Noah’s bark should have gotten a Mets bite

Syndergaard, escorted from Sunday's game by trainer Ray Ramirez.

Syndergaard, escorted from Sunday’s game by trainer Ray Ramirez.

It’s one thing for baseball players to have the kind of contract negotiating autonomy they’ve enjoyed in the free agency era. But it’s something else when the keys to the zoo get lifted by the animals, as the Mets may be learning the hard way. Players may choose for whom they play when contracts expire, but they still, alas, have bosses. Or so we thought.

Don’t be surprised if the 23-5 terrorist attacks the Nationals laid upon the Mets Sunday afternoon have a lot of people wondering just who’s been running the Mets.

The Gnats turn into crazed hornets

Rendon led the Nationals' assault, battery, and human rights violations against the Mets Sunday afternoon.

Rendon led the Nationals’ assault, battery, and human rights violations against the Mets Sunday afternoon.

Sometimes the path you don’t take leads to disaster. Noah Syndergaard and the Mets re-learned the hard way Sunday afternoon. And it wouldn’t necessarily be a consolation to remind them that they did take two of three from the National League East-leading Nationals over weekend.

Syndergaard was already pushed back to Sunday because biceps and shoulder discomfort. That compelled the Mets to send Matt Harvey out against the Braves—an outing for which Harvey wasn’t even told until the same morning, leaving him two chances to prepare properly: slim and none—and get his and the Mets’ jock straps knocked off.

The Mets treat the Nats like gnats this weekend—so far

d'Arnaud and Conforto have dropped big bombs on the Nats this weekend thus far . . .

d’Arnaud and Conforto have dropped big bombs on the Nats this weekend thus far . . .

To most appearances, when the Mets opened a weekend set with the Nationals Friday night , it looked like this could become the weekend in which the Mets were driven far enough down that they might not get back up again. Battered by the disabled list and losers of nine out of ten—including the previous weekend’s sweep by the Nats in New York—the Mets didn’t just look beaten, they looked half buried.

The Mets bomb in Philadelphia—the right way

Hitting his third bomb of the night---"I think I was seeing the ball well," he said, in the understatement of the night.

Hitting his third bomb of the night—”I think I was seeing the ball well,” he said, in the understatement of the night.

Perhaps if the Mets knew Yoenis Cespedes would hit three home runs the day after, the might ask someone to take one for the team every day. For results like a 14-4 blowout of the Phillies Tuesday, you might find any number of Mets willing to take a pitch upside the head the night before.

The Mets, from one head down to all heads high

Cabrera (center) is none to thrilled after Ramos bent him with a first pitch over his head; catcher Rupp (29) prepares to keep peace . . .

Cabrera (center) is none to thrilled after Ramos bent him with a first pitch over his head; catcher Rupp (29) prepares to keep peace . . .

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear Edubray Ramos was auditioning for the Texas Rangers to shore up their bullpen. Based on his work in the eighth inning Monday against the Mets, the Phillies righthander seems a good fit for a team sometimes renowned for waiting till next year ¬†and the last minute to settle a grudge.

Dallas Green, RIP: Toughness to tragedy

Green (right) joining the field party with Mike Schmidt (20) and, center, relief ace Tug McGraw, as the Phillies win their first World Series.

Green (right) joining the field party with Mike Schmidt (20) and, center, relief ace Tug McGraw, as the Phillies win their first World Series.

Dallas Green, who died today at 82, once told his players he was the toughest sonofabitch for whom they’d ever play. Whether leading the Phillies to their first World Series title or surviving the furies of George Steinbrenner with the 1989 Yankees or the planned obsolescence of the early-to-mid 1990s Mets, Green’s kind of tough let him survive the kind of times that could break the toughest of birds at a moment’s notice.

Anthony Young’s losing streak nothing compared to a brain tumour

Young in the midst of his sad losing streak, 1993.

Young in the midst of his sad losing streak, 1993.

Men who live in hard luck develop a courage sometimes impossible for those not making his voyage to comprehend. A pitcher who lived in such luck pitching for the Mets in the 1990s, is going to need that courage more than even when he suffered the major league record for a pitcher’s losing streak.

Chris Cannizzaro, RIP: From Stengelese foil to teaching as winning

Chris Cannizzaro as a young Original Met“The first major league pitch I ever called . . . a curve ball to Wally Moon,” Chris Cannizzaro once said. “I didn’t catch it.” That’s because Moon, then with the Dodgers, hit it far over the infamous Chinese Screen in left field in the old Los Angeles Coliseum, where the Dodgers were shoehorned into playing baseball until Dodger Stadium was ready in 1962.

Cannizzaro was then enjoying one of a couple of cups of coffee with the Cardinals. If he didn’t get to catch his first major league called pitch, he didn’t have any better luck in his first major league at-bat: he grounded out to second base against Sandy Koufax.

Two different ex-Mets become two different Braves

The Braves get a pitcher/acrobat by signing Bartolo Colon (lower left) . . .

The Braves get a pitcher/acrobat by signing Bartolo Colon (lower left) . . .

The rebuilding Braves decided a little senior leadership on the mound was what their budding pitching corps needs. So they signed the two oldest active major league pitchers this week. R.A. Dickey, the knuckleball specialist and erstwhile Cy Young Award winner (2012), signed for one year and $8 million guaranteed. And Bartolo Colon has signed for one year and $12.5 guaranteed.

Both signings ensure the Braves’ younger arms will be mentored by former Mets. If they happen to win some games while they’re at it, that’s a plus. But you won’t find two pitchers who left the Mets in more differing conditions when they did leave.

Self-surviving Giants send Mets home three bucks short

Gillaspie, who'd just hit the slider near the ceiling over the right field fence for three and, ultimately, a date between the Giants and the Cubs . . .

Gillaspie, who’d just hit the slider near the ceiling over the right field fence for three and, ultimately, a date between the Giants and the Cubs . . .

The Mets survived everything thrown at them in 2016 and came up three bucks short. The Giants survived themselves and, at the eleventh hour, punched their ticket to Chicago for a division series showdown with the Cubs.

And until Jeurys Familia threw the wrong pitch to a no-name number eight hitter named Conor Gillaspie, who had to step in for injured Eduardo Nunez late in the season, the National League wild card game threatened to go to extra innings and maybe beyond no matter who might be the last man standing on the mound.