With the speculation-turned-fact firing of the $138 million Mets' Willie Randolph, it only now dawns on us what should have been obvious from the beginning: their downfall began when Acta left.
It's so simple: in 2006, the Mets won the division then nearly went to the World Series, losing the NLCS in seven games, and Manny was there at third base, waving those winning runs home. Next offseason he came to Washington for the opportunity to manage he'd never get in New York. Things look great for the Mets for a while, another division title looks imminent, then BAM, the Curse of Manny takes full effect with a late-season sweep at the hands of the Nationals in the midst of what is still called an "historic" collapse. Anybody remember the hints from NY media that offseason that the Mets should hire Acta to manage? As if they could just grab him back from the franchise that looked into his 'tism-y soul and saw the manager of the future?
Now the Mets are in full-blown underachieving mode, their enormously expensive, Jesus-Flores-less lineup floundering 6.5 games out from where they "should" be. It's so clear as to why, and we at DCO are ashamed for not seeing it sooner. ManAct was the optimistic glue holding an imminently collapsing franchise together, and with his departure went the fortunes of the Mets. He'll yet bring that fortune here, while the Mets wallow in their self-inflicted Curse.