I remain amazed, even in my 45th season of rooting for one baseball team, how quickly its personnel turns over. On Opening Day, I applauded 25 active players who were introduced in Mets uniforms. Only four of those men have retained that status uninterrupted since: Daniel Murphy, Dillon Gee, LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Rice. Matt Harvey’s on the DL. Marlon Byrd is on his way to Pittsburgh with John Buck. Of the three guys arriving to take their place, two — Robert Carson and Anthony Recker — we’ve already seen in 2013; and one — Matt den Dekker — is brand new to these environs.
They come. They go. They return from injury, from demotion, from paternity leave. Or they don’t come back at all except perhaps as visitors. Byrd and Buck were everyday presences in our lives as fans for close to five months. Now they are literally yesterday’s Mets news. Perhaps Dilson Herrera will be tomorrow’s Mets news. He’s the 19-year-old middle infielder who is the player already identified as half of what we’re getting from the Pirates. There’s also a player to be named later (though “later” is kind of a funny name for a ballplayer). In the meantime, den Dekker and d’Arnaud and Flores and whatever pitchers whose ulnar collateral ligaments aren’t partially tearing will become the objects of our affection for the next 33 games. It’s fandom’s version of life going on.
Byrd and Buck were total strangers before April 1. They became part of the family until this afternoon. I enjoyed Byrd’s power, poise and professionalism. I reveled in Buck’s April. Now they join a team that’s on the verge of finally making the playoffs after a 21-year absence, which is fitting, given that these two players have been around approximately a decade apiece without ever having gotten a sniff of October. Breathe it in, boys. You deserve it.
Maybe we’ll be on the other side of this type of deal again one of these days. Marlon and John will probably be retired by then. Maybe Dilson will still be around.
A better day from the past: October 17, 1999 — relive it with Jason and some other familiar faces, courtesy of SNY.tv