- Ray Ramirez, Head Trainer for the Mets
For the past three seasons, Met fans have seen their beloved team sputter in September.Â Whether it be a colossal collapse or a meaningless swoon, Met players have often tired out before the 162 game finish line.Â It is easy to see that these players are not properly conditioned for the long run.Â Add to this the constant injuries, the longer than expected time on the dl for players, and the steady decrease in power, and one must look with a critical eye at head trainer Ray Ramirez and his staff, including head of strength and conditioning Rick Slate.
First, the elephant in the room, the injuries.Â As Met fans all know, the 2009 disabled list sent out everyday from Citi Field has a bigger payroll than teams that are preparing for the playoffs.Â Reyes, Beltran, and Delgado, three of the Mets fabled big four, missed significant time due to injury.Â Add J.J. Putz to the mix, and four Mets who participated in the World Baseball Classic were shelved for a good portion of the 2009 campaign.Â Â But where are the head trainer and strength coach, who should have put together a post-season workout regime that could have prevented injuries to these players?Â Yes, there is a definite possibility that all four of these players would have gotten hurt regardless, but Reyes, Delgado, and Putz looked tired and worn out by the time they were injured, and that was in May.Â They were not properly trained and prepared for the long season ahead.Â Add the longer than expected recovery times, the lack of an efficient rehabilitation plan, and the multitude of minor injuries the Mets have incurred, and it is apparent that neither Ramirez or Slate had a plan in place to deal with what happened to the Mets this year.
Digging a bit deeper, even the casual fan can see that the past two seasons, 2007 and 2008, the Mets were not prepared to compete for a full 162 game schedule.Â Some blamed the lack of fire at the end of 2007 on a longer than usual 2006, but aren’t trainers and strength coaches paid to make sure their athletes are ready to compete at the highest level day in and day out?Â Sure looks like the Phillies training and strength staff figured out how to have their talent ready after a short off-season.
Back to 2009.Â The Mets, as a team, have hit a whopping 88 home runs as of September 22nd.Â That’s 15 more than Barry Bonds had in his record breaking 73 homer season (*there’s your asterisk, happy now?)Â Citi Field is NOT to blame.Â The Mets had 47 homers at home, compared to opponents 81 dingers in 76 games.Â On the road, 71-41 opponents in 75 games.Â So in one more game, the Mets had six more home runs at the supposed death trap for fly balls compared to more favorable road parks.Â Either ALL of the Mets REALLY adjusted their swings to play in Citi Field, or that is just an excuse the team is making for a noticeable lack of power production?
So as Met fans point fingers at the players, front office, manager, and anyone else who has had any impact on the Mets 2009 struggles (Do people REALLY think Bernie Madoff is to blame for this mess?) why not look at the two men responsible for the oft-injured, fast aging, under-producing roster that might have lived up to its potential with something as little as a major league training and conditioning program?Â Major League training has seemed to work for David Wright, who consistently produces and has been featured TWICE in Men’s Health magazine for his training regime.Â Funny, he never mentioned Ramirez or Slate when asked how he stays in shape and properly prepared to play.Â And to me, that’s saying something.