It was just your average Sunday here in Brooklyn: me half grading papers, half watching the Mets lose to the Nationals, when suddenly, it all changed—the Mets were really losing to the Nationals. (All right all right, to be fair, that’s a mischaracterization of the weekend, given the Mets had somehow managed to win the first two games in this series, despite a cavalcade of injuries.) But it hasn’t exactly been a stellar start to 2017. And with pretty much all the Kings of Queens broken, including an early exit for Noah Syndergaard and a remaining bullpen that had us dreaming of Bartolo Colon, this final looks-more-like-an-NFL-game score of 23 to 5 was the Fyre Festival of baseball games.
Unfortunately, given the state of the team’s collective health, there may be more like it on the horizon. Beyond “it’s still early in the season,” there’s really little else to say to ease the burn. So instead I thought I’d aim for catharsis, compile some Mets moments even worse than (okay, or maybe equal to) that hot mess.
Chris Heston No-Hits the Mets
If you told me on June 9, 2015 that the Mets were headed to the World Series, I wouldn’t have believed you. The Mets faced the Giants, defending Series champions, at Citi Field that Tuesday, only to fall prey to 2015’s first no-hitter. To make matters worse, the pitcher, Chris Heston, was an infant—I mean, rookie—coming off a 2014 ERA of 5.06, and making his (lucky) 13th-ever outing with the Giants when he no-hit the Mets for a final score of 5-0. It doesn’t help that Heston has been a nonstarter since, having pitched a grand total of five innings for San Francisco in 2016, and two (very bad) innings for the Mariners this season. Sad trombone.
Making bad history in 2007
Well, I’m sure you remember this one. The Mets managed an historic collapse at the end of 2007, losing 12 of their last 17 games to blow their lead and their shot at the postseason. The season’s end was marred by a particularly nasty series against, you guessed it: the Nationals. Though the Nationals were not exactly contenders in their 4th place spot, the Mets still managed to lose five out of six games, allowing the Phillies (I hate the Phillies) to pull in alongside them in a tie for first place. Coincidently, the only other team who had collapsed so completely in a runup to the postseason was the Phillies, in their infamous 1964 “Phold.”
Alas, the Mets were committed to failure in 2007. In their final game of the season, the Mets lost 8-0 to the Marlins in a sad, sad, game featuring a Tom Glavine implosion (he gave up 7 runs in the first). Meanwhile, the Phillies beat the Nationals in their last game, and went on to win the NL East. Small comfort in that they were immediately swept by the Rockies, but the real burn here is Mets versus self, and all the hard work they threw away.
Luis Castillo Drops. The. Ball
Speaking of hated rivals: June 12, 2009—For once, the Mets had a lead on the Yankees (8-7). For once, a Mets closer (Francisco Rodriguez) was not about to blow said lead. With Derek Jeter on second and Mark Teixeira on first, Alex Rodriguez hit what should’ve been a game-ending pop-up to right field. Except Luis Castillo tried to catch it one-handed, promptly dropped it, then threw to second instead of home, where Teixeira was about to score the winning run. It always sucks to lose to the Yankees, but it sucks even more when the loss comes from a series of dumb mistakes by a player consistently not worth his $25 million-dollar contract.
1999 NLCS Game 6
And what stings more than losing to a big rival? Losing to a big rival in the postseason in extra innings! Coming to consciousness in the early 90s as a Mets fan meant the Mets were often quite bad, and the Braves were really good. I really hate the Braves. And it feels like they still hold some kind of power over them—despite not being a very good team, the Braves still beat the Mets twice last week.
The 1999 Mets, however, were good. And in the NLCS, they put up a good fight through a six game series. Game six itself got off to a rocky start, the Braves scoring 5 in the first inning, and maintaining a 7-3 lead through the 6th. But then—Mets magic! The Mets tied it up in the 7th with 4 runs. By the 8th it was 8-8; in the 10th it was 9-9. And in the 11th, in the Metsiest way possible, they lost with a walk. After Gerald Williams doubled, Mets pitcher Kenny Rogers intentionally walked Chipper Jones and Brian Jordan to load the bases, then unintentionally walked Andruw Jones, pushing Williams home for an(other) extra-innings postseason heartbreaker. Final score, 10-9 Braves.
I’ll preemptively put my rally cap on now as they face off against the Braves again tonight.
2015 World Series—Game 5
The World Series! The Royals were leading the Series 3-1, but the Mets managed to stay in it and things were looking up. Granderson hit a home run in the first, a relatively ice-cold Daniel Murphy briefly managed to stop dropping the ball, and though the Mets had a missed opportunity in the sixth—scoring only one though they’d loaded the bases with no outs—the real star of the night was Matt Harvey, who pitched eight shutout innings. But when Harvey came back for the ninth, all hell broke loose. After walking Lorenzo Cain, Collins swapped him out for Jeurys Familia, who had what had come to be an all-too familiar postseason meltdown. Cain scored on an Eric Hosmer double; Hosmer tied the game after some iffy fielding by Lucas Duda, and Addison Reed showed up in extra innings to drive five nails into the coffin of our hopes and dreams, giving up five in the 12th for a final score of 7-2.
See? Sunday wasn’t that bad after all. Daniel Murphy didn’t even hit any home runs! Everything’s going to be fine. I’m not crying…you’re crying.
Photo credit: Geoff Burke – USA Today Sports