Monday, May 18, 2009

Grit, It's Not Just For Kissin' Anymore

While watching the Mets on ESPN might be about as frustrating as watching Oliver Perez pitch, it reminds me how thankful I am that Steve Phillips is no longer the Mets GM.

I have to admit I missed the first part of his diatribe during Sunday night's loss to Matt Cain and the Giants, but basically it ended something like this (paraphrasing):

"If the Mets lose again this season, they have to think about breaking up the core. I believe David Wright is part of the solution, and I believe Jose Reyes is part of the solution. If I were the GM of the Mets, I'd take a look at the $17 million contract of Carlos Beltran."
Okay, for those of you who became fans in 2006, let me give you a lesson in recent history. You see, Steve Phillips was the GM of the Mets. And while he was the GM of the Mets, he allegedly offered Jose Reyes to Cleveland for Robby Alomar, and also allegedly offered David Wright to Toronto for Jose Cruz Jr. So of course he would think about trading Beltran. He couldn't trade the other two when he had the chance.

But yeah, Phillips would trade Beltran for Mo Vaughn because his 1.066 OPS is "part of the problem". But why? (Again, paraphrasing from Sunday Night Baseball):

"I just think this team needs more grit."
YES! GRIT! I have Carlos Beltran, I'll trade it for five of what you call ... Eckstein. Yes, let's do that.

If somebody can come up with a good reason to dip into the core, I'm all ears. I've heard multiple people tell me that maybe the solution is to trade Reyes. I'm not ready to agree with that, but I've heard semi-decent reasons ... at least better reasons than "this team needs more grit." Beltran may have his issues, but lack of grit isn't one of them. I take you back to a September night in Houston where Carlos Beltran risked life and limb to save a meaningless game by crashing into the wall and leading with his knees. Prudent? Probably not. But gritty? If David Eckstein had done it he would have been nominated for seventeen ESPY's.

Let's review, trading stars for the intangible idea of "grit" for the sole reason of being gritty without a real, honest plan (like trading a sulking Nomar for defense in the form of Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz, because I know someone will bring that up) is ... stupid. You get grit to complement your stars, not instead of them.

Grit without great is bread crust. I can't live on bread crust.

But the worst part of all of this is not that Phillips suggested this ... and not that he suggested this for dopey reasons. No, the worst part is that Joe Morgan subsequently disagreed with Phillips about Beltran, and I was rooting for Morgan. I was on the same side as Joe Morgan in an argument ... and I'm not sure that's a shame I can ever recover from. My IQ fell so far south at that point that I wanted to slit my own wrists but was so incapacitated that I tried to do it with my cell phone.

But then Morgan said that when a pitcher doesn't strike out batters, a lot of contact is made. Then I felt much better.

I'll never forgive you for this, Steve Phillips.

25 comments:

Tina said...

I love you.

MetFanMac said...

Phillips AND Morgan at the same time?? If it was me, I'd switch to the radio!

James Allen said...

You sure got that right. Just the sound of Steve Phillips talking makes me violently ill, that he even fleetingly made Joe Morgan sound reasonable about anything just shows you what an idiot he is. This is why I dread these Sunday night games, which I end up muting most of the time.

P.S. Jon Miller's face looks positively scary in HD.

Anonymous said...

MOrgan disagreeing wi Pghillips is like a broken clock- correct twice a day. It does not lower your IQ to agree wi Joe, it just shows what a dumb ass Phillips is.

Adenzeno@yahoo.com

850 said...

Absolutely brutal listening to Phillips and Morgan last night. I actually turned down the sound for awhile. I don't know how Jon Miller can take it.

And thank you for linking to Beltran's catch against Berkman a few years ago. That was the first thing I thought of as they bashed Beltran for his lack of grit and intangibles.

number15 said...

the mets knew in early 2007 that dan murphy needed to work on his defense, and i guess some things never change

Berbalerbs said...

I was about to do 2 1/2 backflips and a twist onto the pavement last night listening to Morgan and Phillips go back and forth. While I shared the same terror as you (having the phrase "you tell him, Joe Morgan!" nearly creep out of my mouth), you'll be happy to know that shortly before Phillips launched into his "yes, he is a stellar hitter, drives in runs, scores runs, steals at a better rate than ANYONE WHO HAS EVER PLAYED BASEBALL SINCE IT WAS A CONCEPT and has Gold Glove defense, but he (actual quote) sometimes doesn't make that big play so let's trade him" rant, Morgan was talking about how Beltran was a disappointment to some New York fans because we were expecting him to (another actual quote) hit 8 home runs in 12 games like he did in that one playoff run in Houston, and he hasn't done that yet (assumedly meaning he hasn't had a 85 HR 653 RBI season, so we're disappointed).

I think I'm going to send a care package to Gary Ron and Keith, just for being here.

Unser said...

Morgan disagreed with Phillips about six times last night. The best was Phillips' inane point that the Mets "don't have any flawless players on their team". Morgan lit in to him on that one, and rightfully so. There are no flawless players you fool. Even Ted Williams had flaws. And Phillips actually tried to defend himself by citing to those talk radio callers who agree with him. talk radio callers? Seriously? That's what you're hanging your hat on?

Phillips made a complete ass of himself last night. When he started talking about Beltran's mental lapses, I was hoping Morgan would mention Phillips' mental lapse when he decided to diddle his secretary.

Anonymous said...

watching this game was like walking on coal but the catch is you got no legs so you got to crawl this games call guys or whatever reminded me of the game on fox i think it was against the bravos and its just like 3 hours of hearing people just try and point out or make up any flaw you're team might have. but the teams bats were ugh yesterday and
im usually a best case sceario guy but jerry manuel is a laid back willie and i always ask myself whathappned to the days were everygame mattered not just the second half

Toasty Joe said...

Before you get all goopy over Morgan, let's not forget that he also said last night that Met fans "have been waiting for Beltran to get on that hot streak." I guess hitting over .400 for a month and a half doesn't count.

Rex said...

Actually, Morgan with the contact comment, was slowly articulating through his hazy intuition the sabremetric notion that a pitcher's ability to miss bats is crucial. Though the SABRE guys phrase it differently, the Morganism was essentially in line with statistical reasoning. More balls in play = more hits. Morgan even mentioned luck as a key factor.

Schneck said...

Oh, how we need Fire Joe Morgan to come back. I did not hear the whole Phillips thing but I heard Joe Morgan talking about why Met fans will never be happy with Carlos Beltran as they expect him to recreate that amazing month with the Astros over a full season, or something like that. He made no mention of the fact that Beltran is having a superhuman season thus far and, having been to a number of games this season, I haven't heard any dissatisfaction from the fans. I think he wrote this on an index card before the season started and felt that he had to read it regardless of the facts. There was a bit later about how Beltran is a 5 tool player yada yada yada but they forgot to add that similarly Joe Morgan is a tool.

Subway Squawkers said...

Saw this on Big League Stew today. Congrats!

Is there anybody who likes Steve Phillips, other than the bigwigs at ESPN?


Lisa
http://subwaysquawkers.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Again, I watched the game on ESPN and didn't turn down the sound. Brutal!!!!!!!

Steve Phillips and Joe Morgan!!?

How worse could it get.

Stalky said...

Yeah, Phillips is a nobk. On the radio box on Firday he put forth the same notion. He then linked his crazy talk to the idea that CB's agent, Boras, had something to do with CB's lack of grit. His basic claim was that most of the numbers that Boras' guys generate are in garbage time. The idea being their production on the field only benefitted the next contract negotiation, thus CB (and others) is a 'me' guy before 'team' guy.

Schneck said...

In answer to Anonymous's question "How worse can it get?"..they can add Sterling and Waldman to the mix. That would surely cause the spontaneous combustion of more than half of the viewership with the other half dying slower, more painful deaths.

number15 said...

personally, i hate carlos beltran. after seeing him hit 8 homeruns in the 2004 playoffs, i know what he is capable of. he needs to be hitting at least 8 home runs every game. has he done that yet? no. he needs to go.

Eli From Brooklyn said...

number15 wrote:

personally, i hate carlos beltran. after seeing him hit 8 homeruns in the 2004 playoffs, i know what he is capable of. he needs to be hitting at least 8 home runs every game. has he done that yet? no. he needs to go.

I write: L-O-freaking-L.

Metstradamus said...

That really is brilliant implementation of sarcasm.

Victor said...

I was furious listening to the "man that could do no right" politely ripping the mets. I mean, seriously, Steve Phillips has no credibility. For him to go on a mets rant was ridiculous and an embarassment to that broadcast team (yes, including Joe Morgan, who though helpless in his own right, would not have embarassed himself this bad)...

Anonymous said...

we should've sold high on beltran. now that the cat's out of the bag, we'll never get get anything for him. oh well. lesson learned for minaya

Unser said...

One other thing - did you hear Eric Karros on Saturday? He was the anti-Phillips. According to Karros, the Mets are the '27 Yankees. Great hitting, great pitching, deep bench, Wright is the second coming, Beltran does everything right. A direct quote: "The Mets' biggest competition in the National League is themselves". The Phillies must have loved that.

Metstradamus said...

Unser, I did hear Karros, and I meant to mention that at some point. That was sugary sweet to the point where it made me just a little bit uncomfortable, like he was singing to us from the curb with flowers and chocolates. But he's right in the way that if the Mets can get out of their own way sometimes, they'd be all right.

Can Karros be an honorary Met?

Wait, scratch that ... with Delgado having surgery, CAN HE STILL PLAY FIRST?????

Keyser said...

Imagine my consternation that not only do I have to listen to Steve Phillips pontificate on the Mets, the team he destroyed, on ESPN, but I also have to listen to Mike Milbury on NBC, the man who singlehandedly destroyed an entire NHL franchise that was once the premier fanchise in the NHL but now which has one foot in Kansas City

Metstradamus said...

You could make an all-star team out of the guys that Mike Milbury has traded: Luongo, Spezza, Chara, Kazmir, Bay ...

Oh, sorry, got my horrible trades in different sports mixed up. I put my ketchup with my ice cream.