Beer and fried chicken? Amateurs! The late 90s Mets had a “porn room”

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This is just silly on top of silly now, which is what makes it so much fun.

Al Leiter was on the Dan Patrick Show today talking about the Red Sox and their beer, chicken and video games clubhouse.  The tone of the conversation was one with which I totally agree: they’re grownups and ballplayers and while everyone is making a big deal out of all of this now, let’s be realistic and admit that it’s much ado about nothing. Sure, you don’t want your athletes getting fat, but let’s not pretend that that there has been some moral or ethical breakdown in Boston, OK?  If the Red Sox pitchers were spending their time with salads, mineral water and canasta we probably wouldn’t make anything of this.

Or if it was porn for that matter.

Why porn?  Because Patrick asked Leiter if it was true that the Mets teams of the late-90s and early oughts had a “porn room.”  Which, while it sounds salacious, is really just a way of implying that boys have always been boys and it will forever be thus.  “Porn room?” Big deal. It’s not like every frat house, locker room and ship in the United States Navy isn’t lousy with such things.

Except the question kind of rattled Leiter. You can watch the video over at SportsGrid.  Anyone who has ever tried to first joke away and then sort of explain away a mildly embarrassing truth will recognize Leiter’s vamping toward an answer.  And Patrick’s smiling.  Whether the Mets really did have a porn room back then was an open question when Patrick asked it, but I think the matter was more or less settled by the time Leiter was done answering.

I don’t care a lick that a bunch of professional athletes had a “porn room.”  I’d probably be more worried about the state of young athletes in this nation if they didn’t have one.  But you can’t listen to Leiter try to talk his way out of having to answer that question without laughing.

Between that an all of the fried chicken stuff, this has been the best beginning to the offseason in a good five years.

Brad Ausmus out as Tigers manager

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The Tigers just announced that they will not be bringing Brad Ausmus back as manager in 2018. His contract was going to be up at the end of this season and they have decided not to renew it. Ausmus and his staff will manage the club for the final week of the season.

In the press release announcing the move, Tigers GM Al Avila said “[a]s we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it’s best that we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position.” He went on to praise Ausmus for “doing an admirable job under difficult circumstances, especially this season,” a clear reference to the club’s decision at mid-season to blow things up. Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez were traded in July and August, as were some more minor players. The club is clearly embarking on a lengthy rebuild of which Ausmus, who was brought in four years ago to lead a contending team, will not be a part.

In his four seasons at the helm the Tigers are 312-325. He won 90 games and the AL Central in his first season in 2014, but the Tigers were swept out of the ALDS in three games. In the past three seasons they finished fifth, second and will either finish in fourth or fifth this year. Injuries and poor bullpens have been the biggest problem, but clearly this Tigers team was supposed to win more over the past four years.

It’s unclear what direction the Tigers will take in their managerial search, but it’s clear they’re going to go outside of the organization, as Avila said in his statement that the status of the current coaching staff will be contingent on the wishes of whatever new manager they hire.

Happy trails, Brad Ausmus. Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager is now Baseball’s Most Handsome Unemployed coach.

The Mets are doing something really weird with Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey

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Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that the Mets are going to give Noah Syndergaard the start for tomorrow’s game. But here’s the hitch: he’ll only get one inning and then Matt Harvey will enter in the second inning and go from there. Harvey was originally scheduled to take the start. Syndergaard, of course, has been out since April. Harvey has been pitching under the loosest definition of the term.

I can see, if they are intent on putting Syndergaard in a real game, having him start one rather than come in out of the bullpen for purposes of preparation and routine. At the same time, however, if he’s only able to throw one inning at this point, with a little over a week left in the season, what’s the point of him pitching at all? As for Harvey relieving: he’s kind of a mess right now. Is he someone whose routine you really want to throw off?

I guess this doesn’t hurt anything — at least as long as Syndergaard doesn’t hurt himself throwing in a meaningless game at the end of the season — but it certainly is odd. It makes me wonder if this is some sort of “Dave” or “Moon Over Parador” situation in which the Mets are just trying to create the impression that Syndergaard is still alive.

Could Kevin Klein pitch an inning? Richard Dreyfuss?