In researching Today in Mets History, I didn’t discover much besides Al Weis’ homer, but odds are there will be nothing more significant than tonight’s response to last night’s 11-1 embarrassment at Wrigley Field.
For the second straight game, a sloppy big inning did them in, but overall, they committed three errors, had their bullpen torched, watched Jon Niese struggle again, didn’t hit, and for good measure, had Jason Bay injure his right calf.
Bay isn’t expected to play tonight, assuming weather allows the game to get it. Maybe not playing will be a good thing for the Mets as it will give them another day to stew over owner Fred Wilpon’s comments. Wilpon, guarded for so long, called out his three best players and termed the Mets a “crappy” team, only with vulgarity.
Manager Terry Collins insisted Wilpon’s comments and the swirling controversy about payroll and who will or will not get traded had no bearing on last night. Perhaps they didn’t, but there’s no way if this continues that it won’t have an accumulative effect.
It’s interesting, and funny, how some radio call-in hosts and bloggers call this a media created sideshow. First of all, Wilpon’s financial health IS the most significant story about the 2011 Mets as it dictates the future direction of the franchise. And, what Wilpon said is the direct outcome of the stress from his financial pressure.
Anything this owner says or does surrounding the financial health of his team is a story.
It cannot be a healthy thing for a team as it possibly awaits being blown up within the next two months. It is easy to say the players just need to focus on doing their jobs, but believe me that’s a lot easier said than done. Not knowing is always difficult and stressful, and that creates a poison that can’t help but permeate a clubhouse.
Perhaps for Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes it might be as they know they’ll be gone soon. For the others, the hard part will be knowing they could stay and be part of a long, and cheap, rebuilding process.
For so long we were told once Oliver Perez’s contract and others – Beltran, Luis Castillo and Francisco Rodriguez – were off the books, the Mets would be able to rebuild in the free-agent market this coming winter. That won’t be the case as Wilpon said payroll will be slashed. Also, who knows what the free-agent landscape will be when the CBA expires in December?
There is so much uncertainty and negativity surrounding these Mets that anything positive on the field will seem like a respite. Maybe something good will happen tonight.