I'm no more panicy or distressed today than I was weeks ago over this team, just a little disappointed now that it looks like they're headed for another last place finish when 3rd place once looked so attainable. Some insist this demands the end of the Terry Collins Era; I'm of the feeling that Terry would be around until the team is ready to be passed along to the next guy, but it's getting harder to imagine when that day is coming. This team needs a lot of help. So does Terry.
He presided over another bad loss yesterday, as the bullpen, poor defense and a punchless offense wasted a fine debut effort from Collin McHugh, the new No. 36. You might have noticed Robert Carson was back for a spell too.
And you might also have seen this article the other day by hardworking blogger Brian Joura, reviewing the failures of the Mets and Collins as they idiotically pursue "a second lefty" the same way Jerry Manuel wasted so much time and energy on the "8th inning guy" while the rest of the team grew increasingly tight and unable to give the bullpen much of anything to work with in the first place. Why, Joura asked, should a team value narrow platoon advantages over versatility? Where have you gone, Bob Myrick?
As it turned out, Bob Myrick died yesterday of a heart attack at age 59. Myrick, who wore No. 44 for the late-70s Mets, was a lefty who could start or relieve. His splits were radical only in the sense that they basically didn't exist: Joe Torre never once needed to tie his roster in knots in order to shoehorn him into a game. He more or less was an average reliever who happened to throw with his left arm, an almost unheard-of concept today.
Myrick's obituary mentioned first not that he was a former Mets pitcher, but that he was general manager of a family-run building supply business in Hattiesburg, Miss. — his hometown, and also Robert Carson's hometown. It's entirely possible Robert Carson grew up in a home built with lumber Bob Myrick provided.
In the event you didn't see it before, my biography of Lee Mazzilli was recently published at SABR's Biography Project. I thought Mazzilli made an interesting topic if I may say so myself!
Not mentioned there (but always mentioned here), Mazzilli wore 3 different numbers as a Met. He debuted wearing No. 12 in 1976, but switched assignments with fellow youngster John Stearns in 1977. It's not clear exactly why this happened, but the accompany photo of Stearns here in his Colorado Buffalos gear presents a compelling suggestion. Mazzilli's No. 16, which he wore through his glory years and the Mets' worst years, was issued to Dwight Gooden when the Mets miraculously reacquired Maz in 1986. Mazzilli wore No. 13 thereafter.
The right-handed hitting catcher the 2012 Mets always needed, acquired in mid-August.
We'll know in a matter of hours what number they put on newly acquired catcher Kelly Shoppach, whose customary No. 10 is worn by manager Terry Collins (in honor of his mentor Jim Leyland in case you didn't know). Popular speculation includes 20 and/or 22, but it might be fun to see him wearing No. 6. Then he can take 10 in the event Terry gets whacked for overseeing a sonambulent second-half yet again, though I don't think that'll happen). But seeing as someone should take the blame for this rotten second half I wouldn't be shopping for a home in the area were I Dan Warthen. I think Terry serves until the Mets are truly ready to contend then step aside for the post-turnaround leadership.
Not that I don't want him to succeed, but Josh Thole to me has looked in deperate need of a lengthy break since well before the All-Star Break, and increasingly appears as though his best role will be as a backup. We gave him a shot anyway. This Shoppach move gives us a look-see at a guy who can be a free agent after the season, at the cost of a player-to-be-named.
UPDATE: Sure enough he's a 6. Yeah!
Garrett Olson was assigned No. 38 during Spring Training and with those digits still unassigned, its a good bet that's the number the Mets call on when they need to retire a lefthanded hitter this week. Olson is expected to join the Mets Tuesday after the club revealed the shoulder injury to Tim Byrdak was more serious than they expected. Like, Johan Santana serious.
This is not official but it is expected the corresponding move will be to demote Elvin Ramirez again. Byrdak went onto the disabled list over the weekend whgen closer Frank Francisco returned from the DL. Also back now from injury is Mike Baxter, with Kirk Niuewenhuis mercifully returned to Buffalo.
That's not quite the flurry of moves many expected this year at the trading deadline but after stewing for a bit over the seeming pointlessness of retaining Byrdak, Scott Hairston and Jon Rauch, I came around the Sandy Alderson's so-many-words point that there might be some value in finishing third rather than last for a change. We Mets way too often go hell-bent for one or the other.