“Don’t Just Believe, Know” Can Become “Ya Gotta Believe!”
Back in 1973, Tug McGraw got himself in a little bit of hot water with New York Mets Chairman of the Board when he responded to the pep talk with the “Ya Gotta Believe!” chant. It irked Grant, who was a renown miser, but here’s the key thing with McGraw – he backed it up.
At that point, McGraw was having a career worst year. From July 11 until the end of the season, McGraw made 28 appearances pitching an astounding 69.1 innings.
Over that stretch, McGraw was 5-2 with 14 saves, a 2.21 ERA, and a 1.067 WHIP. He would pitch 3.0 innings on the final game of the season earning the save as the Mets won the division by a game.
McGraw went forth and backed it up with a terrific postseason. In fact, it was probably one of the finest postseason performances from a Mets reliever. Overall, he was 1-0 with two saves and a 1.98 ERA.
While his earlier jeering battle cry fell flat and irked the Mets front office, his backing it up made it a well known and beloved Mets battle cry.
This is a similar situation Pete Alonso now finds himself.
The Philadelphia Phillies just swept the Mets knocking them from first place to third. It’s part of a maddening 1-9 stretch which has seen the Mets fall to just one game over .500 as this team looks like they’re going to completely fall apart.
Making this all the worse was the most recent loss was a complete hit two hit shut out at the hands of former Met (who wanted to remain a Met) Zack Wheeler. Fans have not been this dejected all season.
The very last thing Mets fans wanted was some Pollyanna pep talk from the fan favorite telling everyone everyone is fine. Well, that’s what they got from Alonso:
Pete Alonso's message to Mets fans: pic.twitter.com/ZE3ktUex2i
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) August 8, 2021
This feel exceedingly flat. That goes double with Alonso going 0-for-11 in the series with five strikeouts. One of those strikeouts came in the ninth when he represented the go-ahead run.
Really, Alonso has been terrible of late. Over his last 16 games, he’s hit .140/.269/.316. His not hitting has coincided with the Mets collapse.
Todd Zeile was irked by the comments. He wanted to see more accountability and a more honest assessment of the situation. This echoed Mets fan sentiment. Being honest, it was a very mild account of how fans felt.
There’s a problem with the sentiment from Zeile and others. They were expecting Alonso to be someone he’s not. What we got from Alonso was who he is.
Alonso is where he is due to the belief he has in himself. He’s the player he is because his focus isn’t just on process, but more to the point, not getting too low. He’s the living embodiment of McGraw’s mantra.
Now, it’s really up to Alonso to back it up just like McGraw did. If he takes off and the Mets do win this division, fans will have a much different reaction to the comment.
If the Mets win the division, “Don’t Just Believe, Know” will become a fitting sequel to “Ya Gotta Believe!”