Mets will go nowhere unless culture changes soon: Pantorno - Metro US

Mets will go nowhere unless culture changes soon: Pantorno

Mets manager Mickey Callaway. (Photo: Getty Images)
It seems as though I’m running a weekly column attempting to explain just how much of a sham the New York Mets are. 
And still, it’s less tiring than watching the dysfunction that continues to put a stranglehold on this organization. 
The Mets are coming off yet another series loss, a maddening west-coast road trip featuring inconsistent offense, starting pitching, bullpen meltdowns, and horrific managing.
So, you know, every single facet of a baseball team. 
After blowing a 5-1 lead to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday in a 6-5 loss, the Mets were beaten down by a rookie pitcher in a 7-1 loss as Steven Matz’s first-inning issues continue. 
As the Mets fell to three games under .500, Mickey Callaway provided the same old song and dance, claiming the team just needs to get better. 
That’s just not going to happen under the Mets’ current business plan. 
I can only rip the team’s ownership so much. It’s gotten to a point where the Wilpon family is giving James Dolan a run for his money as the most inept owners in New York. 
They annually find ways to avoid spending money on talent that would make the Mets a legitimate contender rather than a hopeful pretender. A hopeful pretender that’s just good enough to get butts in the seats at Citi Field when a bobblehead is being given away. 
The Mets were never going to challenge for a playoff spot with this roster. Even with general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s bold claims over the winter that his team was the one to beat in the National League East. 
I picked them to finish fourth in the division and I’m looking more and more correct with each passing day. 
The good thing is the Mets don’t seem to be playing with their fans’ hopes and dreams too much. The implosion is coming earlier than normal as May was horrendous. 
June isn’t starting too well, either, as Sunday’s loss in Arizona was the Mets’ 17th over their last 21 road games. 
The unfair thing about all this for Mets fans is that the team is still only five games out of first. That means there still is a shot of actually pushing for a division title. 
But that would only force the Wilpon family to spend some more money to buy some actual upgrades for the club. 
New York’s seven-game road trip saw their bullpen post an ERA of over 11, which included three blown saves. Their 13 blown saves this year is the most in the majors.
While star closer Edwin Diaz imploded in a non-save situation against the Dodgers, relying on the likes of Tyler Bashlor, Drew Gagnon, and Robert Gsellman is lunacy for Mickey Callaway. 
That’s all Callaway has to work with even though his decision-making skills have been downright putrid.
It’s only a matter of time until he is shown the door if things continue going south. That’s just the way it goes in this business even though the blame should be squarely on the shoulders of the Wilpon family. 
Craig Kimbrel, one of the best relievers of this generation, is expected to sign with a team this week. If ownership was serious about winning, they would make a serious push for him to improve the inefficient bullpen. 
But we all know there’s a better chance of Yoenis Cespedes’ broken ankle healing tomorrow than that happening.
So the ire once again returns to the owner’s box.
As Mets fans carry on with the same old lamentation of “why us?” the answer resides with the Wilpons. 
The cast of characters changes, it always does. Yet the Mets are championship-less since 1986. 
That’s on the Fred and Jeff. 
After 57 years and just two championships, it’s time for the culture around the Mets to change. And it doesn’t seem feasible that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred will heroically step in and force the Wilpons to sell the team.
This no longer can be a team that hangs its hat on developing star pitching and contending with arms. That’s just not how baseball works anymore, especially with the strain and injuries that befalls anyone wearing blue and orange. 
The Mets have continuously been burned by this notion throughout the decades. ‘Generation K’ of Bill Pulsipher, Jason Isringhausen, and Paul Wilson back in 1995 was a dud. The fab five of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler never came to fruition. 
As the organization celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Miracle Mets, it seems as though they don’t realize that you aren’t going to win a championship in that style anymore. 
You’re not going to put together a dynamic pitching duo like Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman who had over 17 wins and sub-3.00 ERA’s. You’re not going to win a World Series like they did when only one player (Tommie Agee) hit over 20 home runs.  You’re not going to win a World Series as they did with a collective team batting average of .242 that ranked seventh out of 12 teams in the National League. 
Yet here the Mets are, 50 years later, with a .247 team batting average, relying on inconsistent pitchers that are not allowed to throw more than 100 pitches. Whether that’s because they aren’t good enough to get late into games or because of the limits that have come with the modern-day game remains a wild card every night. 
Every Mets fan has to come to the harsh realization that this team likely isn’t going to be a real contender. Toeing this .500 line all season isn’t going to bring any sort of change, either. 
So either the Wilpons go out and start picking up the pieces needed to get this team into a favorable position to win the NL East or start shifting the culture now. 
That means trading Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler for promising young bats, offloading veterans like Todd Frazier and Robinson Cano (a difficult task given that contract) for real bullpen help, and trying to find the next Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil rather than the next Doc Gooden. 
Baseball is run by potent offenses, towering home runs, and timely hitting in 2019. Blame it on superior preparation from competent managers around the league, aggressive GM’s willing to make a splash with the backing of owners, or just on the league “juicing” their baseballs. 
Regardless, the Mets are going about this whole thing incorrectly and need to make a statement — one way or another — soon. 

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