Mets’ nightmare comes true ….

The worst case scenario for Mets’ fans of a World Series between their two greatest rivals – the Yankees and Phillies – has reached fruition.

The Mets were left eating the dust of both, and they don’t appear to be in position to challenge either any time soon.

New York City, which some have argued is a National League town, belongs totally to the Yankees, who are in their 40th World Series seeking their 27th championship. Four World Series; two titles for the Mets.

YANKEES: Always the Mets' yardstick.

YANKEES: Always the Mets' yardstick.

The National League, for the second straight season, is owned by Philadelphia, seeking to become the first repeat champion since the Yankees, 1998-2000.

Many fans I speak to say they won’t watch, saying they don’t know whom to hate more. Selfishly, that’s not good news for me and the blog. Hopefully, the “baseball fan” in them will tune in.

However, the Mets and their fans, instead of lamenting their closed window, which slammed shut after a second straight September collapse in 2008, should step back and learn from their two tormentors.

The Mets, and probably nobody else, will match the October success the Yankees built over the last century. So what? What’s important is now.

Both teams opened new stadiums this summer, but the Yankees brought with them a revamped and retooled team. The Yankees took care of multiple needs last winter and added power in Mark Teixeira and pitching in CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. The Mets, also having multiple needs, but addressed only the bullpen with the belief things will get better with a veteran closer.

Rarely does it work that way, as building one area of a team doesn’t address the other voids. Watch, win or lose over the next week, the Yankees will address their team aggressively in the offseason. They know they don’t have enough starting pitching; they know there are bullpen questions; the outfield is an issue with the possible departures of Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon.

The difference between the Yankees and Mets is that the team in the Bronx has a mission statement every season of WINNING the World Series. Getting there is not enough. And, please, let’s not hear about the Yankees’ unlimited resources. The Mets’ payroll is also formidable, but their approach is not nearly as aggressive.

PHILLIES: The team to beat.

PHILLIES: The team to beat.

As for the Phillies, they’ve also been more aggressive in filling holes than the Mets. The Phillies have a home grown core (Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins) as do the Mets (David Wright and Jose Reyes), but Philadelphia has been superior in filling its holes (Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Cliff Lee).

The Phillies will not stand still, even should they repeat. Unlike the Mets, the Phillies have the minor league resources to package should they decide to pursue Roy Halladay. The Yankees, of course, have always been known to be willing to part with minor league talent to win immediately.

Compounding the Mets’ dilemma with the Phillies, is that they aren’t their only competition in the National League East. Both Florida and Atlanta improved this season to overtake the Mets.

Both the Phillies and Mets, from the front office to the dugout, have a mindset beyond that of the Mets’ thinking, which gives the appearance of settling to become competitive.

The Mets had a good year at the gate, drawing 3.1 million (averaging 38,000), which was seventh in the majors (the Yankees and Phillies finished 2-3). However, rave reviews for Citi Field aren’t what’s important in the big picture. To keep drawing, and even increasing attendance is dependent on the quality of the product on the field.

Eventually, Citi Field will stop becoming a fan magnet, which is what happened in Baltimore and Cleveland when the Orioles and Indians hit the skids. Citi Field is too expensive, and New York City offers so many other diversions, for fans to keep coming out of curiosity.

Right now, Mets’ fans should only be curious about one thing: What is their team going to do to close the gap on the Phillies and Yankees?

26 thoughts on “Mets’ nightmare comes true ….

  1. The only part of the nightmare is that The Corporation, the other team in town that buys the services of mercenaries to populate its roster, is once again in the World Series.
    I have absolutely no problem cheering for the Phillies in this Series. In fact, I will do so enthusiastically.
    I can’t hate the Phillies for beating our beloved Mets fair and square for the last three seasons.
    In fact, I admire what they’ve accomplished and how they built their team. How can we Mets fans not admire how the Phillies built their team, when they dusted off the Mets old book from 1980?
    In the Phils’ case, a much lower-profile GM, Ruben Amaro Jr. built a top-notch farm system that yielded Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, J.A. Happ, Ryan Madson and Carlos Ruiz.
    The GM then added pieces that other clubs waived and no one else wanted, like Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino, who made themselves into All-Stars.
    Amaro traded for a former All-Star whose team gave up on him — Brad Lidge — who, given a change of scenery and an opportunity, regained his confidence and form. Amaro also dealt valuable minor league chips he stockpiled to land quality pitchers like Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton and Cliff Lee.
    For good measure, Amaro even signed a former legend that the Mets decided they no longer wanted — Pedro Martinez.
    For the Mets, the philosophy resulted in a World Series title and pennant in ’86, division titles in ’86 and ’88 and, if the Wild Card format had existed then, four additional playoff appearances in ’84, ’85, ’87 and ’90.
    Wonder whatever happened to that old Mets philiosophy?
    Where did it disappear to?
    Most importantly, who’s responsible for eliminating the philosophy and why hasn’t he been fired?

  2. That does bring out an interesting point (at least to me), I wonder how different this town and Met fans would be if the Wild Card existed in the 80s. We could have been a team with 6 playoff appearances in 7 years and may have had a couple more WS rings to show for it as well.

    It is hard to root for the Phillies because they are the team we should have been.

  3. The thing the Phillies have is a strong foundation built when they hired Pat Gillick as general manager. Gillick already had a strong record of success in Seattle, Baltimore, and Toronto. Do the Wilpons, Wilpon/Doubleday or the Paysons EVER do anything obvious like that..hire someone who knows what they are doing with a track record? maybe in the early 1980s when they hired Frank Cashen on the recommendation of various people in mlb. But after that is “Gee, our current GM is a flop. Who should we hire? I know, the assistant to this flop”. Don’t we already hear whispers about John Rizzo taking over?
    Maybe he will know what he’s doing but I doubt it.

    So Wednesday night I have the choice of watching Yanks vs Phillies or going to NCVMC to listen to a place 60% full of Rangers fans cheer their team over our current inept Islanders. Where did things go so horribly wrong?

  4. Interesting how you compare the Phils to us.

    They have 4 homegrown talents while we have half that. I read something where their GM liked the character of their players and considered that a strength of the team.

    You are right about the Yanks vs. us, however in addition to going out and getting 3 quality free agents, they started from a better base.

    Omar has been here 5 years and yet we have many problems on the team and a widely recognized terrible minor league system.

    Half a decade of incompetence should be enough reason to fire him.

    Personally, I will not be paying much attention to the WS, just as I have ignored it for much of its recent past.

  5. John,

    If you are right about the Yankees offseason activities we will not be getting a quality player to patrol LF next year.


  6. dave (4/5): Comparisons don’t always translate to similarities. …. Some are reporting Matt Holliday, which would be a desirable upgrade, but I am going under the impression the Mets’ splash move, if they make one, will be for pitching.-JD

  7. I won’t root for the Phils for a couple of reasons.
    1. They are the division rival.
    2. They are a bunch of hypocrites.

    Yes, the Yankees spend money. There is no rule against that.
    Yes, their fans (at least a portion of the base) are annoying &#*(%&*’s.

    But they usually do not talk trash about the Mets. And they are in the other league, hence, not an overrding concern.

    The Phillies on the other hand rail against the “antics” of the Mets, yet do many of the same things. See Shane Victorino standing on home plate for several seconds and glaring at the Met dugout. See Victorino stick his hand in the air after hitting a home run.
    But the Mets show some emotion, and they are bad.

    Rollins talks smack about the Mets at their WS parade/celebration. Why? Your team just won the WS.
    Rollins getting slobbered over as a “leader”. The same guy who has been benched in the past for, among other things, lack of hustle and arriving late to a game (against the mets btw).

    The Phils are suddenly this gritty team, but it was only a couple of years ago when people, including their own fans, questioned their toughness.

    What that proves is winning = grit.

    Who to root for?
    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
    The larger enemy are the Phillies.

    I shall not root for the Phillies.
    I won’t overtly root for the yanks, but I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed if they swept the phils.

  8. Ed (9): Very well said. … Really, when you come down to it, the competition that really matters is against the Phillies. … Those thinking it is the Yankees acknowledge interleague play. Since I don’t, I believe the Mets’ real rivalry is with Philadelphia. …. They play the Yankees six times a year.-JD

  9. Delcos and Ed. The rivlary with the Phils is a fan rivalry and it rotates as different teams ae good at the same time. Late 60’s Cubs/Mets; 80’s Cards late 90s early 200s the Braves then the Phils in 07 on. The rivalry that matters however is Yanks/ Mets. Every average fan that says I’m going to Yankee Stadium instead of citydumpfield next year and every average fan who watches YES instead of SNY, or buys their kid a Jeter jersey and not a Wright jersey will be the fans that matter. Take away some bucks from the Wilpons and they’ll suddenly feel a need for change in the GM office and change in the scouting etc.
    So go Yankees, Win big and get the average guy to spend all their bucks on you until the Wilpons decide to run an organization that wins.

  10. Harry – well, the avg fan probably can’t afford NYS.

    And those fans that go to the Yanks, well, they join a long line of bandwagon jumpers. Many a “Yankee Fan” wouldn’t know Mike Pagliarulo from Mell Hall.

    And taking $ away from the Wiplons will only lead to them cutting salary, which will lead to more uncompetitive teams, like the late 70’s. I don’t think anyone wants that.

    The problem is the way the $ is being spent. Too many times large sums are given to borderline guys, or even small amounts that if put to someone else, could have made a difference. For example, Lowe. Maybe the money spent on Alex Cora and Corey Sullivan could have been put to better use to sign Lowe. No way Cora needed to be paid that much. And Sullivan was extra, they had enough other 5th OF’s.
    Even Castillo. $6 m per for 4 yrs? No one was giving him that.
    Omar spends. Omar just doesn’t spend “wisely”.

  11. Harry (11): Do you really believe the Yankees and the Mets compete for the NY sports dollar? My feeling is you’re either a Met fan or Yankee fan, and you’ll spend accordingly. I’m not sure how many fans are on the fence and are persuaded by how the teams do each other.-JD

  12. If Omar says he is being descriminated against by the ownership we will get a change in GM’s. Obviously he isn’t getting fired because of his stellar performance.

    The baseball rivalry is Flushing vs Philadelphia.

    The emotional rivalry is with the Yankees because we all live and work here. Very few Philly fans walking the corridors of manhattan or the boroughs.

  13. John(16)

    Harry is right. Most fans are casual fans. They root for the winning team. Whoever is winning will get the kids to root for them. Girls will root for whichever color they prefer, which in this case will not be the blue and orange.

  14. “What can the Mets do to close the gap between them and the Yankees?”

    They can tell Jeff Wilpon to make a deal with the cable companies – like Cox – that he has refused to deal with and therefore is still denying many area fans coverage of the Mets games on their ‘vanity channel’ SNY.

    The Yankees have blanketed the area with YES game coverage and other related programming, but the Mets are either too cash-poor, or simply not interested in who is able to receive TV coverage of their games.

    They are losing an entire generation of Mets kids who can’t see ‘their team’ on TV – is that a smart business practice?

    I think not.

  15. 19 Funny you mention the TV disconnect, Annie. One of the reasons I fell for the Mets as a kid back in the day was their being on Ch. 9 far, far more than the Yankees were on Ch. 11.
    Still remember “Bowling For Dollars” preceding the Mets weeknight telecasts and on the weekends having to painfully endure episodes of “The Bowery Boys” before the Mets telecasts would start.
    Remember the Schaefer beer jingle? The White Owl cigar commercials with Paul Lynde snickering, “we’re gonna get’cha”? How ’bout Dave Kingman’s short-lived commercials for United Airlines?

  16. Gil (20) Believe me it has been a pain not to be able to see the Mets games – however, I was a child of radio under the pillow at nights, listening to baseball, so I am very much used to it. Howie, Wayne and Eddie are very good, and I can work off their work, but oh, how I envy the Dodger fans with Vin Scully every night.
    PS – I can always get a Yankees game on YES and that should spur the Mets Management on to have coverage everywhere -or they will continue to lose fans to the Yankees, just because of the TV factor.

  17. 12. It doesn’tmatter if the fan heard of Pagliarullo, horace Clarke or Elio Chacon. That fan won’t buy a Met shirt or watch sNY or go to a Met game now. But he will go to a Yankee game, watch YES and buy his kid a Jeter jersey, and where do you think that same guy would spend his money if the Mets won 100+ and the Yankees won 70. And where do you think coprporations will spend their $$ for season tickets? On Met games that their clients will pass on or Yankee games that the client will drool over? Wilpon doesn’t care about a fan like you. He owns you because you are addicted to the team, no matter what. He cares about you if you are addicted but stop spending your money when the team is bad or stop watching, and he cares about you if you are a fair weather fan. Unfortunately, unlike the Yankees, he doesn’t care until he feels some pain in the bank account.
    17. dave the baseball rivalry is non-existent. One more bad year and Philly turns all its attention to to whomever they think is their main challenger. And the Mets will have no rivalry just like it was in all the other down times.
    13. Thank Annie.
    16. Yes Delcos, If you were in NY in 69 or 85-88 you would have seen a city owned by the Mets. Those folks didn’t all move or die. They switched back and forth and back and forth.

  18. Harry (23): Actually, I spent a lot of time in NY during both periods. I recall how the city was for the Mets because they were winning. … Both teams have their die-hards, and you’re right, there are a lot of frontrunners.-JD

  19. (20) The best part of “Bowling for Dollars” was when Bob Murphy would casually slip the acronym — “BFD” — into conversation with the contestants. Big, big howls around the TV in our living room.

  20. (3) “Our current inept Islanders.”

    I’m confused by the need for the word “current” here.