Roberto Alomar had one of the more bizarre tenures as a NY Met. How did a now Hall of Fame player, go from hitting .336/.415/.541 with 30 stolen bases and 100 RBI along with 113 runs scored topped off with 66 xbh along with an All Star appearance, Gold Glove Award and a fourth place finish in the MVP vote in 2001, become a underachieving malingering pariah as a NY Met in 2002?
Talk about your unsolved mysteries. Alomar just could not find comfort in Queens. He never fit in with the Mets. Maybe it was going from a first place Indians team to a losing situation with the Mets? Maybe all the baggage that Alomar checked in with at Shea Stadium, the Hrishbeck spitting saga which weighed on him considerably and the constant meddling of fans and media about his sexual preference led to his down fall with the Mets, I don’t know but I do know that he was one of the most hated Mets of all time.
When the deal was made though, we Mets fans were a giddy bunch even praising Smarmy Steve Phillips for obtaining a talent of Alomar’s caliber but we didn’t get the 2001 Roberto Alomar, instead we received a cheap knock off. It sure was a bad time to come to Mets as a “savior” or a difference maker and not produce and also come off as a malcontent. The club came off a great 2000 by winning the NL Penannt but losing to the Highlanders in the World Series. In 2001 the Mets got off to an awful start but rebounded in the second half of the season with a 44-29 recorded but the club faltered down the stretch and most folks didn’t care at that point as we all dealt with the attack on September 11th. So on December 11th of 2001 when it was announced that the Mets had made a deal with the Indians for Alomar, it brought hope to Mets fans that this move would get the team back into a post season berth. No need for revisionist history of the failure all around the organization during this time but Roberto Alomar was the guy who took the bulk of the beating from Mets fans, venting their frustration with boos and cat calls until he was mercifully dealt to the Chicago White Sox in 2003.
In a story in the NY Times the day after he was dealt to the White Sox, some evidence of Alomar’s unhappiness came out:
Exactly why Alomar was not himself in 222 games with the Mets will seemingly remain a mystery. Alomar said in a conference call with reporters yesterday that he liked New York, and he made sure to add that he had great teammates.
He did not sound as if he could cope with the malaise that came from losing, and the Mets lost 20 more games than they won while he was here.
”The team, maybe, I didn’t really feel comfortable with the situation,” said Alomar, who batted .265 with the Mets, far below his career average of .302. ”Sometimes, teams don’t work for you. I think the New York Mets weren’t the right team for me.”
When Alomar went to the South Side of Chicago, guess who greeted him as skipper of the Pale Hose, the Gangsta’ himself:
There was not much doubt even at the start of the regular season that Alomar would be the Mets’ second baseman, but the team began to founder, and Alomar became a target of the fans, who thought he was not playing hard enough.
”I’ve seen a lot of players have a tough time in New York,” Jerry Manuel, the manager of the White Sox, said in Chicago last night before his team beat Minnesota. ”New York is a tough place to play.”
Tough place to play, tough place to be a manager too.
I’ll say this for Alomar with all the scandal that has followed him since leaving New York; his induction speech should be riveting.