Eek! The Mets

Just when you thought it was safe for Mets fans to come out from under their rocks. Just when the running punchline in Queens seemed to be making progress, Adam Rubin had to go and ruin it all.

SB Nation Mets blog Amazing Avenue has a tidy recap of a sizable twitter rant by Mets beat guy Adam Rubin. Rubin, currently working for ESPN after covering the Mets beat for the Daily News, leapt from staid newsman character and let loose with a torrent of stories and half-truths about the way the Mets deal with injuries.

Considering the way the ownership group handles most of their investments, it comes as no surprise to see the Mets organization handle their vital resources in such a way.

Clicking through the link is the only way to see the complete diatribe but I’ll summarize it as such: the Mets misdiagnosed Ike Davis’ injury last season leading to GM Sandy Alderson “spinning” (Rubin’s words) the injury in the press. With noted teller of truths J.P. Riccardi in the midst, this is unimaginable!

Rubin took exception to the Mets massaging of this message and went into a long, long history of the team butchering injury diagnosis or simply not caring: imploring players to just go out there and walk it off; generally with disastrous (it’s the Mets!) results.

As Matthew Callan asks in the piece: why now? Even though Rubin wrote about many of these instances in 2009, why would he let loose with this torrent of information now with a new braintrust in place, one that seems much more forthcoming about injuries and certainly manages them better?

At some point, Rubin felt these details were not newsworthy. He wrote a story that partially concerned the Mets’ injury woes but didn’t include any of this except in broad strokes. Despite the fact that the team’s handling of injuries has been a running joke for years, none of this had ever come out before.

The growing school of thought suggesting health is the new OBP certainly gains traction here. The Mets handled injuries in a very “old school” way and it cost them dearly. The team comes off paranoid: so worried about paying players to not play they end up costing themselves far, far more in the long run. It is beyond obvious to suggest that forecasting, preventing, and treating injuries should be an equal priority to finding and securing talent. In fact, a top-notch training staff qualifies as just the sort of talent smart organizations spend time and money scouring the earth in search of.

Secondary to the immediate on-field benefits of keeping your best players healthy, shouldn’t cutting edge training techniques make your franchise more attractive to potential free agents? National media dudes like Jeff Passan love to kill the Mets for failing to re-sign Jose Reyes but what is to suggest he didn’t want to leave to Mets for the reasons Callan and Rubin outline above?

Would you rather play for a team that treats your injuries seriously and uses its considerable resources to get you back on the field or a team that tells you to “spit on it” and play? If the money is the same, that decision isn’t a tough one for me.

Hopefully this sad chapter is more an example of the way things used to be in Flushing. If the smart GM and his smart associates’ worst crime is fibbing to the media, it is a big improvement over the former culture in New York, as Adam Rubin presents it anyway. Another window into just how broken and weird the entire Mets organization was and how much work remains before they can compete in the tough NL East. You don’t get to be a joke overnight. It takes a long history of negligence and failure to ascend to the lofty heights of the LOLMets.