By Mike Steffanos
Yesterday I wrote about my disappointment with the Mets for their decision to allow WFAN's Mike Francesa and Chris Russo take over an entire radio broadcast of an important game versus the Phillies. Admitting that I was no fan of the duo, I felt that this was irresponsible on the part of the Mets, and reflected the team's cluelessness about how Mets fans really feel.
I got some excellent comments to this post, some samples of which appear below:
GH: The Mets first priority should be the fans - particularly after all the years we have remained committed to them through atrocious seasons.
George: This reeks of a cheap stunt that a single A minor league team would dream up, not something a division-leading team in New York City would even contemplate. For once, the term AMAZING really fits!
G-Fafif: [On opening day 2005, when MATMD taunted Mets fans after a horrible loss] This was the show that came on the flagship station after the flagship team blew a painful game, one we had, by definition, waited for all winter. It was spiteful. It was, "look at you, you thought you were going to be something, going to have something, but you don't and you aren't, we're awesome, you suck." It was pointless. They don't have to be homers. They don't even have to be empathetic. But you don't have to take such glee in stomping on a team that didn't deserve it. If these were the high and mighty Mets who had been talking up a storm? OK. These weren't. Their crime was optimism. Bad enough it was dashed on Opening Day in the ninth inning. But that post-game performance was inexcusable.
Their excuse that they were just tweaking the Mets fans at the station was as lame as they were. They're professionals. Their audience is out here, not in Astoria. And what kind of platform is it for this station to have, two bullies who spit on their largest group of listeners that particular afternoon, already distraught Mets fans? That's just bad, dumb broadcasting. And no, the fact that we're still dwelling on it 13 months later doesn't make it brilliant. People still talk about the Kennedy assassination, too.
I'm with commenter George. This is EXACTLY what a single-A minor league team does. It's what the Cyclones did last year with Benigno and his then-partner, the reprobate Sid Rosenberg. Hell, Russo sat in with Fran Healy and Rusty Staub in Candlestick in 1992. The abandonment of an entire game, one with major implications in the standings, to Schmuck One and Schmuck Two is ludicrous and unforgivable.
Per that idiot Russo, bad job, Mets. Very bad job.
The point that George brought up about this being a minor-league promotion was perfect. What Greg said about the anger and sense of betrayal a lot of us still feel towards MATMD is important, too. You didn't have to give these jerks a whole game, Mets. It's bush-league, and it angers a significant number of fans. Very, very, very bad move.
Received the following email last night:
Todays game is scheduled to be broadcast in HD on ESPNHD. Except in New york, where only SNY TV is permitted to broadcast the game as per MLB TV Rules. However, For us met fans with todays top TV technology, We want to watch our favorite team be broadcast in HD. It is very upsetting to not be able to watch the mets in HD, it feels like I'm missing something during games. We Have the best Team in the Best town, We deserve to see our mets in HDTV!
I don't have an HD set, but I know people that do and love it. It probably won't change anything posting your email up here, but at least it shows the world how you feel. Good luck, Aaron.
Newark Star-Ledger: The New Glavine
Don Burke profiles the rejuvenated Tom Glavine, quoting Pedro Martinez on his respect for his teammate:
He is more of a pitcher now than he was probably in his prime. He was just fastball-changeup, and that's why I admired him so much to be able to do the job he was doing for so long and so consistently with just a fastball and changeup. And pitching away, away, away and that was primarily it.
Now he pitches in and out, he back-doors, he throws a breaking ball. He's changed a great deal from last year. He's the master at pitching and his mind is way above his game. That's what makes him so special. He's so smart. ... Think about making such a turnaround as a pitcher.
NY Baseball Central: Victor Zambrano
I've opined that the trade to acquire Victor Zambrano had one positive, in that it forced the Mets to change the way they did business. Mike McGann doesn't agree, believing Zambrano's potential career-ending injury is proof that the Mets organization really hasn't changed their ways:
The trade, called by fans, "Black Friday" already cost former Mets' General Manager Jim Duquette his job, although a number of people involved in the decision to make the trade remain in the organization. Many have pointed to the trade as a key turning point for the organization, one that led to the hiring of Omar Minaya -- similar to how a horrific New York Giants loss to Philadelphia in 1978 led to the firing of the entire coaching staff and front office, the hiring of George Young -- and the drafting of Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor and a pair of Super Bowl titles.
Is it spin, or the happy result of something gone awfully wrong, like a donated heart saving the life of another after a tragic accident? That's going to be debated -- maybe for decades. But if you ask me, all of this remains a sign of issues in the Mets organization -- not just the trade, but the unwillingness to shut Zambrano down when it became evident that he could not be healthy.
New York Times: Using Bonds for Target Practice
I usually choose not to wander too far off the Mets in this space, but felt I had to weigh in on the disgraceful happenings in Houston, as chronicled in this New York Times story by Jack Curry. I hope that MLB throws the book very hard at Russ Springer, and I believe that Astros manager Phil Garner deserves an added suspension for this juvenile fiasco, though I'm sure MLB will cop out there. Say what you want about Bonds, this cheapened baseball.
Jeers to the Astros fans for cheering this -- there was no "justice" here, you were just being sore losers. It was karma that your team got pummeled in that entire 3-game series. I guess this is nothing more than you should expect from a state that executes children and the mentally retarded.
SI.com: Billy Wagner
Aditi Kinkhabwala profiles the Met's outspoken closer.