One day after the disappointing 2009 season came to a close, the Mets began trying to put a better foot forward - not really with any bold moves off the field, but simply by apologizing and promising to do better.
The day began with coaching changes - nothing earth-shattering, but simply a rearranging of pieces with Sandy Alomar Sr. and Luis Alicea taking the hit (yes, I agree - I don't know what Alicea does either). Razor Shines survives and surprisingly, so does pitching coach Dan Warthen - although I thought it was tough to blame him for struggling with Buffalo's rotation at the major league level.
Then, Jerry Manuel, Jeff Wilpon and Omar Minaya took turns at the microphone, each taking the blame and shifting it almost at the same time. And they all promised that 2010 will be nothing like 2009 - and that shouldn't be hard, just if the Mets get a reasonable bit of health.
Interestingly, the Mets put up their own video on mlb.com, and it not includes Jeff Wilpon's apology, but also includes my question to Omar about an openness to deal the core players and Newsday's Dave Lennon asking about bidding for top free agents. I'd imagine it's no accident that the Mets marketing people want that message out there, providing the hope of a wild winter.
The only problem with that is if you tease Roy Halladay, Matt Holiday and Adrian Gonzalez, it's tough to sell your fans on 2010 when you land Randy Wolf and point Daniel Murphy back out to first base.
Perhaps the oddest news was that there would be no changes with the Mets' training or medical staff. The only change, according to Wilpon, will be to better communicate the news of injuries to the media. That's a start, since it could hardly have been worse. But that doesn't really explain - and won't explain - why players who were expected to be out for a day wound up missing the season, how Carlos Delgado was described as not having a tear - until it was revealed he had a tear in his hip muscle.
A few highlights:
Jeff Wilpon describing how Jose Reyes did himself a favor by completely tearing his hamstring tendon - and how the LA Dodgers doctor was the problem:
"I think the problem came about where a lot of the injuries – or a number of the injuries – were on the road and we relied on visiting team doctors to diagnose. When Jose had a hamstring tendon that was partially torn to begin with, the doctor in LA said he was his calf. Now the radiating pain was to his calf, it wasn’t really what happened, when he came back here and got checked by our doctors, who are world renowned, Dr. Altchek, Dr. Coleman, are great doctors, work in a great hospital, they were able to diagnose it as this accessory hamstring tear, and then we thought we could wait it out, and have that partial tear heal, it didn’t and it ended up breaking fully and becoming a full tear, which was a good thing, it’s hard to understand, but that tendon is used for surgery in Tommy John surgery, they harvest that tendon, so it wasn’t a bad thing that it broke, full tore, but and then, Jose, who deserves a lot of credit in my view anyway for trying to get back, pushed himself a little bit too hard and had another hamstring injury."
Not quite an answer on what the payroll will be from Wilpon:
"We’d like to create the enthusiasm. I think our plan and Omar’s plan and the different ways he has to get there, through trades and free agents, is to create the excitement for our fans. I think with the reduction in ticket prices and the ability for more fans to be here, we’re hoping that happens. And what the payroll is, we didn’t necessarily spend well with $147 million this year, so I don’t want to say what it’s going to be. Last year we started the offseason with a $135 million payroll. It went up to $147 [million]. We didn’t have that as a plan."