If you haven’t done so already, check out this article by Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. The veteran columnist shares an incident that took place in Spring Training when Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster asked teammate Jonny Gomes how he was doing and his response was: “Great, one day closer to the parade.’’
“Let that sink in for a second,” writes Kernan. “Here it was spring training, a time when players are focused on honing their individual skills for the long season. Yet Gomes, when asked about himself, talked about the Red Sox being one day closer, not only to a championship, but a parade the entire Red Sox Nation would take part in, the ultimate party day for fans and team.”
Of course Gomes’ words proved to be prophetic as the Red Sox did have their parade after winning their third World Series since 2004.
There’s a lesson to be learned here for the Mets (and Yankees) says Kernan who believes the Red Sox model last offseason was not just targeting mid-level free agents, but seeking out players with confidence and character. Players who wanted to win a championship so badly they’d do anything to help their team get one.
Now, more than ever, a player’s personality has to be taken into account, he boldly states. “It’s not just about wanting to win — after all, everyone wants to win. It’s about making a commitment to your teammates in doing whatever it takes to win, but also having the confidence to do what it takes to win a championship.”
He points to Shane Victorino as another player who rose to the occasion for the Red Sox.
“In what I consider the most important statistic of them all — RBIs. Victorino hit .429 against the Rays in the Division Series and dropped to .125 in the ALCS and .154 in the World Series. But during the postseason he drove in a Papi-like 12 runs — three in the ALDS, five in the ALCS and four in the World Series. Only David Ortiz drove in more with 13.”
Kernan stresses that there is no new “philosophical’’ approach that’s going to make a difference for the Yankees and Mets. They just have to do a better job of evaluating the market and they just can’t be “looking at an iPad screen of numbers” to decide who’s the best fit. They need to add players that hunger’ for the prize more than the next guy.
“Spreadsheet baseball does not win championships.”
Incidentally, this was the Red Sox model last offseason:
Shane Victorino, three years, $39 million
Ryan Dempster, two years, $26.5 million
Jonny Gomes, two years, $10 million
Stephen Drew, one year, $9.5 million
David Ross, two years, $6.2 million
Mike Napoli, one year, $5 million
Koji Uehara, one year, $4.25 million
Have at it…