Pearlman : Modern Mets Can’t Handle Adversity

Posted in Baseball at 7:50 pm by

(Anthony Young, bitterly disappointed at being dragged into this)

Tim Redding has thrown 4 scoreless innings thus far tonight against the Washington Nationals, and while we patiently wait for the Mets starter to turn into, well, Tim Redding, Sports Illustrated‘s Jeff Pearlman surveys a disabled list full of Amazins and declares, “when the Yankees suffer through a conga line of injuries, the organization never offers up the maladies as an excuse. The Mets, on the other hand, all but seek out injuries to cite to the media. If only we had Delgado. If only we had Reyes.” (link courtesy Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

To the dismay of New Yorkers, the ghost who supposedly vanished with the demolition of Shea Stadium is bigger and badder than ever before. Carlos Delgado’s hip? The ghost. Jose Reyes‘ right hamstring? The ghost. Oliver Perez’s body swap with Anthony Young? The ghost. J.J. Putz’s emergence as, well, a putz (albeit, an injured one)? The ghost. David Wright‘s amazing — and puzzling — Sean Burroughs impersonation? The ghost. The team’s blah 28-24 record? The ghost. 

Most alarming, the ghost has found a way to take a clubhouse that has long been — if nothing else — lively and transform it into a visit to the Mahopac Public Library. (Writer’s note: I grew up going there. Very nice facility — but extremely subdued.) To be a Met these days is to live in fear of failure; to talk and talk about the renewal of a ballclub, but to be mentally crippled by the knowledge that, come season’s end, you will, somehow, blow it.

These Mets lay down — for everyone. They play with little gusto, and less aggressiveness. They rarely hit in the clutch, and make lackluster opposing pitchers appear to be the second coming of Steve Carlton.

I’m a big fan of Pearlman’s work but consider his comparison of Oliver Perez to Anthony Young grossly unfair.  To Young.  A.Y. might’ve lost 16 games in 1993, but he compiled a 3.77 ERA that season, which would presumably put him in line for a salary of $10 or more in the modern era. Young made all of 3 appearances for the Mets’ Triple-A squad that season, and unlike Perez’ recent spell in Buffalo, performed capably (1-1, 16 IP, 2 earned runs, 8 K’s).

13 responses to “Pearlman : Modern Mets Can’t Handle Adversity”

  1. Jason Cohen says:

    Wasn’t it just a week ago that the Mets were being praised for weathering injuries? I know it’s gone to hell since then and I know how sky-high expectations are but being an above .500 team that’s still a legit wild card and division contender is still better than, y’know, not (or, specifically, better than the Cubs and Braves). We’ll see if Pearlman is right about the 85 wins/10 games back I guess.

  2. It seems too declarative. Like he’s waiting for his spot in the season to tell the story he’s already written at the point when the comparison seems the most potent. I also like the writing, especially “Bad Guys Won”. I think this is a singular frustrated Mets fan having a hard time keeping it out of his writing.

  3. David Roth says:

    Yeah, I think Jason just wrote what I’d wanted to write (except the part about the first girl I ever really loved being from Mahopac, which I imagine is only true for me — it’s kind of a shitty town, but has a big, pretty lake that they called a pond, as I remember it). I just think, in general, that the way the Mets get covered and thought about by their fans is in general totally dysfunctional and totally silly. I’d write something about it, but it’s barely of interest to actual Mets fans at this point. That said, I think that at the moment, 1) every Mets fan is absolutely fucking tickled to see them hanging around in the standings after the injuries and awful performances the team has already endured and 2) beyond a couple of dead-ender sentimentalists (I am occasionally among this group), the hip move is blaming either the medical staff or Omar, not the Mystical Curse of Juan Samuel. (It involves jheri curl)

  4. GC says:

    “Wasn’t it just a week ago that the Mets were being praised for weathering injuries? I know it’s gone to hell since then”

    then would be dropping 3 consecutive to Pittsburgh (sans Nate McClouth, as Carlos B. would remind us). Indeed, Jason, 3 games out of first and one game out of the WIld Card spot shouldn’t qualify as time to wave the white flag, but things can get much, much worse when the Mets aren’t beating up on the Nationals. The injuries cannot seriously be blamed on the training staff or a lack of grit.
    When the contingency plans revolve around Wilson Valdez, Emil Brown and Tim Redding, however, it is very fair to wonder (and this was not the gist of Pearlman’s piece) just how ownership intend to charge major league ticket prices for a minor league team.

  5. Greg D. says:

    Yeah Jeff Pearlman can you please go back to bashing David Wells for being fat?

  6. Nick says:

    I guess the most shocking part of this entry is that GC is a big fan of Pearlman’s work. The books are entertaining enough, although they aren’t exactly insightful, but his articles, especially recently, are weak and uninformed. I wouldn’t have pegged GC as a fan. It’s weird for me to find out one of my favorite sports bloggers likes one of my least favorite sports writers. It makes me question my view of things a bit.

    This article itself doesn’t get at the fundamental problem with these Mets. The depth of the team, a wealthy team at that, is lacking. I don’t deny that character matters in the sports and other parts of life, but really, it seems obvious that the no-name scrubs filling the line-up card every day are the problem.

  7. GC says:

    “it seems obvious that the no-name scrubs filling the line-up card every day are the problem.”

    indeed, though also worrying of late is the club’s nonsensical approach to running the bases. Does it seem as though the Mets have committed a full season’s worth of basepath blunders in the space of a month? I have no interest in seeing David Wright pilloried, but compare reactions to his running the team out of an inning to contemporary mistakes by Reyes, Reed or the dazed F-Mart?

    To be more specific, I’ve throughly enjoyed Pearlman’s books on the Mets, Bonds and Roger Clemens, much of his blogging and continued efforts to defend himself against John Fucking Rocker. In this instance, I part company with him in that I don’t think the 2009 Mets are nearly as spooked/gutless are they are hopelessly undermanned. For that, I blame not the likes of Beltran and Wright, but rather a father & son ownership group who apparently had bigger fish to fry (or bigger losses to cut) last winter/spring than fielding a contender.

  8. Jason Cohen says:

    On a more inside-the-white-lines note, apparently having a perfect closer while your competition’s closer blows saves left and right does not automatically hand you first place.

    GC, I think your complaint is still a little non-specific. Mets have the second highest payroll in the league. Clearly they have not spent wisely (perhaps including buying two expensive relievers instead one and either a starter or a bat) but should they really have spent more? I mean, ok, with Citi in the mix and if Madoff doesn’t exist maybe they still should have spent the other $20 million that would put them ahead of the Yankees, but you’re still coming at it from a big place of financial entitlement when the Dodgers have a payroll that’s $50 million lower, to say nothing of the Brewers etc. Are you really supposed to be able to just not skip a beat when this level of failure/injury happens? (And if you could, aren’t you just trading away prospects to make that work, thus continuing the cycle?)

    Though believe me, I know what it’s like to wish a team would spend more and I suppose I’ve mostly gotten my wish – though I’d be happier if the Phillies (7th, behind Detroit and Anaheim) had given themselves as high a payroll as the Mets by signing Derek Lowe.

  9. GC says:

    I never thought we’d be nostalgic for Joe McEwing , Jason. We’ve known for ages the Mets aren’t in a position (F-Mart aside) to offer prospects for the likes of a Jake Peavy. But when Wilson Valdez and Emil Brown are better options than anyone you have in your own organization, it’s clear the Mets were woefully unprepared for a couple of injuries to key players, never mind a shitload. Not signing Orlando Hudson is one thing, but wasting a Triple-A roster spot on Wily Mo Pena and his .280 OBP is another.

  10. Rog says:

    Normally I’d say have a fire sale and stock up on those minor leaguers that they’re missing from their system, but I don’t think that Minaya is really talented enough to trade for the right prospects.

  11. Jason Cohen says:

    Would you be ok with Eric Bruntlett and Miguel Cairo? That’s who would start in Philly if SS and 1B both went down. Given their desperation for a RH bench bat I guess I’m glad they didn’t sign Wily Mo though!

  12. GC says:

    well, yeah. I wouldn’t want to begin a season with Bruntlett and Cairo starting at those positions, but compared to Wilson Valdez or a rookie 1B learning the position on the job, they’re quadruple-A enough. But I’m totally open to being proven wrong, and if the Phillies would like to bench Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard for the rest of the summer just so we know for absolutely certain the Phillies and Mets have eqyally shitty reserves.

  13. Jason Cohen says:

    I’m sure trading Jimmy for a starter and taking their chances with Jason Donald will become a trendy topic over the next month. And sitting Howard against lefties wouldn’t kill me (.212 BA .649 OPS – both worse splits than Bruntlett!)

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