Dog Days Are Here for Mets
New York City will clean up the tickertape from the parade for the soccer champions on Wednesday. But who will clean up the Mets?
This is the lament of a Mets fan facing the dog days of summer – jealous as hell about the Yankees’ talented young players starting with that nice Aaron Judge, but not able to switch allegiances.
For a Mets’ fan, what is there? More than half the major-league teams stink, either through ineptitude or lack of money, and the Mets would seem to suffer from both.
They are now going to divest themselves of some players who were supposed to be part of a contending team this season. Now begins the ugly dance of summer for bad franchises – when players get sent away.
The Mets’ TV caught Zack Wheeler skulking in a corner of the dugout the other day, and the knowing commentary was that he might be making his last start as a Met last Sunday (which turned out to be a stinker, surprise, surprise.)
So what does a fan have left? As a Mets fan in my certified old age, I go on line daily to read the New York Post’s fine sports section to find out what is happening with the Mets.
But some things a fan can figure out for oneself. The closest thing to “fun” for the rest of this season could be Jeff McNeil winning the batting title He is currently leading the league with .349, despite the Mets’ brain trust having hoped he would be crowded off the roster by opening day.
If Jed Lowrie – 35 years old, career average .262 – had not suffered some kind of lingering injury (it really doesn’t matter), my feeling is the Mets would have been playing him ahead of McNeil. Even so, McNeil has been banished from his best defensive position, second base, currently deeded to the ghost of Robinson Canó, trying to come back after a suspension for a performance-enhancing drug.
McNeil’s skills are throwbacks to another era – that is to say, Tony Gwynn or Wade Boggs, hitters who knew how to stroke a pitched ball to a vacant patch of fair territory. This conflicts with the analytics promoted by techies in a dark room somewhere in New Shea Stadium. Launch Arc! The techies insist. And the Mets’ management seems to go along.
The general manager is a reforming agent named Brodie Van Wagenen, who apparently tossed a chair to demonstrate his manly-man qualities during a post-game tirade with his coaching staff. And the manager is Mickey Callaway, emphatically not from this franchise, who makes me appreciate, more every day, the old-school style of Terry Collins.
What do Mets’ fans have?
The Post’s Joel Sherman praises management for allowing Pete Alonso to make the team on opening day rather than tying him up in the minors to keep a legal hold on him for another season. Alonso won the home-run derby and drove in two runs in the All-Star Game and has 30 homers this season. Sherman compares Alonso’s run with Jeremy Lin’s short, furious spurt with the Knicks a few years ago. He calls Alonso “a rose floating in sewage.”
Jacob DeGrom is looking more and more grim as he faces years of pitching six great innings and watching the bullpen blow it.
And Jeff McNeil, reviving an unwanted art, is hitting it where they ain’t, as Wee Willie Keeler exemplified more than a century ago.
The Mets also have Gary, Keith and Ron in the TV booth. Their informed excellence makes it hard for me to watch network baseball.
That’s it. The dog days.
Where have you gone, Megan Rapinoe?
7/10/2019 01:03:44 pm
Oh no George,
7/10/2019 03:25:50 pm
Dear Hansen: I could afford to move on to the Next Big Thing (!) because I knew you would contribute the on-the-spot reporting and analysis of the parade. The check is in the mail, dude.
7/10/2019 06:05:50 pm
To get a taste of what Hansen has written about here, check out the short video in this NYTimes piece:
7/10/2019 02:40:07 pm
I agree with everything you wrote, GV. Especially about McNeil. Basically the team has about three real bright spots, 2-3 solid players to partly fill out the team, and a lot of mismatched and underperforming parts. Not sure why the rotation has largely regressed to the mean. Bullpen is awful. And f it weren't for a wandering second baseman, they'd be getting no punch from the outfield at all. I can't see what direction this team might even try to move in to get better.
7/10/2019 03:30:50 pm
Josh: I agree. I don't see a future for this outfit. They've already given away the next generation for Cano and Diaz, "dead at the present time," as Casey used to say.,
7/10/2019 06:12:50 pm
amazing to watch mcneil being played out of position and keep on hitting 340
7/10/2019 08:43:54 pm
Ahron: good point. How often do you see a player shift positions and get distracted? Conforto, possibly.
7/11/2019 04:56:38 am
"Jealous as hell?" "Switching allegiances?"
7/11/2019 05:45:42 am
7/11/2019 10:49:15 am
RF: A good point. I just have trouble watching early-morning TV, anything. Wimbledon. The Tour. I used to watch hours of the Tour, more for La Belle France than for La Cyclisme. But in my certified old age, I like to read the NYT (Trump! Epstein! Acosta! Barr! All these fine fellows) and nibble breakfast and let the day break slowly and quietly. But you have prodded me to watch the Tour any day now.
7/11/2019 05:51:43 pm
7/11/2019 10:43:01 am
Mendel: always listen to your rabbi, I say.
7/11/2019 12:06:57 pm
Hansen, you must understand, (PS what great writing-thanks), it is an addiction, started with being a Dodger fan, it is where the phrase, “Long suffering,” was born.
7/11/2019 03:36:48 pm
mendels grandfather was an immigrat from isreal in 1933.in fell in love with the brooklyn dodgers.iwas brought to 3 ganes in ebbetts feild.then in 1962 started our familys unholy alliance with the mets
7/12/2019 02:58:30 pm
7/14/2019 10:28:03 am
George, I'm done. From rooting for the Mets after moving from Montreal in 1964, when I was nine to today as a 64 year old man I've followed the Mets through thick and thin. I really thought this year would be different but the same crummy beat goes on. I could write paragraphs on why the Mets are such a disappointment but suffice it to say I will ignore the New York Mets until the Wilpons sell the club.
7/14/2019 05:55:24 pm
McNeil, Cano homers spark Mets' win. DeGrom pitches 5, one run 6 Ks, and 6 hits. Bullpen effective! Huzzah!
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“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.