Dan Rattiner's Stories

New York Mets Injuries: Taking Them Out of the Ball Game

The best doctors in America today are on Long Island. I can prove it. For both last year and this, the New York Mets baseball team has entered the season expecting to go to the World Series. Almost all the sports writers agreed they had what it takes. They have one of the very best rosters in the league.

But the Mets get crippled with injuries to a degree far in excess of any other team in professional baseball. The superstars stagger off the playing field, go to the training rooms, get examined by doctors and are told they need a long rest, or to stay off that right leg, or that they need Tommy John surgery on their throwing arm, or they are in the early stages of a crippling disease. The team nosedives—they are nosediving now—and they are going nowhere.

In the first 15 games, three of their stars were gone, and that included the only local on the team, pitcher Steven Matz. Matz grew up in Stony Brook, went to Ward Melville High School and had won the first seven games he started before he got diagnosed with a torn ligament in his throwing arm, which took him out for the last half of last year. He was supposed to be back this year, fully recovered. But he’s still not right. Now it’s a sore elbow. And there is still no date for when he might come back.

At first, I thought that maybe there was something bad in the water on Long Island. But no, it’s the doctors. Our brilliant doctors keep finding things wrong with people that the doctors in the other baseball communities fail to notice.

I watched two games last week, one against the hapless Philadelphia Phillies (who beat them) and then the next day against the excellent Washington Nationals (who beat them), and I am here to tell you that in that 48-hour period, the doctors came up with illnesses and injuries for six more starters.

It was so startling what these doctors found that the commentators on Channel 11, which was broadcasting the second game, put photos of all six newly injured Mets ballplayers up on the screen. Slugger Lucas Duda, out with an injured elbow; infielder Wilmer Flores, out with a bad knee; slugger Yoenis Céspedes gone with a bad hamstring; pitcher Jacob deGrom with a stiff neck; catcher Travis d’Arnaud with a swollen hand; and slugger Asdrubal Cabrera, another bad hamstring.

In other cities, you get injured and the doctors say walk it off.

Here on Long Island—the best place for doctors in America—the number of diseases, injuries and conditions now being diagnosed is the best in the country. We are very proud of this. But the doctors need to lay off baseball.

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