Saturday, July 28, 2012
Stick a fork in the Mets
Most Mets fans probably knew that this day would eventually come sometime during the 2012 season. Some probably even thought that the day would arrive even before the season began. I was one of those. I thought it was a useless and hopeless situation from the day spring training opened in February, to idiot lying owner Freddie Coupon waving money around, saying that "I have fives," flashing green pictures of Lincoln around Port St. Lucie.
But then Mets fans were treated to their annual tease. The Mets won the first four games of the season, had a spectacular April, followed by a competitive May into a steady June.
We were treated to the incredible exploits of knuckleball sensation R.A. Dickey. We were amazed at the play of David Wright, who bounced back to the status of an elite player in MLB. Hey, we finally even got a no-hitter from Johan Santana after more than 8,000 games in the history of the franchise.
We had young players to get excited about, like Kirk Niewenhuis and Ruben Tejada, guys who gave us hope for the future. We saw the development of Jonathon Niese and believed that maybe he could be the next Jon Matlack.
For three months, while the Mets maintained their position over .500 and remained in contention for either the NL East title or a possible wild card berth, we all collectively drank the Mets' Kool-Aid. We believed that they were a decent club, a possible contender, even though deep down inside, we looked at the roster, looked out at the field, gazed out at the bullpen and said, "How in the world is this team winning?"
Then, the All-Star break came and the Mets finally looked in the mirror and realized that they were simply weren't good. They were staying above water miraculously and they finally fell into the water and sunk.
Because the Mets are now dead in the water. They've lost 13 of their last 15 games. They are 4-15 in July. The solid starting pitching they had in the first three months is now matching the horrendous work of the bullpen. The hitting, other than Wright and David Murphy, has disappeared. Malcontent Lucas Duda, who was expected to produce like Carlos Beltran (dream on) but became more like Mike Vail, was sent pouting off to Buffalo.
They've become what they were expected to be _ a less-than-average team with a bunch of holes throughout.
So the first few months were what the Mets are best at doing _ a big tease. A bigger tease than Darla Hood was on the "Little Rascals" when she would shake and shimmy for Spanky, Alfalfa and Butch, show them all a little shoulder and produce nothing.
They've teased us every year since 2006. They won the division that year and then lost in the NLCS. In 2007 and 2008, they were the biggest chokers known to man, worse than Greg Norman and Jan Vande Velde combined. Over the last three years, more of the same. They'd provide a little glimpse of hope, then collapse like a house of cards in a stiff wind.
Only this year, the collapse came earlier. We all were led to believe that they could stay in the race until September, especially with all their great starting pitching.
That's all gone. They're under .500 now and playing lousy baseball. Stick a fork in them. They're done, like the last hamburger left on the grill for five hours after the barbecue is long over. The only hope comes from young Matt Harvey. The rest of the team and the season is nothing more than a facade.
Incredibly, I've learned from a very good and respected baseball writer than the Mets' problems with the Bernie Madoff situation are not gone like what we've been led to believe. That Freddie Coupon has instructed stooge Sandy Alderson not to spend a dime in salary for improvements to the team, that they have to dance with the horrendous bullpen that brought them.
So in essence, Alderson has learned to lie as bad as Freddie Coupon, because he said all along that the Mets were buyers, when in fact, they did absolutely nothing to improve the worst bullpen in the game. Lie, lie, lie. It's the Mets' way now.
That's a shame. I'd give Coupon, Coupon, Jr. and the rest of the liars more credit if they just admitted they sucked and were doing nothing to improve the team, rather than try to pull off this charade that they've been doing all season.
They want people to come to CitiField to see REO Speedwagon, Daughtry and the Sugar Hill Express and the Trammps (just kidding about the last two), not to see a competitive baseball team.
They had a chance to do something when the season was still within reach, when the Mets were living out the facade and actually staying in the race. They did nothing. The Mets collapsed and now it's over.
So what do we have left? A chance to maybe see Zach Wheeler before the season is over? Or more starts from the immortal Jeremy Hefner or Hugh Hefner or Hugh Jackman or Baby Huey?
But the Coupons truly believe that Met fans will continue to come, even though it's a seriously inferior product? Dream on, Freddie the Liar. Your team stinks. We don't want no stinkin' team.
Unfortunately, we got one. We have no catchers. We have an underachieving first baseman. We have no outfielders whatsoever. I'm not drinking the Jordany Valdespin Kool-Aid just yet. We have the worst outfielder in the team's history making $16 million, when all Jason Bay does is strike out and ground out to shortstop. Enough already with Bay. Put him on EBay and see if we can get about nine bucks for him.
We have no other players in the outfield. Andres Torres is completely useless. Punky Brewster has a better arm than Torres.
It's a bad baseball team. Meanwhile, the team in the Bronx is running away with the division. They need a spare outfielder. They go get a Hall of Famer. We have Andres Torres. Need I say more?
To those who continue to show incredible blind allegiance to Joe Paterno, who believe that the formerly iconic Penn State coach did nothing wrong in the Sandusky scandal, take a peek at either the Freeh report or the emails that Paterno received.
The man was not a nice man. He turned his back on his pedophiliac assistant coach, allowed him to maim little boys simply because he didn't want to cause embarrassment to his revered football program.
As soon as Paterno had proof that Sandusky was doing those things to little boys, he should have called the police and had him removed from the campus, instead of welcoming him back like nothing happened.
Paterno wanted to sweep everything under the rug and pretend that nothing happened. He truly thought that it would all eventually just go away. Only problem was it didn't. He then had a chance to come clean before he died and he lied about it, then said "I wish I could have done more" to stop it.
If he truly believed it, he would have blown the whistle on Sandusky when he first received word of his horrific deeds in 1998. Guess what? If Paterno did that, he would have been considered a hero, instead of the villian he's portrayed as now, even in death.
And as for the NCAA's ruling, I'm all for it. The penalty was severe enough. The death penalty would have damaged the kids who are on the current roster. One current player said it best when he said, "We were all watching Barney and the Teletubbies when these things took place." He's right. The current team did nothing wrong. They don't deserve to have football taken away from them.
But the $60 million fine, the elimination of 10 scholarships per year and denying the team the right to play in bowl games for four years is sufficient enough of a penalty.
Now, let's see the NCAA take the $60 million and donate it to a child violence and abuse advocacy group, much like the Big Ten did with Penn State's $11 million revenue from the Big Ten Network. The fines should not go to the already rich NCAA. The fine has to do some good to society.
But to the Paterno allies. The statue had to come down. This is not a man who deserves to be revered and adored. He's a rotten man, even now that he's dead. Rotten to the core, because all he cared about was his own legacy, wins and losses, the image of his so-called pristine program and his place in the college football society. When Paterno turned his back and pretended it all didn't happen on his watch, he truly became an evil man and he's now getting his just rewards.
You can read more of my work at www.hudsonreporter.com, www.theobserver.com and www.dailyrecord.com. The Daily Record has a feature on Boonton's Travis Tripucka trying to make the St. Louis Rams as a long snapper. Check it out.