THE CRANE POOL FORUM thecranepool.net (.com)


Forum Home

Master Index of Archived Threads


A-P "So You Think You're A Sportswriter" Thread

Rotblatt
Jun 23 2005 07:56 AM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Jun 23 2005 09:16 AM

From the Post

]ZAMBRANO BETTER THAN HIS STATS

Jay Greenberg

June 23, 2005 -- PHILADELPHIA — Scott Kazmir beat the Yankees yesterday just three hours before Victor Zambrano went to the mound for the Mets.

Strictly coincidence? Ongoing evidence of a parallel universe? You be the judge, knowing the jury of public opinion last season voted for the execution of GM Jim Duquette after just one season.

Certainly, there had to be more behind the call Fred Wilpon made to Omar Minaya, offering him carte blanche and a bigger budget, than the mass hysteria over one trade of a prime left-handed pitching prospect for a righty who showed up with a bum elbow and a history of walking the ballpark.

But with the Mets falling out of the race almost as soon as a deal designed to keep them in it was made, the image of Kazmir-for-Zambrano became almost as negative as the perception of the Wilpons as owners who won't let GMs do their job.

Thus, a change was made to a Latin American charmer that led to the Mets getting Pedro Martinez, who led to Carlos Beltran. Not a bad thing, obviously, but it turns out neither is Zambrano, who last night lowered his ERA in his last seven starts to 2.80 and still couldn't win his fourth game of the season, never mind a season ERA more than a half-run better than Kazmir's 4.62.

Of course, there is such a thing as pitching just well enough for your team to lose. And there also is such a thing as getting out of the sixth 2-2 and being able to turn the game over to a much better bullpen than one with which the Mets are trying to stay in a five-team divisional race.


Ah, yes, the magnificent Tampa Bay bullpen, who just TWO DAYS AGO gave up FOURTEEN RUNS in 3.1 innings.

But, you know, that was just against the MIGHTY and ALL-POWERFUL Yankees. I'm sure they've been much better against mere mortal teams, right?

Well, would you look at that! Tampa's relief ERA is 5.79, the 29th worst in the majors. That doesn't sound very good, does it? Well, the Mets' must be the one team worse then them, since Mr. Greenberg wouldn't write an article without doing some research, would he?

What's that you say? More than a run and a half better than Tampa's? 4.15? 15th in the majors? Well, Mr. Greenberg must be a SABRE-oriented guy who doesn't pay attention to ERA, but to more esoteric stats, like WHIP, K/9, K/BB. Perhaps Tampa just got unlucky with their ERA.

TB
1.61 WHIP, 6.07 K/9, 1.38 K/BB
NYM
1.49 WHIP, 7.75 K/9, 2.15 K/BB

Well, it sadly appears I gave Mr. Greenberg too much credit. He was, in fact, talking completely out of his ass.

]Royce Ring, Dae-Sung Koo and especially Aaron Heilman, doing nothing to help any claim on Kaz Ishii's spot in the rotation, detonated a six-run Phils' seventh that left Zambrano's high-wire expedition for naught, not to anyone's surprise.

Zambrano threw ball one to eight of the first nine Phillies he faced, one of which Chase Utley doubled in the second. Utley later scored in the inning when David Wright stupidly assumed a catch on a sinking liner he trapped. Having already struck out Jim Thome twice, once with the bases loaded, Zambrano got behind the slumping slugger 3-0, then grooved a changeup for a homer that put the Phillies up 2-1 in the fifth.

That noted, Zambrano got Pat Burrell to hit into a double play to end the first-inning threat, and was left in the game one batter too long when Cliff Floyd saved the game, at least for another inning, with a based-loaded, shoulder-banging, catch against the wall.

So it can be argued Zambrano deserved a better fate, whether inexorably linked to Kazmir's or not. In these seven games in which the Met righty has stopped looking like an utterly ridiculous idea, his teammates have scored 12 runs, somehow less support than the Wilpons gave the demoted Duquette.

Time alone won't tell what kind of a trade this will turn out to be. There are other considerations, all hypothetical. The teams worried about both pitchers' elbow wear and tear in more ways than one. Had the Mets waited until the offseason to deal Kazmir, more accomplished options, like Tim Hudson, would have been available.

Hindsight is wonderful. But would foresight have enabled Duquette to know the Wilpons, who had cut the player budget by $20 million for 2004, would kick it back up by a similar amount to make splashes with Martinez and Beltran? Zambrano was a 29-year-old with universally acknowledged electric stuff, plus a winning career record for a bad team, making a budget-friendly $2.1 million a year and not eligible for free agency until 2007.


Ah, hindsight. Without the benefit of hindsight, who really thought, last July, that getting Zambrano & Benson wouldn't vault the Mets firmly into the wild card slot? Wow! So . . . Many . . . Hands!

You know what's better than a 29-year old with electric stuff who only costs $2.1M and isn't eligible for free agency until 2007? A 20-year old with electric stuff who only costs $300K and isn't eligible for free agency until 2010!

And if you seriously want to compare who's been more valuable this year, let's look at all their stats, not just ERA:

Kazmir
4.62 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 1.47 K/BB, 7.14 K/9
Zambrano
3.97 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 1.13 K/BB, 5.84 K/9

I don't know about you, but I'd take Kazmir's line every time. Zambrano's line looks like a pitcher who's been incredibly lucky to keep his ERA as low as it's been, and if you'd bother to watch his starts, Mr. Greenberg, you'd see the same damn thing. But maybe you just watched both games last night. Maybe last night, Zambrano was better than Kazmir.

Kaz v. Yankees
7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR
3.86 ERA, 0.86 WHIP

Zambrano v. Phillies
6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR
3.00 ERA, 1.5 WHIP

Despite the better ERA, Zambrano got lucky. And if, as you say, Kaz got bailed out by his bullpen, then you have to concede that he helped himself by being able to go 7 innings instead of just 6.

]So it seemed right. And still might be in the long run, if the Mets get a better bullpen, offense and other things whose absences have left them three games under .500 for better reasons than Victor Zambrano.


"Other things"? Are you #$*&#* serious? Jesus, but you're a bad writer . . . Mr. Greenberg, you are officially a douchebag.

MFS62
Jun 23 2005 08:28 AM

]Thus, a change was made to a Latin American charmer that led to the Mets getting Pedro Martinez, who led to Carlos Beltran.


The heck with stats. How does he prove that one?
Was Victor the deciding factor , or any factor for that matter, in the Mets getting Pedro?

Later

Edgy DC
Jun 23 2005 09:34 AM

For a starting pitcher, ERA is still the bottom line. Peripherals tell you a lot about who can dominate and appears to be the better bet long-term, but not really who has performed better thus far.

In other words, if I want a guarantee of those numbers for the rest of the year, I take Zambrano's line; if I want what those numbers seem to project and promise, I take Kazzy's.

I think the bullpen is beside the point. When judging individual players in a team game, wins and losses, is mostly beside the point, no matter how often we lead with wins and losses when lookign at a starting pitcher.

I don't support that trade at all, but some small credit has to go to Zambrano here.

MFS62
Jun 23 2005 09:48 AM

Edgy DC wrote:
For a starting pitcher, ERA is still the bottom line. Peripherals tell you a lot about who can dominate and appears to be the better bet long-term, but not really who has performed better thus far.



Edgy, I was just going to post a similar comment. Peripherals (especially WHIP) are really an indication of ability rather than a measure of performance.

Johnny Dickshot
Jun 23 2005 09:55 AM

]Despite the better ERA, Zambrano got lucky.


Last night? He wound up tagged for an earned run and threw at least a few dozen extra pitches thanks to a few head-up-the-ass plays from his defense, and as usual had no room for error because the offense spit the bit again.

What's so lucky about that?

ScarletKnight41
Jun 23 2005 09:59 AM

The flip side is that Floyd's catch saved Zambrano from three additional runs in the 6th.

metirish
Jun 23 2005 10:01 AM

Mr. Powell from Newsday has some tired old clichés for us,I do think about Kaz when Vic is pitching though...

]Kazmir hurts both NY teams

Kazmir hurts both NY teams
Jun 23, 2005


PHILADELPHIA -- In a sense, they remain separated at birth, which in this case was last July 30, when one was traded for the other.

That's because no Mets fan can look at Victor Zambrano without seeing Scott Kazmir. And seeing red.

Almost a year after the Mets made a deal with the Devil (Rays), it's still being blamed for everything that's wrong with the Mets: their spotty track record with major trades, their current blasé state and their inability right now to find somebody not named Pedro who can get batters out.

Judging by the decibel level of discontent coming from Metville, the trade for Zambrano is also being faulted for everything wrong with the city. If New York doesn't get the Olympics in 2012, well, you know why.

By coincidence, the twins found themselves pitching on the same day, Kazmir against the Yankees in the afternoon and Zambrano against the Phillies at night, making it possible for skeptics to watch and compare notes. Again.

And wouldn't you know: Kazmir delivered one of his strongest efforts since the Mets declared he wasn't ready to produce right away and gave up on him. Less than 24 hours after the Yankees made a stirring comeback to beat Tampa Bay, Kazmir shut Yankee Stadium up real quick. He overcame a 2-0 deficit, showed plenty of poise for a 21-year-old and managed to frustrate two baseball boroughs: the Bronx and Queens.

So even before his first pitch at Citizens Bank Park, Zambrano was already behind on the count.

But typical of his night, he escaped serious trouble and once again delivered a respectable performance. Zambrano brought in a June ERA of 2.49, fourth-lowest in the National League, and it didn't rise against the Phillies. He emerged nick-free after loading the bases with no outs in the first inning, and again in his final inning when Cliff Floyd squeezed the third out before crashing into the wall in the sixth. Zambrano gave up only two runs and gave the Mets a chance to take two straight from the Phillies until the bullpen did him no favors in an 8-4 loss.

The worst thing about his night was his luck, which still hasn't changed for the better. Imagine: He finally overcomes early-season control problems and puts together several decent starts, then suffers from a lack of run support, gets a bullpen meltdown against the Phillies and has a 3-6 record to show for it. The Mets have given Zambrano 12 runs in his last seven starts.

"I've been feeling better every game," Zambrano said. "I'm trying to make myself stronger. When you get good results, you get a lot of confidence in yourself."

Boosted by his decent stretch, the Mets were still trying to justify the decision to surrender their best pitching prospect for a 29-year-old with a history of command problems. It has been 11 months since pitching coach Rick Peterson famously convinced his bosses that he could fix Zambrano's flaws "in 10 minutes." And while we're on the subject, Peterson wants to clarify: He didn't actually make the trade.

"A big misconception," he said. "Silly."

True, the call was made by the Wilpons and former GM Jim Duquette, although they weighed Peterson's opinion heavily, which made sense. After all, Peterson did put Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito on the right path in Oakland. Given his history with young pitchers, you assume he knows what makes them work and what makes them crumble.

He was just a little off on the timetable for Zambrano. That's all.

"I never met Victor before the trade," Peterson said. "I just looked at film and saw he had issues with his delivery, which could be solved. There were also issues with his physical condition, and you can't take somebody and turn them into a Navy SEAL overnight. You knew it was going to be an evolving progress, as it always is with young pitchers. Things aren't done overnight."

Will Zambrano ever show the stuff needed to become a front-line starter? "This is what we expect from him," Peterson said. "Because he can do it. I tell him that all the time."

He'd better if the Mets plan to squash all lingering doubts about the trade. Because even if Kazmir ultimately is nothing special, he was a precious bargaining chip for the Mets. They could've used him to solve a few other problems with the right deal.

Instead, they're three games under .500, sitting on the bottom of the division and desperate to end this 2-6 road trip from hell.

But here's what's so strange about the toughest stretch of the season: None of this is Zambrano's fault. Hard to believe, isn't it?


Rotblatt
Jun 23 2005 10:02 AM

Sure, give Zambrano credit for working out of many of the jams he--or his defense--has put him into. I don't dislike him, and I think he's gutsy if undisciplined, and if we'd given up a Blade for him, I'd have been thrilled. Just don't try and tell me that the trade for him seemed like a smart one at the time because Zambrano has "electric stuff" (Kaz's is more electric), is cheap for a while (Kaz is cheaper and for longer) and has a winning record for a losing team (who cares?).

Or that the trade is working out because a 30-year old pitcher with 5 years of major-league experience has a marginally better ERA than the 21-year old with less than a full season under his belt. Particularly when their peripherals suggest that the 30-year old's ERA will go down and the 21-year old's will go up.

Kazmir's FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching): 4.52 (before last night's game)
Zambrano's: 4.71 (ditto)

More than that, though, is how offensive I think it is for someone to spew out crap like this article without looking at more than a pitcher's win-loss record, his ERA & last night's box score. How does he get paid for this?

Edgy DC
Jun 23 2005 10:11 AM

]That's because no Mets fan can look at Victor Zambrano without seeing Scott Kazmir. And seeing red.


Yeah, speak for yourself, Charlie Brown.

I think .65 is a big margin of "marginally better." You make a good point by narrowning that down when you show the pitching independent ERA. That's a highly speculative stat, of course, but ERA itself is also.

Basically, I think the Mets were wrong, and I'm hoping that they are proven right.

Even moreso, I'm hoping that it ends up like Danny Heep for Mike Scott -- a mistake made much less relevant by being revealed amidst so much other success.

Rotblatt
Jun 23 2005 10:19 AM

]Last night? He wound up tagged for an earned run and threw at least a few dozen extra pitches thanks to a few head-up-the-ass plays from his defense, and as usual had no room for error because the offense spit the bit again.

What's so lucky about that?


3 walks + 3 singles + 2 2B + 1 HR + 1 WP + 6 IP + 2 R = lucky.

One of the singles was a bunt single, and one of the runs probably shouldn't have scored, but he still allowed 9 error-free base runners through 6 innings and only gave up 2 runs. I call that lucky, whether it's Zambrano doing it now or Leiter doing it in 2004.

Johnny Dickshot
Jun 23 2005 10:26 AM

I don't think Floyd was "lucky" to catch that ball: It took a good play but Floyd is capable of making good plays.

What was unlucky was Wright standing there holding the ball while a run crossed the plate in front of him.

Johnny Dickshot
Jun 23 2005 10:27 AM

probably?

Rotblatt
Jun 23 2005 10:33 AM

]Even moreso, I'm hoping that it ends up like Danny Heep for Mike Scott -- a mistake made much less relevant by being revealed amidst so much other success.


Me too, Edgy.

] I don't think Floyd was "lucky" to catch that ball: It took a good play but Floyd is capable of making good plays.

What was unlucky was Wright standing there holding the ball while a run crossed the plate in front of him.


Sure, but my point is that most of the time, a pitcher who gives up 3 extra base hits, 3 walks, and 3 singles in 6 innings is usually going to give up more than 2 runs. Throw in an error by Woody and boneheaded play by Wright, and it's a goddamn mircacle he didn't give up more.

Rotblatt
Jun 23 2005 10:35 AM

]probably?


I didn't see it, Wide, but my impression from Ed & Howie was that Wright's best play was at first base, not home, and even had he gotten Lieberthal, the run would have scored.

But again, I didn't see it, so maybe not.

Johnny Dickshot
Jun 23 2005 11:41 AM

It was an easy play at home if he wanted it, and I was thinking, maybe even a DP if Utley doesn't pickle himself.

He was playing on the grass; the ball was hit hard enough that Wright thought it was a liner even if it was a short hop, so there was a lot of time.

Not for nothing, but Wright has made far more shaky, dumb and/or bad plays than I would have expected this year.

Edgy DC
Jun 23 2005 11:53 AM

Well, both sides are summed up succinctly and excellently in today's Faith and Fear in Flushing.

Rotblatt
Jun 23 2005 11:53 AM

Yeah, but it hasn't bothered me so much yet. He's still young and has time to grow into 3B defensively. Although I have to say, I thought by now he'd have gotten most of that out of his system . . .

Thanks for the info on the play! It was weird listening to Ed instead of Gary last night. Makes you realize how good Gary is--not that Ed was bad at all, but there seemed to be more awkward silence and forced patter than there is with Gary. Howie was a little quieter, too . . .

Edgy DC
Jun 23 2005 11:54 AM

Well, both sides are summed up succinctly and excellently in today's Faith and Fear in Flushing.

metirish
Jun 23 2005 12:02 PM

Great read, I especially enjoyed the second article Just a Little Patience , the part dealing with Gerald Williams promotion had just the right amount of wit, thanks for the link, don't think I've ever read from that site before.

Johnny Dickshot
Jun 23 2005 12:34 PM

Gotta say I'm disappointed Greg is now syndicated by the IFSPA.

Johnny Dickshot
Jun 23 2005 12:42 PM

Wright btw ranks 10th out 10 among qualified NL third sackers in fielding percentage, zone rating and range factor.

Rotblatt
Jun 23 2005 01:32 PM

ew. I was happier not knowing that.

Edgy DC
Jun 23 2005 01:37 PM

We only apply negative fielding stats to whipping boys, not starchildren.

Rotblatt
Jun 23 2005 01:50 PM

Yeah, what Edgy said!

Oh, wait . . . Was that a burn?

Edgy DC
Jun 23 2005 02:12 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Jun 23 2005 02:31 PM

Just sayin' is all. Mr. Cairo was ninth out of ten qualifying AL secondbasemen last year and if I hear one more "gold glove-quality" label applied to him again I'm going to shriek like a whole troop of brownies.

NAMEZR
Adam Kennedy, Ana.847
Mark Bellhorn, Bos.843
Orlando Hudson, Tor.830
Ronnie Belliard, Cle.824
Brian Roberts, Bal.823
Marco Scutaro, Oak.799
Alfonso Soriano, Tex.799
Miguel Cairo, NYY.795
Bret Boone, Sea.790


Just about every secondbaseman in New York was better -- many of whom are/were whipping boys and/or have "Freakin'" as a middle name. Of course, Matsui wasn't one of them.

NAMEGPGSINNZR
Homer Bush, NYY4223.01.000
Jose Reyes, NYM4341352.0.866
Jeff Keppinger, NYM3227257.2.844
Joe McEwing, NYM3415162.1.841
Ty Wigginton, NYM/Pit2522183.2.831
Enrique Wilson, NYY8064564.2.825
Ricky Gutierrez, Bos/NYM3219196.0.808
Miguel Cairo, NYY11396856.0.795
Danny Garcia, NYM4440341.1.781
Kazuo Matsui, NYM3324.0.750

Willets Point
Jun 23 2005 02:25 PM

="Edgy DC"]Just sayin' is all. Mr. Cairo was ninth out of ten qualifying AL secondbasemen last year and if I hear one more "gold glove-quality" label applied to him again I'm going to shriek like a whole troop of brownies.


I'd really like to see that.

Rotblatt
Jun 23 2005 02:32 PM

Well, our DER is average this year--15th in the majors--so I'm not too worried about our defense overall, although I WAS wondering why it wasn't better, given Cameron, Beltran, Dougie, Reyes, and a renewed Floyd. We were 9th last year, after all . . .

Anyway, I'm prepared to cut Wright a lot of slack. I will also blame his low defensive stats on Reyes' extraordinary range. Even though Reyes is next-to-last in ZR in the NL and third-from last in RF.

Defensive stats will bring me nothing but pain . . . And yet:

Dougie's second best in ZR & 7th in RF.

Cliff's third in RF & ZR. Beltran's 3rd in ZR & 5th in RF.

Johnny Dickshot
Jun 23 2005 02:36 PM

I don't worry about Wright's range so much either (tho the "just gets by his glove" shots are plenty)... more about the dropsies and the runs-into-Piazzas, and the but-Blue!-I-caught-it!s. Anyway, I think maybe if he doesn't show steady improvement, and at this point there'
s no reason to believe he won't, perhaps he's a guy who'll play first base later in life.

metsmarathon
Jun 23 2005 05:34 PM

david wright is a better third baseman this year than that Arod guy...

metirish
Jun 24 2005 09:50 AM

Klapisch gets all misty eyed over the series..


]By BOB KLAPISCH
SPORTS COLUMNIST


With eight-plus years of weariness on our shoulders, we slog to the doorstep of one more Subway Series. Haven't we been here, done that? Indeed - 50 times since 1997, including the 2000 World Series. Yankees vs. Mets is old and tired, a plague upon any sane fan.

Deliverance is what we should be praying for. Let this be the last Subway Series until someday - it won't be this year - these teams legitimately confront each other in October.

Until then, we've suffered enough. Here's why the gimmickry must come to an end:

Because don't you just know ESPN will prattle on about the Mike Piazza-Roger Clemens blood feud (which has long since expired) one more time? It'll be used as state's evidence that this rivalry is alive and well. We know better.

Because neither the Yankees nor the Mets are playing particularly well this week.

Because Joe Torre gets along better with Willie Randolph than he did with Bobby Valentine.


Because Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez won't go head-to-head.

Because Tom Glavine (5.06 ERA) and Sean Henn (10.29) will.

Because Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees' best pitcher, will miss the series.

Because a legion of Mets fans will inevitably end up chanting "Yankees [stink]" at some point during the weekend. They're no less myopic than Red Sox fans who sound the same war cry at Fenway. Not to be outdone, the Bleacher Bums will unleash their own brand of idiocy, turning against their Stadium brethren as they chant, "Box seats [bleep]."

Because the Yankees will see Miguel Cairo in a Mets uniform and wonder how (and why) they ever let him go.

Because the Mets will be reminded they actually believed Felix Heredia could help them.

Because the two Matsuis will be asked (again) how it feels to be playing against each other, even if Kaz is on the DL.

Because there are no new rivalries. Even the old ones (Pedro versus Jorge Posada) are beyond the statute of limitations.

Because nothing will ever match the drama in the Mets' dugout on July 9, 2000 - the night after Roger Clemens beaned Mike Piazza. Until the last seconds before taking the field, the Mets debated whether to retaliate against Derek Jeter and/or Bernie Williams. Finally, just as starter Mike Hampton was leaving the dugout on his way to the mound, he decided to comply with Valentine's edict that no Yankee position player would be targeted.

Because interleague play has run its course. It's time to return the schedule to its old-school roots, where division rivals slug it out all summer. While the Mets and Yankees are having their one millionth reunion, fans around the country are being forced to witness Tigers-Diamondbacks, Blue Jays-Nationals and Royals-Rockies. We wonder if Bud Selig will be waiting up for those scores.

Because The Big Unit, who pitches Sunday, just ain't what he used to be.

Because Carlos Beltran, a nice player, isn't yet what the Mets thought he'd be.

Because Pedro, who starts tonight, isn't as easy for Yankee fans to hate anymore. He might have been a jerk in a Red Sox uniform, easy to lump in with Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, but he's a better person now that he's a Met. We guarantee Pedro won't headhunt.

Because John Franco and Al Leiter are gone (a blessing, most Mets fans will say) which means there aren't any real New Yorkers as major players left in this series.

Because the unique thrill of seeing the Yankees' best against the Mets' best is gone. That was the initial lure, watching Mariano Rivera's cutter against Mike Piazza's massive hack, and the precious inside-out quality of Derek Jeter's swing against Leiter's slider. But those matchups have all been blurred by time and familiarity.

Because the Yankees will be thinking about a three-game series with the Orioles next week.

Because the Mets will be thinking about the Phillies, who come to town on Tuesday. Or at least they should be.

Because everyone will be cursing Sunday night's 8 p.m. start.

Because David Cone isn't around anymore. If anyone could appreciate how special these games used to be, it was him.

Because Doc and Darryl are gone, too. It used to be fun seeing these ex-Mets stars in Pinstripes. Used to be - until that story line got old, as well.

Because Mike Cameron will tease the Yankees all weekend with his .400-plus on-base percentage, his .300 batting average and his still-quick jumps in the outfield. This is the guy the Bombers need down the stretch. And there's no way the Mets are sending him to the Bronx.

Because there's no race even for a new stadium. Both teams will be in their new homes by 2009.

Because George Steinbrenner isn't planning to be around. Too bad. The Man has lost his fastball, but he still makes Stadium employees jittery, and forces the press corps into a paparazzi watch in the parking lot.

Because this isn't really a Subway Series. It's three games in the Bronx.

Because Piazza isn't what he used to be.

Because Tom Gordon would be the perfect fit in the Mets' bullpen. But don't hold your breath.

Because the Yankees are just so bored by the whole thing.

Because, for once, they're right.

E-mail: klapisch@northjersey.com


metirish
Jun 24 2005 09:53 AM

I hate this shit...why is it that it's the MFY's that are always bored about playing the Mets,

]Because the Yankees are just so bored by the whole thing.

Edgy DC
Jun 24 2005 10:26 AM
Edited 2 time(s), most recently on Jun 24 2005 10:41 AM

Oh, boo-hoo. The novelty's worn off. As if anybody couldn't see that coming.

]Because don't you just know ESPN will prattle on about the Mike Piazza-Roger Clemens blood feud...


And you haven't milked this to death, yourself?

]Because the Yankees will see Miguel Cairo in a Mets uniform and wonder how (and why) they ever let him go.


Last I heard, he's disabled.

]Because the Mets will be reminded they actually believed Felix Heredia could help them.


I rather think this won't occur to anybody. As Heredia is on the post-operative shelf and Mike Stanton is bringing it with a sub-replacement level 5.79 ERA, I don't think anybody with the Mets will be kicking themselves.

]Because the two Matsuis will be asked (again) how it feels to be playing against each other, even if Kaz is on the DL.


OK, so this series has been a boon in part because it always gives the likes of you something to write. And now the something to write that it gives you is that there's nothing left to write?

Writing about having nothing to write is the cheapest trick used by sophomores. And Virginia Woolf.

]Because there are no new rivalries. Even the old ones (Pedro versus Jorge Posada) are beyond the statute of limitations.


I like to think Pedro still has a score to settle with the Yankees.

]Because interleague play has run its course. It's time to return the schedule to its old-school roots, where division rivals slug it out all summer.


No, wrong. If that old-school stuff is true, than it was always true -- not because interleague play is played out, but because it was ill-conceived to begin with.

]While the Mets and Yankees are having their one millionth reunion, fans around the country are being forced to witness Tigers-Diamondbacks, Blue Jays-Nationals and Royals-Rockies. We wonder if Bud Selig will be waiting up for those scores.


This was always true, column-filler guy.

]Because The Big Unit, who pitches Sunday, just ain't what he used to be.


Neither. Art. Thou.

]We guarantee Pedro won't headhunt.


Yeah, nothing's interesting without gratuitous violence, huh?

]Because John Franco and Al Leiter are gone (a blessing, most Mets fans will say) which means there aren't any real New Yorkers as major players left in this series.


Well, besides Roberto Hernandez, Carl Pavano (New Britian, CT representin'), and John Flaherty, there's the managers of both teams coming from Brooklyn, which used to matter to the likes of you before you got so bored but still had to file a story, poor guy.

Oh, and then there's Alex Freakin Rodriguez!

]Because Doc and Darryl are gone, too. It used to be fun seeing these ex-Mets stars in Pinstripes. Used to be - until that story line got old, as well.


These guys were never really part of this story. Straw had seven at-bats and one single as a Yankee against the Mets. Gooden had one five-inning start desperately hanging on in his last season after the Yankees grabbed him off the waiver wire.

]Because Mike Cameron will tease the Yankees all weekend with his .400-plus on-base percentage, his .300 batting average and his still-quick jumps in the outfield. This is the guy the Bombers need down the stretch. And there's no way the Mets are sending him to the Bronx.


Actually if you were a good writer, you'd realize that this is an angle, not the absence of an angle you've been bemoaning through this column.

]Because George Steinbrenner isn't planning to be around. Too bad. The Man has lost his fastball, but he still makes Stadium employees jittery, and forces the press corps into a paparazzi watch in the parking lot.


He's a creep who should be ignored except when he's hurting somebody, and you chasing him for a story is pathetic.

]Because Tom Gordon would be the perfect fit in the Mets' bullpen. But don't hold your breath.


Shut up.

]Because the Yankees are just so bored by the whole thing.


If this is true, then that's pathetic and that's your story.

]Because, for once, they're right.


I'd gladly take your column over, Ace.

metirish
Jun 24 2005 10:37 AM

Great stuff Edgy, nothing drives me more crazy as the angle that the MFY's are bored of the Mets, and it's not just Klapisch, all the feature writers do it ,from the Post, to Newsday and the Daily News, it's so lazy, I mean are they bored from playing the D-Rays yet?

holychicken
Jun 24 2005 11:00 AM

]Neither. Art. Thou.


Damn. . .
Remind me not to end up on Edgy's bad side. . .

metsmarathon
Jun 24 2005 02:28 PM

]
]Because John Franco and Al Leiter are gone (a blessing, most Mets fans will say) which means there aren't any real New Yorkers as major players left in this series.



Well, besides Roberto Hernandez, Carl Pavano (New Britian, CT representin'), and John Flaherty, there's the managers of both teams coming from Brooklyn, which used to matter to the likes of you before you got so bored but still had to file a story, poor guy.

Oh, and then there's Alex Freakin Rodriguez!


and jeter was born in freakin' pequannock! don't be dissin' jersey!

mlbaseballtalk
Jun 26 2005 08:44 PM

>By BOB KLAPISCH
>SPORTS COLUMNIST

I'm starting to think Bobby Bo threatned the wrong guy and should have punked Harper's co-author...

>With eight-plus years of weariness on our shoulders, we slog to the doorstep of one more >Subway Series. Haven't we been here, done that? Indeed - 50 times since 1997, including >the 2000 World Series. Yankees vs. Mets is old and tired, a plague upon any sane fan.

Just out of curiosity, after, oh some 30 years, many playoff series between them, haven't we been there, done that with Rangers-Icelanders and Rangers-Devils to the point where thats old and tired? Ditto Knicks-Nets?

>Deliverance is what we should be praying for. Let this be the last Subway Series until >someday - it won't be this year - these teams legitimately confront each other in October.

Not when the reciepts keep coming in. When these games start drawing 30,000 THEN we can talk about it being old and tired. When 1050 and WFAN cease promoting coverage for the games, THEN its old and tired

>Until then, we've suffered enough. Here's why the gimmickry must come to an end:
>Because don't you just know ESPN will prattle on about the Mike Piazza-Roger Clemens >blood feud (which has long since expired) one more time? It'll be used as state's evidence >that this rivalry is alive and well. We know better.

Funny, I haven't heard any Piazza-Clemens stuff since the famous Shawn Estes game, save for last years All Star Game. Oh and for the record, I'm sure Marichal v. Roseboro is prattled on about during nationally spotlighted Giant-Dodger clashes. Stuff like that is part of "lore"

>Because neither the Yankees nor the Mets are playing particularly well this week.

2 out of 3 against the Phillies? By the way, most of the national media and local media expected the Mets to not be much better than a .500 club, don't see how this translates to "not playing particularly well" when they are playing right around expectations (sure you can point to last year same records and the Mets PR machine saying "Next Year Is Now" but come on)

>Because Joe Torre gets along better with Willie Randolph than he did with Bobby Valentine.

Uh this is an argument how? Do fans really care that the players/managers/coaches are friends or not? Unless they all are singing Kum By Ya together on the field, NO!

>Because Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez won't go head-to-head.

Again, how is this an argument? Luck of the draw. How many times did the Mets/Yanks ever have a match up of two future Hall of Famers? Unless Glavine and Clemens went head-to-head I'm thinking never

>Because Tom Glavine (5.06 ERA) and Sean Henn (10.29) will.

Point is? Dave Milicki had the game of his life in the first Met-Yankee series, and if Sean Henn had pitched a gem all the papers right now would be putting him in Monument Park

>Because Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees' best pitcher, will miss the series.

Oh GOD! Is there a point to this? The same writers for years were on Torre's side for not rearranging his rotation so Clemens could get his just rewards (which is WHY that was strung out for so many years) because of the "santity of the season" all of a sudden want to see the rotations juggled to get the big matchups

>Because a legion of Mets fans will inevitably end up chanting "Yankees [stink]" at some >point during the weekend. They're no less myopic than Red Sox fans who sound the same >war cry at Fenway. Not to be outdone, the Bleacher Bums will unleash their own brand of >idiocy, turning against their Stadium brethren as they chant, "Box seats [bleep]."

I love how writers turn a blind eye to the yahoo fans they are defending when putting down other fans. Lousish behavior is no more different in NY then it is anywhere in the country, well maybe its worse here than other places, but lets not kid ourselfs thinking that the drunken idiot fans in Yankee Stadium are somehow better than drunken idiots at Shea and Fenway


>Because the Yankees will see Miguel Cairo in a Mets uniform and wonder how (and why) >they ever let him go.

DL Dude get the facts straight. Besides lack of a dependable utility guy is the LEAST of the Yankees concerns

>Because the Mets will be reminded they actually believed Felix Heredia could help them.

Huh? Again lets not get facts in the way of good Met bashing. Simple expensive trash for slightly less expensive trash, I don't think the Mets even thought Rick Peterson could help Heredia

>Because the two Matsuis will be asked (again) how it feels to be playing against each >other, even if Kaz is on the DL.

Hey he does get the facts right! Dude, I'm sure this happens every time Hideki and Ichiro plays, every time Nomo plays either one, ect, if it happened this time around

>Because there are no new rivalries. Even the old ones (Pedro versus Jorge Posada) are >beyond the statute of limitations.

Uh, point is? Met fans will always hate A-Hole. Met fans will always hate Jeter. But let me get this straight, one second you are tired of rehashing past rivalries, and now you are bemoaning no new rivalries. Oh-KAY! Do people need to remind him of WHY Clemens v. Piazza was constantly rehashed? And why Posada/Jeter v. Pedro doesn't need to be?

>Because nothing will ever match the drama in the Mets' dugout on July 9, 2000 - the night >after Roger Clemens beaned Mike Piazza. Until the last seconds before taking the field, the >Mets debated whether to retaliate against Derek Jeter and/or Bernie Williams. Finally, just >as starter Mike Hampton was leaving the dugout on his way to the mound, he decided to >comply with Valentine's edict that no Yankee position player would be targeted.

So Giants vs Dodgers is dead because nothing will ever match the drama of Juan Marichal using John Roseboro's head as a pinata back in 62 and the ensuing tension through the rest of that season (ended up in a tie with a "Shades of 51" play-off series Giants won 2-1)

>Because interleague play has run its course. It's time to return the schedule to its old->school roots, where division rivals slug it out all summer. While the Mets and Yankees are >having their one millionth reunion, fans around the country are being forced to witness >Tigers-Diamondbacks, Blue Jays-Nationals and Royals-Rockies. We wonder if Bud Selig >will be waiting up for those scores.

Does this really matter at this point? It works in New York, it works in Chicago, it works in LA. Once those cities drop in interest (on both sides) and once it appears attendance and ratings are down across the board, then you can call it over. Oh and by the way, why doesn't anyone ever call for the end of Inter Confrence play in the NFL? Ever thought about that? While every 4 years we'll get Giants-Jets we have to suffer Cardinals-Jets and Jaguars-Giants in the meantime. And those are just as riviting as Tigers-Diamondbacks

>Because The Big Unit, who pitches Sunday, just ain't what he used to be.

And the point is?

>Because Carlos Beltran, a nice player, isn't yet what the Mets thought he'd be.

And the point is?

>Because Pedro, who starts tonight, isn't as easy for Yankee fans to hate anymore. He >might have been a jerk in a Red Sox uniform, easy to lump in with Manny Ramirez and >David Ortiz, but he's a better person now that he's a Met. We guarantee Pedro won't >headhunt.

Huh? Why would Yankee fans ever stop hating Pedro? Besides that gets Met fans an opportunity to turn that chant around to "WHO'S YOUR DADDY NOW? BEEEYATCH!

>Because John Franco and Al Leiter are gone (a blessing, most Mets fans will say) which >means there aren't any real New Yorkers as major players left in this series.

Oh contrare. Both Managers from New York, ARod and Jeter were born in the Garden State, Pavano is from CT. And besides when did being a "Real New Yorker" matter, ever?

>Because the unique thrill of seeing the Yankees' best against the Mets' best is gone. That >was the initial lure, watching Mariano Rivera's cutter against Mike Piazza's massive hack, >and the precious inside-out quality of Derek Jeter's swing against Leiter's slider. But those >matchups have all been blurred by time and familiarity.

Uh, Pedro v ARod? Beltran, Wright v Randy? Wright, Reyes, ect v Mariano? Last time I checked baseball teams keep reloading themselves with new "best" every year or so. Does it matter that the some of the old names are still around

>Because the Yankees will be thinking about a three-game series with the Orioles next >week.

Then they are stupid for acting like the 1998 Yankees overlooking a bad team in front of them while thinking ahead to a more "meaningfull" series. This Yankee team can not afford to do something like that. EVERY series this summer is important from here on out

>Because the Mets will be thinking about the Phillies, who come to town on Tuesday. Or at >least they should be.

Then they are stupid for acting like the 1986 Mets overlooking a bad team in front of them while thinking ahead to a more "meaningfull" series. This Met team can not afford to do something like that. EVERY series this summer is important from here on out

>Because everyone will be cursing Sunday night's 8 p.m. start.

Thats on MLB and ESPN dude, not on Mets v Yanks

>Because David Cone isn't around anymore. If anyone could appreciate how special these >games used to be, it was him.

Say what?

>Because Doc and Darryl are gone, too. It used to be fun seeing these ex-Mets stars in >Pinstripes. Used to be - until that story line got old, as well.

You know its fun seeing an ex-Yankee in Met pinstripes in that dugout right now. Man is this guy becoming a cranky old bastard. Oh, BTW should be noted that he wrote Doc's autobiography with Doc. Not exactly unbiased when it comes to remembering past ex-Mets/Yankees

>Because Mike Cameron will tease the Yankees all weekend with his .400-plus on-base >percentage, his .300 batting average and his still-quick jumps in the outfield. This is the guy >the Bombers need down the stretch. And there's no way the Mets are sending him to the >Bronx.

And thats bad how?


>Because there's no race even for a new stadium. Both teams will be in their new homes by >2009.

And thats bad how?

>Because George Steinbrenner isn't planning to be around. Too bad. The Man has lost his >fastball, but he still makes Stadium employees jittery, and forces the press corps into >paparazzi watch in the parking lot.

You know, considering he is almost 75, maybe its a good thing he isn't in New York this weekend

>Because this isn't really a Subway Series. It's three games in the Bronx.

And three games at Shea last month. Uh couldn't you have said that every regular season series since 97?

>Because Piazza isn't what he used to be.

Uh so?

>Because Tom Gordon would be the perfect fit in the Mets' bullpen. But don't hold your >breath.

Uh like the Cameron one, so?

Because the Yankees are just so bored by the whole thing.

Apparantly THEY are the ONLY ONES!

Because, for once, they're right.

Well except for you

metirish
Jun 28 2005 12:02 PM

Some interesting stuff from Ken Rosenthal.

]Inside Dish: Marlins put Burnett on trading block
Posted: June 27, 2005


The Florida Marlins are considering trading righthander A.J. Burnett in a blockbuster move that would alter the pennant races in both leagues, Sporting News has learned.

The Marlins are engaged in preliminary discussions about Burnett with the Orioles and a second, unidentified American League club. Their goal in trading Burnett, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, would be to obtain three major league parts -- a young starting pitcher, a quality reliever and a lefthanded hitting outfielder.

Few teams would be willing to pay such a steep price. The Red Sox, awaiting the return of righthander Curt Schilling, are not currently pursuing a trade for a starting pitcher, be it Burnett or Giants righthander Jason Schmidt. The Yankees could get involved for Burnett if they were willing to trade setup man Tom Gordon and righthander Chien-Ming Wang, but that move could do more harm than good. The Tigers have had past interest in Burnett. The Angels, White Sox and Twins are not believed to be currently interested.

Any team that acquires Burnett, 28, would need to be confident that it could sign him long-term. The Marlins, unlikely to retain Burnett, would prefer to trade him for immediate help than receive only draft picks if he departs as a free agent. Burnett threw a two-hit shutout Sunday against the Devil Rays, but for all his talent, he's only 5-5 with a 3.14 ERA this season, 41-43 with a 3.78 ERA lifetime.

The Orioles, a team in search of a No. 1 starter, could prove a match for the Marlins if they are willing to give up either righthander Daniel Cabrera or Hayden Penn, reliever Jorge Julio and outfielder Larry Bigbie, with the Marlins likely sending them outfielder Juan Encarnacion -- another potential free agent -- along with Burnett.

In recent years, however, the Orioles have shown great reluctance at acquiring potential free agents, passing on deals for first baseman Derrek Lee and righthander Tim Hudson because they could not sign them to contract extensions before making the trades. ...

If Lou Piniella is fed up with the Devil Rays, then he should follow the example of Jim Leyland, who walked away from the final two years and $4 million on his contract when he resigned from the Rockies after burning out in 1999. Piniella's contract runs through next season, and he reportedly has nearly $7 million coming. Resigning would be the honorable thing to do; he'd find another job, though probably not for as much money. ...

Here's how the Reds can trade beleaguered lefthander Eric Milton: By offering to pay half of his remaining salary to a team that plays in a pitcher-friendly park. The Nationals, Giants or Tigers might be willing to take a chance on Milton if they were paying him $4.25 million per season instead of $8.5 million.

The Phillies' trade of second baseman Placido Polanco for reliever Ugueth Urbina seemed like a good idea at the time, but the deal already looks like a loser. Urbina allowed five homers in his first 5 1/3 innings at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park. Polanco not only has given the Tigers a major offensive boost at second base, but also has emerged as a leader. ...

The price will be high for Rockies lefthanded reliever Brian Fuentes, who continues to draw significant interest from the Marlins and other clubs. Fuentes, 29, is 8-for-10 in save opportunities, opponents are batting only .202 against him and he is earning only $328,000; he becomes eligible for arbitration after this season.

Brewers rookie second baseman Rickie Weeks drew nine walks in his first 59 plate appearances for an on-base percentage of .441, and his bat speed is something to behold. Weeks got down 0-2 in his first at-bat against Cubs RHP Carlos Zambrano, then fouled off a pitch and took a ball before hitting an RBI single to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead. ...

The Cubs rejected the Rockies' offer of outfielder Preston Wilson for a package of three prospects. Wilson, who turns 31 in July, is only about 18 months older than A's center fielder Mark Kotsay but offers more power. Both can be free agents after this season. ...

The Nationals' attendance surge gives them the ability to increase payroll, but the team lacks the surplus of young talent needed to make trades. The loss of outfielder Terrmel Sledge, who underwent surgery on his right hamstring and likely is out for the season, has proven particularly damaging. A package of Sledge and righthander Zach Day could have brought the Nationals a significant part. ...

The Orioles' demotion of utility man David Newhan prompted the Brewers to inquire whether he was available in a trade, but Newhan played just one inning in Class AAA before the Orioles brought him back to replace B.J. Surhoff, who went on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his left rib cage. The Orioles would not have traded Newhan anyway. ...

The Blue Jays plan to start using rookie shortstop Russ Adams, a lefthanded hitter, against lefties as well as righties. Adams has made 13 errors, tied for the A.L. lead among shortstops, but the Jays love his alertness in the field. Third base coach Brian Butterfield says Adams has improved his arm from below average to average. ...

The Phillies are fortunate that righthander Robinson Tejeda is proving a worthy replacement for lefthander Randy Wolf, who will undergo elbow-ligament transplant surgery on July 1 and be out at least 12 months; Class AAA righthander Gavin Floyd, one of the team's top prospects, isn't the same pitcher he was last season. "He does not have the power curveball that he had, and he doesn't have great command of his fastball," one scout says. "Triple-A hitters are laying off the fastball, and he can't get them to chase his curve. It's more of a slurve this year. He used to have a snap-dragon type breaking ball."

Senior writer Ken Rosenthal covers baseball for Sporting News. Email him at kenrosenthal@sportingnews.com.



The Orioles would be nuts to give up that much talent for Burnett.

seawolf17
Jun 28 2005 12:23 PM

Can we deal Jae Seo (a young starter), Hernandez (a "quality" reliever), and Eric Valent/Ron Calloway (a left-handed hitting outfielder) for Burnett?

(I'm kidding. I don't think Florida would make that deal.)

metirish
Jun 28 2005 12:40 PM

Daniel Cabrera has electric stuff, a harder throwing version of Victor Zambrano, he looked great last night against the MFY at times and then he seems to lose the strike zone, still I'd keep him.

Johnny Dickshot
Jun 28 2005 12:42 PM

I could see the MFYs making that deal-- Gordon + Wang? I'm sure they'd do it. And if I'm the O's maybe I think of it too -- lots of MFY games left on the schedule.

I do not believe in Wang's chance to be anything more than middling good; Goirdon;s old and only has so much left. Burnett of course is inconsistent and frequently injured but has great stuff.

Burnett by the way is a good argument for the unpopular idea of trading your Kazmirs for more experienced guys. If he were to go, all Florida would have gotten in six years were a few flashes of greatness and a couple of big doctor bills while Burnett went 42-43.

Jesus Sanchez, also in that deal, had a career ERA+ of 80 through last year.

We got 95 wins and an above-league-average ERA every year out of Leiter, who was 31 when we acquired him for those guys.

Edgy DC
Jun 28 2005 01:02 PM

And while acknowledging your point, the answer I imagine you'd get from most quarters is that (1) Zambrano is less than Leiter was at that point, (2) Kazmir is more than Burnett was at that point, and (3) the Mets of the 1997-1998 offseason (coming off an 88-74 season) were in a different place than the Mets at the trading deadlline of 2004.

Johnny Dickshot
Jun 28 2005 01:45 PM

Agreed on all 3 counts. But still...

Rotblatt
Jun 29 2005 07:14 AM
Biazarro-World

From the Daily News. Bold added to highlight inconsistencies.

]Because there is a wild card, we must presume there is still plenty of baseball left in the New York summer - in both boroughs. Sustaining momentum after the trading deadline, however, could be dicey. As the scout said, the embarrassing lack of any genuine prospects in the upper level of the Mets farm system figures to prohibit Omar Minaya from making the kind of deal that will bring a big-time productive first baseman.

And the Yankee system is almost as bankrupt, although the consensus among their high command at the powwow with Steinbrenner in Tampa yesterday was that, in the right deal, they would be willing to sacrifice either of their top two Double-A position players, outfielder Melky Cabrera or former No. 1 pick Eric Duncan.


Okay, I'm sorry but in what world does the Yankee farm system have better prospects than us? And what GM would give up more for Cabrera or Duncan net more than, say, Milledge or Petit? And how can this unnamed sportswriter say our upper levels are barren of prospects, then use Yankee AA players to demonstrate the comparitive richness of their system?

Besides, we do have decent prospects in AAA, it's just that the ones who might be ready are pitchers, and we don't need pitchers right now.

Edgy DC
Jun 29 2005 09:01 AM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Jun 29 2005 09:32 AM

OK (1) the two best prospects in the upper farm system (Reyes and Wright) are already in Queens. (2) Is Binghamton the upper farm system? Because there are a handful of gen-u-ine propects there (the second-highest slot among seven farm teams), including a pitcher who is a big-league legacy and is blowing batters' minds. (3) Prospects in the bottom half of a farm system buy big leaguers also.

Lastly, I"m of a mind to stand pat.

Rotblatt
Jun 29 2005 09:28 AM

]Lastly, I"m of a mind to stand pat.


Yeah, me too, at least if our prospects are getting involved. But it still cheeses me off to see our farm system even COMPARED to the wasteland that is the Yankees'.

holychicken
Jun 29 2005 10:06 AM

I am definitely down with "stand pat," but I am also down with sell. . .certainly this appears to be a sellers market. . .

Yancy Street Gang
Jun 29 2005 10:14 AM

I'd be fine if the Mets didn't make any deals before July 31.

A 12-game winning streak, or a 12-game losing streak, in the next couple of weeks might change my mind, though.

Right now they're fuzzy contenders. They probably won't make the playoffs, but they might.

They shouldn't make any radical WIN NOW trades that will hurt the farm system. But I also don't want to see them sell off veterans and kill the small chance that they have of contending.

Again, the lengthy hot or cold streak that puts them significantly closer to or further from first place would change my mind.

metirish
Aug 12 2005 09:36 AM

Anyone here about this rumor?

]By BOB KLAPISCH
SPORTS COLUMNIST




The rumor that another major league star has tested positive for steroids is spreading like some Internet virus, only without a patch on the way. It's out there - in chat rooms, blogs, message boards, a tidal wave of gossip so massive that Major League Baseball and the union issued a joint statement this week, telling everyone to stop hyperventilating.

The fact that Bud Selig and Donald Fehr, blood enemies, are speaking with one voice tells you how serious this PR crisis has become. Is it true, though? Even the clueless David Wells got a whiff of the scandal. On his Web site, Boomer33.com, the larger than life (and larger than his uniform) lefty writes, "I hear that there is about 58 more guys that have tested positive and if that's true, this game is screwed! Congress will have a field day with it."

Exaggeration aside, Boomer actually has a point: The feds are waiting to take control of baseball's steroid-enforcement policy and emasculate Selig Fehr once and for all. Ever since Rafael Palmeiro was accused of lying to Congress, there's been an uneasy feeling among MLB officials that the real trouble has only begun.


That's why every rumor, no matter how outrageous or unfair, suddenly has legs. Hopefully the whisperers are wrong. Let's all wish for a better world where 400-foot home runs (and 3,000 hits) are products of old-school virtues like hard work. But if Palmeiro, who had the nerve to shake his finger at Congress while proclaiming his innocence, was really just another scam artist, who can we really trust anymore? Now every ball over the fence is met with raised eyebrows. So are the guys who've kept their best fastballs in a year when radar gun readings are down. That's the poison Palmeiro has unleashed on the sport, casting doubt on everyone else. Not a day goes by lately without some tipster calling a newspaper to swear Barry Bonds or Jason Giambi is going down next.

In any other year, perhaps, Giambi's resurrection would've been found on Page 1 of the Never Give Up handbook. Hard work in the weight room, extra time in the batting cages, a positive attitude - that's all it took to rescue his career, right? The purist in all of us wants to believe it. But in this era, it takes more than faith to assume no one's cheating.

That's why the rumors are floating over baseball. Maybe there's an inkling of truth to them. Maybe that's why Selig and Fehr are working in concert. Maybe they're running scared, knowing their jobs are on the line if the big leagues are suddenly swamped with suspensions.

Congress is warming up for a corporate massacre. Tough guys like Tom Davis and Henry Waxman never will forget they were played for fools by Palmeiro - who, by the way, will now be investigated for perjury. Selig and Fehr could be the next to face the feds' wrath.

No wonder everyone's so jittery. No wonder when the commissioner and the union chief start bleating about everyone's innocence, a little voice in our heads says: They doth protest too much.

Edgy DC
Aug 12 2005 09:51 AM

Bob Klapisch is foolish.

Rotblatt
Aug 12 2005 10:19 AM

You know what wouldn't be foolish, though? Penalizing the team for its player's misconduct.

At minimum a hefty fine, and at maximum maybe bar them from post-season play.

Shocking? Yes, but shouldn't the team have a responsbility to know what goes on in their clubhouse? And is it fair that a team should make the post-season on the backs of juiced-up cheaters?

At a minimum, it would result in a whole lot more "Steriod use=voided contract" clauses, which would hit the players where it hurts.

Would the Yankees have signed Giambi with such rules in place? Would they have turned a blind eye to his steroid use?

If they're serious about preventing steroid use, they have to get the teams invested in the process.

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 12 2005 10:59 AM

There's no practical way to bar a team from postseason play.

If a guy tests positive in Tampa Bay, they could just shrug off the ban. They're not going to be in the postseason anyway.

But what happens if the White Sox were barred tomorrow? What would the rest of their season be like? Would the AL Central go the the second-place team? What if ten players tested positive? You could end up with some pretty mediocre teams in the playoffs.

A better approach might be, in addition to hefty fines, to make a team sit out the first rounds of the next amatuer draft. Or maybe the whole draft.

Rotblatt
Aug 12 2005 11:12 AM

Ooh, I like that idea, Yancy. The whole draft might be tough, but even the first three rounds would do the trick, IMO.

Regarding the post-season, you're probably right, but I get pissed everytime I think of Giambi's part in preventing the Sox from winning the ALCS in 2003.

If they tried to take the pennant away from the Yankees that year, I'd support it in a heartbeat.

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 12 2005 11:14 AM

A team already is penalized when a player tests positive, via suspensions for their players -- introducing additional punishments to the team would open the door to all sorts of unintended consequences.

Edgy DC
Aug 12 2005 11:15 AM

I always liked the idea of, after each game, collecting a sample from every player who appeared, and testing it collectively. If the sample comes up positive, the game is forfeited. Let the team suss out the violator.

I'm sure there's numerous flaws in that.

PatchyFogg
Aug 12 2005 11:19 AM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Aug 12 2005 11:20 AM

]I always liked the idea of, after each game, collecting a sample from every player who appeared, and testing it collectively.


Think about all of the jobs that would be created.....

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 12 2005 11:19 AM

You guys should be judges in Texas.

Willets Point
Aug 12 2005 11:24 AM

="PatchyFogg"]
Think about all of the jobs that would be created.....




"Oh, piss-boy!!"

OE: Wow, do I know how to kill a thread or what?

PatchyFogg
Aug 13 2005 12:22 AM

I will say that this guy is pretty funny, though:

http://barstoolsports.com/article/The_Definitive_MLB__Simpsons_Analogy_List/344/

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 13 2005 12:39 AM

Excellent.

Willets Point
Aug 15 2005 01:26 PM

Krusty is coming, Krusty is coming....

metirish
Aug 17 2005 01:00 PM

]By BOB KLAPISCH
SPORTS COLUMNIST




NEW YORK - If you're having trouble forming an opinion about the 2005 Mets, rest assured, you're already part of a much larger fraternity. The Mets themselves are sifting through a cocktail of good news (they are 3½ out of the wild card) and bad (they have to climb over four teams to make it to October), which explains why no one knows what to make of the final 44 games.

Is there really a September hot streak waiting to be hatched at Shea, the one GM Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph speak so optimistically about? Or are the Mets destined to finish out the summer at exactly their current speed - winning slightly more than half their games, showing occasional flashes of excellence, but otherwise dooming themselves with that sluggish offense? No one has the answer - not Minaya, Randolph nor the players — but the Mets are at least buoyed by the fact that no one has run away from the pack in the wild-card race, and that 24 of the last 32 games will be played within the division.

That's the good news. So is Carlos Beltran's decision to skip surgery. And Steve Trachsel's imminent return to the rotation counts for something, too. So why isn't anyone celebrating?


"The general feeling is that we should've been in a better situation record-wise," said assistant GM Jim Duquette. "We've turned the tide, we're going in the right direction, but we all had higher expectations. We felt our record should've been better by now."

What hurts most is knowing this was the year the Braves were most vulnerable, at least in the first half, and for whatever it's worth, the Yankees were languishing through their worst pitching summer in a decade. This could've been the Mets' breakthrough season, not just in the NL East, but in greater New York, as well.

Instead, their wounds have been mostly self-inflicted. Despite Pedro Martinez's wizardry, the Mets still lose more than 60 percent of their games on the road - unacceptable for any team hoping to reach the promised land. The Mets have lost eight games in which they have taken a lead into the eighth inning. And for all the hype that Beltran's signing created, the offense is still decidedly middle-of-the-pack: fifth in the NL in runs, seventh in slugging percentage and 10th in on-base percentage.

Of course, identifying the Mets' blemishes is easier than covering them up. You could point to the madness of ever letting Jose Reyes (and his .298 on-base percentage) bat leadoff, but Randolph's choices are somewhat limited now that Mike Cameron is out for the season.

There's no getting around Mike Piazza's decline-phase .260 average, or the lack of production at first base. The Mets' fate at that position was sealed the moment Carlos Delgado and his publicity-addicted agent, David Sloane, picked the Marlins over the Mets last winter.

But what about Beltran - a nice guy who obviously plays hard and is willing to play in pain for the rest of the season? The Mets appreciate the sacrifice, but that doesn't diminish the disappointment in his .267 average, or the fact that he's hit exactly one home run in his last 69 at-bats.

The Mets are reluctant to say they expect more from Beltran, even though they obviously do. Instead, Minaya repeats the team's mantra, saying, "It's not about one guy here. It's a team thing."

Truth is, the Mets are still looking for a leader for the last 44 games, and if it isn't Beltran, then they'll have to accept a patchwork effort - Pedro every fifth day, David Wright as he continues to mature and who knows, maybe Kris Benson, too.

If nothing else, Benson did exactly what the Mets asked of him Tuesday night, kicking off a critical six-game homestand by throwing strikes at the knees and the corners, smothering the Pirates in a 6-2 win.

Benson's finest moment came in the sixth inning, after allowing back-to-back singles to Daryl Ward and Rob Mackowiak. The Mets' righty regained command of his signature pitch, the sinking two-seam fastball, and induced a double play grounder from Jose Castillo, then snuffed out the rally by getting Humberto Cota to bounce to second.

Those are the small moments of triumph the Mets will need down the stretch, particularly in the next two weeks. The Mets need to take at least 2-of-3 from the iron-poor Pirates and not squander that gain in a weekend series against the Nationals.

The real test comes immediately afterward, when the Mets are being victimized by their second trip out west in two weeks. The only upside is facing the Diamondbacks and Giants, who entering Tuesday were a combined 22 games under .500.

If the Mets fall apart on that seven-game stretch, they don't deserve to be a wild card team, and a season of modest improvement could turn to mist.

What, exactly, happens to the Mets away from Shea? Like all the other burning questions, no one in the organization seems to know.

"I can't explain it, but we have to do something about it," Martinez said. "We have to beat up on the little teams. If not, forget it."

Pedro punctuated the point by rubbing his palms together. The gesture needed no translation: Win or else the Mets are finished.

There's still time, of course, and the Mets still have enough talent to make September interesting, if not October. If you want to be kind, you can say the Mets have erased the memory of clueless Art Howe, and in that sense, the season has already been a success.

But that logic won't go far at Shea - not now, not when the Mets are taking a deep breath, preparing for a final sprint to the playoffs, convincing themselves the glass really is half-full.

Elster88
Aug 17 2005 01:42 PM

]The Mets have lost eight games in which they have taken a lead into the eighth inning.


This sounds bad, but I'm guessing it's not too far removed from the league norm.

Edgy DC
Aug 17 2005 01:44 PM

I have to figure out a way to engage the Klapish filter.

Elster88
Aug 17 2005 01:47 PM

]clueless Art Howe


Hello, Mr. Kettle. You are black.

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 17 2005 01:56 PM

I didn't think that was a particularly bad article at all. Honest (the Mets and us don't seem to know what's going to happen) and perceptive (that was a huge DP from Benson last night).

The whole "this is the year they take back New York" perspective is beside the real point, and while I get the impression that the Mets needn't convince themselves they have something still to play for -- this season HAS been different from last year in lots of ways.

Edgy DC
Aug 17 2005 02:01 PM

Is there really a September hot streak waiting to be hatched at Shea, the one GM Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph speak so optimistically about?

Hasn't at least one member of the Mets brain trust been accused of this since 2001?

Elster88
Aug 17 2005 02:07 PM

Edgy DC wrote:
Is there really a September hot streak waiting to be hatched at Shea, the one GM Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph speak so optimistically about?

Hasn't at least one member of the Mets brain trust been accused of this since 2001?


It's lamented every year, except of course the years when they actually have one. Then the writers take credit for the idea.

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 17 2005 02:09 PM

I don;t see that as an accusation. WWSB all year has been talking about having a hot streak and I believe he has the players believing it too. Some days, I'm convinced one is imminent.

MFS62
Aug 17 2005 02:12 PM

Johnny, please refresh my memory. What does WWSB stand for?

Later

Vic Sage
Aug 17 2005 02:13 PM

it seems to me emblematically empty-headed for Klapisch to pick Beltran's .267 BA as the indicator of his poor season, when he hit the same last year. Meanwhile, he ignores the 100 point drop in OPS.

and then there is this:

]What, exactly, happens to the Mets away from Shea? Like all the other burning questions, no one in the organization seems to know.

"I can't explain it, but we have to do something about it," Martinez said. "We have to beat up on the little teams. If not, forget it."


the pythagorean w-l is higher than the mets actual record. They're better then they were, they just haven't been lucky this year.

It continually amazes me how sportscasters and players alike refuse to acknowledge the importance of luck in determining wins and losses. Instead, they seek metaphysical explanations, and try to do "something about it". There is nothing to be done except keep playing as hard and as well as you can, don't get down, and wait for your luck to turn.

this is not to say they deserved to be a playoff team this year, even before the "collision", but with better luck their actual production could've netted them a 85-88 win season. Maybe 90.

The good thing is, this type of underperformance relative to runs scored/allowed doesnt customarily happen 2 years in a row... unless, of course, your manager is a complete bobo who gives away outs like they're candy corns on Holloween.

oh, and great move, Mr. WWSB... the incapacitation of our entire OF has finally forced you to bat Wright in the top 1/3rd of the order. Mazel Tov. Now, if Reyes gets Gout, maybe you'll bat him 8th?

metirish
Aug 17 2005 02:16 PM

]It continually amazes me how sportscasters and players alike refuse to acknowledge the importance of luck in determining wins and losses.


Good point, this is why Billy Beane considers getting to the post-season a success, after that it's a crap-shoot he likes to say.

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 17 2005 02:17 PM

Wee Willie Small Balls. Inspired, multipurpose nickname by our own Vic Sage, invented about 5 seconds into the Willie Randolph Era, IIRC.

Vic Sage
Aug 17 2005 02:20 PM

7 seconds... I waited to give him the benefit of the doubt.

MFS62
Aug 17 2005 02:20 PM

Thank you.

Later

Edgy DC
Aug 17 2005 02:22 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Aug 29 2005 01:46 PM

WWSB all year has been talking about having a hot streak and I believe he has the players believing it too. Some days, I'm convinced one is imminent.

But aren't they really just doing what a leader does --- encouraging his (or, in theory, her) team to keep grinding, stay focused, stay positive, and sooner or later their luck will catch up with them? It's not like Randolph (or any fool) was actually talking about a September winning streak redeeming the season in back in April. He's just trying to stay positive. But optimism like that (from Valentine, Howe, or Randolph) can get subtley reframed into an empty promise (and a call for heads) if it doesn't happen.

Rotblatt
Aug 17 2005 02:36 PM

Just to expand on Vic's point, we're currently sitting 5 games below where we "ought" to be, via BP's Adjusted Standings. Based on our W3, we should be on track for 89 wins, instead of 82. And yes, that's looking like enough to give us the wild card.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/standings.php

The only teams with a bigger net loss are the D-Rays (-6.2), the Royals (-5.3) & the Rangers (-8.6). The common thread there might very well be poor in-game management, given that Pinella has been god-awful as well. Not really sure about the Rangers or Royals' skippers, but it wouldn't suprise me.

Anyone have any insight on them?

The top three in wins over projections are: White Sox (+12.2), the Nationals (+7.6) & the Cards (+7.2).

The luckiest division has been the NLW with 12.6 wins above projections.

Just to be clear, I think Willie does a nice job with the players but he doesn't seem to understand how to use his bullpen and has made some incredibly poor choices in terms of who to call up when.

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 17 2005 02:43 PM

OK. While I don't doubt failure will be punished by writers by any means, I don't see Klap as necessarily setting a trap here. I think he's wondering like I am whether it can happen, whereas he might have taken a similar sentiment from Howe with a lot more skepticism.

Elster88
Aug 17 2005 02:48 PM

]The luckiest division has been the NLW with 12.6 wins above projections


So their records actually reflect luck?! Imagine where'd they'd be otherwise.

metirish
Aug 22 2005 09:21 AM

This is just wrong, from the Daily News, booing is one thing but this is fucked up, read the last two paragraphs.



]Home stand finale one bad trip





No matter how the Mets tried to put a happy smile on it, one loss felt like two. Three dreadful innings Saturday night melted into one frightful inning yesterday, and when the screaming at Shea was over, the Mets didn't look or feel like much of a playoff team.
It could be our imagination, but it sure seemed like they were packing their bags extra slowly following a 7-4 loss to the Nationals that wrapped up a 4-2 home stand. A dreaded road trip loomed, four games in Arizona followed by three in San Francisco, and the more Willie Randolph downplayed its importance, the more this upcoming week began to sound as if it would count twice in the standings.

Randolph kept insisting we shouldn't make "too big of a deal" about the trip. "I don't want guys to get too crazy," he said, as if his players might otherwise head west whistling and skipping, and blissfully ignorant of their 23-35 record in the other guys' ballparks.

Oh, but they knew. You could see it in their eyes, in the way they squinted when the subject was broached. You could hear it in the voices, their clipped responses to questions about failure, and not yesterday's failure, either. That's the curious thing. The Mets should have been thrilled to escape Shea's vicious clutch, its voracious fans who in the space of 24 hours had so viciously turned on a team that is still in the middle of the wild card race.

Kris Benson was the first Met to feel the sharp teeth. His pitching line read like something out of Kansas City: two-thirds of an inning, 10 batters faced, six runs on eight hits. Benson lasted 25 minutes, threw 37 pitches and spent the rest of the day punishing himself.

"We just couldn't stop the avalanche," Randolph said. "Just chalk it up to one of those days."

One night earlier, Randolph made a decision that reverberated through breakfast. He pulled Pedro Martinez after six innings, after he threw 78 pitches (a statistic the Mets, like most teams, follow as closely as the dollars on their paychecks). Martinez left with an 8-0 lead, but hours later, after his teammates were booed more harshly than ever while narrowly pulling out a 9-8 10th-inning win, Pedro admitted his back had tightened up, probably from a bad night of sleep. There are tens of thousands of Mets fans who either ignored or never heard that hardly minor fact.

If only Benson could blame his afternoon on a lumpy pillow, or a romp with one of his nine dogs. But he said his body felt fine, that his stuff wasn't any different from his last start, when he allowed Pittsburgh only two runs in seven innings. Rather than slip into the showers and out of sight yesterday, Benson plopped onto the dugout bench and stewed in his own sweat and grime through 8-1/3 innings. He was half slapping himself, half hoping his bad karma would have a reverse effect.

"I didn't feel right going back in the clubhouse," said Benson.

The locker next to Benson's was the only cheerful spot in the house. It didn't have a name plate, and it might have a different occupant once the team returns home, but for now it belonged to Mike Jacobs, the only Met who dared to smile. He kept gushing about how "unbelievable" and "awesome" it felt to hit a three-run homer in his first big league plate appearance. He'd be wise to freeze the sounds of the crowd's clamoring for a curtain call, because there is no guarantee Shea will always be so kind.

Jacobs' homer in the fifth provided the only reprieve from a crowd that appeared to have stayed overnight, too disgusted to move. Its grumbling reached fever pitch as the Mets kept teasing and retreating, leaving runners stranded everywhere. The seventh inning was particularly painful, as lefty reliever Joey Eischen struck out Cliff Floyd on three pitches with the bases loaded.

Few were in the mood to give any Mets a break. People who were in the stands Saturday night during that bullpen meltdown say some of the vitriol went far over the top, into the racist sphere. Aaron Heilman was serenaded with chants about Hitler, Danny Graves had his Vietnamese heritage ridiculed and Dae-Sung Koo was viciously mocked. An organization that prides itself on family values might want to check out the action on the first-base line during the next home stand.

To their credit, the Mets' relievers had nothing to say about these few fans who wear their bigotry like a badge. Graves was roughly booed when he came out of the bullpen yesterday, but he pitched an easy sixth and seventh and left to cheers. Heilman induced the Nats into a double play to end the eighth. Soon the clubhouse was swarming with reporters and TV cameras, jostling for position among suitcases and weary players. Nobody bothered talking with the relievers, the Mets who had done their job. They walked toward the bus, and what they hope will be friendlier environs.


Elster88
Aug 22 2005 11:08 AM

I am starting to dislike Met fans.

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 22 2005 11:12 AM

Mets fans are idiots.

MFS62
Aug 22 2005 11:16 AM

Yet there are some sportscasters who take the high road.

Costas refuses to host show about Holloway
CNN wanted him to anchor show about girl who went missing in Aruba

NEW YORK - While some cable TV hosts are making their living off the Natalee Holloway case this summer, Bob Costas is having none of it. Costas, hired by CNN as an occasional fill-in on “Larry King Live,” refused to anchor Thursday’s show because it was primarily about the Alabama teenager who went missing in Aruba. Chris Pixley filled in at the last minute.

“I didn’t think the subject matter of Thursday’s show was the kind of broadcast I should be doing,” Costas said in a statement. “I suggested some alternatives but the producers preferred the topics they had chosen. I was fine with that, and respectfully declined to participate.”

Costas’ manager declined to elaborate on what Costas didn’t like about the topic. Thursday’s guests included Beth Holloway Twitty, the girl’s mother; a television reporter; and an investigator in the case. Seven of the show’s 10 guests talked about the missing girl, the other segments were about the BTK killer.

The Holloway case has been a big attraction on cable news networks during a slow news period, with Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren getting record ratings as she’s paid almost nonstop attention to it. Reports of Costas’ decision first surfaced on the mediabistro.com Web site on Friday.

“There were no hard feelings at all,” Costas said. “It’s not a big deal. I’m sure there are countless topics that will be mutually acceptable in the future.” Wendy Walker, senior executive producer of “Larry King Live,” described it as a mutual decision for Costas not to do the show because he was uncomfortable with the subject matter. “We love having Bob ... and since ‘Larry King Live’ covers an extremely extensive palate of subjects, there will always be shows that he will enjoy hosting,” she said.

The NBC Sports personality, also host of “Costas Now” on HBO, had agreed to be host for about 20 editions of “Larry King Live” this year. He’s done six, the network said. His decision is reminiscent of Keith Olbermann, the former sportscaster who left his MSNBC news show in the late 1990s in part because he was asked to repeatedly cover the Monica Lewinsky story. Olbermann is back now for his second run at MSNBC.

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 22 2005 11:29 AM

]The Holloway case has been a big attraction on cable news networks during a slow news period


When I read that, I was reminded of how, four summers ago, it was also a "slow news period" and the cable news networks were talking about nothing but Chandra Levy.

I also remember a lot of people lamenting that the news was slow. That ended abruptly on September 11.

Of course, with American soldiers facing danger every day in Iraq, this shouldn't be called a "slow news period."

Willets Point
Aug 22 2005 12:59 PM

Looks like the Shea security let all the bigots sit in the front row along the first base line, but kept all the Jewish and dark-skinned Mets fans in the Mezz back rows.

metirish
Aug 23 2005 10:42 AM

Not a terrible article form Klap, a few lines though.

]Klap: Willie rubs off on Mets

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

By BOB KLAPISCH
SPORTS COLUMNIST

PHOENIX - The door to Willie Randolph's office was closed, and even his coaches knew better than to walk in or even knock. Business was being transacted inside, and you didn't need very long tentacles to know why Mike Jacobs had been summoned and what the rookie and the manager were talking about.

Only a few hours away from his first major league start, Jacobs may or may not have been surfing on a tidal wave of adrenaline. Randolph studied the kid's face for clues, then ushered him inside for a one-on-one the Mets say has become their manager's calling card this summer.

When the door opened, the rookie was smiling, and so was Randolph. "I appreciate it," is what Jacobs said. No other words were necessary. It was a subtle triumph, and a revealing moment in Randolph's evolution as the Mets' leader.

Slowly but surely, Willie is carving out the personality traits that could be critical to his team in the final 38 games. He's a compelling mix of Lou Piniella's passion and Joe Torre's wisdom, with just enough of Billy Martin's edge to remind the Mets never to cross him.


Randolph has taken the Mets a long way in 2005 - further than they should've gone, considering how flawed they truly are. Yet they began a critical seven-game road trip Monday night with a 4-1 win over the Diamondbacks prompting Randolph to say, "I feel a different energy right now. If you are a manager you're attuned to your team, and I feel good about [the road trip]."

The Mets aren't the best team in the wild-card race, but their blessing is knowing the field is stocked with similarly blemished teams. The Astros can't hit, the Marlins and Phillies have underachieved all year, and the Mets just took two-of-three from the Nationals.

So now it's a sprint, starting with this trip. For all the weight that Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran will be asked to assume at the 11th hour, no one will have a greater impact on the Mets' fortunes than Randolph.

If he panics - if he fails to negotiate that fine line between having to win this week and preserving his engine parts for late September - the Mets are sunk. But if Randolph can keep the Mets in that perfect state of cool - Hemingway called it grace under pressure – they have a chance to survive a brutal stretch between now and Sept.Ÿ11, when they're on the road for 17 of 20 games.

Working the clubhouse, talking to players, getting in their heads is what Randolph does best. He says, "I've been in these situations before. This is my environment. It's all I know, so I wake up excited about what's in front of me."

Randolph got his schooling from Torre, who's earned his millions as a Yankee from the moment the game ends until the first pitch the next day. He wrote the patent on keeping the clubhouse free of turmoil, and it's obvious how Randolph has borrowed that formula with the Mets.

There aren't a lot of team meetings in Randolph's world, nor is there much deep-tissue anxiety whenever the Mets lose. That's partly because Randolph is in the first year of his contract, and he doesn't feel Steinbrenner's hot breath on his neck.

Still, Randolph and Torre are alike in how they regard their place in their team's day-to-day fate.

"I'm responsible for this team, and that's why I don't feel any pressure," Randolph said. "My job is to keep players confident and motivated and I'll do whatever I can to help. The rest is up to them."

It won't be easy. Randolph has a difficult decision ahead regarding Steve Trachsel, who's coming off the disabled list today just in time to be sent to the bullpen, where he'll be impatiently waiting to pitch.

It'll be up to Randolph whether to let Trachsel suffer a bruised ego, or perhaps go to a six-man rotation. That would preserve Martinez's shoulder. But the Mets also need Pedro to throw more, not less, as the pennant race heats up, which is why Randolph is so careful not to commit to any policy changes.

No contender uses six pitchers in September. Conventional thinkers would call that lunacy. But how does Randolph muscle Jae Seo out of the rotation after he allowed just one earned run in three starts? Then again, how do the Mets keep pushing Pedro, who's thrown nearly 400 innings in the last two seasons and doesn't come close to the 95 mph radar gun readings of his prime?

No wonder Randolph seems so intense these days. The spring training feel-good aura has morphed into something much edgier - which isn't necessarily bad, not when you compare Randolph to the oblivious Art Howe.

It's impossible to think of Howe dealing with a race this tight, having to navigate the Mets through a path that will take them through Florida, Atlanta and St. Louis on the next road trip.

If the Mets are still breathing by mid-September, it's because Pedro's arm is still intact and Beltran is finally driving in runs. But that karma comes from the manager's office, too, where Randolph is teaching the Mets about September's holy grail - grace under pressure.

E-mail: klapisch@northjersey.com





Randolph got his schooling from Torre, who's earned his millions as a Yankee from the moment the game ends until the first pitch the next day. He wrote the patent on keeping the clubhouse free of turmoil, and it's obvious how Randolph has borrowed that formula with the Mets.



well that's just funny, Joe wrote the patent, WTF?

Elster88
Aug 23 2005 10:45 AM

I know it shouldn't bother me, because the drivel of idiots shouldn't bother me. But it's distressing that a lot of the success from this year will be passed off as being borrowed from the Yankees, because somehow Willie brought it over.

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 23 2005 11:53 AM

I do think WWSB and Joe are alike however. Neither has distinguished themselves as a brilliant strrategist, both tend to trust only a few relief pitchers at any one time, both seem to have managed dissention and distraction well.

No need for the shot at Art Howe -- he'd won plenty of big games with the right talent.

mlbaseballtalk
Aug 23 2005 10:49 PM

Surprised no one has yet to make comparisions between Willie and his REAL MANAGING MENTOR, that would be Billy Martin.

Course not in the asshole, paranoid, drunken old bastard way, but in the master stratgist, the small ball, getting his guys to play his style, ect.

Course that would mean the media would have to stop kissing up to Steinbrenner and remind themselves about how horrid the times were back then

Steve

metirish
Aug 23 2005 10:53 PM

Good one Steve, Willie himself has said that the manager he learned the most form is Martin and that out of all the people he has worked with Martin has had the most influence.

Rotblatt
Aug 30 2005 09:43 AM

From today's Daily News (bold added):

]Minaya didn't write off the Mets' playoff chances when Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron collided Aug. 11 in San Diego, sending both players to the hospital with concussions and fractures that likely ended Cameron's season. But things didn't look good at that point, not after the Mets lost that game to the Padres, 2-1. However, since that road trip ended with Pedro Martinez losing a no-hit bid and the game to the Dodgers, the Mets have gone 9-4. They've done it without significant contributions from Beltran - relying heavily on Ramon Castro, Mike Jacobs, Miguel Cairo and Victor Diaz.


http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/story/341794p-291853c.html

Um, Miguel fucking Cairo? Are you serious? This is what he's done for us since then:

.137 AVG/.170 OBP/.176 SLG/.346 OPS
2 BB, 4 K, 1 SB, 1 CS, 3 R, 1 RBI

That's absolutely terrible. He's probably been one of the worst regulars in baseball over that time frame, and you're calling it a significant contribution?

Jesus, Matsui has been better than Cairo since then:

.231 AVG/.259 OBP/.269 SLG/.528 OPS

And it's not like it wasn't obvious that Cairo's sucked to anyone who bothered to watch the games. You DO watch the games,don't you?

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 30 2005 10:06 AM

To be fair, they didn't say that Cairo contributed significantly. The article said that the Mets relied heavily on him.

It's possible to rely heavily on somebody and have them not do the job.

Rotblatt
Aug 30 2005 10:17 AM

heh. Good point, Yance, although we've relied more heavily on Beltran over that stretch. Since he declared himself healthy, I don't think he's had a day off--unlike Cairo. And if you don't need to produce to be relied upon, then Beltran certainly fits the bill . . .

Anyway, I agree with the article's larger point: that Beltran needs to start producing if we want to reach the playoffs.

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 30 2005 10:55 AM

If Beltran can strap the team onto his back for about six weeks or so, the Mets can go a long way.

I don't think we can expect that to happen, but it's not unreasonable to hope for it.

Elster88
Aug 30 2005 11:08 AM

Yancy Street Gang wrote:
To be fair, they didn't say that Cairo contributed significantly. The article said that the Mets relied heavily on him.

It's possible to rely heavily on somebody and have them not do the job.


Within the context of the entire sentence, I think they actually meant to imply that Cairo was contributing significantly.

_____________________________
This post was made under the posting designation 170) Barry Lyons

Bret Sabermetric
Aug 30 2005 11:10 AM

it's almost a reasonable hope, given Beltran's surge late last year, and the hopes the Mets have, not unreasonably, pinned on him to live up to. I'd posit the guess that if the Mets are to play like legitimate contenders this month, it's going to be because they had a HOFer suddenly descend onto their lineup, because they've been at least one HOFer* short of being a strong club all year long.


* a player worth 5 or more wins above an average ballplayer's contribution.

MFS62
Aug 31 2005 07:53 AM

Nice Slap at the Fans:



]Met Magic? Fans Don't Believe

August 31, 2005

Jon Heyman
Newsday

Here's a Newsday exclusive: The Mets are in a pennant race.

(OK, I'll admit it. That wasn't any more of an exclusive than some of the "exclusives" claimed by one of our competing tabloids.)

Yet it requires mentioning. Because the message obviously is not getting out.

This is a fine Mets team, an exciting Mets team, one that's worth watching. Really, it is.

This is a contending Mets team, one that has as good a chance as anyone of winning the National League wild card.

Ya Gotta Believe, no?

Maybe if the team makes the playoffs, it will sell out then.

Maybe not.

The only games that fill Shea Stadium lately are the ones that guarantee the merengue, the Latin appreciation nights. How about some plain ol' baseball appreciation nights? Maybe the better business model is to 86 the baseball and salsa their way through September.

If something doesn't change, the Mets' September will be filled with meaningful yet rarely seen games.

They returned from a hugely successful 5-2 trip, after finally proving they can win away from Shea and put a nice streak together, to face the wild-card-leading Phillies and a too-empty house. I wonder which was more demoralizing, the unoccupied seats or the first-inning home runs by Phillies Kenny Lofton and Pat Burrell.

No matter, the Mets bounced back from both, erasing a 4-1 deficit to win, 6-4.

"I think they're missing something if they don't come. This is a very exciting team they should be proud to come see," manager Willie Randolph said. "I don't know who's here and who isn't, as long as there's a few."

The players' performance was typically enthralling last night. The fans' performance was abysmal. The announced crowd was 36,505. That's 20,864 less than it should have been.

"The weather didn't help us tonight. I would be more upset if the weather was perfect," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said. "The weather's been threatening all day. There's a hurricane out there."

Wilpon was talking 15 minutes before game time, and Shea was mostly empty. There were a decent number of late arrivers. Yet, even after everyone filed in, the green mezzanine section was nearly half empty and the red upper-deck section was half empty.

This team isn't a mirage. The fans need to stop treating it like one. This team deserves your attention, your patronage, your respect.

The Yankees routinely sell out, even when they are playing nonentities. They sold out against the Royals in rain on Sunday.

The Cyclones sell out. So why not their big club?

What's keeping them away?

If it's the gas prices, well, they aren't keeping Yankees fans home.

If they're waiting for Pedro, they can go to two games.

If it's the wild card, that's plain silly.

The Marlins won two World Series via the wild card. Is the Red Sox's title tarnished by the wild card? Heck no.

"If we win tonight and get to within a half-game, I think you'll start seeing a difference," Wilpon said before the game.

Sure, Mets fans are skeptical after enduring the Mo Vaughn Era, which partly coincided with the Art Howe Error. That's understandable.

But 130 games have been played. It's time, Mets fans.

It's time to forget the past, to embrace the present, and to realize the Mets are worth your time.

Mike Cameron made it to the ballpark yesterday. If Cameron, who broke his face diving and colliding for a liner, can make it to Shea, you can make it, too.

George Will made it to the park, and he brought family members. Davey Johnson made it to the ballpark to promote the Viagra Comeback Player of the Year award. What, you were expecting Rafael Palmeiro?

There's plenty to see.

David Wright and Jose Reyes are two of the brightest young players in baseball. Wright is already there, Reyes is almost there. Both feature headfirst slides almost nightly.

Carlos Beltran can do many things, and he did some of them last night. He's due to do them more often.

The Mets get a well-pitched game almost every night and should be in any game.

The Mets are one of the faster, more freewheeling, opportunistic teams around. They fly, and they excite.

They should, anyway.

Yet the fans are apparently taking a wait-and-don't-see approach.

"We've got to get 10 games over .500, and then we'll see where we are," Wilpon said.

They'll see where they are. But their fans still may miss it.

"You know, we're trying," Wilpon said.

I wish the same could be said for Mets fans.


Later

seawolf17
Aug 31 2005 08:09 AM

Hey, Jon Heyman! STFU!

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 31 2005 08:36 AM

Obviously a Castro-ized, late-night re-write of his earlier peice: FANS RIGHTLY STAY AWAY FROM PATHETIC PRETENDER

Edgy DC
Aug 31 2005 09:44 AM

I didn't go because the Mets didn't give up two top prospects for Danys Baez like he said they have to.

metirish
Aug 31 2005 10:03 AM

Not for nothing Jon but the weather forecast was not the best yesterday, it did turn out fine though, tonight might be another story, plus the US Open is on.

metirish
Sep 13 2005 03:54 PM

]Shaun Powell
SPORTS COLUMNIST
Guys, is this really worth it?


Three celebrated baseball players, after much thought, made the career-altering decision to chuck it all and come to New York.

Three celebrated baseball players, after weighing their options, figured this was the best one for them.


Three celebrated baseball players, thumbing their noses at conventional wisdom, dumped their winning ballclubs to cash in and play for the Mets.

Are you like me? Do you strongly suspect that Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine - in private moments while sitting in the dugout or the clubhouse - have asked themselves: "Was I nuts or something?"

Of course, they'd never admit that. Never in 200 million years, which is roughly what they're being paid in dollars for their misery.

They are three prideful players, and in the case of Pedro and Glavine, two likely Hall of Famers. Besides, who knows? Maybe in some strange, obscure way, for reasons known only to them, they truly believe this decision has worked out.

But I don't see it.

I see a Frankensteinian experiment that has gone horribly wrong for the three of them. Not in terms of bank account. That part was deeply enriched by taking the money of a desperate team. But the competitor and the winner within Pedro and Glavine and Beltran are suffering right now along with the Mets. That part cannot be denied or disputed.

The Mets are still bleeding from a devastating road trip that all but erased their postseason chances. After flirting and teasing and pretending to be serious players in the National League wild-card chase, they stumbled badly in Miami, Atlanta and St. Louis.

As initially advertised, the Mets remain a work in progress. They now must save face with a respectable home stretch at Shea Stadium, where the fans are just waiting to vent, if given a reason to do so.

All season long, despite solid pitching, the Mets haven't found the winning formula to break the malaise of mediocrity that grips them by the throat.

Meanwhile: Glavine's former team, the Braves, is about to wrap up a division title for the 92nd straight season.

Beltran's former team, the Astros, is arm-wrestling the Marlins for the wild-card lead.

Pedro's former team, the Red Sox, is playoff-bound and could win the World Series again.

You suppose Glavine, Beltran and Pedro have noticed?

Glavine signed with the Mets on Dec. 5, 2002 in search of a little love. And a lot of money. Notice how they go together in sports. The Braves were tomahawking their payroll and weren't willing to offer Glavine much in terms of long-term security. But they could offer a chance to extend a special relationship dating to 1984 with an organization that constantly invents ways to win. Glavine wasn't exactly broke at the time, but he decided cash was better than another division championship. Welcome to the Mets.

In the process, Glavine took another risk. His chances of joining the 300-win club would depend heavily on how much run support the Mets supplied. This was dicey.

Well, here's an update: Glavine has given the Mets mixed results, and when he has pitched well - such as since the All-Star break - the Mets haven't always helped. He's 30-40 as a Met and has 272 victories. How much closer to 300 would he be had he stayed with the Braves?

Beltran sacrificed plenty by leaving Houston: Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, the comfort of a small media market, forgiving fans. At Shea, he's often singled out as the reason the Mets are in last place. All the questions about whether Beltran was made for New York will surface again if he doesn't finish strong. And another thing: He stood to make $100 million had he stayed with the Astros. Once you factor in the absence of a state tax in Texas, was the money that big a difference?

Pedro made more than $80 million on his last Sox contract, but he still fussed about a fourth year on a new deal, which clinched it for the Mets. Free of the insufferable shadow of Curt Schilling, Pedro is clearly the man on his new team. But why should that ego-stroking perk still matter to a player at this stage of his career? And isn't it supposed to be about winning?

Pedro (14-7, 2.93 ERA) traded Manny Ramirez and Big Papi Ortiz for a Mets lineup that has denied him at least four wins. Imagine, then, how many victories Pedro might have with the Red Sox lineup. And how smug he'd feel with Schilling missing much of the year. And how scary the Red Sox would be whenever he pitched.

"I think he's happy with his decision," Ortiz said. "I hope he is." Why would anyone think otherwise?

Edgy DC
Sep 13 2005 04:02 PM

Glavine has done more or less as well as expected. A crafty pitcher in decline. On the Mets, his wins are down. But he bears some responsiblity there.

Pedro has done even better than expected --- a dominant pitcher still able to dominate despite losing velocity. But the Met pen and --- moreso --- batsmen haven't helped him pile up wins. He seems to be having fun as best he can though.

]Beltran sacrificed plenty by leaving Houston: Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, the comfort of a small media market, forgiving fans.


Beltran has nowhere to look but in the mirror. Pettitte and Clemens can't help him.

Those fans weren't exactly a bunch of cupcakes to him when he was down in Houston, either.

metirish
Sep 14 2005 10:32 AM

Piazza best position player ever for the Mets?From Jon Heyman

]Give Piazza suitable send-off


September 14, 2005
Mike Piazza shook the fuzziness out of his concussed head long enough to paint the clearest picture yet regarding his future. Assuming someone will have him next season, Piazza plans to play.

"Yeah, of course," Piazza told a group of reporters. "Everyone kind of assumes I'm not going to be here. I've never said either way. I'm just going to finish as strong as I can, and see what the options are."


We are assuming both things are true. He is gone from here, and he will have other options.

Two National League executives agreed yesterday that Piazza should draw interest, but in the other league. "I assume he'd be attractive as a DH, as long as he's physically capable," one exec said. "He's not going to make the same kind of money ... but then, I assume he doesn't need the money."

With the Mets, the catcher has earned plenty of loot, nearly $100 million. Now, they owe him just one more thing before he goes. The Mets should honor Piazza with a day of his own. It's a ghost town at Shea now, so they would actually be doing themselves a favor.

Anyway, he deserves his day.

Piazza, who is hitting .263 with 15 homers and 56 RBIs, was the Mets' greatest position player ever. He always played hard, often played hurt and never acted like the superstar he was. His talent is outsized, his ego contained. Hall of Famers are supposed to be high maintenance. Piazza never was.

He was supposed to be out six to eight weeks with his broken hand. He returned in three, then homered in his first at-bat back.

Originally, he was stolen from the Dodgers via the Marlins. But it's ensured he'll enter Cooperstown as a Met, the first position player to do so.

He almost always did the right thing. Some fight aficionados (plus noted hothead Mike Hampton) salivated to see him duke it out with Roger Clemens at the 2000 World Series. But that wouldn't have been Mike, and it wouldn't have been right.

About the worst thing we can say about Piazza is he could be moody. He had a right. He carried the team at times (once all the way to the World Series) and was nicked up a lot more than he let on.

A Mets person said they will do something "appropriate" to honor Piazza's accomplishments in his seven seasons. Appropriate means barely noticeable. The thinking is if they do too much, they will be implying he's gone for good. As if we didn't know that already.

Piazza won't complain either way. "I don't know," he said when asked whether he'd like to have a day in his honor. "I feel like I've been appreciated enough here. I truly feel the fans have been great. Plus, it's not in my nature ..."

Piazza never called attention to himself, and he still won't. The attention was unavoidable.

Almost from the moment Piazza arrived, on May 23, 1998, for Preston Wilson, Ed Yarnall and Geoff Goetz, the Mets were a different team. In short order, they were winners.

Piazza will be remembered as the greatest hitting catcher ever, but also as one player who could hack it being the one big gun, no small thing. He was the best player on all of Bobby Valentine's teams.

Some say there was no one defining moment. There were many. He drove Clemens crazy. He hit two home runs in the 2000 League Championship Series vs. St. Louis, and two more against the Yankees in the Subway Series. Fittingly, he and Derek Jeter were the two players to homer at both Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium.

He played for the second team in town, but was never the second fiddle on his own team, back when the Mets were good enough for October.

Yet he never acted like he deserved special treatment. He still doesn't. When Willie Randolph told him he would only be sharing the catching duties with Ramon Castro, Piazza nodded. "Whatever Willie feels is best for the team," Piazza said.

He seemed out of place from the start with the "new" Mets, the one notable holdover from Steve Phillips' regime. So there's no reason to suspect his stay will be lengthened even more. A Mets executive fairly well confirmed that, saying that "unless we get the DH" it wouldn't make sense to bring Piazza back.

"I don't expect anything," Piazza said. "No underlying tones or negative energy. It's all positive."

That's the way Piazza's Mets tenure should be remembered, almost all positive.

Edgy DC
Sep 14 2005 10:37 AM

I've never been big on tribute days to active players, unless they're being saluted for off-the-field stuff or something.

Perspective is a good thing, ghost towns notwithstanding.

metirish
Oct 05 2005 12:43 PM

]At playoff time, Red Sox missing their soul: Pedro
At playoff time, Red Sox missing their soul: Pedro
Oct 5, 2005

CHICAGO -- He's either tending to the lovely petunias in his garden, or toe-tapping to salsa, or primping his pretty hair, or dancing around in a goofy lime green suit, or maybe all the above. One thing we do know, quirky Pedro Martinez, far away from Chicago at the moment, is wasting away at home.

Which is where his former team will be in a few days, if this keeps up.

You only had to see where the Mets finished the season, and how Matt Clement started the postseason, to know Pedro and the Red Sox blew it last winter when they decided to part ways. Pedro went to the Mets, who barely escaped last place in the National League East. The desperate Red Sox then signed Clement, who couldn't escape the fourth inning in Game 1 of the Division Series.

Isn't it apparent by now that Pedro and the Red Sox, in hindsight, needed each other like a left shoe needs the right? As they began defense of their championship in earnest yesterday, the Red Sox were whipped at their own game. Meaning, the White Sox pulled a Papi and slugged their way to a 14-2 victory for an early edge in a short series. The White Sox bloodied Clement from the get-go, punishing the Red Sox starter with a five-run first inning to suck all the suspense from the game. Then the final insult, and the inevitable yanking from the game, came when Clement gave up a two-run homer to the No. 9 hitter, Juan Uribe.

Therefore, the biggest fear of the Red Sox was frighteningly realized on a picnic-perfect afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field, dis-affectionately known as the Cell. They came into this season without a certified ace, because Curt Schilling was mending from offseason surgery. And even if Schilling is fit enough to regain the imposing presence he had last October, he'll pitch only once this series.

The issue isn't whether Clement is a capable, steady pitcher.

He's coming off a respectable 13-6 season, Boston was 22-10 in his starts and at one point he was 9-1. Given all that, he's not Pedro, nor did he have the same impact on his team that Pedro had on his.

Pedro brought fans to the ballpark and some long-awaited luster to the Mets in a debut that was borderline smashing. All season, he demonstrated that he was hardly finished as a dominant pitcher, and whenever Pedro was on the mound the Mets knew they stood a great chance of winning. Problem was, they often failed to support him when he did pitch, and couldn't win much when he didn't. In a sense, Pedro was Michael Schumacher behind the wheel of a mid-sized car and, given the rampant mediocrity of the Mets, was appropriately stuck in neutral.

He came to a team that wasn't ready to win now, and left a team that might be a pitcher shy of winning it all again.

That was his bad, and Boston's. Both allowed their ego to interfere last winter and spoil a seven-year relationship that produced Hall of Fame credentials and 117 wins. The Red Sox thought they could add Clement and David Wells and get by in a year in which they knew Schilling would be iffy. As for Pedro, he was, by most accounts, threatened by Schilling and hurt that he couldn't be the main diva anymore. When the Red Sox hesitated on a guaranteed fourth year of a new deal, which the Mets supplied, that cemented the separation.

Well, boo on Pedro for being more about money than winning, even after he already pocketed $90 million on his previous deal. And boo on the Red Sox for not showing more respect to someone who meant so much to the franchise. They both got what they deserved.

Curiously, the last time the Red Sox were blown out in a postseason game was also the last time they lost one. After taking a 19-8 punch to the mouth to fall behind 0-3 to the Yankees last October, they staged a historic rally and maintained it through the World Series.

"That was a long time ago," said manager Terry Francona. "This is a different team." Yes, with one noticeable absence.


Subscribe to Newsday home delivery | Article licensing and reprint options

Willets Point
Oct 05 2005 02:18 PM

"the Mets, who barely escaped last place in the National League East."

Or would have finished in first place in the National League West, but you phrase your facts in the way that makes your case strongest, you putz.

Edgy DC
Oct 05 2005 02:27 PM

Yeah, boo on Pedro for going to the team that paid him more. Other players don't do that sort of thing.

Rotblatt
Oct 05 2005 03:06 PM

I suspect the Sox are missing Petey more than Petey's missing the Sox.

Edgy DC
Oct 05 2005 03:28 PM

I suspect the press corps misses him also.

metirish
Oct 05 2005 03:44 PM

]I suspect the press corps misses him also.


I saw Bob Ryan from the Globe talk about that the other day, he admits to missing him a lot.

MFS62
Oct 10 2005 05:13 PM

From Today's Dallas Fort- Worth paper.
The guy usually covers the AL Rangers.

"In My Opinion
T.R. SULLIVAN


Chris Burke hit a home run in the 18th inning so Phil Garner looks brilliant and the Houston Astros are on their way to the National League Championship Series with a 7-6 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.
That it took the Astros nine extra innings to finally score the winning run against Braves pitching may have had something to do with Garner mistakenly using Burke as a pinch-runner for Lance Berkman, his best hitter, with two outs in the 10th and the game tied.

That appeared to be folly, but Burke saved him with his home run and the world was left to marvel at Roger Clemens, at age 43, pitching three scoreless innings in his first relief appearance since he was a rookie in 1984.

Forever lost to obscurity will be the fact that Dan Wheeler also pitched three scoreless innings, which may suggest that all those zeros on the scoreboard had more to do with the Braves' futile offense than with the Astros pitching.

The Braves have won 14 straight division titles simply because they have some of the best starting pitching on the planet.

But when they get to the playoffs, it becomes painfully obvious that they never bring enough offense to finish the job.

Most ridiculous was ESPN broadcaster Rick Sutcliffe comparing Braves slugger Chipper Jones to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who is renowned for his terrific play under pressure.

Sutcliffe was way off-base. Chipper Jones is to the baseball playoffs as a French cyclist is to the Tour de France, the English are to World Cup soccer and Lindsay Davenport is to women’s tennis.

No matter how good you think they are, there’s always someone who proves to be at least a little better, whether it’s Lance Armstrong, South America, the Williams sisters - or Roger Clemens.

Sutcliffe was much more astute when ESPN showed Nolan Ryan sitting behind home plate with a credential around his neck. Sutcliffe wondered why baseball’s all-time strikeout king actually needed identification for a baseball game in Houston.

Speaking of ageless wonders: Enough of the Braves using Julio Franco at first base. He’s 47 years old and ought to be in the stands next to Ryan.

Sure he has his uses. So do ice trays, Corona typewriters and four on the floor. But at some point you have to join the 21st century, and the Braves need to mix in a little offense with all that pitching.

So the Astros are off to St. Louis for a rematch of last year’s National League Championship Series. Those who were paying attention will remember it as seven games of absolutely outstanding baseball.

Most of America was far more engrossed in the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, particularly since their slugfests lasted twice as long as the crisp baseball being played on the National League side.

The Red Sox, though, are sitting the rest of this one out, and the Yankees could be as well if they can’t survive their overnight cross-country flight and take care of business tonight against the Los Angeles Angels in Game 5.

The idea of the Red Sox and the Yankees both out of the playoffs no doubt is a nightmare to the network bean counters, who rely on big ratings to justify their existence.

They’re no doubt quivering at the prospect that the Chicago White Sox and the Astros have both the pitching and, unlike the Braves, the supporting cast to get to the World Series.

A Heartland World Series would be perceived with utter disdain on Madison Avenue.

The networks don’t mind crossing the Appalachians to cover our hurricanes, tornadoes and the occasional presidential caucus in Iowa, but they prefer to have their World Series based as close to the Hudson River as possible.

Yet nobody will shed many tears for the demise of the Braves, the one team that still has trouble selling out their home playoff games.

Some insist that Braves fans have become spoiled by success. But those fans may also understand that relying on some guy named Chipper and little else isn’t going to get the job done.

That's true whether the opposing pitcher is Roger Clemens or Dan Wheeler."

Later

TheOldMole
Oct 10 2005 06:04 PM

Why do people become sportswriters if they don't like sports?

mlbaseballtalk
Oct 10 2005 06:29 PM

TheOldMole wrote:
Why do people become sportswriters if they don't like sports?


I think they liked it fine when they started. In some cases its more with athletes where writers will say "The more you know, the less you like" and there are plenty of BS that wears you down over the years that it sucks whatever fandom of sports out of you.

So at some point it becomes more of a job and less "Getting paid just to watch sports"

Wally Mathews really brought that point up often when telling his radio audience why he no longer rooted for the Mets/Islanders/Jets/Knicks/Rangers/whomever when he really started full time reporting

Steve

Edgy DC
Oct 10 2005 08:49 PM

]Most ridiculous was ESPN broadcaster Rick Sutcliffe comparing Braves slugger Chipper Jones to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who is renowned for his terrific play under pressure.

Sutcliffe was way off-base. Chipper Jones is to the baseball playoffs as a French cyclist is to the Tour de France, the English are to World Cup soccer and Lindsay Davenport is to women’s tennis.

No matter how good you think they are, there’s always someone who proves to be at least a little better, whether it’s Lance Armstrong, South America, the Williams sisters - or Roger Clemens.


What a terrible analogy.

Did this guy miss what the Braves pulled off this year?

Post-Season Hitting, Jeter vs. Jones
PLAYERGABRH2B3BHRRBITBBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLGOPS
Jeter1144588013918315452085090163.303.376.454.830
Jones9133358961801347153726083.288.411.459.870


Game and set to Davenport, if not quite match.

Johnny Dickshot
Oct 10 2005 10:35 PM

It's amazin' what knuckleheads are out there.

Steven Goldman of the Pinstriped Bible does an excellent job carving up some of Bill Madden's inanity here (scroll to 'Bankruptcy")

[url]http://www.yesnetwork.com/yankees/pinstripedbible.asp[/url]

metirish
Oct 10 2005 11:05 PM

That's a pretty decent article form Goldman, I'm surprised is is form the YES machine.So he writes for Baseball Prospectus too, that explains a lot.

metirish
Oct 11 2005 01:46 PM

Klapisch on Rodriguez.

]Klap: A-Rod comes up short

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

By BOB KLAPISCH
SPORTS COLUMNIST

ANAHEIM - Alex Rodriguez' eyes had the sort of shimmer that suggested he'd just been crying - or was about to. Either way, there was no mistaking the misery of the Yankees' most talented, but least clutch player in the failed Division Series.

"I played like a dog in these last five games," Rodriguez said quietly, getting no argument from anyone. In a roomful of culprits, including Hideki Matsui and Bernie Williams, it was the third baseman who represented everything that is both rich and empty about the new millennium Yankees.

It's been five long years since they've won a world championship, and to hear the Yankees talk about their 5-3 loss to Angels in Game Five Monday night, the drought might as well be 100 years.

Everyone made sure to say they were disappointed and frustrated. Those were the key phrases being thrown around. But no one was angry, not really. Beside Joe Torre, who admitted he'd never taken a loss as badly as this, no one had the burning desire to tear up the room, if not their own skin, while the Angels were outside partying like it was the end of the world.


For all the money George Steinbrenner has sunk into his team - nearly $1 billion since 2000 - no one had Derek Jeter's back in the final game.

It was the captain who launched a seventh-inning home run that gave the Yankees hope, bringing them to within 5-3. It was Jeter who led off the ninth inning with a single off Frankie Rodriguez deep into the leftfield corner, bringing A-Rod to the plate as the tying run.

It's been an awful Series until this point - no RBIs in five games - but here was the third baseman's chance to pay off his debt to greater New York. One swing and all would've been forgiven. The Angels, all of them, took a deep breath as K-Rod went to work on the AL's soon-to-be-anointed Most Valuable Player.

Anaheim's infield played back; third baseman Chone Figgins wasn't anywhere near the bag at double play depth. He was merely trying to keep any grounders from getting through, hugging the line to prevent an extra base hit into the corner.

And then the impossible happened. A-Rod chopped a one-bouncer directly at Figgins, as if there'd been a magnet sewn into his glove. Before A-Rod could escape the batter's box he'd been sucked into the vortex of a 5-4-3 double play that killed the Yankees' season.

Jason Giambi followed with a double. Gary Sheffield's infield single put runners on first and second. But it was too late. Rodriguez got Hideki Matsui to bounce to first to end the game, but the closer had already won the most important battle of the inning, getting A-Rod to succumb one last time.

How? Why? The summer's impressive body of work - .a 321 average, 48 homers, 130 RBIs - is just air now. A-Rod's .133 average in the Division Series makes it two consecutive empty Octobers. He's 4-for-32 since Game Four of last year's collapse against the Red Sox, his legacy in fast decline.

Rodriguez was man enough to answer every last question about his failure. He deserves credit for that. When reporters finally drifted away, A-Rod sat at his locker, waiting for anyone else who had a follow-up question or needed a clarification. No one came by.

After all, what else was there to ask when the game's best player says, "I have to take a long look in the mirror. I just didn't show up in this series."

Even if Rodriguez wins the MVP award, as expected, he's still running from his ghosts, the ones who make him grip the bat too tightly and swing too hard with runners in scoring position. Such poisons will eventually leave Rodriguez with the ultimate "loser" tag, and although there's still time to re-write that epitaph, Rodriguez can't travel this road indefinitely.

Already, it appears the Yankees will be re-making themselves in 2006, beginning a sixth year of searching for the intangible that once made them champions. Tom Gordon and Bernie Williams will be gone. Tino Martinez will likely retire. GM Brian Cashman might walk away from his contract once it expires on October 31.

Rodriguez isn't going anywhere, of course, not at $20 million a year. But the Yankees must be re-thinking whether he's the player to take them to the promised land. The Rangers came to that same disturbing conclusion three years ago and were thrilled to finally move his contract into Steinbrenner's waiting hands.

A-Rod craved the big city's energy, but no amount of glitz could save him from missing a easy ground ball in Game Two, leading to a 5-2 loss. And nothing could spare A-Rod from hitting .000 with runners in scoring position, and even worse, failing to get the ball out of the infield in those situations.

Obviously, he's not the only reason the Yankees were drummed out of the playoffs in the first round. The middle-relief corps needs a complete make-over, evidenced by that Torre could only trust Randy Johnson on two days' rest when Mike Mussina was knocked out in the third inning.

But while the Unit kept the Angels quiet, no one really stepped up. There were just different degrees of failure. If the Yankees take cue A-Rod's cue and look in the mirror, they'll see the ugliness of Matsui's .200 average; Williams' .211 mark, and the five runs Mussina allowed despite being the only Yankee not fighting jet-lag.

Five years without a ring, they're instead all being fitted with asterisks - but none as pronounced as A-Rod's.

The Invisible Man, is what October now cruelly whispers in his ear.


1Billion since 2000, that's some money.

Edgy DC
Oct 11 2005 03:23 PM

How about this paragraph?

]Jason Giambi followed with a double. [It was a single.] Gary Sheffield's infield single put runners on first and second. [First and third, as pinch runner Mark Bellhorn had taken second on defensive indifference.] But it was too late. Rodriguez got Hideki Matsui to bounce to first to end the game, [hard grounder, not a bouncer] but the closer had already won the most important battle of the inning, getting A-Rod to succumb one last time.
Keen work, Klap.

Frayed Knot
Oct 11 2005 03:37 PM

][First and third, as pinch runner Mark Bellhorn had taken second on defensive indifference.]


1st & 2nd actually. Bellhorn never advanced on the Sheffield chopper.

Minor potatoes maybe -- although it's possible that having no runner on 2rd would have meant that Erstad would have had to hold on Womack (Sheff's pr) to keep him from stealing and therefore would have been in a worse position to snag Matsui's shot for the final out.

Edgy DC
Oct 11 2005 03:44 PM

Keen work, Edgy. I got too excited and full of myself over him blowing the double call.

metirish
Oct 12 2005 09:51 AM

Klapisch has been talking to friends of Manny's friends, or something like that.

]By BOB KLAPISCH
SPORTS COLUMNIST


Can you envision Manny Ramirez, the American League's most dangerous, late-inning threat from the right side, wearing pinstripes in 2006? None other than Ramirez himself has. The Red Sox' left fielder told friends in the final weeks of the regular season he would accept, if not welcome, a trade to either New York team - an intriguing opening in the wake of Alex Rodriguez's collapse in the AL Division Series.

The Yankees have a long winter ahead, full of critical decisions about their general manager, center fielder and a new setup man for Mariano Rivera. Ramirez's name has never been seriously considered until now, but that may change after another early exit from the playoffs and Rodriguez's .133 average against the Angels.

According to one American League source, the Red Sox are leaning toward one scenario where they'll sign all their free agents, most notably Johnny Damon, but would trade Ramirez for the right return package. The Yankees obviously would need to include a third team to pull off such a monster swap - and don't underestimate the Mets' willingness to do anything to pair Ramirez with GM Omar Minaya, after nearly acquiring the slugger at the July 31 trade deadline. But George Steinbrenner will be just as motivated to find more potent weapons than Bernie Williams (.211 in the ALDS) even Hideki Matsui (who hit .200 and made the final out in Game 5 with the tying run on base).


Ramirez is "definitely ready to come to New York," said the friend, who dined with the left fielder during the Sox' road series against the Yankees. "He likes the Yankees, the Mets, either one, he just wants to be here."

Of course, the Yankees can't begin restructuring until they have a GM in place, and that won't happen until Cashman decides whether to accept a 20 percent pay raise and ownership equity, an offer that's been on the table since July. George Steinbrenner made it clear he wants Cashman back in 2006, but that was three months ago. Yankee sources say The Boss is now just as inclined to name Tampa-based VP Damon Oppenheimer as Cashman's replacement if talks stall beyond the expiration-date on the GM's contract, Oct. 31.

No matter who choreographs the Yankees' off-season, though, there are certain constants that'll remain untouched: Alex Rodriguez will be back (at $20 million a year, where could he go?), Derek Jeter stays put as the team's most marketable commodity and Gary Sheffield will finish out the last year of a three-year pact he personally negotiated with Steinbrenner. And the ageless Mariano Rivera will rescue the bullpen once again.

There's a long list of potential free agents, including Williams, Matsui and Tom Gordon. The Yankees want Matsui, unless the long-shot scenario of Ramirez coming to the Bronx becomes a reality, in which case he's gone. It's hard to envision Bernie coming back, however, unless he's ready to take a massive pay cut and be content with 250 at-bats a year. And with free agent B.J. Ryan looming as Rivera's next setup man, Gordon likely has thrown his final pitch as a Yankee.

Some other free agency issues likely will resolve themselves, including the near-certain retirement of Al Leiter and Tino Martinez. The Yankees must determine whether Jason Giambi is their everyday first baseman, or whether he's better suited as a designated hitter. And if Bernie is gone, or at least in deep background mode, it's not impossible to think of the Marlins' Juan Pierre succeeding him.

Damon, of course, will be available, and while some executives consider it an air-tight guarantee the Sox will re-sign him, the Yankees may actually have a better chance than anyone thinks. One person close to the center fielder said, "The Sox blew their chance to sign Johnny earlier this year" when he was ready to accept a four-year, $30 million offer - practically the same deal he signed in 2001.

Sox ownership ultimately balked, setting the stage for agent Scott Boras to demand a six or seven year deal that'll increase Damon's yearly salary to more than $12 million per. Said one member of Damon's entourage: "It's an even playing field now. Johnny's going to see what's out there."

As for pitching, the Yankees are more limited than they want to admit, considering they owe Carl Pavano three more years at $9 million per and are into Jaret Wright for another two seasons. And besides, they have no real incentive to trade Aaron Small, Shawn Chacon or Chien-Ming Wang.

Question is, though: Who'll tutor them? Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre all but announced his retirement from the Yankees this past week, hinting he'll take a similar role with the Mariners. That'll make it possible for the Yankees to again mull approaching the Braves' Leo Mazzone, who, through third parties, heard of the Bombers' interest in him over the summer.

Mazzone and the Braves hotly denied the Yankees ever made contact. Technically, that was true; there was never any one-on-one conversation between the legendary coach and any member of the Yankees' front office. But according to one person familiar with the Bombers' interest in Mazzone, they'd be willing to do "whatever it takes" if he decides he's ready to leave Atlanta.

E-mail: klapisch@northjersey.com


Edgy DC
Oct 12 2005 10:19 AM

Yeah, banish Matsui because he made the final out. Way to make a decision based on a sample size of one.

Also, how is A-Rod immoveable at $20 million, but this whole article is to speculate on the acquisition of Manny Ramirez, who makes $22 million?

Mike Mussina joins Derek Jeter on the five-and-ten train this season.

metirish
Oct 12 2005 09:31 PM

Mike Lupica loves to hammer the MFY's, in the Daily News today he had two columns killing them, in this one he sees a bright future for the Mets where they take back the city and a bad future for the MFY's, and once again he evokes the 80's when the Mets owned NYC...

]George sees red,
next is blue & orange


George Steinbrenner said yesterday through his flack Howard Rubenstein that the Yankees let their fans down. Not as much as they let Steinbrenner himself down. It is why he has a perfect right to take a good look at both his general manager and his manager now, before he decides whether or not to keep them.
Because as the Yankees move forward, it is no longer just the teams that keep taking October from them, all these teams with smaller payrolls, that are a problem for Steinbrenner. They're not the only ones coming hard after him now.

So are the Mets.

I keep hearing that Steinbrenner wants Brian Cashman back. But it won't entirely be the owner's call on that one, since Cashman's contract expires on the last day of October, by which time somebody other than Steinbrenner's $210.9 million Yankees will have won the World Series.

Cashman is the best Steinbrenner has in his front office, a better baseball guy, by a lot, than any of the Tampa weasels. Has he made mistakes? You bet. So did Theo Epstein this season in Boston. Epstein wanted Edgar Renteria instead of Orlando Cabrera and then nearly traded away Manny Ramirez of Washington Heights. They all make mistakes. It doesn't change that Cashman is smart, honest, tireless, loyal, a Yankee.

He also works for an owner who has spent $1 billion over the past five years on ballplayers who couldn't win the World Series, and has a right to be crankier than Randy Johnson about this kind of lousy finish.

Steinbrenner gets to look at his whole operation now. It includes Joe Torre, who in so many ways is what Steinbrenner still aspires to be, which means the biggest guy in town. It doesn't mean he has a job for life.

I am on the record about Torre, believing he is the top top-manager in sports, just because of everything he brings to the job of working for this owner, in this city. And once you say that, how can you say that George Steinbrenner isn't even allowed to think about bringing Lou Piniella back to the Stadium?

How can you tell an owner - even an owner as increasingly weird as this one - that he can't think about a new voice in the Yankee clubhouse and a new attitude about things?

You can't.

Torre still finishes first every year, and twice he has made the World Series in the last five. He just hasn't won any. And gets bounced in the first round again, second time in four seasons to the Angels, the same way Bobby Cox just got bounced.

Everybody says Steinbrenner would never fire Torre and have to pay him $13 million. Really? So apparently Steinbrenner can spend an average of $200 million over five years on baseball players but he's going to let the equivalent of the last year of Gary Sheffield's contract stop him from making a move with his manager?

Steinbrenner will never have to worry about money. He makes money without even trying. Now he gets ready to build a new stadium and make more.

The Mets gets ready to do the same thing. In addition, they are ready to start up their own network, which Steinbrenner knows is the equivalent of printing your own money. The Mets got to third place this year without a first baseman, a second baseman, and with set-up men erratic enough to have pitched for Torre. They didn't get much out of the outgoing Mike Piazza. They could have quit in the end and didn't.

They have an aggressive general manager in Omar Minaya, they have a manager, Willie Randolph, who is going to be around a long time. The Mets are coming on now. The idea that this is always going to be a Yankee town ignores the way things were 20 years ago, when it was the Mets who were on top and were the hottest ticket going.

One of these days, and it might be as soon as next season, the Mets are going to be the best baseball team in town. You think Minaya is going to stop with just Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran? Minaya, a kid from the neighborhood, a great New York story, has a stomach for this kind of fight the way the people running the Red Sox do.

Steinbrenner had the run of the town for a long time. He just broke records in attendance. That's not how he keeps score. It wasn't so long ago that his Yankees won the World Series every year. Now they lose in the first round. The business plan is working fine. Just not the baseball plan.

Forget about the first round. When does that plan lose New York?



rpackrat
Oct 13 2005 03:52 PM

Fun column, but Lupica is wrong on a couple of points about the Mets:

]The Mets got to third place this year without a first baseman, a second baseman, and with set-up men erratic enough to have pitched for Torre. They didn't get much out of the outgoing Mike Piazza.


The point about the Mets' bullpen has already been thoroughly debunked on this board. As for Piazza, the Mets "didn't get much out of him" only if you compare him to Piazza at his peak. If you compare him to the universe of major league catchers last season, he did just fine, thank you.

86-Dreamer
Oct 13 2005 04:09 PM

Funny how seemingly all writers now repeat the "$1 billion over last 5 years" as if it were true

Willets Point
Oct 14 2005 05:11 PM

A year ago this week, the Boston Globe's crappiest sportswriter Dan Shaugnessy penned the following paragraph:

" So there. For the 86th consecutive autumn, the Red Sox are not going to win the World Series. No baseball team in history has recovered from a 3-0 deficit and this most-promising Sox season in 18 years could be officially over tonight. Mercy."

He of course was the first one to jump back on the bandwagon when the Sox did win.

Willets Point
Oct 22 2005 04:37 PM

Dan Shaugnessy who built his entire career by promoting 'the curse of the Bambino' writes on why curses don't matter.

metirish
Oct 25 2005 12:23 AM

Ken Davidoff goes very low on Armando Benitez....did he really have to ruin a fun read with that line?

]And when Giants manager Felipe Alou grabs his throat and gasps for air, well, come on down, Armando Benitez!


[url=http://www.newsday.com/sports/columnists/ny-spken244482851oct24,0,414033.column?coll=ny-sports-columnists]Davidoff Goes Low on Benitez[/url]

metirish
Oct 28 2005 02:21 PM

The Onion's 05 season review....funny stuff.

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/42110

Edgy DC
Nov 01 2005 05:21 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Nov 01 2005 05:50 PM

Here's a two-handed head-clutcher from The Long Beach Press-Telegram

]McCourts can still make amends
Doug Krikorian
Staff columnist


So, Paul De(lete)Podesta indeed has been deleted from Frankie & Jamie McCourt's Los Angeles Dodger Fantasy Camp, where adults give comedic impersonations of major league owners, hire and fire people with a macabre glee and give dopey answers during interviews that one would expect to hear from privately educated parrots.

The media furor inspired by Mr. DePodesta's detachment has me slightly bewildered, since, after all, the defining hallmark of the McCourts' two-season reign of terror has been the unending ruthlessness they've displayed toward their employees, a good portion of whom they have summarily fired.

It is, of course, a natural phenomenon that personnel changes are inevitable when a new owner takes over a business, but the McCourts have taken this to an obscene extreme. They not only have gotten rid of a lot of people left over from the Peter O'Malley-Fox regimes, but also have gotten rid of a lot of people they themselves enlisted for work.

Thus the discarding of Mr. Podesta, like that of Jim Tracy and Ross Porter and Lon Rosen and Dan Evans and Bob Graziano and Gary Miereanu and John Olguin and so many others, ranks on the surprise meter right there with darkness appearing after the sun sets, politicians spewing mindless cliches and ol' Dodger Blue Himself, Tom Lasorda, gallantly defending the honor of the McCourts.

It long has been a hallowed ritual in baseball for owners to get rid of their managers or general managers or both after lousy seasons to demonstrate to their season-ticket holders that they're doing something dramatic to resolve their teams' problems.

While the L.A. Angels' Arte Moreno has been lauded for operating a stable franchise since assuming control of the Angels a couple of seasons ago, I doubt either his manager, Mike Scioscia, or his GM, Bill Stoneman, would be feeling that secure these moments had the Angels wound up 71-91 this summer, as the Dodgers did.

While so many other uncouplings in the Dodger organization defy logic, the McCourts certainly can't be faulted for booting Mr. DePodesta out of Chavez Ravine.

There is indisputable evidence that Mr. DePodesta richly deserved his fate with that five-year, $55 million gift to the notoriously brittle J.D. Drew being perhaps the most egregious of his many blunders.

He was a pompous fellow with an Ivy League degree who thought his computer could overcome his notable lack of baseball knowledge and he turned out to be a scandalous disaster for the Dodgers.

At least the McCourts came to their senses, and didn't compound the folly of hiring Mr. DePodesta by stubbornly allowing him to remain at his station to further pollute the team with his inane decisions.

The word circulating among Dodger insiders is that Frank McCourt has been listening attentively to Lasorda, which, actually, is a good thing since Lasorda has a reservoir of baseball wisdom and should be listened to except when it comes to his explanation for trading Paul Konerko for reliever Jeff Shaw during his brief tenure as Dodger GM.

But McCourt should put in ear plugs when Lasorda starts discussing the virtues of one of his former players, Bobby Valentine, who's been managing in Japan and should remain in the Far East if the Dodgers ever are to have peace and tranquillity and goodwill on earth.

If McCourt and his wife want to get a slightly different view of Valentine than the one that's being portrayed by Lasorda, they should seek out Valentine's former boss with the New York Mets, Steve Phillips, who turned out to be a victim of Valentine's well-known manipulative, behind-the-scenes antics and who openly has blamed Valentine for his ouster from the team.

As you might recall, Valentine's shenanigans with the Mets finally caught up to him and he eventually was thrown out of New York.

Valentine is not exactly one of your beloved figures in baseball and is certainly not the type of individual a team perceived as a chaotic mess needs to lead it out of the abyss.

Terry Collins, who supposedly was Mr. DePodesta's top pick to succeed Tracy, is a beacon of calm restraint compared to Valentine, a combustible guy who was despised by so many of his players.

If the McCourts are persuaded by Lasorda to give Valentine the job, you can be sure Lasorda will be seriously considered as Valentine's bench coach, a position which Lasorda dearly covets.

If Lasorda were to get it, it would put him back in the spotlight, which would be a rare bit of positive public relations for the Dodgers although it would come with unsettling baggage the presence of Valentine.

Lasorda's choice as GM is a longtime friend, Pat Gillick, a proven commodity

Johnny Dickshot
Nov 01 2005 05:41 PM

What a fresh steamy loaf.

Edgy DC
Nov 01 2005 05:51 PM

How about Valentine somehow engineering Phillips' phiring?

He pre-deceased Phillips, you nut.

Mark Healey
Nov 01 2005 07:39 PM

Edgy DC wrote:
How about Valentine somehow engineering Phillips' phiring?

He pre-deceased Phillips, you nut.


That's been a common media theme ever since it happened.

Always forgotten is the fact that Valentine and MacIllvane had a great relationship (he hired Bobby V to work at Norfolk because he hated Dallas Green) and that Wilpons wanted Joe Mac to attend all of the kitchen cabinet meetings, and he was always scouting players instead.

Now, the Wilpons did ask Bobby for feedback on SP, because they had worked together before, but to say Bobby "hired" SP is nonsense.

Frayed Knot
Nov 01 2005 11:08 PM

]There is indisputable evidence that Mr. DePodesta richly deserved his fate with that five-year, $55 million gift to the notoriously brittle J.D. Drew being perhaps the most egregious of his many blunders.


Y'know, I know it's real popular to say that you "knew" that JD Drew was an injury waiting to happen and that it becomes real easy to crow when the facts seem to fit the predetermined story and all. Except that Drew's problem coming into the season was with a knee and he wound up missing the back half of the season with a broken wrist as the result of being hit with a pitch. There's nothing predetermined about that and the 'I-told-ya-so' crowd needs to pipe down here.



]He was a pompous fellow with an Ivy League degree who thought his computer could overcome his notable lack of baseball knowledge and he turned out to be a scandalous disaster for the Dodgers.


That sentence is beyond obnoxious.

metirish
Nov 01 2005 11:23 PM

I find it interesting that McCourt might be interested in Epstein, isn't DePodesta cut from the same cloth?

]But McCourt should put in ear plugs when Lasorda starts discussing the virtues of one of his former players, Bobby Valentine, who's been managing in Japan and should remain in the Far East if the Dodgers ever are to have peace and tranquillity and goodwill on earth.


well if you want a great manager then you go for Bobby...and I heard tonight that McCourt will meet Bobby later this week.

Mark Healey
Nov 01 2005 11:25 PM

Frayed Knot wrote:
]There is indisputable evidence that Mr. DePodesta richly deserved his fate with that five-year, $55 million gift to the notoriously brittle J.D. Drew being perhaps the most egregious of his many blunders.


Y'know, I know it's real popular to say that you "knew" that JD Drew was an injury waiting to happen and that it becomes real easy to crow when the facts seem to fit the predetermined story and all. Except that Drew's problem coming into the season was with a knee and he wound up missing the back half of the season with a broken wrist as the result of being hit with a pitch. There's nothing predetermined about that and the 'I-told-ya-so' crowd needs to pipe down here.



]He was a pompous fellow with an Ivy League degree who thought his computer could overcome his notable lack of baseball knowledge and he turned out to be a scandalous disaster for the Dodgers.


That sentence is beyond obnoxious.


A.) Most observers, including myself, were shocked when the Dodgers gace Drew that contract. The guy had been hurt almost every year of his career. That said, I thought signing Lowe was a great move.

B.) I've been guilty of this kind of bitterness in my columns from time to time, so it's hard to kill the guy. Guys like DePo bring it out of you.

The Beane acolytes are very cocksure, and the old school guys are equally dismissive. Both hate ther media, so it's funny when they take sides. I include myself in this, of course.

As someone on this board has said, I think it was Edgy, it's a unending argument.

metsmarathon
Nov 01 2005 11:36 PM

i can always appreciate a little good old-fashioned anti-intellectualism!

Frayed Knot
Nov 01 2005 11:50 PM

]A.) Most observers, including myself, were shocked when the Dodgers gace Drew that contract. The guy had been hurt almost every year of his career.


No doubt that the Drew signing was risky, but it's not like THIS injury was foretold, nor did his previous hurts make this one more likely.
If I told you not to drive the car because the tires are bald it's not like I retain the right to say 'I told ya so' when you get plowed into by a semi while sitting at a light. The pre-existing problem didn't cause wreck nor even make YOU more likely than the guy next to you to be the car on the business end of that truck grill.


]B.) I've been guilty of this kind of bitterness in my columns from time to time, so it's hard to kill the guy. Guys like DePo bring it out of you.


I'd think that sticking to knocking guys for what they actually do would be better than deciding that picking on the nerds is as fun and easy now as it was during high school ... but that's just me.

Edgy DC
Nov 02 2005 12:25 AM

The column, if you read, claims that Valentine engineered Phillips firing (or at least it uncontestably reports that Phillips maintains this), not that V engineered his hiring.

Edgy DC
Nov 02 2005 12:28 AM

]The Beane acolytes are very cocksure, and the old school guys are equally dismissive. Both hate ther media, so it's funny when they take sides. I include myself in this, of course.

Say what you want about yourself, but the rest of this is way overbroad.

The stature of Beane was raised to great heights, and his alleged acolytes greately informed about him, by a book --- in other words, by a piece of media.

Mark Healey
Nov 02 2005 12:49 AM

]
]B.) I've been guilty of this kind of bitterness in my columns from time to time, so it's hard to kill the guy. Guys like DePo bring it out of you.


I'd think that sticking to knocking guys for what they actually do would be better than deciding that picking on the nerds is as fun and easy now as it was during high school ... but that's just me.


I'm only saying that I've been guilty of it myself, so killing this guy seems hypocritical. However, I agree with your first point. As to the second point, I've been on both sides of that coin, but media guys get that kind of treatment by the players as well. Don't know this fellow, so I can't really comment.

Mark Healey
Nov 02 2005 12:55 AM

Edgy DC wrote:
The column, if you read, claims that Valentine engineered Phillips firing (or at least it uncontestably reports that Phillips maintains this), not that V engineered his hiring.


Sorry, I misread your post...and only skimmed the column for the specific comments on DePo. Upon reading it again, this guy is a complete boob.

Edgy DC
Nov 02 2005 12:59 AM

Well, that's what I get for spelling "phiring" so creatively.

Mark Healey
Nov 02 2005 07:05 PM

I hate to revisit this, but after Edgy pointed out that I hadn't read this column properly, I decided to give it a real good read...and yikes.

]So, Paul De(lete)Podesta indeed has been deleted from Frankie & Jamie McCourt's Los Angeles Dodger Fantasy Camp, where adults give comedic impersonations of major league owners, hire and fire people with a macabre glee and give dopey answers during interviews that one would expect to hear from privately educated parrots.


OOoookay..so he doesn't like the McCourts. We get it.

]The media furor inspired by Mr. DePodesta's detachment has me slightly bewildered, since, after all, the defining hallmark of the McCourts' two-season reign of terror has been the unending ruthlessness they've displayed toward their employees, a good portion of whom they have summarily fired.


What media furor? Most people were more upset by the Tracy firing, and to be fair, outside of last season, the Dodgers have been an underachieving bunch.

]It is, of course, a natural phenomenon that personnel changes are inevitable when a new owner takes over a business, but the McCourts have taken this to an obscene extreme. They not only have gotten rid of a lot of people left over from the Peter O'Malley-Fox regimes, but also have gotten rid of a lot of people they themselves enlisted for work.

Thus the discarding of Mr. Podesta, like that of Jim Tracy and Ross Porter and Lon Rosen and Dan Evans and Bob Graziano and Gary Miereanu and John Olguin and so many others, ranks on the surprise meter right there with darkness appearing after the sun sets, politicians spewing mindless cliches and ol' Dodger Blue Himself, Tom Lasorda, gallantly defending the honor of the McCourts.


Didn't most of these fellows make calls like long-term contracts for Brown and Driefort, while passing on Piazza and Sheffield?

]It long has been a hallowed ritual in baseball for owners to get rid of their managers or general managers or both after lousy seasons to demonstrate to their season-ticket holders that they're doing something dramatic to resolve their teams' problems.

While the L.A. Angels' Arte Moreno has been lauded for operating a stable franchise since assuming control of the Angels a couple of seasons ago, I doubt either his manager, Mike Scioscia, or his GM, Bill Stoneman, would be feeling that secure these moments had the Angels wound up 71-91 this summer, as the Dodgers did.


Well, duh. What's his point? Celebrate losing!?! Haven't the Angels been a AL West and playoff contender since Stoneman and Sciocia have been around?

]While so many other uncouplings in the Dodger organization defy logic, the McCourts certainly can't be faulted for booting Mr. DePodesta out of Chavez Ravine.

There is indisputable evidence that Mr. DePodesta richly deserved his fate with that five-year, $55 million gift to the notoriously brittle J.D. Drew being perhaps the most egregious of his many blunders.

He was a pompous fellow with an Ivy League degree who thought his computer could overcome his notable lack of baseball knowledge and he turned out to be a scandalous disaster for the Dodgers.


I didn't like the Drew signing as I said before, but he still has four years left on the deal...should Omar be fired for Carlos Beltran's bad year? The other stuff I've already addressed.

]At least the McCourts came to their senses, and didn't compound the folly of hiring Mr. DePodesta by stubbornly allowing him to remain at his station to further pollute the team with his inane decisions.

The word circulating among Dodger insiders is that Frank McCourt has been listening attentively to Lasorda, which, actually, is a good thing since Lasorda has a reservoir of baseball wisdom and should be listened to except when it comes to his explanation for trading Paul Konerko for reliever Jeff Shaw during his brief tenure as Dodger GM.


This is ridiculous. Jeff Shaw was an All-Star closer in 1998 and Konerko was a nice prospect. Lasorda also pushed the Delino DeShields-Pedro deal, does that make him an idiot?

]But McCourt should put in ear plugs when Lasorda starts discussing the virtues of one of his former players, Bobby Valentine, who's been managing in Japan and should remain in the Far East if the Dodgers ever are to have peace and tranquillity and goodwill on earth.

If McCourt and his wife want to get a slightly different view of Valentine than the one that's being portrayed by Lasorda, they should seek out Valentine's former boss with the New York Mets, Steve Phillips, who turned out to be a victim of Valentine's well-known manipulative, behind-the-scenes antics and who openly has blamed Valentine for his ouster from the team.


Laughable. It's the other way around, dimwit. How in God's name had Bobby gotten SP fired after he himself was fired?!?

]As you might recall, Valentine's shenanigans with the Mets finally caught up to him and he eventually was thrown out of New York.

Valentine is not exactly one of your beloved figures in baseball and is certainly not the type of individual a team perceived as a chaotic mess needs to lead it out of the abyss.


Yeah, Bobby V is a loser. :roll:

]Terry Collins, who supposedly was Mr. DePodesta's top pick to succeed Tracy, is a beacon of calm restraint compared to Valentine, a combustible guy who was despised by so many of his players.

If the McCourts are persuaded by Lasorda to give Valentine the job, you can be sure Lasorda will be seriously considered as Valentine's bench coach, a position which Lasorda dearly covets.

If Lasorda were to get it, it would put him back in the spotlight, which would be a rare bit of positive public relations for the Dodgers although it would come with unsettling baggage the presence of Valentine.


Again..idiocy.

]Lasorda's choice as GM is a longtime friend, Pat Gillick, a proven commodity


Actually, Orel Hershiser is Lasorda's choice for GM, but I guess it helps to actually talk to the person you're trashing in your article.

To quote Dickshot...a steamy loaf.

Edgy DC
Nov 02 2005 07:20 PM



Help me out. Does this picture depict

a) certainly not the type of individual a team perceived as a chaotic mess needs to lead it out of the abyss?

b) a figure who denies peace and tranquillity and goodwill on earth?

c) acombustible guy despised by so many of his players?

d) All of the above?

Mark Healey
Nov 02 2005 07:28 PM

Edgy DC wrote:


Help me out. Does this picture depict

a) certainly not the type of individual a team perceived as a chaotic mess needs to lead it out of the abyss?

b) a figure who denies peace and tranquillity and goodwill on earth?

c) acombustible guy despised by so many of his players?

d) All of the above?


Looks like a guy laughing his ass off...actually I have it on good authority that Bobby V was told that people have to pay to read SP's ESPN Insider articles right before this picture was taken...

:twisted:

Edgy DC
Nov 07 2005 01:52 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Nov 07 2005 05:02 PM

Word Freak, show them how it's done.

Managing baseball becomes a more complex job

Monday, November 07, 2005

By Stefan Fatsis and Jon Weinbach, The Wall Street Journal
(Actually carried in The Pittsburgh Post Gazette
____________________________

Why did Theo quit?

That question has reverberated through the baseball world since Theo Epstein, the wunderkind general manager of the Boston Red Sox, declined a multimillion-dollar contract offer and resigned last week, just a year after helping the team win its first championship since 1918.

In media reports and cyberspace chatter, Mr. Epstein's departure has been linked to a power struggle in Red Sox upper management. The 31-year-old Boston native, an icon in his hometown, was expected to stay forever. But his dramatic departure played out against a basic backdrop: The role of the Major League Baseball general manager is changing.

As the sport's GMs gather in Indian Wells, Calif., today for their weeklong annual meeting, a new generation of young executives is taking over -- or, in some cases, already leaving -- key positions in team front offices. Among the fresh faces: two 28-year-olds with fewer than seven seasons of baseball experience between them. Among the missing: in addition to Mr. Epstein, the recently fired 32-year-old GM of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The youth movement mirrors a shift in the nature of running a big-league baseball team. The general manager used to be relatively anonymous, was often a former player and held near-total control over baseball operations. Now, as media scrutiny has increased and owners are forced to focus more than ever on the game's high financial stakes, the job has morphed into a corporate-executive position that has to report up the line. "A general manager having complete autonomy is a thing of the past," player agent Scott Boras says.

Many of the job's core activities -- fielding trade offers, keeping tabs on prospects, negotiating contracts -- haven't changed. But today's general managers work in a baseball landscape that is vastly more complex than even a decade ago.

Consider: When the Dodgers won the World Series in 1988, they had about 15 baseball-operations staff members in the team's main office. This season, the Red Sox had nearly double that, including eight "player development consultants" and the famed statistics guru Bill James. Likewise, as player salaries have soared -- the average payroll on the 30 big-league teams in 2005 was about $70 million -- the deadlines on baseball's year-round business calendar have taken on greater importance. GMs are under constant pressure to make personnel decisions that can affect a team's financial flexibility for years. They must seek players in Europe, Asia and South America, and play poker with a bevy of shrewd agents.

All the while, their moves are dissected by ESPN, sports-radio hosts, newspaper columnists and thousands of online fanatics. Mr. Epstein has complained privately that he spent a quarter of his time in Boston on media issues.

"There used to be a press conference held quarterly or someone inquiring two or three times a season," says Atlanta Braves general manager John Schuerholz, who at 65 years old is the dean of big-league GMs. The media crush, he says, "is far more challenging even for the most intellectually competent among us, especially the young among us who have less experience."

Yet the demands and pace of the GM's job often require the energy of a 20-something, a reality that has fueled the rapid rise of junior executives like Mr. Epstein. Steve Phillips was named general manager of the New York Mets in 1997 at age 34. His six seasons on the job included a daily news conference and death threats. "I joke that it's like dog years, so I was a GM for 42 years," says Mr. Phillips, now an ESPN analyst. "I feel like I'm still recovering."

The influx of young executives is often portrayed as a clash between Ivy League-educated, laptop-wielding statistics mavens and radar-gun-toting, tobacco-juice-spitting baseball lifers. That's partly true. But the real trouble may reflect a basic disadvantage of youth: a lack of management experience.

Baseball GMs increasingly are relied on to communicate with large staffs and to negotiate prickly political situations involving players, coaches, agents, scouts and even bickering owners. They also have to manage much older employees, often without the playing, coaching or scouting credentials considered so valuable in the sport. "You have to earn the trust of a lot of people, and that doesn't come overnight," says Fred Claire, who worked for the Dodgers for 30 years and was the team's GM from 1987 to 1998.

The lack of management experience appears to have contributed to the firing late last month of 32-year-old Paul DePodesta as general manager of the Dodgers after just two seasons on the job. Mr. DePodesta majored in economics at Harvard and worked under acclaimed Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane (playing a supporting role in Michael Lewis's bestselling book "Moneyball"). While earning respect for his ability to blend traditional talent scouting with modern statistics-oriented research -- and while leading the Dodgers last year to their first playoff win since 1988 -- Mr. DePodesta had never run a team department at any level before taking over the club.

As a result, baseball executives say, he struggled with some traditional management tasks, such as communicating with underlings and managing public-relations crises. For example, Mr. DePodesta was criticized in the local media for failing to call a long-time Dodgers coach regarding his job status. The coach took a position with the archrival San Francisco Giants. After the team slumped to discord-laden 71-91 record, the GM was fired by club owner Frank McCourt. Mr. DePodesta couldn't be reached for comment.

Most big-league GMs are still closer to middle age than drinking age. Even before the departures of Messrs. Epstein and DePodesta, the average age of general managers was 45. But the youth movement is likely to continue. Today's new hires grew up mimicking team executives in fantasy-sports games, learning about franchise minutiae on TV and studying exhaustive statistical breakdowns on the Internet.

"Young guys are able to access information about being a GM from the time they can turn on a computer at age 5, and by the time they're 15 can know everything about what GMs have done," Mr. Schuerholz says. "At 25, they're more prepared informationally and intellectually than the GMs when I began were at 35."

Another advantage: Young, well-educated baseball executives might relate better than former players or scouts to financially savvy team owners. "They have a decisive advantage in an interview," says Mr. Boras, the agent. "They speak the language of CEO-dom. They quantify the game into a measurement that's most understandable by ownership: a paper trail."

Mr. Schuerholz spent a quarter-century working his way up to a general manager job. By contrast, the new GM of the Texas Rangers, 28-year-old Jon Daniels, has just five seasons of experience. The new principal owner of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Stuart Sternberg, ditched the GM title completely. He installed 28-year-old Andrew Friedman, less than two years removed from Wall Street, as executive vice president of baseball operations and last week hired 55-year-old baseball veteran Gerry Hunsicker to back him up. "It's not a one-person job," Mr. Sternberg says.

Mr. Epstein's career began 13 years ago as an intern with the Baltimore Orioles. He was noticed there by senior club executive Larry Lucchino, a former Washington attorney. Mr. Lucchino hired him to work for the San Diego Padres, advised him to attend law school and was instrumental in promoting the former Yale Daily News sports editor to GM of the Red Sox in 2002.

At a news conference last week, Mr. Epstein cited "complexities" in his relationship with Mr. Lucchino, president and part owner of the team, but he didn't blame them for his resignation. "In the end, it just wasn't the right fit," he said. Mr. Lucchino didn't return a request for comment. In an email responding to questions, Red Sox principal owner John Henry said: "Differences are common in management."

Mr. Epstein insisted he wasn't burned out. Baseball executives believe he will resurface with a team willing to grant him autonomy on baseball matters, a club presidency or even a small ownership stake, perks gained by Mr. Beane in Oakland. The Dodgers already are said to have contacted Mr. Epstein, and Major League Baseball is expected by the end of the month to choose an owner of the Washington Nationals, who might be interested in his services.

Still, Mr. Epstein's departure was startling to other GMs. "I'm not disappointed that he's out of Boston," says J.P. Ricciardi, general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, who play in the same division as the Red Sox. "But we lost a good guy. If he's unhappy enough to walk away, sometimes it makes you sit there and say, 'Is it worth it?' "

Rotblatt
Nov 07 2005 04:51 PM

Fatsis & Weinbach get it all wrong, despite a promising start. I mean

]Why did Theo quit?


is a great question--lots of opportunity to hurl invective at everyone from management to Joe Six-Pack, AND a good starting point from which to misquote people. But NO, instead they took this nice, juicy lead and promptly RAN AWAY FROM IT, using it only as a peephole into the changing world of baseball management.

I mean, seriously, any sports journalist worth his salt could take a hanging slider of a topic like this and hit it out of the park with an uppercut "THEO CALLS un"LUCKY'S" BLUFF" or a line drive "TRAITOR THEO CALLS IT QUITS."

Losers.

And it gets worse, as for the next few paragraphs, the writers inexplicably NEVER WEIGH IN ON THE NEWS THEY'RE REPORTING!!! Not once do they condemn management for screwing Theo or call Theo a rat bastard for abandoning the Sox. Take this piece of claptrap:

]In media reports and cyberspace chatter, Mr. Epstein's departure has been linked to a power struggle in Red Sox upper management.


So who was right? Who was wrong? How are we supposed to know IF YOU DON'T TELL US?!!

And next they start talking about how the nature of the GM role has changed. Fine, right? A great opening for them to talk about how sportswriters like themselves have begun holding GM's accountable to hardworking everyday fans like you and me. Instead:

]The general manager used to be relatively anonymous, was often a former player and held near-total control over baseball operations. Now, as media scrutiny has increased and owners are forced to focus more than ever on the game's high financial stakes, the job has morphed into a corporate-executive position that has to report up the line.


Another strike, taken right at the knees.

And now we come to the factual errors.

]Mr. DePodesta majored in economics at Harvard and worked under acclaimed Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane (playing a supporting role in Michael Lewis's bestselling book "Moneyball").


Who the hell is Michael Lewis? As EVERYONE KNOWS, Billy Beane wrote "Moneyball"!!!!

]While earning respect for his ability to blend traditional talent scouting with modern statistics-oriented research -- and while leading the Dodgers last year to their first playoff win since 1988 -- Mr. DePodesta had never run a team department at any level before taking over the club.

As a result, baseball executives say, he struggled with some traditional management tasks, such as communicating with underlings and managing public-relations crises.


EVERYONE KNOWS DePodesta was fired because he was an egghead who never played baseball!!!

Yeesh, guys, try reading the paper sometime.

And finally, we come to yet another opportunity missed:

]At a news conference last week, Mr. Epstein cited "complexities" in his relationship with Mr. Lucchino, president and part owner of the team, but he didn't blame them for his resignation. "In the end, it just wasn't the right fit," he said. Mr. Lucchino didn't return a request for comment. In an email responding to questions, Red Sox principal owner John Henry said: "Differences are common in management."


If the principles won't be forthcoming, FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL!!! I mean, Jesus, don't Epstein, Lucchino & Henry have someone who waited on them in the past year you can talk to? Wouldn't this waiter "have reason to know" what they're all thinking and be able to shed some much-needed light on this valuable, paper-selling topic?

Amateurs.

Edgy, your article has sullied the good name of this thread. I hope you're ashamed.

Willets Point
Nov 07 2005 04:53 PM

I blame it on Shaugnessy.

Edgy DC
Nov 07 2005 05:02 PM

]A great opening for them to talk about how sportswriters like themselves have begun holding GM's accountable to hardworking everyday fans like you and me.


You had fooled until you described me as "hardworking."

Johnny Dickshot
Nov 07 2005 05:18 PM

That one's still going, rottie.

Edgy DC
Nov 08 2005 01:05 PM

Surely there's a trophy somewhere with Rottie's name on it.

Mark Healey
Nov 09 2005 01:26 AM

I don't EVER want to see another complaint about anything I write on this site again...unless, of course you join me in ridiculing this mish-mosh...

]Some trades that make sense to me
November 8, 2005

In the spirit of this week's general managers' meetings in California, I think I'll lay the groundwork for trade scenarios that in my mind make sense. But remember, it's MY mind, so something might be screwy. Let me know.

1. LF Manny Ramirez to the Angels for CF Steve Finley, 1B Casey Kotchman, 2B Howie Kendrick and LHP Joe Saunders. With lots of holes to fill this offseason, the Sox might want to quickly move ManRam while he's still disgruntled, eliminate any middle men (i.e., the Diamondbacks) and gain more payroll flexibility for big-name free agents and trades -- such as ...

... 2. 2B Alfonso Soriano and RHP Jonathan Broxton to the Red Sox; CF Torii Hunter to the Dodgers; Kendrick, 1B Adrian Gonzalez and 3B Kevin Youkilis to the Twins and RHPs Bronson Arroyo and Cla Meredith and LHP Derek Thompson to the Rangers. Soriano would replace Ramirez as the righthanded thunder in the Sox's lineup and bring 30-30 speed. Broxton could provide bullpen help. Publicly, Hunter is staying put, but Minnesota ought to be trying right now to receive some value for its $10 million man; the Twins would get a new infield here. The Rangers would add needed pitching. The Dodgers would get a premier (albeit expensive) center fielder to replace Milton Bradley.

3. 1B Jim Thome to the Yankees for RHP Carl Pavano (if healthy), IF/OF Tony Womack and 3B Eric Duncan. Figures the Yanks would be a fit for an aging first base/DH type with a bad back and tons of money left on his contract. But if Thome can stand up, he can assault the right field porch at the Stadium and hit a few long ones out of Death Valley. Pavano could flourish back in the NL if his shoulder is OK, and Duncan -- if he starts hitting -- could eventually take over for David Bell at third base. Womack is a bench player who has been unhappy in New York; he's in here to help even out the money.

4. 1B Lyle Overbay to the Blue Jays, 1B Shea Hillenbrand to the Mets and RHP Steve Trachsel to the Brewers. Toronto probably doesn't want to part with Hillenbrand, but Overbay would be a nice consolation prize. With his gap power in SkyDome, 60 doubles would seem to be within reach. Trachsel could provide the veteran rotation arm the Brewers lack. And Hillenbrand would be an offensive upgrade (Who wouldn't?) at first base for the Mets.

5. 3B Mike Lowell to the Pirates for RHP Kip Wells and OF Nate McLouth: The Pirates need a third baseman and the Marlins need a mid-rotation starter. McLouth could take over in left field, with Miguel Cabrera moving to third permanently. The change of scenery could be very helpful to Lowell and Wells.

TheOldMole
Nov 09 2005 06:11 AM

I don't ever want to see any complaints about anything I write on this site, either. Or anywhere else.

MFS62
Nov 09 2005 09:17 AM

Detroit apparently has their own version of John Heyman and Joel Sherman when it comes to talkin' trades.

http://www.detnews.com/2005/tigers/0511/09/D01-376808.htm

Pudge for Kaz?
I can just see Kaz approving a trade to the Motor City. and Pudge has a no-trade clause in his contract. Then why bother writing it?

Later

Mark Healey
Nov 09 2005 09:54 AM

MFS62 wrote:
Detroit apparently has their own version of John Heyman and Joel Sherman when it comes to talkin' trades.

http://www.detnews.com/2005/tigers/0511/09/D01-376808.htm

Pudge for Kaz?
I can just see Kaz approving a trade to the Motor City. and Pudge has a no-trade clause in his contract. Then why bother writing it?

Later


Actually, while Kaz would likely veto a deal to Detroit, Pudge would welcome a deal to play for Omar, as I've written that on more than one occasion.

All reports out of Motown say that Pudge isn't asking for a deal, though...

Edgy DC
Nov 09 2005 10:07 AM

Well, you writing it doesn't necessarily make it true, with respect.

And playing for the Mets isn't exactly playing for Omar.

So, Kaz can veto deals?

MFS62
Nov 09 2005 10:14 AM

Edgy DC wrote:

So, Kaz can veto deals?


I believe I've read that his contract contains a list of three cities to which he would accept a trade. Two were Seattle and SF. Don't recall the third, but from the first two I'd guess LA, another city with a large Japanese-American population.

But I'd guess clauses like that can be overcome if some additional money were offered. No examples immediately come to mind.

Later

Mark Healey
Nov 09 2005 10:21 AM

Edgy DC wrote:
Well, you writing it doesn't necessarily make it true, with respect.

And playing for the Mets isn't exactly playing for Omar.

So, Kaz can veto deals?


LOL..

To be specific, my information, dating back from last year, was that Pudge was one of the Latino players that called Omar to say that he was ineterested in playing for the Mets...

As for Kaz, he has a no-trade to all but the Dodgers, Yankees and (I believe) the Red Sox (which is weird).

metirish
Nov 09 2005 10:22 AM

My people are telling me that Kaz would accept a trade to the Angels, a scout I spoke to recently on the condition of anonymity said Kaz has bulked up and had lazik surgery last week and can't wait to prove he belongs with the Mets.

Edgy DC
Nov 09 2005 10:27 AM

Your people and my people should get together. They really should.

MFS62
Nov 09 2005 10:28 AM

metirish wrote:
My people are telling me .


Gee, that's impressive.
Do you have a team of scouts, like Joel Sherman (or was it Jon Heyman?), too?

:)

Later

metirish
Nov 09 2005 10:53 AM

Mu people will be in touch - OK here is another take on what Omar might do...

]Mets’ arms for sale
Benson and Trachsel may go to make room for other improvements


BY KEN DAVIDOFF
STAFF CORRESPONDENT

November 9, 2005

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- On paper, the Mets have many holes to fill, none in the starting rotation. But general manager Omar Minaya doesn't love his group of starters, and he's open to shaking it up.

According to a person familiar with the situation, the Mets would like to use Kris Benson and Steve Trachsel to both create room in their rotation - which could then be filled by outside free agents - and to plug their more obvious holes like first base and second base.











The Mets also continued to work on their bullpen needs yesterday, as executive Tony Bernazard met with agents Jeff Borris and Rick Thurman, who represent Yankees free agent Tom Gordon and longtime Padres closer Trevor Hoffman. Both represent backup plans in case the Mets can't land their top target, Billy Wagner; Gordon ranks above Hoffman, whom nearly everyone in the industry anticipates will return to San Diego despite recent, acrimonious negotiations.

While the free-agent market offers solid options at closer, that's not the case for first base and second base. The best first basemen, in particular, are available on the trade market. Milwaukee, with young Prince Fielder near ready, could deal Lyle Overbay, while the financially strapped Florida Marlins have yet to declare Carlos Delgado untouchable.

With the crop of free-agent starting pitchers just as overwhelming, the Mets could try using some starting pitchers to land an infielder. Trachsel is especially affordable, as the Mets recently exercised his $2.5 million option for next year. The 35-year-old missed the bulk of last season, recovering from March surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back. When he returned in late August, he posted a 1-4 record and 4.14 ERA in six starts.

Benson, 31, is owed more than $7 million each of the next two seasons. In his first full season with the Mets, he went 10-8 with a 4.13 ERA in 28 starts.

Neither Trachsel nor Benson came to the Mets under Minaya's reign. Trachsel signed while Steve Phillips ran the Mets, back in the 2000-01 offseason, while Jim Duquette traded for Benson in July 2004, although Minaya did re-sign him last winter. The same could be said for Victor Zambrano, whom Duquette received from Tampa Bay for Scott Kazmir in the infamous July 2004 deal, but the Mets seem inclined to keep Zambrano.

Should they find suitable trade partners for Trachsel and Benson, the Mets could fill the holes by pursuing free agents like A.J. Burnett, Esteban Loaiza and Kevin Millwood. Mets officials met Monday with Scott Boras, Millwood's agent, at the GMs' meetings; Boras also represents Kenny Rogers and Jeff Weaver (both of whom endured rough times in New York, as did Loaiza) and Jarrod Washburn. The Giants' Jason Schmidt is a remote trade possibility.

In the bullpen, the Mets want Wagner most of all, as evidenced by their personal visit with him last week, and are unlikely to be outbid by the Phillies or any other team. But if Wagner decides to stay with the Phillies or sign with a dark horse, Gordon represents a decent Plan B.

The 38-year-old excelled as Mariano Rivera's setup man the past two seasons in the Bronx, at least before the postseason, and he has announced his intention to return to the closer's role he held sporadically from 1997 through 2003. Given his age, Gordon would cost far less than Wagner in years and dollars.

Rotblatt
Nov 09 2005 11:31 AM

I'm glad we're open to trading Benson & Trachs. I'd much rather lose them than Seo or Heilman. I guess it goes without saying that I'd trade both of them for Overbay or Delgado straight up in a heartbeat, despite the $16M per year we'd be on the hook for with Delgado.

Millwood or Burnett would both be pretty clear upgrades, IMO. I think Loaiza would probably be a capable replacement--I'd expect him to put up similar numbers to both Benson & Trachs.

A rotation of Petey, Glavine, Millwood, Seo, Zambrano looks awfully good to me.

Overbay, by the way, is the kind of guy we should be targeting. His OPS+ was only 113 last year (down from 127 in 04) but check out his trends:

2003
.126 IsoP, .52 BB/K, 3.71 #P/PA (.767 OPS)

2004
.178 IsoP, .63 BB/K, 3.82 #P/PA (.863 OPS)

2005
.173 IsoP, .80 BB/K , 3.96 #P/PA (.816 OPS)

Overbay's BA dropped last year, but he struck out less & walked more while hitting for roughly the same amount of power he had in 2004. The difference seems to be that fewer of the balls he hit into play fell in for hits.

Sounds flukely to me. I'll take him.

Of course, it'd be better if he were right-handed, since we've already got Jake, but getting Overbay would give us even more reason for putting Operation Catch Jake into action.

Rotblatt
Nov 09 2005 12:07 PM

Now THIS is more like it. Thank you, New York Times!

]In Boston, Epstein's Gone and Ramirez Wants to Go
By MURRAY CHASS
Published: November 9, 2005

WHEN word circulated last week that one of the reasons Theo Epstein opted to leave the Red Sox was the lack of privacy in Boston - he couldn't go out for dinner without being deluged with attention from fans - I immediately thought of how Manny Ramirez had registered the same complaint last season when he asked the Red Sox to trade him.

I wonder if Manny and Theo ever went out for dinner together in their four years in Boston. That would have been some scene as fans dropped their forks and knives and besieged them for autographs and pictures. Come to think of it, they probably didn't go out together because pictures from cellphones would be all over the Internet if they had been spotted.

Anyway, Theo is gone, and Manny could be next.

"He has made it clear that he would like us to consider a trade," Larry Lucchino, the Red Sox' president and chief executive, said yesterday.

Lucchino was speaking in an interview for the first time since the Epstein affair exploded in Boston, and it was believed to be the first time a Red Sox executive acknowledged that Ramirez had asked to be traded.

Manny has asked before, most recently before the July 31 trading deadline last season, but the Red Sox seem more prepared to grant him his wish than they had before.

"Are we open for business? Are we listening to proposals and possibilities?" Lucchino said. "We are. This is the time of year when you do that. Our guys at the general managers meetings are certainly approaching this subject with an open mind and are willing to sit and talk to people who have an interest in discussing a transaction for Manny or any of our other players."

Why would the Red Sox trade Ramirez, one half of their dynamic duo with David Ortiz?

"He has asked us before, and it's only reasonable that we explore possibilities, particularly at this time of year when all types of trades are considered and kicked around," Lucchino said. "So it seems respectful of him, and it seems our job is to consider these kinds of possibilities."

The Red Sox' job will not be easy. As a 10-year major leaguer with the last five years with the Red Sox, Ramirez, a 33-year-old outfielder, has to approve any trade. He also has $57 million in salary left in the last three years of his contract, and he gets an additional $1 million if he is traded.

Last summer, the Mets explored the possibility of acquiring Ramirez but ran out of time to work out something in a two-team or a three-team deal. Ramirez more recently has been quoted as saying he doesn't want to play for the Mets or in New York. Anaheim is said to be his destination of choice, although Lucchino said that Ramirez had not expressed a preference.

On the other hand, some baseball people have suggested, Ramirez might have spread the negative word about New York as a way of inducing the Mets to give him a contract extension. Omar Minaya, the Mets' general manager, has been portrayed in some circles as being prepared to do whatever it would take to get Manny, whether it be an extension or a bevy of players, including Lastings Milledge, their best prospect.

But the only people Minaya truly feels that strongly about are his wife, Rachel, and their children, Teddy and Justin.

Nevertheless, Minaya will do the smart thing and explore the possibility of acquiring Ramirez. Ramirez is, after all, the type of productive power hitter the Mets desperately need.

One club, Lucchino said, had inquired about Ramirez at the general managers meetings. "I don't think it's appropriate to discuss individual clubs," Lucchino said, "but one club has made preliminary suggestions about discussions."

Minaya did not return a telephone call to say whether the Mets were that club. Should they pursue Ramirez? Absolutely, even with the baggage he might take with him.

Last season was the fifth in which he has hit more than 40 home runs - he matched his career high of 45 - and his 144 runs batted in were his third-highest total. If it's offense the Mets want, Ramirez is more of a sure thing than Alfonso Soriano, the Texas second baseman they have considered trying to get.

On the other hand, Ramirez would cost the Mets more in players and money, and they would have to hold their breath that Manny didn't decide to be Manny. If he were back home - he grew up in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan - the Mets might also have to be concerned about his hanging around with old friends, often a potentially dangerous lifestyle for players.

The Red Sox may trade Ramirez because they are weary of Manny being Manny. But asked how they would replace his offensive production, Lucchino said: "There's no doubt he's a sensational hitter and an incredibly consistent performer. We value him enormously."

It remains to be seen how highly the Mets, or any other team, value Manny.


Few facts, just rampant speculation. Ah, bliss!

Speaking of speculation, I think it's dangerous that Minaya's being portrayed as being willing to do "whatever it takes" to land Manny. It's okay when a fan does it, but when a GM does, he becomes the proverbial white city boy canoing through the Ozarks.

Okay, so maybe that's not exactly a proverbial situation, but y'all know what I mean (cue banjo twang here).

Mark Healey
Nov 09 2005 12:23 PM

Edgy DC wrote:
Your people and my people should get together. They really should.



People...People who need people..are the lonliest people...

Johnny Dickshot
Nov 11 2005 08:00 AM

You'd think if this arrogant knucklehead read as much about about his topic as he purports to, he might have come across the proper spelling of his subject's name. An error of ignorance none of the alledged food-stained racsist wretches he trashes for their ignorance manages to make. Super.

As to the point, I'd agree the the "communication issue" is probably too broadly applied, but solving the problem isn't a matter of educating rascist sportswriters (!) but examining the apparent communication failures between the Mets and Matsui, for example, which I'd suspect are as based on culture as language. If anything, the assumptions of performance we often hear (such as the guy in my office who based on casual observation of Shinjo and Matsui concludes "Japanese guys can't hit the cureveball") is where the real ignorance lies.

Hold your ears:

]I've been reading with interest some of the media speculation about Japanese catcher Kenji Jujima. Obviously, in the wake of Kaz Mutsui, it's reasonable to ask whether Jujima can play in the majors after putting up big numbers in Japan.

Obviously.

But time after time, I keep seeing writers harp on the issue of communication between a catcher, pitcher and the coaching staff and manager. You'd think in a cosmopolitan city such, uh, backwards opinions might be obsolete. But then again, there are still people who defend the internment of Japanese-Americans during the second World War, while German-Americans, including my grandfather who was born in Dresden, and Italian-Americans were left unmolested.

This is the same kind of thinking is at work here, whether it be from the media room food-stained wretches of the sportswriting corps, or team officials. And it's just as wrong.

I can't say for sure whether Jujima can play in the majors. I can say that the communication issue is, well, pretty damn racist. Right now, Jujima probably speaks better English than any number of Latino catchers, not to mention at least one ex-Met pitcher from Bensonhurst, based on his work on the radio. In Japan, unlike many Latin American countries, English is taught starting in elementary school and is mandatory for all students. Plus, in anticipation of coming to the U.S., he's been brushing up on his English.

And the funny thing: despite iffy English skills in a some cases, there have been a lot of damn good Latino catchers and I'm pretty sure that one finger down means the same thing, whatever the language. Sure, once upon a time, the idea of a Latino catcher was questioned the same way and for a lot of the same xenophobic reasons. But like the myth of the black quarterback, virtually all of the Latino myths have been exploded, including one suggesting that they could never hold management positions. Maybe it's time for Asian myths to be exploded once and for all, too.

Speaking as someone with an extensive knowledge of working with and speaking with Japanese people, not to mention having spent time in Japan — at one time my Japanese vocabulary was about 150 words, but I've lost most of it by disuse — communication should be the least of anyone's worries about Jujima. Whether he can hit for the kind of power and average he did in Japan — well, that's another issue.

If the language issue was such a problem, how did a manager from Connecticut lead his team to the Japan Series title? Is Bobby Valentine such a genius that he can learn enough Japanese to get by and be able to communicate with all of his players? And what about the various American players, including pitchers and catchers, who been successful in Japan? Not to mention Japanese ownership of a Major League team (and don't talk to me about how Howard Lincoln really runs the Mariners — he's an empty suit. He was went I dealt with him at Nintendo — and the fact that Nintendo is a such a mess is a tribute to his management ability).

Baseball likes to talk about how it is evolved and modern. But the truth remains far from that. This kind of thinking, which still pervades around baseball, is what led to Bill Singer's infamous encounter with the highly respected Kim Ng, assistant GM of the Dodgers.

One would think, almost 60 years after integration, baseball could get past its racist past.

One would think.


He goes on to get more facts wrong here while, again, trashing others.

]

I'm not buying the tears over Mariano Rivera losing the American League Cy Young Award to Bartolo Colon. Only five relievers have ever won the Cy Young, and it's been almost 20 years since one won it without at least 50 saves. Rivera had a great year — but not one of his best ever — but only slightly above that of the top 10 closers in the American League. Heck, both Bob Wickman and Francisco Rodriguez had more saves — although that certainly isn't the sole metric to measure a closer.

Colon led the American League in wins — and when he was on, which was most of the time, especially down the stretch, he could be completely unhittable.

Now, I do think there's a good argument that Johan Santana was more deserving — as his numbers were stronger across the board, other than for wins. But not for Mo'. He had a nice year, certainly another building block on his road to the Hall of Fame, but not the kind of special season people will be talking about in 20 years, such as either of his 50-plus save seasons.

I think talk claiming a vivid bias against Yankee pitchers in national votes might be a bit misstated. Wasn't it just a few years ago a Yankee beat writer, coughGeorgeKingcough, left Pedro Martinez totally off his Cy Young ballot — didn't list him in the top 10 pitchers — to cost him the award?
So please, enough tears for Mariano.


Uh, no it wasn't. King left Pedro off his MVP ballot in 1999, dumbass.

]Full Disclosure: King was the first (of many) people foolish enough to hire me to write. Without him, I'd never have known the simple joy of writing about DePaul (Wayne, N.J.) High School girls' field hockey or moved on to any of the other things I've been lucky enough to write about.

So, I'm either an amazingly fair journalist willing to trash even people I'm fond of, or just an ungrateful, mean sonvabitch who does even worse things to people who cross me.


How about we just agree you're the World's Worst Journalist?

Edgy DC
Nov 11 2005 09:11 AM

Lucky for the DePaul (Wayne, N.J.) High School girls' field hockey team that he or she has moved on. What is the source of this crap?

seawolf17
Nov 11 2005 09:28 AM

It reads too stupidly to even be Jon Heyman.

Johnny Dickshot
Nov 11 2005 09:29 AM

That would be the editor in chief of a new magazine targeted at New York baseball fans like me.

Edgy DC
Nov 11 2005 09:40 AM

So kicking the sociological angle --- even with a desperate lack of accuracy --- is going to be part of their cutting-edge reason for being?

Edgy DC
Nov 11 2005 09:42 AM

Too Dumb for Heyman sounds like a Fountains of Wayne album title.

Johnny Dickshot
Nov 11 2005 10:20 AM

]So kicking the sociological angle --- even with a desperate lack of accuracy --- is going to be part of their cutting-edge reason for being?


Well, not entirely, I don't think.

I've seen the issue and think they're trying to zero in on this idea that New York is a baseball town, and from that perspective discuss what happened here and is happening here. I suppose that encompasses a certain degree of sociology.

My issue is that the stuff is just so goddamned sloppy it deprives any authority they might have on the subject.

MFS62
Nov 11 2005 10:25 AM

JD, Who wrote that last article? I didn't see any byline.

Later

Johnny Dickshot
Nov 11 2005 10:30 AM

[url]http://www.gothambaseball.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1434[/url]

Mark Healey
Nov 11 2005 07:38 PM

Johnny Dickshot wrote:
]So kicking the sociological angle --- even with a desperate lack of accuracy --- is going to be part of their cutting-edge reason for being?


Well, not entirely, I don't think.

I've seen the issue and think they're trying to zero in on this idea that New York is a baseball town, and from that perspective discuss what happened here and is happening here. I suppose that encompasses a certain degree of sociology.

My issue is that the stuff is just so goddamned sloppy it deprives any authority they might have on the subject.


I'm starting to think more and more that you have an agenda, sir.

Now Mike's a big boy and he can defend himself, but when you say "they".when discussing the magazine and the rest of the site, you're insulting my staff.

You're attacking a staff that works for free, a site that's free, and a magazine whose first issue was printed with people's life savings.

Yes, it's a work in progress, and the difference between Issue 1 and 2 are dramatic. I'm sorry you've chosen to attack it, rather than try to understand it and support what we're trying to do.

I've tried very hard to try to become a productive member of this community, and your bitterness and nastiness is making it very hard to do so.

Johnny Dickshot
Nov 11 2005 11:29 PM

Don't misunderstand me -- I admire what you're tying to do with the magazine and its POV: I think it's a good idea. I was only answering edgy's question.

That said we don't live in a consequence free world: You know as well as anyone who the real victims of the Jason Blair fiasco are (I know, extreme example). The point is, nothing insults good work like bad work.

Understand also that this thread is 9 pages of "attacks" on various sketchy pieces -- for which I think we can agree the linked column obviously qualifies. If the Daily News published it I figure you'd be hammering away along with us.

FWIW, I enjoyed the Chesbro piece, the minors/Sickels stuff, the 80s Mets thing and the olde-timey baseball thing. Strictly my opinion -- I'd appreciate more of that, and less of the annonymous-front-office-blabbermouth scoops (I understand the powerful attraction these offer but your record here is dreadful), and first-person stuff (hard to do well, easy to blow holes in, rarely interesting). And read the stuff first!

Edgy DC
Nov 12 2005 01:43 PM

I understand you being miffed that Dickshot speaks broadly about "they" when he speaks about sloppiness. But why is it OK for to disparage the press corps and Mets management so indiscriminately?

Mark Healey
Nov 12 2005 09:14 PM

Edgy DC wrote:
I understand you being miffed that Dickshot speaks broadly about "they" when he speaks about sloppiness. But why is it OK for to disparage the press corps and Mets management so indiscriminately?


It's his opinion, which he's entitled to. As I said before, Mike can defend himself.

My objection was to his consistent disparaging commentary, which goes far beyond constructive criticism at times.

Edgy DC
Nov 12 2005 10:07 PM

Nobody's said he's not entitled.

But, you know, Dickshot's a big boy also. I'll drop out.

metirish
Nov 13 2005 12:23 AM

Anyway back to the numbers game..and who the hell is Nate Silver?

]Predicting Futures in Baseball, and the Downside of Damon

E-Mail This
Printer-Friendly
Reprints
Save Article
By ALAN SCHWARZ
Published: November 13, 2005
INDIAN WELLS, Calif., Nov. 11 - Thad Levine was distracted. As Levine, the assistant general manager of the Texas Rangers, conversed one evening at last week's Major League Baseball general managers meetings, his eyes kept wandering to an enticing packet of paper sitting on a nearby coffee table: the 2006 Pecota Projections.

Discuss the Postseason For the growing number of baseball executives bent toward statistical analysis, a certain anticipation builds every off-season for the release of what is known simply as Pecota, Baseball Prospectus's überforecast of every player's performance the next season. Most front offices have an employee who consults it - particularly during the free-agent season. "Signing someone to a three- or four-year deal is a risk-management business decision," Levine said, leafing through the pages. "This tool does a fantastic job of managing expectations for what the player will do for you."

What separates Pecota from the gaggle of projection systems that outsiders have developed over many decades is how it recognizes, even flaunts, the uncertainty of predicting a player's skills. Rather than generate one line of expected statistics, Pecota presents seven - some optimistic, some pessimistic - each with its own confidence level. The system greatly resembles the forecasting of hurricane paths: players can go in many directions, so preparing for just one is foolish.

Take Johnny Damon, the Red Sox center fielder considered one of this off-season's most attractive free agents. Pecota examines many factors beyond his raw statistical record - the effect of playing in hitter-friendly Fenway Park, Damon's age (32), power and speed, even his height and weight - and compares him with every major leaguer since 1949, identifying the trajectories others have taken and assessing the probability Damon will follow them.

The system forecasts Damon to have about a 25 percent chance of posting an on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of .829 next season, but also a 40 percent chance of declining to .761. This is because players like Damon have maintained their performance only for about one year before beginning a consistent, decided decline. In other words, buyer beware.

Pecota is less pessimistic toward shortstop Rafael Furcal, who at 28 has a better chance of maintaining his performance level. (Though the system suggests that middle infielders age more quickly than classic sluggers.) A relative sleeper could be found in outfielder Brian Giles, who despite being 35 has the kind of skills - excellent power, speed and a fine batting eye - that tend to age relatively slowly.

Pecota was developed four summers ago by Nate Silver, a 24-year-old Chicago financial consultant. "In some ways it was boredom," Silver said. "If I had a spreadsheet on my computer, it looked like I was busy." (Its official name, Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, joyfully boils down to the last name of Bill Pecota, a former major league utilityman.) The projections are anticipated enough among some executives that Silver has received e-mail messages saying, "Hey, are the Pecotas done yet?"

Though the system naturally cannot predict all player fluctuations, it succeeds more than most. Last winter, it identified Jonny Gomes, a relatively unknown Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder, as having an excellent chance at significant improvement. Gomes hit .282 with 21 home runs in just 101 games. It also foresaw even greater production from established players like Andruw Jones, Derrek Lee and Dontrelle Willis.

Pecota helps quantify the danger of long-term pitching investments, and points out which types of arms tend to project best. The strongest indicators of future performance are rates of strikeouts, walks and home runs, but also ground ball-to-fly ball ratio and even body type.

As for this year's free-agent pitching market, Silver sees a fine future for A. J. Burnett, an enigmatic 28-year-old right-hander. Burnett projects to have a 3.65 earned run average next season, but also has a 15 percent chance of blossoming into a Cy Young award candidate for several seasons. Of the two most intriguing relievers available, the veteran Billy Wagner and the less-known B. J. Ryan, Pecota chooses Ryan as the better long-term investment thanks to his age next season (30 to Wagner's 34) and several other peripheral factors.

Pecota's focus on looking several years ahead is what catches executives' eyes most at this time of year - and helps temper what is often unfounded optimism about players' chances of improving.

"Sometimes you have a guy with a track record, a guy in his early 30's, and when he declines we act like we're shocked," Levine said. "And we don't want to look at a 26-year-old who does X and think that in two years he's going to do two-times X. This helps us stay grounded."

No organization uses Pecota in a vacuum, instead incorporating it with other projection techniques like traditional scouting reports. But a decade after Bill Pecota retired, his name is growing more prominent each winter.

"Everyone in baseball is in the guessing business," the Mariners executive Dan Evans said. "This makes it a little bit less of a guess."

E-mail: keepingscore@nytimes.com

seawolf17
Nov 13 2005 06:54 AM

Silver's one of the Baseball Prospectus wunderkinds; he's a stathead. A lot of PECOTA is common sense, in a way -- like saying BJ Ryan is a smarter long-term investment than Billy Wagner -- but it quantifies things on a much more concrete level.

TheOldMole
Nov 13 2005 09:36 AM

What's Aaron Heilman's Pecota?

Johnny Dickshot
Nov 13 2005 10:42 AM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Nov 13 2005 12:26 PM

In the 2005 book, Pecota pegged Heilman

12% breakout
36% improve
27% collapse
And suggested it would take 2 injuries to get him a chance to play (which was more or less accurate).

"Projected" line:23 games (11 starts), 78.2 IP, 59-36 K-BB, 4.68 ERA, 4.5 VORP.

Actual: line: 53 games (7 starts), 108 IP, 106-37 K-BB, 3.17 ERA, 26.5 VORP.

PECOTA thought it was a longshot that Heilman could attain excellent K/IP and K/-BB figures.

Edgy DC
Nov 13 2005 12:07 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Nov 13 2005 01:36 PM

They need to factor in the contagiousness of Pedro's changeup.

Johnny Dickshot
Nov 13 2005 12:27 PM

I screwed up the K-BB numbers above, and edited.

BTW, this discussion belongs more in soupy's thread than this one.

Edgy DC
Nov 13 2005 06:22 PM

The Daily News thinks Bob Raissman is a sportswriter. Do you?

'Clown' Prince

Phillips spills juice on steroids
but only as a paid ESPN employee


Steve Phillips never made a public issue of steroids when he was Mets GM, but he's a lot more outspoken now that he gets paid for his opinions.

The transformation an athlete or a team executive undergoes to become a media member is amazing.
Take the case of Steve Phillips, the former Mets GM who now works for ESPN. In the current issue of ESPN The Magazine there is a lengthy story on steroids in baseball.

While there are few revelations in the piece - it's corned beef re-hash, so to speak - there is a segment headlined "The Executive," in which Phillips says that in 1987, while playing for a Mets minor league team in Mississippi, he saw one of his teammates shooting another up with some form of steroid.

Steve Phillips never made a public issue of steroids when he was Mets GM, but he's a lot more outspoken now that he gets paid for his opinions.
Phillips tells the magazine that in 1994, when he was Mets GM, he suspected some players were on the juice. So concerned was Phillips he had some players tested. When the "first of several players flunked," Phillips "handled it internally." The story goes on to paint Phillips as someone whose hands were tied on the steroids issue because other - more pressing - baseball matters took precedence.

It's not surprising Phillips went public with all this in ESPN The Magazine. Phillips' concern about steroids now has a price tag attached. After all, Phillips never put a public spotlight on steroid abuse in baseball when he was Mets GM.

Nor did he express any outrage for the impact juice was having on the game immediately after he was fired. Only now, when he is picking up a paycheck from ESPN, does Phillips feel motivated to go public.

ESPN the Magazine suits don't have to worry. No one will ever accuse them of directly paying Phillips for the interview and his insights.

There was no need for that. Phillips was already on the company payroll.

Lines have always been blurred at Bristol Clown Community College. Are ESPN analysts, reporters and hosts paid to be journalists, sources or entertainers?

In ESPN The Magazine, Phillips comes off as some kind of martyr. And yet last week ESPN was paying him for his acting ability. Phillips played the role of GM for a variety of teams - Yankees included - during mock press conferences staged by the network.

While Phillips was convincing as a practitioner of Dork Speak, it was particularly pathetic watching Jeremy Schaap and Buster Olney come off as twin buffoons, playing "reporters" at these make-believe press conferences.

Some genius at ESPN made a conscious decision to compromise the credibility of Schaap and Olney. No real surprise. Why worry about their reputations when, on any particular day, reporting is not a priority in Bristol?

See, at ESPN it pays to be versatile.

Just ask Steve Phillips.

Edgy DC
Nov 13 2005 06:33 PM
Edited 3 time(s), most recently on Nov 13 2005 09:11 PM

Some fella with the Central Illinois Pantagraph also thinks ESPN and Phillips are going too far. And that people are pushy at the drug store.

Greenberg: Simulated press conferences not a good idea

Saw something on television a few days ago that disturbed me so much I changed the channel.

No violence. No sex. No stupid jokes -- that's my specialty.

It was a simulated press conference on EPSN that left me -- and others -- shaking their heads.

One of those others shaking his head was George Solomon, ESPN's ombudsman, who wrote the following on ESPN.com:

"Standing at the kitchen counter Monday morning, drinking a cup of coffee, I was startled to hear a tease for an upcoming news conference involving the Boston Red Sox. ...

"I read the crawl on the bottom of the screen ('Simulated news conference') and saw ESPN's Steve Phillips, a former general manager for the New York Mets, at the lectern, acting the part of Red Sox GM. I also thought I saw ESPN reporters ... among others, asking questions.

"I'd been had. And so were many other viewers who, like me, simply could not understand why ESPN, a news-gathering organization of stature, would simulate a news conference," Solomon wrote.

He then quoted Vince Doria of the massive sports network who said, "We wanted to present the traditional offseason hot stove speculation in a platform that would deliver the same information in a more entertaining way. We hoped that might get our viewers' attention, as opposed to the conventional piece or discussion."

For those who may need a little translation -- "hot stove" discussions are what baseball fans do in the winter, talking about what their team and others need to do to improve before the next season begins.

Real reporters asked real questions. Phillips played general manager and gave answers. The network did a few of these. In the one I saw, Phillips played the general manager of the Chicago Cubs.

Trying something different is good. In a world of expanding and constantly changing media, we should consider new ways to give our readers or viewers information.

But this goes too far.

The simulated news conference morphed reporting and journalism into some kind of make-believe quasi-reality show.

Granted, it is sports -- an area where the lines between reporting and entertainment have become fuzzier over the past few years.

But this goes too far.

Just imagine if some national news organization decided to hold a simulated press conference with President Bush -- or if we did one with Gov. Blagojevich or one of our local police chiefs.

We'd tell people it was simulated. We could get someone who would accurately portray the public official.

But this just opens up all sorts of possibilities for bad things to happen.

Hopefully this bad idea doesn't catch on and goes away as quickly as it arrived.

Were you raised by wolves?

There are times I wonder if some people were raised by humans.

Last week I was in line at a stor\e to buy some deodorant. There were two people ahead of me. Another store worker saw the line and went to a second check-out station.

He said, "Can I help the next person in line?"

There was a woman ahead of me and I waited for her to move. She didn't want to move. So I turned to pay.

A man behind me threw the item he wanted to buy on the counter. The worker looked at me and I handed him the deodorant. He rang it up. I started to pay him and the guy behind me said, "Hey, I already put my stuff on the counter."

The worker looked at him and said, "But he was ahead of you in line."

The man got angry and protested.

I turned, looked at him and said, "I was ahead of you in line."

To which the man replied with disgust, "Well, I guess we're all in a hurry."

The worker and I didn't know how to reply. I just left.

Whether it's in line at the store or in line at a four-way stop, what's so hard about waiting for your turn? We could all share a little more courtesy with each other.

Terry Greenberg is editor of The Pantagraph. Contact him at (309) 820-3230 or at tgreenberg@pantagraph.com

seawolf17
Nov 13 2005 06:36 PM

First of all, what the hell was the point of that piece? Why throw that random anecdote from the CVS or whatever in there?

Second, I love how Edgy combs papers nationwide -- like the [u:de9afd55ee]Central Illinois Pantagraph[/u:de9afd55ee] -- to find stories for us.

Third, what the hell is a "pantagraph"? I think Central Illinois made that up.

mlbaseballtalk
Nov 13 2005 07:59 PM

seawolf17 wrote:
First of all, what the hell was the point of that piece? Why throw that random anecdote from the CVS or whatever in there?

Second, I love how Edgy combs papers nationwide -- like the Central Illinois Pantagraph -- to find stories for us.

Third, what the hell is a "pantagraph"? I think Central Illinois made that up.



I have a feeling that was a paper-based version of a blog column

I have a feeling Edgy has some sort of google alerts thing that emails him whenever a Met related person is mentioned

I mean how in the bluest of hells did he get the info on Steve Bieser being on the coaching staff at some Missouri HS?

Steve Bieser?

Sure he did have one shinning moment in the first ever regular season Met-Yankee series, but that was 1997! By now he ranks with the Joe Moocks, RIch Puigs, RIch Sauvers, Joe Ostrossers, of the world of random obscure Mets

Steve

Johnny Dickshot
Nov 13 2005 10:00 PM

I don't watch ESPN anymore and I'm missing all this bad TV.

Edgy DC
Nov 13 2005 10:09 PM

Firstly, this isn't about me.

Secondly, the point of the last two clippings was clear. I guess my point in posting them consecutively was to suggest that consensus was building among sportswriters that ESPN and their staff are making mooks (and not Moocks) of themselves.

Nextly, a pantagraph is an ingenius tool for copying images --- like maps and illustrations --- by tracing them with a needle and having a lever with a pencil following the tracing. They could reduce or enlarge the scale of the drawing.



The paper, if I'm not mistaken, is the one that filed suit against Michael Moore for a dollar for misrepresenting in Farenheit 451 that a letter to the editor claiming that Gore won the 2000 election was actually a news story. I believe the suit was unsuccessful.

Great Mets of the eighties! Could you imagine seeing Disney march over the hill?

Holdings
Publishing
Book Publishing Imprints

  • Hyperion
    • Miramax Books

    • ESPN Books

    • Theia

    • ABC Daytime Press

    • Hyperion Audiobooks

    • Hyperion East

  • Disney Publishing Worldwide
    • Cal Publishing Inc.

    • CrossGen

  • Hyperion Books for Children
    • Jump at the Sun

    • Volo

    • Michael di Caupa Books

    • Disney Global Children's Books
      • Disney Press

      • Global Retail

      • Global Continuity


Magazine titles include:
  • Automotive Industries

  • Biography (with GE and Hearst)

  • Discover

  • Disney Adventures

  • Disney Magazine

  • ECN News

  • ESPN Magazine (distributed by Hearst)

  • Family Fun

  • Institutional Investor

  • JCK

  • Kodin

  • Top Famille - French family magazine

  • US Weekly (50%)

  • Video Business

  • Quality


Broadcasting
(includes the Capital City/ABC subsidiary)

Television

  • ABC Television Network


Owned and Operated Television Stations
  • WLS - Chicago

  • WJRT - Flint

  • KFSN - Fresno

  • KTRK - Houston

  • KABC - Los Angeles

  • WABC - New York City

  • WPVI - Philadelphia

  • WTVD - Raleigh - Durham

  • KGO - San Francisco

  • WTVG - Toledo


Radio Stations
  • WKHX – Atlanta

  • WYAY – Atlanta

  • WDWD – Atlanta

  • WMVP – Chicago

  • WLS – Chicago

  • WZZN – Chicago

  • WRDZ – Chicago

  • WBAP – Dallas

  • KSCS – Dallas

  • KMEO – Dallas

  • KESN – Dallas

  • KMKI – Dallas

  • WDRQ – Detroit

  • WJR – Detroit

  • WDVD – Detroit

  • KABC – Los Angeles

  • KLOS – Los Angeles

  • KDIS – Los Angeles

  • KSPN – Los Angeles

  • KQRS – Minneapolis - St. Paul

  • KXXR – Minneapolis - St. Paul

  • KDIZ – Minneapolis - St. Paul

  • WGVX – Minneapolis - St. Paul

  • WGVY – Minneapolis - St. Paul

  • WGVZ – Minneapolis - St. Paul

  • WABC – New York City

  • WPLJ – New York City

  • WQEW – New York City

  • WEVD – New York City

  • KGO – San Francisco

  • KSFO – San Francisco

  • KIID – Sacramento

  • KMKY – Oakland

  • WMAL – Washington DC

  • WJZW – Washington DC

  • WRQX – Washington DC

  • KQAM – Wichita

  • KKDZ – Seattle

  • WSDZ – St. Louis

  • WWMK – Cleveland

  • KMIX – Phoenix

  • KADZ – Denver

  • KDDZ – Denver

  • WWMI – Tampa

  • KMIC – Houston

  • WMYM – Miami

  • WWJZ – Philadelphia

  • WMKI – Boston

  • WDZK – Hartford

  • WDDZ – Providence

  • WDZY – Richmond

  • WGFY – Charlotte

  • WDYZ – Orlando

  • WMNE – West Palm Beach

  • WEAE – Pittsburgh

  • WDRD – Louisville

  • WPPY – Albany, NY

  • KPHN – Kansas City

  • WQUA – Mobile

  • WBML – Jacksonville

  • WFDF – Flint

  • WFRO – Fremont, OH

  • WDMV – Damascus, MD

  • WHKT – Norfolk

  • Radio Disney

  • ESPN Radio (syndicated programming)


Cable Television
  • ABC Family

  • The Disney Channel

  • Toon Disney

  • SoapNet

  • ESPN Inc. (80% - Hearst Corporation owns the remaining 20%)
    • ESPN

    • ESPN2

    • ESPN News

    • ESPN Now

    • ESPN Extreme

  • Classic Sports Network

  • A&E Television (37.5%, with Hearst and GE)

  • The History Channel (with Hearst and GE)

  • Lifetime Television (50%, with Hearst)

  • Lifetime Movie Network (50% with Hearst)

  • E! Entertainment (with Comcast and Liberty Media)


International Broadcast
  • The Disney Channel UK

  • The Disney Channel Taiwan

  • The Disney Channel Australia

  • The Disney Channel Malaysia

  • The Disney Channel France

  • The Disney Channel Middle East

  • The Disney Channel Italy

  • The Disney Channel Spain

  • ESPN INC. International Ventures

  • Sportsvision of Australia (25%)

  • ESPN Brazil (50%)

  • ESPN STAR (50%) - sports programming throughout Asia

  • Net STAR (33%) owners of The Sports Network of Canada


Other International Ventures (all with minority ownership)
  • Tele-Munchen - German television production and distribution

  • RTL-2 - German television production and distribution

  • Hamster Productions - French television production

  • TV Sport of France

  • Tesauro of Spain

  • Scandinavian Broadcasting System

  • Japan Sports Channel

  • Television Production and Distribution

  • Buena Vista Television

  • Touchstone Television

  • Walt Disney Television

  • Walt Disney Television Animation
    • Japan

    • Australia

    • Canada


Movie Production and Distribution
  • Walt Disney Pictures

  • Touchstone Pictures

  • Hollywood Pictures

  • Caravan Pictures

  • Miramax Films

  • Buena Vista Home Video

  • Buena Vista Home Entertainment

  • Buena Vista International


Financial and Retail
Financial
  • Sid R. Bass (partial interest - crude petroleum and natural gas production)


Retail
  • The Disney Store


Multimedia
Walt Disney Internet Group
  • ABC Internet Group

  • ABC.com

  • ABCNEWS.com

  • Oscar.com

  • Mr. Showbiz

  • Disney Online (web sites and content)

  • Disney's Daily Blast

  • Disney.Com

  • Family.Com

  • ESPN Internet Group

  • ESPN.sportzone.com

  • Soccernet.com (60%)

  • NBA.com

  • NASCAR.com

  • Skillgames

  • Wall of Sound

  • Go Network

  • Toysmart.com (majority stake - educational toys)

  • Disney Interactive (develops/markets computer software, video games, CD-ROMs)


Music
  • Buena Vista Music Group

  • Hollywood Records ( popular music and soundtracks for motion pictures)

  • Lyric Street Records (Nashville based country music label)

  • Mammoth Records (popular and alternative music label)

  • Walt Disney Records


Theater and Sports
Theatrical Productions
  • Walt Disney Theatrical Productions --- productions include stage versions of:
    • The Lion King

    • Beauty and the Beast

    • King David


Professional Sports Franchises
  • Anaheim Sports, Inc.

  • Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (National Hockey League)


Theme Parks & Resorts
  • Disneyland - Anaheim, CA

  • Disney -MGM Studios

  • Disneyland Paris

  • Disney Regional Entertainment (entertainment and theme dining in metro areas)

  • Disneyland Resort

  • Disney Vacation Club

  • Epcot

  • Magic Kingdom

  • Tokyo Disneyland (partial ownership)

  • Walt Disney World - Orlando, FL

  • Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Disney - MGM Studios

  • Walt Disnery World Sports Complex (golf course, auto racing track and basball complex)

  • Disney Cruise Line

  • The Disney Institute


Other
  • TiVo (partial investment)

Edgy DC
Nov 15 2005 12:03 PM

The Brockton (MA) Enterprise retroactively awards an MVP to the Mets

Lack of time in the field cost Ortiz best of field

By Bob Stern, Enterprise staff writer


Did you know that Brooks Robinson won 16 Gold Gloves and was voted the American League's MVP once?

Funny how defense didn't mean much the 15 years he wasn't MVP.

Did you know that Ozzie Smith, who set the standard for defense for shortstops, won 13 Gold Gloves, but never sniffed the National League MVP award?

I guess defense doesn't mean much among National League voters.

Look at the history of MVP voting, and never — repeat never — has defense been a key ingredient for the award.

The award has always been a tribute to the bashers of baseball, the guys who send towering drives over outfield fences; the guys whose averages are north of .350 or guys who are so good in a particular aspect of their game that they're almost impossible to ignore. That explains Rickey Henderson and Maury Wills.

But defense? No one has ever won the award because they can range to their right to glove a ball in the hole or leap to bring back home runs from over the fence.

Until this year.

Alex Rodriguez is a great player who legitimately deserves to be the American League's MVP. He did nothing this year to shed his label of being the best player in the game, and the Yankees wouldn't have sniffed 95 wins or the American League East title without him.

But spare me the argument that he was more valuable than David Ortiz because he played in the field. Rodriguez was incredibly valuable to the Yankees, but he was no more valuable to the Yankees than Ortiz was to the Red Sox.

The case you can make for A-Rod to be the MVP is the same case you'd make for Ortiz. The Red Sox wouldn't have won 95 games or tied the Yankees for the AL East title without him either.

If voters truly think Rodriguez was the most valuable player in the league, I have no argument with them. The same is true for those who voted for Ortiz.

But if those same voters penalized Ortiz for being a designated hitter, then they should be ashamed of themselves.

Designated hitter, whether you agree with the rule or not, is a legitimate position on a baseball team. This isn't some experiment that will be re-examined in a couple of years. It's been around for decades and figures to be around as long as pitchers throw curve balls and umpires blow calls.

To penalize a player because that's his position is flat-out wrong. Ortiz's value wouldn't have been greater to the Red Sox if he played first base for 140 games, just as Rodriguez's value to the Yankees wouldn't have been less if he was the DH for most of the season.

Both, Rodriguez and Ortiz, are great players. Both had great seasons. Both were deserving of the award.

Baseball history is filled with bad fielders who have won the the MVP award.

In 1979, the Mets' Keith Hernandez and the Pirates' Willie Stargell were named co-MVPs of the National League. If defense were counted, however, Hernandez, one of the best fielding first basemen of all time, would have won in a walk.

Barry Bonds has won the last four MVP awards in the National League, a streak that will end this year, but he was a terrible outfielder those four years. He certainly was a worse outfielder than when he won his previous three awards in 1990, 1992 and 1993.

Did Sammy Sosa beat out Mark McGwire in 1998 because he played right field better than McGwire played first base? I don't remember that debate.

The same is true in the American League. Did defense count when Jason Giambi won in 2000, Mo Vaughn won in 1995 (beating out the equally inept fielder Albert Belle for the award) or Jose Canseco won in 1988? Did Jim Rice turn into a great fielder when he won in 1978?

Remember last year's MVP, Vladimir Guerrero? How many voters do you think placed him first on their ballots because he has a great arm?

The best players, obviously, are the ones who hit and field. Who could argue with Ichiro Suzuki winning in 2001 or Ken Griffey Jr. in 1997? But I'll bet there wasn't one writer who voted for them because they could field.

To say Ortiz should have won the award doesn't take away from Rodriguez's performance this year. Rodriguez was a good choice, maybe even the right choice, but it's a choice that could be — and should be — debated.

Ortiz was nothing short of sensational this year. The Red Sox went through a myriad of problems this year, but Ortiz was the lone constant on the club. He hit early in the season, hit in the middle of the season and hit late in the season. Boy, did he hit late in the season.

Rodriguez, likewise, was sensational this year. He easily was the best player on the Yanekes and lifted them when everyone around him stumbled.

If you think A-Rod was the most valuable player in the American League this year, I can't argue that. He was deserving.

But the same is true for Ortiz. If you thought he was the most valuable player, I can't argue that either. He was equally deserving.

But A-Rod didn't deserve it more because his position was '5' instead of DH. That's something I will argue with.

metirish
Nov 15 2005 12:41 PM

He makes a great point about defence, of course Hernandez wasn't a Met in 79.

Nymr83
Nov 15 2005 01:16 PM

]Granted, it is sports -- an area where the lines between reporting and entertainment have become fuzzier over the past few years.

But this goes too far.

Just imagine if some national news organization decided to hold a simulated press conference with President Bush -- or if we did one with Gov. Blagojevich or one of our local police chiefs.


hey, look, its my point from the other thread only with actual examples!

rpackrat
Nov 15 2005 02:02 PM

Stupid article. Nobody is saying that the MVP is, or should be, primarily about defense. A good defensive player, however, is clearly more valuable than a player who provides comparable offense and no defense. The article's illustrations are also stupid. Yes, Brooks Robinson won 16 gold gloves and only 1 MVP. Of course, that 1 MVP came in a year when he osted a 145 OPS+, a figure he never approached in any other season. When you combine his stellar offensive season with his typically stellar defense, he put together an MVP yaer. The fact that he didn't win the MVP in his 15 other gold glove seasons, in which he was also closer to a league average offensive player (OPS+ ranging from 58-125) doesn't mean defense was irrelevant, just that great defense is not enough to overcome mediocre (or worse) offense. Ditto with Ozzie Smith. This year, the leading AL candidates were two comparable offensive stars, though ARod was probably a bit better offensively (167 OPS+ to Ortiz' 161). But ARod also provided excellent defense, whereas Ortiz provided none. In what universe is an excellent defensive player who provides at least as much offense as his no-glove competitor not more valuable based on the added defense? It's the Most Valuable Player award, not the Most Valuable Hitter award.

Johnny Dickshot
Nov 15 2005 02:05 PM

It's all a matter of perspective I think, not debiting Ortiz but crediting Gayrod, assuming their jobs with the bat were more or less equal.

metirish
Nov 15 2005 02:24 PM

]Stupid article. Nobody is saying that the MVP is, or should be, primarily about defense.


Yet commentator after commentator are saying that they would give their vote to Rodriguez because he plays the field and played great defence...M&MD claim it's hte reason he won...I agree that some of the analogy's in the column were silly but he was making a good point, defence only mattered this year it seems.

rpackrat
Nov 15 2005 02:30 PM

I thonk you're missing the point, irish: Nobody is saying that they would give it to ARod because he plays defense, they're saying the fact that he plays defense (and very good defense at that) is what sets him apart from Ortiz. In other words, ARod doesn't get the award because he plays excellent D, he gets it because he is a great hitter who also plays excellent D.

Edgy DC
Nov 15 2005 02:32 PM

If A-Rod played defense at any level above replacement level, I'd give it to him.

If they are equal in offensive win shares, and A-Rod had .5 defensive win shares to Ortiz's .1 (provided I bought win shares math hook, line and sinker), I'd have to give it to the Rod.

I only posted that article because it credited Keef as a Met.

Edgy DC
Nov 17 2005 02:36 PM

I've just got to think that there's not so much of a schism between old-school management types and new-school as the press would have you think. But check out the lead on this otherwise professionally written profile in the OC Register:

Colletti's roots food for Dodgers

MARK WHICKER
Register columnist

mwhicker@ocregister.com

LOS ANGELES – He learned the game from coarse and intuitive men, men who judged ballplayers with their eyes, men who were convinced the baseball field was a great exposer of character and truth.

He learned from Dallas Green, ranting that a player "had better learn how to look in the mirror;" Jim Frey, squinting impatiently at the first hint of psychobabble; Brian Sabean, drawing hard on a cigarette and working the phones on July 31.

Since 1982 Ned Colletti has been hoarding their thoughts, sponging their instincts.

On Wednesday he drove yet another new car into the Dodgers general manager's parking spot. He signed a four-year contract offered by a man who gave Colletti's predecessor a five-year deal and 20 months to fulfill it.

Neither Colletti nor the deposed Paul DePodesta played professional baseball. That is almost all they share.

Colletti is 50, grew up scuffling in suburban Chicago, broke into baseball as an assistant PR man for the Cubs, the equivalent of the Hollywood mailroom.

Before that he was a hockey writer, covering the Flyers for the Philadelphia Journal, a short-lived tabloid so brazen that it showed a picture of a Miami riot victim, set afire, with this headline: "Body Heat."

He is gregarious and outspoken. Unlike DePodesta, he will be in the clubhouse daily and nightly, taking the pulse. He quickly confirmed he was less infatuated with Hee Seop Choi and J.D. Drew than DePodesta had been - and he speaks in clipped, blunt sentences, as Frey did when he managed and general-managed the Cubs.

Colletti went back to Chicago in early 1982 to be with his dying father, shortly after the Journal folded. His first Cubs salary was $14,000. He worked his way into the Cubs' front office and then into San Francisco's, and Sabean became the GM in 1997 and made Colletti his assistant.

"It's good to see a guy who's paid his dues get a chance at a position like this," said Jim Fregosi, who was briefly an adviser to Sabean in San Francisco and is probably a candidate to manage the Dodgers.

"I know how hard it is to get through a season," Colletti said. "You can't fool the season. It's a process that goes from Valentine's Day to Halloween. It's so long and so demanding. That's why I get choked up every year when I see the team that wins the World Series celebrating. I know what they've gone through."

With one exception.

"In 2002 we should have won Game 2 and Game 6," Colletti said stonily, recalling the Giants' World Series loss to the Angels. "And then we were done. I knew that in Game 7, we'd be fighting uphill. But take the Cubs in '84. We're up 2-0 in a five-game series, we've got a three-run lead in the fifth inning of Game 5, and we didn't get it done."

Besides, Colletti worked in close proximity with Barry Bonds for 11 years. Jeff Kent and Milton Bradley will be like recess.

"Barry is the most intriguing, interesting player I ever dealt with, and it was an honor to watch him play every day," Colletti said. "He had a compassionate, considerate side, but he liked to cover it up.

"The first year I said hello to him three or four times, and he kept blowing me off, so I quit saying hello. Three strikes, and you're out, right? The next year he comes up and says, 'What are you, rude? You never speak to me.' So, from then on, we'd talk every day, and it was a guaranteed 15-20 minutes about something. And it could be anything."

"He might not talk to his teammates, but then in spring training he'd show up for an hour at the minor-league complex and talk to a kid about hitting," Colletti added. "That's Barry."

In winning three division titles, a wild-card spot and a National League pennant from 1997 through 2003, the Giants basically lived for today. They peddled prospects for solid veterans with moderate salaries. They lost Keith Foulke, Bobby Howry and three first-round picks who have amounted to nothing.

"I'm a believer in kids," Colletti said. "And in this park, pitching and defense. They (Dodgers) had good infield defense two years ago when they won the division. Last year it wasn't so good."

One could ask why the Dodgers didn't just promote Kim Ng, who had as many of the arbitration contract responsibilities as Colletti did in San Francisco.

One could also wonder why so many new general managers come from the contract world instead of the front metal bench of a high school ballpark, where the scouts congregate. After all, they're the ones with the baseball eye.

"I've scouted," Colletti said. "I've scouted in the Dominican Republic, I've scouted players that we were about to trade for. Brian gave me a lot of leeway to test out my ideas, to call general managers and find out what it would take. There's nothing in this game that I haven't experienced."

Mostly he experienced long days and nights, alongside Green and Sabean and Frey. He was even there the night in New York, when Dwight Gooden had struck out 16 Cubs and the Mets writers wanted Frey to comment on the kid's poise.

"Poise?" Frey answered. "You think his poise is the reason he does that? Poise? I've got poise. You think maybe that 98 mph fastball has something to do with it?"

Three men challenged everything Ned Colletti said for 24 years. Now he gets his own challenge - win the National League West in his first season. You know, the way Paul DePodesta did.

It will take poise, at least, and a critical eye. Colletti might win, he might not. But he won't try to fool the season.

metirish
Nov 17 2005 02:48 PM

Colletti seems like an interesting person, not sure about him heading to the clubhouse every night to check the pulse of the team, not a place for a GM ,right?

Edgy DC
Nov 18 2005 11:29 AM

The Mets are referenced in today's New London Day. I'll only run with relevant excerpt.

Maybe There's Another Reason For The Empty Seats At Gampel

By MIKE DIMAURO

Day Assistant Sports Editor, Sports Columnists
Published on 11/18/2005


.Storrs -- Rather than being a Negative Nellie, let's start with the sunny side: At least there were enough people left at the Gampel Morgue on Thursday night to boo Boston College's Brooke Queenan, who thumped Renee Montgomery with a forearm in the closing seconds.

The announced crowd at The Morgue was a generous 9,513, a gathering of golf clappers and crickets, to see the UConn women beat BC in the WNIT semifinals. That's roughly 600 short of a sellout, although it sure looked like there were more than 600 empty seats, especially during game introductions, when rows and rows of them turned The Morgue into Shea Stadium late in '62 when the Mets were about to lose game No. 100. ....


A few probs: Bad example with 1962, as the Mets actually drew in the middle of the pack in 1962, though I guess it was pretty empty (though still Summer!) at the time they were working on loss 100. More importantly, Shea Stadium was an empty lot that probably wan't even named Shea yet.

I'll say this much for him --- has any sportswriter ever looked so much like a John Turtorro character?

metirish
Nov 30 2005 11:41 AM

I swear I was laughing out loud when reading the first paragraph of this....

]

For a moment there, it was as if the clouds parted and the sky turned a gorgeous shade of blue and a beam of light came washing down on the upturned faces of all those Derek Jeter haters who gripe that the Yankees shortstop is overrated, overhyped, shamelessly coddled and indulged


[url=http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-sphow304533124nov30,0,1494788.column?coll=ny-sports-headlines]Captain courageous[/url]

Edgy DC
Nov 30 2005 11:51 AM
Edited 2 time(s), most recently on Nov 30 2005 12:38 PM

See, I don't hate Derek Jeter. I think he's an outstanding ballplayer and seemingly a decent fella and the Yankees and thier afficianados are lucky to have him. At the same time, I think he's overrated, overhyped, shamelessly coddled and indulged.

OE: There should be a serial comma after coddled.

rpackrat
Nov 30 2005 12:32 PM

Exactly right. Someone can be a good or great player and still be overrated. IMO, Jeter has had a hall of fame career so far. But he's not Ruth, Gehrig and Honus (excuse me, John) Wagner all rolled into one as Michael Kay and millions of MFY fans would have you believe.

Johnny Dickshot
Nov 30 2005 12:42 PM

]probably wan't even named Shea yet.


Wasn't, I don't believe. Sometime in 1963.

Elster88
Nov 30 2005 01:28 PM

Edgy DC wrote:
See, I don't hate Derek Jeter. I think he's an outstanding ballplayer and seemingly a decent fella and the Yankees and thier afficianados are lucky to have him. At the same time, I think he's overrated, overhyped, shamelessly coddled and indulged.


Exactly. The hate I feel is for the Michael Kays of the world who want to bear his children.

Elster88
Nov 30 2005 01:31 PM

]But Reuters reporter Larry Fine, when reached by Newsday's Jim Baumbach yesterday, said he stood by his account, emphasizing that he had taped Torre's remarks and, "I don't believe anything was taken out of context."


Ok, sure. I believe you Larry.

Another myth perpetrated by the media shot down by a direct quote that actually addresses the made up "rumor".

It's weird that these "stories" keep getting shot down. I was involved in a high-spirited argument a couple of weeks ago where a reporter repeatedly insisted that no sports reporter would take quotes out of context for the purposes of writing an article. This would seriously jeopardize his career and reputation, I was told.

Edgy DC
Nov 30 2005 01:35 PM

But apparently the tape has gone missing while in the possession of his roommate Curly.

metirish
Dec 09 2005 10:59 AM

Klapisch can be quite a funny read....

]

DALLAS - The shortest measure of time in this hurry-up world has been the millisecond between a light turning green and the guy behind you leaning on the horn. That's how long it took for George Steinbrenner to devise a battle plan to pry Roger Clemens away from Houston's baseball community and set up one of the greater comebacks in modern Yankee history.

The engines are already humming. One Yankee official says, "It's only a matter of time" before the first phone call is made to Clemens' camp.

The Boss can - and will - court The Rocket with money (anything you want, Rocket), by playing on his vanity (we've never really replaced you, Rocket), and his legacy (can the Astros really take you back to the World Series?). All this unfolded Wednesday night, when Houston owner Drayton McLane severed his ties with Clemens. By not offering the right-hander arbitration, the Astros are now back burnered until May 1, and while a majority of baseball insiders think Clemens will still end up in Houston, the four-month-plus window gives Steinbrenner a chance to fill three needs at once.

First, Clemens would give the Yankees' rotation an immediate upgrade and allow them to send Carl Pavano packing. Despite general manager Brian Cashman's insistence that Pavano is an integral part of the Bombers' machinery in 2006, the unhappy pitcher's attitude continues to be a problem.


A.J. Burnett said this week that Pavano is "miserable" pitching in New York, and has told a number of friends - including Burnett, his former teammate in Florida - he wants to be traded. Clemens' presence would make Pavano expendable, assuming someone would actually pay $10 million for an injured sinkerballer with diminished velocity.

If Cashman can pull off a deal for Pavano, he deserves early consideration for Executive of the Year. But the Yankees clearly need a pitching response to the Red Sox and Blue Jays, both of whom are now stronger at the front of the rotation.

Clemens and Randy Johnson are obviously fragile fortysomethings, but The Rocket was arguably the National League's best pitcher in 2005. If healthy, he would create a match for Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett, as well as Roy Halladay and Burnett.

Finally, Clemens would give the Yankees a boost in the clubhouse, where he's still popular two years since his departure. The Rocket stays in touch with Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, who e-mailed him advice about pitching to the White Sox during the World Series.

In his very first day back in pinstripes, Clemens would replace Johnson as the Yankees' ace and eclipse Johnson's angry, dark aura. The Unit is a loner at his locker and appears just as isolated when he's on the mound, even during his best games. The Rocket has an other-world quirkiness about him, but the Yankees universally considered him a great teammate. Not one has ever said that about Johnson.

Perhaps there's one other factor Steinbrenner should consider, too. The Yankees need to appear active this winter, if only because the Mets have stolen New York's attention. Actually, it's not a stretch to say the Mets now have a clearer path to the playoffs than the Bombers, which in itself is a sign of the apocalypse.

True, the Yankees deserve credit for waiting out Johnny Damon, and they're wisely resisting the temptation to trade for the talented but troubled Milton Bradley. But the Bombers have otherwise allowed themselves to appear inert - while raising their top tickets prices to $100.

For all the reasons Clemens makes sense, the question, of course, is whether his return to New York can actually happen. The Yankees will start probing the matter with Clemens' agents, which means finding out how much it will cost (at least $15 million, even for a May 1 start) and what concessions Clemens will be asking for.

So far, no one has the answer, maybe not even Clemens himself. The Astros couldn't afford to wait any longer while The Rocket wrestled with career, family and health issues.

Obviously, he's tired, still beat up from the '05 season, which ended with a disastrous appearance in Game 1 of the World Series. It's hard to believe Clemens has made peace with the image he projected walking off the mound - limping with a strained hamstring, unable to get past the second inning.

Clemens, who intends to pitch in the World Baseball Classic in March, might retire if he's still sore after the international tournament. Or he might need an extra two months to recover. If so, it's possible Clemens will return to the Astros on May 1 as if nothing had changed. But no one in Clemens' camp could give McLane a definitive answer. Agent Randy Hendricks told ESPN.com, "I'm not sure what the future holds, but Roger has his own decision, and he'll make it - in late January or early February."

Unlike the Yankees, the Astros don't have $15 million to $20 million to hold in reserve while Clemens weighs his option. That money has to be budgeted and spent in the next two months. Conversely, the Bombers are flush with cash, always their most potent weapon.

In this case, money is no object, considering the Yankees are projecting a 2006 budget that's at least $20 million lighter than in '05 (assuming they don't sign Damon). Writing a last-minute check won't cause Steinbrenner any financial pain.

It might even be the smartest cash withdrawal he's ever made.

E-mail: klapisch@northjersey.com


Yancy Street Gang
Dec 09 2005 11:03 AM

]Actually, it's not a stretch to say the Mets now have a clearer path to the playoffs than the Bombers, which in itself is a sign of the apocalypse.


How nice if that turns out to be true.

Edgy DC
Dec 09 2005 11:11 AM

] The Rocket stays in touch with Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, who e-mailed him advice about pitching to the White Sox during the World Series.

And let's hope that continues:

HoustonIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Clemens2.043301113.50

MFS62
Dec 14 2005 03:06 PM

Klapish strikes again. He loves those "high ranking officials".
Seems like some reporters want to become the news rather than reporting it. He is stirring up the pot on the ESPN website.

Later


]NEW YORK -- After a flurry of delirious check-writing, appearances at glitzy press conferences and otherwise rerouting the road to mediocrity, has the unthinkable finally occurred in New York?

Have the Mets become the city's best baseball team?

No one would've dared pose the question in 2005, not even two months ago. But thanks to the Wilpon family's money and general manager Omar Minaya's near-compulsive need to make trades, the Mets boast a roster that's nearly as star-studded as the Yankees'. Even if the roster isn't as talented, the Mets might still have a clearer path to the playoffs than the Bombers.

Says who, any Yankee loyalist will ask. None other than the Bombers themselves.

One high-ranking official said this week, "There's no question the Mets are the best team in that [NL East] division. So go ahead, say they're favorites. Say they're the best team in the whole league. Put the pressure on them, for once."

The Yankee official wasn't speaking spitefully or sarcastically, he was simply candid enough to tell the Mets: Welcome to our world, where even a two-game losing streak isn't tolerated, and five years without a world championship is the equivalent of a dark age.

Harsh as it is, the Mets are loving the limelight. They're the hottest team in town and certainly the busiest. Their projected $110 million payroll is still some $70 million lighter than the Yankees', but they have All-Stars in four starting positions (first base, catcher, left and center field), an elite-caliber Opening Day starter in Pedro Martinez and the game's hardest-throwing lefty reliever in Billy Wagner.

Many baseball officials believe the Mets now project to a 90-win season, even if Minaya doesn't make another move before April.

Finishing at 90-72 might be good enough to topple the Braves. At the very least, the Mets have surged past the Phillies, Marlins and Nationals, none of whom have significantly improved this winter.

The Yankees? They're a year older, slogging through a crisis in center field, trying to pass off Bubba Crosby as a suitable replacement to Bernie Williams. The real crossroads, however, will be the moment when Johnny Damon decides he'll accept less than a seven-year deal. But the question is for whom.

While the Yankees wait out Damon and his agent, Scott Boras, the Red Sox and Blue Jays have both upgraded their starting rotations, prompting Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi to boldly say, "We've closed the gap" on the East's power brokers.

It's conceivable a three-way race will ensue, and the Yankees could find themselves out of the playoffs for the first time since 1993. It's a long shot, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman is desperately looking for help. Still, as long as the Yankees are committed to Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang, and further refuse to trade Carl Pavano, they look inert compared to the Mets.

Cashman admitted as much, wearily saying, "It took me four days just to trade [Tony] Womack" during the winter meetings.

Of course, George Steinbrenner can't possibly allow the Mets to outright steal the Yankees' place in the universe. The Bombers are poised for an intense courtship of Roger Clemens beginning in January, and are so intent on stealing Damon away from the Red Sox, Joe Torre personally called the free-agent center fielder on Tuesday, according to Newsday.

But the Mets aren't finished with their own upgrades, either. Minaya continues his pursuit of Manny Ramirez, having tried to hatch a three-way deal with the Rangers and Red Sox that would've landed the slugger at Shea.

According to one National League official, the Mets wanted to trade Kris Benson to the Rangers for Juan Dominguez and Laynce Nix, then package them with Carlos Beltran to Boston for Ramirez.

The deal never got past the Rangers, however, and Minaya has back-burnered Ramirez -- for now. In the meantime, the GM is low-key about his chances of outdistancing the Yankees, refusing to rule out the possibility of finishing second to Atlanta.

"That's the best young nucleus they've had in a long time," Minaya said of the Braves. "They lose [Rafael] Furcal but they replace him with someone who might be even better [Edgar Renteria].

"We haven't won anything. The value of winning as a team, as a nucleus, that's insurmountable. The Braves have that."

Clearly, Minaya is trying to take pressure off his newcomers, like Wagner, Carlos Delgado and Julio Franco. But the Mets front office is gearing up for a long, loud summer in Flushing, Queens. There's a new cable network, SportsNet New York, coming in 2006 and to help cover the cost, the Mets have raised their ticket prices by 7 percent, including prime seats that now cost $96 apiece.

The Yankees moved even faster than the Mets in raising prices. Two weeks ago, they announced the Stadium's best seats will cost $110, after selling for $90 last year.

Not that the two teams are actually competing for revenue. The Mets and Yankees have their own distinct fan bases, so the who's-better question is more likely to impact street corner debate than attendance or TV ratings.

But the Yankees and Mets are clearly aware, if not wary, of each other. When the Bombers were looking for a center fielder last summer, they knew the most logical place to look was Shea Stadium, where Mike Cameron was unhappy after being shifted to right field.

The Mets could've made a deal. They could've taken the Yankees up on their offer of Gary Sheffield for Cameron. But the trade was nixed at the highest levels in Queens, where one Met executive told a go-between, "Why should we help the Yankees get over the top? Why?"

Bob Klapisch is a sports columnist for The Record (N.J.) and a regular contributor to ESPN.com

Rotblatt
Dec 14 2005 04:16 PM

If we only win 90 games, it will be because one of our big boys gets injured (Delgado, Wright or Petey).

I mean, our Pythagorean projections had us winning 89 last year, and the difference between Delgado & our 1B production from last year should be worth at least 4 wins all on its own. Figure another 2 in the difference between Wagner & Looper, and maybe another win in the difference between Ishii's 91 innings &, say, Trachsel's. Replacing Cairo's AB's with just about anyone's (even Matsui's) should net us close to a win.

Now, Petey will probably decline somewhat, as will Floyd, but it's probably just as likely that Beltran & Reyes will improve. Seo should be more valuable over a full year (even with him pitching over his head). I'd guess that between expected declines & improvements, we'll end up at worst a win down.

In short, here are my projections:

30%--82 wins. Pretty much all our top guys would have to get seriously injured for this to happen.
50%--87 wins. Only if one of Petey, Delgado or Wright are useless the entire season, and one other of those 3 for half of it.
60%--92 wins--This is the low end of what I expect. Some guys wind up on the DL, one guy sucks unexpectedly, one no-name does well, etc.
50%--97 wins--Everyone's healthy all season long.
30%--100+ wins--Everyone's healthy and one or more of Wright, Reyes, Beltran or Petey go absolutely fucking bonkers.

My percentages thing may be a little too wishy-washy, but I like to give myself a little breathing room . . .

On edit: if you held a gun to my head and told me to pick a number, I'd go with 94.

Elster88
Dec 14 2005 05:18 PM

I'll take 94. Someone get a gun on Rotty.

metirish
Jan 30 2006 02:52 PM

Just sticking this here...congrats to Cliff,Kris, Mookie and Mike.

]

Baseball writers cite A-Rod twice


BY BOB HERZOG
STAFF WRITER

January 30, 2006


He still hasn't brought Yankees fans the hardware they really covet - a World Series trophy - but Alex Rodriguez was the only guest to be presented two awards last night by the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America at the organization's annual dinner at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Manhattan.

A-Rod, who excelled in his second season with the Yankees - batting .321 with 130 RBIs and leading the AL in homers (48), runs (124) and slugging percentage (.610) - was given the New York chapter's prestigious Player of the Year Award as well as the American League MVP award he won from the national chapter of the BBWAA.

"You wish an award like this could be sliced into 25 pieces," A-Rod said in deferring to his teammates. "I think we are overdue to raise the flag in New York in 2006."

One of the loudest ovations of the evening was reserved for popular former Mets centerfielder Mookie Wilson, who won the New York chapter's signature Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award for those players forever linked in our baseball memories. Wilson and former Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner - who did not attend - were saluted for their roles in the famous play in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series in which they performed a modern-day version of Ralph Branca giving up the winning home run in the 1951 World Series to Bobby Thomson, both previous winners of the award.

Buckner has been a virtual baseball recluse since letting Wilson's ground ball squirt between his legs and allowing the winning run to score in the 10th inning. Wilson was lavish in praise of Buckner. "He's a true friend and a true professional," Wilson said. "That play doesn't define Bill Buckner's life or his career."

There were seven other New York BBWAA honorees last night, including the Joe DiMaggio Toast of the Town Award to Mike Piazza, who was unable to attend because he was celebrating his first wedding anniversary. Other N.Y. chapter award winners were: Casey Stengel You Could Look It Up (Jim Kaat, for winning 25 games in 1966 but not getting the Cy Young Award because only one was given back then and it went to Sandy Koufax); Ben Epstein Good Guy (Cliff Floyd, for making the media's job easier and more pleasant); Milton Richman You Gotta Have Heart (Orlando Hernandez for his great escape against Boston in the 2005 ALDS as well as his original great escape from Cuba); World Series MVP (Jermaine Dye); Joan Payson Community Service (Kris Benson) and William J. Slocum Long and Meritorious Service (White Sox executive Roland Hemond).

MFS62
Jan 30 2006 03:16 PM

Didn't someone post here that Buckner is not a recluse, but that he often shows up at card shows and picture signings?

Later

metirish
Feb 10 2006 11:12 AM

Wright the next Derrek Lee?



]

Young primed to hit the stratosphereBy Phil Rogers
Special to ESPN.com
Archive

The idea here is to identify the next Derrek Lee. Good luck on that.


Lee was more than a mere Triple-Crown contender.If we take every element of Lee's rise into stardom in 2005, we might as well search for the proverbial needle in a haystack. There aren't many who ever come as far as the Cubs' first baseman did last year.

Entering the season at age 29, with eight years and 1,027 games of experience, Lee had never been an All-Star. He had never driven in 100 runs nor scored 100 runs. He had never won a batting title. He had never hit 40 home runs. He had certainly never received MVP consideration.

He did all of those things last season, entering September with a legitimate shot at winning the first Triple Crown in 38 years. He elevated his game from productive to great. Who among the current hitters is poised to follow that example?

Initially, I set out to see which veterans seemed ready to step forward after being positioned like the 2005 version of Lee in only three categories: (1) never before being an All-Star; (2) never having driven in 100 runs; and (3) never finishing in the top five in MVP voting. But that proved impossible. So I relaxed the standard to identify guys who meet two of those three criteria. It remained a short list.

Here's a look at who's ready for a breakout season:


Michael Young

Very much like Lee, the Texas shortstop has gotten a little better every season he has played. His OPS has climbed steadily -- .690, .785, .836 and .899 over the last four years -- as he has grown more comfortable with his approach and ability to drive the ball. He enters 2006 at age 29 and as the reigning American League batting champ, having raised his batting average every year of his career -- most recently to .331 from .313 in 2004 and .306 in '03. His plate discipline has also improved; his on-base percentage jumped by 32 points last season.
Young, who appears to have benefited from the time he spent playing alongside Alex Rodriguez, is a right-handed hitter in a park that better suits left-handed hitters. He has learned to hit the ball the other way, driving many home runs into the bullpen in right-center during his career.

Hitting instructor Rudy Jaramillo is a valuable asset, constantly pushing Young to get better. He is a consummate pro who hasn't lost his focus in the second halves of many lost seasons with the misfiring Rangers. It will be interesting to see how big of a lift he gets if he ever gets to play in a serious playoff race.


David Wright

Because he's only 23, Wright might not quite fit. But he is a star in the making, and if the Mets knock off Atlanta this season, it would probably have more to do with his production than that of his teammates with huge salaries, namely Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado.
A first-round pick in the 2001 draft, Wright advanced steadily through the Mets' system before arriving with a bullet in 2004. He hit .293 with 14 homers and an .857 OPS in 263 at-bats. Had this been a fluke, he would have immediately declined in 2005, but he was even more productive as he settled into the league, batting .306 with 27 home runs (in a tough place to hit homers) and a .912 OPS.

Scouts love the way the right-handed hitting Wright works pitchers and extends at-bats. His plate discipline improved markedly in 2005, when his ratio of strikeouts to walks dropped from almost 3-1 to about 1.5-1.

Most of Wright's at-bats came in the fifth spot last season, but his totals could explode if manager Willie Randolph opts to hit him third and use Delgado as protection. He could hit 30-plus home runs and drive in 120.


Lyle Overbay

An excellent hitter with emerging power, the 29-year-old Overbay was traded to Toronto to open up first base for Prince Fielder in Milwaukee. It is the second move of his career, so it shouldn't cause too big of an adjustment.
That's especially true because the Rogers Centre will continue his career trend of playing in retractable roof stadiums. While Miller Park is also a good hitter's ballpark, the Rogers Centre suits left-handed hitters a little better.

Overbay is driven; his batting average actually dropped 25 points in 2005, perhaps because he was looking over his shoulder at Fielder. He could play with a clear head this season and will hit in a good spot next to Vernon Wells and Troy Glaus. He's expected to be a complementary player, but he has the tools and patient approach to emerge as the cornerstone piece, just as Lee did with the Cubs.


Joe Mauer

Like Wright, it's probably too early to put Mauer on this list. He'll turn 23 on April 19. But much has been asked of the Minnesota catcher before his time, so it would not be a huge surprise if he had a breakout season.
The key for Mauer in 2005 was getting past the problems with his left knee that limited him to only 35 games in his rookie season and threatened to force him to deal with a position change. "He's healthy now,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "His knee got checked out at the end of the year. No problems. It looks great. Everything is fantastic. He's a stud. … This young man is a real deal.''

Mauer played in 131 games last season, including 116 behind the plate, but did not deliver the kind of impact that had been expected of him. He soon will, perhaps in 2006.

A left-handed hitter, Mauer has hit .297 with an .811 OPS in his first two seasons despite the bumpy ride. That's an impressive base to build on in difficult times. AL pitchers are told repeatedly that Mauer is the guy in the Twins' lineup that they can't let beat them. But he could benefit from Torii Hunter's return to health and better production from Justin Morneau, the power-hitting first baseman who slumped in 2005.

If Mauer is going to drive in 100-plus runs and put together numbers to get on an MVP short list, he'll have to convince Gardenhire to use him as the designated hitter when he's not catching. For that to happen consistently, Mauer will have to improve against left-handed pitchers. He batted .225 with no homers in 142 at-bats against them last year. So maybe it is too soon to include him on this list.


Carl Crawford

With a wealth of experience before his 25th birthday, the speedy Crawford is the one Devil Ray who is coveted the most by the 29 other teams. Think of him as the guy with the best chance to be Rickey Henderson. He's a fly guy -- leading the AL in triples the last two seasons -- but is developing power as he ages.
Crawford has jumped his OPS from .671 to .800 in two years, and no one believes he has come near his potential. He still has a very limited understanding of the strike zone and managed to hit .301 last year despite consistently chasing breaking balls in the dirt. When he learns to spit on that pitch, he will become one of the most respected hitters in the AL.

Don't be surprised if this is the year that happens. New Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon is an excellent choice for the task of getting through to Crawford. He worked with many young talents as the bench coach in Anaheim, but perhaps none with Crawford's combination of skills and experience at this age. With the likes of Jorge Cantu, Jonny Gomes, Rocco Baldelli, B.J. Upton and Delmon Young in the 2006 lineup, Crawford should be ready to get to work when he reports to spring training.


Nick Johnson

Scouts are just about unanimous in proclaiming Johnson as an All-Star in waiting. Many felt it would have already happened, but he's only 27.
Johnson came to the big leagues as a skilled hitter with the 2001 Yankees, when he was only 22, and was considered a steal for the Montreal Expos in the Javier Vazquez trade. But injuries (back and a broken cheekbone) limited him to 73 games in 2004, so 2005 was his first major-league season with 400-plus at-bats. He bounced back to the form he had shown with the Yankees -- his yearly OPS the last three seasons is .894, .758 and .887 -- and he should be ready to build on that in 2006.

RFK Stadium is known as a tough park for hitters, but it suits the left-handed hitting Johnson better than his right-handed teammates. It takes imagination to picture an MVP candidate on the Washington Nationals, but Johnson could put up big numbers if he gets the 650 plate appearances he should have coming his way. His totals could really jump if teammates like Alfonso Soriano, Jose Guillen, Jose Vidro and 21-year-old third baseman Ryan Zimmerman also have good years.


*******
These players don't qualify, but they fit:

Paul Konerko

The White Sox first baseman had his coming-out season in 2005, earning MVP honors in the American League Championship Series and then nailing down a $60 million contract after the season. But he's a good bet to keep growing as he heads into his 30s, and you'd be foolish not to consider the possibility that he could put himself on the short list for league MVP honors with a monster season. Konerko has always been his own harshest critic but should open 2006 as a very confident hitter. He made things easier on himself by not jumping to the Los Angeles Angels, and he should get good pitches to hit working in tandem with new teammate Jim Thome.

Victor Martinez

The switch-hitting Indians catcher raised his batting average by 22 points last season but didn't hit for quite as much power as he had in 2004. The next step in his learning process should find him hitting over .300 with increasing power. He could also benefit from the Coco Crisp trade, as the acquisition of power-hitting catcher Kelly Shoppach has manager Eric Wedge considering sometimes using Martinez at first base. He needs to be in the lineup every day and should gain in stature if Cleveland follows up on a promising 2005 with a playoff run in 2006.


Phil Rogers is the national baseball writer for the Chicago Tribune, which has a Web site at www.chicagosports.com.





rpackrat
Feb 10 2006 01:55 PM

Can I just point out that Phil Rogers is one of the biggest hacks in a field full of hacks? Take nothing he says seriously.

metirish
Feb 21 2006 09:14 AM

]


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

By BOB KLAPISCH
SPORTS COLUMNIST



PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The debate has raged both in the manager's office and clubhouse, not to mention chat rooms and blogs. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about the Mets' batting order, with the winds of war swirling around one burning issue:


Where does David Wright hit in 2006?

The question hasn't been officially answered, as Willie Randolph continues to say, "I'm playing around with a few ideas." Yet, the manager is dropping hints that Wright will bat fifth, with Paul Lo Duca in the two hole and Carlos Beltran behind him in the No. 3 spot.

Clearly, there are no fatal choices here -- one major league executive recently said, "[The Mets] will probably outscore everyone in that [Eastern] division" -- but Randolph is apparently content to play it safe, keeping Wright out of the third spot.

"I guess I'm a show-me guy, I want to see that David can keep making the adjustments," Randolph said Monday, leaving yet another clue. Fair enough, he doesn't want to rush the kid. But anyone who saw Wright tear up the National League after the All-Star break last year -- batting .333 with 16 homers in 273 at-bats -- would agree he became the Mets' greatest all-around threat.

That's why a case could be made for batting Wright third instead of Beltran, who finished 2005 with career lows in home runs (16) and RBI (78). That could all change in Beltran's second summer at Shea, but until he rebounds, traditional baseball theory says a team's purest hitter (in this case, Wright) belongs in the three-hole, not the No. 5 spot.

Of course, batting Wright third effectively would crown him as the Mets' crown jewel, effectively demoting Beltran. That's probably too great of an admission for Randolph to make, and politically, a nearly impossible move for a team that has $119 million invested in the center fielder.

Wright himself seems uncomfortable with the dialogue, insisting it's still "a lot of fun" to slowly work his way to the lineup's hot spot.

"Look, I started off batting seventh last year, so to me it was great that Willie started trusting me, moving me up a little at a time," Wright said. "People tell me all the time, 'You should be ticked off where you're hitting.' But I'm not, not at all."

Wright sounds convincing, but egos and organizational obstacles aside, the stats suggest not only is Wright better suited than Beltran to hit third, but Beltran is a better choice than Lo Duca to bat second.

By his own admission, Lo Duca intends to serve as a traditional No. 2 hitter, bunting, hitting-and-running, taking enough pitches for Jose Reyes to steal a base. Lo Duca described that selfless profile when he said last week, "My job is to get [Reyes] to third base with less than two outs and we'll have a 1-0 lead with the guys behind me."

But the Mets, who finished seventh in runs last year, now have enough firepower to play for more than a run at a time -- which could be a necessity, given the holes in their starting rotation.

They can maximize that big-inning potential by using the more gifted Beltran behind Reyes. Despite last year's disappointing numbers, Beltran's career slugging percentage is still 62 points higher than Lo Duca's, he's hit 96 more homers, has 224 more walks and has grounded into fewer double plays.

In short, Beltran is more likely to extend a rally than Lo Duca -- not unlike the Yankees' plan for Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter, their No. 1 and 2 hitters, to both get on base.

With Reyes and Beltran as table setters, they'd create the perfect introduction to Shea's version of murderer's row -- Wright, Carlos Delgado and Cliff Floyd, who combined to slug 94 home runs last year.

It might not be Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez, but the Mets are moving in that direction. The difference, however, is that the Yankees are able to alternate left- and right-handed hitters all the way through the batting order, whereas the Mets would be vulnerable to a lefty relief specialist if Wright does, in fact, bat third.

Doing so would mean pairing Delgado and Floyd, both left-handed hitters, in the No. 4 and 5 spots. It's the kind of subtle lineup flaw that opposing managers can exploit, especially in the late innings, and probably reason enough for Randolph to keep Wright batting fifth. At least for now.

But sooner or later, the 23-year-old third baseman will become the franchise's marquee player, no matter where he hits.

Don't tell that to Wright, who, hand on his heart, thinks Delgado is a better hitter than he is -- "just look at his numbers last year in a non-hitter's ballpark [Dolphins Stadium]" and promises that Beltran is ready for a bounce-back year.

"There's going to be a lot less pressure on Carlos this time around," Wright said. "That's why it doesn't matter where I hit. This team is going to score runs, period."

Klapisch's opening-day Mets' lineup

Jose Reyes SS

Carlos Beltran CF

David Wright 3B

Carlos Delgado 1B

Cliff Floyd LF

Victor Diaz RF

Paul Lo Duca C

Kaz Matsui 2B

Pedro Martinez P


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

E-mail:klapisch@northjersey.com



Elster88
Feb 21 2006 09:30 AM

Jose Reyes SS
Carlos Beltran CF
David Wright 3B
Carlos Delgado 1B
Cliff Floyd LF
Victor Diaz RF
Paul Lo Duca C
Kaz Matsui 2B

I also think this is the best bet. I still feel like we're one big bat away, be it Diaz or Nady in RF. I'm worried about Cornelius getting hurt.

seawolf17
Feb 21 2006 11:21 AM

Willie said yesterday that he's going to bat Wright eighth, because he thinks he needs more seasoning.

(Just kidding.)

Rotblatt
Feb 21 2006 11:22 AM

"I guess I'm a show-me guy, I want to see that David can keep making the adjustments."

What does that even mean? Wright hit in every spot Willie threw him last year--does Willie really expect that to change? Or does Wright have to learn how to adjust to, say, batting left handed or with one hand tied behind his back before Willie moves him up?

And let's see what Lo Duca's done out of the 2 hole over his last three years:

#2 .265 AVG/.327 OBP/.335 SLG/.662 OPS in 555 ABs.

I'm sure he sacrificed a lot of runners over to third in that time, though, which is really the most important thing for any batter. This smells like Miguel fucking Cairo all over again.

I move we put this article into the "Willie's a stupid assclown" thread. I mean, seriously, if Klapisch can figure out that Wright's our best hitter, that Beltran doesn't belong in the 3 hole, and that LoDuca has no business batting in the top third of our lineup all on his own, why can't Willie get even ONE of those things right?

Elster88
Feb 21 2006 11:25 AM

There is way to much hate for the sacrifice bunt in these parts.

Yancy Street Gang
Feb 21 2006 11:26 AM

I'd hate to think that whenever Reyes leads off the first by getting on base, that the Mets are going to play for only one run. (Stolen base, grounder to the right side, sac fly.) Let Lo Duca (if he's hitting second) try to get a base hit. Then you have two guys on with Beltran, Delgado, and Wright coming up. Why squander a chance to get four or five runs in the first inning?

metirish
Feb 21 2006 11:36 AM

]There is way to much hate for the sacrifice bunt in these parts


There are certainly times when I hate it, I agree with what Yancy wrote, surely LoDuca is a better hitter than that, I think he was just talking bullshit really, trying to say the right things..watch come May he'll be swinging like Ordonez in his prime.

Rotblatt
Feb 21 2006 11:37 AM

Elster88 wrote:
There is way to much hate for the sacrifice bunt in these parts.


No, there's hate for managers who think that the ability to lay down a bunt compensates for the fact that someone's a poor hitter.

Back to lineup order, I just took a look at Beltran's 3-year splits, and check it out;

#2 497 AB, .290 AVG/.391 OBP/.575 SLG/.966 OPS
#3 1003 AB, .261 AVG/.335 OBP/.445 SLG/.780 OPS

If that last line looks familiar to you, it's because it's remarkably similar to how he hit last year, minus a little power (.266 AVG/.330 OBP/.414 SLG).

Historically, Beltran has hit better from the 2 hole. So why not use him there?

metirish
Feb 21 2006 11:40 AM
Edited 2 time(s), most recently on Feb 21 2006 12:00 PM

]Historically, Beltran has hit better from the 2 hole. So why not use him there?


As Klapisch points out

]

Of course, batting Wright third effectively would crown him as the Mets' crown jewel, effectively demoting Beltran. That's probably too great of an admission for Randolph to make, and politically, a nearly impossible move for a team that has $119 million invested in the center fielder.


No way Willie cares about stuff like that, right?

Elster88
Feb 21 2006 11:48 AM

]I'd hate to think that whenever Reyes leads off the first by getting on base, that the Mets are going to play for only one run. (Stolen base, grounder to the right side, sac fly.) Let Lo Duca (if he's hitting second) try to get a base hit. Then you have two guys on with Beltran, Delgado, and Wright coming up. Why squander a chance to get four or five runs in the first inning?


I'm not familiar with any of them myself, but there have to be some studies out there weighing the usefulness of the sacrifice bunt versus swinging away.

Johnny Dickshot
Feb 21 2006 11:51 AM

Quick and dirty: A sac bunt results in an out 90+% of the time; and swinging away doesn't.

There have been lots of studies of runs score to bases-outs situations clearly showing outs are most costly than bases valuable, particularly as they relate to scoring more than 1 run.

Johnny Dickshot
Feb 21 2006 11:54 AM

Crappy tabling here, can someone fix?

Bases column to the left, actual runs scored by outs.

With 0 out and a man on first = .97 runs
1 out and a man on second = .73 runs

Bases Outs
0 1 2
empty 0.57 0.31 0.12
1st 0.97 0.60 0.27
2nd 1.18 0.73 0.33
1st, 2nd 1.63 1.01 0.48
3rd 1.52 1.00 0.41
1st, 3rd 1.92 1.24 0.52
2nd, 3rd 2.05 1.50 0.64
1st, 2nd, 3rd 2.54 1.70 0.82

Edgy DC
Feb 21 2006 11:57 AM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Feb 21 2006 12:16 PM

It strikes me that a big part of the value to bunts and hit-and-runs is staying out of the double play. Of course that's hardly guaranteed as K-2-4 DPs and 1-3 popout DPs have shown.

Two great ways to stay out of DPs with Reyes on first and the number two batter up is (1) sending Reyes to steal outright and (2) putting Beltran second.

Yancy Street Gang
Feb 21 2006 12:00 PM

Well, that didn't work:

Bases Outs
0 1 2
empty 0.570.310.12
1st 0.970.600.27
2nd 1.180.730.33
1st, 2nd 1.631.010.48
3rd 1.521.000.41
1st, 3rd 1.921.240.52
2nd, 3rd 2.051.500.64
1st, 2nd, 3rd 2.541.700.82

Yancy Street Gang
Feb 21 2006 12:03 PM

I can understand the reasoning behind sacrificing and playing for a single run when it's late in the game and you know that the one run can very well win the ballgame for you. (Tie score in the bottom of the ninth is a classic example. The big inning is no better than the one-run inning.)

But in the first inning, the character of the game hasn't been defined yet. The opposing team may end up scoring seven runs. Getting three or four runs in the first will be much more helpful than just aiming for one.

abogdan
Feb 21 2006 12:09 PM

There have been many, many studies done to estimate the impact of a sacrifice bunt. Baseball Prospectus ran a [url=http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2844]three[/url]-[url=http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2851]part[/url] [url=http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2869]series[/url] on it in 2004. The full study is subscription-only, but here are the study's conclusions:

]Thus, having eliminated some of the key inefficiencies of the equations from their initial iteration, the following conclusions can be drawn about the data.

When run maximization is paramount (early in the game, in high run-scoring environments, etc):


Only pitchers should sacrifice a man from first to second in any circumstances. Even then, certain pitchers who are decent hitters should swing away.

With a runner on second and no one out, sacrificing makes sense when some of the league’s worst hitters are due up, with a hitter with a high propensity for singles and doubles following. The most likely instance of this is as a lineup in the AL turns over from the ninth spot to the first spot. Even then, instances where sacrificing increases run expectation are rare.

Sacrificing with men on first and second is only a good idea when pitchers are due up. While the thresholds here are higher than in Situations 1 and 2, they still remain far too low for even the worst regular position players.
When the probability of scoring at least one run is paramount (late in a close game, in a low run-scoring environment, or facing a dominating pitcher, etc):


Similar to the run maximization situation, only pitchers should sacrifice a man from first. Given that a pitcher would likely rarely be batting in this situation where runs are at a premium, this situation is likely to never occur.

Most of the league should sacrifice a man from second with no one out. While a line of .277/.350/.451 is slightly above average, recall that the skill set of the second batter due up should also be taken into account. On the whole, this finding is in the greatest agreement with conventional strategy.

When runners are on first and second, sacrificing is, again, not a good idea, a finding that is due almost entirely to the opposing manager’s propensity to intentionally walk the next batter to keep the double play in order. This 10% decrease (approximately) in the scoring probability of the situation is enough to reduce the threshold across a great deal of current hitters.

If a manager is certain that the opposition will not intentionally walk Batter Two, the validity of the sacrifice is increased in these situations.
Therefore, in the broadest conclusion possible, we can say that sacrificing is a good idea when pitchers are batting and, for most of the hitters in the league, when there is a man on second, no one out, and a single run is the goal. Even then, there is a set of the league’s best hitters who should never lay down a bunt; which is too bad, because it would be fun to see Bonds square around, just once.

Edgy DC
Feb 21 2006 12:37 PM

Dickshot's table:


Outs
Bases012
Empty0.570.310.12
1st0.970.600.27
2nd1.180.730.33
1st, 2nd1.631.010.48
3rd1.521.000.41
1st, 3rd1.921.240.52
2nd, 3rd2.051.500.64
1st, 2nd, 3rd2.541.700.82

MFS62
Feb 22 2006 08:22 AM

Just when you thought it was aafe to open up your morning sports page:
(insert music from Jaws here)

http://www.nypost.com/sports/mets/62240.htm

Here we go again.

Later

Yancy Street Gang
Feb 22 2006 08:39 AM

]It's time to do everything in their power to make Manny a Met.


Even for those who want to see Manny as a Met, everything in their power seems a bit extreme.

MFS62
Feb 22 2006 08:43 AM

Yancy Street Gang wrote:
]It's time to do everything in their power to make Manny a Met.


Even for those who want to see Manny as a Met, everything in their power seems a bit extreme.


That's why the article was perfect for this thread.

Later

Edgy DC
Feb 22 2006 09:36 AM

That's some real space filler by Kiernan there.

Elster88
Feb 22 2006 10:05 AM

I can't believe that writers are still getting paid for writing Manny to the Mets stories.

]Manny Ramirez is at it again with the Red Sox and will not be in camp today when their position players report. The Mets need to take advantage of another case of "Manny Being Manny."


I heard it on the radio about 5 times that Manny had asked for and received permission to arrive at camp on March 2nd.

It's good to know that the Post is sticking to their usual journalistic standards.

MFS62
Feb 22 2006 10:11 AM

="Elster88"] It's good to know that the Post is sticking to their usual journalistic standards.


We have the full range of sportswriting in New York.
If the motto of the Times is
"All the news that's fit to print",
then the motto of the Post should be:
"All the news that's shit, they print".

Later

metirish
Feb 23 2006 09:15 AM

Klap is in mid-season form.....truely cringe inducing stuff here...

[url=http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxMDYmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTY4ODQ4MTAmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2]Get sick here[/url]

MFS62
Feb 23 2006 09:43 AM

Irish, that Klapish piece really had me up in the air.
By that I mean that I wished I were on an airplane and had a barf bag handy.

I know you tried to warn us with the title to the link. But that's what I get for not heeding your alert.

Later

Rotblatt
Mar 02 2006 02:54 PM

Our exposure to Adam Rubin is making us soft. I actually had to go to Page 2 to find this thread.

Anyway, Jacob Luft from SI.com had the following to say:

]PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- One thing is certain about the 2006 Mets: This is not the Worst Team Money Can Buy.

To be sure, this was a pricey bunch to put together. That's what happens when your GM operates with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, lavishing huge contracts on free agents and acting like the Godfather of GMs in trade talks -- he likes to give other teams an offer they can't refuse.


Now, I'm the first to admit that we gave up too much for the pieces we got back this offseason, but dollarwise, our payroll is at around $92M, which means we only added around $6M--or less than a year of LoDuca.

That ain't a lot.

]With an improving Jose Reyes -- he drew two walks in an intrasquad scrimmage Tuesday -- and Delgado, Carlos Beltran, Cliff Floyd and David Wright, this lineup has power, speed and flexibility.


I'm sorry, but the Jose thing is just retarded. How on earth does drawing two walks in a split squad game = "improving"? It's meaningless.

]"Even my power hitters can hit righties and lefties," manager Willie Randolph boasted.

It's too bad the hellbent-on-winning Mets didn't finish the job. Why would Omar Minaya & Co. take on all these long-term contracts (Pedro Martinez, Wagner, etc.) and trade away so much of their farm system (Yusmeiro Petit, Gaby Hernandez, etc.) to win this year and not find a replacement for their potentially fatal problem? That's right. It's time to talk about the elephant in the Shea living room: Kaz Matsui.


Uh-uh, no you did'nt!!! I can't believe he just brought up Kaz Matsui, the guy everyone in New York lacks the balls to talk about!!!

Wow, he really nailed us there--Kaz is TOTALLY the elephant in the living room. Thank god SOMEONE had the nads to step up to the plate and tell it like it is. God bless you, Jacob Luft!

]Mets fans are looking forward to another season of Matsui the way Vince Young is looking forward to another Wonderlic, which is to say not at all.


But I thought he was the elephant in the living room we were all to afraid to talk about? I'm confused.

]Matsui's hitting woes are easy enough to document: a batting line of .265-.320-.380 in 727 major-league at-bats. And that's the good news.


Uh, yes, that is good news, since that line would actually be a dramatic improvement over the production we got from our main second basman last year, Miguel Cairo--.251/.296/.324.

]If there is hope for the Mets, it is in a couple of minor leaguers who have posted impressive numbers: Anderson Hernandez, 23, and Jeff Keppinger, 25.

Hernandez, ranked as the team's fifth-best prospect by Baseball America, can switch-hit and plays above average defense. He batted .303 with an OBP of .354 at Class AAA Norfolk last season. Keppinger is the better hitter (.337 avg. at Norfolk), but not as sharp with the glove and has had to deal with some injuries recently.

With Matsui in the final season of his three-year, $20 million contract, the Mets will be more than willing to bench him if they have to. Going with a mix of the two rookies might be the way to go if Matsui shows no sign of improvement early.


But, but . . . I thought we were screwed because we didn't throw more money and/or prospects at the problem!!!

I mean, seriously, dude, if the only thing you can find to criticize about the 2006 Mets is Kaz fucking Matsui--and you think you're breaking NEW ground while doing it--then maybe you should go back to the drawing board.

The sad part is that this guy's written some pretty good articles--including one on the Mets last September.

I suppose Spring Training isn't just for the players . . .

on edit: I took some stuff out. The only really offensive part was the "elephant in the room" thing.

Yancy Street Gang
Mar 02 2006 03:01 PM

It does read like a dumb, contradictory article, as you point out. But, a small point in his defense: he's not writing for a New York audience, but for a national one. And maybe the national media has been more focused on Delgado and Wagner and Pedro's toe than second base.

MFS62
Mar 02 2006 03:11 PM

Is this thread limited to bad baseball reporting, or can I mention a really bad basketball article by a "well known" writer?
I don't want to hijack the thread away from baseball, so please let me know.

Later

MFS62
Mar 03 2006 08:33 AM

MFS62 wrote:
Is this thread limited to bad baseball reporting, or can I mention a really bad basketball article by a "well known" writer?
I don't want to hijack the thread away from baseball, so please let me know.

Later


OK, this has been out there for a while and nobody has said ,"no". So here's my rant:

I like basketball, but don't follow it on the detailed level and interest that I do baseball. In last Sunday's NY Post, there was a full page article by Dick "Hoops" Weiss. For those of youwho haven't heard of him, he is as widely known and respected as a college basketball writer as Peter Gammons is on baseball.

Sunday's article was about a player on the Gonzaga team who is leading the nation in scoring. IIRC his name is Morrison. The article went into detail about how good he is despite having had to overcome type I Diabetes. But there was enough basketball stuff in the article to make the reader hope that his favorite pro team would draft the kid. Unfortunately, Weiss forgot to include two things in that full page article - what position the kid plays and how tall he is.
I thought I might have missed them, so I re-read the piece.
Nope.
Not in there.

Since the article appeared in a New York paper and it looks like the Knicks will get the #1 draft pick it might have been some useful information. I doubt he was writing it for the seventeen Gonzaga alumni and fans in the NY area. They would most likely already know that information.

Now you see why I felt this was appropriate for this thread. Would it have killed him to start off a sentence with something like "The 6''8" forward... (or whatever he is)?

Later

metirish
Mar 03 2006 08:56 AM

Sports Illustrated has both Morrison and Redick on the cover this week, good article too, if the Knicks get the #1 pick that will go to the Bulls, Redick will probably go #1.

metirish
Mar 04 2006 08:29 PM

Who knew Rick Peterson's dad was GM of the Pirates?

]

By STEVE POPPER
STAFF WRITER



PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Pete Peterson was an old school baseball lifer, a general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates and a disciple of Branch Rickey. His son, Rick, had a different idea.

Rick Peterson already was a coach in the minor leagues and told his father he wanted to install a sports psychology program in a baseball organization, to combine his interests in psychology and spirituality with mechanics. And his father, who had pushed his son to be a doctor, a lawyer, a dentist or to sell insurance, said, "Rick, you're not going to live long enough to do this. No one in baseball is going to do this."


Times change, though.

Baseball is a sport in which the job of a coach or manager for decades was to tell a player to grip it and rip it. But somehow in this world, as the pitching coach of the Mets, Peterson has found his place.

In his back pocket, he is almost never without his dog-eared black book, a pocket calendar that plots out pitchers' schedules, but also includes pages covered by his own creations -- a triangle combining the elements of success, a list of attributes that make up "The Mental Side of Baseball," and a paper titled, "Prepare to Perform."

In the bullpen, he has pitchers standing on the mound and making their pitches. It may look like any other session under the eye of any other coach. But here, the pitchers are making their pitches with their eyes closed, learning lessons of spatial awareness.

He has taken his pitchers to the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala., to place them in a sensor-laden suit and undergo a biomechanical analysis -- a portable version of the machine is expected in Port St. Lucie later this month.

Peterson pores over data with his staff, able to spout off the most obscure statistic. Peterson studies videotapes meticulously, able to spot the slightest variation in a pitcher's arm slot. But if a martial arts lesson or a spiritual awakening will solve a flaw in one of his pitchers, he will resort to that, too.

"You have to try to be diverse enough and be balanced enough to understand where people come from and what they're about," Peterson explained. "It's not about what I'm saying. You try to be a reflection of themselves and reflect back on them, on what they do and what they do best."

The task is not easily defined. Peterson went from a baseball nomad, adrift in the sport and even in his own ambitions, when he landed in Oakland under Billy Beane, a general manager with a rebel spirit.

He inherited a team with the league's worst earned run average and led by a trio of talented youngsters -- Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder -- found acceptance, although sometimes grudging credit from some of his pitchers, when the staff finished in the top three for five straight seasons.

With the Mets, he has a different challenge. He has helped turn around the likes of Aaron Heilman, salvaging a budding career that only a year ago seemed on life support. But he also has had to massage a new game plan out of Tom Glavine in the final years of a Hall of Fame career. He must tinker with Victor Zambrano -- a task far more intensive than the 10-minute fix claim that leaked out two years ago, while also serving as a co-worker to Pedro Martinez.

Some of his pitchers gripe that he has a cookie-cutter mentality, wanting to create all of them in the same mold. In Oakland, some fought him (and nearly came to actual blows), but the numbers proved Peterson right.

"For me, I found working with Rick fascinating," said Yankees pitcher Al Leiter, who spent one season with Peterson as a Met. "I want as much data as I can get -- then break it down and decide what I want to use."

While Zambrano remains the unsightly measuring stick by which Peterson may be judged, his greatest accomplishment may have come not in finessing any of the young pitchers, but in remaking a veteran. Glavine was wondering last season if his career might be over, but Peterson helped with minor tweaks of his motion and a major overhaul of his game plan. Glavine put up a 2.22 ERA after the All-Star break last season.

"With me and him it's more about him trying to get me to change my game plan," Glavine said. "He made me understand how good some of the other things were that I could do, get me to believe in that stuff."

"When you go through a tough time like Tommy was going through, you get demotivated," Peterson said. "You get filled with pure worry and doubt that this game isn't working right here. From our standpoint, we have to get them motivated again on that process of pitching -- realize, 'OK, this isn't working right now.' What is it that we need him to do?"

Belief is a big part of what Peterson does. He must make Heilman believe his pitch is good enough to retire major league hitters. He must make Glavine believe that a new game plan will smooth his path to 300 wins.

But mostly, he must make old school baseball people believe that there is another way, a better way. One Peterson supporter said that the best proof that general manager Omar Minaya does believe is that in a season full of expectations, Minaya has handed Peterson a handful of pitchers who must be better than they've been -- Jorge Julio, Duaner Sanchez, Heilman and Zambrano.

He has gained believers now. Even his dad.

E-mail: popper@northjersey.com

Nymr83
Mar 04 2006 08:45 PM

]Since the article appeared in a New York paper and it looks like the Knicks will get the #1 draft pick


That Kazmir kid is going to be great for the Mets this year... what? they traded him to Tampa?

MFS62
Mar 05 2006 09:54 AM

Were you trying to be funny, sarcastic or insulting?

I'm not a Knicks fan, so I don't follow the team's specific record and how it stacks up against other bad teams in the NBA as to who would get the first pick. But I do know that Red Holtzman must be hitting some real high RPMs in his grave.

My point was, the article was published in a NY newspaper. But fans of ANY pro team would like to know if the player mentioned would fit in with the needs of their team. For example, the Knicks don't need another shooting guard. But the article didn't tell me if the kid was a 6'9" power forward. And that was the point of my rant.

Later

Rotblatt
Mar 18 2006 11:52 AM

Ah, [url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/18/sports/sportsspecial/18chass.html?_r=1&oref=slogin]Murray Chass[/url], my old friend.

]U.S. Team Simply Not Ready in March
By MURRAY CHASS
Published: March 18, 2006

SAN DIEGO

WHILE Commissioner Bud Selig ponders the possibility of an investigation of Barry Bonds, he might want to consider an inquiry into the premature elimination of the United States team from the World Baseball Classic. If he were to conduct such a study, he might find George Steinbrenner hiding in a corner rubbing his hands in glee as he removes pins from voodoo dolls of United States players.

Steinbrenner, the Yankees' principal owner, made it clear he wanted no part of the inaugural international tournament. He did not vote in favor of it, and he discouraged his players from participating. The only thing Steinbrenner has not figured out is why the dolls didn't work in the first round of the tournament.

He wanted Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon back in Tampa, Fla., a week ago. Be assured that the dollmaker will be fired. But all's well that ends well, and Steinbrenner has regained his players, including Bernie Williams, who played for Puerto Rico, and he is delighted.

So much for the superpatriot who waves the flag when it suits his purpose.


Hah. Okay, that was a good one.

]Jeter, Rodriguez, Damon and the rest of the United States team are not in San Diego for today's semifinals because they were obviously not ready to compete at a championship level. This is spring training, and the sight of players wearing the uniforms of South Korea, Canada and Mexico did not elevate their mind-set from what it has been in any other March in their careers.

Major leaguers are well-oiled machines, programmed to function in a certain way each year. Their internal clocks go off April 1. Major League Baseball plays the World Series in October, not March, for a reason.


Um, yes, it is--because it would be hard to decide who the two best teams are if no games have been played yet.

]Consider the four Classic finalists: South Korea, Japan, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.


Okay, let's consider them.

South Korea: WS held in late October. The season starts in April.
Japan: WS held in late October. The season starts in late March/Early April.
Cuba: WS in late March. Season starts in December, maybe?
Dominican Republic: Mostly major leaguers.

So the only team with any advantage here is Cuba.

Unless, of course, your argument is that MLB players are so highly refined that they play like crap until the stroke of April 1, whereas the Korean & Japanese players, being mere adequately oiled machines, play the same year round, regardless of how much spring training they had.

Please tell me that's not your argument.

]Among the hitters on the rosters of those first three teams, only Ichiro Suzuki is a major league player in this country.


Okay, but what about the pitchers--a huge reason South Korea's done so well and why the US sucked so hard? Or is it only hitters who are well-oiled?

I'm confused.

]The United States, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, all filled with major leaguers, are not in San Diego. The Dominican team is the lone exception, but at least one team with major leaguers from that second-round pool (Venezuela and Puerto Rico were the others) had to make it here along with Cuba.


Right, because the teams with MLB players crushed the teams without MLB players in Round One and then faced off in Pool 2 so that the US wouldn't have to face an MLB-heavy team.

What's your point?

]The United States' offense was so weak that Japan scored more runs, 44 to 33. Discount the United States' game against South Africa, and the results are punier: in its other five games, it scored 16 runs, an average of 3.2 a game, and it batted .238.


If we're going to discount the games against South Africa, why not discount Japan's games against China & Chinese Tapei, who were arguably as weak as South Africa, and against whom Japan scored a total of 32 runs, or 73% of its total in the series?

Outside of those two games, Japan averaged 3.0 runs per game--even less than the US.

So again, what's your point?

]When the United States didn't hit home runs, it didn't score much.

Home runs produced 10 of the 16 runs the United States scored in the five games it did not play against South Africa. At the other end of the offensive spectrum, the United States sacrificed twice in the tournament. Japan sacrificed eight times, Korea six. But Japan and Korea were not without power. Japan hit eight home runs, Korea six. The United States hit nine.

Buck Martinez, the United States team's manager, wanted to sacrifice at a critical moment of the game with Mexico, but the strategy backfired. The United States had runners at first and second with no one out and the score tied, 1-1, in the fifth inning. But Michael Young bunted through a pitch, and Jeff Francoeur was caught off second and tagged out.


What does any of this have to do with how the US got robbed of their rightful WBC crown?

That IS your point, right?

]Individually, some of the hitting numbers were ugly. Mark Teixeira did not have a hit in 15 times at bat. Two of the three catchers, Michael Barrett and Brian Schneider, each had six at-bats and combined to go 0 for 12. Matt Holliday was also 0 for 6. Damon was 1 for 7, Francoeur 1 for 6.

"I think a lot of our hitters are star hitters," Martinez said. "They're used to coming through in the clutch, and I think everybody sensed like, well, I'm going to go ahead and do it and they were probably not ready to do it just yet. Their timing is such that they were off a bit."

Jeter, Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Chase Utley were the team's big hitters, but they combined for 13 hits against South Africa and 19 against everyone else.


Well, sure, but ANY trio of players are going to slump occaisonally. And Chipper, Derek Lee & Griffey were hitting the snot out of the ball the whole time.

If you look at the Japanese team, Ichiro, Fukodome & Matsunaka combined for just 11 hits against 4 non-crappy teams. Guys like Nishioka & Iwamura unexpectedly contributed. It happens to every team--even ones without "well-oiled machines."

I mean, if I look at the performance of NYY in last year's postseason, here's how the "big bats" did:

Sheffield: .604 OPS
Matsui: .673 OPS
Rodriguez: .635 OPS

Impossible! Those machines should be thoroughly well-oiled by October!

]Where were the bats when they were needed? It's obvious they had yet to awake from their off-season slumber. What's the solution to the problem? Play the tournament at midseason or after the season? The hitters might be sharper at those times, but those times don't work.

Major League Baseball won't shut down its season for two weeks in July, and if it's injuries that teams are concerned about, the players would be more susceptible to them after a six-month season than before it.

Some members of the United States team had a different idea. Rodriguez suggested a Feb. 1 reporting date. Martinez suggested a minicamp early in February.

"Bring the team together for three days," Martinez said. "Everyone would see his teammates and have that bonding process early on. Go back to their camps, then rejoin us. The most enthusiasm we had was when they got together for the first time March 3. Move that to, say, Feb. 3, maybe have an intrasquad game."

Rodriguez offered a similar idea.

"When the U.S.A. puts on the uniform, the ramifications are big," he said before returning to the Yankees' camp. "If you're going to make the commitment, make it maybe Feb 1, Feb. 5. But basically show up to the U.S. camp and get ready and prepare yourself, not just show up two, three days before the competition begins."


Fine, let's do that, but is this SERIOUSLY the reason everyone thinks Team America lost? Cuba's the only team that was mid-season, and the US didn't have to play them.

Why are you making lame excuses for this team's piss-poor showing? And why didn't you look at the pitching--the US was 7th in team ERA & WHIP, and THAT more than anything was why they lost.

We got outpitched, outhit, outhustled and outmanaged and couldn't win even WITH the benefit of two blatantly bullshit calls in two separate games.

Like Jeter said, Team America got all the breaks but couldn't execute.

]But whenever they show up, even more important, the players would have to adjust their internal hitting clocks. And keep the pins out of Steinbrenner's hands.


Whatever, dude. Players slump all the time--it happens. If the team isn't well-balanced--or lucky--enough to compensate for it, they'll lose. The WBC, just like the playoffs, is as much about luck as it about talent.

Get over it.

Elster88
Mar 20 2006 09:20 AM

Very well done. You should email that to him.

metirish
Mar 20 2006 02:53 PM

Willie has a few interesting quotes in this....

]

Bannister looks like fifth-starter material


By JOHN DELCOS

THE JOURNAL NEWS


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — It is the time in spring training to read between the lines to find significance in seemingly harmless items.

For example, when Tom Glavine threw a simulated game yesterday before today's off day, it was more than to keep the veteran left-hander on track to be the Mets' Opening Day starter.

It allowed manager Willie Randolph to take another lengthy look at Brian Bannister against major-league hitters, this time against the Marlins. Randolph is giving Bannister consideration as the fifth starter.

And it's not cursory consideration, either. The former USC walk-on closer has given up two runs in 14 innings this spring, and the probability appears strong that his performance will send Aaron Heilman to the bullpen, which is where he was slated to be prior to the Kris Benson trade in January.

"I was nervous," Bannister said before giving up two runs (one unearned) in five innings in the 5-0 loss to Florida. "I know what's at stake."

Still, Bannister openly roots for his competition, saying the only rivalry between him and Heilman is "USC against Notre Dame, and that will be going on long beyond us."

"Eventually, I hope they find a spot for both of us," Bannister said.

That could be the case because the Mets' new and improved bullpen has been a little slow on the "improved" part.

Randolph said the determining factor between Bannister and Heilman for the fifth spot — Victor Zambrano will be the fourth starter — will transcend numbers.

"It will be the makeup of how the staff looks together, starters and relievers," said Randolph, who listed Billy Wagner, Duaner Sanchez and Jorge Julio as the only givens out of the 'pen, although his endorsement of Julio was lukewarm at best.

Julio's career was on a three-year slide when the Mets traded for him from Baltimore. Pitching coach Rick Peterson has worked with him on his delivery, and both coach and player insist Julio's participation in the World Baseball Classic hasn't been a setback in his preparation.

Even so, Julio gave up a two-run homer yesterday to former Met Mike Jacobs. And despite saying he wasn't smooth with his delivery, he emphasized that he got enough work at the WBC.

Outside of the closer, Wagner, no left-hander has surfaced out of the 'pen, driving speculation that Heilman will return to the role where he was so successful last season, when his 0.68 ERA was the lowest among relievers posting over 30 innings after the All-Star break.

"If you're asking me, certainly I'd like to start," said Heilman, who has been outstanding this spring with a 1.00 ERA over nine innings in three starts. "They haven't said anything to me yet, one way or another."

Heilman is versatile enough to get out one hitter or pitch multiple innings, which affords Randolph the opportunity to rest Sanchez.

Meanwhile, at the front end of the rotation, both Glavine (five innings) and Pedro Martinez (three) pitched simulated games.

Glavine concentrated on his control in throwing 80 pitches. "I felt I threw the ball where I wanted," he said.

Martinez threw 50 and claimed he is hopeful of pitching one or two innings in an exhibition game this week. If Martinez had to pitch in a regular-season game today, he anticipated not going more than five innings. It has long been speculated he would not be the Opening Day starter April 3 against Washington.

"It is not an issue," Martinez said. "We have a lot of pitchers, so why rush it?"

Yancy Street Gang
Mar 20 2006 03:02 PM

I didn't like the Sanchez-Seo deal, but I think I might end up liking Sanchez.

I'm very pessimistic about Julio, though. I'm not even sure why he's a "given" other than that he was traded for Benson. That's also likely the reason that Zambrano can't be displaced from the rotation.

I'd be okay with the Mets eventually dealing Trachsel and making room for both Heilman and Bannister in the rotation. But if Julio flames out they might end up needed Heilman in the bullpen.

Edgy DC
Mar 20 2006 03:10 PM

I'm pessimistic about Julio, but feeling good about Coolio. Word.

Elster88
Mar 20 2006 03:26 PM

]It has long been speculated he would not be the Opening Day starter April 3 against Washington.

"It is not an issue," Martinez said. "We have a lot of pitchers, so why rush it?"


Bad Pedro.

Yancy Street Gang
Mar 20 2006 03:30 PM

I'm planning to be camped out in front of my TV on Opening Day, and while I'd love to have it be a Pedro game, I'll be okay with Glavine. If Pedro debuts in the second, third, or fourth game of the season that's fine with me.

Rotblatt
Mar 23 2006 07:53 AM

Apparently [url=http://www.projo.com/redsox/content/projo_20060323_23sox.d9c8cd0.html]out-of-town sports writers[/url] talk out of their asses all the time too.

Who knew?

]One way or another, somebody's got to go

Opening Day is closing in, which means several players will be moving out, and Dustan Mohr and Tony Graffanino are atop the list.

01:00 AM EST on Thursday, March 23, 2006

BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer

TAMPA -- A week from today, the Red Sox will play their final exhibition game in Florida, meaning some significant roster decisions must be made in the coming days.

With each passing day, the decisions are coming into sharper focus. Central to that process will be determining what to do with infielder Tony Graffanino and outfielder Dustan Mohr, two spare parts.

A number of teams continue to show an interest in Graffanino, with the New York Mets being the most intriguing possibility. Florida and the Chicago Cubs continue to be other potential landing spots.

The Mets came into camp with three candidates at second base, only to have Bret Boone retire and Kaz Matsui go down with a knee injury that will prevent him from being ready Opening Day. That leaves Jeff Keppinger as the lone candidate at second.


I mean, did he bother to do any research at all?

metirish
Mar 28 2006 09:06 AM

Wright just wants to be like Jeter.

]

By STEVE POPPER
STAFF WRITER



PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- When he first came up to the major leagues in the middle of the 2004 season David Wright was under the wing of Joe McEwing. Last year, his first full season, he carried Cliff Floyd's bags.

Now, while still just 23 years old, he no longer seems like the kid who was paying his rookie dues. Floyd, sitting in the dugout Sunday afternoon as Wright bounds around the field, looks at him and admits: "I just want to be around the next few years to watch him," adding a few expletives to describe his friend.


Wright established himself as a player last season, hitting .306 with 27 home runs and 102 runs batted in, ranking in the National League top 10 in seven different offensive categories. At third base, he shrugged off an early flurry of errors -- many from just trying to do too much -- and got better each game as the year wore on.

And he tried to approach this year just like last, taking the same approach of reporting early, staying late, working with weights and working endlessly on the field. He was one of the last players out of the Tradition Field Complex on Monday, even after belting his third home run of the spring, a lesson learned from his first days hanging with a journeyman like McEwing.

But he's not the same. While he may be in his mind and he may be in the locker room, he is now a cover boy, adorning the covers of Baseball America, ESPN the Magazine and Sports Weekly. He has created the David Wright Foundation and even earned his first endorsements

from Wilson Sporting Goods to Glaceau Vitamin Water, wholesome enough for his All-American image.

If learning from McEwing and Floyd got him this far, he now has his sights in a different direction. It is not numbers that drive Wright, but wins. And it's across town in pinstripes where he has seen the example to follow.

"You get to that level of being a Derek Jeter through winning," Wright said. "You don't get there putting up individual performances. If you put up individual performances and lose, nobody cares.

"I would love to sit with him. I hate that there is such a big rivalry with the Yankees in New York, but he's one of the guys that it's amazing not only to watch him play, but the way he leads.

"He's not the most vocal guy. But you couldn't tell by looking at him in the dugout whether he's 4-for-4 or 0-for-4.

"He's the first one off the bench to high-five guys. That's what you try to emulate, those leadership skills."

Manager Willie Randolph was with the Yankees when Jeter began his career, helping guide Jeter through his early years. He is hesitant to compare the players, but it is hard to avoid the similarities.

"When you look at David, he's very much like Jeter in his demeanor," Randolph said.

"He's very consistent. He's the same as he was last year as far as work ethic, attitude every day, the way he goes about his business. He's a very young, but very mature player."

Wright has managed, like Jeter, to avoid any of the pitfalls of stardom -- although Jeter's romps through the gossip columns and celebrity girlfriends seem a long way off from Wright's interest from fantasy baseball fans.

There is little doubt Wright will continue to put up numbers on the field, but it is that something extra that seems to draw the comparison to Jeter.

"He's a winner," Randolph said of Wright. "You can tell he wants to win and he's never shown anything different. I don't like to make comparisons, but what I've seen so far he is about winning, the way he plays the game is very unselfish."

Wright said: "I think I'm slowly maturing, slowly being able to recognize what I'm capable of in this game, recognize that I can be, not a vocal or outgoing type leader, but I can lead by example. I can run balls out. I can go out and want to be in the lineup every day. With little things like that, you lead by example.

"I have high expectations for myself, but it's not expectations that I have to top my numbers from last year. I mean, that's not what my goal is this year at all. My goal is to continue to improve and that we win baseball games. That's what's so great about the big leagues, especially in New York. If you win, that's what people remember. That's why I love playing in New York."

E-mail: popper@northjersey.com


Yancy Street Gang
Mar 28 2006 09:08 AM

If Wright gets four World Championships in the next five years I'll be pretty happy.

MFS62
Apr 03 2006 11:08 AM

With every new season comes hope:

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-beltran040106&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Later

MFS62
Apr 06 2006 02:36 PM

Wanted to put this in the 2006 quotes thread. But since this was by a writer, not a player. I think it goes here.
Enjoy,
Later
]"It's true (Kenny) Rogers was suspended last year for assaulting a cameraman. But around the same time, the Tigers traded Ugueth Urbina, who is awaiting trial on charges that he was part of a group that attacked five men with machetes, doused them with gasoline and set fire to them for stealing one of his guns. So on balance, the staff is not as violent as it used to be." -- Detroit Free Press writer Michael Rosenberg

Elster88
Apr 06 2006 02:39 PM

That's funny stuff. SC = zero

Edgy DC
Apr 07 2006 04:12 PM

This guy's story isn't much worth reading --- trying to draw a moral from Gooden's promise, too-early peak, and extended downfall. I just want to call to attention this passage (his lead paragraph, in fact:

The fastball exploded into the mitt, creating a small cloud of dust. Or maybe it was smoke. The curveball seemed to fall from the sky, to the outside corner at the knees. The slider zoomed toward home plate, looking every bit a fastball, and suddenly darted away.
I don’t remember him having a devastating slider. To my memory, he was practically a two-pitch pitcher ---- fastball-curve. A change would come a half dozen times a game maybe (tops), just to show them he had one, a slider rarer than that. Maybe once or twice a game.

Did he even throw one at all?

Elster88
Apr 07 2006 04:25 PM

I don't think Doc had a slider at all.

Iubitul
Apr 07 2006 04:27 PM

nope - I don't remember him having a slider either. He didn't need it when Lord Charles was working.

Yancy Street Gang
Apr 09 2006 09:22 AM

I can't believe I used to like Mike Lupica. What a self-serving, self-promoting article this is. And it got big back page play in today's Daily News:

]Pedro thows inside ... again
MIKE LUPICA
Sunday, April 9th, 2006

This was one month ago, another Saturday, and Pedro Martinez had suggested for the first time in Port St. Lucie that his sore big toe might prevent him from making an Opening Day start for the Mets. I got a call from the paper and Pedro's quotes were read to me and we decided to put him on the back page of the Sunday News, because he is big news now in New York, as big as a Yankee.

This is the way the column began that night, a column that resulted in Pedro and I being the floorshow in the Mets clubhouse for a few minutes yesterday:

"This is what you buy with Pedro Martinez. You buy the drama. You buy all the arm angles and all the spin, all the nights when he is the most exciting pitcher at Shea Stadium since the young Dwight Gooden, when he can make you feel as if you are watching the best pitching show in this world ... Pedro walked in (to New York) like he owned the place. He had the game, he had the style."

The second paragraph ended this way:

"He isn't going to get near 300 victories and he is still a Hall of Fame pitcher, because of the pitcher he was at this particular time in baseball. He is as much fun as any pitcher alive."

This is how that column ended:

"There has always been something fragile about him. He has always looked too small and too slender to pitch as big as he does. But he does. He is dramatic, on the field and off it. He was again yesterday. Big toe, big news."

Somehow he took this as an insult. Or something. Somehow he thought that the use of the word "drama" was my way of saying I didn't think he was hurt. The column wasn't about that.

Now it is sometime around noon in the Mets clubhouse and there are players and media people everywhere, rain falling outside. I have been talking for 20 minutes with Tom Glavine, about golf and the Final Four and his Opening Day start. Glavine, who still thinks he might get to pitch against the Marlins at this point, who has been told the rain may stop around 2 o'clock, walks off. Billy Wagner is in front of his locker listening to music, probably not the radio.

I turn around and Pedro is there.

Then he is right into it, full windup, saying that I had written something "personal" about him and that I don't know him well enough to do that, and how can I talk about "panorama" with him when I don't know what's inside his head or his heart?

I realize now he's talking about the column from a month ago.

"Drama," I say. "I used the word drama. I said you were always a great drama."

That was being proved out now, of course, in the middle of the clubhouse, players watching from couches and from in front of their lockers, television sets still on. I told him I would be happy to take this conversation out into the hall, without the audience. But he was, at least at the start of it, clearly playing to the crowd. He is Pedro.

He said he had read "between the lines" that I didn't think he was hurt when he talked about his sore toe on March 4 in Port St. Lucie, telling the writers, "As of now, I'm not a question (for Opening Day). As of now."

"You're wrong," I said. "You don't have to believe that and you can walk away thinking I'm full of it, but you're wrong."

Nobody in our business ever wants to be this kind of show in a team's clubhouse. It had happened once before with a Met, the young and hotheaded Darryl Strawberry at old Huggins-Stengel Field in St. Petersburg, before the Mets moved to Port St. Lucie, Strawberry telling me to stay out of his personal life. It turned out Strawberry was yelling that day about a column somebody had written about him in another paper.

Another time, Eddie Lee Whitson called me out in the Yankee clubhouse. That time we did go out in the hall, even if I could see Don Mattingly's head poking out of the clubhouse door every few minutes, probably checking to see if I was still alive. Players have a right to get their say, even when it's loud, a right not to like what's written about them. But it sure is a lot easier for them to have the debate on their turf.

Pedro wasn't going anywhere, he does what he wants, it's part of him being Pedro. Part of the drama.

I don't know how long it went on, the two of us a few feet apart. He kept talking about the power of the press and this imagined attack on his integrity and I kept telling him the column wasn't about that, because it wasn't. The more it went on, the more professional it became, less like some silly ballpark version of "Crossfire." One more show without a second act.

It started to wind down finally. We shook hands a couple of times. Still playing to the crowd, he said, "I apologize if I misunderstood."

Maybe he just plans to take on everybody this year, the Yankees, the National League, everybody. For a few minutes yesterday it was a sportswriter. With him, even a small crowd will do.

Bret Sabermetric
Apr 09 2006 09:30 AM

Maybe it's just me, Yancy, but I like this approach. Meta-journalism. It's so delicate covering sources and differing from their points of view, and standing up to their misundersgtandings and defensiveness, etc. I thought it was a terrific piece, and I'd like to read this sort of thing much more often than I do.

If he doesn't use "I" so much, you think you'll conclude that the article was written by a machine? What gave you problems?

Elster88
Apr 09 2006 09:57 AM

]because he is big news now in New York, as big as a Yankee.


...

OlerudOwned
Apr 09 2006 11:07 AM

[url=http://firejoemorgan.blogspot.com/]FireJoeMorgan.Blogspot.com[/url] is a great place for seeing crappy sportswriting get snarked.

In this post, Whining MFY Mike Celizic stars

Ah, opening day. The culmination of months of wint'ry anticipation. If you're like most baseball fans I know, you wake up on opening day pretty much overjoyed that the season is finally here. It's the one day of the season that there is almost nothing (really) to complain about. Unless you're an [url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12141841/]old, bearded idiot[/url] with a penchant for retarded headgear.

Now I'm no Yankees fan, that much I admit. But I don't think they're necessarily bad people. Some of my good friends are Yankee fans. (Fun exercise: replace "Yankee fans" with "black people" and I sound like a terrible racist!) But I draw the line when Yankee fans say things like:

Only Major League Baseball is capable of screwing up what should be the best day of the season.

What is Mikey C. referring to here? The Barry Bonds saga? The WBC? The fact that Joe Morgan is still collecting a paycheck? No. He is cranky because he had to stay up past midnight (!) to watch his favorite 200 million dollar team play baseball.

When should games start?

One in the afternoon, Mr. Commish. Not 10 at night, when weary Yankees fans had to stay up until just to see the lineups introduced.

Ten o'clock? Are you kidding me? That is fucking outrageous! Is anyone awake at ten o'clock?! I don't care how long it has been since my team last took the field. My name is Mike Friggin' Celizic and when 9:30pm rolls around, I better be in the bed down the hall from the bed my long-suffering wife sleeps in, or else! (Note: Bonus FJM embellishment for the sake of unwarranted personal attack!) Also, isn't 99% of the American workforce working at 1pm? They would almost surely miss those 1pm starts, wouldn't they? What about them?

But surely, Mike, you must have taken some joy in some of the things that happened yesterday...

Mike Piazza went yard, but Barry "My Life is a Shambles" Bonds didn’t. Bonds, in fact, didn’t even get a free pass to first base. He did, however, get booed roundly, squarely and trapezoidally.

Oh, good! Evil Barry Bonds got booed! I'm glad you could enjoy that. Also, good geometry joke. And I'm not being hyperbolic! (Wink!)

Meanwhile, back in Oakland, the Yankees took advantage of the halftime break in the NCAA championship to slap Barry Zito around, scoring seven runs in the second inning, with four of them coming on a grand slam by Alex Rodriguez, who, this being April and not October, had no trouble coming through with a big hit.

It was closing in on 11 p.m. East Coast time by then, and the teams would make it all the way through the third inning before 11:15. They say suffering is part of being a fan, but this was ridiculous.


It was ridiculous that your team was firing on all cylinders in the first game of the season? Or was it ridiculous that your team caused Cy Young winner Barry Zito to have the shortest outing of his career? Good thing your reigning AL MVP only hit a grand slam and had 5 RBIs so you could still make a crack about him being a choker.

Not that I have anything against Yankees fans suffering. And I get paid to stay up late watching sports — that’s the story I tell my wife, anyway, and I’m sticking to it — so it doesn’t make any difference to me.

This paragraph confuses me. You are clearly a Yankees fan. Why do you not have anything against Yankee fans suffering? And yes, you do get paid to stay up late watching sports. Don't you? And if you don't, and this sportswriting gig is merely a smokescreen to deceive your estranged wife, what is it exactly that you get paid to do, Mike Celizic? Moreover, how do you explain the columns that get published in various media outlets? This sure is a great cover story you've got going! (I'm confused.)

Yes, they won in impressive fashion, but who saw it?

Umm, real Yankees fans? A's fans? Millions of people west of the Mississippi who care about baseball? Me?

Great day for baseball. Too bad, like everything else baseball gets its mitt on, someone had to mess it up.

Yeah, you're right. Baseball sure has screwed a lot of things up recently. That wild card thing was a huge disaster. Interleague play has just been one big money pit for the league. That WBC did an unmistakably terrible job of showing just how far baseball has spread around the world. And to add insult to injury, they scheduled the Yankees opener to start at 10 o'clock! Is there no justice?

This is why people hate Yankee fans. The team beats a consensus World Series contender 15-2 on the glorious first day of the season, and this guy structures his article around a whiny complaint that (gasp!) his team had to start the season on the west coast.

Mike Celizic writes regularly for NBCSports.com and is a freelance writer based in New York.

No shit.

posted by Matthew Murbles # 6:22 PM no new comments

Yancy Street Gang
Apr 09 2006 11:12 AM

Bret Sabermetric wrote:
Maybe it's just me, Yancy, but I like this approach. Meta-journalism. It's so delicate covering sources and differing from their points of view, and standing up to their misundersgtandings and defensiveness, etc. I thought it was a terrific piece, and I'd like to read this sort of thing much more often than I do.

If he doesn't use "I" so much, you think you'll conclude that the article was written by a machine? What gave you problems?


I don't see how a conversation merits the big coverage it was given. I guess I'd have less problem if it was played as a glimpse behind the scenes. But I saw it as, if Pedro talks to Lupica, it's BIG!

Bret Sabermetric
Apr 09 2006 11:30 AM

It's pre-emptive.

If Lupica lets the conversation go, then Pedro gets to claim "I really told that lying SOB Lupica how his column about me sucked, how he called me a drama queen,l how I'll kick his ass if he ever tells lies about me in the paper ever again," yyybbb. If Lupica responds, he's being defensive, and there's something suspicious about Lupica keeping the colorful exchange secret, he must have something to hide...

This way, he's writing "This is what just happened, this is why it happened" and putting players on notice that if they want to complain about stories, they don't get to do so without the risk of the exchange (that could make them appear stupid or naive or entitled, which is often the case) appearing in the paper. Better to shut up and take your medicine (if medicine it is. It would piss me off to write a pretty complimentary piece about someone and get bawled out because the stupid over-sensitive prick lacks reading skills. This used to happen to me when I was a reporter, and still happens to me here on the CPF from time to time.) I have nothing but sympathy for Lupica here.

MFS62
Apr 10 2006 08:05 AM

Mike Vaccaro in Sunday's NY Post:
] You take three parts Armando Benitez, two parts Braden Looper and two parts John Franco, you stir it in a bowl, you throw it in a mixer on high for 20 seconds, then you add just a pinch of Doug Sisk for old times's sake, and do you know what you get?
You get Jorge Julio.


This is the same Mike Vaccaro who's book is titled "Emperors and Idiots".

Its about the Yankees and Red Sox, but from the title, I thought it was his autobiography.

Later

metirish
Apr 12 2006 11:52 AM

Klapisch out does himself.

[url=http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyNjgmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTY5MTYwMTAmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2]Hemingway hero Derek Jeter[/url]

Edgy DC
Apr 12 2006 12:16 PM

Wow

Rotblatt
Apr 12 2006 12:21 PM

]That was a mistake, of course. Jeter may not hit many homers, but under pressure, in the postseason, he's a career .300 hitter. That means he's loaded with muscle-memory in critical moments, or as Jeter himself said, "Any time you've done it before, you expect to do it again."


Ah, pseudo science . . . "He's batted over .300 in the post-season, therefore his muscles automatically remember how to perform in critical spots." I wish I were as simple-minded as Klapisch. Must be nice.

MFS62
Apr 12 2006 01:07 PM

Blatt, when you started this thread, did you ever dream that you would have such a puke provoking example of pandering journalism as that Klapish comment about Jeter?

I'm glad I read it (well, as much of it as I could stand) before I ate my lunch.

Later

Rotblatt
Apr 12 2006 01:24 PM

MFS62 wrote:
Blatt, when you started this thread, did you ever dream that you would have such a puke provoking example of pandering journalism as that Klapish comment about Jeter?


I have to say, Klapish really outdid himself. If I hadn't read some of his earlier "work," I'd think it was satire.

Frayed Knot
Apr 12 2006 01:35 PM

Holy Blow-Jobs Batman!


"He did it the old-fashioned, Roy Hobbs way, with a monstrous three-run homer"
- Monsterous?!? That thing was right down the line and about 4 rows deep over a wall that's all of 312'. That thing's 325' most likely, maybe 335' tops! How 'bout we give the guy credit for a game-winning HR w/o exaggerating it story-telling purposes?



"The Yankee captain certainly is no machine (he batted only .261 with runners in scoring position last year), but in this case he needed just one pitch, first pitch, to devastate Burgos. ... as Joe Torre says, "When we need something to happen, Derek is usually the one who starts it or finishes it."
- Except, of course, when he doesn't (see: .261 w/RiSP)


"Jeter, of course, was too modest to gloat,"
- Of course he was. He was also helping a little old lady across the street while conducting this inteview.
"... insisting he wasn't trying to hit a home run, only "a base hit up the middle."
- Bullshit! That swing said HR all the way.
"The shortstop probably was being honest, too, considering he'd hit just 30 homers in 1,260 career at-bats with runners in scoring position."
- Of course if he had LOTS of HRs w/RiSP we'd cite THAT as proof of his invincibility. Heads he wins, tails he wins!

"Jeter may not hit many homers, but under pressure, in the postseason, he's a career .300 hitter"
- Neglecting to mention that he's a .312 hitter otherwise, meaning, of course, that he must get worse in October! Somehow, I don't think Klap will see it that way.

Elster88
Apr 12 2006 01:36 PM

It's articles like this that make people curse Jeter out. But are they really his fault?

metirish
Apr 12 2006 01:37 PM

How does Klap sleep at night after writing such BS....like Rotblatt said if I didn't know better this would pass as satire.

MFS62
Apr 12 2006 02:05 PM

When he writes about Jeter, he probably has a bulge, but not in his cheek.

Later

Edgy DC
Apr 12 2006 02:06 PM
Edited 2 time(s), most recently on Apr 13 2006 09:24 AM

Yeah, that muscle memory being October-specfic, but available to call on in certain April cameos, was a two-handed head-clutcher.

]Johnny Damon had just been wiped off the map by Royals' reliever Ambiorix Burgos -- three pitches, three strikes, one forgettable at-bat -- which forced the Yankees to channel their karmic energy at Derek Jeter.

In other words, the Bombers were saying their prayers.


Saying that Jeter is a deity?

]All this in the home opener, which in the Yankee universe is like a day of worship.


Maybe he is saying that.

]The Stadium wasn't just packed, it was filled with an optimism you find only in October.


You know, this isn't so much about Klap, but calling it "The Stadium" (as if it's sacred and perfect) out of one side of one's mouth, while arguing that it needs to be demolished and replaced out of the other, is... unseemly.

]Turned out the afternoon was full of blemishes -- some momentary, some of which will require longer-range examination -- but all of them were cleansed by Jeter, who single-handedly beat the Royals, 9-7.


"Cleansed" now? O, kiss me, son of God.

]He did it the old-fashioned, Roy Hobbs way, with a monstrous three-run homer that only cemented his legacy as a Hemingway hero, displaying grace under pressure.


OK, FK already killed the Malamud reference, but how is this particularly Hemingwayan?

]Jeter, of course, was too modest to gloat...


Who gloats in that position? Anybody. You hit a game-winning homer, you let the admiration come to you.

]Still, he'd taken careful notes on Damon's three pitch strikeout -- fastball, splitter, fastball -- and was looking for just that, another heater, on his first pitch.

Burgos had a different game plan. He tried a splitter, but signed his own death notice by throwing it "right down the middle."


So it wasn't about careful preparation by a high-minded player but a pitch with bad placement hit out by a talented player.

]That was a mistake, of course. Jeter may not hit many homers, but under pressure, in the postseason, he's a career .300 hitter. That means he's loaded with muscle-memory in critical moments, or as Jeter himself said, "Any time you've done it before, you expect to do it again."


OK, one poster pointed out the bogus muscle-memory thing, and another the fallacy of the post season sample, but how about the bad logic in the second sentence. "Jeter may not hit many homers, but under pressure, in the postseason, he's a career .300 hitter." How about "Jeter may not hit many homers, but under pressure, in the postseason, he still doesn't hit many homers."

]The Yankee captain treated the moment like some cool October evening, ambushing Burgos' hanging splitter.


Hanging. Now it's not only bad location but a pitch that lost it's action. Not preparation at all.

]The Stadium turned into some open-air asylum for Jeter. While the crowd rose as one, a handful of Yankees were waiting for Jeter at home plate, everyone hand-shaking and helmet-slapping the captain -- grown men's substitute for a simple thank you.


This differed from other game-winning homers somehow, I guess.

No one was more grateful than Damon, whose strikeout with runners on first and second had brought the Yankees to within four outs of a 7-5 loss.

]"Derek is so talented, you know that over the course of a game, he's going to do something dramatic," Damon said. "I've seen it enough times in my career from the other side. He's very, very professional when the game is on the line."


Except when he deosn't do something dramatic. But even then, he's professional. What does that make Damon?

]Jeter made it possible for the Yankees to ignore just how ordinary Wang has been this season, even in spring training when his ERA was close to 5.00. In his two regular-season starts, the soft-spoken right-hander has allowed 15 hits in 102/3 innings, his ERA now inching toward 6.00.


The rest of the article just beats the Hell out of Wang for his un-Yankeeness. Oh, and the Yankees look old and slow compared to the Royals. That surprises... who? Speed and youth are cheap enough.

Yancy Street Gang
Apr 12 2006 02:31 PM

Now I bet Scarlett is really sorry she turned down tickets for that game.

ScarletKnight41
Apr 12 2006 02:44 PM

Yeah - crushed....

Rotblatt
Apr 12 2006 03:10 PM

Is Klapisch maybe refering to Hemmingway hero Jake Barnes?

Tragically incapable of consumating with soul mate Sheffield due to Jeter's "war wound," Jeter pimps Sheff out to a young "bullfighter" A-Rod?

Man, Klapisch really works on multiple levels, huh?

metirish
Apr 12 2006 03:18 PM

I'm surprised he works for a decent paper in Jersey and goes National with ESPN.

I imagine the MFY's employ a "mop boy" like one you might find in those sleazy peep show places for the press box on days like yesterday.

Yancy Street Gang
Apr 12 2006 03:28 PM

I bet the Hemingway connection comes from his having to read The Old Man and the Sea in high school, and remembering the references to Joe DiMaggio.

Willets Point
Apr 13 2006 02:33 AM

So you think you're a sports journalist.

Bret Sabermetric
Apr 13 2006 06:25 AM

Didn't you fucking people go to high school? It's a cliche of American Lit that Hemingway's "heroes" strive for "grace under pressure." That's Hem's definition of "courage." There's a clue in the end of the sentence that that's the allusion. Was anyone exposed to this cliche? Anyone? Bueller?

There's almost nothing lamer than someone intoning in a particularly snotty way "I'm afraid your allusion, if allusion there is, is far too subtle for me, hence you have made effectively no allusion at all here, my dear sir," when it turns out that the allusion is totally un-subtle (I'd say he gave it away by adding the "grace under pressure" part, which a good reader should have figured out himself) and you're getting all la-de-da over nothing but your own denseness.

This is in itself emblematic of a lot of CPF griping about sportswriters in general: they write some innocuous or even funny line, and you all gang on up the writer, collectively kick his ass around the block, chortling and agreeing that your streetgang is particularly amusing, while anyone not part of your little organization would read the exchange and say "You've got nothing to complain about here," a comment you're not hearing because you're so in love with the amusing antics of your fellow thugs.

Rotblatt
Apr 13 2006 07:19 AM

Bret Sabermetric wrote:
Didn't you fucking people go to high school? It's a cliche of American Lit that Hemingway's "heroes" strive for "grace under pressure." That's Hem's definition of "courage." There's a clue in the end of the sentence that that's the allusion. Was anyone exposed to this cliche? Anyone? Bueller?

There's almost nothing lamer than someone intoning in a particularly snotty way "I'm afraid your allusion, if allusion there is, is far too subtle for me, hence you have made effectively no allusion at all here, my dear sir," when it turns out that the allusion is totally un-subtle (I'd say he gave it away by adding the "grace under pressure" part, which a good reader should have figured out himself) and you're getting all la-de-da over nothing but your own denseness.

This is in itself emblematic of a lot of CPF griping about sportswriters in general: they write some innocuous or even funny line, and you all gang on up the writer, collectively kick his ass around the block, chortling and agreeing that your streetgang is particularly amusing, while anyone not part of your little organization would read the exchange and say "You've got nothing to complain about here," a comment you're not hearing because you're so in love with the amusing antics of your fellow thugs.


Oh, come on, Sal. MAYBE the Hemmingway thing is defensible, but muscle memory for Clutchness?

I bet even Yankee fans are a little embarassed by reading that.

Bret Sabermetric
Apr 13 2006 07:33 AM

Rotblatt wrote:
Oh, come on, Sal. MAYBE the Hemmingway thing is defensible, but muscle memory for Clutchness?

I bet even Yankee fans are a little embarassed by reading that.



I wrote "a lot of CPF griping about sportswriters in general", Blatt, not every single CPF gripe about sportswriters. The muscle memory thing was embarrassing, and it was fine to point that out. He deserves mockery for that. But my larger point was that, in calling writers on every conceivable error, you often miss their points, and sometime make idiots out of yourselves in mocking them for perfectly sensible sentences that you've simply misunderstood. And what I'm pointing out is that on the CPF no one will defend the original writers because it's so much self-congratulatory fun mocking them.

Check out, for example, the hostility I will earn in this thread for pointing out this modest truth. Probably CPFers were angered by my making the point, and are contriving ways to attack me for daring to make it. Take your honest misreading of what I wrote: I write "a lot of CPF griping about sportwriters in general" and rather than address what I'm explicitly writing about, you take pains to defend the mockery of one very specific point that I wasn't even addressing, as if that's a defense of CPF over-zealousness. Think about it.

Rotblatt
Apr 13 2006 07:52 AM

Bret Sabermetric wrote:
I wrote "a lot of CPF griping about sportswriters in general", Blatt, not every single CPF gripe about sportswriters. The muscle memory thing was embarrassing, and it was fine to point that out. He deserves mockery for that. But my larger point was that, in calling writers on every conceivable error, you often miss their points, and sometime make idiots out of yourselves in mocking them for perfectly sensible sentences that you've simply misunderstood. And what I'm pointing out is that on the CPF no one will defend the original writers because it's so much self-congratulatory fun mocking them.


Well, it IS pretty fun to mock sportswriters, and many of us enjoy doing it.

And sure, we enjoy it enough that we occasionally overlook salient points, but it's all in good fun.

For my part, I don't mind being called out on such occasions, although I'm occasionally a little slow on the uptake . . .

Bret Sabermetric
Apr 13 2006 08:05 AM

Thanks for the temperate response, Blatt. My point is that you're so eager to tar sportswriters with a "Met-hating" brush, that you often misunderstand their perfectly clear points. (This is far from the first time it's happened that someone has gone off on a sportswriter for writing something that makes perfect sense, yet not getting busted himself by fellow CPFers.) I actually suspect that some of you did remember that Hemingway clichef rom your high school English class, but felt it would be seen as CPF disloyalty to point it out, or more likely that you didn't put any effort into figuring out a way to interpret Klapisch's crack about Hemingway so it would make some sense. Better to mock him for writing nonsense, and remember vaguely that he botched a literary allusion.

Elster88
Apr 13 2006 09:06 AM

="Bret Sabermetric"]Check out, for example, the hostility I will earn in this thread for pointing out this modest truth.


Any hostility you would have earned would have been for being a prick. You have to realize this. You're intelligent and a good writer. The hostility that results from posts like below can't be a shock.

The post below starts with the line "Didn't you fucking people go to high school?", and then you say you don't think you deserve hostility for "pointing out the modest truth." Honestly, if you're going to be an asshole, be ready for the response you're going to get.

And for the most part, I think you write hostile posts to get a response, so you can turn around and complain about it. It's weird.

]Didn't you fucking people go to high school? It's a cliche of American Lit that Hemingway's "heroes" strive for "grace under pressure." That's Hem's definition of "courage." There's a clue in the end of the sentence that that's the allusion. Was anyone exposed to this cliche? Anyone? Bueller?

There's almost nothing lamer than someone intoning in a particularly snotty way "I'm afraid your allusion, if allusion there is, is far too subtle for me, hence you have made effectively no allusion at all here, my dear sir," when it turns out that the allusion is totally un-subtle (I'd say he gave it away by adding the "grace under pressure" part, which a good reader should have figured out himself) and you're getting all la-de-da over nothing but your own denseness.

This is in itself emblematic of a lot of CPF griping about sportswriters in general: they write some innocuous or even funny line, and you all gang on up the writer, collectively kick his ass around the block, chortling and agreeing that your streetgang is particularly amusing, while anyone not part of your little organization would read the exchange and say "You've got nothing to complain about here," a comment you're not hearing because you're so in love with the amusing antics of your fellow thugs

Bret Sabermetric
Apr 13 2006 09:22 AM

Excellent start to the hostility, Elster. I'm an asshole, that's good. And a prick. Also I'm weird.

I get that I can be abrasive. But how about dealing with the content? How about if I expressed the content in a non-abrasive way? "CPFers might want to bear in mind that Klapisch's point about Hemingway may well be explained by the reference in the sentence being cited, hwere he mentions 'grace under pressure,' a subtle allusion to an obscure definition Hemingway once gave to 'courage', " known only to serious students of little-known American literature."

I'm sure if I phrased it like that, I wouldn't raise an eyebrow on the CPF. The fact that I think someone probably DID recognize the 'grace under pressure' cliche, and didn't mention it in the Klapisch-bashing notwithstanding, or else you really are a bunch of nosepickers who got nothing from your elementary educations (Klapisch is writing for the fucking Bergan Dreck-chord, not the PMLA post-modernist special issue, for Chrissake). I think you're better read than that.

Elster88
Apr 13 2006 09:29 AM

You're missing my point entirely. Maybe I'm phrasing it wrong.

You can't be a prick in your posting and then act all shocked and dismayed if the response is hostile.

I'm not sure if saying you post like a prick is actually calling you a prick. If it is, so be it. Most people here have said you're easy to get along with in the real world. But your online persona should not be shocked at hostile responses to the post I quoted above.

Elster88
Apr 13 2006 09:32 AM

Bret Sabermetric wrote:
I'm sure if I phrased it like that, I wouldn't raise an eyebrow on the CPF. The fact that I think someone probably DID recognize the 'grace under pressure' cliche, and didn't mention it in the Klapisch-bashing notwithstanding, or else you really are a bunch of nosepickers who got nothing from your elementary educations (Klapisch is writing for the fucking Bergan Dreck-chord, not the PMLA post-modernist special issue, for Chrissake). I think you're better read than that.


I for one, did not recognize the 'grace under pressure' cliche.

I'm not sure what being a nosepicker has to do with being uneducated.

Bret Sabermetric
Apr 13 2006 09:35 AM

I'm not shocked at all. I'm totally adjusted to the fact that people will find problems in the form I choose to post in, and focus exclusively on that, rather than deal with my criticisims of the Mets or the CPF.

I take that as a given at this point. But how about dealing with the content. I;ve already offered to have "caustic fucktard" as my permanent sig line. but given that I'm an ill-tempered, disagreeable, nasty SOB who says mean-spirited things to the young, the inform, the metally-challenged just for sheer sadistic pleasure, how about dealing with the substance of what I'm saying?

Way too much to ask, I understand.

Elster88
Apr 13 2006 09:36 AM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Apr 13 2006 09:42 AM

Like I said, I didn't get the cliche myself. As for the ripping into articles, I usually read what someone writes, have a laugh, and go about my business. Off the top of my head, I rarely respond to them. I don't take the time to see if the person who is doing the ripping is correct.

My only non-conformist behavior regarding such ripping is to defend Jeter and ARod.

Bret Sabermetric
Apr 13 2006 09:40 AM

Elster88 wrote:
I'm not sure what being a nosepicker has to do with being uneducated.


At the Princeton Club, it's frowned down upon to get your hand up your nostrils beyond the second knuckle, whereas such comportment is often acceptable in such locales as Dickshot so graphically displayed this morning in the "I'm off" thread (since deleted).

Elster88
Apr 18 2006 09:08 AM

All I want is one, just one, "sportswriter" to stop talking about the Met money and "break" the story that the Met payroll is actually less than last year. Then the other idiots will read it and realize it. Maybe even including the morons on ESPN that do the games and that do Baseball Tonight.

Edgy DC
Apr 18 2006 09:30 AM

It's been broken.

Maybe not followed up on, but broken.

Rotblatt
Apr 25 2006 08:01 AM

]Mets' Matsui Does Enough to Intrigue, but Not Enough to Impress
Second baseman Kazuo Matsui makes too much money — $7 million, in the final season of a three-year contract — to be released.
By BEN SHPIGEL
Published: April 25, 2006


SAN FRANCISCO, April 24 — The images of Kazuo Matsui swatting homers, bumbling grounders and lying on a training table have blended to produce an enigmatic tableau.

In his short major league career, the 30-year-old Matsui has developed a puzzling pattern: He sustains a freakish injury, fades out of sight and out of mind and then, just when it is time to abandon hope, he hits a home run in his first at-bat to restore the optimism. Then he slumps, turns second base into a minefield or, more likely, is injured again.

Since being recalled from Class AAA Norfolk on Thursday as an emergency fill-in for the injured Anderson Hernández, Matsui has once again done enough to intrigue but not enough to impress.

This trip may as well be called the Matsui Mystery Tour. After hitting an inside-the-park home run and making a nifty pivot on a double play to shift momentum toward the Mets in their game Thursday in San Diego, his weekend quickly turned sour.

He went 1 for 5 on Friday and missed a grounder that a skilled second baseman should have snagged. He did not play Saturday. On Sunday, with the Mets losing by a run, Matsui struck out swinging on a high-and-outside pitch on a full count with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning. He did so against a castoff, Alan Embree, who had a 7.62 earned run average last season.


Ah, yes, castoff Alan Embree, a lefty who is again throwing 97 mph and who has a 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP & a K/9 of 10 this season.

I mean, who WOULDN'T hit a grand slam against a bum like that?

]After the game, Manager Willie Randolph criticized Matsui for being too aggressive. It was Matsui's fourth game back, and already Randolph was showing little patience with him.

Randolph says he has unwavering confidence in reliever Jorge Julio, who, despite pitching better in San Diego, is unlikely to pitch in a game that is not a blowout anytime soon. And he is supportive of Victor Zambrano, even though Zambrano's wildness is hurting the team every fifth start.


So Willie has poor judgment. I'm with you.

]As a second baseman, Randolph was solid, smooth and had enough power to keep an opposing defense honest. He looks at Matsui playing the same position, and though he does not say it, he cannot like what he sees. Last August, after a game in Arizona in which Matsui went 3 for 4, Randolph said that Matsui should have been credited with only two hits because his third should have been fielded cleanly.


Ah, yes, a real player's manager. I can't imagine why Johjima canceled his visit here.
]
Yet, despite the Mets' repeated attempts to trade him, Matsui is still with the team. He makes too much money — $7 million, in the final season of a three-year contract — to be released.


But if he sucks as much as you say, then shouldn't we release him? Is Matsui the only one at fault here? Why let Mets management off the hook?

]He understands that he is in the lineup, for now, because the 23-year-old Hernández is injured. The Mets were prepared to let the sharp-fielding Hernández continue playing second ahead of Matsui, even though Hernández was batting .148 at the time of his injury and was struggling to hit balls hard.


And now we're back to Willie's judgment.

]"It's a new year," Matsui, who had two hits Monday night to raise his average to .294, said through an interpreter. "I don't feel any pressure."

His teammates mobbed him in the dugout after the inside-the-park homer, which linked him with Ken Griffey Jr. as the two most recent players to hit home runs in their first at-bats in three straight seasons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. A few days later, after letting the achievement sink in, Matsui acknowledged that he was overjoyed to receive that kind of reception.

Hernández is in Port St. Lucie, Fla., rehabilitating his injured back and is not expected to return for another three weeks, barring a setback, giving Matsui time to make another impression. The Mets already know what he can (and cannot) do at the plate. They would like to see more consistency at second base.

Like Hernández, Matsui is a converted shortstop, but he has not picked up on the nuances as quickly. He still has difficulty turning a double play, which demands different footwork and pivots, but he is confident that, with a little more practice and repetition, he will master it.

"Obviously, it's important for me to get right into the mix," Matsui said. "I don't want to disturb the team's momentum."

Elster88
May 04 2006 10:20 AM

Maybe this should be in the "So You Think You're an Editor Thread"

Headline on the Back Cover of the NY Post wrote:
THANK 'GADO

Elster88
May 04 2006 11:13 AM

Hey jagoff, the blown save to San Fran
a) gets blamed on Wright
b) was not Billy's fault but Barry's skill.

[url]http://www.nypost.com/sports/mets/68029.htm[/url]

]May 4, 2006 -- MAYBE it's a bit premature to start calling him Braden Wagner, but it is time to be concerned about Billy Wagner.
Billy the Kid blew a doozy of a save against the Pirates last night, flushing a Pedro Martinez' gem down the toilet that is Shea Stadium. This was Wagner's third blown save as a Met, and a most painful one for the fans who sat through the rain in the hopes of watching Pedro go to 6-0.

Instead, Martinez wound up with a no-decision. The Mets won the game in dramatic fashion, 4-3, on Carlos Delgado's 12th-inning home run. That is what Delgado was brought here to do, hit big home runs. The blast to the bleachers was the fourth walk-off home run of his career.

Wagner, whose last blown save came as a result of a Barry Bonds home run, was purchased to save games, not blow them.

Edgy DC
May 04 2006 11:21 AM

A Met win that isn't credited to Pedro Martinez is not "most painful."

And let's not demonize Looper here. Everybody knows the blown save was invented by Armando Benitez.

Yancy Street Gang
May 04 2006 11:24 AM

I would have liked to see Pedro get the W, but I'm not feeling any pain this morning.

Elster88
May 05 2006 12:55 PM

I think I've read this article 25 times already this year.

[url]http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/story/415048p-350762c.html[/url]

Yancy Street Gang
May 05 2006 12:56 PM

You don't often see positive Mets material from Filip Bondy, though.

MFS62
May 05 2006 01:01 PM

Elster88 wrote:
I think I've read this article 25 times already this year.

[url]http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/story/415048p-350762c.html[/url]


Probably. (or maybe it was only 23 times)
But how many of the others contained this?
]Tom and Pedro, and a two-day tornado.


At least it brought something new to the table.

Later

metirish
May 05 2006 01:07 PM

Bondy must hate it when the MFY are on the road

Frayed Knot
May 05 2006 01:08 PM

Semi-positive I'd call it - which is OK actually, particularly from Bondy.
I'll almost always dismiss it when fans rant that a particular writer/announcer/media-type is 'biased against their team', I think it's generally childish and stupid. Except that Bondy admitted a few years back - quite proundly in fact - to hating the Mets both before and during his professional life and having no intention of ever writing anything positive about them. So - despite him managing to get in cracks about the bad opponent, mediocre division, so-so attendance, and weak back of the rotation - this piece is practically a long song.

Edgy DC
May 05 2006 01:11 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on May 05 2006 01:46 PM

Bad rhyme from somebody trying to cleverly coin something that'll catch on.

Better (but still weak) choices:

Tommy and Petey
Then stave off defeatey.

Tom and then Pete
Then three hunks of meat

Pedro and Tommie
Tthree hunks of salami

Two Cy Young winners
Three abs'lute beginners

MFS62
May 05 2006 01:39 PM

The problem wasn't so much with the rhyme, as with the syntax.
It would have been (slightly) better if he had written:
Tommy and Pedro and a two day tornado.

"defeatey"?
LOL!

Later

MFS62
May 13 2006 02:19 PM

Well, Dave Barry usually isn't a sportswriter.
But...
Enjoy
(from today's NY Daily News)

*********************************************************************************
Remembering '60 Series never gets old





As we continue to follow yet another baseball season, what's left of my mind drifts back to the fall of 1960, when the big baseball story was the World Series between the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Today, for sound TV viewership reasons, all World Series games are played after most people, including many of the players, have gone to bed. But in 1960, the games had to be played in the daytime, because the electric light had not been invented yet. Also, back then the players and owners had not yet discovered the marketing benefits of sporadically canceling entire seasons.
The result was that in those days young people were interested in baseball, unlike today's young people, who are much more interested in basketball, football, soccer and downloading dirty pictures from the Internet. But in my youth, baseball ruled. Almost all of us boys played in Little League, a character-building experience that helped me develop a personal relationship with God.

"God," I would say, when I was standing in deep right field - the coach put me in right field only because it was against the rules to put me in Sweden, where I would have done less damage to the team - "please, please, please don't let the ball come to me." But, of course, God enjoys a good prank as much as the next infallible deity, which is why, when He heard me pleading with Him, He always took time out from His busy schedule to make sure the next batter hit a towering blast that would, upon reentering the Earth's atmosphere, come down where I would have been standing, if I had stood still, which I never did. I lunged around in frantic, random circles, so that the ball always landed a minimum of 40 feet from where I wound up standing, desperately thrusting out my glove, which was a Herb Score model I had treated with Neat's-foot oil so it would be supple.

Even though I stunk at it, I was into baseball. My friends and I collected baseball cards, the kind that came in a little pack with a dusty, pale-pink rectangle of linoleum-textured World War II surplus bubble gum that was far less edible than the cards themselves.

Like every other male my age who collected baseball cards as a boy, I now firmly believe that at one time I had the original rookie cards of Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe, Daniel Boone, Goliath, etc., and that I'd be able to sell my collection for $163 million today except my mom threw it out.

My point is that we cared deeply about baseball back then, which meant that we were passionate about the 1960 Pirates-Yankees World Series matchup. My class was evenly divided between those who were Pirates fans and those who were complete morons. (I never have cared for the Yankees, and for a very sound reason: The Yankees are evil.) We followed every pitch of every game. It wasn't easy, because the weekday games started when we were still in school, which for some idiot reason was not called off for the World Series.

That series went seven games, and I remember how it ended. School was out and I was heading home, pushing my bike up a hill, listening to my cheapo little radio, my eyes staring vacantly, mind locked on the game.

A delivery truck came by, and the driver stopped and asked if he could listen. Actually, he more or less told me he was going to listen - I said okay. He turned out to be a rabid Yankees fan. The game was very close, and we stood on opposite sides of my bike for the final two innings, rooting for opposite teams, he chain-smoking Lucky Strike cigarettes, both of us hanging on every word out of my tinny little speaker.

And, of course, if you were around back then and did not live in Russia, you know what happened: God, in a sincere effort to make up for all those fly balls he directed toward me in Little League, had Bill Mazeroski - Bill Mazeroski! - hit a home run to win it for the Pirates.

I was insane with joy. The truck driver was devastated. But I will never forget what he said to me. He looked me square in the eye, one baseball fan to another, after a tough but fair fight - and he said a seriously bad word. Several, in fact. Then he got in his truck and drove away.

****************************************************************************

Later

metirish
Jun 03 2006 09:59 PM

Jeff Pearlman asks why....good article.



]

Pee No Evil
Why are sportswriters pretending baseball's steroids era is over?

By Jeff Pearlman
Posted Friday, June 2, 2006, at 5:12 PM ET



Albert Pujols

It's easy to understand the media's love-fest with Albert Pujols. The St. Louis Cardinals slugger crushes baseballs into the outer realms. And more important in the wake of the BALCO fiasco, he has yet to be tainted by evidence of steroid use.

Pujols has 25 homers in 51 games played, putting him on pace to break Barry Bonds' record of 73 home runs in a single season. Both fans and rival players breathlessly praise Pujols as they once did Bonds. St. Louis' marketing department is constantly churning with new ideas for milking the Albert cash cow. And within baseball's press boxes, writers and reporters check their e-mail, drink free sodas, and question, well, nothing.

Two weeks ago, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Pujols "is being touted as the first P.S. slugger, post-steroids." The paper also categorized speculation that Pujols might be juicing as an "errant rumor." The New York Times followed up with this Pujols quote: "My testing is proving a lot. It's working really good."


Is Pujols abusing steroids or human growth hormones? I don't know. But what's alarming in this era of deceit is that nobody seems interested in finding out. A little more than one year removed from congressional hearings that produced the most humiliating images in the game's history, baseball writers have a duty to second-guess everything. Instead, everyone is taking Pujols' test results at face value. Have we forgotten that Barry Bonds has never failed one of Major League Baseball's drug tests?

In Sports Illustrated's baseball preview issue, Tom Verducci, who has done great work exposing the proliferation of steroids in baseball, credulously praised the likes of Pujols and Twins catcher Joe Mauer. Verducci exclaimed that baseball is now "a young man's game, belonging to new stars who, certified by the sport's tougher drug policy, have replaced their juiced-up, broken-down elders who aged so ungracefully. It's baseball as it ought to be. A fresh start." In other words: Masking agents? What masking agents?

Last year, editors at the Post-Dispatch assembled a task force to investigate whether Mark McGwire had ingested performance-enhancing drugs. After a short stretch of fruitless reporting, the effort died. One would think that Pujols—a 13th-round draft pick who has put on 20 pounds of muscle since his debut in 2001—would at least warrant a gander, or perhaps a flight or two to his native Dominican Republic to check out the friendly neighborhood pharmacies. Yet the paper has lifted nary a finger in examining Pujols' background. "Albert isn't an enhanced thug like some of the other suspects," explains Rick Hummel, the longtime Post-Dispatch baseball writer. "He hasn't grown significantly and he's always had a lot of power. So what's there to look into?"

What's there to look into? How about this: For the past decade, baseball has been routinely pulling the bait-and-switch with its fan base. When McGwire and Sammy Sosa engaged in "The Chase" for the home-run record during 1998, we were told the game was being saved, that two great men with selfless hearts were doing the impossible. Oops, it was all a lie. Three years later, we were asked to suspend belief yet again as the 37-year-old Bonds, with a head the size of Jupiter, effortlessly broke McGwire's standard.

Why are journalists so soft in this area? One reason: fear of being shut out. Over the course of a 162-game season, beat writers and columnists work their tails off to develop relationships with players. You grovel. You whimper. You plead. You tiptoe up to a first baseman, hoping he has five minutes to talk about that swollen toe. You share jokes and—embarrassingly—fist pounds. Wanna kill all that hard work in six seconds? Ask the following question: Are you juiced?

After having been duped by the men they cover, America's sportswriters are playing dumb again. One year after being dismissed as a has-been, steroid-using fibber, Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi is the toast of New York. Recent articles in metropolitan newspapers have praised the steadfastness and resiliency that have led him to hit a team-high 14 home runs. But where, oh where, are the doubters? At the start of spring training in 2005, Giambi looked smaller than in seasons past. Now, he has muscles atop muscles atop muscles. Yet unlike the San Francisco Chronicle, which dedicated itself (journalistically and financially) to learning the truth about Bonds, none of the New York dailies have assigned an investigative team to the case. The closest we've come is Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who recently wrote a piece titled "Clean Machine—Giambi Says Fast Start Is Untainted." The article dies with this whimper of a quote: "The big thing I learned during all my problems was that I can only control what I can control. I can't stand on a soapbox every day. I am working my tail off."

I, for one, don't believe him. During my six years at Sports Illustrated, I fell for the trick and covered Giambi as the hulking, lovable lug who cracked jokes and hit monstrous homers. All the while, he was cheating to gain an edge. So, why—when MLB doesn't administer a test for human growth hormone—should I believe Giambi is clean?

Likewise, when I look at Roger Clemens, I wonder: Where's the investigative digging? Like Bonds, Clemens is a larger-than-life athletic specimen. Like Bonds, Clemens is producing at an age when most of his peers are knitting. Unlike Bonds, Clemens does not have journalists breathing down his neck. Instead, the hometown Houston Chronicle has covered his recent re-signing with the Astros as a time for unmitigated celebration. Forget combing through his garbage for vials—I just want the Chronicle to ask Clemens whether he's used. Is the Rocket cheating? Again, I don't know. But doesn't someone have to at least try and find out?

"A lot of baseball writers are drunks or cheat on their wives," says Jose de Jesus Ortiz, the Chronicle's Astros beat writer. "I would never question anybody unless I have evidence. It's unfair to feel that just because of Bonds now we're required to question everyone about their methods."

Is it unfair to pester individual athletes about steroids? Maybe. Is it the right thing to do journalistically? Without a doubt.



http://www.slate.com/id/2142937/?nav=fo

Elster88
Jun 04 2006 12:04 PM

I wanted to say something similar, but didn't want to get yelled at.

Johnny Dickshot
Jun 04 2006 12:27 PM

I agree with JP too.

He makes a great point about beatwriters' reluctance to endanger their access.

metirish
Jun 16 2006 01:36 PM

Glavine,Trax and Floyd look back at the bad old days .

]

METS INSIDER
From dark days, a whole new ballgame



BY DAVID LENNON
Newsday Staff Writer

June 16, 2006


PHILADELPHIA -- Cliff Floyd remembers when there was no light at the end of the tunnel. So do Tom Glavine and Steve Trachsel. Which makes what is happening with the Mets this season that much sweeter for the longest-tenured members on the club.

After Wednesday's victory over the Phillies, the Mets claimed the best record in baseball by nudging percentage points ahead of the Tigers. Read that again. For those who suffered through the lean times in Flushing - that's a euphemism for the Art Howe Era - this runaway success has an almost dreamlike quality to it.

"I've never been on a first-place team before so this is entirely new for me," said Trachsel, a 13-year veteran who signed with the Mets after their World Series appearance in 2000. "You come to the ballpark expecting to win rather than hoping to play well - or hoping the other team screws up so you can win."

That's the mindset when you finish 26½ games out of first place, as the Mets did in 2002. Or 34½ games back, as they did in 2003. The pinnacle for the Howe regime came in 2004, when the Mets pulled to within 25 games of the top spot, perhaps motivated by the knowledge that Howe, who stayed on as a lame-duck manager for the final two weeks, would be gone at season's end.

Looking back at all that misery, no one is happier now than Floyd, who was scolded by the front office for his infamous "no light at the end of the tunnel" remarks during those dark days. He laughed about it this week. It wasn't so funny then.

"People were in denial," Floyd said. "I was saying to myself, 'What are they really looking at? Let me know.' We had no direction. Nothing was looking like, 'OK, down the road, maybe we'll be all right. We've just got to battle through this tough time.' It didn't look like that.

"Nothing was good. Everything was negative. You want to go home. Every time you go past LaGuardia, all you're thinking about is catching a flight and going home. That's how it was."

Just as Floyd was saying that, he looked over at Jose Reyes, fully dressed in his uniform and swinging a bat in front of his locker - three hours before the game in a near-empty clubhouse. That's the enthusiasm a long winning streak and the prospect of a playoff berth brings. The Mets are bursting with a self-esteem that is radiating outward through the fan base and infiltrating the tri-state area.

"Everything is different," Glavine said. "We're more of a lead story than an afterthought. You sense the excitement that everybody has. Not only in our own ballpark, but on the road now.

"We've had huge followings on the road. That's obviously different from the last couple of years. Everybody kept telling me and has continued to tell me that New York is more of a National League town. They just haven't had a lot to cheer for in the National League the last few years."

Inevitably, the discussion brought Glavine around to the dreaded Y-word. But after three seasons of being dwarfed in New York by that pinstriped shadow, Glavine, who's endured more than his share of frustration since leaving the Braves, finally can say the balance may be shifting a bit.

"We're not going to unseat the Yankees overnight or anything like that," Glavine said. "They are what they are and they deserve everything they get, attention-wise.

"But you just hope to get your little niche of the market, so to speak, and give your loyal supporters something to boast about. Because God knows, the Yankees' fans have had plenty to boast about over the years. You know the Mets fans are starving to do the same thing, and so far we've given them something to boast about."

The Mets, especially Flushing veterans like Floyd, Glavine and Trachsel, are careful to add the caveat "so far" to any conversation about their rapid start this season. First place midway through June does not guarantee a postseason berth in October, but there is a prevailing sense the Mets will not be playing out the string. Trachsel remembers those dog days too well.

"In those years, you got toward the middle of August and September, and that's when it got real tough," Trachsel said. "It's like, OK, we've got to find something today, let's play spoiler. But you know what? Spoiler --."

Floyd is disappointed that this probably will be his only season to enjoy the Mets' renaissance. The leftfielder is in his walk year and likely will be leaving right when the Mets are worth sticking around for.

"You hope you're part of the organization for longer than this year," Floyd said, "because they're going to be on TV a lot, the city's going to embrace them, Shea's going to start selling out, there's a new stadium coming. You can't really think of anything but good things for a team like this. At the end of the day, you go home happy a lot, and I think that's the best thing that can come out of this.

"I don't care if it's June. We'll take that over what's been happening here my last three years."

Elster88
Jun 16 2006 01:38 PM

]For those who suffered through the lean times in Flushing - that's a euphemism for the Art Howe Era


Poor Art Howe. It's not like he had the players to succeed. Not all his fault.

Yancy Street Gang
Jun 16 2006 01:45 PM

The Art Howe "era" lasted only two seasons. If Art was managing this current team, they'd most likely be in first place anyway.

SteveJRogers
Jun 16 2006 02:35 PM

Elster88 wrote:
]For those who suffered through the lean times in Flushing - that's a euphemism for the Art Howe Era


Poor Art Howe. It's not like he had the players to succeed. Not all his fault.


Yeah but the media hated the poor guy, he was too "nice" and too "small town/midwest/country" for New York

Even though he was born and played some Major League baseball in Pittsburgh!

Someone on the Mets Listserv actually said that when I repeated a quote about Art Howe being too "mid-west" for New York, "I didn't know Pittsburgh was now in the Mid-West"

MFS62
Jun 25 2006 10:52 AM

I don't know if this belongs here because it has no byline.
And I'm not sure if it goes in the quotes of 2006 thread, either, but:

]from rotoworld:
Brett Myers worked five innings and allowed three runs Saturday in a no-decision versus the Red Sox.
Myers failed in his attempt to become just the third pitcher ever to beat the Yankees, the Red Sox and his wife in the same week.


Bad writing. They didn't tell us who the other two were.
LOL!

Later

MFS62
Jul 17 2006 03:35 PM

David Wright a Blue Jay?

edit: lost the link. I'll post it shortly
The link:
http://torontosun.com/Sports/Columnists/Elliott_Bob/2006/07/16/1686900.html

Just think of what would have been posted in the current third base history thread.



Later

Elster88
Jul 18 2006 10:34 AM

SteveJRogers wrote:
="Elster88"]
]For those who suffered through the lean times in Flushing - that's a euphemism for the Art Howe Era


Poor Art Howe. It's not like he had the players to succeed. Not all his fault.


Yeah but the media hated the poor guy, he was too "nice" and too "small town/midwest/country" for New York


Which media members hated him?
What did they say?
Did they call him names in their articles?
Where did you get this from?

Edgy DC
Jul 18 2006 10:53 AM

Art's from Pittsburgh, arguably the midwest, but neither small-town nor country.

Nice is a different story.

I don't think he was hated. I think he was mocked, like any manager of a losing team, because whatever assets he had didn't work. Whether another manager would have succeeded is, as almost always, debateable.

SteveJRogers
Jul 18 2006 10:55 AM

Elster88 wrote:
="SteveJRogers"]
Elster88 wrote:
]For those who suffered through the lean times in Flushing - that's a euphemism for the Art Howe Era


Poor Art Howe. It's not like he had the players to succeed. Not all his fault.


Yeah but the media hated the poor guy, he was too "nice" and too "small town/midwest/country" for New York


Which media members hated him?
What did they say?
Did they call him names in their articles?
Where did you get this from?


Listening to columnists-turned-radio hosts Wally Mathews and Tom Keegan who from day 1 never gave the guy a chance.

Okay thats two so far, I'm not going to try to go through archives of the Post and News to search for attacks on Howe in 2003 and 2004, but the media did have it in for Art Howe, using the same diatribes leveled against Joe Torre in the winter of 1996

G-Fafif
Jul 18 2006 02:48 PM

MFS62 wrote:
David Wright a Blue Jay?

edit: lost the link. I'll post it shortly
The link:
http://torontosun.com/Sports/Columnists/Elliott_Bob/2006/07/16/1686900.html

Just think of what would have been posted in the current third base history thread.


Good god. I guess we should be glad Steve Phillips "only" mindlessly dealt Jason Bay instead of David Wright that summer.

metirish
Aug 06 2006 03:12 PM

Some scary numbers here for the NL....

]

The senior circus

National League full of clowns



Despair not, Metsophiles, over the loss of Duaner Sanchez, the great unknown of Roberto Hernandez/Aaron Heilman/Royce Ring or even the all-too-frequent high-wire acts of Billy Wagner. Your postseason is assured and it is the ML (as in the Mediocre League) where you'll be playing the first two rounds.
You think the Mets have problems? How would you like to be Tony La Russa, who's been told all season his St. Louis Cardinals are the chalk team of the ML. La Russa's Cardinals have staggered out of the second-half gate, losing eight in a row entering yesterday.

One of the Cardinals' strengths was supposed to be their five-deep rotation, but lefty Mark Mulder has been out for three weeks with a shoulder injury and in a seven-game stretch last week, Cardinal starters yielded 56 hits and 30 earned runs over 35-2/3 innings for a combined ERA of 7.67.

And the St. Louis offense hasn't exactly been overwhelming anybody. Leadoff hitter David Eckstein on Thursday drew his first walk since July 17 - and was promptly thrown out trying to steal second. Entering last night, Eckstein had gone 90 at-bats without an extra base hit.

But for all the Cardinals' struggles, they've lost practically no ground to the second-place Cincinnati Reds, who lost five of seven. And yet for all the Reds' losing, they lead the wild-card race.

The entire National League is a joke. As of yesterday, there were only two teams, the Mets and Cardinals, more than five games over .500, and only three other teams, the Padres, D-Backs and Reds, over .500 at all in what is still a nine-team wild card race.

Indeed, the Philadelphia Phillies, whose own GM, Pat Gillick, declared his team non-contenders not only this year but next year as well after dumping Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle on the Yankees and reliever Rheal Cormier on the Reds, are just 3-1/2 games behind in the wild-card race.

By contrast, the American League had seven teams that were more than five games over .500 and facing the very real possibility of having a team not making the playoffs with a better record than the best team in the NL. But the disparity between the AL and NL has been growing for years, threatening to make a mockery of some of Bud Selig's fondest goals and projects, including competitive balance and the All-Star Game deciding home field advantage for the World Series. The question is: What caused this to happen? An informal survey of executives from both leagues offers these four factors:

1. The DH. For years after the AL adopted the DH, most of them were aging sluggers who could no longer play a position and comparable to other hitters on NL benches. Now, in a lot of cases, the DH is the team's best hitter - David Ortiz, Jim Thome, Travis Hafner, Jason Giambi, to name four. And, as one AL exec noted, the DH has had a profound effect on pitching in both leagues. "When National League pitchers are confronted with American league lineups, they're almost overwhelmed at the firepower 1-9 in the lineup with no soft spots. By contrast, American League pitchers have hardened themselves to this and are better pitchers than those in the NL. When they face NL lineups in interleague play and the World Series it's like a holiday for them. The DH's the NL teams use now are mostly extra outfielders or utility players that hardly scare you. There's no comparison to the AL DH's."

2. The Yankee-Red Sox Rivalry. The Yankees' big spending, which has certainly fueled the rivalry with the Red Sox, has influenced other American League teams to boost payrolls (see: Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays, Tigers) to keep pace. "I think if you're an AL team," said the exec, "you've come to realize that, to make the playoffs, you've got to win at least 94 games. In the National League this year, you might see a team in the playoffs with a barely .500 record."

3. Young AL Pitching. Making the disparity between the two leagues even greater is the influx of outstanding young pitching in the AL - such as Justin Verlander, Chien Ming-Wang, Johan Santana, Francisco Liriano, Felix Hernandez, Jonathan Papelbon and Jon Lester. By contrast, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens and even Greg Maddux are still among the NL's best, while the Cardinals' Jason Marquis, tied for the league lead in wins, has an ERA of 5.68. There is hope, however, in Florida where the Marlins' quintet of Dontrelle Willis, Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez makes them a team to bear watching next year; and in Philly, where young aces Cole Hamels and Brett Myers make Gillick's "wait til '08" proclamation seem silly.

That all means the Mets' sudden bullpen crisis, though it will undoubtedly dominate talk radio from here to October, is small potatoes when put in context with the rest of the NL teams, all of which are far more flawed. The Mets have an American League-caliber lineup and a depth of decent (if not overwhelming) starting pitching. They're still the best team in the NL, even if that's not saying a whole lot.




http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/story/441044p-371557c.html

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 06 2006 03:14 PM

This at least makes me feel a litle more optimistic about winning the first two postseason series.

metirish
Aug 06 2006 03:16 PM

Yeah me too Yancy....it does say a lot that the Phillies trade two key players yet are still in the WC race.

SteveJRogers
Aug 08 2006 11:52 AM

This actually falls under "So, you think you are a sportswriter playing a TV/Radio commentator!"

From ESPN's Cold Pizza, Skip Bayless interjected this beaut in a conversation about which team's cap Piazza would wear in Cooperstown:

]"I don't think Piazza deserves to be in the HOF. If he wasn't a catcher, we wouldn't even be having this discussion."


HAHAHAHA!!!

Basically Skipper makes the rather overated argument about Piazza's horrible catching ablilty which, as always, is based on his bad throwing arm. Like thats the only way you can judge a catcher's ability! Not to mention how overated SBs are to begin with, but thats another story!

MFS62
Aug 08 2006 12:03 PM

Steve, I interpret those comments to mean that he doesn't think Mike's numbers stack up to HOF credentials, especially if he played another position.

Later

SteveJRogers
Aug 08 2006 12:06 PM

MFS62 wrote:
Steve, I interpret those comments to mean that he doesn't think Mike's numbers stack up to HOF credentials, especially if he played another position.

Later


Oh of course, but if we are going to go by that, only OFers, Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Lou Gehrig and maybe Johnny Bench are left in the Hall

Centerfield
Aug 08 2006 12:16 PM

Skip is an idiot. He can write coherently, which sets him apart from some of the guys who work for the rags, but too often I've seen him make unsupported, wide-sweeping generalizations in place of real analysis. Recently, he had an article about how fans treat Jeter and A-Rod differently and cited the "fact" that Jeter had outperformed A-Rod in clutch situations. Of course, he failed to back up this "fact" with any numbers. I meant to write him an email about it but, you know, I got busy.

Anyway, his statement about Piazza is stupid.

"I don't think Piazza deserves to be in the HOF. If he wasn't a catcher, we wouldn't even be having this discussion."

But Skip, since he is a catcher, doesn't that mean we should be?

Frayed Knot
Aug 08 2006 02:17 PM

Bayliss is typical of the football writer who - because he's been cast as an all-purpose talking-head on TV - is forced (usually reluctantly) into commenting on baseball issues and frequently embarrasses himself when he does.

Edgy DC
Aug 08 2006 02:34 PM

Centerfield wrote:
I meant to write him an email about it but, you know, I got busy.


Cut and paste what you've writtten here. A few minor changes, you've got a letter.

Worked for me and Jon Heyman

Elster88
Aug 08 2006 02:58 PM

Send it to his editor and you may get a job offer.

Centerfield
Aug 08 2006 03:29 PM

Bayless's article:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=bayless/060731

A-Rod is a choker, Jeter is clutch, bla bla bla...

My Response:

Skip,

I recently read your article “To Boo or Not to Boo...” on Page 2. While I try to avoid arguments along the lines of who should be booed and who shouldn’t, I have to take exception to your characterization of Alex Rodriguez. The implication in your article is that Rodriguez struggles “in the clutch” (“Sure, he'll put up numbers. But will he get the hit? Not likely: His clutch numbers continue to plummet.”) while Jeter is a proven clutch performer (“He has always been at his greatest in the postseason”).

While ideas such as this are common in the tabloids here in New York, and amongst the Yes Men at Yes Network, I’m surprised to see you make such generalizations without backing it up with any data. If you look at the numbers, you will see that the “clutchness” of Derek Jeter is a myth.

In your article, you make reference to A-Rod’s plummeting clutch numbers. I assume you are talking about his close and late numbers this year (.186 BA). However, despite his struggles this season, a look at a larger sample shows that this year is the exception, not the rule. (For comparison, consider Jeter’s .152 average in close and late situations in 2003) In fact, if you look at close and late stats going back to 2002 (ESPN does not list any stats prior to that year) you will see that in close and late situations, Alex Rodriguez is 98 for 383, which translates to a .256 average. Jeter, during that same span, is 91 for 354, for an average of .257. Clearly, Jeter is not as clutch as some would have you believe.

But Jeter proponents, when presented with numbers such as the above, will always cite to his accomplishments in October. You stated that Jeter is “at his greatest in the post-season.” A look at his statistics shows otherwise. In the post-season, Jeter is batting .307, with an OBP of .379 and a SLG percentage of .463. These are good numbers, but they do not reflect any improvement over his regular season stats. For his career, Jeter hits .314, with an OBP of .386 and a SLG percentage of .461. Clearly, there is no spike in any category to indicate that Jeter raises his play in October. In fact, his batting average and OPS both dip in the post-season. You could even make the case that Derek Jeter is a choker.

Now, if we look at A-Rod’s post-season numbers, we see that he hits .305, with an OBP of .393 and a SLG percentage of .534. The first two numbers are similar to Jeter’s, though slightly higher. The difference comes in slugging percentage where, as is the case in the regular season, A-Rod hits for more power. So with an OPS of .927 to Jeter’s .842, we see that A-Rod is the superior player even in October.

(For what it’s worth, A-Rod’s post-season stats are also similar to his career averages, .307, .385, .577, putting to bed any idea that he shrinks in big spots)

Now, there are those who are really intent on canonizing Jeter and demonizing Rodriguez that argue that A-Rod’s numbers with Seattle “don’t count” because it didn’t happen as a Yankee. While I certainly don’t buy into this thinking, it is helpful to humor the short-sighted bunch who makes this argument. In three postseason series involving both Jeter and A-Rod as Yankees, A-Rod has hit .421 (Min), .258 (Bos) and .133 (Ana). During those same series, Jeter has hit .316 (Min), .200 (Bos), and .333 (Ana). Combined over those three series, A-Rod has hit .277 with 3 home runs and 8 RBI. Jeter has hit .271 with 3 home runs and 14 RBI.

The more you analyze the results, the more obvious it becomes that the idea that Jeter raises his game in big spots while A-Rod folds, is a myth. I hope the above will cause you to reconsider your characterizations of the two players.

CF

OlerudOwned
Aug 08 2006 03:29 PM

Frayed Knot wrote:
Bayliss is typical of the football writer who - because he's been cast as an all-purpose talking-head on TV - is forced (usually reluctantly) into commenting on baseball issues and frequently embarrasses himself when he does.

He embarasses himself when he writes about football, too. The fact that he's employed is a slap in the face to the people who feed the ESPN cash monster.

Elster88
Aug 08 2006 03:31 PM

Great job CF.

Edgy DC
Aug 08 2006 03:42 PM

]You could even make the case that Derek Jeter is a choker.


It would be a weak case. Just maintaining his regular level of performance in October is an accomplisment of sorts, as the competition is stiffer.

It certainly doesn't make him Reggie Jackson, though.

Elster88
Aug 09 2006 04:24 PM

Did you get a response, CF?

metirish
Aug 10 2006 10:13 AM

Wally comes out swinging...

]

Lo Duca is least of problems
August 10, 2006


For the second time in four years, a Mets catcher is in the position of having to defend matters that need no defending, to people who have no right to question them.

In 2002, it was Mike Piazza having to defend himself against a scurrilous New York Post gossip item that insinuated he was gay.

This week, it is Paul Lo Duca, having to defend himself against reports that his marriage to a former Playboy playmate broke up over his infidelity with a 19-year-old woman.

The justification for both of these journalistic endeavors was that such behaviors could constitute a "distraction" to their teammates, as if the airheads who play games for a living were capable of being distracted by anyone's problems other than their own.

And oh yeah, there is that other matter of Lo Duca's rumored "gambling problem," because he owns thoroughbreds and enjoys an occasional day at the racetrack, both of which, it may be necessary to point out, are legal amusements.

I am only going to say this once, so pay attention: Minus any evidence that Lo Duca bets on anything other than the ponies, this, too, is, to borrow the phrase Lo Duca used politely on me the other day in the Mets clubhouse, "none of your business."

Nor is the identity of his girlfriend, her age -- assuming she is of legal consent -- nor the circumstances under which his marriage fell apart.

These are not distractions, they are titillations of the type that give athletes an excuse to distrust the media and the public the excuse to hate us, even as they lap up every drop of gossip they can get.

The truth is, professional athletes are not distracted by the off-the-field exploits of their teammates any more than you or I are distracted by the private lives of our co-workers. They, like us, have jobs to do, and they do them.

If you are a Mets fan and you worry that the twin dramas playing out in the life of their All-Star catcher may turn out to be the things that will spoil this otherwise perfect season, then it is you who are being distracted.

Because the Mets have plenty to worry about besides whom Lo Duca is dating or whether he is still alive in the Pick Six.

They have a commanding lead in the NL East, so everything they do from here on must be judged by how it will play in October. And so far, the answer is not well.

The worries begin with the foolish and impulsive trade of Xavier Nady, a competent professional rightfielder, for a 41-year-old middle reliever and a young pitcher with a bum arm.

That trade flew under the radar in light of the Yankees' acquisition of Bobby Abreu, and seemed justified to some .because of the loss of Duaner Sanchez in a taxi accident.

But the impact of that deal won't be felt until October, when the games become real and the Mets, and their fans, realize Lastings Milledge is a fake.

The fans already know it, judging by their reaction to his outfield and plate misadventures Tuesday night against the Padres. It has become clear to the people in the stands that Milledge can't hit anything that is not a straight fastball and that his route to most fly balls is, to put it kindly, circuitous.

The other day, I asked Omar Minaya if he would feel comfortable with Milledge in the outfield at Fenway during the World Series. He looked at me for a moment and then laughed. "Not if he's in leftfield," he said.

He doesn't do much better in right, either.

Endy Chavez is an improvement but still not an everyday player, nor is Ricky Ledee. So right now the Mets, the class of the National League, are planning to head into the playoffs with an outfield cobbled out of part-time players.

Then there is the pitching. How many more games is Steve Trachsel going to win while allowing more than five earned runs? Not too many in pitching-dominated October baseball.

And how will Willie .Ran.dolph fare when his in-game decisions, which mean little now, mean everything in the playoffs?

What about Aaron Heilman, a once-promising pitcher who now seems shaken by his manager's and GM's apparent lack of faith in him? Early in the season, when John Maine and Brian Bannister went down, we were told Heilman was too valuable in the bullpen to return to the starting rotation. In the ultimate show of disrespect, Jose Lima got a couple of starts before the Mets would even consider Heilman. Now, he rarely gets into a game at all, and when he does, he looks lost.

Compared to those very real problems, the questions about whom Paul Lo Duca is dating or what he is betting on seem rather silly, don't they?




http://www.newsday.com/sports/columnists/ny-spwally0810,0,7709280.column?coll=ny-top-headlines

Elster88
Aug 10 2006 10:34 AM

Good to know Milledge is "a fake". We should let Omar know so they can just cut him and not waste time seeing if he develops.

Edgy DC
Aug 10 2006 10:47 AM

]Endy Chavez is an improvement but still not an everyday player, nor is Ricky Ledee. So right now the Mets, the class of the National League, are planning to head into the playoffs with an outfield cobbled out of part-time players.


been there in 1999 and 2000.

Oh, wait, we didn't have Cliff Floyd then. Or a 50-homer centerfielder.

Elster88
Aug 11 2006 11:16 AM

I do think this is an amusing article, I just put it here because I don't know where else to put it and it's not worth a thread unto itself.

[url]http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=caple/060810&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab5pos1[/url]

MFS62
Aug 11 2006 11:25 AM

I don't believe I could beat Diana Taurasi one-on-one.
The others look pretty reasonable, though.

LOL!
Thanks,
Later

Centerfield
Aug 11 2006 11:30 AM

No word from Bayless.

Boo Skip.

MFS62
Aug 11 2006 12:56 PM

A Reyes article that also includes an Ed Kranepool sighting.
Later

]Mets smart to keep excitement

Mark Hermann, Newsday
August 11, 2006

In the old days, there was a saying that went, "Home run hitters drive Cadillacs." The current addendum to that goes something like this: Triples hitters buy big houses.

Jose Reyes, master of the triple and sparkplug of the Mets, is planning to buy two of them now that he has a four-year $23.25-million contract extension. He wants to buy one in the Dominican Republic for his mom and wants to buy one for himself in New York.

Just don't ask him what school district he prefers or whether he wants a yard big enough to hit a triple in. "I don't want to get too many things in my head," he said, smiling. That's another corollary to that old bromide: Triples hitters smile a lot.

At least they do if they're Reyes, who has a lot going for him. Pedro Martinez has said that if he could start all over again, he would be Reyes. David Wright, who got an even bigger contract than Reyes did last week, calls himself Reyes' biggest fan.

Mike Cameron of the Padres, who rested during his club's 7-3 loss to the Mets at Shea Stadium yesterday, said this of his former teammate: "He's kind of like Rickey Henderson now. He can do it all."

What Reyes did most of all was remind us why the Mets were wise to be in such a rush to keep him. He showed that these Mets are not just good, they are exciting.

There is nothing quite like seeing a guy smack the ball to the gap and keep sprinting until he reaches third. Another old baseball chestnut says that the triple is the most thrilling play in the game. Reyes brings that to life better than anyone. The triple he hit in the second inning yesterday, which drove home two runs and put him in position to score a third, was his major league-leading 14th of the season.

Manager Willie Randolph is one who still likes the triple above just about any other play. "Especially when you've got a guy like Reyes who's really, really fast," Randolph said. "You can hear the crowd, you can see the momentum building as he's running the bases.

"To me, the biggest part of that is very simple. It's running out of the box. You don't see too many triples now in baseball because too many players watch the ball. Jose hits the ball and he's running hard. That's where triples are made."

Cameron, who is among the National League leaders with six triples, listed these four qualities that make Reyes so good at it: "Speed, he hits from the left side, speed. And speed."

Reyes' real strength, though, is in always seeming like he has just hit a triple. The guy is kinetic and upbeat. He didn't gripe when the Mets had him horribly out of position at second base to accommodate Kaz Matsui. He kept rehabbing when he felt like crying because his legs gave out on him. He didn't go crazy when people were getting on him last season because he never took any walks.

So he is not a quintessential leadoff batter - a slap hitter who gets on base any way he can. He is better than that. And he is perfect at what a leadoff man is really supposed to do: get his team revved up and keep it that way.

"He changes the momentum of the game," Wright said, "and he can do it in so many different aspects: Defense, offense, the way he runs, the way he smiles and the energy he plays with. That's infectious."

For goodness sake, Reyes spent a week in spring training working with Wright on handshakes.

"He's excitement. He's the wave of the future," said Ed Kranepool, who stopped on his way to a function to get Reyes' autographs on some baseballs. "He knows who I am. He said, 'You wore No.7, too.' I said, 'I had 18 years here with that number.'"

The Mets were smart to make sure to secure Reyes as No.7 on the scorecard and No.1 in the lineup for four more years. He learned a lot about plate discipline and base-stealing this spring from Henderson, who, sad to say, didn't confer his own peculiar gift of gab to Reyes.

No problem. It's OK for now that the 23-year-old is boring only when he speaks. "He's one of those players who can change a game in so many ways," Cameron said. "They've got a lot of players like that over there."

But someone like Reyes doesn't come in triplicate.

seawolf17
Aug 11 2006 02:21 PM

Credit to Reyes for knowing Eddie K. Who says players don't know their baseball history?

Edgy DC
Aug 11 2006 02:30 PM

Kranepool is making a shrewd move. He deals memorablia now. He also made good money handling other peeps' money. If he still does that, he might want to handle some of Reyes'.

Elster88
Aug 11 2006 02:33 PM

seawolf17 wrote:
Credit to Reyes for knowing Eddie K. Who says players don't know their baseball history?


I was going to say that.

metirish
Aug 12 2006 06:22 PM

Joe Gergen from Newsday gives a great recount of the 86 season

http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/mets/ny-spsunspec0813,0,5073000.story?page=1&coll=ny-sports-mezz

Elster88
Aug 14 2006 01:08 PM

Mushnick's the guy who hates M&MD right? Looks like he doesn't get along a few different radio peeps.

]JOHN Sterling, "The Voice of the New York Yankees," is not merely a self-promoting clown, he's a dishonest self-promoting clown.


[url=http://www.nypost.com/sports/another_sterling_effort_from_john_sports_phil_mushnick.htm]Link[/url]

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 14 2006 01:14 PM

Mushnick can't be the only guy who hates Mike and the Mad Dog.

Elster88
Aug 14 2006 01:37 PM

I'll rephrase. Is he the one with the ongoing feud with M&MD?

HahnSolo
Aug 14 2006 02:50 PM

They've been battling for years, highlighted by Mushnick taking M & MD (particularly Francesa) to task for his comments about Israel in the aftermath of 9/11.

But that's not the only disagreement they've had.

If you ever hear Russo discussing "Mr. Sloppy" he means Mushnick.

Frayed Knot
Aug 14 2006 03:29 PM

Ya gotta remember also that covering the sports media and those on it is Mushnick's beat meaning that he'd likely consider what he's written about M&MD to be just part of his job description rather than something personal. Sterling too as this is hardly the first time he's teed off in that direction.

That said, the fact that both sides here (Mushnick + M&MD) have hefty sized soap-boxes means that there's been more than a few missiles thrown at each other over the years to the point where you can certainly make an argument that it sure sounds like things have become personal.
My favorite part comes when Francesa claims to not read what's written about him ... before practically quoting the most recent article word-for-word. It almost sounds slightly Cosell-ian.

Elster88
Aug 14 2006 03:38 PM

When did Francessa make that claim?

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 14 2006 03:50 PM

Ed Kranepool wrote:


"He knows who I am. He said, 'You wore No.7, too.' I said, 'I had 18 years here with that number.'"


Not really, Ed. You wore No. 21 for two of those years.

Frayed Knot
Aug 14 2006 03:51 PM

]When did Francessa make that claim?


Oh constantly.
Frequently a caller will bring up a Mushnick column; 'hey did youse guys see what Mushnick wrote about you on Friday?' only to get a response from Mike that not only didn't he read it but that he doesn't read those columns at all and doesn't care what's being said about him.
But then on other days he'll pre-emptively bring up what's been written by Mushnick, Raissman or one of the other sports/media scribes concerning his/their show and will fire back while calling their facts wrong and their journalism sloppy.
btw, I don't really have a problem with him keeping up what's being written about them, I just get a kick out of his participation in a war he pretends to be above.

Like I said, Cosell was famous for dong it too.
He liked to claim that he was so secure in his talent and position that those pathetic writers firing their shots at MNF were nothing more than fleas to be ignored. But Gifford would often describe Cosell approaching him in the office some given morning with a clipped column (much tougher to get in those pre-internet days of course) screaming; DID YOU SEE WHAT THIS GUY IN THE DES MOINES REGISTER WROTE ABOUT ME?'

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 14 2006 03:55 PM

Maybe he means, "I don't read Mushnick, except when somebody tells me that he wrote about me, then I get a copy and see what he wrote."

I could say the same. I don't read Mushnick, but if I found out that he wrote a column about me, I'd be sure to read it that day.

metirish
Aug 16 2006 09:13 AM

[url=http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyNjgmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTY5NzU0NTcmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2]Where is the love for Willie?[/url]

Elster88
Aug 16 2006 09:24 AM

]The Met stopped listening to Bobby Valentine by 2001, and never took Howe seriously.


*sigh*

Again?

MFS62
Aug 16 2006 11:05 AM

HahnSolo wrote:
They've been battling for years, highlighted by Mushnick taking M & MD (particularly Francesa) to task for his comments about Israel in the aftermath of 9/11.


Francessa's comments during the post 9/11 days firmly cemented my feelings against him. They would have brought a smile to Mel Gibson's face.

Later

Elster88
Aug 16 2006 11:05 AM

What did he say? I wasn't in the area in 2001.

MFS62
Aug 16 2006 11:14 AM

Elster88 wrote:
What did he say? I wasn't in the area in 2001.


For 2 or 3 days after 9/11, the majority (if not all) of the discussion on the show turned to politics and terrorism. I didn't hear what started it, but Mike turned calls into a loyalty Litmus test. He began asking callers if they were Jewish. If they said they were, he asked them "Which side would you support if America went to war against Israel?"

I never heard if he explanied what motivated him to ask that. Maybe he was responding to the rumors promulgated in Arab media that Israel was involved in the conspiracy to attack the WTC and that all Jewish employees stayed home on 9/11.

Later

metirish
Aug 21 2006 10:50 AM

[url=http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxMDYmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTY5Nzk2NDMmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2]Cone calls Glavine[/url]

Check out what Klap calls LoDuca.

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 21 2006 10:56 AM

]But if Glavine needs the kind of surgery that Cone ultimately required, his season is history. And maybe the Mets' postseason hopes head for the ash-heap, too.

It's hard to imagine the Mets surviving Glavine's absence in October, not with Pedro Martinez having turned into a six-inning pitcher (when he's not on the DL). Losing Glavine wouldn't just decimate the rotation, it would puncture the Mets' psychologically, too.

He's classy, trustworthy, as stand-up as Paul Lo Duca is sleazy. The parallel between Glavine and the Yankees-era Cone is so strong, the repeat of history is almost too surreal to believe.


That's beyond idiotic. The Mets can survive Glavine's October absense. It would be a handicap, but it wouldn't be as bad as losing an everyday player like Wright or Beltran or Reyes. Can the Mets win three games in the NLDS if they have starts from Pedro, Hernandez, Trachsel, and Maine? Of course they can.

And the shot at Lo Duca was completely unnecessary.

MFS62
Aug 21 2006 10:57 AM

metirish wrote:

Check out what Klap calls LoDuca.


Given the topic of that piece - Cone, Galvine and a possibly similar medical situation, the shot at Loduca wasn't necessary.

Later

metirish
Aug 21 2006 11:24 AM

Of course it wasn't necessary,it was a cheap shot and makes me wonder if Klap has some sort of beef with LoDuca, just because Paul is getting divorced and likes the ponies hardly makes him sleazy.

Edgy DC
Aug 21 2006 11:28 AM

This just in, Klapish takes cheap shots.

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 21 2006 11:44 AM

Gambling and divorcing doesn't make him sleazy. The teenaged girlfriends may be a different matter, though. But it's still a cheap shot.

ScarletKnight41
Aug 21 2006 11:56 AM

It was gratuitous - there was nothing about that article's subject matter that required or justified the cheap shot.

metirish
Aug 27 2006 02:45 PM

]

Sunday, August 27, 2006

By BOB KLAPISCH



Willie Randolph was dead-on accurate last week when he nominated the Mets as the National League's premier team. All the evidence supports his theory – stats, personnel, momentum and, perhaps most significantly, the dramatic three-game sweep of the Cardinals, who were supposed to be one of the Mets' only obstacles to the World Series.


If they could crush Tony La Russa without Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez, it's hard to imagine the suddenly resurgent Dodgers having better luck in October. So if the Mets are theoretically headed to the Fall Classic, how would they match up against the Yankees?

Granted, this is a presumptive question, since the Bombers will have a tougher time than the Mets in winning the pennant. Still, there are moments, like in the Yankees' five-game sweep of the Red Sox, when another Subway Series seems inevitable. And unlike the five-game 2000 edition, which was a mismatch between an aging Met team against a Yankee club that was in the latter stages of its late-90s dynasty, Round 2 would be a fiercer battle.

The Yankees have better starting pitching, at least until the Mets prove they're healthy. The Yankees have a more dangerous offense, and they'll have the home-field advantage this year. But the Mets are younger and more athletic; certainly they play better defense. Their bullpen is more dependable, too. But most of all, Randolph's club has a certain charm that is periodically bestowed upon a team that seems destined to win it all.

So who do you like? Here's an early peek at the possible war of the worlds.

STARTING PITCHING: Chien-Ming Wang doesn't have quite the same bite on his two-seam fastball from earlier in the season, but his 3.13 ground ball/fly ball ratio (best in the AL) is still good enough to throttle the Mets. Wang's only demerit is his anemic strikeout percentage (2.96 per nine innings), which is the result of hitters swinging early in the count. That keeps his pitch-count low, but too many balls are put in play – which is always a potential threat with Alex Rodriguez 90 feet away.

For now, Wang is the Yankees' best Game 1 option, although Joe Torre will likely give the ball to the effective but fragile Mike Mussina. Randy Johnson has at least recovered from his early season disaster, but his strikeouts are down precipitously as is his velocity. Asking the Unit to hold the Mets to under four runs in seven innings would be unrealistic.

Journeyman Cory Lidle, incredibly, is the Yankees' real No. 3 starter right now – which would be scary enough against the Mets, except that Pedro is hurt and Glavine remains a long-term question mark. And with El Duque taking his annual late-summer sabbatical for what the club is calling a "tired body," the Mets can only hope he regains his velocity by October.

Of all the Mets' starters, it's rookie John Maine who has the arm strength to neutralize the Yankees; he's the only one who throws hard enough to get swings and misses in the strike zone with his four-seam fastball. Everyone else is relying on deception and change of speeds. That's risky business against one the AL's more potent lineups.

Advantage: Yankees.

RELIEF PITCHING: Mariano Rivera has that nearly untouchable postseason resume, although the AL's average against him has risen by almost 50 points from last year and his strikeouts per nine innings are down by 33 percent (9.19 to 6.05). Nevertheless, it's hard to say which team has the advantage in the ninth inning, even though Billy Wagner has converted on 24 of 26 save opportunities since May 3 and has 77 strikeouts in 601/3 innings.

The real separation between the Mets and Yankees is in the rest of the relief corps. The Met bullpen's 3.19 ERA is second in the NL, no small achievement considering the club lost Duaner Sanchez. Scott Proctor has a better fastball than Aaron Heilman, but with his league-high 65 appearances, is there any doubt he's headed for the same doom as Paul Quantrill and Tanyon Sturtze?

The Yankees believe Octavio Dotel will eventually phase out Proctor, but the Mets' secret weapon could be Guillermo Mota. Just a hunch.

Advantage: Mets.

INFIELD: The most interesting comparisons are found on the left side, where Derek Jeter's bat trumps Jose Reyes'. Defensively, Reyes eclipses Jeter in range and in arm strength. Third base is an even more compelling one-on-one. David Wright's post-home run derby drought (none since July 28, .210 average in August) is odd, although not entirely inexplicable. He just looks and plays like he's burned out (or bored), which is a possibility on a team with a 14½-game lead.

Wright figures to recover next month. But will A-Rod? His league-leading 22 errors are baffling, coming from a former two-time Gold Glove shortstop. Rodriguez looks even worse lately swinging and missing at middle-of-the-plate fastballs. If he comes up short in the playoffs – or even more damning, evaporates against the Mets in a Subway Series – he may have to rethink his vow to retire in pinstripes. It might be time to move on.

At second base, we'll take Robinson Cano over Jose Valentin, and at first base Jason Giambi over Carlos Delgado, although just barely.

Behind the plate, Jorge Posada has a better throwing arm than Paul Lo Duca and hits for more power. But Lo Duca is at least an accomplished gap hitter, batting over .300 with 30 doubles. It's a push between the catchers.

Advantage (defense): Mets.

Advantage (offense): Yankees.

OUTFIELD: The Mets are worse off in the corner positions than they were on opening day; the opposite is true of the Yankees. The Bombers have the better rookie (Melky Cabrera over Lastings Milledge, who was sent down last week) and made the more dramatic trade (Bobby Abreu over Shawn Green).

Green is already a crowd pleaser at Shea, but the Mets could still use some of Xavier Nady's home run potential from the bottom of the order. Green's slugging percentage, which peaked at .598 in 2002, has declined steadily to its current .429.

In left field, the Mets were clearly disappointed by Milledge's lack of production, albeit in a small sample, once Cliff Floyd became a non-factor. Milledge will get a much longer look in 2007, but in the short term he's been outplayed by Cabrera. You have to at least wonder if Omar Minaya miscalculated when he refused to consider dealing Milledge as part of a deal for Barry Zito.

Johnny Damon obviously can't match Carlos Beltran's production in center, but between Cabrera and Abreu – not to mention the expected returns of Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield – the Yankees have more firepower than the Mets could cope with in a short series.

Advantage (offense and defense): Yankees.

MANAGER: Willie Randolph knows every one of Joe Torre's secrets and tactics, the most important of which is keeping his team calm in the face of relentless pressure. Torre isn't perfect; his Bombers melted in the 2001 World Series, and no one will ever forget the 2003 ALCS collapse against Boston. But beating the Sox five straight at Fenway went a long way in proving Torre still has the right touch in the clubhouse.

Randolph is just as cool and composed, certainly as confident. All that's missing is the October experience.

Advantage: Yankees.

Prediction: Yankees in seven.



MFS62
Aug 28 2006 09:16 AM

That is just the first of an avalanche of similar articles we're going to see in the next few weeks.
How silly will they look when the LAAAAA knock the MFYs out of the playoffs?

Later

seawolf17
Aug 28 2006 09:49 AM

="metirish"]
]STARTING PITCHING: Chien-Ming Wang doesn't have quite the same bite on his two-seam fastball from earlier in the season, but his 3.13 ground ball/fly ball ratio (best in the AL) is still good enough to throttle the Mets. Wang's only demerit is his anemic strikeout percentage (2.96 per nine innings), which is the result of hitters swinging early in the count. That keeps his pitch-count low, but too many balls are put in play – which is always a potential threat with Alex Rodriguez 90 feet away.


You can't have it both ways, dipshit. Either his GB/FB ratio helps him, or it doesn't. This guy's a clown.

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 28 2006 09:53 AM

I don't know who this Alex Rodriguez guy is, but he sounds like he's a terrible player. Perhaps even worse than Chris Woodward.

MFS62
Aug 28 2006 09:56 AM

Memo to MFS62: Keep reminding yourself that Yancy doesn't include SC ratings in his posts.
LOL!

Later

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 28 2006 10:43 AM

If you have to point out that you're being sarcastic, then you're not very good at sarcasm.

I'd rather risk being misunderstood than announce my sarcasm. I think adding an SC rating to a post is the equivalent of saying "Wokka wokka" after you tell a joke so that people know that you just delivered a punchline.

MFS62
Aug 28 2006 11:03 AM

So do I.
Does anyone remember who started the SC ratings here and why they were said to be necessary?

BTW- that post was my meager atempt at humor. No sarcasm intended.

Later

Frayed Knot
Aug 28 2006 11:08 AM

The 'SC' rating started in the old-old forum where there were a sizable number of participants who wouldn't know sarcasm if it knocked on their door and smacked them upside the head.

Edgy DC
Aug 28 2006 11:10 AM

Yancy Street Gang wrote:
If you have to point out that you're being sarcastic, then you're not very good at sarcasm.


Or, sometimes, your readership --- or a tragic portion of it --- is quite daft.

Willets Point
Aug 28 2006 12:36 PM

Sarcasm content is good for showing the level of which you are sarcastic and serious.

For example:

"The Yankeess will win the World Series this year because they have winners like Derek Jeter and mystique and aura on their side." SC=67

See, that means 2/3's of me is mocking the Yankees and their fans' arrogance and the other third is morose because the team has shown they are locked and loaded for this year's postseason and there's no team that can beat them except by a fluke.

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 28 2006 01:23 PM

I just think that SC ratings, like smiley faces and other emoticons, are crutches that impede good writing. The words in the sentence should be sufficient to convey the point that the writer is trying to make.

Also, I had no idea that the SC meter was on a scale of 1 to 100. Most of the time I see it with numbers well over 1,000.

Willets Point
Aug 28 2006 01:24 PM

That's because some people include sarcasm in their sarcasm meter.

metirish
Sep 26 2006 12:56 PM

[url=http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxMTQmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTY5OTU5NTUmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2]Valentine sends his love to the Mets[/url]

]

Saturday, September 23, 2006




In the tidal wave of congratulatory e-mails that've flooded Omar Minaya's in-box this week, this one reached out from cyberspace and grabbed the Mets' general manager by his virtual collar.

"I hope I am not the last one to say how happy I am for you and the entire organization. Please extend my congratulations to Fred, Jeff, Willie and all the members of the organization. You deserve it. Keep up the great work -- Bobby V."

The note, short and obviously sweet, was dispatched from Japan, where Bobby Valentine has been living a successful post-Shea existence. He manages the Chiba Lotte Marines, the reigning Japanese League champions, and has long since overcome any homesickness. When asked if he intends to ever return to the major leagues, Valentine laughed and said, "What for?"

Yet, a part of him still bonds with the Mets, the very team that dismissed him in 2002, only two years after winning the National League pennant. You'd think Valentine would be the last one to root for another renaissance in Flushing, but his e-mail, as well as his praise for Minaya and manager Willie Randolph in a telephone conversation this week, proved otherwise.


"I tip my hat to Omar for speaking out and being bold and I tip my hat gladly and graciously to Willie for keeping it together," Valentine said. "It's one thing to put it together and another thing to keep it together. Willie has done a hell of a job keeping that team together. If there were any problems [in the clubhouse], I'm sure I would've heard about it one way or another. And I didn't hear a thing all year."

Valentine's attachment to Minaya started with the Rangers in the '90s; his fondness for Randolph blossomed during their playing days with the Mets and Yankees, respectively, in the late '70s. But Valentine has two other reasons for endorsing the current administration at Shea.

The first is his enjoyment at seeing the Braves -- and specifically, Bobby Cox, his arch rival -- finally humbled. To Valentine, Cox was old and mean and spiteful. To Cox, Valentine was precocious and ego-driven. Even from afar, Valentine considers the Braves' collapse in 2006 a moral victory, or as he put it, "a real feather in [the Mets'] caps.

"It felt like it was never going to happen," he said of the Braves' sub-.500 record. "This was a fitting touch."

Valentine's other rooting interest was to see Minaya succeed where Steve Phillips failed. It was Phillips who fired Valentine after sabotaging him with old players, bad contracts and an appalling lack of support. By 2003, the Mets were the worst team money could buy, spiraling into a dark age that resembled the one from the Jeff Torborg-Al Harazin era in the early '90s. It wasn't long before Phillips was canned, too, never again finding front office work (just like Harazin.).

Valentine, on the other hand, has restored his reputation with unprecedented success in Japan, where he took the Marines to a championship in just his second year as manager. He still loves the idea of a global bragging rights match between the World Series winner and the Japanese champ, although he says his Marines, hobbled by injuries in the second half of the 2006 season, would be no match for the Mets this year.

"That's some lineup," Valentine said. "I'm not able to watch them on an everyday basis; I guess once every 10 days or so I catch a game on TV. But what impresses me is that Omar has relied on his baseball people to make decisions. It's been an organizational commitment and that's usually the way you have success. It doesn't have to be one song that everyone marches to, but you need one voice."

Stitched into that response is praise for the Wilpon family for writing the checks that turned the Mets into an NL superpower. As Valentine noted, the Mets' hierarchy finally has deferred to the baseball brain trust.

Of course, it's natural to wonder how Valentine feels about missing out on the Wilpons' awakening. His career-path might've been different if, say, Phillips was dismissed sooner or if Fred Wilpon decided to take on Alex Rodriguez's contract (and his emotional baggage).

But Valentine has no such regrets. He doesn't even think about managing the Mets or the Yankees or any other major league team again, not as long as he's happy in Japan (which he is) and the Marines want him there (seemingly forever). But Valentine does plan a trip home in October which, ironically, coincides with the middle games of the World Series. He's already crossing his fingers in hopes of watching a Subway Series, where his loyalties to the Mets would be resurrected.

"If I were to look into a crystal ball, I would say there's going to be one little thing that will turn in the Mets' favor," Valentine said. "It just seems like it's their year."

Would he show up at Shea to see the Mets finish what they started in 2000?

Valentine's laugh was loud and crisp through the phone's transcontinental static.

"Hopefully there are two tickets for me somewhere," is what he said.

Edgy DC
Oct 04 2006 03:56 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Oct 04 2006 04:04 PM

Wally Matthews is good and wrong here.

Good and wrong.

I saw the headline and had hope that he had it correctly, but no.

Wallace Matthews: An idea that never gets old: Stockpile pitching

This is what happens when you hire old men to do young men's jobs.

You pitch 132 innings, little more than half a season, and for no discernible reason, things start to break down. Out of nowhere, your hip starts to ache, or one of your fingertips goes numb, or you blow out your rotator cuff.


Or, you're simply doing your routine between-start wind sprints and there's a grab in your calf that you know is not good news.

As of last night, Orlando Hernandez says he will give it a go in this afternoon's NLDS Game 1 against the Dodgers at Shea Stadium. We shall see if that is just an old man's bravado or the kind of October effort El Duque used to summon up with regularity in an earlier time with another New York baseball team.

Either way, the fate of this Mets dream season should never have come down to a game-day decision on the morning of their first playoff game in six years.

But this, too, is what happens when a team muscles up on the hitting and holds its breath on the pitching.

The injury to Hernandez, following closely on the heels of the rotator-cuff injury that ended Pedro Martinez's season and perhaps his Mets career, has the feel of a crushing bill finally coming due.

Now, if El Duque can't go, the season will be left in the right hand of John Maine, with 24 big-league starts to his credit, none in October.

You can curse the fates if you like for what will today be presented as a most sudden and unfortunate turn of events, but, just like the aging process, this did not happen overnight, nor did it happen by accident.

It happened because, in cooking up their $100-million roster, the Mets somehow left out the pitching.

General manager Omar Minaya has been rightfully praised for buying the Mets an American League lineup. Nobody liked to mention that he also bought them a Senior League rotation.

In building this team, the Mets ignored a century of baseball history and 45 years of their own. Shea Stadium is, has, and always will be a pitcher's park, and the groundbreaking for every successful Mets team has started on the mound, not in the batter's box. And layoff baseball is a showcase for the arms, not the bars. You need look no further than yesterday's curtain-raiser, won, 3-2, by the Athletics behind Barry Zito to be reminded of that.

Minaya's Mets were designed to win a ton of regular-season games, and they did. But clearly, they weren't built for October, not with a lineup of starters who are aging and infirm.

All season long, the Mets have played Russian Roulette with their starting pitchers. The fact that they hit as well as they did, that they ran as well as they did and that they manufactured as many runs as they did obscured the fact that the pitching was running on Geritol.

Somehow, we all chose to forget Martinez was rarely healthy once August rolled around, let alone October. Or that in his first two seasons as a Met, Tom Glavine was pitching older than his years, which would be a compliment only if applied to Maine. Trachsel was a No. 4 or 5 starter disguised as a No. 3, and the Mets never did find a satisfactory fourth starter among Maine, Brian Bannister, Aaron Heilman, Jose Lima, Alay Soler and Oliver Perez.

Throughout the season, Minaya and Willie Randolph preferred to talk about the quantity in their rotation rather than the quality, but it soon became apparent that having so many starters really meant the Mets didn't have enough good ones.

Now, it has all come home to roost, and all the little errors in judgment obscured by the haze of a winning summer stand out in sharp relief in the crisp light of fall.

At the trading deadline, Zito, a free agent next season, probably could have been had. Perhaps, too, Dontrelle Willis. We know Greg Maddux was available, because the Cubs moved him to the Dodgers.

But at the time, the Mets were still clinging to the fiction that Lastings Milledge was a blue-chip prospect not to be parted with. Now, throughout the league, the word is out on Milledge, and the Mets will be lucky to get a pine-tar rag for him.

Besides, the Mets were going to hit their way out of any trouble their pitching staff got them into, weren't they?

Now, they may have no other choice. They head into October unarmed.

Willets Point
Oct 04 2006 03:59 PM

]We know Greg Maddux was available, because the Cubs moved him to the Dodgers.


Doesn't this contradict his criticism of having old guys on the pitching staff? Or is it irrelevant to him since Maddux is currently not injured?

Edgy DC
Oct 04 2006 04:05 PM

Yup. Very wrong.

metsmarathon
Oct 04 2006 04:19 PM

never let a fact get in the way of a good article, i guess.
]We know Greg Maddux was available, because the Cubs moved him to the Dodgers.

addressed already. he's old. doesn't that make him NOT the kind of pitcher the mets hsould have gotten?
]At the trading deadline, Zito, a free agent next season, probably could have been had.

since he didnt move, tho, doesn't that mean that he probably wasn't available? and it ignores the fact that the A's were a contending team, and so why would they have traded him, their best pitcher, midseason?
]Perhaps, too, Dontrelle Willis.

um, yeah. same thing

and what, no mention of jamie moyer or cory lidle?

]Throughout the season, Minaya and Willie Randolph preferred to talk about the quantity in their rotation rather than the quality, but it soon became apparent that having so many starters really meant the Mets didn't have enough good ones.

i guess that's what happens when you stockpile pitchers, right? wait.. what was the point of this article again?

aren't good starters usually older starters, too, and by definition more prone to injury?

and aren't young starters more prone to inconsistency? i'm confused as to what we're reading about here...

i think wally's complaint is that we haven't had enough good starters for the season. i wish he'd just come out and say it.

of course, in games 1 and 2, the met starters have lower ERA's than the dodger starters.

it doesnt make me very confident, but it helps.

Elster88
Oct 04 2006 07:47 PM

Yancy Street Gang wrote:
The words in the sentence should be sufficient to convey the point that the writer is trying to make.


This statement is not even close to being true. It is very difficult to convey sarcasm with words on the screen.

Yancy Street Gang
Oct 04 2006 08:14 PM

I stand by my statement. People have been writing for years without using smiley faces and sarcasm meters.

A good writer can and should get his or her point across without using those "tools."

metirish
Oct 05 2006 09:22 AM

Wally's back....

]


Manage to win despite Randolph
October 5, 2006


Going into their first playoff game in six years, the Mets had plenty to worry about.

They had a rotation as thin as Chris Woodward's hair, an emergency starter on the mound and two eager but callow kids, Jose Reyes and David Wright, who knew everything about playing in-season games and nothing about playing in October, anchoring their lineup. They had the world's oldest playoff virgin in Carlos Delgado and a closer who had yet to close out a playoff game in five previous appearances.

But it turned out the one Met they really had to worry about was the one with the seven championship rings and the blasé attitude of a man who had been everywhere before. The one Met who was supposed to steady the troops proved to be the shakiest of them all.

It took Willie Randolph 12 years to manage his first playoff game, and a little over two hours to nearly manage his team out of it.

In his first postseason game as a manager after 47 as a player, Randolph seemed as geeked up as any of his players. Vying for Micromanager of the Year, an award thought to have been retired around here with the departure of Bobby Valentine, Randolph yanked one pitcher too soon and stayed with another too long. He played it safe when he should have gambled, and gambled when he should have played it safe. Working with a shortage of quality starters for the playoff run, Randolph found a way to use half his staff in Game 1. Somehow, he managed to get outmanaged by Grady Little.

In spite of it all, the Mets held on to beat the Dodgers, 6-5, thanks to Reyes, Wright, Delgado and Dodgers third- base coach Rich Donnelly, who fortunately was only directing baserunners at Shea and not jetliners at LaGuardia.

"I've always managed by my instinct and by my gut," Randolph said. "I never second-guess myself. I do what I think is right for the team."

Before the game, Randolph had said he wanted five or six quality innings out of John Maine, the late substitute for Orlando Hernandez, who tore a calf muscle running in the outfield on Tuesday. And he would have gotten the innings, if not quite the quality, if he hadn't chosen to pull Maine after just 4 1/3 innings despite the Mets holding a 2-1 lead.

At the time, the Dodgers had runners on first and second and one out, and Kenny Lofton, who had looked sick striking out in his first two at-bats, coming up. Randolph instead went to Pedro Feliciano, who also struck out Lofton, then yanked Feliciano for Chad Bradford, who got Nomar Garicaparra, also hitless against Maine, to ground out.

"I wasn't surprised," Maine said. "I figured they had a quick trigger, a short leash on me."

He also said it was the right decision. But he had thrown just 80 pitches and instead of getting the Mets through the fifth and conceivably the sixth without dipping into the pen, Randolph had now used three pitchers to get through five innings.

Perhaps in compensation, Randolph next asked Guillermo Mota to do something he had done only once as a Met, and not at all since Aug. 26 - pitch more than one inning. Mota looked sharp in the sixth, and Randolph, feeling good about the three-run lead the Mets had opened in the bottom of the inning on Wright's two-run double, sent Mota up to hit for himself with the bases loaded and two outs. It was a perfect opportunity to bust the game open - the Mets had righthanded hitters Woodward, Julio Franco and Ramon Castro on the bench to face lefty reliever Mark Hendrickson - but Randolph chose to settle, and Mota flied out to end the inning.

"I always like to get the runs," Randolph said. "But in that situation, I just felt like we had our best pitcher out there at the time and I felt like we could hold the lead. Didn't work out that way."

Not only did Mota not extend the lead, he gave it back in the seventh on Garciaparra's two-run double. But Reyes, Delgado and Wright bailed out Mota, and the manager, in the bottom of the inning. Wagner did his customary cardiac arrest job in the ninth to escape with the save.

Of course, the biggest play of the game was one the Mets had little to do with, the bizarre single-off-the-wall-into-a-double-play in the second inning when first Jeff Kent, then J.D. Drew were tagged out at home on the same Jose Valentin peg to Lo Duca.

That, of course, Randolph had seen before, having borne witness to Carlton Fisk slapping a tag first on Bobby Meacham, then Dale Berra in a similar play at Yankee Stadium in 1985.

"I remember how funny that play was when I first saw it," Randolph said. "This one was even more humorous to me."

Against all odds, the Mets pulled out a key victory yesterday. With floodwaters rising around them, they steadied their ship. Now, all they have to do is steady the skipper.

Yancy Street Gang
Oct 05 2006 09:26 AM

Meanwhile, Irish, I share your disdain for Lupica. (I don't share your sexual attraction for him, though. That really should have been in the Confessions thread.)

Anyway, here's another instance where he recycles the same old paragraph for the 900th time:

]Now there is Delgado, who waited a whole baseball life to get some swings in the postseason. When he finally got some, he made the most of them. The Dodgers couldn't hold him and Game 1 couldn't hold him and neither could Shea.

Edgy DC
Oct 05 2006 09:40 AM

Does Chris Woodward have thin hair? He's shaved it close as long as I remember.

Edgy DC
Oct 05 2006 09:52 AM

Oh, and the Mets did have plenty to do with that double putout, even if it was a Dodger kerfuffle, and Mota did not give back that lead. The Mets lost it as a team.

Johnny Dickshot
Oct 05 2006 09:52 AM

That Matthews column is worse than a steaming pile of shit. It's a bucket of liquid feces.

Edgy DC
Oct 05 2006 09:56 AM

I like how he rakes the Mets over the coals for pulling Maine the day after he rakes them over the coals for not having anyone better to start than Maine.

MFS62
Oct 05 2006 11:28 AM

From Tom Verducci at SI.com;

]Postseason chatter

It's hard to take the Twins seriously as a big-time postseason team when Rondell White, who can't throw a lick, is your left fielder and Jason Tyner, who is tied with me for lifetime career home runs, is your DH. As brain cramps go, Torii Hunter and Jeff Kent earned their places in playoff infamy on the same day. Hunter's game-blowing dive for Mark Kotsay's line drive was incredibly ill-advised for any player, but especially one of his experience -- and that's even accounting for the ball tailing on him. Kent's failure to score from second base on a ball off the wall that right fielder Shawn Green had zero chance of ever catching was a profoundly awful read made worse by J.D. Drew's Little League baserunning behind him. Somewhere Lonnie Smith was smiling.... The Mets won Game 1 with what's been their style all season and what worked for the 2002 Angels: decent enough starting pitching not to let the game get away, then turning it into a bullpen game while a relentless offense keeps hammering away.



Later

MFS62
Oct 05 2006 12:11 PM

And Mr. Wagner tries his hand at writing. He apparently took Cliche 101 in school.

]BULLPEN ANSWERS DOUBTERS

-- Billy Wagner, the Mets' fire-balling lefty closer, offers his exclusive insights to Post readers throughout the Amazin's post-season run.

Yesterday's game had all the drama of a well-crafted play. John Maine, as I predicted, rose to the challenge. My former teammate and friend, Jeff Kent, was thrown out at home, a huge momentum builder for us. Then Carlos Delgado and Cliff Floyd homered for us in dramatic fashion to tie the game and give us the 2-1 lead, much deserving since they are such good teammates and joys to be around in the clubhouse.

After much talk-radio mocking and questioning of our pitching - one show host calling us "in crumbles" - we answered back with a great bullpen performance and more heroics from Delgado, who had a day that will live fondly in Mets history.

I came on in the ninth, tempering the nerves. Wilson Betemit hit a pitch that kind of got away. I thought it was a pop-up and he ended up with a double. I was able to collect myself, and make some big pitches. I told David Wright at third base after the throw from Carlos Beltran almost got the runner, "How in the world did he hit that ball?"

It's just like my papa said, "Calm yourself down. Don't worry about runners, just worry about getting the three outs and winning the game."

The lesson paid off. Game 1, the must win, is ours!

That was the end result, but it was a roller-coaster ride to get there. The day started off in typical electric New York fashion.

I drove to the park early, amid the sad news of Orlando Hernandez's injury. I knew, however, that Maine was up to the challenge even before I reached the player's parking lot.

My son Will's class even presented him with a poster when he left school to give to me: "Good Luck Mr. Wagner." Talk about pressure. I knew his class would be watching and I didn't want to let them down.

The ride to Shea was filled with nerves and anticipation, but the moment I stepped out of my car the atmosphere rang out that Shea Stadium was "the" place. The energy was positive.

Our fans hadn't listened to the critics who had counted us out for dead. What everyone forgot about was we were, and are, a clubhouse of 25 guys, one cab! We have heart and we intended to show the fans that we were wearing our true-blue Mets hearts on our sleeves.

Everyone who was anyone was on hand to be seen and heard at the ballpark. I felt like a kid in a candy store. As luck would have it, one of my favorite television characters was in attendance, only as an accomplished adult. Nestled inside that crowded field was a personal favorite of mine - Ron Howard. Opie had come to New York.

It took me back to my Mayberry days of signing the contract with Houston in Tannersville, where we had to have the receptionist at the hotel ring us up because there wasn't a direct phone line in the place. The Astros thought I'd sign at the first chance once they looked at Tannersville. But my uncle and Coach Naff were shrewd folk, and we countered. They accepted our counteroffer and the rest is history.

Comforted in the pre-game drama, I thought back to my home roots, that there are no such things as pity parties. I grew up at the foothills of the mountains and whenever I felt pity coming on, my papa gave me a shovel and had me dig at the edge of that mountain.

The lesson was learned. Work with what you've got and do your best! If you're good enough, you'll persevere in life.

It's the same in baseball. I told the younger guys that we win as a team and that we can do it. They didn't need to be pumped up, but I knew that my grandfather's advice rang true today as much as it did when I was a kid.


Later

Gwreck
Oct 05 2006 12:24 PM

FWIW, that column has the byline "As told to Burton Rocks" in the post.

I believe I read somewhere that Rocks is the ghostwriter for the book Billy's working on.

Edgy DC
Oct 05 2006 12:27 PM

Opie is one of his favorite television characters?

That's no cliché.

Johnny Dickshot
Oct 05 2006 12:31 PM

Wags column is hilarious. I actually parted with 25 U.S. cents for a copy of the Post this morning because the cover featured a closeup of LoDuca post-tag and the 10 billion point headline AMAZIN'

Looked great.

metirish
Oct 05 2006 12:59 PM

Bill Simmons can be funny.

]

Note: For the first time in five years, I get to kick back and watch the baseball playoffs. In October 2002, I was switching jobs and moving from Boston to L.A. In October 2003, I was working 14 hours a day for Kimmel's show. In October 2004, the Red Sox overpowered everything else. In October 2005, I was traveling around the country on two book tours.



This year? I'm home. The Red Sox are out. And I get to immerse myself in playoff baseball for four straight weeks. After posting three on Tuesday, here's the final Game 1 diary: Los Angeles at New York.



1:00 p.m. (PST) -- Game 2 of the Twins series runs long enough that Mets-Dodgers gets bumped to ESPN2. Get ready for a disclaimer that starts "We apologize for everyone hoping to see the quarterfinals of the Massengill Women's Nine-Ball Open ... "



1:04 -- Remember when I questioned the ad people working for Holiday Inn? Well, they just ran an ad featuring Joe Buck. In your lifetime, will anyone ever say to his family while pulling off a highway exit: "Apparently Joe Buck likes Holiday Inn ... let's just stay there?" I say no.



1:04 -- Today's announcers: Gary Thorne, Steve Phillips and Joe Morgan, who will leave after the game with a police escort so he can announce Game 2 of tonight's Yankee series. If you ask me, that's a lot of Joe Morgan. I mean, a LOT of Joe Morgan. But you didn't ask me.



1:08 -- On the downside, the Mets' pitching rotation (and postseason chances) have been decimated by injuries. On the upside, that led to today's pitching matchup being Lowe-Maine. Get it? Lowe-Maine. Nearly 200 people e-mailed me this joke today. Don't blame me.



1:10 -- Every time I hear Gary Thorne do a game, I think of him jumping the gun when the Rangers beat the Devils in '94 and making it seem like their curse was over when, in fact, they still had to play the Canucks. And every Rangers fan hated him for the next two weeks until they won the Cup. Then they forgave him. I can't help it.



1:13 -- With two outs, Nomar lifts a foul ball toward the 1B stands and some dopey Mets fan pulls a Bartman on Carlos Delgado. How could that ever happen again after what happened with Bartman? I'm continually amazed. Fortunately, Nomar grounds out to end the top of the first. And yes, there are six ex-Red Sox involved in this game -- Cliff Floyd, D-Lowe, Nomar, Chad Bradford, Grady Little and Pedro (in spirit) -- under MLB's controversial new "at least six people with Boston connections must be involved in every 2006 playoff game" rule.



1:15 -- After the A's beat the Twins, Gary Thorne moves the audience to ESPN by telling us, "For those of you on ESPN2, we're gonna take you to poker ... " Wait, they're showing poker on TV now? When did this happen?



1:18 -- Derek Lowe (sporting a hideous beard) gives up a walk to Beltran and a single to Carlos Delgado. I can't say enough about that beard -- it's right out of the George Lucas Collection. We're going to remember the 2006 Playoffs for the bad facial hair over everything else.



1:22 -- Lowe gets a Wright grounder to end the threat. Hey, if you were a Dodgers fan, would you rather have starting this game, Derek Lowe ... or Matt Clement? Yeah, I thought so.



1:26 -- First shot of a depressed El Duque in the dugout self-consciously feeling his injured calf. In his defense, he's 54 years-old. Old people get hurt. If the Mets lose this month, it will be because they didn't move Lastings Milledge for Barry Zito. As any smart owner in a fantasy keeper league knows, you always, always ALWAYS sell high with your prospects ... hell, even if Zito left after the season, they would have gotten two No. 1 picks for him. That was just dumb. Sure, it wasn't as dumb as 10-12 dumb moves Boston made over the past 24 months, but still, it was dumb.



1:31 -- Now this was incredible: First and second, no outs, Russ Martin slams a potential double off the wall, Jeff Kent (is he wearing gravity boots?) takes so long to chug around third that the Mets gun him down ... only JD Drew is coming right behind him, and HE GETS THROWN OUT, TOO! Who tagged those guys out, Tom Berenger? Unbelievable. All that play was missing was some Benny Hill music.



1:37 -- Wilson Betemit pushes a double down the line (1-0, Dodgers), followed by Maine striking out Lowe to get out of the inning. I still can't get over that last play. All bets are off when Grady Little's involved. Remember the scene in "The Naked Gun" when the cougar ran onto the field and mauled the second baseman? Even that's possible. I'm not ruling any scenario out.



1:42 -- Interesting e-mail from Jackie in New York: "Did you happen to catch the shot of El Duque in the dugout? It was one of the rare times when I hate having HD. Hernandez's nails were freakishly long. The image was both absurd and intriguing. There's no way he clips those things between starts. Unless he's trying out some costume ideas for Halloween?"



(See, female readers can bring something to the table! Now I'm dying for another El Duque closeup.)





"Aftah the game we'll hop on ah bikes and cruise the Daniel Webstah Highway!"
1:44 -- I'm out of sarcastic things to say about these never-ending Manning commercials. I'm tapped. But here's something good: My old college buddy Kurt Sanger points out that Vito Spatafore probably attended last night's Yankee game because he thought his old chef boyfriend in New Hampshire was now the Tigers closer. Seriously, look at Todd Jones' baseball card. That's the guy, right?



1:50 -- Kenny Lofton strikes out on three pitches and looks overmatched. Morgan credits Maine's "live fastball." Yeah, that was it. See, this is why I should never be allowed near a broadcast booth, I would have made a joke like, "Lofton hasn't looked this overwhelmed since Satchel Paige struck him out six times in a row in 1932."



1:54 -- Paul LoDuca's at-bat music: "Boogie Shoes" by KC and the Sunshine Band. Let's hope this is a veiled "Boogie Nights" homage.



1:57 -- The Mets go out meekly in the third. Jose Reyes is 0-for-2. Which reminds me, one of the most interesting, under-the-radar baseball developments was Reyes quietly seizing the reins from David Wright as "The Cool Young Met That Every Mets Fan Is Wildly Excited About." Vaguely reminiscent of Gooden blowing Straw out of the water in '85 -- nobody saw it coming, and then BOOM!



2:00 -- Mets fans are dreading every Maine closeup. It's one thing to talk yourself into the whole "so what if he's a rookie, he's got ice water in his veins" mind-set, but when they keep showing these HD closeups of him, and he looks like a scared 10th grader who just got dropped off at boarding school by his parents ... well, it's a little disarming.



2:01 -- Now here's a guy who just doesn't give a crap: JD Drew. He carries himself with the intensity of a grocery bagger. It's amazing. He couldn't care less. Or, he could care less. Whatever's grammatically correct.



2:03 -- All right, where is ESPN finding these random sideline reporters for the playoffs? Who's David Amber? Did they launch another season of "Dream Job" this week and not tell us? Instead of using police escorts to make sure Joe Morgan can do two games in one day, shouldn't they be using their resources for Erin Andrews? She couldn't have rode in the car with him? I'm outraged right now.



2:04 -- Actual quote from Joe Morgan: "I always thought Grady Little did a great job, even with Boston, with the exception of the Pedro incident." That's like saying, "I always thought Britney Spears had pretty good taste in men, with the exception of K-Fed."



2:08 -- Time for an in-game interview with Willie Randolph! He had to hold the record for "oldest guy who still gets carded in a bar." He's looked like he was 13 since 1976.



2:09 -- The real-life Pedro Cerrano (Carlos Delgado) homers to dead-center in the fourth. We're tied at one! In your shoe, Joe Boo! By the way, reason No. 2,498 why it's more fun to be a sports fan in the year 2006: Super Slow-Mo.



2:13 -- Home run for former Red Sox player Cliff Floyd. And ... and ... and ... and ... THERE IT IS! It's the Derek Lowe Face! Good times! It's like seeing an old roommate from college or something. Forgot how much I missed the Derek Lowe Face. And yes, I'd still take him over Matt Clement every day and twice on Sunday. 2-1, Mets.



2:16 -- Screw it, let's recycle a joke from yesterday: ESPN should cut to commercial before every two-out Shawn Green at-bat. We could shave some time off the game.



2:19 -- Morgan: "The most important inning in a game is the inning after you take the lead." You know what? I'm still going with the ninth inning is the most important inning of the game. Thanks, though.



2:26 -- Two guys on, one out in the fifth ... and Willie pulls Maine so Pedro Feliciano can pitch to Cool Papa Lofton. That's followed by the obligatory post-commercial shot of Maine being consoled in the dugout with one of those, " ... but Dad said I could pitch at least five innings!" pouts on his face, then Feliciano easily striking out Lofton. Enjoyable sequence. Well-played by Willie. He's my favorite manager of the playoffs so far. Plus, I'm almost positive that he played Dudley on "Different Strokes."



2:29 -- Chad Bradford gets a Nomar grounder to end the fifth. This ex-Red Sox thing isn't even funny anymore. Meanwhile, Joe Morgan says goodbye to Thorne and Phillips -- he's headed to Yankee Stadium for tonight's game. I wait for Joe to point out, "If you have a police escort, that means you get to Yankee Stadium faster" or "the big difference between Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium is that the Yankees play in Yankee Stadium." Doesn't happen.



2:33 -- Either Grady Little didn't want to be interviewed, or ESPN decided against interviewing him because he sounds too much like Forrest Gump. Whatever the reason, they're using pitching coach Rick Honeycutt for their in-game interview right now. Probably a good move.



2:36 -- Time for the obligatory "Greg Maddux's experience and savvy has really helped this team on and off the field," as mandated by MLB's contract with ESPN.



2:37 -- Buck Showalter ... out with the Rangers! Why even play the 2007 season now? I'm already excited for Vicente Padilla sulking his way through the champagne celebration next October. Meanwhile, Lowe gets the Mets 1-2-3 to end the fifth.



2:40 -- Nice job by ESPN running the famous 1985 play when Carlton Fisk tagged out two Yankees (Bobby Meacham and Dale Berra) on the same play. Although that play wasn't nearly as impressive as today's play because Berra was probably coked out of his mind at the time.



2:44 -- Thorne and Phillips gush about Paul LoDuca's various positive effects on the Mets. Paul DePodesta rises from his sofa to make a mixed drink.



2:45 -- Guillermo Mota throws a 1-2-3 sixth inning. Put it this way: If you're a failed AL pitcher, and your agent doesn't tell you, "Don't give up, I'm gonna find you a NL team," you need to fire that guy, pronto.



2:52 -- Sixth inning, two on, one out for the Mets, Lowe at 86 pitches, Penny and Hendrickson warming up for the Dodgers, Wright at the plate, and Phillips just called Lowe the "most significant groundball pitcher in the game today" as Brandon Webb whipped a remote at his TV. Just a lot going on right now.



2:54 -- A two-run double for Wright, followed by his signature right-hand punch and another glimpse of the Derek Lowe Face. Mets lead, 4-1. You could feel that one coming. Hey, did I mention Ron Howard, John McEnroe and Ray Romano are in the stands?



2:57 -- Lowe gives way to a former Tampa pitcher with a 6-15 record (Mark Hendrickson) ... and of course, the guy promptly strikes out Shawn Green. Classic. Green should just put on a Rudi Stein wig and be done with it. Somehow, Hendrickson gets out of the inning.



Diary Corrections/Updates
Corrections/updates from Tuesday's diaries:


1. Orel Hershiser isn't from Utah. Neither is Danny Ainge. Although it feels like they should be.



2. Apparently the guy who plays Vito Spatafore attends both Yankees and Mets games. He's a sports bigamist.



3. FYI: I intentionally wrote "Brandon" Arroyo. Remember? McCarver kept calling him this in the 2004 playoffs?



4. Mike Piazza doesn't have a fu manchu, he has a van dyke.



5. According to multiple readers with Taiwanese roots, Chien-Ming Wang really IS the pride of Taiwan.



6. Remember McCarver's comment about Nate Robertson retaliating for Jeter for timing his warmup pitches last night? Robertson was teammates with Ben Christensen at Witchita State -- the guy who famously beaned a batter for doing just that. No wonder he didn't do anything.




3:05 -- Tim Robbins makes a cameo in the booth. He's a Mets fan. Does this mean that Andy Dufresne was a Mets fan then? I want to throw up.



3:09 -- Jose Valentin (an awful second baseman) botches Anderson's bunt single (tough play, but still), then throws away Betemit's potential force at second when he could have just gotten the out at first. You knew he'd rear his ugly head in this series. By the way, instead of Tim Robbins making a cameo, they should have just thrown some chicken blood on the field.



3:12 -- Late-season fantasy murderer Julio Lugo strikes out looking. Of course, he did. Meanwhile, Sam from L.A. writes, "two of my favorite things growing up: the Mets and Pearl Jam. Please don't let Tim Robbins ruin both in the same year."



3:14 -- Furcal strokes an RBI-single to center. 4-2, Dodgers. No big surprise: He has been their best player for about two months. That's followed by a Lofton flyout, Nomar coming to the plate with two outs and Gary Thorne asking Robbins questions about his new movie as every Mets fan freaks out. Um, it's the seventh inning, Gary! It's the playoffs! I'm not even a Mets fan, and I'm violated by this.



3:18 -- Nomar rips a 1-2 pitch down the line for a double and two RBI. No-mahhhhhhh! How was Wright not playing the line on that one? More importantly, what chain of events needs to happen for Robbins to gracefully exit the ESPN booth for the sake of the Mets? "You know what I'm thinking?" Robbins says. "It's all my fault." No, that's what everyone's thinking, Tim. I guarantee there won't be a single Mets fan heading to the theater for "Catch a Fire" on Oct. 27. Thankfully, Kent whiffs to end the seventh.



3:20 -- Lyndon from New York writes, "It's only Game One of the AAAA-DS and Nomar already has more big hits in the playoffs with the Dodgers than he ever had with the Red Sox." Knew that was coming. By the way, is there an overload of fertility ads and hair loss ads during these games, or is it just me? Are they trying to tell us something?



3:34 -- Tough inning for Brad Penny, who's inexplicably pitching right now even though he started the All-Star Game three months ago: Walk to Reyes, out, walk to Beltran, RBI single for Cerrano, RBI double for Wright. 6-4, Mets. Shea is rocking. Grady Little is involved and doing inexplicable things. I'm getting flashbacks. This isn't good. I feel sick.



3:37 -- Shawn Green ends another inning. I think he worked harder on Yom Kippur.



3:41 -- JD Drew kicks off the eighth with a lazy flyball out off Aaron Heilman. We might need to get him a venti soy latte or something. Meanwhile, Karl Ravech breaks into the broadcast to tell us that Joe Morgan has, indeed, arrived at Yankee Stadium. Dammit!



(Um ... I mean ... what a relief!)



2:47 -- Easy eighth inning for Aaron Heilman. He's good. Hold on, Ruby Tuesday is about to change our perception of what a burger should be. (Waiting.) Nope. Didn't happen.



2:51 -- Grady brings in the guy who SHOULD have pitched the previous inning: Flamethrower Jonathan Broxton, who struck out 39 guys in 29.1 innings in August/September and had a 1.55 ERA. I'm beginning to think Grady might be a bad playoff manager.



3:00 -- Wow, this hurts. I'm a few minutes behind the game on my TiVo right now, but the TiVo was manually set to record NESN for Red Sox games even though the season ended two days ago ... that's right, I'm suddenly watching bass fishing with Charlie Moore and special guest Ed Marinaro. What a disaster. Hold on.



(Fast-forwarding ... )



(Fast-forwarding ... )



3:04 -- Still 6-4, bottom of the ninth, Billy Wagner pitching, and he yields a leadoff double to Betemit. Shea just got superduperquiet. They don't trust Wagner. At all. You can tell. I'm reeling from my TiVo screwup. I'm supposed to be a professional. Seriously, they pay me and everything. Bad job by me.



3:10 -- Two outs, guy on third, Nomar on deck, Ramon Martinez pinch-hitting ... and he doubles into the right-center gap. 6-5, Mets. What a game! Quadruple-A, everybody! Who knew?



3:14 -- Nomar chases a fastball in the dirt for strike three. Ballgame. Can't decide how to react to that one -- I feel strangely indifferent. Anyway, Andy Dufresne is off the hook. Grady Little is not. Our final score: Mets 6, Dodgers 5.



(And yes, that was the same score of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. I need to have a drink.)

MFS62
Oct 08 2006 08:41 PM

Sorry, Mike.
Some of us still do:
http://www.nypost.com/seven/10082006/sports/hold_on_to_your_hate_sports_mike_vaccaro.htm

and more....

Later

metsmarathon
Oct 08 2006 08:45 PM

would now be a good time to mention that new york has its own share of poached teams? [cough]yankees[cough]

SteveJRogers
Oct 08 2006 08:46 PM

I actually hate the Dodgers more passionatly than I hate the Yankees.

And with the Yankees, its more the fan base, though the Dodger fan base (arrive late and leave early) is part of my hatred for the Dodgers

SteveJRogers
Oct 08 2006 08:50 PM

Of course by the same token, if many of the heartbroken Dodger fans had actually gone to the games, and had the City not called O'Malley's bluff, we'd be talking about the Brooklyn Dodgers starting Game 1 of the NLCS in O'Malley Stadium over there in Flushing, Queens on Wednesday, and hearing a lament on why they still have the old borough name on the team the way its still New York Jets and Giants!

SteveJRogers
Oct 08 2006 08:53 PM

metsmarathon wrote:
would now be a good time to mention that new york has its own share of poached teams? [cough]yankees[cough]


Yeah but I'd hardly put the 1901-1902 Baltimore Orioles on the same level as the Dodgers, Giants, A's, or even the the Colts-Ravens-Browns fiascos

I'll give you that it was a poor imitation of the old NL O's and a damn shame Baltimore didn't get another franchise untill poaching the Browns from St Louis

MFS62
Oct 10 2006 12:27 PM

]The team, the time

By Josh Peter, Yahoo! Sports
October 7, 2006





LOS ANGELES – Ladies and gentlemen, introducing your 2006 world champions, the New York Mets.

Fit them for the rings. Order the confetti. Schedule the ticker-tape parade.

What about the National League Championship Series and the World Series, you ask? Mere formalities.

On Saturday night, the Mets not only completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series but also showed why they’re on their way to winning their first world championship since 1986.

So much for that Subway Series. The New York Yankees collapsed. And the Minnesota Twins crumpled. And now the Mets can motor on.

Fans of the Oakland A’s, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres, go ahead and fire away with the vicious emails. I’m just trying to save you the pain and anguish that will come with thinking your teams have a chance to derail the Mets.

Their lineup might not be a Murderer’s Row, but it’s capable of manslaughter. Carlos Delgado, Paul Lo Duca, David Wright and Carlos Beltran – watch them pound out hits and soon enough you’ll forget about the team’s suspect starting pitching.

The Mets were everybody’s darling when they were running away with the National League East. But just before the playoffs, when Pedro Martinez and Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez went down with injuries, and the panic began. Forget about the World Series, naysayers said, the Mets are going to have trouble getting past the streaking Dodgers.

But more than exposing anything about the Mets, the loss of Martinez and El Duque revealed something. This team has heart, and it was on display again Saturday night.

Oh, sure. New York’s 9-5 victory over the Dodgers was no Picasso. At times it looked downright ugly. Chris Berman in drag ugly. But world champs win ugly. They win pretty. They win in every way imaginable. What they do is win, and in a three-game sweep the Mets showed why they’re not about to stop.

Game 1. Delgado, the team’s star first baseman, makes his postseason debut. It’s the kind of pressure that has rattled even the most skilled players, including Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds. But Delgado pounds out four hits, including a home run, and leads the Mets to a 6-5 victory. Oh, and that's with rookie pitcher John Maine starting on the mound.

Game 2. With Martinez and El Duque on the shelf, the Mets still need an ace. They look no further than Tom Glavine, who pitches six innings of shutout ball in a 4-1 victory.

But it was Game 3 that told us all we need to know about the Mets.

They were facing Greg Maddux, the future Hall of Farmer who in six starts this season at Dodger Stadium had a 1.76 ERA. He entered the game with a lifetime record of 35-18 against the Mets. And contemplating retirement at age 40, Maddux looked like a man determined to burnish his Cooperstown credentials with a playoff gem.

"Greg's the kind of guy you’ve got to get to early," said catcher Lo Duca. And that's exactly what New York did.

The Mets ambushed Maddux for three runs in the top of the first, stringing together five consecutive hits and showing the discipline needed to beat the four-time Cy Young Award winner.

Noted for his efficiency, Maddux needed 23 pitches and two sterling defensive plays to get out of the inning. He made it only four innings – his second shortest outing of the year – before being lifted for a pinch hitter with the Dodgers down 4-0.

Then came the big Dodgers rally.

With Tommy Lasorda pumping his fists. With a sellout crowd of 56,293 stomping its feet. With James Loney delivering a two-run single in the fourth, with Jeff Kent belting a two-run homer in the fifth, with the Dodgers taking a 5-4 lead in that same inning on a bases-loaded walk.

"When we got ahead of them, it looked like we had a chance." Lasorda said.

Fat chance.

It would’ve been easy for a visiting team to succumb to the momentum, get sucked up in the vortex of a sellout crowd, ease up and regroup for Game 4 Sunday and, if necessary, close out the series with Game 5 in New York.

Not these Mets.

"Put them away," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "No mercy. You know all the clichés. But we really believe it."

We do, too. The Mets scored three runs in the sixth and began to pound the Dodgers' bullpen into submission and its sellout crowd into silence. After the Dodgers had crept out of their coffin, the Mets bullpen shoved them back in and nailed it shut.

"I think it’s just a microcosm of our year," Wright, the Mets' third baseman, said of the victory. "We fell behind in the middle of the game, and to be able to claw back and to be able to fight the way that we did, it just shows the heart and the character of this team. We’ve been doing it all year. It doesn’t matter how many we’re down. It doesn’t matter what’s the situation in the game. We’re confident that we’re going to win."

With Guillermo Mota and Aaron Heilman setting up closer Billy Wagner like picadors and banderillos set up a matador, it’s no wonder the Mets are now 75-4 when leading after six innings.

The key for the Mets is getting to the seventh inning, and Saturday they did it with the likes of journeyman starter Steve Trachsel and Darren Oliver, Chad Bradford and Pedro Feliciano. Who are they? Beats me, but by the time Mota took over in the sixth it was almost easy to forget that neither Martinez nor El Duque was available to pitch.

"There’s a lot of guys that want to prove something," said Lo Duca. "We were the second best pitching team in the National League, and they keep hearing about [the injured pitchers]. I think the guys on the pitching staff take it personally, and they’ve gone out all year and showed they can do it."

After the game, Randolph said he was starting to feel something – and it had nothing to do with the champagne spraying overhead.

"All year long, we’ve been pushing and battling and preaching to these kids what it takes to play winning baseball," the manager said. "We’re starting to feel it right now."

I’m starting to feel something, too. So here’s my prediction: The St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers.

Those are the next two victims as the Mets march and mug their way toward baseball’s crown.




Later

metirish
Oct 13 2006 12:54 PM

This guy reads like he's Lupica...that's something I have noticed ,a bunch of these writers for local papers seem a lot like him.

]

Mets bring fun to NY baseball
1 of 1 New York Mets outfielder Endy Chavez makes a diving catch for an out on a ball hit by St. Louis Cardinals batter Ronnie Belliard during the fifth inning of Game 1 of baseball's National League Championship Series, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2006, at Shea Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)APOctober 13, 2006
New York — They have the town to themselves, finally, which means New York becomes a little less arrogant, a lot more loveable to the rest of the baseball world.

There they were all over Shea Stadium last night, the bubbly, bouncy Mets commanding center stage, knocking the bloated Bronx Bombers from the spotlight — and, more importantly, taking Game 1 of the NLCS from the Cardinals, 2-0.

With the Mets the only game in town and around the league last night, the rest of the country could see what we have all these months in New York:

A team that gains fans seemingly by the play, that celebrates each teammate as much as it does any win.

A team that is just flat-out fun.

So the folks used to tuning into another edition of the Yankees soap opera in October saw something quite different from their neighbors over in Queens.

Instead of seeing one more shot of Alex Rodriguez's frown, they saw David Wright laugh.

"I love it, I love it," Wright said, his eyes growing wide, when he finally let his game-face guard down for a moment after the cameras left. "This is what you dream of. You can't be scared of this. Can't shy away from it."

No, the Mets embrace all of this now and with them you see fun replace work, teamwork erase tension.

The Mets finally take over for the Yankees now, take over all of New York for the first time since 1986.

But this is so unlike that year, when a cocky band of players prompted their fans to love them, but everyone else to hate them. Eventually, that team would sink into the abyss of turmoil off the field, unmet expectations on it and an overall sense of dread and disappointment that left fans disillusioned.

This is so unlike that year, these Mets so confident in the brightness of their present — of this puppy dog-cuddly team — they could finally ignore the darkness of their past.

Darryl Strawberry was free to savor a big spot with the Mets after years of unspoken separation, sending the crowd off to the right start by throwing out the first pitch.

So the celebration began, a 20-year wait to take the town back taking a few extra days, thanks first to the Joe Torre chaos, then the sobering news of Cory Lidle's death.

These Mets are the perfect team for this time as they have promised all season, a marketing gimmick becoming more true than even the person who dreamt it up could imagine.

So now they took their spot in the middle of everything and the folks who have learned to hate New York for its boldness might have started weakening along with all those teeny-boppers' hearts at the sight of Wright.

"This team is fun, man!" one out-of-town writer said, a rare touch of enthusiasm in a field known more for robotic observation.

They all could see that last night.

They saw it in Willie Randolph nodding his head to the cheers at his introduction, savoring a moment in the stadium of the team he rooted for as he grew up.

They saw Cliff Floyd grimace his way around first, then limp his way out of the game — later lamenting his choice to stay on the roster, wondering if he had hurt his team.

They saw Floyd's replacement in left, Endy Chavez, come racing in to make a diving catch — his uninhibited joy almost as exciting to watch as the play itself. They saw Carlos Beltran — who would only win the game with a home run — come running over to shake his teammate's hand.

"He's been doing it all year," Wright said. "Endy, (Chris) Woodward, the guys on the bench, they want to be a part of this. It elevates their game."

These Mets were making more and more people want to be a part of it now, taking over the town from the Yankees, showing how fun and light a game can be when it's not played with a series of soap opera subplots.

And across a baseball nation, the folks who had tired of the same old storylines from the Yankees, were surely glad to meet these Mets.

Dave Buscema's column appears regularly. Contact him at buscema@hotmail.com.




http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061013/SPORTS/610130334

Yancy Street Gang
Oct 13 2006 01:03 PM

As if one Lupica isn't bad enough.

MFS62
Oct 16 2006 11:11 AM

From Filip Bondy in today's NY Daily News. BTW- the Bondy bio next to the article on the website explains that the spelling of his first name is from his Czech heritage, not an affectation, as I had thought. The bio also says Bondy has covered special events for the paper as well as basketball and hockey. I know him best from his writing about the Knicks, but I really wouldn't call that basketball.

Nothing really special about the article, other than the phrases I've highlighted. They caught my eye.
]
Deck shuffles in Mets' favor

Willie and Co. play Cards right

Carlos Delgado has had a monster postseason so far.

ST. LOUIS - Carlos Delgado took a well-timed swat at a 2-0 pitch out over the plate in the fifth inning, went deep the opposite way, and suddenly you could feel the whole series change again, like the weather here in eastern Missouri.
The homer was a three-run job off Brad Thompson, the wrong righthanded reliever courtesy of the genius, Tony La Russa. It was the start of a 12-5 romp for the Mets in Game 4 and a 2-2 tie in the series. The meteorological shift, meanwhile, was a looming low-pressure front, expected to bring enough precipitation this evening to postpone Game 5, to give Tom Glavine his extra day of rest, after all.

Baseball is a game of inches. One or two of those inches figure to fall today from the sky, perhaps changing the whole pitching equation, giving the Mets a big break. And there you have it, another playoff series spun on its axis, turned on its head.

Ronnie Belliard bungles the grounder by Paul Lo Duca to start the fifth. Carlos Beltran singles. Delgado smashes his third homer of the NLCS. A blooper and a blast. A different ballgame, once more.

It is a new, soggy day in St. Louis, because the Mets squeeze 5-2/3 innings of five-run, cliffhanger pitching out of Oliver Perez and because the bats wake up at last from their dangerous slumber. The Mets slam four homers at Busch Stadium, unloose all those pent-up line drives and towering flies.

"You create your own momentum," Delgado said afterward. "I played 12-1/2 years and never sniffed the playoffs. It's a blast."

That first blast wasn't enough for Delgado, who knocked in two more runs in the sixth with a ground-rule double against another woeful St. Louis reliever, Josh Hancock. That made it five RBI in two innings for the guy, and nine RBI for the series - the most ever for a Met in the NLCS. Delgado is becoming Reggie Jackson before our eyes, only without all the theater.

The pitching wasn't quite as amazin', but you knew that would be the case. It figured that neither starter was going to last too long in Game 4, that this would be a race to score more runs early. "Let's get one more than them," Delgado said, explaining the strategy.

The Mets got seven more. Perez was much more effective and direct than Anthony Reyes. By the second inning, Reyes had thrown 52 pitches and already was living on borrowed time. He looked scared stiff and wouldn't throw strikes. Then in the third, he gave up homers to Carlos Beltran and David Wright.

That meant La Russa eventually would need five innings from the St. Louis bullpen, which finally played down to its reputation.

Perez fared a bit better. He settled down after giving up five hits over the first three innings and basically getting away with murder, with just two runs. He didn't tire until the sixth, when the Mets already held an eight-run lead.

For a couple of days, it didn't look as if the Mets had this reversal of fortune left inside them. They wore a stale and bewildered look, and the rotation was not the material of smiley-face columns. And really, truly, they had not been tested this way before, not during a comfortable season cushioned by that double-digit lead.

But the Mets kept insisting they'd been in tougher spots than this one last night, that they'd battled their way back all season, and maybe we should have listened. They pulled another rabbit from the curlicue cap, and then Willie Randolph insisted his team didn't need a day off tonight, that Glavine would be fine either way, with John Maine on call for Game 6.

"We'd prefer to just play," Randolph said. "Tommy is ready to go. He's champing at the bit and we're all ready to play, so I'm hoping we get a game (tonight)."

Surely, Willie and his guys won't be too sad if Game 5 is tomorrow night instead, if the predictions are correct. But the forecasters haven't been very accurate about this NLCS, which has zigged and zagged all over the place. The Mets are overachievers, underachievers, overachievers again. The very unpredictability of their run is what makes this season so crazy, fresh and enjoyable.

"When you do something unexpectedly, there's a different sense of satisfaction and pride and fun that's associated with that," Glavine said last night. He was talking about the Tigers this season and the Braves back in 1991, but he might have been speaking about these Mets, too.

The Mets rediscovered their way and their pluck in Game 4.

Glavine and Maine, two days of rain. Sounds like a plan.




Later

metirish
Oct 16 2006 11:13 AM

Bobdy is a bollox and an avid MFY fan,he writes those stupid "bleacher creature" articles during MFY home games.

MFS62
Oct 16 2006 11:18 AM

I know. But I felt his comment about Delgado was quite complimentary.

Later

Yancy Street Gang
Oct 16 2006 11:20 AM

="Filip Bondy"]Delgado is becoming Reggie Jackson before our eyes, only without all the theater.


I was thinking that he's doing what Carlos Beltran did in 2004.


What is a bollox, anyway?

cooby
Oct 16 2006 11:21 AM

She's that girl that was in A Time To Kill

metirish
Oct 16 2006 11:24 AM

]

What is a bollox, anyway?


In scientific terms a bollox is the sack that holds a bulls nuts, bollox is slang in Ireland for a prick although it can have many uses.

Yancy Street Gang
Oct 16 2006 11:25 AM

So it means "scrotum"?

I've seen dried bull scrotums (scrota) for sale in gift shops in Texas. I think they're used as change pouches or something.

MFS62
Oct 16 2006 11:32 AM

Texans must carry around a lot of loose change.

Later

Edgy DC
Oct 19 2006 02:48 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Oct 19 2006 03:01 PM

Maddening. My thoughts in blue. Royal blue.

Thu, October 19, 2006
Mets drop the balll
Matt Dillon throwing out the first pitch? So much for paying tribute to 1986
By BOB ELLIOTT, TORONTO SUN


NEW YORK -- Shame on the New York Mets.

Huh? I'm feeling pretty good about them today.

Of all the people they could have asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch they could have done better than who they had last night before Game 6 of the National League Championship Series.

I try not to think too much about that. You know, big game and all. I guess. But they could've done worse.

They could have invited maybe Tom Seaver, Bret Saberhagen, David Cone or Dwight Gooden. The problem with these beleaguered Mets, if anyone with a live arm showed up general manager Omar Minaya would tell them to get dressed and head to the bullpen.

(1) The Mets bullpen is fine. It's the starting staff that is shorthanded. (2) The "problem" with Dwight Gooden, as every baseball writer should know, is that he's, um, unavailable. (3) Bret Saberhagen fits nobody's definition of fan favorite.

It is tough to compete in the post-season with a one-man rotation, especially when that one man, Tom Glavine, suffered the loss in Game 5.

Did you file this before Vacationland made the Cardinals look silly? Because he's making you look silly.

How about a position player who the fans loved, like Rusty Staub, Lee Mazzilli, Cleon Jones or Tommy Agee.

Lee Mazzilli's tent is currently in the Yankee camp. Tommy Agee is really unavialable.

Instead, the Mets invited Matt Dillon to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Whatever

We inquired whether Marshall Dillon would be riding in on his horse from the left- or right-field bullpen, but were told that it wasn't the Matt Dillon from the TV show Gunsmoke.

You sound kind of clueless.

This Dillon is an Academy Award nominee -- not even an Oscar winner and it was in the best supporting actor category -- for his 2005 role as Sgt. Jack Ryan in the movie Crash.

I'm no fan, but I imagine a recent Academy Award nominee isn't a bad thing to be, and in fact is something 99.9% of actors would love to be.

Think of the possibilities with whom the Mets could picked. Think back 20 years to another Game 6, when the Mets played host to the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 World Series at Shea Stadium.

(Blah, blah, summary of game six, blah. blah.)

What would have been wrong with Wilson, Knight, Carter or Mitchell throwing out the first ball last night.

Nothing. We've had such tributes quite recently. Maybe again tin the World Series next week, God willing.

Yeah, and Gedman could have caught it.

Huh?

Only someone mean would have suggested Buckner ... or maybe, Matt Dillon.

Are you quite well?

metirish
Oct 19 2006 02:53 PM

Incredible.........

Yancy Street Gang
Oct 19 2006 03:01 PM

This guy's lucky that his newspaper is paying for him to go to New York to cover the series.

And this is the best he can do?

I was going to suggest sending the writer an e-mail, but maybe you should write to his paper instead, if you're inclined to do so.

Bret Saberhagen?

Tommie Agee???

Edgy DC
Oct 19 2006 03:01 PM

He also spells "holy crap" as "wholly crap" in the part I cut.

The Toronto Sun is a real paper, right? I just wasted ten minutes writing to them.

MFS62
Oct 19 2006 03:02 PM

A Toronto writer? I'm surprised he didn't suggest that Joe Carter throw out the first pitch.
That was awful.

Later

HahnSolo
Oct 19 2006 03:39 PM

Saberhagen????

And, uh, Bob, you do realize that Doc Gooden is unavailable, right?


His overall point is probably right, though. Seinfeld and Broderick were there. I'd send them out before Matt Dillon.

Edgy DC
Oct 19 2006 03:42 PM

I negelect to mention that in my letter. His thesis had credibility. His argument did not.

MFS62
Oct 19 2006 03:45 PM

They were going to pick Julia Stiles. But they remembered that she probably throws like a girl.
So did John Stewart.

Later

metirish
Oct 19 2006 03:52 PM



Dillon seemed to enjoy it....

HahnSolo
Oct 19 2006 03:54 PM

Darling is throwing out the first pitch tonight. This concerns me. He and Game 7s don't necessarily agree with each other.

ScarletKnight41
Oct 19 2006 03:55 PM

They won the last one he started, didn't they?

MFS62
Oct 19 2006 03:56 PM

Edgy DC wrote:
I negelect to mention that in my letter. His thesis had credibility. His argument did not.


Forget it.
Your letter was probably better than the article, even without what you omitted.

Later

Willets Point
Oct 19 2006 04:02 PM

I was going to rave on how good he was in Heaven Help Us but that's Kevin Dillon.

HahnSolo
Oct 19 2006 04:04 PM

]They won the last one he started, didn't they?


Nope. See Los Angeles, 1988.

RealityChuck
Oct 19 2006 04:07 PM

I've been a fan of Dillon since [url=http://www.sff.net/people/rothman/GBF/bodyguard.htm]My Bodyguard[/url]. He's a fine actor, and obviously smart enough to be a Mets fan.

ScarletKnight41
Oct 19 2006 04:27 PM

HahnSolo wrote:
]They won the last one he started, didn't they?


Nope. See Los Angeles, 1988.


Well, the one in 1986 was at Shea.

HahnSolo
Oct 19 2006 04:29 PM

Yes, they won, but Ronnie would not have gotten many Schaeffer points for his performance in either of his Game 7s.

Yancy Street Gang
Oct 19 2006 04:31 PM

Ronnie deserves the honor, especially now that he's back in the Mets family.

Anybody with 1986 cooties is welcome at Shea tonight. Since I was at World Series Game 6 I have plenty of 1986 cooties. I wish I could be there to help in tonight's effort.

Iubitul
Oct 19 2006 04:32 PM

Sid should come out and throw a mid-game pitch before the fourth inning.

Edgy DC
Oct 19 2006 04:34 PM

Matt Dillon in My Bodyguard: played a school bully named Moody.

Kevin Dillon in Heaven Help Us: played a school bully named Rooney.

Despite this lack of inspiration, I think both won their year in my Eighties Teen Movie Hall of Fame.

Willets Point
Oct 19 2006 04:37 PM

I didn't know they were brothers. Actually, I didn't realize they were two different people.

Yancy Street Gang
Oct 19 2006 04:39 PM

Is Kevin Dillon Johnny Drama in Entourage?

I get Matt Dillon and Matt Damon mixed up.

OlerudOwned
Oct 29 2006 12:11 AM

Sick of the endless, tireless, mindless Ecksten-fellatio?

So is FJM. And it's pretty damn funny. Just poke around the recent stuff, there's some gems. I'd say that the highlights are [url=http://firejoemorgan.blogspot.com/2006/10/hey-everyone-another-eckstein-article.html]Ken Tremendous' own Eckstein article[/url], which included gems like:
]So when David Eckstein -- 2-foot-1 in bare feet, topping the scales at barely 40 pounds soaking wet, and appearing in the game only thanks to an MLB Outreach Program to give malnourished young mole people a chance to fulfill a dream of playing in the big leagues – stands in against 8-foot-11 Joel Zumaya, who can throw a weighted leather exercise ball 200 MPH with his penis, you might think Zumaya has the advantage.
.

Also, there was a [url=http://firejoemorgan.blogspot.com/2006/10/playtime.html]play[/url].

SteveJRogers
Oct 29 2006 01:36 PM

Apparantly Lyle Spencer (didn't he use to be a hack with the Daily News? Or was it the Post?) is allready picking the Mets in 2007
[url]http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20061028&content_id=1726610&vkey=ps2006news&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb[/url]
]
Who's next in '07? Maybe the Mets
Mets would be eighth different Series champion in eight years
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
Seven new, different World Series champions in a dizzying, dazzling row.

That's what the bold, new century has brought us, starting with the dynastic New York Yankees, finishing off their trifecta in 2000, and running right on through these remarkable St. Louis Cardinals, stirring memories of Dizzy, Daffy and the Gashouse Gang.

Before we proceed, let us not overlook the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, the 2002 Anaheim Angels, the 2003 Florida Marlins, the 2004 Boston Red Sox and the 2005 Chicago White Sox -- all wonderful in their moment, all golden under the light of the silvery October moon.

So -- cue the Keith Moon drumroll please -- Who's Next?

Ladies and gentlemen, here they are, your 2007 World Series champions ...

The New York Mets.

Led by 2007 National League MVP Jose Reyes, Comeback Player of the Year Pedro Martinez and Manager of the Year Willie Randolph, they take that final stride and wash away the bitter disappointment of '06.

Let's make that eight new champs in a dizzying, dazzling, Amazin' roll.

And why the heck not?

If you believe in truth, justice and the American way, baseball style, you have to acknowledge the Mets' many assets -- and their appealing prospects of conquering the World Series.

Those are Minnesota's Twins, with all that dashing young talent and superlative pitching, we see across the field soberly observing the Mets' final October celebration after Game 7 at Shea Stadium, New York having claimed home-field advantage courtesy of Trevor Hoffman's save for the National League in the 2007 All-Star Game at San Francisco.

Yes, the Mets. It's simply their time.

This is a team that had everything but a closing act in '06, waking up those 20-year-old echoes of the '86 marauders with a fantastic season that had everyone remembering young Doc and Darryl, The Kid and Mex, Davey and Nails.

Sure, it ended with the great Carlos Beltran, of all people, taking a third strike from the latest Chosen One, Adam Wainwright, leaving Shea Stadium numb and dumbfounded. But right up until their untimely demise, the Amazin's truly were amazin', start to finish.

Consider: Beltran, Reyes, Carlos Delgado and David Wright gave leather-lunged New Yawk fans as many legitimate MVP candidates to cheer as the rest of the league combined. They'll all be back, smarter, stronger, even tougher. That taste, getting so close, will drive them through the long, hot summer.

Consider: The Mets hit 200 home runs, stole 146 bases, had the league's best bullpen and came within a timely hit or two of winning the pennant with John Maine and Oliver Perez -- no Pedro, no El Duque -- pitching Games 6 and 7 of a great National League Championship Series against Chris Carpenter and Jeff Suppan.

And, finally consider: Randolph is an emerging players' manager in the image of Joe Torre, a leader who will help aggressive GM Omar Minaya draw free-agent pieces necessary to improve on 97 regular-season wins and six more in the postseason for 103. That's a number matched only by the Cards' Motor City victims, nine more than the champions manufactured.

There will be shrieks and howls of protests from precincts across the land when this decidedly unpopular and singular vote for the Mets is posted, but that's to be expected -- and embraced.

Bring it on! We live for engagement.

We hear you in The Bronx, jeering our audacity in putting the Mets ahead of the imperial Yanks. Sure, the Bombers will be a force; they're always a force. But the force of nature in '07 will be found in that neighboring borough of Queens.

We hear you in New England, reminding us that the Sox will be back, curse-free, driven by Big Papi to show that 2004 was for real.

We hear you in the South, where Atlanta still stands proud and brave -- OK, maybe not as proud and brave as before -- and Florida has a habit of rising unexpectedly from the ashes.

Oh, sure, we hear you in Ryan Howard country out in Philly, where you're getting pumped to boo Santa, and north of the border in Toronto, where you're civil but firmly remindful of glories past.

We hear you in Minnesota, Detroit, Cleveland and on the South Side of Chicago, ranting about how the AL Central still gets no respect. On the contrary, that division of divisions gets immense respect -- just not another World Series crown just yet. (The Tigers will be back, real soon, and the Twins are also here to stay).

We hear you in St. Louis -- go ahead, let us have it. We know it's unwise to discount any team with David Eckstein, a modern-day Scooter, at shortstop in all his fiery glory. Hey, no offense, Redbird lovers, but recent history is compelling in its argument against repeats and in the sustaining power of the brand of magic that produces a championship without thunder from Albert Pujols.

And, finally, we hear you out West, where Oakland, both Los Angeleses -- including the one in Anaheim -- and San Diego are potentially loaded. The pitching-rich Padres would be especially hard to ignore if they hired Dusty Baker, so perfect for the job, to replace Bruce Bochy. But that, alas, doesn't appear likely.

So, yes, by all means, shout it from the rooftops. Your team, even those we foolishly neglected here, has a legitimate shot to be lucky No. 8 in to shine in the new century.

Just make a few home improvements, add a shot of Wainwright-like magic, mix in some Eckstein heart and soul, and -- voila -- you're right there.

In the meantime, go ahead and vent. We still like the Mets to take it the distance in '07.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mark Healey
Oct 30 2006 02:17 PM

You guys may remember Al Cohn, and if not, you might still get a kick out of his work...

http://www.gothambaseball.com/news/1162099273.php

]One short series undoes the accomplishments of 162 games and a playoff round victory. It's childish. It's selfish. It's myopic.

It's also incorrect.

Playoffs included, the Mets finished with the best won-lost record in baseball, first day to the last. And that's just for starters.


Enjoy...

MFS62
Oct 30 2006 02:20 PM

Mark, that's like saying "other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the show?"

Later

Edgy DC
Oct 30 2006 02:22 PM

I disagree.

Yancy Street Gang
Oct 30 2006 02:27 PM

It was a fun season. It didn't have a happy ending, but the Mets provided seven months of fun, including ten post-season games.

I was able to rewatch the bottom of the ninth from Game 7 the other day, and it was only mildly painful. I'm pretty much all healed.

Mark Healey
Oct 30 2006 02:28 PM

MFS62 wrote:
Mark, that's like saying "other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the show?"

Later


Actually, I think that, like Al, that this past season can be like 1985, the start of something bug (and hopefully more satisfying)..

Hopefully the days of venom for Mets fans are over -- at least as far as the offseason is handled...Omar is far more proactive than his predecessors, and hopefully the fan base will follow suit...

soupcan
Oct 30 2006 02:38 PM

Mark Healey wrote:
...that this past season can be like 1985, the start of something bug...Omar is far more proactive than his predecessors...


I'm taking solace in Omar's proactivity as well and I agree with Mark.

Except that I think it will be the start of something big rather than bug.

Johnny Dickshot
Oct 30 2006 02:41 PM

That eckstein peice is well-done.

Edgy DC
Oct 30 2006 02:41 PM
Edited 2 time(s), most recently on Oct 30 2006 02:58 PM

I'd prefer to take solace in Minaya's judgment. I disagree that Minaya's prececessors weren't proactive. Phillips sure was in the 2001-2002 offeseason. Duquette (or whoever was pushing him) was proactive at the 2004 trading deadline. They just weren't right enough.

Mark Healey
Oct 30 2006 02:55 PM

lol...I guess I mean proactive with a clue and the ability to evaluate talent

MFS62
Nov 02 2006 11:37 AM

First game, new season, new hopes.
Same old Filip Bondy.
He never saw a balloon he didn't want to prick.
Too bad. He's certainly qualified.
Later

]
Every season, the Nets swear on a stack of unsold tickets that Jason Kidd will play a more modest chunk of the game, that their franchise star will pace himself and his weary tendons until the playoffs.



and
]

There is real hope in Williams, who just may be the steal of the 2006 NBA draft. No pun intended there, though Williams surely would not be a Net if he hadn't been nailed for trying to sell two laptops stolen by a friend when they were back at UConn.

metirish
Nov 03 2006 12:17 PM

Like Wally I can't believe no one thought of this before...

]

Omar, Sori's your guy
November 3, 2006


Sometimes the solution to a seemingly complex problem is so simple, so obvious, you can't believe someone hasn't thought of it already. And you figure there must be some logical reason why it can't be done.

In this case, the problem is the Mets' lineup holes in leftfield and at second base. The solution is Alfonso Soriano. It's so simple, so obvious, it can't be real.




But try as I might, I am unable to talk myself out of it. Not only is it real, it is ridiculous.

The Mets have the needs. Soriano has the goods. Omar Minaya has Fred Wilpon's money. If there's a reason why this shouldn't happen, I'm listening.

Soriano is a free agent who happens to play both positions the Mets need to fill. He prefers second base, but even playing a reluctant leftfield for the Washington Nationals in 2006, he led the league in assists. Imagine if he actually liked the position he was playing.

He also was a leadoff hitter for a last-place team who knocked in 95 runs and hit 46 home runs while playing half his games in a ballpark as big as Arlington National Cemetery. Imagine what those numbers could be at Shea, batting fifth or sixth in a lineup behind the likes of Jose Reyes, Paul Lo Duca, David Wright and the Carloses.

Other than the salaries, nothing in baseball is guaranteed, of course, but you can be sure that had Soriano been at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded and the season on the line in NLCS Game 7, he would have swung at that 0-and-2 pitch from Adam Wainwright. And the 0-and-1 pitch, and the 0-and-0 pitch.

That is the way Soriano plays. Fearless, aggressive and maybe a tad reckless.

The odds are good that, like Carlos Beltran, Soriano would have struck out to end Game 7 and send the Mets and their fans into an offseason of disappointment and uncertainty. But at least Soriano would have gone down fighting, something the Mets did not do at the end of their season.

Four of the last six outs were by strikeout, two of them looking, the last one on a curveball that cut across the zone for strike three to end the season with the bat sitting on the Mets' most expensive shoulder.

If it were up to me, Soriano would bat fifth in next year's lineup, after Carlos Delgado, or sixth, behind Wright, who just got his first important postseason hit. Too bad for the Mets it came in an exhibition game in Japan.

What the ninth inning in Game 7 called for was a little more aggressiveness, a little less caution. That is what Soriano brings to the Mets, along with a little more excitement to a team that left with a cloud of disappointment and uncertainty hanging over an otherwise brilliant season.

Although his team won 97 games and its first division title in 18 years, Mets general manager Omar Minaya has a winter shopping list as long as Julio Franco's career stat line, and it ought to start at the doorstep of Soriano.

He will not come cheap - think Beltran money for five years at least - but if Minaya wants him as badly as he wanted Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine and Beltran, there is little to stand in the way.

Soriano knows New York and likes it here. He still owns an apartment in the area. And unlike the rest of the Mets and most of the Yankees, he is a proven postseason performer, or have you forgotten his home run off Curt Schilling in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series? That broke a tie at 1 and left the Yankees six outs away from a fourth consecutive world championship, if only Mariano Rivera could have held the lead in the ninth.

That was done when Soriano was 25 years old and comparatively puny. Now he is one of the most feared hitters in baseball, a man who can play two positions capably, and both of them are positions in which the Mets are lacking.

Last year's leftfielder, Cliff Floyd, is an expensive, often-injured free agent. His time here is up. His replacement, Endy Chavez, is a wizard with the glove whose theft of Scott Rolen's bid for a home run forestalled the inevitable in Game 7. The Mets can get by with his bat at the bottom of the lineup if they opt to return Soriano to second, his position of choice.

If they believe $15 million a season is too much to spend on a second baseman, they can send him to left and pursue free agent Julio Lugo to play second, or even ancient Ray Durham, who hit 26 homers for the Giants.

Either way, Soriano adds a dimension to the lineup that was missing at the moment it was needed most.

The Mets had better not begin their offseason the way they ended their postseason: caught looking.

metirish
Nov 03 2006 12:18 PM

Given the choice I would still want Beltran at the plate in that situation.

Edgy DC
Nov 03 2006 12:30 PM

]Other than the salaries, nothing in baseball is guaranteed, of course, but you can be sure that had Soriano been at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded and the season on the line in NLCS Game 7, he would have swung at that 0-and-2 pitch from Adam Wainwright. And the 0-and-1 pitch, and the 0-and-0 pitch.


A lot of enormous holes in that thinking.

HahnSolo
Nov 03 2006 12:32 PM

Hitting a gimpy Floyd with 2 on and no out, was cautious, not aggressive?
C'mon Wally.

Edgy DC
Nov 03 2006 12:40 PM

Oh, I should have read on!

]If they believe $15 million a season is too much to spend on a second baseman, they can send him to left and pursue free agent Julio Lugo to play second, or even ancient Ray Durham, who hit 26 homers for the Giants.


Fella, he's worth more as a secondbaseman, if he can hack it, not less.

Frayed Knot
Nov 03 2006 01:34 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Nov 03 2006 01:54 PM

[soapbox]Have I ever explained how much it is I hate this thread and want to see it join Elvis? (assuming he's really dead)

Nothing against the original idea of this thing neccesarily, but - like the 'Brogna' thread last year - I hate what it's become and the length of time that it's lived.

The signing (or not) of a FA the magnitude of Soriano is a topic that SCREAMS for it's own thread where it can be discussed and/or disgusted. But, instead, it'll wind up getting lost in a 6-month long, 30-whatever page thread simply because it was once mentioned in a newspaper column the same way the whole Bobby V leading his team to the Japan Championship was buried in a mega-thread because someone was under the impression that they were "supposed" to put it in the ex-Mets thread on account of Bobby having once been a Met.

You're allowed to let old threads fade away and start new ones folks ... and you don't even need special permission to do so.
[/soapbox]

metirish
Nov 03 2006 01:38 PM

And to think I spent over ten freaking minutes looking for this thread.....seriously I really didn't think the ramblings of Wally warrented a new thread.

Yancy Street Gang
Nov 03 2006 01:38 PM

Good point, FK. I started a new thread.

Frayed Knot
Nov 03 2006 02:18 PM

="metirish"]And to think I spent over ten freaking minutes looking for this thread.....seriously I really didn't think the ramblings of Wally warrented a new thread.


It's not like I want to seem like just because I've been here longer than a lot of others here that I'm trying to tell everyone else how to post - but this topic has been bugging me for a while now and I just happened to pick your post to tee off on it.
And it's more I case that I want to squash this idea that there are strict rules around this place about where folks are allowed to put things or that you need some kind of senoirity before you can start new threads..

Maybe Matthews doesn't deserve his own thread but shirley Soriano does.
Hey guys, what do you think of signing Soriano? That dork Matthews thinks we HAVE TO [linky here] but we all know that he rapes farm animals in his spare time
... Something along those lines is a whole lot better IMO than seeing it buried in a multi-purpose thread simply because the topic started with a column.

And again, I'm trying to get away from rules not make them. But it's not only perrnitted, but often an improvement, to let old threads die and start new ones up. "RMPL" is a joke that stems from an old board where there were people so interested in being the one to "break news" that they wouldn't even read the front page before starting a new thread on a topic that already had 5 concurrent discussions going. A minor amount of common sense avoids that, and if you start a thread that no one's interested in they'll simply ignore it. Ain't no biggie.

Willets Point
Nov 03 2006 02:23 PM

Frayed Knot wrote:
[soapbox]Have I ever explained how much it is I hate this thread and want to see it join Elvis? (assuming he's really dead)

Nothing against the original idea of this thing neccesarily, but - like the 'Brogna' thread last year - I hate what it's become and the length of time that it's lived.

The signing (or not) of a FA the magnitude of Soriano is a topic that SCREAMS for it's own thread where it can be discussed and/or disgusted. But, instead, it'll wind up getting lost in a 6-month long, 30-whatever page thread simply because it was once mentioned in a newspaper column the same way the whole Bobby V leading his team to the Japan Championship was buried in a mega-thread because someone was under the impression that they were "supposed" to put it in the ex-Mets thread on account of Bobby having once been a Met.

You're allowed to let old threads fade away and start new ones folks ... and you don't even need special permission to do so.
[/soapbox]


I love you man!!!

Yancy Street Gang
Nov 03 2006 02:27 PM

This thread is probably getting to a length where it ought to be padlocked anyway so that it can fade gently into the archives.

Willets Point
Nov 03 2006 02:35 PM

Lock it baby lock it!!!