The title of this post may seem like a joke, and it should be, but according to Major League Baseball, it is not. Continue reading Fred Wilpon: Finance Expert
My great Aunt Naj used to tell a story about buying a Yankees yearbook. She liked that it would serve her not just for the year printed on the cover, but likely for a few seasons. “Nowadays,” she would say, “it’s outdated in five minutes.” She was born in 1928, more than 40 years before Curt Flood got the ball rolling on free agency, and didn’t like all the roster turnover of modern baseball.
When the 2015 yearbooks are released, Jimmy Rollins will not appear in the Phillies’ book for the first time in his 15-year career. He was traded to the Dodgers a few days ago. It was yet another reminder that the “lifer,” defined here as someone who played his entire career of at least 10 seasons for just one franchise, may soon be obsolete.
The Mets have had many terrible slogans over the years, weak attempts to draw fans to the ballpark to watch a crappy team. In 1998 the motto was the admittedly catchy “Show Up at Shea.” In 2003 it was “Experience It” (“it” apparently referred to a 66-win team). On the heels of a rare playoff appearance, the 2007 slogan was “Your Season Has Come,” a declaration that Mets management has been selling to fans ever since without delivering on the promise. But next year, Matt Harvey is back. The pitching staff is loaded. The good news: Your Season Has Come! The bad news: It looks a lot like the past few seasons.
I once passionately argued with my friend’s dad that the Mets should not trade their shortstop, Rey Ordonez, for Derek Jeter. Even for a 12 year old, this was a pitiful stance to take. Ordonez was a defensive whiz, but Jeter’s bat was so much better that he could’ve misplayed every other ball and still been the more valuable player. And yet, not only did I think the Mets should not make this hypothetical trade, but I never considered why the Yankees wouldn’t.
Let that serve as context for what comes next. As you may know, Keith Olbermann ripped Jeter’s legacy in a nearly seven-minute video on his ESPN program on Tuesday. “Contrary to what you have heard, he is not the greatest shortstop who ever lived.” Down goes the straw man! Raise your hand if you’ve heard anyone argue, with sincerity, that Jeter is the best shortstop ever.
When the Washington Nationals benched star pitcher Stephen Strasburg before the 2012 playoffs, general manager Mike Rizzo had this to say to any who opposed the decision: “We’ll be back and doing this a couple more times.” The implication was that the Nationals would get back to the playoffs and be in position for a World Series run in subsequent seasons. It was equal parts arrogant and naïve, both at the time and in retrospect, as the Nationals were bounced in the first round and did not make the playoffs the next year. They returned to the top of the National League East this season and will likely enter the playoffs, as they did in 2012, with the best record in the league. But the franchise can never atone for its mistakes two years ago.
Below is a modified version of my submission to Mets Magazine for its “Shea Stadium Memories” series. The magazine had a word limit, plus I figured I shouldn’t say anything negative about the Mets’ current stadium, Citi Field, so this post has been adapted for my blog. Then again, it was never published anywhere else.
The first thing you noticed was the grass. There was so much of it and it was so green. Modern stadiums have a lot going for them, but with open concourses you lose the awe of seeing the field explode out of nowhere. Walking through the tunnel to my seat at Shea Stadium for the first time is a sight I’ll never forget.
The good: I saw a cute little baby bundled up in Mets apparel.
The bad: He had to be bundled up because the temperature at first pitch was 44 degrees with strong winds.
The good: I, too, got to wear a Mets winter cap, one that was a promotional giveaway at a game last September.
The bad: I’m not sure I’ll ever get to wear the hat in Citi Field in October.
The good: They had pocket schedules at the stadium!
The bad: The fact that this is a cause for celebration. But it is, because in past years, there have been no schedules available at Citi for the first few home stands, as if the season snuck up on the organization.