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Not even 24 hours after the final out of the final game of the 2021 New York Mets season, when the misery finally ended, manager Luis Rojas was cut loose…finally put out of his own misery. It is of little surprise, and even less consequence that Rojas didn’t survive this debacle of a season.
And, yes, it was a debacle. The team was brutal. Every player performed well below…WELL below…the expectations. Were the expectations unrealistic? Probably. Most of the expectations were for players who have had less than three years of providing evidence of their expected level of performance. So you have to wonder whether these players are actually CAPABLE of consistent high level performances year in and year out…or are these guys a team of “Super Joe” Charboneaus? Yeah…that’s right…you gotta go look that name up.
I just saw a headline that read “MLB Celebrating the Greatest of All” in regards to the 2021 Major League Baseball All Star Game. Greatest of all? Come on. You’re kidding me.
I also have read in multiple places where fans, especially Mets fans, are claiming, and complaining, that Pete Alonso will have ruined his swing by participating in the Home Run Derby. Again…you’re kidding me.
As for Alonso, and anyone else who participates in a “home run derby,” it is absolutely absurd to think that someone’s swing will be affected. These players sport a swing that is geared to home run derby every game. Launch angles…exit velocity…linear weights…terms in 1971, 50 years ago, were associated with a NASA spacecraft launch are now the science behind hitting a baseball.
And it was 50 years ago, the 1971 All Star Game, that it truly was an exhibition of some of the “greatest of all” in baseball history. In that game, 21 players that went to that game in Detroit made it to the Hall of Fame.
Trade Pete Alonso.
I love the guy. I am a loyal University of Miami Hurricane with deep ties to Hurricanes baseball. And I am a self-proclaimed Gator Hater. So that could put the Kibosh on loving Pete Alonso right there. But I have been able to look past all that Hurricanes vs. Gators rivalry crap enough to truly love and appreciate the guy…as a player and as a person. His hard work and hard-nosed play with passion is a truly welcome vision in a time when most players are brimming with self-entitlement. His engagement with the media and the fans…mature well beyond his years. He is a true darling in every sense of the word.
But let’s face it, the team is constructed poorly. It has been for quite some time. The team has had horrible up the middle defense for years. The Mets best centerfielder – Juan Lagares - has never been able to hit enough to play every day. And while they have tried a number of others who were cast offs from other teams, nobody was able to play well enough to enter the equation as a solution to the centerfield problem.
The Yankees have clinched the division title and have eclipsed the 100-win mark. Good for them. Congratulations. What they have done is amazing this season considering everything they have had to endure. They have survived serious, long-term injuries to key personnel. And regardless of who went down, there was someone to step in.
General Manager Brian Cashman has really done a fantastic job of keeping the team’s resources at maximum capacity, making some great moves to acquire players who played vital roles and made an impact. And with a mere 10 days to go in this season, you have to look at the Mets and wonder why this team couldn’t do the same.
Going into the last 10 games, the last seven of them at home, the Mets still have a chance to capture a wild card berth. They are not out of it. Not mathematically. But common sense dictates that the Mets can’t complete the comeback from an absolutely dreadful first half of the season and finish it off with a playoff spot of their own. And why do I think that? Because for one thing, the very asset that the Mets have that the Yankees DON’T have, is a starting pitching staff, and that staff has been good, sometimes great, but for the most part, inconsistent. And when you dig yourself the kind of hole the Mets dug themselves the first half of the season, you leave yourself no room for error.
In a season where the Mets are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 Miracle Mets, management is actually asking the fans to think more in the line with the 1973 “Ya Gotta Believe” Mets. The problem is that the Mets of 2019 do not resemble either of those teams.
It’s so easy to point to the bullpen as the problem. However, the Mets bullpen is actually not in any more of a state of dysfunction than any other team this year, except for the Yankees. Every team is having bullpen problems. The horrible state of the bullpen is AN issue but not THE issue.
Although the 1973 team was handicapped by injuries to just about every key player on the team and was in last place in August, the reason there was hope for that team was that once the team was again at full strength, the pitching rich team was exceptionally strong up the middle with Jerry Grote behind the plate, Bud Harrelson at short, Felix Millan at second base, and Don Hahn in centerfield. This year’s team falls far short of being strong up the middle, important especially when you build your team around your starting pitching.
Alan Karmin is an award-winning journalist and author. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and spent most of his life growing up in the New Jersey suburbs. Alan's family were avid Brooklyn Dodgers fans and when the Dodgers moved west, the Mets became the team to root for. The Mets have always been a true focal point, Alan even wrote a term paper in high school to analyze what was wrong with the Mets. While at the University of Miami, Alan honed his craft covering the, gulp, Yankees during spring trainings in Fort Lauderdale for a local NBC affiliate, as well as the Associated Press and UPI. He broadcasted baseball games for the University of Miami, and spring training games for the Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos. New York Mets Mania is a forum for Alan to write about his favorite team and for baseball fans to chime in and provide their thoughts and ideas about New York's Amazin' Mets.