September 21, 2007
Meanwhile, On The Other Side Of Town...
From Jeff Passan -
The New York Mets are like a Jenga tower right now, fragile and teetering, everyone waiting for it to crumble, and poised to scream, bellow and cackle when it does.
If the Mets do collapse -- if they really, truly do blow their seven-game division lead they held on Sept. 12 -- it will register as one of baseball's all-time great accordion jobs, and not just because they're from New York.
To see a team with immense talent play like bums is harrowing. The Mets blew another inexplicable game Thursday night, ceding a three-run ninth-inning lead in an 8-7 extra-innings loss at Florida. It was the Mets' sixth loss in seven games, and Philadelphia's 7-6 comeback win against Washington propelled them to 1 1/2 games behind the Mets in the National League East standings.
Closer Billy Wagner was the latest denizen of the Mets' training room, missing the game with back spasms and forcing manager Willie Randolph to rely on a patchwork bullpen that behaved as such. Afterward, Wagner said all he could do was "wish and hope and pray" for his return.
The rest of Queens wishes, hopes and prays for a pulse. The entire borough is quivering with fear, which makes Mike and the Mad Dog's lives a lot easier and gives the tabloid headline writers a chance to earn their paychecks.
This is how scapegoats are built, and this year Randolph has assumed that mantel. All of a sudden, now that the Mets are losing, his lack of fire is in question.
Man, you have to feel sorry for Willow. Randolph is a big part of Yankees history. Only ten players have appeared in games for the team more times than Willie. He won two rings with the Yankees as a player (in 1977 and 1978) and won a ring with the team four more times as a coach (in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000).
I wish for him to see better days soon - unless he's facing the Yankees, of course.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at September 21, 2007 09:11 AM
As Michael Vick would say, I don't have a dog in this fight but...the level of hysteria surrounding the Mets' collapse is a true sign that people really don't pay attention. After all, when you're 50-51 in your last 101 games, I don't think it's a given that the Mets ever had "immense talent" on their roster, notwithstanding the overall lack of immense talent throughout the National League. They're under .500 for two-thirds of the season. This is not a sudden collapse. More like a regression to the mean.
Johnny beat me to it.
The Mets are not loaded with immense talent. David Wright is a great young player (though he needs to be become a better fielder) and Wagner has been pretty good this year, but otherwise this team doesn't have much. Reyes has been in an awful second-half slump, Delgado has been bad all year and is hurt now, Beltran disappears all the time, Glavine is totally unpredictable, the wheels finally came off the vastly overrated John Maine, Perez is turning back into the Oliver Perez who can't throw a strike, and their bullpen is simply atrocious (Mota isn't effective off of steroids and Sosa has been terrible and Willie overuses him; outside of Heilman and Wagner they don't have anyone you can depend on to get an out).
So, like Johnny said, people should have seen this coming. Anyone who said the Mets were the class of the NL wasn't paying attention.
On the bright side for the Mets is that the Phils' bullpen is even worse than the Mets'.
Two rings as a player. 1977 & 1978.
I thought about that driving to the Stadium today. My bad - I'll fix it now. That did seem odd when I wrote it.
I was going off his post-season stats - and he missed the '78 post-season, IIRC.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at September 22, 2007 02:01 AM