The spaghetti hit the fan on Friday. Writers scurried from locker to locker as:
1) Strawberry lashed out at Mazzilli and Backman, saying "They rip me and they can't even hold my jock." He also challenged Backman, who is 11 inches shorter than he is, with, "I'll bust him in the face, that little redneck."
2) Backman acknowledged that he is, in fact, a redneck.
3) Hernandez said that Strawberry should take his anger out on the baseball. "The whole crux of this is that it's been going on for years and patience has run out with some guys. We need him [but] we don't know what side of the bed he's going to wake up on. He seems to respond to disciplinary action."
4) Manager Johnson called a team meeting to clear the air. Strawberry would later publicly bury the hatchet with Mazzilli, but not Backman.
5) Wilson, usually a voice of reason, held an impromptu press conference demanding a trade to get more playing time in the outfield. "I'm looking out for my future," said Wilson. "I feel I'd be doing myself a great injustice by not speaking out. Everybody thinks [that if] everything is peachy in Metsville, good old Mookie isn't going to rock the boat."
Then the Mets went out and lost to the Reds, 8-3, as Darling failed again. At this time last year he was 8-2; now he was 2-6 and winless since April 22. After losing a no-hit bid on June 28, Darling said, "Baseball is a roller coaster to confidence. It can humble you, bring you to your knees. I mean, you've got to win one by mistake, don't you?" When Davey Johnson was asked earlier this season what was wrong with Darling, he said, "getting married, having children, opening a restaurant, writing a book."
A calm settled over the Mets for the holiday weekend, but so did a three-game losing streak. On Saturday night they committed three errors in losing 7-3, and on Sunday afternoon, Gooden, who had been pitching well since his return from drug rehabilitation, was knocked out of the box in the fourth inning as the Reds went on to win 7-5. In the past, Strawberry has usually responded to fines and criticism with a booming bat. But he went 1 for 10 after the clubhouse meeting.
There is still a lot of season left, and it's quite possible the Mets will right themselves. But for now, they look as though they have succumbed to the postchampionship blahs. Only one man can get them out of it, and the Mets know who he is.
I can get loose, so don't you try
'Cause I graduated from Crenshaw High
You can even ask Eric [Davis] Boogie E
My name is Darryl, but you can call me D.