I know that this is a Braves blog, but as an avid Braves fan, I take special interest in the woes of the New York Mets. The more I read some of the things floating around the internet, the more I feel that the Mets are on a downward spiral brought about by some kind of mystical curse. A recent article titled Why the Mets Must Sign Bugs Bunny provided several comical, yet valid reasons why the Mets aren’t looking all that great even after the addition of Johan Santana. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Mets have caught the Curse of the Bambino from the Red Sox, and I’ve done some significant research into the matter connecting the 2 teams, but before I get into the details, here are a few recent bits of evidence that the Mets are indeed suffering from some kind of curse:
-The cataclysmic meltdown of September 2007 — Could it have been worse? Yes. Could it have been much worse? No.
-The off-season trade that saw Lastings Milledge go to the Nationals in exchange for 3 empty Coke cans and a broken Nintendo controller — Scouting reports obtained by the Mets indicated that one of the Coke cans had a nasty slider.
-The coincidental rash of outfield injuries that came shortly after off-season trades that sent 2 great outfield prospects to other teams — The Mets are left with 3 healthy players, and tons of question marks surrounding the health of Moises Alou, Carlos Beltran, Marlon Anderson, Ryan Church, Endy Chavez, and B.J. Johnson. For the record, Milledge is hitting .346/.452/.500 with 4 steals so far for the Nats.
-Lack of significant production from Pedro Martinez and Carlos Delgado since 2006, who made a combined $28.5 million in 2007
So the evidence isn’t rock solid, but it’s beginning to build up, and from the research I’ve done I think the curse first came in contact with the Mets when they signed Pedro Martinez. At the time, Martinez was coming off a 16-9 2004 season with the Red Sox, including a Game 3 World Series win that helped the Sox rid themselves of the Curse of the Bambino.
Following the ’04 season, Martinez and the Curse needed new homes. The Mets thought Martinez was worth a 4 year, $53 million contract, and from 2005 through early 2006 it looked like the Mets would get a great return on their investment, as Martinez went 15-8 in 2005, and began the 2006 season at 5-1. But suddenly, things began to fall apart. On May 26th, 2006 Martinez was asked by umpires to change his undershirt during a start against the Marlins and while heading to the locker room, he slipped in the corridor and injured his hip. At the time, the injury seemed minor, but Martinez never fully recovered, and beginning June 6th, Martinez went 4-7, including a 3 inning appearance against the Boston Red Sox, during which he gave up 6 earned runs on 7 hits as the Red Sox went on to a 3 game sweep of the Mets.
The second half Pedro Martinez’s 2006 season was marred by injuries, including a torn muscle in his left calf and a torn rotator cuff. Meanwhile, the Mets went on to gain a spot in the play-offs, but lost to the Cardinals in 7 games in the NLCS. While the Cardinals went on to win the World Series, the Mets were on their way to a fateful 2007 season that will forever haunt the memories of Mets fans.
While there are still plenty of things for Mets fans to look forward to this season, the Mets themselves are still trying to shake off the lingering effects of last September. It is becoming more and more evident that the Mets are not as confident as they pretend to be, and the clubhouse suffers from an overall dark and negative vibe. In my opinion, Pedro Martinez — a native of the Dominican Republic, where voodoo is widely practiced — actually became the temporary embodiment of the Curse of the Bambino when he left the Red Sox and signed with the Mets. Upon falling and injuring his hip, the Curse was released from Martinez’s body and soon came to control the entire Mets team, and quite possibly has taken total control of Omar Minaya himself. Of course, the only man powerful enough to break the Curse is Theo Epstein, and he will never in a million years provide his services to the Mets.
As a fan of the Braves during the late 80’s and early 90’s, I can sympathize with Mets fans that have been and will continue to be subjected to watching their favorite team self-destruct over and over again. But as a Braves fan, I also take great delight in watching the Mets collapse every summer. Only time will tell how long the Curse will be with the Mets, but I foresee it lasting for decades, and maybe even centuries, or until the Mets get designated to some obscure AAA league. Until then, I’ll enjoy every moment of the Curse of Pedro.