What the Hell Are the New York Mets Doing?

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What the Hell Are the New York Mets Doing?

The New York Mets are off to a one-win start in this nascent MLB season, but that’s not what is getting some parts of the baseball world riled up this week. Under-performing expectations is the Mets brand, and should this high-priced Steve Cohen experiment turned semi-reboot not work out, no one would be surprised. It’s a dog bites man story.

This is a Mets bite Mets story. It is unlike anything I have ever seen in a lifetime of playing and watching baseball, and credit to James O’Brien (AKA Jomboy) of Jomboy Media for digging into this and completely blowing every baseball fan’s mind who has watched his report, which is embedded at the bottom of this blog.

This all began with the play in the title photo of this story, and the dispute between the Mets and the Milwaukee Brewers about whether Rhys Hoskins’s slide into Jeff McNeil was a dirty play. Both benches and bullpens cleared and it was a whole big thing. Then Jomboy dug into it, and found that this was just the tip of the iceberg. Who cares whether the slide was dirty anymore?

(it wasn’t)

What grew out of it ripped a hole in the fabric of my baseball universe.

Do the Mets Know the Rules of Baseball?

I am no expert on New York Mets calamity, but I do feel a spiritual connection to them as a downtrodden Colorado Rockies fan. This feeling has been confirmed by one of the world’s foremost Metsperts writing about my silly little anonymous team on occasion. Rockies owner Dick Monfort, like longtime Mets owner Fred Wilpon before he sold the team to decabillionaire Steve Cohen, also is an over-matched doofus who fashions himself a Baseball Guy and has proven every single day of his tyrannical existence that he is not.

Both the Rockies and Mets have, shall we say, unique approaches to building a team. The fan experience alternates between watching complete incompetence and utter mediocrity with just enough tastes of contention to keep junkies like me coming back to participate in my baseball version of a failed state. The Mets are usually far more competent than the Rockies largely due to the yawning financial gap in media markets, but on a relative basis to their peers, both are similar kinds of hot messes.

Like the Wilpon-era Mets, the Rockies also like to alienate their best players and prefer tired and disproven baseball tropes over Excel spreadsheets. They are also weirdly cheap (the Rockies let the best infield in baseball at the time in D.J. LeMahieu, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story basically just walk out the door), and weirdly extravagant in their spending (then they paid Kris Bryant a bunch of money for reasons Kris Bryant still doesn’t even fully understand, and in 2018 before it all went to hell, the Rockies had the most expensive bullpen of all time!).

While I do not fully understand the cultural customs of the New York Metropolitans, I come from a similar milieu out here in the Rockies and recognize the “only this team” vibes in this bizarre story. It gives me the confidence to take this task on of presenting the New York Mets to someone who has perhaps never seen them before. It is a momentous occasion in anyone’s life to learn about this lovable mess of a team playing in the shadow of the mighty New York Yankees, and this example is…just…oh boy.

Before I get out of your hair and leave you with the video you came to see, to understand why this report is so incredibly astonishing, I must dispense one more baseball cultural custom to the uninitiated who didn’t have their brain warped by standing on an infield for 14 of the first 19 years of their life.

RUN HARD!

That’s it. That’s the rule. You are allowed, and encouraged, and taught by our forefathers and their forefathers and their forefathers, that the second baseman or shortstop does not have a right to second base on a double play. It is the runner’s target too. Within the boundaries of sliding towards the target, you can – AND SHOULD – make the second baseman or shortstop uncomfortable on the throw to try to help your teammate get in safely to first base.

I coached Little League in the past and generally around half to three-quarters of our 11- to 13-year-olds would run hard into second base every year without us having to tell them. It is quite literally, an elementary concept in baseball.

Which finally brings me back to Jomboy. He did a deep-dive investigation into the Mets and greater Major League Baseball that every journalist should watch. This is as good and straightforward of a lesson in journalism as you’ll ever see.

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, the New York Mets.

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