Mets Are Full of Surprises

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IJune 8, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 31:  Fernando Martinez #26 of the New York Mets in action against the Florida Marlins during their game on May 31, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

When Emil Brown passed Luis Castillo on the base paths on Saturday night, I was ready to turn off the TV and contemplate doing something worthwhile with my time—like helping others, giving back to the community, taking part in selfless adult activities—but of course I couldn’t.

No matter how many home runs John Maine gave up or how many times the Mets resembled little leaguers, I kept watching.

The Mets are like a car wreck—you can’t help but watch. And you never know what’s going to happen next.

The 2009 Mets are just full of surprises. They’re usually not good surprises, like a surprise party thrown in your honor with all your friends and family around you.  The Mets’ surprises are usually bad—like getting a letter from the IRS saying you owe them $20,000. That kind of surprise.

You never know what type of antics and high jinks this team will pull next. Baseball historians have to scramble during just about every game to come up with the last time a player did something that a Met just did. It usually goes back to the 1937 St. Louis Browns. Or the 1962 Mets. Brown passes Castillo.

When was the last time that happened?

David Wright gets thrown out at third base twice in one game, and it could have easily been three times if not for a bad call by the ump ("That’s right, Zuzu, every time David Wright gets thrown out at third, an angel gets his wings”). Carlos Beltran tries to hustle his way into a triple, but gets thrown out because he didn’t actually hustle—he slowly jogged to first, then ran hard, then pulled into second, then ran hard again, and by that time it was too late.

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Jose Reyes has also been thrown out at third a number of times. The list goes on and on. 

Mike Pelfrey balks three times in one game, Ken Takahashi balks by dropping the ball, Ryan Church misses third base and Fernando Martinez hits a pop-up that is clearly in fair territory and stands in the batter’s box watching the play instead of running.

It doesn't stop there.

Beltran loses a game by not sliding into home plate. Three Met players end up on the disabled list because of sliding incidents. Wilson Valdez, Emil Brown, Ramon Martinez, Omir Santos, Gary Sheffield, Ken Takahashi all end up on the roster at one time or another. Surprise. They lose games in ways you could never imagine. They run the bases in ways you don't want to imagine. And they pick up players you’ve never even heard of.

But there have been some positive surprises, too.

Santos hit a game-winning home run in Boston. When Tim Redding took the mound for his heartfelt homecoming on Friday and ended up with a victory, that was a surprise. The capacity crowd all rooted for his return and Redding shed some tears as he threw his first pitch and the crowd chanted, “Red-ding! Red-ding! Red-ding!”

There hasn’t been a homecoming like that since Pepe Mangual returned to Montreal in 1976 after getting traded to the Mets for Wayne Garrett. Sheffield’s mini-resurgence has been a surprise. Livan Hernandez’s performance has been a pleasant surprise too.

After getting swept by the Dodgers, everyone thought the Mets wouldn’t have a chance against the Red Sox and they won that series. That was a nice surprise.

Unfortunately, there have already been enough "Did I just see what I thought I saw” moments to fill a decade, let alone a season.

I guess we could go the Forrest Gump route. The Mets are like a box of chocolates, but it’s not just that you never know what you’re gonna get, it’s that half of the chocolates have razor blades inserted into them, too.

And Forrest is a much, much better base runner than anyone of the Mets.