I honestly didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d ever see Oliver Perez pitch again. But last Saturday night in Harrisburg, I found myself watching him warm up about 30 yards from Bryce Harper, ships passing in the night.
Besides the red jersey, Ollie looked just as I remembered him. It was like when you run into a long-lost friend you havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seen for a while; thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s that moment where you instinctively take inventory to see what, if anything, has changed.
I noticed that every sixth or seventh warmup toss would glance off his glove. Ollie would run after it, pick it up from wherever it landed, and start playing catch again from wherever he ended up. I was told later this is something he does by design to get some running in at the same time he does his long-toss. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not sure if thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s legitimate, but Ollie has always had his quirks.
Though to me, it pretty much just looked like a guy chasing after a baseball.
What do you get when you take a bunch of rabid, intelligent bloggers fixated on one maddening team, bring them together in a quaint New York City bar and turn them loose?
Okay, that may be a slight overstatement. But the first New York Mets Hot Stove Huddle Ã¢â‚¬â€œ deftly promoted and staged by AmazinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Avenue and my good friend Will Davidian of Blue and Orange, was undoubtedly a success in several ways, most notably in figuring out a way to give the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most passionate enthusiasts a group therapy session to work out their fears and concerns about their favorite team, and make some new friends in the process.
Other sources Ã¢â‚¬â€œ like Baseball Prospectus Ã¢â‚¬â€œ have started to pick up on our idea of the MetsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ season being like a horror movie. Being that we are horror movie historians of sorts, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve specified the movie Final Destination as a direct parallel. And following with that theme, whatever demonic force has targeted the Mets claimed Johan SantanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s valuable left elbow and Oliver PerezÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s somewhat less valuable right knee this week.
Sidebar: If thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s anyone out there who thought 150-year-old malcontent Gary Sheffield would outlast Santana, much less Wright, Beltran and Reyes, he or she should promptly begin playing the horses.
Regardless, neither Santana and Perez will pitch again this season, bringing to an end a series of injuries that veered into the land of the occult.
However, these two most recent maladies, particularly that of Santana, brings to attention a couple of shortcomings of the MetsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ organizational strategy.
- Pitchers are too risky to make big-money investments in.
- There is great monetary value in a successful scouting department and farm system.
Never have I seen a team as cursed as this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mets. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get me wrong, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve brought it on themselves in certain ways, and GM Omar MinayaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s press conference where he called out a reporter will go down as one of the most notorious moments in New York sports history.
But itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s simply incredible to see a team completely decimated this way by injuries. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sad to see during the first season at a new stadium. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re resembling the early-90Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s version of this team in terms of the product they put on the field, but those teams werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t ravaged by injuries as much as what we see here.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s almost like the movie Final Destination, where some sort of bad karma is picking off the Mets one by one. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not quite sure what they did to deserve this Ã¢â‚¬â€œ MinayaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s conference came after the majority of these injuries Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but God help me if I ever do the same.
To recap the grim details, here are the various appendages that have malfunctioned: