“We- players, writers, fans- talk about the importance of the little things and getting the breaks and clutch pitching and hitting, but sometimes I wonder whether the truth isn’t more simple. The main difference between the winners and losers? Winning.” Keith Hernandez from his novel If At First…
The wisdom of Keith Hernandez whether on the field or today in the broadcast booth, has always been the gift that the Mex keeps on giving. His first novel, If At First, written in 1986 with writer Mike Bryan of Golf Magazine, gave us an in depth look at the 1985 Mets season and an overview of the 1986 World Series.
It seems almost unseemly and too easy to pile up on Oliver Perez at this point. I’ve tried to make an internal pact with myself not to over-analyze every loss. I also have a personal credo of not giving up on a pitcher without giving him every opportunity to make his mark, as I hope the team would too.
The bottom line and I have a gut feeling if Keith were still playing, he would say Perez simply doesn’t deserve to be in the majors at this point in his career. It’s not a calculation of Perez the man, but simply the fact that whatever worked for Ollie early in his career, is lost.
On Sunday Perez barely lasted over 3 innings throwing a mind blowing 98 pitches and walking seven. To watch Oliver Perez pitch is comparable to watching the California Highway Patrol chasing a suspect on the 405. It’s long, boring, yet at the same time very frustrating and both predictably seem to culminate with the same result.
At some point the Mets have to decide when to cut bait with Perez, or better yet, when to stop chasing the “potential” in Perez, even in spite of his ridiculous 12 million dollar salary. Omar Minaya’s Ponch to Jerry Manuel’s Jon, perhaps it’s time to throw down the spike strips?
Back in 1985, the Mets had another lefty with “potential”, but unlike Perez, he lived up to the potential and had a very solid Major League career. Keith saw it and predicted his ascension to the show. That man was “El” Sid Fernandez. In his book, If At First, Keith had this to say,
“May 11th, New York City. I’m looking like managerial material. Sid Fernandez is back as a starting pitcher…in a matter of one month at Tidewater, Sid has developed two new pitches, a change-up and a slider…he seems to have more pep in him, a little more intensity. The month in the minors may have accomplished more than improving his mechanics; it may have made him mad and mean. A pitcher has to be mean. It looks like Sid accepted the challenge when he was sent down.”
The date is ironic isn’t it? Not to mention Sid and Ollie are lefties. The only thing missing is this episode of CHiPs, Ponch and Jon haven’t apprehended Perez and sent him on a one way ticket to Buffalo.
Why? Is it better to have him embarrass himself and the team in the majors this way? Do we have absolutely no one else that can pitch his innings? Are the Mets biting their nose off to spite their face?
There’s no guarantee that shipping Perez to Buffalo will do anything for him. One thing is very certain. It will spare the fans any more undue agida.
I would give anything to hear what the Mex would REALLY love to say about this.