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Once upon a time, the New York Mets had an excuse. They were brand-new and designed to be abandoned at birth. They were an expansion team in the days when expansion teams were composed almost entirely of other teams' garbage, and they were genuinely horrific—they lost a record 120 games in their first year of existence, an average of 108 games per year for the first six, and would have lost more if not for four pesky ties that the home office deemed too unsightly to complete.

But they were turbo-charming for and in all that failure. They outdrew the stolid and decaying Yankees in years three, four, five, and six because their losses and the explanations for them were such side-splitters. They had fans holding up signs celebrating their awfulness, they dominated a tepid sporting landscape with every new three-error game, and were the talk of a town looking for something to match the tenor of those raucous times. New York glommed onto them and their hapless bumbling with a comedic fervor not seen since in any sport. Books were written about them, good fun reads about a good fun team that was simply too lousy to have expectations and as a result exceeded them all, if occasionally in reverse. They had that new baby cute that negated that diaper smell, and they made it work just long enough to win a World Series in Year Eight, which of course begat more books. They ushered in New York's last true glory days, 1969–73, when the sclerotic Yankees and Giants receded from view and were replaced by not only the Mets but the Jets, Knicks, and Rangers.

Well, those Mets are back, but the smell you detect, while similar in many ways to infants, is unpleasant in an entirely different way. They are in their 63rd year now, and being this aromatically offensive on a daily basis is not considered nearly so endearing, especially at these prices.

Still, they seem willing to embrace their new modes of suck with both fervor and panache, which is why their MVP when all is done and then denied must almost surely be Jorge López, the beleaguered and soon to be relocated reliever who probably finished his Mets career Wednesday in the shards of a 10-3 loss to the Dodgers which ended with a six-run eighth inning in which he contributed first this:

Then this:

And finally, this:

Of the three, the third was branded the most egregious and was therefore the funniest because according to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo, López later extended and clarified his remarks to mean "the worst teammate on the worst team."

Jackpot! If you cock your ear to the wind, you can hear beat writers calling their agents now with a cool new book idea for the Christmas rush. The Mets are BACK!

Not to be ignored in the fun of the day were injuries to closer Edwin Diaz and first baseman Pete Alonso that helped make the series sweep by the Dodgers that much more invigorating, and a half-hour players-only meeting that shortstop Francisco Lindor described as "good for everybody" because "a lot of players talked" and "a lot of knowledge was dropped." This is probably code for They hate the season, they hate themselves, they hate each other and they hate everything not covered in items one, two, and three. But we don't want to assume facts not in evidence.

But here are some facts. The Mets have the oldest team and the biggest payroll in baseball, as provided by owner Steve Cohen who bought the team in part to win one last championship for his 92-year-old father. They have lost 13 of their last 16, are 16 games behind the Phillies, three games ahead of the Marlins, and draw fewer fans per game than the Nationals, just to keep you up to date on the NL East. Oh, and they play the longest games on average in baseball, so the daily misery lasts longer and allows more time for expressions of discontent from all areas of the ballpark, from the executive suite to the manager's office to the clubhouse to Section 308.

The executive suite, you say? But of course. Cohen has spent $1.12 billion on payroll in his four years as the boss, and his new president of baseball ops, David Stearns, has no particular attachment to anyone who predates his eight months in charge. In fact, Stearns dropped his own corporate-speak bombshell (since obscured by López's improv) on Tuesday by saying that the July 31 trade deadline would serve "as an inflection point" on the season, which is to say that the "everything must go" and "no offer too ridiculous" lawn signs are being painted as we speak. And all this has happened before June 1 in a year that was positioned as a turnaround season. Cohen said when he bought the team that he would be "mildly disappointed" if it didn't win at least one World Series within three to five years, and I think we all know how mildly disappointed billionaires behave.

But nothing says it quite like Wednesday, and no alternate perspective will be remembered. The Mets are "the worst team" with "the worst teammate(s)" because Jorge López said so, and it doesn't matter that it ends up being his parting shot. It's really just the first chapter of the book, and with just a smidge of editing to smooth out the F-bombs it is suitable for fans of all ages, including babies. Can't get 'em started too soon on the pathological angst, you know.

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