Well the winter season MLB meetings are over , baseball is doing its level best to remain in the mainstream. The ‘NFL is still King , baby’ and don’t you forget it ! And at this point of the season it is essentially all that they (MLB) can do. MLB itself , becomes about as interesting at this time of the year as a speech being given by a member of Congress on the country’s trade deficit. We all know its there and it hasn’t really improved at all on a month, to month basis. What little improvement that comes about incrementally, economists are gleaning over like ‘Cheshire cats’, trying to tell us that the economy is changing course and we’re gradually moving out of a recession. Any statistic can be read differently , to garner whatever information what you want put forth. Much like the asinine statements you tend to hear coming from Bud Selig on the financial health and state of the game.
Trades asides and the signing of free agents , all the fans can do at this stage, is to speculate what those maneuvers will mean for their teams.
Omar Minaya speaks here about the ‘Tony Bernazard firing’ and the fallout from it all. Clearly a person who when he’s stressed, doesn’t like the spotlight of the media upon him .
And speaking of health , how is that the New York Mets GM , Omar Minaya still remains in a position of power after all that he’s done to all but ruin the organization? Essentially as the General Manager and de-facto ear of the owner , he’s entrusted in making sure that the best talent available is placed on the field, at the behest of the manager, Jerry Manuel and the manager’s coaching staff. Never mind the fact that Fred Wilpon, the team’s owner , might not live to the current team win another World Series at this stage of life. The septuagenarian has seen a great deal over the course of famed career as a businessman and entrepreneur. But for the lone World Series’ triumph in 1986 over the Boston Red Sox, with that improbable ending. Fred Wilpon still yearns for another championship for his organization.
The Mets have been an abysmal organization over the past five years and much like a race horse with a great deal of speed and not much stamina, or shall we call it saying power ? Each year over the past five seasons they’ve fallen out of contention in the NL East divisional race. Much of the time through their own sheer ineptitude. Many also place this upon the injuries suffered by star players at inappropriate times during the regular season. But I consider this as a poor excuse for an organization with its vast financial resources and its so called ‘stocked farm system’. Obviously the so called farm system isn’t as burgeoned with talent as first thought.
Courtesy of New York Daily News
By John Harper , New York Daily News
The way the winter was going, it seemed inevitable that some other team would jump in and steal Jason Bay at the last minute. Only it didn’t happen, and so while Bay is hardly a cure-all for the Mets, landing him is at least reason for them to believe that the curse of 2009 won’t carry over into 2010.
GM Omar Minaya and Mets ownership still have plenty of work to do, but you have to give them credit for playing the Bay negotiations exactly right, as it turned out.
Considering the mounting pressure on them to make a big splash, the Mets had to seriously weigh the PR value of offering the fifth year that Bay’s agent was demanding, just to get the deal done. Still they were determined not to get suckered, not to bid against themselves when they were convinced no other team was seriously pursuing Bay.
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The unfortunate thing for the New York Mets in all of this , is that their crosstown neighbor and rival, the New York Yankees are now once again back atop of the ‘baseball world pecking order’, as World Series champions. And they too, like the Yankees have essentially spent their way to their present situations. In the case of the Yankees however, they’ve been able get the right stars at the premium prices and simply plug them into an organization that has been built for continued success over the years. Whereas, the Mets just continue to plug away with assorted pieces , that in some respects are like that of a jig saw puzzle . But what Minaya and the team’s manager Jerry Manuel and Manuel’s predecessor, Willie Randolph, had failed to realize, is that when the pieces are ill suited for the puzzle, there’s no way in hell that you can attain success. But yet they continue to repeat the process over and over again.
Stars have come and gone within the Mets’ organization and some have remained. And it has been the same also in terms of the managers of the organization. On average they’ve lasted no more than three years over the last three decades. The longest tenured manager over that period was and still is ,Davey Johnson (1984-90). Whose six year tenure with the team brought them their only World Series win.
Fans of the Mets have seemingly remained patient and loyal, though some have also been very vocal in what they see as the lax attitude taken by the organization in showing a real determination to become competitive. They’ve gone out and spent money either on aging veterans who’ve passed their prime or in some cases on players who’ve struck lightning in a bottle in terms of their form over a short period of time and then hit ‘pay dirt’ when pursued and then signed to a monumentally exorbitant contract. See Carlos Beltran ! Prodigious and prolific for the Houston Astros , not so for the Mets and on it goes . And much of that is down to Minaya and his haste to always try and outdo the Yankees. It’s like giving the keys to a drunk driver and then asking him if he’s able to drive you home . You know no good is going to come of it and it is the same with the personnel moves of Omar Minaya.
Another situation that the fans will also find exacerbating about this Mets’ team , is that it doesn’t posses anyone who’s prepared to be a team leader on or off the field. It certainly hasn’t come from Carlos Delgado, for all of his heroics. And it most certainly hasn’t come from David Wright their so called ‘glamor boy’ and best player. And when they did rise to the occasion with the determination shown by their ace pitcher, Johan Santana, his teammates reciprocated by either performing poor defensively , or gave him no run support whatsoever. Minaya’s insight into sound judgement when it comes to personnel decisions for the Mets border on being asinine and is akin to the sort of ineptitude that was shown in later stages of George W Bush’s second term in office by his administration. The danger signs were there but there was never any sound decisions being made. Something of which, it appears his successor , President, Barack Obama seems to want to painstakingly follow on with, in some of his decision making. You can have, print or borrow all of the money in the world. But you’d better know how the hell to spend it judiciously and you’d better be able to explain yourself succinctly when you screw things up. And it appears to be something in common that this triumvirate has . As to either of them offering up a comprehensive and succinct answer. I’ll leave that up to you , to decide ! Make of it what you will.
If the New York Met are to compete for the NL East division as well as the NL Pennant, then they’d better be ready to deal with the ever present Philadelphia Phillies, present division champion and NL Pennant holder. Also too, there are the Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins and the lackluster Washington Nationals bringing up the rear. The bone of contention will be which teams amongst the triumvirate of the Braves , Marlins and Mets will step up to challenge the supremacy of the Phillies within the division ? This question and whole lot more will need to be answered most certainly by the Mets and the the duo of the Braves and Marlins.
And in what will be Braves’ manager , Bobby Cox’s final season. This Atlanta Braves’ team will be looking to send him off with one last big stab at winning a divisional title and perhaps another World Series. And as remote as those chances might appear to be. Look for the Braves to pursue this with a great deal of gusto. And as to the chances of the Florida Marlins ? Well that will be down to the progress that has been made by this young team under the direction of their manager, Fredi Gonzalez. And if they’re to fulfill the promise shown last year , then the likes of Dan Uggla, Cameron Maybin and their All Star short-stop, Hanley Ramirez , will have to be extremely productive – the same can be said of their pitching.
The Phillies for their part coming off last season’s loss in the World Series to the Yankees will look to regroup and replenish their roster. And that’s something which they appear to have done with such urgency, that the swiftness in its execution was staggering. They traded Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners and in his place they acquired former Blue Jays’ ace, Roy Halladay. Talk about addition by subtraction ? Wow, this is just stupendous. They are the ‘clear favorites’ in the entire National League (NL) to make a third consecutive trip to the World Series. Perhaps the only thing that could deter them from that might just be ‘divine intervention’ from up above ? And if the baseball gods are listening and they love the New York Mets , then perhaps they could provide some assistance ? I’m no Mets’ fan but Omar Minaya certainly hasn’t been helping the organization’s cause with many of his personnel moves in recent years. Can I get an amen here ? Amen, amen , hallelujah !
With the Mets acquiring Jason Bay as a free agent and then signing him to a four year $65 million contract , this may or may not be the last singular personnel move made by Minaya. God knows the moves that he’s made haven’t exactly panned out. They’d be deemed a disaster in certain cases and in others, well the jury is still out. And as I much as I like to see teams strive in their drive for excellence. I can’t but now wonder how much more the Wilpon family can withstand in the depletion of their overall wealth. Especially as it has been rumored that the family may well have lost in excess of $ 500 million in the Bernie Madoff ‘Ponzi Scheme’.
Not the sort of money that any affluent billionaire can afford to lose in these uncertain economic times. A million here or a million here. But a half a billion dollars ? Holy shit ! I’m surprised that no one has put ‘a hit’ out on Madoff , as of yet ! But I’ve no doubt that he’s been well taken care of in the Federal Prison system. Well at least I’d like to think so , but in a certain type of way. Can I suggest that he’ll become a ‘pillow biter’ while a prison inmate has his way with Madoff in certain way,sexually ? Here’s hoping anyway !
Well alas, this piece must end though not on a somber note. The travails of the New York Mets have been well documented in recent years and I expect that to be continued for the foreseeable future. I mean, life in general when it comes to sports in the ‘Big Apple’ is tied primarily to the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Islanders, Rangers and the Buffalo Bills. And each of them in their own way will run the wrath and adulation in the print media as the case maybe. And things being what they are, it appears the Mets and Knicks are on the receiving end of it all in terms of their wrath at the moment. No need for me then to pile on them anymore . I think that the New York print media, sports talk show hosts and tv broadcasters are just doing fine all by themselves with regard to this matter.