Most people don't know that the major league baseball runs a basketball league during the November thru January offseason. The season consists of 16 games and then some playoff games.
The Mets have fielded a team in this league for years. Unfortunately for the last five seasons the club has not fared well at all going 7-9 every year and never sniffing the playoffs. Some things never change.
You would have expected the team to be coached by Manager Terry Collins but actually it is run by Wally Backman. Management found that Wally had the perfect temperament for throwing chairs on the court and doing the other things necessary to coach basketball. Unfortunately Wally has never been around for the end of any game since he has routinely picked up his second technical foul before halftime.
The team's point guard was expected to be Ruben Tejada. But when Ruben was 10 minutes late to the first practice the team immediately sent him to Reno to work out with the Triple-A post-season hoops squad. They might bring him back for the last few games of the season and then again they might not.
Instead the job of floor general will fall to Eric Young Jr. What the team loves about EY (or is it EYJ?) is his quickness. An extra bonus is the fact that he is a switch-dribbler allowing him to move left or right. The truth is he moves reasonably well to his right. To his left - not so much.
The starting 2-guard was to be Bobby Parnell who in recent years has been improving in his ability to control his powerful hard shot. He has been dealing with some neck issues as a carryover from the baseball season so he hasn't yet joined Mets basketball. Taking over for him has been cagey veteran LaTroy Hawkins, the oldest player in the hoops league. Whether it is Parnell or Hawkins on the floor these are the guys the team turns to take the last shot in any close game.
The small forward is David Wright. How could it be anyone else?
When David needs a breather they bring in the talented newbie Wilmer Flores. There's a lot to like in Wilmer's potential but his lack of footspeed has been a major obstacle. By the time Wilmer has made the trek from the backcourt to the frontcourt to join in the offense the 24-second clock has pretty much expired. And then the same problem ensues going back on defense where the Mets need to constantly defend five guys with their four waiting to see if Wilmer will make it back in time.
Power forward has been a troubled position. It was hoped that Ike Davis could do the job there. The problem has been Ike's total inability to do anything productive on the court during the first eight games of the season. He comes on a bit in the latter half of the season but what really can one do with a player who always starts horribly and then shows some promise?
So with Ike being such an enigma the team has turned to big Lucas Duda to man the 4 (how about that basketball terminology, right?). In practice Lucas wows his teammates with his ability to make shots from anywhere on the court. But as soon as the games start he becomes very passive. When the ball is tossed to him he mostly just holds it in a confused fashion, unable to commit to passing or shooting or anything.
The center on the team is Jon Niese, renown for his lefty sky hook.
On the bench is Justin Turner, a familiar spot for him to begin with. Justin was told early on that pie throwing is strictly forbidden in the basketball league so he has channeled his energies into pulling his teammates shorts down as they come off the bench preparing to enter the game. What a scamp. He also is adept at the old Globetrotters' routine of throwing a bucket of what we all think will be water at a teammate. But the joke's on us since it's only confetti. Ha ha, that's a good one.
And if you think the Mets' basketball team is a lot like its baseball team let me just tell you about the hockey squad.....
Larry writes a humor column for us at The Real Dirty Mets Blog once or more per week. You can follow Larry on Twitter at @dr4sight There he comments on the teams that drive him crazy: the Mets, both NY football teams, the NY Rangers, and the Knicks.