What is going on with New York Mets? This is not the way this season was supposed to go.
Despite winning three straight series, six of their last nine games, and clawing within reach of .500, the Mets remain highly flammable, ready to ignite into flames at any moment.
Coming into the season hopes were high in Queens; the Mets were coming off back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in club history, had managed to resign their most important free agent (slugger Yoenis Cespedes) to a record contract, and their pitching staff looked healthy and dominant.
And then the season started, and everything has been spiraling downward ever since. Cespedes has been in and out of the lineup all season with hamstring issues, and Jose Reyes and Curtis Granderson have seemingly forgotten how to hit a baseball.
While the Mets rightfully expected little to no production from team captain David Wright, they never envisioned their best offensive player would be the one they were trying so desperately to move all offseason, Jay Bruce.
The ironic thing of it all is that the lineup and its production—or lack thereof—-is the least of the Mets’ concerns. Their vaunted pitching staff, those young arms who dominated the National League all the way to the World Series back in 2015, and had been poised to once again carry the Mets to October glory, has imploded.
Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler, who is finally making this way back from Tommy John surgery almost two years ago, have been solid if not spectacular, but Matt Harvey has been disastrous both on and off the field.
With the ace of their ace’s, Noah Syndergaard, sidelined for the foreseeable future the last thing the Mets needed was to also lose All-Star closer Jeurys Familia too. With surgery to repair a blood clot in his shoulder, there is no way of knowing when—or if—Familia ever pitches again.
Are the Mets snakebitten? Anytime something goes right for the franchise, ten things go wrong.
After spending the years surrounding the millennium serving as a punching bag for the Braves, they finally managed to pull themselves off the floor, building what should have been a juggernaut dominating the National League East for years. They had star power, money to spend, and young superstars to build around.
Then Carlos Beltran looked at a called third strike, the Mets blew a seven and a half game lead with 17 to play, Bernie Maddoff happened—regardless of what the Mets say publicly, it obviously affected them financially—and six more years would pass before they even sniffed October baseball again.
History doesn’t have to repeat itself. The Mets don’t have to combust all over again. Matt Harvey could truly dedicate himself to baseball, actually show up at the ballpark and work on becoming the electrifying pitching he was on his way to be. The trio of Cespedes, Syndergaard, and Familia could all recover quickly, and return to a team that has managed to remain competitive enough to make some noise when it matters.
But who are we kidding? These are the Mets, after all. The beginning of the end has already happened, the day Matt Harvey couldn’t get the three most important outs of his career at Citifield against Kansas City.
At least this Mets’ core gave its fans a taste of a World Series before imploding. Another long rebuild looms off in the not-so-distant future, while across town the Bronx Bombers are proving to still be the kings of New York.
Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith
The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.
Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.
According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”
The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.
The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):
“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.
“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”
Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats.
Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.
“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”
The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.
There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.
MLB Investigating Racist Social Media Messages Sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.
Major League Baseball is investigating racial messages sent, via social media, to Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. prior to his demotion to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs back on April 6th.
According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the messages have caught the attention of both the Cubs and the MLB Players Association, leading to the launch of the investigation.
Mooney had been a solid bullpen option during the last few seasons, but had a nightmare start to the 2019 season posting a terrible 32.40 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work over four appearances.
Carlos Zambrano Attempting Comeback, Signs with Indy Team
Former MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano is attempting a comeback and has signed with the American Association’s Chicago Dogs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer.
Zambrano last pitched in the majors back in 2012 with the Miami Marlins, but earlier in his career he finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting in the National League three times as a member of the Chicago Cubs.
Zambrano started his comeback bid last fall when he took the mound for 7 starts in the Mexican League, pitching to the tune of a 5.18 ERA, and performing even worse during a short stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Given his recent lack of production, it is a longshot to believe that Zambrano will return to the MLB level, but stranger things have happened.
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