And you thought May was bad.
It’s amazing that a game that ends 4-3 in favor of the Yankees feels like so much deeper a divide. The Mets got off to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first on home runs by Todd Frazier and Asdrubal Cabrera, and it looked like a new-fangled lineup had sparked this team to new heights. But it was a mirage which only lasted one inning. The Yankees slowly and methodically got to Steven Matz with a Gleyber Torres home run in the third, and a two run HR by Miguel Andujar in the sixth. At that point, it just felt like a matter of time.
The clock struck midnight (again) with Anthony Swarzak’s first pitch, which was great except that it was to Aaron Judge, who hit it into the seats to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. 3-0 in the first inning felt like it took a lot of effort, and probably for the Mets, it did … as they had scored three runs in the previous five games. The Yankees scoring four runs in the next nine felt like they were swatting flies, as you knew the Mets had no response. I understand that Cespedes is hurt (and it will be for longer than expected.) I understand that Familia is hurt. But they were supposedly built to withstand this. They’re 0-for-June. The bottom line is such: They stink. To find different ways to say that they stink is futile.
But Joel Sherman tried his best.
It is 32 years and counting since the Mets last won it all, and does their current collection make even the most optimistic fan see an end to that? When does the ball going through Buckner’s legs begin to play like The Curse of the Billy Buck, like the Cubs once had the Curse of the Billy Goat? When does three straight two-out hits down two runs in the bottom of the 10th, and the implosion of Calvin Schiraldi and Bob Stanley, and finally that ball scooting by Buckner play like a version of Damn Yankees — a sell-your-soul scenario that costs all chances at a title moving forward?
It is 32 years, so probably not yet because there are actually nine teams that have waited longer in just the majors. But what about 35 years or 40 or … When does it all start to add up? Scioscia taking Gooden deep and Harvey talking his way into the ninth inning. Firecrackers and bleach. Fake mustaches on the manager and Mr. Met hoisting the middle finger. Ryan Church on a plane with a concussion and Willie Randolph axed at 3:15 a.m. When does it — like a brutal baseball equation — all add up to, call it what you like: a jinx, a hex, a curse?
Here’s the thing about “curses”: They’re a great, romantic narrative. Baseball is about romance, so people will eat this up. Joel Sherman mentioned Dan Shaughnessy’s book: The Legend of the Curse of the Bambino. It created a notion of a Red Sox Curse in motion, and in part helped them to be a legendary franchise. Curses are great stories. The Curse of the Bambino and the Curse of the Billy Goat were great narratives that people ate up. Curses can actually be fun.
Now, we have our first hint of a Curse of the Mets to explain why they haven’t won a title in 32 years (and counting). Mets fans would probably eat it up because it would help explain things in an easy (and marketable) way. The Brooklyn Dodgers, who Mets owner Fred Wilpon idolized, were also romanticized in baseball history by their fans’ constant mantra of “Wait ’til Next Year.” (Brooklyn at least made the World Series quite often in the late 40’s and early 50’s). There would be no greater boon for the Mets’ ownership than for Mets fans to start writing the last 32 seasons off as a curse. Selling hope is what they do best, and Sherman, probably unwittingly, is giving them an easy path to that. I’m sorry, but I’m not writing this off as some sort of outcome created by an alternate universe of hidden beings turning every big moment against the Mets, neutralizing every great decision made by the Mets ownership, front office, or medical staff.
The Mets entrusted their money to a ponzi scheme, then tried to profit off of it. They made Pedro Martinez pitch with an injury to increase their gate. They put Ryan Church on an airplane after suffering a concussion. (You may yell at the media for bringing this up, but I’ll bring it up every day if it’ll piss people off into action, Sandy.) These things don’t happen to cursed teams. They happen to incompetent teams. The Mets are incompetent. If Joel Sherman is setting us up for is own “Curse of the Bambino/Mets Edition” book, he had better not write about any curse. The book needs to be “The Incompetence of the Mets” or … as the kids say … GTFOH.
The Mets are 16-33 in their last 51. That’s close to a third of the season. That’s criminal. But it’s no curse. And it shouldn’t be written off as such. That’s the easy way out for a franchise that specializes in them.
Don’t fall for it.
Today’s Hate List
- Miguel Andujar
- Aaron Judge
- Gleyber Torres
- David Robertson
- Aroldis Chapman