I’m a somewhat superstitious guy. For any fans of “The Office,” I identify with Michael Scott’s quote of “I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.”
So given the New York Mets’ run of luck with injuries over the past few seasons, I (like Mets fans everywhere) simply chalked it up to bad luck.
The Baseball Gods hate the Mets or someone representing the team must have done something so egregious somewhere down the line that the entire organization and their fan base is paying for it now.
This team is supposed to compete for the National League pennant. Instead, they’re 9.5 games behind the Washington Nationals after an 8-3 loss on Thursday night where once again, an important contributor went down with an injury.
Center fielder Juan Lagares fractured his left thumb while diving for an Anthony Rendon single during the fifth inning. After initially staying in the game, he was pulled during the bottom half of the inning.
Injuries are nothing new for Lagares as he’s suffered sprains and a torn ligament in the same left thumb within the past year. He also battled an oblique strain just before the start of the regular season.
It was further insult to the Mets’ injury list as Lagares’ mishap in center came on the same day the team announced that second baseman Neil Walker and pitcher Matt Harvey would miss several weeks. Walker suffered a partial hamstring tear while Harvey has a stress injury in his right shoulder. Both were picked up on Wednesday night.
Oh, and the night before? Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb.
Wait, I’m not done. Yoenis Cespedes is being hampered by a heel issue while Michael Conforto’s back has been bothering him.
Things were looking up for the Mets about a week ago when pitchers Steven Matz and Seth Lugo returned. Cespedes also was back in the lineup after dealing with a hamstring problem of his own.
But it’s a fact that no other team in the Major Leagues is hit with the injury bug like the Mets are and manager Terry Collins or Sandy Alderson can’t continue to chalk it up to bad luck or a tough break.
Something has to change and it needs to be within the training staff, specifically their head trainer Ray Ramirez, who has somehow been with the team for 13 years despite a laundry list of errors.
In 2008, he and the Mets basically ruined Ryan Church’s career after the outfielder suffered a serious concussion. Not only did they put him on a plane the night it happened, which is a big no-no Church continued to play.
Jason Bay also played with a concussion in 2010.
In 2011, a minor ankle injury to budding star first baseman Ike Davis developed into a season-ending issue and we basically never heard from him again after he mysteriously contracted Valley Fever.
Then Ramirez and the Mets had the gall to get upset at Carlos Beltran after he went against their wishes and underwent knee surgery, citing that he could have played through it. Upon visiting the team doctors of the Colorado Rockies, it was deduced that Beltran could have sustained serious, career-ending damage had he not had the surgery.
The crown jewel of the team has been ransacked by injuries as well. Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler have required Tommy John surgery while Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom have been forced to undergo season-ending surgeries of their own. Harvey also underwent Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery in July of 2016.
Let’s take a step back and just look at Walker again if you don’t mind.
In each of his first six full seasons in the majors, all with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he played in at least 120 games. In four of those years, he eclipsed the 130-game mark. Last year, his first with the Mets, he picked up a back injury and he opted to undergo season-ending surgery after just 116 games. A career low.
When does it stop? When do the Mets stop blaming coincidence, actually take a look at their infrastructure and take action in addressing their assets dropping like flies?
The answer staring everyone in the face is Ray Ramirez and the Mets’ training staff. Yet, the team will continue to look the other way and just shrug their shoulders when injuries withhold the team from contention.