In today’s issue of the New York Daily News, there is a sidebar that contains the names and faces of 15 current players on the baseball team from New York that isn’t the Yankees. This team has been my favorite team ever since I was a young child, when my dad, who apparently hated me and wanted to doom my baseball dreams for the rest of my life, raised me as a fan of this team.

After years of play that resembled, as Patches O’Houlihan would put it, “a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob out there”, I have resigned myself to restrain from mentioning this team by name based on the same irrational fear that wizards have for mentioning Voldemort by name.

Let me give it a shot. Here we go.

Hi, my name is Michael Dobranski, and I am a fan of the New York Mets. Phew, that’s over with. If my statement resembled that of an alcoholic attending his first AA meeting, take that as a suggestion for someone to start a help group for distraught Mets fans.

Now, back to the sidebar in the Daily News. As I mentioned, there are 15 pictures of current Mets players, and below each picture, there is a box marked “KEEP HIM” and a box marked “DUMP HIM.” I’m not entirely sure why the Daily News decided to use all caps here; maybe it was because the writers feel that all Mets fans must have some sort of serious mental disorder and must be yelled at to comprehend what is being said.

Regardless of whether they are screaming or not, the writers at the Daily News have decided to poll the general public to get their opinion on whether these players should stay or go. There is no word yet as to whether the results of this poll will be used by the organization instead of hiring a competent GM to handle matters such as this.

Yet, as an avid Mets fan, and, the more I think about it, a practicing masochist, I have decided to throw my thoughts on the futures of these players into the mix.

I find it no coincidence that the sidebar begins with possibly the Mets most frustrating player, David Wright.

When David Wright first received the call up to the majors back in 2004, my grandfather, a devout baseball fan for upwards of 60 years, came to me and declared that Wright had a chance to be the first .400 hitter since Ted Williams. He was extremely impressed with Wright’s ability to mix power with contact and his skill in taking the ball to the opposite field.

So what did David Wright do? He took part in the 2006 Home Run Derby, hit 16 home runs in one round, and has never been the same. Sure, you can blame the new cavernous Citi Field for his home run drought last year. Or you can blame the pressure he faced in dealing with carrying a mediocre team in the largest media market in the world.

I chose to trace the problem back to this home run derby. Why do you think players like A-Rod shy away from this event? Because it has the potential to change your swing and mindset at the plate.

Wright’s swing, which was once smooth, crisp and compact, is now a long, loping, uppercut hack. His strikeout numbers have skyrocketed as a result, and this has seemingly caused him to lose all muscle control over his tongue. No seriously, watch a Met game. He stands there at the plate with his tongue out just waving it around. He’s like Ed from Ed, Edd, and Eddy.

But hey, he’s still quite the ladies man, so I guess there’s that. I say keep him, because despite his strikeout numbers and lack of clutch plays, he is still a skilled hitter and the leader of this team. And trust me, this team desperately needs a leader.

The next three players on the list are Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana. Quick poll of my own, kill one, sleep with one, marry one! Ladies….ladies? Oh wait, no ladies are reading the first article of an amateur sports writer on Damn. Whatever, I got to quote Step Brothers. And any day that you get to quote a Will Ferrell movie is a good day.

Now, back to these three injury prone superstars. To sum up Reyes’ career in a nutshell, I will tell this short anecdote.

Once a year, Sports Illustrated conducts a poll of all 32 GM’s in the league, asking each to rank their top 10 picks in a hypothetical draft that included all the players in both the major and minor leagues.

About three years ago, Reyes received the most votes in that poll. The next year, he received none. Zero. He went from being the most sought after player in the league to having literally nothing that would make him appealing to any GM in the entire league. I know he was facing a serious leg injury, but when he finally made it back onto the field, he didn’t seem the same.

Things got so bad that my uncle even suggested that Reyes was addicted to cocaine, a claim that I wouldn’t have been surprised to find truth to. Still, he is a speedy, semi-reliable fielder and is somehow still a fan favorite. Keep him.

Beltran is being heralded as the downfall of this past season. I say the downfall started when Omar Minaya showed up for his first day of work, but that’s just me. Despite being an extremely talented fielder and hitter, Beltran managed to screw up team chemistry when he returned from injury during a month long hot streak for the Mets. I feel that there is no coincidence that Beltran’s return happened just before the Mets fell off a cliff and found themselves in fourth place in the NL East.

I do feel that he deserves another chance, though, maybe by starting with the team at the beginning of next season the chemistry can be built right off the bat. Ha, baseball pun. Keep him, although I’ll never forgive him for standing there lifeless as Wainwright dropped a filthy curveball right over the plate during game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.

And now, Johan Santana. It’s a miracle this man hasn’t sued the Mets for all the no decisions he’s received due to lack of run support. I remember a game last April against the Marlins that he lost 1-0 after Daniel Murphy dropped a routine fly ball in left field to allow an unearned run to score. Point being, Johan can still pitch; he just needs to get healthy and get some run support. Or life support at this point. Keep him.

The next batch of players will be addressed rapid fire because I feel they should all be kept due to their potential. Ike Davis has the chance to be the power hitting first baseman the Mets wanted Carlos Delgado to be before he threw out his hip. Also, he has an easy chant to cheer him on with. “WE LIKE IKE, WE LIKE IKE!” I learned that chant as my girlfriend and 10 of her friends screamed it from the upper decks of Citi Field last Friday when I attended my first and only game of the season.

I have been to a Met game every year of my conscious life, and I was not about to let this one be the first. Also, the tickets were $15. Angel Pagan deserves to come back as a starter next season, seeing as how he was the only consistent performer over the past two seasons.

Josh Thole appears to have the poise and leadership to be a big part of the clubhouse, and he has shown some promise at the plate. At the very least, he can be a .270 hitter with 10 home runs and 60 RBI’s batting out of the eighth spot.

Jon Niese was a victim, much like the rest of the Mets staff, of lack of run support. But he seems to have recovered from that gruesome torn hamstring that left him writhing in pain on the mound last season.

Don’t get me started on how the training staff handled that injury. The man pulls his hammy covering first base, it was decided he should try and throw some pitches anyway, and in doing so, turned a pulled hamstring into a torn hamstring.

Hisanori Takahashi has shown promise as a closer (we’ll cover this position in a minute, and trust me, I have some thoughts on this one), and his name is fun to say. It rolls off the tongue like only an Asian baseball players name can.

I swear, they’re all fun to say. Ichiro Suzuki, Chan Ho Park, Hideo Nomo.

Please tell me I’m not the only one giggling at the computer screen right now.

I would suggest that the Mets dump Jason Bay after his lackluster season ended with him running headfirst into a fence as only a high paid Mets player can and receiving a season ending concussion. Someone should’ve told Jason that fences don’t move (unless you’re this guy no matter how hard you hit them with your head.

R.A. Dickey is a lock to make the rotation next year because of his unorthodox style, which involves changing speeds on his knuckleball. Also, his last name is fun to say too.

Lastly, Pedro Feliciano has been a reliable lefty out of the pen and is needed to shut down the heavily lefty lineup of the Phillies.

Now, on to the players that should not only be dumped, but, if I ran the team, should be cast off into the netherworlds of the MLB, never to be seen or heard from again. And yes, I’m talking about trading them to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Let’s start with Luis Castillo, an aging second basemen with not one, but two bum knees who was signed to a lucrative contract based on a few months of decent play. That’s right, Omar Minaya actually paid this guy to play second base when he should be in need of a walker in a few months.

Castillo is also the holder of the most embarrassing play in Mets, and maybe baseball, history when he dropped that popup against the Yankees on national TV.

He even tried to top his own act of incredible ineptitude later that season when he displayed the coordination of a corpse and fell down the steps of the dugout, spraining his ankle.

Despite all of this, the most embarrassing play of the past few years goes to Fernando Martinez, who fell on his face while chasing down a fly ball. From that point onward, I began to find Met games listed under the comedy genre of my channel guide.

Next up is Mike Pelfrey, who appears to have lost his mind, regained it and then lost it again over the course of the past few seasons. He showed a lot of promise when he first came up, going on a tear of wins over a two month period.

But the following season, it was as if the batters were playing tee-ball against him. Apparently he had some sort mental issues with losing and actually started to see a sports psychologist. This actually worked, and he regained his form this year, only to lose it again after the All Star break. These psychological issues have stripped him of much of his trade value, leaving me with no other choice but to dump him.

Before addressing the final member of the 15 man list, I would like to point out some interesting omissions from this list.

Oliver Perez, who was once a feared left hander, is now afraid of the strike zone. Not only is he bad, but he is selfish, a trait he flaunted for all to see when he refused to go to the minor leagues and instead used his roster spot to sit in the bullpen at Citi Field. I felt it was only fitting that he was called in in 14th inning of the final game of the season on Sunday, and after striking out the first batter, he hit the next and proceeded to walk the following three, losing the game for the Mets.

With that being said, Ollie was always good for a laugh on the mound. Just to be clear, we’re laughing at you Ollie. Not with you. Never with you. Never.

Another omission I that I was completely okay with was that of John Maine, who must’ve run away from home or disappeared abroad or something. Seriously, I haven’t heard this guy’s name for months.

And now, without further ado, we have Francisco Rodriguez. In his picture in the paper, he’s wearing a facial expression that only a man who stalks his girlfriend and beats the elderly can have. He’s been sporting a beer belly and a creepy beard for the past few months, and seemed genuinely scared every time he took the mound this season.

I’ve watched him blow multiple saves against the Nationals over his two years with the Mets, a feat that must be applauded. The Nationals are a perennial basement dweller in the division, yet every time he takes the mound against them he looks as if he is going to have a nervous breakdown.

Things got so bad that whenever K-Rod would enter the game with the lead, my father and I would still feel as if we were losing.

But Rodriguez isn’t just a below average pitcher, he has also recently taken up such hobbies as harassing and stalking his girlfriend (which explains his choice in facial hair) and assaulting the elderly. If he’s not in jail by the time next season rolls around, I say that he should be released, because no one will take his large salary and off the field troubles.

If he so much as puts on a Mets uniform next season, the entire organization should be ashamed of themselves. That is, if the organization has any shame left.

Did anyone start up that help group yet for distraught Mets fans? Oh that’s right, it’s called the Suicide Hotline.

Ah, the sad and lonely life of a Mets fan.


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