It should come as no surprise to regular readers that I’m rather indifferent to the news that Billy Wagner will miss the remainder of this season, and all of next, with elbow surgery. You needn’t twist my arm to convince me that having a healthy Wagner is better than not, especially as we reach the homestretch with a 1.5 game lead, but I certainly have enjoyed seeing the team rally around this supposed weakness and the results (22-11 since his assignment to the disabled list Aug. 2) say we’ll be just fine. To be perfectly honest I dreaded the alternative of Wagner’s return this week every bit as much as I bemoan the fact that he’s not coming back. It’s forced everyone to sack up a little and revealed potential heroes like Luis Ayala and Brian Stokes. Even Pedro Feliciano has performed in ways that don’t make me want to strangle him lately.
I’m less convinced this event teaches the Mets anything, even if it would be cool if it did. They blamed the strategy, not the injury, when Braden Looper didn’t work out: Wagner wouldn’t have been here otherwise. As for Wagner, while I respect his ability and will to win, I always felt he was here for Wagner more than he was for me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But by the point in his career he arrived in New York, he was as much about burnishing his stats and Q rating for what looked to be shaping up as an interesting Hall of Fame debate, than he was about being a Met. A big contract with an ironclad no-trade clause took that worry off his mind and allowed him to speak maybe too freely of his teammates and management.
* * *
One thing I forgot to mention while recounting the new arrivals and their uni numbers was this weird factoid: Gustavo Molina‘s return represents a fifth issue of the No. 29 jersey this year. It started on the back of Jorge Sosa who was released in May. In June, it went to Chris Aguila, then to Andy Phillips as he flipped in and flopped out. Aguila took it back again in July for a second visit, and here it is back with Molina.
Wanna see a Mets game before they tear down Big Shea? Matt Silverman says he still has a few leftover tixx for the Sept.24 game in the Picnic Area. Contact Matt and join a distinguished group of diehards. Who knows? We could clinch that day. Maybe.