Have nine Mets ever been on the disabled list? Have we ever had, on the disabled list, three of our four most important offensive players, two of our starting pitchers, and our second most important reliever? I think that this may be the most “injured” Mets team ever.
Should we despair? Should we demand a move that, given our situation, we can probably not get away with making?
Well, let me first admit that I am afraid. This has become an absurd situation. But let me also be frank. If games like this one can happen (the 6-4 win over the Cardinals in the first game of the series), I could really start enjoying this. Enjoying? Actually enjoying? Yeah.
I enjoy this because if gives me a glimpse of something for which I have a guilty, secret attraction. I love to watch a Mets team with solid pitching and a dubious lineup, a team that can only win when it summons reserves of grit, when it finds pockets of surprise. What is actually more fun than watching a washed up mediocre pitcher throw a fine game, as a former third catcher no one had heard of on opening day goes 4 for 4, as a young player who was not making the grade as a regular suddenly starts to earn his keep, as a veteran replacement shortshop emerges as a team leader, as the last major offensive player in the lineup continues to lead the league in hitting? What is more fun than being reminded of what the Mets used to be?
Oh, of course, I don’t want to see them go on like this. I want the real team back. But what would be cooler than watching the tough second team holding their own through the hardest part of the schedule, until the real team comes back and sails through August and September as if it were 1969.
I know a lot of fans want to talk about what could have been done better as this team was constituted. They have a lot of good, valid points to make. And I know that I’m probably just dreaming if I think that this is just going to be a fun interlude in a dramatic, brilliant season. But let me tell you something. A trade is not going to save them. The only trades Omar is likely to be able to make are the kind of trades that we are likely to regret later. All that can save them is the dream coming true. All that can save them is the unlikely. We will only have a good season if some players do more than we would have any right to expect of them. This is what baseball fandom used to be. I liked it. I still like it. A game like tonight was so much fun. Lets enjoy our decimated team. Let’s have something a little different.
I’m going to the game tonight (6/23). I want to see it happen again. I’m checking out the Pepsi Porch because it looks like fun and I’m looking for my home in the stadium I’m still not yet at home in. A team like the one I saw tonight could make me feel at home. I’ve seen guys like this before. I’m getting into this. You see, it will not be entirely satisfying if the Mets just do with this particular core what they should have done these past two seasons. They have to do something a little different. They have to be the 2009 Mets. They can’t just be what should have happened. They have to be their own miracle, if they are going to carve out their own space in our memory.