Great Scott! You thought it couldn’t get worse?

Zack Scott

Zack Scott speaking to reporters earlier this year. Waking up stewed in White Plains isn’t the best look for an acting GM already in a seat hot enough to pass for the electric chair.

Did you think the boo birds and the boneheads fuming over the Baez-Lindor-Pillar thumbs-down to fans would suddenly look upon that nostalgically? Wasn’t it a kick when Lindor and Jeff McNeil had a presidential-level debate over . . . whether that was a rat or a raccoon on the Citi Fields grounds?

Don’t be shocked if that’s exactly what they’re feeling, after the Mets’ acting general manager Zack Scott drove and then parked himself right into a drunk driving charge early Tuesday morning.

This is what we know: White Plains (New York) police found Scott asleep in his car near a federal court house. Scott spurned a breathalyzer but flunked a field sobriety test. Apparently, he got tanked up in the first place while attending a charity fundraiser at Mets owner Steve Cohen’s Connecticut spread not far from there.

Already I’ve seen social media slugs demanding Cohen’s head on a plate over Scott’s inebriation. Guess what. If I’m at a party at your place, the booze is flowing freely enough, and I get that bombed out of my trees, that’s on me for not knowing my limits. You didn’t hold me hostage refusing to release me until I made Jim Morrison resemble a Prohibitionist.

Scott was already on a hot seat close enough to the electric chair, when the only thing he did to fortify the injury-addled Mets at the trade deadline was to bring aboard all-but-washed-up veteran pitcher Rich Hill and the slick-fielding but too-free-swinging Baez. (Where was Cohen—who called out the Mets’ undisciplined hitting, albeit kindly and gently—when Scott made the Baez deal?)

“But the Braves quietly got much better at the deadline,” writes Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post. The Phillies upgraded. So, of course, did the Giants and Dodgers and, let us not forget, the Yankees. Maybe [Mets [resident] Sandy Alderson can shoulder some of the blame; Alderson, an old target of Met-fan angst, probably deserves as much.”

Scott also threw his wounded under the proverbial bus, saying it was pretty much their fault for getting hurt and not getting with whatever the Mets’ health program is. He was blissfully unaware that such a call-out meant his own administration looks like a group of nincompoops playing Operation and pronouncing themselves credentialed medical experts.

Which one of them kept getting buzzed removing the funny bone?

Most likely, Scott would have been gone after the season ends. He might have been moved into a benign advisory role before his rude awakening in White Plains. Now the Mets can’t afford even to put him in charge of a Citi Field cleaning crew.

Alderson still has some splainin’ to do, though, about why he was so hot to pursue the known misogynist Trevor Bauer so hard last winter. The most narrow escape of Alderson’s career was losing out to the Dodgers on Bauer—who turned out to be too much more than a mere misogynist, as he now awaits whether a district attorney will file sexual assault charges against him and he won’t likely pitch again in 2021 . . . or beyond.

The Mets under .500 and five and a half games back in both the National League East and the National League wild card chase—that’s what a 9-19 August did to them in an eleven-game free-fall out of the NL East leadership—may actually be their smallest problem. The toxicity in the organisation needs to be cleaned out.

Waking up stewed in front of the federal court in White Plains is entirely on Scott. But so are a few other things that indicate it’s time for Cohen—who’s had, mostly, the patience of Job in his first year owning the Mets—to flip the switch on the Hoover and clean the Mets’ house. Beat, sweep, and clean it out.

It begins with Alderson, alas. For all his distinguished baseball service past, including a term in the commissioner’s office, the Mets’ president has earned impeachment and removal. The articles against him only begin with that fan-their-behinds statement about the thumbs-downers that he probably carried in his pocket for a couple of weeks before the idiot brigades going cray-cray last Sunday gave him his excuse.

They continue with having hired and elevated Scott in the first place—after former Mets GM Jared Porter had to be purged over his hot-pursuit unwanted sexting aimed at a Cubs employee when Porter ran that team’s scouting apparatus. At that time, it looked as though the Mets were caught with their proverbial pants down, but now it looks as though Alderson’s facility for due diligence abandoned him long enough ago.

Because Alderson is also the Mets’ chieftain who hired Mickey Callaway to manage them, then endured two seasons in which Callaway was in deeper over his own head than a submarine beneath the ocean surface. And that proved the least of Callaway’s issues.

Alderson learned the hard way—when the Angels first suspended, then fired him as their subsequent pitching coach, and baseball government banned him through the end of 2022—that Callaway had a too-pronounced penchant for texting, sexting, sharing shirtless images, and pushing for hot dates with unwilling media women, one of whom called his predatory style baseball’s worst-kept secret.

“What exactly is the Mets’ definition of due diligence when pursuing players and executives?” asks The Athletic‘s Ken Rosenthal with appropriate snark. “Seeing whether they can spell their names correctly?”

How the hell did Alderson—who built three straight pennant winners and one world champion in Oakland, then called the old umpires union’s chief Richie Phillips’s bluff and accepted mass umpire resignations after the umps balked over one MLB attempt to mandate umpire accountability—devolve to this?

And what the hell was Scott not thinking, considering, as Rosenthal writes, that after “the Callaway and Porter fiascos, he needed to conduct himself impeccably.”

For this toxic cleanup, Cohen’s going to need the Hoover, the Roto-Rooter, truckloads of Raid, and a hazmat team.

On “booing” the boo birds right back

Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez

A creative way to zap the boo birds the way maybe every other ballplayer has ever wanted to boo them right back?

Oh. The horror. You’d think they shot the Thunderbirds down during a pre-game flyover.

If the Citi Field boo birds were going to boo the Mets when they tried their best and came up short, a few Mets decided they were going to give the boo birds a thumbs-down of their own when they tried their best and came up big enough.

They didn’t hand Afghanistan back to the Taliban, blow up the number 7 el, stink bomb the New York Stock Exchange, incincerate the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or resurrect the Pontiac Aztek.

Javy Báez, Francisco Lindor, Kevin Pillar, and a few other of their Mets mates, have had it with the boo birds. After hits in Sunday’s 9-4 win against the likewise tumbling Nationals, they either stood on base or crossed the plate with thumbs-downs. Almost at once, social media and enough of the media media exploded like Little Boy at Hiroshima.

Báez seemed to be singled out especially for such use, misuse, and abuse. By God, we’ve had it with him. Never mind how slick he is playing second base, who needs this prima donna who can’t stop swinging at the unhittable? 

Note that Báez and Lindor were pretty much in the thick of the Mets’ win. Lindor scored the game’s first run on a balk, after reaching on a force out and taking third on a passed ball in the first. Báez took a Mets lead back with a two-run homer in the fourth. Lindor sent home the Mets’ final two runs with a double to left in the eighth.

When we don’t get success, we’re going to get booed,” Báez told reporters after Sunday’s game. “So they are going to get booed when we get success.” Since the players aren’t likely to be heard if they actually boo vocally, it seems, Báez and his mates took up the playful thumbs-down as the next best thing.

Seemingly, it began early in August. Apparently, assorted Yankees once picked up the same idea from a visiting Met fan in 2017.

They’re only too well aware that the Mets entered August three and a half ahead in first place in the National League East and approach August’s end having gone 8-19 for the month thus far. They don’t have to flip on the next television newscast, hit Twitter running, or read the horror stories in the next newspaper editions to know it.

Owner Steve Cohen needled the Mets’ offensive woes in a tweet almost a fortnight ago. Even he didn’t quite go full George Steinbrenner about it. Lindor himself agreed with Cohen. Bank on every Met agreeing. Nobody else had to tell them.

If there’s one thing a professional baseball player knows, it’s when he’s not getting the maximum desired result out of his work. But he also knows how helpless he really is against fans who don’t really see or couldn’t care less about the grand paradox that playing a game professionally requires work. More work than people think.

He also knows there are times when he might have been booing himself right along with the boo-birds in the seats. But there’s an ocean-wide divide between booing an apparent lack of hustle and booing a lack of result despite the hardest hustle, the hardest-hit ball, the best-thrown pitch that disappeared over the fence.

It’s bad enough that Mets team president Sandy Alderson fired a shot back that looks only too well as though he or the entire team administration waited for just the right (wrong?) moment to ignite:

Mets fans are understandably frustrated over the team’s recent performance. The players and the organization are equally frustrated, but fans at Citi Field have every right to express their own disappointment. Booing is every fan’s right.

The Mets will not tolerate any player gesture that is unprofessional in its meaning or is directed in a negative way toward our fans. I will be meeting with our players and staff to convey this message directly.

“Upon further reflection,” tweeted Sports Illustrated writer Emma Baccellieri, “what’s really amazing to me is that the Mets *already had a statement* to use in the event of wanting to apologize for gestures made toward the crowd (Mr. Met flips off a fan, 2017), and they just made a new, worse, more dramatic statement.”

“Last thing and then I’m going to bed and trying to erase this stupid day from my memory,” tweeted Alison McCague, a Ph.D. geneticist and policy analyst by profession, who also writes for the online Mets journal Amazin’ Avenue. “It’s not just the booing. It’s the going after players’ wives and kids online and DMing slurs to them all the time. Large chunks of sports fans just don’t see players as human beings.”

I’ve been saying that for years.

It’s tempting to wonder whether Alderson would have threatened any Met players responding in kind to such death threats. It’s also to wonder why certain other teams weren’t tempted to do something similar to what Báez, Lindor, Pillar, and other participating Mets have been doing this month.

Teams such as practically every St. Louis Brown that ever showed up at the ballpark at all.

Teams such  as the ones that inspired the gag about the Philadelphia wedding in which the clergyman pronounced the happy couple husband and wife and then told the gathering, “You may now boo the bride.”

Teams such as the one caught red-handed in an illegal, off-field-based, extralegal-camera-aided, electronic sign-stealing scheme—but who now have only five players from that team left on this year’s roster.

I’ve also been saying something else for years, too. Let’s give Alderson one benefit of the doubt and agree that the right to boo comes with the price of a ticket. But let’s give Báez, Lindor, Pillar, and any other thumbs-downing Mets the benefits of certain doubts, too.

What would Joe and Jane Fan do if they had to go to their jobs every day—in the office, in the board room, on the dock, in the warehouse, behind the wheel of their truck or bus or cab, at the clinic, on the assembly line, at the drive-through, you name it—knowing 55,000 people would be right there on top of them and a few million more would be watching on television or the Internet or listening next to a radio?

What would Joe and Jane Fan do, if the merest missed or mistakenly sent memo, bad merger, slip on a puddle, dropped parts box, missing package, missed red light, hastily and imperfectly affixed component, or misinterpreted order, resulted in 55,000 people live and a few million more clinging to broadcasts booing their heads off, or even sending them death threats, for either simple human mistakes or despite-best-effort shortfalls?

How would Joe and Jane Fan like it when the media hammer them unto eternity for such mistakes and shortfalls, even if they proved the lone mistakes of otherwise respectable careers?

If Joe and Jane Fan think they could step in for the Báezes, Lindors, Pillars and company that effortlessly, ask them if they could take the demoralising grief heaped eternally upon baseball’s hapless designated goats.

Ask whether Bill Buckner, John McNamara, Fred Merkle, Freddie Lindstrom, Mickey Owen, Johnny Peskyheldtheball (so help me God, you’d have thought that’s the way Red Sox fans of yore pronounced his name between 1946 and 1967) Ralph Branca, Gene Mauch, Willie Davis, Tom Niedenfuer, Don Denkinger, Donnie Moore, Mitch Williams, and Grady Little weren’t tempted to boo right back when the opportunities arose.

Ask Joe and Jane Fan if they would have succeeded where the 1964 Phillies, the 1969 Cubs (and every Cub on the planet from 1909 through the end of 2015), the 1978 Red Sox, the 2006-07 Mets, the 2017 Nationals, this year’s Orioles, and maybe every last Washington Senator not of the 1924 model didn’t.

Joe and Jane will answer “yes” at the drop of a hat, a beer, or a ground ball. Ken Griffey, Jr. jumping fences to snatch home runs into long outs didn’t jump as big as the lie detector needles will at that answer.

All Báez, Lindor, Pillar, and maybe a couple of other Mets did was something close enough to something maybe every other man who’s ever worn a major league uniform has wanted to do, when they know good and bloody well that they’re doing the best they can with what they’ve got and they’re still being treated like criminals on the perp walk.

If you think otherwise, you’re missing a great deal on my Antarctican beach club.