One of the things that marked Lucas Duda‘s tenure with the New York Mets was the divisiveness he created among the Mets fanbase. One faction of Mets fans saw a 30 home run hitter who got on base at a good clip. The other half saw a streaky unclutch hitter who made a throw which cost the Mets the 2015 World Series.
Speaking of the 2015 World Series, if we all thought things were complicated in New York, it begs the question about how his new team is going to feel about him.
For Royals fans, Duda is their Bill Buckner. No, he wasn’t the one who blew the series or even the game with his gaffe, but both did become the central figure of those series for the plays they did not make. What makes this even more interesting is Duda is replacing Eric Hosmer, the very same guy he could not nail at the plate in that fateful Game 5. Following this parallel, this would be like Keith Hernandez being replaced by not Dave Magadan but by Bucker.
Mets fans all know if Buckner was ever brought to Citi Field for anything, the home crowd would give him a standing ovation that would make the fans celebrating Robin Ventura‘s Grand Slam Single look like a polite golf clap. However, as a Hernandez replacement? We can’t be too sure about that. Certainly, the fans would give that a much more skeptical look. It’s likely Royals fans will feel the same about Duda.
To that end, it’s just a strange course Duda has been following in his career. He was first the outfielder Mets fans couldn’t stand in the outfield. For some, he was the one who unseated fan favorite Ike Davis from first base. Even before the throw, Duda was not exactly beloved by the Mets fanbase. Really, the relationship between Duda and Mets fans was so strange Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wrote an article about it.
Now, somehow, Duda is going to a fanbase where he may have an even more complicated relationship. To many, he was the one that gave the Royals that World Series. Now, he’s expected to be the guy who replaces THE GUY. He’s replacing the guy that beat him in one of the most infamous plays in World Series history. It’s really a bizarre situation for a guy who constantly finds himself in them. Really, how does Duda find himself in another situation where fans cannot possibly agree if they want him there or not.
In some sense, it seems fitting Duda is going to hit 30 homers and post an OBP around .350 while an entire fanbase argues amongst themselves whether they really want him there or not.