I’m not a huge proponent of invoking precedent because every situation is different… but Mets teams that wander through [May] gaining no traction have been known to Do Something.
• When attendance fell through the floor in May 1983, the Mets called up Darryl Strawberry to sweeten a dour 6-15 proposition.
• When masses failed to materialize in May 1998, despite a reasonably capable 23-20 product, they thought big and netted Mike Piazza.
• The Mets of May 1990 scuffled to 20-22 and fired Davey Johnson.
• The Mets of May 1977 sank to 15-30 and dismissed Joe Frazier.
• The Mets of May 1993, doomed at 13-25, bid Jeff Torborg adieu.
– Greg Prince Faith And Fear In Flushing, April 30, 2013.
Greg Prince writes the definitive blog for Met fans of a more literary – as opposed to sabermetric — bent. He has a fantastic turn of phrase, an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Met and an unrivaled memory. So when he cites the precedents above, it alerts your intrepid columnist that something might be up; we can only hope, seeing as the present is pretty bleak. One only needs look at the follies that occurred Sunday afternoon at Turner Field (5/5). That box score, of course is deceiving, as all the Mets miscues – fly balls not reached in the outfield, pitches squirted between catchers’ legs, ground balls cuffed around at third base – all became safeties and clean plays in the hands of the Atlantan official scorers. In any case, however you call it, the Mets are pretty bad, bailed out only by the fact that the Miami Marlins are a major league team in name only and the Phillies – the modern day Wheeze Kids – are showing their age. So, given the turn of calendar page, let’s see if Sandy Alderson follows precedent after all.
We know we won’t see Travis d’Arnaud until August or September at the absolute earliest, but there are still other opportunities for May to shine:
— Will Zack Wheeler make his long-awaited debut, on the heels of a budding string of strong AAA outings?
— Will Rafael Montero make a gargantuan leap from AA – where he appears a man among boys right now – and find himself on the Citi Field mound before the month is out?
— Will Alderson pull a rabbit out of his hat – The Magic Is Back! – package a passel of young talent and come away with a legitimate outfielder or two? Might Giancarlo Stanton be heading north in May?
— Will Terry Collins finish the month in the manager’s office or will his own flubs – intentional walks when the count is favorable to his own pitcher, letting his closer rot on the bench while a lesser hurler gives away a perfectly satisfactory win, general bullpen mismanagement, a surfeit of sacrifice bunts – ultimately doom his current efforts and legacy?
Precedent can be a dangerous thing, too, of course. Ellis Valentine was one of the Mets’ bigger “bust” acquisitions. The execrable Dallas Green was scant improvement over Torborg and Davey Legend was replaced by rabbit-eared Bud Harrelson. The Torre hire was inspired, but turned out to be a lateral move, at best. In any case, you can sort of tell something is percolating.
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