Mets Soft? Look Again to the Jets
At Newsday today, David Lennon reported that more heads will be rolling in the Mets organization, and noted that
“Mets decision-makers have been meeting regularly for the past six weeks in an effort to sort out what went wrong this season.”
To which Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog responded,
“here, let me take a crack at it: everyone on your team got hurt, your GM struggles with foresight, you have one reliable starting pitcher, and your players are soft”
Well, injuries are difficult to control, and Omar Minaya is coming back next year. We can only hope that the Wilpons have enough money to buy a decent starting pitcher from the free agent market (John Lackey?). As for the softness, that can be addressed with a mixture of new blood and the right leadership — similar to what the New York Jets did when they reassembled their roster and hired Rex Ryan. During Jets training camp, Ryan talked tough about how the Jets would be playing, though it may have fallen on deaf ears at the time:
I’ve brought up Ryan again because he is living proof that the right leadership can completely change the culture and attitude of a professional team — and parlay that into success on the field.
This year, at least part of the Mets’ problems could be blamed on the injuries to their stars, but that’s not the entire story. One need only look at the failures of 2006, 2007, and 2008 to know that in addition to talent, the Mets can also benefit by a change in their demeanor and the way they approach the game. Some players may be inherently “soft” but that doesn’t mean a “hardness” can’t be coaxed out of them with the right leadership.
Which leads us into part three of “Bring Wally Back, Man!” — Watch and listen to Wally talk about how his team will play aggressive “old school” baseball (courtesy of Playing For Peanuts):
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I don’t know that Wally Backman can singlehandedly change the face of the franchise. But adding Wally and other hard-nosed coaches / former players like him (Ray Knight? John Stearns?) to the minor league system, where they can teach youngsters the right way to play the game, would be a good start in changing the culture and reputation of the organization. There is the “Dodgers’ Way”, the “Braves’ Way”, and used to be the “Orioles’ Way” … why not start building the “Mets’ Way” ?