Mets Prove That The Little Things Are Just That...Little

Paul SieversAnalyst IMay 28, 2009

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 25: Fernando Martinez #67 of the New York Mets signs autographs before a game against the Baltimore Orioles during spring training at Fort Lauderdale Stadium on February 25, 2009 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

Last night Mets rookie Fernando Martinez failed to run out a pop-up that was dropped by Nationals' Catcher Will Nieves. Had he run hard to first, Fernando would have been safe.

The play was inconsequential as the Mets beat the Nationals 7-4, and moved into first place in the NL East.

Mistakes like the one Martinez made last night are refered to as "rookie mistakes."  Martinez is a rookie, these things happen.

No, this is not the first mental gaffe a Met has had this season. Ryan Church missed third base, Carlos Beltran forgot to slide, and Jose Reyes has been thrown out on the bases six times in non-steal situations. The list of Mets mental errors is longer then it should be.

Radio host after radio host, caller after caller, on WFAN and ESPN Radio will ramble about how the Mets "don't do the little things." I'm not arguing that the Mets are a detail oriented squad or that they can't be infuriating to watch at times, but if the Mets execute so poorly then how are they in first place?

It is because the Mets do all the big things you need to do to win ballgames. Their offense is fourth in the NL in scoring despite all the injuries, the spacious ballpark and base running errors. Their pitchers are fourth in all of baseball in runs against despite a porous defense.

Somebody came up with the term "little things" because they are just that, minute details that may or may not help a team win. Call me crazy, but I'd rather my team ignore small details than not be able to hit and pitch.

Listening to the radio today you would have thought the Mets were a last place team.

My favorite was Michael Kay, the voice of the Yankees, who attributed Martinez's mistake to a lack of leadership. He even went as far as suggesting that Martinez picked up his bad habit while watching the Mets during his stint in the minors.

First, why do we all think we know what goes on in the Mets clubhouse? Why is it assumed that nobody said anything to Martinez after the game?

Second, why are the Mets superstars criticised if they are not in a situation warranting it? Last week everyone was calling Carlos Beltran a bad teammate for saying that a fly ball miscommunication was the fault of Mets left fielder Angel Pagan, even though it was Pagan's fault.

If Derek Jeter called out Robinson Cano over a missed pop-up it would be strong leadership, but when Beltran does it, he's a poor teammate.

Just because the Yankees had success in the late '90s with a group of gritty competitors, who did all the little things doesn't mean that's the reason they won, or that that's the only way to win. Manny Ramirez has two rings for crying out loud. There could be a 20 minute Youtube video of all his mental errors.

As long as the Mets continue to do all the big things necessary to win ballgames, I don't care about the little things.

In fact, I'm rooting for them to go the other way. I want a team that doesn't run out their pop-ups and celebrates home runs in a manner that would make Ocho Cinco blush. I want a team that always misses the cutoff and can never get down a sacrifice bunt. I want a team that makes Steve Phillips combust on national television. I want a team that wins a World Series with out a single player that everyone praises as a  phenomenal leader.

With the 2009 Mets, I just might get my wish.