I think that, instead of sitting down and trying to make some sort of explanation for why his team played like a group of morons for close to 4 hours late last night, Jerry Manuel probably should have sat down for his postgame press conference and said only one thing:
"You're welcome, Joe."
Then, he should have got up and walked away. That's all that needs to be said after the Mets quite literally handed the game to the Dodgers.
I've made some brief references to the fact that the Mets have this rather annoying habit of playing like complete idiots every so often (this particularly seems to come in the last few weeks of the season), but last night, they took this problem to a startling new height.
It's fortunate, I suppose, that this was an extra-inning game on the West Coast. At least most Mets fans were spared the misery of actually watching (or listening) to this disaster unfold. I had the poor fortune of listening to the game on the radio, and you could see this ending coming a mile away. As soon as Ryan Church got called out for missing 3rd base, in a move that has to be considered vapor-lock of the highest and most inexcusable order, you knew that this game was done, the Mets were fucked, and it was only a matter of time before the Dodgers pushed across the winning run. At least they made it quick.
It's one thing to say that the Mets are banged up. And missing a pair of key players and their top sub from their starting lineup doesn't help. But, simply abandoning the fundamentals of baseball just makes matters worse. I'm not sure who, exactly made the 5 errors that occurred in last night's game. I know that Beltran got one because Pagan stupidly didn't pull up on a fly ball, and another one went to Jeremy Reed for his inability to simply throw a strike home to Castro. But nothing is an excuse for Ryan Church, who I figured to be a key player for the Mets this season. The Mets, as an organization, seem to have an unwritten MO with their players: If they like you, they'll hype you to death. But if they don't like you, they will bury you, and take every opportunity to do so. I don't know how or why, but Church is headed down that path. He didn't help himself by slumping after a quick start, but rather than let him work out his problems, Church got pushed into a 5-man shuffle. But nothing is an excuse for missing 3rd base in the 11th inning, when your run means taking the lead. I'd guess he's getting taken to task for it today, and, let's face it, he deserves it.
This game was so disgusting to listen to, I couldn't even fall asleep afterwards. Howie Rose said it best after the game, while doing a commercial for Wendy's. "If you still have an appetite after this game." That about sums it all up. What the hell kind of team is this, that can look brilliant for a week and beat the tar out of the Giants, then go out there and play like a bad reincarnation of the '62 Mets? Where do they go from here?