Sunday, February 10, 2008

Good week, bad week

Nice week of contrast for the two teams that call New York home. Pretty much shows where each team is headed.

Let’s review.

Player acquisitions:

Mets: With great fanfare the Mets showed off Johan Santana, winner of two Cy Young awards and the well-earned reputation as the best left-hander on the planet.

It was all smiles after the Mets showed dramatic video highlights of Santana’s past glories. He then donned the classic pinstriped jersey and solid blue cap.

Santana then posed around the stadium, with beautiful Citi Field rising in the background – a spot where Johan expects to win more Cy Young Awards, along with an MVP and possibly a Nobel Prize and a Grammy.

There is no proof that John McCain then called and asked him to be his running mate.

Yankees: With no fanfare, the Yankees announced their two main acquisitions: Morgan Ensberg and Chris Woodward.

Ensberg split last season between the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres. The Yankees would be looking at him as a first baseman, where he played just one game with San Diego last August. Note to existing first baseman Jason Giambi. If they’re handing the job to a guy who played one game at that spot, that would be a vote of no confidence in your ability to field a ground ball.

Then you have Woodward, who had two somewhat productive seasons with the Mets before starting down a path of playing for the team’s arch enemies. He hit a robust .216 with the vile Braves last year. He must not have read the post about what happens when Mets go bad and join the Yankees.

There was no press conference, no jersey donning and no posing.

Former employees linked to steroids:

Mets: Former clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski was sentenced to five years probation after cooperating with baseball's investigation. Radomski admitted selling steroids, human growth hormone and speed to dozens of current and former major leaguers.

Not good. But it is rarely noted that he did all this after – not while – he was on the Mets payroll. I’m sure he had other jobs, too, but all we hear about is the one with the Mets. It’s not like he has been accused of giving roids to Mets players while he was there.

Yankees: Former Yankee Bat-Chucker trainer Brian McNamee was making the rounds on Capitol Hill on Thursday in preparation for next week's House hearing.

McNamee allegedly handed over vials with traces of steroids and human growth hormone, as well as blood-stained syringes and gauze pads that might contain Bat-Chucker's DNA.

Then things got crazy. There were reports that McNamee not only injected Bat-Chucker, but Lady Bat-Chucker, too! Allegedly she wanted to look buff before posing with her husband in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

His wife?

Stadium issues:

Mets: Announced that Long Islander Billy Joel would perform the final concert at Shea Stadium.

I have to say that I love Billy, despite some nasty Yankee taint. One of his buds is wearing a Yankee shirt of shame, err, jersey on the back of “The Stranger.” He filmed a video performing in the Bronx. And he mentions the Yankees, by name, in at least three songs.

But Billy’s been saying all the right things.”Shea Stadium is one of the most hallowed venues in rock 'n' roll history and it's an honor to help throw Shea the ultimate concert farewell party," he said in a prepared statement. "As a sports fan and a music lover, I will always have a place for Shea Stadium in my heart. I thank the Mets for giving me and my fans a chance to rock Shea Stadium one last time for the ages."

Joel expressed his thanks at the press conference, where he was given a Mets jersey with "JOEL O8" on the back.

Joel apparently said used to be a Dodgers fan – which makes him a legacy Mets fan – and was distressed that the Dodgers left Brooklyn. He even noted watching Mets pitcher Wilmer "Vinegar Bend" Mizell in the 1960s.

"I've been to more Mets games than Yankees games," he said Joel.

Joel also indicated he would have written more songs about the Mets had he known more words that rhyme with "Mets." I know plenty, but it’s not like we require our rock singers to be great scholars.

Friends, I think what we have here is a convert. I can accept that Billy was sucked into the Yankee vortex in those hazy days when he was driving around the Hamptons like Toonces.

It’s also very possible that Christie Brinkley was a Yankee fan, and she led him to the dark side. But the Uptown Girl is gone and Bill has dried up. Let’s face it, we’ve all seen people who look back at their time in the bottle and realized they did some things they regret. In Billy’s case, it was rooting for the Yankees.

Mets fans are forgiving. Our tent is big. We can welcome Billy back – and ask that he let Twisted Sister open the show for him!

Yankees: The Yankees are closing out their dingy playpen this year – and apparently can’t get anyone for a farewell concert.

But this week the team discussed its new stadium. According to one report I read the new “stadium will have party suites, a members-only restaurant, a martini bar and a price tag to match all the luxury -- $1.3 billion, up from a $1 billion estimate last year.

"We tried to reflect a five-star hotel and put a ballfield in the middle," Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost said.

Yikes. I don’t know about you guys, but if I wanted to go to a five-star hotel, I’d go to a five-star hotel – not a baseball stadium.

Kind of makes you wonder who the Yankees think their target audience is. I’m a pretty typical baseball fan. I stay at places I can afford, like the Hampton Inn and its breakfast bar with the cool waffle-makers.

And when I go to a ballgame, I like to watch a ballgame, not wander around pricy martini bars.
It’s almost like the Yankees are trying to distract you from watching the game.

Then again, if I was a Yankees exec and I’m looking at the field and seeing Morgan Ensberg at first, Jason Giambi trying to figure out how to wear his glove and whether the people seated in the family box are a little too buff, I’d try distracting the fans, too.

Luckily, we get to see Johan Santana and Billy Joel instead.


mike said...


I picked up some #57 shirts for me and the crew on Friday!! Conor got the classic blue while I had to settle for the orange.

They were hard to come by at Modells. There is alot of excitement here in the homeland!!

It was a gloomy winter before the Santana sunshine broke through!!

Tickets for Billy go on sale this Saturday morning and Kathy and I plan on being there on 7/16!!!


Anonymous said...

Billy went to Columbia records not Columbia University, not stupid, but, not the brightest (certainly no John Lennon). But heh, in our culture, he wins, he makes the most money. Little tough to lose yourself in his lyrics, except maybe "New York State of Mind"