By Mike Steffanos
Sorry for the delay in getting this posted. I had put quite a bit of time into a longish post that I finally realized wasn't going anywhere. Not the first time that's happened to me, but it's always somewhat frustrating. Anyway, after reading what I've written I decided to toss out everything except for the following two items. Please excuse if they seem just a tad disjointed, as they were originally only part of a longer piece.
I'll start doing some sort of season post-mortem material next week, and then we'll tackle some of the hot stove stuff.
I have received e-mails and comments -- both approving and disapproving -- from folks who see me as someone with a vendetta against the press. Nothing can be further from the truth. As an ardent fan and blogger, I depend upon the fourth estate for the material that fuels my thoughts and writings on the Mets. I respect the job they do for the most part, but they lose me when they feel the need to criticize fans or take a "holier than thou" stance on an issue.
They have a tremendous power to shape opinion in the way they slant stories, for instance creating the impression that Rickey Henderson was constantly in the clubhouse playing cards while the season came crashing down. Putting aside a realistic debate on his qualifications as a coach, I believe there was a very cynical, manipulative aspect to these stories that involved pushing the buttons of Mets fans (Rickey and card playing) to elicit a response that would garner attention and readers that was out of proportion to any real facts in the matter.
Mets fans would do well to keep in mind that the single most important objective of the press these days is to get you to read their stuff. Sensational items that evoke a strong emotional response from the reader are much more effective in this regard than well-reasoned, thoughtful writing. Frankly, if I had the sort of well-paying, prestigious and perk-filled job that depended on manipulating your emotions, I would do it, too. As a reader, you would do well to maintain a healthy level of skepticism towards everything you receive from the media. The writer or columnist you're reading has his own prejudices and agenda that affect the way he slants his material. This, of course, also holds true about bloggers like me.
Look, I honestly can't tell you whether Rickey did a good job or a bad job as a coach for this club, but for instance, I find it hard to scapegoat him for Jose Reyes' second-half struggles, which actually pre-dated Rickey's hiring. I don't believe at all that Henderson playing cards before the day's work began affected anything, and I don't believe the people who chose to write about it felt that way, either. They were just yanking your chain.
Again, this is no endorsement of Rickey as a coach, but I simply refuse to be manipulated into scapegoating him for a disappointing season.
I'm on record that I believe it's time to say goodbye to Tom Glavine. While I still feel a pitcher who can give you 200 innings close at close to the league average quality is valuable, I think it's pretty obvious that Glavine's heart is elsewhere, closer to his family. I even wonder if this might have something to do with his struggles at the end of the season when his family was back home in Atlanta. Obviously that's something we'll never really know.
By the way, my feelings have nothing to do with how badly he pitched in those crucial last 3 starts. What they point out to me, however, is that teams that know how to approach Glavine can hurt him when he is pitching with less than his absolute best stuff. They just wait him out, spit on those pitches off the plate and make him throw strikes, and then hammer them.
My honest assessment would be if Glavine did return, he'd likely be their fourth or fifth best starter next season. I think other options should be pursued. I respect Glavine for the decent job he did in New York, including a couple of really solid years. I think if he doesn't retire he should pitch in Atlanta where he really wants to be wants to be, and where he would have pitched in 2007 if they made him in offer. Time for the Mets to move on.