Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Mets: More lows than highs in 2011
By Adam Rubin
Make no mistake, the Mets have experienced high points in 2011:
Dillon Gee opened the season 7-0. Chris Capuano notched a two-hit shutout against the Atlanta Braves. The Carlos Beltran trade netted a legitimate potential ace in Zack Wheeler. The streak of 18 straight unanswered grand slams by opponents ended in Detroit with Jason Bay and Beltran producing shots in consecutive innings. The Mets overcame a seven-run deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jason Isringhausen notched his 300th career save.
Heck, Miguel Batista even earned career win No. 100.
(Well, that last moment might not have been overly emotional.)
What about low moments? Well, there have been a few -- more than a few -- as well. Here's a look at the top 10 from the past 10 months:
10. E-5: Looking to prove its smarts, the front office selected Brad Emaus in the Rule 5 draft in December and gave him the inside track to earn the starting second-base job over Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada and Justin Turner. Emaus was billed as someone who would work counts and have a high on-base percentage, which the incoming administration particularly valued. Instead, Emaus flopped, hitting .162 in 14 games before being returned to the Toronto Blue Jays, who then flipped the infielder to the Colorado Rockies in a minor league trade. In fairness, the Mets' other Rule 5 pick, Pedro Beato, is poised to become the first player to stick with the organization through that draft route since catcher Kelly Stinnett in 1994.
9. "MONEYBALL WITH MONEY": After Sandy Alderson hired Paul DePodesta away from the San Diego Padres last offseason, DePodesta told reporters on a conference call the big-market Mets would operate under the "Moneyball with money" mantra. Not quite. With Alderson now suggesting the 2012 payroll could be in the $100 million to $110 million range next season, and with existing commitments still sizable, it is just plain old "Moneyball." Not that DePodesta wants too close a tie to the movie adaptation by that name. DePodesta's character, played by Jonah Hill, was renamed Peter Brand at DePodesta's request.
8. ONE-LINERS: What do Stewie Griffin and Chris Rock have in common? They both got early digs in at the Mets. The precocious Stewie, in an offseason episode of "Family Guy," attends the Mets season opener wearing a hat from his favorite team. The announcer says: "Opening Day and here's the first pitch
" The whack of a bat is then audible. "And the season's over," the announcer continues. Stewie slams his hat in disgust.
Rock, on an episode of "Late Show with David Letterman" on the eve of Opening Day, used the opportunity to needle his favorite team. "They've got no money," Rock told Letterman about the Mets. "No catcher's mask this year. They just get an ugly guy already. The Yankees have got bat day. The Mets have got bring-a-bat day. 'Here you go Jose Reyes. My daddy gave me this for Christmas. Maybe you can use this.'"
7. OOPS: Not everything bad that happens around the Mets is to their detriment. Francisco Rodriguez's agent did not properly file a no-trade list, allowing the Mets to trade him to the Milwaukee Brewers -- a team from which K-Rod was supposed to be protected. The Mets made the swap before new agent Scott Boras realized his predecessor's omission.
6. HAT FLAP: The Mets staged a moving pregame remembrance ceremony on Sept. 11 to honor victims and recognize first responders. However, commerce got in the way of common sense. Major League Baseball demanded the Mets not wear first-responder caps in-game, as the 2001 team had done once play resumed after the terrorist attacks. This time, the Mets complied.
5. BALK IN THE PARK: Of all the ways to lose, D.J. Carrasco found a novel one in Atlanta on June 16. Carrasco's balk scored Diory Hernandez with the winning run in the Braves' 9-8, 10-inning victory.
4. MILD SPRAIN: Ike Davis really did predict, or at least hope, to be back in the lineup the day after his May 10 collision with David Wright near the mound in Denver. Turns out, Davis had undiagnosed cartilage damage, and the boot he was instructed to wear restricted circulation and potentially exacerbated the injury. Davis missed the remainder of the season. No surgery is required. At least the Mets better hope so at this point.
3. WELCOME ABOARD ... OR NOT: The Mets introduced David Einhorn as incoming minority partner in May, with only a few loose ends to tie up. His $200 million infusion was supposed to reduce debt and offset operating losses to stabilize the franchise. Only a few small legal things had to be completed. May became June. June became July
and by September the deal had unraveled. Now, Fred Wilpon and family are trying to raise a comparable amount in $20 million increments or so. If it were that easy, though, it would have been Plan A.
2. SEE YOU IN COURT: In a lawsuit unsealed last offseason and amended during spring training, trustee Irving Picard sued the Wilpon family and its businesses and charities for $1 billion, trying to recover funds for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. The case, since transferred from bankruptcy to district court, has yet to be resolved. But Judge Jed S. Rakoff offered a favorable ruling to the Wilpons on Tuesday that should limit their liability.
1. PR BLITZ: The Mets had the bright idea of arranging a pair of magazine pieces to rehab the Wilpons' image in light of the $1 billion lawsuit and Picard's character assaults. Instead, it blew up, with Fred Wilpon suggesting Reyes would not get "Carl Crawford money" and Wright being labeled "not a superstar."