Saturday, May 17, 2008

Time to Switch Brands of Detergent

You know the "Jerry Seinfeld Laundry Theory,'' right? Seinfeld marvels at the loyalty of the sports fan, who roots for his (or her) team year after year. The fan obviously is not rooting for one player or group of players, because the players come and go in a blur.

The fan is rooting for the uniform. He is rooting for laundry. The monkeys and most fans are extremely loyal. But why is this 2008 load of laundry harder than others to root for? How did we come to this?

Who is the most beloved Mets player? Is there any question that it is a guy who was homegrown, has performed up to the hype and seems to care as much as the Mets fans when the Mets lose? That guy is David Wright. In the glory '80's years, Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden held that mantle until personal demons knocked them off that perch.

Ask the Yankee fans who is the most beloved Yankees player? Is it a guy who fits that same description? Yes, Derek Jeter fits that as well. Which recent addition has generated the most love from Yankee fans? Joba Chamberlin who also fits that description.

What type of player is the kind of player fans like the least? How about an older player who comes to your team and performs worse than he did in the past? Carlos Delgado and Luis Castillo would qualify. Over in the Bronx, not too many fans are digging Jason Giambi.

The psychology of a fan is that he wants to believe things will get better. Whether they are fans of a second division team dreaming of being a playoff contender in a year or a first place team dreaming of a dynasty, there needs to be hope that a continued run of success is just around the corner.

This is why the trade of Scott Kazmir still is the signature move by Mets ownership that showed they were out of touch with the fans. Kazmir would have clearly challenged David Wright as the Mets most popular player. The buildup on him was that he would have been an "ace" for many years to come (providing the hope of continued success we previously discussed). He also has a strong competitive edge that would have shown the fans he cared. The anticipation of Kazmir was so great that the monkeys called their fantasy team Kazmir two years before he was called up to the majors. There is no need to discuss the trade further. Every human or monkey reading this column is well aware.

The aftermath of this trade resulted in ownership firing Jim Duquette and bringing in Omar Minaya who promised a homegrown, young athletic team. And far a little while, there was a hope of a long-term run of success down the road with an outfield of Fernando Martinez, Lastings Milledge and Carlos Gomez. Now 2 out of 3 are gone.

The problem was the fans were so outraged with Kazmir that Omar had to fix things and fast. The only way to fix a bad team with a farm system is to sign free agents. When you sign free agents, you lose draft picks which affects the farm system. The only way to fix that is to ignore the slot system for paying draft picks like the Yankees and Tigers among others have. However, the Mets decided to play by Bud Selig's rules (although they may not this year). Since free agents can't hit the market until they play at least 6 years, it would be logical that in the tail end of whatever contract they sign as a free agent, they would be past their prime.

The monkeys are not suggesting the Mets never sign any free agents or add veteran players from other teams just that they start getting back to developing more talent from within. Because the monkeys can't help looking look over at Arizona and Tampa Bay and wondering why our management isn't using the same detergent.

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