Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Why didn't SNY give all of us fair warning last night it would preempt last night's Mets-Dodgers game for a showing of the 1970s classic slapstick Little League baseball comedy, "The Bad News Bears."
You know, that flick where in one scene, the shortstop plays one routine ground ball as if it's a live hand grenade and in another, fields and throws another toward his team's dugout. It's that celluloid classic where a relief pitcher foolishly lobs a fielded bunt somewhere in the vicinity of first base and later the center fielder calls off the left fielder at the last minute, but fails to catch the ball, allowing the winning run to go third base.
But the tragicomic facsimile of baseball reaches its climax with the Little Leaguers up at bat. In this scene, in the top of the 11th inning, the left fielder strokes a clutch, two-out, go-ahead extra base hit. The team joyously erupts in celebration in its dugout -- but wait!
Back on the field, suddenly the third baseman steps on the third base bag, the umpire signals "out" and guess what? The runner, it turns out, failed to touch third base on the way home.
In the bottom of the inning, the in spite of themselves, the Little League pitcher wriggles out of a nearly impossible jam by getting the hitter to bounce into a certain inning-ending double play -- only to have the first baseman field the ball then hurl it toward the opposing dugout, costing the game and completing the circle of complete ineptitude.
This wasn't "The Bad News Bears"?
Nope. It was the New York Mets.
Fresh off a game in San Francisco in which their starting pitcher committed a team-record three balks that directly led to two runs scoring, the Mets last night elevated their level of incompetence in Los Angeles as shortstop Ramon Martinez, pitcher Sean Green, center fielder Carlos Beltran and first baseman Jeremy Reed combined to make five errors (their most in a single game since committing six in a 2007 game against the Phillies) while Ryan Church made the single biggest base running blunder in years, failing to touch third base en route to home plate with what should've been the go-ahead run on an 11th inning triple by Angel Pagan.
Instead, the Mets stumbled and bumbled their way to an utterly humiliating 3-2 loss.
The string of mistakes led legendary Dodgers' play-by-play man Vin Scully to opine, on Fox Prime Ticket: "The way the Mets are playing tonight, they ought to be being managed by Casey Stengel. Shades of Marv Throneberry and the 1962 Mets."
Only the '62 Mets didn't have a $150 million player payroll and never spent a day in first place, where these current Mets -- by some miracle -- reside.
Those Mets were called "lovable losers."
But last night's gaffes were just plain loathsome.
The Mets have had plenty of west coast swings in their history in which they appeared jet-lagged. Last night, they played as if they were hungover, high, or had reverted to pre-pubescence.
The team's appalling and inexcusable ineptitude screams for an apology to the fan base -- some of whom undoubtedly stayed up until 2 a.m. Eastern Time -- which watched what passed for a live "Three Stooges" marathon.
It's especially jarring after the Mets played a week's worth of inspiring baseball.
These Mets are finding new and bizarre ways to lose games -- just as they did in 1962.

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