New York Mets fans are quite familiar with “Murphy’s Law.” No, this has nothing to do with Daniel Murphy pursing a law degree. I’m talking about the notion that “anything that can go wrong… will go wrong,” especially when it comes to the New York Mets.
You can start your groaning …now.
On May 29, the Mets were six games over .500 and just 1.5 games out of first place in the NL East. By June 30th, they were still tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second Wild Card slot. When sports commentators across the country started to foresee the wheels falling off on the season in Flushing, I stuck my fingers in my ears and ran around the room screaming, “I’m not listening. I’m not listening.”
Mets fans have suffered through three straight brutal seasons where the team was well under the .500 mark after the All-Star Break. Who can blame a fan base for looking at the glass from a half empty perspective?
I’m not listening!
The Mets went 28-47 after the All-Star Break in 2009. They went 31-43 in the second half of 2010 and 31-40 to wrap up the 2011 season. Christ.
This year, the Mets are off to a dreadful 0-4 start to the second half. After last night’s game against the first-place Washington Nationals, it looks like it could get even worse in the days to come. If Murphy’s Law holds true to form, when the Mets stroll into town to face NL West-leading San Francisco Giants, Tim Lincecum is going to wake up and remember that he’s Tim freaking Lincecum.
While the Mets’ illusion that they are a contender might be slipping away (again) just as it did in the summers of recent past, this is not the Mets team of three years ago. Johan Santana is the last remaining piece of the Mets’ starting rotation from 2009. Daniel Murphy and David Wright are the only two position players.
Unlike other hard luck teams (Ahem! The Chicago Cubs), the team can’t (as well as shouldn’t) blame curses or hexes. The 2009 Mets were plagued by numerous injuries. That was the main reason why they suffered in the second half. In 2010, they were playing for a lame duck manager. As for last year, the team simply stunk. Several of the team’s most talented pieces were traded for prospects or monetary savings. The Mets shipped Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants and Francisco Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers. Wrapping up the season with a mark of 31-40 shouldn’t really be considered a shock.
You still though have the right to groan.
2012 is a different beast though. The starting rotation has been superb for the most part, and the team shows heart by fighting back when they are behind. Josh Thole came through in the clutch not once but twice yesterday. Then…the bullpen came in and the chances to place blame became abundant.
Finally! I thought I would have no where to place my misplaced aggression.
How can the New York Mets avoid another second-half collapse? I propose some ideas. (Real ones. Not just smarmy commentary.) First, the Mets need to invest in a closer who doesn’t look terrified to be out there. Bobby Parnell throws 100 miles an hour. He’s got to throw inside at some point. If he can’t, he simply has to go.
Getting rid of him does not include making R.A. Dickey the Mets’ closer. That was a laughably true suggestion from a caller to WFAN 660 in New York today. I understand that the trading deadline is two weeks away, but at that point the season might be irrevocably lost. There is no time to lose.
I’m not saying to the Mets that they should trade away their future. I am saying that they should attempt to get a journeyman at least. Try!
If the Mets look like they are giving up on this season, they are going to find themselves in a bigger hole next Opening Day. It will be a marketing fallout far worse than any Bernie Madoff mayhem ever imagined this year.