Thursday, June 18, 2020

Agree to Disagree

I guess it's just not possible for good news on baseball not to be tempered just a little with some bad news. Apparently there are differing opinions between Rob Manfred and Tony Clark on whether they agreed on the framework of a deal or actual deal. Manfred felt that he and Clark had agreed on a 60-game schedule, while Clark felt that a framework was in place, but submitted a counterproposal for 70 games.

Unbelievably, there is a real danger that being 10 games apart could still blow everything up, but I think we all could hope for cooler heads to prevail. Joel Sherman suggests that Manfred and Clark should consider inviting a stenographer to be the third person in the room. Perhaps we can just force both of them to take a lie detector test when they give their statements. It seems quite silly that the two sides couldn't find a middle ground to overcome that 10 game difference. I would hope that some of what we witnessed today was just posturing to appease the firebrands on either side. I'm sure we'll find out quite soon if a deal can be made or if that 10 game gap is really an unbridgeable chasm.

Besides the bickering over schedule length, the big news from this proposal is the universal DH for the next two years. I know people who I like and whose opinion I respect who are heartbroken and/or very angry over this. For me, personally, it was just something that had to happen. It's just ridiculous to have the 2 leagues playing under different rules. If I could wave my magic wand and impose my will on the game I'd go the other way and completely eliminate the DH in both leagues, but that has as much chance of happening as me dating a supermodel.

I ask myself what I'm going to miss with the DH in the National League. Well, with very few exceptions, I'm not going to miss watching pitchers hit. They were bad enough at it years ago, but with the DH prevalent in both college baseball and minor league ball, most pitchers are as incompetent with a bat in their hands as Al Bundy was with power tools. Most of them can't even lay down a bunt anymore. For every Jacob deGrom that goes up to the plate with a purpose, there are 20 that are just trying to survive an at bat.

One thing I'll undeniably miss is the strategic decisions. When your best guy is out there and due up with runners on base, do you try to get another inning or two out of him or do I pinch hit for a chance at a big inning? Do you double switch and burn a bat off your bench? And I guess I'll miss moments like Mr. Koo vs. Randy Johnson and other improbable moments of pure joy:

Still, in 50+ years of watching Mets baseball I've only seen a relative handful of such moments, while I've witnessed untold thousands of futile at bats by pitchers. And I'm kind of intrigued by how the Mets will choose to employ the DH with their current roster. They certainly have some choices there. Of course, they still have to bridge that 10 game gap in order for games to happen, and I'm not going to count on any baseball until the ink is dry on an agreement that both sides agree is actually an agreement.


I posted a new installment in my series on the 2005 season this morning. It was about the 2005 Mets bullpen, one of the absolute worst bullpens of any Mets team I've ever watched. Writing the piece brought back some bad memories of watching those guys come into a game and throw major gasoline on the fire.

There were some guys that pitched out of that bullpen that I can barely remember, with one of them, Jose Santiago, earning the nod from Greg Prince at Faith and Fear in Flushing as "the Least Consequential Met of the first 55 years of the franchise" back in 2017, as Greg was kind enough to point out to me on Twitter today. He's sort of the baseball equivalent of What We Do in the Shadows' Colin Robinson, only Santiago is a memory vampire. The harder you try to remember him, the more indistinct he becomes. Anyway, enjoy Greg's terrific piece and, if you missed it this morning, check out my post on Jose and the rest of those guys who rarely provided any relief.

Well, I'm out for today. Let's hope Rob and Tony don't decide to blow up the season over 10 games. I'll be keeping all of my fingers crossed. Thanks for spending some of your time here today. Please stay safe, stay well, and take care. Come back any time. There's a cold Rheingold in the fridge with your name on it.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

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