Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Quantity Of Crap

There have been a whole bunch of days in the history of this franchise that have ripped your hearts out as Mets fans. Game 7 in 2006, Game 5 in 2000, Game 6 in 1999, Game 4 in 1988, and countless regular season games just in the last ten years that are too numerous to mention.

But in terms of sheer quantity of events today, this ... May 20th of 2008, may turn out to be a seminal moment in all of your Met rooting lives.

Think. Think about all that has happened in your lives today. First, you turn on SNY to see and hear everybody running around yelling "controversy!"

Of course, they're talking about the Ian O'Connor article in which Willie Randolph was wondering why SNY painted him in a bad light ... only showing him in moments of seething and frustration and not when he's schooling his players, and why Met fans were booing their team in April. And then he wondered how much of that has to do with race. And at the time, I saw this reaction to it along with others and thought that there really was nothing else of substance I could add.

But Randolph's reaction to the article on Monday could perhaps be stranger than the article itself.

"It does seem like it's piling on after a bit. But, I understand it. I think I mentioned feeling `almost racial.' That was a tongue-in-cheek kind of reaction to what I've been feeling. Not that this is racial. The Wilpons hired me not because I am black, but because they feel I can do a good job for them. They trusted me and hired me because I can do a job and not the color of my skin.

"There's been a lot of negative stuff going around here and I've been feeling some of that, and I was expressing how I felt at the time, but it wasn't anything to do with race and I wasn't trying to bring race into it.

"I'm not necessarily upset with anyone. I understand what they do."

The "tongue-in-cheek" thing bothers me. Not because I necessarily think that Willie's b.s'ing us. I mean, read the article. Anybody who cites Isiah Thomas as an example in his defense has to mean it tongue-in-cheek, right? Right?

But if he meant it tongue-in-cheek, then what exactly did he expect? Did he expect Ian O'Connor to print the quotes and then qualify the whole article by saying "but dear readers, he didn't really mean all that so everything you just read is useless"? Did he expect O'Connor to use judgement and not to print it at all? A very Pollyannic view of the world by Willie, don't you think? I mean, would you think that a guy who's managed a baseball team in a baseball market like New York for over three years (not to mention his time in the city as a player and coach) would understand a little better the way things work, no? That "tongue-in-cheek" thing doesn't translate too well to words on a back page.

And if Willie wants SNY to, as he says: "Show the whole person, the whole attitude, the whole persona", how about a freakin' reality show? Willie's World, perhaps?

Ah yes, reality. The same reality that smacks you in the face like it did me in the first inning of game one ... the very same lousy first inning that Tom Glavine couldn't get out of to save his life last September ... of the first game of the doubleheader today. He gives up a HR to Luis Castillo (of all people), then he loads the bases with one out and I'm thinking "Yes! Yes! Oh Sweet Revenge! Finally, Some Justice In This World!" (Yes, when I think, I think in capital letters.)

But no, Alou lines out to third and Carlos Delgado flies out to right field. And Tom Glavine got to do what he couldn't do during Game 162, and that's set down 17 opposing hitters in a row in the innings that come after number one. Before you knew it, Glavine was not only steaming towards a victory, but towards coming back for 2009 and proving that Citi Field is the perfect place to pitch a no-hitter.

(Thanks Tom. Coming up next ... my lunch.)

Sure, Tom Glavine may come back ... but before we go to game 2 in this doubleheader from hell, we are reminded that Pedro Martinez might not come back to throw a pitch in Citi Field, much less a freakin' no-hitter. And we find out that the next time Mike Piazza comes to Citi Field, it isn't going to be as a visiting player ... but it'll be to unveil his number 31 on the wall.

So now it's apparent that too many things are swirling around. Like sharks surrounding blood. So could there really be any other ending to a game two that featured the Mets being mowed down by the immortal Jorge Campillo (really? Jorge Campillo?), than one that involved actual blood ... like the blood from Ryan Church's head? Of course not. No, not just a normal loss to complete a run o' the mill sweep. What's so torturous about that? No, Ryan Church has to bleed and acquire his second concussion as a Met with a Yunel Escobar kick to the head (much like all the kicks in the head Met fans have taken in the last year.) The MVP of the team so far this season is morphing into Eric Lindros right before our very eyes. Absolutely excellent.

I wonder if Church will remember anything after a good night's sleep. I wonder if he remembers how good that Yankees series went.

I wonder if anybody remembers.

It's almost pointless to do this Heil-o-Meter thing again, since the whole team has a needle on the negative side right now. But the only thing us fans can do now is pile on ... it's all we're good for right now. Heilman comes into the first game, a game which was still pretty much in reach, and immediately gave up a walk and a home run. And the only thing I can do is laugh to keep from crying. And did you all notice that Matt Wise pretty much "pulled a Heilman" in the second game, giving up a crushing two run HR in the eighth to Mark Kotsay ... and Keith Hernandez couldn't tell if it was a fastball or a changeup that Kotsay hit? Kinda reminded me of Richard Pryor in Brewster's Millions, where he threw his 83 MPH fastball, and everyone in the ballpark thought it was his changeup because it was so damn slow. Matt Wise is Monty Brewster. With Aaron Heilman as Doug Sisk (Hey, with Ryan Church concussed and a roster spot perhaps becoming available, maybe Jorge Sosa can come back and "fortify" the bullpen.)


SS said...

Willie won't last the year. It's just a matter of time. This weekends comments were paranoid Billy Martin at his best.

Anonymous said...

Willie is right. Mets fans have a doublestandard and are biosed. They cheer wright for being energetic but called Milledge 'out of control' and 'disrespectful to the game'.

wake up and see your own raceism, metts fans. I am glad to not be a mets fans and be associated with it.

Anonymous said...

This team is absolutely killing me right now... After the last game of the season last year, I swore that I would not care any more about the Mets until they did something to win me back. Then the offseason came and the Santana signing, and I decided that I needed to stick with the team I've loved all my life through the ups as well as the downs. I found myself rooting harder than ever this year, but this season all the enthusiasm has worn away by the fact that Mets games just aren't fun to watch, and it's only May.

I still don't know how I feel about Willie - I don't think the problems are necessarily his fault, but a shakeup is needed, and he's certainly not making it any better for himself. Personally, I think that HoJo has to go right now. Every hitter not named Church has taken a huge step back offensively. Reyes has become impatient again - and we all no that him getting on base is so crucial to this team. Clutch hits don't happen. That's on the hitting coach.

Anonymous said...

At least we had some Piazza memories to soften the blow. The rain delay was the most enjoyable part of WFAN's broadcast.

Before Reyes' single in the second game, I actually thought we might get no-hit by that guy. What was that stat, 9 innings of 3 up and 3 down? Pathetic.

I hate Atlanta. I hate the Braves.

And sorry Willie, you don't play the race card and then call it "tongue and cheek". There's nothing funny about charging your fan base with racism.

Dan Firrincili said...

I’m not going to comment on the double standard remarks made by Willie to Ian O’Connor because, frankly, I think the manager deserves a little less attention than he’s been getting lately. The one thing I will say directly about the manager is this: Fighting with the fans, which you could argue Willie has done a couple of times already this season, is really ridiculous.

Also, if he defined “groove” that would be helpful, too.

If this uneven play keeps up, the Mets are headed for the worst fate a baseball team in New York can endure: utter anonymity. Seriously, if this keeps up are you really going to care as much about this team as you have since Willie arrived? Are you going to let this team’s uninspired play ruin your spring and summer?

I’m pretty sure among Mets fans what makes the win-some lose-some results so unacceptable was the fact that in 2006 we had a team that we knew was capable of great things--for years to come. No matter how dire the score, that team was never out any single game. The 2008 Mets, on the other hand, NEVER come back. When was the last time this team fell behind in a game, retook the lead, and then held on for a victory?

Deb said...

The bottom line is that these days in Metsland, everything but what's going on on the field is being discussed. So what does that tell us? That's right, folks -- that there's nothing going on on the field that's worth talking about.

And that's pretty sad.

And I have a wayyyyy different picture of this team during Willie's tenure as manager than he does. I wonder -- are we seeing the same New York Mets, or is there another New York Mets team in a parallel universe that Willie is referring to? Because most of the stuff he says makes me wonder if, you know, Willie has any grip on reality at all. So, the parallel universe thingy would really explain that, lol.

TW said...

Whoever is anonymously calling Met fans racist should, firstly, learn how to spell. Secondly, should understand that not knowing the correct way to double switch, bat Luis Castillo and Ryan Church in the order and find a way to make his team like him enough to actually play for him consisitently have nothing to do with his race. I mean, we've fired better managers then him (Bobby V and Davey J).

That said, Willie couldn't hold a candle to Billy Martin, you see, Billy Martin won.

It's not the fact that we let Glavine off the hook for game 162, it's more for the opening day when it was 35 degrees and he walked the bases loaded and gave up 4 runs off the bat in his very first start as a Met. That's why we should have clubbed him to death yesterday. I've been saying this since August of last year--this team has no heart.

I heard there is a gigantic shipment of bleach and firecrackers on the way to Shea in time for the next homestand.

TW said...

Deb, I think Willie believes that he is doing right by his players by not criticizing think he em. I thwould get a lot more respect from the fans if he threw up his hands every once and a while and said, "we're playing terrible, I don't know why, we have the talent, but where's the drive."

My friend from productive outs is adamant with me that this not a case of effort, but I don't see the effort. Guys smiling when they pop the first pitch of an at bat, mental errors in the field, the lack of clutch hitting, i suppose you can blame Hojo, but they shot across Willie's bow with firing Rick Down, and what did that do?

It's only May, but every loss in April and May is one more we have to pick up in September, I thought we all learned that lesson last year. Maybe trying to package a couple of major leaguers (Heilman, Perez-we aren't going to pay his price and he's not staying) for some different faces will help. Joe Blanton looks like he can use a change of scenery, maybe him and one of those outfielders Beane has in his back pocket. Maybe a Craig Counsell type from the Brewers, someone who can come in from the outside with a different prospective, and maybe make the players on this team think about their own futures a little bit, because there are more than a few I would be willing to part for the right price just for the sake of change.

Deb said...

Tim, that's the whole problem... "Willie believes this..." or "Willie this..." or "Willie that..." It seems as if it's all about Willie, and not in a good way.

This whole thing has become so hopelessly skewed that there's no going back, if indeed there were a back to be going to.

Randolph is clearly the wrong guy for this team, and huge shakeup is necessary. Given the fact that this team has played this way for a year now, I think enough time has passed to know that whatever Willie's doing isn't working.

We need a different dynamic, different management style, different manager.

Anonymous said...

I find Willie's paranoia a little strange. I have never been a big fan since we brought him in but this whole situation seems out of character. He is obviously feeling the pressure.

Regarding his accusations against SNY, I had been wondering why they blurred him out whenever he was near his players rather than standing on the top step looking too calm.

The Metmaster said...

What does this tell you? I agree with Wallace Matthews today.
If I am the Wilpons I am angry and hurt by Randolph's comments. Ron Darling has a great quote. Randolph lamented that Wagner's comments about the team needed to be kept "in-house" last week. Yet less than 36-hours later Randolph unloads this nonsensical theory to Ian O'Connor. Now that's what you call double standard!

Anonymous said...

haha. Just replace Willie with a statue that speaks when you pull its cord. All it has to say is "Go with my gut", "Delgado is getting in a little groove", "Because I'm the manager", "It's a long season", "I trust my guys", and of course "Got to tip your cap to the opponents.

Oh lord the mutts are doomed.

katherine said...

Why shouldn't Willie suggest some criticism of him was motivated by racism (even though later he said that's not what he meant). Now before everybody goes all Postal on me, please listen. You've heard Willie talking about his great admiration for Jackie, right? Jackie was incredibly conscious of his role as a racial standard bearer and felt that his own personal success or failure was important to all African Americans. And it was. (Kind of the way I felt about Billie Jean King when I was a kid - like I personally would just die if Bobby Riggs won that tennis match)

So naturally Willie feels the same way about his success as a manager, like it's important he succeed, for bigger reasons. And he's probably right. As a W.A.S.P. from Fairfield County, I can't exactly speak for any minority group, but I would guess that the success or failure of an african american baseball manager would mean a lot to some black people, apart from just baseball considerations. So maybe he's feeling paranoid because he puts "racial" pressure on himself, and may perceive criticism of himself in that light as well.

It's interesting to me that this is such a taboo subject, that his comments should set off such a firestorm. We can't just talk about racism -whether its a factor or not- without people getting all hysterical?

Anonymous said...

Anybody wonder why our hottest hitter tried to get his head taken off by sliding so late to break up the double play?

I'm glad he's playing so hard but is he trying to ruin us by getting our only consistent hitter's head taken off. I just wish he would have slid lower so he didn't nearly kill himself.