SAN FRANSISCO, CA – When you are struggling to keep your eyes open after a hectic week and not enough sleep, you probably shouldn’t try to watch your team playing on the West Coast when you live on the East Coast. Last night, yours truly was in that scenario trying to watch the Mets play the San Francisco Giants. The only recollection I have of that game was when three former Mets came up in the 5th inning. And that’s when I was torn as a fan. I found myself rooting for two of the three former Amazins to do something positive. Is that okay? Let’s look at each case and you decide my fate as a conflicted fan. Just remember that the word fan is short for fanatic, and that is the basis of my defense… I am a fanatic.
No New York Mets fan can ever root against Wilmer. All he ever wanted to do was remain with the Metsies, the team that drafted him when he was but 16 years-old. We all remember when he cried standing on second base, thinking that he had been traded for Carlos Gomez when indeed he hadn’t been. And then he hit that unbelievable home run in one of the best feel good moments in franchise history. A franchise, mind you chock full of feel bad moments in their history. Yet they jettisoned Flores. All he was guilty of was playing good, solid baseball. If he’d just been left alone at third base all these years, that would have been one less position for the Mets to worry about. He would have hit for a decent average with some pop and would have fielded in above average fashion. With the carousel and revolving door of third baseman since his call-up, shouldn’t he been the better choice? Absolutely. But the Mets tend to have zero patience with young players or judge them to be less-than-adequate too quickly. That was the case with Flores and it’s the case with the next guy I found myself rooting for….
I said it over and over again on this very site: leave JD Davis alone, and leave him in the lineup at third base. Forcing him to play left field was like sticking Todd Hundley out there. They should have let him handle the hot corner. He ain’t Brooks Robinson but he ain’t Jed Lowrie either. He would have been decent and allowed to relax. And he’d have hit. But Mets management didn’t do that with him, and traded him for
Lindy Ruff Darin Ruf, who sucked moose balls to the point where he had to go play in Japan to get back to Major League Baseball. When he got back he still sucked – mediocre at best. So what do you do with a guy that has proven he is a legitimate Major League Baseball hitter and adequate fielder… and young? You get rid of him in a knee-jerk trade. And you throw a couple of pitchers in the deal, too! That’s what Billy Eppler did in what was one of the worst trades in Mets’ history. It flies under the radar because the team spent $8 billion in the off-season and we are all very excited about that. The mistake isn’t as glaring as a result. But no doubt it is a glaring mistake. Davis would be perfect as the right-handed DH and splitting duty at third base with Brett Baty. Davis, like Flores, is a guy that just wanted to be in New York met and was great in the clubhouse, well liked and a bonafide MLB player. He was slighted and I found myself rooting for him. And again, like Flores, he should still be in a New York Mets uniform. Hell, the J.D. stands for Jack Daniel, for crissakes!
I didn’t find myself rooting for Conforto, despite the fact that he has a hot mom (photo right). I thought he was one of the more over-hyped young players in Mets history, and his lifetime .255 batting average underscores that he wasn’t the next Tony Gwynn. Nor was he the next Ted Williams. Nor was he the next George Brett… He was simply the next Michael Conforto, a guy who couldn’t stay healthy and was mind-numbingly bad with runners in scoring position. Do I root against him? No. I wish him well – just not against the Mets.
And that’s my soapbox soliloquy du jour. Feel free to leave your two bits below as per former team players now playing against your team that you find yourself rooting for… and feel a little dirty for doing so.
NOTE: Comments re other sports stuff are welcomed – like the Rangers smoking the aforementioned Ruff’s Devils.