By Joseph Rini
I have covered four major league baseball teams this season. All of them have been the New York Mets.
On Opening Day March 29, I covered the “2018 is going to be a great year and Mickey Callaway is some manager” Mets. The Mets do the pageantry of Opening Day like Macy’s does Thanksgiving Day parades and nine Mets runs crossed the plate without one ball going over the wall. Noah Syndergaard actually pitched six innings and Yoenis Cespedes ran about loosely and limberly. Prior to the game, GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets needed to improve by 20 games; after the 9-4 win over the Cardinals, they only needed 19 more.
On April 16, I covered the “how good is this but what the heck just happened, alright, it’s only one game” Mets.” The Mets hosted the Nationals after sweeping them a week earlier in our nation’s capital and aside from Bryce Harper hitting a homerun with a shattered bat, it was a virtual a laugher as Jacob deGrom took 12 strikeouts and a 6-1 lead into the eighth inning…and then it happened. The Nationals’ bats woke up, the Mets bullpen imploded and the Mets lost a stunner 8-6…no big deal, right? So they’re 12-3 instead of 13-2…it’s not like they were going finish 160-2, right?
On May 22, the spring weather was still murky and so were the Mets bats as I covered the “sure, they were slumping but they’ve won five of six and now they’ll be feasting on the Marlins” Mets. However, instead of a feast, the Mets dined on an equivalent of bread and water and fell quietly to the Marlins 5-1. With the loss, five games over .500 became four games over instead of six games over and soon thereafter .500 becomes a memory.
This past Monday, June 22, I covered the “did this really happen after that great start Mets.” Syndergaard and Cespedes hadn’t played in a month, Dominic Smith was in leftfield and was that really Kevin Plawecki at first base. At first pitch, the Mets were losers of 18 of their last 22 and by last pitch, a laborious three hours and 27 minutes later, they were losers of 19 of their last 23 as the Pirates held on for a 6-4 victory.
It’s been an odd season for these four Mets teams. It’s as though baseball season became the equivalent of cherry blossom season – really beautiful for two weeks followed by sudden fading and ultimately a bare tree for the rest of the year.
Oh well, half a season to go and hopefully I’ll get to cover and the fans will get to see the “at least they’re playing decently again” Mets.