Mets Rumors & News
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Bursitis. Bunions. Hernias. Infections. Are these your grandparents’ ailments? No, these are injuries suffered by the New York Mets. Throw in the usual hammies, groin pulls and concussions, and it’s no wonder there isn’t a spring in the collective step of the Mets in 2008. They’re one broken hip away from gathering around before each game to watch Matlock reruns. But with their latest hot streak they may be ready to film Cocoon III: The Healing Waters of Flushing’s Raw Sewage at Shea this summer.

Omar Minaya’s reliance on old, injury-prone players is certainly a big gamble. Is it really a surprise that there is a lack of fire and passion, not to mention bad chemistry, when you have a roster filled with aging players just collecting a paycheck (or at least outwardly seeming so)? Who could have foreseen that Pedro Martinez, El Duque and Moises Alou would miss a significant chunk of games? Or that Carlos Delgado would continue the downward spiral of his career? Apparently everybody but Omar. Sure, it’s fun watching Luis Castillo slap a slow roller to short on purpose for an infield hit, then limp back to first like an old man hobbling into a Denny’s for the meatloaf special on the Senior’s Menu. But come on, when you call up a 33-year-old Fernando Tatis from the minors and he gives you that youthful spark you’ve been missing, you’ve got problems. But I guess you take what you can get. Omar sold out the future to win now, but they may be too old to win now. They may be waking up from their slumber with “youngsters” like Damion Easley pitching in, but what happens if this turnaround is temporary? Fernando Martinez is about the only real prospect they have, and there aren’t many quality free agents on the horizon to fix this mess. I’m afraid there will be more Carlos Delgados thrown on the pile in the coming years perpetuating the problem.

Who knew the last season at Shea Stadium would be celebrated with every game looking like Old-Timers’ Day? Before last week, the 2008 Mets had been playing like they’re participating in a three-inning exhibition game against the 1976 Montreal Expos. If Delgado is going to bat .224 and Alou can’t even get on the field, can’t they just put Ed Kranepool at first and throw Rusty Staub, George Theodore and Pepe Mangual in the outfield? Who would you rather see pitch―a retired Turk Wendell or Aaron Heilman? At least it would be fun, unlike the morguelike atmosphere that’s been at Shea for most of the season.

But have the sleepwalking zombies finally come to life? The franchise was about to forget about Los Mets and target a senior citizen fan base to go with the geriatric players. PR guru Jay Horwitz may not have to send out this press release after all: “To honor our loyal elderly fans (and players), every weekday game for the rest of the season will be designated Senior Citizen Day. All fans 59 and over will get in for half price and receive a free tube of ointment. To make the fans comfortable, the game will be played at 6:30 in the morning. And the band The Swingin’ Slacks (‘sold more albums than Scott Baio and Don Johnson combined!’) will perform after each game. Fresh off their early-bird tour of Florida, supporting their album Slack it to Me!, they will entertain the crowds with a sampling of the following hit songs: ‘I Could Really Use a Nap,’ ‘It’s 4:15 – Who’s Ready for Dinner?,’ ‘The Smell of Your Denture Cream Reminds Me of the Depression,’ ‘Those Punk Kids Nowadays Don’t Have Any Respect,’ ‘I Love You Because of (Not in Spite of) Your Arthritis,’ ‘I Think My Hearing Aid Fell in Your Pudding,’ ‘Wake Me Up When Diagnosis Murder Comes On’ and ‘God, It’s Cold in Here.’”

Maybe this team will have some 1973-like magic in them after all―an Endy Chavez pinch-hit home run here, a Tatis walk-off hit there. They’ve played 49 games of blasé baseball followed by six games of inspired ball. Let’s see if they can sustain their new-found energy because they have a long way to go. We’ll give them till the trade deadline, and if they’re still in fourth place, put Ralph Kiner back in the booth for every game and just let the 1986 Mets play the rest of the season. They may be in their forties and fifties but they’ll probably show more toughness and effort than the team on the field has shown over the last year. Can we believe the 2008 Mets are for real? One week’s not enough to tell but it’s a lot more exciting than waiting for Moises Alou to come off the disabled list only to slowly shuffle up to the plate using a walker.

There are currently 3 responses to “Old-Timers’ Year at Shea”

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  1. 1 On June 2nd, 2008, gozer said:

    You know, there’s been all this talk about the Mets lately….Willie stinks, Omar stinks, these guys are old, etc., etc. Anyone else notice that these guys look a lot smarter and the team looks a lot younger when Carlos Beltran is hitting home runs of the scoreboard? Look around the majors and tell me how many competitive clubs have gotten as little power production from their cleanup spot as the Mets prior to this weekend

  2. 2 On June 2nd, 2008, Benjy said:

    Listen, you can go to any team and rattle off a list of veteran players, then boldly proclaim the team has an abundance of old players. Jose Reyes (24) and David Wright (25) give the Mets the best left side of an infield in baseball for the next decade. Johan Santana (29), Oliver Perez (26), Mike Pelfrey (24) and John Maine (27) give them a nice core of young pitchers. Besides for this years slow start and his first year adjusting to NY, Beltran has been an MVP candidate since he arrived, and when they traded for Delgado they got one of the most consistent power hitters in the game (nine straight years of 30 homers and 100+ RBIs, including a 38-114-.265 year as a Met). The average age of the Mets this season is 30, the age that most scouts say a player peaks.
    Let’s look at the Yankees as an example. The only reason their average age is younger then the Mets is because they allow guys to pitch who just stopped playing in Little league, and we all know how that turned out. Their core of Posada (36), A-Rod (32), Giambi (37), Abreu (34), Jeter (33), Damon (34), Pettitte (35, Mussina (39)and Rivera (38) have all shown sign off old age.
    The Mets problem is mental, not physical. They have the tools to win but just can’t seem to but it all together. They didn’t call up Tatis for a youthful spark, but for veteran leadership- which is exactly what he is doing. With Pedro coming back and everyone settling down after the shaky start, look for the Mets to start playing like a team they are: a talented team with players in their prime.

  3. 3 On June 2nd, 2008, Lloyd Braun said:

    THE GLASS IS HALF FULL WITH THIS ONE.

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