By Billy Fitzpatrick ‘20
Miserable Mets Fan
This past week, the New York Mets proved again just how classy of an organization they are. With spring training coming to a close, most teams (read: literally every other Major League Baseball team) prepared to travel to the city where they would kick off their 2019 campaign. However, the Mets did not do this, because the Mets do not do smart things.
Instead, management/PR/whatever demonic spirit makes decisions in the front office thought it would be nice for the big league club to spend a day in Syracuse, New York, to promote the new AAA affiliate there. Two days before the season begins in Washington, D.C. Because, you know, the likes of Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard really need to endear themselves to the good people of Syracuse ahead of all the time they’ll be spending with the AAA club.
When news of these travel plans surfaced, there weren’t many happy campers in Sarasota, Florida, where the Mets were wrapping up their spring training schedule. Asked if he was looking forward to the trip to upstate New York, Syndergaard summed it up nicely: “Not in the slightest.”
Well, I’m sure the Mets ace was just ecstatic when the team’s flight was delayed three-and-a-half hours due to a mechanical issue, pushing the players’ arrival in Syracuse close to midnight on Monday. The players then got in a workout on the turf of the Carrier Dome – with pitchers throwing off makeshift wooden mounds – in front of a few hundred sorry Mets fans. Not the way you want to kick off a season, with your fan-favorite ace complaining to the media about outrageous travel schedules.
This got me thinking, there’s no way the Mets ever did anything stupid at all before this incident, right? There’s no way … I can’t remember them ever being so stu —
There’s no better place to start a list of the Mets’ most boneheaded decisions than with the Bobby Bonilla contract. For Mets fans, July 1 is not the start of the best week of the summer. Instead, it’s Bobby Bonilla Day: every July 1 until 2035, the Mets will pay their former All-Star $1.19 million. Bonilla was a very good player early in his career with Pittsburgh (finishing in the top-3 of MVP voting twice), and joined the Mets for four mostly successful years in 1991 as a free agent. Later on, New York reacquired the washed-up 36-year-old (one of the organization’s favorite things to do), who played only 60 games for the club in 1999, clearly on the decline. The Mets then decided they didn’t want to pay his $5.9 million salary for 2000, so they offered a “deferred money deal” in which the team would pay Bonilla $1.19 every year from 2011 to 2035. In the end, the Mets will pay Bonilla $29.8 million over 25 years. Better yet, the deal was made under the premise that investments made by Mets ownership with Bernie Madoff would in effect pay for Bonilla’s deferred money deal. Nice going, guys!
On June 1, 2012, Johan Santana pitched the first and only no-hitter in franchise history. It was an incredible moment for Mets fans, many of whom had lost faith and doubted we would ever see such a great performance by a player in Orange and Blue. So what’s so bad about it? After the no-hitter, Santana’s ERA for the season fell to a stout 2.38. In his ten starts after the no-hitter, he posted a 8.27 ERA, and he would never pitch in an MLB game after that season. While it’s impossible to determine whether or not Santana’s 134-pitch effort contributed to the litany of injuries that would derail his career, it’s painfully poetic that such a highlight in Mets history led to the demise of a generational talent, potentially due in part to indiscretion by then-manager Terry Collins.
This article could easily turn into a book with all the misery Mets fans have endured, but let’s end with a more recent example: Yoenis Cespedes. Early in the 2018 season, Cespedes, the Mets’ highest-paid position player and most powerful offensive weapon, missed two months with lower body injuries. Finally healthy (well, uh, kinda?), Cespedes returned to the lineup and immediately provided a spark by hitting a home run in his first game back. However, that would the last game Cespedes played in 2018 (and he may be out for all of 2019, too). According to Cespedes, he had been dealing with chronic pain in both of his heels for a good amount of time. But the Mets medical staff knew nothing of this. So Cespedes played, then shut himself down, and eventually opted for surgery on both heels. When news of this story was breaking, Mets brass looked like chickens with their heads cut off, knowing nothing of any heel problem for Cespedes. Because, that’s what the Mets do.
This article appeared in the annual satire edition of the Spire.