Well, Mike, it’s been exactly a year since Terry Collins strode to home plate to offer up the Mets first “all-homegrown” lineup since September, 1971.
There was an awful lot of crowing about it in the press and SNY, and many silly things were said. One blogger at Mets360, enthralled in Wordsworthian rapture, wrote of the feeling in the ballpark that day: “The clouds seemed to have parted. The glum fatalism that has engulfed the place since the gates first opened in 2009 was mysteriously, miraculously muted.”
Of course, the silliest stuff came from the mouth of the Mets manager. Said Collins of the lineup that took the field against the Marlins:
“We just had a little [meeting] in the office. We had a couple things we had to go over real quick. Jeff Wilpon was there, and I told him he should be very proud to see nine homegrown players out there. And when the game started, there were 10 because [former Mets shortstop] Jose Reyes was in the batter’s box. That is a tribute to the scouts and the player development here.”
The occasion was widely viewed as some kind of triumph, a cool thing to brag about, the turning of the tide. And all I could think was, “Well, no. It’s actually an indictment on the organization.”
It was about putting cheap mediocrity on the field, to put it bluntly. To be fair, a few other heartless cynics, such as Howard Megdal, saw through the empty charade.
Good job by Megdal, he nailed it, this was not a day to celebrate it was a day to mourn. That line-up was all about putting any cheap player you could find on the field, regardless of quality. We all know why, and that is not on Sandy, it is an indictment of Wilpon. But it was a bad thing.
Here’s the celebrated homegrown lineup from September 17, 1971:
It’s funny, I have no recollection of Mike Jorgensen in centerfield. That sounds crazy to me. I’m just saying, as a child of ’60s, maybe there can be too much homegrown?
I can’t say I specifically remember Jorgenson in center, I do remember him in a corner spot from time-to-time. Jorgy, by the way, was a great defensive first baseman, the only Met I have considered better defensively than Mike was Keith.
Here’s something for folks who might remember listening to Carlin back in the day — back when it felt a little dangerous, or naughty, or at least subversive, like those first few spins of “Jesus Christ, Superstar” we heard in our bedrooms in 1970 while our parents ate Ritz crackers with a cheese log in the living room.