A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Random Notes 8-20-08

  • Huh? Was this REALLY necessary? And if Randolph did not see it coming, he needs to sharpen up his self awareness. A lot.

  • Oh Joe Blanton... There were people who actually wanted you for Lastings Milledge. His ERA+ of 80 can stay where it is while the Mets have found Figuerora who posted an 79 ERA+, Mike Pelfrey who posted an 88 ERA+, and Claudio Vargas who posted an 105 ERA+.

    The lesson to learn here is you do not trade for mediocritity. Yes, he can give you innings, but I would rather keep my depth or use the depth for something better than in a trade for league average players.

  • I still like Ricky P. Also, he seems to get it.

    "We haven't pitched up to our capabilities and we didn't play well defensively and when that happens you lose games," Peterson said. "In 2006, we turned so many great double plays and everyone said our pitching was so great. Our pitching was good, it was OK. It was solid in 2006, it wasn't great.

    "We were in the top of the league in pitching, but our defense was at the top of the league and that's why we had great pitching that year. So, in this case, a lot of things went wrong with the team, and pitching certainly was one of them."

    If Willie was the pitching coach, his take would have been, "look at our ERA! I am awesome!" Peterson is a realist.

  • Gossage just keep his mouth closed.

    "There's not enough mustard in the city to cover Reyes," said Gossage, who was at the Stadium to give a pitching clinic to Bronx Little Leaguers and raise money to support inner-city youth baseball leagues in six cities. "He needs to act like a professional.

    "I don't want this sport to turn into football where they dance after every play. I can't stand that - the dancing, the laughing - there's no place for that in the game. He's not the first great player to play - I wouldn't even say great because he hasn't won anything yet."

    Riiiiight. Baseball is turning into football in regards to the celebrating. THERE IS NO CELEBRATING!! It is kind of sad that there is none because it looks like no one gives a shit. The entire 'been there done that' attitude is old and god forbid someone shows some enthusiam while playing the game.

  • It is good that Reyes showed no signs of sulking, but I never believed that crap about him before.

  • Lennon has the five keys to success.

  • Beware of all of this Bernazard talk.

    Every time the Mets played the Nationals, Bernazard conversed extensively with Washington manager Manny Acta, the Mets' former third-base coach, creating the perception that Bernazard wished that Acta was managing the Mets. To clear up any murkiness, Bernazard, who mostly avoids the limelight, conducted an interview with The Washington Post last September in which he effusively praised Acta's managing skills.

    And early Tuesday morning, when the hatchet fell on Randolph and the two coaches, Bernazard could be seen in the team hotel, giddy as a schoolgirl with a new dress.

    Why is praising Acta bad? That seems honest. And I was giddy about Randolph's firing as well. Maybe...just maybe...he is smarter than the people who sought to keep him.

  • Tim Marchman likes Jose. And again, shame on all of you who ripped Reyes earlier. Did we all not learn our lesson when we all thought Wright's star had diminished a bit?

  • I like Jerry so far. Also, let us not get caught up with one win or one loss. This is a process and judge the 'new' Mets on a month or so.
  • Labels:

    Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    Randolph Redux

    So um....I don't know if you have heard, but he Mets fired their manager. Is that still even being talked about?

    I did not have time yesterday to fully dive into the depths of my brain to say everything I wanted to say about the issue. Luckily, I do not have to today as Rob Neyer had a chat and many of the things I wanted to say were illustrated perfectly by others which saves me oodles of time.

    When a team wins, the manager generally gets a great deal of credit. More to the point, while the Mets' losing record may not be -- almost certainly is not -- strictly Randolph's fault, it's fairly obvious that something had to change. Willie Randolph may be a fine manager, but he does not seem to be the right manager for this team, right now. Maybe this team isn't good enough to win, no matter who's calling the shots in the dugout. But there's only one way to find out.

    To continue down the road of mediocrity and not do anything is criminal. Changing Minaya mid-season would have ZERO outcome on the Mets in '08 and '09, however, the managerial change might have an effect. Something had to be done and this was the only option.

    Those of you calling for Minaya's head may be justified, but it would be fruitless. It might serve the point to satiate your need for blood being spilled, but Willie's blood at least may lead to something good. Again, it may not, but as Rob said, there is only one way to find out.

    Nick (NJ): How was this team supposed to win 90 games? They have Wright/Beltran/Reyes on paper with Alou (he's more fragile than paper)/Castillo (couldn't hit a ball through paper) and Delgado (umm...can't think of a paper analogy) who was done last year. This roster is horribly constructed - and don't even start on the bench. This is all on Omar.

    Rob Neyer: (12:21 PM ET ) Here's what I can tell you, Nick ... Before the season, I looked at five "computer" projections -- that is, projections based on data rather than blue sky -- and all five showed the Mets with somewhere between 92 and 98 wins. One thing I've learned over the years is that if you try to outsmart the data you're usually going to be wrong.

    Blame Minaya if you want, but the same roster everyone is ripping him for putting together was also the same roster that many other people thought was good as well. Simulations are not real life, which is obvious, but all you can do is put together the best team you can on paper and hope for the best. The Mets won 88 games in '07 and added Ryan Church and Johan Santana which is a significant upgrade that theoretically should have pushed them in the mid 90's for wins.

    Enter reality, that is not happening and the manager is the easy target.

    Mario (Queens, NYC): Willie's been on more championship teams than everyone in the Mets organization combined. Aside from the horrendous handling of his dismissal, it was simply the wrong move. There are no legit managerial alternatives, so it was clear that it was just a shot across the bow to shake things up and deflect responsibility. While I've been an Omar fan to this point, I'm now glad to see that he's now directly next in line for a canning if the team continues to falter. By the way, what are the stats on a team making the playoffs after a mid-season managerial change?

    Rob Neyer: How is Jerry Manuel not legit? He's got experience, and a career winning record as a major league manager. Seems to me there are few *more* legitimate options than Manuel.

    This is my most favorite-est argument in the universe. Willie is just a BORN winner with so much class, dignity, and grace. That mustache is so elegant and demands soooo much respect. I mean, really. Are there actually people out there that think anything Willie has done as a player or third base coach means he should be managing a big league ball club?

    Since he has been the manager, he has proven to be inept (lack of strategic ability), stubborn (especially with young guys), childish (playing favorites and making many snide remarks), delusional (blaming SNY for being racist and calling Met fans out for being fair-weather fans), and too hands off at times ("There’s no certain point you get to where you’ve got to make any speeches. We know where we are").

    Yes, Willie may have been a good big league ballplayer. Yes, he has a few championship rings. Yes, he is probably a good father and husband. Yes, he probably has a good soul and does not look at child porn. Yes, he is a local guy. However, none of that has anything to do with being a good manager and especially not for this Met team.

    As for Jerry Manual, everyone knows he has more managerial experience than Willie does, right?

    Terrence (NYC): The Mets should go against every inkling of their beliefs, tendencies, and beliefs- and hire Wally Backman. Pull a George Costanza, and just do the opposite. He's exactly what this team needs.

    Rob Neyer: Perhaps. If the Mets don't make a strong second-half push, Manuel's probably gone. And maybe Backman is just what the millionaires need.

    I really need Terrence to be the special assistant to the Grand Puba of the Mets.

    Justin (Massena, NY): Well, if the Keith Hernandez for Manager '09 campaign is starting here, I'm throwing Ron Darling in for Pitching Coach. Those two, as broadcasters, have at least made watching the blunderous Mets games really entertaining this year.

    Rob Neyer: Yes, but as a TV watcher I must vociferously protest. Don't free Mex and Ronnie!

    Please...keep them in the booth.

    Justin (Queens, NY): I believe your assesment was correct when you said "Randolph may be a fine manager, but he does not seem to be the right manager for this team, right now." The Mets need a disciplinarian, someone who won't be afraid to bench Reyes after he has a mental gaffe (then smiles) or tell Delgado he isn't playing verus lefties. I suggest Keith Hernandez manager for next season.

    Rob Neyer: Specifically, I don't think Hernandez has any interest in managing. Generally, I think the Mets should hire someone -- if they don't keep Manuel -- who's actually managed before, even if only in the minors.

    And really, this is the basis of every argument I had for not hiring Randolph in the first place. This team was on the precipice of what we all thought would be multiple playoff births and the first World Series win in twenty+ years and leading the charge was a guy who was a third base coach and bench coach for one season. Ummm.....am I missing something?

    Anders (Montreal): I don't know who to finger point at - Minaya gave Luis Castillo a 4/25$ contract, but Randolph is the one batting him second. I'm so confused.

    Rob Neyer: It's funny, I was completely on board with the anti-Castillo sentiment ... until I noticed this morning that he's got a .368 on-base percentage. I'm far from his biggest fan, but Castillo's not the problem. Not this year, anyway (the contract's still a joke).

    That was the best one of the day....

    * * *

  • So Manuel is a coach for thirty seconds and it begins with his shortstop coming up gimpy and Ramirez and Manuel run out to tend to him. Reyes wants to stay in and Manuel pulls him. Reyes throw a hissy fit, tosses his helmet, and goes into the dugout and subsequently right into the locker room. Then Jerry goes and down to give him a stern talking to and give him some 'choice words' (in Darling's words).

    Did I lose you? Ok...then let us continue....Easley can't get to ball in the hole that Reyes would have at least had a shot on, can't turn a double play that Reyes probably makes, and then makes a mental gaffe by not covering second on a pick off move. Basically, not having Reyes might have cost the Mets the game as the tone was set early.

    Yes...there is no mistaking this is the Mets. Just as dysfunctional as ever. Manuel's first day at the office was a rough one, but let us not go crazy about one game. Everyone relax...please. For all of our santity relax...THERE IS NOTHING TO GO CRAZY ABOUT. Things are fine and rosey...just relax! Anyone buying this?

  • Pat (Belfast, PA): Buster, obviously I'm biased and upset with Wang's injury, but isn't this once again a good time to examine why pitchers still hit in the NL? The "tradition" factor is silly, as is a need for the leagues being "different" in some way. All of the minors and college use the DH, if I'm not mistaken, so why isn't this addressed?

    Buster Olney: Pat: You and Hank Steinbrenner are thinking along the same lines. I wish the rules were uniform; I wish they played without a DH. But that is not happening, it will probably never happen in our lifetimes, so to worry about it is a little like fretting about the weather; it's just not going to change.

    Did I miss the point in time where pitchers became comprised of egg shells and pixie dust? Should quarterbacks start wearing flags in their pants so they no longer get tackled?

    Main Entry: ath·lete
    Pronunciation: \ˈath-ˌlēt, ÷ˈa-thə-ˌlēt\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English, from Latin athleta, from Greek athlētēs, from athlein to contend for a prize, from athlon prize, contest
    Date: 15th century

    : a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina

    I really love sports. However, I really hate the point in time when players stopped becoming athletes and starting becoming investments. Not just investments, but they were deemed extremely fragile investments.

  • Overall, Buster is a weenie that has nothing good to say about what the Mets did. Nieto went because Randolph went and he was his guy. On top of that, Obie needed to get in the mix and that was a good place to get him in there. Peterson might have worn out his welcome...he might not have. However, to be dismissive of the firing and saying it accomplishes nothing is absurd. If they had no desire to keep him around in '09, why pussy foot in '08?

    I get it. The Mets firing Willie when they did seems absurd. I agree they had plenty....and I mean PLENTY...of opportunities to do so. However, to call them back stabbing is just silly. He was under .500 69 games into the season and he just captained the largest collapse in the history of the galaxy and they are paying him MILLIONS of dollars through 2010. I think Willie will be able to remove the knife from his back and find a way to carry on.

  • Tim Marchman is awesome. I repeat....awesome.

  • Quotes, quotes, and more quotes.

  • The players don't seem all that upset, but I do not expect them to trash Manuel or the management. However, it seems they are especially blah about this firing.

  • I still love Professor Rick.

    "I wear this bracelet because I’m … very in tune with Eastern philosophy and universal law. [The bracelet rings signify] faith, compassion, equanimity and love. … The Eastern language writes in symbols, and the symbol for crisis they also use for opportunity. I’ve been given a great opportunity here, and as I walk out that door, I seek my next opportunity. I walk out in peace, and I wish everybody else here the best. … Hopefully, the Tuscany tile will do a lot better than a hardwood floor."

  • Some good words about Jerry.

    Labels: , ,

  • Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    Keep Moving...There Is Nothing To See Here....

    Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!

    I somehow feel vindicated and applaud my own steel resolve. I was berated at times and called many unspeakable things for keeping my cause alive, but it is finally over. However, I think the Mets sort of handled this badly to put it mildly. There were plenty of reasons to get rid of Willie, but at 3:15 AM East Coast time?

    I was sleeping parallel to the foot of my bed with the TV on and my blow up doll still on the bed with a few frozen bananas laying around. I was in one of those in and out of consciousness states and then I heard the news that Willie was fired. No shit, I thought I was dreaming. I gave the old one eye squinting/half sleeping stare at the TV and indeed, Willie was gone.

    I smiled a bit and then it dawned on me that this team is run by a group of absolute morons. There were plenty of times to give Willie his walking papers and the Mets wait until after the 1st game of a West Coast trip while the Mets are in the midst of a streak where they had just won 3 or 4 games. Fucking ponderous.

    I wanted this to happened I believe this team needed a shake up, but this is how they decided to do it? Why didn't they do it before the team left Anaheim or weeks earlier when everyone knew this needed to happen. I guess I should expect this from my team and it is hard for me to complain now that my man Ken Oberkfell is up in the bigs and ready to jump on that managerial position this off-season. I guess I should not concern myself about the 'why' at this point and just focus on the 'fuck yeah'. Winning cures all and this will be a figment of our little imaginations if the Mets do just that.

    As for Jerry, he is not chopped liver (a little bonus story about Willie being confused in there). From '98 to '03, he owned a 500-471 record which is good for a .515 winning%. He finished 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 3rd, 2nd, and 2nd during his reign as a manager and has four winning seasons on his resume with two losing seasons with one AL manager of the year award in 2000. The team is familiar with him and he is familiar with the team so I am optimistic that things will go as smoothly as they can.

    As for Peterson, it seems there were other factors at play with him. The Mets have done well under his watch in terms of pitching, but Mulder and Hudson had issues with him and it is very possible that he rubbed a lot of pitchers and other people in the organization the wrong way. I liked him and will be unhappy to see him go, but it seems to me that people were maybe sick of him and felt a change was needed there.

    * * *

  • Some people just don't get it.

    mets33196 Jun 16, 2008 11:01:50 AM Report Offensive Post
    its no big secret Baseball is a white man sport...just look at the fan crowds...especially Shea. Most bloggers here are white...therefore the FIRE Minaya / Randolph cries. Its only because Minaya is Hispanic and Randolph black. And u most of u bloggers 99% are illiterate ignorant I D I O T S with no life. I am a white hispanic by the way....but most of u people are racist against hispanics....and blacks...bottom line. I bet u all believe Clemens is innocent and pure, yet Bonds is guilty from day one. U made that decision from day one....before the facts., yet Clemens the Bush lover Texan is still considered innocent. McNamee GOOOD JOB !!!!!!!!! and Good Luck

    Really? I mean, really?

  • This is a very amusing story.

  • There are so many things wrong with this article I hardly know where to start.

    Another coach who could be in jeopardy may be first-base coach Tom Nieto. If Nieto is fired, that could be viewed as a warning shot by Randolph, as Nieto and Randolph have a solid working relationship from their days together with the Yankees. But at this point, Randolph doesn't need any more warning shots.

    If this had happened, it would have been deplorable. This team needed a shake up and it was going to come in the form of firing your first base coach to send your incompetent manager a message? What exactly would that do for Randolph? I am to believe that is going to make him better? Getting rid of him was the right thing to do.

  • Ted Berg has a nice article about the state of the Mets.

  • Beltran and Heilman helped out the Mets efforts to try and end the game with more runs on the board than the other team. It is good to see Beltran's average inch up more his power numbers increase as well. His OPS+ is equal to his 2007 OPS+ when he knocked 33 homers and drove in 112 runs, so I think he is doing a bit better than many people think.

  • Buster attempt to layout what possibly goes on in the Mets personnel meetings but comes eerily close to what my actual relationship sounds like.

    The personnel meetings the Mets hold are said by participants to run on for hours, the discussion often turning circular and pointless. And maybe that's when it starts to happen in their organization when they get to the point where the staff members are so beaten down emotionally and intellectually that they don't have the ability to stand up and scream: Are you people crazy? Are you serious? Because this is a really bad idea -- no, no, wait, let's go one step further: It's really just flat-out nuts.

    Scary. But one does have to wonder what the hell is going on in those meetings? Randolph should have been gone long ago and they certainly have had better opportunities to do so. I mean, they do have to consider the PR aspect of things, no?
  • Labels: ,

    Monday, June 16, 2008

    Progress, But No Results

    I prefer results oriented activities, but some people are looking at the silver lining in this 3-7 skid the Mets are mired in.

    "We have to dig down deeper, and I think we have," Randolph said. "It might not show in our record, but we are starting to play better. We have to start making our own breaks." As for his situation, he said it is not weighing on the players, noting some may like him and some may not. Everyone is always so concerned about the fragile psyches of ballplayers. Here's a tip - just go out and play.

    I typically would not expect him to say anything else because he cannot be outright negative, but I think everyone is past the point of sugar coating things. There is one thing about Willie that has made him a bit more endearing these days and it was his stand up comedy performance during the post game on Friday. Frankly, I like that side of him a bit more and maybe he should let that permeate his entire being and maybe he should be showing a bit more personality. Of course, that makes him more fun of a manager, but that still does not cover up his shortcomings as a tactical manager.

    That being said, I think things have gone a bit out of control. The entire Pelfrey thing was ridiculous, the Pedro chants were silly, etc. Everyone is now getting on him for non-issues. I have seen Willie do plenty of egregious things and they helped build my disdain for him as a manager, but he simply cannot win these days. It has gotten to the point that actual sound baseball decisions are being scrutinized and this my friends, is not good.

    I have not wanted him since his facial hair edict but I have discovered that I actually do have a heart and actually feel bad for him. There should be a different manager leading this ballclub, but I just hope everyone can keep perspective whilst this ridiculousness is going on.

    * * *

  • A little Michael Iona chatter.

    I would actually love to see the A's make that type of splash. It is always nice to see smaller market teams jump into the fray on these types of players and if the Mets do not get him, Oak-town would be a great landing spot.

  • By way of tc, a 3-d look at the new home of the Mets.

  • It is always good when Johan Keri weighs in on anything and especially so when it is on the Mets.

    All those teams did a better job of scouting and player acquisition than the Mets did. They also did so with smaller payrolls, in some cases much smaller.

    They say necessity is the mother of invention. Maybe necessity is what the Mets have been missing.

    Part of their '06 success is exactly what Jonah is talking about. These kind of lightening in a bottle scenarios happen every year and typically propel a certain team to, and possibly through, the playoffs.

    There were a few people who look really smart stating that the Mets were due to regress in 2007 as a result of the likes of Valentin, Oliver, Chavez, etc. playing over their heads and the unlikelihood that Omar would be able to replace their unrealistic output.

  • Willie gate is getting ugly.

  • The rumor mill is churning.

    Sources have told the Daily News that principal owner Fred Wilpon and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon have authorized Minaya to fire Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto. Bench coach Jerry Manuel would ascend to manager if Randolph is ousted, while Triple-A New Orleans manager Ken Oberkfell and pitching coach Dan Warthen would join the major league staff.

    The ever-looming presence of Kenny.... Everyone is on notice these days.

  • Church is feeling better these days.

    “I’m improving every day, getting better,” he said. “I haven’t had any dizzy spells. Now it’s just about waiting out the time on the DL. Everything is completely gone.”

  • Cocaine helped the Mets land Keith Hernandez.

  • Wally has some pointed things to say about the Mets.

    These $140-million Mets are looking more and more like a one-run horse, and that run is now almost two years in the past. Someone has to take the fall and as always, the ready-made scapegoat is the manager.

    Randolph's big mistake, it turns out, was his failure to understand the modern ballplayer, many of whom make more for one season than he made for an entire career but still need to be "motivated" by someone else. Randolph, in his own way more a self-made man than Fred Wilpon, thought he was coming here to be a manager, not a kennel-keeper. He arrived a grown man and expected to work with other grown men, in his clubhouse and the front office.

    On the surface, you would have to agree with him. We cannot 100% for sure know if this is true, but it sure seems true, doesn't it? That still does not change the fact that Willie is not a good tactical manager, but it certainly adds another dynamic to his non-self imposed

  • Here come the Yankees....

    They are now three games over .500 and feel like a different team. There was some debate on the Boomer and Carton Show about who is in a better position to make the playoffs. The Mets and Yankees are both five losses behind the division leader, but the Red Sox were a more formidable opponent than the Phillies. However, the Yankees took a while to get a healthy team on the field and did not gel until late in the year and Mets are still mired in a funk with a healthy team.

    Alou is done for and Church will be great to get back, but the shake ups on the Yankee side that are getting situated have a much greater impact to their push for the pennant than the Mets. The x-factor here is that the Yankees might have lost Wang for the majority of the remainder of the 2008 season, but I still have more faith in Kennedy and Hughes straightening out a bit more to give some meaningful innings than say Delgado or Castillo turning things around and dropping down some quality production.

    The Yankees are looking to be in a much better position these days and I do not think it is all that much debatable. Wang is a big loss, but at least if they so choose, they have more bullets to get some sort of a deal done to replace his innings than the Mets would have to augment their current team and production via a trade.

    Labels: ,