Sugar's Sweetness Leads to Sorrow For Mets Fans

I know it’s been a while, but I was all set to forget about the snow that has blanketed doorsteps from coast to coast; reminding one and all of winter. I was ready to say how it may be in its final days; but this is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

That was before Edwin Diaz stayed on the turf Wednesday night.

This is still the time when all sports seem to merge and on one weekend, you can find everything you’re looking for. Ready to become a college basketball expert for a couple weeks, thanks to a team you saw one time a few weeks ago? How about supporting a local hero like Jersey City native and former St. Benedict’s Prep coach Dan Hurley

It means picking The University of Connecticut over Rick Pitino and Iona, then beating a tough St. Mary’s team to advance to the Sweet 16 in my bracket. I could pontificate more about my strategy of choosing teams with former players I recognize from the late 20th century like Hurley and Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway to lead Memphis past No. 1 seed Purdue and the Sweet 16.

Anything to ignore the fact that Diaz, who struck out 118 batters in 62 innings in 2022, may be lost for the start of 2023. His strikeout percentage last year was 50.2%; statistical proof that it was hard to distinguish his 98 MPH fastball from his 91 MPH slider. It was just as difficult for Dominican Republic batters Wednesday night.

It’s not difficult to imagine Diaz trotting in from the bullpen to ‘Narco’ by Timmy Trumpet. It was a staple of the success of last year’s campaign, complete with Mr. and Mrs. Met playing air trumpets until their performance was topped by a live performance featuring Mr. Trumpet himself.

All the while, the results stayed the same. Nicknamed Sugar, Diaz's .839 WHIP in 2022 was better than his career WHIP of 1.062. All of this confirms that regardless how impressive Jarred Kelenic is at Mariners camp, the trade for Diaz and Robinson Cano’s contract was worth it. That’s what teams looking to win now do.

They don’t consider dread upon the entire pitching staff and the upcoming season a complete loss without any details about the extent of the injury. They don’t disparage the entire exhibition tournament the player was lost in because “no one here cares”; ignoring packed stadiums in Arizona and Miami that will likely not see as many fans for one game the rest of the calendar year.

Because it doesn’t matter if the World Baseball Classic is important to you, Average American Sports Fan. It doesn’t matter what you say or if ESPN and SportsCenter start the show with NBA highlights or that A-A-Ron Rodgers has returned from darkness to select the New York Jets as his preferred destination, despite being yet another former Packers QB past his prime searching for one last shot at stardom on the biggest stage of them all.

Rodgers will take his talents and opinions to that stage and I feel the local media will give him a small grace period for any and all things he wants to say. But if the Jets start 3-1, all bets are off.

Even playing for a 6- or 7-seed in the expanded AFC playoffs should be enough to truly see just how big the NFL is. If he says something stupid but the Jets have an outside chance at a division title; will supporters of the Kelly Green and White stand behind him because he beat the Dolphins twice?

I’d rather think about that then the upcoming results of imaging and tests on the best closer in baseball and that’s the truth.