That’s it folks. Right there at the beginning of that video, before Wainwright threw that 3-2 curve ball in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. That was the last time a Mets fan felt genuine optimism about the outcome of a season. We were destined for greatness that season and Carlos Beltran was at the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th, trailing 3-1. Such a glorious, naive time. How we lost that game after Endy Chavez made one the best home-run robbing catches in MLB history is still a mystery.
Everything you need to know about the Mets’ next 6 seasons can be summed up in that fans’ reaction. “Noooooo! Oh my goodness… called third strike, boy I tell ya, that’s a hurt.” Little did that fan know how much he would hurt over the next couple of seasons. Two major second half collapses the next two seasons, including losing a win-and-in game to the Marlins in 2007, followed by complete irrelevance for the next 4 years. How is it about to be 2013 and the Mets haven’t played a playoff game since that devastating called third strike?
Part of the answer to that question stems from bad free agent signings. No one had any way of knowing that Jason Bay would be this bad, but in typical Mets fashion he becomes another good player who became historically bad after signing with the Mets. So bad (.234 AVG, 26 HR and 124 over three seasons in New York) that he and the team have agreed upon an early expiration on his contract. Maybe if he put up those numbers in one season, we wouldn’t have this problem but since it took Bay 3 seasons to reach 25 HR, the Mets are going to be pay him $21 million to not play.
Bay probably goes down as the worst free agent signing in franchise history. (The Mets are still paying Bobby Bonilla, who hasn’t played in New York since 1995, $1 million annually by the way). It clearly was not going to work with Bay, no matter what happened so I guess this is the right move. Bay got booed every step he took yet he continued to bust his ass all over the field, running directly into outfield walls and having little regard for his body. No one took not living up to his contract harder than Jason himself. I feel for him and hope he finds success elsewhere. Given the Mets history, you can bet he will have a season worthy of comeback player of the year wherever he winds up.
What’s done is done and I’m focused on the future, as I hope the team is. David Wright needs a long-term deal immediately no matter how much we have to pay. Resigning R.A. Dickey should be priority number two but recent reports have said that the Mets are entertaining trade offers for the knuckleballer. I really hope Dickey remains a Met. I love his story and think that he can be a very productive starter for at least the next 5 seasons. Wright and Dickey are the best shot we have to return that feeling of optimism last felt in 2006. Make it happen.