The New York Mets Should Heed George Costanza

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The New York Mets Should Heed George Costanza
(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Mets owner Fred Wilpon figuratively gave fans everywhere the finger with this recent comment: “Am I going to bring Omar back next year? Absolutely. That’s a fact.”

Then it was Omar Minaya’s turn to flip the fans the bird: “Jerry is my guy.  We work well together.”

Meanwhile, on the field, Jerry Manuel called for a hit-and-run in the bottom of the ninth, down by two, no outs and two strikes on Jeff Francoeur, which led to a game-ending unassisted triple play. 

The last time that happened was 1927, when the Tigers did it to the Indians.  The only reason the Mets weren’t involved was because they didn’t exist yet.  And the only surprising thing about the game-ending play yesterday was that it took until the end of August for it to happen to the them.

Every decision the Mets make, on and off the field, is wrong.  So here’s what they should do: Pull a George Costanza.  What Jerry Seinfeld told his friend could easily apply to the Mets: “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” 

The only chance the Mets have to turn the franchise around is to do the opposite of everything they normally would do.

The Bernie Madoff situation is hanging over the organization like a black cloud, and that has to be influencing Wilpon’s decision to keep his front office intact (though he could, of course, change his mind when October rolls around).  But Wilpon and other decision-makers almost always hire a GM from within the organization and almost always hire the wrong people, whether it’s the manger (Art Howe), VP of Player of Player Development (Tony Bernazard) or the owner’s own son.

Keeping Minaya around would be doing the same old thing. 

Instead, do the opposite! 

Hire some fresh blood, somebody who has no ties to the Mets.  You almost always get it wrong, Fred, so try something new.  And if Wilpon’s instinct is to celebrate his childhood team, the Brooklyn Dodgers, instead of his own team, he needs to rein himself in. Don’t do it.  It’s the Mets you own, not the Dodgers.

Minaya’s instinct is to acquire over-the-hill players hoping for that one last magical season.  And when they break down and end up on the DL, it’s really no surprise to everyone except him. 

The Mets, over the years, have also been fascinated with the guy who holds much potential but can’t put it all together (Oliver Perez, Victor Zambrano), and when they never put it all together, it’s not much of a surprise, either, except to them.  It’s time to go against that instinct. 

Again, do the opposite! 

Instead of going after a Perez type, get a consistent performer like John Lackey or Jason Bay (though will the Mets spend any money this offseason?).

On the field, the players’ instinct also seems to prevent them from hustling, making sound fundamental decisions and plays, even not touching or covering bases. 

Do the opposite!

If dropping pop-ups because you didn’t use two hands or standing at home plate watching a pop-up in fair territory be dropped by the catcher who then easily throws you out at first hasn’t worked, do the reverse. It has to work. Because what they’ve been doing surely hasn’t.

And if your instinct of putting Oliver Perez on the pitcher’s mound has always backfired, do the opposite, and keep him off the damn field.

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