Mets rookie relief/starting pitcher, Bobby Parnell, got off to a good start, but has faltered since the All Star break. Remember back in May when he blew away the Red Sox with a 100 MPH fastball?
Since then, Parnell has been having difficulties while both starting and relieving. Many “experts” believe he needs to not only have more faith in his other pitches, but better command of them. They believe he relies too much on the fastball, and tends to leave it out over the plate, which hitters are starting to clobber. He doesn’t use his secondary and tertiary pitches enough, and doesn’t throw them well enough against Major League hitters. These observations may all be true, but will not solve his problems on the pro level.
The problem lies much more deeply, and has been plaguing Mets pitchers since 1983. It has nothing to do with training, conditioning, nor practice. It has to do with his attire. It is as plain as the shirt on his back, in fact, it is the shirt on his back.
Number 39. Number 39, the ol treinta y nueve, 3-9. Except for Roberto Hernandez (2005-2006), most have not fared well. Even Hernandez didn’t do nearly as well in 2006 after the Mets reacquired him from Pittsburgh.
For those youngsters out there, here is a little history lesson. In 1982 The Mets brought up a young relief pitcher named Doug Sisk. He pitched in 8 games in 1982 before staying with the big club in 1983. On opening day, April 5, 1983, he got the win when he relieved Tom Seaver, in Seaver’s return to the Mets, beating the Phillies 2-0. He should have retired then. To look at his stats, you might think he was an average pitcher. To watch this man come to the mound daily was excruciating. Sisk walked 47 more batters than he struck out during his Mets career. No lead was safe with him. This started the ‘Curse Of 39’.
Other’s that followed Sisk, or Dougie as we used to call him, didn’t fare well either. There were such notable pitchers as: Josias Manzanillo (1993-1995, 1999), Juan Acevedo (1991), Steve Reed (2002), and now Bobby Parnell.
The kid is doomed. Forget Dan Warthen, he needs Mets equipment manager Charlie Samuels, or whomever assigns uniform numbers, to switch Parnell’s. How about number 40? Robinson Cancel isn’t using it…
Parnell has electric stuff. True he must work on developing all his pitches, but that is only half the battle. He could throw like Seaver, but while wearing #39 for this team, he is apt to be the next Dicky Gonzalez , who played a measly 16 games for the Mets in 2001. Yes, he did wear #39, and was less than spectacular.
Number 39 for the Mets is the living Devil. It is dangerous not only to a player’s career, but for Met fans also. Players who wear this number are doomed to a career of mediocrity at best, but with a greater potential for cataclysmic results for this franchise.
It is time for the Mets to end this season by torching #39 , the jersey (Doug Sisk to if you wish) in front of a sold out crowd, on the pitcher’s mound. Then whatever remains, is to be mailed with love to Jimmy Rollins.
The answer is there folks, but sometimes when the answer is so close, it seems furthest away.