Mets Facing a Very Long Season

Vinny MadioCorrespondent IApril 23, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 19:  Daniel Murphy #28 of the New York Mets at bat against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field on April 19, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

The Inaugural season at Citi Field is starting to become a very long one for the Amazings.  The New York Mets are now 6-8 and on the verge of getting swept in St Louis

Not much is going right for the Mets, but a lot is going wrong.  The on the field problems just keep adding up, but the main problem has to do with the ballpark.  800 million dollars for a New York Met Stadium, and they honor Jackie Robinson?

Now don't get me wrong, Jackie Robinson was a tremendous player and did a lot for baseball and this country. 

I understand that the Mets were the new National league New York team, representing the Dodgers and Giants of the past. 

But with the new stadium opening up, it was time for the Mets to make a face for themselves and become their own ball club.  Instead, the first thing you see when entering Citi Field, is a memorial to Jackie Robinson.

The Mets aren't a historic franchise, but still have memories that Met fans would love to see, and still have favorite players that Met fans would love to see recognized.  It was time to make it known that blue and orange colors mean the New York Mets. 

Instead, with Citi Field resembling Ebbets Field, and the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, the Mets are looking like the only history they want remembered is the ones that come from the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Where is the Mets hall of fame?  Where is the rotunda showing Gil Hodges or Tom Seaver?  Where is the great hall showing the Mets championship teams (the surprising 1969 Mets and the crazy 1986 Mets)? 

It might not be much, but for us Met fans, that's our team’s history.  And it should be in the new ballpark. 

The Dodgers and Giants play out West, so now New York belongs to the Mets and, of course, the Yankees.  But forget Yankee stadium, they did everything right over in the Bronx, except for naming it Coors Field East but that's for another time.

Personally, I love the shiny new apple, the black and orange backstop, the height of the left field wall, and that in right field its pretty much impossible to see where the ball will bounce.  The dimensions are huge, but that's still awesome.  It proves you have to really be a man to hit a home run in Citi Field. 

I can live with all that, I love all that, but green seats?  Blue, orange, even black would make sense, but green?  The Mets, nor Dodgers or Giants have green in their colors, so why make that the colors of our seats?  Why not make it blue or orange and show off a little Met pride?

But that’s enough of Citi Field. While it is an amazing ballpark, it needs a little more Met pride in it. 

On to the real problems; the team. 

Where is the swagger and cockiness this team played with two years ago?  I know the past two seasons have been heartbreakers, but doesn't mean they can start fresh.  Why can't they believe in themselves, and start acting like they came to the ballpark to win and not just there because their contract says so?

This team just has no spunk to them besides Santana, K-rod and Jose Reyes—but only when he's hitting.  The rest of the guys seem very lazy.  Whether in the field, or on the bases, the Mets do not play smart baseball.  They are not fundamentally sound and are one of the worst defensive teams in the league.  A lot of it has to do with the left fielder, Daniel Murphy.

I like the kid, I think he can be a pure hitter, and believe he can help this team.  But he needs to relax on the batting practice, and maybe shag a couple of extra fly balls, and start learning how to approach one hit in his direction. 

He also needs to learn how to set himself up to make a strong throw, whether to the cut off man or to nailing a runner at a base.  He hasn't improved at all, and that will just continue to hurt the Mets defense.  If he can improve, then having his bat in the lineup will make a big difference.

We all know Johan Santana expects more mistakes out of Murphy, because he already has singled him out once and that’s okay.  Santana is the leader on this team and should open his mouth to everyone fairly. 

Santana has certainly done his job, but the rest of the pitching staff hasn't.  Pelfrey has tendonitis, Perez has a mental problem, and Maine just can't find a grove.  Livan Hernandez has been strong, but you know he won't, and can't, keep it up the whole season.  There is a reason the Mets were the only team that wanted him.

The Mets need their starting pitching to be a lot better in order save the bullpen. JJ Putz and K-rod are great, but the rest of the bullpen is still unproven.  So going to that bullpen early four out of every five games could be very dangerous as this season goes on.

Just as important as the bullpen, is the Mets bench.  Fernando Tatis won the Comeback Player of the Year Award last season, and now has something like ten at bats in the season.  Ten at bats in a season? This guy was one of the better hitters last year and now can't find a spot in the lineup because Gary Sheffield deserves more at bats?  Sheffield has one home run, and of course it was his 500th of his career, but still, he hasn't proved that he can still hit yet.

Tatis needs to be the guy who fills in for Ryan Church and Murphy.  He earned it last year, and until Sheffield starts hitting the ball and showing he still has it, or Tatis shows that last year was just a fluke, the only guys that should be subs in the outfield are Tatis for offensive purposes, and Reed for defensive.  Gary Sheffield should be the one getting the pinch hits, and the every two weeks start.  He hasn't earned anything else in my opinion.

Next and lastly, clutch hitting.  The Mets have none at all.  Whoever comes up, whether Church, Murphy, Delgado, Beltran or Wright, they can't get it done.  Especially David Wright, the Mets poster boy.  Met fans want to compare him to Jeter, but we have all seen Jeter do it in the big time, and do it often.  Jeter might not be the only reason the Yankees won four titles, but he is definitely one of the biggest reasons.

Wright needs to step up. The numbers at the end of the year will be there:  30 HR, .300 average and 100 RBI, and those stats do look pretty, but will they come in the clutch spots?  Did he come through, or did he strike out looking once again?  Is he going to be a Jeter type but with more offensive production, or is he going to be a stat guy, and have the numbers, but no clutch hits?  Just like another particular superstar third basemen in New York. And we all know Wright does not want that sort of negative publicity surrounding him.


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