Wilmer Flores was no longer a New York Met by the seventh inning at Citi Field Wednesday night, or was he? In this era of social media the fans are the first to know during the baseball trading deadline as to who is going where.
And what transpired in a trade that was supposedly made, Flores and pitcher Zach Wheeler to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder Carlos Gomez, is a travesty on all ends. You see social media is to blame for the trade that never was, so was the Mets organization for continuing to allow Flores to play on as he was caught on camera in tears of obvious pain about the supposed trade that wasn’t.
Why the Mets organization? To begin,and from all accounts, the trade was consummated but not announced because the medical records of Wheeler, recovering from Tommy John surgery, were under review. Through all of this, social media exploded with reports the trade was official and then it was not.
Flores stayed on the field, and Mets GM Sandy Alderson who has been trying to get another bat for the pennant chase, was in pursuit. However, Alderson did not immediately respond to a trade that fell apart. instead he briefly met with the media after the Mets loss to San Diego that put his team two games behind the division leading Nationals.
Flores received standing ovations from the home crowd, and by that time Alderson is silent. Any astute observer would realize, a player traded during the game is not going to remain on the field with the team that just sent him packing elsewhere.
Alderson knew this was a trade that would not materialize. Gomez, the former Met, reportedly has two bad hips and the Brewers reviewed medical records of Wheller that were not satisfactory. And the Brewers were also asking for infielder Dilson Herrera, who is in the plans to take over second base at Citi Field next season. .
It gets more complicated. because as this ongoing drama unfolded during the game, Alderson remained silent.. Flores was still on the field and his manager Terry Collins had no idea that a trade was supposedly made.
“There is no trade,” the manager Terry Collins said in a tense post game meeting with the media. Collins had to console Flores, the rookie who had been in the Mets organization since the age of 16. Alderson would later apologize to Flores about the trade that never was.
Said Alderson, in a not so much apologetic mood, “Unfortunately social media got ahead of the facts and it may have had an adverse affect on one of the players rumored to be involved. It was an unfortunate situation.”
But everyone is to blame here. Trade deadline deals have always been subjects of speculation but this new era of social media has changed the landscape. Now the official, or as was in this situation the unofficial trade, went public on various twitter feeds from media covering baseball and the teams.
Years ago the press box got a source of information from a news ticker. A trade was not official until the end of a game, or at least until the team public relations official made it official. Alderson and social media became the unofficial news source as the twitter feeds continued.
Now the question is, with Flores still a New York Met, where do we go from here? Moments after David Wright and Michael Cuddyer, the veterans, took Flores from the dugout to the runway and into the Mets clubhouse, the shortstop regrouped. He was told there was no trade.
And to his credit, Flores said he would be at Citi Field for the matinee game against the Padres Thursday afternoon. The adversity that Alderson alluded to will be watched and monitored. Remember as Collins said, Flores and all ballplayers are human.
“I feel terrible for Wilmer,” said an agitated Collins. “There’s not a finer kid in the clubhouse than him and so hopefully we can move past this and get ready for tomorrow, we’ve got another game to play.
Collins went as far to blame social media. He said everyone has a phone and word got out quick. But the manager kept Flores in the game because he would be the first to know if there was a trade. The veteran manager, as he is so well know to do, defused a contentious situation.
There was no trade. And Collins got word from bench coach Bob Geren as to why Flores was tearing on the field. His player got word via social media, that his days as a Met were over, and it reminds many of hearing word from a secondary source that the boss is going to fire you at the conclusion of the day.
Except Wilmer Flores is a ballplayer with deep ties and roots with the Mets, and the trading deadline procedures and proper protocol have changed.
Flores said he was sad. He heard the fans cheering and wanted to know why? “There’s no reason,” he said, but thought he was part of a trade. “I was sad, being with the Mets forever, and all my teammates here. That’s why I got emotional.”
Blame social media, Alderson, and all the parties involved for a situation that will go down in Mets history as a trade that never was. More so, what lies ahead and will Mets fans ever let this one go away with so many of the other mishaps of the past with this franchise?
Alderson may not be done trading before the Friday afternoon deadline. There is that need for another bat. We know now that it won’t be Gomez. and that Flores is still wearing a uniform of the New York Mets. A trade that never was on a bizarre night at Citi Field, and we learned that there is crying in baseball and it goes beyond a win or a loss.
But Wilmer Flores shed those tears because he showed that emotion of a player who thought he was traded and never was. And the Mets once again have some damage control to do as the age of a trade in social media got worse.