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.
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.
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.