Exactly 50 years after the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants left New York brokenhearted, the New York Mets left their fans in stunned disbelief not seen by New York National League fans since Bobby Thomson hit the shot heard 'round the world off Ralph Branca in 1951, sealing what was both a monumental collapse and comeback in one felt swoop. How fitting they played the Florida Marlins on fan appreciation day at Shea, especially given that now fans of both teams know what it is to have something of great potential taken away from them.
For the first time ever a team leading by seven games this late has blown it. Obviously a good, hot Philadelphia Phillies team did what they had to do and took care of business. However to lose eight home games in a row (Citi Field can't come fast enough) including games to the likes of the cellar dwelling Marlins and Washington Nationals is clearly unacceptable. And from the owner on down there wasn't one voice being publicly adamant about this team whipping itself back into shape. Clearly someone must take the fall.
To their credit, since Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph arrived the Mets have done nothing but win. However if I'm the Mets Rick Peterson and Rickey Henderson have to go and Willie must be allowed to bring in his own coaches. The Mets did hit well with HoJo as hitting coach, but at first base the Mets would do well to bring back fan favorite and former fellow coach with the New York Yankees Lee Mazzilli as the first base coach and as for pitching coach how about another guy Willie and Mets fans know all too fondly, Mel Stottlemyre.
In the off-season Minaya did nothing significant to upgrade the roster. He went from the clutch but oft-injured Cliff Floyd to the clutch but oft-injured Moises Alou in leftfield. Kept Julio Franco who served no purpose because they were tight in their Texas Rangers days. Then instead of retaining Chad Bradford and Darren Oliver who'd pitched brilliantly out of the pen and Heath Bell, he brings back Mr. Steroid Guillermo Mota whom he knew full well would be suspended for 50 games right off the bat and he trades Brian Bannister to the Kansas City Royals where he won 12 games this season for the second coming of Mel Rojas in Ambiorix Burgos.
This all the while knowing he had two 40 something's prone to break down at any second in Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez. Couple that with the fact he had to know Pedro Martinez and Duaner Sanchez would be out until at least August if not later. In addition this might be more the ownership than Omar, but knowing this about the rotation and their troubles at leftfield and second base, they could've gone after a Gil Meche type or the most logical fit for versatility Alfonso Soriano. Finally at the trade deadline they need pitching (and who doesn't these days), especially bullpen help and what do they get? A nice player in Luis Castillo, but certainly not anybody who's going to put you over the top.
Mets fans were left fuming, perhaps it was from frustration of the former New York Yankee managing in their dugout or the former Atlanta Brave pitching on the mound. Perhaps they should've have known better than to have been teased once again. Perhaps they should've just listened to Jimmy Rollins all along, that in fact they were just doomed from the start.