I was a big fan of the SEINFELD show. I particularly liked the episode where George's father, played masterfully by Jerry Stiller, introduced us to his December holiday: Festivus, "the holiday for the rest of us."
And then at the dinner table Frank Costanza stood to offer the "airing of the grievances."
Even though we are long way away from the next Festivus it is never too early for Mets fans to air their grievances so let's have at a few.
GRIEVANCE 1 - Firstbase by incompetent committee
Does anyone care to suggest that the Mets have done a reasonable job finding a firstbaseman for this season? They put Ike's head on a plate, or at least on the trade block, and then failed to find an acceptable trade for him despite there being a few teams who clearly had interest.
Terry says the job belongs to Lucas Duda but it still looks like Satin faces all LH'd starters and Duda gets three out of every five starts vs righties. What's up with that?
And the competition which was supposed to reveal the better player has mostly devolved into "who's less bad"?
GRIEVANCE 2 - The black hole that is shortstop
Once upon a time I thought the Mets had at least a league-average shortstop in Ruben Tejada. But that was quite a while ago. Now this player can't hit, doesn't work counts, and is only so-so in the field.
Wouldn't it be great if there were a competent hitting /above average fielding shortstop on the free agent market?
Son of a gun, there is. It's Stephen Drew but Alderson and the Wilpons act like he's got such noxious body odor that they wouldn't dare consider him.
I know that Scott Boras is still trying to get a big payday for his client but if the Mets' front office wanted an upgrade at a critical position then they should be trying to work something out.
And what happened to the alternatives like Nick Franklin of Seattle and Didi Gregorius of Arizona? When did they slide off the edge of the earth?
Instead we're stuck with the abysmal pairing of Tejada and Omar Quintanilla.
GRIEVANCE 3- My kingdom for a bullpen
Is it really that hard to construct an average or an above average bullpen? Clearly other teams do it all the time. The Mets have a reasonable group of starters who usually can turn a winnable game over to the pen in about the 7th inning.
Yes, it's a shame about Parnell but why does that mean that we can't find a few arms to come in and actually hold the other team down?
And we all know that a decent major league pen must have one or, better still, two solid lefties. By the time the recent series with the Angels was over the two southpaws, Scott Rice and John Lannan, had ERA's of 13.50 and 15.75 respectively. OK, it's early in the season. Probably over the long haul they'll both be able to get those ERA's under 7 but I actually wonder how far under they actually can get them.
I literally can not remember a time when the Mets' bullpen was anything but a liability.
GRIEVANCE 4 - Hunting for strikes but ending up with strikeouts
I suppose hitting coach Dave Hudgens must be doing what Terry and Sandy want him to. On most teams if that coach is not doing the job he is replaced. With the Mets, always watching the money, maybe Hudgens keeps his job because they don't want to pay another guy to work with the hitters.
Strikeouts are way up across all of major league baseball so I don't want to pretend that this is a Mets-only thing. But you can count on the fact that no matter who the opposing pitchers are the Mets will find a way to get to double-digit strikeouts.
I think this is really getting to Daniel Murphy among others.
Whatever they are teaching is not working. Were it actually working we'd see the team On Base Percentage increase and it hasn't. So walks are down, K's are up and everyone seems to be looking at a 1-2 count in typical at bats.
GRIEVANCE 5 - Eric Young Jr.
With Chris Young on the DL I guess Terry had to throw fourth outfielder Eric Young Jr. out there a lot. He's a better player than Andrew Brown which is damning him with faint praise. But - and I'm being redundant here because I am as anti-EY as you can get - we have to wean Mgr Terry off of this Young. Your outfield has to be Chris in LF, Lagares in center, and Grandy in right. I'd even be OK with Grandy sharing right with EY and/or Brownie since they both look a bit better against LH'd pitching than the ex-Yankee does.
GRIEVANCE 6 (and really this is the GrandDaddy of them all) - Underfunded ownership
If this grievance were addressed I imagine the five preceding ones would go away or at least be less severe. You already know that the Mets have a payroll that is something like the 8th lowest in baseball. Much smaller market teams like Kansas City, Seattle, Colorado, and Milwaukee carry larger payrolls than the Mets in one of the largest media markets in the country.
Spending money on a team doesn't automatically make a team good. Omar Minaya proved that. But unless you have brilliant management like that in Tampa Bay and Oakland you are destined to be behind the eight ball if you can't afford quality players.
The two-facedness of Bud Selig here is blatant. With the Dodgers the Commissioner's office said this in 2011: that he had "deep concerns for the finances and operations". The Dodgers were losing money every year (sound familiar?) and carried a payroll well below what a huge market team should. McCourt, the Dodgers' owner, was forced out as he was on the verge of bankruptcy. And now the Dodgers are considered a top contender for the playoffs and World Series. Funny about that.
But when it comes to Bud's buds, the Wilpons, he has MLB float the team a loan to keep them from going under.
What the Mets desperately need is an owner with deep enough pockets to spend on a representative roster.
I get a kick out of it when Alderson says that if more people attend games then the payroll can expand. It reminds me of a shirt that a friend of mine use to wear at the tennis courts:
They are saying that the team will continue to lose until you support it better. Cart before the horse, right?
That's enough grievances for now. I'm sure I'll have more for you down the road. After all, it is THE METS we're talking about here.
Larry writes a humor column for us at The Real Dirty Mets Blog once or more per week. You can follow Larry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@dr4sight
There he comments on the teams that drive him crazy: the Mets, both NY football teams, the NY Rangers, and the Knicks.