It is easy to nitpick the New York Mets and everything that has gone wrong this season. Their offensive performance has been absent, the bullpen has been as reliable as the New Jersey Transit system, and at times have even been mismanaged to the point of making someone want to pull their hair out. This team is very flawed, but it even goes deeper down than just the way they have been playing. This team lacks a fire that every winning team needs to push them to the next level. This became more evident than ever in the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In the top of the eighth inning, on a potential double play ball, Josh Harrison slid hard into Asdrubal Cabrera, which ended the possibility of the double play. Jeurys Familia was the pitcher on the mound, and he did not take kindly to Harrison sliding into his teammate. Familia exchanged verbal jabs with Harrison, and soon the benches cleared. Before a melee could break out however, Cabrera (the guy who was taken out) hugged it out with Harrison and ended a potential fight. I’m not saying that fighting would have been the best thing to happen in the situation, but it is still odd that Cabrera did not side with his own teammate in an argument.
This approach of backing down, or talking your way out of a fight, or whatever you want to call it is an embodiment of a Mets team that has shown a lack of care towards this season. Cabrera, let alone the rest of this team, did not care enough about the season to stand up for their own teammate. As a Mets fan, this disturbs me. Not only because the fan base seems to care more than the actual team does, but because this team used to care. Think back to one of the seminal moments of the 2015 season, when Hansel Robles quick pitched Darin Ruf. When the Phillies came out of their dugout, the Mets were ready to protect Robles. When Noah Syndergaard threw behind Chase Utley in the following season, the same passion was shown by his teammates and then manager Terry Collins.
When teams are good, they usually have an aura of toughness that surrounds them. A look back to the 1986 Mets shows that more than anything. The bad boys of baseball would never back down from a fight, and they cared about the games they played in. More importantly, they team worked together as a unit and came together to eventually capture the World Series.
I’m not saying that this team has anywhere near the talent that the 1986 team had, or that throwing punches will make you a more successful ball club. What I am saying is that it appears that this team has already given up on the season, and that they simply don’t care about each other anymore. When a teammate gives up on another, it marks that a team has simply drifted apart from each other.