Back in the 1980s, the Cardinals were the Mets biggest rival. It helped that they were in the same division at the time, but still it got so back that the Amazin’s were labeled “Pond Scum” by a couple of shock jocks in St. Louis.
The name stuck at least in the Midwest.
But now, the rivalry is pretty much dead. Sure, the Mets faced the Cards in the 2000 and 2006 playoffs, with one decisive win and one heartbreaking loss, but now, 13 years after Carlos Beltran took strike three, the Mets and Cards have the same amount of rivalry as the Mets and Diamondbacks or Reds.
But still every Met fan, who considered themselves “Pond Scum” doesn’t want to see St. Louis come in and take any game in New York, especially in the late innings.
Today though, you didn’t just get it once, you got it twice.
Less than 24 hours ago, the Mets looked to even their record at .500. Things are turning around and with a 4-2 lead and Edwin Diaz on the mound, it should have been money in the bank.
Instead, the rains came and the Met players, who didn’t want to sit around for hours, begged the umpires to continue play.
It didn’t work and Diaz proceeded to give up two runs to tie the match and then the tarp went on.
Today, they started the game again and Mickey Callaway curiously stuck with Diaz, even though he risked burning him for the second game and really didn’t pitch well in the rain.
Apparently, he didn’t do much better in dry weather and in 18 minutes the Mets were two games under .500.
No problem, though, since all 28,560 who paid to see this mess figured the Mets would spit this makeshift doubleheader.
And for a while, it looked like the Mets would pull out their own comeback win. Down 4-2, they scored three in the seventh to take the lead.
Then Jeurys Familia, who is “Pond Scum” to every Met fan, came in and gave up a four spot and St. Louis ended up with an easy 9-5 win.
That’s how the Mets ended up three games under .500.
It’s been the same old story for the Mets all season. They have some nice pieces in place, like Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeill and their starting pitching hasn’t been half bad with both Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz allowing only two runs each.
But the bullpen. Ugh. Familia has been a disaster all season and Diaz is looking overused by Callaway. Seth Lugo has been great of later, but everyone else out there needs to be accountable.
It’s not going to get better either. Firing Callaway won’t stop the Mets from blowing saves, which now comes to 16, the most in baseball. And since May 29th the ‘pen is 1-5 with an 8.84 ERA.
Just think about it. If they had no blown saves this season, the Mets have a nice lead in the NL East right now and if they blew half that number, they would at least be a solid wild card.
You can’t replace the whole bullpen, even if Brodie Van Wagenen tries to trade for an arm or two. Firing Callaway or pitching coach Dave Eiland probably won’t do anything either.
Even stretching out the starters isn’t a solution, because Callaway has done that and the bullpen still blows games.
So here we are three games under .500 complete with a starting staff that’s one of the better ones in the league and a lineup which features a guy with 22 homers (Alonso) and one who is third for the batting title (McNeill with a .337 average).
To paraphrase Bill Clinton, “It’s the bullpen, stupid.”
And to Met fans, that’s their pond scum.
Oh, why can’t we go back to the good old days.