I didn’t know it was me.
Until fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens put the blame for the New York Mets' sorry performance at Citi Field on the dwindling number of Mets fans who actually follow the team, I had no idea we were at fault.
Here I thought it was because of years of mismanagement and instances of micromanagement, when in fact it was the faithless faithful. Who knew that it was the hoi polloi who eat franks, and not the front office that had to eat the contract of Frank Francisco?
It makes perfect, circular sense now. The Mets suck because we think they suck.
“I think the fans are really tough on the guys at home,” Hudgens told MLB.com after he was replaced by Lamar Johnson. “How can you boo Curtis Granderson? They have no idea how hard this guy works and how he goes about doing his business ... it’s tougher at home to play than it is on the road, there’s no doubt about it.”
Thanks for the epiphany, Dave.
The Mets are hitting .201 out of the cleanup spot, home and road. My bad.
In the first seven games of this homestand, the Mets have batted .197 with runners in scoring position. In the last three games, one of which was a win, they left 29 men on base and hit into seven double plays. Pardon me.
Their two biggest free agent acquisitions, Chris Young and Granderson, are batting .202 and .212. Mea culpa.
The Mets' hitters are averaging 8.5 strikeouts a game, which is about what Roger Clemens averaged over the course of his career. Mea maxima culpa.
Hudgens also had words for the SNY broadcast team on his way out the door. “I’m glad I don’t have to listen to those guys anymore,” he told Newsday. “I just shake my head at the old-school guys that have it all figured out.” Yeah, what do Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez know about winning a World Series championship for the Mets?
Seriously, Hudgens can be excused for lashing out on what must have been an awful day for him. But his words are troublesome for two reasons.
The first is that you know that he is not alone in his sentiments, that he reflects a culture that’s quicker to blame outside influences, like ballpark dimensions and fan impatience and Twitter accounts, than inner workings, like benching Juan Lagares to “send a message,” while relying on quadragenerians Bartolo Colon and Bobby Abreu.
The second reason is that the fan base and the broadcast booth (TV and radio) are two of the Mets’ strongest assets. We will keep coming back for more because that is in our nature, and we will stay tuned during another disappointing season because we enjoy listening to Gary and Ron and Keith, Howie and Josh.
We think Terry Collins is the right man for the job -- or at least we thought so until these last few testy weeks. We know Sandy Alderson has the wisdom, and hopefully the resources, to right the ship. And we hope that Granderson turns it around soon because of his heart and enthusiasm.
At this point, it’s not about winning 90 games.
It’s about not losing any more fans.