When Fred Wilpon famously stated in spring training 2004 that his team’s goal was to play “meaningful games in September,” it became a losing mantra for him and his ownership.
So part of the allure for new owner Steve Cohen was not only the promise of the future, but also the stench of the past. Cohen stated at his introductory press conference that it would be “slightly disappointing” if the Mets did not win a championship in his first three to five years in charge, and that he wanted it “sooner.”
Nonetheless, it appears that Cohen will be fortunate to reach the Wilpon-ian mandate of September contention in Year 1. After all, the Mets were as many games out of first place in the loss column (six) as they were ahead of the Nationals in fourth place, who had traded a third of their roster at the trade deadline. The Dodgers acquired Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Nationals.
Turner hit one of Rich Hill’s three solo homers for the Dodgers. Scherzer pitched five innings of one-run ball. The Mets only had one hit in 16 at-bats with runners on base, a two-run homer by Pete Alonso in the seventh inning that pulled them within 4-3.
But that was the game’s final score, as Alonso struck out with the game’s tying run on second base. The Mets went hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position in this game, and they are now 9-for-70 (.129) in a 1-8 stretch against the Giants and Dodgers.
Returning to Cohen’s introductory press conference, where he stated that the Dodgers were the organization he wished to emulate. The fact that the Mets are 0-6 against the Dodgers so far is a reminder of the distance between here and there — and not just in 2021. Is anyone expecting the Mets to win a championship in the next three to five years, on or off the field?
This year, the Mets’ competence has been tested from the top of the organization to the smallest detail. Some of this can be attributed to the steep learning curve and overachievement that nearly every new owner faces. Perhaps some of it stems from the previous owners’ ineptness. But, if it hasn’t already, blaming the Wilpons will become tiresome.
This administration has had no effect on reducing injuries, and acting general manager Zack Scott recently lamented the players’ lack of responsibility in this area. Isn’t this also implying that those in charge are unable to win the clubhouse’s hearts and minds? How was it possible that manager Luis Rojas was still bemoaning the positional group’s failed approach to fastballs before Game 123, as he had been before so many games this year?
The Mets are playing like a team that will end up with two top-15 draft picks in 2022, one of which will be due to their blunder in this year’s draft. Their president of baseball operations might be able to fix that. Oh, and they messed up that search as well; the title is still open.