Just when you think you've seen it all, almost every season a player on the New York Mets makes headlines for a surprising off-the-field issue. The multitude of inappropriate actions and embarrassing behavior by the team feels more like a soap opera than a professional baseball organization.
While the New York Yankees perennially grace the cover of local newspapers for winning championships, the Mets created news over the years with locker-room brawls, drug scandals and throwing fireworks into a crowd of fans.
With Johan Santana on the disabled list until mid-season, fans are not expecting the 2011 version of the Mets to be a playoff-caliber team that can compete for the National League East division title. Realistically, all we can hope for is that the squad displays some professionalism to get the focus back to baseball.
Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, so here is a look back at the most embarrassing moments in New York Mets history.
After a 1993 Mets-Dodgers game in California, Coleman ignited a lit firecracker and carelessly threw it towards a crowd of baseball fans outside the stadium. Three bystanders were injured and Coleman was sentenced to 200 hours of community service for the incident.
In July of 1993, Brett Saberhagen put bleach into a watergun and shot it into a room full of reporters. For his role in the incident, Saberhagen donated one day's pay to charity and apologized to fans and the media.
Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez was arrested in August of 2010 for punching his father-in-law in the Mets clubhouse. K-Rod then blew up at reporters after the game.
Mike Piazza held a press conference in May of 2002 before a Mets-Phillies game to announce that he was not gay.
Free-agent bust Bobby Bonilla goes back on the Mets payroll in 2011. Due to a deferred compensation clause that Bonilla accepted, he will receive $1,193,248.20 from the team every July 1 from 2011 to 2035.
Mets fans fumed for years after the 2004 trade of their top prospect, Scott Kazmir, to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Victor Zambrano. The team hoped that by acquiring Zambrano in the deal, that it would help them in the stretch run towards the playoffs. The move was emblematic of the Mets attempt to fix the team with short-term solutions rather than building homegrown talent in the farm system.
A brawl outside of a Houston bar in 1986 involved Mets infielder Tim Teufel and pitchers Ron Darling, Bobby Ojeda and Rick Aguilera. The Mets players were apparently heckled by bar patrons and then quarreled with police officers during the incident.
When Foster's playing time diminished during the 1986 season, he claimed that it was racially motivated. Also during a bench-clearing brawl that year, Foster sat on the bench while the rest of the team fought on the field.
In 2008, the Mets mishandled the firing of manager Willie Randolph by letting him go at 3:14 a.m. by press release. They made Randolph fly all the way to California and dangle in the wind for days before finally telling him that he had been dismissed.
In the final game of 2007, Tom Glavine needed to pitch a solid game to put the Mets into the playoffs. Instead, he gave up seven runs in the first inning, completing an epic collapse that sent the team packing.
Talking to reporters after the loss, Glavine said "I'm not devastated, but I am disappointed." The quote came across as a lack of respect towards Mets fans.