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Valentine's Day In Flushing?

There reaches a point where as a fan, reality's too much to ignore. I sat in the barber shop yesterday and I read an article about the Amazins' of 1969. Growing up, Nolan Ryan was one of my favorite pitchers and this was before I even knew that 20 years beforehand, he was a Met. My lasting image of him throwing the headlock on Robin Ventura while rabbit punching him...priceless. Still, they just don't build em' like that anymore. The 1986 Mets, well, I was 6 at the time but they were juggernauts. I imagine by the time I turned 6, they were plotting out their playoff rotation and gearing up for the NLCS. Oh and that rotation I spoke of? Not one pitcher averaged LESS than 10 wins. Not one pitcher didn't have a K total that required anything less than a number in the hundreds column.

The bullpen was solid, with the dualheaded monster of Orosco and McDowell closing games. 43 saves between the two of them. So yeah, those weren't the "good ole days". Those were the "hot damn it's great to be a Mets fan" days. Those days continued on through the late 80s, unti 1990. Then, came the Mutts era...which went from my 6th grade year (probably 5th actually) until my Junior year of high school, which is when Bobby Valentine showed up. From 1997 on, the Mutts started showing signs of life. Finishing 2nd and averaging about 85 wins a season. Then, the breakthrough comes in 1999. After blowing the playoffs in 1998, they make it in 1999, losing to the Bravos in 6.

Then, 2000 hits. That team does the unthinkable, getting the Wild Card and making an improbable run. The rotatio wasn't as awe inspiring as 1986, but it was good. No starter finished with fewer than 11 wins, only Bobby J. Jones didn't strike out more than 100 batters. The lineup was formidable, only Mike Bordick didn't hit more than 10 homers. I'm thinking "title" after they win the NLCS. That was until the Yanks won the ALCS and then, reality hit HARD. The core of the team left and it went back to status schmoe mode, with Bobby V being exiled and the Mets went back to being the Mutts. Then comes Willie and 2006, breakthrough. First division crown in years, World Series is in sight. All they had to do was beat Saint Louis...

Which they don't do. Then, as if the Mutts weren't bad enough to sit through, the Mets go another way. They go into what I call "Chernobyl" mode. They start imploding after running away with the division for most of the year. They allow Philly to overtake them, twice in the last two seasons. While 2007 was grueling to watch, last season was just...ugh. I felt like Jigsaw was hosting the last 10 days or so, because it was rough to watch. If there wasn't a 9th inning, the Mets steamroll to the NL East. Alas, they couldn't even hold off the damn Brew Crew for the Wild Card. Which brings us to this year. They get K-Rod from the Angels, complete with championship ring from 2003 and we get J.J. Putz as some valuable insurance. All looks set for the Mets to get er dun this season. I guess the injury bug didn't get the damn memo. Delgado, Reyes, Beltran and now Wright all out with injuries. I'm a man who believes if you can't win with what you have in place, it's a moot point. Needless to say, this is unacceptable. Right now, the only thing keeping the Mets out of the cellar are the Nationals. Yes, the franchise Formerly Known As The Expos. So I'm online reading some articles from the New York Post when I stumble across something that gets me.

Bobby Valentine. Apparently, he's on his farewell run in Japan and he wants back in The Show. Personally, I think he's the best manager the Mets have had since Davey Johnson. With Bobby V spearheading the team the last two years, I think the Mets win the division in 07 and wild card in 08. There wouldn't have been a Rocktober or Ph-all Classic. The Mets would be pushing for a threepeat, injuries not withstanding. Still, I'm finding myself coming to the same conclusion the more and more I deliberate. Jerry Manuel's not the long term solution for this team. I realize that Bobby left the organization under less than great circumstances. But the fact remains, the man got shit done.

Yeah, I'm the same guy who called for Coughlin's head until he finally got a ring just two seasons ago. I'm the guy who called for Willie's head and alas, they did so a few months too late. Now, I'm looking ahead to 2010. Year 2 at Citi Field and status schmoe won't cut it. The Yanks look like they're 'Back In Black' so to speak and the National League East isn't what it used to be. Yeah, the Phucking Phils are the best team in the division. The Braves are eh, but truth be told, there's a big time dropoff after the Marlins. The Nationls are a long way off, even if this Strasburg kid is the next great thing. But something's not right here and I'm not convinced Manuel's the guy to get the Mets back to the World Series.

I do know Bobby Valentine is. He did it in 2000 with a team that didn't have half the firepower that this roster is loaded with (when healthy). I think most Mets fans want him back, I think if enough fans keep calling for it, what can the organization do? Piss off its fanbase by going the other way with a managerial hire? I'm more or less conceding this season as a wash, cause barring an absolute Lazarian rise from the dead, they're not catching Philly. Hell, they're not even Wild Card compatible right now. However, next year, I see a lot. With a healthy team coming back, work being done to the rotation to get Johan some help, this is the 2010 NL East Champs. But I only see this with Bobby V at the helm. I'm generally not as adamant about baseball, but I guess I've been sitting on this for a while now. Omar, it's time to bring the exiled one back where he belongs. Bring Bobby back.
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