A group of Mets fans took it to the streets last night and camped out outside SNY's Sixth Avenue studio in a pro-Manny Ramirez rally. It wasn't exactly a replay of the 60's, only 40 fans took part, but they were a spirited group who really, really want Ramirez to join the Mets. The blog Priced Out of the Citi has a bunch of pictures and the Daily News spoke to a few members of the group.
"He's got the skill set we need, and the attitude and swagger to play in New York," said Justin Killian, a 36-year-old lawyer who helped organize the rally. "He'll be like the rain man, just go up and hit."
It's not the wisest idea for a team to make their roster decisions based on the opinion of 40 or even 40,000 fans. To be successful, a team needs to have skilled people weighing the pros and cons of every decision, so that every move is part of the same cohesive plan. Those same people need to have the courage of their convictions so that they stand behind the plan even when a move isn't met with popular acclaim.
That's been the problem with the Mets this offseason. They made some strong moves to address the bullpen at the offseason's outset, but have sat on their hands since then. That's a bad message to send to a fanbase that's sat through consecutive late season collapses, especially when those people are being asked to pay more money in a bad economy to fill your new stadium. You may despise the way the Yankees spend money, but you can't accuse them of not doing everything they can to give their fans a product worth paying for.
The Mets have said that there have been no discussions about Ramirez among the team's "baseball people," which, if true, should be grounds for their firing. No discussions about the best hitter on the open market when your lineup could use a bat? There's no team in baseball, save the Red Sox, that has a reason not to discuss Ramirez.
If the Mets don't want to sign Ramirez, that's fine. But they should say so without any equivocation. If they'd like to sign him, but only at a particular price, it would make sense to say that as well. That's the way they handled the Derek Lowe negotiation, making it clear that there was only so much money they were willing to spend for a 36-year old pitcher.
If Ramirez ends up signing for a lower than expected price, and the Mets haven't made it clear that there's no price at which they're interested, they'll have to answer to an angry fan base. That's an unnecessary risk for them to take, so they should make their intentions known.