Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rock Bottom

So, ah, I went to a Baseball game at Citi Field tonight and I ended up witnessing History.

It was my 9th game at Citi Field this season, and I had kind of a bad feeling about things before I even got to the stadium. It wasn't anything particular, just that the Mets hadn't been going well, and in recent years, when I've gone to Mets/Giants games, I sort of feel like I may as well be at Pac Bell Park or whatever phone company that stadium is named for, because the Giants Fans seem to take the place over. I realize that their fans may travel well, but after having won 3 World Series Championships in 5 years, they're a bit emboldened, too. So that right there kind of gave me a bad vibe. That feeling, however, was somewhat tempered when I noticed a post from the Mets on my Facebook feed noting that it was, in fact, the anniversary of one of my favorite games, the infamous Bobby Valentine "Moustache" game, way back in 1999. You know, when the Mets could hit.

Little did I know what I was walking in to.

There's not much that can be said about the game. Basically, if you looked at the pitching matchup of Noah Syndergaard and Chris Heston, and someone said one of them would throw a No Hitter, well, you probably wouldn't have picked Heston, and probably because on this side of the country, you'd have a hard time picking Heston out of a lineup. But he just had one of those nights where the stars aligned for him. Syndergaard didn't pitch especially badly, but the Giants just kept dinging him to death, which is sort of what they do. They hit single after single, and when Heston chipped in with a 2-run single in the 4th to turn a 1-0 game into a 3-0 game, I sort of felt like the Mets were screwed right there.

Again, little did I know.

Heston had retired the first 9 Mets, which wasn't so noteworthy, seeing as how they had their B-lineup out there, and when the A-lineup is lousy, you can only imagine the B-lineup (the C-lineup includes Danny Muno and Darrell Ceciliani). Finally, in the 4th, the Mets had what could laughably be called a rally when Heston hit Ruben Tejada and then hit Lucas Duda, and then Michael Cuddyer hit into a Double Play, and that was about as good as it got for the Mets the rest of the night. Heston kept getting Mets hitters to pound ground balls directly at Giants infielders, or he just struck them out.

I've been to multiple games where No Hitters have been taken into late innings, most recently two years ago when Matt Harvey retired the first 20 White Sox and only a ground ball too deep in the hole at Shortstop prevented him from taking things further. I've mentioned that there's sort of a murmur in the middle innings that kind of swells as the game progresses and builds into a fever pitch. This is what was happening as each inning passed and the Mets failed to get a hit. Except that it was the Giants fans that were building up. I and the other Mets fans kind of sat in this silent, stewing horror, because the longer this kept going, the more it seemed that this game was too far gone. Heston rolled through the 6th...7th...8th innings...Nothing. Nothing that could have even been close to a hit was coming. By the 9th, it kind of seemed inevitable. Once the home plate umpire started calling everything close a strike, you knew it was over. Heston hit Recker to start the inning, but Muno  watched a 3rd strike, and Curtis Granderson did the same, and it was down to Ruben Tejada, and, well, when Ruben Tejada is the last man standing between you and History...


In some perverse way, I'm almost glad that this happened to the Mets. Sometimes, you need to be completely humiliated in order to really get to the bottom of what's wrong. This team just doesn't hit, and it's been going on for weeks. Sure, Travis d'Arnaud will be back in the lineup tomorrow, but he alone isn't going to make things better. For whatever reason, someone seemed to think that the team was OK with guys like Eric Campbell, Muno, Ceciliani and Ruben Tejada heavily involved on the depth chart. I mentioned this in passing a few days ago, but when injuries strike en masse and there's not a solid contingency plan, you end up with the entire season spiraling out of control like it did in 2009 (and let's not start in with the whole Ray "cortisone shot" Ramirez issue—they have this massage therapist that everyone loves so much, maybe they ought to look into hiring a Yogi or something). You can kind of mask it with the fact that they have really good pitching, but how many times this season have you had instances where Matt Harvey or Bartolo Colon pitched an awesome game and ended up losing 2-1 or 3-2 because nobody could drive in a run. Duda and Cuddyer have been hot and cold, which is to be expected, and so have Lagares and Flores. These guys aren't the issue right now. Everyone else is a problem. Daniel Murphy was going well before he got hurt, but in the end, his problem is that he's Daniel Murphy and you're not going to get anything better than Daniel Murphy. Curtis Granderson has been a disaster. Campbell has played far more than he should be playing (the curse of Alex Cora).

I could go on, but the point here is that this isn't sustainable. Somehow the Mets have managed to tread water because the teams around them haven't played well either, but with that being said, can you imagine if the Mets had a lineup? So, when you have a No Hitter thrown at you, in your own building, by a Rookie that nobody's heard of (although I'm sure everyone knows who Chris Heston is now), maybe this is the kick in the ass the Mets need. This is a total embarrassment and I think that the Mets needed to be embarrassed like this. They should be embarrassed. They deserved to have this happen to them. Everyone's culpable from the top down, and maybe having this happen will light a fire under their asses to make a move and shake something up. This isn't the sort of performance that fans are willing to accept anymore and I have to imagine that it's not acceptable to the front office either. On a beautiful Tuesday night in June, the paid attendance was something like 23,000 and I'd guess in the stadium there were probably about 16,000, and at least 40% of that were Giants fans. Mets fans don't believe in this team and after a performance like this, can you blame them? So, time to get your heads out of your asses, Fred, Ratso, Sandy, Terry and everyone else. No more. I hope everyone watches this game multiple times just to be reminded of how the Mets once again managed to make complete asses of themselves.

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