An Opportunity For Fans to Reunite With the Team
The Mets have been showered with boos too many times at Shea Stadium this season and it is has become more and more a difficult place to work if you are a struggling baseball player.
The one thing about New York fans is that when pressed into action, in situations such as a Subway Series, they stand by their team through thick and thin.
This weekend, the Mets play the Yankees four times: an afternoon make-up in the Bronx on Friday afternoon, followed by the three scheduled games at Shea. If you are a New York baseball fan, this is heaven...or hell, however you want to perceive it.
The Mets need a reason for their fans to galvanize and finally back this team. Winning helps, of course, but Met fans are not Yankee fans—they will settle for a feisty performance from their club. That normally would suffice, but in this season of uncertainty the fans want wins. Wins over the Yankees will go a long way to bringing the Mets back into the fans' good graces.
Jerry Manuel has vowed to get this team back in the race. So far, he's had to jumpstart them several times only to have them die on the side of the road again. His determination may not help some veterans whose skills have eroded, such as Carlos Delgado and Luis Castillo, but it has had a positive effect on the team overall.
Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, and others have responded to Manuel's frank approach and are stepping up their game. Ryan Church is on his way back. Omar Minaya is searching for players that will not be complacent. Last week, he picked up Trot Nixon. This week, Andy Phillips. That could mean the end for some veterans that have not performed up to snuff thus far.
The pitching staff has also been put on notice.
Sunday's starter, Oliver Perez, who has been awful in most of his starts, may just be pitching for his Met career. Manuel is not going to stand for gutless, five-inning beatings any longer.
The staff knows that the definition of quality start under the new regime has changed. Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen will ask the starters to go deeper into games. No more coddling.
The Mets could just win the fans back by knocking the Yankees around, too. But I never count on that. Just give us the best you got. We'll do the rest.