Top Ten
by Jon Wagner
Nov 06, 2008 | 3924 views | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Top Ten Reasons The Mets Are Left Coveting What The Phillies Now Have

After seeing the Mets cough up what should have been comfortable September division leads the past two seasons to a Philadelphia Phillies team that just went on to win a World Series Championship last week, a strong argument could be made that the Mets could have won a world title themselves, recently. Perhaps the Boston Red Sox were too strong in 2007 had the Mets made it to the World Series that year. However, many have argued (and they’re probably right) that the Mets not only could have, but should have, won the World Series in 2006, and were capable of winning it all this year, instead of the Phillies. Here are the top ten things that have gone wrong the past three years for the Mets, in their search to attain what the Phillies suddenly have:

10) Not Enough Down On The Farm:

Aside from unexpected bright spots Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans, the Mets haven’t developed their farm system to the point where they could have either had other minor leaguers step in when needed in other areas, or as chips to trade for quality veteran help from other teams.

9) Lack Of A Leader:

David Wright appears to be the closest to taking that mantle, but he’s not there yet. Billy Wagner

is outspoken, but often to the point where he turns people off, and since he got hurt down the

stretch last year, and will miss most or all of next year, he’s not the answer here. Maybe Jerry

Manuel will say it like it is when necessary, but from a player standpoint, the Mets don’t seem to

have a vocal type of peer like Jimmy Rollins, who will say what needs to be said in the clubhouse

when no one else will

8) Lack Of Team Chemistry:

This one goes hand-in-hand with the one above, is a leader born from a team which already has

chemistry, or does chemistry result from a leader (or leaders) who bring everyone together? In

either case, too much can be made of chemistry in baseball compared to other team sports like

basketball or football. However, we’ve seen a lot of unexpected champions in Major League

Baseball over the past several years; a lot of teams winning titles who were considered less

talented than the teams they beat in their league playoff series and in recent World Series. So,

maybe there’s something to be said for the chemistry of those teams (none of which included the

Mets).

7) Lack Of Focus And Professionalism:

Many Mets have been guilty of various eyebrow-raising mental gaffes on the field, but Jose Reyes

seems to embody a culture which pervades throughout the Mets’ roster. Please Jose, like many of

your teammates, we know you’re talented and we know you want to win. But act like it. Not just

sometimes, when you feel like it, but all the time. Stop with the dances and handshakes, and with

showing up opponents. Cease with foolish baserunning mistakes like not running out everything or

getting picked off of a base because you just didn’t want to pay attention during a key moment of

a game. You (and your teammates) are too talented for that. Never take a game off, because as

you’ve found out each of the past two years, all it takes is one game sometimes, to cost you the

playoffs.

6) No Help Late This Year:

Forget the obvious, that Manny Ramirez springboarded the Los Angeles Dodgers from late-season

mediocrity to the NLCS. No, much more subtlety, Joe Blanton could have been acquired when the

Mets needed last offseason, in addition to landing Johan Santana. Blanton is an innings-eater who

could have helped salvage the Mets’ beleaguered bullpen in 2008. It just ads even more salt in the

wound that he ends up being a late acquisition by Philadelphia, going 4-0 down the stretch as the

Phillies contributed to a second straight Mets’ September swoon, before going 2-0 in the

postseason, including a pivotal Game 4 win over Tampa Bay in the World Series. Way to be on top

of it, Omar.

5) The Wilpons Trust Omar Too Much:

So, the Mets choke late for the third consecutive year, and hours after the Mets are eliminated

from the postseason, on the last day ever at Shea Stadium, the Wilpons claim the Mets somehow

overachieved? They then follow that statement up with a reward to Mets’ GM Omar Minaya with a

four-year contract extension? GM’s should make personnel decisions and owners should own, but

when the results are not what you expect time and time again, owners should step in and have a

little more input into the decision making, instead of just (for some reasons known only to them),

have seemingly total blind faith in every decision Minaya makes when it comes to the Mets.

4) The Phils Play With More Heart:

David Wright said on Saturday of the Phillies championship: "To me, the World Series seems more

attainable. Knowing that a team in your division that you played 18 or 19 times that you've had

pretty good success against went on to win the World Series, I think it gives us an attainable,

reachable goal for next year." Is he serious? No wonder the Mets lack a leader. Hey, David: a World

Series win was attainable for the past three years. He only think its attainable now? Wright’s

statement shows the key differences in Phil-osphy between a team like the Phillies, which comes

from behind to overtake the Mets for two straight NL East titles, en route to one world

championship, and a Mets team which choked away its opportunities, while seemingly playing flat

and lacking the heart and hustle that the Phillies demonstrated.

3) Omar's Over-reliance On Aging Veterans:

Minaya brought Moises Alou back after he was injured most of 2007. He had the same loyalty (to a

fault) with Pedro Martinez, and with giving Luis Castillo an equally-risky four-year deal. It’s those

type of moves that have haunted the Mets as the playoffs have slipped by them each year.

2) When The Heat Is On, The Mets Press And Choke (The Phils Thrive):

There’s no denying that it was there for the taking each of the past three years. The Mets will tell

us that themselves. However, what they’ve also told us during each of the past three late-season

failures is that they pressed a little too much in the biggest of spots… the inability to get past the

St. Louis Cardinals in an excruciating Game 7 loss in the 2006 NLCS; and the aforementioned NL

East chokejobs to the Phillies each of the past two years. You could see it on their faces. When the

Mets were finally being professional and were caring enough, they pressed so much that they

couldn’t perform. In contrast, the relaxed and loose Phillies were everything the Mets should have

been in such high-drama situations meanwhile, and as a result, passed the Mets two years in a row,

like a horse trailing a race for all but the final few strides to the finish line, and as a result, now sit

atop the baseball world.

1) Omar Didn’t Learn From 2007 – The Pen Is Mightier Than The Bat:

The Mets could have overcome the nine items listed above and still ended up where the 2008

Phillies were had Minaya simply addressed one item: the team’s relief pitching. However, he never learned his lesson after 2007. Sure, it was the Mets bullpen which deserved all of the blame for the collapses the past

two years, but it was by far, the main culprit. What did Minaya do after the pen collapsed in 2007?

He gave $8 million to resign Alou for 2008 -- $8 million on a leftfielder who hardly played; $8

million which could have addressed the Mets’ pen issues held over from 2007. Minaya acquired

Santana (a great move, but a no-brainer for any GM), and he figured that would cure all of the

pitching ills. There was no Blanton to save the pen from being overworked, and there was no

creativity done in any trade talks with other teams to improve the Mets’ pen for 2008. Those who

forget history are destined to repeat it. Minaya did just that with the Mets bullpen, and as a result,

the Mets repeated just about the same collapse as the year before.

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