I wanted to become a journalist so I could write about the Mets. I’d wake up every day and read my hometown newspaper, The Bergen Record, and read what writers like Bob Klapisch had to say about my favorite team.
So naturally, when I came to SUNY New Paltz, I figured why not start that dream now? Sixty-five columns later, I can safely say I have achieved a childhood goal. Over the last four years I have analyzed player performances, lamented over the team’s woes, wished for optimism and even had a manic moment or two as I feverishly tried to give my perspective on the Amazin’ Mets each week.
I’ll be the first to admit that some of my columns were implausible — but I got more than a few right. While looking back on some of the topics I wrote about, I was amazed to see some of the old names that haunted Citi Field, but also pleased to see that my general feelings about the team’s future have gradually gotten better.
As “Meet The Mess” reaches the end of its New Paltz Oracle iteration, I thought it would be fun to glimpse into the past and recognize some of the columns by giving them ‘awards.’
THE ONE WHERE I TOTALLY CALLED IT
In December of 2010, I wondered if the Mets would be able to trade their aging, yet still talented, centerfielder Carlos Beltran. At the time, the idea of trading Beltran seemed farfetched given his shaky relationship with the club at the time, however as we now know, the Mets were able to ship Beltran out to San Francisco for Zack Wheeler.
I thought that despite Beltran’s large contract, the Mets might be able to mine up two decent pitching prospects from some team’s farm system in exchange for the former all-star. The Mets ended up getting just one — albeit a potential future ace — for Beltran. I’ll put it in the win column for both me and the Mets on this one.
THE ONE WHERE I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT
In a similar column I discussed the potential of the Mets finding a team dumb enough to be trade partners for the much-maligned Jason Bay.
Yeah, I know, even reading that sentence is probably enough to make your sides hurt, but that isn’t even taking into account the absurd trade proposal I had concocted with the Blue Jays. Adding to my lunacy, this was written merely weeks before they eventually just cut ties with Bay, making my preposterous idea even more laughable.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWESOME FEEDBACK
In my February of 2011 column “This Offseason A New Hope,” I wrote of the culture change Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson and his front office were creating in the ashes of the chaotic nightmare that was the Omar Minaya regime. The column focused on a top-to-bottom organizational shift in philosophy and how it would make the Mets a better team in the end.
Besides being a column I was particularly proud of (it even has a Star Wars reference in the title), this particular little Mets musing was complimented by Matt Silverman, a Mets writer who helps construct the Mets edition of those Maple Street Press magazine previews you see on shelves every March.
His feedback was completely unexpected — but appreciated. I think that was the first time I really felt confident that I was writing about the Mets with a commanding voice and understanding.
THE ONE WITH THE BEST PUN IN THE HEADLINE
This was quite honestly the hardest category to choose, because in classic New Paltz Oracle fashion, we have chosen some really corny puns for the titles of some of my columns. I narrowed down the list of word-atrocities to four contenders, and quite honestly I had to actively pursue opinions on choosing the worst-of-the-worst in terms of puns.
After some soul searching, I landed with my October 2011 column titled “Riggle Me This: Mets New Coach?” where I wondered if former Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman would be a suitable bench coach for the team. Not only does the headline make your skin crawl, it also could be taken as a Batman reference.
THE ONE THAT BECAME A GLORIFIED FAN-FIC
As the Mets 2012 season was about to start, I looked at the dismal projections journalists and analysts had for the team and had a funny thought -— what if the Mets won the World Series?
The idea was about as farfetched as they come, considering the team’s roster at the time, but my glimpse into the hypothetical season featured some dark, yet funny, season highlights.
According to my made-up fantasy season, Jason Bay became a middle of the order threat because of the different Citi Field dimensions, the Mets acquired Matt Garza from the Cubs, poor Daniel Murphy hurt his knee at second base for the third time in three seasons and center fielder Kirk Neiuwenhuis did what Carlos Beltran never could and knocked in the winning runs in the 9th inning of game seven of the NLCS.
I don’t know what I was thinking. Actually, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t much thinking involved with this one – just sadness. If you can’t laugh at perpetual mediocrity, what can you do?
THE ONE WHERE I CLEARLY LOST MY MIND
Awarding this specific column required some searching through The Oracle archives — but it was worth it, because this particular column knocks any other contenders outta’ the park. In my March 2010 column “I Believe In Daniel Murphy,” I had an internal monologue with myself and debated whether or not Daniel Murphy was a player the Mets should consider keeping.
Throughout the column, I argue with and refer to an “ominous voice” that seemingly has an axe to grind with Daniel Murphy. The voice was also pretty mean to me — it apparently had the gall to call me a “misguided fool,” “crazy,” and “insane;” but in the end it said I had “all-encompassing knowledge of the Mets.”
Clearly I had a mental breakdown when I wrote this — I suspect it might have been at 5 a.m. during production night — but looking back on it, I think I won the argument against myself — Murphy is a pretty solid Met these days.
There we have it, a look back at four years’ worth of my delusional Mets ramblings. Thanks for keeping up with me all these years, I’m sure I might have made you scratch your head a few times, but I did my best to stay sane through all of the heartbreak us Mets fans have endured. In the end, all I could do was add to the Mets-verse in my own way, and I hope some of you enjoyed what I had to say.
Maybe one day I’ll be able to continue writing about the Mets in a more official capacity. While it might be a long shot, if the Mets have taught me anything — it’s that you gotta’ believe.