Posted at 8:30 PM on October 2, 2007
by Chris Dall
Well, now that I've had a day to digest "The Collapse" and all its repercussions, I feel like I'm ready to address it. There was a moment late Sunday where I thought that maybe people wouldn't make such a big deal out it, but clearly I was wrong. The Mets have become the punchline to a thousand different jokes.
Even after the dust settles and the laughter fades, what happened to the 2007 Mets will be debated for years to come, and everyone will have their theory. I'll stick by my earlier post and lay most of the blame on the bullpen, with a special acknowledgement to the starters, especially a certain Hall-of-Fame pitcher who failed to show up in two of his team's biggest games. Here's all you need to know about how bad Met pitching was over the last two weeks of the season. In 6 games against the Washington Nationals, the team that scored the fewest runs in the National League, Met pitchers gave up 57 runs.
Of course, a collapse like this one has to involve other factors, and here are some other numbers that tell part of the story: .214/.290/.348. Those are the numbers that Jose Reyes, "The Most Exciting Player in Baseball," put up in September, a month where he seemed to forget that putting the ball on the ground is the best way for him to get on base . His three popups in Sunday's loss to the Marlins pretty much summed it all up.
Then there's the issue of the manager, Willie Randolph. While Willie doesn't deserve all the blame, he does have to bear some responsibility. He used relievers like Guillermo Mota and Jorge Sosa way too much, even after it became clear they couldn't get anyone out. And fair or not, his inability to impart on his players a sense of urgency over the last two weeks has to count against him. They shouldn't have needed anyone to do that for them, but clearly that's what fans expect from managers, and Randolph didn't deliver.
And let's not forget GM Omar Minaya, who saddled his manager with a pitching staff of 6-inning starters and no middle relief and failed to bring in reinforcements at mid-season. He deserves a slice of blame pie, too.
I prefer to chalk up some of the debacle to more cosmic forces. Maybe it was some kind of Karmic payback for 1986. I mean, really, Mets fans had to know that would come back to haunt them eventually, didn't they? Or maybe it was the ghost of William Shea, angry that the team will moving into a fancy new corporate-named, luxury box-laden "ballpark" in 2009. Or perhaps it was the curse of Anna Benson, who was banished to Baltimore with husband Kris after appearing in this get-up at Mets Christmas party.
Whatever the cause, it's going to take me and other Met fans a long time to get over this one.
I feel your pain. I grew up a Mets fan. Being just old enough to appreciate the 1969 Miracle. I remember 1973 and the "glory years" of the late '70s and early '80s. I moved to Minnesota for good in the early spring of 1986.
Like most people who follow the Mets I remember where I was the afternoon/evening of Game 6 of the NLCS. This might not be payback for '86 but it with the Cubs in there it feels more like payback for 1969. 8^)
Trivia Question: Besides the longest (I think) game in playoff history, the 1986 NLCS was notable for something else. What was it? (a Sesame Street hint: This question is brought to you by the letter M and the number 33.)