I made the mistake of checking out the game before heading out last night, and I truly wish I had not.
Top of the 5th, Mets ahead 3-2, two outs and Wright on 2nd. Francoeur hits a sharp single to left-center, and Wright trots around third, not hustling down the line at all, not looking to see if Francoeur was trying for 2nd with two outs.
Francoeur did, in typical Met fashion, head for second when he had very little chance of making it, and was easily thrown out. This was just the second worst part of this play.
As apparently everyone in the stadiumâ€”except Shines and Wrightâ€”knew, if Francoeur was thrown out at second before Wright crossed the plate, the run would not count. Was Shines visibly urging Wright to hustle, due to the circumstances? Of course not. Was Wright running hard as he always should be? Not remotely. Did Wright even look over towards Francoeur to see what he was doing as David trotted down the third base line? Not at all. Not hustling, head not in the game, throw away a run, who the hell cares.
The second Wright crossed the plate, the Marlinsâ€™ catcher immediately made sure the home plate umpire knew what had happened, and as Francoeur was thrown out at second, the umpire declared the run did not count. Apparently, someone was paying attention to the circumstances of the game.
So, to review, all Wright had to do was run hard for a little under 180 entire feet, and the Mets had another run and a 2-run lead. Wright did not hustle, Shines showed no sense of being aware of what was going on, Francoeur was of course thrown out trying to take an extra base, and the Metsâ€”againâ€”did their best Bad News Bears impression on the basepaths. But this is not fair. By the end of their 1976 season, the Bears were running hard and had left the bad fundamentals behind them en route to the championship game. Not these pathetic, lazy Mets.
I have watched a lot of bad baseball in my 36 years as a Met fan, and this play was for me the last straw. There are nine days left in this season, we hear Wright talk about how the season has not gone as planned, we hear Jerryâ€™s absolute drivel about playing â€œcrispâ€ baseball (as if Jerry would have the faintest idea what that was), we have Golden Boy talking about working with HoJo in the offseason, we have a team of wealthy young men about to head off on their annual four-plus month vacation nice and early for the third straight year, and they cannot even be bothered to simply have their heads in the game and run hard.
This just has to end or this team is going to start losing even more fans than the largely vacant Citi Field stands have already shown lately. It is one thing to choke on the last weekend of the year, it is another thing to have your season destroyed by injuries, many probably not preventable, but when our bright-eyed franchise centerpiece clearly does not have his head in the game on the basepaths or care enough to run hard, it is too much even for this optimistic â€œsunshinerâ€ long-term fan to take.
This team reminds me of the horrible late 70s Mets or the revolting 1993 horror show. It shouldnâ€™t. A player like Wright should be giving the fans their moneyâ€™s worth regardless of the situation. If he is hesitant at the plate due to a combination of Jerryâ€™s spring training drill ruining his swing and the Cain beanball making him bail out, that is understandable. However, running the bases like he is dragging an anchor while thinking about his tee times in 10 days is not. In addition, if Wright isnâ€™t what he once was with the bat, he should be making damn sure he maximizes his ability to run the bases.
Yes, it was one play, as was Churchâ€™s missing third. How many times have any of us ever seen that happen, and when it probably cost a game no less? Wright and Beltran together were thrown out three times on the bases in one game against Washington. Pagan is a one-man comedy team trying to figure out if a hit is a hit, and his walnut-sized brain might catch fire trying to count outs and run at the same time. We have seen the most men thrown out at the plate in the big leagues this year I believe. Beltran went down at the plate meekly once, refusing to slide, when sliding was most clearly what the play required.
And this is just off the top of my head.
This team is for the most part a bunch of soft, non-hustling, anti-fundamental, check-cashers at this point. Is this going too far? Absolutely not. The worst choke in history, followed by another similar finish, followed by one of the most disappointing years imaginable, and the face of the damn franchise cannot even hustle when he actually is on second and someone gets a hit with two outs. What do Johan, KRod, and Daniel Murphy think of Wright and Manuel when watching this?Â
IÂ am just about ready to join the obnoxious pessimists after witnessing this play. These guys have been playing out the string for weeks, aside for a few innings here and there when they wake up.
The tone for this is, as always, set by the incredibly weak, ineffectual, and universally disrespected man in the managerâ€™s office. The silent, hands-off ownershipÂ seemingly couldÂ care less. And the GM is clearly focused on saving own job first, as when he loses it, he wonâ€™t be getting another.
I would have to say that, for me personally, I have now truly had it with this team and its 98-pound weakling of a manager. Jerry and the utterly lackadaisical and truly embarrassing play his â€œstyleâ€ of managing tolerates must go, and it must go before spring training 2010 begins. If Jerry is allowed to start another season at the helm of this soft, lazy, contented, clock-punching group, there is no way we are going to see improvement. If we sign Lackey and Holliday and it takes 91 wins to make the playoffs, we will do just enough to win 90. Maybe a hands-off guy with little previous success can win a handful of rings with a roster full of Jeters and Pettittes and Bernies and Marianos and Posadas, but there is simply no chance this group is going anywhere without a serious change of philosophy, which can only start to come with a new manager.
It is starting to look like the folks who cite Lo Duca and Valentin and Floyd as the heart of the 2006 team have been right all along.
I can take injuries, I can take going down trying, and I can take losing without talent. This group, for three years now, has managed to lose more than it should consistently. They lost at least one game too many the last two years, and regardless of injuries, this should not be a 90-plus loss team.
I really wish I had not seen this play. It symbolizes this soft and lazy group perfectly. They say one thing and do another, they run hard going for the extra base when they shouldnâ€™t, and they jog when they should run hard, and I am sick of it. And they again drew zero walks last night, against a group of pitchers that would surely make Gibson and Seaver blush.
In the postgame, Bob Ojeda apparently said the Wright play was mind-boggling, and he noted how Pagan was loafing in left, and he said this all falls on the manager. Ojeda asked if this was the reason the team fell one game short the last two years.
How right he is. How I am giving time and mental energy to a team like this is what is mind-boggling.