When Citi Field Turned Into The Roosevelt Avenue Retirement Home
The Flushing Morgue isn’t a real place, I don’t think, but for a time Citi by the Bay resembled something more like a potter’s field where major leaguers went to die. Instead of serving as a spring board towards success, falling a curve ball short of making the 2006 World Series was more like an organizational cyanide pill. Starting in 2005, then plowing forward to keep the so called “dream” alive, the club rounded up the remaining nomads of both leagues and put them through a juicer in an attempt to squeeze every last drop of life out of their careers.
Guys like Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan almost died premature deaths before deciding they wanted to live. They managed to Escape From New York, and are now both flourishing and bursting with life while opposing each other in the National League Championship Series. Carlos Beltran in particular witnessed a long list of geriatrics come to Queens only to hang up their uniforms and take up drinking prune juice.
June 9, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Jason Bay (44) during batting practice before the game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
The careers of Paul LoDuca, Oliver Perez (not old, just bad), Tom Glavine, Billy Wagner, and Pedro Martinez all effectively ended in Flushing. After their respective departures, the five went on to participate in a portion of one more season elsewhere. But nothing more.
Otherwise, the last era in Queens witnessed many a player’s last hurrah. A bevy of plots dot the Flushing Fields of tranquility. Moises Alou, Shawn Greene, Jose Valentin, Luis Castillo, and Carlos Delgado were some of the position players who never played again after their last major league game with the Mets.
Pitchers Orlando Hernandez, and John Maine likewise threw their last pitch in Flushing.
For this particular epoch, that’s twelve players, or half a roster, of old, or broken toys. Without actually going back and checking the rosters, I’m sure I’m missing a cadaver or two.
Then there are the sickly. When Francisco Rodriguez tried disturbing the Flushing Fields of tranquility, he was removed from the premises in cuffs. Playing for a new team this season, he was recently arrested again for domestic violence. He may have escaped Flushing, but he will now be enjoying life behind bars for the immediate future. Luckily, he is no longer our problem.
But Jason Bay is. He too will probably end his career as a Met. Concussion symptoms or a lack of production, or both, will most likely end his career prematurely. Lately, and frightfully, Johan Santana is succumbing to the sickness as well. On the positive side, Johan’s future is murky.
Jose Reyes, like Beltran and Pagan, just managed to get out while the getting was still good. And Reyes, more so that Carlos Beltran, has seen all these players come and go.
Among the still truly live and kicking members of the prior regime, is the as yet whithered face of the franchise. Nearly all the names mentioned above have left him behind. David Wright was there. He seen them all too. While he hasn’t been immune to the Willets Point Plague, he is still fairly young. Therefore his immune system is still fighting his battles for him.
Signed during that era, R.A. Dickey is like that one plant thriving all by itself in the middle of a nuclear blast zone. So he is either a freak of nature, or an alien life form.
I hope you read this post in the spirit is was written; for fun. But somewhere hidden down beneath the layers lies an indictment regarding previous policy. If we don’t remind ourselves of the past, we are doomed to repeat it.