Around the Horn: Mets try to take the Diamondback
This is Baxter. He's a bobcat. He eats squirels and scares children.
Strange games indeed lately. Salvaging one game from the Fish was clearly not good enough, and the Mets have to keep pace with the never-loose Br*ves. Nor were metsfans enthused over mental lapses (Reyes decides to be nice and not tag out a base swiper) and sloppy defense (come on down Damion and David) and baserunning gaffes on prime exhibit against Florida. Having hopefully gotten the yips out, the Mets head to Arizona, where baseball has been berry berry good to them in recent years. And they bring what looks like a rejuvinated David Wright bat, and some decent starting pitching. But these are not last year's D-Backs, so expect a challenging games, tonight from one of the Major League's growing number of Micah's. And for you out of towners, pray for Gary and Keith, as I remember the Arizona broadcasting team being pretty tough on the ears.
Speaking of Gary and Keith, a note about the SNY broadcasts. Keith mentioned the other night that he was approached by a guy who told him that the SNY guys talk too much. Everyone in the booth laughed, and proceeded to go on their merry talkative ways. Now I don't think they talk too much all the time, and I prefer the intelligent and loose commentary of our current team to any other I've heard. "Letting the game speak for itself" oftentimes is a myth perpetrated by dullards like Joe Buck, who can't add any insight so explain their silence away in falsely reverential terms. I would listen to Keith Hernandez describe my own trip to the dentist. But the producers really are fucking up an otherwise fine broadcast when they let the interviews take over the game.
Simply put, the "Sights and Sounds of the Game" feature presented by Hummer, is as obnoxious and invasive as a real Hummer! I admit, I am biased against interviewing managers or other participants DURING the game on principle. But SNY is going even farther than that.
To wit, SNY, if you must drown out games with constant in-game interviews, please let us at least watch the game, and only the game. I know what Tom Seaver looks like, and if he isn't showing me how to grip a baseball, then let's just listen to him and watch the action. And there is no need for a split screen to watch a tiny little game AND Rick Downs "Syndrome" who probably doesn't know he's on camera. I too am enamored of Keith's pimp coat, but the booth camera is just a bit too active, if we are missing the game on the field.
Getting to third base
At metsblog, Anthony digs up a good story which raises the musical question: is Sandy Alomar a shitty third base coach?
I have no stats to back me, but until the last few games, I thought the job Sandy (the spitter's dad) was doing was remarkably, precisely because his work seemed in such a stark contrast to Acta's performance, which I only remember being head-scratching. I once suggested Acta be replaced by a traffic cone, and still have feelings of delight when the Mets play the Nats. Basically, I remember Acta as being a terrible third base coach, though I can't remember specific examples as to why now.
Now Roger Rubin is saying things like: "According to statistics from The Baseball Analysts, Acta was the seventh-best third base coach in the majors for not sending his baserunners into outs." This re-opens the case for me, and uses numbers, though laying the responsibility for all throw-outs on the head of the coach has the same environmental problem with isolating the culprit as how many stolen bases can be blamed on the catcher. The stat ignores the relevant environment--the context of the game and the involved players performance.
So I'm thinking, weren't most of Alomars 5 blunders, if we can blame him entirely, in the past few games? He seemed to be doing a pretty good job at a job which is only usually noticed when done poorly, like an umpire or stripper. However, how hard is it to look good when your clients include speedy Reyes and Beltran etc. It's like being Jessica Biel's hairdresser; you can make her look bad, but it ain't easy.
Willie and the Bus He Threw You Under
Willie thinks it's cool under there.
Rubin quotes Willie responding to the ridiculous case where center fielder Alfredo Amezaga threw out Carlos Delgado by a wide margin. (Note that Carlos, with a family to think of at home, declined to use his huge frame to knock the catcher over, as was required in days of yore.)
"It was a mistake to send him," he said. "That's pretty obvious when you have a guy thrown out like that."
"Next time around Sandy will read it a little better," Randolph said. "Basically it was a read. It happens once in awhile. I coached that base for 11 years. Sandy's been around for a long time. Every once in awhile you get a bad read. That's all it is."
Gotta love Willie's willingness to hang his subordinates and players out to dry at any given opportunity! Everyone knows something bad happened, but I wonder as I often do, what aim it serves commenting in the press, even if you are trying to be forgiving, you'll no doubt say something that could be taken the wrong way. I personally wonder if and when this proclivity will began to wear on Willies relationships with players and coaches, but I realize I am entirely alone in the blogosphere for noting this. If you don't believe me, check the Deuce, where I have occasionally kept track of some of them, involving Stash, Ahern, and the fans, for example.