Before I begin, let me preface this with a warning. This article will be extremely hard on the Mets and their owners the Wilpons. I do not take any joy in spewing such venom, however I do owe it to the real, suffering (in the sports sense, not actual real-life sense) Mets fan who has been forced to deal with this.
They both play in New York. One plays in Queens, the other Nassau, but both have been run into the ground by owners who have gone about it two different ways.
While the Islanders have not reached this point entirely on their own, the Mets certainly have. The Islanders can point to corrupt, greedy, spineless and cowardly political officials to make their case as to why the find themselves in endless purgatory. The Mets have dug a hole one-hundred times the size of the Grand Canyon, and threw themselves right in.
The Mets are run by criminals. While the Wilpons might not have been convicted of fraud in the Madoff case, the way they have treated their players, organization and most importantly their fans, has certainly been criminal.
The Mets downfall started when Carlos Beltran watched an 0-2 curveball float right down the middle with the bases loaded to end Game Seven of the 2006 NLCS. After dominating the National League and the Dodgers in the NLDS, the Mets choked to death against the worst team to ever win a World Title.
Shocked fans still were hopeful, however, as the Mets had a seemingly punched ticket to the postseason for the next decade with youngsters Jose Reyes, David Wright (both under 25), MVP candidate Carlos Beltran (in his late 20s) and an endless flow of cash and prospects with a young, energetic GM in Omar Minaya, who after taking over after the 2004 season had turned a gutless, pathetic group into a 97-win force.
However, for the tortured Mets fan, the future ended with that at-bat. After getting off to a 34-18 start the next season, the Mets started their downfall.
Despite their inconsistent play the Mets had seemingly locked up their second straight division title and postseason appearance, holding a seven-and-a-half game lead with 17 games left. While fans were talking about how the Mets were going to set up their postseason rotation, the Mets were getting swept by the Phillies, blowing multi-run leads after the sixth inning in two games.
What followed after the sweep to the Phillies was without a doubt the worst example of gutless, heartless, effortless futility in the history of sports. The Mets went 5-9 the rest of the way to lose an already-clinched postseason berth to the Phillies.
What made this collapse even worse wasn't just the fact that the Marlins and Nationals were a combined 47 games under .500, but the way the Mets lost was the most epic way a team could choke. If one were writing a novel on how to collapse and choke in a pennant race, the 2007 Mets would be their inspiration.
Four times during that stretch the Mets lost games where they held AT LEAST a three-run lead in the fourth inning or later. What was left as the Mets lost to the Marlins on the final day of the 2007 season were Mets fans crying. This was the ultimate betrayal of trust.
Despite the heartbreak of 2007, Mets fans were hopeful that with Johan Santana in the mix, 2008 would be a different story. What they got, however, was almost an exact version of 2007. The Mets once again had seemingly clinched a postseason berth, leading the wild card by three games with just nine games left.
However, in a repeat performance of 2007, the Mets lost their final regular season game at home to the Marlins, while the Brewers defeated the Cubs to clinch the NL Wild Card. What made matters worse for the tortured, shocked, mentally abused Mets fan, was the fact that the 2008 season final was the last game played at Shea Stadium.
Instead of holding the ceremonies BEFORE the game like a normal, caring franchise would do, the Mets chose to wait until AFTER they had crushed and urinated on their fan base. Nearly half of the sold-out crowd had left as Mike Piazza and Tom Seaver walked out of center field to culminate a torturous post-game ceremony.
Sadly, that was the last time the Mets mattered. While the Wilpons tried to appease Mets fans with a new ballpark to hide their consecutive collapses in 2007 and 2008, they never dealt with the aura and issues that surrounded those events. Instead of anticipating the areas of depth and talent that they lacked, the Mets instead reacted as if they could rewind the previous season. New seasons brought new problems that the Wilpons and Omar Minaya failed to prepare for or anticipate.
Soon after, the Madoff debacle started, and the Mets were now counting pennies. Who really knows the truth about the Wilpons involvement, but with the way this ownership has betrayed and stepped on their loyal fan base, it's hard not to believe they weren't fully aware, perhaps even in cahoots, with Madoff. In the end the Wilpons were found not guilty of knowing or being involved with any of Madoff's criminal activity and fraud.
Sandy Alderson was brought in by the Wilpons to run the organization following the 2010 season. Nearly two years later the Mets are now buried at the bottom of the NL East. Despite being known as a revolutionary GM, Alderson and his cronies, which include ex-GMs Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi, have done little to improve the confidence of the fan base.
While the organization has pitching prospects like Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, they have no everyday prospects on the horizon. Baseball America currently ranks the Mets 25th in organizational prospects.
After letting one, if not the best, everyday player in the history of their organization walk away for nothing to the Marlins after the 2011 season in Jose Reyes, the Mets were picked to languish at the bottom of the baseball world in 2012.
To everyone's shock, the Mets played very well for the first half of the season, entering the All-Star break six games above .500. However, since then the Mets have shown their true colors. This week's four-game sweep to the pathetic Colorado Rockies (a team with a worse record than the Mets) was the low-point.
Since the All-Star break the Mets are 11-28. Once an MVP candidate, David Wright has hit just .223 with 2 HR and 10 RBI in his last 32 games. Their starting pitching has fallen apart. Their bullpen, which was the major's worst in the first half of the season, has gotten even worse.
Perhaps the most deflating truth that the tortured, hopeless, defeated, abused fan base of the Mets has to face is that the owners truly care less. They have seemingly handcuffed Alderson, whose impeccable credentials are being soiled every minute he languishes under the Wilpons rule.
While they needed to lower payroll and rid themselves of horrific contracts like Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez, they have no plans of opening their checkbook in the near future, no matter who is available.
The Mets under the Wilpons have always been second-rate, but this defeated, lackluster, effortless attitude that permeates through the organization has enraged an already angry fanbase.
David Wright is the face of the franchise right now, and his contract is up come the end of 2013. While the Mets front office should be eager to sign him, why in the world would Wright choose to play for a franchise that has no chance at competing for at least the next decade?
With no prospects on the horizon, an ownership that promises to not go after talented, pricey free agents, and a GM that has watched the game seemingly pass him by, who would want to finish their career with an endless parade of 90-loss seasons?
Other players like Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada, Matt Harvey, R.A. Dickey, Daniel Murphy and any other somewhat-productive players should all question the attitude of the organization in the offseason. No player should be forced to deal with the negligence that the Mets ownership has corrupted this franchise with.
Despite giving up on the franchise, the Wilpons still have the audacity to expect fans to pay their hard-earned money in a recession to support an ownership group that has given a big middle finger to their fans.
Understand this Mets fans: the Wilpons DO NOT care about you. When they were faced with doing the right thing and selling this franchise or turning it into the laughing stock of sports by dropping out of all chances to improve the team, they kept the team. They insist on holding on to a New York franchise and turning it into the Kansas City Royals.
Mets fans can now look forward to a payroll in the lower-third of MLB, something that will make this team unable to field competent major league talent.
It's time for Mets fans to finally show the Wilpons they have had it with their second-rate, second-class existence and REFUSE to support anything Mets-related that the Wilpons run. They have had 32 years to build a consistent winner and repeatedly have made the Mets a punch-line for Yankees fans.
Sadly, the Wilpons will never sell, so the best thing that die-hard fans of the Mets can do is hold a funeral service for their team. Being a true, die-hard fan is one thing. Being a total sucker who falls for lies, deceit and corruption while waving their pom-poms is another thing. The difference is easy to see when you are faced with the attitude and behavior of owners like the Wilpons.
While the future for the Islanders is still up in the air, their fan base can hold on to a slight hope that once and IF their situation with where they will end up is settled, they can start to add some final pieces to a prospect group that currently ranks seventh best in the NHL (HockeysFuture.com). The Mets faithful has no such future.