Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Casting out Mets demons on 6/6/06
As I’m sure you have all heard, today’s numerical date is 6/6/06. Or, when you want to manufacture a media event, you can say 6/6/6 or 666, the mark of the beast.
There’s a town here in Michigan named Hell that’s getting all excited about the event, which is misguided because I’d been to Detroit. And if there’s a town deserving of the name Hell...well, I won’t go there.
But I say we should make good use of this day. Instead of fearing the demons, let’s cast them out and allow them to haunt us no more. Open the closet door and let the skeletons free. Away with them all!
Naturally, there are rules about being a demon. You can’t just not play well. Mel Rojas was a bad pitcher, but not a demon. Goodness knows the Mets have endured a lot of players who just sucked. Nor is a person a demon because they were traded for someone who turned out to be much better. It’s not Jim Fergosi’s fault he was traded for Nolan Ryan.
We’re talking about the kind of players to piss away their skills, or who do things to hurt the team, our fellow fans or the city. Here are Mets demons. Cast them out today, and they shall haunt us no more. Let them go.
1) Timo Perez: Admit it, you still wake up in the middle of the night and yell "Run, Timo! Run, dammit!" It’s true that had Timoniel turned on the jets on the Zeile fence-bouncer, we probably would have taken Game One of the 2000 World Series, and who knows what would have happened after that. We certainly would have been spared bitter Tim McCarver’s weepy "This could be Paul O’Neill’s last game at Yankee Stadium" lines that we heard throughout Game Two. Timo still sucks, batting a robust .200 on the Cards’ roster.
2) Bobby Bonilla: Playing cards in the clubhouse with Rickey Henderson as the 1999 NLCS came crashing down was only the last shameful act of his Mets tenure. Being stupid enough to bite on Bob Klapisch’s bait was bad. Note to Bobby Bo: When known Yankee hacks are known to be writing books about the Mets, you can expect it to be critical. Don’t give them material.
3) Vince Coleman: The problem with those early 1990s teams wasn’t that they didn’t have money, it’s that they spent it on the wrong players. Like Vince Coleman. The speedy outfielder made his reputation by slapping hits on the Busch Stadium turf and stealing second and third. His greatest heist was the contract from the Mets, who should have known Vice wasn’t the brightest guy after he got run over by the mechanical tarp before the 1987 World Series. Once with the Mets, the delusional Vince blamed the Shea groundskeepers, saying their soft basepaths were keeping him out of the Hall of Fame. Then he hurt Doc Gooden’s shoulder with a golf club. And finally, he somehow thought it was a good idea to toss fireworks at little kids.
4) Kenny "Bleeping" Rogers: Game Six, 1999 NCLS. Bases loaded. Andruw Jones standing at the plate. Not swinging. Didn’t have to.
5) Richie Hebner: Hebner watched a lot of Mets baseball games in 1979. Sadly, he watched them from third base, where he drew scorn for his pronounced indifference, waving at balls hit his way.
6) Doc and Straw: The saddest part is that what was was so amazing that we’ll always wonder what could have been.
7) Gregg Jefferies: The most prized prospect in the 1980s, Jefferies got us all excited with his 1988 call-up. But Gregg was apparently wound a little too tight, throwing tantrums after making outs and errors. And since fielding was an issue, he threw a lot of tantrums. Not all of it was his fault, there was no way he could live up to the hype. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk, either.
8) M. Donald Grant: Here’s the big one. Do you praise M. Donald for the 1969 championship and 1973 pennant, or do you bemoan the man who banished Tom Seaver and let the team fall into shambles? Grant was an old-school baseball man. He gets points for being the one opposing vote on the New York Giants Board of Directors when the team moved to San Francisco. But the game clearly passed him by. He mishandled a spring training incident with Cleon Jones and banished the Jets to Jersey. Oh wait, the guy traded Tom Seaver because he didn’t want to pay him and traumatized my formative years. It will be 29 years next week, and I’m still bitter. That makes him a demon.
Away with you demons! And let you never haunt us again! And we’ll shall fear this day no more.