fernando martinez, mets error, mets suck
AP/Morry Gash
Mets center fielder Fernando Martinez trips while trying to catch a fly ball hit by the Brewers’
Corey Hart, June 30, 2009.

Senior Softball Players Offer to Teach the Mets How to Play

July 17, 2009 12:55 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A senior softball team is offering to teach the New York Mets the fundamentals of baseball, after a dreadful first half marked by a succession of spectacular blunders.

“Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?”

The New York Mets, with the second-highest payroll in the majors, were expected to compete for the NL East title this year, but they entered the All-Star break in a freefall, having lost 11 of their last 16 to drop 6 1/2 games out of first place.

The team has been hit hard by injuries, losing All-Star hitters Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, as well as pitchers Oliver Perez, John Maine and J.J. Putz. But the injuries cannot totally explain the comical series of blunders that has helped to drop the Mets into fourth place.

The travails of this year’s team have drawn comparisons to the 1962 Mets, Casey Stengel’s new expansion team of famously inept players such as Choo Choo Coleman and Marvelous Marv Throneberry. The 1962 team finished 40-120 and still holds the record for most losses in a season. “Can’t anybody here play this game?” Stengel once famously quipped.

Offering to ride to the Mets’ rescue, the Bristal All-Stars, comprised of softball players in their 70s and 80s, with an aggregate of 1,400 years of experience, is offering to teach the Mets the fundamentals of the game through an instructional video. The video, which teaches fundamentals such as the proper way to bunt, catch pop-ups and run bases, was recorded during a softball game on July 15.

“We’re not angry with the Mets, but you know everybody could use some help,” said Joe Friedman, the softball league’s commissioner, to Newsday.

2009 Mets: Season in Review

“If you werent around to see the 1962 Mets, heres a reminder.”
- Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, following the Mets’ fourth error in a May 18 loss.

April 21
In a preview of the May 18 loss to the Dodgers, a baserunning and fielding mistake in the same inning cost the Mets in a 6-4 loss to the Cardinals. In the top of the eighth inning, with the score tied 4-4, Carlos Beltran inexplicably didn’t slide into home and was tagged out.

Then, in the bottom of the inning, Daniel Murphy slipped while trying to catch a line drive, giving the Cardinals’ Brendan Ryan a leadoff triple. Ryan scored what would be the winning run.

May 17
Starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey balked three times, the latter two helping the Giants score the only two runs of the game. Pelfrey explained that the balks were caused by the “yips” and “a mental block.”

May 18
Despite making three errors and an ill-advised throw to home, the Mets were tied 2-2 with the Dodgers in the top of the 11th. A two-out triple by Angel Pagan appeared to score Ryan Church from first base, but the Dodgers appealed that Church failed to touch third base. The umpire agreed, calling out Church and negating the Mets’ go-ahead run.

But the Mets weren’t done. In the bottom of the inning, miscommunication between Pagan and Beltran caused Beltran to drop a fly ball, the Mets’ fourth error. Three batters later, with the bases loaded, Jeremy Reed—an outfielder subbing in at first base—fielded a ground ball and threw it wide of catcher Ramon Castro, allowing the winning run to score.

“Marv Throneberry lives again!” declared Scully. “The Mets live again! Holy Mackerel!”
May 27
Star prospect Fernando Martinez, playing in just his second major league game, showed that he was “born to be a Met” when he failed to run after hitting a pop-up, wrote The New York Post’s Larry Brooks. When the ball was dropped, Martinez was still standing near home plate and was easily thrown out at first.

June 12
In the opening game of the 2009 Subway Series against the cross-town rival Yankees, the Mets held an 8-7 lead with two outs in the ninth. Closer Francisco Rodriguez got Alex Rodriguez to hit what should have been a game-ending pop-up behind second base, but Luis Castillo dropped the ball and then compounded the mistake by throwing to second as the winning run scored.

June 26
When the Subway Series moved to CitiField, before the first game “most of the Mets infielders and pitchers took part in basic fielding drills, an unusual scene this late in the season,” wrote the Newark Star-Ledger. But in the second inning, Mets infielders made three errors, gifting the Yankees four runs.

June 30
Leading 2-1 in the fourth inning against the Brewers, ace Johan Santana walked the opposing pitcher on four pitches. Then Martinez, playing center field, comically fell on his stomach after over-running a fly ball. Santana walked the next batter and pitching coach Dan Warthen was then ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

The Brewers’ Ryan Braun cleared the bases with a double, moved to third on the errant throw home, and came into score when Santana, backing up home, fired the ball into left field trying to nab Braun at third.

What began as a baseball season for the Mets has now developed into a Twilight Zone episode about a team that does the impossible on a nightly basis,” wrote Newsday’s David Lennon.

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines