How do we remain optomistic in such dire times?
The Mets have certainly had more than their fair share of bad years through their 47 year history. It started from the very beginning. Only one team in history, the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, lost more games than the 1962 Mets team that lost 120. In fact the Mets lost over 100 games in 5 of their first 6 seasons. The year they lost less than 100 they still lost 99 games.
The Mets have also had many players whose play was of spectacular ineptness. From “Marvelous Marv” Throneberry to Jose Lima there have been many.
Times are particularly bad for the Mets these days. Following collapses at the end of the 2007 & 2008 seasons jaded Mets fans stuck by their team. A failure like this had not been seen since the failure of “Generation K” but still the fans persevered.
Now, as we move into the second half of the 2009 season, the fans have become more and more disenchanted. As the season unfolds and the worst rash of injuries in team history threatens to derail a team that should have been a contender and may have been a champion fans are asking themselves “what am I to do?”.
Tug McGraw gave us the medicine to cope with, but not heal, this kind of crisis. In 1973 the Mets were playing lackluster baseball when team chairman M. Donald Grant came down to the clubhouse and gave a motivational speech that inspired McGraw’s now famous rallying cry “Ya Gotta Believe!”. The Mets ended up winning 21 of their last 29 games of the regular season and win the division. They won the NLCS that year but lost the World Series. It should also be noted that the Mets were down by 10 games to the Cubs in August 1969 before going on a tear and winning the World Series.
The difference between this team and those teams is the number of injuries. Without replacing some of these injured players there is obviously no way this team will pull off another miracle finish. But as the season goes on and some of these players come back they should at least be fun to watch again. This is not by any means the way you want to look at a season that began with championship aspirations. But when things go bad you need to re-evaluate what you have and adjust expectation.