Soul Man

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Wilma walk-off fever last night through the mushy gray mist, and I can’t believe I’m letting myself get amped a little for this team again.

Just to recap: since an 11-1 start, this Mets group has floundered and flopped like a fish on the sidewalk and literally has not won back-to-back games, the definition of mediocre. And geez has it been depressing. It was sometime around the Braves series at Citi that I started to suffer through the stages of grief; culminating in the acceptance of a team that will probably never be outstanding unless the ownership, you know, goes away forever.

So when Beanpole deGrom whirled his 13 K game Friday I was pleasant but not ecstatic. But now after a Wilma Walk-off is it possible I’m letting this team get me amped up again? No, probably not. They’re deeply flawed, structurally speaking, and not as fun to watch as a team like the Cubs or the Braves. Too bad I don’t watch the Cubs or the Braves.

But the Cubs and Braves don’t have Wilmer.

Go with me on this one, because it has been my feeling for quite awhile, and it’s a little out there but if you hear me out you’ll probably agree.

Wilmer is the Soul of this team. Don’t know when it started, but that fateful night against the Padres in 2015 sure didn’t hurt his soulfulness. That raw-nerved night was like someone opened the compartment of a powerful electric machine and futzed with the wires, causing sparks and making the machine spin out of control. Wilmer was caught in the middle of something, and somewhere along the way developed into what I can only refer to as “soulfulness personified”.

He’s like the Ringo Starr of the Mets. Not the most talented but could you imagine the Mets without him?

Ringo-Starr-smoking

I’ll do other Mets examples if that makes you feel better…

He’s like the Mookie Wilson of the Mets.

He’s like the Endy Chavez of the Mets.

He’s the Soul. The minute he is traded or fired or god knows what (knowing Wilmer’s penchant for the unreal, he will probably be brought down at the gates of some inter-dimensional portal by a two-headed dragon) this team will lose it’s soul, and things will feel very different. The 2015 vibes, the ones that echoed and bounced off the cave walls throughout 2016 and helped get them to a Wild Card game, the ones that were faintly heard from a distance in 2017, the ones that seemed to come right back and plop themselves into our laps during 11-1, will be gone forever.

May Slumps & Harvey Mojo

May slumps are the worst. An icy breeze cuts through the warm air this time of year, and the CitiField sky appears ink-black when the sun goes away. May slumps become ingrained in the psyche of the team, creating a void that appears untenable. Why does a team look so lethargic when they’re not hitting? The Mets in particular seem to have molasses in their pockets when the May slumps set in.

The last few seasons you could set your clock to it: A fast April, zipping out the gate with bats and arms and first to third and all that. Then May slumps.

2-0 Rockies on a brisk-winded Saturday night. Balls hit square right at opposing fielders. Bats barely missing the sweet spot on easy fat pitches. May slumps.

* * *

Harvey has been fired. Awhile back I made a comparison to The Graduate after he was moved to the bullpen; Harvey looking all depressed and Benjamin Braddock-ing himself out there with Paul Sewald. Turns out he wasn’t really depressed. Just angry. And apparently in complete denial.

I guessed that Matt wasn’t thinking very much while trekking out to the bullpen, mostly because I assumed that professional athletes don’t get very introspective unless it is forced upon them. But I couldn’t have imagined just how little he was thinking. About anything.

There’s a weird hole on this team, and it didn’t just appear yesterday when Harvey was DFA’d (fired). My gut tells me that this hole has been there since springtime 2016, when Harvey started losing his mojo. The guy gave this team an edge that they simply haven’t had since the good ‘ol 2015 days. At the time, I thought it was a Murphy-sized hole. And that may well have been a part of it too. The double-whammy of having Murph on the Nats and raking it, and Harvey on the mound sucking it, just gave the 2016 Mets weird vibes all season. Kelly Johnson showed up to bring back some faint 2015 vibes, “Lugo & Gsellman” helped recreate “Johnson & Urine” vibes, and the season was almost something interesting, until it wasn’t. What was missing was the Harvey mojo.

And even now, as the Mets slump through May, I wonder what that missing Harvey mojo would do to help them. Probably nothing, because “mojo” is a made-up thing that sounds good when you’re writing about sports.

It would have been nice to experience a new kind of Harvey mojo: the Finesse Pitcher Harvey mojo. I actually convinced myself we would see that at some point this season.