Despite falling short of getting back to the World Series last year, things are looking pretty positive for the Mets in 2017. In order to try to make the playoffs for the third straight year, the team went out and re-signed slugger Yoenis Cespedes, and are looking forward to healthy returns from pitchers Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler. So, of course, the team has gone and risked the health of ace pitcher Noah Syndergaard by tapping him to play the Santa at the team's annual Christmas party, despite the terrible curse associated with the role.
ESPN's Adam Rubin tweeted this week that Syndergaard would play Santa, with Jose Reyes and Brandon Nimmo flanking him as elves, at the team's holiday party for children on Tuesday. What he left out is the fact that the team picked him to do this despite the terrible Santa curse that has befallen so many players before him:
Mets confirm Noah Syndergaard as Santa will be flanked by Jose Reyes & Brandon Nimmo as elves at Tuesday's holiday party for schoolchildren.
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) December 9, 2016
"A terrible curse?" you might be thinking, but it's true: almost every person to play Santa for the Mets in an attempt to bring some holiday cheer to children has been traded or struck with injury or ineffectiveness the following season, with one exception (and he found great success with another team). Last year, CBS Sports had a rundown of everything that befell previous Santas going back to Christmas 2005, although the story points out that the curse also claimed 2004 Santa Mike Cameron, who saw his 2005 season derailed by a horrific collision with Carlos Beltran and was then traded before the 2006 season started.
Kris Benson, the 2005 Mets Santa, had a forgettable season following his Santa appearance, but, like Cameron he was also traded, leading many to speculate that whoever played Santa would just be traded the next year. However, face of the franchise David Wright played Santa in 2006 and managed to escape unharmed. But there would be dire consequences later on.
In 2007, the team Santa was John Maine, who went from being a promising young pitcher to getting injured and becoming forever ineffective in 2008. The following year, fellow promising young pitcher Mike Pelfrey played the role, and saw his talent leave him as he suffered through an awful year in 2009. The next Santa, in 2009, was Jeff Francoeur, who frankly was already bad, and while he escaped the "injury" part of the curse, he was traded in 2010.
David Wright went back to playing Santa in 2010, and the curse's built up magicks unleashed itself on him in the 2011 season. Wright suffered a fractured back that year, beginning a series of back ailments that have turned him from a surefire Hall of Fame candidate to a sad story of potential gone awry.
Daniel Murphy played Santa in 2011 and 2013, and while he himself suffered no ill effects from the curse, the team eventually did. You might remember Murphy eventually departing the Mets in free agency, signing with their division rival and turning into the second coming of Ryne fucking Sandberg this past year. Ex-Met John Franco played the role in between Murphy's stints, as for once the team decided not to sacrifice a player on the altar of Kris Kringle.
In 2014, closer Jenrry Mejia played Santa, and missed basically all of 2015 thanks to not just one, but two steroid suspensions. Mejia would later claim he was framed by Major League Baseball. Finally, last year, Steven Matz played the role and guess what happened? He got hurt! Matz had various ailments throughout the year, and was finally shut down for the season due to an ailing left shoulder and bone spurs in his elbow.
Which, leads up to 2016, whern the Mets, in all of their Mets-y wisdom, have decided the pitcher who won their only World Series game in 2015, who pitched in their one-game playoff in 2016, who knows how to do memes and is generally beloved by the entire fan base, is playing this cursed role for unknown reasons. The Mets didn't respond to a request for comment on why they would dare taunt whatever Christmas spirit haunts the team, but just remember that they're risking a pitcher who can do this:
From a rational standpoint of course, I shouldn't be freaking out about this, and shouldn't be sowing panic among those of who are loyal readers of Gothamist dot com and/or Mets fans. From a rational standpoint, curses aren't real. On the other hand: this curse is extremely real and if Noah Syndergaard misses even one start this year, the Mets should end this ridiculous use of players on the active roster and just get retired greats to do it. The future of the franchise might be riding on the decision.