Mets history

The Milquetoast Mets’ Daytime Dilemma

Matt_Harvey_finger You know what?  I’m just gonna come right out and say it: I like Matt Harvey.

I like his attitude.  I like his arrogance.  You know why?  Because he has the goods to back it up.

And I have to laugh when I hear other fans complain about how other players aren’t “fun” and are “boring.”  Because they revere alumni like Tom Seaver, who is universally known as a douchebag.

(But he’s our douche, so it’s all good)

But what’s more is that ever since 1986, the Mets front office has been intent on dismantling any team that has any semblance of a personality.  Anyone who is not milquetoast, the more boring and “family friendly” you are, the better.

Forget if they’re actually, you know, *good* and help the team win.  If they stray from the party line (which is: be bland, always), they’re automatically trouble.

Take the 1986 Mets.  They won a world championship, for crying out loud.  They drank, they did drugs, some even got arrested.  Let me reiterate: THEY WON A CHAMPIONSHIP.  No one micromanaged them.  They did what they had to do.

When Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz wormed their way into Nelson Doubleday’s majority stake in the team after the World Series, all of a sudden, the bad ass personality was a “problem,” and let’s get bland boring “Jay-oh-bee” treating baseball players like Kevin McReynolds.

Perhaps if the PR and image people were less concerned with OMG WHAT WILL WE TELL THE CHILDREN, instead they let players be themselves.  I saw the Matt Harvey instagram where he posted about his surgery, which happened six months ago.  He’s a young guy.  His skyrocketing career came to a screeching halt because (and this is just my opinion), his conditioning by the team of Dr. Death Rey Ramirez led to him getting Tommy John Surgery.  I thought the photo was funny.  My next thought was….Oh, Jay Horwitz isn’t gonna like THIS one.

And what happens?  Harvey is asked to delete his post, and he just deletes his Twitter account instead.

Harvey didn’t apologize for potentially “offending” anyone.

Breaking News: Dick Young is STILL dead, Mets fans

Breaking News: Dick Young is STILL dead, Mets fans

I mean, seriously, what’s next?  Are the Mets going to exhume Dick Young to write a scandalous slam piece on how Matt Harvey’s girlfriend is jealous of Zack Wheeler’s girlfriend, and Harvey demands a trade before a weekday day game start, which will forever be known in Mets lexicon as “The Daytime Dilemma?”

#PTMD

The fact is, this team hasn’t had anyone with a goddamn personality for YEARS.  You want Wonder Bread David Wright?  You got him!  Any flashy players who show an iota of a personality are kicked the curb and chased out of town.

Look at Ike Davis, and he started his career with a bang in Pittsburgh.  Yes, I know it’s a small sample set.  But a change of scenery looks to be helping his Valley Fever or whatever the hell was ailing him.

The truth is, perhaps Davis was suffering what a lot of former Mets players who are kicked the curb or given the slam treatment after leaving town: Walter Mittyitis. And if we’re not careful, that’s exactly what’s gonna happen to Matt Harvey. The Mets are intent on driving away the only talented guy they have on the team, for fear that OMG WHAT WILL WE TELL THE CHILDREN actually matters.

Look at other teams.  Ryan Braun returned to the Brewers with little to no fanfare after a suspension.

His teammate instigated a bench clearing BRAWL, and no one gives a shit.  Except for maybe the “purity of the game” sanctimonious pricks.

And soon, I think Alex Rodriguez will finish his career and people will quiet down about him too.

When you stop having fun, it’s time to quit.  And good for Harvey for recognizing it.  Yet, the same people who forced him into a corner are also the same folks who are trying to make players more accessible and personable to fans.  Something that has been missing for years, decades even.  You can’t have it both ways.  Otherwise, I’m gonna see David Wright and Daniel Murphy sharing cookies and milk and playing checkers instead of the players having fun.

I’ll be talking about this and a lot more on the Mets Lounge podcast tonight at 4 pm ET.  I had to bump the start time a bit earlier, so I could drink at the cocktail hour at the Mets game social hour I’m attending.  I definitely want to be sober for my rants.

Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder Therapy Session

How do Mets fans face their problems?  Head on, apparently.

Join me and Metstradamus (that pic below was just taken Monday), tune into the Mets Lounge podcast (where the cool kids hang out) at 9 pm ET tonight, and up your alcohol or Xanax intake as we discuss some of the most painful post-traumatic Mets disorder moments in our lifetime, and some beyond.  If you can’t listen to talk on 2006, 1988 or Black Friday, you might want to listen in installments.

The Mets make us drink...or do we drink because we're Mets fans?

The Mets make us drink…or do we drink because we’re Mets fans?

You Belong To The City

Photo courtesy of Trumbull Island.  I never forgave my mom for not letting me stop long enough to take a pic of this mural by Port Authority in 1986.

Photo courtesy of Trumbull Island. I never forgave my mom for not letting me stop long enough to take a pic of this mural by Port Authority in 1986.

I knew when I was 10 years old that I wanted to live in New York City.  This was before the days of Disney-ificiation and Lion King musicals in Times Square.  These were the days of sleaze, crime, dingy days of Ed Koch.

And I LOVED it.  I knew somehow I’d be there someday.

I often say that when I was seven, two things occurred that really helped shape my personality as I got older.  I discovered Duran Duran and new wave Brit pop.  At the time, artists like Madonna and Michael Jackson were the popular go-to Top 40 artists of the time.  I listened to them too, but I really loved DD.  That same year, I caught myself watching some baseball games with my dad.  He was a Mets fan.  I declared myself as such too.

I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  The year I was 10, the Mets won the World Series.

That was also the first year I visited New York City for the first time.  Not just going to Queens to see a baseball game, or driving through Brooklyn and Staten Island like we used would going to our Sunday games.  But a real live Broadway show (Cats on a Wednesday afternoon with my mom and my aunt).  My dad and mom also took me on a day trip to the South Street Seaport, an area I used to work close to as an adult, that has lost some of its lustre, but nevertheless still holds a special place in my heart.

When I was 10, I attended more Mets wins than I ever had.  They won 108 games that year, it would be hard to see a loss.  Then again, I attended about three Dwight Gooden starts in his rookie year, only to see him lose all three.

He lost nine games total that season.

It should be no surprise that in 1986, the Mets won the World Series, and I went to New York City for the first time that same year.

Both were gritty.  Both were totally different from what I was used to.

I identify in my Jersey-ness.  But ew York was where I belonged.

I didn’t know that though till the Mets were in the playoffs that year.

I grew up in a boring rural town, that was basically only car accessible.  There was no walking to the corner store, or taking a walk through the neighborhood.  Shit, I couldn’t even really ride a bike around…my parents feared I might get hit by a car careening down the street, not expecting a young child on a bike.

So I was relegated to basically our building, to my bike in the parking lot…I mostly read books, and kept journals.  I also watched a LOT of baseball.

Then New York City got under my skin.

Never mind I had been to the city a few times for a show, some touristy stuff and even rode the subway.  I had only seen that happen in movies and television.

It was during Game six of the 1986 NLCS against the Houston Astros that got me.

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This has been a tough year for me, getting to games wise.  I took a job that has me working many weekends.  I could finagle a day off here or there, but the reality is, being retail driven, I can’t really miss Saturdays.  The Mets didn’t consult with me, and there was only one flippin game this year that started at 7 pm on a Saturday.

To say I’ve missed many Saturdays this season is an understatement.  But I did get to go to three games in a row this week, and four out of five games.

I saw a 13-inning five hour marathon on Monday night, chronicled here by my companion for the evening, Greg Prince from Faith and Fear in Flushing.

Not one to miss a chance to see another game, I went the next night too.  I saw two wins.  I saw a rain delay Tuesday night that was almost as long as the first part of the game.  During the delay, I was able to charge my phone, watch Homer Bailey’s no-hitter in the Caesar’s Club, but reminisce about 1986, the last World Championship won by the Mets.  It wasn’t because we simply had nothing better to do; the highlight reel of that season “1986: A Year to Remember” was played during the delay.

When highlights of the epic Game Six (the “first” one) came across, the video showed fans all over the naked city watching the game by any means possible.  If that meant they had to brown bag beers outside of an already full bar, so be it.  They watched (and did The Wave) outside of appliance stores that showed the game on the display TVs.  Strangers were high-fiving strangers.  Underage drinkers were toasting cops on the street.

I was watching the game from my living room in Freehold, New Jersey.  I sat in front of that TV from the time I got home from school, to the very last bitter out.  To the point where the broadcast switched right ALCS, where the Angels were playing the Red Sox.

On the evening news, they broadcasted from a street called “Houston” (pronounced “How-STUN”), where there are still several bars.  Fans cheered so loudly, you could barely hear John Johnson report from the street.  They showed the footage of fans outside of stores, bars, cop cars or wherever they hear or see the game.

I had been to the Big Apple a few times by that point.  But as a 10 year old, I decided THAT was where I needed to be.

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New York City gets under your skin.  It did for me at least, and for the next 20-something years they closest I’d get to the city was going to Mets games.  I lived literally across the river, so I figured I was a short ride away from the action.  I worked here.  Then I had a few things come to a head in 2008.  That was when I decided it was now or never.  I’ve lived here since.

They say you can only have one great love.  I call bullshit.  Sure, I have my husband, a man I probably would not have met had it not been for our mutual Mets fandom.  The one constant I’ve had is the Mets.  And the city.

I belong to all three.

Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder: Coopie Drinks Because You Torture Her

I wasn’t always a big drinker.  In fact, I probably can’t even classify myself as one anymore, since I’m no longer in my 20s, and don’t like being hungover ever since it takes me like three days to recover from ONE bad night of drinking.

But there was a period of time that made me drink, and it correlated to a time period with being a Mets fan.  And it was during some of the best of times too, as a fan.

It is one name, though, one name in particular that makes Coopie reach for the bottle.

Or one time, actually.

And that’s Jose Lima Time.

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The game that actually Coop associates with drinking heavily is a game with positive memories, one that certainly gives the warm fuzzies.  And that’s late 2005, the Mets are pushing for what was to be an elusive wild card.  Ramon Castro hits a home run against Ugueth Urbina, sailing into the old Pepsi Porch in Shea Stadium.

I drank very heavily for two reasons.  One is that I didn’t have to work the next day.  Two is that the game was so close, and I really wanted them to win.

Yes, I convinced myself I was taking one for the team, by drinking.  Heavily.

I didn’t leave drunk, but I felt like I did something for the common good, by switching that energy.

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Turn the clock to almost a year later.  It’s 2006, and the New York Mets are enjoying a bit of a renaissance or a Metaissance.

While the Mets offense seemed to be gellin’ like Magellan, the pitching left a bit to be desired.  Besides Tom Glavine having himself a bit of a Glavinaissance (see what I did there?), the rest seemed to be chosen by the method of seeing what shit stuck to the wall.  Oh, but except for Steve Trachsel who this chick has some sort of Stockholm Syndrome associations.

Oh and did I mention Trachsel, at that point, was the longest tenured Met?

A brighter spot was John Maine, who came to the team via trade.  Then there was El Duque Hernandez, the oldest 37 year old alive.  (Seriously, the guy does not age).

In no particular order, the Mets threw the likes of Glavine, Trachsel, Maine, Duque, Brian Bannister, Alay Soler, Geremi Gonzalez, Mike Pelfrey, Dave Williams, Victor Zambrano, and Pedro Martinez into the starter role.

Did I forget someone?  I feel like I did.  After all, there were so many starters who took one for the proverbial team that season.

Oh wait, now I remember.

Jose Lima!

…….

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The date is July 7, 2006.  The Mets prove to not be fluky, and they have a strong hold in the NL East.  Yet, the pitching continually is a question mark, with some questionables being thrown into the mix.

At this point, I had attended probably the most Mets games I had in my adult life.  In fact, due to all the money I was spending on one-off games (plus my dad’s weekend plan), it was that weekend that I decided to take the plunge and take a closer look at full season tickets.

Not sure why that specific weekend.  It must have been the alcohol talking.

Jose Lima made four starts for the Mets that season, and subsequently four losses with 17 1/3 innings pitched.

On 7-7, I was in attendance.  I went directly after work, and went to my seat in Field Level.  Dontrelle Willis made the start for the then-Florida Marlins.

It’s a wonder I can even remember **that** much.  Believe you me, there’s not much I remember of that night.

In fact, when Dontrelle Willis (remember? The starting pitcher for the Marlins) hit a GRAND SLAM in the third inning…that was when the beer guy became my best friend.  When I was still talking about Lima in the seventh inning, still convinced it was HE who was out there, and not Darren Oliver (who apparently did not give up another run, which should have been my first clue that Lima was no longer in the game), I learned something.

That beer was the solution to all things bad in baseball.   It certainly made my memories of Lima more appealing.  Well, my lack of memories.  Because I had wiped it out mostly.

I kept drinking.  And drinking, and drinking, and drinking.   Oh, I ate something.  Drinking.  More drinking.  The people in the box next to us offered me some cookies.  I declined.  I kept drinking.

I remember saying something to the effect that, “Jose Lima is awful, why is he still out there?” And to which my box-mates in the field level said, “Uh, you do know he was taken out after the third?”  I was not convinced.

Ah, the beauty of alcohol.

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But with my drinking game that goes along with baseball, I can’t do it as much as I used to.  I guess my liver is starting to balk.  But that night Lima made that start was the be-all end-all of all drinking nights at baseball games.  I still think it’s funny that it took me till the seventh inning to realize he was no longer in the game.

The last time I threatened to up my drinking was in 2007, probably after a particularly bad game (take your pick).  I lamented the fact that when I drove to Miller Park, I couldn’t drink at a stadium named after a beer, because I drove.  Now, I can barely remember the last time I got hammered at a game.

But for awhile my drinking problem was centered around the Mets.  It was fun.  It was social.  But now I just mostly have a social drink or two at each game.  And mostly not even beer, now that they have mixed drinks available.

But I was definitely doing my part to keep alcohol companies in business during the Mets’ hey days.

Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder: Don’t Let It Fall On Me

“When Black Friday comes/
I’ll collect everything I’m owed/
And before my friends find out/
I’ll be on the road” – Steely Dan, “Black Friday”

Traditionally, the Mets have always overvalued their own prospects, to the extent that they’d cling to those that had value until they no longer had any.  Or had a higher trade value as a younger prospect, then rush them so that they couldn’t develop properly.  Yeah, that seemed to be the Mets’ MO until recently.

What happens when you don’t value your prospects?

You get Black Friday 2004.

In an odd circle of events, it was the events of Black Friday 2004 that set me into the path of blogging.  When I heard about Scott Kazmir being traded, and fan favorite Ty Wigginton being turned around for Kris Benson (which I wasn’t too bent about at the time), I needed an outlet.  It was frustrating being a Mets fan at that time.  They were boring and terrible to watch, behind their boring and terrible manager Grandpa Art, and a team that couldn’t get its act together.  Remember when Jose Reyes was always hurt and David Wright was a baby?  This was then.  There was stuff to look forward to, but the team itself then was blah.

Black Friday, in and of itself, was a special Mets event.  We still talk about it and cringe.  But it’s more than just how it set the Mets back (and it did, which I will explain, even though within two years they made the postseason and were oh-so-close in 2007 and 2008).  It’s how they destroyed the career of Kazmir before it event started.

The shorthand of it was because of the backlash of Black Friday — how John Franco and Al Leiter were in the ear of Jeff Wilpon, who had more of a hands-on approach to day-to-day operations with the team, and claimed that Kazmir’s music tastes weren’t appropriate and he was out of line (by changing the channel in the weight room) — this led to the rehiring of Omar Minaya, who then in turn cut ties with Franco and Leiter (the right move at the time).  Then he signed Pedro Martinez (and FUCK Pedro Martinez), and signed Carlos Beltran to a long-term deal which was riddled with injuries and blocked the development and career of Lastings Milledge.  Then there was the line about fixing a pitcher in ten minutes, uttered by pitching coach extraordinaire Rick Peterson.

Yes, Scott Kazmir and his trade for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato was the snowball effect of all post-traumatic Mets disorder for this fan.

I remember one fan blogger (no longer in existence or just hard to find) said that Black Friday was this generation’s Midnight Massacre.  Now, I’m not going so far as to say the trade of a highly rated pitching prospect for crap is like trading away the Franchise Tom Seaver.  But the betrayal behind, and though process, were indeed the same.  Save David Wright, we haven’t had that type of move with a “Franchise Player” unless you count Jose Reyes, which was purely business.

But it’s more than just the betrayal of the fan base.  It was the betrayal of Scott Kazmir himself.  Trading him to the Tampa Bay Rays (then Devil Rays) was probably the worst thing for his career and in effect, it’s ruined him.

One of the grumblings behind the trade was that Kazmir was an injury risk.  And looking at how he’s performed since the trade would lead us to believe it would have been more of the same had he stayed with the Mets.  I don’t think that’s necessarily true, and there’s more than meets the eye with this one.

Kazmir was only 19 years old and had only been in the minors for barely two years at that point.  One of my biggest gripes with the Mets historically is how they’ll rush prospects in the name of appeasing the fans.  The Rays had orchestrated a heist of the top pitching prospect for two pieces of donkey dung.  They were also on the cusp of changing their culture, one that had been a losing one up to just about a few years ago.  They needed to have something there to show their 15 fans they were serious about the future.  They did that by having Kazmir pitch for the rest of the 2004 season.

He probably pitched over his head, and then hurt himself.  He has not pitched since 2011.  And even then he only pitched 1 2/3 innings with the Angels of Anaheim, Planet Earth.

If the Mets rushed him, he’d have had the same thing that happened to him with Tampa and with the Angels.  Yet, if he hadn’t been traded, who knows, he may have had time to mature and been the highly touted pitcher he was supposed to be.

Perhaps there wouldn’t have been a need to sign Pedro for four years.  Kazmir would have been that pitcher.  With Kazmir, there wouldn’t have been a need for Duaner Sanchez and then for Oliver Perez.  Perhaps there wouldn’t have been a need to lean on El Duque in 2006. Kazmir could have gotten those important starts down the stretch in 2007 as he honed his craft.  There wouldn’t have been a mad scramble to replace Pedro Martinez or anyone else who got hurt in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Inadvertently, the trade of Scott Kazmir led to a downward spiral that the Mets still haven’t quite gotten out of.  Even with prospects like Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler in the Mets system and the excitement around them, we always wonder when the shoe is going to drop…whether they will step on the sensitive toes of a veteran, whether they will thrive in New York, whether they will be rushed or injury prone or whatever.

It’s taken nearly 10 friggin years to get out of that.  All because of Black Friday.  If I knew Black Friday were coming back then, I would have asked for it not to fall on me either.

But it did.  Yet for the first time in a long time, things are looking up for the Mets.  However, if Scott Kazmir had been given a chance to grow and thrive with the Mets, maybe the faux dynasty of David Wright and Jose Reyes would have been solidified with Kazmir heading up the rotation.  Of course we’ll never know.  But that won’t stop me from having post-traumatic Mets disorder associated with Black Friday for years to come.

Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder: Strongly Vaginal

“I bet you’re worried. I was worried. That’s why I began this piece. I was worried about vaginas. I was worried about what we think about vaginas, and even more worried that we don’t think about them.” — Vagina Monologues

They never played on the same team.  But in their time, played for two of the same teams (Kansas City and the Mets, natch).  They played on division winners that didn’t win a World Championship.  They were both outfielders, but one played left field, the other center field.  They were later appreciated by their fan base, yet while playing some fans simply couldn’t relate to them because of what was perceived as a disassociated personality.

Two players I associate together and compare probably more than two players in Mets history, yet they never played a game together.

And those two players are Kevin McReynolds and Carlos Beltran.

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“The dunk contest is as exciting as Kevin McReynolds reading the vagina monologues.” – Dave Singer, concerned Mets fan

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Less than two months after the Mets won the World Series in 1986, Frank Cashen declared himself over Kevin Mitchell, and decided to spice things up…by trading one of the most colorful and stand-out characters on the team (on a team of characters, that in and of itself is a feat) for the “new guy.” There really was no other way to describe to McReynolds or “Big Mac” as we fans liked to call him.  Kevin Mitchell was a fan favorite, a guy who would play whatever position you put him at, a spark plug, the guy who famously went up to bat in the biggest comeback inning in baseball history without wearing a cup.

Kevin McReynolds?  Whatever.

On a team of bad boys, grizzled vets like Kid and Mex but young guys like HoJo, Straw and Doc, Kevin McReynolds’ personality didn’t really mesh with the rest of the team.  These guys would have taken a bullet for one another.  If they were playing the Cards, they’d go out with a limb hanging off before scratching themselves from a lineup.  Kevin McReynolds, famously, started getting dressed during a comeback inning in 1989, and Davey Johnson had to fine him for not being ready when they needed him.

Some of McReynolds’ time was bittersweet.  I remember him being incredibly clutch, winning an extra inning game in 1987 with a timely single.

He had such a great season in 1988 that he was in the top running for NL MVP.  Since his team was so solid, his votes were actually cancelled out with another teammate, Darryl Strawberry.

That same 1988 team were SO close to going to the World Series for the second time in three seasons.  McReynolds was second highest in team batting average (the team was led by, of course, the player who cancelled out his regular season MVP votes too), and I’m convinced had the Mets won the series, he’d had been NLCS MVP.

Though the team lost, and it was most certainly a team effort (or lack thereof) that had them fall short, McReynolds was made the scapegoat.  See, he made a comment about whether the Mets win or lose, he wins.  If they win, he gets to play in the World Series.  If they lose, he gets to go home and hunt.  So it’s a win-win.

Whether he was making a “funny,” as they say (and trust me…this guy doesn’t do funny), or whether he truly liked hunting as much as playing baseball, he gets paid for playing baseball…in a very passionate baseball city.

That was 1988′s version of “disappointed, not devastated.”

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“The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.” – Maude Lebowski, The Big Lebowski

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I wrote last week about Pedro Martinez and how his signing actually set the Mets BACK several years, instead of helping them.  He certainly put a drain on resources and a drain on the team.  Yet, some Mets aficionados would argue that with no Pedro signing, a Carlos Beltran signing would have NEVER happened.

Call me crazy, I believe that Beltran would have gone where the money was.  And the Mets were certainly offering a lot of money, and most of all, the most in YEARS.

He had a lackluster first year in Queens, but then the whole “New York adjustment” excuse was used.  Meanwhile, that “adjustment year” bullshit doesn’t fly in the Bronx.  I mean, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia managed to win a goddamn ring in their “adjustment” year.  Beltran would have been MVP had he gone to the Bronx.

I digress.  But while he didn’t have the best year, he managed to make a web gem by smashing faces with Mike Cameron while diving for fly ball guided towards the outfield.  He played with a broken face basically.  But I still shrugged.  Someone told me Beltran had the opportunity to be the best player in baseball in a few years.  The Mets were lucky to have him.

^Shrug^ Whatever.

This led to 2006, and an unexpectedly fun season.  I remember sitting at Opening Day with Uncle Gene and Dad, and I remember when Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran didn’t have such a great game, and they said, “Two of the best hitters in baseball, and we want to cut them the first day of the season.”

When Beltran hit a home run a few days later, and Mets fans begged him for a curtain call in the second game of the season, Julio Franco coerced him to acknowledge fans.

When asked about it post-game, Beltran had this to say:

“Put it this way: I’m a friend not only when you’re doing well, I’m a friend when you’re not doing so well,” Beltran said.

I’ll be the first to admit, Beltran rubbed me the wrong way.  I didn’t think he played hard enough.  That when he struggled, he blamed phantom injuries that no one on the team’s brass seemed to be aware of.  He guesstimated to be about “85%.”  And I mean, aren’t baseball guys supposed to be TOUGH?  “I’m your friend.”  What kind of mushy-ass bullshit is that???

Despite my personal feelings about Beltran, it was a team effort that got them to win 97 games and the division in 2006.  I guess I’m the sort of rational fan who never held Aaron Heilman responsible for the Yadier Molina home run nor was the loss squarely on Beltran’s shoulders for taking strike three looking.  I mean, if he swung, would we have felt better about it?  Of course not.  I like to think I’m the rational fan who realized that the game was lost because Jose Valentin sucked and was lightning in a bottle that season.

Yet, I was loathe to come around on Beltran for reasons other than the curveball.  I thought he was a pussy, basically.  He always bitched about his legs.  There’s that whole “playing hard” image that comes to mind.  While I don’t think he particularly “loafed,” I felt like he begged out of critical games because he wasn’t “100%.”  Looking back, it wasn’t just him, some baseball players just feel like they can’t contribute.  However, it rubbed me the wrong way when he did it.  For one, he’d sit for one or two games at a time, and refuse to go on the DL.  While I understand that 15 days is a little different than one or two games.  But one game is fine, for a day of rest.  As Lou Brown said, even tough guys get sprains.  But two to three games?  Go on the goddamn DL.

I was pretty hard on him.  I got truly annoyed in 2007, when one or two games would have made a world of difference in Mets history, and he planned on sitting for about five games.  If my memory serves, he did eventually go on the DL.  Too little, too late, in my opinion.

The narrative goes, the Mets lose the division by one game in 2007, and narrowly miss making a Wild Card position in 2008.

I saw something different in Carlos Beltran in 2008.

Prior to that season (and most importantly the end), I never had a problem with the numbers Beltran put up.  He won Gold Gloves for his defense, and his play was almost flawless.  It was what I perceived to be a flippant attitude.  It reminded me of Kevin McReynolds.  He treated the game (a game we fans have a passion and heart for) like a jay-oh-bee.  Alex Rodriguez is one of the most despised players in any sports, and that’s what he does.  Takes a talent he was born with and has a 24+1 mentality.

I realized that Beltran was a product of his time.  But something else:  the last game of 2008, I saw something different.  He hit a home run in the last game at Shea Stadium, and tied the game.  I screamed at my dad, “WE WILL NOT LOSE THIS GAME!!! WE WILL NOT LOSE THIS GAME!!!”

Uh.  Yeah.  About that…

But if the Mets lost that game (and they did), it was despite Beltran.  He did his best to put his team in a position to win.

Then I grew to love him, and probably became the biggest Beltran apologist outside of…well..my husband.  (who is a HUGE Beltran fan).

But like his effort I perceived in 2007, my love was too little too late.  I was too angry to appreciate his early years with the Mets.  And when the Mets moved to CitiField, I called Carlos Beltran a “Key To the Season” in my old blog, My Summer Family.

Carlos Beltran

I rarely picked “top” players in this series.  But Beltran made the cut especially.

Why?

Because I thought, finally, he had something to prove.  He was now a leader with his bat, and a leader on the team.  If 2008 never happened, then 2007 was the anomaly.  But 2007 and 2008 both happened.  It was on his watch.  It was payback.  I even projected him to be MVP of that season.

And MVP numbers put up, he did.  Until he got injured.  And was out the entire season.  Oh and the first half of 2010.

I don’t have post-traumatic Mets with Beltran, it’s more like Stockholm SyndroMets.  I despised him when he was healthy and playing, but when he got hurt, I defended him to the teeth.   When he returned, and the Mets had a shitty West Coast road trip in conjunction with his return, it was easy to #BlameBeltran with that underperformance.

Like 2006, it was a team effort.

See this picture?  I met Beltran at an event in the 2010 offseason.  Our friend, Kelly, is a HUGE Beltran fan who lives in Oklahoma.  We were planning on seeing her and him play in 2011 at the Ballpark at Arlington.  It was also one of the last stands I saw Beltran play in a Mets uniform.

I didn’t appreciate it at the time.  Mainly because I thought there was a good chance he’d be traded…but that I’d see him play again at CitiField.  It was odd timing, but I didn’t get to see him.

I had a tumultuous relationship with Beltran as a Met.  And I was so sad to see him go.  A big change from how I felt about him in 2006 – 2008.

Like many big trades or huge free agent signings, there is usually a dark side to them.  Like Robin Ventura is considered one of the best free agent signings; meanwhile, he gave the Mets only ONE good year.

Carlos Beltran had a back-loaded contract and could not be offered arbitration due to terms of his contract.  So they didn’t get value for him while he played, and they wouldn’t get a sandwich pick in the draft when he walked, which we all knew he would.  Beltran didn’t take to New York, and many fans didn’t take to him either.  But like Beltran’s time, I didn’t appreciate him until it was much too late.

And Beltran turned things around that season to the extent that the Mets were able to turn him into Zack Wheeler, who is projected to be a front line starter of the future.

Funny.  Like Beltran in 2011, many fans are hoping that Johan Santana gets off to a roaring start so that he can be traded prior to his contract ending.

But that’s another story for another time.

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Perhaps if the Mets had won either of those championship series that McReynolds or Beltran played, we wouldn’t even have these discussions.  Maybe Randy Myers would have won NLCS MVP since Strawberry and McReynolds both had a fantastic series.  Perhaps Beltran would have endeared himself to Mets fans had the Mets won, since Wainwright’s curve wouldn’t mean anything.

I see many similarities between McReynolds’ and Beltran’s time with the Mets.  They played on teams that overpromised but severely underdelivered.  They were very quiet underassuming men, and their perceived indifference rubbed some Mets fans the wrong way.  They played hard and flawlessly, yet it looked like they took it easy BECAUSE the game came so easy for them.  They both became scapegoats for team wrongdoings.   They got paid boatloads of money for doing an activity and entertaining crowds of tens of thousands.  But treated the role like it is: a job.

I can be very mean while writing about the Mets.  I can be very mean about certain players.  Loathing Beltran at first was something that came easily to me, and with the advent of social media, I was able to project that.  If only blogging existed when Kevin McReynolds played, perhaps I would have also made him part of the Big Pussy Posse.

Their strongly vaginal and sublime way of play allow me to comingle Kevin McReynolds and Carlos Beltran.  Two very underappreciated Mets players, two players that we don’t realize their value till much later.  But two players who, for better or worse, treat baseball as a job.  I think that’s something that fans need to understand to move on to future baseball generations.

Still doesn’t make it less sad.  Or less trauma-inducing.

Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder: Fuck Pedro Martinez

I went to Port St. Lucie for spring training for the first time in 2008.  It was a different point of view, to say the very least, from a fan who watched her games solely from the sightlines at Shea Stadium (or wherever I happened to catch the Mets on the road), where players seems very inaccessible, and they have a job to do.

At PSL, players seemed more accessible, willing even to commiserate with fans.  I got many autographs, photos and even got Moises Alou to acknowledge me when I started chanting his name.

I attended open workouts one morning, and saw the players bonding in their morning drills.

During the offseason leading into 2008, the Mets had a lot of work to do.  From 2006 and going within one game of making the World Series to an epic collapse late in the 2007 season, they had some work to do.  Omar Minaya orchestrated a trade for Johan Santana, who was arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball.  Trading away a bunch of scrubs who haven’t really amounted to much to Minnesota, and negotiating an extension with El Gocho, easily the Mets became a force in 2008.

Yet what led to the Mets dominance in 2006 was the offseason in 2005.  Forget signing Carlos Beltran (who has contributed to some of my post-traumatic Mets disorder in more ways than one…and I loved the guy).  Some would argue that the Mets signing Pedro Martinez, fresh off his championship with the Boston Red Sox, was the catalyst that allowed the Mets to pursue Beltran, easily the crown jewel of that market of free agents.

When that signing went down, I was like – huh?  I do remember emailing Dad and Uncle Gene about the deal.  See, we had an inside joke with Pedro Martinez, from the 2003 ALCS, the mythical series where Aaron Boone broke the heart of millions of Bostonites.

During that series, a brawl broke out between the two teams, and Pedro Martinez threw Yankee coach Don Zimmer to the ground as Zimmer charged Martinez.  Some people would argue that Pedro was a “thug,” that it was cheap that he threw down an old man.

Dad and Uncle Gene had a different perspective.  I believe the terms “Fuck that fat fuck, Don Zimmer!” and “If I was Pedro Martinez, I’d have thrown Don Zimmer on the ground too” or my personal favorite “I’d not only have thrown him down, I’d have kicked Zimmer in the nuts, and done a victory lap around Fenway, on national TV, in front of all of America.”

To say they were excited about the prospect of Martinez being a starter on the Mets would be a massive understatement.

I was like – Meh.  I guess, as Omar Minaya put it, Martinez was certainly better than the other options on the team, which was re-signing Al Leiter.  Once the deal with Martinez went through, it was evident that Leiter had no use on the Mets either.  In fact, while Leiter was one of my faves on the late-90s teams, he had outgrown his usefulness.  Watching games with him starting was almost as bad as Steve Trachsel.  At least you knew Trachsel would take long, but he’d give you innings.  Five Innings Leiter was no longer useful.

Some people point to 2006 for the Mets as that one special year, and I have to admit that as a Mets fan, it was one of the most fun years in recent memory.  I think what was most fun was that it wasn’t expected.  That said, 2006 has provided more post-traumatic Mets disorder, when I think about it, either relating directly to that year or post-2006.

But 2005, that was a FUN year.  The race for the Wild Card, the emergence of David Wright and Jose Reyes as the future of the team.  I found myself going to more Mets games in recent memory.

Mostly, what stood was every fifth day, when Pedro Martinez started.  The very first night he pitched, the Mets famously had 10,000 walk up sales at the ticket booth.  You never knew what to expect with Martinez.  Whether he danced in the dugout, or got sprinkled from the sprinkler systems during a game, it was also entertainment in the highest form.

It’s tough.  When I think about Pedro Martinez and his time with the Mets, I can’t help but think about how much he fell short of expectations.  I don’t give a shit about how old he was, whether Omar Minaya had to offer that fourth year, whether his arm fell off.

The truth of the matter is, we’d be looking at a totally different Mets history in that time had Pedro Martinez been healthy.  Maybe they would have won definitively in 2006.  Maybe they had more consistent starting pitching in 2007, and didn’t rely on getting lightning in a bottle as they had in 2006 (a strategy that ultimately worked with the likes of Jose Valentin), and they would have not collapsed they way they did.

But 2008 is when I really started to dislike Pedro Martinez.

He did not prove useful in 2006.  It was too little too late in 2007 when he finally returned in September that year.  Like many, I felt that his injuries were limitations, that it was just the luck of the draw, etc etc.

When I was visiting Port St. Lucie, I saw Pedro Martinez waltz into camp like he had all the time in the world.  I saw his futzing around, being his usual Pedro-self, the one that made the headlines and had entertained millions.

I got pissed off, watching this as a fan.  The Mets just came off a historic collapse, after going so far in 2006, and he was injured both times.  I could even point back to 2005, when the Mets were in the Wild Card hunt, when I started to notice there was nothing in it for Pedro.  Late in 2005, the Mets had a series against the Phillies, and Ramon Castro hit a late game home run to take the lead.  Pedro started the next day.  Yet, the Pedro who was around that season didn’t show up, and got shellacked.

When it was evident that the Mets weren’t making the playoffs, Pedro Martinez shut himself down.  Not the Mets.  Not the coaching staff.  Not his agent.  But HIMSELF.  He was scheduled to start the last game of the season, and he didn’t even stay with his team.  He was back at home, watching the game on television, as we saw Mike Piazza’s last game ever as a Met, and Victor Zambrano make the last home start.

Talk about your post-traumatic Mets disorder.

Most of this disgust came about though, when Pedro made his first start in 2008 against the Florida Marlins.  See, Johan Santana made the opening day start on the road…euphoria led to Pedro.  Who barely made it out of the game with his shoulder intact.

I saw Pedro for who he was: a clown with a great pitching career previously, but with an entertainment quotient.  He didn’t care whether the Mets were successful.  He called the shots, the Mets allowed him to, and again he didn’t factor into another Mets season where one game would have made a huge difference.

Some people accused me of expecting too much.  But what was the point of signing Pedro Martinez to a four year contract if they didn’t expect him to contribute on some level.  And don’t give me that crap that it was ALL worth it for 2005.  No.  It would have been worth 2005 HAD he come through when they needed him to during the Wild Card hunt.

To me, Pedro Martinez was yet another Hall of Fame caliber player who lost his mojo by coming to Queens.  Pedro Martinez was the king of too little, too late.

The truth is, Pedro Martinez never came through when his team needed him most.

Whether it’s an injury cop out, or whether we’re told that we expected too much from Pedro because of his age or his injury history.  Had I never seen Pedro Martinez jerking around during his workout sessions in a year that his conditioning got him into trouble early in the season, maybe I’d be none the wiser, and I’d always just wonder what would have happened if Pedro stayed healthy.

It could be argued that Pedro Martinez didn’t take his time with the Mets seriously.  And if that happened, we may be looking at an entirely different history.

Disappointment in Pedro Martinez’s time with the Mets is just part of the post-traumatic Mets disorder.  His time overlapped some of the most inefficient and post-traumatic Mets disorder inducing period.  To me, he could have helped the team.  Instead, he just copped out of his responsibilities, and didn’t believe he needed to improve anything.

So fuck Pedro Martinez.

Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder: A Brave In Mets Clothing

Early this week, the Mets announced that they had signed outfielders Corey Patterson and Mike Wilson to a minor league deal.  I kind of brushed it off.  I knew I had a weird connection to Corey Patterson, but I think it’s because I used to work with a man with the same name.

Maybe my post-traumatic Mets disorder blocked it out, because it turns out I should have had a vivid memory of Patterson…namely of him killing the Mets on Opening Day of 2003.

Lest I forget, Metstradamus certainly took time to remind us all about the trigger.

I also remember that that 3/31/03 game was the only major league game I ever left in the sixth inning. Why? Because the Cubs were winning 105-2, it was -49 degrees, and most importantly, there were three assholes in front of us that made the same dopey Mike Piazza/Sam Champion joke at the top of their lungs for three freaking innings. Leaving Shea Stadium was the only way to avoid a Metstradamus murder charge, because these three idiots deserved to die … and probably still do…So screw you, you asshole frat boys. And by association, screw you Corey Patterson … because you indirectly caused this with your seven RBI’s and your two home runs….

And screw you Tom Glavine. You know why.

~ Metstradamus, Oh I Remember

So there it goes.  I had two ideas in the queue for this week’s PTMD post.  Yet, it’s only appropriate that I talk about Tom Glavine’s less-than-distinguished time with the New York Mets, which ended in 2007 much like the way it started that -49 degree day back in March of 2003: getting shellacked at Shea Stadium.

Yes, T#m Gl@v!ne (as Greg from Faith and Fear calls him) came around full circle with the Mets.  Just shows how unfortunate the once great Atlanta Brave turned into such shit for the Mets.  From Opening Day 2003, to Questec, to turning it around, to 2006, to #300, to September 30, 2007, there is nothing but post-traumatic Mets disorder with Glavine.

Yet, at the same time, he pretty much represented our hopes and fears, being Mets fans.

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I, too, was at that game on March 31, 2003.  I had a coworker who was also a Mets fan.  When the signing went down, he dropped the newspaper on my desk, thinking I’d be thrilled.  I shrugged at the news.  He asked why I wasn’t happy, this was a guy who always kicked our ass, blah blah.  Meanwhile, I was pissed off that Edgardo Alfonzo was no longer a Met after that offseason, clearly one of my all-time faves.  Glavine, I could take or leave.

I must have felt something was amiss.  When has consorting with an enemy EVER worked out for the Mets?  (See: Coleman, Vince)

There were times of course that Glavine came close to growing on us.   Like the time he pitched that one-hitter.  That was truly special.  Otherwise, it was pretty much an un-noteworthy first two years with the Mets.  Remember when he tried to blame Questec on his problems?  See, smart pitchers who gave a shit would have learned to adjust.  All we heard from Glavine was boo hoo, I want to go back to Atlanta.  Maybe he didn’t explicitly say that, but we ALL know he thought it.

Come 2005, the Mets had changed managers, management and ultimately got a new ace on the staff, Pedro Martinez.  Well, I use the word “ace” loosely.  (Don’t worry, Petey will have his moment of PTMD).  Anyway, it took Martinez to point out that it looked as though Glavine was tipping his pitches.  Derp, derp, that would have been almost too easy to identify, right?

But 2005 was not just a renaissance for the Mets, with the emergence of Jose Reyes and David Wright, and the addition of Carlos Beltran, it was also a rebirth for Glavine.  After this discovery, we had a flashes of brilliance once again of the old Glavine, part of the big three in Atlanta.

I predicted he would win 20 games in 2006.  I was close…sort of.  He did win 15.  At the beginning of the season, I thought the Mets would be lucky to win a Wild Card.  They proved me wrong, by winning the division and getting within a game of going to the World Series.

Retroactively, I was disappointed.  For a team that was clearly in win-now mode, this was their chance.  Yet, when Carlos Beltran took strike three looking, that actually hasn’t served as a source of post-traumatic Mets disorder for me.

What happened in 2007, yeah, that’s done quite a bit.

Tom Glavine, believe it or not, was a bright spot as he won his 300th game with the Mets, during the same Chicago trip that I saw them (though I didn’t see that particular game).  At the time, I remember seeing it as a reward, for our own Tom (Seaver) who won his 300th game with the Chicago White Sox, when he clearly should have done that with the Mets.

Since 2005, Glavine had spent a lot of time building some goodwill with Mets fans.  It seemed as though he should have been there, should the Mets go into the postseason, he would have been a big part of it.

And you know, as much as the last game of 2007 hurt, as much as I wanted to hate Tom Glavine for blowing it…the team had plenty of opportunities to win one, just ONE MORE FUCKING GAME in that month, let alone that season.  And they didn’t.

Tom Glavine was, fairly or not, the whipping boy for that game.  He didn’t give them a fighting chance, the reality was, it shouldn’t have even COME to that game.

It was fucking douchebags like Carlos Delgado saying things like they become too “bored” because they were so talented.

It was Baseball Intellectually Challenged “BIC” Willie (thanks to Blondies Jake for that one) talking about champagne and sweetness and comparing every victory to the Yankees.

It was Tom Glavine saying something about disappointment and devastation and shrugging off September 30, 2007, as just a routine loss.

Yeah, it was fucking Tom Glavine.  His signing represented a change for the better, then grew with the Mets as they changed philosophies, then represented the denouement of the good time Mets.

As Greg Prince once upon a time said, “Fucking Brave can go fuck himself straight back to Fucklanta.”

Tom Glavine spent his time with the Braves beating on the Mets, not much different from his time on the Mets, allowing the Braves to not only beat on them, but allowing the likes of the Marlins to beat them in such horrific fashion.  Who gives a shit that one game here or there in 2007 would have made a difference, that September 30, 2007, wouldn’t have even fucking mattered.

As soon as the season ended, he went right back to the arms of Atlanta.  Though their fans hated him more than they loved Julio Franco.  But his wife loved them, so that’s all that mattered.  (Just ask Cliff Lee about wives liking a place).

Tom Glavine ended his career the way he started it: as an Atlanta Brave.  His detour with the Mets started and ended the same way: in humiliating fashion that started out with such hope.  And launching a thousand tears of post-traumatic Mets disorder, that he’ll never be devastated or disappointed about.

Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder: I Survived Lastings Milledge

“Escobar, Ochoa, Milledge, (Fernando) Martinez.  They were all deemed ‘untouchable’ at one point or another, then they were untradeable.”  – Random fan at Mets season ticket holder event Q&A with Sandy Alderson and crew.

I know that Alex Escobar, Alex Ochoa, Lastings Milledge and Fernando Martinez were not part of Sandy Alderson’s time with the New York Mets.  Yet, a common thread emerged with each of those players.  They were either let go with little to no fanfare (F-Mart), or traded for crap or players on the downturn of their career (basically, everyone else in that list).  At one point or another, they were considered so untouchable that they were held onto for way too long, then desperate for any kind of warm body to take his place.

I really paid no mind to Ochoa or Escobar.  Ochoa, especially, was involved in some crap-for-crap trades involving the Mets and other teams, but was hardly considered an impactful player.

Two of the biggest disappointments in recent memory would have to be Milledge and F-Mart.

I have nothing by warm fuzzies with F-Mart.  I remember seeing him at Spring Training in 2008, and singing ABBA’s “Fernando” as he took his at-bat.  When he made his debut in 2009, I hadn’t been planning on attending the game, then at the last minute decided I needed to be there.  He didn’t really do anything of note that night, or any time with the Mets really.

But to give up on him at age 24 was something of which I was not a fan.  Young players, especially prospects, get hurt a lot.  They’re still conditioning.  Shit, look at Reese Havens, who was once more highly touted by prospect experts than Ike Davis (now a Mets fan favorite, and a legitimate “untouchable”…well at least in MY opinion, and you know, my blog, my rules).   And to let him go to next to nothing.  Okay, LITERALLY nothing.

I think one of the biggest travesties and mismanagement of a Mets’ prospect’s career has to be Lastings Milledge.  This guy was so highly valued by other organizations, he was the centerpiece in many armchair GM trades, including Manny Ramirez or Barry Zito.  The difference being, the Manny deal was close to going down several times over.  The Zito deal, I feel, was speculation by bored beat writers (Billy Beane said he’d never even talked to Omar Minaya).

Usually, there were extenuating circumstances as to why these trades didn’t go down.  Third party validation (including Peter Angelos of the Baltimore Orioles nixing his part of the deal, therefore, making the rest invalid) or the debate over the “half-year rental,” which is essentially what Zito would have been at the time.

Milledge was a flashy player, a throwback almost to the 1980s, with his armbands, bling and dreads, he exuded a certain attitude that was missing from the 2006 Mets (and Mets team, I feel, is now seen as incredibly overrated), an aura that could have given them an “edge.”  Which is funny…then-GM Omar Minaya said on later teams that the Mets were missing an “edge.” Or was it Steve Phillips on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball?  I dunno.  I seem to combine the two together (talk about your PTMD with those two GMs).

I digress.  I liked Milledge.  I was so excited when he was activated after Xavier Nady was sent to the hospital for appendicitis.  He hit a double in his debut, a game the Mets ended up losing, but that I was in attendance at, just to see ‘Stings play.  By this time, the advent of social media in the form of blogs had contributed to his hype.  I was excited to see him play.

A few days later, he hits a game tying home run against the San Francisco Giants’ Armando Benitez.  To add to this feat, he decided to take his position in right field by giving WWE-inspired high-fives with the fans down the field level.

I thought it was cool.  The butt-hurt Mets didn’t seem to think so.

I loved the 2006 team.  It was one of the most fun years, unexpectedly, I’ve had as a Mets fan.  A player like Milledge was a welcome distraction from the David “say and do everything” Wright and the goody two-shoes on the team.  On a team in desperate need of a bad ass or a player with some swag, Milledge’s attitude fit the bill.

Was he rushed though?  Of course he was.  He wouldn’t be a valid Mets prospect if he wasn’t rushed.  Ruined, in a sense, by the lack of depth on the Mets major league team that year, and the expectation level that he was supposed to provide.

The Curious Case of Lastings Milledge, in my opinion anyway, was one of a Catch-22 variety.  With all the hype surrounding him, he was only doomed to fail.  Yet, when he didn’t play up to expectation, the team and the fan base were quick to throw him under the bus, about how they could have gotten Manny or Zito for him during his hype.  And who knows…maybe it would have been worth it.

Whether we liked it or not, the Mets were a win-now team then.  And if that was the case, they should have cut their losses with Milledge and traded him.  Yet, we know he would have been a star someplace else, because another team might have taken the time to develop him properly.  Might have taken the time to let him be who he was.  Yet, like many Mets GMs, the prospect hype was overvalued to the point that when they had to cut ties with him, it was for scraps off the heap.

In one way, it was a good trade for me.  Brian Schneider was received in the deal, which launched a thousand hashtags (#ButterPecan, #TwoScoops).  I was never crazy about Ryan Church, but felt bad for him once the Mets exasperated a head injury by flying him cross-country.  I think it was over at Faith and Fear in Flushing, when someone said “Feed a cold, starve a fever, fly a concussion cross country.”  (I’d like to give credit to whomever wrote that, believe it was in a column).  It was the same old story, ruin a prospect, and ruin the gains received in any deal involving said prospect.

Lastings Milledge futzed around in the Major Leagues after being traded in the , and last we heard was playing in Japan, for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.  He is now 27 years old.  Sometimes, 2006 seems like a lifetime away, yet, he was just barely 21 years old.  Think back to when we were 21.  Did we make some questionable choices?  If you didn’t, I’d call you out as a liar.

Lastings Milledge’s time with the Mets doesn’t necessarily conjure up any painful memories.  Rather, it makes me a little sad.  It brings my hopes and fears, as a Mets fan, to the forefront.  It makes everyone skeptical of prospects, no matter how highly touted they are.  I mean, shit, if you look at it, Billy Beane (not the GM of the Oakland A’s, a team that was reported in the mix for Milledge when the Mets were looking for a good pitcher to shore up their rotation, like Barry Zito in his walk year) was once that highly regarded prospect who didn’t amount to much as a player.  It’s the stories like Lastings Milledge that makes every fan wonder if Travis d’Arnaud would be the next big thing, or if he’ll be the next Steve Chilcott.  You’ll just never know.

What I do know is that this front office is making it a point to develop their prospects properly, and not rush them.  This seems to be a common thread with the Mets in their history, where the prospects are not fully trusted, and thought to be a means to an end of winning now.  A vicious cycle, if you ask me.

So yes, I have some post-traumatic Mets disorder associated with Lastings Milledge and Fernando Martinez.  F-Mart to a lesser extent, though I had some warm fuzzies associated with a good memory of CitiField in its inaugural year.

But Lastings Milledge will always represent to me the dynasty that never was, the overvaluing of a player but only ruining by rushing him.  A Catch-22 indeed.

Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder: It’s ALL Mike Bordick’s Fault

I went away to school in the mid 1990s.  Since there was a baseball strike in 1994, I lost interest for a little bit, even when it returned.  But also since I was a poor college student, I didn’t have funds to go up to Queens at a moment’s notice like I would as a carefree child (oh, and that whole thing of being paid for by my parents).

It wasn’t till around 1996 that I started to go to games again, and be interested in baseball and most importantly the Mets.  I saw Fuckin’ Franco give up late inning saves.  I saw Bobby Valentine bring the Mets back to a semblance of respectability, just by showing up and bringing a new aura.  I saw the league’s best hitting catcher come via a trade in 1998.

Perhaps 1999 was the most fun I’d had as a Mets fan.  Most of it was so unexpected that I didn’t care how they got there.  They just got there.

Post-traumatic Mets disorder officially set in for me in 1988.  I’m sure Metstradamus would agree, with the name Mike Scioscia.  Tom Lasorda (whom I always loved, in a self-flagellating way), Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser…oh em gee.  Just the names make my skin crawl.

Funny though that Hershiser was a critical component in 1999 for the New York Mets.

He was not, though, in 2000.

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Mets fans had some high expectations in 2000.  They put up a good fight in 1999, and anything less than a trip to the World Series would be uncivilized.

Not to say there weren’t several holes on that team.  Take for example, the outfield.  See, it’s the leaning on the past that makes Mets fans like myself rationalize the abysmal looking outfield going into 2013.  Usually the whole “Agbayani, Payton and Perez” argument is backed up whenever we look at a future outfield of well, whatever shit the Mets decide to stick to the wall.

Another perceived black hole was the shortstop role that year.  See, Rey Ordoñez was a great defensive shortstop.  His glaring weakness was his failure to hit out of the infield most of the time.

Again, this is an argument that Mets fans generally lean on when we want to justify keeping a guy we like.  “Oh, but his DEFENSE!”  Which is BS.  That was the argument used to keeping a guy like Jeff Francoeur around, who could barely hit his weight, free swinging hitting into a double play, and couldn’t take a walk if his life depended on it.  Actually, wasn’t it he who hit into the triple play against the Phillies in 2009?  (I’m too lazy to look it up – this is not a rant against Francoeur, whom I’m sure is quite nice once you get to know him).

True to form though, once Ordoñez stopped making defensive gems in the infield, his uselessness transcended to the fanbase.  In fact, he called the Mets fans “Too stupid,” once they started to boo him.  THEN the offense is what matters.

But Ordoñez, in a way, is indirectly responsible for one of my biggest sources of post-traumatic Mets disorder.  After all, it was his season-ending injury that made the Mets make a panic move for then-Baltimore Oriole Mike Bordick.

The PTMD stands out in more than one way.  What has made me think about this source of PTMD came up in my household, recently, because my husband who is head nut over at Studious Metsimus, has been writing a series on certain Mets players that got away.  Last week’s topic was on Melvin Mora, who became not only a fan favorite but almost a cult-like hero during the late parts of the 1999 season.  Again, a team that fought tooth and nail, one of the most entertaining Mets teams I’ve had the pleasure of watching.

We had an argument while he was writing it though (an intellectual disagreement, not of the type of slamming doors, we never have fights like that).  When I started to complain that Bordick sucked, he’s the reason why I hate the “half-year rental” moves, he must have hated playing in New York so much because the second his contract was up, he high-tailed it back to Charm City, where he is now immortalized in the Orioles Hall of Fame (and so is Brady Anderson, which speaks volumes to the rich history of Baltimore…and the not-so-rich recent history).

Hubby says, “Yes, but where would Melvin Mora have been put?  David Wright was the third baseman, he would have had to move anyway.”

To say I blew a gasket would be an understatement.

“DAVID WRIGHT WAS A COMPENSATORY PICK FOR MIKE HAMPTON!!! REMEMBER HIM???? THE NLCS MVP IN 2000!!????!!! PERHAPS IF BORDICK OR ANYONE ELSE HIT OVER A BUCK-TWENTY FIVE IN THE WORLD SERIES, HAMPTON WOULD HAVE FOUND REDEEMING QUALITIES IN NEW YORK SCHOOLS TOO!!!!”

Someone needs to take her meds.

There’s an element of truth in trying not to justify regrets.  If you regret something, then maybe your life would be completely different.  Sometimes I miss living in Hoboken.  Had I not moved, however, I may not have met my husband.  I say the benefits of that move certainly outweighed the risks.

But by trading Mora, the Mets might have indeed changed their history.  Perhaps he would have taken to playing shortstop during the 2000 season.  Perhaps he would have been more of a threat at the plate than Bordick, who really DID hit .125 in the World Series.  IT WAS ALL HIS FAULT!

Okay, maybe it was the questionable pitching.  Maybe it was Timo Perez not running full-out in game one.  Yet, there was no margin of error in that series.  The difference between someone hitting .125 to, I dunno, hitting over .200 could have meant the difference in winning more games.

You just don’t know.

But most of all, in 2000, there was no David Wright in the Mets organization.  When Mike Hampton decided to go where the schools were in Colorado and signed with the Rockies prior to the 2001 season, the “sandwich pick” that year was a guy named David Allen Wright, who recently signed his long-term contract with the Mets.

Mike Hampton Poker FaceYet think about if the Mets won the World Series in 2000.  Perhaps Hampton would have stayed to win again.  (And maybe he would have cracked a smile during the celebrations then).

Perhaps there would have been no David Wright in that offseason.  Let’s say Mora wasn’t traded away.  Let’s say Mora became a fan favorite and was a leader in the Mets organization, as opposed to one in the history books with Baltimore (which, by the way, he is).

Mets history would be completely different.

But I ask you this.  Sometimes, when we talk about 2006, and the post-years of 2007 and 2008, we wonder what would have happened had the Mets gone to the World Series, had won, or even weren’t eliminated in such humiliating fashion in 2007 and 2008.

Would 2009 – 2012 (and going into 2013) be a different feeling?  Would we be more accepting of it?

Perhaps if the Mets won in 2000, and beaten the Yankees, this would all be moot.

Yet, I can’t help but think how Mike Bordick is singularly responsible for fucking up Mets history.

Am I being irrational?  Don’t answer that.  But the blowing up earlier that I had with my husband was not exaggerated.  I even did a Rafael Palmeiro point in the face while arguing.

Rey Ordoñez gets injured.  Steve Phillips trades Melvin Mora, along with several others, to Baltimore for Mike Bordick.  Mora was hitting .260 when he left Queens; Bordick was hitting .297.  Certainly seemed like a decent move on paper.  Yet, Bordick was a free agent after 2000.  Perhaps Phillips should have learned something with thinking with his dick back then, as it got him into trouble in subsequent years in his personal life.

Mora was 28 and made his debut the year prior; Bordick was 35, had 12 years under his belt.  Theoretically, Mora had his career in front of him; Bordick was in the twilight and at best, a few okay years, good but not great.

But it was true.  Mora did have his career in front of him; Bordick went wee-wee-wee all the way back to Baltimore as soon as the season wrapped up.  Yes, the Orioles weren’t exactly world beaters (2012 was the first year they made the playoffs since 1997) during Mora’s time and after Bordick returned.  Yet, don’t you see, the Mets’ history could be completely different.  Of course, it could be similar or the same, without a 2000 World Series win.  But let’s think of the alternate universe for a second.

Ordoñez gets hurt.  Mora transitions to shortstop, not without growing pains, but he overperforms, and the Mets go on to the postseason.  Perhaps Mora makes such an impression at shortstop that the Mets actually do the right thing and trade Ordoñez or better yet, when he returns, Mora makes the move back to third base.

Maybe Mike Hampton stays; maybe he goes.  I know that his career wasn’t exactly noteworthy post-Mets.  In fact, I may be cringing at the thought of him being tied to a long-term contract from which he kept trying to make some kind of triumphant return.  What we wouldn’t have known wouldn’t have hurt us, re: David Wright.  Maybe in 2004, the Mets would have had a higher draft pick (one slot higher, actually) and got Justin Verlander instead of Phil Humber.  Yes, Phil Humber got us Johan Santana, who got the Mets their first no-hitter.  According to Coop vision, however, Verlander has had two.

A stretch?  Oh, certainly, I freely admit that.  It’s fun though, to play 20/20 hindsight GM.

In the grand scheme of things though, my hatred for the time Mike Bordick spent on the Mets, albeit short, transcends rationality, history, and regret.

It’s post-traumatic Mets disorder to the nth degree.  No sense makes sense.  But the sense of it all is that I blame, directly and indirectly, the Mets not winning the 2000 World Series and their floundering in subsequent years on the Mike Bordick trade.  Perhaps he’s a nice guy.  Perhaps we can argue that it was Steve Phillips’ fault.

I prefer to blame the guy who was traded and an empty uniform on the field.