A Bright Afternoon at Citi Field in the Darkest Days


Howdy folks. Sitting up in the press box in an energetic, rocking Citi Field. What an afternoon. Blue skies with a few puffy clouds. The Phils and Mets locked in a late August NL East pennant race. Johan Santana, pitching to battery mate Victor Martinez, is going toe-to-toe with Cliff Lee………….You can’t blame a guy for day dreaming a little can ya?

I am indeed here in the Flushing Twilight Zone where stuff just keeps getting weirder and weirder. I am really looking forward to the postgame locker room where Bobby Parnell will give three-word answers as to why he stunk today and Billy Wagner will offer smart-ass remarks about whether he thinks he will be shipped to the Red Sox by tomorrow’s 1 p.m. deadline. But enough about this game and its inevitable outcome. Time to move on more pressing issues.

First off, the way the game ended yesterday is something every Mets fan will remember for the rest of their lives. When the stench and disappointment of this season wears off in a few years, that play will go down as one of the most memorable in Mets history I gather. Not only was it only the 15th unassisted triple play in baseball history, but it really was about the only head-shaking occurrence left in this ludicrous five-month chain of events that hadn’t happened. I have a feeing nothing on the field the rest of the year will top that Francoeur line drive into Eric Bruntlett’s glove

As for the big news that I touched on briefly on last night’s entry, it appears as if Fred Wilpon has put his stamp of approval on Omar Minaya returning next season as General Manager of the Mets. In case you missed it, when approached by Mike Puma of the New York Post as he made his way past the door to the Mets clubhouse on Saturday, Wilpon was asked whether Minaya would return next year as GM.

“Am I going to bring Omar back next year?” Wilpon said. “Absolutely. That’s a fact.”

Now owners have been known to change their minds from time to time, but this statement above sounds about as concrete as one can get. There was no, “We’ll re-evaluate after the season” or “Omar is doing a fine job”. No political response dancing around the proposed question, just a straight up confirmation that indeed Omar will get the chance to either fix this train wreck or finish its journey into the scrap yard.

I must say, I am not the least bit surprised by Wilpon’s decree and the reason being is that Minaya just signed a contract extension last season that runs through 2012. The  financial hit the Wilpon’s and Sterling Enterprises took due to their involvement in the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme has been well-documented over the past months. I believe, with no prior knowledge of course, that finances (or lack there of) are the driving factor behind every decision that is being made and will be made in the near future concerning the Mets. One might argue that this is always the case with sports owners, that the bottom line rules the tack taken by any organization.

I think in this specific situation with Wilpon and the Mets, the bottom line is all there is. Despite repeated declarations by ownership that the baseball operations have not been and will not be affected by the huge loss of dough, I think we haven’t even seen the full implications take shape yet. The apparent decision to keep a GM who has been as inept as Minaya has been in a number of different areas is the first glimmer of how finances will trump better judgment in the coming months. Take a look at Mike Vaccaro’s Sunday column regarding the what the Wilpon’s should have offered to their fans. It is a must read.

Any sane observer of this franchise over the past three season would say that the Mets house needs to be fumigated. With two late season collapses to his name and this unthinkably putrid campaign having taken place on his watch, Minaya should be a dead-man walking. In almost any other situation, he would be…..but NOOOOOO, not in Mets Land. In Mets Land, it is OK for the face of the organization to spout lies about one of the team’s beat writers in a public forum. In Mets Land, it is just fine to retain a parriah like Tony Bernazard until public outcry for his ouster becomes just too loud to ignore any longer. In Mets Land, anything is possible, as evidence by everything we have seen and heard over the past three years or so.