200 Miles From the Citi

August 22, 2009 2:30 PM


Alright...maybe it's not the worst week in the history of the New York Mets...but when it comes to psychological damage inflicted on Mets fans, it has to rank right up there.

It started last Saturday when David Wright suffered a concussion after being beaned by a Matt Cain fastball. His season may very well be over, and he joins the likes of Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, John Maine, and J. J. Putz on the DL - the first time in Wright's career.

The embarrassments continued later in the week when Gary Sheffield started acting like, well, Gary Sheffield, after learning he had been placed on waivers and then pulled back when a team claimed him. Omar Minaya claimed the Mets weren't going to get value back for Sheffield, so why get rid of him when Minaya's goal is to win games? Well, Omar, now you have Sheffield, who you said you have no intention of keeping at the end of the year, and when he's gone you have no one. Seems to me like anyone you got from the Giants, who reportedly claimed Sheffield, would have been better value than NOTHING. But that's just my thinking. Sad to say, I don't necessarily disagree with Gary Sheffield on this issue - why not send him to another team? His approach, where he reportedly took himself out of Thursday night's starting lineup, however, I don't agree with. Hence, the embarrassment.

And now here's rubbing salt in a wound. Sunday afternoon, Pedro Martinez will toe the rubber for the Phillies at Citi Field against the Mets. He will face Oliver Perez. I am not feeling good about what's going to happen there.

Let me start by saying I've never been the biggest Pedro Martinez fan in the world. When he was the most dominant pitcher in the game, I admired what he was doing, but I never considered myself a fan.

I will maintain forever, though, that his coming to the Mets injected some life into the franchise, and drew the likes of Carlos Beltran, making the Mets a desirable destination for free agents. And it was the four-year contract that locked up Pedro, so even though the Mets barely got a year and a half out of that contract, its long-term effects had more of an impact. I'd like to say he helped make the Mets a contender, but he didn't pitch in the Mets' only playoff appearance in his tenure, and he was hurt on and off most of 2007 and 2008, which would have been excellent seasons had they lasted just 161 regular season games.

And now Mets fans have to watch as a revitalized Martinez helps Philadelphia to the post-season. And he'll most certainly help them on Sunday. Here's why:

1) He's on long rest. Pedro's last start was cut short by rain after 3 innings. So it's like he's had extra rest, which I have to think is pretty huge for a guy at his stage of a career.

2) He really does look good. He's not the Pedro of old, he never will be again, but he's certainly not the Pedro of the last couple of years. He'll have his troubles and give up his runs, but the Phillies offense will bail him out and he'll rack up a bunch of wins because he'll be healthy. That won't matter on Sunday, though, because:

3) He's not pitching against a very difficult lineup with the Mets here. He's already handled the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks, so the Mets might just make him look like the old Pedro.

4) Lastly, and not least importantly, Pedro feels slighted. First of all, the Mets were one of the first teams to pass on the healthy 2009 Martinez. Secondly, he showed up at the new ballpark and no one asked him if he wanted to be shown around. Pedro happened to mention that in some interviews this week, and you know that's eating at him. Pedro likes to take motivation out of situations where he feels disrespected.

So on Sunday, there will be familiar aspects of Pedro Martinez to Mets fans - the game face, the number on the jersey - but the jersey will be that of the Mets' rivals, and fans might not recognize the Pedro more closely resembling the 2005 version than 2008.

Oh and let's not forget that he'll be pitching against uber-disappointment Oliver Perez.

Just the capper on a pretty rotten week for Mets fans.

A Member Of