By Rex O’Rourke

ALTAMONT, NY – I’ve been trying to look at the Mets with an unbiased eye. Are they underachievers, injury plagued, heartless, unlucky, or just plain bad? Let us address each and see what we come up with, shall we?

Underachievers – I don’t think anyone can say they haven’t “mailed it in” at times, and they still show a lack of intensity that can best be described as disturbing. Having missed the playoffs in the final hours of the campaign two years in a row, I would think it would motivate most players to run out ground balls and use two hands on pop-ups. Willie Randolph couldn’t get them to play hard and neither can Jerry Manuel. Who’s going to light the fire, Omar?

Injury Plagued – If the Yankees lost Jeter, Damon, and Teixeira they’d be in trouble as well. Last year the Yankees fate was sealed by the Posada and Wang injuries, and unless Reyes, Beltran, and Delgado get back before it gets out of hand, this season will be over by the trade deadline. Is there any cavalry on the horizon, Omar?

Heartless – Translate heartlessness into leadership and you have your answer. Until David Wright hits in the clutch, he is no more the leader of the Mets than A-Rod is for the Yankees. Beltran is the John Candy of baseball; great second banana but has trouble carrying (Uncle Buck the exception) the movie, and Reyes just doesn’t play like he cares much of the time. If fact, a Reyes benching, for not running out balls, back in the Randolph regime might have done some good. How about that, Omar?

Unlucky – You make your own luck; and you roll the dice when you ask an aging DH to play first base every day. You draw to an inside straight when you give up five games a year on a lack of hustle. You hit on 17 when you put Jerry Lewis in left field. You spin the roulette wheel when you give Livan Hernandez, and his 85 mile an hour fastball, the ball every fifth day. And you go all in when you ask your ace to pitch a shutout every start. Feelin’ lucky, Omar?

Just Plain Bad – Let’s get this out in the open. The Mets are not bad. There are many teams worse off than the Mets. They have hung around in a division that’s a little softer than everyone thought, gotten a good break when Philly imploded, and will start to get their studs back soon. In recent years teams have gotten hot at the right time (Colorado, St. Louis, Houston and yes, even the Mets) and put together a good run. It’s at the top where you have a problem. Omar’s got to go by next year. If the Mets do start playing better and save his job I’ve got two words for him. Ron Gardenhire!

Until next week,

P.S. – MLB Network has been running past All-Star games all week and they are terrific. In one I saw Pete Rose make a diving TWO HANDED catch. Maybe Omar could get his squad the video for the clubhouse and run it on a continuous loop.

West Coast Craig tomorrow.

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