Mar 28

“I’m a Loser” would be more appropriate

The New York Mets, the love of my life, just held singing auditions in Manhattan. Their goal: to select a few,Picture2
talented individual fans to sing the national anthem at select 2008 games. It’s a great concept and a smart way to connect with a diverse fan base. But, the Mets picked the wrong audition song from an image and reputation standpoint. As my partner, Ed, would say, “It doesn’t ring true.”

Sure, the Mets are synonymous with baseball, apple pie and the Star-Spangled Banner. But, they’re even more synonymous with losing. And, Mets fans died a thousand deaths last September as the team blew a seemingly insurmountable lead over the hapless Phillies and collapsed. True to form, the same franchise that holds the major league record for most losses in a season (120 in 1962) set an all-time major league record for the worst collapse in baseball history.

So, rather than prompting Sinatra wannabes to warble the lyrics of The Star-Spangled Banner, the Mets event might have been far more credible if fans had been encouraged to belt out such tunes as:

– “Free Falling” by Tom Petty
– “I’m a Loser” by The Beatles
– “The End of the World as We Know It” by R.E.M.

Or, Mets fans could have been encouraged to dedicate songs to individual underachievers on the dysfunctional ’07 squad. How about:

– “Fool on the Hill” by The Beatles (and dedicated to Tom Glavine for his first inning meltdown against the Marlins in the final game of the season.)
– “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon (and dedicated to Paul Lo Duca, who was thrown out of a key game the Metropolitans ended up losing because his replacement committed a critical error. That loss began the September slide to oblivion.)
–  “Nowhere man” again, by The Beatles (and dedicated to a totally out of touch, deer-in-the-headlights Willie Randolph, who kept telling reporters the champagne toasts would be that much sweeter after he and his Mets pulled out of their temporary swoon.)

Hope springs eternal. And, like other long-suffering Mets fans, I’m hoping this will be our year. That said, I won’t be surprised to see Mets fans lining up next March for another audition. Let’s hope next year’s tune isn’t “Same Old Story, Same Old Song and Dance” by Aerosmith.

Sep 28

Woeful Willie’s wobbling wards

Everytime my wife sees Mets Manager Willie Randolph’s sorrowful countenance on TV she asks, ‘Why isRandolph
that guy always so bummed out?’

You’d be bummed, I tell her, if you were managing what will most likely be the worst collapse in major league baseball history. Randolph’s reeling regulars have seen the bottom fall out of their once-promising season. And, today, they find themselves in a tie for first place with the gritty Phillies, and only three games left in the season.

The verbal and non-verbal behavior of these mediocre Mets tells the tale. Shoulders are slumped, heads are hung, eyes diverted. You can almost sense the Mets players want to be done with this nightmare and back home in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico or wherever else most call home.

I’ve worked at several organizations that found themselves in similar, if somewhat slower, declines. The Mets’ collective behavior reminds me of those days where it was cover your ass, point the finger and hope that some miracle will occur to turn things around.

Alas, miracles only occur when the leadership is strong, visionary and inspiring. What my former agencies needed then and what the Mets need now is what England had in those dark days of September 1940: Winston Churchill.

Sadly, though, Willie’s no Winston. And these Mets are done. Paraphrasing the great Churchill’s most inspiring line: ‘Never have so many owed so little to so few.’ Mets fans and players alike deserve a manager who can inspire and stand strong in the darkest hours. What we have, instead, is a guy who has already mentally packed up his tent and gone home.