Thursday, May 15, 2008

Plop Plop Fizz Fizz, Oh What A Disgrace It Is!

All you need to know about today's 1-0 loss to the Washington Nationals is that before the game, there were some free giveaways to be had outside Shea. Were they fun things like free gum, or powdered iced tea samples? Guess again.

That's right: Alka Seltzer.

Is this a team that knows its fan base or is this a team that knows its fan base?

Because somehow they knew that we'd need it today. Somehow, they knew that Mike Pelfrey was going to no-hit the Nationals for six innings (until Aaron Flippin' Boone struck again) and yet still be denied of a victory. They knew that the Mets lineup was going to accelerate the rehabilitation of Jason Bergmann, making his first start since going on the disabled list this season with an ERA of 11.68.

Let me repeat that because I find it vaguely important:

ELEVEN FLIPPIN' POINT SIXTY FLIPPIN' EIGHT!!!

They knew that Jose Reyes, whose baseball IQ is dropping by the minute, would try to take third base on a Luis Castillo sacrifice bunt, thinking that Ryan Zimmerman was too far off the bag covering the bunt to get back to third ... only to look like a defensive back burned by the touchdown combination of Aaron Boone to Cristian Guzman. Or was that Tony Romo to Terrell Owens?

They knew that Willie Harris was going to continue to try to muscle his way into the pantheon of Met killers solely on defensive efforts. Remember last season when Harris stole a win for the Braves against Carlos Delgado? Remember last night's great defensive play too? He did it again today with a diving catch down the left field line for the first out in the ninth inning off the bat of Ryan Church.

They knew that Carlos Beltran was going to break for home on a Carlos Delgado line out to first base with one out, leaving him a dead duck ... somehow ... on a throw across the diamond to end the game on an inexplicable double play. (What was that I was saying about baseball IQ?) You know, the thing that the Mets had in abundance two seasons ago, but seems to be lacking with pretty much the same group of players two seasons later? Has everybody gone senile?

No, they've just gone crazy ... at least Billy Wagner did after the game at a group of reporters:
"Wagner looked over toward the area of first baseman Carlos Delgado's locker and blurted: "Someone tell me why the (expletive) you're talking to the closer. I didn't even play. They're over there, not being interviewed. ... I got it. They're gone. (Expletive) shocker."
So here's the deal with this: First, Wagner goes postal on Oliver Perez. Then, Willie Randolph says "oh, no no no no no no no no no no no, we need to keep those things in house." Sure, leave it to the leader, right? One voice representing the club, right? Except that last night, where was Willie Randolph when Moises Alou was getting ejected by Dana DeMuth? I'll tell you where he was: He was on the top step of the dugout under the false impression that everybody was going to be impressed and taken aback with how stoic he is and how cool and calm he is. Willie thought that DeMuth was going to reflect on what a bad thing he did making Willie stand still and seethe for five seconds.

Wrong.

So today, with Randolph obviously unwilling to take a bullet for his players (see: Marlon Anderson getting suspended for a game last season because Randolph couldn't get his stoic butt out to the field to defend him), of course Billy Wagner is going to pop off. Because nobody else obviously will!!! So in that respect, when Wagner rips his 'mates, he may be ripping his manager in the process whether he realizes it or not.

Look, you guys and girls have read me long enough to know the way I feel: that unless the manager is of the Art Howe naptime variety, it's generally the players who win and lose ballgames. I still feel that way. But when Billy Wagner is continuously popping off and feeling as if he's the one that has to stir things up and bring things to light in the clubhouse, that's an indictment of the manager. No, I don't expect Randolph to kick a chair or turn over a buffet table for the pure sake of doing it. Grown men see through that. But going out to cause a ruckus with an umpire to defend your player is something different. Players notice that, both ways. And heaven help me for what I'm about to say, but here goes: how do you think Bobby Cox has lasted so long? I'll tell you how: His players love him! And part of the reason is that he'll defend them even if they don't deserve defending!

Think about it: Besides the little school girl fight that Larry Jones and John Smoltz had recently, how many times have you seen the Bobby Cox led Braves go through something like that? Now how many times have you seen it in the Mets clubhouse in the last two weeks? With a manager, it's worth noting, who was tough when it came to no beards in the clubhouse three years ago, and now only seems to be tough on Oliver Perez?

I've held off as long as I could. I tried and I tried and I tried. But it's time for me to acknowledge that today might be the first day of the rest of Willie Randolph's life. Nobody in that clubhouse has said anything bad publicly about Willie's managing. I'm not even going to assume that anybody is even thinking anything bad about Randolph. But actions, as you well know, speak louder than words and thoughts. The actions I saw today tell me that a new voice needs to speak louder than Willie Randolph is willing to speak.

Maybe it's time to take that Alka Seltzer to neutralize this sick feeling I have about this team. That and the bucket of chicken wings from the Diamond Club today. Plop plop, fizz fizz ...

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

hahaa! But MUTT$ fans all loved willie so much and couldn't believe he had not gotten a managerial job despite trying for all those years.

hahahaa. enjoy what your great manager and his magical 'gut'! He will set your franchise back decades!

I freakin love it!

Go yankees!

katherine said...

Metstradamus, it is not Willie's fault that our team did not score any runs today. In my opinion, he's just a convenient target for everyone's rage.

Oh, poor Mike Pelfrey... This is all so terrible.

I was following the play by play on my blackberry at the airport, and at the EXACT moment that the final out was made, American Airlines announced my flight to Laguardia was cancelled.

Anonymous said...

Hey Yankee douchebag (although that is somewhat redundant), how'd your boys do against that Tampa Bay Rays juggernaut this week?

Yeah, that's what I thought. Shut up.

Metstradamus said...

Katherine, That's just too bizarre and sad. Hope they got you on another flight.

The Metmaster said...

I'm sorry Katherine; I've always respected your observations but you are dead wrong here. Randolph's performance for the last 6-months has earned him a stint on the beach. The bad old days of "Club Met" have returned. This team is non-responsive. Has been since last fall. I'm expecting Randolph to start saying "we really battled out there". He's lost control. He's lost control of his players and he's given over the control to the GM and the meddling owners. I honestly think that Reyes is now unmanageable. His head is completely up his ass. What was he thinking about today? He has reverted back to swinging for the fences and not trying to get on base. Remember when he never was issued walks? It's baaaaaaack. He has one of the lowest on-base percentages for a leadoff in the majors. That stunt this afternoon was total schoolyard, hotdog baseball. And then there is Mr. Beltran today. I almost puked when I heard Randolph on the postgame defend him that he was going on the crack of the bat and that it was one of those things that Boone caught the ball. Huh? Crack of the bat? There was one friggin out and the infield was playing in! He wasn't scoring on a grounder. Crack of the bat?? I coach Little League and instruct my kids to play 2 or 3 steps off the bag and listen to the coach.
Randolph is done. Last night and today are painful proof of that. Letting Alou get booted without so much as a whimper, keeping Heilman in the game to get tatooed to the point that it was out of reach for any sort of comeback (he should have been hooked after giving up the Flores hit), and the lack of fundamentals today is all the proof needed. Agreed, it's not his fault that his first baseman should be drawing Social Security and is done, that 2/5ths of his opening day rotation is AARP eligible and hurt, that the second baseman has a swing that can barely get a bseball out of the infield (hooray, we get him back for 3 more years!), and a reliever that is totally incapable of coming up clutch (just once Aaron, just show us once!). But there is so much more to this team that should be able to overcome those shortcomings. (see Cox, Bobby; Manager, Atlanta Braves)
A team takes on the personality of its manager. We are a team of comatose underachivers. My God, we've become the Philadelphia Phillies!

Demitri said...

Metstra - you really need to watch Lost. That was the theme of Thursday's game, and maybe the 2008 season. Granted there are many "Lost" theories out there, but the one I'm going with is that the island is purgatory.

Gonzo said...

Metstra, nice post today. Has Willie been like this since day 1? You know I don't come here to make fun of the Mets when they are on hard times, but I have to give you something. Charlie Manual is the guy you want Willie to be. When the team is in a rut and nothing is going their way, Charlie goes out there and yells at the ump. He kicks up some dirt and gets thrown out of the game for the sake of the team. I always thought he argues for show, but he does it at the right time. And it works.

Metstradamus said...

Gonzo, pretty much. He did it every once in a while back when he started out but now he just will not do it at all.

The difference is that back then Willie's style was getting results. The Mets, two years ago, played smarter, crisper baseball. They would take advantage of other team's boneheaded mistakes and various vapor locks. Now, it's the Mets making the vapor locks, as I'm sure you saw today between Reyes' bad decision on the bases, and Beltran's mind-boggling decision to go from third on contact with one out and the infield in in the 9th.

Randolph can't be anything more than who he is. But for him not to go out and make a scene to protect his players is getting ridiculous. It was a game against your Phillies last September when he first should have gone out to protect Marlon Anderson after he got chucked arguing balls and strikes. He wouldn't have stopped Anderson from getting tossed, but he would have stopped him from taking the argument further and getting suspended for a game. What if Alou had gone bonkers Wednesday after getting tossed and was suspended for two or three games, and Willie would have just stood there and watched it all?

You're right, Manuel will do that for his players. Cox is the best at it. Piniella proved last year that all you need to do is do it once, and look what happened to the Cubs last year after that?

I wrote that post while watching your Phillies play a clean, crisp game tonight and thought: when was the last time I saw the Mets play a game like that? It's been a while.

Statler said...

I'd just like to give a non-asshole Yankee perspective here and say that, for the first time in my life, I'm actually commiserating with my Mets fan friends.

Watching your team go out, day after day, and underperform, make every scrub pitcher in the league look like Cy Young himself returned from baseball heaven? Well, that's no fun. No fun at all.

So here's to better New York baseball from here on out. Boston and Atlanta still have sins to atone for.

MetFanMac said...

I humbly apologize for my earlier pro-2008 Mets "rant". You may all call me mad and crazy.

Well, at least being a .500 team isn't so bad--you lack the heartache brought on by either worrying over being able successfully contend or just being simply bad. Kind of restful.

Do I really believe that?

Maybe.

JAMMQ said...

Art Howe got fired for getting the same results(.500 ball), with the same managerial style, with a less talented team.

Some call it stoic, others call it lifeless.

Either way, why shouldn't Willie Randolph suffer the same fate?

If managers didn't get fired for the poor performance of their players, no manager would ever get fired.

The Metmaster said...

Here is my prediction: Larry Bowa will be the Mets manager in July. It's such a Wilpon thing to do.

tim said...

Willie is a subpar tactition and terrible diplomat. I am among those Met fans who thought of this hiring as foolish. He was never a good choice for this squad because what they needed was life and heart not stoicism and a fundamental lack of baseball understanding.

But Willie is only half the problem. It's obvious that no one listens to him. It's obvious that Billy Wagner is speaking out because nobody is doing it in the locker room, at least not to anyone's face. Tony Bernazard walks around the clubhouse with the ax that cut Willie's credibility off at the knees. We've all heard the rumors how certain players air their grievances to Bernazard in lieu of Willie, Bernazard in turn communicates them to Omar. Beltran, Reyes and Delgado are not being held accountable by a higher power thus packing their shit and heading out before they have to answer for their foibles.

Willie was the initial mistake, he isn't a very good game manager and is even worse in the clubhouse, he doesn't relate to any facet his 25man roster. Minaya realized this and started pulling the strings from upstairs through Bernazard, now its time for Wilpon to step in and rattle some cages. Willie must go, not Monday, not next week or the end of the season but now. In fact Wilpon should do the press conference in the bowels of Yankee Stadium, with Minaya in tow so he knows his place, cause he's on notice too. Then if I were Wilpon I would walk into the locker room in front of the entire team name tell HoJo he's got 4 months to figure it out. Why HoJo? Because he's the only real Met anywhere near that clubhouse. Carter and Backman are in exile and Hernandez and Darling are too smart to get involved past their microphones.

And who is the anonymous Yankee fan who doesn't realize his team is in worse shape cause at the end of the day, at least we have talent and not the trumped talent you guys always play up so you can trade them away.

Unser said...

MD's right on this. We're past the point of figuring out why this team is not responding to Randolph, and why it has played passionless .500 ball for almost a year. Now I can point to inexplicable managerial decisions to indict Willie.

Running on contact with one out and a man on third in the ninth? Whose brilliant idea was that? The whole coaching staff has to go here.

Nice guy, really I believe that, He's just not the man for the job. If I had to bet, he's gone by June 1. Problem is, who's available? Oberkfell? Gary Carter? Mazzilli?

Mudville9 said...

LOL, I've got to laugh at some of this. Some still harping on Willie doing nothing over Alou's ejection. What could he have done? If you've played higher level ball you would know pounding your bat into the ground over a called third strike is an immediate ejection. There was no magic word that needed to be questioned. Everybody on that field knew why he was thrown out, there was nothing to argue. Hey, when I was coaching third with minor league umps I pointed down at thirdbase for some reason to the umpire and all I got was "Are you trying to show me up coach? Point that finger one more time trying to show me up and your going to be gone." And I wasn't even yelling or being demonstrative. Point being you cant do anything to show up the umpire.

As for Willie, what can I say. He took responsibility for Beltran being doubled off because it was his fault. Metmaster, once you get past little league and coaching higher (which, if thats what you'd like to do, I hope you have success at) decisions such as going on contact come directly from the manager. Its not a decision taken by the player. The runner focuses on the hitting zone and sees the ball coming off the bat looking to see if the ball goes up, down or straight. If it goes down he keeps coming to the plate. Delgado hit a low linedrive and Beltran read it wrong. If Delgado hit a higher linedrive I would think or hope that Beltran would have stopped in his tracks and been able to get back. But none the less that was Willie's call and with Castro coming up next I cant say I blame him for calling it that way.

Willie needs to go just to see if a change will spark this team, not because he's the big problem. It wont help though.

By the way, nice job by that pitcher our pitching coach said will never amount to anything. Beat the Yankees for another win. I'm still under the impression he got his reputation by having three pitchers that did very well while he just happened to be the coach. Sort of like Charley Lau did by being the coach of George Brett.

Metstradamus said...

Mudville9,

No, Alou would have been ejected anyway, and Willie going out there wouldn't have changed that. But what if Alou had continued the argument and gotten himself suspended for 2 or 3 games for throwing his helmet? And if your response to that is "well, if Alou had continued the argument then Willie would have definitely been out there arguing", keep in mind I'm still waiting for him to go out and defend Marlon Anderson during that September game last season ... if you recall, after he got thrown out of that game for arguing balls and strikes, Anderson continued the argument, with plenty of opportunity to go out there and intercede by Willie. Instead, Anderson was hung out to dry and eventually snapped and threw his helmet and got himself suspended for a game. Considering how close that race became, would that have made a difference? Maybe not, but we'll never know because Randolph is still in the dugout.

Unser said...

I think Alou was on deck, to pinch hit for Castro. Delgado had two strikes on him and Rauch was busting him low and inside throughout the at-bat. Willie claimed he made the decision b/c the third baseman was playing back. How often does Delgado hit the ball to third, especially on inside pitches?

I've played college ball, and I understand aggressive managerial decisions, but this one made no sense to me. Willie has done this before. I think it was Brady Clark on thrid with no one out the last time. Result, hard ground ball - 1,2,3 double play.

I actually don't fault Reyes for trying to take third. It was an aggressive play and a perfect throw and running catch got him. It's gotten to a point though where Reyes is regressing at the plate. Swinging at balls in dirt, pulling off on outside pitches. Willie has not gotten through to him. Someone else needs to try. Without a productive Reyes, we're done.

Anonymous said...

BWaaaaaaaahahahhaa!

Mutt$ fans are now fighting against themselves as their organization returns to its home in the toilet!

Is it any wonder why the MUTT$ have more uniforms than championships!?

Just what the yankees need to start a winning streak!

hahaha! So so sweeeet!

The Metmaster said...

Hey Yankee Douche:

With all the rain in NY today is there any water in the basement?
There's more than enough shit flying in your own house for you to be sticking your nose in ours.

katherine said...

I see I am the sole remaining pro-Willie holdout.

Metmaster - I just can't accept the premise that a group of grown men, professionals, need a manager to act like a petulant, attention-seeking, crazy gomer (Bobby Cox) in order to perform. So I looked up Cox's ejections history. Since 78 he has had between 1 - 11 ejections per year. It varied widely from year to year and bore no relationship to the success of the team. The years he had only 1 or 2 ejections were probably just years when he remembered to take his meds. I can't stand him. His ejections are described in the Wikipedia section titled "Accomplishments", right above the paragraph describing his arrest for assault and battery of his wife. There's a connection there. I really don't think we need a rage-a-holic as manager. And what about Girardi? He's always flying off the handle. So far, that hasn't helped the Yankees any.

And Gonzo, wasn't it this time last year, all the Phillies fans were screaming for Charlie Manual's head and saying he was too passive and managed the game terribly? He wasn't really so bad then and he's not so great now - its just the team that is better.

Metstradamus - I did finally make it in last night, thanks for asking.

Gonzo said...

Yes Metstra, the fans got on Charlie this time last year (we were still a few games under 500).
But they got on him because he's a country bumpkin who has a thick southern accent and can't manage to do a double switch correctly. basically, the fans were bigots.

Mudville9 said...

Well I cant argue with that one Metstra. He should have been out there for Marlon. It was a war of words in that incident and he should have been right out there to take away the umps focus on Marlon. My thing is the fans idea that he should have been out there on Alou's. As you said he was gone no matter what and Willie going out there wouldnt have changed that, but you came back with a what if. Alou just kept walking away from the umpire yelling back but an umpire wont do anything more unless that player turns around and heads back out there. Neither you or I know if Willie was ready to jump out of the dugout to keep Alou from doing that. Though I can understand your doubt of this with the precedent he set last year with Marlon. I just dont see the need to call out Willie on not defending Alou on something there was no defense for, or for a what if scenario. But then again thats only my opinion and in no way means that I think we should keep Willie.

Metmaster, just ignore him. He's just looking for attention because he cant get it any other way.

Demitri said...

water torture.... it figures that tonight would be rained out.

We'll probably have another one of those miserable Shea / Yankee stadium doubleheaders next month. Joy.

Mike said...

Reyes is regressing at the plate. Swinging at balls in dirt, pulling off on outside pitches. Willie has not gotten through to him. Someone else needs to try. Without a productive Reyes, we're done.

I got one word (actually two): Where's Rickey?