Monday, May 8, 2017

Citi Field’s Animal House

By Jeff Kallman

What's next for the New York Mess (er, Mets)? Pitchers coming in from the bullpen in the Deathmobile? Hazing their rookies by sending them on a mass Food King shoplift? A toga party at second base? A food fight in the clubhouse? Welcome to Citi Field's Animal House.

I'd better amend one of the foregoing. At the rate they're going, three more Mets would be injured during the food fight, one of the rookies on the mass Food King shoplift would come up with a strained oblique, and another would suffer a shoulder separation firing the pistol at the rampaging horse.

It's only slightly surprising that the player (as yet unidentified) who planted the sex toy in Kevin Plawecki's locker — too visible in a photo of T.J. Rivera celebrating after his first Show home run and first Show game-tying double, during the Mets' comeback win against the Marlins Friday night — didn't turn up with a hamstring pull.

As it is, all we knew entering Sunday's game against the Marlins was Matt Harvey being suspended without pay, by the Mets, for breaking team rules that nobody on the team at this writing is inclined to disclose. All other things considered, you should probably be half afraid to ask. If you didn't know better, you might suspect manager Terry Collins is more than half afraid.

"In order to be able to control things you've got to sometimes make tough decisions," Collins told the New York Daily News, "and this is one of them." The only known hints of something possibly happening involving Harvey, apparently, were the Mets claiming Tommy Milone off the waiver wire from the Brewers.

But Sunday afternoon it came forth, via FOX Sports's Ken Rosenthal, that Harvey didn't turn up at Citi Field for Saturday night's festivities, the ones that went on to become an 11-3 demolition of the Marlins. Rosenthal cited "sources close to" the pitcher in saying Harvey suffered a severe migraine headache "and cited possible communication issue with the Mets."

Rosenthal tweeted an appeal "would be based upon whether three-game suspension is appropriate given facts and circumstances of case." If Harvey really was suffering a migraine, his appeal would be just another self-inflicted Mets headache. And indeed Harvey appealed, filing a grievance directly with an independent arbitrator, as players can do involving unpaid suspensions.

But there also came word that Harvey played golf earlier Saturday, before the migraine hit. And Daily News writer Peter Botte says the suspension came about thanks to what "one Mets source" called "a compilation of issues" dating back to last season.

Sounds almost like Douglas Neidermeyer, prosecuting attorney at the Student Court trial of Delta House, proclaiming "two dozen reports of individual acts of perversion so profound and disgusting that decorum prohibits listing them here." Harvey — already struggling enough in his return from season-ending thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last year — might be better of pleading in kangaroo court.

The Mets brought up Adam Wilk from Las Vegas to fill Noah Syndergaard's roster spot while Syndergaard is gone, until at least after the All-Star break thanks to the torn lat muscle heard 'round the world, speaking of Mets headaches. And, to take Harvey's scheduled Sunday start.

They'd previously let Syndergaard slide on shenking a scheduled MRI for bicep and shoulder discomfort that might have caught the issue; they let him start two days later despite possible lingering discomfort. And Syndergaard left the game with the lat tear just after the Nationals used him as their first patsy of a day on which they went nuclear on the Mets.

They'd already lost Steven Matz and Seth Lugo at the start of the season. They're also without Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda, and Travis d'Arnaud, all current disabled list residents. The Mets' inability to handle player injuries properly could very well cost them any realistic pennant race hope this season. Their clumsiness with a player suspension didn't do them any favors Sunday afternoon, either.

Poor Wilk got welcomed very rudely. It only began with Giancarlo Stanton hitting a three-run homer with one out in the first. It merely continued with Stanton teeing off again in the third, also with one out, this time a solo launch. It got worse when Adeiny Echevarria opened the fourth with a solo bomb. Mercifully, with two outs and Christian Yelich on third thanks to a throwing error allowing him to advance past his double, Wilk's sad afternoon ended. The Mets' had only just begun.

Paul Sewald relieved Wilk and wild pitched Yelich home with Marcell Ozuna at the plate. The good news: Ozuna grounded out for the side. Sewald actually went from that mishap to cruise control. The bad news: the Mets couldn't do anything substantial against Miami starter Jose Urena — standing in for Edinson Volquez, who's out with a blister issue — and three Marlins relievers. And the Marlins tacked on a seventh run when Derek Dietrich hit an RBI double with two out in the seventh.

Not a lovely turnabout after the Mets filleted the Marlins Saturday off a five-run first. Even that couldn't be savored properly. Not when Asdrubal Cabrera looked like he'd damaged his thumb severely while diving into the hole at shortstop to try to stop Ozuna's third-inning single. The loudest sigh of relief in New York came Sunday morning when an MRI showed no serious damage.

To Cabrera's thumb, that is. The wreck of the Metsperus is metastasizing. It won't be over when the Germans bomb Pearl Harbor, either.

Contents copyright © Sports Central 1998-2017