It’s all about creating a good last impression for the New York Mets.
With six games remaining in what turned out to be an unusual season, there’s not enough time for a player to change the impressions of manager Terry Collins and GM Sandy Alderson.
However, that doesn’t mean there’s something they can’t learn – and it begins with attitude. Anybody can play hard when the team is winning, but there’s something to be said for playing hard through the grind.
It sounds like a cliché, but I believe it. Vince Lombardi said: “Winning isn’t a sometime thing, it’s an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time.’’
Collins buys into that thinking, and wants to see it from his players.
“Well, we’ve got some young guys,’’ Collins told reporters during the Atlanta series. “If they pack it in, you won’t see them again. That’s why it’s nice this time of year to bring those young guys up, because they add a lot of energy to the team.
“And our veteran guys, they’re great guys. There’s never been a question of how hard they’re going to play. We’ll finish it up. We’ll finish it up strong.’’
Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt den Dekker and Travis d’Arnaud are among that group of young players figuring into the Mets’ plans. For the most part, the Mets run out ground balls and pop-ups.
To see them dog it this week would be a disappointment, especially since there are jobs to be won next season, namely shortstop – although it is believed it is Flores’ to lose – left field and in the bullpen.
Personal, statistical goals could be reached this week, such as Daniel Murphy hitting .300, Lucas Duda getting 30 homers, Jenrry Mejia reaching 30 saves and Bartolo Colon pitching 200 innings.
Collectively, they are four games under .500 and a half-game behind Atlanta for second. The last time they did either was in 2008. Both are possible, but to finish at .500 they must run the table, which includes sweeping the Nationals in a three-game series at Washington.
Stranger things have happened.
There’s playing out the string and going through the motions, and there is a strong finishing kick. It is always better to go into winter on a positive note than to limp home.