— Days Without Shea —

by Kingman on May 27 at 7:56AM
For Mets fans, the big question of 2008 is this: who will last longer, Shea Stadium or Willie Randolph?

According to the Loge13 Doomsday clock, Shea Stadium has 124 more days left in its natural life. Our blessed shrine will get a reprieve if the Mets make the post season, [I will wait for the laughter to subside]

What we don't know is how many days are left ticking on the Willie clock. And where is that darned clock? In Omar's office? Fred's? Jeff's? Who's in charge anyway?

I have avoided posting much about Willie lately here on Loge13. I enjoyed the notoriety of being the only Mets blog alive that hadn't written on the subject and frankly, blogging is boring when you write about what everyone else is saying.

And what is there to say? Randolph is a bad field manager. Anyone who has sat next to Ron Hunt in Loge13 has heard this said many times since 2005. And the problems go way beyond Willie. Anyone who watched last night's 7-3 embarrassment can see the issues on the field. Delgado's listless approach to the game. Castillo's hobbled hitting. The Pelfrey Experiment (A.K.A. the 7th pitcher in a 5-man rotation). Anyone who thinks Jerry Manuel or Lee Mazilli (or Gary Carter) can fix this may not be thinking through all the issues.

But as I pondered the Mets this weekend while on vacation, things started to get more clear. And the bizarre press conference Monday afternoon brought it home. Omar gathered the media and Willie in one room to once again give the Met manager a tepid endorsement. He's our guy, Omar said, but with enough loopholes that the average person could come away convinced Willie is NOT our guy. How is that fair to the  manager? What kind of message does that send to the destructive forces in the clubhouse? Omar could have said, "Willie is our guy. And if these players don't start showing some life, some leadership, some passion on the field, they are gone." But he didn't. He could have said, "Willie has until the All Star Break. Then we will re-evaluate." He didn't. Omar took no stand, and just let a problem that has dragged out for over a week/month/year continue to drag out.

And so I say: what has happened to this organization? The answer lies out beyond the outfield walls, hovering like a UFO from the planet Shopping Mall. Citi Field is what has happened to this organization. Management is too engrossed in next year that they have let this year slide. And along the way, they have forgotten how to deal effectively and benevolently with employees and fans. Show Willie support or don't. Praise your players when they perform and take them to task when they don't. Even Hank Jr. knows that (and by the way, The Spankees have just won 5 of 6). Our owners? They refuse to take their manager's call, making sure the press knows about this multi-time zone silent treatment. Nice.

And this lack of consideration is being applied to the folks in the stands too. It is now May 27. Partial season ticket holders at Shea Stadium STILL don't have any hopes for tickets in Citi Field. Yankee partial season ticket holders are picking out their seats. How does that show any respect to fans who have given their financial and moral support to the Mets for decades? Despite the state of the Mets, I'll be at Shea tomorrow night and I'd be in the stands next year if allowed. But that's not how this team operates. This operation prefers to let everyone dangle. And that's the problem.

As for who holds the Willie clock? The answer is: Willie. And it's set to June 3: the day Pedro is scheduled to return. Martinez has the gift of leadership, of cutting through clubhouse politics with his bonhomie and his mini-me's.If Pedro can't turn this team around, no one can.

[May 27, 2008 1:59 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

I think this is the lowest point in Mets history. In all my years I've never seen the club in as poor a standing with the media and fans. I blame the Wilpons! Willie, who I am not a fan of, deserves better treatment. This all started when they had a press conference after last season to announce that he was returning, with two years on his contract and they had the balls to have Willie attend the conference, just like yesterday. Why was he there? Does Omar wear Teflons sports jackets? Let's get this train back on track - release Delgado, bench Jose for enough time for him to realize how lazy he is playing, trade Beltran (as if anyone would take him - unless we absorb half his blotted contract). I can accept the many losing years we've had, we knew we were going to stink. But this is a new low, our clubhouse has become a country club. No one is afraid of losing their jobs, which is never good in sports. Think that with all that's going on that's negative, there have been no changes in the lineup or roster! What other club would remain pat in this situation?

[May 28, 2008 5:07 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Bobster said

Ron, I understand your disappointment, but the lowest point in Mets history? That began the day in 1977 when they dumped Seaver and continued until the Payson family sold the team. Remember those night games when they closed the entire upper deck? The Triple A roster impersonating as a major league team? All those last-place finishes? Shea was falling apart for lack of maintenance, and there was no brand-new ballpark beyond the outfield fence about to open. Now, those were truly depressing days (especially since the Yankees were kicking ass up in the Bronx.) What we have now is discouraging, but it can be salvaged. Back in '77-'78-'79 there truly was no hope.

[May 28, 2008 11:31 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

Bobster, while I agree there was no hope from 1977 and on (I still remember calling Sportsphone on 6/15/77 from the Flagship diner on Queens Blvd to hear about the Seaver trade) the fallout from the M.Donald Grant / Dick Young / Seaver thing was coming for sometime. And the subsequent down years as least lead to the selling of the team, but we knew the team was going to stink.

We all had high expectations this year and not only are they playing poorly but between the clubhouse friction, the self inflicted wounds from teammates and the manager, and the lack of leadership from the players, front office and ownership, I think this is a new low. And I don't see it getting better. Pedro may be our only hope.

[May 29, 2008 12:07 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Bobster said

It's a long, long season, Ron. We're not even halfway done yet. Remember 1973!

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