We saw it today, as we’ve seen it year after year, as it seems destined to be until the end of time. It’s a cycle that has repeated itself so many times that it seems absurd to be forced to see it again and again — don’t we know how this goes already? — but nevertheless, we saw it again today.
A Met slid into second relatively inconsequentially. 30 seconds later, his season was in doubt.
When Asdrubal Cabrera took off alertly from first, tagging and advancing to second on a deep fly ball from Cespedes, he probably examined his surroundings. He noticed the center fielder retreating, not in good footing to make a throw. He noticed the wind, taking the ball ever deeper. He noticed the second baseman at less than full alertness, and knew that he could take the base if he tagged. It would all go according to a simple and relatively fool-proof plan.
Here’s what he didn’t notice: he’s a Met now. And fool proof plans don’t mean a thing.
Statistically speaking, I doubt we have substantially more injuries than the average team. I’m sure it’s a fluke, just as all teams likely believe that they’ve been cursed with bad injury luck as well.
But, I mean, come on. We’re absolutely cursed with injuries: we know it. Why pretend otherwise?
Travis d’Arnaud, sidelined when he took an erratic fastball to the hand. Jerry Blevins, a line drive to same. Juan Lagares, a perpetually rehabbing elbow that seems just a nudge away from a full-blown pop. David Wright, injured running to first, tagging a runner, and sliding into second.
Murph pulling his groin. Clippard’s back acting up. Uribe’s normal dive somehow injuring his chest. An evil slide breaking Tejada’s leg. Flores breaking his ankle in Winter ball. Vic Black’s routine injury putting an end to his Mets career. Tommy John Surgery for starting pitchers, two years in a row, plus our lefty specialist.
A beaning. A taxicab. A dugout step. A hedge trimmer. A protective boot that made a misdiagnosed injury exponentially worse. A face-to-face collision. Valley fever.
Pulling a muscle while running in from the bullpen to celebrate. Pulling a muscle after having gotten to the celebration. Dislocating a hip after slipping in the dugout. Slipping off the sidewalk. An accidental collision with a golf club. Food poisoning from the Shake Shack.
And now, the relatively tame case of Asdrubal Cabrera and the Strained Knee Tendon.
Who knows what happens now? Maybe Ruben Tejada becomes the starting shortstop, after it’s already being implied without being stated that Cabrera will not be ready for Opening Day. It would be fitting: Tejada is coming back from a Metsian injury of his own, namely a slide so illegal that they hadn’t even considered it seriously enough to outlaw it, and it seems fair for him to get his chance.
Or maybe things will go even further, and we’ll finally – FINALLY – see the long-awaited major-league debut of Matt Reynolds. Reynolds surely deserves it: he’s been waiting in the minors, hitting consistently if not spectacularly for a few good years now, and far too soon, he’ll become that guy who may have been good, but just never got his shot. No one wants to see that; he seems like a good guy. It would be nice, if not ideal in the current circumstances, to see Matt Reynolds get his chance.
Or maybe we’ll see something even more ridiculous, something truly Metsian, and before we know it, we’ll see Eric Campbell at short, Kevin Plawecki playing third, and Antonio Bastardo at backup catcher. That, in some strange, multilayered way, might be the most fulfilling situation. It almost certainly would not lead to the highest win total. But it would reaffirm my faith that the Mets remain truly transcendent of all logic and reason.
Why do I want that? Who the hell can tell? I’m a Mets fan. I myself moved beyond logic and reason some time ago.
So yes, I’d love to see Hansel Robles in the outfield and Anthony Recker re-signed as a third baseman and Rob Johnson brought back when we need an emergency reliever. It would be, as we always want the Mets to be, completely unique.
But even more than that, I’d like the Mets to be inspiring, uplifting, and just plain nice. So, more than anything ridiculous, I’d like to see Matt Reynolds finally make his debut.