Wallace Matthews, Idiot Savant or Just Idiot?
Wallace Matthews is a pretty accomplished figure in sports. He was an amateur boxer in his previous life and competed in the 1977 Golden Gloves Tournament and has extensively covered boxing for a while including providing coverage for ESPN, Showtime, SportsChannel, and NBC during the 1988 Seoul Games. However, when it comes to baseball Wallace may be able to put his words together much better than me and speak more eloquently, but he is an unabated jerkoff. It baffles me why he gets paid to write clearly biased articles that are borderline nonsensical.
After this gem of an article, he comes back out this a new one.
With all due respect to Omar Minaya, the only sure thing they are building in Flushing is a new stadium.
It will be a beauty, too, with plenty of luxury boxes, 10,000 fewer cheap seats that just get in the way of the rich and privileged, ticket prices twice as high as those in dumpy old Shea Stadium, and a newcomer to the New York sports marketplace, a concept not even the money-grubbing Yankees have dared to adopt, the personal seat license.
As for the ballclub, well . . . you just may have seen the best of it Wednesday night in Game 6 of the NLCS at Shea.
Yup. You hit the nail on the head. A 97 win team built around a 23 year old shortstop who should finish in the top ten for MVP voting, a 23 year old third baseman who any GM would give their first born for, a 29 year old centerfielder who was arguably the best player in baseball for five months of the season before a September swoon, a bevy of young pitching, a brilliant bullpen, and money to spend has peaked already.
As for the ballclub, well . . . you just may have seen the best of it Wednesday night in Game 6 of the NLCS at Shea.
What you saw the next night in Game 7 was none too good, and clearly, not good enough. The $119-million slugger couldn't pull the trigger with the season on the line, the $44-million closer never got out of the bullpen and the manager who described himself as "a winner" before the game finished up a loser.
First, I've heard enough of the Beltran debacle. Yes, he took strike three looking. Would everyone have felt better if he swung and missed? The pitch was as good of a curveball as you will see. The thing dropped a few feet and landed in the zone and he got beat. It happens in sports and the Met offense failed all game. As far as the team not being good enough, what other team could lose their #1 and #2 starters heading into the playoffs and still have the World Series end up being so close and within their reach? Dumb luck? Fuck no, the Mets are good.
There was nothing to be happy about in Game 7, unless it was the realization that Oliver Perez might well be your No. 2 starter next season, right behind the ace, John Maine. How's that for an encouraging start on 2007?
Dick. There is no way the Mets do not come away with a front end starter this off-season and will most likely be bringing The Duque back. That leaves Glavine, Pedro, The Duque, mystery stud, John Maine, and Oliver Perez for five spots. This team will go from their rotation being their weakness to having the best rotation in the NL, if not baseball by August of 2007. All of that is if Oliver Perez does not keep improving. If he regains 80% of what he was in 2004, the Mets could have three #1-type starters when Pedro returns with The Duque and Glavine rounding out the starting five with Maine moved into the bullpen. I just wet myself.
The Mets thinking they can "build off this experience" makes as much sense as fighters who claim they somehow benefited from being knocked unconscious in a title fight.
Teams don't build off collapses like the one the Mets suffered against the Cardinals. Often, they get buried under them. And the way the game is played these days, often the first chance is the only one a team gets. The likelihood is the Mets will never get another chance as good as the one they had this year.
You 'build' off it by your young players getting big game experience. You learn from it by having an idea where you need to improve to take your 2007 version of the Mets further. This team is going to be a contender for a long time. Omar gets it, but it seems you don't.
Whichever team wins the World Series between the Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals will represent the seventh different team to win it all in the last seven years, and four of the previous five did not even make the playoffs the following year.
Um, but the Cardinals have made the playoffs the last six of seven years. I'm pretty sure the Mets will have more opportunities and I do not call a year in which their ace and their back-up #1 playoff starter goes down their best shot. Also, didn't you write the other day that whoever won the NL had no shot anyway (how is that prediction working out anyway)? Again, how was this their best shot if they had no shot?
If the Mets think they are laying the foundation for a dynasty of their own, and multiple trips to the World Series, they are fooling only themselves. This was their shot, their perfect storm, and they blew it. This year, they got a chance to dominate a weak National League and roll over two mediocre playoff opponents, one of which managed to win only 83 games all season. But they couldn't do it.
Last I checked, the Mets were so far ahead of the other NL teams. In 2007, their young guys like Maine, Reyes, and Wright should continue to improve. The Mets have some play room and that is if they brought back the same 2006 team. The same 2006 Met team would STILL be the best team in the NL in '07 and they will actually improve in '07. The league should be worried about the Mets and not the other way around.
How Minaya or his boss, Fred Wilpon, can truly believe the baseball planets will align this way for them again next year, only they know.
How do they know the Braves will continue to play like bottom-feeders, or that the Phillies will continue to underachieve, or that Jeffrey Loria, whose largesse gifted the Mets with Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Delgado, suddenly won't decide he would like the Marlins to win again?
Ah, Minaya and Fred have no idea. Luckily for all of us heebs, you know. As for the rest...
The Mets? The Mets have staying power. They have money and they have depth. Their team's core will be back next season with the priority on starting pitching this off-season. After the bigs, they have Phil Humber, Lastings Milledge, Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese, Carlos Gomez, Mike Carp, Kevin Mulvey, Deolis Guerra, Mike Pelfrey, and Jesus Flores. They have top flight prospects where they need them and they have developed some depth to trade from. Other teams will surely improve. The Dodgers had a good team this year and stand to get better in 2007. The Padres had a nice little year to build off of. The Cubs can really take a big leap forward if they can snatch Soriano. However, the Mets will be in it every year and are the team to beat.
It's pretty funny though, just when you thought Matthews had turned a corner with this article, he just comes back to confuse everyone with drivel that confounds most rational people.
Also mentioned in the article was Delgado's possible desire to have the Mets pick up his option and guarantee it while using his ability to opt-out of his contract as leverage of sorts, though I would not expect him to leave regardless. Delgado is on contract for $14.4 million in 2007, $16 million in 2008, and his option is worth $12 million. The Marlins are footing some of the bill and are paying the Mets a total of $7 million in payments of $1 million in 2006, $2 million in 2007, and $4 million in 2008. Basically, the Mets are getting him for $12 million a year and 2009 would be no different. He would be 37 during that option year and in reality, should be able to perform reasonably well. I would like to see them guarantee 2009 for less money and add an additional option with a buyout that will not get picked up to reduce some of the financial burden in 2009 a la Tom Glavine's deal, but it certainly will not hurt to have him around for another year which would give the Mets one more year to develop Mike Carp.
I say go for it.
"He made more mistakes against the Mets, from watching on TV," said Detroit's Vance Wilson. "We hammer mistakes. There weren't many mistakes made."
Oh, it is not that the Mets are good or anything and maybe better than the Tigers? The game seven loss still hurts, believe me. I think you all know how much I like the Mets, but only one winner makes sense.
1) Add Offense
2) Bring back the bullpen
3) Add an ace
Popper is not reinventing the wheel here, but I'm on board.
Teams that fail to sign a first-round pick no longer receive an extra pick after the first round as compensation, but instead a virtually identical pick the following year; for example, a team that fails to sign the No. 5 pick one year will receive the No. 6 pick the next, rather than one in the 30s or 40s. The same compensation also now exists for unsigned second-round picks, while a team that fails to sign a third-round pick will receive a sandwich pick between the third and fourth rounds.
The new system should decrease the growth of bonus payments to amateurs, as teams can walk away from negotiations with the reassurance of having a similar pick the next year.
I like it and they are right. Simply too much leverage was on the side of the kids who never played professional ball with some never playing above high school!
One other change to the amateur draft is a uniform signing date of Aug. 15 for all players (other than college seniors), replacing the longtime and clumsy deadline of the moment a player literally attends his first four-year college class. In addition to creating some order for all involved--from teams to players to college coaches wanting an earlier idea of their incoming class--this also eliminates the junior-college, draft-and-follow rule in which players who attended two-year schools could sign with their drafting club until one week before the following draft.
No more negotiations dragging on and dragging on. This is a good one too.
Several ideas that have been discussed over the years, such as the trading of draft picks and an either supplemental or combined draft of all players worldwide, were not adopted.
Game on! The Mets can still outspend small market teams on the int'l front. I was for leveling the playing field and having everyone added into the draft since I do not mind everyone having as equal of an opportunity as possible to get players, but I'm not going to cry about this one.
Some changes have been made to the draft-pick compensation afforded teams which lose major league free agents. Type C free agents have been eliminated, while teams that lose Type B free agents, which had previously received a second-round pick from the signing club, will now get a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds. (This was pursued by the union to remove the disincentive for teams to sign those players.) Those changes go into effect immediately.
The number of players deemed Type A and B has been tweaked as well. Type A free agents, whose former team continue to receive a first- or second-round pick from the signing club as well as an extra pick between the first and second rounds, will be reduced from the 30 percent of players (as determined by a statistical formula) to 20; the Type B band is reduced from 31-50 percent to 21-40.
Game not on! Chasing big time free agents will still cost draft picks, but 2nd tier players will no longer be mystically deemed type A players.
Rather than teams being allowed three years (for players signed at age 19 or older) or four years (for players 18 and younger) before leaving them off the 40-man roster subjects them to the Rule 5 draft, those periods have been lengthened to four and five. Ownership considered this a significant boost in their efforts to operate their minor league systems more effectively.
All of this does not take effect until next off-season.