MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon Mets fans are seeing red – not orange and blue – over their team's recent woes, which culminated in the termination of hitting coach Dave Hudgens’ contract last week.
The Mets have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons lately, with Hudgens’ dismissal being preceded by a rash of injuries to highly touted prospects, a revolving door of closers in the bullpen, a team on the field that has seven wins in May and a cavernous home field that many pundits believe has gotten into the heads of the hitters.
Fans of the Metropolitans have grown steadily more frustrated with their struggling team, and it has spilled over into Citi Field, where fans have lustily booed a lineup that features just two regulars hitting with averages above .300.
“This team is bad, man. And the field isn’t helping. You see David (Wright) hitting a ball every few games there that would be a home run anywhere else,” Taj Maloney said in Mount Vernon on Tuesday, May 27. “I’m not sure what they’re doing over there. All that pitching but no one can hit the ball in their own damn park.”
On his way out the door, Hudgens has been critical of New York, whether harping on the fans booing, the spacious field or commentators – specifically Keith Hernandez – critiquing the team’s patient approach at the plate. He criticized fans for not appreciating the hard work his players are putting in behind the scenes in an effort to improve.
“I think the fans are really tough on the guys at home. How can you boo Curtis Granderson?” Hudgens told MLB.com. “They have no idea how hard this guy works and how he goes about his business, doing his job. He gets off to a slow start and they’re booing him? Come on. It’s tougher at home to play than it is on the road, there’s no doubt about it. And they’re really trying at home.”
Mount Vernon resident Andrew Brown noted that his expectations for the season were already tempered after ace pitcher Matt Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery last season and will miss this year. He added that the recent trip to the disabled list for top prospect Noah Syndergaard has only added to his woes.
“That’s the Mets for you. Get a generational talent, tears his UCL (ulnar collateral ligament). Load up on young pitching talent, they drop one at a time. We already knew this season was probably going to be a wash, but things just keep getting worse,” he lamented. “And we can’t win a game at home.”
Mark Russo, a New Rochelle resident who has been a Mets fan for more than three decades, said that it’s been hard for him to stomach the team’s recent run of futility. As of Tuesday, May 27, the Mets were mired in last place, six games behind the division leading Atlanta Braves, despite the overall mediocrity thus far of National League East teams.
“There are always going to be ups and downs with this team, but this has been a long slide down,” he said. “They’re in a weak division, so they still have a chance if they can tread water and maybe rattle off a hot streak over the summer. ‘You gotta believe!’”