When Terry Collins was named manager of the Mets, sportswriters took bets on how long it would take for him to publicly blow his stack. For the most part, Collins has rightfully understood that his team is not that talented, and he has been generous with praise for their efforts even when their execution on the field has been poor. As Mets fans are painfully aware, that has been more often than not.
Last Thursday afternoon, the Washington Nationals overtook the Mets in the standings by completing a four-game sweep at Citi Field. They punctuated their successful trip to Flushing by slamming the Mets by a score of 10-1. At his post-game press conference, Collins accused his team of playing as if they were packing it in even though there were still two weeks left to go in the season.
Terry was right. His guys looked worn out and appeared to be going through the motions. Frankly, anyone who bought a ticket for Thursday’s game, which featured a lengthy rain delay, deserved a refund. The fact that the Mets were able to regroup and take two out of three last weekend in Atlanta from a Braves team trying to make the playoffs proved that Collins’ rebuke paid some dividends.
To be fair to the players, they had to have been seething over the fact team owner Fred Wilpon and General Manager Sandy Alderson, did not stand up to Major League Baseball over the Mets’ wanting to do the right thing on 9/11 and wear NYPD and FDNY caps for that night’s game. The Mets executive suite didn’t even privately thank the players for their desire to make New Yorkers proud on that very emotional day. Ballplayers are affected by their corporate culture just as employees in other endeavors are. Clearly they did not feel like running through a wall for the Wilpons in light of their timidity.
The Jets’ 32-3 defeat of the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday at Met Life Stadium was more a reflection of the Jags’ ineptitude than of the Jets’ prowess. Jacksonville rookie QB Luke McCown was like a deer in the headlights as he threw four interceptions and was tackled in the end zone early in the first quarter for a safety that was indicative of how his day would turn out.
In his post-game press conference, head coach Rex Ryan of course praised his team, but he grew a bit defensive when I asked him if he was worried that his troops might get some false confidence because the Jaguars, who are relying on a QB clearly not ready for the NFL, are an awful team. “We have a right to be a confident team,” Rex said, but then he sheepishly added,“We have to play the team that is on our schedule,” conceding that the Jets faced a soft opponent.
Jets QB Mark Sanchez didn’t set the field ablaze either as he threw two interceptions and was a pedestrian three out of nine on third down conversion opportunities. When the Jets went four downs and out in the second quarter, fans understandably started booing, even though they were winning 12-3 at the time.