- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Funhouse Team Without the Fun

Chronic misdiagnoses of injuries and the incomprehensible roster machinations [1] that follow? Half-assed trade rumors in which they can't even make the right hypothetical [2] decision? Club executives saying [3] ridiculous things? Doing [4] ridiculous things? The Mets are, to borrow a phrase [5] from the former Sports Illustrated writer Steve Rushin, more fun than a barrel of Mookies leading up to and coming out of every game. They are a sideshow attraction par excellence.

It's the main event [6] that's the problem.

At the end of a day when Omar Minaya was sent to meet the media to defuse allegations that Tony Bernazard is doing the impossible by making the Mets look more unprofessional than their recent record would indicate (I still can't get over the nonjudgmental ESPN headline, “Mets exec dares prospects to fight him”) — and after the GM defused nothing [7] thanks to speaking remedial legalese and squirming characteristically uncomfortably — the Mets put aside all the distractions that seem to trail them around like a scrap of public restroom toilet paper on the heel of a shoe and went outside to play ball.

Which is too bad, because the distractions have surpassed for entertainment the dreary business the Mets are obligated to transact 68 more times this season.

Wait…these Mets are required to play 68 more baseball games in 2009? Now that's the alleged misconduct Omar ought to be investigating.

The Washington Nationals won their second straight over the New York Mets, giving them a series win. Losing two of three to the now 28-66 Nats is like being swept eight straight by anybody else, including the first nine pregnant ladies to whom you'd offer your seat on the bus (though I wouldn't count on Tony Bernazard ceding his spot without first unleashing a profanity-laced tirade [8]). The Mets were four-hit Wednesday night by Walter Johnson. Or was it Walter Cronkite? Does it really matter who they face on a given evening with the herd of stray Bisons they're dressing as Mets? If Tony Bernazard wants to take on a bunch of minor leaguers, he need only travel with the so-called big club. Chances are he'd beat them, too. Showing fight isn't exactly the Mets' forte.

The highlight of the evening (at least until I caught the latest episode of Metstradamus [9]) was hearing that Fernando Tatis was playing, and not because I took the “under” on total hits. I had seen the lineup and Tatis wasn't in it, yet early in the game, Wayne Hagin mentioned our only remaining Fernando doing something in the field. Ohmigod, I thought, I went and wrote something nice about David Wright [10] and now Wright must have left the game with what Met doctors are calling a slight pull of the brain that we'll find out next week is really aggravated mental anguish that will keep him on the shelf for two years but they won't disable him just yet.

No, it turned out, Tatis wasn't in for a debilitated Wright. He was replacing an ejected Luis Castillo [11]. Phew! What a relief! Thank goodness nothing happened to Wright. Without David, imagine how bad we'd be. Why, we'd probably be losing series to the Washington Nationals.

And bonus points for Castillo getting himself ejected. That makes at least two Mets [12] who won't back down when Tony Bernazard storms into town itching to rumble.

Off day Thursday. As if the Mets aren't off every day.

While you prepare your anecdotes about how you stayed a Mets fan in the worst of times, even in 2009, relive equally bizarre and occasionally uplifting seasons with Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon [13], Barnes & Noble [14] or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook [15]. And check out one blogger's take on Citi Field in the latest edition of Metropolis Magazine [16].