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Some Days You’re Just in a Bad Mood

It shouldn’t have been a day for vituperation.

I got out on the water in a kayak. It was a beautiful evening. Dinner was tasty. And there was a baseball game on. Honestly, lots of days could be put in the win column with just one of those things happening.

And the fact that the Mets were playing seemed promising. I mean, that’s always true on at least a basic level — I’m a Mets fan, after all. But Noah Syndergaard [1] was pitching, the Padres have been no great shakes of late, and the Mets have shown fitful signs of life.

But somehow, somewhere, something went wrong amid all these good things.

SNY made much of the fact that it was the anniversary of two significant callups: Jeff McNeil [2] (a year ago) and Michael Conforto [3] (four). And that’s where I took a hard left into being annoyed.

I love watching McNeil play, but were congratulations really in order? I flashed back to a year ago, and remembered how McNeil arrived derided for his defense, dismissed as a prospect, and at least a month after he’d deserved to be promoted. The Mets have done him no favors since then, either, moving him off the position where he’d worked so hard to improve.

I’m glad McNeil’s here. I hope he has a lot more anniversaries in blue and orange. But he’s succeeded despite his baseball team working overtime to make him fail.

And everything I can say about McNeil I can say quadruply about Conforto, whose development has been thoroughly botched by the Mets at every step of his career. He hit lefties in the minors so the Mets decided he had to be a platoon player — then reversed course and threw him out there against Clayton Kershaw [4]. They denied him the regular playing time a young player needed, then exiled him to the minors for bad habits and pressing. He proved better than expected as a left fielder, so they made him into a right fielder — and then a center fielder, which he has no business being. They brought him back too early from a serious shoulder injury — and probably again from a concussion.

Happy anniversary, Michael! Next week we’ll make you into a setup guy, just because.

After that, well, it was off to the races in terms of being PO’ed at my baseball team. I started fuming about the possibility of the Mets trading Syndergaard, and about the likelihood of them trading Zack Wheeler [5], when they should hold on to both talented young pitchers and look to add a stud in the offseason. The Mets won’t do that, of course — instead, they’ll make trades for interchangeable, empty-headed fireballing righty relievers and salary relief, then retool with retreads found in the scratch-and-dent aisle and mumble about having liked their plan while stumbling to 70-odd wins. It makes a person weary, it really does.

Oh, and then there was the game [6], in which Syndergaard had another one of those not bad but not great 2019 Syndergaard games and Conforto got two hits but not one when we really needed it and poor Dom Smith [7] had a miserable time in left field (a position he shouldn’t be playing and that you might recall the Mets bafflingly refused to help him get better at) and Jeurys Familia [8] was terrible again and in fact the entire ballclub looked like people had been out until 5 a.m., in which case I hope they had fun, because I had no fun at all watching them.

But like I said, some days you’re just in a bad mood.