Jul 10

Thought On All-Star Home Run Derby

Another year, another Home Run Derby. The only thing with edge last night was Kansas City booing Robinson Cano for bypassing the local hero. Of course, it didn’t have the from-the-heart venom of NBA fans booing the Miami Heat.

Initially, I watched the Derby with interest, if not fascination, the way I did the NBA slam dunk. But, there’s no real challenge if the pitch is lobbed over the play, so it became boring. Then, after the steroid issue, you knew what fueled all those upper deck shots.

So, I’m not a big fan of the Derby. I’d rather watch Criminal MInds reruns.

But, the paying public in the host city still loves it. I heard on talk radio yesterday saying how it Derby should be tweaked, ranging from celebrities (PLEASE, NO) to retired sluggers (not a bad idea).

I don’t care for the Derby because it is staged and not real competition – even though in a million swings I could never clear the wall – but as long as they are selling out the stadium, just leave it alone.

Jul 09

La Russa Snubs Dickey For All-Star Start

Tony La Russa has always been noted for over thinking, and his reasoning for not starting the Mets’ R. A. Dickey probably falls into that category, too.

Word out of Kansas City is Matt Cain will go against Justin Verlander in tomorrow’s All-Star Game. All along the reports are an apprehension for using the knuckleballer with Buster Posey.

“Look, I want to start the game. Of course I do,” Dickey said Sunday. “I think any competitor would like to.”

La Russa’s thinking is faulty if he’s concerned about passed balls and wild pitches. They are potentially far more costly later in the game when your offense has less time to make up a run.

Cain and Posey are teammates, so that makes sense. If Dickey follows a power pitcher such as Cain to throw off the AL hitters, that also makes sense. But, if La Russa’s reasoning in fear, that makes no sense.

The official announcement is expected at a 1:30 p.m. ET news conference.
Jul 09

Mets Close Exciting First Half With Concern

After a plus first half, the Mets limp into the All-Star break on the skids – definitely not the team that captivated our imagination for the better part of three months.

We all knew they had questions and issues, but played through them. Just not to the point where we can think they’ve disappeared.

Over the past few weeks, the Mets bullpen continued to implode. That wasted Chris Young start comes immediately to mind. More alarming is that both R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana have twice been roughed up. The defense has been erratic, and the overall lack of power and speed have both come into play.

Losing two series to the Chicago Cubs is just not an encouraging sign.

The Mets finished the first half with a winning record, and maybe this is just a glitch. A warming to Sandy Alderson more parts are needed.

During the break, I’ll look at what went right and wrong, what is needed, and grade the players. I’ll be back around noon.

Jul 08

Reggie Jackson Should Shut Up; Wally Backman Defends Gary Carter

It must have been frustrating for Reggie Jackson when he questioned the validity of several Hall of Famers, including Gary Carter. I mean, nobody had been talking to him lately and he was out of the limelight.

Several of Carter’s teammates, including Wally Backman, came to his defense.

“Who is he to question?” Backman told the Bergen Record. “At least Gary was a complete player. It’s unbelievable Reggie would criticize a great guy and great player who’s passed away. Show some respect.”

Respect?

When it comes to respect to others, Jackson has no clue. He’s for himself first, second and to hell with everybody else.

Backman is right in that Carter was a more complete – and team player – than Jackson ever was. Some players tend to rub people the wrong way and what I’ll remember first about Jackson is not the three homers in the World Series game against the Dodgers, but for his derogatory comments about Thurman Munson, him ignoring Billy Martin’s signs and for scuffling with Martin in the dugout at Fenway.

Among his other comments in Sports Illustrated, Jackson said: “I didn’t see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Gary Carter as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Don Sutton as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Phil Niekro as a Hall of Famer. As much as I like Jim Rice,  I’m not so sure he’s a Hall of Famer.”

Honestly, Puckett (3,000 hits), Sutton and Niekro (300 wins) are milestone stats that have meant automatic entry into the Hall of Fame. It’s the same way with 500 homers. Had Jackson hit 450 homers, would he be a Hall of Famer? I’m not so sure.

And, speaking of landmark honors, what about the Yankees’ retiring his number? Take away that World Series game and Jackson’s penchant for beating his own drum, it’s a reach to call him one of the great Yankees worthy of that honor.

 

 

 

Jul 08

Mets’ Chemistry Will Keep Bobby Parnell Out Of Closer Role — For Now

The Mets spent a good bit of time speaking of team chemistry as for a primary reason why they have played so well in the first half. You’ll hear more about that today, and deservedly so.

PARNELL: Has been terrific.

It is for that reason why Bobby Parnell – who has been pitching lights out lately – will relinquish the closer role once Frank Francisco is able to come off the disabled list. For the same reason why Jason Bay went back to left when he last came off the DL, is the same reason why Parnell will stop working the ninth – chemistry.

The Mets have been a tranquil bunch the first three months – with their aggressiveness limited to the field – and Terry Collins won’t mess with that state. The Mets signed Francisco to be their closer, and as long as he’s physically able, Collins is apt to keep it that way.

The thing that could alter that is Francisco’s injury lingering, but reports have him coming back shortly after the break.

Parnell has pitched well in the role, well enough to stay there and well enough to prove he can do the job, but chemistry is a fragile thing and Collins won’t tamper with it now.