Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sight, Sound, But Never Mind

There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as right field, and as timeless as Mike Piazza's mustache. It is the middle ground between Shea, and Citi. Between a level swing, and a barbecue at Hojo's house. At it lies between the pit of your stomach, and the line at Shake Shack. This is the dimension of an active imagination. It is an area which we call ... The Twilight Zone.

"Look, things were pretty bleak in 2004."

"Very bleak in 2004 ... before I got here."

"I got Carlos Beltran after 2004."


"Hey why are the Red Book and Green Book from 2004 sitting on my coffee table?"

"Oh my God, it's 2004!!!!!!!!!"

"Let's see, let me flip through this Red Book. Who's good, who's good ... ummm, Frank Catalanotto! I will trade for him!!!"

"Now I need someone from the Green Book to find som... John Smoltz!!! I'll certainly make a splash by trading with Atlanta for the great John Smoltz! Ooooooooooh! Now I need to clear room on my mantle for that Executive of the Year trophy!"

Submitted for your approval: A general manager desperate to escape his current problems running a baseball team that his mind drags him back to the very season he started. Maybe to escape his current situation? Maybe to erase the last five seasons from his memory? What would drive a man to pursue two men, relevant five years prior, yet barely on the fringes of everybody's mind now? The answer can only come if you take a trip to a dimension far, far away ... in the Twilight Zone.


(Editor's note: Before anybody jumps down my throat for being negative about anything and everything ... and I know some of you are sharpening your internet swords as you read this ... Frank Catalanotto is a halfway decent signing. There, I said it ... so save your attacks. This piece was meant to illustrate the point that Frank Catalanotto is a good player, but a good player who everybody wanted to be a Met five years ago. Instead we get him now ... now that he's 35 years old which seems to be the cut off point as Omar thinks that players need to age like wine. I mean who's next ... Gregg Jefferies? I shouldn't joke about that. He's younger than Julio Franco. Well, here's hoping that Catalanotto is more Pinot Noir than Thunderbird.)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Redding v Bacsik: Who Ya Got?

I love when ex-Mets do battle.

Tim Redding on Barry Bonds' 756th home run:
"I mean, the guy that gave it up, I never want to speak ill of anybody. Mike Bacsik is a stand-up guy. He's a little quirky, but he's a nice guy, means well. I think he wanted to give it up. And he can say what he wants in defense or whatnot, but doing the chart, I mean, every ball that Barry hit, the ball was center cut, right down the middle, fastball. You know, I think maybe inside he was thinking he was going to get a little bit more publicity. Maybe, you know, publicity and some money out of it, appearances, stuff like that."
Mike Bacsik, on Tim Redding:
Obviously, I didn't try to give it up. It was a 3-2 pitch, and the pitch before I threw a curveball that was just foul. Did I throw the ball good that night? No, but to say I tried to give up the home run I don't think is very smart. I was fighting for my life in the big leagues. I thought I might get sent down. As time goes by, stories like [what Redding said] will happen. Tim and I had our differences. I don't know what to say to that. Tim is not the first person to say that. I don't want to bash Tim."
Oh yes you do.
"Tim Redding is one of the worst teammates I’ve ever had."
YES! Now we're talking. Maybe Jeff Wilpon can book these two to a cage match at Citi Field for some extra revenue. Dave Matthews can be the special guest referee. I'd buy.

Sadly, that will never happen. There's more of a chance that Wilpon will actually sign Bacsik, who hasn't pitched in a year, to a minor league deal.

Besides, Redding is all booked up doing card shows with Matt Wieters, Brendan Ryan, Blake DeWitt and Seth Smith.

They Call Him ... Dragon Slayer

Well, awesome. Because boy have we got some dragons for you!

Yes, Josh Fogg ... this so called Dragonslayer ... is the newest pitcher added to the fold here in Queens. And in a winter where the Mets were in want of a starting pitcher, Fogg brings the total number of games started by Met acquisitions in 2009 to a grand total of three.

But Josh Fogg will find out that becoming a New York Met means he'll have to battle beasts scarier than mere dragons. And if he's going to slay these beasts he'll probably have to do it from the non-enviable position of being the new mop-up man/long reliever. Although knowing the Mets and their bad luck (which is the residue of bad design), he may be the second starter as he aims for the rotation.

So take your new sword, beastmaster, and shoo those beasts away:

Shoo beast, shoo.

You shall cast ye jinx no more!


Friday, January 29, 2010

Voodoo Dolls, Mongolian Barbecue, And The Collective "You" (With A Drizzle Of Liquid Concrete)

Bringing Fernando Tatis back, no matter how he may or may not help the Mets in 2010, is further proof that this is a regime that will never get out of his own way.

Forget that Nick Evans just threw away his Tatis voodoo doll (it obviously doesn't work.) But consider the following which Mack Ade crystallizes for us:
  • Instead of keeping Billy Wagner, offering arbitration, and getting two first round picks when Wagner goes to chase the closer's job he wasn't getting in New York, the Mets trade him to the Red Sox for Chris Carter ... a AAAA power hitting first baseman ... and in the process save over two million bucks.
  • Then, the Mets take most of that two million dollars and give it to Tatis to play first base. With Ike Davis most likely hitting Queens in 2011, they've basically insured that Carter, their big haul from the Wagner trade, will never spend any significant time with the New York Mets. They've also proven that their main concern with the Wagner trade was to save money ... and they didn't even do that right.
Don't worry. Maybe one day, the Mets will actually catch their tail. And maybe Carter and Val Pascucci can trade depressing stories over poker and Mongolian barbecue. Hopefully, they will save a seat for Evans and Craig Brazell at the table. And maybe they'll all flip on the Mets game in their hotel room and watch Wagner get Tatis to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end a ballgame.

I ask you, as in the collective you, because the collective you is smarter than the collective me. What would you rather do ... spend $2.5 million on Corporal Matthews and $1.5 million (with incentives) on Fernando Tatis, or take that money and put it towards the two draft picks you would have gotten for Wagner, and just gone with Pagan in center and Murphy or Carter at first, hence start to think future while banking on the fragile present such as Reyes, Beltran and Santana to keep your head above water?

To me, Corporal is a waste of money no matter how much the Angels kick in, and while Tatis is okay (especially at a base of $800,000) outside of the odd double play or two or thirteen, he represents the Same Old Mets with the emphasis on "old" (Seems that "Same Old" label has gone from the Jets to the Mets in much the same way that Youppi went from the Expos to the Canadiens). And in the end he's pointless simply because you're waiting for Ike Davis anyway. So that's $3.3-4 million on anywhere from fair to poor instead of that money invested in the potential for great. It isn't like Matthews and Tatis are the final pieces to the puzzle ... they're merely expensive fixes for the leaks in the dam. It's like paying for liquid concrete when Mighty Putty is really all you need.

And if Corporal's UZR declines any further, I guarantee you liquid concrete will be the first think that comes to your mind as you watch another fly ball fall harmlessly to the ground.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ocean's Five

Ya gotta love Snoop's optimism when talking about basically going into 2010 with the same rotation as 2009 (save for Fernando Nieve instead of Livan Hernandez):
"We might be fortunate enough to get away with this."
Notice it wasn't "I'd go to war with these guys" or, "We can do this with the players we got", or some similar positive jargon. But "fortunate enough to get away with this." If Danny Ocean had said that in the meeting room, Terry Benedict would have caught him and his gang in the basement of the Bellagio and there wouldn't have been two sequels. The End.

"Fortunate enough to get away with this." Not exactly the inspirational tone I need when deciding on how many tickets to buy this season. I don't know about you, but I smell slogan.

"The 2010 New York Mets ... Wha? We Might Get Lucky!"

Snoop also came up with a good one concering Kelvim Escobar, who had committed to the Mets' mini-camp and then never showed up:
Manuel said he had no qualms with the veteran pitcher's decision to skip the voluntary workouts.

"Johan [Santana], it was important for me to see him and Oliver Perez," Manuel said. "I really wanted to see those guys."
Oh sure, five innings in two seasons, I've seen plenty. Just, just leave that old VHS of the Blue Jays' highlight reel from 1997 on my desk, that'll do just fine.

"The 2010 New York Mets ... I Don't Actually See The Pitchers."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

From Fall, To Winter, To Fail

As you can imagine, there's a lot of piling on when it comes to the Mets and, pretty much whatever they do. I should know, I'm probably the top guy on the pile (which is to say I get there really, really late), and the Mets have lost so much of the benefit of the doubt that if there's a pile, I'm on it.

That said, I'd like to believe that if the Mets had signed Ben Sheets, I would have been smart enough to realize that it was the best available move given what the Mets have done or not done this winter, and that it would have been, dare I say, the wise move. But alas, the Mets didn't sign Sheets. The Athletics did. And all that's really left to say is that this winter had been labeled as the most important in Mets history ... probably important enough to not go to their old standby of signing one very good player and throwing a whole bunch of spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.

Instead, the Mets reverted to their same ol' same ol' and did exactly that. Imagine if Jason Bay had doubled back and taken Beirut's the Red Sox' offer. Where would this franchise be? Heck, even Jason Bay only serves to replace the numbers that Carlos Delgado was supposed to bring to the table in 2009. So, even if you assume that all of their injuries are magically healed (which they aren't going to be), are the Mets really better going into 2010 than they were going into 2009? And don't you think they need to be after the most important off-season in Mets history?

Now you can tell me that at least the Mets were in it for Sheets, and they were. Just not at the end when it counted. But it's funny how when it was apparent that the Mets weren't getting Sheets, Snoop Manuel went into jilted lover mode:
"I don't think the inventory out there is great."
The feeling is apparently mutual. And as the inventory gets worse and worse every day, it tells me that there really wasn't anything Omar Minaya could have done to bring him here outside of giving him the key to the vault and a signed Jeff McKnight jersey. Because if Sheets' perception is that Oakland gives him a better chance to win than the Mets, it's a perception that has been cultivated at a level higher than Minaya ... cultivated in part by the decision to bring Minaya back even though his strengths and weaknesses are in direct conflict with what the Mets needed this winter.

It's a quote I'll remember when Minaya signs John Smoltz.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Enjoy It ... While You Can

Congratulations, Dallas Clark. You're on your way to the Super Bowl after scoring a touchdown and beating my New York Jets. Your team was the better team and you deserve to be where you are. Not to throw cold water on your big day, but just remember this, fellow Met fan: In two weeks, this will all be over. And you're going to have to spend the summer watching Oliver Perez pitch just like the rest of us. So enjoy these two weeks while you can.

No, I'm not bitter at all.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Dreamin'

I had a nightmare just now that Peyton Manning was firing darts all over the field against the Jets in the AFC title game. And Endy Chavez was in the stands next to me wearing a Gilligan hat and a Revis Island t-shirt.

And the very last pass that Manning threw ...

... struck out Carlos Beltran with the bases loaded.

Then he shot a commercial with Justin Timberlake at the 50-yard-line before accepting the Lamar Hunt Trophy. Omar Minaya then took the podium at Lucas Oil Field to announce that he had traded Shonn Greene for Sean Green and Shawn Green. In celebration, Dwight Freeney, Reggie Wayne, and Hanley Ramirez tied me up to the north goalpost and left me to die. Hours later, Tom Glavine sidled up next to me, put his arm around me, and told me that I had nothing to be devastated about. And that's when I woke up in a cold sweat.

I don't know what this means except for the fact that all those steroids I've been taking for purely medical purposes have made me hallucinate two sports at once (does that make me the Bo Jackson of nightmares?)

Well, I'm just glad that's over. And I'm glad that no matter what happens in the AFC Championship game today, it can't possibly be as bad as that.

Can it?

Go Jets.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Junk Anew

So wait, Omar Minaya can't get anybody to take Luis Castillo off his hands by paying a portion of his remaining $12 million, but Tony Reagins found a sucker to take Gary Matthews Jr. by paying $21.5 million?

Oh right, because that sucker was Omar Minaya. It makes perfect sense now.

That's right ... Gary Matthews Jr., he of the one big year, the Mitchell Report appearance, and the not-so-steady decline, is a New York Met ... again. Omar apparently needed a one-hit wonder, and his Castillo-for-the-Baha-Men trade was rejected by Anslem Douglas.

And now, for the low-low price of $2 million, the Mets have created their own Conan vs. Leno battle, with Corporal Matthews in the role of the older Leno, while Angel Pagan ... who to the best of my knowledge has never dressed puppies up as cats or a Buggatti Veyron as a mouse ... is the younger Coco. Except that this battle isn't for the 11:30 time slot, it's basically for the right to be Carlos Beltran's backup after a month (think positive ... think positive). Now that $2 million doesn't seem so cheap anymore, does it?

And the first person to say "Umm, heh heh ... low risk high reward!!!!" is getting punched in all of his face. Because if anybody truly believes that a 35-year-old linked (allegedly) to illegal substances is going to return to his high OBP of .371 because he's got himself a "change of scenery", well I've got a late night talk show I'd like to sell you. And I'll throw in a Brady Anderson 1999 Topps card. Low risk, reward similar to finding a lost dog ... I'm willing to believe. Low risk, hit Lotto? Don't believe the hype.

As for Brian Stokes, he had no chance here in 2010. If used right, he's a valuable commodity. If 2009 was any indication, Snoop had no idea what he wanted to do with Stokes. Was he a long man? Was he a seventh inning guy? We saw him every day, then we didn't see him for a week. If he finds success for L.A., it'll be because Mike Scioscia will figure out how to use him (after he tells the story about the home run off Gooden for the 20,000th time, of course.) If he doesn't, then it'll probably be because of his own inabilities. Snoop's erratic usage of Stokes tells me that his success isn't coming here.

So basically all this trade does is create a potential logjam in the outfield when Beltran comes back. Here's where the trade may make sense ... sort of. If Pagan is involved in a trade for a Reds pitcher (keep chasing Sasquatch, Metstradamus), then you can see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel provided it's not the seven train coming out of Hunters Point. Best case scenario, this is the first of all those "moving parts" rumored to make a Cincinnati trade happen. If not, then all you have is Matthews' complaints about playing time joining forces with a locker room that just barely survived Gary Sheffield's annual tantrum. Then Omar's going to have to answer questions about the looming distraction, and then he'll wind up blaming Adam Rubin and all hell will break loose. Again. Then we'll all be wondering who let the damn dogs out.


Friday, January 22, 2010

How Did One Say "Cortisone Shot" in 1864?

At times last season you might have felt as if the Mets were playing under 1864 rules.

In honor of Conan O'Brien's final show tonight, here's a classic skit where he looks behind the scenes at the 2009 Mets 1864 Wabash Mashers. Enjoy.

Baseball Sketch

Kim MySpace Video

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mythical Monsters

"The greatest rock ’n’ roll musicians are desperate men." -Bruce Springsteen
Apparently, so are the most mediocre baseball organizations.

When it was announced on ESPN that Joel Pineiro signed with the Angels, I muttered an expletive. Yeah, it's gotten that bad. And we're at the point now where a starting rotation that is in sorely need of help below Johan Santana is starting to run out of options.

So should I start lighting my candles for Ben Sheets, or should I spend the next two months searching the woods for this mythical Reds trade that's going to get us Brandon Phillips and Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang? It's like searching for the Yeti or Sasquatch.

(Does that make Arroyo the Yeti and Harang Sasquatch?)

But seriously, Joel Pineiro ... whom I irrationally hate ... goes to another team and I'm throwing cuss words around? For Joel Pineiro? These times are more desperate than the Mets are to trade Luis Castillo.

At least the Mets will get a paid vacation in Puerto Rico. The way the season's going to go, I don't know if we'll know the difference.

Monday, January 18, 2010

In Case You Might Have Missed This

Remember when former Met Jose Offerman charged a pitcher with a bat?

Well, he tried to top that Saturday night.

Nice to know that anger therapy worked so well. Too bad Snoop Manuel wasn't there to defuse the situation with a joke.
"TV replays show that [Daniel] Rayburn falls when he loses his balance, but not because Offerman hit him." -Licey Tigers GM Fernando Ravelo
"Yes my client shot the man seventeen times, your honor. But clearly he died of the cancer that was ravaging his body. So hereto forth my client should go free, your honor."

In a related story, Omar Minaya has signed Offerman to a two year deal because Omar likes the "fire in his belly."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sailed Ships

You know the expectations for your off-season have been lowered just a bit when the Mets go after somebody for three months, don't get him, and it's considered a success.

We Met fans will take what we can get.

Bengie Molina, who is just marginally better than Spike Nolan of the Hackensack Bulls, is headed back to the San Francisco Giants after GM Brian Sabean announced that "that ship has sailed". What Sabean didn't count on was that Molina's ship crashed into Derek Bell's yacht and never quite made it out of McCovey Cove.

That's the good news. The bad news is that Omar Minaya's sudden and inexplicable inability to multi-task has left the Mets without an outside option at catcher. Sure, we'd like to think that there's something else lined up, the fact is that we're most likely going to get another heaping dose of Omir Santos in 2010, with a sprinkling of Hank Blanco. But whatever happens, Bengie Molina can get old and break down somewhere else. And that's addition by subtraction. Or ... stagnation by subraction. Or, avoiding Bengie Molina because we have a younger version of Bengie Molina, thus avoiding the stigma of having one of Yadier Molina's brothers on the team. Because that would be kinda awkward.

If all else fails, I think Spike Nolan's still floating around the minors.

The Jolbert Report

The healing begins. And it begins with Jolbert Cabrera, a 37-year-old utility player who has 126 plate appearances in the majors since 2004. He comes disguised as "depth". He will soon reveal his true identity as the Mets leadoff hitter and every day center fielder after Beltran goes on the 15-year-DL and Angel Pagan the first major leaguer in history to break every bone in his body while rounding third base on his way to second.

Hey, there's an empty abyss just over that hill. It's a perfect place to spend the summer ... and it's just big enough to hold our annual Apology Day party on October 4th. Don't forget to bring alcohol. We'll need it.

And chips.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dogs And Ponies

“I am totally surprised by the reaction to my recent knee surgery. Any accusations that I ignored or defied the team’s wishes are simply false. I also spoke to Omar Minaya about the surgery on Tuesday. He did not ask me to wait, or to get another doctor’s opinion. He just wished me well. No one from team raised any issue until Wednesday, after I was already in surgery. I do not know what else I could have done." -Carlos Beltran
There's nothing. There's nothing Carlos Beltran could have done. There's nothing anybody could have done. There's nothing anybody could ever do. This is because Beltran works for trained animals, mostly dogs and ponies, in three-piece suits.

That has to be it. How else can you explain it? When other teams have major injuries, it's a press release. When other teams fire belligerent employees, it's a paper statement. When other teams open ballparks, there is much rejoicing. When the Mets do these things, it's the equivalent of a tanker truck spill blocking the Lincoln Tunnel combined with a 20-car pile up on the L.I.E. It's unbelievable how this team can take free lunch and make it into a world-wide health hazard.

So let me get this straight: Dr. Richard Steadman, Beltran's doctor, concludes that his knee needs surgery. Dr. Richard Altchek, the doctor hired by the Mets, agreed. So what is the issue here? The issue is that Mets management, none of whom to the best of my knowledge has a "Dr." in front of their names, needs to talk about this in a boardroom even though if the opinions of one of the best doctors in the country, and the doctor that the team hired agree with each other. So why the delay? So Beltran can miss the entire season? Why have a medical staff if you're not going to trust their opinion?

And correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there supposed to be a change in the medical procedures and lines of communication which would have helped in these matters? Wasn't that supposed to be reviewed? That's what we were told on Apology Day, right? No, instead we get the same old garbage that results in another fiasco, which is what everything the Mets touch seems to turn to ... a damn fiasco. All because management needs to be the ones to make final call on medical procedures even though nobody in that front office is a doctor of anything.

It's amazing how the only people entrusted to think are the people that have no brains.

But that's where we are ... another mess that we're thrown in the middle of. A mess of which you have Mike Francesa expounding on his medical knowledge (another one who isn't a doctor), you have Michael Kay reminding us on the airwaves that Beltran really wanted to play for the Yankees all along, and you probably have players all around the league wondering how many pigs, dogs and ponies have to sprout wings and fly over the Pepsi Porch for them to sign here or waive their no-trade clauses to come to this embarrassment. Think of the consequences if this had happened before Jason Bay signed here. Then he'd really be off to Beirut. And who can blame him?

Oh, and good luck getting Beltran to come back here after 2011 when his contract is up, as he counts the days until he can move Curtis Granderson to left field. Because when the first thing you think of after an injury to one of your star players isn't "gee, how are we going to replace his production", but "gee, how can we nail him on a technicality so we can get a couple of million back", you're going to have some problems regaining his trust.

All in all, it's just another reminder that we don't root, root root for the home team so much as we root for a business. One that's run by dogs and ponies.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Year's Rockin' Knee

Who knew that when Dick Clark miscounted down to 2010 that there would be real repercussions. You see, Carlos Beltran's latest knee injury which will keep him away from "baseball-related activities" for 12 freakin' weeks (taking him through at least the start of the season), has proven once and for all that Clark's miscount has kept us stuck in the year 2009. And that will not change until he gets back on ABC and gets the count right.

(Or he can go on NBC where there might be an opening at 11:30 soon.)

The funny part is that Beltran used his own doctor which, considering that Beltran has been at odds with the Mets medical philosophies before, should come as no surprise. He went to Richard Steadman last year, and that's who performed his latest surgery. The funnier part is the notion that the Mets are going to seek some sort of restitution for Beltran not keeping the Mets in the loop and making his own decision "without the Mets blessing". Yeah, like the blessing of the Mets really helped last season.

Except that last season is looking more and more like it's still this season.

Welcome back to 2009 ... the year that just wouldn't crawl into a hole and die.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vindication Has Its Price

Welcome back to MLB Network, I'm Bob Costas with our continuing coverage of the Mark McGwire steroid admission. We sit down now with the man who gave up McGwire's record breaking 62nd home run in 1998. Steve Trachsel, welcome.

Thanks, Bob.

So you have to be vindicated now that Mark McGwire has admitted that he cheated.

Gee, he cheated? Never would have guessed it.

Well you don't have to be so sarcastic about it.

You wanna take about the past, Bob? Let's talk about the past. Mark f^$*#ing McGwire hit .375 off me ... six for sixteen with three home runs. All tainted.

I'm aware ...

Yeah, well are you aware that he hit an historic life changing home run off me? Of course you are. Everyone is! And every time that s**t goes on television there's my sorry butt throwing that pitch. And you know what? It wasn't a bad pitch. By his ankles. And that Frankenstein hits it out. And the whole country is like "Aaaah we love you Mark" and all that crap and there I am on the mound for a half hour watching that freak do hand gestures with Sammy Sosa, and he didn't even like Sosa.

But Steve ...

I was on commemorative posters. And coffee mugs. And my name was on plaques that were sold for sixty-two bucks. Ha-ha, really f***ing funny! Except that my lame ass is captured for all eternity on plaques and mugs and posters and Sports Illustrated ... forever! And now you're going to tell me that it was steroids that did it? Well shiver me f***ing timbers, Batman! He cheated. I'm vindicated. Big deal!!!

Well doesn't that make you feel good?

Yeah, except now my family has to watch that home run two hundred and forty six more times in the next week. There I am standing on the mound all over again. Yaaaaaaaaay Trachsel!!! Whoop de damn do! You know what, screw McGwire ... I'm sorry I played in the steroid era!!!

Then how do you explain Brad Ausmus' .476 lifetime average and 1.402 OPS against you?

It was the era. Send Ausmus to congress too.

Or Delino DeShields' .408 lifetime average against you?

Roids. All roids.

Roids? He was 170 pounds!


Or what about Jeff Suppan's home run in Game 3 of ...

Y'know Bob?


I'm not here to talk about the past.

Monday, January 11, 2010

No Cupids Were Harmed In The Plugging Of This Book

Did you know that Valentine's Day cards have already hit the shelves?

I know, I know. Like there's a guy that exists who buys a Valentine's Day card before February 13th. Silly marketing gurus.

But before you know it, you're going to have to get your girl or guy a Valentine's Day gift. Why not consider curling your significant other up with a good book to get them through those warm summer nights after new Met Jay Marshall gives up a grand slam to Alfredo Amezaga.

I have a suggestion for you: How about Evaluating Baseball's Managers, 1876-2008 which you can pick up here. It's kind of like sabermetrics for managers, combined with lots of background and insight about managerial tendencies. The book goes in-depth for 89 managers, but particularly of interest to me were some of the things the author, Hardball Times writer Chris Jaffe, had to say about the managers that have worn the blue and orange. And I noticed a theme among some of them. Consider:

Casey Stengel:
"If the Yankees were an ideal situation for his management style, the Mets were the club least suited to it."
Joe Torre:
"Torre’s first managerial assignment with the New York Mets best exemplified his ability to get the most out of his teams. If the 1996 Yankees were the ideal setup for a manager, the 1977 Mets were the worst."
Art Howe (considering how I still pull my hair out over Howe playing his infield in down by seven runs in a late inning blowout, I had considerable interest in what Jaffe had to say about Howe's Met tenure):
"New York appears to have been a bad fit for Howe."
Well, there you have it. The New York Mets ... connecting fathers and sons as a bad fit for generations.

The Mets were actually a good fit for others, namely Gil Hodges, Davey Johnson, and Bobby Valentine. Thankfully, the book covers those three along with the three above and 83 others. So don't forget to make your better half happy and pick up this book.

Makes a great Valentine's Day gift

Friday, January 08, 2010

Old Habits Die Hard

"Yeah, let's replace Livan Hernandez with somebody older and less durable. Yeah! That'll work just fine!!! Now let's crack open those beers."

If you were a fly on the wall of the Mets war room, that might have been what you heard as the powers that be have discussed the possibility of John Smoltz being a Met. That's the John Smoltz who will be 43 in May (for perspective, that's two years and eight months older than Orel Hershiser was when he pitched for the Mets). That's also the same John Smoltz who pitched a total of 106 innings over the last two seasons due to injuries.

Not that I'm that crazy about anybody who's left in the free agent market (it's so bad that Joel Pineiro is looking like the Brooklyn Decker of starting pitchers right now), but the fact that the Mets are even thinking of bringing John Smoltz into the fold proves that this regime is never going to learn. Ever. Doesn't matter much if they sign him or not, they're thinking about it. That's reason enough for me to overreact ... because the pattern is starting again.

They make a good signing with Jason Bay, and now threaten to make five bad ones to back that up. Bengie Molina will be that first bad signing, and Smoltz might be right behind him on that list. (And Carlos Delgado might be third, but that's another blog for another time.) Because there's nothing like filling holes with old guys who are ripe to get injured and expose a farm system under siege. Sound like any particular season you might have lived through lately? You don't have to think too hard about this one.

It's a bad move whether he's the fifth starter or a bullpen option. It was one thing when they were backing up Frankie Rodriguez with J.J. Putz and Sean Green. Now it's John Smoltz and Kelvin Escobar? That's 111 innings in four seasons of baseball. Putz has the durability of Brett Favre next to these two.

And that's not even mentioning the fact that Tom Glavine is Smoltzie's golfing buddy which means there's a chance we could see Glavine show up at Citi Field with a Mets hat to support his buddy ... and looking all devastated as his friend gets torched by the Brewers for six runs in two and a third. (Oh, did I say devastated? I meant slightly disappointed.) I dare say this would induce more vomit than seeing Roger Clemens attend the Texas/Alabama game on Thursday. Glavine had better hope that he sits in one of those suites where the angry mobs can't get to him.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Alright, I Admit It ...

I voted for David Segui.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

False Opinion

The Mets introduced Jason Bay to the media on Tuesday. They also sent him outside to pose in his new #44 jersey with Citi Field as a sparkling backdrop.

Unfortunately he wasn't sufficiently bundled in the 25 degree weather, and was immediately placed on the disabled list with pneumonia. He should be able to do some light running in 2-3 weeks.


Okay, now that the obligatory injury joke is out of the way ...
"I was joking with my wife that I learned a lot about myself this offseason through the opinions that people had. People are going to have an opinion. I have no problem with that. But passing them off as the way I feel when I had never spoken to anybody, those are the ones that kind of take on a life of their own." -Jason Bay
It's not like Bay was going to go to the dais on Tuesday and tell the New York media: "Well yeah, I wanted to play in a smaller ballpark. But I was priced out of Boston, the Cubs never called me, and the property taxes in Beirut are brutal, eh? So here I am."

No, that wasn't going to happen. He was coached to be sure ... anywhere from the minimal: "make sure you address your apathy towards the dimensions because they'll ask you about that" to the other extreme: "Don't say Beirut, don't say Beirut, don't say Beirut". From what I heard, Bay sounded more towards the minimal. Do I believe him? I believe him the same way I believe the Boston media when they're blasting Bay for being injured or greedy or both ... which is to say: I don't know what to believe anymore. But it really doesn't matter. Because Bay isn't really going to know if he likes this ballpark until July when he either has 20 HR's and a ton of RBI's, or 7 HR's and a inferiority complex which is as fresh out of the box as a new Wii ... at which point I'll be the first one to make a Beirut joke (like I can resist.)

But as long as he has this mindset, I promise you that Jason Bay will do fine at Citi Field:
"I'm confident that the type of player I am -- ballpark or not -- I'm still gonna do what I do. So [the stadium] had zero factor in anything [to do with] my decision."
Doesn't matter if I believe what he says, as long as Bay believes it. Let's hope that wasn't one of those things he was "coached" to say.


Best thought I ever stole: Wouldn't it have made sense for the Mets marketing people to introduce Jason Bay in the new cream colored jersey that they're trying to sell? Seriously, do we have to tell them everything?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


So the Mets and Red Sox have discussed trading Luis Castillo for Mike Lowell.

Here are some other things the teams have probably discussed: the Tooth Fairy, Existentialism, and the 1986 World Series. That doesn't mean Calvin Schiraldi is wondering what meaning his life has while getting a root canal.

Besides, it seems too easy. Why would the Red Sox give the Mets a righty power bat, an expiring contract, and a hole at second base to be filled by Brandon Phillips for a guy who will be paid six million bucks to sit behind Marco Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia? Seems that's not the kind of business that the Red Sox are usually in.

Seriously, how do you go from Max Ramirez to Luis Castillo? Did one physical make that much of a difference?

Monday, January 04, 2010

I Bring Perspective

So wait a minute ...

Mike Leach gets fired at Texas Tech because he put Adam James in a dark equipment shed after a concussion.

Meanwhile, a dark equipment shed would have been like an all inclusive resort to Ryan Church, who is still waiting for someone to be fired after not only being put on an airplane to Denver after a concussion, but having his toughness publicly questioned.

Why didn't this hit me sooner?

Snoop Manuel should hope that he never finds himself locked in a dark equipment shed with Church.