Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Man for All Time, A Team for None

I wasn't at Citi Field last night for the retirement ceremony of Mike Piazza's number 31. I'm not proud of this fact. I do feel as though I missed out on something pretty special. Considering how many of Piazza's iconic moments I was present for, yeah, I probably should have been there. Think about it. I've gone over many times just how much Piazza is revered by all Mets fans, and just how deserving he is of the honor. I can go back to the day he was acquired on May 22nd, 1998, hearing about it as it happened on Mike & The Mad Dog, and then being there and being part of the welcome wagon that following Saturday afternoon, and being there for 27 memorable Home Runs, and being there on September 21, 2001, and being there when he hit his 352nd Home Run as a Catcher in 2004, and on his last day on October 2nd, 2005. I was even there the night he came back with the Padres and hit two Home Runs off of Pedro Martinez. Want me to keep going? Last game at Shea. First game at Citi Field. Mets Hall of Fame induction. Throwing out the first pitch at the World Series last year. Should I have gone last night? Yeah. Probably.

But as I'd mentioned yesterday, the Mets performance over the past several days just took me out of it. Plus, you know, the ceremony is readily available for viewing here. So, regrettably, I was not there.

Yeah, I'll probably hate myself a little bit for missing this piece of Mets history.

On the other hand, I won't hate myself for missing the 9-inning turd sandwich the current version of the Mets treated the sellout crowd to after the ceremonies concluded.

Usually, when the Mets hold a big ceremony, it doesn't bode well for the game to follow (or precede in the case of the closing of Shea Stadium). It's really weird. The Mets do a wonderful job of feting their conquering heroes. You can complain about a lot of things the Mets do, but when it comes to honoring champions and past heroes on the field, in front of the fans, it never disappoints. Unfortunately, juxtapose the ceremony and the honoree against what the team puts out on the field, and there's a major disconnect. The Mets do a wonderful job of throwing a really nice party, and then completely shitting the bed afterward.

Mike Piazza is and will always be remembered as a Mets hero for all times, and as he instructed us, whenever the team needs some inspiration, just look to the top of the stadium in the Left Field corner at that newly-minted 31 plaque and remember that Ol' Mikey is always there with us. Unfortunately, he can't will the team to hit right now. In fact, Mike at age 47 could conceivably do a better job of driving in some runs than half the lineup the Mets threw out there last night. Bartolo Colon on short rest didn't have it. Once again, the Mets were throttled by the Colorados and Jorge De La Rosa, who I think has made a career out of pitching to a 5.38 ERA, had no problem swatting away the Mets hitters like flies.

I seem to keep finding these weird parallels between this year's Mets team and some historic era Mets team, and right now, maybe these Mets are like the early-1998 Mets, before Piazza showed up on May 23rd. They're a nice little team with no particular direction, except that right now, there's no Mike Piazza floating around on the open market to be acquired and save everyone's hide. I know that everyone seems to be hot on Jonathan Lucroy, but the Brewers seem to want a king's ransom in return and he's already rejected a trade to the Cleveland Indians, so that's a bad sign. Plus I seem to remember hearing somewhere that he didn't want to play in New York, so there's that little wrinkle too. Regardless, for as much as Lucroy might be viewed as such, he's no Piazza. One player isn't going to fix the issues here and I wonder if the what the Mets really need is a sports psychiatrist and maybe a team-wide prescription for Lexapro or Ativan so they all relax a little bit.

Otherwise, 2016 will just dissolve into 2012, the team will fade back into obscurity and all the haters will crawl back out of their caves, pointing and laughing and screaming about how last year was a fluke and now the real Mets have come back (duh slobbuh drool see yuh next week).

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