“Woody Allen once wrote that showing up was 95 per cent of life,” recalls former New York Post scribe Maury Allen (above). “I had that part of my persona down pat. Not even a broken finger suffered in a sled accident or a concussion suffered in a stickball accident when I was 12 kept me from school.” What a shame then, that the 79 year old sportswriter, now toiling for The Columnists.com, hasn’t volunteered to patrol left field for Jerry Manuel (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
What does all of this have to do with the 2009 version of the New York Mets?
In the past two seasons they blew pennant leads in the last could of weeks and were maligned for choking. This year they can be attacked for not showing up.
The injuries, maybe unavoidable, have happened to their best, middle and worst players, including first baseman Carlos Delgado, All Star outfielder Carlos Beltran, team table setter Jose Reyes, free agent pitcher J.J. Putz, veteran Tim Redding and reliever Billy Wagner, a carryover cripple from last year.
This is not to say the Mets are the wimpiest of teams. That™s just the way baseball and all sports seem to go these days. Get injured and take time off. Rehab in Florida. Play against minor league teams.
It just seems to be showing up more around the Mets than around any other team because of the blown pennants in recent years with nobody to blame. This year they can blame the injuries to their stars and soak the fans for those expensive seats again at Citi Field next year.
In another time players played through injuries because they had one year contracts, the competition for jobs was brutal and macho mania was part of the scene.
The Yankees of 1949 won the American league pennant under rookie manager Casey Stengel despite something like 79 major injuries during the year, especially the heel injury to Joe DiMaggio. He sat out the season until a June series against the Red Sox, destroyed them in four games and led the Yankees to a title. Of course, he had to play the last two games of the year with walking pneumonia.
The Mets last won a World Series 23 years ago. It is hard to imagine them winning another with their new history of chokiness and wimpiness.
Allen has apparently forgotten how quickly Carlos Beltran returned to the lineup in ’05 after re-arranging his good looks in an outfield collision with Mike Cameron. While Maury took care to mention David Wright is “resting comfortably” after taking “a pitch on the cocoanut” (alleged) kid gloves treatment of the Mets’ star third baseman is an obvious move in light of how the club handled Ryan Church’s multiple concussions a year earlier. But it’s a curious take, either way. Rather than pillory the Mets’ training/medical staff or hold the General Manager accountable for a farm system devoid of prospects or competent journeymen, Allen prefers to insist the Mets are, well, a big bunch of pansies.