You Don't Need a Physical to Play for the Mets

The 2009 mess lingers like a black cloud

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    Of the many conceits Bill Simmons of ESPN.com has thrown out over the years, one of the best is the idea of the Tyson Zone. The basic idea is that you could be told anything about Mike Tyson -- from eating live squirrels to believing Regis Philbin is the messiah -- and you'd believe it. To the best of our knowledge, he's never applied the concept to an entire team but the Mets have to be damned close at this point.

    This realization came after reading former Mets pitcher J.J. Putz's account of how the team dealt with his injured elbow last season. Putz said he knew he had a bone spur in his elbow before the Mets acquired him in a December 2008 trade, but chose not to perform any physical. What's more, they told him that he shouldn't let anyone in the media know that he was in pain, an admission that would have gone a long way toward explaining why he was getting shelled like a World War I trench.

    "I knew that I wasn’t right. I wasn’t healthy. The toughest part was having to face the media and tell them that you feel fine, even though you know there’s something wrong and they don’t want you telling them that you’re banged up."

    Forget about the fact that the Mets traded for an injured reliever and forget about the fact that they wanted him to keep quiet about it. Just focus on the part where the Mets kept running a wounded player out there with little regard for his own health and for the quality of the team they were putting on the field.

    It's possible that Putz is omitting some facts to take the onus of a poor season off of himself, but nothing he says strikes as unbelievable. Add his story to the recent flap with Carlos Beltran, last year's mess with Jose Reyes's legs and ask yourself what sane player would put his career in the hands of this team's front office and medical staff? How comfortable do you feel about Jason Bay after hearing how concerned the Red Sox were about his shoulders and knees? 

    Now, throw in the Tony Bernazard shirtless yelling and Omar Minaya's assault of Adam Rubin of the Daily News last summer and ask yourself if there's anything someone could tell you about the current Mets organization that you wouldn't believe? If you rack your brain, you could only come up with one thing. Sadly, it's that the Mets are a well-run organization with a bright future right around the corner.   

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.