The glorious disaster that is the New York Mets

By 1993, Gooden's career was running off the rails and the Mets were a mess.

It is no secret that I’m an unabashed Boston Red Sox fan. I cannot remember a time in my life where it wasn’t just accepted that I was a Red Sox rooter. I grew up with Dwight Evans, Mike Greenwell and Tim Naehring, I came of age in the era of Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez, and I was welcomed into adulthood by Jason Varitek, Kevin Millar and Trot Nixon. Except for rare, extreme circumstances, I will follow them to the end of the Earth.

I also have a thing for the Minnesota Twins. Dating to Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek in 1991, I’ve admired them ever since. I lived in Arizona for the better part of three years, and accordingly, the Diamondbacks are my National League team of choice. I also enjoy the work of the Oakland A’s and Chicago Cubs from afar.

But, by God, I cannot help myself. I love that other club in New York disguising itself year after year a Major League team, the natural disaster otherwise known as the New York Mets.

Just a quick rundown of some of their more notable calamities:

  • When I started getting into baseball in an obsessive way, the Mets were in last place and Anthony Young had stayed in the rotation long enough to lose 27 consecutive games over two seasons.
  • Doc Gooden started as an unhittable phenom for the Mets in 1985, fell into excess (along with several other Mets), left, and joined the Yankees, where he promptly threw a no-hitter and won a World Series.
  • In the mid-90s, the Mets had a vaunted young rotation dubbed Generation K. All three were quickly hit with major arm injuries. Funny enough, Jason Isringhausen, who at least became a pretty good closer for the A’s and Cardinals, is back with the team this year.
  • Two years ago, Tony Bernazard, their vice president of player development, took off his shirt and challenged their entire AA-affiliate team to a fight. He was fired … eventually. But not before general manager Omar Minaya called out a writer for wanting his job.
  • When he was traded to the Mets, pitcher J.J. Putz never had a physical. Of course, he was already hurt and barely pitched.
  • This was fake, but also my thoughts when Jason Bay signed with the Mets.
  • Their stadium is named after a failed bank.
  • For 2010, the Mets’ page-a-day calendar was just a daily reminder of the foibles of the franchise.
  • Apparently, the only folks not to lose money with Bernie Madoff were the Mets, and as a result, they hardly had any money for this season after the government stepped in.
  • Starting this season, former third baseman Bobby Bonilla will earn about $1.2 million every year for the next 25 seasons. He last played for the team in 2000.
  • On a similar note, here are five things the Mets could have bought with the money the spent on pitcher Oliver Perez and second baseman Luis Castillo, who they’ll pay to play for other teams this year.

I could go on, but there are only so many hours in the day.

Recently, I was on the phone with a friend while she was in the late rounds of her fantasy baseball draft. She asked about Johan Santana (the Mets’ ace, out indefinitely with an injury), so I called up their depth chart. And I smiled in horror.

Their rotation this year — after Mike Pelfrey, who’s solid — will probably be a disaster. Jon Niese is young, but in four starts last year, posted a 1.81 WHIP. R.A. Dickey is a very nice guy who throws a knuckleball and will likely have as many rough games as solid ones. Chris Young is coming off two injury-riddled years in San Diego. Chris Capuano pitched all of two games last year. Yikes.

I’d really like a blue Mets t-shirt at some point. Maybe one with Pedro Martinez’snumber on the back — he was a Hall of Famer as a Red Sock and a disappointment as a Met, so he’s perfect. But I’d settle for Castillo, Perez, Gary Matthews, or any number of underachieving Mets. The waters of failure run deep in Flushing Meadows.

But in a recent story for New York Magazine, Will Leitch notes that the Mets might be on the way back, that the right group is in place, led by Sandy Alderson, to keep the Wilbons from themselves, run the team the right way, and eventually put a winner on the field.

That article is a beacon of hope for Mets fans. Finally, competent folks are in place to cultivate a professional atmosphere and build a team to compete for the National League pennant.

I’m still pulling for madness to reign again, though. If the Mets are a tight ship and run properly, they just won’t be the Mets anymore. So with apologies to actual Mets fans, I’m rooting for chaos.

3 responses to “The glorious disaster that is the New York Mets

  1. how could you leave out the epic collapse of 2007, where the mets blew a 7 game lead in the last 17 games of the season?

  2. You know what? I thought of it this morning, and I regret it. At the time, I even commemorated the feat by making a wallpaper of sad Mets pictures and the word “Amazin!” over the top.

    You know what else is great? The next year (2008), they were in first place until Sept. 15, got it back briefly on the 19th, lost it, and missed the playoffs again. Incredible.

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