Inferiority Complex

All of us at the Mets are bitterly disappointed in failing to achieve our collective goal of building upon last year’s success,” Wilpon said in the statement. “We did not meet our organization’s expectations — or those of our fans’".

If there was ever any doubt that the Mets’ ownership feels like their team is the bastard stepchild of the City of New York, yesterday’s official statement by Jeff Wilpon, the Spalding Smails of Queens, should seal the deal.  A three paragraph ramble about the team’s commitment to the fans? Check.  A promise to assess the disastrous results of an historic failure?  Check.  No mention of the future of any of the organization’s key players?  Check.  Blowhardism?  Check.  Wilpon’s statement is an attempt to placate an angry fan-base and it echoes George Steinbrenner’s more recent Rubenstein-concocted missives (the ones that have become hollow threats, backed up by nothing more than a predictable inaction). At the same time, it lacks the succinctness (three paragraphs to say "sorry, it was Omar and Willie’s fault"?) and the sense of internalized disappointment with which King George (and Prince Howard) saturate their press releases.  It’s a bland copy.  It has no style whatsoever, and is an attempt at gravitas that has no status or credibility.  In its mimicry, Wilpon threatens nobody and everybody (just like Steinbrenner!), and in the end this signals that nothing is going to happen (just like Steinbrenner, as of late).  Greater accountability, and all that.  Have fun in ’08, Mets fans.

If the Mets and Jeff Wilpon want to show the fans they understand what went wrong, that they understand baseball in the least, they should cease with the canned statements and fire Omar Minaya pronto, find someone who understands pitching.   Forget pleasing the fans, or apologizing, or reaffirming that the team wants to win (duh!), they should make a baseball move, not a PR move.  Fire the GM.  And don’t let the Owner’s son ("I want a hamburger, and a cheeseburger, and a milkshake") hire the new one, either.

24 comments… add one
  • I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY disagree with this. After that ending, the Mets need to make a public statement. But snap decisions of firings are totally unwarranted. I’m kind of a Minaya fan, even if the Mets staff was something of a house of cards. I appreciate what he’s doing, and until the last week, it had been pretty succesful.

    YF October 2, 2007, 10:04 am
  • I don’t want to sound like a Johnny-come-lately, but seeing as we don’t comment much on the Mets here I am under no delusions. But I don’t like Minaya as a GM at all. His pitching decisions (and inaction at the deadline) were atrocious. The “house of cards” metaphor you use is 100% spot on, YF. I’ve been saying this to some Mets fans friends for weeks now, if not at this site then off-line. Minaya, not Willie, should be held accountable. But moreso it is Jeff Wilpon who should be held accountable. The Mets, it seems to me, are a sexual harassment suit from becoming the Knicks.
    And as for official statements, I understand that the team can’t remain silent, but three paragraphs to say “we’re sad, we understand the fans are sad, we will do whatever we can to win next year”? Come on. There are statements and there are wannabe-Yankee statements. This was the latter.

    SF October 2, 2007, 10:11 am
  • I don’t think Willie is to blame either. Minaya needs to go. He couldn’t have possibly thought that the pitching staff he put together could be good enough to win a WS.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 10:18 am
  • Look. I can’t stand the Mets. But the Mets are a LOOOOOOONG way from Knicks territory. They’re not even in the universe. The Knicks are in their own insane universe of through-the-looking-glass wackness. EVERYTHING about that franchise, except maybe 2 players, is a complete disaster. The Mets had the best record in the NL for most of the year. They’ve got some fantastic young talent. They’ve been a feel-good story all season, until this month. They’ve been doing really positive things in the community. No team, except maybe the Angels, has been so proactively attentive to its Latino fan base. I appreciate that. I think Minaya has a plan. Putting together a pitching staff is no easy task, no matter your budget, and let’s remember that he poached Billy Beane’s prized brain in Patterson. As a team, the Mets are VERY attentive to the new baseball math. I think Minaya’s doing the right things. He’s a NY kid. A minority hire. No GM is perfect. He’s definitely in the top tier. Firing him….I just can’t see doing that.

    YF October 2, 2007, 10:25 am
  • As much as I love willy, I think he needs to shoulder some of the blame on this one. Im not sure how but he needed to get more out of his guys down the stretch. Maybe by resting them more or somehow lighting a fire under their asses. But him and his staff have to be somewhat accountable for a collapse of such epic proportions.

    Sam-YF October 2, 2007, 10:29 am
  • You make a lot of good points, YF. I understand the sentiment. But if there is “accountability” (and maybe there is, but not in a “if you fail you get fired” kind of way), then Minaya is the man to hold accountable. And Rick Peterson, I suppose. And Wilpon. But not Randolph, who was handed a bum squad of arms and rode them as far as he could.
    Minaya’s inaction with the staff was abominable. This wasn’t Theo Epstein seeing a non-contender at the deadline last year and refusing to deal his prized youngsters, this was a GM with a reasonable contender in first place saying “we’re good with what we’ve got, we can win with everything we’ve got from the inside” and being 100% wrong. That’s a pretty colossal error in judgment, and he should have to answer for that.

    SF October 2, 2007, 10:30 am
  • I don’t think Minaya’s done that great a job either, but I also don’t know that he should be fired so quickly. He’s definitely improved the team.
    I hate the Mets and will root for whatever hurts them more. So I think they should rehire Steve Phillips!

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 10:31 am
  • He has improved the team for sure, but that pitching staff was built to win the NL and that’s about it. Even if they did squeak into the playoffs, where were they going with that pitching? He is the GM of a big market team, a team that spends a lot of money, his staff should be better. (And Yes I know all about Colorados staff and I know the Cardinals won the WS with one legit SP, but you can’t build your team with that in mind)

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 10:38 am
  • Obviously, being accountable is crucial. We’ve learned that so critically with our completely inept and narrow-minded president.
    Everyone makes mistakes. Theo’s made some whoppers. Cashman’s made some whoppers. Every GM makes mistakes. I think baseball fans need to understand that baseball is too unpredictable for anyone NOT to make mistakes occassionally, and to realize that smart people learn from their errors. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s inevitable.

    YF October 2, 2007, 10:39 am
  • Really, the Yankees weren’t too far — gien some bad breaks — from having the Mets rotation. Forty percent of it — Pavano and Igawa — washed out, and Wang has been the only starter that’s been consistently good all season. Pettitte was rocked in the first half, but Mussina was solid. That reversed in the second half, while Clemens came in and was not as good as advertised.
    If Kennedy or Hughes had tanked, or if Pettitte hadn’t rebounded, the Yankees’ staff would be closer to the Mets’, which is to say I guess that pitching is indeed a hard beast to tame, even for the best GMs (whom Cashman is certainly among).

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 10:43 am
  • I dunno, Paul. Glavine is old. Pedro was recovering from surgery. Perez is a reclamation project. Maine was unproven. El Duque is about to be eligible for AARP. The bullpen rested on Wagner and a bunch of retreads (Jorge Sosa, Scot Schoenweis, etc.). This was not a good staff, whatever the accomplishments of the first half, and it was a staff built to fail in the second half as fatigue set in. This was totally predictable, if the end result, complete, utter collapse was not. The pitching squad received no help in the second half, other than the Pedro return, which frankly was more of a taxation to the bullpen than anything else, since Pedro could NOT go more than a few innings due to his health.
    Minaya misunderestimated everything about this pitching staff. He mistakenly thought they were built for 173+ games, he mistakenly thought the internal help would suffice, and he mistakenly thought the bats would pick up the weaker arms. He botched this one. He’s clearly coming back next year, but that should be it for him, if he doesn’t “learn from his mistakes”. It’s one thing to make defensible moves that fail. I can live with that. It’s taking an indefensible stance (the Mets standing pat in the second half) and having that blow up which makes me wonder if he’s up to the task.

    SF October 2, 2007, 10:51 am
  • Paul-
    I wouldnt say that Andy was “rocked” in the first half. His ERA was 4.25 and his 4-6 record reflects mainly alot of blown saves by the pen. However, he was most certainly rocked in the month of July. His April and May numbers were actually quite good.

    Sam-YF October 2, 2007, 10:52 am
  • The Phillies made the playoffs with very suspect pitching. The team with the best pitching, the Padres missed the playoffs. The Mets just blew it. They had a team that could have put away the division and they did not. That is not Minaya’s fault. He has done a great job. The bullpen was awful during September.

    Seth October 2, 2007, 10:57 am
  • “Really, the Yankees weren’t too far — given some bad breaks — from having the Mets rotation.”
    Could have said the same thing for most rotations in the game, even the Sox. What if Beckett didn’t bounce back and he posted a 5.01 ERA like he did in ’06? Sounds a lot like the same thing the Yankees were counting on Pettitte to do. What if Daisuke didn’t pan out a la Igawa? What if age had finally caught up to Schilling like it had Mussina?
    Both teams also knew that if things didn’t pan out they had some young guns to call on. The Sox with Lester and Clay, the Yankees with Hughes and Kennedy.
    Sounds similar to me.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 11:06 am
  • The job that Minaya has done so far with the Mets has impressed me for the most part. After all, he converted Kris Benson into John Maine and Orlando Hernandez. He converted Xavier Nady into Oliver Perez. As others have said, building a pitching staff is the most difficult thing to do for a GM. Until this season, Minaya had done what Theo and Cashman have had a difficult time achieving: making a front line bullpen. I’d say that MInaya was completely being reasonable when he decided not to trade Lastings Milledge to the Nats for Cordero, or when he resisted trading for Gagne (he would only accelerated the collapse!). It was bad luck–a collapse with basically one or two historical analogues–one that would have been hard to anticipate.

    Nick-YF October 2, 2007, 11:08 am
  • And the Mets relied on Humber and Pelfrey, despite the fact that Pelfrey was terrible early in the season and Humber hadn’t proven anything. Add that to the 40-somethings of Glavine and El Duque, and the recuperating Pedro and aging Wagner, the underachieving Heilman, the mediocre Sosa and Mota, and you had a recipe for disaster. The Mets’ staff, unlike the Yanks and Sox, was a true “house of cards”.

    SF October 2, 2007, 11:10 am
  • Wakefield must have been “Rocked” also since his 1st half ERA was 4.39. His second half ERA was 5.25, I can’t think of a word for that…help?
    Daisuke’s 2nd half ERA was 5.19.
    Schilling’s 1st half ERA was 4.20

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 11:12 am
  • Mets pitching was a house of cards but besides the Padres, Dodgers (maybe Cubs though Zambrano is an enigma), what team did not have the same question marks in the NL. Would it have been worth it to go after Dontrelle? Would Zito’s 4.5 ERA been the difference? The bullpen collapsed at the worst possible time. My guess it Wagner was hurt, they did sit him for a few days at one point. Heilman’s numbers were great not sure how he underachieved.

    Seth October 2, 2007, 11:36 am
  • I think you’re knowingly misconstruing the gist of my comment, Trisk, so I’m not going to bother defending it. You got my point, and didn’t disagree with it.

    Paul SF October 2, 2007, 11:40 am
  • I don’t disagree with the thrust of this post; the Mets most definitely DO suffer from an inferiority complex. But I don’t see that necessarily in that press release. It seems bland to the point of not even being worth commenting on, so I’m sort of confused by why it was.
    But I definitely disagree with the conclusion of this post. Blame Omar? Of course. I blame Omar and Willie to differing degrees, but I blame the players more. This was a capable team. They may not have been as good as their April-May record, but they certainly weren’t as bad as their September record. It was an unfortunate confluence of talent, effort and luck.
    But seriously, fire Omar? As a Sox fan, maybe you aren’t as familiar with the Mets history of general managers, but I am. I’ve been a Mets fan a long time, and Omar is the best GM we’ve had in my lifetime. I expect Omar to live this out and learn from it.
    I doubt the team will show immediate improvement if Omar were fired, and I’d be afraid the vacuum created by his ouster would suck in someone who used to be involved with the Pirates organization. There are fates worse than death, you know.

    FenSheaParkway October 2, 2007, 12:09 pm
  • Not only did Pedro not go deep, he needed an extra day’s rest, and (obviously) given that they lost by one game, those few starts..

    Lar October 2, 2007, 12:14 pm
  • Good points, FSP.

    SF October 2, 2007, 12:18 pm
  • “I think you’re knowingly misconstruing the gist of my comment, Trisk, so I’m not going to bother defending it. You got my point, and didn’t disagree with it.”
    Your point was basically irrelevant, Paul – you never resist the urge to take potshots at the yanks. You don’t seem to realize that Trisk IS disagreeing with you…

    Andrews October 2, 2007, 1:50 pm
  • Congratulations to the Sox for a good season and for winning the East. Now how about being a gracious winner?
    And can we admit now that pessimism about your own team during t
    the season was just that – pessimism not punditry?

    Anonymous October 3, 2007, 7:37 am

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