And so it goes. The Mets have played their way out of postseason baseball in 2007.
Today's game was ultimately meaningless. We lost 8-1 to the lowly Marlins. But this defeat is not the reason the Mets season is over.
You have to look beyond today. A study of September gives you a glimpse at our downfall. The Phillies sweeps. The National routs. The Cardinals flying in for a one-game stomp at Shea.
Then consider the whole season...hard to do since it's only a few hours dead. Wright and Delgado's wobbly starts. The June swoon. The incessant injuries. The Mets didn't dominate the NL East this year: they maintained first place until someone finally got hot. Unfortunately, the hot team in our division plays 90 miles south of New York and will be playing meaningful baseball this October.
I've been listening to the FAN and perusing the blogs since the last out tonight. Everyone has an opinion on who to blame for the Mets historic collapse.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I know exactly why the Mets failed so miserably this year. But I am not sharing my scoop tonight. You'll have to wait to know the truth.
For now, lets just recap who the fans and the media are blaming as our long winter of discontent begins:
Willie Randolph. I have been called a Randolph apologist within the virtual halls of Loge13. No question: he mismanaged down the stretch. Especially when it came to the bullpen. Willie also stayed too loyal to guys like LoDuca and Green, granting them starts when they clearly are hurting or slumping. Meanwhile, his young players (Reyes, Milledge) continue to show immaturity on the field and off. Reyes seemed to regress the past two months, not running out balls and hitting everything in the air. The manager needs to take charge in that situation. Does he ultimately take the fall?
Omar Minaya: Hasn't pulled the trigger on a big deal in some time. No slick offseason moves before 2007. No bullpen help secured at the midseason trading deadline, when the relief corp badly needed to be solidified. I was bummed when he let Chad Bradford and Darren Oliver go last year. Mota and Schoenewies were lame substitutes. And who else did he bring in to bolster our bullpen? Lets try Aaron Sele, Ambiorix Burgos, Jason Vargas, Chan Ho Park, etc. If Joe Smith hadn't had such a surprise first half, we might not even have secured second place.
Jose Reyes: His batting average dropped almost 35 points the last eight weeks of the season. He stopped running out ground balls and started running at every opportunity when on base...no matter the situation or who was hitting. His suddenly selfish style of play was reminiscent of our new first base coach Rickey Henderson, who joined the team just before Reyes' second-half spiral. Hmmm.
Tom Glavine: Today's start was terrible. The first time since 1989 that Glavine was knocked out of a game in the first inning. In fact his last three starts were awful. If he could have pitched just one dominant outing in the stretch, things might be different tonight. I switched to the Braves/Astros game on TBS during Sunday's debacle. Those announcers were stunned at Glavine's collapse and called him an old man. Do we need a 42-year-old ace in 2008?
Paul Lo Duca: If there is any disharmony on this team, Lo Duca gets the blame...deservedly or not. His comment to the media in the midsummer that "other guys in the locker room speak English besides me" could have revealed some tension amongst the players. Ron Darling also alluded to some clubhouse issues during his season postmortem today. That stuff is impossible for us outsiders to quantify. But there's no denying that Lo Duca's productivity fell off in 2007. Do we need a 36-year-old catcher with a 42-year-old body in 2008?
Carlos Delgado: 38 HR, 114 RBI's in 2006. 24 HR's and 87 RBI's in 2007. He went from being our cleanup hitter to batting 6th. He broke his hand today too so who knows what shape he's in for 2008.
There's plenty more blame going around within the Metsmophere. I'm done thinking about it for awhile. If there are other folks you'd like to blame, let me know. I'll post the correct answer on who is actually responsible for the 2007 Mets collapse later on this week.
Meanwhile this poll question on the Metsradamus site sums it all up for me:
Describe your thoughts at this moment:
- M***er F***er!