A New York Mets fan sits in the stands with...

A New York Mets fan sits in the stands with a bag over his head during the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Mets are a Dead Team Walking right now, one that marched right into a clubhouse meeting late Wednesday afternoon, necessitated by this turbulent season finally reaching a “boiling point,” as described by Brandon Nimmo.

But this isn’t strictly about losing anymore. What happened during the eighth inning of Wednesday’s humiliating 10-3 loss to the Dodgers, who completed a three-game sweep at Citi Field, took the Mets to an even more shameful place.

What’s worse than dropping 15 of the past 19 games? Or new injuries to Edwin Diaz and Pete Alonso? It’s the embarrassing collapse of any meaningful accountability, and everyone in the building got to witness that firsthand when frustrated reliever Jorge Lopez flung his glove into the seats behind the Mets’ dugout.

Lopez is the one primarily responsible, of course. He lost control when third base umpire Ramon DeJesus refused to give him a strike on Freddie Freeman’s obvious checked swing, and the subsequent outburst led to his immediate ejection. But what Lopez did next was inexcusable.

En route to the dugout, his jersey already untucked, Lopez fired his mitt high over the protective screen and into the hands of a giddy fan. It was a comical scene, but the Mets should have been disgusted by the sheer lack of professionalism exhibited by someone wearing their uniform.

Afterward, manager Carlos Mendoza called Lopez’s display “unacceptable” and pledged that the matter would be handled internally. That seemed to the case when the clubhouse doors then closed for a players only meeting, which lasted roughly 20 minutes. But when reporters finally were let in, Lopez was still at his locker, in uniform — and stubbornly unrepentant.

“I don’t regret it,” Lopez said. “I think I’ve been looking like the worst teammate in probably the whole (expletive) MLB, so whatever happened, happened.”


Lopez went a step further as the postgame interview progressed, not only referring to himself as the “worst teammate,” but also responding in the affirmative when asked to clarify if he was on the “worst team” in regards to the Mets.

“Probably,” Lopez said. “It looked like.”

Lopez’s rebellious behavior was the first major in-season test for the Mendoza/David Stearns administration. Not long after making those comments, Lopez was designated for assignment, according to a source, two months into his $2 million contract for this year.

It was the Mets’ only course of action. Stearns brought the experienced Lopez on board this winter to fortify the bullpen, and they’re not exactly flush with serviceable relief pitchers at the moment, particularly after Diaz — the $102 million closer — wound up on the IL with a shoulder impingement. But Lopez couldn’t be allowed to skate after those antics, not with a team whose season is teetering on the brink, and not for a rookie manager like Mendoza, trying to put his imprint on the club.

The Mets were almost fortunate to have such a convenient scapegoat, an actual player to throw under the bus. Lopez did them a favor in that respect, minus the ugly spectacle. Rather than leave us with generalities from the meeting, Stearns & Co. did something with real teeth to address the problem. Words can only go so far. The Mets are not only playing just well enough to lose, they’re doing so in a sloppy, almost careless fashion.

That’s almost impossible to fathom for a $324 million payroll, the highest in the sport, and Wednesday’s debacle came only a day after Stearns implied he still had some faith in this roster — albeit a tenuous belief with the trade deadline two months away. After Wednesday’s loss, the Mets’ ninth in the past 11 games at Citi, they were basically booed off the field by the few fans that were left, and it was Francisco Lindor who decided to call the players-only meeting.

“I felt like it was the right time for us as a group collectively to sit down, look at each other eye-to-eye and hold each other accountable,” Lindor said. “A lot of knowledge was dropped. Now we’ve just got to put it together.”

Either the Mets rebound in short order, or Stearns goes to work planning a fire sale for the weeks leading up to the July 30 trade deadline. While some players keep pointing to the fact that there’s still 107 games left in the season to flip the script, the reality is these Mets are dealing with a much more condensed timetable — maybe 30 games or so before Stearns starts auctioning off players.

“It’s no secret that things aren’t going the way that we want around here,” Nimmo said. “And so we just opened the floor and talked about ways we can turn it around.”

The Mets at least moved swiftly to put out one fire in bouncing Lopez late Wednesday. That’s a start, but only the beginning for a team with plenty more issues, and needing to prove they have the stomach and the ability to truly fix them.


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months