I still can’t believe the Mets unloaded Jeff Francoeur on someone. Can believe even less that they actually got a carbon-based life form in return. Yeah, I know that Joaquin Arias is close to worthless as a ballplayer, but when you’re trading this kind of thing you can’t expect anything in return at all.
Good show by Omar Minaya for unloading dead weight. The Mets season may be over, but simply not having Francoeur around when the season ends is savvy, because the temptation to actually offer him arbitration this winter is no longer operative. And I bet there’s at least someone in Mets land who would consider doing such a thing because, after all, Francoeur is a veteran, and you can’t go young in New York.
About that: yesterday I ripped Omar Minaya for saying that rebuilding with youth is impossible in New York. It would seem, however, that the notion is not his own. Rather, it’s an ownership thing. The evidence for this? Check out what former Mets GM Steve Phillips told Friend-of-the-Blog (and Hofstra blogger!) Jerry Beach — then writing for E-SportsNation.com — eight years ago:
don’t think we’ll ever go to that rebuilding state, where we go with
all young players. I think the history shows that you
need a certain amount of experience to win. There may be some young
teams that can do it, but typically, teams that win have a certain level
“[Smaller market teams] live with those growing pains longer
than, a lot of times, larger market clubs do because we tend to go more
experience. And in New York, growing pains for young players are
sometimes tough to wait on. There’s an expectation for a larger market
team to spend money, to spend what they’re capable of spending.
don’t think [the Mets would undergo a complete rebuilding process]
unless there’s some dramatic change. But I would still
think in New York that we’ll have options maybe that others might not be
able to consider.”
I realize that Omar and Steve have some things in common (i.e. being not-very-good general managers) but this sounds like marching orders from the Wilpons to me. No kids. Can’t tear it down. Just wouldn’t fly in New York.
Which puts me in mind of what a wise old man once said.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.