Thursday, August 20, 2009

And You Wonder ...

How could it be piling on when there's constantly new material to complain about?

The latest drama in this anything but "drama-free" zone revolves around Gary Sheffield. First came rumors of Sheffield's release, which would have been hysterical hours after the release of Livan Hernandez for a team that has no depth. I mean, who's left to call up? Apparently, his nameplate was removed from his locker, Tim Redding had told somebody that he heard Sheffield was released, but the only ones who were released at that point were the hounds.

Seems that Sheffield was claimed by either the Marlins or the Giants when he was placed on waivers, and the Mets pulled him back, presumably because they didn't want to trade him to a team in their division, or because the Mets wanted more value in a trade than the Marlins or Giants were willing to give. Why that matters at this point, I'm not sure. Then Sheffield, I guess wanting some incentive to be stuck with a dysfunctional franchise such as the New York Mets, asked for a contract extension. When that was denied, Sheffield wanted to be either released or traded to the Marlins. When that was denied, Sheffield threatened to take his toys and go home, and was scratched from the lineup.

Got all that?

So who is at fault? Everyone, of course. At this point, why pick sides? Sheffield, I have to admit, has been as much as you could ask for in the clubhouse. His offensive output has been a little overrated for my tastes. ("Where would they be without him" I keep hearing ... they'd either have a better player, or they'd be a little closer to the Nationals.) But the issues I thought would creep up never did, at least until the Mets were essentially dead and buried. The worry for me has always been that a Sheffield tantrum would distract the Mets from a pennant race. No pennant race? No problem.

But the Sheffield tantrum did come. It always comes. It happens everywhere he goes. Sheffield has a valid point about wanting to play for a contender at this point, and he deserves a chance to go elsewhere as a reward for the little trouble he's caused. But the fact that he needed a day off "to clear his thoughts" isn't the most professional move he could have made. It's why players refuse to negotiate contracts in-season.

The Mets are at fault here too ... basically because they're the Mets and they're guilty on general principle. (Does that qualify as "piling on"?) But first off, what the heck are they holding out for from the Marlins for Sheffield? Dan Uggla? Josh Johnson? Hanley? Once again, Gary Sheffield has ten home runs, is forty years old, and has hamstring issues. You want a stud prospect for him? You're afraid he's going to come back and hurt you? Really? If he hurts you this season it's throwing a pebble in a canyon. Who cares? If he hurts you next season, bless him. He's not hurting anyone next season. And if that team was the Giants ... then simply, why?

And second, yet again, more crossed signals from player and coach. Sheffield says he's out of the lineup because it's "good for the lineup", Snoop says Sheffield asked for the day off. Snoop says Jose Reyes has a good day running, Jose Reyes says he never ran. Snoop says Carlos Delgado had a good batting practice session, Delgado says he never swung a bat. Snoop says Wilson Valdez had Fruity Pebbles and black coffee for breakfast, Valdez says he ate Boo Berry with grapefruit juice (weird). The dog chases his tail, the tail says it never moved. It never ends, and as long as this regime is running the ship, it never will.

The only thing the Mets are correct for is not granting Sheffield the extension he wanted. What's amazing is that by the standards of what the Mets have given us over the past few months, this will be seen as a shrewd move instead of the no-brainer it actually is. The bar just gets lower and lower.

Figures that the night that Billy Wagner comes back and strikes out two in an inning would be eclipsed by the Sheffield lunacy, but that's the way this season has gone. Besides, who would really be surprised if this exact situation repeated itself with Wagner after the Phillies series? But Country Time's return 11 months after Tommy John surgery deserves its due, mainly because it's the first time I've clapped hard regarding anything involving a Mets game since June. It's probably the last feel good story of the season, so enjoy it. And good job, C.T.

Hopefully, the Mets will come to their senses and get something for him (before he blows an achilles stepping off the team bus) so that he can enjoy a pennant race (in Texas, perhaps ... ) and escape this season that gets more wretched by the day. But that would make too much sense.


wendysito said...

"...and as long as this regime is running the ship, it never will."

amen to that.

Preach it brother.

..hell, I gotta get fired up sometime this season, don't I? Might as well be for you.

Schneck said...

Schneck was at the game last night and it was amazing, first, when they showed that Wagner was warming up in the bullpen on the scoreboard after Santana was pinch hit for and then when Metallica came on and he ran in from the bullpen. After that, I was reminded why the Citifield crowd is getting the season that it deserves. After the first strikeout, the wave began. THE WAVE!!! Billy Wagner returns...looks electric...finally adds a bit of excitement to our season...let's do the wave and ignore him..!!! There was hardly a pause in the wave as Wagner got the 2nd out and then at the end of the inning people did manage to stop the wave as they must have been excited by kiss cam or something on the big screen. One may argue that this was the fans way of showing their excitement but anyone that is at the park during the wave knows that most of the crowd is focused on watching the wave go around so they can boo if it stops or cheer if it continues, again irrespective of what is happening on the field. Our society has collective ADHD and it is very sad.

Unser said...

I'm all for ripping this team when deserved, but why are the Mets at fault here? I have no idea what the Marlins or the Giants offered for Sheffield, but if it was truly paltry, why should the Mets give him up? They're paying nothing for him, they'd rather not reach a specactacular level of embarassment by getting surpassed by the Nationals this year - why assist the Marlins or the Giants? Unless the Mets received a legitimate offer, I think the Mets were right here.

And in what world is Sheffield living in? Asking for an extension now? And threatening to go home? At least the Mets got a share of the backpage for the first time in like 3 weeks.

The question I have is why in the world Manuel pinch-hit Sheffield after this blatant act of insubordination? That's where you can pile on - Sheffield threatens to leave, asks out of a lineup which I could probably throw zeros against, and Manuel rewards him with a pinch hit appearance?!? It's official for me - Manuel maintains no discipline in that clubhouse and has to go.

Metstradamus said...

"why are the Mets at fault here?"

Ultimately, for signing Sheffield in the first place.

MetsfaninTX said...

do the Mets get anything in the
form of a draft pick if they keep
Sheffield until the end of the season and let him go then?