Thursday, May 29, 2003

Idle Thoughts

A few items omitted in earlier postings that I had meant to include . . .

1. It must be evident to you by now that when I say something mildly premonitory and whatever I've "foretold" actually happens, I seem to receive great satisfaction from pointing out my prognosticative powers. Well, it happened again. I offered the two-bit wisdom "and you get the sense that the rash of injuries is not yet over" on Tuesday morning. That night, in his first at-bat, Roberto Alomar suffered a hip flexor injury in the batter's box in a mishap eerily similar to Mike Piazza's spastic groin tear. Note to the Mets: Getting plunked by a fastball seems be causing fewer injuries than jumping out of the way. Take one for the team before we run out of players. Note to Wanna-Be Seers: Predict bad things for the Mets and you're golden.

2. Keith Hernandez slays me. You have to hear him to believe him. The latest chatter that struck me was the discussion he and Fran Healy had about the #3 spot in the batting lineup. Healy noted how many different players had hit in the 3-hole for the Mets so far this season (Ty Wigginton was there that night), but it's such an integral spot and you'd like to see more continuity there. Keith expanded upon the notion, supporting Healy's point with a generally accepted (but self-serving nonetheless) sentiment about how your best hitter hits in the 3-spot, flat out. The clean-up guy has the pop, but the best pure hitter is parked third. Well, duh, Keith, we all know you hit in the 3-spot for most of your career, so why don't you go on a little bit more about what a great pure hitter you were! I had to laugh. Non-Mets/Non-Hernandez fans undoubtedly are chafed to no end by his comments, but I am amused by his constant sarcasm, biting critiques, and reflective boasting. Ultimately, he is enjoyable if only for his willingness to come down hard on those who deserve it (with a wee bit more intellect than the jackalopes over at the YES network). And there's a lot of deserving people associated with this ballclub.

3. Mo Vaughn appears to be done for good. This is sad for him and bad news for the Mets, obviously, but it's just a huge exclamation point on the disappointment his tenure in New York has been since Opening Day of last year. [Or do you put an exclamation point on disappointment? It's such mediocrity and slow-drip depression, such punctuation is far too energetic for the apathy Big Mo has induced in fans. Perhaps a career ending ellipsis . . . ] Such is the nature of most big signings -- they either pan out about as well as you'd figured and you only notice the aberrant down moments (Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina) or they're busts and sap the life out of players, coaches, and fans on a nightly basis (Vaughn, Alomar, Burnitz). As a baseball GM, you're under enormous pressure from your fans and players to land the big names before the season; on the flip side, however, you're under far less pressure during the season if you underachieved in the off-season. It's an excruciating job, waiting around to see if you're the pig who built his house of straw, wood, or brick. Steve Phillips is starting to look an awful lot like the Straw Pig, the poor guy. Mo's knee may be the last . . . well, you know.

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