“I am not a hitting coach” – Sandy Alderson, after firing Dave Hudgens
As I mentioned yesterday, I went to the game, and sadly the game was just one more example of the wreck of a team that Sandy Alderson has assembled. We all know the script by now. Good starting pitching, no hitting, and the bullpen blows the game at the end. Believe it or not, I had a good time. I analyzed the situation with the Mets a lot yesterday. Years ago, on a trip to Pittsburgh to see the 2009 Mets play, I thought about what if I lived in Pittsburgh. Could I enjoy watching the Pirates, knowing that for the most part, year-in and year-out, there was no way the team was going to be any good. And I remember thinking, yes. It wouldn’t be the same, but in the end, I love the game. I would watch, and enjoy any excellent players that passed through my town, including visiting players. And root, root, root, for the home team, because even bad teams win their share of games. It wouldn’t be the same, but it is better than nothing. Basically, relax and accept the situation.
Well, today those same Pirates were at Citi Field, and sure they had a few days of playoff baseball for one year last year, but now they are back where tiny market baseball usually brings you. The Pirates are back under .500, and when I look at them, I can see why. For starters, they actually wanted Ike Davis. But this is not really about the Pirates, except for the fact that seeing them again got me thinking about the whole thing. It’s more about knowing that the Mets are now one of those teams themselves, the ones who go into every season with nothing more than a lucky puncher’s chance. Somehow, thanks to Bernie Madoff, the Wilpon family, and Bud Selig (pick your own order), the New York Mets are a small market mess. And so there was nothing to get too stressed about during the game. There were a few nice plays, and deGrom looked good. I got to see Andrew McCutcheon as he passed through town. And when Jose Valverde did what Jose Valverde does, well, how upset can you get?
That’s me, of course. Because after the game, driving home, WOR cut to Sandy Alderson who had two announcements.
1. Jose Valverde was released.
2. Dave Hudgens was fired as hitting coach.
Alderson on Hudgens firing: “Our hitting approach will not chance appreciably.”
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) May 26, 2014
This is all part of it too when you root for a franchise mired in quicksand, the annual scapegoating. Hey, I would have fired Hudgens a long time ago myself, but the problem is Hudgens is just an extension of Alderson. And when it comes to the team’s deeply flawed hitting approach, I expect it to continue. That flawed approach is coming from Sandy himself, stuck in 1988 like a bad scientist with a broken DeLorean. Forget Bobby Abreu, maybe Sandy can sign Jose Canseco. He would cover just as much ground in right.
But Sandy isn’t even the big problem, as much as he aggravates me. It’s the owners, of course. How does that change? I just don’t know.
So in the meantime there is this. A franchise heading nowhere full steam ahead. Today Dave Hudgens gets whacked as a distraction. Maybe Collins, who sounded frantic after the game, is next. Also keep in mind that Hudgens was Sandy’s guy all the way, so maybe Alderson himself is now on shaky ground. Notice he has not been extended. If indeed Alderson is not long for the Mets world, will that even help? Probably not too much, unless it’s a new bunch of owners showing him the door. I do think it is about the only thing left to root for, that a young innovative GM can do something in this situation. It’s not likely, but it’s more likely than expecting Alderson to pull it off.
And that’s all we can do as fans, root, root, root. And try to figure out how to enjoy ourselves. Hey, I had a better time at the game yesterday than Dave Hudgens. After the game, for sure. Take care, Dave, I can’t say I will miss you, but we did have one moment together in Atlanta that I will never forget. So thanks for that.
If nothing else, baseball can always give me that, fun and unique moments. Even the Wilpon family can’t take that away from me.
Try as they might.