Former Mets general manager Frank Cashen — the man who built the 1986 World Series champs — has died at age 88. Mets owner Fred Wilpon released a statement:
“On behalf of all of us at the Mets, we extend our deepest condolences to Jean Cashen and her entire family. Frank Cashen revitalized our franchise when he took over in 1980 as general manager and helped engineer us to a world championship in 1986.
“I dealt with Frank on a daily basis and he was a man of integrity and great passion. No one had a more diverse career than Frank. He was also a lawyer, sports writer and marketing executive. His accomplishments will always be an integral part of our team history.”
Among Cashen’s key moves in building the Met teams of the mid-to-late 80s: acquiring Keith Hernandez from the Cardinals, trading for Gary Carter and helping build a farm system that produced a number of great talents like Dwight Gooden and Daryl Strawberry.
Cashen’s legacy is not just with the Mets, however. As Wilpon’s statement noted, he was a lawyer and a well-respected sports writer before getting into baseball. He leveraged a job with a Baltimore brewer into one with the Orioles when the brewer, National Brewing Company, bought the team. Cashen and his general manager, Harry Dalton, engineered the Frank Robinson trade, hied Earl Weaver and laid the groundwork that brought the Orioles championships in 1966 and 1970 and won pennants in 1969 and 1970 as well. After some time out of baseball, he joined MLB’s offices under Bowie Kuhn before moving on to the Mets.
Major League Baseball wants to give the United Kingdom a taste of America’s pastime when the Yankees and Red Sox visit next month. Based on the playing surface they’re going to use, however, they may as well have sent the Blue Jays and the Rays:
Major League Baseball has access to Olympic Stadium for 21 days before the games on June 29 and 30, the sport’s first regular-season contests in Europe, and just five days after to clear out. The league concluded that there was not enough time to install real grass.
Starting June 6, gravel will be placed over the covering protecting West Ham’s grass soccer pitch and the running track that is a legacy from the 2012 Olympics. The artificial turf baseball field, similar to modern surfaces used by a few big league clubs, will be installed atop that.
At least they will not use the old-style sliding pits/turf infield that you used to always see. That’ll all be dirt. There are comments in the article about how it’s a cost savings too since they’re going back next year and won’t have to bulldoze and re-grow grass. Aaron Boone and Xander Bogaerts were asked and they don’t seem to care since it’s similar to the surface they play on in Toronto or down in Florida against the Rays.
Still, this whole deal is not aimed at doing whatever is minimally necessary to pull off a ballgame. It’s supposed to be a showcase on a global stage in a world capital. I have no idea how anyone thinks that doing that on a surface everyone has decided is obsolete for baseball playing purposes unless the ballpark is either outdated or in an arid environment is a good idea.
It’s certainly not baseball putting its best foot forward. Major League Baseball could’ve avoided this by choosing a different venue or even building a temporary one like MLB has done on a few occasions in the past. That, I suppose, would limit the revenue-generation capacity of these games, however, that’s off the table in the Rob Manfred Era.
Yankees and Red Sox on turf. What a decision.