I can’t help but feeling terrible when thinking about the New York Mets this season. R.A. Dickey (18-5, 2.68 ERA) is in the midst of one of the most impressive years in recent baseball memory, and it doesn’t even matter.
There’s a lack of passion in Queens that has now reached nearly every player on the New York Mets, and the fans have most certainly taken notice. The Mets are falling apart under Terry Collins and there’s nothing that anyone has been able to do to prevent it.
“Terry's doing a good job," a Mets official said according to Jon Heyman.
What in the world is he talking about?
The Mets have been so unreasonably pathetic this year that it has become painful to watch the team. What’s even more of a tragedy is that the Mets perform the worst at home (30-41, second-worst in NL) and fans have stopped showing up to games.
Matters have been especially bad after the All-Star break.
In the second half of the season, the Mets have won a total of only four (out of 25) games at Citi Field, to help the Mets fall to 12 games below .500 on the year. The Braves have outstaged them and won more games at Citi Field this half, with five wins. The Washington Nationals have won six.
The fans simply don’t care about the team, and who can blame them? The announced home crowd on the anniversary of September 11 was 22,596. The night before that, it was 21,923. Don’t believe it? Just look at this photograph of the crowd at Citi Field just 10 minutes before the first pitch. The place, with a capacity to hold 45,000 cheering fans, is an absolute ghost town.
Citi Field is being littered with more fans of the opposing team than that of their own, and you can’t blame them. Who would want to watch a team that went 0-6 during a homestead two different times in the second half of the season so far? Who would pay to see a team that went a whopping 110 innings at home without a single multi-run inning?
It has become infuriating. Who would want to watch a team that is the most inept at multi-run ninth innings since 1909? Or even bother turning on the television for a team that hit .199 over the most recent 11 games?
It seems bad. It’s worse. This is one of the worst halves of baseball in New York Mets history.
“The Mets are 19-38 since the All-Star Break,” explains Rubin, noting that the franchise has been historically bad this season. “They’ve only had three seasons in club history in which they’ve finished with a post-All-Star winning percentage lower than their current .333. They were in 1962 (17-61, .218), 1963 (22-56, .282) and 1965 (21-56, .273).”
If you're trying to watch winning baseball, turn off the television. This team certainly isn’t going anywhere good.
How could the New York Mets possibly feel that Terry Collins is doing a “good job” by any definition of what a good job can be? This may be the single worst half in Mets history and for the franchise to not notice that is foolish. The Mets have regained their spot as a laughing stock and Collins isn’t making matters any better at all.
Mets legend Bob Ojeda was much more accurate when he said that he’s watched the Mets “roll over like a beached whale” in the second half of the last four seasons. New York sports radio personality Mike Francesca was much more explicit, even saying that if he were the manager, he would “jump off the roof” if it were his team.
Ojeda and Francesca have every right to be upset. There’s a wholehearted lack of anything that is substantial going on in Queens.
I’m upset too. As a sports fan from Los Angeles, it has been very hard to watch what the Dodgers did financially and pretend as if I wasn’t jealous of my friends supporting the local club. The Dodgers aren’t performing much better, but the initiative has been shown. Magic Johnson and Co. have been determined to turn that team into one of winners. The Mets are sitting in a dark corner somewhere, politely waving a white flag, masked behind someone else’s shadow.
In a recent study by Bloomberg Business Week, they compiled a ranking of the smartest spenders in sports. Of the 122 teams in the mainstream American sports franchises, the Mets were ranked a pitiful No. 120 with regards to the amount that teams spent per win, adjusted to average salary per league and with weighted postseason victories.
Why would David Wright want to stay on a team with such lowly morale and performance? What would make him not want to leave in the exact same way that Jose Reyes just did?
What’s worse is that the Cy Young season that R.A. Dickey is having is going to be overshadowed and perhaps even discredited in offseason awards because of how remarkably hopeless his team has been all year long. Why not give the award to Gio Gonzalez, who is putting up similar numbers to Dickey, but on a team that could win 100 games this year?
After the incredible efforts that Dickey has put into his personal life (climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, the release of his book, global philanthropic efforts that won him the Branch Rickey humanitarian award and signing off on a deal for three different children’s books), no one else has managed to match even a fraction of the efforts that he has put into the team.
It actually hurts to be a New York Mets fan right now.
For a long time, it hurt so much that I didn’t even know what to say. I was too scared to watch games. I was too scared to check ESPN box scores. I was even too scared to check Adam Rubin’s Twitter. I knew how awful it was to be a fan of the New York Mets. I didn’t need any more confirmation. Clearly, the New York Mets have a lot of work to do.
What are we, as Mets fans, to do? Some will leave. Some will stop watching. Some will even forget about this year. Dickey may not go on to win the Cy Young Award, and for all we know, Wright could be on his way out as we speak. Citi Field may be empty and sports media may continue to attack the franchise.
The true fans, however, will stay on board for next year. After all, even in 1979, the lowly Mets were 63-99 and only six years away from their next World Series title.