Sunday, May 23, 2010

What We Moan About When We Moan About The Mets

Self-biting: not in good taste, but who are you going to criticize? All you can do is acknowledge it, which is what I'll do here: the title of this post is lifted from one I used for my last long, overreactive (over)analysis of a minor move by the New York Mets at Can't Stop the Bleeding. I'm using it again because I can't imagine I'll come up with a better headline, but mostly because I just wrote another such long n' florid Mets-related overreaction.

Once again, it pertains to the painful botching of what should, again, have been something so minor that even an obviously unbalanced person such as myself could barely care about it. But in the same way that the Mets managed to make adding a washed-up veteran backup (something they've done literally hundreds of times over the past few years) into an exploded drawing of their own goofball managerial anti-prowess -- or came close enough that I could dedicate 1200 (uncompensated!) words to describing it as such -- the team managed to make putting a mid-rotation starter on the DL into a similarly carnivalesque affair.

I am not expecting much in the way of on-field success from the Mets this year, which is nothing new. But despite that expectation-revision, I've somehow found a way to be disappointed. Some of this is on me. But much of it is on them -- on manager Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen and GM Omar Minaya and the Hapsburgian Wilpon tard-dynasty -- for un-exceeding those low expectations: for popping champagne after acquiring The Least Valuable Player in Baseball, for proving hellbent on turning a potential ace starter into Guillermo Mota, for not being able to put poor John Maine on the DL without somehow humiliating and insulting the guy, making a bunch of unilluminating, free-associative non-explanations into open microphones, and generally continuing to give the impression that the entire organization exists in a consequence-free zone of upside-down reasoning, double-secret paranoia and retrograde illogic. This sort of low-yield high-handedness and general ineptitude is pretty much the team's calling card over the last few years, although it hasn't lost its power to shock and depress. Or at least to do that to me. Evidently. That is definitely evident.

Obviously, this is not quite the worst it has ever been. (Look right, but know that that's not really the worst, either) And anyway, it's not like it hasn't kind of been thus for a couple decades now. As much fun as I had with, say, the 2000 or 2006 Mets, it was clear that those teams were outliers. The Wilpons are very rich, but have always sort of struck me as fairly dim, and uniquely susceptible to the sort of dim confidence that plays well in interviews (with the Wilpons, not with newspapers) -- thus Steve Phillips (Gerard's headline on that post is perfect, and this one's pretty good, too) and Omar Minaya and Tony Bernazard (one of my all-time least favorites) and some of the other, lesser lights who have held important administrative roles for the Wilps. Stupid is as stupid finds appealing and worthy of confidence.

So where does this leave me, besides bashing out long exegeses of the hows and whys certain things suck/are-ridiculous and etc. Really, honestly, probably more or less where I've been since I was seven years old: watching the Mets on television. I love baseball, and I love that uniform, and there are still some guys on the Mets that I find interesting and inspiring to watch. And I'm not going to pay for MLB season ticket so I can put myself in the hands of a more ideologically simpatico organization like the Rays or Angels or Mariners. The thought of it doesn't seem appealing for even a minute, although I enjoy watching those teams play. In my life as a fan, I've never been able to pull off consciously choosing to care about one team or another. It just sort of happens, and not-caring about the Mets hasn't happened yet. (After the ongoing insult of the New Jersey Nets' Ratner Years, though, I did sort of stop caring. So it's possible)

I don't want to stop caring about the Mets, and while I want them to get their shit together in terms of being a little less embarrassing to work for, cheer for and watch, I don't even know how much I really want them to lose all the flubbiness. If they were mechanized infantry a la the Yankees, I think I'd find it hard to cheer or care. But I would love a little less incompetence than this. The losing I can take; I'm used to it. It's the so-thoroughly-deserving-it, at a number of different levels, that makes me sad. Anyway, the Mets unrelenting (and somehow maybe worsening, after the grueling death march of last year) Metsiness does at least ensure that I get plenty of screeding and ranting practice, and I need something to get those adjectives out of my system. I would love to feel less obligated to do all that typing, though. I would also love for them to send Jennry Mejia to Binghamton so he could become a starting pitcher. I don't expect either anytime soon.

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