Thursday, October 4, 2012

...And in Summation...

The Mets salvaged the finale of their series in Miami and the finale of their season yesterday with a 4-2 victory, closing out the year with 74 victories and 88 losses. I'd figured they were good for 75 victories at the outset of the season, so they did me one short.

Coming from 77-85 in 2011 and 79-83 in 2010, this doesn't look much like progress. If anything, it's nice grouping, and it's been only good enough for the Mets to be a 4th place team for 4 years in a row, following 3 seasons of winning records and near misses.

The pattern for the Mets has been similar each time; a first half that may take a few weeks to get going, some unexpected performances from upstart players, leading into some spunky success that starts to make everyone believe that maybe the team is capable of something. By the All Star Break, they're right there...And then they come out of the break and lose 25 of 33 and fall out of the race completely, leaving us to spend some lonely nights in an empty Citi Field come September.

This season, in particular, may be the worst of them all, because for some reason, as much as I didn't want to fall for the ruse again, the way the Mets were playing, the way they rallied around each other, and the amount of unexpected things that were happening really made me believe that they were capable of turning a corner of some kind. But, ultimately, the Mets regressed to the mean that I thought they were going to be at the outset: A team with some good players, but mostly role players and retreads that played over their heads for a few months.

Yes, this season was filled with some great individual accomplishments, and yes, this season held some fantastic moments, and yes, this season we even got a No Hitter, something we never thought we'd see. But with a lot of great efforts that amount to a losing team, what makes a year like 2012 any different than, say, 1996?

I really don't know what the Mets are going to look like come next April. I don't know who will stay or who will go, all I can do, all any of us can do is say who we think should stay, or who we want to stay. It's going to hold little bearing on reality. We all know what the team needs, that's not necessarily worth re-hashing, and trying to look at it from an outside-the-box angle of thinking isn't the way to go, because the needs are obvious: Outfield, Bullpen, Catcher, Depth. These needs are so blatantly obvious that they can't not be addressed somehow, and not in an addition-by-subtraction way of managing the team, by—wait for it—taking some risks and spending some money. All remains to be seen. The only thing I really know for sure is that Opening Day 2013 is on Monday, April 1st against the San Diego Padres, and I'll be there to cheer on whoever trots out to the first base line that afternoon.

I know that 2014 is supposed to be the year that the Alderson Administration is really going to have to start being accountable for the state of the team, because that's when the last contracts of the Omar Minaya regime go off the books, namely Jason Bay, Johan Santana and David Wright, the latter of whom will hopefully have a new contract to kick off. Alderson, to this point, has been able to sort of skate by doing the absolute minimum because of the frugality of Funkalicious Freddie and his son Ratso Wilpon, coupled with the team not being good enough to merit actually making substantial additions. But at some point that's not going to be an acceptable excuse anymore. It's barely acceptable now. I keep coming back to the whole "20-something years since we've won a World Series Championship" summation, but that's what we're ultimately after. So, it's now 26 years. I'm really tired of watching the Mets celebrate victories on a DVD box set. I'd like to see one live.

So I've successfully completed this season, after my year hiatus, and I'm glad to have been back. I'll keep things warm around here for the hot stove. Upcoming, we'll have the completion of the 50 Years in Cards series, and maybe some bonuses if the response is good. I'll have a full report card on all the 2012 Mets coming shortly. I may live-blog a Postseason game if I feel so inclined. I'll be keeping up with the 49ers as the NFL season goes on. And I've got a review to write on the Mets 50th Anniversary DVD set. So, thanks everyone for coming out to this corner of the Internet and stick around.

(Here's where there would be a little season highlight reel, but the Mets didn't bother to show one after the game on SNY today, so I got nothing for you. Sorry.)

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