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Abyssinia, Jenrry

A PED test must be as imposing to Jenrry Mejia [1] as the geometry Regents [2] was to me. I struggled with geometry throughout ninth grade and barely passed the big statewide test the one and only time I had to take it. I’m not sure how many times Jenrry had to take his PED test. We do know he failed it three times in a span of approximately ten months. [3]

They probably wouldn’t have let me graduate had I been as certifiably bad at geometry exams as Mejia is with PED tests. As is, they won’t let Jenrry matriculate in the major leagues anymore.

Avoiding PEDs is clearly not this young man’s best subject. Nor, we are compelled to infer, is judgment.

Jenrry could pitch better than most people. He pitched well enough to be signed by the New York Mets to a professional baseball contract when he was 17. When I was 17, I was barely getting by in an eleventh-grade statistics class. When Jenrry wasn’t much older than 17, he was compiling statistics as a Met. Mejia debuted at the age of 20, which sounded so old when I was in high school, yet sounds so young when you’re so much older. He impressed everybody in his first big league camp. He made the Mets far ahead of anybody’s projections. Barely three years after the Mets signed him, he was pitching for them. In his first outing, he gave up a run in an inning. In his next thirteen outings, he gave up one run in twelve-and-a-third innings.

Jenrry Mejia was a quick learner at 20. Somewhere between the ages of 25 and 26, that core competency eluded him.

Can you believe that someone who is 26 years old — younger than Matt Harvey [4], younger than Jacob deGrom [5], younger than Travis d’Arnaud [6] and a whole lot younger than Pete Rose c. 1989 [7], the year Mejia was born— has been issued a Roselike lifetime ban from Major League Baseball? That’s a lot of lifetime to be banned from anything, let alone the institution in which you ply your craft, the particular endeavor in this world at which you had already proven yourself uniquely talented and for which you were compensated handsomely. Twenty-six was literally more than half a lifetime ago for me. I’d hate to have been told at 26 that I was no longer invited to participate in my version of striking out hitters (not that I necessarily possessed an obvious ability or track record comparable to Jenrry’s by that age…or my current age).

I’d really hate to have been put in such a position because I did the one thing I wasn’t supposed to do, and did it three times.

I’m not concerned with what Jenrry Mejia’s ejection from MLB-sanctioned activity means to the Mets. Whereas he was once the focal point of their relief pitching, Mejia was going to enter 2016 as a literal afterthought. He had 99 games of suspension left to serve from the second time he failed a PED test. After 99 games, depending on where the Mets’ bullpen stood, maybe I was going to think about him. Maybe. Although relievers are constantly being penciled into plans and just as vigorously erased from them, I couldn’t drill down deeply enough to a level where I wondered, “…and what will we do with Jenrry Mejia come the 100th game of this upcoming season?”

No need to engage in that afterthought now. Jenrry Mejia will not be available in the hundredth game of 2016 nor any game any year soon. There is a reinstatement process [8] he can look into, but not for quite a while. By then, even if he succeeded in gaining re-entrance to the majors, more of his and his old team’s lifetime will have transpired. There’s no telling what kind of shape a tangibly older, generally inactive, presumably clean Mejia would be in. One can guess with fair certainty the scant interest level of the team under whose umbrella he failed those three tests within ten months. I was surprised the Mets offered him a contract for 2016. I’d be shocked if we ever again see him pitching within the geometry that composes a major league diamond, Citi Field’s or anywhere else’s.

Then again, I was shocked at the third failed test, and that happened.

Because it’s not notably screwing with the Mets’ impending defense of their National League title (and therefore my second-hand happiness), I’m not going to gin up any anger toward a pitcher I always liked. Even if it was notably screwing with the Mets’ impending defense of their National League title — even if he was theoretically slated to close 162 games this year — I doubt I could get honestly mad at Mejia. He’s just not the kind of kid on whom I feel comfortable piling easy epithets. He made three mistakes Tim McCarver [9] might have labeled errors of commission rather than omission. What he had to do was omit PEDs from anything he chose to ingest or inject. As gauged from the distance of the grandstand and the keyboard, his mistakes appear to have been perfectly avoidable and thus strike us as progressively more absurd.

You get caught once, don’t do the thing they caught you at again. You get caught twice, really don’t do the thing they caught you at again. You get caught a third time, which is the point at which suspension becomes expulsion, well, Jenrry, you don’t need anybody to call you names.

You need help. Good luck finding it.