Baseball is mean: Bobby Parnell edition

Baseball is mean: Bobby Parnell edition
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiHoward Simmons/New York Daily News

Tuesday is another downer for Bobby Parnell, and he doesn’t even pitch. Instead, Mets put reliever on disabled list and sources say he is not happy.Howard Simmons/ Daily News

Bobby Parnell is gone from the Mets, on the (ahem) disabled list after his latest ugly outing, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he has thrown his final pitch for the team that drafted him way back in 2005.

The whole unfortunate affair — you can’t blame the team for ejecting a reliever with a 14.14 ERA over the past 21 days, but it still feels abrupt — reminds us how difficult and unrewarding it can be to develop pitchers.

Covering the Mets on the beat from 2010-2012 and later in this capacity, Parnell’s emergence was one of the major recurring stories. Every spring, you wrote about whether his guts had caught up with his arm, and if this was the year that he could become the power-armed closer that the team expected.

Each year, pitching coach Dan Warthen, who made Parnell a personal project through the Jerry Manuel and Terry Collins regimes, spoke with conviction about the young man’s progress. This time, Parnell would harness the 100mph heat, and learn how to pitch.

The experiment took a sharp detour in 2011. After Jason Isringhausen earned his 300th career save, the Mets decided to hand the ninth inning to Parnell, with the veteran serving as mentor. Parnell imploded, blowing six of 12 save opportunities, and prodding Sandy Alderson to sign Frank Francisco over the winter.

Finally, in 2013, success arrived. After years of trial and error, Parnell spent the first half of that season as one of the game’s most dominant closers. Teams inquired about him before the July 31 trade deadline, but Alderson determined that he was not going to part with a commodity that took so long to develop.

Who knew that was ending already? Parnell missed most of the second half of that season with a neck injury, and then needed Tommy John surgery the following year. His recovery has been incomplete, reminding us that the procedure remains risky, despite its high success rate.

And now Parnell joins Dillon Gee in Alderson’s Bermuda Triangle of exile, a tough Met ending for a good guy. Could we see him again? We’re not ruling it out, but we’re not betting on it, either. Either way, this story is just about over, as Parnell becomes a free agent after this season.

For the team and player, this little subplot serves as a hard reminder of baseball futility. Parnell worked so hard over the years, and wanted it so badly. Warthen, Isringhausen and others cared about him, and spent years teaching.

A decade of work since the draft, three general managers, a rare talent — and it came together for all of half a season. Baseball is mean.


What a night in the Bronx, as A-Rod’s grand slam powered the Yankees. This was an important development for the team, because Mr. Rod has been nearly invisible in August. Now, especially with Mark Teixeira hurt, he needs to be that middle-of-the-order bat that he was during the first half. This ain’t the time to get old.

Here’s A-Mac’s column.

Teixeira has a bone bruise.

Down in Baltimore, the Mets beat the O’s, but the bullpen made it interesting.

Here’s Harper on that pen.


Dave Dombrowski is in, and Ben Cherington is out. It’s hard to overstate how big of a change this is for the Red Sox, who have won three championships under the current ownership group with a baseball operations department run by either Cherington or Theo Epstein.

Dombrowski is the most significant outsider to arrive in more than a decade, and will bring fresh processes and beliefs. It’s a new era for the Sox.

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