Moxie Hasn't Been the Mets' Missing Ingredient

Talent wins more ballgames than anything else.

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011  |  Updated 12:50 PM EDT
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Moxie Hasn't Been the Mets' Missing Ingredient

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All Isringhausen needs to do is pitch well.

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Of the many reasons why we hope to see a rebirth of winning Mets baseball in the not too distant future, none may be bigger than the fact that it will force people to stop coming up with ridiculous reasons why the Mets are a losing team.

Marty Noble of MLB.com is one of those people. On Tuesday, he mused about the fact that the Mets once had both Jason Isringhausen and Ty Wigginton on their team and how the loss of those players' moxie helped ease the team into the abyss of the last few years.

Noble goes on to lament the loss of Paul LoDuca's grit, without mentioning the fact that he played the game of baseball about as well as Noble himself. The 2006 Mets didn't win because of LoDuca's attitude, they won because they had a deep lineup and killer bullpen.

He wanted to see more of Moises Alou in 2007 and 2008, but apparently doesn't remember the fact that Alou's resolve wasn't enough to overcome the fact that he was physically unable to participate in games. But they didn't lose because Alou wasn't around, they lost because the team couldn't get outs to save their lives in September and October.

Did the Mets lack toughness in those seasons? They probably did, but it had no more to do with their inability to close out the season than the lack of a Shake Shack at Shea Stadium.

Noble doesn't need anyone to point out the fallacy of his own argument, however. He decides to invoke the holy 1986 team and point to the unyielding grit of Keith Hernandez, Wally Backman and Lenny Dykstra as the reason why they won.

It's utter nonsense. Take a look at their numbers -- yes, actual numbers that reveal their ability on the field -- and then go back to thinking that those guys won with smoke and mirrors.

The 1986 Mets won because they were loaded with talented players who all had excellent seasons at the same time. In 1987, with largely the same roster, they didn't win because they didn't all have good seasons.

The Mets of recent years have lacked many things. They've lacked pitchers who could throw strikes consistently, a front office and training staff sufficiently concerned with the health of players, a general manager who didn't throw good money after bad players and players who get on base often enough to score a lot of runs.

If there are players out there who can solve those shortcomings while also bursting from the seams with whatever it is Noble describes as grit, then go get them. Until then, fight the real enemy.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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