Culture Change At Citi Field
I know what you’re going to say, “you’re alive!” It’s been quite a while since my last post here. As some may or may not know, my life changed dramatically right before the New Year with the birth of our daughter. So pair that with the fact this is the busiest time of year for me, and you’ve got your reason as to why I haven’t posted.
There’s been so much going on, and I’m not here to break any news, I’m here to just give you my take on most of it.
I think regardless of what your views (educated or not) are on sabermetrics, you should be very happy that he is the General Manager of this franchise right now. With everything that has gone on, I don’t think it was a coincidence that Selig & Friends recommended Alderson to the Mets. I think that was in large part MLB’s way of keeping this organization afloat while the Titanic Iceberg was seen from miles away.
Look, I personally liked him prior to the bottom falling out with this Madoff situation. I think his opponents frankly are just looking for something to complain about. If you’re being a logical and rational critic of the Mets, what has Alderson done to upset you? He clearly didn’t have the budget to make moves on the free agent market.
Just the simple idea of how he’s changed the scouting system with help from Ricciardi, something so simple that should have been done but wasn’t. During the Minaya era, the Mets assigned pro scouts to a large number of teams. So not only was the information watered down, but likely the scouts didn’t get to see enough of each team’s players. So Bryan Lambe’s role was to scout the entire National League. Now, scouts will be assigned to cover just 3 organizations from soup to nuts. (By the way, for any sabermetric critics, keep in mind that yes, I’m talking about scouting.)
Whether you want to give him credit or not you have to acknowledge that under the circumstances that the Wilpon’s face today, Alderson has done a pretty good job in building a roster under a tight budget, and working to reshape the image of the franchise.
I like the guy. I really do, and I’m not going to apologize for it either. Is he the sexy Manager pick that makes some people want to buy tickets? Of course not. Besides, if you buy tickets to see a Manager touch his nose or walk to the mound, you have some things to talk about with your Doctor.
You can already see the incredible difference in player attitudes not only on the field, but also in interviews.
I think when you look now at where the Mets are with the Madoff situation, you have to admit that Collins was the best man for this job. For starters, lets say it was between Backman and Collins. Neither you, nor I, nor Sandy Alderson has a clue what the financial future of this team is.
If you put Backman in this role, and the franchise has to drastically cut payroll, you’ve likely wasted the talents of a potentially good young Manager. He’s better suited in the minor leagues today, and Collins is better suited to try and instill an old school attitude into this current Mets team. Backman’s day will come, but right now I’m a Collins fan.
I think this was a great move by Alderson, and I hope Izzy makes this club. I still hold a special place in my fan heart for Generation K, and I think a lot of Mets fans do. I don’t think he’s going to be an All-Star, but he has potential to be a viable option out of the bullpen if healthy. Alderson has given a veteran with a World Series ring a chance to come to camp, talk to young players, and possibly earn a spot on a big league roster, and for a minimum salary. A move by the way, that has nothing to do with sabermetrics.
Beltran, Pagan, Paulino
I think the day you heard Beltran went to Collins and said put me in RF, is the day you should have realized just how different this Mets team is under Collins. What a breath of fresh air to hear that the Mets players did something right. It happened fast, it wasn’t controversial and the Manager set the tone. I don’t think that happens with Jerry, Willie or even Omar running the show, I really don’t.
As for Paulino, I have to be honest. I forgot he was even on the team.
Bernie & Fred
I’m not going to pretend to understand all of the ins and outs of this lawsuit. I personally think it’s a little unfair to the Wilpon’s and that they are being punished more so for owning the Mets and not losing everything in the scandal. With that said, I do hope they decide to sell the team. I don’t dislike them like other fans do; I just want a fresh start. I think this sort of lawsuit can handcuff this franchise for years, and I don’t want to see that.
I think they will sell the team eventually, because I believe MLB will get involved, especially with all of these stories breaking about the Mets borrowing money from them.
Last, but not least… The Phillies
This will be the part of the blog where some may say I am absolutely nuts or a huge homer. Stay with me here though.
If you take a look at the past few years in MLB, the team that everybody picks as the lock to win the division or league has not fulfilled that destiny. It’s easy to win on paper, its another thing to win while playing 162 games.
Do I think the Phillies should win the division? I do. However, I don’t think it’s a lock. If you take an honest look at their roster, they are a very old team.
Consider this, Jayson Werth was the only Phillies hitter last year to have an OPS over .900. Victorino, Rollins, and Ibanez all had sub par seasons at best, and frankly Polanco’s was not that great either. Their offense is going to live and die with 2 players this year. Ryan Howard, who is a great power hitter, but not a great all around hitter, and Domonic Brown.
When you look at their starters, who scares you? You can’t tell me that Ryan Howard scares you. Can he hurt you? Absolutely, but he’s not exactly a tough out. Utley is their best hitter, but he’s more of a table setter than anything. So overall, the starting lineup is old, and less scary than even the Mets lineup I’d truthfully say.
As for the rotation, there’s no doubt that on paper its great. Their average age is 31 years old, compare that to the World Champs who’s starting pitcher is an average 26 years old. Injuries and setbacks occur most often, as players get older. I’ll never root for a player to get hurt, but I think the Phillies have put all their eggs in 4 starting pitchers who are starting to look at the prime of their careers in their rearview mirror.
Nothing’s ever a sure thing in Major League Baseball these days. I’m not going into 2011 thinking the Mets cannot contend for a division title, or wildcard.
“Now, of course that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.” – Dennis Miller
About the Author: Michael J. Branda
My time with MMO began in July of 2009 when I wrote a Fan Post defending Omar Minaya (before it was cool to do that.) I grew up a Mets fan with the mid 1980's teams. My favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, I like to think I meet in the middle. I believe thinking of new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the same way has not produced results. However, I think over-thinking certain situations can get you into trouble. I'm excited for the new regime, because I believe they have pieces in place to focus on several aspects of the Mets organization. I've waited this long for a World Series, waiting a few more years for another chance isn't going to kill me.
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