The Zionist Conspiracy
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Jets, Nets & Mets
1. My first child, a baby boy, was born on Sunday afternoon just before the 1:00 games. After four hours in the nursery, he joined us in my wife's room during the second quarter of the Jets vs. Steelers game.
He quickly discovered that life as a Jets fan can be frustrating. He's not old enough to yell at Paul Hackett's predictable playcalling or the pathetic 12 first half penalties. But even in his first hours, he expressed his disgust at the Jets in other ways, by sleeping and crying throughout the game, and, in a mischievous allusion to Chad Pennington's performance, soiling his first diaper as things went awry in the second half.
2. In early July, Bruce (The Rat) Ratner assured Nets fans that "Cost-cutting is absolutely not my intention. My intention is to make the team competitive now. Obviously, one of the difficulties that we inherited, (were) contracts which are extensive. But we understood that when we bought the team. What we want to do as owners is do everything we can to keep Kenyon Martin."
When the Nets let Martin go two weeks later, Ratner insisted he made the right move, claiming, in an interview with Harvey Araton of the New York Times, that signing Martin would have been a financial disaster.
Now, in Tuesday's Times, The Rat says that getting rid of the Nets soul "hurt everything. It was a mistake." He says the Nets should have offered Martin a contract, instead of refusing to negotiate, as they did. Of course, he doesn't take responsibility, eloquently explaining, "There was a lot going on." Ratner assures us that even though he let Martin leave for virtually nothing at that time, "my conclusion was overwhelming, it's better to keep Kenyon." He blames others for convincing him to sell K-Mart to Denver.
Finally, Ratner displays his basketball acumen in concluding, "Yes, we don't have Kenyon but we have Jason. If we keep Jason, there's no reason why we shouldn't be very good." The Rat only knows real estate, not anything about basketball, so he doesn't understand that if, after the Nets jettisoned more than half of their team, Jason Kidd has nobody to pass the ball to, and the Nets can't play defense or rebound, they shouldn't and won't "be very good" even with Kidd. Perhaps The Rat might understand better if a real estate analogy was offered: If you sell Central Park and move half of Manhattan's businesses, real estate on 5th Avenue might go down just a bit.
3. If the rumors are true, the Mets are going to sign Pedro Martinez to a 4 year deal for $56 million. That's a lot of money for a power pitcher with a bad shoulder and declining velocity.
Many predict that Pedro will become another Mo Vaughn, an injured bust who doesn't last even one season, let alone all four. They may be right. On the other hand, Martinez might be another Roger Clemens. The Sox let Clemens go after the 1996 season, when he was 34, concluding that he was past his prime. Four Cy Young Awards and 136 wins later, the decision was clearly awful.
I think it's possible Pedro can be a very good pitcher over the next four seasons, but I can't say I like this move. When the Yankees spend big money on someone like Kevin Brown and it doesn't work out as hoped, they just move on to the next star, like Carl Pavano, even while continuing to pay a disappointment like Brown.
In contrast, the Mets have broken the bank with Martinez, and if things don't work out and they're stuck with his huge contract, it'll prevent them from signing other players. The Mets need to get younger and try to build a team that could contend consistently down the line. If they are going to maintain relative fiscal restraint, they can't afford to make mistakes with players near the end of their careers, who will have no trade value in the event of injury.