Last night, when the Yankees actually acknowledged an Alex Rodriguez milestone (and didn't even edit it out in the YES rebroadcast!), I couldn't help but think of the sad fate of most recent Mets milestones. Jose Reyes winning the only batting title in Mets history is remembered for how he left the final game in the first inning. Johan Santana pitching the long-awaited first Mets' no-hitter can't be mentioned without noting how it basically ended Santana's career. Met fans don't have much to celebrate, so it's time for us to reclaim our milestones.
Sure, Reyes was no Ted Williams, who famously played a doubleheader on the final day of the 1941 season when he could have sat out and seen his .3996 batting average rounded up to .400. But remembering Reyes as a villain also makes the failure to re-sign him more palatable. Why should the Mets pay top dollar for an oft-injured, me-first player?
Here's why - with a real shortstop and leadoff hitter, the Mets would have a much stronger shot at the postseason. Think the Mets couldn't use the leadoff hitter for the team that's leading MLB in runs by a wide margin? Yes, Reyes has missed a lot of time this season as is often the case with him, but Toronto is 25-14 in games he's started and 12-18 when he has not played.
Last night, Wilmer Flores made yet another mistake at shortstop, taking so long to look the runner back at third that he failed to get the runner at first. Flores' bat may belong somewhere in the lineup, but does anyone besides Sandy Alderson see him as the longterm shortstop on a winning team built on pitching?
After Flores' miscue, Terry Collins pulled Jacob deGrom, though he was pitching a shutout and had thrown just 97 pitches. Sean Gilmartin allowed both runners to score on a double that gave the Braves a 2-1 win and deGrom an undeserved loss.
Collins still regrets allowing Santana to throw 134 pitches during his no-hitter, but even though he's only won three games since, Santana is glad to have his no-hitter and says that Collins has nothing to feel bad about:
"You can't say it was the right decision or the wrong decision," he
added. "Because you don't know. No doctor ever told me, 'Oh, if you
didn't throw so many pitches in this game or that game, your shoulder
would not have been hurt again.'"
If Santana can enjoy his no-hitter without regrets, I want to be able to as well.
Sometimes the Mets go too far when celebrating a milestone. Squawker Lisa and I were at Citi Field when Mariano Rivera got his 500th save in 2009, but I was too irritated by Francisco Rodriguez walking Mariano with the bases loaded to even mention the achievement in my blog entry. At the end of the season, the Mets sent Mariano the pitching rubber from that game along with a congratulatory letter from Omar Minaya and Jeff Wilpon.
As long as the Mets engage in shameless Yankee honoring, I hope they honor A-Rod's milestones, especially the ones the Yankees skip over, when the Yankees come to Citi Field in September.
It's interesting how A-Rod's homer milestones stopped being valuable when the Yankees decided that was the case. Steiner Sports is selling a framed autographed photo of A-Rod hitting number 600 for $554.99.
By comparison, if you want a framed photo of Bucky Dent's famed 1978 homer signed by both Dent and pitcher Mike Torrez, that will cost $169.99.