The Zionist Conspiracy
Friday, October 20, 2006
While I reserve the right to change my mind, after this post, I'll likely take a break from baseball for a while.
1. Last night I thought of the picture Harry Maryles posted last week of his three-year old grandson, Reuven, in which Reuven is wearing a St. Louis Cardinals cap. Previously, Harry wrote about how wonderful the St. Louis community has been for his family during their challenging time. This surely keeps things in the proper perspective, and those in St. Louis should enjoy their team's NL pennant.
2. I've always wondered whether the result of the 1988 NLCS would have been different had Bob Ojeda not chopped off a finger on his pitching hand late in the regular season. Thanks to Oliver Perez, we can comfortably know that it wasn't the injuries to Pedro Martinez or Orlando Hernandez that kept the Mets from winning the NLCS. The hitting came up very short - a combined five runs in Games 1, 2, 5 and 7 - and the bullpen, while pretty good, wasn't good enough, losing Games 2 and 7.
3. Carlos Beltran received a $119 million contract after his extraordinary performance during the 2004 playoffs. But when Beltran came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, he looked frightened, like he'd rather be anyplace else. His three pitch strikeout was feeble.
4. David Wright has not been the same since he signed his big contract in July. One wonders whether Wright is enjoying the New York nightlife too much, and whether that took a toll on his stamina.
5. As I said before both the NLDS and the NLCS, Lastings Milledge should have been on the roster. The Mets bench was terrible, with not one threat.
6. After the game, I needed to wind down, so I turned to ESPN and SNY's postgame coverage.
I thought SNY had more integrity than MSG or YES, but I guess I was wrong. The studio hosts insisted on stating what a great year the Mets had. Even worse, Mets announcer Gary Cohen said the Mets deserved lots of credit for even making it to Game 7 given the injuries to Martinez and Hernandez. What nonsense. Could Martinez or El Duque have pitched better than John Maine and Oliver Perez did in Games 6 and 7?
7. For most of the season, Elster and I have debated whether the Mets will make it to the World Series. Will Elster concede that I was right? Will he defer to my superior instincts in the future?
8. A huge number of people suddenly jumped on the Mets bandwagon this month. Presumably, today they've all left for more interesting things.
Most of these people have insisted on calling me a pessimist for predicting a Mets NLCS loss. In contrast, most real Mets fans were, at the very least, quite anxious about this series, and I believe my analysis has been representative of a majority of long-time Mets fans. Those who have no idea what Terry Pendleton, Mike Scioscia, Luis Sojo or hedge clippers represent in Mets history have no business telling Mets fans what to expect.
Indeed, privately, even Elster was doubtful. The difference between me and Elster is that while I call it as I see it, he believes that expressing negative thoughts represents "bad karma" and that "bad karma" somehow affects the actual results. (Apparently, Elster does not believe that "bad karma" applies to posting negative thoughts about the IDF in middle of a brutal war.) In any event, one thing that is clear is that The Elster Jinx is alive and well, and played a key role in the Mets' demise.
9. Looking toward 2007, the Mets have many big decisions. Their starting staff is full of holes, and several of their relievers are free agents. The Mets also can use help at second base and in the outfield. With Pedro Martinez taking up a huge portion of the payroll budget and the Wilpons known for being much more frugal than their counterparts in The Bronx, GM Omar Minaya will have to come up big during the offseason.
One thing Minaya must not do is trade any more prospects. As it is, the Mets minor league system has been decimated by Minaya's trades. It is particularly noteworthy that of the huge number of pitchers who started for the Mets this season, only Brian Bannister and Mike Pelfrey came up through the Mets system.