Look. I know the Pirates aren't going to have a winning season. Maybe not even next year. I live in New York and I'm not working right now. That means Monday I'm going to the bar in my Clemente jersey and sit there with the doors open eating hot dogs, drinking beers and without a doubt more than one depressed Mets fan will try to make himself feel better by giving me a hard time about how much the Pirates suck... and I will tell them all the same thing
"I would rather have our team than yours any day"Every year we all hear the same crap about "every team is 0-0, its a league wide tie for first, hope springs eternal etc" and we know its mostly not true. Even though half of our best prospects are guys that other teams gave up on, they certainly all still give reasons to hope. There is one future star, a few potential ones and a lot of guys who could at leas tbe pretty good. Our front office has certainly not proved that they can build a winner or pick the right talent, but at least they seem to know the correct process for doing so. The limited budget forces them to do things the correct way.
It's like watching someone make a cake, and they only have enough money to buy exactly the right ingredients and not waste any. I haven't tasted the cake yet, but I watched them shop for ingredients, make the batter and the picture in the cookbook looks good so I'm excited.
The Mets on the other hand are at the opposite end of this spectrum. They were once exactly where you would want to be in this process. They had the 2 best young left infielders in the game, a star 5 tool centerfielder under contract for years, a stud closer, traded for the best pitcher in the game (Santana) and surrounded this core with proven veteran talent. Best of all they had a top rated prospect (Milledge) on the way and all the money in the world to work with if they needed another piece.
I don't know if everyone remembers just how good things looked for the Mets, but I can tell you everyone thought they were going to dominate for years. Of course we all know what happened. They, during the regular season, blew it. More importantly, their front office really blew it.
-First, they rushed MIlledge to the majors when he wasn't ready. Though it's safe to say all the maturity issues were Milledges fault, they failed to recognize this and put him in line or teach him to, you know, take a pitch.
-Never really grasped the concept that you need guys to get outs between the starter and the closer. Seriously.
-They gave a terrible deal to a second baseman (Castillo) who even at the time was only slightly above average. He played solid defense and hit for average. However Adam Kennedy, Felipe Lopez, Orlando Hudson, and anyone who has moved from SS can tell you that this is one of the most replaceable assets in the game.
-They grasped at straws to try and make the playoffs and emptied their farm system leaving them with no internal replacements when guys like Lo Duca and Delgado broke down..or stopped juicing.
-They wasted money and time on throw away pitchers like Tim Redding and Livan Hernandez instead of spending money on a real solution. Then they gave Oliver Perez, who had proven to be terrible time and again 30 million dollars instead of giving Derek Lowe, who had proven himself a success in the AL east, and even more so in the NL 40 million.
-They also built a new ballpark with unreal dimensions that sapped their best asset, power hitting....the front office is a mess...fighting with the press, challenging minor leaguers to fights, the countless injuries, losing money to Maddoff, etc etc I could go on and on.
My point is the Mets were like a perfectly baked cake and when it came time to put on the icing Minaya just smashed the cake with a tennis racket instead. I would take our team over the Mets any day. Most Mets fans here know what happened and their crushed. There's no hope. All they can do is hope Minaya gets fired and the Wilpons hire someone who knows what he's doing to restock the farm, wait out some of the bad contracts and hope Reyes still has functioning knees by the time they get some new blood in there.
I know everyone experienced what I just described with Littlefield probably felt a little Deja Vu reading that. I think we can take pride in the fact that our front office is at least not squandering the assets we have and more importantly than anything is the fact that right now we will be better each year than we were the year before.
I just hope that when the Jolly Roger sails past the shipwrecked disaster full of skeletons that is the Mets, they'll take it as a warning and not make the same mistakes.