Thursday, July 29, 2010

Frustrated, Inc.

Once again, my team has failed me. Has failed us. I shouldn't be surprised but sometimes it seems what should be obvious to them clearly is not, but those of us see it coming 13,000,000 miles away. If there are that many miles that exist, like, anywhere.

In case you did not hear, the Phillies have pulled off a coup and have obtained Roy Oswalt, certainly a great pitcher, for J.A. Happ but some other middle-of-the-road prospects (not named Domonic Brown, who is making waves in Philly right now due to Shane Victorino's injury). Now, I've said before, but surprisingly the Mets problem has not been pitching but timely hitting and well, hitting and driving in runs in general. So I can see taking a pass on Oswalt. Even a Phillies fan friend of mine (who is one of the rare types who has been a fan since before 2007 and is level headed) suggested that he was not excited about Oswalt because he is an injury waiting to happen.

The Mets would never come out and say that, mainly for a few reasons. Here's my beef: I'm not upset about losing out on Oswalt. The Mets allowed him to not only go within the division but to direct rivals the Phillies. THAT'S what pisses me off.

I don't care what anyone says right now or ever: the Braves, geographically, could never be direct rivals (just NL East rivals since we are in the same division). During those years of Braves dominance, I always kind of felt like the Mets were suffering from LBS: Little Brother Syndrome. Aka "Why are you guys always picking on me?????"

The Phillies have kicked our ass the last three years and everyone knows it. The Mets know it, the Phillies, Jon Miller knows it (although he still annoys us with his overexaggeration of Carlos Beltran's name on broadcasts). When the Johan Santana sweepstakes occurred in the offseason leading to 2008, the Red Sox and Yankees were in it for "vanity" reasons, meaning, they were trying to keep him from the other. Well, the schematic worked (of course, I can't complain when the Mets were the victors of that infighting). But at least the vanity part was there to keep him off a division rival.

Looking back, I shouldn't cry over spilled milk, since I do believe overall Johan Santana is a better pitcher over Roy Oswalt, so I'm certainly not comparing the two. In fact, I wouldn't shed a tear if Oswalt went to, I don't know, say the Angels or Rangers or something. To a division rival though not to mention the hated Phillies. And J.A. Happ was the crown jewel in that deal, not Domonic Brown. If the Mets were asked to part with Jon Niese, I agree he is pretty untouchable right now. But I guarantee this non-move has more to do with Omar Minaya once again overvaluing his prospects, where the rigeur du jour is to sell your prospects at their absolute lowest value. This is what angers me.

Don't get me wrong: I did a piece on the prospects who were dealt in the Johan Santana trade. Save Carlos Gomez scoring the winning run in Minnesota against the Tigers last year in the Wild Card tie-breaker, none of those prospects have been particularly impactful. So it was obvious that Tony Bernazard and Minaya were snake-oil peddlers when it counted. But again, I ask, how can you let Roy Oswalt go to a division rival for basically nothing?

Or better yet, how does a GM allow Dan Haren, exactly a pitcher who would fit in with the rotation and would pitch well at CitiField, to go for next to nothing? The Diamondbacks GM was using scare tactics to see who would jump...then the Angels came in and said, "Hey, I'll give you a couple bags of balls and we take Haren's contract." "OK, I'll take it!"

The least the Mets could have done is drive up the asking price for Oswalt so that the Phillies would have to part with more. I mean, is that too much to ask?

Apparently, yes, because now stories are coming out about how the Mets operate. While top flight free agents such as Matt Holliday and Derek Lowe walk over a matter of years, the Mets go for "poor man's" versions of Jason Bay and Oliver Perez (okay, the super-duper welfare version). I didn't complain at first because I thought contract locks are a bit stupid. However, when Joe D. mentioned on MetsMerized Online the other day that the Mets go for the lesser-wanted candidates so they won't get into a bidding war (just with themselves, as evidenced with Perez-idente) just to make fans believe they are committed to a winning team, well, it's counterintuitive. The Mets, as we can see, are NOT committed to winning, they are committed to this smoke-and-mirrors operation of running a team and most of all, allow a direct competitor to get away with trading little or next-to-nothing for a top-flight candidate, that is commitment all right: commitment to getting yourself committed to an insane asylum.

Fans have asked me outright why I still go to games, why I'm still so passionate, and I still follow the team on the road if I am disappointed as much. I shouldn't have to explain my "fandom" to people who either don't know me personally or follow my writing and/or Tweets, but I will say this: a day with bad baseball is better than no baseball at all. When the World Series is over, when it's fall going into winter, I'll have wished I had gone to as many games as possible. As Bart Giamatti once so eloquently said, this game is designed to break your heart. And the Mets are no different. I am a Mets fan first, but baseball fan second.

The incompetence of the front office though pisses me off to no end. I dislike Soul Asylum, but their song Misery, the line that stands out is "Frustrated Incorporated."

That's how I feel about the Mets front office right now. They frustrate me. They simply don't "get it." And what "it" means is: they are not committed to winning, they are not committed to being competitive. They just need to be "committed."

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