Jon Niese’s parting blows could make for an interesting return to the New York Mets.
New York Mets fans are all too familiar with the visual frustration exhibited from Jon Niese.
Standing behind the pitching rubber, the sight of Niese’s long face when Terry Collins emerged from the dugout to remove him from the game became somewhat routine for the southpaw.
Over his first seven seasons as a Met, Niese pitched games which, in retrospect, were essentially meaningless; the Mets never fooled anyone into thinking the team was playoff-bound.
Those seven seasons were marred by poor defensive play, little run support for Mets’ starting pitching, and an insecure bullpen which seemed to blow every other close game.
The errors were rampant. The futile efforts for fielders to recover from those errors were helpless.
Who was even more helpless?
Jon Niese, heels buried on the pitcher’s mound, watching with no hope as poor defensive play led to runs.
Then, finally, the Mets were competitive. Niese became an odd man in the rotation, and was excluded along with Bartolo Colon from the group in the postseason. Exiled to the bullpen, Niese’s fortunes as Met continued to move south.
The coup de grace came when the Mets traded its longtime lefty, who had logged over 1000 innings for New York, to Pittsburgh. In return, the Mets acquired Neil Walker to fill the void left by Daniel Murphy who, at that point, lurked around in free agency.
Again, Jonathan Niese was spurned by the Mets, and he spoke up to voice his own disapproval.
“It’s always a great feeling to be wanted,” Niese told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’ve got that feeling here.”
He felt wanted and, as he added later, he wanted to join the Pirates.
“I’m sure what I’ll appreciate more than anything is the way [the Pirates] play defense. I’m looking forward to that.”
Low blow? Maybe; maybe not.
Now that he is returning to the Mets in exchange for left-handed pitcher Antonio Bastardo, his past comments could make for a mixed reception, and it could yield some stares from former teammates who played behind him.
Whether or not the comment was a pointed censure of the Mets, it sure will be interesting to see his response when the question is inevitably asked by New York reporters.
Niese had that “feeling to be wanted,” back in Pittsburgh – although that sentiment has since changed for Pirates’ people – and he may now have it again as the Mets have reacquired him.
There is one safe bet you can make though.
There’s a good shot you’ll see that disappointed Niese face at some point, internally damning the play of his teammates and silently criticizing their efforts.
Welcome back to New York, Jon.