Sunday, July 23, 2006

Aaron's Fable

Once upon a time there was a pitcher who succeeded at everything he tried...until he got to the Mets where he was told that his value was as a relief pitcher. So he moped and tried to prove his worth by beating Chris Burke in a race to the first base bag. But being the lazy mope he was, he stopped at a Starbucks during the race even though he had a head start. Burke hustled, and won the race.

The Astros scored, Heilman was embarrassed, and Burke refused to share his popcorn.

The End.

(???)

That was obviously the Cliff Notes version of the story, but the actual end may be written when Aesop Heilman is lollygagging to the airport to join his new team next week.

The fact that Heilman's bonehead (Cone-head?) play did not ultimately cost the Mets the game is irrelevant. The Mets were 13 games up going in, so losing a game here and there isn't going to kill them. But that's not the challenge for Willie Randolph. The challenge is to keep his players interested, and focused on the present moment throughout a long couple of months where they will most likely have nothing to play for except home field in the NLCS. For the most part, Willie has kept his guys alert and happy.

But when a player makes a gaffe like Heilman's...and when that player is a guy who has been talked about as not having his entire heart in his job because of his role...there's a problem. And when that player is on the cusp of trade rumors where it's entirely possible that Mets brass is going back and forth on what to do with him, well let's just say that if I was Freddy Garcia I wouldn't look at any real estate in Illinois or Wisconsin. Because just as winning is contagious, so is laziness. That frame of mind needs to be quarantined before it spreads to the rest of the team by the time the playoffs roll around...whether by conversation, by role change, or by trade.

In a related story, during a recent airing of "Baseball Tonight" Tim Kurkjian forced to guess that Marlins reliever Joe Borowski would be a Met by the time the trade deadline comes and goes. I'm not sure how much sense that makes, and even Kurkjian didn't sound convinced...but if the Mets give up on Heilman, then Borowski makes a lot more sense.

So if Aesop Heilman is smart, he quickly learns that relieving is his friend...or he will be relieved of his uniform and shipped off to the woods to race turtles in Chicago.

***

In case you haven't noticed, Carlos Delgado is out of his slump.

Why has Carlos Delgado been able to emerge from this deep deep slump?

Because he's not Alex Rodriguez.

For all of my ranting and raving about how the national media excessively kisses the cheeks of the New York Yankees (and it is excessive), even I have to admit that with that comes a price. With that comes the possibility that a picture of you at Central Park in a metrosexual pose will hit the front page of the tabloids. With that comes the mental pressure of everybody, including the people that spread Yankee propaganda, hopping on your back and discussing you endlessly when you're going sour. With that comes George Steinbrenner.

Carlos Delgado goes into a batting slump and nobody's breaking down his at bats, his fielding mechanics, and his suntan lotion brand of choice. Nobody makes him takes extra infield practice only to pencil him in at DH.

A-Rod currently has Carlos Delgado's slump and Aaron Heilman's mental block combined. All because the excessive good press that goes around can turn unnecessarily bad in a heartbeat...because that's the way it works with the Yankees.

Meanwhile, Delgado has the luxury of working through his problems in relative peace.

So as much as I will continue to rant and rave about the severe inequity of the amount of coverage the Yankees get in comparison to the Mets, I have to say that in this case...they can have it.

***

Staying with the theme of the media having nothing better to talk about, I was given a theory that I must share with you:

Mike Pelfrey is undefeated with the tongue.

He's 0-1 with the blue gum/mouthpiece.

Has the media made Pelfrey so self conscious regarding his tongue that he was willing to try the blue gum?

I'm not sure I buy that. But I would like to see Pelfrey stick with what makes him comfy.

13 comments:

elliot said...

During the broadcast of Pelfrey's start yeaterday, they said that Pelfrey has a jaw condition (mandibular something or other) and was wearing a mouthpiece to help that.

In any case, his face ain't pretty to look at. They should refrain from facial closeups when he's in his motion.

His pitching, on the other hand, will be real pretty. Yesterday's troubles don't bother me. I think that he handled his problems well. In spite of his lack of control, he never seemed to have a meltdown like some other starting pitchers who have debuted this year and who aree not named after a New England state and don't have a former major leaguer for a dad.

nLak..B) said...

it's not blue gum. it's a mouthpiece.

adoniram said...

I'm getting tired of seeing Aaron Heilman's mopey face. This is the last straw.

I notice that all the wannabe GMs saying Heilman is the answer to our rotation problems have piped down.

And I'm sorry, but if this guy is so mentally weak that his game falls apart because he doesn't get to start then he likely didn't have what it takes to be a successful starter anyway.

Ed in Westchester said...

Metstra - as always, very nice.

Erring Heilman screwed the pooch and himself with that.

Nice to see Carlos heating up. And nice to see the other Carlos refusing a day off.

Poor A-Rod. It is getting sickening though. ESPN spent about 5 minutes on his "issues" the other day during Sportscenter. Give me a break.

Toasty Joe said...

Metstra, I swear to you that I wrote my post today before I even looked at yours. Great minds, I guess.... Hilarious.

AROD SLAPPED THEM said...

AROD's Stats of the Week!

.188 Batting Average
8 strikeouts
5 errors
0 Slaps

Metstradamus said...

Toasty, I believe you. Very funny!!!

Kyle in Newport News said...

About pressure on A-Rod. Well.

I was driving back to Newport News via New York the night of the day when A-Rod made 3 errors in a game he didn't even complete. I listened to WFAN almost exclusively from around 10:30pm to 5:30am (greater New York to Baltimore... or did it carry as far as DC?), and just about every caller wanted to give A-Rod hell. And just about every caller, Met or Yankee fan, wanted to give mad props to David Wright.

The best part of my trip, however, was waking up from a Mets Are Gonna Lose nap in a Cornwall, ON hotel room last Sunday evening and watching Carlos Beltran hit a grand slam within seconds -- and hearing the announcer yell ecstatically about the achievement IN FRENCH.

The worst part of the trip was stumbling upon Binghamton and not being able to find the damn ballpark (there wasn't a game in town that night, so it wasn't a huge loss).

I did learn how to pronounce BINGhamton, however. ;)

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Pro-Yankee media, did anyone listen to McCarker and Buck go on and on about the Yanks and Arod during the Bottom 8th of Saturday's Mets game? Geez. Bunch of Yankee apologists. Don't they realize Mets fans don't care about the Yankees, their games or their collective troubles?

Shea Gadfly said...

If only he had gone to Dunkin Donuts instead...Willie should lock Heilman in a closet with Pedro Feliciano, tell them to fight to the death, wait until they are finished and then open the door...whichever one is still alive can keep their job.

Shea Gadfly said...

5. Shawn Estes (Jon Garland reminded me of you today. I should never be reminded of you.)

Funny...at least Ozzie Guillen didn't remind you of Booby V.

Metstradamus said...

Guillen doesn't need a fake mustache. He has the real thing! (Or at least can grow one).

Mets Beast said...

this is a very good post... should be one of the best in that list of yours