Oct 03

Mets season ends with disappointment, hope for future

Game #162 vs. Nationals

We’re now done to the final innings, the final pitches of a disappointing season, yet one that ends with some glimmer of hope.

Jerry Manuel spoke of regrets this morning in his final pre-game press conference. He’s been around, he hears the whispers that have become shouts. There will be changes, and therein lies the hope. Maybe the changes will be for the better.

Manuel’s regrets are forcing Jose Reyes in the third slot and rushing players, notably Reyes and Carlos Beltran from injury. I am sure there are other thoughts that will creep into his consciousness in the black of the night this winter.

It’s always that way in every baseball season for every team but one. This year the Mets haven’t been the one as they haven’t been since 1986. There was trepidation for the Mets coming out of spring training, concerns, worries and holes, but during the season there was a turnaround and a flash of hope.

But, the worries and holes resurfaced, along with injuries and poor play and the season faded and then spun out of control and the dreams died.

The Mets will stay home this fall, watching and wondering what might have been. There also will be a time this winter when the thoughts turn to David Wright staring down that pitcher yesterday and saying “enough is enough,” with the high-and-tight fastballs. There will also be thoughts of Mike Pelfrey taking a step forward, of Angel Pagan, or Josh Thole, or RA Dickey and of Ike Davis.

There were things down the stretch that said the situation is not hopeless, that there is reason for hope and perhaps soon a season won’t end in regret.

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Oct 02

Mets down to one more game.

Game #161 vs. Nationals

Do you remember 2007 and 2008 when the season came down to the final weekend and we got wonderful pitching performances from John Maine and Johan Santana? Gems that kept alive the season in those summers of memorable collapses?

Those were the days.

Even if it meant the disappointment of losing the final game, I’d take that kind of finish over the one this year. Citi Field won’t be packed this sunny afternoon. There will be a bite of chill in the air, just like there should be for October baseball, but it won’t mean anything other than Game #161.

Last night was a thriller, with Josh Thole and Ike Davis reminding us there could be an exciting future with the Mets.

But, it will have to wait.

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Sep 30

New Chat Room; Dillon Gee.

Game #159 vs. Brewers

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Nobody knows how the Mets’ rotation will shape up in 2011, but after his strong showings so far, Dillon Gee will get an opportunity in spring training to crack the rotation. He’s given the Mets a chance to win when he starts and with the expectations of the Mets as low as they are, that’s all you can ask for.

As of now, I see Mike Pelfrey, RA Dickey and Jon Niese in the rotation, with my head shaking with wonder about the latter. He’s hit a wall in his development and has a long way to go.

The Mets will be without Carlos Beltran for tonight and the rest of the season, shut down with pain in his right knee. The Mets say there is no more structural damage, but he will be re-examined by the Colorado doctors who operated on him this spring.

Sep 28

New Chat Room; Pelfrey seeks long term deal.

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Game #156 vs. Brewers

Tonight is the first game of the Mets’ final homestand of the year, with Mike Pelfrey starting. It has been a tale of two seasons for Pelfrey, who got off to a 9-1 start, but faltered for July when the Mets began their swoon. Pelfrey has seemingly regained his early-season form, which is a positive sign looking forward in that he was able to correct his mistakes and make adjustments.

Pelfrey, under Mets control until 2014, is arbitration eligible in the offseason and can expect a big raise. Pelfrey said he’d like to avoid the process by signing a long-term extension.

“I would be interested,” Pelfrey said. “They’d have to bring it up, but I’m sure we’ll explore it. I’m definitely open to it.”

Sep 25

New Chat Room; a change in priorities.

Game #154 at Phillies

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Early Saturday evening, first pitch is about a half-hour away. As I switch back-and-forth between a pair of blowouts – Ohio State and Eastern Michigan and Red Sox-Yankees – it dawns on me how the priorities for the Mets have changed.

When they got off to a 4-8 start, it was to not become irrelevant before May. Then when they righted themselves in June, it was to win the division. When they imploded after the All-Star break it was to remain competitive. Then play .500.

Now, with a week to go and five games under that won’t happen. Now, it is not fall 20 games behind the Phillies. Wow! Twenty games behind. It is possible. What a downer that is.