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Omar's Latin Conspiracy?

Mike SteffanosSunday, January 29, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

There isn't much real Mets news out there, and probably won't be until Spring Training opens up in mid-February. There is, however, a growing number of opinion pieces out there on the racism of those that accuse Omar Minaya of blindly building a ballclub that features as many Hispanic players as possible.

I've looked at them all -- three in the Daily News alone -- and decided not to spend a lot of time on them. Nothing new has been added to the debate, and I doubt very much if anyone's mind has been changed. It's similar to the "sophisticated" political process in this country right now -- people start off with their intractable opinions, then only read, watch, and listen to whatever reinforces their point of view. God forbid anyone should question his or her own beliefs.

That's pretty much what you have here. Those convinced that Omar has a secret agenda to Latinize the Flushing 9 are not going to be persuaded by all of the high-minded moral outrage expressed by those that are offended by the perceived bigotry. All this ink is being wasted, as you are only driving the first group underground. You're not converting anyone.

Omar Minaya is a good man whose hard work has helped the Mets become a legit contender this season. If you believe that, as I do, you're nodding your head in agreement with my words of wisdom. If not, you've called me a moron and moved on to find someone that supports your point of view.

The point here is that I'm just not recommending these stories today. It's not because I secretly believe Omar is bigoted against non-Hispanics, it's just simply time to move on. As much as I would love to join some members of the mainstream media in continually outputting drivel that amounts to little more than a pat on my own back for my non-bigotry, I'll resist the urge.

Newsday: Cronyism?
John Heyman also dismisses the ongoing Latin debate, but points out one of Omar's real weaknesses:

If there's a quibble here about Minaya's personnel procurement, it's in some front-office hires. Minaya almost exclusively hires close friends, even when others are better equipped.

Sometimes there can be no argument, such as when he hires his mentor, Sandy Johnson, or longtime scout Bryan Lambe. But Minaya installed a buddy as scouting director last year, and the Mets' draft - after No. 1 pick Mike Pelfrey - has been described as disastrous by competitors and Mets people alike. Minaya has since replaced this fellow.

That's the type of important debate that sometimes gets buried under the other crap. Heyman also has a quote from a Mets official concerning Lastings Milledge, rumored to be a component of just about every proposed trade:

Milledge isn't going anywhere. He's going to be our leftfielder in 2007.

NY Sports Day: Darryl
Joe McDonald, who has been bringing it all week, has another great feature. This one is on Darryl Strawberry, who, despite his enjoyment in working with young players, talks about his lack of coaching aspirations:

I will never manage and I will never coach. I am a person who wants to give back and help younger players. I am not in it for the long haul to be a coach or a manager. I enjoy the kids and I don't really worry about the other parts.

Fox Sports: The future at Second Base
Ken Rosenthal offers the following on Anderson Hernandez:

A pair of switch-hitting middle-infield prospects - the Angels' Erick Aybar and Mets' Anderson Hernandez - made a strong impression while playing for Licey, champion of the Dominican winter league.

"They're both live-bodied guys," one scout says. "The more you watch them play, the more you see all the things they can do. Both have a chance to be pretty good big-league players."

You have to believe that, if the Mets believe in Anderson Hernandez as their long-term solution at 2B, that has be part of their reasoning behind not going crazy over picking up one this winter.

This week we'll start looking back at the moves Omar Minaya has made this off-season, and commenting on them from strictly a baseball standpoint.

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