Everything Is Rigged!

Apparently saying “it was rigged” right before you lose whatever you’re competing in is the new hot trend. Trump is going with “it was rigged” for the election. And now Jose Bautista is implying the ALCS has been rigged after the Blue Jays dropped the first two games of the series in Cleveland. 

And what is he basing his claim on? He’s pissed about balls and strikes. Surprise, surprise! The Bautista crybaby sore loser routine is a joke considering the series is far from over. And it’s even more pathetic considering the Jays played in the ALCS last year. How about you act like you’ve been there before Jose? Okay?

He’s also making a stink about the wrong issue.

Wait so the umpires haven’t had a perfect strike zone in the ALCS? Really?!? Talk about the least shocking news of all time. Umps aren’t perfect in the ALCS because they are never perfect. What else is new? I rant and rave about this every season. This isn’t about MLB intentionally fixing a series so the Indians can play in the World Series. There’s no way MLB is dying to have Chief Wahoo plastered all over this year’s World Series memorabilia. If anything, Jose Bautista should be joining me in the crusade for robot umpires. Please fix the horrible officiating MLB! Fix replay!

All that being said, if the sore loser/woe is me routine is en vogue then the majority of Mets fans (myself included) are in luck. I’ll obviously continue to monitor this, but I’m fully prepared to whine and complain about how unlucky the Mets are for the entire offseason and all of the 2017 Mets campaign. Quite frankly, that’s going to happen whether it’s en vogue or not.

As far as the playoffs go, I think the NLCS matchup should be an eye opener for the Mets. The Cubs and Dodgers are the highest spending NL teams, have incredibly deep farm systems, and had arguably the deepest preseason major league rosters. In other words, spend money Wilpons! Keep everyone on the current team and then add a star reliever and another big time hitter. Sign the best free agents! The Cubs won the 2015/16 offseason, and now they have a great chance to win the World Series. The Dodgers lost Zack Greinke, and then they stockpiled starting pitchers to replace him. And what happened? Despite having the most injuries in recorded baseball history, the Dodgers were able to survive, win the NL West, and make a deep playoff run because of their depth. All of the professional sports leagues are copycat leagues. So I hope the Mets copy the Dodgers and Cubs. Please sign stars, continue to build a deep farm system, and explore every conceivable avenue to bolster our already talented roster. And if the Mets fail to do this then I’ll obviously just complain and say the offseason was rigged. With the Wilpons running the team it basically is rigged in favor of their pockets.

Cancel The Funeral; Harvey Had Pee Stones

So it’s official. Matt Harvey passed a blood clot in his urine and now he is fine. God that is so personal. And wow that is such a valid reason to be excused from playing. The Mets had unlimited options for how to handle Matt Harvey’s trip to the doctor yesterday. The most obvious choice being to release a statement saying, “Matt Harvey has an excused absence to deal with a personal matter, and he will miss his start on Tuesday.” That’s it. Leave it at that. Let the people speculate that he’s hungover after his birthday party. But literally the last thing you should say is, “Matt Harvey is going to a non-orthopedic doctor to address a non-baseball related mystery illness that could literally be anything. Pray for him.” For Christ’s sake the Mets had people prepping for a terminal illness press conference. And keep in mind the Mets knew what happened. They knew the personal details. He peed some blood. It’s scary yes. But it’s certainly not a reason to freak out the fans and players to the point where Travis d’Arnaud is telling the fan base to pray for Matt.

The Mets chose to say the latter. And so continues the PR reign of Press Secretary Jay Horwitz. First of all, I don’t even think our PR guru Jay Horwitz made a comment yesterday. He just let the executives and players have a free for all with the media. But it’s still really mind boggling that this old man is in charge of Mets media relations and still bungling story after story. Isn’t Public Relations a young person’s game? I thought the PR field was full of competent attractive young men and women. I don’t know why I think that. I guess because it has the word “Relations” in it. But I suppose if Sherman Klump can have “relations” then even an old troll like Jay Horwitz (aka the Blackberry Whisperer) can have Public Relations.

As far as I am concerned, Jay Horwitz needs to be considered for the role of Donald Trump’s White House Press Secretary. He would be the perfect complement for Trump. Jay would just step to the podium and tell everyone that “there’s been another mystery incident in the Middle East” and Trump would grab the mic and chime in “early indications are it’s a total disaster”.

Harvey is fine. He peed blood, but now he is fine. He’s still supposed to start Opening Day. Our prayers have been answered. The doctors told him he holds his urine in too long and has to pee more often. Is that a pain tolerance thing? The second I get the slightest rumbling in my bladder, I’m off to the bathroom. No hesitation. Harvey’s over there holding it in like it’s some kind of contest. And Jesus Christ he must love his job. I’m pounding coffee and water cooler brews all day long. Pees on pees for me.

Bryce Harper Endorses Bat Flips, Goose Gossage Endorses Old School, Paul O’Neill Endorses Trump

img_2788-4So MVP Bryce Harper was featured in an ESPN the magazine article yesterday. It was about how marketable he is and how he wants to be THE MLB star and blah blah blah. Same old storyline. The charismatic best player in the game wants to be a cultural icon. But the real headline? Bryce is “tired” of baseball’s BS unwritten rules. He’s done with the stupid code.

“Baseball’s tired. It’s a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself. You can’t do what people in other sports do. Jose Fernandez is a great example. Jose Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down into the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it? He doesn’t care. Because you got him. That’s part of the game. It’s not the old feeling — hoorah … if you pimp a homer, I’m going to hit you right in the teeth. No. If a guy pimps a homer for a game-winning shot … I mean — sorry.”

And that ladies and gentlemen, is something I can get behind. I don’t care that it’s Bryce Harper leading the charge. Hell I’d follow Alex Rodriguez in a crusade against baseball’s BS unwritten rules. The unwritten rules and the elderly owners/old timers that insist on keeping them in place have been my biggest problem with the sport for years now. The anti-bat flip propaganda. The takeout slides, retaliation pitches, and other unwritten league sanctioned rules that have existed forever. The prospect of abolishing those rules could not excite me more. And I can easily see why Bryce wants to end them. The most obvious reason being he doesn’t want some jealous pitcher hitting him in the head with a baseball. That would derail the endorsement money train pretty damn fast. But his most recent dance with the unwritten rule book happened when his teammate and notorious old school a-hole Jonathan Papelbon choked him out last season. It all happened because Bryce publicly talked about how he didn’t like a retaliation pitch Papelbon made in a game against the Orioles earlier in the season. He didn’t like it because it makes him an obvious future target. Pap didn’t like the fact that Harper took that opinion to the media. So obviously the old school handbook says players should settle such a dispute with a very public televised assault. Just insane and disgraceful behavior.

And of course in a completely unrelated, unplanned ESPN interview with Goose Gossage that dropped on the same day, Goose went on an absolute tirade in defense of the old school way.

“Bautista is a f—ing disgrace to the game. He’s embarrassing to all the Latin players, whoever played before him. Throwing his bat and acting like a fool, like all those guys in Toronto. Cespedes same thing.”

Well thanks for that Goose. Gossage says bat flips are a disgrace but in the 70s the old timers said the same thing about his hideous Fu Manchu. And you got to love 1) How overtly racist this tirade is 2) That current Latin players essentially come out in defense of the old school Goose position.

That’s right. Mexican-American Giants reliever Sergio Romo chimed in on Bryce Harper’s original comments saying,

“Don’t put your foot in your mouth when you’re the face of the game and you just won the MVP. I’m sorry, but just shut up.”

Jesus Christ Sergio please don’t feed into this notion that this is solely about bat flips and make it a pitchers vs. hitters debate. Before he was banished for life, Jenrry Mejia battled the mound footstomp criticism for a full season. Jose Valverde used to celebrate after a save and dealt with all the old school critics his entire career. The old school way is a crusade against anyone who is different and doesn’t follow the fundamentalist interpretation of baseball’s non-existent unwritten rule book. And if Bryce Harper plans to lead the new generation of ball players in rebellion against the tyrannical old coots like Goose, then I will call my banners and join the charge.

Other Notes: Yoenis Cespedes had a fantastic reaction to the Gossage criticism asking the reporter (through his translator) who the hell is Goose Gossage? Then adding “Is he a pitcher?” He then said,

“Whenever a pitcher strikes someone out, they get to celebrate too and have their moment and revel in it. Why can’t the batters get a chance to enjoy their success, too?”

I’m sorry Yoenis but baseball’s unwritten rules aren’t based on any modern logic. Maybe they were based on something at the time they were created, but they sure as hell don’t make sense any more. Kind of like some of the amendments in the Constitution. Speaking of the Constitution, this week former Yankee Paul O’Neill got the shout out from Donald Trump at a rally. Then Johnny Damon came out in support of Trump. We have Gossage screaming about the disgraceful behavior of Latin players and O’Neill/Damon endorsing Trump and his Mexican border wall. I must say, all these former Yankees coming out in favor of racist policies and saluting fascist presidential candidates really helps me back up some past claims I’ve made about the Yankees and their fans. If Derek Jeter shows up at a Trump rally I’m pretty sure Babe Ruth will roll over in his grave and Yankee Stadium will spontaneously implode.

2016 Mets: Pre-Season Scapegoat Predictions 

Before the Democrats had Wall Street and Trump had Mexican immigrants, Mets fans had the Wilpons to blame for all the team’s ills. Whenever the Mets were at or near the basement of the NL East over the last 7 years, the fans would ready their fingers for pointing at Jeff and Fred. “They are slashing payroll! They are in debt! They meddled in baseball decisions! We can’t win unless they sell the team!”

As you might expect, the Wilpons heard the criticism and simply joined in on the scapegoating. In fact, you could say they were the trailblazers for all the modern political finger pointing trends by blaming Bernie Madoff and Latin American immigrant General Manager Omar Minaya. It would be nice if Mets fans, the Wilpons, politicians, and society as a whole could all just unite in their scapegoating and find one illegal immigrant Mexican insider trading hedge fund manager to blame for all of the world’s problems, but I fear that day may never come.

Anyway, whenever the losing set in over the last 7 years (usually right before the All-Star break), Mets fans were ready with the stock Wilpon excuses. However, 2016 will be the first season in a long time where the Wilpons won’t be the default scapegoat. In fact, because the Wilpons signed Yoenis Cespedes and let Maverick Sandy make every move he wanted, fans can’t possibly blame them. At least not this year.

That being said, in a season that begins with the highest of expectations, finger pointing is inevitable the second the slightest thing goes wrong. So without further ado, here is the list of Top 5 likeliest goats if things fall apart in 2016:

5) The New Guy –
Whenever things go wrong, the easiest thing to do is to blame the new guy. And when the new guy is replacing a particularly popular player in Daniel Murphy, it makes him an even likelier target. Neil Walker has been one of the most consistently productive offensive 2B in all of baseball over the last 5 seasons. He’s a switch hitter, a better defender than Murphy, and he’s in a contract year. There’s almost no reason to believe he will do anything but thrive in the middle of the Mets lineup and earn himself a nice big payday after the season. That being said, after watching Jason Bay come over to New York as one of the most productive outfielders in the league and inexplicably deteriorate right before our eyes, there’s no guarantee that someone will thrive in the Big Apple just because they excelled in Pittsburgh. Plus look at the guy. I know he’s got a reputation as a hard-nosed player, but he appears to be butter soft. He looks like the kind of guy that reads the Bible in the hotel room on road trips. And not in that Daniel Murphy psycho fundamentalist Christian way but in that “I read it for the wisdom within” kind of way. I’m confident he is going to have a huge season for us. However, he’ll be one of the first fan targets if he has a rough start to the season and the team struggles.

4) Old Man Collins
– The manager is always a top scapegoat target especially when the team has high expectations for the season. Terry “Cotton Hill” Collins has faced a ton of adversity during his tenure managing this team. From the time he was hired in 2011 until August of last season, the team was completely awful. But the team was bad by design during those years. For the first time ever, Terry has the real NYC spotlight on him, and every managerial decision he makes is going to get scrutinized at an extreme level. Just look at Harveygate in Game 5 of the World Series. Even though he’s made a ton of questionable in game decisions during his time as manager, Game 5 may have been the first time he was broadly criticized by all the MLB talking heads. Why? Because it was a big game and people were actually paying attention. Now Terry is going to face that level of scrutiny for 162 games. We’ve seen Terry handle losing when it was expected, but it’ll be interesting to see how he handles a losing streak when Vegas expects us to win.

3) David Wright‘s Titanium Spine
– Last season, David Wright‘s spinal stenosis and all the injuries on the team in general had a major impact on the Mets pre-trade deadline performance. However, the injured players didn’t get blamed as much as the Wilpons did for not allowing Sandy Alderson to build a deep roster. Well now we have a deep roster, and David Wright has started his inevitable transformation into an injury-prone cyborg. With his spine deteriorating by the day and his desperate need for a futuristic titanium replacement growing, he’s in danger of becoming more machine than man. If he once again misses lengthy periods of the season and the team struggles, the fans may finally start complaining a little more about his frailty and gigantic contract. Or maybe all his robot parts will translate into a late career surge in performance and like astronaut Steve Austin he will transform into the inflation adjusted 138 million dollar man that we always hoped he would be.

2) Matt Harvey and his Sexcapades
Matt Harvey is the face of the Mets franchise. He demanded to be the face when he arrived, and he got his wish. He is always on the brink of being blamed for everything under the sun. He tweeted out that picture after his Tommy John surgery where he was flipping everyone off and he was widely criticized. At the end of last season, everyone was ready to crucify him because of the media fabricated story that he wanted to stop pitching once he reached his “innings limit”. Before the playoffs started he missed some BS workout and everyone was freaking out. The point is everything he does is going to be scrutinized. And all those criticisms I mentioned have happened while he’s been at the top of his game. If he experiences just the slightest amount of playoff hangover fatigue and his performance dips, it won’t be long before the media is blaming his appearances on Late Night with Seth Meyers for the team’s “lack of focus”. As long as the team is winning and he is performing at the top of his game, he can turn his limo into a clown car full of models and take them all to see the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. If Harvey and the Mets struggle, he’ll be run out of town faster than you can say “Dark Knight”.

1) Yoenis Cespedes and his Smoking/Bat Flipping/Laziness
– The acquisition of Cespedes, his torrid summer, and the Mets playoff run, happened so fast that fans barely had time to complain about anything let alone about Cespedes. But that didn’t stop a contingent of asshole Mets fans from forming after the World Series who thought the Mets should let Cespedes walk because he misplayed Alcides Escobar‘s lead-off inside the park home run in Kansas City. That’s right. There were fans who turned against the man who carried the team to the playoffs because he had a bad World Series (along with everyone else on the team). Imagine how quickly they will turn on him if he has a down month and the offense can’t get anything going during his slump. I can hear the complaining already. “His bat flipping is cocky” and “He takes lazy routes to the ball” and “He doesn’t run hard to first base” and on and on. Let’s not forget that Cespedes already has a made up reputation for being a clubhouse distraction, so it’s only a matter of time before the media decides to dust off the old lies and re-print them. In fact, he’ll wind up getting scapegoated for a lot of the same reasons Trump scapegoats Mexican immigrants. Basically a bunch of made up racist reasons. Anyway, let’s hope that we win 100 games and his bat flipping becomes an iconic memory of the season rather than a symbol of his “immaturity” like the Mejia save stomp (R.I.P. Jenrry).

After a run to the World Series and a successful offseason, it’s hard to feel anything but positive about our chances coming into the season. That being said, these are the Mets we are talking about. And I know come Opening Day when the Mets are losing to the Royals in Kansas City and my beer is half-empty, I am going to be looking to point my finger at someone. Better to just prepare for the inevitable now.