The New York Mets showed up as an utter failure in the MLB Trade Deadline of this season.
It’s funny how well your sports team can act as a perfect mirror image of your life at some points. The relationship of your favorite sports team and your role as a fan is entirely abstracted in that you essentially make of it what you wish.
While we like to think (and often humorously firmly believe) that our superstitious antics of not moving from a lucky spot on the couch during an important at-bat or not discussing a no-hitter while in the process of one makes a difference. All too often, we realize that it pays no matter to any substantial result.
That’s the most fatalistic way to explain to a Mets fan that, while other teams made a difference this trade deadline, our beloved Mets stood idle.
Sometimes, that’s just the way it is. Sometimes in life, you’ll sit and watch as the tides violently throw you into the water as a suave surfer glides right by as everyone watches him and you simply get no regard. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who were recently as bankrupt and lowly as the Mets were over the offseason, came out of this trade deadline with two big-time hitters (Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino), and were inches away from pulling in starting help with Ryan Dempster. Their fans realized that they cared.
Meanwhile, the New York Mets sat and watched.
“30 minutes until deadline,” explained ESPN’s New York Mets writer Adam Rubin. “So far recapping #Mets activity: Traded Omar Quintanilla to Orioles for cash.”
In their final game before the trade deadline, Hairston hit his second homerun of the game to beat the Giants in 10 innings. Hairston remained on the Mets for another day.
“I'm kind of glad I'm still here," Hairston confessed. "Like I said last night, I'm having a lot of fun playing for the Mets and this is a great team to be a part of. I admit I didn't sleep as good as I thought I would last night. I kept staring at the clock. So I'll get that out of the way. But I'm just excited I'm still here."
Well, so long as Scott Hairston is "kind of" happy to be back.
"Right now, he's a very important part of our team," explained Mets general manager Sandy Alderson. "And we do feel it's important to field as strong a team as we reasonably can for the rest of the season. We haven't given up on the season. We didn't move players off the team for a reason. We think we still have lots of good baseball in front of us. And Scott can be part of that.”
With the addition of a second wild card team for this season, there’s an increased perception for MLB teams around the league that they’re still in contention for the current season. Right now, however, the Mets are sitting 12.0 games back of the Washington Nationals for control of the NL East.
With a winning percentage of .485 (50-53), the New York Mets are also 8.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are tied for control of the two wild card positions in the National League.
“I think there's a lot of value, for example, in finishing well over .500. I think there's a lot of value in finishing over .500,” Alderson continued. “I think those things create a perception. What happened or didn't happen on the deadline may be largely forgotten if a team is able to create a positive impression the second half of the season.”
That doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly frustrating in the moment.
Just like I explained earlier, sports can be eerily similar to the world that we as fans live in outside of the baseball diamond. Sometimes a job can go the wrong way. Sometimes a romantic interest can spurn. It simply doesn’t matter. The tide can be brutal to those unprepared.
Recently, I’ve been watched the television show Louie written, starring and directed by comedian Louie C.K. In a fictional version of his own life, he makes situational humor at those terrible instances in which everything seems to go wrong in an individual’s life. Each episode is given the darkly humorous motif of the New York life that Louie C.K. lives, which is a perfect fit for all things New York Mets.
“It's hard to really look at somebody and go: "Hey, maybe something nice will happen." You just don't—I know too much about life to have any optimism, because I know even if it's nice, it’s going to lead to [expletive].” he explained in one episode of his show. “I know that if you smile at somebody and they smile back, you've just decided that something [expletitive] is going to happen.”
While the quote had nothing to do with baseball, it had everything to with the New York Mets. The disappointment begins to pile on more and more and it begins to become too much to bear at times. Yet writers and fans like Adam Rubin and myself keep coming back for more.
“I understand our fans are disappointed with what's happened the last three weeks or so,” Alderson concluded on the slump that brought the Mets below .500. “But it's not the end of the season. And there are a lot of impressions to be made over the remaining two months. I happen to think those impressions can be more valuable than a low-A prospect, below the top 30, from some organization in the American League."
Just as Rubin continued to tweet the lineup for the Matt Harvey-Tim Lincecum matchup, and just as I simply had to stop in the MLB apparel store near Laguna Beach and dish the necessary $25 for a retro Mets snapback simply because I was infatuated with the Mr. Met logo on it.
As sports fans, that’s just what we do. We’re the most reliable consumers out there in the market.
If there’s an episode of The Newsroom on HBO that I don’t like, there’s a pretty good chance I just say forget about it and discontinue my interest in the show. Their ratings may go down if enough people agree with me, and eventually the show could be cancelled if the network no longer wishes to support.
For a teams as established as the New York Mets, however, there’s virtually no chance that they’ll be leaving Major League Baseball.
Alderson may be replaced as the GM one day, David Wright may follow the suit of Jose Reyes and leave for free agency, Scott Hairston may be traded over the offseason for one of those low-A prospects we were hesitant about, but there will always be the amazin' New York Mets playing ball for fans in Queens.
That’s a fact about sports that we just have to learn how to accept.
So the Mets did virtually nothing this offseason, and there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll finish exactly where they are right now: middle of the pack. They were unable to bring in relief help, they were unable to bring in batting help, and they were unable to bring in another starter to help an injured rotation.
Earlier this month, I was adamant that this was one of my favorite New York Mets teams since 2006. That team went on to play the Cardinals in the NLCS, only to lose on a Carlos Beltran strikeout. The memory haunts me to this day.
While I was assured that this team would do me better, leave me less crippled and without the heartbreak, sometimes you just have to wonder.
“Then again, when’s the last time that anything good happened?”