Tag Archives: castillo

Biazarro World

14 Mar

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By Jim Walters

Remember when Elaine entered bizarro world in that classic Seinfeld episode. Her new friends were complete opposites from her regular crew of Jerry, George and Kramer.

Imagine if this season for the Mets is bizarro world and everything goes right. Here’s one man’s guess of what that would ¬†look like.

  • Jose Reyes is out for only two weeks instead of 8 and he is playing short at Citi Field on April 5th. He proves to be innocent of the hgh questions, but a certain third baseman of the Bronx can’t say the same.
  • Carlos Beltran is in centerfield by the end of April, but fans will miss the tag team efforts of Angel Pagan and Gary Matthews Jr, who held down the fort. Beltran comes back and does for the Mets what A-Rod did for the Yankees upon his May return last year. He also reveals that his mole gives him his mojo.
  • Johan Santana wins 20 games, the Cy Young and beats Roy Halladay in the three head to head match-ups this season.
  • Daniel Murphy proves Omar right, hitting .305 with 20 home runs and 95 RBIs. He also manages to play a decent first base. Keith Hernandez reminds us that he’s responsible.
  • Benjie Molina pulls a hamstring in week three and Rod Barajas hits 20 home runs and bats .260.
  • David Wright returns to his old form, hitting 30 home runs, 120 RBIs and bats .310. Wright wins the first MVP for New York.
  • Jason Bay hits 35 home runs, bats .280 and drives in 120 runs. His legs prove to be fine as Peter Gammons offers a public apology. Unfortunately its on the MLB network and no one sees it.
  • John Maine and Mike Pelfrey each win 15 games. Oliver Perez, well, not even in bizarro world is he very good.
  • Jenrry Mejia and Francisco Rodriguez become the best 1-2 punch, making most games feel like a 7-inning game.
  • Luis Castillo doesn’t drop any pop-ups.
  • Jerry Manuel doesn’t have to foolishly say he expects any of his players to be back in a week.
  • Omar Minaya gets to lead press conferences again.
  • Citi Field lowers ticket prices so families can go to a game and not miss a mortgage payment.
  • Mets retire Mike Piazza’s number.
  • Mets win the division, go on to get revenge against the Cardinals and beat the Yankees in the World Series.
  • Mets don’t mention Phillies in their championship celebration.
  • And finally, kids throughout the city trade in their Yankees jerseys for “Don’t Mess with the Johan” t-shirts.

A guy could dream….

Ghost of Shea

8 Mar

By Jim Walters

When Citi Field opened its doors to the public, the outcry from Mets fans came flowing in. While the new park in Queens showed off its shiny new apple and perfectly angled seats, fans were left asking, where are the Mets colors and Mets decor. While nice gestures like a new apple and keeping the old one, as well as the iconic skyline, connected the old and new chapters of Mets history, ownership did not do enough to make this park feel like the home stadium of the Mets.

During the season, adjustments were made. The team decided to no longer hide the few championship banners they possessed and they plastered images of old and current Mets in the inside and outside of Citi Field.

Besides the retired “Shea” that stood tall next to the numbers of Casey Stengal, Gil Hodges, Tom Seaver and Jackie Robinson, memories of Shea Stadium, the home of the Mets from 1964-2009, were noticeably absent. The memory of beloved Shea was left in the team’s past.

While the Yankees designed their new cathedral as an upgrade of  their old stadium, the Mets went for a completely new look. While many will say this was a smart move as the cookie-cutter design of the 1960s and 1970s was no longer fashionable or fan-friendly, the designers did forget to bring over the orange and blue that Shea so appropriately provided.

While the Mets played their first season at home in a ball park other than Shea Stadium for the first time since 1963, the team struggled for most of the year. After the first month, the injury bug hit this team as hard as it has ever hit a ball club in the history of this game. As the stars fell, so did the Mets in the standings. By September, Citi Field’s empty seats finally resembled the many empty Fall nights at old Shea.

Those connected to the spiritual world started to question if there was something or someone behind this sudden streak of bad luck. Sure the Mets would never be considered a winning franchise, with more losing seasons that winning ones. But, the bloating disabled list, as well as a defensive performance that had little leaguers laughing, started to reveal that someone or something had a score to settle.

Perhaps, the ghost of Shea Stadium, or maybe it was the baseball gods, who were trying to even the score, playing a part in the 2009 season. Maybe the proper tribute was not displayed to the stadium next door, as ownership continued to express how Citi Field was a great improvement, treating old Shea as the ex who was used and abused until something better came along.

Maybe 2009 was Shea’s revenge.

During the offseason, steps were taken to calm this ghost. Orange walls and a bridge named after beloved Shea were offered as peace offerings. The question left to be answered is, will it be enough?

Many fans pleaded with the Mets to change the outfield wall colors to blue. This simple move would remind the fans of Shea in its later years. While it is probably a pretty penny to replace the material, it may be the sacrifice this team needs to make to please the past so there can be a future.

Down in Florida, the injuries are starting to pile up. Jose Reyes and his thyroid, Carlos Beltran and his knee. Francisco Rodriguez can’t see and Kelvim Escobar can’t throw. Is this a simple hiccup in March or a repeat performance of last year’s plague?

It’s time the Mets make peace with old Shea.

Minaya Sealed His Own Fate

4 Mar

By Jim Walters

When the dust settles on this season (yes, I know it hasn’t even started yet), it is likely that Omar Minaya will not be the General Manager of the Mets.

While he reeled in big fish like Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez since taking the job in 2004, Minaya did three things that cost himself his job and his team a title.

1. Lack of Vision: Minaya was always one step behind. In 2006, as good as the Mets were, they didn’t have the starting pitching to compete. When Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez went down near the end of the season, he depended on John Maine and Oliver Perez to step in when the games mattered most. While they did well, it stretched their bullpen and eventually the teams fate. In the following years, he didn’t address the bullpen which cost them in 2007 and 2008. He will always be remembered as being one move short.

2. Oliver Perez: In 2009, the Mets handed him a three-year, $36 million dollar contract. His career record is 58-64 with a 4.54 ERA. For some reason they paid him like a number two pitcher. While he showed moments of brilliance, his inconsistency made Mets fans grumble every time he took the mound. Who knows how they could’ve spent that money this off-season. The upside is that Perez is only 29 and a lefty. The downside is that Perez is a head case that is treated to a chorus of boos each time he retreats from the mound with his head hanging low. It is a sad, familiar site that makes fans cringe every fifth day.

3. Luis Castillo: For some reason, Minaya handed an aging Castillio a four-year, $25 million dollar contract after joining New York in a mid-season trade in 2007. Castillo was handed a contract that paid him like it was 1997, when he was younger, more flexible and with better range. While he had a decent season in 2009, he is an achy second baseman with no power. He can only be counted on to leave runners on third with less than two outs.

What hurts New York is that Castillo’s contract has handcuffed Minaya. The last two summers, Orlando Hudson wanted to play in Queens, but no other team would take on Castillo. Hudson would bring a sense of passion and great range that would solidify the line-up. Instead, Hudson is in Minnesota and Castillo continues to be the face of a losing franchise.

Minaya has dedicated $18 million to Castillo and Perez this season. It will be remembered as one of the worst investments in franchise history and the two moves that sent Omar packing.