Announcement comes hours before season's first pitch
FLUSHING, NY (Disassociated Press) – In a move sure to stun many fans of the New York Mets, team officials today announced that the team has been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention this season.
The admission came at Citi Field, just hours before the first pitch in Thursday's season opener against the Atlanta Braves.
"We just feel that it's important to be truthful with our fan base," said Sandy Alderson, Mets General Manager.
Alderson told reporters that a small group made up of team management looked into the team's chances during spring training in Florida.
"We looked at our roster, our current and recent injuries – including those of [supposed franchise shortstop] Jose Reyes - and we looked at what has happened over the last five seasons," Alderson said. "Unfortunately, we determined that this team stood a snowballs chance in Hell of making the playoffs this season."
Following consecutive late season collapses in 2007 and 2008, Mets players suffered a frightening string of injuries in 2009, which virtually crippled the team for most of the year. The 2010 and 2011 seasons proved no better.
"After those three seasons, frankly, we expected a strong rebound in 2010, but we came out of the gate snakebit and never recovered," said Omar Minaya, former Mets General Manager.
Minaya was fired - along with Mets manager Jerry Manuel - following the 2010 season.
"It seemed like every single thing that could go wrong did," Minaya added, "from dropped pop flies against the Yankees, to our closer breaking his hand punching an old man, we saw it all in 2010."
Things did not improve for the team in 2011.
"Truthfully," Alderson said, "at this point, there's a better chance that the world actually will end in 2012 than there is of the Mets playing even .500 baseball this season…much less make the post-season."
Mets players and coaches were disappointed by the announcement.
"Baseball has been very, very good to me, but not this year," Chico Escuela, Mets outfielder, said through an interpreter.
"What can I say? Sadly, eternal optimism doesn't live in Queens anymore," said Terry Collins, current manager of the Mets. "All we can ask is that our fans wait 'til next year…again."