Thanks to a confluence of the looming trade deadline, the nature of social media, and its heavy-handed effect on how baseball is covered, a bizarre soap opera played itself out at Citi Field Wednesday night, when a deal that would have sent former all-star Carlos Gomez to the Mets fell apart at the last minute.
The fallout was immense.
There were tears that flowed from Wilmer Flores, his face red after rumors had reached him that he was part of the deal.
There was confusion on the part of manager Terry Collins, who was left scrambling to handle an awkward situation, unsure if Flores had actually been traded.
And there was general manager Sandy Alderson, who at the end of the night, finally brought an end to the madness. It was Alderson who announced that the deal -- which had included Gomez for Flores and pitcher Zack Wheeler -- had died.
"There is no trade," Alderson said. "Unfortunately, social media got ahead of the facts and it may have had an adverse affect for one of the players involved. It's an unfortunate situation."
Alderson declined to get into details of the talks with the Brewers, which according to multiple major league sources, involved both teams agreeing to the players in a deal pending medical reviews.
According to sources, it was the Mets concerns about Gomez's hip that ultimately nixed the trade. "I was sad," said Flores, who played the last three innings thinking that he was about to be traded.
In a way, he had been, according to sources. Gomez was to be the big bat that general manager Sandy Alderson had hoped would complete a daring retrofitting of his roster ahead of the Friday 4 pm trade deadline.
And during the game, as reports trickled to the smart phones of those in the stands, they rose to give Flores a standing ovation. They figured it would be their final salute to Flores, who endured a tumultuous season while transitioning to shortstop. "The fans, they were cheering for me, yelling at me," Flores said.
It is typical for players to be pulled once trades are agreed upon in principle. But Flores played on, his emotions laid bare, tears streaming from his face as he chewed on gum and tried to man his position.
Collins never received word to pull the shortstop from the game. So, he left Flores in the game. "Somebody came to me and said 'Wilmer's crying!'" said Collins, who dispatched team captain David Wright to help calm the shortstop.
Flores, his eyes still red, was summoned into Collins' office after the game. Alderson apologized. "During the game I heard about getting traded. I got emotional," Flores said. "When I came in, they told me there was no trade."
Wheeler, rehabbing in Florida after Tommy John surgery, followed the developments on social media. As did Gomez, who was on the team's charter from San Francisco to Milwaukee. A teammate took a selfie with Gomez, wishing him well on his trade to the Mets.
It never happened. The Brewers thought they were getting a future ace in Wheeler, who won't pitch until next July. They have also long valued Flores and envisioned him as a third baseman. But all of those plans will remain unrealized.
For the second time in six weeks, the Mets lurched toward a deal, only to have it come apart. The Mets nearly traded for Gerardo Parra on Thursday of last week. The deadline looms at 4 p.m. Friday. When asked if the Mets were done adding pieces, Alderson replied succinctly.
"It's not Friday yet," he said.