...former Mets outfielder Mike Cameron, after former teammate Carlos Beltran lost a ball in the sun during a game against the Dodgers...
Yeah, I know, I have a place for stupid stuff on this here blog, but that one was just too good to relegate to subprime status. Because, well, you know, one of the things that I think is important in a player is his innate intelligence, which in turn, gives him the ability to contemplate, absorb, educate and teach himself about the game of baseball, how to best play it, how to apply his particular gifts and talents to it, and how to grow as a player and a teammate.
All of those things is kind of why I'm glad we don't have players like Jay Payton or Mike Cameron on the team anymore. In my view, they're both the kind of dumbass stunad throwback type of players we just don't need anymore.
And you know who else is kind of like that? Billy Wagner. I know, I shouldn't heap on a guy who's got a serious and perhaps career-ending injury, but I honestly have to say that maybe the loss of Wagner is a blessing in disguise for the Mets. Why, you ask? Why, especially when the bullpen this year consists of little but guys who can somehow be jury-rigged together with a little hope and some crossed fingers, praying that we somehow get to the end of the game with the lead still intact? Well, because I think the team has outgrown Wags, and I'd like to see a closer developed from within.
*Gasp!*, say you? And who might that be? Well, I submit that with the plethora of young arms that we have, all of those plethora probably dying to get a shot in the major leagues, we can find and develop from within, save a ton of money, and use the money saved for a QUALITY second baseman (if we can dump Castillo, somehow, that is), upgrade first base (more later), and add to the outfield and bench depth.
I'm not a huge believer in "The Closer," anyway. If you look around both leagues, there's no more than a handful of guys that you'd want to close your games, and even out of those, there's no more than one or two that you can really trust, day in and day out. I've said for a long time that it might be time to rethink the closer role, which came into prominence with the advent of the Mariano Rivera Era, but there is only one Mariano, and other closers have had a terrible time trying to live up to his standards. In fact, none has. Especially NOT Billy Wagner. And especially NOT Billy Wagner in big situations.
And it's all back to that intelligence thingy again. I think there is enough intelligence on the Mets, and in the organization, and especially in the head of Jerry Manuel, that they have the ability to think outside the box, and come up with a solution to the closer problem. And I really think that there is someone in the organization that will step up and truly give his all to fill the role.
In other news, the Mets have announced that the old apple will not survive Shea Stadium. And may I say, two thumbs up to the Mets' organization for that one. It's time Mets fans moved on and forward. The apple will, I'm sure, take its place in Mets folklore and nostalgically live on for the fans who love it. But we are moving forward, and sometimes, when moving forward, some old friends have to be left behind.
And one more thing - Pedro Martinez. Based upon what I've seen for the last month or so, I'm wondering if he were anyone BUT Pedro Martinez, if he'd make the postseason roster, assuming the Mets actually get there. My gut reaction is that he wouldn't. And I'm thinking, maybe he shouldn't. But will he? Can he really contribute in the postseason? A roster spot in the postseason is a very valuable one, not to be taken or assigned lightly.
And one more thing. So sue me, I lied about the last thing being one more thing. Carlos Delgado, and first base. I'm thinking that it might be time to move on with first base, as well. Sometimes, it's not so much a matter of options as it is a conscious decision to go in a certain direction. And for my money (and the Mets' money), based upon what I've seen of the manner of play in baseball vis a vis veterans and youngsters, I'm thinking that if I'm the Mets, I'm developing my young talent. No offense to Carlos, who's made a miraculous if not somewhat expected turnaround this past half year (he is up for contract extension, and all), but I'm going to develop or acquire a much younger guy at first base for next year. With the solidity of Reyes and Wright in the infield, the steadying influence of Carlos Beltran in the outfield, the solid and reliable Johan Santana as a part of the pitching staff, the Mets certainly have more than enough veteran leadership.
I say, cut Carlos loose.