post-traumatic Mets disorder

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?

Faith (Not Fear) In Flushing

Faith and Fear

Another closing day has come and gone.  It used to be that days leading up to it were nostalgic.  Almost like a wake.  We got together to remember.  We got together to forget.  (This phenomenon is known as post-traumatic Mets disorder).  Then closing day comes and goes.  Sometimes they are happy.  Sometimes, they are sad.  More often than not, it’s a bittersweet event.

Sure, the Mets put us through a lot of shit in a season.  They’ve certainly given us a fair share of feces in the last six/seven years at least.  But we keep coming back every Opening Day.  But as Greg Prince once said, “Every poseur wants to be at Opening Day. Closing Day is a rite for the secret society of baseball fanatics.” Faith and Fear in Flushing

This Closing Day was special for Mets fans though.  It showed that on a deeper level, we all still care.  We care very deeply for the team that we’ve taken as our own, and has given us personality.  I often say, I’d be really boring if it wasn’t for being a Mets fan.  I don’t know is anything really compares.  Perhaps I had a life changing experience with football and soccer fans in Seattle (those people are CRAZY). Yet, nothing else in my life compares to being a Mets fan.  I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life.  I met my husband through Mets blogging.

Greg and Jason may say that being a fan in Flushing can give you both faith and fear.  It’s a delicate balance for sure with us.  I suppose this is the root of all post-traumatic Mets disorder.  We “gotta believe,” but it’s “always the Mets.”  Faith.  Fear.

What’s more is that it wouldn’t be a true closing day if I didn’t see my blogging mentor/friend/cat parent.  It also wouldn’t be a true closing day, where we celebrated Mets great Mike Piazza, if I wasn’t wearing my Faith and Fear shirt.

I had bought two in 2006, when I was in a relationship.  I got his in a bad breakup, and I have two FAFIF shirts, that showcase retired numbers in Mets fandom.  By the hardcore Faith and Fearless, these shirts have showed up in several countries, and around the U.S.  I wore mine to Texas when we ambushed Howie Rose in the radio booth.  I wore it on the day I met Greg Prince in 2007, which was a total accident.  (We ran into each other a lot that week.  Sure you can search his archives for that).

There is one number conspicuously missing from the four.  We have 37 14 41 42.

Sunday should have seen 31.  My shirt should have been outdated.  But I wore it to make a statement, that the number should be retired pre-emptively.  I honored the present with my Niese 49 jersey.  I wore numbers that are retired with the hope that another number will be with it soon.

Fans still cared.  It turns out Mike Piazza still cares.  He came.  He spoke.  He still is a rock n’ roll bad ass, something I realize has been sorely missing since his departure in 2005.

Here’s the thing with post-traumatic Mets disorder.  Or the Faith and Fear disorder that effects us all.  There is a great amount of self-loathing involved.  We get a hard-working player and hitter like Daniel Murphy, in the vein of fan favorite Edgardo Alfonzo, and vocal minority wants him gone.  Travis d’Arnaud has a lackluster beginning, and people are already clamoring to trade him.

Guys, guys.  And gals.  It’s okay.  We DESERVE good players. We DESERVE guys like Wheeler, Harvey, Murphy, d’Arnaud, den Dekker.  Even Wright.  Self-loathing is not productive.

It also does not allow us to appreciate what we do have when it’s right in front of us.

Like Mike Piazza.

I freely admit that I did not fully appreciate him while he was on the team.  Only after he was gone, did I miss him.

And this is totally my loss.  Today, you will not see a bigger defender of Mike Piazza than me.  He should not only be in Cooperstown, he should be in there as a Met.  He shouldn’t just have his plaque in the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum, he needs to have his number on the wall in left field and a section of the park named after him (I vote “The Piazza” in the upper deck promenade food court, behind home plate, a nod to his monster home runs, and his position).

I’m through with the self-loathing part of being a fan.  Yes, it makes me funny, and I do love curse words.  But let me reserve the bulk of those for Cody Ross, Shane Victorino and hockey players, like Ovechkin and Crosby.  (Also for the New York Rangers.  Those assholes deserve all my angst).

And I implore you all to do the same.  It’s okay to want and have nice things.  See, Travis d’Arnaud might not be a hitter like Mike Piazza.  But where Piazza lacked as a defensive catcher, we can appreciate in d’Arnaud.  There was a play over the weekend where d’Arnaud’s position disallowed a run to score.  Sure, Juan Lagares’ arm helped (at least, I think he was the one with the assist).  Travis d’Arnaud knew instinctively where to block the runner.

So Sunday was hopeful.  I was relieved to see the season end.  With all the extra innings, the delays, even all the nine inning games that took FOREVAR to finish…I think it took a toll on me, as a spectator.  I can only imagine what it did to the players.  As Lou Brown once said, even tough guys get sprains.  Saturday’s game was one that did me in.

I’m so angry I’m ready to cut off Cody Ross’ dick and shove it up all the Mets’ asses

— The Coop (@Coopz22) September 28, 2013

That was the loathing part.  By Sunday, all was forgotten.  I got to see family.  I got to see friends.  Everyone came to send the team off.

As my husband said, this is what it would look like when the Mets are good.

Full lot  Full house vantage point

A full parking lot.  A full house.  It was like the ghosts of Shea were brought to us all over again.

The Mets sent the Shea Faithful vibe home with a win.  The self-loathing part of me would say, a win on closing day in 2007 or 2008 would have or could have changed the trajectory of this team dramatically.

But then, we wouldn’t have the faith and the hope that 2014 and beyond will provide better times to come.

I was happy to recharge my batteries which are resembling my broke-ass iPhone these days (cannot hold a charge to save its life) with 2013 ending.  I was happy for the pregame ceremony, I was happy for the win.  I was happy to see it end…until, of course, it was over.

I said goodbye to some friends.  We joked around about the offseason, and how we are boring, but we all wait.  We wait.  We stare out the window, and we wait for spring.

For the first time in a long time, Greg and Jason, I have faith.  I have no fears, but faith in the team for 2014.  I was happy to see 2013 end, but like many on closing day, it’s not without some kind of regret or bittersweet feeling.  I feel like we’re finally being honored for our unwavering faith to this team.  And the best is yet to come.

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: 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: We Remember

tom_lasordaDid you know that all-time great Dodger manager Tom Lasorda is, like, BFFs with Mike Piazza’s dad, and serves as godfather to one of Piazza’s brothers? True story.

When Piazza broke the catching home run record in 2004, Lasorda came to Shea Stadium to say a few words for his BFF’s son, on a night the Mets honored him.

When Lasorda wobbled his way (he didn’t walk) to the podium, I clapped.  I mean, he’s not a former Met or even a manager for the team, but show some respect for the guy.

Not to Uncle Gene.  He bellows a big BOOOOO and yells in cupped hands, “WE REMEMBER EIGHTY-EIGHT!!”

I probably cringed.  But 1988 was the first known chain of events that led to my chronic post-traumatic Mets disorder.

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The year was 1988.  I was in my fifth year of being a Mets fan.  I first started to pay attention to baseball in 1983, when my dad couldn’t stop talking about some guy named Keith.  In 1984, I had attended my first three games.  In 1985, I felt like I went to Shea every Sunday game.

By 1986, I had punched my Mets loyalist card, by attending game seven of the 1986 World Series.

In 1987, the Mets had become a form of escapism.  I had talked about that year in a previous series, when I realized that the end was nigh for my parents as a couple.

If 1987 was the test for me learning that the Mets wouldn’t win the World Series (or even win the division) every year, 1988 renewed my faith in being a Mets fan.  They were not just good, they were dominant.  Again.  So dominant that Darryl Strawberry and Kevin McReynolds canceled votes from each other in the MVP voting that year.  A budding young pitcher by the name of David Cone won 20 games.

Their opponent in the NLCS that year was the Los Angeles Dodgers.  A Dodger team, I’d like to add, they beat 10 out of 11 times that year.

This was the first playoff series that I remember watching mostly with my dad.  I do have some warm fuzzies associated with it, mostly, namely when my hero Bart Giamatti tossed Jay Howell out of Game Three for his tar-ball.

There was no doubt in my mind that the Mets would win the series and go onto the World Series again.

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I often wonder what it would have been like had the Mets won that series and went to the World Series.  I wonder if they would have dropped to the Oakland A’s, like they did in 1973, or would they be a two-time champion in the 1980s?

Alas, that would have meant a series win in the NLCS.  Just one more win in the series would have made the difference.

And to that I say, FUCK MIKE SCIOSCIA.

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I begged my dad to take me to Game Four.  I truly believed they would win the National League Championship in Game Five.  But I wanted to be there for a playoff game.  We went, with just one ticket.  Not sure what we would have done had I not been able to get in.  But I did.  It was, of course, the ’80s.

Who knew that a home run would be not just a game changer, but a series changer?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Davey Johnson’s Mets management legacy, is that he was a very emotional manager.  He was emotionally attached to his “guys.”  Guys like Doc and Darryl, Keith and Ronnie.  Mostly, these same guys would call Davey a “player’s manager.”  Yet, sometimes the manager needs to be the grown-up, the adult in the room, and make the big boy decisions.  That wasn’t done in this instance.

True, Doc looked good.  He had only given up two runs at that point.  Pitch counts weren’t nearly as critical as they are in today’s game.  Yet he had thrown well over 100 pitches by the time he faced Mike Scioscia, with one runner on.

I guess it’s sort of like the captain of the Titanic.  Years of experience would trump all.  Whatever fate was for the Mets, Johnson as manager was certain to face in due time.

In a way, I wonder if 1986 World Series Game Six was somehow a blessing and a curse.  A blessing in that the Mets won and they lived to play another day, and ended up winning the series.  A curse in that, I guess they truly believed that somehow, they’d always emerge victorious.

But Doc was Davey’s “guy.”  Doc, up to that point, hadn’t a win in any postseason game as a Met.  Probably against reasonable judgment, there Doc stayed.

I was diligently taking score during the game, as I was wont to do in those days.  I was so excited…two outs away from being up 3-1 in the series!!  This was gonna be awe….

Shit.

Mike Scioscia hits a game tying home run.  TWO FUCKING OUTS AWAY FROM WINNING GAME FOUR.  Unfuckingbelievable.

And yes, I believe at age 12, I was saying those exact words.

When you are a Mets fan, you have nothing else but to believe.  I think we all believed, at that point, the Mets would not win that game.

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I sometimes like to imagine a world where Scioscia didn’t hit his home run.  Maybe Doc had pulled through and officially won his first postseason game, or maybe Davey put in a reliever for the 9th inning who went 1-2-3.  Mike Scioscia was never a huge home run hitter.  This was easily the most clutch in his career.

That home run doesn’t get hit, they go up in the series 3-1.  They win Game Five on the momentum at home.

kirk_gibsonKevin McReynolds has his Kirk Gibson Moment during the World Series, endearing himself to Mets fans forever.  But then, we would never know a Kirk Gibson Moment.  Because had the Mets won that series against the Dodgers, we’d never see him limping around the bases.

Shit.  The Mike Scioscia home run changed baseball COMPLETELY.

Perhaps he would have struck out in embarrassing fashion.  Never to be seen again after this series.  Scioscia would then never get the tutelage of Lasorda and wouldn’t have become a well-respected manager for the “I’m Calling Them California” Angels.

Perhaps Kirk Gibson wouldn’t be the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

You just don’t know.  Baseball is a game of chances and odds.  What are the odds that Scioscia doesn’t hit that home run?  The odds were against him for sure.

And this has led to several years of post-traumatic Mets disorder for not just this Mets fan, but several.  Metstradamus still shudders when he hears Scioscia’s name.

I think to that night.  I was a pre-teen taking score at a game that I was sure the Mets would win.  It was the first time I learned that my team could break my heart.  Sure, I lived through 1987.  The team wasn’t the same.  The 1988 team though looked like a rebirth.  Like they would rise from the ashes and be the dominant team that Frank Cashen had set out to make.

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As a baseball fan second, I will always respect and admire both Tom Lasorda and Mike Scioscia for what they’ve done and accomplished as major league managers.  But as Uncle Gene said at that game in 2004, we’ll always remember what happened in 1988.

A little part of me died that night, as a fan.  I’m sure most Mets fans in attendance thought that, still think it.  The Mets after that night were never the same.   They never quite rebounded.

I learned what it truly meant to be a Mets fan.

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.

Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder: The Origins

I’m sure many of you find it hard to believe that in my household — in which resides two Mets bloggers and fans — there is a lot of baseball talk.  Not just Mets talk, but all of baseball.  From the Hall of Fame Snubs of 2013 to Breaking the Color Barrier to Babe Ruth, baseball talk around here is like, “So what would you like for dinner?”  It’s just natural.

But all baseball talk makes Coop and Ed a very dull girl and boy.  So we spice it up a bit.

Like each year since 2011, Ed has done a weekly post on a theme that brings us from the dawn of the New Year to Opening Day (which is like the New Year for baseball fans…the only date on the calendar that signifies the beginning of “something”).  I tried my hand at doing a column on how I was Married to the Mets last year.  That was fun, but I like to write about stuff that makes people laugh or smile.  Because if we know anything as Mets fans, if an event is painful, we sometimes just have to laugh it off.

If you follow me on Twitter, or anywhere else really, you’ll know that I have a catch phrase called “Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder.”  This is just as it sounds.  Many Mets fans have great memories, but then there are the memories that have a lot of heartache attached to it.  We can only but laugh at them.

But it’s not necessarily attached to the Mets nor a player.  It can be an outside force.  It can even be a player we LIKED or loved.  There’s typically a circumstance around why we suffer post-traumatic Mets disorder, but one thing is for sure: it has to do with an event or tied somehow into Mets history.

Starting this Friday, I’m going to go over some of the names or moments that make Mets fans cringe, cry, barf or smack their heads — sometimes, all four. Maybe more emotions if I can think about it.

The point is, I’ll be writing about some of my most famous interactions with post-traumatic Mets disorder, or PTMD, and the inspirations behind it.  And hopefully we can cringe, cry, barf and smack our heads collectively at the memories.

Married to the Mets: Worse Than Chernobyl

I became a Mets fan at a very interesting time.  Essentially, they ruled the city.  When I was young, I didn’t know a New York City that wasn’t all about the Mets and the Yankees, storied pinstriped team in the Bronx, played second fiddle.

Till, of course, they weren’t.

I have a family member who shall remain nameless, who claims to be a lifelong Yankee fan. Funny, I don’t remember him rooting for them till 1996.  And I DEFINITELY remember wearing our Mets gear together, rooting for them on WOR.  I do remember at one point he told my dad and I that he admires us for sticking with the Mets for so long.

You know, it’s not like we had a choice.

For me, though, the choice was simple.  I stuck around for a multitude of reasons.   Most of all, that I didn’t want to give up on the team. Also because the fans I met made me laugh like nothing else.

It was one thing watching games with my dad, Uncle Gene and Aunt Melissa, and hearing the wisecracks from all of them during the games.  Even when we met Dominic, Rob and Mike in the stands at Loge Section 22, the Mets deep-in-the-trenches army-like humor kept us going.

I’ve been a Mets fan for nearly 30 years.  (Let that one sink in for a moment).  In those years, they’ve had two World Series appearances, a few playoff runs, but mostly, futility mixed in with a splash of ennui.  Yes, it’s tough to be a Mets fan sometimes.  Yet, the fans, the true bleeding blue-and-orange fans kept me coming back when I had every reason not to.

In the 1980s, you couldn’t really knock the team because they were so good.  Shea Stadium, however, was fair game.  In the spring of 1986, the Chernobyl disaster hit Kiev, Ukraine…and Banner Day at Shea.  “Shea’s Bathrooms Are Worse Than Chernobyl,” one of the banners read.  I don’t remember any other banner that year but that one.  It was priceless and still generates some laughs from those of us who saw it.  Till the very last day of Shea, the bathrooms were the butt (no pun intended) of the joke with many fans.  In fact, I appeared on a blogger’s roundtable with such personalities as Matt Cerrone from Metsblog, Joe Janish from Mets Today and Ted Berg from SNY on Mets Weekly in 2008.  Janish made a joke about the bathrooms, and needless to say, we all chuckled.

At the root of it all, Mets fans are humorous.  We’re funny, and we’re a bunch of wise guys, and we need to make the impossibly tragic funny, in order for us to survive it.

Over the years, I’ve met so many people, fans just passing through (sometimes, I was one of those fans), people I sat with an entire season, people I sat by just once, often leave me with such indelible prints of my brain, that I still think of them from time to time.

Like the guy I sat behind at Camden Yards one year during an extra inning game in 1998.  Ironically, ex-Met Jesse Orosco (in the twilight of his career) came into the game via middle relief (in the back end of the game of course).  This gentleman threw his hands up in the arm in disgust, yelling, “Just forfeit!! Just forfeit the game!”  Though I was in Maryland, he sounded like Benny from Brooklyn, as “forfeit” sounded like “faw-fit.”  Needless to say, this has been rehashed several times over the years, usually when the Mets bring in someone with a two run lead in late innings.  Used in conjunction with the likes of Guillermo Mota, Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis, among others.

There was Richie in Section 22 in the Mezzanine.  Between him shouting “YEEEEEEEEEE HAWWWWWWWWW!” at the top of his lungs at inopportune moments (keep in mind, this was in 2002, when NO ONE was going to games, and the Mets didn’t give us much to cheer).  My personal favorite is one that we use to this day.  During a random Saturday game, probably against a futile team like the Pittsburgh Pirates, there was a 6-0 deficit for the Mets to overcome in like the 6th inning.  Richie’s response was a classic one.  “We’re down 6-0, in the 6th inning to the Pirates. WE GOT ‘EM RIGHT WHERE WE WANT ‘EM.”

Woodside Tommy, also from Mezzanine 22, was one of the smart ass ringleaders.  At a game in Coney Island, when Howard Johnson was the manager of the Cyclones and Bobby Ojeda was his pitching coach, Tommy yelled to Ojeda in the bullpen.  “HEY!  BOBBY O!!!!!! GIMME A HIGH FOUR!!!”  Of course, in reference to Ojeda snipping off his finger prior to the playoffs in 1988.  When I told Tommy he was an asshole, Tommy feigned innocence. “What? What?? What am I gonna say?  Gimme a high FIVE????  Ha ha!”

The man had a point.

There was the Opening Day when my ex was wearing his Brooklyn Dodger cap.  My dear uncle Gene, as everyone knows, was a New York Giants fan back in the day and still has some massive hate towards the team from the borough of churches.  My smart ass of an ex (there’s a reason why he’s that) said, “Hey Gene, I got another one of these caps for you at home if you want it,” fully knowing that Gene hates the team.  Gene said, “Yeah, good, I need some kindling for my fireplace!”  Then he had his maniacal laugh that only Gene can have.

There was the night in 2006 when I was sitting in the Field Level at Shea Stadium, and Jose Lima gave up a grand slam to Dontrelle Willis, the starting pitcher for the Florida Marlins that night.  I had to be carried out of the stadium, but not before it took me until the 7th inning before I realized Lima was NOT in the game since the 2nd inning basically.

I was not only that drunk, but  I still have some massive Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder from that one.  In fact, I believe that was the night I coined that term, shorthand is “PTMD.”  Many, many Mets fans have their own personal PTMD moments.

You know you have them too.

Lately, some of my catch phrases have taken a life of their own.  Like the ever-infamous, “HOLY SHEEPSHIT AND BALLS” that started on Twitter.  It started off as “Holy sheepshit” when something fun happened or surprising was going on.  Since then, it’s mutated.  The balls I added on because, I don’t know, I thought it was funny.  For the record, it’s supposed to be read as “Sheep shit and sheep balls,” not a purely baseball reference, as I’ve been known to tweet that during football and hockey.

While I’m thrilled to be a part of people’s lexicon while watching sporting events, I have a mouth like a truck driver that for some reason people take a holier-than-thou approach to in dealing with me.  I have to say, hey, lighten up, it’s the heat of the moment.

Like you’ve NEVER done that.

Hell, I sat in the trenches with many Mets fans in the late ’80s and early ’90s, even the early aughts, with this army-like humor.  I was even at a Mets/Braves game in 2007 when the aforementioned Mota came in and proceeded to make the game VERY interesting.  When we all talked about it later, after the Mets won of course, it was like surviving a war.

Mets fans are like army buddies.  Some of these people are the best buddies I’ll ever have in my life.  You can have inside jokes about the Mota game, or the Lima Time game, or that time on Twitter when <blank> happened and we all said “HOLY SHEEPSHIT!”  Or later, it’s mutated into Twitter memes, like our friend @JedSmed who creates different Mets hash tags when there’s nothing going on.  Or when Matt from the Daily Stache started #ReplaceShitWithMets trend or the #JustinTurnerFacts.

Like army buddies, you gotta keep things interesting to get through it all.

The next generation of Mets fans will be introduced to Banner Day in 2012, just like I was back when I first became a fan.  I couldn’t tell you what banner took the prize during that scheduled doubleheader in 1986, or if there were really cool banners.  No.  All I remembered was a plain white bed sheet with black shoe polish-like substance with the words, “SHEA’S BATHROOMS ARE WORSE THAN CHERNOBYL.”

You had to be there to get it.  Just like with most things that come with being a Mets fan.  You can look at one another, or bring up a difficult memory or even a fond memory, and know what it’s like.

Yet, I’m sure at the end of the day, we’ll take Shea’s bathrooms back any day, Chernobyl or no.