Recognize this, Met fans?Â Well, you shouldn’t…
Why did the 2009 New York Mets miss the playoffs this year? Itâ€™s a question that everyone asks, everyone answers, but is much simpler than most people think. The Mets missed the playoffs because they did not have enough wins to qualify. They didnâ€™t win enough. Lost too much. Simple, right? Yet every writer, fan, analyst, blogger, beer vendor (you get the point) would usually answer the following: â€œinjuriesâ€, â€œbad bullpenâ€, â€œlack of corner outfield powerâ€, â€œJose Reyes is too immature and we should trade him for Felix Hernandezâ€ (which is followed by me turning off WFAN since the callers say things such as this). Fact is, they lost because they lost.
The 2009 New York Mets, as seen by their record, were not winners. They werenâ€™t in 2008. Werenâ€™t in 2007. So what happened in 2006 that made them winners? Yes I know, they didnâ€™t win the World Series, but they still won SOMETHING. And that has to count. So, what made the Mets winners? And how do the 2010 Mets become more like the 2006, 2000, 1986, and other winning teams? Easy, go watch a Garden City High School Football Game. No? How about Monroe-Woodbury High School Football? Or better yet, just go watch tapes of Championship seasons and performances from every sport you can think off. Take a look what it takes to be one of these champions, a winner, and what the Mets must do to become winners once again.
Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest coaches of any sport in history, has many a quote about how winning is a habit, the will to win is everything in sport, and if winning doesnâ€™t matter, why do sports games keep a score. Everyone has either heard a Lombardi quote or something based off it. Have the Mets? Have their management? The Mets and management always seem to talk about a winning attitude. Jerry â€œGangstaâ€ Manuel always loves to discuss attitude. Problem is, attitudes change. If winning is an attitude, than this can easily change. As pointed out by Marty Noble in his piece about the hiring of Wally Backman, younger Mets players angered older vets such as Tom Glavine, Billy Wagner, and Carlos Delgado by accepting losing. If winning is only an attitude, it is easy to accept losing. After a while, you EXPECT losing. If winning is a habit, an instinct, and your will to win is the most important aspect of everything you do in sport, you will never accept losing. You will always â€œExpect to Winâ€*.
So did the Mets expect to win in 2009? No. Look at what people were saying throughout the year. Talking about playing hard despite injuries, being competitive, fighting an uphill battle: THE METS WERE ACCEPTING LOSING!!! HOW CAN YOU ACCEPT LOSING WHEN THE SOLE PURPOSE OF YOUR OCCUPATION IS TO WIN!! WHY AM I WRITING IN ALL CAPS!! There we go. Anyway, unlike any semblance of Mets history, the writing was on the wall at Citi Field in 2009. The Mets didnâ€™t give a s*it (poop, feces, excretion, Ollie Perezâ€™s command are all synonyms.) if they won or not. They were just trying to overcome all of the problems they were having. Do that on your own damn time; DO YOUR JOB.
Comparatively, listen to the mission statement of the Yankees. â€œAre we good enough to get to the World Series and win?â€ How about this from Brian Cashman: â€œMy job is to build the best team possible to complete our mission statement, which is â€˜Are we good enough to get to the World Series and win?â€™.â€ The Cashman quote was after this yearâ€™s World Series, explaining what he did this off-season to help the Yankees win. The mission statement? From an article in 2000. Cash was asked if there was added pressure because the Yanks were playing the Mets in the Fall Classic. His response was, paraphrased, it doesnâ€™t matter who we play. Our goal is to win. We meet every year in Tampa and focus on completing our mission statement. Wow. Sounds like someone who works for a 27 time World Champion. Omar Minaya, Wilpons, Manuel, what is the mission of the Mets? Be competitive? Screw that! Win!
Look, being a winner isnâ€™t as easy as wanting to win really badly and having a focused vision towards winning. There are a lot of factors that make winners. The Patriots of the 2000â€™s were winners because they were meticulous in their execution, and they never backed down from anybody. (And the Tuck Rule. Yes, Iâ€™m a Raiders fan.) Peyton Manning and the Colts? They are winners because Peyton is the best at what he does, and he works his tail off to make sure that doesnâ€™t change. Why are the current Phillies winners? Because they donâ€™t take crap from anybody, they have talent, and they enjoy beating people. You see, winning in sports is achieved when a group of talented athletes who firmly and confidently believe they will win every single time they play together, regardless of their opponent or any extenuating circumstances. Yes, no team can go 162-0. But when winners and winning teams have injuries to some of their better players, the players around them play better, because they know they are going to win, and play as hard as they can to ensure they are correct in their beliefs. They donâ€™t say they are going to defy the odds. The only teams that win while â€œdefying the oddsâ€ are now the sole property of Disney Movies. And I donâ€™t see the Wilpon family selling the team to Disney anytime soon.