Keidel: Meet The New Mets

By Jason Keidel
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The scene was so incongruous. I sat 50 feet from first base, practically in Mr. Met’s pocket, under an impeccable spring sky in a perfect stadium, while thousands gazed in horror as the Mets were swept like pebbles across the infield dirt during a doubleheader against the Colorado Rockies.

They couldn’t pitch, hit, or field. I watched two fly balls drop meekly in front of professional fielders. I was flanked by fans ready to set fire to their tickets, if not their team.

On that day, the New York Mets were not just the worst team in baseball; they may have been the worst team I’ve ever seen. After losing that four-game set to Colorado, they lost a doubleheader to the Braves, making the Metropolitans 4-11.

And had you told me after the final out on that silent cloudless night in Citi Field that the Mets would be the surprise story of the National League, over .500 with several players poised to play in the All-Star Game, I would have (justifiably) demanded a urine sample.

Yet here we are. The Mets have been more than decent, going 37-29 since. Even with a walking triage they call their club, losing David Wright, Ike Davis, and perhaps their ace (Johan Santana) for the entire season, they are actually in a pennant race, no longer gasping toward a finish line that can’t arrive soon enough, ready to plop their primary players on the conveyer belt to the highest bidder.

With Lorenzo Charles dying way too young this week, we reach back into those folds of our brain where memories are stored, pondering miracles, like his NC State squad being that behemoth from Houston, which perhaps spawned Villanova’s stunning upset over Georgetown a couple years later. It gave the underdog hope.

Though the current Mets don’t match those miracles, they have coined the countenance or miracle-makers since 1969, with a talent for failing or far exceeding expectations. Call them the latter for the moment.

Aside from Jose Reyes playing like Honus Wagner, the Mets are festooned with players whom you didn’t know last year and won’t know next year, but are making solid contributions. Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson, with over two decades combined since their last gigs in their current roles, rode the volcanic waves of bad play and impatient fans who don’t buy into quaint mantras like rebuilding or remolding. You can’t charge Porsche prices and deliver a Prius, which was precisely what the Mets did the first month of this season.

I’m always the first to call myself out. I wanted Wally Backman, not Collins, who fell prey to a very public mutiny during his last managerial job in Los Angeles. Collins was the prototypical washout, the regurgitated reject whose inflexible ways greased his way out of every job. Yet it seems he learned a lesson during his decade-long exile, loosening the leash on his players, picking his fights rather than contriving them.

Sandy Alderson, whose resume is longer than the Magna Carta, has all the bona fides corporate command, from Marine officer to Harvard Law to leading the Athletics, though he won just one title in Oakland, back in 1989, when we all were much younger and perhaps much better. His hiring reeked of backroom deals, of insider trading, with Bud Selig sneaking his boy in the back door under the guise of prescience, knowing that the Mets were under Madoff’s crooked thumb.

But, for the moment, it’s all roses in Flushing Meadows. Enjoy it. Why not? Surprises like this are always welcome. Hop onto StubHub and grab some cheap seats and watch these free treats. It’s all house money now, when just two months ago the Mets looked like a house of cards ready to crumble under the financial hammer of lawsuits and payroll cuts. Now there’s no way the Mets move Reyes without a revolt of Ruthian contours.

As the Yankee molars munch on inferior clubs, it feels perfunctory and superficial after being b%$#& slapped by Boston this season (1-8 against the Red Sox). The Bronx Bombers, true to their moniker, lay waste to all teams west of the Hudson, making their inexorable march to October, the only month when they’re truly measured.

As you bake at your barbecue under the July 4th sun with a cold one in your sweaty hand, toast to the transitory but titillating run the Mets are on, to America’s birthday, and her pastime. There’s a reason to smile in all five boroughs and beyond.

Feel free to email me: Jakster1@mac.com

www.twitter.com/JasonKeidel

What do you think of the Mets’ new brand of baseball? Let Keidel know in the comments below…

Comments

One Comment

  1. lydia says:

    .I will also reserve decision on all management at the end of the season but as of now I am more surprised than you are at how well they are getting things done,but only time will tell!
    I am a 28 years old doctor, mature and beautiful.and now I am seeking a good man who can give me real love , so i got a username Andromeda2002 on–s’e’ek’c’ou’ga’r.c óm–.it is the first and best club for y’ounger women and old’er men, or older women and y’ounger men,to int’eract with each other. Maybe you wanna ch’eck ‘it out or tell your friends!

  2. lydia says:

    The notion that a professional baseball team needs another team to validate their hopes and aspirations is utter nonsense. I would hope that you could school some of your colleagues on that bit of truth.
    I am a 28 years old doctor, mature and beautiful.and now I am seeking a good man who can give me real love , so i got a username Andromeda2002 on–s’e’ek’c’ou’ga’r.c óm–.it is the first and best club for y’ounger women and old’er men, or older women and y’ounger men,to int’eract with each other. Maybe you wanna ch’eck ‘it out or tell your friends!

  3. Andrew says:

    I agree that the Mets are doing relatively well, but I consider the Diamondbacks and Pirates successes bigger surprises than the Mets, as far as being the “talk of the national league” goes. The Mets have much bigger name players than these other teams, yet are not doing any better.

  4. Kurt Spitzner says:

    Unfortunately when they loose to the Yanks it really tends to take the wind out of their sails and when that happens they often seem to hit the doldrums and fall out of things altogether.The Yanks lost how many to the red sox but that doesn’t mean they won’t be around to count their chips after all is said and done!

  5. Paul D says:

    Collins should be manager of the year. He’s done an incredible job. It shouldn’t matter what his team does against the hated Yankees. But as evidenced by the first comment here, these Met fans have been progarmed and conditioned to believe that these six games are life and death. It shouldn’t be that way. At some point, hopefully the Mets and their fans will grow out of this inferiority complex and be able to say– “The hell with the Yankees! We’re winning this division regardless of how we play against them. Then I’ll be able to have some respect for them.

    1. JK says:

      I feel similarly to how the Yankees play against the Red Sox, Paul. They started 0-8 against Boston in 2009 and still won the World Series. Though we love to lump logs onto the fiery rivalry, they don’t count any more than other games. Enjoy your July 4th, dude.

      1. Paul D says:

        I’m not saying that there’s no juice. There’s always juice. I grew up in Queens and became a Yankee fan in ’70 when Munson came up. I was seven years old and was injected with a healthy dose of contempt for the Mets. I’m always up for these games. But that’s where it should end. It should be contained within these six games. These pundits that want to push it beyond that to “bigger picture” implications lose me at that point. The notion that a professional baseball team needs another team to validate their hopes and aspirations is utter nonsense. I would hope that you could school some of your colleagues on that bit of truth.

    2. JK says:

      I do little schooling, my man. Some are too stoned on the Kool-Aid. And, to quote a famous philosopher, “Can’t do nothin’ for ya, brother. Flava Flav got problems of his own.”

    3. Kurt Spitzner says:

      Manager of the year and first in the division as well Paul?Are you sure you are running on all cylinders because it seems that your views are very much out of touch with reality.How long have you been a fan if at all?

      1. Paul D says:

        I see it between him and Hurdle for that honor, provided the Mets can manage to keep the Braves and the rest of the contenders nervous and looking over their shoulders. I’m not gonna back away from that. I don’t believe that the Mets are going to win the division. What I said was a form of hyperbole. It’s more the spirit of what you believe than the actual execution. The Mets, to a man, should always believe that they could win the division. That is paramount in acheiving any goal.

  6. Kurt Spitzner says:

    PS I can’t believe how bad they played on that day at new Shea!

    1. JK says:

      You were right next to me. It was a horror film, a baseball version of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

  7. Kurt Spitzner says:

    I will wait until after this weekend is over before I decide exactly how thrilled I will be as this team is definitely looking up but too many times that has been followed by equally horrid downs.I will also reserve decision on all management at the end of the season but as of now I am more surprised than you are at how well they are getting things done,but only time will tell!

    1. JK says:

      I’m kind of with Pablo on this one, Kurt. The Yankees aren’t your litmus test. Sure, you’d love to smash them, but that’s because they share a city with your team. The games aren’t as important as the ones you play against Philly or Atlanta.

      1. Kurt Spitzner says:

        Lets see what they do after getting blown out this weekend before we decide how this will pan out!

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