Congratulations to the Cincinnati Reds for clinching a playoff spot against your New York Mets. They did so via the cold hands of Shin Soo Choo, who had three hits and drove in two runs. It's a glimpse of what the Mets aspire to have, but will probably fall a few million dollars short from getting. So it isn't even like we can salivate at the sight of him with a straight face.
I whined to a Reds fan friend of mine after the game that his team just haaaaaaaaad to clinch a spot against the Mets, didn't they? And then he reminded me …
Now I don't bring up Al Leiter to pick on the Reds, far from it. I only bring it up to remind myself (and you, if you need the reminder) that it only seems that we corner the market on angst. Look at the Pirates, for example. They had to deal with Barry Bonds refusing to move in at the behest of Andy Van Slyke in 1992, and then dealing with 20 years of absolute garbage (half of which while watching Bonds go to San Francisco and become an icon of many sorts) before they finally righted the ship (the one with the jolly roger) and returned to the postseason. Hell, 1992 was merely the most excruciating in a three year odyssey where they were World Series quality for three straight seasons yet could never get past the NLCS … once against the Reds, once against the Braves, and once against Sid Bream's blazing speed.
I can't help but wonder if the Mets are going down a similar path. They've dealt with three seasons of hell, just like the Pirates. Once against Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, once while handing Jimmy Rollins the sword of omens forever, and once because Billy Wagner had to go and get injured. And then, five seasons of crap, which is only a quarter of the way to 20. It's worth noting that year six of the Pirates drought started with the promises of 24 year old catcher Jason Kendall, 25 year old Jason Schmidt, 22 year old Jose Guillen, and 20 year old Aramis Ramirez, solid prospects all. They won 69 games … in part because their payroll was under $15 million.
Sound familiar? It should, because the Mets only have about $33 million committed to next season's roster. What will they do? Surround their high end young talent with players that will give them the best chance to win next season? Or will they be afraid of success, keep their payroll down and go get Abraham Nunez and Turner Ward? And if they did that, would it surprise you? Hell, even with Matt Harvey's attempt to pitch in 2014, I'm sure there are some in the Mets organization who will want to be cautious with the payroll thinking that Harvey is merely one more tear or pop during the winter away from missing 2014 anyway. You know what that means? It means that we're most likely going to go through another season where the highlight, the thing that creates the most buzz among the fan base … once again … is rookie hazing day.
Yes, they're all cute in their little dresses. I want more. I want to circle a day in October on the calendar. Not rookie hazing day.
You might have noticed I was gone last week. Let's just say I was visiting some old friends up north:
By the way, total non-sequitur … but look what the Canadian exchange rate did to Josh Thole's batting average:
Oh, the exchange rate is just about even? Well then … I guess Thole just stinks.
I didn't take a vacation to get away from blogging about the Mets. I love writing. Writing is never a chore for me. Even writing about the Mets is never a chore. Watching the Mets?
No, even that isn't a chore … at least not when Keith Hernandez is going completely off the rails.
The chore, at this stage of the season, is trying to come up with new ways to tell you that this same old group of nice people who double as mediocre ballplayers for your enjoyment … stink. (Although what does that tell you about the Phillies, who got swept by this group?) And the fallacy, at this stage of the season, is getting excited over the prospect of finishing ahead of the Phillies or avoiding 90 losses. Because the truth of the matter is, who cares? The Mets are 13-19 in their last 32 games. And discarding games against the horrid Marlins and the geriatric Phillies, they're 5-16. (No, beating the Phillies is no longer the feather in our caps that it used to be.)
That, I didn't miss. And yes, I did have the fleeting thought in my head while I was away that "damn, I'm glad I don't have to come up with something funny about this mess." Because there's nothing remotely funny about any of this. The Mets are not only bad, they're far worse than bad: They're an ordinary brand of bad. Save for the regular great defense by Juan Lagares, the occasional stolen base by Eric Young, and David Wright's mere presence, this team is boring. Instead of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler we have Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang. Dillon Gee has had a good season. But there's no lower corner graphic telling you when the next Dillon Gee start is. It's to the point right now where I wish that Billy Wagner was back to yell at a reporter. Or Francisco Rodriguez wearing a Mets uniform so that he could punch out some fans in the parking lot. I'd even take a meltdown by Armando Benitez. When I go past missing being in the playoffs and pine for Armando Benitez melting down, that is how you know this team is unwatchable.
Hell, I even miss Jordany Valdespin!
Thankfully, we'll only get to watch them for another six days before we pine for a newer, fresher version that will hopefully take this angst away. I only hope it doesn't take another fifteen years.