This is my 41st Season of Regular Baseball-Viewing. My 1st such game was @ Shea Stadium in Queens, on September 2nd, 1966. In the days before the League Championship Series, the 1st Place Team @ the end of the season, was in the World Series. The New York Mets climbed out of Last Place, for the 1st Time, by finishing 9th in a 10 Team National League.
Meanwhile in The Bronx, where a team most noted for sheer #s of World Series appearances, plays, the NY Yankees fell into 10th Place, & drew a record 413 Fans to a Double-Header, versus the Chicago White Sox, on the last day of the ‘66 Season. They were in the 2nd of 11 seasons without an appearance in The Fall Classic. Even the traditional North Jersey White Trash, stayed clear of “The House That Ruth Built”, known by Red Sox Fans as “The Toilet.” October “Arrivistas” had nowhere to go.
Fast Forward this situation to 2002 for the New York Mets, who were just 2 years removed from the 2000 World Series:
The Owners, Nelson Doubleday & Fred Wilpon, had been at war with each other, so Wilpon bought out Doubleday & made himself the Principal Owner of the Team. The Mets were furiously in contention for a post-season bid versus the Atlanta Braves, when August came around.
The pitching & hitting fell apart, all at once. The deals made by then General Manager Steve Phillips, of trading for 2nd Baseman Robbie Alomar & the signing of one-time Red Sox super hitter, Mo Vaughn, were coming apart at the seams. The Mets lost all of their home games in the dog days of August, ‘02. There was also a Marijuana problem with that team, which had the fans in an uproar. These Mets, not even half as talented as the Coke Heads of ‘86, watched that season go up in smoke. Of course, the Manager, Bobby Valentine, lost his job. Bobby had a hand in forcing (Eventual Red Sox Pitching Guru) Dave Wallace to leave, after the ‘00 World Series (I wonder if Al Leiter & John Franco, had their hands in that as well). Phillips got the heave-ho in ‘03.
This is now 2006, as the Boston Red Sox went through some upheavles, in their front office situation in ‘October, ‘05. Boy Wonder Theo Epstein, Architect of the ‘04 World Champion Red Sox as General Manager, resigned because of Red Sox General Partner & Team President, Larry Lucchino’s talking to a Boston Globe Sportswriter named Dan Shaughnessy, & having Epstein savaged in the Globe, a property of the New York Times Company, 17% owner of New England Sports Ventures, owners of the Red Sox. Co-General Managers ran the show (Ben Cherington & Jeb Hoyer). Deals like Hanley Ramirez & Annibal Sanchez for Josh Beckett, were made (Who knew what a bomb, that Beckett would turn out to be, he of 1 pitch).
Larry Lucchino, from this point on, will be referred to as “M. Donald Lucchino”, acting as if he was one M. Donald Grant, onetime Chairman of The Board of the New York Mets & a General Partner in that franchise. Mr Grant utilized a New York Daily News Sportswriter named Dick Young, to savage the living daylights out of (Eventual Hall of Fame Pitcher) Tom Seaver, for talking about being worth more than Nolan Ryan. Seaver had the #s to back it up, having pitched in the New York Market, whereas Ryan was a superstar in small markets.
Young had a conflict of interest, as his Son-In-Law, Thornton Geary, was employed by the Mets Broadcast Operations Department, so hence, the Savaging & the Trade of Tom Seaver (Thursday, June 15th, 1977) which sent Mets Fans, scurrying for cover & other things to do on a weekend, while Grant was busy, turning the team into a 3rd World Franchise. For his “Dick Young Style Savaging” of Theo Epstein, Dan Shaughnessy shall be called Dick, in as much as he is one, the perpetrator of “The Curse Of The Bambino”, from which he so handsomely-profited.
Theo did pull off a couple of trades, which caused for people’s heads to shake a bit, such as Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena (Who could be confused for Lastings Milledge of the Mets, at times) & the signings of Rudy Seanez (Recently Designated For Assignment) & Julian Tavarez, to shore up the relief corps, both of them being major liabilities (Where on Lansdowne Street did that ball go).
The Matt Clement Signing, as a starting pitcher, is forgettable, as he’s on the D L, as we speak. Having Albert Samuel Nipper, as Interim Pitching Coach, for much of this year, he being a 1986 World Series Arsonist, gave me an incredible lack of confidence, in this year’s pitching staff. I’m happy about the return of Dave Wallace as Pitching Guru, but I fear that it may just be too late.
With Catcher/Captain Jason Varitek on the disabled list after surgery on his kneee, he who really knew the strengths & weaknesses of his pitchers, the focus may have to be on 2007 & beyond. It may be time to rebuild. It’s a thought.
I’ll hold that thought. I’ll see you @ Fenway Park, on Saturday, September 2nd for the 7:05PM Game with the Toronto Blue Jays. Meanwhile, there’s still some games to play & one never knows what will happen in September. It could be interesting.
And one never knows what the real motivation for some of Epstein’s Deals were. Perhaps, it may have been his way to tell M. Donald Lucchino & Dick Shaughnessy, where they could stick it.
& I’m outta here!