A Little Competition Never Hurt Anybody

As I’ve gotten older I’ve seemed to have become more and more nostalgic about my childhood. It’s only natural considering in September I’m going to be a father for the first time.

I remember the lessons my dad taught me as if he sat me down yesterday. One lesson that made a huge impression was the importance of competition. Nothing ever worth having should come easy, he said. Now granted to me at the time – I was probably eleven – didn’t want to hear any of this. I saw Mookie Wilson being pushed aside for Lenny Dykstra. It was DEVASTATING.

Ok when you’re eleven, things like this are devastating. What do you want from me? I wasn’t awake at night because of the hole in the ozone or our state of relations with the USSR.

In July of 1985 Mookie went down with a shoulder injury prompting him to miss two months of the season and paving the way for Lenny Dykstra. From that point on Davey Johnson used Mookie and Lenny in a platoon in centerfield.

Now Mookie, and I were none to happy with this. In fact it prompted Mookie to ask for a trade a few years later. In the meantime he and Lenny were as good a tandem in center as any single center fielder in the league. Perhaps a little competition brought the best out of them?

Now lets fast forward to 2010. We still have a hole in the ozone and our state of relations with the former USSR isn’t exactly chummy. The more things change the more they stay the same.

The Mets are a mess, but there’s hope and no I’m not trying to corner the market on Tug McGraw’s enthusiasm nor will I join the chorus of the doom and gloom types wanting to trade the entire team to Cuba for a couple of 57 Chevy’s and a box of Cohibas.

I’m only going to touch on two issues with the team, Jeff Francoeur and Oliver Perez.

Francoeur started the season quite well. His point of demarcation came during the endurance fest that was the 20-inning game the Mets won against the Cardinals. Going into that game Jeff’s numbers were .381 BA, .714 SLG, 1.165 OPS and a 4 to 7 K to BB ratio.

Since then, a .150 BA, .225 SLG, .430 OPS and a whopping 19/3 K to BB ratio. What if anything can Jerry Manuel do to light the proverbial spark with Jeff, let alone the team? Well if Jerry’s still around by the end of this week he should simply bench Frenchy, as tough as it would be, and start Chris Carter in his place.

Yes having a bench player who makes $5 million is hard to swallow, but sometimes even the best of us need to be reminded that there’s always someone else out there who wants it just as much or more.

It’s going to be interesting when Carlos Beltran does return. As Matt Cerrone over at Metsblog.com posted a few days ago, perhaps it will be time to give up on Francoeur in right and go with Pagan.

The Mets will have 4 starting outfielders. Can someone give Mookie a call please, maybe Joe D has him on speedial? The Mets manager – fill in the blank – shouldn’t have to choose who starts, it’s the players who should make that decision for him based on their play.

My second bone that I shall pick off the Metropolitan rib cage is… drum-roll please… Oliver Perez. Now I’m not going to pile on. I’ve already said my peace last week about Ollie and in all honesty I felt somewhat sorry for him until I found out that he flat out refused an assignment to Triple A Buffalo. Oh Ollie you truly are your own worst enemy.

That being said Omar and Jerry showed their moxie and moved him to the bullpen. Gusty guys. Even though there are 12 million reasons cutting Ollie would make the Wilpons sweat at night there are countless reasons that keeping Ollie on the 25 man roster does irreparable damage to this team.

He’s essentially taking a roster spot away from a player who may be deserving. There isn’t one veteran worth his salt that probably hasn’t spoken to Ollie about this. That alone should be enough to send him on his merry way.

If he accepted being sent to the minors at least he could work on his issues with a clear conscience. As tough as it would be to slog it out going town to town on a bus, I’m sure Ollie could find 12 million reasons to love Greyhound.

Competition. It makes the good better and the better, the best. Dad was right then and so was Davey. No player is guaranteed anything in baseball, or life. It’s time for guys to earn this privilege of being a Major League Baseball player and stop whining.

About Joe Spector 86 Articles
I'm just your regular Joe. Staff writer @ Metsmerizedonline.com. Happily married and a father to a baby girl. I attended my first Met game at the ripe old age of 3 where my father scored a foul ball and had it signed by Lee Mazzilli, Joe Torre and Joe Pignataro. It was my Holy Grail - 'till I buried it in the backyard. I have my own website where you can read my drivel at your leisure @ www.thespectorsector.net