The Fault Lies Not Within Our Mets...

Let's Give Howe A Chance

After reading e-mails from Met fans telling me that we're in for a long season if Howe can't even win with a group of Major League All-Stars in Japan (as if Barry Bonds cares about winning games there), and article after article making the Mets out to be the second coming of the Keystone Cops, I'm just about fed up enough to open my window, stick my head out and scream: "I'm mad as hell, and I don't want to sign Tom Glavine any more!"

What is it with us Mets fans? Do we have such a complex that we can't appreciate anything good that happens with this team? While I concede that I am just as guilty as anyone else for standing in line for the "Bash Mets - Win A Prize" contest, I at least am willing to give Wilpon, Howe and company a chance to right the ship. In the short period of time Wilpon has owned the Mets, he has: (1) fired a manager that most of us thought should be fired; (2) deservedly put his general manager on a short leash; (3) tried to hire, if you believed the media hype, the next Connie Mack all the while refusing to give away the future of the franchise; (4) landed up hiring possibly the next Joe Torre; and (5) has publicly stated that not only will the payroll not decrease, but it will likely increase for the right players. And all the while without seeking to terminate his employees' dental plans.

As for Art Howe, I could care less that he's losing exhibition games halfway across the globe. If the law of averages does exist, that can only mean more wins for the Mets when games count. And so what if he was the Mets' second choice? Think about it for a few seconds: If Art Howe had been fired after the A's lost game five, do you actually believe he would not have been the hottest free-agent commodity on the managerial market? Do you think discussions Wilpon had with Seattle for Piniella would have taken place the way they did, if at all, if Howe was sitting at home during the World Series? So why the heck are we chastising the Mets for still getting him for nothing? Because the media says we should? What do they know? Many of them are either organizational mouthpieces or selling us on some story in order to support some hidden agenda.

I'm especially sick and tired of hearing how the Mets have always had to settle for second or third best, year after year, in the free agency market. If you really believe that having ARod playing short for the Mets at 25% of the team payroll would have been worth it (with Piazza, Leiter and Benitez making up the other 25%), then you truly are dreaming if you believe the remaining roster would have been would anything more than a few Joe McEwings thrown together with several Hideki Irabus (i.e., The Texas Rangers East). Mussina? Oh yeah, he's turning out to be a great deal for the Yankees. Ichiro? The Mets would have had to pay $12 million to just be in the same room with the guy.

Even the mighty Yankees weren't that stupid, so why should the Mets have been? Isn't the point here folks that it's not how much you spend but how you spend it? Shouldn't it be the case that the Mets (as Wilpon rightly did) refuse all offers on budding stars like Jose Reyes, thereby allowing them to spend more money elsewhere at more than one position? Do we really need to have a team of 24 players and 1 superstar? So in September all 3,000 of us can gather at cold, windy Shea to see ARod go for No. 50 while the Mets fight with the San Juan Expos to stay out of last place?

Perhaps the problem here is with ourselves. That we, as Met fans, have always felt like the ugly duckling when compared to the Yankees. Now, no one despises the pompous, arrogant, prototypically hypocritical, self-righteous Yankee fan more than I do. The Yankee fan's sense of entitlement is not something we should aspire to, because it is nothing to be proud of. Face it, if the Mets had as long(winded) a winning tradition as the Yankees, then the Mets wouldn't be the Mets. It is because the Mets make mistakes in judgment, strive for the best, but seemingly fall short, yet get it right once in a while, that makes the Mets more "human" and appealing than the Yankees hope to ever be.

So, the "average Joe" should lay off the Mets a little, since he's probably wearing a faded Mets cap and looking at no one but himself in the mirror. Life is tough enough simply being a Met fan, don't ya think?



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