It sneaks up on you sometimes. One day you're the heart and soul of a team. People can't praise your intangibles enough. Your grit. Your heart. Your leadership. You're white, you sort of suck at getting on base, you make a lot of serious faces on the field. All the ingredients are there.
Then one day you wake up and you're no longer a grinder -- and Joel Sherman
is writing articles about your team with headlines like this:SHAKE IT UP
METS WOULD GET MUCH-NEEDED JOLT FROM ROWAND AND ECKSTEIN
Hey, Paul Lo Duca just walked in. I'm going to let him type a little bit. Hold on --Rowand? Eckstein? What about me, Paulie Bignuts?! I'm the Jolt cola on this team! I'm the hard-working stubbly lunch pailer! What happened to all those articles about how when Glassesface DePodesta traded me away the Dodgers lost their soul? I AM TEAM CHEMISTRY.
I am a pending free agent -- why isn't this article all about resigning me?
Randolph is now enlisted for next year and the Mets should work to build a team that works for him. Here's what Hardball would strongly consider:
1. MORE PASSIONFuck me! (It's still Paulie here.) I just hit Open Apple-F in Firefox and searched for "Lo Duca." I'm not even mentioned in the article! Va fangoule, Joel Sherman! That's-a spicy-a meatball-a!
In general, I dismiss the emotional/chemistry stuff. Usually onlookers see what they want based on results (David Wells is a real-guy gamer when he succeeds and an out-of-shape dirtbag when he loses). But by the end of the disappointing season, Randolph and many of his key veterans were acknowledging a core that lacked urgency and ardor. There was too much privilege among this group, as if it were Duke waiting for its NCAA tourney invite rather than earning its way in.
Okay, Junior here. I've wrested the keyboard away from Lo Dukes. It's covered in marinara sauce. Sherman, seriously, it's hard to have it both ways here. How can you say "I dismiss the emotional/chemistry stuff" and then advocate signing a no-hit, no-field, aging Eckstein with your next breath?
Now the Mets lost because they had no "ardor"? Jesus Christ, man. What do you think ardor legitimately cost them? Two games? Three?
Lo Duca wants me to type that he's still extremely ardorous. Okay. Okay. I did it. Stop hitting me with your chicken parm sub.There is a term in baseball, grinder, to describe those who bring it every day and treat each at-bat like a mini holy war.
What the Mets need is an Osama bin Laden-type in the two-hole. You know who was a phenomenal grinder? Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Too bad he was killed by a a laser-guided GBU-12 and GPS-guided GBU-38. Thanks a lot, troops!The Mets need a whole lot fewer whiners and lawyers who sap the energy/togetherness in their clubhouse, and more grinders, especially because Randolph is so non-confrontational even with his worst offenders.
Tell me, please, which of these Metropolitans qualify as whiner-lawyers:
Paul Lo Duca
You get the point. Actually, no. Let me spell it out for you. If the Mets win two more games, this is the exact same group of guys we're saying has incredible chemistry, whose unbreakable camaraderie bonded them together as the Phillies made their run, whose kinship and brotherhood and passion for the game carried them through tough times and led them to the playoffs. Am I wrong?Look, the Diamondbacks are a club that believes in statistical analysis, yet recently gave Eric Byrnes a three-year, $30 million extension in recognition of what his daily zeal does for the group.
I'm really unclear on how much of that 30 million Josh Byrnes earmarked for daily zeal. Was it a 5 million zeal bonus? I think it was 2.5 million for the hair, 3.5 for falling down every time you throw the ball.
So the Mets should look seriously at free agents Aaron Rowand to play center field and David Eckstein to play second base, and/or see if they could pry someone such as the Angels' jack-in-the-box Chone Figgins to be their jack-of-all-trades.
Okay, Aaron Rowand had a great year last year. Career year. WARP3 of 9.6. Here are his WARP3s from the last three years: 3.3 (missed some games), 6.0, 6.8. If you're the Mets, don't you already have a guy playing center field? A Carlos somebody? Who had a mild down year to the tune of 9.5 WARP? Who has posted WARP3s of 11.9, 5.6, and 9.9 recently?By signing Rowand, the Mets would rob the NL East champ Phillies of a big piece. Putting Carlos Beltran in right field might diminish his leg injuries.
Maybe Sherman knows more about Beltran's injuries than I do, but it seems like a pretty big waste to play a good defensive center fielder in right in order to sign an inferior center fielder.
With Eckstein, you must believe he could play second, that his body is not deteriorating fast at 32, and that he would accept a one- or two-year deal. If you buy all of that, Eckstein's peskiness and seriousness about winning would enliven the Mets.
Exactly like, say, Luis Castillo, a guy who was supposed to be pesky and winning-y and grinderish and who was already on the Mets this year? Castillo has 17 points of career OBP on Eck and he's faster, too. And he already plays second base.
Joel Sherman says the Mets need passion. Let's go through some of those 2007 Mets again.David Wright
Great character guy. MVP-type. Leader. Incredibly mature for his age. Works hard, plays hard. Passionate. Smiles.Jose Reyes
Fiery. Sparkplug. Catalyst. MVP-type talent. The future. Puts pressure on pitchers. Passionate.Luis Castillo
Veteran. Pesky. Bat control guy. Comes from Twins' winning system. Passionate. Smallballer.Carlos Delgado
Veteran. Knows how to win. Former MVP-type. Subject of innumerable Gammo articles praising his leadership and the way he mentors Beltran. Passionate.Moises Alou
Veteran. Pisses on hands.Carlos Beltran
Veteran. Uber-talent. Solid clubhouse presence.Shawn Green
Jew.Paul Lo Duca
Veteran. Heart, soul, heartsoul, leader, heartleader, guides pitching staff. Passionate. Hates to lose. Co-wrote this post. White.Pedro Martinez
Once threatened to drill Babe Ruth, a dead man, in the ass. Passionate.
Really, you see a bad, passionless apple in this suitcase full of apples?
Ah, fuck it. Just sign Eckstein and win the World Series. Do it.
Labels: aaron rowand, david eckstein, grinders, mets, paul lo duca