May 29, 2008

On The Mets, Willie, Baseball and Everything Else...

By Michael Rubin (Guest Blogger)

My brother, David, asked me to write a column, so here goes...for better or worse...don't want to disappoint my (much older) brother...

About Me:

First off, for full disclosure, I am currently employed by a New York Mets sponsor, Nikon, and I do occasionally have the good fortune of photographing some games and do have some inside insight into the operation of the team. I've been lucky enough to have some of my shots published at both at MLB.com and around the Internet. I'll also admit that I am biased, not because of my job or my good friends inside the organization, but because I am a life long and long-suffering Mets fan. But enough about me...


Mets Fans vs. Yankees Fans
:

My late father Al, of blessed memory, and older brother David, one of the editors/bloggers/owners of this site, made me a Mets fan and I frankly thank them both for that. [Editor's Note: No, I am NOT a sadist and do not enjoy seeing my baby brother in pain! I just liked sharing it with him...] It's far easier to be a Mets fan because you appreciate winning and don't take it for granted. I think you have more real emotions and attachment to this team than you do for the crosstown Yankees. [Editor's Note: As our dad said- rooting for the Yankees' is easy, and like rooting for IBM.] And I'd be a liar if I didn't admit I wouldn't mind 26 World Series Championships! However, Yankee fans can't say 1969 and 1986.

Mets fans share those years even if they weren't alive when they won. We unify and unite around those years. Yankee fans can't ever do that...Again, I don't discount Yankee fans feelings, baseball knowledge (although Mets fans do tend to have better knowledge-maybe because we don't have the ridiculous DH rule) or their great history; as a matter of fact, I truly appreciate their history. Some of my all-time favorite players include DiMaggio, Maris, Mantle, Ford, Reggie (yes, Reggie), and of course, Babe Ruth. I was even fortunate enough to meet Mantle (and Joe Pepitone) at a baseball card show at Hofstra University in the 1970's and was graduated from Columbia University with Joe DiMaggio (his degree was honorary). [Editor's Note: The family was split that day- was it more exciting seeing my brother graduate, and no more $$$ to the Ivy League school, or was it more exciting to see the "Yankee Clipper" live and in person on the same stage with him- is it okay if I say "tie goes to the runner?" Just kidding, Michael...or AM I?] Both were thrills. I don't remember much about my graduation, but I can vividly remember Joe and the whole University graduating class chanting "Joe! Joe! Joe!" and my dad telling me I should have gotten an autograph. Dad was right. A few months later I saw "Columbia Magazine" with coverage of my graduation and Joe signing autographs for anyone who wanted...(cue "My Way" "Regrets...I have a few...").

Roger Clemens:

Roger Clemens is a scoundrel. Period. I fault him over all other steroid users. Why? He lied. Until Pete Rose is in the Hall of Fame (where he rightfully belongs), there is no way Clemens should ever be enshrined...I won't judge his off-field activities except to say that if he did indeed have an affair with a 15 year old, then he should be in jail. Pete Rose belongs in the Hall as does Barry Bonds for now...



Willie Randolph & Managing
:

The fish stinks from the head down...usually...but then that would mean Omar or even the Wilpon's are to blame...Ultimately there is enough blame to go around. First and foremost, the Mets players need to take responsibility for their individual and collective bad play. Second the coaches need to do this as well. I am done with Rick Petersen. I think he has made more players into head cases than done good for their pitching. Willie Randolph=Joe Torre Lite ---Willie manages just like Joe Torre. Willie can't rely on Petersen the way Torre could rely on Mel Stottlemyre. He's no Mel S! The Mets need to hire Leo Mazzone or another top caliber pitching coach. Just realize that players who played 1 year or more with Mazzone as pitching coach lowered their ERA by 0.64 runs. Those who left after more than 1 year with Mazzone raised their ERA by 0.78 runs. Mazzone gives your pitchers nearly 2/3 run per game advantage. That is no small feat.

Willie Randolph, the "Race" Card and May=Early in the Season:

Willie was wrong and he knows he was wrong and admitted he was wrong. Let it go, it's over and a non-issue, and Willie remains a first class human being. The Mets are a very diverse organization from top to bottom - a role model on so many levels. Therefore, the good news-Omar and the Wilpon's were forced to show their hand and give Willie a vote of confidence. It also may have lit a fire under this team-finally-at home against the Florida Marlins...that or the Mets are just playing to the level of their competition-again. Let's face facts--it's only May and we are saying the sky is falling. Taking this year in isolation, most would agree. However, coming after last year's debacle-when this team ran out of gas, it looked like a mere continuation. We have a few months to turn it around and the Mets are only 4.5 games out of first. Everyone knows from last year that is not a safe lead...The reality is, for last year, I blame Petersen for not conditioning his pitchers well enough. He is way too cerebral and I believe doesn't concentrate on the physical fundamentals enough. Pitchers are nuts. Relief pitchers are insane. Closers are Bluto Blutarsky. That's just the way it is- but keep their bodies in shape and their minds will follow...And while I am ranting, I long for the days of guys pitching every 4 days and the 4 man rotation. 5 man rotations makes no sense. Some of these guys used to pitch a double-header on 2 days rest!

With that, I am off to dream of Mets victories past and future...

Thanks, Michael, and I can't wait to take my best buddy, my nephew/your son, Gavin, to his first Mets' game in September. Hey- he'll be 3 and ready for his first lesson on being a fan...and yes, folks, in spite of exposing him to the Mets at such a young age, Michael really DOES love him...and so do I...being a Mets' fan is just in the blood...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the Mets - can you get me a free Nikon???

Anonymous said...

I love the Mets, too- even more- and I read this blog daily! Can I GET A FREE NIKON INSTEAD???

Anonymous said...

You bring up some good points. Being a Mets' fan means getting used to the ups and downs, and Yankees fans haven't had to go through that kind of thing in a lot (too many) years. Being a Yankee fan prepares you for a fantasy world...being a Mets fan teaches you about real life- I just wish more of that fantasy would intrude at some point and we'd win another Series!!!

Anonymous said...

Willie hasn't been "the man" for us since he started- that's not going to change any time soon. We might win in spite of him, but I'm not holding my breath.

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