Doug’s Dugout: The Closer, Instant Replay, and Ollie Perez
In the first installment of “Doug’s Dugout,” I take three healthy swings at the following:The Closer, Instant Replay, and Ollie Perez.
First things first: I hate the Closer. Specifically all Mets closers over the years who have contributed to migraine headaches and a brewing peptic ulcer. Why should Frankie Rodriguez be any different from John Franco and Armando Benitez?
They all have made me squirm in my (un)easy chair as the 11 o’clock local news approached. Take last evenings meltdown by K-Rod-Please. Twice on 0-2 pitches he served up slop, for one Padres’ hitter with great bloodlines, Tony Gwynn, although a .184 hitter, and the relentlessly pesky David Eckstein.
Both delivered big hits. Then Adrian Gonzalez put a punctuation mark on another dreadful road trip with a Sac Fly that landed in the bleachers for a game-ending (refuse to use walk-off) Grand Slam. Eckstein nearly won the game with a mad dash to the plate the previous inning that would have made Enos Slaughter jealous (see 1946 Fall Classic).
Think the Mets would have been a better club if Eckstein accepted their offer to play second base some years back? The guy is a winner, and the Mets current second baseman might need a wheel chair, along with his glove, to play the position soon.
Moreover, K-Rod’s poor fundamental follow-through allowed Eckstein’s 15-hopper to get through the box and score the fleet-footed Gwynn to send the game into OT. K-Rod’s third blown save of the season, a worse time I can’t imagine happening.
Closers are like the opposite sex: Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without him. Do you know who the best closer in Mets history is? Tom Seaver. He recorded 171 complete games in 12 seasons for the Mets.
Swing #2. Instant Replay. I’m against it in baseball except for home run calls made impossible by the proliferation of the nooks and crannies the architects have installed in the new parks during the post Camden Yards Era. However, last night’s debacle by Jim Joyce has nothing to do with Instant Replay.
He froze up like the door locks did on my first car, a rusted 1971 Chevy Chevelle, every night in the winter of 1981. Guess he missed the memo about a perfect game in progress and reverted to the sub-par form the umpiring has displayed all year. Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t run the Detroit pitcher for smiling after his debauchery.
If anyone is surprised, just look at the crime rate in the Motor City-it’s been rising ever year since Al Kaline retired.
Send in the Car Salesman, er the Commish, Bud Selig to the podium, and announce he agrees with the ump, that he blew the call and replays back this up, and he’s restoring the Perfect Game.
Overrule the Call, because the Commish can do anything, including banning eight men out, and decry Donald out (the Clevelander also thought so, he threw his arms in the air in disbelief). If he can start World Series games at 9pm EST, (and not give the fans ONE day game) he can overturn one of the most egregious calls ever committed by Blue.
Strike 3: Ollie Perez struck out with Mets fans a long time ago. Just bury him in the bullpen alongside Jimmy Hoffa.
About the Author: Doug Branch
Doug has been sports writing since 1983. He first wrote about the Mets at spring training that year, and his first interviewee was surly catcher Ron Hodges. He currently writes for Mets Inside Pitch, among other magazines published by Scout Publishing-which is owned by Fox Sports. He began following the team during the Wes Westrum era, and redeemed many Borden milk coupons for free Saturday baseball. The night of Tom Seaver's imperfect game against the Cubs, he was in line to buy a ticket when the windows slammed shut and abject disappointment ensued.
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