Posted on: August 12, 2010 12:07 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2010 12:16 pm
Only the Mets, right?
Only the Mets could have a player arrested in the clubhouse, after a fight with his father-in-law -- in the team's family room, in front of his teammates' wives and children!
Only the Mets could have their manager tell reporters that he'd definitely use Francisco Rodriguez to close today's game against the Rockies -- if Rodriguez gets back from court in time -- after his morning arraignment! Of course, about an hour after Manuel said that, the Mets announced that Rodriguez has been placed on the restricted list for two days, meaning he can't pitch, they won't pay him and they have a couple more days to figure out what to do next.
No, it's not funny when a family dispute gets so heated that someone (Rodriguez's father-in-law, in this case) needs treatment at a hospital. But it sure is Mets-like.
Is there any team in baseball that has embarrassed itself more over the last four years?
I'm sure I'm missing something, but here's the list:
1. The collapse. On Sept. 12, 2007, the Mets held a seven-game lead over the Phillies with just 17 games to play. They went 5-12 the rest of the way, and the Phillies won the division by one game.
2. The concussion. After outfielder Ryan Church suffered his second concussion in three months, the Mets allowed him to fly with the team from Atlanta to Colorado. The Mets later admitted this was a bad idea.
3. The firing. After going back and forth on whether to dump manager Willie Randolph, the Mets had Randolph fly to California with the team in June 2008. Then, two hours after the first game of the trip, the Mets announced that they had fired Randolph -- at 3:12 a.m. New York time.
3. The collapse, part II. In September 2008, the Mets didn't lead by seven games, but they did lead the division by half a game on Sept. 19, and led the wild-card race by 2 1/2 games the next day. They lost six of their last nine games, lost the division to the Phillies and lost the wild card to the Brewers on the final day of the season -- in the final game ever at Shea Stadium. Oh, and the Mets scheduled their Shea Goodbye ceremony for after the final game, when there was nothing to celebrate.
4. The press conference. First there were the stories about assistant general manager Tony Bernazard allegedly taking his shirt off and challenging Mets minor leaguers to a fight. And there were stories about Bernazard allegedly fighting with Rodriguez on a team flight. Then, when the Mets fired Bernazard, they somehow made things worse and more embarrassing. On live television -- on Mets-owned SNY -- Minaya accused New York Daily News reporter Adam Rubin of campaigning for a job with the team. To make things even more complicated, and more embarrassing, Rubin worked part-time for SNY, and in fact it was an appearance on SNY before the press conference that reportedly set Minaya off.
5. The surgery. This January, the Mets picked a fight with their most talented player, complaining publicly about the timing of center fielder Carlos Beltran's knee surgery. The Mets claimed they didn't know Beltran was having surgery. Beltran's agent, Scott Boras, said he had told them.
6. The Maine problem. Convinced that starter John Maine had a physical problem that was causing him to lose velocity, Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen made the decision to remove Maine from a start in Washington after just five pitches. Warthen later told reporters that Maine is "a habitual liar in a lot of ways as far as his own health." Maine had an angry exchange with Warthen on the Mets' flight home that night. He never pitched in another game for the Mets, and recently had season-ending shoulder surgery.
7. The bullpen fight. During a game against the Yankees that same week, Rodriguez and bullpen coach Randy Niemann got in what The New York Times described as "a heated confrontation" in the bullpen, in view of fans. Niemann later took responsibility.
8. The arrest. According to Kevin Burkhardt of SNY, Rodriguez went directly to the family room after Wednesday night's 6-2 Mets loss to the Rockies. While there, he apparently got into an argument with his wife, and when his father-in-law stepped in, the confrontation got physical. Rodriguez's father-in-law was taken to a local hospital. Rodriguez was arrested.
There's more. Those are just the highlights. Or the lowlights.
Only the Mets.
Posted on: March 10, 2010 1:17 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2010 2:58 pm
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Mets general manager Omar Minaya met with the media today to announce . . . that Jose Reyes has overactive thyroid levels.
That shouldn't come as a surprise, since the Mets announced the same thing on Tuesday night. The only problem was that Reyes then spoke to ESPN Deportes and said he had no thyroid problem.
It's perhaps not as big a difference as it seems, because Reyes could have elevated levels and still no significant problem, but it was just one more example of Mets confusion on a health matter.
Anyway, Minaya said he had spoken to the Mets doctor, and also to Reyes' representatives, and the Mets are sticking to their announced diagnosis. Minaya wouldn't speculate on how long Reyes will be out.
"Let's wait for the results of the tests," he said.
Those results, the Mets said, will likely be available on Thursday, and might clear all of this up. Or, given the Mets and their recent history with medical issues, they might clear up nothing at all.
Posted on: July 28, 2009 6:51 pm
NEW YORK -- For 29 teams, this is trade deadline week.
And then there are the Mets, where this has become Omar Minaya week. And where the general manager was unavailable to talk Tuesday, not because he's deep in trade talks but because he's deep in a self-created mess.
"He's really hurt by this," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said. "He needs a day."
"This" is the disaster of a press conference Minaya held Monday, in which he began by announcing the firing of assistant Tony Bernazard, then viciously went on the attack against New York Daily News Mets beat writer Adam Rubin. "This" is what has engulfed Minaya and the Mets for more than 24 hours now, monopolizing the time on local sports-talk radio and even turning the firing of a little-known vice president of player development into a national story.
By Tuesday afternoon, the Mets were deep into damage control, with Wilpon appearing on the field before a game against the Rockies. He said that the organization apologized to Rubin, that Minaya made a big mistake, but also that he and his family stand behind their man.
"Omar's our general manager," Wilpon said. "Omar's going to be our general manager. If we can all give him a chance, he'll come back and make this organization proud."
Later, asked if Minaya had the rest of the year to prove he should keep his job, Wilpon responded: "Right now, the idea is that Omar is our general manager. Period."
Minaya was at work Tuesday, and he hosted a conference call with Mets scouts. But even that call, sources said, began with Minaya reading his apology to Rubin.
Meanwhile, the Mets have won three straight games for the first time since May. Yet everything they do is overwhelmed by the latest off-field mess.
Even in manager Jerry Manuel's pregame session with the media Tuesday, the Minaya situation was brought up -- by Manuel.
Asked if he wanted Minaya to make a trade this week, Manuel quipped: "I thought he made a deal yesterday. I walked in here [to the press conference room] and you all looked like you'd been hit by a truck."
In any other city, this is trade week.
In Metland, it's Minaya week. Or hit-by-a-truck week.
That might be the same thing.
Posted on: July 27, 2009 3:23 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2009 7:02 pm
What a year it's been for the Mets.
What a day it's been for the Mets.
They haven't made a trade. They haven't (yet) lost another game, or (yet) lost another player to injury.
All they have done, once again, is prove how much of a mess they are.
They sent general manager Omar Minaya out for a press conference to explain why assistant GM Tony Bernazard was being fired, and in the middle of it Minaya bizarrely accused New York Daily News Mets beat writer Adam Rubin of having an agenda because he (Rubin) wanted a job in the Mets organization. That led to an angry and uncomfortable exchange -- during the press conference -- between Minaya and Rubin.
Minaya also insisted that the decision to fire Bernazard was his (hard to believe), and also that the decision was only loosely connected to the many stories Rubin wrote the last week in the Daily News (even harder to believe).
Minaya doesn't do press conferences well. We knew that already.
The Mets don't do firings well. Remember, last year they allowed Willie Randolph to fly to California, then fired him in the middle of the night.
But this one should have been simple. Bernazard was unusually powerful for someone who was an assistant general manager, but he was still just an assistant GM. While he's well-known in baseball (and not particularly well-liked), he wasn't a big name nationally.
The only way this could become a significant story nationally was for Minaya to make himself a bigger part of the story -- which he did.
Most people who know the Mets believe that Bernazard was fired because the Mets were growing increasingly uncomfortable with the bad publicity he was generating. Bernazard had a close relationship with Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, but in the end that wasn't enough to save him.
Many people in baseball (and some in the Mets organization) celebrated his downfall, because they consider him to be a bully. Others, who like Bernazard, believe that he was able to take needed action when Minaya wouldn't.
Today, Minaya may be in need of someone to do more dirty work for him.
Bernazard is no longer available.
If you want to watch highlights (lowlights) of the press conference or Rubin's reaction, they are posted here on the SNY website.
Posted on: July 7, 2009 7:15 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2009 7:17 pm
NEW YORK -- The Mets say they don't know when Carlos Beltran will be back. They say they don't know when Jose Reyes will be back.
They have some idea when Carlos Delgado will be back, but they say he likely won't make it back before mid-August, and in any case shouldn't be back before Beltran and Delgado.
Oh, and the Mets say that we really shouldn't expect any problem-solving trades anytime soon.
So here's what the Mets have to offer: hope.
"We're battling," general manager Omar Minaya said. "We hope as guys get back, we're in contention."
He never said how he expects that to happen.
As for manager Jerry Manuel, at least he has stopped saying publicly that his remaining players aren't good enough (they're not, but it doesn't really help when a manager says they're not).
"We might have to play good with this group for a longer time than we anticipated," Manuel said. "That's my responsibility. I've got to find a way for this group to mesh and play good baseball."
Posted on: June 24, 2009 1:54 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 1:58 pm
In his first start after the Brewers sent him to the minor leagues, Manny Parra was throwing 84-87 mph and was so unimpressive that one person watching said, "They announced Manny Parra, but it sure didn't look like him."
But Parra rebounded well Tuesday night, going seven innings and allowing just one run for Nashville against an Albuquerque team that featured that other Manny (who, by the way, struck out and grounded out against Parra). The Brewers were encouraged enough that they now think Parra could rejoin their rotation within the next few weeks.
Brewers people hope Parra could follow the same path as Ricky Nolasco, the Marlins opening day starter who seemed to be helped by his two Triple-A starts. Nolasco, who had a 9.07 ERA when he was sent down, has a 2.50 ERA in three starts since returning, including a win at Fenway Park.
The Brewers have made it this far into the season using only five starting pitchers. That will change when Parra's spot comes up on Saturday (the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that Seth McClung is the leading candidate for that spot). The Brewers will also need to fill Dave Bush's spot, with Bush now on the disabled list.
While many people in baseball believe that the Nationals should give Mike Rizzo the full-time job as general manager, the team has continued to look at other options, and some people are saying that the Nats owners want "a big name." The Nationals contacted Gerry Hunsicker, the former Astros GM who now works for Tampa Bay, but it appears that he doesn't want the job.
One name that has circulated: Jed Hoyer, who now works as Theo Epstein's assistant in Boston.
Meanwhile, other teams are wondering how much freedom Rizzo has to make trades. The Nationals have spoken to many teams about Nick Johnson, and to a few about Adam Dunn.
While the Rockies' slow start cost manager Clint Hurdle his job, their strong rebound is good news for general manager Dan O'Dowd, whose job now seems much more secure.
The Rockies' rebound has a few other effects, notably allowing other teams to believe that they could make the same sort of move back into the race. The Rockies themselves are no longer seen as a July seller, although sources said they're still trying to move Garrett Atkins.
The problem is that Atkins has a .206 batting average and has also regressed defensively.
"He can't play first base," one scout said. "And he can't play third base, either."
Without Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, the Mets lineup is awful, and they know it. Asked Tuesday night if we should expect more games like Tuesday's (a two-hit Joel Pineiro shutout) or like Monday's (a scrappy 6-4 win), manager Jerry Manuel answered honestly: "That's a good question."
The Mets expect to get all of their injured players back at some point this season, but they can't say exactly when on any of them. While they say there's a chance Beltran (bruised knee) could miss just two weeks, GM Omar Minaya said the All-Star break could be a safer bet.
"If you told me right now we'd have him to start the second half, I'd sign up for that," Minaya said.
Good line from 2,501-win man Tony La Russa, when asked what qualities make a good manager.
"Outstanding players," said La Russa, a fine manager who has also been blessed with many outstanding players.
Among all the impressive Albert Pujols stats, how about this one: In six plate appearances this year with the bases loaded, Pujols is 5 for 5 with three home runs and a sacrifice fly. In those six plate appearances, he has 16 RBIs (out of a possible 24).
For his career, Pujols is a .411 hitter with the bases loaded.
Posted on: December 11, 2008 1:13 am
LAS VEGAS -- The Mets needed a closer. So they went out and got two of them.
Who do they think they are, the Yankees?
Well, no, because as Mets people keep insisting, they do have their limits. Still, for a team that missed the playoffs because they had one of the worst bullpens in the game, a simple makeover simply wasn't going to be enough.
In announcing the 12-player, three-team trade that netted the Mets J.J. Putz, general manager Omar Minaya said that at one point this summer his staff had Francisco Rodriguez and Putz as the top two available closers.
"I'm not going to tell you in what order," Minaya said. "But in my wildest dreams, I never imagined we'd get both of them. To get one closer like Frankie would have been a good winter. To get two is a great winter."
The Mets still have issues to address, like filling the remaining hole in their starting rotation. They may have to deal with Putz's feelings, because the ex-Seattle closer has already suggested that he isn't thrilled about being a setup man.
But just as the Yankees had little choice but to overspend to deal with their seriously-lacking rotation, the Mets needed dramatic moves to fix their bullpen.
Signing a record-setting closer one day, then trading for a guy with a 40-save season on his record the next, qualifies as dramatic.
"All I kept hearing on the streets of New York, when you went to get a bagel, was 'Address the bullpen,' " Minaya said. "To Mets fans: We've addressed the bullpen.
"You can't address the need any better."
As I mentioned yesterday, the Mets know better than most teams that great winters don't guarantee great summers. But if the Mets had let this winter pass without adequately rebuilding their bullpen, you could almost guarantee another disappointing summer.
Now they have a chance.
Posted on: September 28, 2008 6:32 pm
The Mets lost out again on the final day of the season, but that failure isn't expected to cost anyone a job.
General manager Omar Minaya's four-year contract extension became public knowledge a few days back, and after today's 4-2 loss to the Marlins, major-league sources said that it's almost certain that Jerry Manuel will remain as manager.
Manuel took over as interim manager when Willie Randolph was fired late on the night of June 16. The Mets, who were a game under .500 at the time (34-35), went 55-38 under Manuel. Mets players have repeatedly praised Manuel, and several Mets players endorsed him again after today's loss.
"I believe he should be back," Carlos Beltran said. "He's a great man, and he did everything possible. He did his part, and he did his best."
Minaya also praised Manuel, saying he did "a very good job going into a difficult situation."
Minaya wouldn't directly comment on Manuel's future, saying he first had to discuss the situation with club ownership. But it's believed that the decision has already been all but finalized.