GAME 144: METS @ BREWERS — Married To The Wilpons. Ugh.

The past couple months have been truly brutal for diehard Mets fans.

This latest second half collapse is nothing new, but it stings us all the same. In fact, probably moreso. Because, by overachieving, by so exceeding expectations in the first half — highlighted by Johan Santana‘s glorious 8-0 no-hitter, at home, on June 1 — the 2012 Mets stunning crash and burn since the break is all the more frustrating, perplexing, infuriating.

Just when there were signs everywhere that the new regime — finally, our team was being run by adults — had transcended the stumbling, bumbling missteps of the Minaya-Randolph / Minaya-Manuel Mets, the fresh, new, almost-entirely-homegrown (remember THAT?) up-and-coming Mets fell into the same canyon of despair as all their recent predecessors. Meanwhile, our new “adult” TeamMBA front office has appeared to just stand there, mouthing platitudes, but doing essentially nothing to stop the slide.

Sure, there were also signs that the first half was a mirage, a statistical aberration. Most of the reasons the Mets were winning (MLB-leading RISP, 2-out hits, 2-out runs scored, etc) were unsustainable.

But the staggeringly bad bullpen also cost, conservatively, 10-15 wins. It could be argued successfully that with a merely league-average pen, the Mets would have been 15-20 games over .500 and leading the NL East by 8-10 games at the break. Annoyingly, the current FIRST PLACE Baltimore Orioles come to mind — why not the Mets?

We’ve all launched our share of rants aimed at the goat du jour — the left fielder, the catcher, the poison pen, yes, even the Face of the Franchise. Our personal favorites and our whipping boys alike have delivered deeply disappointing seasons, with few exceptions.

David Wright has completely disappeared in the second half of several seasons now. It’s almost midnight on the first half of David’s career and it’s completely fair to ask if he’s the guy I defended in mid-July as an essential cornerstone of the Mets rebuilding, or if he’s only a Met for life if he’s willing to be paid as a complementary player.

Indeed, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Matt Harvey, Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy, Scott Hairston and Ronnie Cedeno are probably the only non-disappointments this year. If I’ve unfairly left anyone out, please remind me in the comments, because I can use a little cheering up. Almost everyone else, including several players expected to form the “core” of the new Mets, have come up seriously short this season — casting doubt over the current rebuild-in-progress and suggesting that nothing but an all-out shakeup will return this franchise to contention.

Recently, the crosshairs are rightly trained on the manager for his inability to break the pattern of habitual collapse in crunch time, despite his obvious commitment to his work and to his players.

It’s not, “Terry Collins MUST go!”  It’s more like, “Terry must go, so that there’ll be no more scapegoats to shield the real culprits from public scorn.”

No matter how strong the young (and old) arms prove to be next year, if Saint Wally Backman can’t win with this utterly inept offense, then who’s to blame? Wally? Great, fire Wally in 2014. Then what? Does Sandy Alderson fire himself too? Because, only THEN will the Wilpies be out of fall guys.

Finally, the GM himself is taking shrapnel for assembling this deeply flawed roster last winter — especially the offense — which many of us suspected was as paper thin as it’s proven to be, and for failing to obtain (or at least appear to be TRYING to obtain) credible reinforcements this summer.

Teams like Oakland, Tampa Bay, San Diego and, yes, even tonight’s gracious hosts, Milwaukee, have managed to do far more with far less money than the post-Madoff Mets. It’s time to start asking why Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill can turn into enough talent to rejuvenate a small-market team, but hanging onto Jose Reyes long enough to win a batting title, then walk away for nothing, is a turnaround strategy.

HOWEVER, at the end of the day, none of us knows exactly how handcuffed, hamstrung and hogtied the GM really is.

The deeper the Mets plunge into irrelevancy and punchline status, the more we have to ask if the “nattering nabobs of negativity” we left behind — those who repeated the same anti-ownership screeds, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, drowning out all reasonable discourse – are nevertheless correct in their sentiments (as annoying as their methods were and still are).

But, unfortunately, we’re stuck with these reprehensible real estate developers for our foreseeable lifetimes (and those of their heirs). Unless ….

On one hand, we can surmise that the new investor money the Wilpons raised simply went to cover past losses and overdue loan payments. We can hope that the true 2013 debt service bomb (plus their new 2012 losses) are so incalculably massive that no refinancing will be enough to let them squeak by again. That’s the only financial force that can push them out. On the other hand, we must also hope that the banks do not open up vast new credit lines to the Wilpons, based on a upward reappraisal of the Mets/SNY assets in light of the ridiculous premium paid this year for the Dodgers.

It’s too early to know if this is a legitimate time bomb for the Wilpons and legitimate grounds for Mets fans to finally be granted a divorce from these parasites — but it’s something.

What we DO know is that RSN (Real Soon Now), the Wilpons’ dear friend, Bud Selig, will have more egg on his face — in front of a national audience.

Uncle Bud’s tenure as Commish is winding down. He hated McCourt who used the LA franchise as a personal ATM machine, so he didn’t hesitate to seize control to put the Dodgers back on firm financial ground — a huge feather his his cap. But, the Mets ruination may be the tipping point to the downside in his already dubious legacy.

His faithful buddies in Flushing have been allowed to devalue the NL’s biggest market franchise for over five years running (or twenty-five, if you want to get technical). So, right on cue, next summer, they’re finally rewarded for their commendable stewardship with the long-cherished opportunity to host the Mid-Summer Classic — in a mausoleum. Bud will give away 30,000 tix to make sure the place is full, but the die will be cast for a national humiliation if his hand-picked turnaround specialist can’t turn this mess around this winter, and fast.

This winter may well decide the Mets very ownership, something Bud wants dearly to avoid, if at all possible. But he won’t go out with the franchise in a financial shambles, long after the Madoff excuse has expired.

So, with that as our backdrop, who wants to be first to set the over-under on Mets off-season trades and signings?

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38 thoughts on “GAME 144: METS @ BREWERS — Married To The Wilpons. Ugh.

  1. Tejada pops up. Murphy walks.
    Gary Cohen says, “Fiers, who walks less than 3 batters per 9, walks his second batter of the game.”
    WTF Gary? Say no to drugs.

  2. By the way, great write-up Blazing.
    Agree that our hopes as mets fans may be pinned on hopes that bankers don’t buy any more of what the wilpons are selling.
    If the Dodgers sale re-sets the value of the mets in any significant way, we may be stuck with these crooks forever.

  3. DUDA!
    The big strong young man finally comes out aggressive and scalds one into the corner in right for another run, mets 2-0.
    Scoring on the road is a cinch.
    At home, not so much.

    • OMG, I’m so happy for Lucas (and US) !!
      He looked great in that at bat, maybe this can be the beginning of him coming out of the woods.
      I’m even happier for Jon Niese who finally has more than 1 run to work with.
      He’s probably pinching himself out there right now. ;)

  4. After being given his first lead of the millennium, Niese gives back a hit to aoki, but has the cutter working and erases him with an easy dp, then gives up a walk to ryan braun of the suspicious pee sample, and drops another cutter to force him too.
    Niese then does what thole can’t do (gets a hit for himself) and murphy rewards him with a 2 RUB BOMB into the upper tank.
    Mets 4-0 – on the road, of course.
    Any met pitcher scheduled to pitch next week at home should flatly refuse and hold out for the next road trip.

    • FOUR runs !!!
      In TWO innings !!!
      On the FIRST night away from home, after four years without scoring that many at CitiField!
      This team is just crazy. ;)

    • BTW, BVM … thanks for the play by play updates.
      Franchise is probably deep in the salt mines tonight, so it’s nice that you stepped up to pinch hit again ;)

  5. Struggling with prosperity, niese creates a no-out mess for himself in the 2nd, giving up a near 3-run bomb to ishikawa which luckily bounces over the wall in left center for a ground-rule double (only 1 run scored), then briefly slows the brew crew snatching a comebacker and catching the runner in a rundown (out at the plate).
    Then, he allows another hit (to right), scoring the 2nd run of the inning, followed by another runner cut down at the plate (nice play by wright, throw to thole).
    Niese escapes further damage striking out weeks, looking.
    Mets 4-2.

  6. Davis and Duda down swinging, then valdespin singles, but is thrown out stealing.
    Why does any met EVER try to steal anymore?
    Hasn’t anyone ever told them that crime doesn’t pay?

    • And we thought Mookie wasn’t cutting it as the base stealing coach.
      Actually, I know coaching probably has nothing to do with stealing bases at this level,
      but how does a team suddenly go from 75% successful to what seems like barely 50%?

  7. Niese settles down after a slight misplay by tejada in the bottom 3rd allowing Braun to reach,
    recording another easy DP to keep it at Mets 4-2.

  8. Hey boys and girls!
    Just catching up on the doings in Sudsville.

    Franchie will probably look in at some point and ask for royalties, but nice work with the streaming updates, BVM.
    Too much going on here tonight to go back and re-watch the whole thing on the DVR,
    so your commentary brings me up to the moment.

    Sounds like a nice job by Niese so far to limit the damage when he got himself into some hot water.
    And, damn, this home/away run scoring phenomenon may go down as one of the all-time headscratchers.

    • My pleasure, Blazing.
      Some buddies are expecting me to meet up around 11pm, but til then, i’m trying to hang in with the updates.

  9. Wright hits the 40 doubles milestone for the 5th time in his career, 4 short of club record now, but Ike leaves him there.
    Going to the bottom of the 5th, Mets, 4-2.

  10. PS — Pass and Trap, I really enjoyed reading your back and forth late last night / this morning.
    If you’re enjoying a Mets-Stress-Free-Friday night, I envy you, but whenever you roll in, I’d definitely appreciate your feedback on the lead story. I’ve been the standard bearer for optimism most of the way this year, but I’m ready to start sharpening my knives for the offseason. Curious to know what you guys think.

    Ditto, MBG, Franny, Kona San, Chup, Noob and everyone else who’s lurking.

    BVM, thanks for the thoughts. Never thought our baseball hopes and dreams would rest in the hands of freakin bankers.
    Guess this is the Wilpons’ Field of Dreams moment. Can’t believe I find myself rooting against the guys who “built it.”

  11. Niese still mowing down the hot brew crew with little resistance so far, except for that one blip in the 2nd.
    Through 5 innings, 2 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks – and no big “niese meltdown inning”

  12. DUDA!!!!
    Big strong young man opens the 6th with a BOMB to dead central off the green wall, just over the homerun line.
    Fans in Flushing feeling the sting of rejection and betrayal.
    Mets, 5-2.

  13. Holy Thole!!
    Torres reaches on a sloppy throw by the brewers’ shortstop, then t-hole slaps one past dirty-pee-braun in left for another mets double, torres scoring easily.
    Niese sitting pretty on the road, trying to match his career high 11th win.
    Mets, 6-2.

  14. Niese follows with his 2nd hit of the night (wicked bad hopper to 3b), so he still leads t-hole in hitting for the month of Sept.
    Pitching change, Mets still up, 6-2.

  15. 88 year old Livan Hernandez comes in to induce a double play grounder, but brewers infield air mails another throw,
    allowing another mets run to cross (highest mets run total since aug 16 in cincinnati).
    Mets 7-2.

  16. OMG, I can’t believe Livan is still getting by throwing that slop of his.
    And can the guy have a little self-respect and say no to at least every 3rd cheeseburger?
    You call yourself a major league ATHLETE? =0

    • BTW, how old is Livan REALLY?
      Does anybody in baseball even know for sure?
      He was in the World Series in his rookie year for the Marlins when …1996? … 97?
      And that was AFTER his career in Cuba?
      So, he had to have at least a few years before he defected, right?
      What did Bill Clinton call it last week? Arithmetic?
      Anybody here think Livan is a day under 43?
      Who wants to handle the money on the over/under?

  17. Well, the guys in the booth finally did it to niese –
    After he allows a leadoff double, they keep bringing up his 17 straight games without issuing more than 2 walks
    until he finally just can’t take the pressure anymore and – walks this 3rd of the night.
    Niese then HITS ishikawa, but gets a called strike because he swung at the pitch while being hit in the forearm,
    so he catches a break there and takes advantage, turning a hbp into a strikeout, then gets a grounder to 3b. Niese now through 6 with the hot brewers still stuck on 2.
    Mets, 7-2.

    • Hey BVM, great job all night!

      If the Mets hold this lead (pen proof?), Niese will be 1-3 in his last four starts.
      Could/should be 4-0 with any kind of run support.

      Kudos to the Dude for supplying the power tonight.

      Now, let’s see if the pen can earn at least one day’s pay,
      so Niese and Duda’s efforts don’t go to waste.

  18. Edgin and Rauch navigate a scoreless 7th.
    Mets still sitting pretty, 7-2.

    (wow, can’t believe how much fun it is to keep typing that over and over).

  19. Mets riding a comfy lead in the top of the 8th, and my buddies are on the way so I’ll be going mobile in a few minutes.
    Hope the pen can turn in a couple of quiet innings to close out the mets first easy win in literally WEEKS.
    Maybe someone can take over the updates, at least until the professionals get back later / tomorrow. ;)
    Until then, LGM!!

  20. Looks like BVM’s out to enjoy the remainder of this Friday in the real world, but it would be a disservice to his fine work all night long to let what just happened go unrecognized –

    Bobby Parnell just came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth with what, to all non-Mets-fan observers, must have appeared to be a very safe 5-run lead.

    He promptly put 2 on with none out and was one 3-0 pitch away from loading the bases. He then got a break on a ball just off the outside corner for ball four (called strike one), but squandered it by immediately yielding a scorcher up the middle to drive in a run and put the tying run in the on-deck circl…… wait, this just in!

    Ruben Tejada did a full lay-out to snare that bullet up the middle, made a perfect backhand flip from his belly to Daniel Murphy, who completed the turn for the prettiest Mets double-play of 2012 — preventing ANY runs from scoring!

    A true Web-Gem in form and in substance — and, with Parnell on the mound, surely, a game-saver.
    Parnell then induced a comebacker, and the rally was snuffed out as quickly as he created it.

    Hats off to Muffin-Top and The Irish Hammer! In my book, THEY get the save. ;)

  21. And, after a little ninth inning silliness, Ramon Ramirez puts one in the books!

    Awesome job by the Rip Van Winkle offense, which actually looked like a facsimile of a major league attack tonight,
    and tip of the cap to Jon Niese for win #11 too.

  22. Friday nights are SO much better when our boys WIN!!!
    Especially when it’s still only 8:30p and I already got my happy recap!
    Back at em again tomorrow evening …
    Happy Friday night, everybody!! ;)

  23. Pass (and MGB too),

    To continue our discussion from the last thread…I like Duda’s apporach and Keith said some on the money things about Lucas focusing on hitting the top of the ball to generate power (I watched the first 2 innings and then got called away by my lady friend). It’s an interesting mix: Lucas’s hitting approach vs Ike’s defensive prowess. Personally it boils down to how the rest of the roster shakes out. If we figure out how the infield would look…say we get an upgrade at 2B defensively, I’d make the controversial move to shop Ike and stick Lucas at 1B. Ike’s power and defensive skills would in theory net us more than Duda would because other teams value Ike higher. The issue here is that we haven’t seen Duda enough at 1B so I don’t know how his defense is and how well he can grow into 1B. If you value Ike’s glove more, then you move Lucas. Bay’s contract is dead weight so Lucas in LF cancels out Bay playing time wise. If Murphy is the guy at 2b next year, it means that the 1 spot for a power RH bat HAS to be RF. CF i would use to get a speed guy there which allows you to flip flop Murphy and Ruben in the #2 spot to play matchups.

    At this stage in the game, Ike shouldn’t be hitting cleanup and Duda shouldn’t be hitting 5th. The two spots they are hitting in now are by need (although if they play their full potential, they are technically hitting in the right spots) and hitting them back to back only highlights how to get them out even more. If Sandy chooses to keep both, he has got to find a RH bat…if it were up to me, I’d move DW to the #5 and then go RH, Ike, DW and Duda for a very solid middle of the order. I’ve made this point on Price’s Place before…you get a bat like the Beltran circa 2006/2007 and drop him in the #3 spot, this is such a better lineup. DW isn’t a #3 hitter because his bat isn’t dynamic enough.

    Here’s why I like Duda: he’s got an Adam Dunn type feel to him but with a higher BA potential. If we had a decent lineup I might even hit him #2 for a little bit and ask him to focus solely on hitting. His swing isn’t as long as Ike’s so his slumps should be shorter. But for Lucas it is between the ears confidence wise and if he can manage that, he’s gonna be good.

  24. Oh, and nice win by the boys last night. The one thing that TC has gotten them to do is play well on the road. I swear we should just wear road jerseys in Citi Field for the rest of the year to help the how W-L record.

    FYI: Balzin’ = Blazing and MGB = metsbloggirl. When you have these Philly loving PC’s like I have at work, spell check doesn’t apply.

  25. Nice write up Blazing. Unless the Mets completely turn into the current version of the Astros and there is a sex scandal involving ownership, we are stuck with the unlovable Fred Wilponzi and Jeff Willputt for a while longer yet.

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