Saturday, September 28, 2002

(Guest) Rants From the Upper Deck by Steve Reynolds

I would normally use my column space to complain about how crappy my Mets have been this year.  But someone I work with has gone one step better—he sent Fred Wilpon and Steve Phillips letters to register his complaints.  So take it away, [REDACTED]...

Dear Mr. Wilpon:

Let me start this letter off by stating that my fellow Mets-fan-friends and myself will not be returning as ticket holders, and the organization has just lost over $1000 in ticket sales.  This may seem like pennies compared to people who shell out more money for better seats for your bottom line, but I’m sorry, we work hard for the little money we make and don’t want to waste it on this.  We were not satisfied customers for the last two seasons and we’re tired of it.  Now that I’ve said that, I want to voice, as a die-hard, life-long Mets fan, my displeasure, disgust, frustration and embarrassment in this team and the organization.  Yes it’s true, no one could have predicted this kind of flop, but it’s heartbreaking that you, your general manager and field manager have let this happen. 

The Mets have examples of great baseball organizations in their own backyard, and in their own division to learn from: The Yankees and the Braves.  Both organizations have the sharpest scouting staffs, and don’t make bad trades.  Plus, when it comes to the Yankees, they do not tolerate losing!  It’s preached from top to bottom.  When a player puts on a Yankee uniform, that player is humbled and honored to be wearing those storied pinstripes.  Do the Mets preach that?  Do they have any tradition?  The Mets are a part of New York National League baseball history with the Giants and Dodgers.  Those teams were always in the playoffs and/or World Series.  If those teams hadn’t run into the Yankees so many times, those teams would equally be considered dynasties.  Look at the Braves and what they’ve accomplished.  Look at the last two seasons where they started off horribly and then turned it around.  This season they turned it around at the same time as last year and are the best team in baseball.  They have confidence, talent and fundamentals.  I also think their manager and pitching coach have something to do with it.  What do we have???? 

You have to build a winner and keep it!!!!  You can’t snap your fingers and expect an instant winner.  You have the money to get the players.  You should have the scouts signing great prospects!!  We have no depth in the minors or the majors.  Stop looking back at ’69, ’73, ’86, and ’00.  Look forward at how you can slowly, and surely build a winner for many, many years.  How is it that you can buy a franchise in 1980, turn it around to a winner (’84 to ’90), dismantle it (’91 to ’96), and not build another winner the way you did it the first time!!!???  The ’97 ’98 teams didn’t have enough talent and the ’99 and ’00 teams had the talent but not enough fire and passion.  The ’01 and ’02 teams were complacent.  There is no denying any of this!

This is New York.  It has the best of everything!  Both New York teams should be in the playoffs every year.  Or at least fighting and showing some competitive fire and drive.  I haven’t seen a Mets team with any heart, fire and desire since the ‘80s.  I don’t count the Mets teams of ’97, ’98, ’99, ’00, 01.  Those teams always let the Braves or Yankees intimidate them psychologically and found a way to flop.  That’s why they never won the 2000 World Series.  The ‘80s Mets never were intimidated.  They were the powerhouse team.  We were headed for great things and somehow, the ownership and management derailed that train too.  Before the 2000 World Series, I had a hard time finding Mets jerseys and memorabilia when visiting Cooperstown shops.  After the Series, it was as if Upstate NY realized there were two great teams in NY.  Maybe the Mets should start winning all the time so that the perception of the world shouldn’t be “there’s another team in New York other than the Yankees??”

I am tired of losing.  I am tired of being embarrassed.  I am tired of playing second fiddle to the Yankees, Braves and other teams.  Look at some of the trades the St. Louis Cardinals have made in recent years-McGwire, Edmonds, Rolen.  It seems as if they never make a bad deal either.  Other GMs and owners must be laughing at the Mets organization.  It’s disgraceful.  The Mets haven’t won a division title in 15 seasons!!!  If it wasn’t for the wild card, the team would still have only three pennants!  Why do the Mets settle for less than greatness?????  I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Piazza asked for a trade!!!

Another example is the field manager.  A good manager should be seen and only heard arguing with an umpire, fighting for his team.  Bobby Valentine, for all the wonderful, charitable things he’s done as a person, is not the right manager for the Mets.  You need a manager who preaches fundamentals, consistency and a fighting spirit.  The winning attitude should be a given.  This manager makes the most ridiculous substitutions, double-switches, pitching changes and juggles the lineup card too much.  He doesn’t allow the players to feel comfortable in their spot in the line up, or define what each player’s role is.  I know for me personally, I like to know what my role is at my job so I can do the best job I can.  He can’t even pick the coaches he wants or else Steve Phillips will fire them!!  How do you justify Charlie Hough, a knuckleballer as the pitching coach over someone like Orel Hershiser? Look at how Bobby talks with the press.  He’s uptight and flip.  Look at how Joe Torre is with the media.  Congenial, answers tough questions and uses common sense.  With Bobby, it looks as if he’s hiding something and trying to come off mysterious.  When in reality he acts like a moron.  I saw him in Spring Training 2001 and he was like that with the fans. 

In closing, some of the trades and signings you’re GM has made have been wonderful.  But some of them have been equally horrible.  I won’t name examples, don’t want to play GM or come off telling you how to do your job.  I don’t want to be embarrassed anymore and it kills me that I had to write this letter about my beloved team.  If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t have been possessed to write.  I may just be one fan, and you will probably disregard my letter and not care what we have to say, but at least I had the confidence to express the opinions and frustrations that Mets fans all over are feeling.  Let us know when the organization has decided to grow up and be looked at as something great.  Like the Yankees.

Sincerely yours,


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