Doug’s Dugout: Throw Some Coal In That Stove Already

An article by posted on December 11, 2010

In Doug’s Dugout today we talk about the Cold Stove, $$$, and other frozen feeble thoughts:

If newly minted General Manager Sandy Alderson was really interested in saving the organization money he would have worked from home instead of attending the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Or purchased a prepaid phone card and used it. Saving the Mets a grand or two on airfare, hotels, and eats.

Because his visit to the East Coast home of Mickey and Minnie was an unmitigated waste of time and ink.

Unless you call signing a player named Boof (as in “Boof goes the season”) Bonser a fruitful endeavor. As they say on ESPN Monday Night, “C’Mon Man.” Throw a bone to the starving faithful, will ya?

Maybe he indeed laid the groundwork for future trades and signings but he did nada in fostering buzz in his ballclub. In fact, he has made the savvy fans madder than a hornet’s nest. They read the 40-man roster and still see the names of Ollie Perez, Luis Castillo, and even Fernando Martinez, leftover crumbs from the previous regime still (de)gracing the ledger.

This team has more questions than the 2010 Census. And there were plenty of candidates to be had in Florida for those on a beer budget. The fans were not expecting a shiny Lexus under the Christmas Tree, but coal in the stocking is an affront to their baseball senses. The starting pitching staff is thinner than the crust of brick oven pizza. And about as satisfying.

We didn’t need a GM to revamp the team with his checkbook-throwing good money at bad, but Jack Benny the famous tightwad? The Wilpons are extremists no?

Perhaps Alderson’s goal was to lower expectations to the point that .500 next season places new skipper Terry Collins as frontrunner for “Manager of the Year” honors. Mission Accomplished for the former Marine! 81 victories is starting to look awful enticing as the hot stove turns to embers.

Besides Boof, he signed catcher Ronny Paulino, who sounds like the second coming of Ramon Castro, and journeyman relief pitcher D.J. Carrasco. Ice down the Dom, er, make it Cold Duck. That’s more inline with our budget.

Who knows, maybe D.J. was hired to man the turntables (do they still use them?) at the staff Christmas Party. Everybody has to double up and do their part during hard times. The bottom line is there still a season to be played and a shortage of capable players.

If you think the Mets will become players when all the tides hauls all this deadwood out to sea at the end of the 2011 season think again. What’s $50 million buy these days? Jay Bruce.

Speaking of $$$ remember the $100,000 Club? Baseball fans from the 1960′s recall it as the then lofty salaries of the elite stars of the game, such as Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron. It was an exclusive club for the creme de la creme, Back in that lost era players’ salaries were not generally reported in the media. Only if there was contract conflict in the winter did the numbers reach black and white.

The average player made the same as the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker. There was no where to find that information and nobody really cared. It fell into the category of “private.” Today, the curtain has been lifted on every aspect of celebrity and athlete’s lives’.

I almost wish it stayed that way because the 21st Century has brought us the $100,000,000 Million Club. And the members are hardly the end all of the game. Just recently Carl Crawford joined thanks to the Red Sox. Before him Jason Werth accepted the Nationals $126 million. At this writing, the Yankees are “sweating it out,” awaiting Cliff Lee’s decision to sign a $161 million 7-year offer. Good players making ungodly amounts of money.

Imagine your are Rumpelstiltskin, an avid baseball fan who fell asleep after Bill Mazeroski ended the 1960 World Series against the Yanks with a home run. You wake up at this year’s winter meetings and read of Crawford’s $142 million deal. The first question out of your mouth has to be: “How much does a cup of beer cost at the old ball yard?”

A lot, Rumpy, a lot.

Random Insipid thoughts: There are 1,458 innings to be accounted (not including extra frames) in a baseball season. If Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, and R.A. Dickey by some act of God hurl 200 innings each, that leaves a shortfall of 858 innings. Who is going to fill them, Johan Santana and Dillon Gee? Help better be on the way before the team reports to spring training or Ron Darling is going to be summoned from the booth.

It took baseball 25 years to go from the highest paid player-Babe Ruth at $50,000 per to double to $100,000 per for Pittsburgh’s Hank Greenberg (who was Ralph Kiner’s mentor and baseball’s most accomplished Jewish player until Sandy Koufax). And only 47 months (1/31/96-12/11/00) for Ken Griffey’s $8.5 million per deal to morph into Manny Ramirez’s $20 million per year ($160 for 8 years) accord with the Red Sox. By next season baseball might have it’s first $30 million per year player when Albert Pujols signs an extension with the Cardinals (or enters free agency).

Finally, enough about dollars and no sense. Except that combined Mays, Aaron, and Mantle earned less salary in their careers (over 1/2 Century) than Oliver Perez will rake in next year by the all-star break! If that is progress bring back the steam engine.

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