Olympic Nation Swapping

The Times is reporting of folks who became “newly minted citizens” to represent the U.S.A. in the Olympics. Is that really the point? To me that’s as bad as the Mets hiring “the guy from the Braves” (Glavine) to beat the Braves. That’s not what I want out of the Mets nor out of my own country.

Swapping Passports in Pursuit of Olympic Medals
Published: June 15, 2008
Foreign-born and trained stars have been contributing to the United States’s Olympic medal count since 2000 in a growing trend that blurs the national boundaries of the competition.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/sports/olympics/15citizen.html
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>Willie Watch – Conflicting Reports From SI and ESPN

>Yeah they won tonight, but at this point one win isn’t going to stop the Willie Watch.

Conflicting reports Thursday and Friday have Willie staying through the season or gone by Monday, depending on which source you read.

On ESPN.com Thursday, Jayson Stark, who must be a fan of The Mets Police, wrote:

The Willie Watch seems as if it’s back on in Flushing Meadow, now that the glow of the Mets’ brief seven-out-of-nine tear has been obliterated by the five-game losing streak they finally ended Wednesday. But don’t be so sure that Randolph’s axing is going to arrive before the next No. 7 train.
GM Omar Minaya repeated again Tuesday night that Randolph is safe. And he’s not just blowing PR fog. According to one baseball man who speaks regularly with Mets management, Randolph is “not going to get fired. Period.”
Not that there isn’t nonstop debate about the manager’s status, a debate that reverberates around all levels of Shea Stadium. Not that there isn’t constant second-guessing of Randolph’s bullpen usage or his often-dispassionate style of player relations.
But the fellow who has to make this call, Minaya, isn’t giving in to that talk. Minaya “has made his decision,” said the same baseball man. “And the decision is, this is Willie’s team. And he’s not going away.”
Then again, though, neither is The Willie Watch — not if his $138-million baseball team doesn’t click into gear in a hurry, at least.

On the other hand, over on SI.com, Jon Heyman wrote on Friday:

A Mets official indicated that nothing was expected to be decided today regarding Randolph’s status. But that doesn’t preclude something from happening later this weekend. Sources indicate his hold on the job is shaky, at best.
Should Randolph be fired, bench coach Jerry Manuel will take over, sources told SI.com

Meanwhile, FoxSports.com reported on their site on Thursday that Willie’s job was “day-to-day”

So who to believe? Omar may be loyal, but he has to answer to the Wilpons. The worse this team does, the more his job is on the line as well. I don’t like Omar, but he’s not an idiot. If the Mets lose the next 2 games over the weekend, Willie will be gone.

Willie Watch – Conflicting Reports From SI and ESPN

Yeah they won tonight, but at this point one win isn’t going to stop the Willie Watch.

Conflicting reports Thursday and Friday have Willie staying through the season or gone by Monday, depending on which source you read.

On ESPN.com Thursday, Jayson Stark, who must be a fan of The Mets Police, wrote:

The Willie Watch seems as if it’s back on in Flushing Meadow, now that the glow of the Mets’ brief seven-out-of-nine tear has been obliterated by the five-game losing streak they finally ended Wednesday. But don’t be so sure that Randolph’s axing is going to arrive before the next No. 7 train.
GM Omar Minaya repeated again Tuesday night that Randolph is safe. And he’s not just blowing PR fog. According to one baseball man who speaks regularly with Mets management, Randolph is “not going to get fired. Period.”
Not that there isn’t nonstop debate about the manager’s status, a debate that reverberates around all levels of Shea Stadium. Not that there isn’t constant second-guessing of Randolph’s bullpen usage or his often-dispassionate style of player relations.
But the fellow who has to make this call, Minaya, isn’t giving in to that talk. Minaya “has made his decision,” said the same baseball man. “And the decision is, this is Willie’s team. And he’s not going away.”
Then again, though, neither is The Willie Watch — not if his $138-million baseball team doesn’t click into gear in a hurry, at least.

On the other hand, over on SI.com, Jon Heyman wrote on Friday:

A Mets official indicated that nothing was expected to be decided today regarding Randolph’s status. But that doesn’t preclude something from happening later this weekend. Sources indicate his hold on the job is shaky, at best.
Should Randolph be fired, bench coach Jerry Manuel will take over, sources told SI.com

Meanwhile, FoxSports.com reported on their site on Thursday that Willie’s job was “day-to-day”

So who to believe? Omar may be loyal, but he has to answer to the Wilpons. The worse this team does, the more his job is on the line as well. I don’t like Omar, but he’s not an idiot. If the Mets lose the next 2 games over the weekend, Willie will be gone.

>Second Chances and the Hypocrisy of The Mets

>In 2004 the Arizona Diamondbacks hired, then 4 days later fired Wally Backman. Backman’s transgressions were all of a personal nature and had been well-documented prior to the offer from Arizona. Arizona simply got scared and in the process Backman got screwed. Four years later and Backman is managing an independent team – the Joliet Jackhammers – in the Northern League.

I bring up Backman because the other day I was watching Harold Reynolds on the Mets post game show on SNY and thought it was great that they had given Reynolds a second chance after his alleged inappropriate behavior and subsequent firing from ESPN. The allegations against Reynolds were bad, and he was punished appropriately for it. He paid his dues and now has a second chance thanks to the Mets.

Darryl Strawberry is another example. How many transgressions over the years has Darryl committed? How many second chances has he gotten, not just from the Mets, but from other teams as well? Darryl now seems to have finally kicked those demons and has been an asset to the Mets, both in studio and as a roving instructor for the team. Again, kudos to the Mets for giving him the opportunity.

But what about Wally?

Backman was one of the sparks of the only Mets team to win a World Series in the last 30 years. He has said time and time again that he has always considered himself a Met first, and he owes much to the fans in NY. He has proven himself as a manager in the minors – winning Minor League Manager of the Year. So where is his second chance?

Since Backman’s firing from Arizona in 2004, the Mets have hired a dozen managers for their 5 main minor league teams (AAA Norfolk/New Orleans, AA Binghamton, A St. Lucie, A Hagerstown/Savannah, A Brooklyn). Five of those men have managed multiple times (Ken Oberkfell 4, Tim Tuefel 3, Edgar Alfonzo 2, Frank Cacciatore 2, & Mako Oliveras 2).

That leaves seven men who have been hired to manage just one year: Donovan Mitchell, Gary Carter, Gene Richards, George Greer, Jack Lind, Juan Samuel, Mookie Wilson.

Why couldn’t the Mets have hired Wally for one of those positions rather than say George Greer or Juan Samuel?

The Mets gave a second chance to a man who had no links to the organization (Reynolds), yet won’t show support to a man who still identifies himself with this team?

They hire a Yankee to manage their team, yet ignore someone who won a ring with them.

Why won’t they give Wally a second chance?

>Fathers And Sons

>The story has to start somewhere. It really doesn’t matter when this took place, and I don’t remember the date or the year or even anything about the game, but my father took me to a Mets game.

We went to plenty of games back in the day. A man we knew had season tickets at Shea since 1964. He had a great three-seat box behind home plate, just to the right of the net in some seats that no longer exist since the Mets redid that area a few years back.

Maybe we sat in those seats, I don’t remember.

I remember plenty of other nights. Dad would sit there with Pat, he of the seats, they’d have a few cigarettes, and even more beers, and this being a three-seat box I’d take the solo front seat. What great nights these were – I remember watching a guy named Mike Scott pitch for the Mets. The Astros later had a pitcher of the same name, he even looked the same but he was clearly a different pitcher. The Mets version of Mike Scott was nowhere near that good.

Pat’s wife had died, leaving him with nobody to go to the games with. So we went. Thirty, sometimes thirty five times a year. I remember some nights hoping that we wouldn’t get tickets, not even free tickets behind home plate for a team that was starting to get good (this Gooden guy seems like the real deal), sometimes it’s nice to just have a night at home.

The game I’m thinking of isn’t 1984, it’s earlier. For sake of the story let’s make it a mid-summer day game, oh say 1979. Whatever it was, I don’t remember it, I only remember the ride home.

We’re on the 7 train, and we’ve had an awesome day at the ballpark. Daddy & me. I remember thinking about it on the train, what a great time we had. The 7 was crowded and I was still small enough that I couldn’t reach the handrail, so I grabbed what I could. His pocket.

Oh man, he lost it. I had grabbed the pocket in which he kept his wallet and oh man I lost it. I never understood why men kept their wallet in their back pocket, it seemed like it was begging to be stolen, but maybe that was cool in the 1950’s or something. Anyway I had grabbed the wrong pocket, and poof the day was ruined. To this day it still makes me sad to think of that story, and the little boy in me still wonders why he let the day be ruined. If only we could have that one back.

Skip ahead ten years. The cigarettes have caught up to him and he’s dying in a hospice. I’m not old enough to be a man but I’m a week maybe two from getting promoted. I’m doing the best I can and been coming to the hospice just about every day. He catches my eye, and through the tracheotomy says ‘phthththhhthh.’ Believe me I know what it meant, and I’m glad he said it. Father and son, closure.

Come forward nearly another twenty and The Namesake is in his first year of t-ball. He’s named after his grandfather, and he’s been to a few games and he’ll get to some more this summer. The appreciation isn’t there yet but the wonder of it all is. I won’t get that other game back but maybe we’ll get to make some memories of our own. Happy Fathers Day.