As has become annual custom here on the day following the night the Oscars are presented, the Academy would like to pause for a moment to remember those Mets who have, in the baseball sense, left us in the past year.
MICHAEL PATRICK “Mike” O’CONNOR
May 7, 2011 – June 1, 2011
Impressive too was the work of Mike O’Connor (who looks vaguely like an accountant out there but so far succeeds)…
—May 21, 2011
(Free Agent, 9/29/2011; Signed with Yankees, 11/16/2011)
DALE SCOTT THAYER
May 28, 2011 – September 27, 2011
I watched Thayer’s journeyman essence again and sensed imminent doom. I watched Morgan — as good an advertisement as has ever been for the well-placed purpose pitch — drive Thayer’s last delivery down the right field line to score Counsell. I watched Morgan hop, skip and jump like he’d just won the sausage race. I watched what was about to be an exhilarating 6-2 triumph dissolve into a miserable 7-6 defeat. Then I flipped to Jon Stewart and tried to forget what I just saw.
—June 9, 2011
(Free Agent, 10/21/2011; Signed with Padres, 12/5/2011)
TOBI NEAL STONER
September 10, 2009 – April 18, 2010
Former Cyclone could really help the Mets sell more merchandise to snarky college kids. We’ll have to reserve judgment on what he might contribute in actual games.
—October 20, 2009
(Still in Mets organization at last check, but hasn’t pitched for the major league club since April 2010; split 2011 between Single-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton — compiling a combined 6.05 ERA; and was not invited to big league camp this spring. For the purposes of this feature, Tobi Stoner is considered no longer with us. UPDATED TO NOTE TOBI STONER WAS RELEASED ON MARCH 25, 2012.)
June 10, 2010 – October 3, 2010
Perfection is a fourth outfielder, Jesus Feliciano, tripling to lead off the ninth and thereby imperil a 4-4 tie. And, as if packing Hisanori Takahashi, Manny Acosta and Jesus Feliciano onto the same roster isn’t a perfect enough display of personnel, perfection is taking a piece of Kirk Gibson strategy — walking Angel Pagan and David Wright to load the bases to get to some nonentity named Carlos Beltran — and pumping a fist at it after a no-doubt sacrifice fly by Beltran renders it stupid.
—August 1, 2010
(Free Agent, 11/2/2011; Signed with Rays, 1/19/2012)
BRADLEY MARK “Brad” EMAUS
April 1, 2011 – April 17, 2011
Brad Emaus looms as a bargain-basement steal, except he’s more basement than bargain, thus far — and on the Mets, that’s saying something. The Mets’ front office would love, you’d figure, to confirm their brilliance by having plucked a starting second baseman in the Rule V draft, and Mets ownership would probably prefer 25 Rule V salaries constitute their payroll right about now. But Brad Emaus is thus far forgetting the first rule of Rule V draftees: prove your worth at some facet of the game.
—March 11, 2011
(Returned to Blue Jays, 4/21/2011)
BLAINE THOMAS BOYER
April 1, 2011 – April 10, 2011
In the bottom of the fifth, Blaine Boyer was victimized by a Victorino check-swing double, a little parachute by Placido Polanco that evaded Carlos Beltran by six inches or perhaps another three weeks of right-field experience, and a Ryan Howard grounder that Boyer deflected to land 20 feet in front of a horrified Emaus. Buzzards’ luck, to be sure, but an inning later Boyer was greeted by a Ben Francisco drive that might have landed in Portugal if it were summer.
—April 6, 2011
(Free agent, 4/13/2011; Signed with Pirates, 4/18/2011)
April 1, 2011 – May 16, 2011
Everybody is your favorite player when your team is winning. You stop asking Chin-lung Why.
—April 29, 2011
(Free agent, 11/2/2011; Signed with Indians, 1/11/2012)
April 1, 2011 – May 29, 2011
Buchholz went on the DL at the end of May with shoulder fatigue, but stayed there because he was battling depression. Not so long ago, the Mets’ reaction to Ryan Church sustaining a concussion was basically to tell him to man up; this year, faced with something that might have seemed more ephemeral, they did far better.
—November 3, 2011
(Free agent, 11/15/2011; Voluntarily out of professional baseball)
LUIS A. (Mendoza) HERNANDEZ
August 28, 2010 – September 18, 2010
Thus, technically, Luis Hernandez’s last act as a New York Met batter (if he never puts one foot in front of the other en route to the plate for us again) was to swing, to connect and to go deep. Now that’s showmanship. When you hit that high note, per George’s pal Jerry Seinfeld, you say “good night” and walk off. Or, in Hernandez’s case, limp off.
—March 29, 2011
(Free agent, 10/14/2011; Signed with Rangers, 11/30/2011)
April 8, 2010 – September 27, 2011
Ryota Igarashi is a day closer to no longer being a Met.
—August 22, 2011
(Released, 10/19/2011; Signed with Pirates, 12/20/2011)
CHRISTOPHER RYAN “Chris” YOUNG
April 5, 2011 – May 1, 2011
Someday when I again run into one of those big-time Mets fans with whom I spent Tuesday night, we might be moved to remember that time we watched the Mets beat the Phillies at the Pine and Chris Young became the first Met pitcher to collect two hits in the same inning, but I have a hunch that will be far down the list of Met topics that occur to us organically. First we’ll remind each other of disappointments ancient and recent. Then we’ll implicitly congratulate ourselves for sticking with our guys anyway. Then maybe Chris Young, big-time hitter and pretty good pitcher for at least one start in Philadelphia, will arise as an example of how good it used to be, in 2011, when the Mets would beat Cole Hamels like a drum…
—April 6, 2011
(Free agent, 10/30/2011; Currently unsigned; UPDATED TO NOTE CHRIS YOUNG SIGNED A MINOR LEAGUE DEAL WITH THE METS ON MARCH 26, 2012.)
PATRICK THEODORE JOSEPH “Pat” MISCH
June 24, 2009 – May 26, 2011
The Mets’ next five starts in real life are scheduled to be taken by Mike Pelfrey, Tim Redding, Pat Misch, Bobby Parnell and Nelson Figueroa, though Jerry Manuel told Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts that if he has to use Misch in relief to win a game tonight or tomorrow (because using Pat Misch is such an ironclad guarantee of success), he’ll go with Lance Broadway on Friday. Stephanie asked me if Lance Broadway was actually somebody’s porn name.
—August 26, 2009
(Free agent, 9/29/2011; Signed with Phillies, 11/29/2011)
JASON ORVILLE PRIDIE
April 22, 2011 – September 28, 2011
An intense internal debate ensued over the ethics attached to invoking the spirit of the departed in order to gain a desired sporting result on this mortal coil and how dirty I should feel about really wanting exactly that to happen, but — unlike a pair of Metsian beards — it was cut mercifully short when Pridie lashed Jurrjens’s final pitch of the night into right to score Bay and put the Mets up 1-0. “Yeah! The guy with the beard did it!” Is that so wrong?
—June 5, 2011
(Free agent, 11/11/2011; Signed with Athletics, 11/18/2011)
RONNY LEONEL PAULINO
April 29, 2011 – September 28, 2011
Ronny Paulino’s fifth hit in seven attempts and Taylor Buchholz’s outbreak of effectiveness kept this game from stretching into the absurd category. I was glad. Lengthy was OK, but absurd would have been disrespectful.
—May 2, 2011
(Free agent, 12/12/2011; Signed with Orioles, 1/30/2012)
WILLIAM CHARLES “Willie” HARRIS
April 1, 2011 – September 28, 2011
Pujols popped to Nick Evans at first for the second out, but Berkman lined a ball that had “gap” written all over it, just above Bud Selig’s signature. Only thing was it seemed to travel for an eternity, as if it hadn’t been given clearance to land. Which was when Willie Harris reappeared. I don’t mean Willie Harris showed up in the picture from left field. I mean Willie Harris arrived from approximately 2008. The Willie Harris we’d been waiting for finally decided to don a Mets uniform, rob somebody else of a sure run-scoring extra-base hit and quite possibly ruin somebody else’s season.
—September 22, 2011
(Free agent, 10/30/2011; Signed with Reds, 1/23/2012)
CHRISTOPHER FRANK “Chris” CAPUANO
April 3, 2011 – September 27, 2011
Chris Capuano has been…how to put this? Workmanlike? Distressingly predictable? He’s had a habit of looking very good early, giving up a run or two in circumstances you want to shrug off as unlucky, and then imploding hideously. But not tonight. Tonight all of the mysteries of baseball were an open book for him. His fastball, change-up and slider were all superb, borderline untouchable. He knew it, the Mets knew it, the nicely appreciative crowd knew it, and the Braves certainly knew it.
—August 27, 2011
(Free agent, 10/30/2011; Signed with Dodgers, 12/2/2011)
JESUS FERNANDO (Alvarez) MARTINEZ
May 26, 2009 – July 2, 2011
I suppose I’m disappointed Fernando Martinez isn’t a staple of the Mets lineup the way he was projected to be when he was signed out of the Dominican at the age of 16. I’m sorry in a general sense that things haven’t worked out for some kid I’ve never met, and I’m sorry in a Met sense that my team eternally gropes for some semblance of outfield stability. Yet “disappointed” may not quite describe my reaction to a big-deal prospect fizzling. Reyes and Wright notwithstanding, I just don’t expect Mets prospects, save for the ones whose potential looms as extremely loud and incredibly close, to pay off.
—January 12, 2012
(Selected off waivers by Astros, 1/11/2012)
NICHOLAS REGINALD “Nick” EVANS
May 24, 2008 – September 28, 2011
Do you remember Nick Evans? The Mets brought up him up when they were desperate for outfielders in 2008 and he doubled three times, knocked in two runs, played a respectable left and helped the Mets break a losing streak. It was pretty exciting. Whaddaya suppose ever happened to Nick Evans?
—May 24, 2008
(Free agent, 11/16/2011; Signed with Pirates, 11/29/2011)
LUIS ANTONIO (Donato) CASTILLO
July 31, 2007 – October 3, 2010
Luis Castillo? Until Friday night, not the Mets’ biggest problem. But he’s bearing the brunt now. Luis Castillo did not help the Mets win a very big ballgame. In fact, he lost it for them not because he isn’t good enough but because he didn’t play well enough. There’s a difference. If you’re not helping us win baseball games, you’re hurting us. If you’re hurting us, you shouldn’t be here. I don’t know why anyone would run a baseball team any other way.
—June 13, 2009
(Released, 3/18/2011; Signed with Phillies, 3/21/2011)
OLIVER (Martinez) PEREZ
August 26, 2006 – October 3, 2010
Ollie Perez made fourteen starts in 2009 before his season ended, murkily, on the Disabled List. He wasn’t what you’d objectively call good in more than five of them. He made seven starts before being pulled from the rotation in 2010, and was undeniably dreadful in five of them. His ERA as a starter over the past two years is 6.53. Perez has now made four relief appearances in which he has faced a total of 26 batters. Thirteen of them have reached base via hit (7), walk (5) or hit by pitch (1). He was getting worse and worse as a starter. He isn’t getting any better as a reliever. He won’t consent to a professional intervention. And he gets paid regardless. I’d love to be the one to tell you something different from what you’ve already figured out for yourself. But my conclusion is likely the same as yours: Let Oliver Perez go collect his enormous fucking paychecks somewhere else.
—June 1, 2010
(Released, 3/21/2011; Signed with Nationals, 3/23/2011)
FRANCISCO JOSE “Frankie” RODRIGUEZ
April 6, 2009 – July 8, 2011
But then, suddenly, it’s the top of the ninth, and the main video monitor heats up, and “Sandungueoso” stirs and the bullpen gate swings open and all at once Francisco Rodriguez from all those breathless tabloid stories is Frankie the Met closer again. There was nothing to close — just a can of worms to open. As it dawned on however many of the 39,000 in attendance still on hand who was entering the game, I could feel a tangible pause in the air. “Look,” I could hear us think. “It’s him.” And then? Boos, mostly…though a few people stood and applauded as if he had persevered through a difficult personal ordeal — which one could say he had, if one were to apply a very generous reading of the circumstances.
—August 15, 2010
(Traded to Brewers, 7/12/2011)
ANGEL ANTHONY PAGAN
March 31, 2008 September 22, 2011
That brought up Pagan, who looked at a ball, fouled one off and then got a fastball from Zavada that was high and not particularly fast. He sent it deep into the left-field seats, one of those bolts that brings everybody with a modicum of baseball sense to their feet even before an irrelevant outfielder kicks helplessly at the grass. It was Pagan’s first home run since July 2007, his first as a Met, his first grand slam ever. As Zavada dispiritedly went to work on Luis Castillo we were all standing and cheering and yelling. Everybody wanted a curtain call, but I’m not shy to say I wanted it most of all. Heck, I’d only been thinking of something like this since the early days of the Bush administration. Pagan bounced up the stairs and pointed at the crowd, smiling hugely, and it was exactly like Emily and I had imagined it, in Coney Island once upon a time.
—August 2, 2009
(Traded to Giants, 12/7/2011)
JASON DERIK ISRINGHAUSEN
July 17, 1995 – July 31, 1999;
April 11, 2011 – September 6, 2011
But for now, Izzy is a Met again. Izzy from Shea. Izzy from the selectively idealized past. Izzy from when things were about to turn a corner. Izzy, perhaps, from when things will turn a corner again. “Mets” on the front of his chest. “ISRINGHAUSEN” crammed between his shoulder blades. It’s pretty special.
—April 12, 2011
(Free agent, 10/30/2011; Signed with Angels, 2/22/2012)
CARLOS IVAN BELTRAN
April 4, 2005 – July 26, 2011
Carlos Beltran’s grace came off better when he had two good knees and a few fewer years than the 34 he carries around now. Grace’s value has diminished since Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away, since SportsCenter came on the air, since a critical mass of opinion formed that it wasn’t so much what you did but how interested you looked while you were doing it. If you did it the hard way and succeeded, you were that much more impressive. If you made it look — because that’s just how you rolled — easy, and you made the mistake of not succeeding every time out…well, why isn’t that guy giving it his all? We can only guess how difficult it’s been for Carlos Beltran to give it his all since his legs began to betray him a couple of years ago. It didn’t look that easy for him trying to come back from too much injury in 2009 and 2010. The obvious effort didn’t necessarily translate to the desired results. Yet he didn’t much let us see him sweat. Carlos Beltran isn’t given to the grimace. He has maybe two expressions: the one that’s practically blank and the one where he smiles. He wears the former about 95% of the time. He wore the smile after Thursday’s game in Denver. It wasn’t a gloat, but there was definitely a twinkle to it, just a touch of “I could tell ya so, but I think my bat just did.”
—May 12, 2011
(Traded to Giants, 7/28/2011)
JOSE BERNABE REYES
June 10, 2003 – September 28, 2011
With that, there’s a swing and a drive to left and — yes! It’s in the gap! Here comes Pagan from second. Here comes Pelfrey from first (Christ, don’t get hurt on a play at the plate). Is Mike gonna score? He is, which is great and all, but now I want to know what I really want to know. And then I know because Howie Rose tells me: Jose Reyes slides into third with his first triple of the season. Jose Reyes with a triple. The 74th of his major league career, more than any Met. The first he’s collected since April 29, 2009, almost a year. There had been triples at Citi Field since then, but none by Jose Reyes, he for whose bat and legs and particular talent for creating triples this park was designed. Earlier, in the first, there had been a single. Later there’d be two more, plus a stolen base. But for now there was a triple. A Jose Reyes triple. I don’t know how much or even if they were singing at Citi Field. But alone in the car, I sure as hell was.
—April 21, 2010
(Free agent, 10/30/2011; Signed with Marlins, 12/7/2011)