Patience is a virtue that New York Mets fans do not have. That's why my rant below is just a dream. Mets management will of course, continue caving to the pressures of the media and fans. They will continue spending $140+ million per year on salaries and gouging fans with obscene ticket prices.
Spending $140 million each year is not working. The Yankees, spending $200 million each year, guarantees nothing. (although it worked this year).
I am a different breed of Mets fan; one with the patience to endure mediocrity for a few years in order to build a true and lasting winning team. No more band-aids please. I'd rather mimic the Twins or A's formula for building a winner. I'm not proposing cutting payroll to $70K per year (Twins - 23rd in MLB). But I am proposing lessening our dependence on long term contracts to high profile free agents. And to spending more money on scouting and developing young players. And to holding onto these young players. Stay the plan, don't waver. This can only work if the fans, media, and management have patience.
The media are the biggest culprits for putting so much pressure on management and for provoking the fans ire. They say that the Mets must compete with the Yankees; that in New York, you need big names to draw fans, that the Wilpons need to do it this way because they need to sell seats to pay for their ballpark and make a profit. This is, unfortunately, a cycle that once you're in, you can't get out.
Could a GM pull this off in New York? He needs to have the smarts, the discipline, and most importantly the courage, to stick to the plan. I think, it's fair to assume, that Omar Minaya is not the man that I'm describing.
Don't tell me that Jeff Wilpon will never hire this man. I know that.
I think that Billy Beane is the guru the Mets are looking for?. He is experienced and successful in working with a low payroll ($47M in 2008, $62m in 2009). Between 2001 and 2006 his A's won over 100 games twice, over 90 games three times, and 88 games once. Billy Beane is the kind of guy who will do it his way or not at all.
The LA Dodgers spent $100 million on salaries in 2009. The Phillies $111M. The Angels $118M. That's a far cry from the $140M the Mets spent this year and an even higher amount Mets fans think it will take to have a winner next year. Imagine the possibilities if Beane were to be operating with a $110 million payroll, double what he had to work with in Oakland.
Billy Beane, is a winner who can come to New York and beat the system. The first few years might be difficult as he weans the media and the fans from thinking that the only way to win is by spending more money.
Imagine the Mets, a division winner, with a payroll of $100M. Imagine the ball park filled to capacity, lower ticket prices passed along to fans through saving $40M per year in salaries.
That is my dream and I'm willing to wait for it to come true.