Thursday, December 29, 2005

Talkin' Baseball

I'm a baseball fanatic. Have been since I was 10. I'm a die-hard Mets fan. I was there during the lean years in the late '70s and early '80s. My wife gets a good laugh when I pull out my old yearbooks and show her the futile stats of such a woeful team. There were half a dozen players on the 1977 team with 12 or less RBI's for the season. But I was a naive little boy who rooted for them all through the season, despite their obvious inadequacies on the field. Of course things got great in the mid 1980s and the Mets kicked everyone's asses. They kicked sand in their opponents' face. But they deserved to after the way they had been laughed at in previous years. I hated all the people that jumped on their bandwagon in the '80s. Where were they during the last place seasons? Sort of like the Yankees today. I see "fans" everywhere with Yankee emblems. But where were they in the late '80's and early '90s? Who remembers Stump Merrill, Andre Robertson, Bobby Meachem, Ed Whitson, Pags and Kevin Maas? These are questions I ask people who claim to be Yankees fans. If they don't recall these names then they're just hitching on the bandwagon. They'd just as soon be wearing Washington National jerseys if it was popular. I hate the Yankees and always will. But I know more about them than most of their so-called fans today.

Anyway, I just wanted to vent a bit on recent trades and Free Agent moves.
First: it's great the Mets signed Billy Wagner. An ace closer is a big key to winning a pennant.
I'm not so thrilled about trading for Carlos Delgado. He spurned the Mets last winter and I doubt the fans will appreciate him. Also, I've learned the last few years that first base is a key defensive position. I'd rather have a Gold Glove over there than a big bat. I can see Reyes and Wright throwing a few more balls down the line.

Second: the main reason for this entry is my opinion on Johnny Damon going to the Yankees. I'm still stunned by this, but I have to blame Boston more than Damon. Damon was a decent player buried in the anonymity of Kansas City. He had a dismal season with Oakland, though slightly redeemed himself with his post-season performance. But he really took off in Boston. He was made for that team. The lack of foul territory in Boston helps anyone's average. Plus the chemistry of that team and the Boston fans really sparked Damon into life. I'm a Mets fan first and always, but thanks to the Extra Innings baseball package I became a Red Sox fan. I love watching games with Jerry Remy and Don Orso(sp?) announcing. I loved the dramatics of the Red Sox coming from behind in the late innings. I loved watching Damon with his long hair and beard. And I'll never forget the ageless Vin Scully saying, "He looks like Charles Manson out there."

So then Damon joins the arch enemy Yankees. The obvious question with that is, "is there no loyalty in baseball?" I was more than a bit peeved to say the least. But then I heard that the Yankees' offer was only good until midnight. Had Damon turned it down he would have had no bargaining advantage. The Sox and any other team could have made any offer they wanted and Johnny would be screwed. So I have to blame the Red Sox in this. And looking back, it seems the Red Sox will always be doomed for failure because of their ineptitude off the field. They let Roger Clemens go(though he had turned in a few subpar seasons at the time). There was the whole fiasco with Nomar--the man was a great leader on the field, but it all fell apart too soon. And the disaster with the Manny Ramirez-A.Rod trade. I think it's better in the end that they kept Manny, but the Sox really did make fools of themselves by not offering to pay the rest of A.Rod's salary. But not resigning Damon was the worst. He was the catalyst of the team. The heart.

So the Sox won in 2004. They had the team and the chemistry. They just don't have the management. I won't be surprised if it's another 86 years before they win again.


Blogger Original Blog-surfer said...

Hey like the blog, besides being one of the few english ones I can find, it is also well written and entertaining!

10:37 AM  
Blogger tim said...

Wagner will be good for you guys plus that position has been shaky for the Mets for a while now.

Being a Yankees fan (grew up in the Bronx so it was the natural choice), I am going to leave your new-found Sox love alone.
And I unfortunately remember all the "winners" you listed. The Yankess were so bad that I remember that they lost a no-hitter thrown by Andy Hawkins by a socre of 4 to 0 because of 3 outfield errors by Mel Hall and Roberto Kelly.
I missed the Reggie Jackson years and began to love the Yankees in 1980 and Dave Winfield was my hero. He was who I would impersonate during stickball games.
So I have had more bad years than good ones as a Yankess fan.

I agree with you that Boston management will cost that team many championships in the future. They do nothing to hold onto their marquee players. Whatever you say about the free-spending Yankees (and we spend), George tries to hold onto his players.
He also signs bums like Kevin Brown but I am hoping that this trend of Cashman running the show continues.
Plus I am glad that we have Damon. The idea of Bernie Williams starting CF was nauseating. retire Bernie!

11:52 AM  
Blogger exley said...

Funny you should mention that Hawkins no-no. I actually mentioned it in the original post and then removed it. That was the nadir of the Steinbrenner era (and wasn't Steinbrenner banned around that same time?). But I must admit I didn't hate them so much in the late '70s. I do miss the feisty Yankees of Billy Martin, Reggie, Munson, Lyle, etc. They were fun to watch both on and off the field. I've always felt that the Yankees of the past few years have lacked personality.
But any Yankee fan that can remember that Kelly and Hall made the errors in that Hawkins game must be a true fan.

1:56 PM  
Blogger tim said...

The last few years have lacked personality. Besides Mussina, the Yanks have brought in hired arms and then released or traded them away.
Two marquee players that Yank Fans have always hated are now key components (Randy and Shef) and it is tough to root for either one of them. I still am emotionally scarred from the 95 series versus the Mariners. When Pinella brought in Johnson to hold the Yanks and then Griffey scored on the Martinez double in the 11th. Fucking heart break! So fuck Randy!

I miss the 96 Yankees. Guys who were brought up on the farm (Jeter, Williams, Pettite, Rivera, Posada, Leyritz) and even our hired guns felt like Yankees (Key, O'Neill, Boggs), plus we had the Mets Coke Brothers and then we had some busts (Kenny Rogers, Cecil Fielder) but it felt like a team and not business; the way the last few years have felt.

6:30 PM  

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