After enduring a laughable 2009 season, the New York Mets were ready to start over fresh in 2010. A new decade was supposed to spur a new, more positive outlook as opposed to the heartbreak of the past 10 years, and a healthy Mets team was supposed to contend in a tough division for a playoff spot.
They couldn’t even make it to St. Patrick’s Day. Or even Daylight Savings. The 2010 season is already looking eerily similar to 2009. First it was Carlos Beltran’s knee surgery, and whether or not it was necessary or when it was supposed to be done. Beltran’s agents and doctors said one thing, while Mets GM Omar Minaya and the Mets medical staff said something else. Now Jose Reyes will have to rest his overactive thyroid for somewhere between two and eight weeks. That was of course after the Mets and Reyes couldn’t seem to agree whether the thyroid would be a problem.
The Mets lost all their marquee players to injury over the course of the season. First were Reyes and Carlos Delgado in May. Then Beltran in June. JJ Putz, Oliver Perez, and John Maine were undone by injuries. David Wright had to hit the DL after being beaned in the head. When ace Johan Santana finally went on the DL, the season was effectively over with two months to play. Maybe the Mets medical staff in 2009 consisted of Dr. Nick Riviera, Dr. Leo Spaceman, Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush, and Dr. Vinnie Boombatz.
Yes, injuries can happen to any athlete, and sometimes teams get a run of bad luck. But what was extremely frustrating for Mets fans was how the Mets tried to play off each injury as something minor, and that the team was optimistic that said player would be back in the lineup soon, ready to go. Reyes was only supposed to be sitting out a couple of days during a West Coast swing in May. He never returned to the lineup. As the season progressed and it became apparent that our best players were already done, and the team sank further in the standings, Mets fans sank from confusion to frustration to depression to anger. But this year was supposed to be different from an injury standpoint. “Prevention and Recovery” was the Mets motto headed into Port St. Lucie, and it couldn’t even make it a month. Why all of us Mets fans actually believed it is another story.
The scary part of Reyes’s thyroid condition (and it does appear to be a relatively minor condition for one of the most important glands in the human body) is the uncertainty of how much time he will miss during the season. Even if he just sits for two weeks, that’s two weeks of zero activity he will have to work himself out of. And should his thyroid act up during the season, what will be the protocol? Sit him immediately and suspend all physical activity for two weeks? Or could a days rest suffice to get his levels back to normal? If the overactive levels did not seem troublesome enough just a few days ago, could he play at those levels without suffering immediate or long-term bodily harm? Why hasn’t this problem shown up before?
The Mets season is still weeks away, and all we have is another heap of recycled questions from 2009. It is very likely that the Mets will play the entire month of April without Reyes and Beltran, maybe more (but since this is the Mets, make that probably). And what Mets fan would be surprised if these injuries or other didn’t creep up constantly during the next seven months.
All during last season I defended Mets manager Jerry Manuel and GM Omar Minaya. It wasn’t their fault that most of their roster got hurt. But it is becoming increasingly clear that someone on the top of the Mets hierarchy (Minaya, Jeff Wilpon, Fred Wilpon, or someone else) is trying to win a public-relations game with medical information. But each loss in that department is compounded by the fact the Mets are either caught totally off guard or are saying one thing while the player is saying something else. After Minaya’s embarrassing 2009, he will be the first to go in 2010 if things don’t improve. But only time will tell if that will actually solve the Mets medical melodrama that a scribe for ER or Grey’s Anatomy would consider to ridiculous to air. Paging Dr. Boombatz to Citi Field…