Oct 04

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #162; A sadness about the day.

In each of the past two seasons, the Mets faced their season finale with hope and a definable tension. The Mets would either extend their season or see it end in a frustrating ball of fire. They flamed out both in 2007 and 2008 to suddenly face the winter.

There’s none of that today.

This afternoon at Citi Field comes the official death of a season long since dead. It is a parent or relative who succumbs after a long illness. There’s almost a sense of relief at the death, that most of the grieving has been done and it is time to for a new chapter.

The end of a sports season marks a passage of time, and like many passages there’s a sadness because it represents unfulfilled dreams and the leaving behind of something special. There’s nothing quite as sad as the death of dream.

MANUEL: He didn't inspire.

MANUEL: He didn't inspire.


Despite how each of the last two seasons ended, there was hope and optimism this spring in Port St. Lucie. This was Jerry Manuel’s first full season as Mets manager and with it a return of hope this summer would be different.

There was attention paid to fundamentals, which was to provide a security blanket that even if there would be no power the team would somehow score, and with their pitching that would be enough. Surgery was to have healed John Maine’s aching shoulder and Mike Pelfrey would continue his progress.

Most importantly from a pitching perspective, the bullpen, the Achilles heal the past two years, was fixed and was to be stronger with Francisco Rodriguez than it ever was with Billy Wagner.

PELFREY: He took a step back.

PELFREY: He took a step back.


Offensively, Carlos Delgado was back hitting home runs and Daniel Murphy was to be the answer in left field. David Wright and Jose Reyes, the homegrown part of the core, were to get better. Carlos Beltran would simply produce as usual.

The Mets entered the season with a chip on their collective shoulders after Cole Hamel’s choke comments. Yes, this was to be a turnaround season for the Mets, and it was going to unfold in a brand new home.

It didn’t happen that way.

The seasons of Maine, Pelfrey and Oliver Perez were a combination of ineffectiveness and injury, and injury also caused the unraveling of the bullpen. Bobby Parnell was good and bad in a variety of roles, and it remains to be seen whether his psyche is a permanent casualty. Rodriguez was not as good as advertised, and those who accepted his signing with caution were unfortunately rewarded in perhaps being right. We do not know how healthy he is and who doesn’t anticipate unsettling offseason news?

Of all the injuries, losing Reyes was the most harmful as it took away the team’s offensive catalyst. What should have been a few days on the bench turned into a lost season. It’s still not over for Reyes as he faces surgery and an uncertain recovery program.

WRIGHT: Was off before the beaning.

WRIGHT: Was off before the beaning.


Beltran and Delgado were lost for large chunks of time, as was Wright’s power stroke in a frustrating twist. Wright was never with us mechanically this season from a run production standpoint, but somehow he managed to hit over .300. He also managed to strike out over 130 times. He faces a long road in trying to become the player he once was. As far as Delgado is concerned, well, we’ll never see him in a Met uniform again.

Unless the Mets hit five home runs today, they will be the only team in the major leagues to hit less than 100 homers this season. And, about those fundamentals that was supposed to keep the team afloat? We didn’t see them and that is a reflection on Manuel.

There have been several crushing defeats this season, with the first being Murphy’s dropped fly ball in Florida that cost Johan Santana a game. It also represented the failure of Murphy as an outfielder. Only after Delgado was injured did Murphy find a defensive home, and even then he was tenuous.

There were others.

Luis Castillo’s return as a productive offensive player was tempered by his poor defense, with the dropped pop-fly at Yankee Stadium the signature loss to this season.

REYES: The injury that hurt most.

REYES: The injury that hurt most.


The Mets also lost a game on Sean Green’s wild pitch in Philadelphia, a sign the bullpen wasn’t quite fixed. There was also the game in which they blew a five-run lead to Pittsburgh and Rodriguez’s disastrous five-run ninth at Washington. Rodriguez blew seven save opportunities, but was forever pitching on the edge. For good measure, twice in one week the Mets lost games on late-inning grand slams.

No, the bullpen is not fixed.

However, to me, the game that summed up the wreck that was the Summer of 2009 was Ryan Church’s failure to touch third base in Los Angeles. Physical errors happen. But, this was a mental thing. Stepping on a base is as simple and fundamental thing a player can do in the sport and the Mets couldn’t even do that right.

All that misery comes to an end this afternoon at Citi Field. The Mets will try to end their season with a sweep with a win. A win in each of the last season finales could have meant October fun. If they get it today, it will be hollow as winter will still come.

Oct 04

About Yesterday ….

Yesterday’s victory over Houston assured the Mets of winning their final series of the season and a winning record at home in their first year of Citi Field. Oh boy!!!!

Pat Misch pitched well again, giving up a run on five hits in five innings before the rains came. He won for the third time this month and is meriting consideration for the fifth starter job next spring. He’s left-handed, which is always a plus. But, remember, before this stretch he was a journeyman.

A 2010 rotation with Misch in it could be interesting, but maybe not in a good way.

After a torrid start, Josh Thole hit the skids, and his triple broke a 1-for-22 slide. It was probably a good thing Thole went into a slump as to not ratchet up the expectations. He does have a presence about him, but it’s premature to say he’s ready.

Sean Green had pitched well lately, but three walks in 1 2/3 innings to force a save situation served as a reminder of his inconsistency this season. So much more was expected of him. The walks, however, brought on Francisco Rodriguez for his 35th save.

Oct 01

Mets to give fans a break on 2010 tickets ….

The Mets sent the following letter to season ticket holders:

“Everyone at the Mets – our Ownership, GM Omar Minaya, Manager Jerry Manuel, the coaches, players, front office and staff – shares your disappointment with the 2009 season. You soon will hear from Ownership and Omar about how we plan to improve the ball club through a combination of player signings, trades, enhanced player development and continued commitment to one of the highest player payrolls in MLB.

“We are currently finalizing our ticket pricing for 2010. Season Ticket prices will be reduced by an average of more than 10 percent, with several seating areas being adjusted by more than 20 percent. Every Season Ticket Holder invoice for 2010 will be less than 2009.”

Well, I would hope so. There was a lot of promise for this season, from the expectations on the field to Citi Field itself, that went unrealized. It was a terribly disappointing season and it wouldn’t be unrealistic to think this might not be a one-year thing, that the Mets are on a downward spiral they won’t be able to pull themselves out of.

What the Mets are doing is thank the public for its support. This is a good gesture, one which should dispel some of the talk of the team being in financial distress because of the Ponzi scam. Let’s face it, if the Mets were really hurting financially they wouldn’t cut prices.

Sep 25

Not right for Wright ….

The games are down to a precious few now. Would have loved for it to be this way with each pitch meaning something instead of being one pitch closer to winter. The Mets are in Florida where they could eliminate the Marlins from contention, then go to Washington next week.

Yup, there will be a lot of fannies in the seats the next six games.

WRIGHT: A frustrating miserable season.

WRIGHT: A frustrating miserable season.


The Mets, who spoke gallantly of their expectations in April, and of turning it around in July, spoke of pride and salvaging their season – maybe even .500 – at the beginning of the month.

They can’t even speak of that now after 23 of their past 31 games.

“It’s obviously been a disappointing season,“ Wright said. “At the end of the year, I’ll try to look back and make some improvements, clear my mind and get ready for next year. But it’s obviously been a grind. There’s no other way to explain it.”

Even Wright, who tries to be as optimistic as possible, said ready for this root canal of a season to end: “There’s not many positives we can take away from this year as a whole. It’s not a learning process dealing with failure. I’m ready after that last out to turn the page and get ready for next year, because this hasn’t been fun for anybody. In fact, it’s been very disappointing.”

I disagree with Wright about this not being a learning process. I’m willing to bet he’ll change his mind about that later.

I would hope so, because of all the Mets, he’s the one who must make the most adjustments to his game. Wright has gone from a .300-30-100 player to one hitting 10 homers with 131 strikeouts.

Wright adjusted his approach to taking everything to the opposite field and being more aggressive earlier in the count. Ironically, whenever Wright had problems in the past he cured them by being cognizant of going the opposite way.

OK, part of it could be Citi Field, but mostly it was Wright letting Citi Field get into his head. He conceded to the park from the outset. Another factor is without Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado in the line-up, pitchers could work around Wright more than in the past. And, without Jose Reyes on the bases, he didn’t have that cumbersome problem of getting a lot of fastballs.

Except that one in the head thrown by Matt Cain.

Wright admits it is still on his mind. Next time you see Wright batting from the center field camera you might notice him bailing a bit or twitching at a breaking ball.

When Wright returned from the disabled list Sept. 1 he spoke of confidence in ending the season strong. He has not, hitting just .235 with only five extra-base hits and 26 strikeouts in 22 games.