I'm one of the most patient Mets fans out there. I watched, or listened to, or followed closely in some way around 160 Mets games last year. I missed the Pirates vs. Mets on June 3 (with Santana pitching) because I was watching a theatre performance, and I probably missed one other game in there somewhere (being on a plane or something). And I never "gave up" on the team and stopped watching.
But this kills me. The you-know-what has hit the fan.
The news that Carlos Beltran has had knee surgery and will be out eight to 12 weeks is one of the worst things that could have happened to the Mets. Beltran will not resume baseball activities until mid-April. What are the implications of this? In maybe mid-to-late May, Beltran will be in March form.
The Mets' slogan for 2010 is "We Believe." All we believe in right now, as fans, is failure.
The turn of the calendar was supposed to signify a fresh start. But the same garbage that we put up with for all of last year has started right back up. The Mets have just seemed utterly incompetent and unable to do anything right.
A friend of mine, a Yankees fan, has argued with me for the past three years that the Mets are in fact the worst team and organization in the majors due to their huge failures relative to their expectations. Three years in a row, they believed themselves to be pennant contenders. And they went choke, choke, bomb.
I've always chalked them up to a variety of factors that have been used as excuses—the starting pitching in 2007, the bullpen in 2008, and the injuries in 2009. And I've also said hey, you could be the Pirates, the Padres, the Orioles, et cetera.
But it's true: The Mets have been the worst team relative to expectations since the start of the 2006 NLCS. They lost in seven games to a team that won 14 fewer games.
Why is this? Top to bottom, the team is just a mess. At the top, you have owners who are arrogant and can't get with the darn program. Their moves signify that they always believe they are "one piece away."
Sure, chalk it up to the situation—you can't fail in this city. But at this point, you've failed three years in a row. So change should happen.
Then there's a GM who is not a good communicator and frankly is not qualified for his job. He could be an assistant. Omar Minaya is just not fit for the administrative side of being a GM. He has always had a great rep for being a "good guy" who can make players feel comfortable. But he's not good from a business standpoint.
The training staff, the PR staff, and everyone involved with the stadium have made decisions that have made fans incredulous. Gaffes with the stadium have basically required screaming from every corner of the Mets fanbase.
For example, displaying Mets logos in their own park. I've heard fans of other teams say of Citi Field that it could be "any team's ballpark." And there is only one New York Mets logo that I can see from my seat in the field. Nice, huh?
And every issue is just handled terribly from a media standpoint. The way the Mets have been spreading their news this offseason—through Mike Francesa. I have a beef with this guy that I won't get into, but it seems like they feed him news in exchange for a "free pass" on their mistakes, refusing to trust the beat reporters or any national reporters who are more credible and more established journalists.
The point is, the Met fan has far too many reasonable grievances that can be aired and have not really been solved. Or it's the fact that there are issues, period, that should not exist.
Beltran may really end up being with the Mets in form in June. But the way this and everything else has been handled, Mets fans will continue to be dissatisfied.
I don't think there's a Met fan in the world who has been truly pleased with the team since October of 2006. It gets worse for other teams, sure. But with the loyalty we Mets fans show, we deserve much better.
And we've honestly already taken some action to voice our displeasure. The stadium may not be close to full next year. Eventually, big changes may come. It may take time. But we can only put our trust in the Wilpons—or not.
This article does not have any solutions or ideas for solutions. It's simply a sample of the problems with the Mets to show that, as an organization, they have a long way to go.
The team can still succeed, but that is proving harder and harder with time. The team the Mets put on the field may in fact be a pretty good one. But "pretty good" is just a pretty good way to disguise the problems.
I just beg that the Mets can have some success this year and alleviate some issues, because as a fan, you get a feeling of supreme discomfort of trying to have pride in a team that is so stained by the issues of the Omar Minaya era.