Well, thank God it’s over.

When I returned from some summer travels– to fall, with its leaves changing colors, Halloween decorations in the stores and, most importantly, the return of the pumpkin spice latte– I was shocked, just shocked, to learn that the New York Metropolitans were still playing baseball.

Why?

Right now (right now, as I type this) they’re playing their final game of the season.  And thank God.  In a way, after the brutal heartbreak endings of the past few seasons, this one is even worse, as we were never in it–  not by a long shot.

Depending on the outcome of today’s game, they’ll finish the season in fourth place in the N.L. East, three or four games below .500 at about 79 and 82, with a .491 winning percentage and 18 games out of first place.

Which is more or less the same accomplishment as the Florida Marlins.

To get to this outcome, the Marlins spent 55 million dollars, payroll number 25 (out of 30).  The Mets?  136 million (payroll number 5).  Or:  1.7 million per win.

Remember way back in April, when the baseball season was exciting and fresh and shiny and new?  And now– after a winning streak or two, an exciting extra-innings game watched around the bar at the restaurant, and mainly pure, unadulterated misery– the season’s over.  And thank God.

So what to do?  Five things:  1.  Fire Omar.  It was a great run, he took us to the playoffs and close to the Series, but how can he perform better as the G.M. of the now-gone Expos, with less money?  How can he give Ollie Perez 36 million for three years?  How?!  2.  Fire Jerry.  It’s NYC, and while there’s much to admire about Jerry Manuel– the chill attitude, the optimism, the mixture of Zen and respect– but this is NYC:  It ain’t happening.  Bring back Bobby V.!  3.  Cut Ollie.  He’s a cancerous pitcher who, you know, can’t pitch.  4.  Cut Castillo.  Enough said.  5.  Trade Beltran (please see Manuel, Jerry).

And, number six:  The only thing to do in professional baseball:  Invest in pitching.

So, what to do now, sports fans?  Enjoy the play-offs (Go Texas!  Go Tampa Bay!  Suck it, Yankees.)  And remember:  There’s always next year, and thank God it’s over.

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