October 01, 2007

Monumental Collapse Complete

From Ed Ryan At Mets Fever (Network Member):

Well at least when the Mets do something it's done with a flare that leaves it's mark on the record books of Major League Baseball.

The 1969 Mets were the "Miracle Mets" coming out of nowhere to win the World Series, the expansion team in 1962 had been a perennial last place team. In 1973 Tug McGraw coined the phase "You Gotta Believe" as the Mets came back to make their second World Series appearance. The rest of the "70"s and early "80" were miserable.

In the 80s the team was lead to it's second World Series title by Hall of Fame hopefuls Daryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden. But that team was looked upon as a potential dynasty and only made it to the series once, along with a heart breaking loss in 1988 to the Dodgers in the NLCS, before being dismantled. The rebuilding period during the "90"s was marked with some of the worst losing seasons since the early years.

In the late 90's an overachieving team saw it's share of heart ache; "98" losing a one game playoff, "99" losing to the Braves and "00" making it to the World Series only to lose to the Yankees.

So after another prolonged losing team ( 01-04), along came an exciting new general manager who was going to shake things up and build a winner. In 05 progress could be seen as the team improved by 12 games and while they weren't playoff caliber, it was clear that they were well on their way.

In "06" it all came together, a team of destiny winning 97 games and clearly the best in the National league. But something happened to avert their destiny in game seven of the NLCS, a weak hitting catcher somehow hit a home run in the ninth inning off a very good set-up man and suddenly all the excitement of a magical season was gone. Mets fans were once again left with another brutal loss and only two WS pennants to look at....

In "07" the same nucleus of players returned but just like after "86" it just wasn't the same. All season was a struggle, the luster and magic was gone. But somehow, all season this team fought off the competition and remained in first place. As if they had to one up, past Mets teams this group not only out did past organizational failures they outdid the entire league and now hold the record for the biggest collapse in the history of the league. The Mets fell two wins short of making the playoffs, they lost the lead on third to last day of the season. And if that wasn't enough they found away to tie the Phillies only to lose on the last day of the season with their ace on the mound while playing the last place team. The Mets had a 7.5 lead with 17 games to play against very weak competition and then a 3 game lead with only seven to go, but just couldn't find away to win....

There were whispers after "06" that the team underachieved and choked against the Cardinals, but those grumbling were dismissed because of how far they had come in so little time. But now the team has clearly stepped back and the way they played down the stretch was utterly disappointing. They clearly underachieved and choked down the stretch. The pitching collapsed, the defense played tight resulting in horrible errors and the bats fell quiet.

There are lots of fingers to point; Did the Wilpon's once again tighten their purse strings...Did Omar misjudge his talent, including over value his prospects and underestimate the market...Was Willie's managerial style and decisions at fault for costing games and failing to motivate/get the most out of his players......Is the collapse of the pen and rotation the fault of Peterson.......Or does all this fall back on the players; whether you feel they just weren't as good as last year, they got complacent or just as everything fell in place last year it fell out of place this year.......

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

well put ed...well put