Buzzsaw Sports Guy: A satirical look at sports
Looking down the barrel at another long season that was sure to fall short of the irrational, unfounded expectations placed on them by their fans, the New York Mets organization decided to scrap the 2011 regular season before it even started by not playing in it.
According to Manager Terry Collins, the decision came about as the result of an informal meeting between him, general manager Sandy Anderson and acting owner Fred Wilpon. In a phone interview, Collins admitted that he was the one to address the reality of the situation, as he at last spoke his mind to a “grave” Anderson and a “solemn-looking” Wilpon.
“We were just having an impromptu meeting about what kinds of players I thought we needed to add to have a winning team,” Collins said. “So then I just looked down at a list of our current roster and sighed.”
Collins said he commented on how he was confident in David Wright at third base, and that he thought they had a winner in Johan Santana as a starting pitcher once he returns from his injury during the summer months. But he then winced at the prospect of managing the rest of the team, realizing that they each have ongoing issues with injuries, general inconsistency or age. That is all not to mention the “Mets Curse,” a well-known concept among fans, who know that productive players, for whatever reason, seem to see their careers slump or come to an end once they join the Mets, such as Mo Vaughn or Jason Bay.
“This decision to not play has been a long time coming, I’ll tell you that,” Collins said. “I know I’m a first year manager, but let’s be realistic, this team goes out there to play ball this year, they’ll fail miserably and the blame will come down on me. I’d rather not be out of a job.”
Collins recalls several meetings with the owner that were “downright painful,” in which he had to feign excitement in the wake of every new transaction, while also putting on a generally positive façade as the team approached the 2011 season that was sure to be a substantial failure. Trying to act pleased after the acquisition of pitcher Chris Young was the hardest moment, according to Collins.
“The guy hasn’t finished a season since 2007,” he said. “And this is already a team that’s made Mike Pelfrey its ace. That’s the best guy we’ve got ‘til Johan gets back. That’s how desperate we are right now – a guy has one good year and we expect him to carry us on his back.”
Wilpon said his final decision to wait out the season was something “always in the back of [his] mind,” and that it would hopefully save Mets fans the aggravation of watching games this year, while also allowing the players to be fresh and ready to go for the 2012 season.
“Let’s face it, this was something we all knew was inevitable,” Wilpon said. “We’re coming off two straight losing seasons even though we’ve got the fifth highest payroll in the league. We’ve gotta start paying Bobby Bonilla the $30 million we promised him a decade ago. At some point, you gotta take a step back and ask, ‘what the fuck are we doing here?’”
Players on the Mets roster will still be compensated at a rate of 10 percent of their yearly salary in 2011, a year that they will spend in a sort of perpetual spring training at the organization’s facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Wilpon added that he hopes the year off will help Anderson develop his craft as a general manager, “which is still a work in progress to say the least.” He also hopes to have the team return as winners in 2012, since he thinks David Wright was getting a bad rap last year despite putting up solid personal numbers.
“[The fans] were taking it all out on him,” Wilpon said of Wright, who hit .283 with 29 homers and 103 RBI during the Mets’ failed 2010 season. “I don’t want to put him through all those boos and taunts again. He’s a fragile, fragile man and I don’t want him to leave me for a city that might appreciate him more.”