September 24, 2010
As the regular season winds down, 22 teams are facing an offseason filled with golf rounds and hot-stove strategery.
Meanwhile, the fans of those squads are looking at the prospect of spending the winter without the warmth of a postseason appearance. In an attempt to bring some closure between franchise and follower, we're asking a blogger from each team to write a cathartic missive to their disappointing 2010 lineups.
Up next are Greg Prince and Jason Fry from Faith and Fear in Flushing. Both got a little excited after the Mets' first half, only to see their dreams dashed in the second.
Dear New York Mets,
It's not you. It's us.
We shouldn't have laid such heavy expectations on you. We see that now. When you showed us first place and said that someday you could see us living there, we got carried away. We said we wanted to take our relationship to the next level. You tried to tell us you weren't ready for that kind of commitment, but we wouldn't listen. We admit we grew overly smitten a little too soon by the possibilities we saw in you. We got ahead of ourselves — we understand that now.
But you have to admit that for a little while there, we had something special, you and us. Spring was in bloom and so was our fling. Then it really heated up as summer arrived. It looked for sure that it would just keep getting hotter and heavier between us.
Instead, it was as if you blasted an air conditioner in our face. Talk about a cold shoulder. Now we sit and we stew and we wonder what we ever saw in you. It's late September and the fall air has served to clear our heads. Summer is gone and whatever hopes we had of keeping this romance going went with it.
It was just one of those things, the way you contended for our heart. Considering the way you mistreated us toward the end, we'll be lucky if we even remember those sweet days when we stared into one another's eyes inning after inning and imagined our walking arm-in-arm into October. It all seems so long ago. But it was long ago. You really let us down.
Y'know what? Forget what we said before. It's not us. It's you.
The Good Times: What makes this even sadder is the courtship phase of our relationship felt so real. Ten of eleven in April. Sixteen of 21 in June. The wild-card lead at the halfway point. Every night you'd show up and surprise us with some new present for us to unwrap: a Rod Barajas(notes) walkoff; a Hisanori Takahashi(notes) spot start; an Ike Davis(notes) callup. We'll never look at that beautiful R.A. — which incidentally we're keeping — and not remember the best parts of the 2010 you gave us, even if in the end, it felt like all we got from you was Dickey.
The Bad Times: As long as we remained cuddled together at home, everything was great. But you had to convince us to travel with you. What a mistake! The itinerary from hell ... San Juan? Why did we have to go to San Juan? You know we never feel comfortable in Puerto Rico (or have you forgotten that little Expo affair?) The losing started in San Juan at the end of June and it never seemed to stop.
And that other endless trip — the West Coast and the desert. We followed you like some kind of low self-esteem puppy dog out there. The late nights, the lack of hitting, the numbing loss after numbing loss. We saw you at your worst. We tried to believe you'd shake it off, that all we had to do was come back to Queens and that the Home Field Advantage you were always talking about would turn you on again. But it was never the same after San Francisco, Los Angeles and Phoenix.
Also, would it have killed you to use a bat every now and then? We have needs, too. Everything with you was pitching and defense. You take us to all these godforsaken outposts, yet you never take us deep. Why must you always stop at third base? And don't tell us it's because the ballpark is built that way. You didn't score on the road either.
Oh, and a little advice — next time tell your friend Oliver Perez(notes) to take a hint and leave. Having him around all the time just ... sitting there and staring into space while we tried to get comfortable with you ... it was creepy is what it was.
It's Not All You: You kept pointing out it's not 2009, and you're right — that was an absolute disaster, one where we spent the last three months waiting to be able to go our separate ways. Still, that only goes so far. We didn't agree to this with visions of mediocrity in our heads. You want us to believe it's great that we can pick our own seat at Citi Field, and keep pointing out that the Shake Shack line's not so long these days. C'mon! You're right that it's better than it was — nobody tore their shirt off in a minor league clubhouse this year — but it couldn't have gotten much worse.
And yes, we understand that you're looking younger and more vibrant these days, and that there's some hope for the future. Ike Davis was a nice addition, and Jonathon Niese(notes) is terrific, and we love what you've done with Josh Thole(notes), and Angel Pagan(notes) can certainly stay, and we're even fond of this kid Dillon Gee(notes) and big Lucas Duda(notes) even though he can't field and little Ruben Tejada(notes) even though he can't hit.
We liked that you've stopped trying to win us over with big-ticket purchases that are out of warranty, and are trying to win our affections with things you took the time to make yourself. Even though we can't escape the suspicion — because this conversation is all about being honest! — that you might be doing it because you're broke.
Speaking of which, can someone get this big busted Jason Bay(notes) out of the living room? Maybe Luis Castillo(notes) and Ollie can carry him out to the curb. And then we'll lock them out! Ha! C'mon, it's not exactly trashing a plane, but it's something we can do together!
Shape up or ship out: Speaking of which, what are Luis and Ollie still doing around? We already covered how creepy it is having Ollie just sitting around, and Luis just limps and drops things. When you mumble some excuse that they cost a lot, well, it's infuriating. We're trying to move forward and they're dead weight, and you won't let go.
We didn't tell you to throw money at them, just like we didn't tell you to throw money at Francisco Rodriguez, whose histrionics we never liked even before he started hitting people at the ballpark. (And don't try and make like you're being all moral when we both know you're just trying to get out of paying him.)
Come to think of it, those three guys pretty much sum up what makes us so mad. You don't seem to have a plan for us — you just make these expensive and/or crazy decisions that seem like you didn't think about them at all. We told you Mike Jacobs(notes) and Gary Matthews Jr.(notes) and Frank Catalanotto(notes) looked old and useless, and you brought them home anyway. We said Alex Cora(notes) couldn't play and should leave, and you kept talking about what a nice guy he was and how you wanted him to stay not just this year but next. We said Jeff Francoeur(notes) couldn't get on base and you just repeated that nutty thing he said about on-base percentage not being on the scoreboard. We said John Maine(notes) looked like his arm was going to fall off and you said, baby, he'll be fine. And he wasn't. And let's not even talk about Kelvim Escobar(notes), OK?
The point is, quit doing stuff like that. Slow down and think things through. Let's start right now. Sit down and listen. Are you listening?
Look. we know it's New York and there's money and glamour and ambition all around us. But we're not with you because we expect to have it all, all the time. We could get that from the Yankees, if that was what we were all about. But we don't care about the Yankees and what they're doing. We want it to work out with you, with the Mets, and we're in it for life.
We saw that look on your face when it turned out Johan Santana(notes) might be out until July, or April 2012, or forever. It was obvious you had no idea what to do. Just like it's been obvious for a while that you've had no idea what to do, and just keep hoping it all works out.
It's not going to. And please, Mets, listen to this part. It's OK. It really is. We don't have to have it all next year. That October trip to somewhere exotic like St. Petersburg or Minneapolis or Anaheim that you know we've been wanting? It can wait. What can't wait is convincing us that you have a plan. A real plan, a long-term commitment that will convince us there will be good times ahead of us for years to come. We're with you in sickness and in health (though, OK, the hospital trips in 2009 were a drag), for richer or poorer (though we wish you'd be straight about which we are right now), and of course for better or worse. But quit trying to tell us worse is better, when we both know it isn't. Honesty is the most important part of any relationship.
Oh, and quit with the bunting. It's dumb.
See you in April,
Faith and Fear in Flushing
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Read Big League Stew's previous Dear John letters here.