Preview: The Amazin' Mess
The Amazin' Mess
Columns, opinions and useless info about the New York Mets, and occassionally ramblings about other teams.
Thanks for your patience since my last post. My initial thoughts were part of a personal beta test to see how easy this whole blogging thing is. Simple enough. I plan to post regularly for the 2005 season.
And now, it seems the 2005 season has started a bit earlier than I expected. I wake up to find what? The Mets signed Carlos Beltran? Seriously? Is it April 1st?
It seems to be true. Unbelievable. Omar Minaya's strategy of signing guys who could help recruit others guys is working perfectly. Forget Billy Beane, Omar Minaya is a pure genious.
Seven years - $119 million. Yes, it's a buttload of money, but this guy's worth it (if anyone is). The Amazins missed out on A-Rod and fans haven't forgiven that gaffe. If this is a "kiss and make-up" move -I'm in love!!!
Order your #15 jersey now. I have a feeling it will be a long-term wardrobe investment....
- Thought: If you think Mets fans are excited, how do you think Willie Randolph is feeling?
- Another thought: Anyone short of Mo Vaughn at first base will be just grand. Delgado? Great. Olerud? No problem.
Here We Go Again
For the umteenth time, we will sit captivated before our TVs, taking in another "classic" Yankees-Red Sox matchup with "everything on the line." I guess it's due to our collective desire to see the King of the Mountain fall to his demise. Kinda like why people watch NASCAR races...for the wrecks.
Yet, somehow, it's not getting old. Unless the Yanks win...again...which seems inevitable at this point.
So, the series begins with all the hype and tension one could expect from a public execution. Curt Schilling, the unflappable Sox starter who befuddled these Yankees in the 2001 Series, took the hill against an accomplsihed, but overmatched Mike Mussina. And what happens? Schilling doesn't last 4 innings! The Stripes get to him early (and often). Mussina looks brilliant and the Yanks, inspite of a late Sox rally, seal up Game 1.
At least Boston can bring Schilling back on 3 days rest, since he barely warmed up last night. What are the odds he'll melt like that again? You could saw his right arm off and he'd find a way to get the job done. Right? God, I hope so.
I don't think I can stomach another Series with the Yankees.
FWIW, I've got Boston in 6. (And for some reason, I'm sticking with it.)
Bailing on Baylor
I want to start of with a shout-out thank to Jason over at Always Amazin' (and Doc Baseball) for the plug. I 'preciate it.
Anyway, we're a couple Division Series and one Las Vegas weekend away from my last post. I'm beat, so I'll make this relatively quick.
Is anyone really surprised that the Mets have already (publicly) botched their manager search? The hung out their own bench coach Don Baylor due to "concerns about his health." The guy beat cancer for crying out loud!
Don Baylor is a class act, which is far more than I think of Lou Pinella's approach to the game, and they hang his cancer out there as a reason not to even give the guy an interview. His cancer's not contagious, you morons, but his positive approach could be. We'll never know.
Selling out Baylor is just plain wrong. It isn't like overlooking Jeff Wilpon because he is incompetent or unqualified for a baseball job. Which seems irrelevant since he works for Daddy. But not even a sniff for Don? Don't you owe a guy with his character and perseverance at least a conversation? What a crock. I hope Baylor lands somewhere like DC and makes the Wilpons pay for their stupidity.
So, what kind of a masochistic nut-case would be willing to take this suicide mission? Mr. Valentine, still interested?
PS: On a personal note, my brother and I went to Vegas to see what financial damage we could do to ourselves. Surprisingly, I didn't lose my ass. Came out about even (in the gambling dept.). Saw Blue Man Group - really cool show. If you have money to spend, Vegas might be the best in the world to burn it in 3 days.
Giving Darth Vader A Mulligan
OK. I was going to talk about more holes in need of filling. However, with the colossal stupidity shown last night my a former Met, I will digress just this once.
Of course, I refer to last night's bullpen debacle by the Minnesota Twins. IMO, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire (the aforementioned former Met), completely piledrove his team from a position of leverage into a deep hole in he ground
Let me get this straight. Your team is trailing late in the game. They come back to tie the score against the most dominant relief pitcher in post-season history. A stalemate ensues, sending the contest into extra frames. You bring in your ace closer to stymie the strong 2/3 of Yankees vaunted offense. He does it flawlessly for two innings - the commonly held limit for a closer. Your club's leader, Torii Hunter, gives you a one-run lead with a round-tripper in the 11th. OK. Just three outs to go before you ride a 2-0 series lead back home. The normally giddy Bronx crowd is so silent, you'd think mass just began.
So what happens? With the 8-9-1 hitters due up, Gardenhire sends his closer back out to the mound for a third inning of work, which he hasn't done all season. Now I understand the importance of pinning the Yanks down 2-0 heading back home, HOWEVER (props to Seven A. Smith), your bullpen is fresh and can probably get the first two outs easily building confidence to face Jeter in the lead-off spot. But Gardenhire doesn't even get someone up in the pen (JUST IN CASE!). So, appropriately for a terrible strategic decision, Nathan proceeds to heave the ball all over the strike zone, providing ample scoring opportunities in the form of walks and flat fastballs. Now...there's activity in the Twinkie pen. Now...that Nathan has intentionally walked Sheffield to avoid losing by three. Now...that the tying run has scored and you've squandered a late lead and handed the momentum back to the home team. The sad part is the new guy gets the out, but Jeter tags up and scores the winner....easily.
I'll admit to having the philosophy "Dance with who brung ya," but even this rule has common sense limits. I think Grady made the right decision last year. Pedro was how he even got that far, stay with him. But Joe Nathan did NOT carry the Twins this season.
Congrats Ronnie. Not only did you not shut the door, you've propped it open. Now the series is even, you probably won't have your closer for Game 3, the Yanks only have to split in the Homer Dome to play Game 5 back at the scene of last night's crime. And somewhere "Yankee Hater" caps are being made with Navy and Red "Twins" style letters.
You've just shown why your name is not on the Mets short list of potential managers. Oh, an dif you think the Evil Empire's going to return the favor, you'll need more than The Force.
The New York Spackle, part 1
Well, it has come to be a rite of fall every year: plugging up the gaping holes in the NY Mets.
Let's start with the most urgent need, leadership. The Mets desperately need to find a new skipper who can overcome BS front office politics (and micro-managing) and provide the support and model for leadership this club requires. Let's face it, the Wilpons are not going to leave anyone alone, regardles of what they tell the media.
So, here is the current list - with odds of hiring:
- Lou Pinella, (8-5) Somehow I can see the Mets taking out another mortgage on their future. We have enough hype and hot-air in this organization. They won't buck up for A-Rod or Vlad, but we'll sell the farm for Lou.
- Don Baylor, (10-1) Easy pick if they can sell him on leading damaged goods (which should be easy since they do it to the fans and media every Spring)
- Joey Cora, ChiSox 3rd-base coach (15-1) I like Cora's chances, actually.
- Gary Carter (20-1) Let's re-capture the good ole days by bringing in a guy whose "broadcast insight" has already alienated most of the club. Seems a logical Wilpon choice.
- Jim Fregosi (25-1) How long before ole Freddy sings his praises about "lighting up a room?" Oh yeah, it's Omar's team now.....right.
- Willie Randolph, (100-1) Developing young talent? This makes too much sense. Besides Freddy and Jeffy wil ruin him.
- Bobby Valentine (150-1) Bobby still has more moxie than most of these stiffs, which is precisely why they won't re-hire him.
- Rudy Jaramillo, Tex. hitting coach (500-1) Who? Again, this is about the Wilpons, not Omar's buddies.
- Wally Backman (500-1) We're all afraid of what he might do.
- Whitey Herzog (1,000-1) Why would he leave the retirement village for the Mess?
Has anyone else noticed that we are in the midst of the franchise's longest "division title" drought in franchise history?
1962-1969: 7 seasons
1969-1973: 4 seasons
1973-1986: 13 seasons
1986-1988: 2 seasons
1988-2004: 15 seasons (and counting)
Yes, there were wild card berths in 1999 and 2001, but as far as taking a flag, this is sad. Especially, because the Braves have had beatable teams during that span (damn you, Larry Jones).
Something to Smile About
Why cry? The Mets have been so aggravating to watch (or listen to) during the 2004 season, it could drive one to the arms of the Phillies. Wait. They may actually be more aggravating. Nevermind. Instead of ranting about the colossal mess my favorite team has become, I will use this space for something positive (kind of). Somehow, I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities to bash the Mets front office and play personnel soon.
Here are a few bit of wisdom from our favorite manager, the incomparable Casey Stengel. Enjoy.
On the Mets:
"The Mets are gonna be amazing."
"The Mets have shown me more ways to lose than I even knew existed."
"The only thing worse than a Mets game is a Mets double-header."
"You look up and down the bench and you have to say to yourself, 'Can't anybody here play this game?' "
On baseball & life:
"Most ball games are lost, not won."
"I'll never make the mistake of being seventy again."
"There comes a time in every man's life, and I've had plenty of them."
"Most people my age are dead at the present time, and you could look it up."
"All right, everyone, line up alphabetically according to your height."
"I always heard it couldn't be done, but sometimes it don't always work."
"I was such a dangerous hitter I even got intentional walks in batting practice."
"Left-handers have more enthusiasm for life. They sleep on the wrong side of the bed, and their head gets more stagnant on that side."
"People ask me, 'Casey, how can you speak so much when you don't talk English too good?' Well, I've been invited to Europe, and I say, 'They don't speak English over there too good, either.'"