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Mets Fans Are As Unsentimental As Ownership

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Everyone connected with the Mets from fans to management, right up to the owner, is beyond hungry for a World Series victory. The last two times the Mets were in the World Series (2000, 2015) they lost, so just getting there is no longer enough. There are teams who’ve waited longer, but that matters not at all to Mets fans.

The saga of Pete Alonso’s future (or lack thereof) with the Mets has been covered in more than one article. Should the Mets trade him before the deadline and sign him to a free agent deal in the off season? Pete loves being a Met, and POBO David Stearns and owner Steve Cohen have publicly disclosed their affection for Pete Alonso as a New York Met.

From reading reader comments in articles fans appear to be much less sympathetic and equally unsentimental.

Maybe it’s only the malcontents who speak out against keeping Pete Alonso in New York now, or later. The general lack of fan support for Pete staying a Met displays a singular focus on only one thing – let’s make the Mets a World Series-caliber team. There’s no more romance for a Met player who set the all-time rookie record for home runs in a season, (53 in 2019 gleefully breaking Yankees Aaron Judge’s record of 52 set the year prior). It was nice that Pete won two Home Run Derby contests in a row. It’s great that Pete has the most home runs and RBIs in baseball since he entered the league. But if trading Alonso now can help make the Mets a top-quality team faster, then, bye-bye Pete and thanks for the memories.

2022 NL batting Jeff McNeil is in the middle of an awful season. This follows a less than great 2023 in which McNeil finished much better than he started. The Mets hope that McNeil can turn things around this season in part due to McNeil being in the 2nd year of a four-year $50M deal signed before the 2023 season. From what I am reading and hearing, many Mets fans have seen enough already and are ready to send McNeil packing if they can.   

Francisco Lindor got off to his usual slow start again this season. There were many fans that complained Lindor was washed up and on the downside of his career. Lindor has ridden a hot-hitting streak (one that coincided with his being moved into the leadoff spot), that has his season average up to .265. For now, the boo-birds have been quieted. Being anointed a franchise savior comes with being directly in fan crosshairs. That Lindor has not been better than 9th (2022, 2023) in the running for MVP is less than what Mets fans expected. And they are very vocal about that.

Brandon Nimmo is not having a great 2024 either but for some reason has been mostly immune to the ‘get rid of ‘em all’ chant. When Jacob DeGrom realized that he was not going to get as large a free agent deal with the Mets as he did with the Rangers, he left town. Mets fans LOVED Jake when he was at his best. But when he left, most waved good-bye and were okay with not giving him the same deal he got in Texas.

In some ways analytics plays a role in why fans are less sentimental about their favorite players on the team. Analytics themselves are unsentimental. Everyone has heard that power declines with age, and Pete Alonso will be 30 next season and is a less than great fielder. Paying Pete $25 million per season for 6 or more years is a major commitment.

Where can the Mets go to find a player for less, or one that will be better than Pete?  The organization itself is not rife with a horde of great first baseman prospects. 20-year-old Ryan Clifford is playing in single A Brooklyn and is far from ready. Can Mark Vientos be moved over to first base and taught how to play the position? For Mets fans who’ve given up on the season and are interested in keeping Vientos’ bat in the lineup, if that means Vientos plays first base, that would be fine. It’s as if fans believe Vientos will step right in and deliver the same production that Alonso has provided for the past five plus seasons.  

Free agency has been around for more than 50 years. Players playing for a single team, (see David Wright,) throughout their career are both beloved and a vanishing breed. We come off a time when players like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Buster Posey, and Yadier Molina, embodied their franchises in part because they never played anywhere else. All those players were effective late in their careers which forestalled any desire to ever trade them. 

Angels’ future HOFer Mike Trout is also revered by fans but also is closer to being traded than he ever has been before. It’s as if the entire Angels organization is saying ‘We love you Mike, but we can be a bad team without you’.

The Mets fans don’t want a hug-fest with any of their players. Only a parade down lower Broadway will suffice now. Whatever it takes. 

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