September 1st, 2014
It’s hard to perform under pressure. I’ve always felt sorry for bomb squad guys and hockey goalies, although the bomb guys have these awesome robots now, but lets not get on the subject of robots. Pressure can be paralyzing… deer in the headlights kind of thing. But you figure with a deer in the headlights it’s one big thump and it’s over, quick, bam. With these Mets the pain is prolonged, drawn out, like being chained to a pickup truck and dragged at 10 mph through a beet farm.
Players who can perform under pressure are sometimes described as “clutch.” You might say the Mets of recent years have not been known as a particularly clutch group, you might. Clutch is an interesting word. You clutch your Mets-gear stuffed penguin during thunderstorms, or you replace the clutch in your blue Chevy Cobalt (with orange hubcaps), but a clutch performance? I suppose you can clutch or “seize the moment” in a sense, but what does that even mean? Very vague.
I guess David Wright has been a pretty clutch guy, but mostly when it hasn’t mattered a lot, and therein lies the problem. See, how could you be clutch on a bad team? The nature of “clutchness” is performing miraculous feats that result in wins … if you don’t win, by definition you aren’t clutch, correct? But I guess hitting with men in scoring position is “clutch.”
Either way the Mets are not clutch, unless you’re talking about the clutch you do when you get kicked in the privates. Which, remarkably, is what it has begun to feel like every time Chris Young strikes out with the bases loaded. It’s so hard to ignore … like Sisyphus, that guy who had to roll a gynormous boulder almost to the top of a mountain only to see it roll all the way back down the hill every day for eternity … something like that only with more agita. It’s cruel really, just by force of habit it’s hard to look away when the bases are loaded. Oh you can pretend you don’t care, or even take the predicting-the-disaster-see-I-told-you-so approach but you can’t look away no matter how hard you try.
This Mets team is almost charming in how averse they are to timely hits. Really, they’re amazing if only because statistically It’s improbable to repeatedly strand that many men. In that sense you can think of it in terms of watching something really incredible like a herd of bison running off a cliff … it’s momentous, unless you’re standing at the bottom of the cliff.
The thing about clutch performances is they happen under pressure, and nowhere do you get more of that than in New York. You see, one important thing I’ve learned about stress is you don’t get better at it the longer you have it, it’s not like a yo-yo, unless its a poisonous, slowly-killing you, radioactive yo-yo. Mets fans have become so hyper-sensitive to the stress and disappointment of failing in comical and horrible ways, we boo poor Taylor Teagarden for not hitting a home run every game.
This is why MLB must step in and stop this madness. Met fans are getting nastier … They’re organizing in hideous angry droves … it’s like a zombie virus. We stumble around with yellow eyes moaning and drooling and occasionally yelling “swing … Aaargh just swing!” It’s debilitating, it can interfere with work, family, Sudoku … not good.
So I send a plea to Major League Baseball … Think of the ruined family outings, think of all the Mets fans who will kick the dog and burn the brats and threaten to beat uncle Frank with a section of tailpipe all because of one too many non-scoring bases loaded with no one out situations? All we ask for are some owners who can afford to repair this team. Please MLB, think of the poor dog with the sad eyes, make a move, do the humane thing, force a sale.