Joe Girardi will manage his first game with the Philadelphia Phillies on March 26 in Miami. A day later, Zack Wheeler is likely to take the mound for the first time as a Phillie. There are contingents of the New York Mets fanbase that wish both were getting ready to work in Queens this season instead.
In fact, some fans were so hell-bent on the two being employed by the Mets that they reached into their own pockets.
James Wagner of The New York Times published a piece Thursday examining how some fans of the Mets found general manager Brodie Van Wagenen on the payment app Venmo and sent him money hoping that he would put that towards their desired outcomes.
According to the article, one fan sent Van Wagenen money and attached the message “hire Girardi and bring back the black jerseys.” The Mets instead hired Carlos Beltran, who they have since dismissed because of his connections to the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. There’s also no evidence that they plan to bring back the black alternate jerseys made famous during the Mike Piazza era.
Another fan used Venmo to send money to the general manager hoping that the team would re-sign Wheeler, who became a free agent after the 2019 season concluded. The message attached to his payment simply read “spare change for the poor.” The Mets allowed Wheeler to leave in free agency and sign a five-year/$118 million deal with the Phillies.
For as funny as this story is, there’s a very real chance that the Mets, now managed by Luis Rojas, could be a playoff-caliber team in 2020. Sure, they lost Wheeler, but they still have a starting rotation led by two-time defending National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom. Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil both emerged as stars in 2019. The Mets bullpen was a disaster a season ago, and they still managed to win 86 games. After signing Dellin Betances, there’s hope that the Mets bullpen will be exponentially better in 2020, especially if at least one of Edwin Diaz or Jeurys Familia has a bounce-back season.
Then again, something does always seem to go wrong for the Mets, even when their roster looks excellent on paper. Perhaps that will happen again in 2020, a season that could see the re-ignition of the Phillies-Mets rivalry that so many enjoyed during the 2000s.
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