What else can a baseball fan expect from the New York Mets? Yoenis Cespedes’s wild boar injury is pretty much on par with fandom norms.
The fundamental question of New York Mets fandom, it seems to me, is a simple one: is this club unique or much more similar to other teams across the baseball landscape?
Think about it for a moment. Half the fun of Mets fandom is complaining about things uniquely bad about the Mets. Owners caught up in Ponzi schemes, Bobby Bonilla, announcements that seem like they should be about Troy Tulowitzki but end up being about Huey Lewis and the News.
Rooting for the Mets wouldn’t be half as interesting if it didn’t necessitate constant high alert, unceasing awareness that something really weird could happen at any moment.
Obviously, most Mets fans will tend to fall on the “unique” side of the argument. It’s hard to be a Mets fan and not believe that you’re more miserable and bewildered than everyone else. But occasionally, you’ll hear from fans of other teams that you’re not so special.
Sure the Mets have bad owners, they’ll say, but all owners are pretty bad. Sure there have been some strange injuries, but everyone gets hurt — it’s baseball. Maybe the Mets have been a little unlucky lately, but that’s about all. They’re just another team, and you’re just another fan.
Well, I am happy to report that this notion has been clearly and conclusively dispelled. How? I quote Joel Sherman, Ken Davidoff and Mike Puma describing Yoenis Cespedes’s ankle injury in the New York Post:
“According to multiple people who were informed of the incident, Cespedes has traps on his ranch for a variety of reasons, including to keep boars away from people. But one boar was removed from a trap — perhaps by Cespedes — and either charged toward Cespedes or startled him, causing Cespedes to step into a hole…
“Cespedes reported the injury to the Mets, including immediately that he was trying to sidestep a boar. Mets officials and representatives for Cespedes went to the ranch the following day and came away believing essentially that is what occurred. Officials from both the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association visited the ranch at a later date and also confirmed that version of how Cespedes was injured.”
Frankly, it’s hard to know where to start.
For one, of course, there’s the end of the first sentence: “Cespedes has traps on his ranch for a variety of reasons, including to keep boars away from people.”
How many traps, and how many boars — and have they attacked people before? Cespedes, apparently, lives on a ranch with a long-time wild boar problem that requires systematic defenses. I hope I can say without controversy that this is not quite ideal for an All-Star outfielder. Imagine if Mike Trout lived in the path of a herd of Buffalo, or Christian Yelich bought an apartment swarming with hogs.
We move on: “But one boar was removed from a trap — perhaps by Cespedes — and either charged toward Cespedes or startled him, causing Cespedes to step into a hole… ”
A boar gets trapped. So Cespedes or someone else — naturally — releases it. Upon its release, the boar either charges towards Cespedes or startles him. I’ve never encountered a wild boar, but I think I can make several statements, again without much controversy.
Firstly, if a wild boar is caught in a trap, it may not be a good idea to approach it and release it to where it belongs.
Secondly, if a wild boar is released from a trap, it will probably be angry.
Thirdly, if you release a wild boar from a trap, you should prepare to be startled.
The way the New York Post tells it, it seems like Cespedes, essentially, was walking through the grass, immersed in his thoughts, and initiated a chance, casual encounter with a boar. “Hey, how ya doing, boar? You’re stuck? Lemme help ya with that!”
It takes a great deal of self-confidence to release a wild boar from a trap and be startled when it charges. “This guy’s definitely seen the throw I made from left field to the plate on the fly,” Cespedes might have been thinking to himself as he cheerfully disabled the trap. “There’s no way he’ll pick a fight with— oh no, he hasn’t seen it!”
There are all sorts of other questions about the apparent boar attack. For one, as Steve Phillips pointed out on Twitter, did the boar leave Cespedes alone only after he fell into a hole and immobilized himself? We may never know the full story, at least until the movie version comes out. But one thing is for sure.
Mets fans, wear the Cespedes boar as a badge of honor. Print its face on t-shirts next to Bernie Madoff and Valley Fever. We’re a special fandom, and this proves it. A wild boar injured our star outfielder as he removed it from a trap, and he lived to tell about it.
No other fans in the world can say that.