Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Posts Tagged ‘Steve Phillips’

One Year Wonders

Posted by JD on February 22, 2011

As I was ranking Mets players with Presidential surnames, I noticed a few of them only had one year tenures with the team. This got me to wondering which one-year Mets were the most productive, and I was back on the Baseball Reference Play Index before I knew it. The results are listed below (as with the President list, I’m relying exclusively on the version of WAR (rWAR) used by Baseball Reference).

One note before we start: I omitted the best “one-year Met” from my list. Ike Davis had a 2.5 rWAR in his rookie year, which easily tops all of the other contenders. Seeing as how he’ll be the starting first baseman this season, I figured he didn’t technically qualify. If he suffers a career-ending injury before the season starts feel free to blame me for jinxing him. Now, on to the list:

10. Derek Bell (1.3 rWAR, 2000): A throw-in in the Mike Hampton deal (at least, that’s how I always looked at it); Bell was the starting right fielder for most of the 2000 season (a season ending injury late in the year prevented him from playing in the postseason). He slashed .266/.348/.425 in 624 plate appearances over 144 games. He added 18 home runs and 69 RBI, but his 98 OPS+ indicates that he was slightly below average for a right fielder.

My favorite Derek Bell memory has nothing to do with his time on the Mets. He signed a two-year deal with the Pirates after the 2000 to be their starting right fielder. When informed that he would have to compete for his starting job, Bell launched his infamous “Operation Shutdown”. From the Wikipedia:

“Nobody told me I was in competition. If there is competition, somebody better let me know. If there is competition, they better eliminate me out of the race and go ahead and do what they’re going to do with me. I ain’t never hit in spring training and I never will. If it ain’t settled with me out there, then they can trade me. I ain’t going out there to hurt myself in spring training battling for a job. If it is [a competition], then I’m going into ‘Operation Shutdown.’ Tell them exactly what I said. I haven’t competed for a job since 1991.”

That’s one of the best sports quotes I’ve ever heard, trailing only Latrell Sprewell’s “I got my family to feed” and Rasheed Wallace’s epic “As long as somebody CTC, at the end of the day I’m with them. For all you that don’t know what CTC means, that’s ‘Cut the Check.” If I ever re-name this blog, Cut The Check is the hands-down favorite to be the new name.

9. Richie Ashburn (1.3 rWAR, 1962): While technically tied with Bell, I couldn’t bring myself to equate a Hall of Famer with “Operation Shutdown”. After all, Ashburn played his final season with the inaugural 1962 Mets, which was inglorious enough. He slashed .306/.424/.393 and had a 122 OPS+, an incredible line for a 35 year-old. In fact, Whitey’s .424 OBP stood as the team record (minimum 400 at-bats, an entirely arbitrary threshold) until John Olerud topped it.

8. Rick Cerrone (1.4 rWAR, 1991): Even though I remember Cerrone on the Mets in 1991, I have always thought of him as a Yankee. That’s why I was surprised to learn that he played for six other teams (Cleveland, Toronto, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Boston, and Montreal). Another interesting factoid is that 1991 was the second most valuable season of his career (in terms of rWAR, at least), trailing only his 1980 season (3.9 rWAR for the Yankees).

6. & 7. Joe Foy and Duke Snider (1.4 rWAR, 1970 & 1963): We touched on Foy during the Presidential post, but I’ll say it again: just an unnecessary trade. Duke Snider’s story was similar to Ashburn’s in that he was a past-his-prime future Hall of Famer still hanging around. Unlike Ashburn, Snider had a connection to the Mets as one of the brightest stars of one of the franchises they were meant to replace, the Brooklyn Dodgers. Snider didn’t play much center for the Mets, appearing in only 11 games there in 1963, but while his bat was not up to his previous standards he did have an above-average OPS+ (115). He would finish his career in 1964 with the San Francisco, making him one of only four men to play for the Giants, Dodgers, and Mets. The other three are listed at the bottom of the post.

5. Dick Schofield (1.8 rWAR, 1992): Jayson Werth’s uncle was acquired from the then-California Angels along with a PTBNL (Julian Vasquez) for Julio Valera. Schofield was a defense-first shortstop with an excellent arm, but he was a pretty poor hitter. That’s being nice actually. According to the Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Schofield Schofield shares the record (with Mark Belanger) for most seasons with more than 400 at-bats and less than 100 hits with four. This seems like a bad thing, but it isn’t really. They are arbitrary thresholds, and some good players (including Mark McGwire, Ricky Henderson, and Barry Bonds, to pick just three) appear on the list. For the record, 12 other players had similar seasons with the Mets, including Dave Kingman, Todd Hundley, and Tommie Agee.

4. Desi Relaford (2.1 rWAR, 2001): Relaford falls into the nebulous category of “players I liked for no particular reason”. The Mets picked up on waivers from the San Diego Padres and paid him just $475,000, then later packaged him with the also-awesome Tsuyoshi Shinjo for Shawn Estes. 2001 was a career year for Relaford (he didn’t come close to replicating that season again) so Steve Phillips was right to try to sell high. Being Steve Phillips, however, he completely botched the transaction.

3. Eddie Bressoud (2.2 rWAR, 1966): I didn’t really know that much about Bressoud, who played all four infield positions (but primarily shortstop) for the 1966 Mets. Turns out he was very productive (at least in terms of Mets from that era): his single season with the Mets produced the third highest rWAR among position players to that point in the franchise’s history (behind Ron Hunt’s 2.6 and Ken Boyer’s 3.0). According to Baseball-Reference.com, he’s fairly similar (as a player, not necessarily as a person) to Tony Bernazard. I wonder how many times he challenged minor leaguers to a fight?

1. & 2. Tommy Davis and Richie Hebner (2.3 rWAR, 1967 and 1979): A Brooklyn native, Davis had an 18 year career for 10 teams. He actually lead all Mets position players in rWAR in 1967, admittedly not the most impressive achievement ever. A former MVP candidate (his 6.8 rWAR in 1963 trailed only Willie Mays and Frank Robinson that season), Davis was acquired along with Derrell Griffith in a trade for Ron Hunt and Jim Hickman. 1967 would be a last hurrah of sorts for Davis: he would never again be that productive, and he would play for 8 more teams over the next nine years. Unlike with Relaford, however, the Mets successfully sold high on Davis: packaged with three other players, he brought back Tommie Agee and Al Weis in a 1967 trade with the White Sox.

Richie Hebner also had an 18 year career, though he was much less traveled (he only played for five clubs). Hebner was known for digging graves during the offseason, but more importantly the Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richie_Hebner notes that “Few people know that Rich Hebner has 3 heros: Jerry Flynn, his son Joe Hebner, and his nephew Michael Hebner.” I felt I had to do my part to spread that important piece of information, so there you go.

Hebner came and went before my Mets fandom began and nothing jumped off of his Baseball-Reference page, so I originally didn’t have anything else to add. That is, until I read his page over at the Ultimate Mets Database. Holy crap did this guy elicit a lot of raw emotion from Mets fans, and they are all over the map. I had no idea so many felt so strongly about a guy who was only here for one year. Bonus: someone defended him by calling him a “gamer”.

Trivia answer: Jim Pignatano, Orel Hershiser, and Darryl Strawberry.

Posted in Flushing Frivolities, Ike Davis, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Mets With Presidential Surnames

Posted by JD on February 20, 2011

With Monday being Presidents Day, I thought it would be fun to rank the Mets with presidential surnames. There are 23 of them (although Russ Adams is in camp and played for Buffalo last season, he’s never suited up for the Mets and doesn’t qualify for this list), and I used Baseball-Reference’s version of Wins Above Replacement to rank them in reverse order. I have a feeling that you’ve probably already guessed the top three, but here we go:

23. Paul Wilson (-2.8 rWAR): I’ll admit, this one surprised me. I knew Wilson struggled while he was with the Mets, but I didn’t realize how much. A former number 1 overall pick and member of “Generation K”, Wilson started 26 games for the 1996 Mets, going 5-12 with a 75 ERA+ (and a 5.38 ERA). In terms of rWAR, Wilson’s 1996 is the single worst season by a Mets pitcher. Craig Anderson (-2.0 rWAR, 1962) and Randy Jones (-1.8 rWAR, 1981), are in the discussion, but it’s not really close. Wilson would go on to have moderate success in Tampa (and later in Cincinnati), but he seriously under-performed his hype while with the Mets.

22. Hawk Taylor (-1.8 rWAR): Robert Dale “Hawk” Taylor was a catcher/first baseman/left fielder for the Mets from 1964-67. According to the Wikipedia, Taylor appeared as a pinch hitter in the first game at Shea Stadium on April 17, 1964. This is true, though not especially significant (he struck out, and he wasn’t even the first pinch hitter used: that “honor” belonged to Ed Kranepool). The Wikipedia also credits him with hitting the first pinch hit grand slam in franchise history (against the Pirates, on August 16, 1967). So he’s got that going for him.

21. Darrin Jackson (-0.6 rWAR): Darrin Jackson had to very good years for the San Diego Padres in 1991 and 1992, posting 4.4 and 3.8 rWAR respectively as the Padres made an ill-fated push for the NL West pennant. Jackson was then caught up in the Padres’ infamous fire sale and traded to Toronto for future-Met Derek Bell (and minor leaguer Stoney Bell). It didn’t work out in Toronto and Jackson was traded to the Mets on June 11, 1993 for fellow former Padre Tony Fernandez. Jackson slashed .195/.211/.241 in 31 games for the Mets, which translated into a woeful 22 OPS+ (78% worse than the average outfielder). Jackson left for the White Sox during the following offseason where he rebounded in the strike shortened season (2.4 rWAR).

20. Roy Lee Jackson (-0.5 rWAR): Possessing one of the cooler names in franchise history, Jackson appeared in 40 games for the Mets between 1977 and 1980 (starting 14 of them). He was on the AAA shuttle for most of his time with the Mets: 28 of his 40 appearances came in 1980 (when he was worth 0.1 rWAR). Jackson was traded to Toronto (for Bob Bailor) and had some success for them in 1981 (1.2 rWAR) and 1982 (2.1 rWAR).

17 – 19. Mark Johnson, Chuck Taylor, Billy Taylor (-0.4 rWAR): I’m not going to bother splitting these guys up, but I will add these three comments: 1). When he signed with the Mets, Johnson was one of three active “Mark Johnsons” in MLB. He wasn’t the best, but he wasn’t the worst, either. So there’s that. 2). This Chuck Taylor did not have a signature shoe line. 3). Billy Taylor was involved in one of the worst trades in franchise history, having been acquired for Greg McMichael and Jason Isringhausen. While Taylor was gone from the Mets after the 1999 season, McMichael and Isringhausen combined to produce 1.5 and and 11.8 rWAR in their careers. On a related note, Steve Phillips stinks.

16. Brian Buchanan (-0.2 rWAR): Buchanan was involved in two fairly big trades: the Yankees sent him to Minnesota with Eric Milton, Christian Guzman, and Danny Mota for Chuck Knoblauch, and the Twins later sent him to San Diego for Jason Bartlett. His last appearance in the majors came with the Mets on August 29, 2004.

13 – 15. Sammy Taylor, Tom Wilson, Preston Wilson (0.0 rWAR): Again, I’m not going to bother splitting them up, but I will add three comments: 1). Sammy Taylor actually appeared in 90 games for the Mets in 1962-63. I thought this was a record of sorts until I found that former Met Willie Montanez’ career total was also 0.0, but in 1,632 games. Now that’s impressive. I guess. 2). Tom Wilson was hitless in four at bats (with one walk) for the 2004 Mets. 3). Preston Wilson went on to have a decent career, but I doubt there’s a single Mets fan that wouldn’t have traded him for Mike Piazza.

11. & 12. Chris Carter, Ben Johnson (0.1 rWAR): I’m sure you remember the Animal (I’m going to miss that character. Not much, but still). Ben Johnson was acquired (along with pitcher Jon Adkins) for Heath Bell and Royce Ring. Adkins pitched one (flawless) inning for the Mets and Johnson received 30 plate appearances over nine games. Ring’s bounced around (-1.0 rWAR) but Bell became one of the best closers in the game (91 saves in 111 opportunities, 9.0 rWAR for San Diego). This is probably Omar Minaya’s worst trade.

9. & 10. Bob Johnson, Stan Jefferson (0.2 rWAR): A pair of championship Mets. Bob Johnson of Aurora, IL (Wayne’s World! Party time, excellent!) was a September call-up for the 1969 Miracle Mets, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings over two games. That offseason, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals (along with Amos Otis) for Joe Foy in one of the seemingly-countless trades the Mets made for third basemen. Most of the angst in this trade is generated by the loss of Otis, but Johnson had a decent career himself (6.6 rWAR over his next six seasons. In a twist of fate that means absolutely nothing to no one other than this author (and maybe his parents), Johnson played his final major league game on the day I was born.

A native New Yorker, Jefferson was a September call-up for the World Champion 1986 Mets, slashing .208/.296/.375 in 27 plate appearances (over 14 games). That offseason, he was sent to San Diego along with Kevin Brown (thankfully, not the Hall of Fame candidate), Kevin Armstrong, Shawn Abner (the second former number one overall pick referenced in this post) and Kevin Mitchell for Kevin McReynolds, Gene Walter, and Adam Ging. Two September call-ups on championship teams later involved in franchise altering trades. How’s that for a coincidence?

8. Claudell Washington (0.5 rWAR): Washington appeared in 76 games for the 1980 Mets, his only season with the club. I always remember Washington as a Yankee in the late ‘80’s (he had his second-best season with them in 1988), and I kind of wondered why the Mets let him get away. In the long run, it turned out to matter very little: the Mets outfield was more than solid for the rest of the decade.

7. Vance Wilson (2.5 rWAR): This was another surprise for me. Although he wasn’t an offensive superstar in his six seasons with the Mets, Wilson hit well enough (.254/.308/.354) to be slightly above replacement in each season. Wins Above Replacement is a cumulative stat, and he compiled enough steady seasons (in which he did little to help, but even less to hurt) to accrue a decent career rWAR.

6. Al Jackson (4.5 rWAR): An original Met, Jackson was something of a bright spot on some pretty crappy teams. Though never even a league-average pitcher (his highest ERA+ during those seasons was 94 in 1962), Jackson didn’t embarrass himself: he was never worth less than 0.5 rWAR in any given season and was worth 3.1 in 1962. His second stint was less successful (-0.6 rWAR in 1968-69). He didn’t get to see the Miracle Mets reach the promised land in 1969, but he returned to the club after retirement and has held a number of front office positions since.

5. Ron Taylor (4.8 rWAR): Another member of the Miracle Mets, Taylor had a productive run with the club from 1967-71, averaging almost a full win above replacement each season (0.96 rWAR). A spot starter earlier in his career, Taylor was exclusively a reliever with the Mets. He appeared in 269 games and earned 49 saves while never having an ERA+ lower than 94 (his average ERA+ in those years was 115). His post-playing career was also very successful: he graduated medical school in 1979 and became team physician for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1979.

And now, the Mets’ “Mount Rushmore”:

4. Lance Johnson (8.9 rWAR): As Patrick Flood noted, Johnson is “The Trivia Answer”: he holds so many unique distinctions that, as Flood so aptly put it, “If you ever see a Mets trivia question, and the answer could be Lance Johnson … the answer is probably Lance Johnson”. I hated the trade that sent him away, but in hindsight it wasn’t that bad: Johnson accumulated just 0.3 rWAR in his remaining three seasons. It appears as if he emptied his tank in 1996-97. Sure, we had to put up with Mel Rojas, but Brian McRae at least had one decent season and the Turk Wendell experience was pretty awesome, so I guess it wasn’t as bad as I thought at the time.

3. Gary Carter (11.2 rWAR): “The Kid” cracks the top three on our list of Mets with Presidential surnames. Carter was a WAR machine from 1977 to 1985, averaging 6.02 rWAR and failing to top 5 rWAR once (in the strike-shortened 1981 season). His 1986 wasn’t too shabby either (3.8 rWAR), but he fell off a cliff the next three seasons: 0.9 (1987), 0.1 (1988) and -0.3 (1989). Like Lance Johnson, he makes this list because of two excellent seasons.

2. Mookie Wilson (19.4 rWAR): I make no bones about this: Mookie Wilson is one of my favorite Mets of all time, and I’m thrilled to see him make this list. He was like clockwork from 1982 to 1988: he accumulated 17.8 rWAR during these seasons, averaging 2.5 rWAR and never going lower than 1.8 (1982) or higher than 3.2 (1984 & 1986). And, to top it off, he had one of the most pleasant public image I’ve ever seen an athlete have. I have to digress for a moment and share two personal stories about Mookie, one big, one small:

  • 1986 was my first full season as a Mets fan (I only started watching baseball in the summer of 85). On that fateful night, I went to bed at some point during the game. I guess my parents felt that bedtime was more important than the World Series, but I’ve never asked them. And, as a dumb kid, I listened to them and went to bed. Anyway, I have mixed memories about what happened next. My Dad definitely woke me up with the Mets trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the tenth. For a long, long time I thought he did it to let me watch my favorite team’s season end, but for the past ten years or so I’ve had a sneaking sensation (a false memory maybe?) that he woke me to see a bit of baseball history: the Red Sox’ first World Series since 1918. I’ve never talked to him about it because I’m not sure I want to know. But I do know this: what happened next was one of the greatest moments to ever happen to me, and I love my Dad for waking me up.
  • My first game professional game was the second half of a day/night doubleheader against the Cubs. I think it was 1987, but it could have been 1988. Either way, I remember being terribly confused and almost violently upset when the Shea faithful booed as Mookie Wilson lead off in the bottom of the first. My uncle laughed at me and explained that they were screaming “Mooo!” Needless to say, I screamed it at the top of my lungs each time he came to the plate after that.

1. Howard Johnson (24.7 rWAR): Hojo’s 1989 (7.7 rWAR) was a season for the ages: according to B-R.com it was the fifth best season in Mets history, trailing only John Olerud’s 1998 (8.1), Bernard Gilkey’s 1996 (8.1), Carlos Beltran’s 2006 (8.0), and David Wright’s 2007 (7.8). His six-year peak was generally excellent as well: he averaged 4.84 rWAR from 1986 to 1991 and received national recognition for it with three top-10 MVP finishes (including top-5 in 1989 and 1991) and two all-star appearances. And just like that, it was over. He earned just -1.4 rWAR over his final 1,165 plate appearances for the Mets, Rockies, and Cubs.  In a minor coincidence, he left the organization (after they made him wait months for a job offer that turned out to be a major demotion) in the same year that Mookie Wilson returned to it.

And so, to recap:

  • 23 Mets share a surname with a POTUS.
  • There are five Johnsons (Andrew, Lyndon Baines), five Taylors (Zachary), five Wilsons (Woodrow), and three Jacksons (Andrew), two Carters (Jimmy), one Buchanan (James), one Jefferson (Thomas), and one Washington (George).
  • When their careers are combined, the 23 Mets are worth 70.0 rWAR.

Posted in Flushing Frivolities, Mets, Mike Piazza | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Fernando Martinez, Jay Payton, and Injuries

Posted by JD on December 20, 2010

The other day, Metsblog linked to this post from Mack’s Mets on Fernando Martinez. The gist of it is that Mack feels that Martinez’ arthritis moots his status as a prospect and ruins his trade value. I think I understand where Mack is coming from here: the hype surrounding Martinez just three season ago reached such unsustainable levels (remember the “Teenage Hitting Machine”?) that a healthy Martinez would have struggled to meet them. His subsequent injuries have both hindered his development and started to create a “bust” feeling about him. I can see that, yet I think writing Martinez off as a prospect/trading chip is very shortsighted.

First, the medical condition. Did you know that there are over 100 types of arthritis? I didn’t. The more familiar kinds are osteoarthritis (the most common form, acquired via wear and tear on the joint), rheumatoid (a disorder in which the body’s own immune system starts to attack it), lupus (a vascular disorder), and gout (inflammation caused by deposition of uric acid crystals in a joint). We know Martinez doesn’t have gout and it’s never lupus, but what about the other two? I’m no doctor, but it would seem safe to say that since the arthritic condition exists only in Martinez’ right knee, it’s not rheumatoid arthritis. And that’s just not as bad as it seems on the surface.

Let me be clear: I am not diminishing the suffering arthritis causes. My mother deals with it on a daily basis: I know the discomfort she deals with everyday. But it’s far from hopeless: better diet and increased activity have mitigated her pain and allowed her to use pain killers sparsely. My mother is 61 with arthritis in both hands, both wrists, and both knees (to start). Fernando Martinez is 22, with “minor” arthritis in his right knee. I hate to say this, but if she can deal with it successfully, he’ll probably find a way to manage it and keep playing.

Will he ever be as fast as he once was? Probably not, but to translate that into “he can’t be a productive major league player” is nonsense. However daunting Martinez’ injury history may be, other players have overcome similar challenges in the past and gone on to have productive careers. As you may have guessed from the title of this post, Jay Payton is just such an example.

Drafted in 1994 out Georgia Tech, Payton played 58 games for short season affiliate Pittsfield and eight games for AA Binghamton. He followed that up by playing 135 games in 1995, 85 in Binghamton and 50 in AAA Norfolk. That season marked the start of his injury troubles: though he was named the Eastern League’s MVP, he played most of the season in pain from an injury suffered in spring training. That September, Payton had surgery to transplant a tendon from his wrist to his right elbow.

1996 saw Payton play in just 71 games for four Mets’ affiliates (55 were played in AAA Norfolk). This was largely as a result of a surgery in May to remove bone chips from the same elbow. A third surgery (in January 1997) was needed to remove scar tissue. The surgeries forced Payton to move to first base, but it was no use: Payton underwent a second reconstructive surgery that cost him the entire 1997 season. If you’ve lost count, that’s a total of four surgeries on the same elbow.

Payton reached the 100 game mark in 1998, only the second time in his career that he played that many games. He played 85 games for Norfolk, beginning the season at first base but moving back to the outfield after 25 games. He would end the season in New York, making his major league debut and playing 15 games for the Mets. However, the news was not all good: Payton underwent a pair of arthroscopic procedures on his left shoulder in January 1999.

Payton returned in time to play 45 games for Norfolk and 13 for the Mets. 2000 saw him play 149 games for the National League champion Mets, the first of nine consecutive seasons in which Payton would play at least 100 games at the major league level.

Was he the superstar many expected him to be? No, but he was largely a productive player: according to both Baseball Reference and Fangraphs, Payton only had one season* of negative WAR and totaled roughly 14 WAR over his career. More notably for our purposes, Payton gave the Mets 3.7 WAR (2.8 if you go by Fangraphs) over parts of five seasons for around $866,000 dollars, excellent bang for their buck. While his Mets’ career never met the hype, he was a productive, cheap asset that was wasted in a bad trade (most likely brought on because Steve Phillips thought he was selfish).

*Due (I think) to differences in the way both systems weight defense, they differ on which season was negative. B-R.com has Payton’s 2001 season as -0.3 WAR while Fangraphs has his 2005 as -0.5.  Such disagreements are common. I think it’s safe to generalize that both systems have him at 14 career WAR.

Fernando Martinez is 22 and has only played in 349 games (not including fall and winter league games). Jay Payton was 21 when he started his career (27 when he played his first full major league season) and dealt with far more serious injuries (e.g. elbow reconstruction). While we may want to forget about super-stardom for Martinez, Payton’s career is more than enough reason to remember that we should not throw the baby out with the bath water: there is time enough for Fernando Martinez to help the Mets win baseball games.

Posted in Mets | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Megdal Invites Phillips to Debate

Posted by JD on June 17, 2010

This is so preposterously awesome that I would pay to attend in person: Howard Megdal, persuing his campaign to be elected General Manager of the Mets, has invited former Mets’ GM (and chronic adulterer) Steve Phillips to “a friendly debate over my candidacy for General Manager, your experience as General Manager, and the future direction of the New York Mets”.

Howard’s invitation is almost unnecessarily polite. Phillips’ position is clear: most people have no idea what the General Manager’s job entails. On the face of it, I’d suspect that’s true: baseball, like EVERY SINGLE OTHER INDUSTRY, has hidden details which greatly impact success or failure but escape the notice of casual observers. Fair enough.

But the tone of Phillips’ post suggests that we aren’t CAPABLE of knowing what a General Manager does, and that’s highly insulting. Just because we’ve never filled out MLB’s version of a TPS report or held countless daily meetings with scouts, coordinators, and evaluators doesn’t mean that we can’t learn how to do so.

If we extend Phillips’ asinine logic, ordinary people would be incapable of switching industries, opening up businesses unrelated to their current careers, or running for office. That’s downright un-American, and I’d love to see Howard Megdal that make point clear to him in a debate (though I suspect Howard is to classy to do so).

I suspect it’s a moot point: while I applaud Howard’s initiative, I doubt Phillips will accept his invitation. If the man refuses to recognize the greatness of Carlos Beltran on the playing field, I don’t think he’ll want to engage the logic and passion of a long-time Mets fan in a public setting. I hope I’m wrong because I think we’d all benefit from the experience, Phillips included.

Posted in Carlos Beltran, Megdal For GM, Mets | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Defending Wayne Hagin

Posted by JD on April 25, 2010

Tonight’s game will be on ESPN, so I’ll be muting it and listening to Howie Rose and Wayne Hagin on WFAN. The quality of the ESPN broadcast is much improved from last season, but only because Steve Phillips was kicked to the curb when he proved (once again) that he can’t keep it in his pants. It’s still tedious to listen to Morgan and Miller, so I’m going to avoid it altogether by tuning into the FAN.

I read tweets from time to time about the radio broadcasting crew and have noticed a bit of a disparity in how the members of the booth are viewed by fans. Howie Rose is a staple: his “Put it in the books!” call is second only to Bob Murphy’s “Happy Recap”. Often asked to MC major events at Shea Stadium or Citi Field, his voice is now synonymous with the Mets. On the other hand, Wayne Hagin, is still working his way into our good graces, to put it nicely. He joined the FAN in 2008 as a replacement for Tom McCarthy (who was unfairly criticized for trying too hard to sound like his predecessor, Gary Cohen). Hagin’s received an awful lot of negative comments though: this post on the Ultimate Mets Database neatly includes a pretty representative sample.

I admit that I didn’t like the hire initially, either, but Hagin’s really grown on me over the past three seasons. He’s not a native New Yorker, but he’s taken to the Big Apple with gusto. From discussions surrounding the origin of egg cremes to the proper usage of the term “schmuck”, Wayne has embraced our local culture with both arms. He brings an outsider’s view to the team we love, a fresh set of eyes that sees old problems in new ways. It’s true that he often refers to the A’s, Giants, Rockies, and Cardinals (the latter can be especially tedious), but he’s a baseball fan first and foremost, and that shines through no matter what team he’s discussing.

Most importantly, he’s established good on-air chemistry with Howie Rose. For all I know, the two of them hate each other off the air. But when the mic is on, they sound like old friends talking about a ball game, which is all I really want. When I turn on the radio, I want to listen to someone who makes me care about the game: someone who’s invested in the action and invested in the Mets, who cares about what they’re describing and who wants me to care about it, too. In his own unique way, Hagin does that. It may have taken me two-plus years to admit it, but Wayne Hagin is a welcome addition to the Mets on-air family.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go mute my television set and tune in the FAN. Howie, Wayne, and I have a ballgame to watch. And if @MetsWFAN (the Immortal Chris Majkowski) wants to chime in, the more the merrier. As always, Let’s Go Mets!

Posted in Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

 
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