Scout’s Take: The Curse of Tom Seaver

When the Mets were born, they had the impossible task of replacing the Dodgers and Giants in a city that has always been dominated by the success of the Yankees. Of the 113 World Series to date, the Yankees have appeared in 40 and won 27. This is the most championship victories of any franchise in baseball and for any other sport on earth for that matter.

Now the Mets’ fans are beginning to see the Braves’ and Phillies’ organizations as the new bullies on the block. When you add the powerful Washington Nationals to the mix, you could be looking at an extended stay in the bottom of the division for the Mets in the National League East for quite a long time. Sure there could be a Mets’ team that may again catch fire one year, it has happened before. There was that great dominating team for a few years that won it all in 1986. They got to the World Series in 2000 and 2015, losing to both the Yankees and then the Royals. Both of those Mets teams were one year flashes but they made the city jump. There is something magical here when the Mets are in the World Series.

There are 30 teams in baseball, with San Diego, Texas, Tampa Bay, Milwaukee and Colorado having never won a single World Series. The Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos) and Mariners have never even gotten to the Fall Classic. Some would say that two championships and five trips to the big show by the Mets, is at least better than all that nothing in the pot for those other cities. The problem for the Mets and their fans will always be that monster across the river. That big rich bully who looks down at them with all their trophies and success.

All those cities mentioned do not have that looming over them. They have one team to root for and will never hear people in their city laugh at their team’s lack of championships. Chicago has had two losers for years, Oakland and the Giants have had equal success. I guess you could say the difference between the Dodgers and Angels is significant but the distance of 28 miles is about an hour and a half drive, via the I-5 freeway and it is not even close to the dynamics of the Mets and the Yankees.

This year has become a bigger disaster for the Mets because of the Yankees’ success. We all thought the Bombers would be in a rebuild for the next few years and the Mets would be the top team in NY after that 2015 season. Granted, two years of bad decisions in the front office and the weirdest conglomeration of injuries have set them back but if the Yankees were playing below 500, it wouldn’t be as painful for the Mets’ fans.

Steven Matz hurt again? May as well shut him down. Jacob deGrom is having a CY Young award season except for his won-loss record. No decisions after going deep in games is agonizing. Noah Syndergaard has a propensity to come up with odd-ball injuries. Example, hand, foot and mouth disease. Which is described by the Mayo Clinic as “a mild, contagious viral infection common in young children.” Are you kidding me? Sometimes you have to wonder if the Mets are cursed.

Yes that’s it! It all goes back to trading Tom Seaver on June 15, 1977, when the Mets sent “the franchise” to the Cincinnati Reds for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman. In a coincidence, the Reds were in New York three days later for a weekend series. The so-called midnight massacre to many fans was the darkest day in club history. When Louie Spatafora, the fisherman from Sheepshead Bay, was escorted out of Shea Stadium after he held up a sign stating his disgust in the trade, he put a curse on the Mets. That’s it, the “curse of the dead fish.” It’s the only thing that makes sense! It should be the rallying cry from the Shake Shack. “Reverse the curse.” Yoenis Céspedes can stencil it to his 50 fancy cars and “day-glo” arm sleeve.

The feeling of doom has to linger in the bones of many Mets fans every year. Like what disaster is waiting around the corner for them. Better to at least be able to blame it all on a curse than try to make sense of it all. Seriously, what other explanation is there for this organization?

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