As both a fan of the 2012 New York Mets and someone who considers herself in touch with reality, I have absolutely no problem admitting that this team has a big problem, but it isn't on the field. The most damaging thing on this team lives in it's office.
Earlier this month general manager Sandy Alderson expressed confusion when it was announced that David Wright would not be the starting third baseman for the 2012 All Star Game. "A city of eight million was outvoted by a city of 800,000" he tweeted. However, that Pablo Sandoval, a .307 hitter with the nickname 'Kung Fu Panda' could beat Wright is not a mystery to me. The San Francisco Giants organization went out of their way to entice fans to vote. So far out of their way, in fact, that fans were automatically entered into a "Giants VIP Experience" after voting 20 or more times. And I'd never underestimate the nickname factor; a cute moniker often signals a fan favorite. What did the Mets do to highlight their star player? Well, there might have been an email blast or two, but not much more from the franchise that desperately needs to keep it's captain through the next round of post-season negotiations. Wright isn't just an asset at-bat with 194 career home runs and a consistently solid performance at third base, he's often referred to as a pillar of strength on the team, setting a good example for the influx of young players, and he's an indisputable fan favorite.
It's this same disregard for team and fan morale that leads us to rumors of a trade involving young team prankster Justin Turner for Colorado Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez, a 36-year-old who will undoubtably battle a steep learning curve as far as fitting in with the evolving team chemistry and catching that slippery RA Dickey knuckleball. Could you find another infielder who is flexible enough to play multiple positions, keeps the team upbeat and throws around baked goods when his teammates perform well? Maybe, but you couldn't replace Justin Turner in fan and teammate hearts. This trade is still a rumor as of the publication of this post, but Alderson's biggest concern, quoted by SNY's Mets Blog, is the "salary dump" he'll likely feel with this purchase, not the disruption of one of the best Mets lineups we've seen in years. Baseball is a money-making business for sure, but when a community of steadfast fans live and breathe your organization for the specific attitude (or lack thereof) they are known for, you might want to keep that fun-loving aspect of your team alive and well. Otherwise, get the crew cut and look for the dollar signs: I'd like to point you to another team that plays a little further uptown.
This is the team that names chicken mascots after their fans. This is the team that isn't afraid to play pop music during their time at-bat. This is a team that fans believe in, even after they are swept by some of the statistically lowest teams in the MLB. So please, Mr. Alderson, as the halfway point of the season comes around, take a look at what you have, not what sells papers. Put stock in the team that's come out of countless injuries and negativity to be six games over 500 halfway through the season. And while you're at it, if we could keep the team, but trade some of the folks upstairs, that would be great too.