Thursday, September 2, 2010

Where Does It Start?

The other night, when Jeff Francour was traded to the Texas Rangers, it was reported that a number of players made the loud comment “Can I go with him?”

This would be the second time this occured, as we heard the same thing happened when Rod Barajas was traded to the LA Dodgers. Jerry Manuel said on WFAN that he would address the whole team about the comments and sounded annoyed at the remarks.

I know this team has been in a bad place the last six weeks, but it’s still strange to hear this from a team that seemed to so together and upbeat in the first half of the season.

What I’m wondering is, that changed that? A lot was made of the loose and smiling clubhouse, how the players were picking each other up, how everone seemed to get along and there was a lot of positive vibes.

I’ve heard the whispers that Carlos Beltran’s return to the team was the starting point of where it went sour. Could that REALLY be it?

My guy feeling is that perception that is embedded in all media and seemingly all around baseball that the Mets organization is a total mess. A day doesn;t go by without some sort of insulting, smarmy remark being dropped about this team and the franchise as a whole. I’m sure after a while it wears on the players to the point they just don’t want to deal with it.

The way this team has sleptwalked it’s way through it’s second half, it’s obvious to me that Manuel has lost a chunk of the clubhouse. I also get the feeling that the fact that Oliver Perez is anywhere near the major league roster has pissed a lot of players off. Add in the fact that no moves were made to improve the club at the trade deadline after an offseason of little moves and the players may just have the impression the club has no faith in them.

Jeff Francour was a VERY popular guy in the clubhouse. Of that there is no doubt. I’m sure the fact his playing status went back and forth bothered players because they liked and respected him, and I’m sure his departure wasn’t something they wanted. However in the end Francour just wasn;t getting the job done. His excellent numbers from last year after the trade that brought him to the Mets never returned, and despite some timely and clutch hits this season, his overall body of work was erratic and weak enough to not merit the playing time he wanted. I’d actually be surprised if there were harsh feelings from the players that he was sat a number of times or that he was eventually traded away. As great of a guy that he was, I’m sure the players would look at his numbers and see he wasn’t having any real success… wouldn’t they?

The Mets seem to be the main punchline of almost any joke. Every time I see them mentioned on ESPN, in the newspapers or on sports radio it’s always followed by comments that are degrading or put down the team and organization. I’m not saying that backlash and critizism isn’t warranted, but holy cow everyone is relentless with the way they talk about them. I would think this goes a long way towards making players wish they weren’t stuck in the middle of it.

As I discussed way back at the beginning of the season, the Mets need to change the perception they are a organization run by the keystone kops. Changes need to be made. When you have players wishing they were on their way out. it needs to be addressed.

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