Meltown? Or Right In Line With Expectations?
By way of Rob Neyer's blog, MGL from The Baseball Think Factory shares his thoughts.
The Mets were expected to have 84 wins given the personnel they put on the field and their actual playing time this year, based on each player's pre-season projection and their schedule. Their pythag wins were 86, which means that they overperformed a little as compared to what they "should" have done (again, given each player's per-season projection). The actually won 88 games, so they outperformed their pythag and their underlying performance projection.
Th ere is nothing "wrong" with the team. They were never as good as many people thought and they actually outperformed a little this year. Teams (and fans) are really dumb when it comes to evaluating themselves. If they do nothing, they are expected to win around 85 games next year, barring major injuries. If they upgrade they will be expected to win more. If the D-Backs do nothing and don't have any major injuries or transactions, they will be expected to win 81 games or so (I doubt they think that way). That's the way it works. The concept that the Mets (or Pads) did "something wrong" is ridiculous. Sometimes you win or lose more than your share at the beginning of the season, sometimes in the middle, and sometimes in the end. Sometimes you win or lose lots of games in a row. That can occur at any time as well. If the losing happens at the end of the season, we call it a "choke." If the winning happens at the end of the season, we call it destiny, heart, character, chemistry, or momentum. It is all B.S.
While the Mets were not all that far off of their expected win total, it is hard to argue their last two weeks were not horrific. No first place team should have one stretch of that ilk much less two, which might actually prove MGL's theory that the Mets were not all that better (if any better at all) than any other of the 'top' NL teams. The thing that will stand out the most for me about this 2007 season will inconsistency. Everyone has their ups and downs, but this team in every facet had major ups and downs.
With that said, there is some negative sentiment towards the Phillies with Met fans not wanting to root for them. Me? I am rooting for the Phillies just as much as I am rooting for the Rockies. The Phillies did their part to get into the playoffs and came to play everyday and backed up what they said which was in stark contrast to the Mets. There are no ill feelings between the Mets and the Phillies and I see no reason why any Met fan would want to root against them because their team could not finish things off. Now as for the fans, that is a completely different story. They embody what is is to be a douchebag, but that has little to do with the actual team.
My prediction for the World Series is the Indians against the Rockies. The Rockies are too much of a feel good story to not root for and I have family out there and absolutely love going there. As for the Indians, I like the fact they have a legit one two punch, Hafner has woken up, and their best two relievers are not closing games and free to come in for high leverage situations leaving hopefully less critical innings to Borowski.
It is astonishing that the Mets' front office has left manager Willie Randolph hanging out on a limb even for a day in the wake of their collapse. Even if general manager Omar Minaya announces today that Randolph will be back in 2008, the delay has served to shift blame in Randolph's direction. For a day, or maybe longer, Randolph has already become the handy-dandy scapegoat for a breakdown that extended from the top of the lineup, in Jose Reyes, to the manager to the general manager. "What, was that one game [on Sunday] going to make a difference in whether they keep him?" asked a rival executive, incredulously. "So if they had won Sunday, they would've kept him? What a joke."
Minaya and the Mets' ownership should've had a conversation about Randolph's situation before Sunday's game. To leave him twisting in the wake of the brutal finish is unfair and cruel. The Mets must decide whether Randolph is the manager best-suited to lead the team going forward, writes Mike Vaccaro.
The Mets' season got away from them long before Sunday's debacle, writes John Harper. Jose Reyes was booed off the field repeatedly on Sunday. Paul Lo Duca may have played his final game with the Mets.
Randolph is on notice. Tell him to jot that down and start actually....you know...making sound in game decisions. Also, let us not confuse the situation. The Mets losing is not a reflection on Willie's desire to win....
"My passion, my will to win, you guys have no idea what's inside of me and where I come from," Randolph said. "I'm a New Yorker. I'm passionate. I feel what these people feel and I live and die for this team, every day."
...I believe he wants to win, but I fully do not think he is the right manager for this team.
Oct 1 - It remains to be seen if Tom Glavine will play another season. But one person close to Glavine told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that the pitcher's poor performance against Florida on Sunday makes it more likely that he'll pitch again in 2008, because he doesn't want to go out on such a bad note.
The question is, where? Glavine has a $13 million player option with the Mets, and could decline to exercise it to either retire or become a free agent.
One potential suitor is the Nationals. Team president Stan Kasten is close to Glavine from their days together in Atlanta. And the Nationals could use a veteran starter to anchor their young staff as the team moves into a new ballpark. Glavine is also likely to require only a one-year commitment, which could make him more appealing to Washington ownership.
Glavine's former Atlanta teammate, John Smoltz, recently lobbied for him to return to the Braves.
"He can still pitch,'' Smoltz told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He can still win baseball games. And, this is where he belongs."
Chances of that happening? Zero. Also, he better not be on the Mets. He did some good things for the Mets, but really, I had enough. And if he thinks going out on that note would be bad, I can say without fear of contradiction, it could end up worse in 2008 with him getting smacked around the entire year for a bottom feeding team.