted them to finish .500 this season.  I'm still hoping that works out.  But I, along with many of my fellow Mets Fans, didn't have any real expectations of playing in October this season.  Did you?  If you did, I don't mean to speak for you.  But I do question your Earthiness.

For me personally, there are two ways to handle our Mets achieving their Tragic Number this season.

One tact is to take our players and situation for what it is at face value and support them for being a gamely bunch; results aside.  The fact is, in order to be fair to the new GM, this season and these players are part of turning the page.  So at least we've initiated that much.  And I like them.  Sure, these are mostly Omar's Kids; but "that" isn't for now.  The point I'm trying to make is..., anger and frustration would very much be in order if Omar were still here and if this was two years ago.  But with the change in GM's, so too should the slack be loosened by us; the hanging judges; for progress sake; and not be too hard on these guys in their present condition and constitution (minus a few select veterans).

So, I'm cool with the way the season is winding down.  I'm not necessarily happy struggling to get back to .500, but I am contented with the new direction Sandy Alderson will be taking us.  Things aren't clearly visible to us right now.  There's a lot of foundation work that needs to get done first.  But I'm cool.  Change takes time; even knowing next season may be more of the same.

Then secondly, I look at our present situation in the broader scope of our Ownership's record over the last nine years.  It's been abysmal; one playoff appearance in nine years.  And with every intention of beating a dead horse; I love to remind us Met Fans, that on his way out the door Nelson Doubleday predicted Fred Wilpon and "Pharaoh" Jeff would run our beloved Mets "...Into The Ground."

Are we there yet?  Did it happen already?  Are the ground?  Is this the Doubleday version of Allegory of the Cave?  When exactly do we get to say Fred ran this team into the ground?  When it folds?  There's a line of demarcation somewhere.  Did the line get washed away by Hurricane Irene?
What constitutes being...In The Ground?

Since 2003, the Wilpons are on their fourth General Manager and fifth field manager.  That stinks of instability.  From 2003 through 2010 the Mets have posted a 643-652 record.  After today's loss, and sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals, the Mets record this season is now 71-79.  When you do the math, their nearly complete nine year winning percentage smells like hot garbage too.  The numbers don't lie.  Fred and Jeff Wilpon will end their ninth year as the sole dudes in charge under the .500 level.  And if in fact the Mets finish this season below the .500 level, it will be the fifth time they've played beneath the par-level and officially make it a feat they'd have performed more often than not.

None of this should reflect on Sandy Alderson and the job he has ahead of him...yet.  In jettisoning some unwanted players and unloading contracts for prospects; he's done quite well so far.  The state of the Mets and the players presently on the field are largely his inheritance.

But questioning the prophecy seems like a timely thing to do.  Is...Did...or Have Fred and Jeff Wilpon finally run this team into the ground like Nelson Doubleday bitterly predicted back when their partnership dissolved in 2002/2003?

Does near financial ruin qualify?  Madoff?  Or is the potential safety net of finding interested piece-meal buyers enough to keep the Wilpons out of the proverbial "ground"? 

Don't forget this; Doubleday wanted to renovate Shea Stadium.  Fred always pushed for a new park.  It was Doubleday's opinion they couldn't afford a new park (then).  Just saying.  But does giving us Ebbets Field Deluxe; originally minus the Mets' Hall of Fame or any indication our team played there; qualify as one of the biggest disconnects between Fred and the Fan Base?  Then include his debt on the park and how it sky-rocketed our ticket prices.  Does that qualify?  Maybe not so much because hey..., we got a new park.  But every circumstance about Citi proved ruinous for him and to a large extent, us.

Does a sub .500 record and an often times absurd decision making process over a nine year period qualify?  Does making headlines more for the wrong reasons than the right or good reasons qualify?  Did the lack of a coherent Standard Operating Procedure which crippled the organization after all the years of Wilpon's self-described "collegial system" ...qualify? 

Sure, Sandy Alderson is here to change that part.  But is he changing-up; shaking-up; or salvaging something that Fred Wilpon ultimately "Ran Into The Ground"?

I know plenty of us are ready to answer that question, post-haste.  At the same time, it's an open book still being written.  We are certain of this much; not many things have gone their way since the S.S. Wilpon set sail on it's own.  She's taking on water.  But she ain't down yet.

Add this as another commemorative hash-tag on the sleeve of the SAUL B. KATZ DILEMMA.


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