Friday, July 31, 2015
No Wilmer, No Cry
Wilmer Flores, the Mets' promising young infielder, who has been with the organization for seven years (since he was 16 years old), received a standing ovation after grounding out. With the twitter-sphere all abuzz about a season-changing trade involving Flores and the Brewers' Carlos Gomez, the Citi Field crowd believed this was Flores' last at bat as a Met. When he went to field his position the next inning, upon hearing that he had been traded, Flores, understandably, became tearful. Turns out, though, reports of this trade were greatly exaggerated. In fact, there was no trade and Flores is still a Met.
I was initially excited when I thought the Mets acquired Gomez (who they had traded years earlier as part of the deal that brought us Johan Santana), but I'm glad we still have Wilmer Flores, who could turn out to be a very good player. And his emotional reaction is a reminder that ballplayers are not simply widgets to be discarded -- unless, of course, it is for really great ballplayer.
This was yet another in an unending series of Classic Met Moments. Hope, Confusion, Despair, Remorse. But wait, there's hope again.
At the trading deadline today, the Mets obtained that big-time hitter they badly need -- Yoenis Cespedes. Together with their recent acquisitions of two excellent role players -- Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe -- and All Star reliever Tyler Clippard -- the Mets, shockingly, have all of a sudden become a team to be reckoned with.
In August 1973, nearing the end of a yet another dreadful season, with the Mets sitting in last place, relief pitcher Tug McGraw began chanting "Ya Gotta Believe" during a clubhouse meeting. As the legend goes, the suddenly-inspired Mets got hot and won the National League pennant before falling to the A's in a thrilling 7-game World Series.
I wasn't thinking about this history last week, when I went on a bit of a rant -- frustrated by the number of brilliant pitching performances by an incredible core of young pitchers wasted by inexcusably paltry hitting while management seemingly fiddled.
The baseball season is long -- a 162-games -- and subject to many twists and turns. What we've learned from 1973, is that a lousy season can end miraculously. Of course, we've also learned from the debacles of 2006, 2007 and 2008, that a great season can end ignominiously. Anyway, there's nothing like meaningful September baseball.
So, cheer up, Wilmer. And, welcome, Yoenis.
Ya Gotta Believe.