Meet The Mets, A Baseball Team With No Balls
You'd be hard pressed to find someone who looked less like a Major League baseball player last night than The Magical Murph tripping over his own feet out in left field in the 8th, falling on his arse, lamely reaching up to try and catch it but letting yet another easy fly ball to fall safely to ruin another game.
Sure, left field is not his normal position but jaysus, it's not like he was chasing a sinking line drive, is it then? This was pretty much a routine fly ball, easy out.
Nonetheless whilst he will no doubt absorb most of the blame for last night's 6-4 loss make no mistake, the loss was a collective effort, a farcical adventure of miscues, weird plays and the usual incompetence.
But whatever percentage of blame Murphy deserves is irrelevant. There is now clearly a problem with his fielding and despite his gorgeous swing and precocious bat, he may well have to be removed from the lineup. There's simply nowhere out there to hide him.
Don't wanna get my uniform dirty by sliding home with the go ahead run...
"I was too close to slide into home plate," Beltran said later of his ridiculous lack of effort. "I was running, looking at the ball, and I didn't realize how close I was."
Hmmm, I dunno, you're making a break for home plate and you aren't thinking about possibly having to slide to make it there safely? I think even Little Leaguers are aware of these scenarios, aren't they?
Play it safe, Carlos, especially with your fragile little body. Play it safe and just kind of walk into the tag, minimising fuss. We didn't really need the run anyway, no sense putting yourself out.
You know what the problem is? The same problem he had in Game 6 against these Cardinals a few years ago. The same problem he has when he thinks he should bunt instead of swinging away. The same problem this whole team has had, the core, rotten as it is with fear.
They have no balls.
A player with balls would have reached around or run through the catcher if for some crazy reason he couldn't slide. He wouldn't have just passively allowed himself to be tagged out like the Mets passively allowed themselves to be overtaken in September by the Phillies the last two seasons.
No don't get me wrong, I didn't say the team doesn't have heart. They all want to win, sure. They all try very hard. But they've got no killer instinct, no street fighting sense.
They're too bloody meek which is why instead of building on early leads they let the other team, time and time again, fight and claw their way back to even the score or even take the lead themselves.
The pattern is crystal clear, for more than two years running now and as much as Jerry Manuel talks tough about cutting people and comes up with clever little inventions which despite myself, I find endearing, Jerry Manuel is not the kind of manager the Mets need.
They need a manager who is going to terrify them. They need a manager who is going to instill a killer instinct in them. Not one who scratches his head with the same bewilderment that his players do but a manager who is going to go ballistic about these kinds of mistakes, this kind of choking, break shit in the clubhouse, through colossal tantrums, epic tirades. A man the Mets will be too afraid to lose under.
But there is none on the horizon.
So limping along, squandering leads, choking with runners in scoring position, losing and generally affirming their position as the laughingstocks of all of baseball looks like the only option left available.
So laugh along with the Mets this season. The Captains of Underachievement.
Or, we can just shrug and say That's How It Goes, a perfect slogan for the Mets if I've ever seen one.