Years ago before the advent of the Internet and blogging the perception of the current state of a sports franchise was the matter of banter among co-workers or drinking buddies or families gathered around the radio or TV during the broadcasts. Nowadays the ease with which publishing a blog (though not necessarily running one), commenting on what’s written and the anonymity the Internet provides creates the perfect storm for increasingly heated discussion about every little facet of all things Mets.
Generally there are the people who rely upon what they see to form opinions, the stat-heads who use conventional and advanced metrics to separate the wheat from the chaff, and the people who just form an irrational reaction (positive or negative) about a given player with no basis in empirical or statistic proof to back up said feelings.
Consequently, there are the positive and negative spins you can put on just about any topic related to the Mets. For example:
Glass Half-Full (GHF): “He had a breakout season. He’s the slugger we’ve been needing. It’s a shame we didn’t hand him the first base gig sooner. He’s a lock to repeat his 30/90 season!”
Glass Half-Empty (GHE): “Ike Davis once hit 32 HRs and then what happened to him? Let’s see the guy show he can be at least a .220 hitter against lefties before we order his plaque for Cooperstown. He can’t run a lick and, like Michael Jackson, wears a glove on one of his hands for no apparent reason. He’s a DH for a bad team.”
GHF: “Murph’s the best pure hitter the farm system has produced since David Wright. He’s a doubles machine! He can wake up out of his sleep and get a hit. He’s sneaky fast when it comes to stealing bases. He’s our All-Star second baseman! Extend his contract while you have exclusive negotiating rights to him.”
GHE: “The only thing he’ll ever lead the league in is boneheaded baserunning plays. No wonder no one wants him – he can’t field, he has no power and on a good team he’d be a super utility player like Skip Schumaker. Trade him now for a bag of balls and let someone else pay his inflated salary.”
GHF: “The guy has done nothing but hit at every level. Terry Collins jerked him around, but he came through in August when he started playing regularly. Not only did he handle all the routine plays easily, but had two 6-RBI games last year. He’s tearing it up in the winter leagues and none of the shortstop choices out there have the health and potential to do any better than Flores. Just give the guy a chance!”
GHE: “The Mets are going nowhere fast if they don’t upgrade at shortstop. I mean really, with Murphy and Flores as your DP combo you might as well pencil in 1-2 unearned runs every single game. The guy only hit .240 for his major league career and people are talking about him like he’s the next Derek Jeter.”
GHF: “Wright’s not only the face of the franchise but the face of all of major league baseball. He took a hometown discount to stay here and when he’s healthy he’s the best in the game. He can run, hit and field at stellar levels and that’s why he’s worth every penny he’s being paid.”
GHE: “Wright’s inability to adjust to Citifield and to stay healthy enough to produce demonstrates the folly of long term contracts. Now he’s a financial albatross twice as bad as Jason Bay’s deal that will cripple the franchise into the next decade. Instead of extending his contract, they should have been honest with the fans about their financial limitations, traded him for a boatload of prospects and had money to address other needs.”
GHF: “The man was adjusting to a new league, a new set of pitchers and had to carry the weight of the offense on his back when Wright was obviously hurting. Now that he’s been reunited with his former hitting coach he’ll be back on track and be the kind of 40 HR threat he was for the Yankees for 2 All-Star seasons in the Bronx!”
GHE: “Sandy Alderson went dumpster diving again and hoped to pick up a bargain on a guy coming off an injury plagued year which the Yankees wisely recognized as the beginning of the end. We’re stuck with “Curtis Bay” for another three years for more money per year than it would have cost to get Jose Abreu or Nelson Cruz. All we kept hearing from the Mets is how valuable it was to work the count and not strike out then they get the 195 K/year poster child for whiffing. It’s like taking Bay or Matt Holliday all over again.”
GHF: “At $10.5 million average salary for 2 years, he’s a bargain! He’s a professional hitter and will bridge the gap until Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto are ready. He’s a buddy of David Wright and having him around will make Wright more productive, too. He could also play 1B against tough lefties to give Duda a break.”
GHE: “You gave up your first draft pick for a guy who’s going to be 36 and averaged less than 95 games per season for the past three years? What were you thinking? You don’t build for the future around players in their twilight years no matter how good they once were. Remember Moises Alou? He was great the few weeks per year he could stay on the field, too.”
GHF: “The players love him. They play hard for him. He was given a Triple A roster and expected to compete. Look what he did last year – finished with 79 wins, tied with the Braves for 2nd place. He’s the right man to lead the team into the post-season.”
GHE: “The man is a proven loser. He’s lost in every season. He burns out his bullpen, playing every game like it’s the 7th game of the World Series. He benches younger players (even after great games) in order to give more time to underperforming veterans. He gives countless ABs to people who don’t get it done, somehow thinking they will magically rediscover whatever mojo they once had 300 games ago. He’s on record saying he’s not there to develop players. He doesn’t know how to do the basics like hit and run or set up a rotation play in obvious bunting situations. His idiocy has cost the team at least 6 games each season without even looking into his lineup selections.”
GHF: “The plan is working. The team is on the rise. The pitching staff is the envy of all of baseball. Now that everyone is healthy, it’s going to be just like adding new talent to the roster. He’s cleverly fleeced the Giants, Blue Jays and Pirates in deals for veterans and he’s patiently waiting with his hook in the water to see who bites next.”
GHE: “PAY YOUR PHONE BILL! It’s the only obvious explanation for why you’re unable to get anything done while every club around you is improving its roster. You arrogantly sit and expect people to give you the moon for very average pitchers when the whole world knows you’re desperate to dump them. Ditto Murphy. Why is it that the Braves could move their expiring contracts with ease while you sit there like some kind of pharaoh waiting for people to come crawling to you. Guess what, Sandy? It ain’t happening! Flush 2015 down the drain. It’s wait ‘til next year all over again.”
The truth in most cases is somewhere between these two extreme reactions and there is some validity to each more radical viewpoint. Fortunately for us the games are not played in December, but come April we’ll find out which interpretation is closer to reality. Of course, by then it might be too late but that’s why they put games on the schedule.