It's Mets For Me: Off-Beat, Tangentially Relevant Mets Ruminations

Off Base Since 2005! Mets commentary from the counter-intuitive to the unintuitive and all the intuitives in between. ** "Through the use of humor and gross inaccuracy...a certain truth can be gained." Rob Perri ** (pester me or follow me @itsmetsforme on twitter)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Odds and Ends: Just Like the Wilpon's Finances and PR Strategy

Wilpolooza Continues...

*Sports Illustrated and Tom Verducci seem to have gotten scooped in terms of Fred Wilpon bombshells. Freddy's comments on his team's finances in the SI piece are more frightening--downright dire--but his musings on his players are muted:
Speaking about the Mets' prospects of improving with a smaller payroll, Wilpon said, "If we're fortunate enough, [catcher Josh] Thole can be the kind of player we think he can be. [First baseman Ike] Davis keeps progressing. Whoever is at second base progresses as a young player. The shortstop [Reyes] -- I know there's a great question about whether we can keep the shortstop, so we're preparing for that if that should happen. [Third baseman] David [Wright] we hope gets on track. [Outfielder Jason] Bay is good guy and a professional. Pagan comes back and he's not a totally expensive guy. Beltran will be elsewhere. We hope [Fernando] Martinez can take that spot. Now, he's fragile but he can hit."
Thus far, Fred's magazine tour is going swimmingly. Looking forward to what Popular Science, Juggs and the National Review can drag out of Fred in the coming months.

*You can listen in as Jose Reyes tries to answer the media with limited English skills: "He's the boss, he can say whatever he wants." Is the team shitty? "I don't know, because we believe in each other in this clubhouse." He doesn't care for an apology and...he can't "put too much stuff in his head."

Camera Kid doesn't deserve this shit.

The Freddy Fiasco is overshadowing a few important developments elsewhere on the interwebs, like:

More evidence that Lenny Dykstra was always bat shit crazy, as rediscovered by America's most well known teen exploitation/sports blog.

Statistics. If you're curious about the currently most popular way to evaluate defensive performance, check out this primer on UZR.

Gary Carter's situation, which we will know more about on Thursday

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Right Says Fred? Schmuck in New York Reveals Next Stage of Met's Blogger Outreach Program

2012 Mets Slogan revealed

Before I weigh in on the latest Fred Wilpon-related shit storm, let me request that you wake me when Saul "LOL" Katz does a profile in a literary magazine; it is my understanding he is the brains behind the operation anyway. Or, as we now know, he has the big balls behind the organization.

First, some optimism. One take would be to ignore the bluster and outrage from the Met fanboys and girls and believe that Fred Wilpon's off-hand comments quoted in the New Yorker this week revealed not how out of touch and impolitic he can be, but the organization's commitment to blogger outreach. Fred is more sophisticated than we give him credit for, cleverly using the hated mainstream media to send blog hits into the stratosphere.  Thank you Fred! Thank you!!

On the face of it, it looks like Freddy acquiesced to a participating in a largely sympathetic, positive profile that could help refurbish his image in light of the lawsuit ("I can see this team sucks and our stars have been disappointments and maybe I could have eased up on the Dodgers stuff when opening Citi"), then made the mistake of being quoted at games speaking a snide version of the truth. Jose Reyes' bizarre injury history will probably scare away the big dollars, David Wright's star has dimmed, and Carlos Beltran's contract, at least in terms of time lost to injuries, has been a disappointment. None of this, even his less than loving assessment of Beltran, is that controversial if you see it from the owner's perspective: on the field Beltran has been a revelation but injuries have made the contract much less valuable than it could have been. That is sacrilegious perspective, but pretty much true. Of course, good luck finding a Met fan that won't lay the blame on the Mets' brass, Citi field architects, medical team, and ownership for the Apple Core's disappointment.

The fan base, particularly emotional after the first ritual humiliation by the Yankees of the season, is not taking this too kindly. The more rational commentators are pissed too. Chief lobbyist Adam Rubin interprets it as a "pathetic" Wilpon taking shots at his stars summing it up thus: "Wilpon decides to mock nearly all of his top players, while comparing his team to a pile of poop." James K at AA has had it with the Mets dragging down their best players as though they were responsible for the Mess: Wilpon is a disgrace.

What is most difficult about being a critic of the Mets is that the team itself, through its various representatives, constantly outflanks those trying to make the case against them. There is almost no way to stir controversy about this team by making an outrageous, unfounded criticisms. Think Fred Wilpon is a buffoon? Here's some proof! Where is the fun in that?

The Mets seem to be on the constant look out for more egregious, embarrassing, and ponderous ways to humiliate themselves and their fans, be it essentially taking TARP money to sponsor their stadium during the most dire financial crisis of our lifetimes, accusing their critics in the media of wanting to join their organization, backing down when their "closer" who commits a violent felony in the family lounge, or searching for the biggest bus to throw their players under. The Wilpons pride themselves on their judgement of character, yet their star pitcher might be a rapist, their closer is a violent felon (did I mention that already?), their de facto banker is serving a 150 yr. sentence, their clubhouse manager seems to have been a common get the picture.

The Wilpons can't do anything right, but when they're wrong, they make it count: even the circumstances of their firings are ignominious. In a sad, sick way, that is what makes the contemporary Mets such a fascinating study. But that doesn't make it surprising. What is really new here in the latest Wilpon blunder? What should we worry about? Well I'd say the following:

As far as the past goes, we now know that the Mets paid Carlos Beltran based on his performance with the Astros during the playoffs. First of all, this revelation, if Fred is to be believed, adds to the sheer contingency of the Mets landing the gem of the Royals; we already know that Beltran offered his services at a discount to the Yankees, who foolishly passed.  Now we know not only that the Mets could (theoretically) have got Beltran for less, but that they evaluated his potential acquisition not on his remarkable performance over time but on some sensationalized playoff results.

In terms of the future, we can probably say that Fred's comments mean that it is less likely Reyes will be re-signed by the Mets. If I had to guess, it's not necessarily because Jose will feel insulted by Fred's comments and that will sway him or provoke him to go out and get "Crawford money"--players listen to the money most of the time and the Mets should have enough to pay him--but because the top of the Mets hierarchy harbors doubts about Reyes' value. You could read Fred's comments as laying the Mets cards on the table before a negotiation scenario, but I'm not feeling optimistic as I was before that Sandy Alderson's judgement would rule the day as far as Reyes' future with the Mets goes.

As CSTB notes, it is unlikely that Fred's recent bumbling will impact the Mets' ability to attract free agents in the future as long as they are willing to overpay.  So maybe it is Alderson's tenure that Mets fans might want to consider when condemning the Wilpon regime. First, would Alderson's administration survive an ownership change? For many Mets fans, Sandy Alderson and his moneyball pals represents the only hope for an intelligently run organization, rebuilt and competitive, in the near future. For better or for worse, the Wilpons and this hope may be tied together.  But I also wonder how Fred's comments will impact Sandy's process. In one interpretation, they may be giving him cover to make some very unpopular decisions in the near future. In another, they could be a signal to Sandy to start mentally packing his bags and escape this situation as soon as possible.

I think the Mets blargosphere should at least try to repay the Mets for all the hits our on-line diaries will get this week as fans shake their tiny fists and get OUTRAGED, so here is my modest contribution. How could LOL Katz and the Mets brass spin this article? Here is an alternative interpretation, based on some overlooked details in the New Yorker article:

*You love Mookie Wilson? So does Fred!
*You think the Mets are a shitty team? So does Fred!
*Are you cheap enough to buy senior citizen tickets to a movie when you're a millionaire? So is Fred!
*Did you share a room with your sister growing up? So did Fred!
*Confused by Japanese dining? So is Fred!
*Don't like bunting? Neither does Fred!!

You're welcome, Jay Horowitz.


Monday, May 09, 2011

Odds and Ends, in Honor of the Mets' 2011 Rotation

In a lost season such as this, fans and media are going to have to find something to discuss. The Alderson regime's impending dismantling of this sad sack group of underachievers, following an off-season of benign neglect, is on everybody's minds. The question that sells papers and banner ads is when Sandy's fire sale will get underway. Jose Reyes' looming free agency seems to be this week's story: will Sandy be able to or even want to re-sign the impish on-base challenged oft-injured human embodiment of the joy of baseball? In light of the team's finances and current basement residency, there is probably no reason for optimism that Alderson will make the kind of investment in Reyes needed to keep him. Now that the shortstop is healthy, his season is shaping up to be classic Jose with all the good and bad that entails. Old media might exagerate his bone-headedness, but the some of the younger commentator/enthusiasts out that there want to stick their heads in the sand about Jose's occasional lack of focus also have a creditability problem.

For the old guard's perspective, here's the Post's Mushnick:
* For all his talent Jose Reyes, at 27, still too often approaches the game like a T-Baller.
In the second inning Saturday, Reyes was picked off by the catcher because he paid zero attention as he meandered back to first. In the seventh, score tied and Reyes on second, he was thrown out at third on a ball hit to . . . shortstop!
Ron Darling, on Ch.11, spoke the self-evident: Inexcusable, “at this point in his career.”
Still, we’re told that Reyes’ enthusiasm is “infectious.” Is there a doctor in the house?

As much as it will pain me to watch Reyes work his magic for another team and then sign with the Yankees next season, I have to guess that Alderson has realized the Mets can finish in last place just as easily without Jose and will try to get some useful pieces for him at the trade deadline this season. This despite the fact that Alderson has noted that Mets fans "do not seem so disillusioned when cheering for" Jose. (Isn't that something?) I won't be surprised if Alderson rebuilds this team in his image once the finances are sorted out. Isn't that what we want?

Is it me or is it nearly f$#@! impossible to find a simple recap video on MLB's website? They break the damn games into a million highlights, I guess to appeal to all those baseball fans with a short attention spans (?!?) No one wants to see this piecemeal bullshit. The recaps need to be front and center, not buried or hidden amongst useless game fragments. But as with most things MLB, I can only shake my tiny fist because the MLB doesn't give a rats ass what its customers want.

When will MLB fans get sick of being gouged?  Pretty soon.

Is any pitcher afraid to face David Wright,  representing the tying run with two out in the bottom of the ninth? Why?

These Mets do pretty well against other lousy teams. But last place seems to suit them.


This blog is meant completely and entirely in jest, unless you count the angst, and is not meant to offend anyone, unless you are a Br*ves fan. It's not affiliated with Sterling, the Mets, common sense, good taste, or anything really.