The Mets are the organization that shoots itself in the foot then goes in search of the gunman.
They think bad things are happening to them rather than because of themselves.
“Is there any treatment for a virus? You just have to let it run its course.”
That was Mickey Callaway speaking about — no really, this is not made up — Noah Syndergaard’s hand, foot and mouth disease and what could be done for it. But it fits the Mets, too. They have endured a virus for decades now in which their media, medical and player relations are hopelessly sick with no signs of running its course.
Mets assistant general manager John Ricco was given the role Sunday to explain another 48 hours in which the Mets did everything short of throw pies in each other’s faces. It would have been more merciful if he were given a blindfold and cigarette.
Ricco, a perpetually good guy answering for relentlessly bad events, tried to explain each misstep and why it wasn’t a misstep, but once you get to five or six, well, that is just not about poor timing or fortune. It is about mismanagement. And at about the 30-minute mark of explanations, Ricco dropped an “oh, by the way” to announce Syndergaard would be heading to the DL with what Callaway speculated was “the first DL stint in baseball for hand, foot and mouth disease.”
Oh by the way, the star pitcher who has made just two starts since missing seven weeks with a finger injury the Mets said initially would cost him one start is now out for what the Mets say is likely to be just 10 days at a time when they might like to be showcasing him to rotation-hungry contenders.
This is not to be confused with Yoenis Cespedes, who missed nine-plus weeks with either a hip flexor or quad injury (depending on whom you asked), returned for one game then announced all his maladies were being caused by heel problems. The next morning — 12 hours after the most expensive player in Mets history offered his self-diagnosis — Callaway said he was unaware of what was said. A Mets media relations official has been trying to say since that he misspoke — as if that makes anything better.
Pick what you would like: Either you are Sgt. Schultz and know nothing or you have no feel whatsoever for disseminating information. It is just a continuation of the Mets suffering from foot-in-mouth disease.
The Mets then traded Jeurys Familia to the A’s in a trade agreed upon Friday and finalized before the conclusion of Saturday’s matinee. Yet they made none of their three acting GMs available to discuss perhaps their biggest deal of this deadline and of one of their best relievers ever. I have done this job for more than three decades, and I cannot remember a team trading a player of even one-third of Familia’ stature and not discussing it in close to real time.
By the way, that is merely the big-picture Cliff Notes version of the two days. There were further faux pas, mainly in the attempt to extinguish the bad actions — a Mets specialty, turning one alarm into five.
“I feel like we do a really good job of communicating things,” Callaway said.
Based on what? I realize Jerry Seinfeld is a huge Mets fan, but this is taking the Bizarro World too far. The opposite is true. Callaway has been overmatched in many ways as a first-year manager, but public communication is near the top of that list. Just in the past few weeks, he defiantly said Cespedes was coming back to play left field while his bosses were talking about working him in at first base. He said he did not know anything about Dr. Cespedes’ heel diagnosis. If I thought the Mets were competent enough, I would say they were setting him up to look bad to make dismissing him after one year easier.
In the pregame Sunday, Callaway still was talking about monitoring Cespedes to see if the slugger could be used for an at-bat. What? The Mets had the NL’s second-worst record and Cespedes was going to see specialists about his heels Monday because somehow nine weeks on the DL did not give this organization a clear view of his medical condition and now they want to find out if he needs surgery that will sideline him at least eight months. Considering that background, what kind of big at-bat could come along to risk using Cespedes?
Obviously, part of the problem is Cespedes, who is emotional and a loose wire and not really good at the communication game either. But the Mets knew all that — and that he had heel issues — when they made him the highest-paid per annum outfielder in history. What they didn’t know is themselves well enough to avoid this marriage.
It is all part of the virus that goes on, uncured, with the Mets still thinking they are not sick.