Should've Known Better

Sunday, June 14, 2009 |

Please forgive the crudely executed image above. I created it in MS Paint, which accounts for the poor shading. Still, I think it effectively illustrates what the Mets and, more specifically, Johan Santana, laid today at Yankee Stadium. Really, I should've known better than to be encouraged by yesterday's performance. After enduring nearly 30 years' worth of major disappointments (1986 notwithstanding), I really should have been more suspicious, more conservative in my optimism regarding a legitimate Metropolitan turnaround. These guys are hardly as resilient as I'd imagined.

Turns out one bounceback win in and of itself isn't enough to stop the bleeding. Instead, Saturday's victory served the same purpose as applying a band aid when in need of a tourniquet, or trying to plug a leaking canoe with a stick of Juicy Fruit. Sure, it might buy you a few more minutes out on the lake, but eventually the canoe is gonna take on water again. and sooner or later (and probably sooner, knowing these Mets) that canoe is gonna submerge, never to resurface.

The Mets, it would appear, are taking on lots of water, and they're awfully far from shore.

As today's humiliating final score would indicate, Greg Prince's comparison of the 2009 Mets and 1978 Football Giants was apt. 15-0 certainly sounds like a football score to me. And if Friday night marked Luis Castillo's "Joe Pisarcik moment," then this afternoon marked Johan Santana's Dave Brown moment. Santana's pitches were intercepted with seeming ease by the Yankees' bats, and, after being roughed up for 9 runs, he was sacked in the fourth inning. Santana looked less like an ace out there than someone in need of an Ace bandage. And a copy of this book.

I don't quite know why it is that I continue to allow this team to fool me into believing in them, especially after the events of the past two-plus seasons. Ever since Adam Wainwright's wicked curveball froze Carlos Beltran to end the 2006 NLCS, the Mets have been an imposter, a bunch of baseball zombies masquerading as a major league baseball team. Sure, David Wright is leading the major leagues in hitting. Carlos Beltran is swinging a hot bat, too. Francisco Rodriguez has been outstanding, and Omir Santos has been a revelation. All of those things, plus two dollars, will get you a ride on the subway, but none of those things are enough, individually, to make the whole of this team equal the sum of its parts.

In a way, these Mets truly do remind me of the Giants teams of the Dave Clown
I mean Brownera. Those teams had some outstanding talent in Rodney Hampton, Michael Strahan, Jessie Armstead, Jumbo Elliott, Keith Hamilton, and others. They also had a coach (Dan Reeves) who had reached three Super Bowls and who today stands as the 8th winningest coach in NFL history. But the Giants managed only 23 wins out of the 53 Brown started, partially because they lacked talent to support their star players, but mostly because they lacked an identity.

The Mets, unfortunately, have an identity. Just ask 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels
They're "choke artists." And though they'll do their best to downplay the embarrassment of today's loss as they did Friday night's debacle, that's the identity they'll carry with them until they prove themselves otherwise. There's still more than 100 games left in the 2009 season. There's a whole lot of baseball left to play. But I'm through believing in these guys.

I wasted a beautiful day in New York City by staying indoors and listening to the Mets get humiliated while working on an edit that's proving to be more arduous than I anticipated. The latter I can accept, because it's my work and I get paid to do it. But the former I really should have avoided. I should have heeded the sage advice of my friend Jon Springer, who yesterday cautioned the readers of his terrific blog to "get outdoors, have dinner with ... family, take a few days off." I should've known better.

Tomorrow, mercifully, is an off day for the Mets. The way they're playing, they'll have plenty more of them come October.


mbtn said...

Of course I didn't take my own advice and sat inside today like an idiot too.