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

Blurred Men

The Oscars were handed out Sunday night. Thus, per Monday morning-after tradition [1], the Academy pauses to remember those Mets who have, in the baseball sense, left us in the past year.

April 24, 2012 – September 28, 2013

I saw Zach Lutz (barely) prevent a no-hitter in the seventh inning and a string of Zach Lutz’s teammates conspire to prevent saddling Gonzalez with a two-hitter. I found Cuppy, too, but who doesn’t?
—September 10, 2013
(Released 6/12/2014; signed with Rakuten Golden Eagles, 6/16/2014)

September 18, 2013 – September 28, 2014

Pay attention and you see things. You see a catcher whose name existed on the farthest periphery of your Mets consciousness four weeks ago throw out an instantly legendary basestealing sensation with a ready-made Hall of Fame moniker. Juan Centeno? Gunning down Billy Hamilton? Who had been 13-for-13 in his core competency since coming up to Cincinnati in early September? Who had swiped a typographically correct 333 bases in his last three minor league campaigns? With Dice-K of the notoriously leisurely pace on the mound? Yeah, that thing happened in the fifth…
—September 25, 2013
(Selected off waivers by Brewers, 10/31/2014)

March 31, 2014 – April 13, 2014

[W]hen David Wright lifted a two-run homer off Jerry Blevins to pull the Mets to within 9-7, I was jumping up and down, partly for warmth, but mostly because I was delusional enough to think if Curtis Granderson could work his way on, Anthony Recker would tie it up. That would get us only to 9-9, and I wasn’t necessarily anticipating John Lannan morphing into the better long-relief angels of Shaun Marcum — and goodness knows I was cold enough to want to seek shelter inside a room with a roof ASAP — but this was Opening Day. Who wants to see the Mets lose on Opening Day? I didn’t. But I saw it anyway.
—April 1, 2014
(Free Agent, 10/1/2014; signed with Rockies, 11/18/2014)

June 10, 2014 – June 21, 2014

[T]he rather amazingly named career backup catcher crashed a grand slam in his third-ever Mets at-bat. Teagarden didn’t do much else in his 25 subsequent Mets at-bats and was gone after less than two weeks, but when you hit a grand slam in your first-ever game, you don’t have to do much else.
—November 21, 2014
(Free agent, 10/1/2014; signed with Cubs, 12/28/2014)

June 2, 2014 – September 6, 2014

Everything can look very different very quickly in baseball. For example, if you’d asked me less than a year ago to connect Buddy Carlyle, Dana Eveland and Las Vegas, I’d remember that time in the 1970s when my parents went to Las Vegas for some kind of convention and one night at the Sands, they saw Buddy Carlyle, billed as the Fastest Wit in the West, open for the Chanteuse of the Strip, Dana Eveland. Or, if I wasn’t feeling particularly creative, I’d shrug and tell you I’d heard of Las Vegas, thought maybe Buddy Carlyle rang a bell of some sort and as for Dana Eveland, I have no idea who she is. He? OK, he. As recently as the last Super Bowl, I had no idea who Dana Eveland was, whatever the pronoun.
—September 6, 2014
(Free agent, 11/14/2014; signed with Red Sox, 1/21/2015)

September 4, 2011 – September 25, 2014

Hitting the ball and running to first […] was a skill set that abandoned pinch-hitter Josh Satin in the ninth. It was a comedy of presumption that unfolded as Josh lofted a fly ball far down the left field line versus closer Jim Henderson. Was it fair? Was it foul? Josh, whose job is to immediately steam counterclockwise to the nearest available base without pausing to ask questions, appointed himself judge and deemed it foul. Except it was ruled fair and in play. The “fair” part was accurate, which became a tad embarrassing for lead-footed Satin to realize since he had already begun to wander away from the plate to clear his head and await the next pitch. When he understood that he swung better than he thought, Josh dash-trudged to first, where he had to stop since he took his sweet time getting going. But the ball shouldn’t have been “in play,” as it actually cleared the fence and bounced back into the outfield. Instant replay cleared up the umpires’ muddle. They emerged from their comfortably appointed video review lounge to signal “home run”. You know the gesture — it’s where you twirl your index finger in the air as if to indicate you’re not impressed…“whoop-de-doo,” in other words. Which was how it felt watching Josh Satin score the reluctant run that turned a 4-1 loss into an eventual 4-2 loss.
—September 27, 2013
(Outrighted, 11/4/2014; signed with Reds, 11/20/2014)

April 2, 2014 – May 12, 2014

The bullpen’s terrible — and while I’m no scout, something tells me wheeling the embalmed corpse of Kyle Farnsworth onto the mound isn’t going to help things.
—April 3, 2014
(Released 5/14/2014; signed with Astros, 5/17/2014)

May 3, 2013 – June 15, 2014

Mostly, Met nights at Wrigley are like the three we’ve just witnessed, episodes in which our cast of characters proves unready for prime time, whether the show begins at 8 o’clock Eastern or 6 o’clock Central. If the Mets aren’t scoring eleven runs in a sixth inning or assisting a Manchurian Brave to a personal milestone, they’re usually doing something along the lines of what they did all this week. They’re losing. Thursday night they threatened to win, but it was an idle threat. Andrew Brown’s return from Las Vegas was pleasant enough — he performs well on any semblance of an Opening Day — and the roar back from an 0-4 deficit to a 4-4 tie provided a few minutes of false encouragement, but then Anthony Rizzo went deep and the Mets still had runners to strand and, well, the whole thing dissipated as it tends to do after dark in that part of town.
—June 6, 2014
(Selected off waivers by A’s, 10/31/2014)

March 31, 2014 – May 26, 2014

[O]n Saturday, in the otherwise unmapped Anaheim section of Los Angeles, given how the Mets had already overcome a two-run deficit and the vengeful specter of Collin Cowgill, it didn’t seem out of line to think Valverde would gently tuck in a three-run lead, especially once he got ahead of David Freese one-and-two and needed only one more strike to wish us and the Angels sweet dreams. I apologize for thinking it was as simple as a third strike and resulting third out right there. I neglected to take into account the doom factor I had unleashed. You won’t find “doom factor” on the back of your baseball cards or among your more advanced statistics. No metric properly reflects that when I begin to think a Met closer is certain to escape a danger-fraught scenario with ease, that same Met closer inevitably implodes. It happened to Bobby Parnell on Opening Day. It’s been happening with alarming regularity since at least Skip Lockwood in the mid-1970s.
—April 13, 2014
(Released, 5/26/2014; signed with Padres, 1/7/2015)

May 29, 2012 – July 8, 2012
May 30, 2013 – May 7, 2014

To be fair, I also never want to look at erstwhile Renaissance Met Omar Quintanilla ever again. Have you ever seen a shortstop make more unnecessary leaps for line drives 20 feet over his head? He will strain something before he catches something.
—August 25, 2013
(Free agent, 10/1/2014; signed with Rockies, 1/27/2015)

July 12, 2013 – September 25, 2014

Gonzalez Germen, to this point no more than a roster rumor set in agate type, makes his major league debut in the bottom of the eleventh of a tie game with McCutchen, Alvarez and Russell Martin due up. He walks the All-Star McCutchen. He strikes out the All-Star Alvarez but McCutchen steals second. He intentionally walks Martin, who won a game against the Mets with a home run in 2012. He strikes out Gaby Sanchez, who produced a .318/.403/.591 slash line in eighteen games against the Mets in 2011. He teases a weak grounder out of Jordy Mercer, but the ball had excellent vision and limped its way into center to score McCutchen from second with the winning run. Gonzalez Germen did what we shall call without irony his Parnellian best to keep the game tied. Parnell, on the other hand, saw as much action Friday night as Germen did all of his life prior to Friday night. When you’ve lost 3-2 in eleven without your best reliever getting the call, that’s deplorable.
—July 13, 2013
(Sold to Yankees, 12/19/2014)

April 2, 2014 – August 7, 2014

And the second we sat down, we sprang up. Chris Young…the same Chris Young at whom we were poking reflexive fun during Kevin Chapman’s trademark top-notch tailgate extravaganza…made us eat our words like we had eaten Kevin’s guacamole. CY launched an absolute bomb that detonated over the left field fence with a man on. Suddenly we were no longer losing. Suddenly it was 4-4. Suddenly the shade of Section 529 was the hottest place we could be.
—July 13, 2014
(Released 8/15/2014; signed with Yankees, 8/27/2014)

April 23, 2012 – August 9, 2013

Hefner, on the other hand, could not have sounded a whole lot more devastated when reporters found him after his Thursday nightmare in which he faced Phillie after Phillie after Phillie and recorded nary an out. Seven batters clad in gray and red came up, not a one of them sat down, unless you count the four who had already scored. Hefner’s brief stay on the mound inadvertently imbued what shaped up as a prototypical meaningless game in September with gobs of meaning. No Mets team had ever taken the field at home and allowed its visitors to grab a quick 8-0 lead. But this one had. All kinds of records related to massive Met ineptitude were en route to being invoked. And for that, Jeremy sounded very, very sorry…even sorrier than he pitched. Hell, maybe he didn’t pitch all that pitifully considering the Phillies bobbed along like a singles sewing machine and stitched together their eight runs on basically no hard hit balls. But to let Hefner off the hook because, gosh darn it, they fell in and found holes — no. I’m not falling for that. Eight runs in the first inning is eight runs in the first inning. I cringed in empathy for a 26-year-old rookie from Oklahoma whose voice I heard cracking and who was clearly trying to rein in his tear ducts when SNY’s cameras arrived at his stall. I thought about how joyful he sounded less than a month ago when he pitched so effectively against the Astros, not just because he had a good game but because his daughter had just been born. Jeremy Hefner’s a person and I don’t like to hear a person in pain. But as a Mets fan who has watched Met after Met after Met wander aimlessly across six soul-crushing Septembers — and seen these Mets hide in plain sight since the middle of July — I’m not feeling remotely so generous of spirit.
—September 21, 2012
(Free agent, 11/4/2014; currently unsigned)

August 23, 2013 – September 25, 2014

SNY put a clock on Matsuzaka. And they put Matsuzaka’s face on a clock while the clock ticked away and Matsuzaka didn’t pitch. They didn’t call it the Matsuclocka, but they should have. Earlier in the game, as hard to believe as it is that a nine-inning game that took 3:32 to play had an “earlier,” Howie Rose explained Daisuke Matsuzaka’s famed gyroball: In the time it take Matsuzaka to throw one pitch, you can leave your seat, buy a gyro, eat it and return to your seat. Howie’s first-inning exasperation provided an opening for Josh Lewin to invoke “tzatziki sauce” for perhaps the first time in major league broadcasting history. Red Barber almost certainly never mentioned tzatziki sauce while sitting in the catbird seat at Ebbets Field, but he did keep an egg timer handy. It was there to remind the Ol’ Redhead that when its three minutes of sand ran out, he should tell his listeners the score of the game. It was a good idea. Red’s listeners might have just been tuning in or not been paying close attention. Or they might have gone off to purchase and consume a gyro while waiting for Daisuke Matsuzaka to deliver his next pitch. From Red Barber’s egg timer to SNY’s Matsuclocka. Who says baseball is timeless?
—August 29, 2013
(Free agent, 10/30/2014; signed with Fukoka Softbank Hawks, 12/4/2014)

June 19, 2013 – September 28, 2014

I still think Eric Young, Jr., is more like the player the Rockies didn’t want than the player he’s looked like in a perilously small sample size for us, but when he scored from second last night and leapt halfway into outer space, I laughed out loud on the couch and clapped my hands. Baseball’s fun, and fun’s contagious.
—August 8, 2013
(Non-tendered, 12/2/2014; signed by Braves, 2/13/2015)

April 22, 2014 – September 28, 2014

Collins started Abreu in right field in Game 162, batting him second. Come the fifth inning, Bobby did what we in attendance wanted him to do. He connected for a base hit, reached first, tipped his cap and indeed walked off with his head held high. He had been a Met by mutual convenience. Abreu needed a place to conduct his unfinished business and the Mets weren’t beyond relying a little much on a 41-year-old who hadn’t played in the majors since he was 39. If all had truly worked out, Abreu would have proven himself a lefthanded pinch-hitter deluxe on the order of Kranepool and Staub and Lenny Harris. He might have produced a legendary bases-loaded line drive like Matt Franco or shocked the house as Marlon Anderson did via inside-the-park home run. Instead, other than serving as a venerable bookend to Bartolo Colon, he didn’t accomplish a load. It took one more favor from the front office to bring him back for September from Las Vegas after he proved ineffective off the bench by midsummer. On Closing Day, though, we decided he was our guy and we sent him off as such. “Special,” Bobby called his final swing for a single off Houston righty Nick Tropeano. It was “the way that I wanted to end it — on the field.” Abreu said farewell to the game he loved with Eisenhowerian élan and we, in turn, bid a heartfelt adieu to a player we took to heart at the very last minute of his tenure with us.
—December 28, 2014
(Retired, 9/28/2014)

April 19, 2010 – April 16, 2014

For what it’s worth, Ike, the backup, starts Sunday. Is Ike being showcased for that trade that was supposed to be executed months ago? Is Terry balancing his two heretofore brutally disappointing lefthanded first basemen in perfect harmony? Has anybody seen Josh Satin’s eyebrows lately? Ultimate solutions will have to wait. We won today. We won today on a pinch-hit, come-from-behind walkoff grand slam, which has happened how many times before in Mets history? I’m pretty sure never. Let’s see: Harkness, Hickman, Jorgensen, Teufel, McReynolds, Valdespin…nope, those were either tie scores when things got grand or the walkoff slam-masters were already in the game. Ergo, it’s a first. Ike Davis has done something no Met before him had ever done. Twenty-four hours ago we would have been surprised if the above sentence consisted solely of “Ike Davis has done something.” Now he’s done something else. This game will confirm your deeply held suspicions most of the time but render your assumptions stupid if you give it a chance. Give it a chance. It’s worth it.
—April 5, 2014
(Traded to Pirates, 4/18/2014)