Friday, July 3, 2015

A visit to Panic Citi Field

This is not the best time for the Citi Field scoreboard to be asking the few remaining fans to make some noise. The biggest cheer at yesterday's latest dreary loss came when the Mets actually scored a run. There was a time when I hoped to see a no-hitter, not Jacob deGrom crossing the plate with the Mets' only run of the entire series. Now I have a new dream - to see a run that is not driven in or scored by the pitcher. But that might be too much to ask.

It's gotten to the point where I feel as if I have to explain why I even bothered to go out to the ballpark in the first place. I made these plans with my friends Steve and Norman over a month ago. It was a simpler time. The Mets were in first place. Their lineup appeared to be something more than the baseball equivalent of the landscape in "Mad Max: Fury Road." Sandy Alderson still came across as someone who told jokes, rather than someone who was one.

Now everyone is begging for Sandy to "do something" besides call the media residents of Panic City because they dare to express alarm over his punchless team. But after five years, why should we have any faith that Alderson can do anything well besides trade star players for promising prospects? Even with a limited budget, Alderson was supposed to be able to find Moneyball-type bargains, not Quad-A lineup filler.

Alderson's strategy of finding players who can take a walk is working out about as well as another overrated GM name, Phil Jackson, insisting on using the triangle. Justin Turner, let go by Alderson for nothing, says that he may not have fit into Alderson's plans because "I'm never looking to walk," may have only 16 walks in 191 at bats, but he's hitting .314 with a .388 OBP, a much higher OBP than any Met hitter this season.  

Of course, that limited budget remains the elephant in the room, even if the Mets keep denying they have any money issues. "Mets land pair of top international free agents" blares a headline on mets.com. But even the article admits that the signees are only ranked 15th and 17th on MLB's top 30 international prospects list. The Mets spent a total of $2.7 million on the two prospects. Meanwhile, the Dodgers spent $16M on the second-rated prospect and millions more to land a total of nine international prospects.

Mets prospect Michael Conforto may nor may not be ready, but it appears to be more important not to start his service clock than to give this year's sinking team every opportunity to compete.

Terry Colllins will take the fall sooner or later. The Mets have had three hitting coaches over the last year. Unfortunately, the real issues are higher than that, with the GM and his so-called brain trust and an ownership unwilling or unable to invest in their team.

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