Roger: Over And Out.

A four inning no-hit, no-run performance by Aaron Heilman was completely overshadowed last night by one tragic inning that recharged the venom Mets' fans hold for RF Roger Cedeno. An error, a caught stealing, and a Mets' loss brought out the ugly worst in Mets' fans making it clear that no matter what the cost, it's time for Roger to move on.

Last night's 3-2 loss to the Expos started in fine fashion for the Mets as Heilman cruised through his four inning stint, allowing only a walk to Termell Sledge as he struck out 5 and allowed no runs or hits on the night. The Mets plated two early runs in the first, as veteran Livan Hernandez struggled to get comfortable on the Tradition Field mound. He surrendered a leadoff walk to Kazuo Matsui who was promptly sacrificed to second by Jose Reyes. Cliff Floyd scorched a double into the gap which scored Matsui, and Mike Piazza followed with an RBI single, giving the Mets a 2-0 lead they would hold until the fateful ninth.

For the next seven innings, the Mets and the Expos exchanged zeros as Heilman, Mike Stanton, David Weathers and Orber Moreno surrendered just two hits across the first 8 innings. Meanwhile after a rocky first, Hernandez shut the Mets down and Rocky Biddle, Shawn Hill and Jeremy Fikac combined to hold New York to two hits and a walk over the final five innings.

The drama unfolded in the top of the ninth after Moreno retired the leadoff hitter. The second batter lofted a shallow fly to rightfield which Cedeno should have, but didn't catch. As the inning continued to unfold, another error by SS Chris Basak led to a bat-shattered bloop single by Larry Broadway that gave the Expos the final 3-2 margin.

The fact that the error had led to the Mets coughing up a sure victory brought out an ugly side in Mets fans. What fans remained from the announced total of over 3,700 began raining verbal abuse on Cedeno that was borderline unstable. "You're a (expletive) PLAGUE, Cedeno!" yelled one fan, who was among the few who used enough non-expletives to be quoted. One fan was actually restrained by his friends as his contorted, red face blew expletives and spittle simultaneously in Cedeno's direction.

The matter was only exacerbated as Cedeno led off the bottom of the ninth and drew a walk, but was thrown out stealing on the first pitch.

The time has come, no matter what the cost, for the Mets to find a way to get Roger Cedeno to a safer clubhouse, somewhere far, far away. Cedeno, who by all accounts is a likable, personable guy who is genuinely liked by most all of his teammates, does not deserve this kind of abuse. No one does. The kind of anger and hatred demonstrated by fans last night should be reserved for only the most extreme situations Like for Osama bin Laden. Or for Carlie Bruscia's parents to deliver to Joseph Smith when they get their day in court. It was that level of disturbing, borderline psychotic evil that fans attacked Cedeno verbally last night and it is certainly within the realm of reason that things could get far uglier with very little provocation.

Mets fans can be notoriously unforgiving. What's unique about their reaction is the Mets save their most vocal hatred for their own. there have been others who have been forced to endure their wrath. Armando Benitez for one. Doug Sisk for another. What's most interesting about Cedeno is that aside from being a poor defensive outfielder and being somewhat of a poster child for what has ailed the Mets the last few seasons, Cedeno has really done very little to incite the fans. He hasn't blown any crucial games. He has hit within .010 of his career averages. In fact, aside from a notable decrease in his base stealing ability, he's pretty much been exactly the same player he's always been. However, for some reason, he has become one of the most hated figures in the history of the Mets.

In the same way that Alex Rodriguez was allowed to make financial concessions to facilitate a move out of Texas that both he and the Rangers wanted, the Mets, Cedeno, MLB, and the Player's Association ought to find a way to get Roger out of New York. Before something even more terrible happens. It's over. It's time to get out.


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