Dec 01

On this Date ….

Looking Back ....

Looking Back ....

…. In 1998, the Mets dealt catcher Todd Hundley and minor league pitcher Arnold Gooch to the Dodgers for catcher Charles Johnson and Roger Cedeno. The Mets then swap Johnson to the Orioles for reliever Armando Benitez.

Benitez had a checkered career with the Mets, saving 158 games in parts of five seasons. Of course, what most remember about him was the games he didn’t save, particularly against the Braves. Benitez’s history was to unravel if something went wrong. A bloop or bad call could turn into a blown save, and it would start a string of three or four bad outings.

The Mets eventually traded him to the Yankees. Benitez would sign with the Giants and his last game was in 2008.

I covered Benitez with the Orioles and Yankees. I’ll always remember him spitting the bit in the 1997 ALCS, playing a significant part in at least three of the Orioles’ losses. The one moment that crystalizes in my memory is, when after giving up a homer, he plunked Tino Martinez in the back. Then he stood off the mound and gestured the Yankees to come get him.

They did.

ON DECK: What to do about Carlos Delgado later this morning.

Nov 30

How much should you know?

Yes, they are in the public eye, and yes your dollars go toward their salaries. But, just what should your right to know be?

Within the past few days, golfer Tiger Woods and Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore had their personal lives go public. Woods, with the holiday car accident, that might have been triggered by an alleged affair, and Sizemore, for nude photos of himself to his girlfriend now on the Internet.

As a journalist, I want to know as much as I can, but the off-the-field behavior would have to impact his performance as an athlete or his relationship with the public. If image is such that they capitalize on endorsements with their image, and that image becomes tainted, then it should be out there for all to see. In Woods’ case, he already pulled out of a tournament. He’s a corporate spokesman; his image gets him commercial money. That image is now on the line, and because of it, the events of that night should be made public.

As much as he would like it, there are no mulligans for Woods.

If Sizemore gets heckled to where he loses concentration and it hurts his play, yeah, that would count, also. He’s also the Indians’ most visible – no pun intended – player. The team sells tickets because of Sizemore’s play and image.

I get comments all the time from people telling me why their personal lives are an issue, and my response it that above and that people read that stuff. Woods was the number one topic on Google over the weekend.

So, tell me why or why not an athlete’s private lives should be made public.

Nov 30

Roberto Alomar deserves the Hall ….

It was one moment of uncontrollable action in an otherwise stellar, steady career. Roberto Alomar’s moment came in Toronto, Sept. 27, 1996, while as a member of the Baltimore Orioles, in a flash of blind rage and runaway temper, he spat on umpire John Hirschbeck.

ALOMAR: In better times.

ALOMAR: In better times.


It was stupidity and immaturity, and the moment hung over him the rest of his career, which began in San Diego, and included stops in Toronto (where he won two World Series rings, Baltimore, Cleveland, the Mets and Tampa Bay.

However, it shouldn’t keep him out of the Hall of Fame, nor should his brief, unproductive, seemingly mailed-in performance with the Mets.

I covered Alomar for two seasons in Baltimore, and this was a five-tool second baseman who could dominate a game as well as any slugger.

In a game against Boston, he homered, beat out a bunt and stole a base, made a scintillating back-handed diving catch of a line drive, and made a throw I still envision. He was about 70 feet down the right field line for the cutoff, but knowing he had no chance at the runner at home, threw behind the runner rounding third to nail him.

ALOMAR: Ten Gold Gloves.

ALOMAR: Ten Gold Gloves.


He made plays like that all the time and with the game on the line I wanted him up as much as anybody.

Said former teammate Pat Hentgen: “He was just so good at everything. He ran the bases well, he was a clutch hitter, he hit for power, he played tremendous defense, and he made everyone around him better defensively. Just a clutch performer. He always rose to the occasion.”

Except that day in Toronto.

There are several criteria for being a Hall of Famer, but they are subjective to the voter. Alomar gets mine because he dominated his position for over a decade. There was no better second baseman. He went to 12 All-Star Games and won ten Gold Gloves.

Numbers wise, among second basemen, he ranks first in steals, sixth in hits and seventh in runs scored. Just numbers, but when the game was in the balance he dominated.

He’ll get my vote.

Nov 29

Would you empty the shelves for Miguel Cabrera?

The name stares at you from the computer screen. Miguel Cabrera.

CABRERA: Should the Mets take his baggage?

CABRERA: Should the Mets take his baggage?


The Detroit Tigers, in a payroll cutting-mode, will listen to offers for the enigmatic first baseman. This guy would fill a lot of holes for the Mets. He’d take care of first base for the next six seasons and provide a potent right-handed bat.

But, he won’t come without a price.

In 2010, Cabrera will be entering the third year of an eight-year, $152.3 million deal. Here’s the breakdown: $20 million the next two seasons; $21 million in 2012 and 2013; and $22 million in 2014 and 2015.
Continue reading

Nov 28

Of course he would ….

Roy Halladay said he would waive his no-trade clause to pitch for the Yankees. He’d probably to the same to pitch for the Red Sox. Either way, that’s not encouraging news to the Mets if they were banking on the Blue Jays being reluctant to deal within the division.

The Blue Jays, it seems, are willing to deal with the Yankees and Red Sox. Throw in the Phillies, Dodgers and Angels, and there are five teams better than the Mets with the resources to make a trade. I was never banking on Halladay to begin with, but this should end that kind of talk.

If the Mets are going to add a pitcher, it will be a middle-tier arm, and FA is the way to go so they don’t have to give up prospects.

Halladay isn’t coming here, and neither is Lackey. The Mets will be lucky to get a guy like Jason Marquis.