Remember when the Mets’ biggest problem this week was players symbolically booing their own fans?
Javy Baez and Francisco Lindor delivered those twin apologies for the thumbs-down gestures around noon Tuesday, backed up against the dugout rail at Citi Field. But only eight hours earlier, it turns out, the team’s acting GM Zack Scott was arrested in White Plains and charged with DWI, after refusing an on-site breathalyzer test, according to police.
And roughly seven hours previous to that, Scott had attended a Mets’ fundraising event at the Connecticut home of owner Steve Cohen, along with players and other officials, that a source said ended around 8:30 p.m. -- long before he was hauled in by the cops at 4:17 a.m.
As for what happened during that gap in time, use your imagination. This is the Mets, after all, and Flushing is a place where the truth tends to be stranger than fiction. How could any sane person possibly make this up?
Which brings us to Cohen, who must be losing his mind over the disaster his first year of ownership has become. And now Cohen is on the verge of having to cut loose another GM less than ninth months after axing Jared Porter, who you may recall was busted for sending unsolicited, salacious photos to a female reporter while under his previous employ with the Cubs.
We can’t hang this one on the Wilpons’ five percent stake in the franchise. But it’s getting harder to see president Sandy Alderson surviving beyond this season — or why he would even want to. With so much upheaval in the front office, the 73-year-old Alderson has been more involved in the baseball ops than he originally planned, and the Mets are looking like an entire system failure at this point, from the clubhouse to the manager’s office to the people supposedly running things upstairs.
If Cohen is the only one above Alderson in the Mets’ hierarchy, and everything below the president either routinely underperforms or is just plain embarrassing, that’s not a great reflection on him. As for Scott, his chances of getting the full-time GM gig likely evaporated as soon as those sirens switched on behind him.
And the timing? This was a case of the Mets even out-Metsing themselves. They had just put the whole thumbs-down fiasco in the rear-view mirror with Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep of the Marlins, especially when the Game 1 victory was delivered by Baez diving into home with the winning run. It was better than any scripted apology.
But the good vibes already were gone by mid-afternoon Wednesday, when the "surprised and deeply disappointed" Mets publicly acknowledged that Scott indeed had been arrested for DWI. They added he would not be accompanying the team on the upcoming road trip to Washington "while we learn more and determine next steps," according to their statement.
With Porter, Cohen announced his firing on Twitter the morning after the accusations came to light. While Scott’s transgression is a much different matter, this doesn’t help his credibility within the organization, not after calling out the players only three weeks ago for a lack of accountability, mostly related to health and conditioning issues that he connected to the team’s prolific number of injuries.
"Most of the time it’s compliance issues," Scott said back on Aug. 10. "Actually following the plan, because these are all individuals, they control their own bodies, and sometimes they’re not as compliant as they should be. You’ve got to take ownership of your career and your health as well ...This is a partnership and everyone has to be pulling in the same direction."
So what does criticizing players for not hydrating enough have to do with Scott getting pulled over for allegedly drinking too much? Plenty. As GM, Scott doesn’t have to be buddies with the clubhouse, but in a leadership role, it’s crucial to be consistent with the message, at the very least. Scott sabotaged himself in that regard with his poor judgment -- not to mention subjected his team to further ridicule -- and this is hardly the culture change Cohen envisioned when he took over the Mets last November.
Think about that. Cohen forked over a record $2.42 billion for the Mets, and they’ve rewarded him so far with a lifetime supply of aggravation in the span of only 10 months. The Mets weren’t supposed to be punchlines anymore under Cohen. But as they struggle to get back to .500, and cling to slim playoff hopes, this franchise turned into something worse this week by insulting its obsessively loyal fan base and having a GM that was potentially dangerous to both himself and others.
And the week is only half over. Now into September, the Mets still have a month left to make a last-ditch push for the postseason -- but that’s also a scary amount of time for things to go even more sideways until Cohen decides to straighten all this out.