I was a teenager in the Tri-State area in the late 80s, early 90s; meaning I grew up in the midst of what is clearly the Golden Age of Rap or when Rap (Grandmaster Flash, KRS-ONE, Run DMC, Public Enemy) became Hip Hop (A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Wu-Tang).
I know this era well because the baseball team I loved was painful to watch and routinely gave reason for a young fan to allow his heart and mind to wander to other things like playing stickball, buying a cassette single for a Walkman and thinking about girls that wouldn’t pay him any attention (for good reason).
In 1993, a trio from Queens released an album that immediately cemented their place in a music conversation that was focused on the West Coast. ‘Throw Ya Gunz‘ and ‘Slam‘ got Onyx play on boom boxes on the street, radio stations like 98.7 Kiss FM and HOT 97 and the video played on regular rotation on both BET and MTV. It went multi-platinum (back when that truly meant something) and both Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz used this fame to earn Hollywood acting credits once the group disbanded.
What does any of this have to do with baseball and the New York Mets? Well, Onyx’s second album was entitled ‘All We Go Iz Us“. The highest-charting single was entitled ‘Last Days‘, a song that will sound familiar to anyone who’s watched the rap battle scenes in 8 Mile.
But it’s a better description of what Sandy Alderson seemingly looks at when thinking about the trade deadline and the team that’s on the field. The team he’s put together that has actually been hitting the baseball for the past month.
Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie.
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They’re pretty abysmal, but they are trending in the right direction. And the pitching staff has lived up to the preseason hype. To borrow an idea I heard from Mike Silva on Talkin’ Mets, to this point the Mets have avoided real injury showcased by the fact they’ve only needed six starters to amass the third best ERA in MLB, 60 quality starts and a bullpen with a 3.10 ERA and the league lead in saves.
Yes, they should have the outright lead if Jeurys Familia was a perfect 39-for-39. Yes, Larry Brooks of the New York Post is right that Terry Collins allowed his players to manage him on Thursday, resulting in a second straight blown save.
But a general manager can’t allow daily results to alter a long-term plan. There isn’t much in the minors because it was drained last year to get Yoenis Cespedes, so trading away the few pieces left for a middle reliever sounds good but makes little sense when Hansel Robles is pitching well. The 25-year old has a 0.00 ERA over 11.2 innings in July and a 2.52 for the season.
The 25-year old has a 0.00 ERA over 11.2 innings in July and a 2.52 for the season. Robles and Jerry Blevins (0.00 ERA in July over 5 innings, 2.00 for season) can handle the seventh, Addison Reed has proven he owned the 8th inning and I believe Familia will return to form. So what reason is there to bring someone else in?
Bringing in Jonathan Lucroy seems to be the only thing worth doing and it makes a modicum of sense. It’s a win-now move, especially with the emergence of Rene Rivera as a defensive backup catcher that has the confidence of Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom to call a good game.
The rising star that is Amed Rosario relegates Gavin Cecchini to tradeable, so I’m sure Alderson’s talks with the Brewers include the 22-year old SS and Travis d’Arnaud, our oft-injured catcher. My hope is he doesn’t budge farther than that, but how much of the Brewers interest is honest as opposed to just driving up Lucroy’s price, per a tweet from Adam Rubin of ESPN?
But as a fanbase, I think we need to get comfortable with the idea that All We Got Iz Us. It’s not something exciting, like an opposite-field single with runners in scoring position, but it’s the smart thing to do. Alderson has to be thinking not just about this year, but the next three.
Draining the best for Cespedes made sense then and it makes sense now. To skim off the top to get a power-hitting catcher that’s signed cheap (just $5.25 million) for next year makes sense.
But to delve deep into a slim talent pool just to appease the back-page? That would be counter-productive, especially when he’s going to need to retool this offseason at 2B (Dilson Herrera and who else?), 3B (Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores or trading for someone like Evan Longoria?), CF (Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo or trading/signing someone else) and RF (Does Curtis Granderson go into his last year as the 4th OF that he should be?).
I haven’t given up on this season with what the team has right now. I’m also hoping Alderson was a fan of early 90s hip hop as well.