There is little as gleefully satisfying as waking up in the morning and realizing that the Mets are still the Mets.
It looked a little hairy there for a bit. New York’s senior circuit club looked to be on a track that could yield an 80- or 90-win season in the next year or two, with their big-money, bad-idea investments on the way out. After the season, they locked up their third-baseman David Wright, a homegrown talent who seems to be a good guy and is happy to be the face of this team, of all teams. They even switched back to their classic uniforms of blue hats and pinstriped jerseys without the trendy black accents that were all the rage in 1997.
Finally, their travelling knuckleballer, R.A. Dickey, decided to win 20 games and a Cy Young Award while he wasn’t climbing Mount Kilemanjaro, writing a painful, confessional memoir or working tirelessly for charity. These are all things that real baseball teams get to have, if they’re brilliant and lucky at once.
Thankfully, though, the Mets are never brilliant or lucky. And to prove the point, they’re shipping their good-will earning, award-winning pitcher off to Canada after he had the gall to ask for the kind of money that Josh Beckett will probably earn in 2015 as an aging hurler looking at the back end of a career.
Dickey is scheduled to earn $5 million in 2013, certainly a lot of money in the real world and certainly not adequate compensation for an elite pitcher. And it would be one thing if Dickey had been asking for a Zack Grienke-level contract — he just signed with the Dodgers for six years and $147 million — but he, by most accounts, is asking for a couple of extra years at a rate that would be in line with a typical no. 2 or 3 starter. He’s 38, but he’s a knuckleballer who got a late start, so he should have some life left in him.
All this is, apparently, a cancer to the Mets. In the past few days, they’ve gone out of their way to slam him, using their few acolytes in the media as strategically as a 10-year-old with a slingshot and a broken toy.
But, of course that’s how this would go. The Mets, even when they’re respectable, if not good, will find a way to remind the world that they are not to be taken seriously, ever, at any time. They’ve dragged Dickey’s name through the mud with predictably laughable results. They’re trading him to Toronto, where he’ll join a team that is more obviously trying to win.
Dickey is likely going to join Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes on the revamped Blue Jays, winning games and helping people along the way.
And the Mets will continue to be the Mets, assuaging fears that perhaps they could be anything else besides.