Dark Clouds over Port St. Lucie

I don’t think it’s possible to go a day without receiving disturbing news about the Mets. They have become a  neutron accelerator of bad luck, an active volcano of doom, a  massive storm system of despair.

The regular season is still three weeks away and the only positive news to be had is that Johan Santana remains in one piece after two starts and a batting practice session.  Not exactly a large body of work. Nonetheless, it’s kind of remarkable considering the veteran lefty has been the team’s poster boy for Murphy’s Law over the past two years (even more so than Daniel Murphy, who has contributed his own share of chills to the Mets faithful).  But the raging cynic in me is just waiting for Johan to feel that strange pain in his elbow, the seemingless harmless twinge that leads to a brief stint on the DL which then metastasizes into a season ending (career ending?) disaster.

Yes, I am in mid-season form, anticipating what could be the most confounding and frustrating Mets season in many years. What a lovely way to celebrate the team’s 50th anniversary. Last year, I turned 50 but I managed to make it to 51 in one piece. I’m not so sure about the Mets.

This is what we’ve been confronted with thus far:

David Wright’s aching ribs turns out to be an abdominal tear. He says he’ll be ready for Opening Day. We know better, don’t we?  

Ike Davis may or may not have Valley Fever. Raise your hand if you heard of Valley Fever until two weeks ago. It sounds like some affliction cast upon the Mets by the evil baseball gods – you know, the ones who have been tormenting the Mets for years in the form of injuries, late season collapses, ill-conceived trades and free agent signing, Ponzi schemes, and of course, Mel Rojas.  

Frank Francisco, their new closer, can’t throw to the bases — and the Mets don’t seem too concerned. Let’s see how they feel when he’s trying to hold Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins on first while nursing  a one-run lead in the ninth.     

Scott Hairston gets hurt and it’s def-con five. No need to worry. Adam Loewen to the rescue.

Tim Byrdak, who amazingly is the only viable lefty in the bullpen, is shelved with  a knee injury. So they start auditioning 39-year-old C.J. Nitkowski who last pitched in the majors in 2005 (sound familiar?). What, Jesse Orosco isn’t available?

With the exception of Santana, just about every starting pitcher has looked shaky. I’m sure Dan Warthen will fix things. He’s done wonders with Mike Pelfrey and Bobby Parnell.

The Madoff trustee clawback suit is about to go to trial — great PR when you’re about to begin a new season . Who timed the start of this trial, Chipper Jones? But hey, it may only cost the Wilpon’s $83 million! Incredibly, people still wonder why the Mets didn’t re-sign Reyes. I try to explain that signing an all-star shortstop to  a multi-year contract costs buckets of money. And what money the Mets do have is owed to creditors. Big, scary creditors that could care less who’s at shortstop.

The only encouraging news, I guess, is that manager Terry Collins actually believes he can win with this team. The guy is oblivious to the sky falling around him. His resolve and his focus is quite admirable so maybe he can squeeze another 75-80 wins out of this team — if everything falls into place. Including Jason Bay’s psyche.  

Or maybe the mudslide of bad news that has greeted the Mets in Port St. Lucie, and trailed them for the past five years, will bubble over into another hot mess of a season.

Yeah, just maybe.

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