E.R. â€“ With the baseball season nearly upon us, itâ€™s time to take a serious look at what has been ailing the Mets more than anything elseâ€¦their medical staff. Everybody Loves Ray Ramirez has been around for five years, but nobody really knew his name before last seasonâ€”which is just the way trainers and umps should like itâ€”but last year wouldâ€™ve make Dr. House look like Dr. Vinny Boombotz. Youâ€™ve probably seen this graph marking the days the team lost to injuryâ€¦
Itâ€™s not pretty, and certainly Mets fans have to hold some guarded hope that simply regressing to the mean will translate to a relatively healthy season in 2010. â€œRayRamâ€ is back, another vote of confidence from Omar Minaya, who seems to pass them out like pardons for fall guys on the last day in office. He must be hoping some of that karma regresses to the mean as well, and his good will with the staff will mean heâ€™lll still have a job by October, because if Minaya couldâ€™ve scapegoated anyone for last year it was RayRamâ€¦not only did everyone who wore a Met uniform, even those in the stands, rip a hamstring at some point last summer, but there was the annoying habit of waffling on the will-he-or-wonâ€™t-he be sent to the DL, telling guys like Delgado that he could play through the pain only to have that pain get worse and ultimately end his season. RayRam often seemed flustered and confusedâ€¦and now he has to deal with Kelvim Escobar? Thanks a lot, Omar!
Fortunately, while Iâ€™m not a Doctor, nor do I play one on the internet, Iâ€™m here to offer some referrals for when RayRam inevitably goes to that big whirlpool in the sky.
Dr. Oz: When the Mets start to play like aging housewivesâ€”and you know they willâ€”perhaps Dr. Mehmet Oz is the guy theyâ€™ll listen to. He can tell them to take some Vitamin D, keep the germs off their purses, and to accept drug company marketing as medical consultation.
Dr. Nick Riviera: Seriously, the physical therapy and sports medicine program at Hollywood Upstairs Medical School is one of the best. I know, it surprised me too. Dr. Nick once tried an experimental procedure on a pitching prospect named Mr. McGregg, replacing his leg for an arm and an arm for a leg.
Dr. Zachary Smith: Heâ€™s lazy, dishonest, cowardly, and bumblingâ€¦people and robots just want to punch him in the face. Yes, at first glance he does seem like heâ€™d fit right into the Mets organization, maybe even being a mere trainer isnâ€™t enough for somebody with such middle-management potential, yet his proclivity for disaster would catch up with him by June. By then, in an effort to keep David Wright on the field, Smithâ€™s idea to protect him in new armor of his own design will backfire horribly:
Dr. Demento: The trainerâ€™s room will become a wacky place with horns and cowbells, where a player can get a knee taped and listen to song parodies. The assistant trainerâ€™s job is Weird Al Yankovichâ€™s to lose.
Dr. Bellows: The Mets may need to go with somebody a little more authoritative in the job, with a military background and a no-nonsense attitude. If 90% of the game is half mental, then Dr. Bellows should be able to get the players off the trainersâ€™ tables on onto couches, then back onto the field. Of course, heâ€™ll have a hard time explaining how it starts snowing in the training room, or how a giant tiger appears, or where Frankie Rodriguezâ€™s elbow went when it blows out in mid-July.
Dr. Steve Brule: This is my leading candidate, because he advocates a preventative approach.
That’s all I’m coming up with for now. These may not be the most likely of candidatesâ€”Iâ€™m not sure if theyâ€™re even still alive in some casesâ€”but none of them could do much worse then what RayRam dealt with last year.