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NO LAUGHING MATTER

For Sandy Alderson, Twitter isn’t serious business. The social media platform is like Monday’s “open mic night” at the local comedy house. He will fire a two-thumb, 140-character zinger every, oh, 60 days or so but, for the most part, the laughs are few, the comedy is amateur and the room is dormant.

Hey, is this thing on?

If history is any indication we should be getting another Alderson classic … right … about … now.

Last February @Mets GM tweeted:

— Sandy Alderson (@MetsGM) February 11, 2013

… And, we all remember this knee-slapper from February 2012:

— Sandy Alderson (@MetsGM) February 10, 2012

Hey, give him a break; it’s either laugh or cry. Alderson chose the former.

Three years ago when Alderson accepted the job as Mets GM he inherited a weak product and a fat payroll: sixth-largest in the league ($142,229,759) including Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, Jason Bay and Francisco Rodriguez. The team was coming off their second straight losing season, finishing 14th in the in the National League in on-base percentage and 12th in slugging percentage. It was no laughing matter.

He told the media:

“It may sound a little cliché, but we are going to work hard. We’re going to work smart, I think. We’re going to try to exploit all of the ways that players can be acquired, developed, retained. We’re going to strive for consistency, but above all, excellence.”

So, when fans read about Alderson’s past success and heard words like “consistency” and “excellence,” there was a sense of hope. The ticks related to the late-season collapses of 2007 and 2008 dissipated and fans got a whiff of confidence. It felt good – for the moment.

The Mets are beginning year four of “the plan” and no one’s laughing. The New York Mets have not had a winning season since 2008. While we’re on the subject, let’s be clear about the phrase winning season. That simply means playing .500 or better (81+ wins). In short, the product has improved by a total of four wins since the 2009 season.

This is not funny.

Attendance has dropped from 4,042,045 in 2008 (the last winning season for the Mets) to 2,135,657 last year; almost 50% fewer fans despite opening a new stadium. According to Alderson, the Mets will spend more on payroll when fans starting supporting the team at the gate. Wait, that’s another funny, right? No.

mets-info

I have no opinion on how much money the New York Mets spend. I am uninterested in how much more the New York Yankees payroll is. Free agent signings are not the antidote to post-season baseball. What does get my heart rate up is winning baseball games.

I am patient and willing to accept “the plan” of building long-term success through the farm system. I get it. There’s not a Mets fan in the world that wouldn’t prefer a five-year run of success with the real chance at winning a World Series over a one or two year playoff contender followed by more attrition.

So, here we go: Spring Training 2014.

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