If it’s up to should-have-been Hall of Famer David Wright, Terry Collins won’t be taking that long walk off that short plank after today’s season finale. The New York Mess (er, Mets) captain who missed this season and too much of last with neck and back issues that already compromised a Cooperstown-bound career stood up for Collins when it seemed few on or around the team would.
In September 2012, after Mets manager Terry Collins exploded in the clubhouse after one nasty blowout only to apologise the next day, I wrote, “Crossing the line between demanding accountability and questioning heart helped turn [Bobby] Valentine’s and the Red Sox’s season into a Rimbaudian nightmare. Collins isn’t about to let himself or his Mets forget the line. Whatever overhauling is or isn’t done come the off-season, it doesn’t seem likely that the manager’s job will be part of it.”
We should be enjoying things this week. Things like the Astros’ staggering dominance of the American League West and maybe baseball itself, the bombing of Yankee rookie Aaron (Here Comes The) Judge, the near-classic pitching duel between Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg, the four-homer game of an obscurity named Scooter Gennett, the 600th home run of Albert Pujols.
But no. Baseball is played and governed by human beings, and human beings are only too fallible. Consider:
What’s next for the New York Mess (er, Mets)? Pitchers coming in from the bullpen in the Deathmobile? Hazing their rookies by sending them on a mass Food King shoplift? A toga party at second base? A food fight in the clubhouse? Welcome to Citi Field’s Animal House.
I’d better amend one of the foregoing. At the rate they’re going, three more Mets would be injured during the food fight, one of the rookies on the mass Food King shoplift would come up with a strained oblique, and another would suffer a shoulder separation firing the pistol at the rampaging horse.
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.
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.
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.
There are times when entire baseball seasons or championships are believed to turn, for better or worse, on single acts at the plate, on the mound, or in the field. Marshal the appropriate evidence and those beliefs can be either upheld or obliterated.
Two weeks ago, Matt Bush hit Jose Bautista over a seven-month-old bat flip, a flip at a time Bush wasn’t in a Rangers uniform. That plunk drew mere warnings to both the Rangers and the Blue Jays, before Bautista tried to take Rougned Odor out of a double play and Odor shoved then punched Bautista to trigger a bench-clearing brawl.
They barely have the streets swept clean following the Kansas City Royals’ World Series parade, and the off-season intrigues have begun in earnest. OK, a couple began when it barely began sinking in that the New York Mets had blown a Series they actually could have won, or when Don Mattingly left the Los Angeles Dodgers and became the Miami Marlins’ new manager. But let’s start looking: