Well that was a perfect waste of four days, wasn't it?
Oh, did I say four days, I meant seven years.
Thursday represented the last in a four game sweep by the Nationals, which featured a one hit effort, a three hit effort, a three hit effort by Jayson Werth, and Thursday's monstrosity. It also represented my final appearance at Citi Field for the 2013 season. It couldn't have been more fitting. Scalpers were selling their remaining tickets at "half the price for half the team." How do you know your season has gone to shit? That's right, when the scalpers are honest.
Then, the final game I see at Citi Field for the year features not Zack Wheeler, not Jon Niese, but Aaron Harang ... a guy brought in simply to get the Mets through the season in one piece. It's like going to class and getting a substitute teacher, but the kind of substitute teacher who still tries to stick to the lesson plan and makes you sit there for an hour, or in this case, four. Harang, to my surprise, was halfway decent, striking out ten and only giving up four hits in six innings. Granted, three of those hits were solo home runs that haven't come down yet, but hell, that's mere details.
Oh, and it rained for an hour. It was God trying to warn me to just leave.
But the best part ... the beeeeeeeeeeeeeest part, was seeing Frank Francisco implode. First off, who didn't see that inning coming? Second, the dope hits Jayson Werth in the back on a 3-0 pitch and then denies he was throwing at him? And here's the sad part: Terry Collins couldn't figure out who to pull out of the lineup and protect because nobody was good enough to protect! And the Nationals figured that out too, luckily for Francisco. We were wondering in the stands who the Nationals would get their revenge on since surely, Francisco wouldn't bat for himself. Then we looked at the lineup and I said to my buddy: "you know, if I'm the Nationals, why would I bother?" They're going to show us by hitting Josh Satin? The Mets aren't even good enough to retaliate against!!!
As for Francisco, let him save the rest of the bullpen and pitch four innings a game the rest of the season. Why risk a good arm blowing up when Francisco can get hurt again and go collect major league meal money in Florida, which is all he really wants to do anyway.
So I come home, after the Mets had reached their low-water mark of the season at 17 games under .500 to find out that the Mets were pretty much a lock to bring back Terry Collins. Now if you have no life and you feel like going back into my archives, you'll see that I have said in the past that I would have no problem with Collins getting a shot with a better team. I believe that it's truly impossible to judge Collins on three years of managing a terrible roster. I think to the same extent that it's impossible to judge Sandy Alderson on the major league record with the limited funds he has had to work with since he got here.
What I don't like is the reasoning that is being thrown around for bringing Collins back, from the Post's Mike Puma:
"The fact the Wilpon family, which controls the Mets, has a deep appreciation for Collins is known throughout the industry. The Wilpons and general manager Sandy Alderson value Collins as a loyal lieutenant who has put his ego aside and walked the organizational line without creating waves."
Boy oh boy. The Mets had better hope that Wally Backman, who they have not so discretely snubbed when it came time to calling up their coaches from the minors, doesn't take over for Davey Johnson next season in Washington and not so discretely shoves it up the Mets collective asses. How bad would it look if Wally Backman led the former Expos back to the division title while the Mets have the guy who doesn't "create waves"? And for what? Because Backman had the audacity to say that he would fix Ike Davis? What exactly did you want him to say? "Oh, we have no idea what to do with him because we're just minor league coaches who ain't worth a damn." Are we punishing people for being confident now? Are we going to take all traces of personality away from this franchise? And that's not to say that Backman will be a sure fire success in the majors. I have no idea. But that this is why Backman isn't getting a shot with the Mets might be the dumbest thing I've heard this year.
That's the first thing.
Second thing is, if you're keeping the manager, and the plan for next season includes publicly stating interest in Shin Soo Choo but not willing to go top dollar for him which probably means not getting him, and willing to settle on Lucas Duda as your first baseman which means a fifth straight season stuck with this very definition of a mediocre ballplayer, then what are we really doing here? Do the Mets exist to win, or exist to fill out everybody else's schedule? Are we going to try to get some new players and new ideas on how to get this thing done? Or are we just going to go with the same old ways and means that haven't worked since Willie Randolph left and not make an attempt to think outside the box?
Crissakes we're too concerned with feelings here in this organization. Too concerned about Ike Davis' feelings, too concerned about Dave Hudgens' feelings, too concerned with Terry Collins' feelings ... enough! I doubt Terry Collins is going to freak out over getting let go after three seasons of 77 wins and under, especially if you reassign him to working with young players which he has done quite competently before. No ... we have to keep everybody from crying in a corner because that's what adults do all the time, right? We can't have Wally Backman being so over the line as to even think that he could do something useful that would make one of our coaches look bad. When the hell did Dave Hudgens become Leonard Huff?
Is it the money? Is the money keeping you from being bold and trying to make improvements to this team? I mean, the money woes are over, right Freddie? That's what he told us. Unless ...
He lied to us? Impossible! I don't believe it.
Look, if this is the way it's going to be, Mr. Wilpon and son ... if we're going to be the Miami Marlins, then please just let us know and we'll start dressing up as bright orange fish for no good reason. I really don't need to hear throughout the winter meetings that you're interested in all these players only to see you fall short by about $20 million when you really had no intention of getting top dollar talent at all. That your only intention was to make it seem like you were going after top dollar talent. That play is as predictable as when the Jets run that insipid wildcat play. We know it's coming. So just drop that pretense and in return we'll drop the pretense that we come to Citi Field to watch baseball instead of coming to stand in line for Shake Shack for an inning and a half.
But if that's the case, then let me ask you caring owners a question ... is this what you want:
Because this is your ballpark ... your jewel ... at pretty much game time on Thursday. Your paid attendance was 20,484 but we can count. And even though we only have 10-11 appendages to choose from, we can count high enough to know that this isn't 20,484. Give us credit for that. The place you loved so much that you had every last remnant of Shea Stadium gone by May of 2009 was a damn ghost town yesterday. And if that doesn't hit home for you, let's take a look at something that does ... your Shake Shack line:
And this wasn't the eighth inning, Mr. Wilpon and son. This was 12:53 pm. For a 1:10 game, this line is six rows deep. (And this was before the rain so don't go looking for that excuse.) Is this what you want? Because if so, then let us know. Tell us that you still have loans to pay and that we should just be happy with having David Wright and Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler surrounded by the dried turnips you call "acquisitions". Please. Just level with us. We can take it.
Enjoy your empty ballpark the rest of the year. See you at Citi Field next season. And I'll see you in hell, Frank Francisco.