If the New York Mets 2017 season slips away in April, there will be plenty of blame to go around.
Not all of it is bad luck injury.
Injuries are part of the game and they must be managed. Power pitchers are known to be injured and must be managed and preparation in the event of injury must be complete before the season starts.
1. Playing Veteran Contracts over Consistency
Curtis Granderson, a good guy in the clubhouse, is now last in Major League baseball in batting. He played early on while natural slugger Michael Conforto sat.
We could not bring up Rosario because they would start the contract clock a year early and Mets ownership can charge high prices, but not pay the salaries needed to compete. Collins talked incessantly about his faith in Jose Reyes, meanwhile, those lost games cannot be made up.
You can celebrate all day if you wish, over Reyes getting hits in 3 consecutive games, but as said here, pennants are not won in April, but they can be lost here. The games fallen behind may not be made up.
He leads the Mets in errors but Terry Collins believes in him.
Which would you rather have? Wins, or Terry Collins' calling the FBI to find the real Reyes?
Alejandro de Aza was going to play after Alderson gave him millions, no matter how much he approached batting .100 Alderson mandate. We've already seen what happened when Daniel .400 Murphy refused to yield to Alderson. Collins knows how to keep his job.
These were two spots of 8 position players that were league leading awful, and we will never know what an even AAAA replacement might have done. When WAR goes negative, things must change.
2. Managers who cheer lead rather than lead
Terry Collins believes his job is to allow players to "have fun" and take leadership. He is likely a very nice guy but he is not, nor ever has been, anything more than one to follow Alderson's mandate.
Whether it be Matt Harvey telling him "you will not take me out now" and blowing our post-season, to the utter refusal to hold players accountable for disrespecting the game, it comes down to a lack of leadership.
Cespedes' lack of hustle may have led to his leg injury. In his career, he has been coddled by managers only to have been traded away when they have had enough, but now, he is locked in. Were there really competitive offers for his talented bat but head case disposition? Really?
Did anyone think Terry Collins was going to say,
"Hey, uh, Yo, um. (to entourage) You people translate this properly, ok? I don't want this misunderstood. Tell Yo that I really really like him and think he is a Hall of Fame but you know, sometimes you probably should slide. I know you have a lot of jewelry and make up and pretty colors that you don't want to get, you know, dirty, but, hey, translate this right. Tell him he might be even more appreciated as The Hombre if he would slide. Tell him that, okay?"
Don't hold your breath.
3. Promotions that Feed Extra-field Egos
Who created the monster that Ron Darling threatened when he said, "he's lucky I wasn't there" regarding the dispute between Noah and Mets publicists Jay Horowitz?
Agreed that the elderly should be respected, but Darling was not there and his pontification is nauseating.
Take Jay Horowitz for a start. He may not be the tiny elderly victim Ron wants to protect.
PR has long played up distractions and has exploited young players.
Today, the long hair and nonsense that leads to distraction may come from Horowitz. I do not know, but I do recognize what's used for publicity and a few tickets sold. How many players do the Mets now have who dye their hair, like their mothers, now?
ESPN loves bad behavior which eventually meant the loss of ratings and layoffs as juvenile testosterone wears down, especially when combined with left wing political commentary where everyone and anyone who does not agree is a racist nazi.
It gets old.
It got old for ESPN and now Darling, once who provided some excellent insight, has now taken to giving us faux medical advice and moralizing to justify bad behavior. "This is for you people. When the tendon..." Seriously, Ron? This is for us, as "you people." Do you use the microphone to talk to someone other than the fans that I am not seeing here?
Apparently, his memory of the '86 Mets is strong but he cannot see why no repeat came from a team with an ultra-abundance of talent.
They knew Noah was immature when there was no leadership to reign in Cespedes' 2016 Spring training circus and watched as the kids thought this was everything to emulate. Where was the counsel then?
They knew Noah was starting to get into the social media nonsense.
They promoted the goofy hair and knew this kid could begin to believe the hype about him.
As you pump up kids with dollars in New York City nightlife, the risk continues and all that you can do there is counsel, set strong curfew and get veterans to help set the example. When you do not take strong leadership and instead help promote the circus like behavior, don't be surprised when you get it. The '86 Mets did not have go-to vets to help keep Strawberry and Gooden, two of the most talented players in our history, in check. Granted, it was ultimately the two that were their worst enemies, but teams that recognize that character matters can create a steady winning attitude by:
a. strong management
b. strong coaches
c. strong vets who teach the young players, "you can party later; we have to win now."
What do we have?
"I like the over the top celebration" Darling said. At once he recognized it was "over the top" and then tells us, needlessly, that he likes it.
"Curtis is stuck. He is stuck a little bit." Ron Darling on Curtis Granderson's stunning .129 major league worse average. What is stunning is not that he is more than 100 points below average, is that he has never had his roster spot in jeopardy; while losing 9 of 10: even when Cespedes was not injured.
How long do they linger in the dugout to do their dancing for the cameras?
It is something that ESPN and Scott Boros loves, but it does not always lead to serious, grown up competitive, focused and lasting wining.
Darling and Hernandez have repeatedly praised the lack of hustle from Cespedes. It impacts players and it impacts team hunger and effort. Hernandez even went as far as to blame Neil Walker for Cespedes not sliding. Seriously.
The 2017 New York Mets are in desperate need of leadership.
David Wright is missed more than we may realize.
The lack of leadership has meant a lack of discipline. The playing of contracts over productivity is on Alderson.
If the season has slipped away in the month of April, don't blame injuries alone.