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I’m Kevin Coupe, and this is MorningNewsBeat Radio, brought to you by Webstop, experts in the art of retail website design.

It has been a tough week for a certain class of baseball fan, namely those of us who live and die with the wins and losses of the New York Mets. For the final two weeks of the regular season, it was mostly losses and dying, resulting in a collapse that has been described with adjectives that I’m already tired of. Can we, just for a little while, dispense with the use of words like “monumental” and “staggering”?

There has been a lot of discussion in the New York media about whether the Mets’ demise was the result of a lack of character or a lack of talent. My suspicion, and I’m hardly an expert on this, is that the Mets’ problems were a result of both.

Certainly the team certainly didn’t have as much talent as we thought, in part because it had a pitching staff that was almost my age.

But the character issue is one that I think we all can relate to. It has to do with a lack of a work ethic, and I believe that a strong work ethic generally will compensate for the occasional lack of talent. Hell, the fact that I have a career is practically a testament to that.

In watching the Mets over the past few weeks, we all saw players not running to first base after they hit the ball. Players making dumb base running mistakes. Players fielding the ball lackadaisically, and then throwing to the wrong base or not hitting the cutoff man. In other words, making fundamental mistakes. Forget about the fact that these players are being paid salaries that are beyond belief. What matters more to me is that they are supposed to be professionals…and they didn’t act that way.

Carlos Delgado, the Mets’ first baseman, said toward the end of the season that the tea was just so good that sometimes they get bored. That’s not my idea of a professional, nor of a person with a strong work ethic. And I think it is emblematic of the team’s bigger problems. Jose Reyes, the team’s supremely talented shortstop, played like his head was in the clouds…or someplace else. Again, not professional. And supremely disappointing.

There’s a lesson here for all of us. We have to behave like professionals, and create a work atmosphere in which the people who work for us act like professionals. We have to engender a climate that prizes and rewards a dedicated work ethic, and raise our kids to understand how important this is.

And here’s the final lesson. Always, always, run when you hit the ball. Because if you don’t, nothing good will happen. If you do, however, there’s always the possibility of a hit, a run and even a win…and the possibility of keeping the season alive.

For MorningNewsBeat Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.
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