Sunday, August 1, 2010
Mets honor '86 greats, then get started on 2010 Hall of Shame
When Davey Johnson was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame this afternoon, he told the crowd, "if you don't win, you don't really like us a lot." Johnson went on to say that the fans inspired the 1986 Mets. Unfortunately, the celebration of the Mets' last championship did nothing to inspire the current team, which put on a dismal display that left the booing crowd not really liking them a lot.
I'm glad that Squawker Lisa and I were there for the ceremonies. The actual game, not so much. At least, unlike the last game at Shea Stadium, the festivities were held before the awful game, when fans were still in a good mood.
By the end of the game, I was hoping for another ceremony - inductions into the 2010 Mets Hall of Shame, along with the following acceptance speeches:
GM Omar Minaya: Frank Cashen spoke of how his Met teams set attendance records. As I look around at the empty seats, I wonder if we, too, are closing in on a record - biggest attendance decline in the second year of a new ballpark.
But I couldn't have done it alone. I work for a team that doesn't want to spend more money, but claims that it does, which makes me look like the one who just couldn't get a deal done at the trade deadline.
Then again, if my hands weren't tied, I probably would have done something like trade Angel Pagan for Jake Westbrook.
At least I was able to stack this year's roster with retreads like Mike Jacobs, Gary Matthews Jr. and Frank Catalanotto.
Manager Jerry Manuel: Omar, you may have provided the pieces, but I was the one who batted Mike Jacobs cleanup on Opening Day and started Gary Matthews Jr. over Angel Pagan at the beginning of the year. I made John Maine my number two starter coming out of spring training. And I'm the one who pitched Fernando Nieve every day until he lost his effectiveness.
Jose Reyes, your uniform says 7, but you'll always be a number 3 hitter to me. And then there's my bullpen strategy - if you can call it that. (laughs)
Second baseman Luis Castillo: I would not be here were it not for the people on this stage. Jerry, thanks for batting me second so many times this year. And Omar, I want to thank you and ownership most of all for not eating my contract. Instead of my poor performance getting me quietly designated for assignment, your insistence on keeping me around has turned me into the Mets' version of Eddy Curry. (quickly looks down the stage) Oh, I'm sorry, Ollie - didn't mean to step on your toes.
(At the mention of Ollie's name, the fans start booing.)
Finally, I want to say that there is no greater thrill than winning a ring in New York. And I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to do just that - when the Florida Marlins clinched the 2003 World Series at Yankee Stadium.
Pitcher Oliver Perez: Dwight Gooden said that the fans' rhythmic clapping inspired him to get that third strike. I am also fortunate enough to get a strong fan response every time I take the mound.
(The crowd boos.)
When I hear that sound, it's as if you are saying Ooooooooooooh! So that's what a $36 million pitcher looks like!
(The boos get louder.)
Look, I know I've gotten a lot of grief for not wanting to pitch in the minors, but I don't see how people can criticize me for not wanting to pitch in the minors when I'm willing to pitch for the Mets!
(The booing gets so loud that Mr. Met covers his ears.)
Okay, maybe that came out wrong. But do you really want to trade me for Carlos Zambrano? His contract is a lot bigger and he's even crazier than I am! And, well, this franchise hasn't exactly had good luck with Zambranos in the past.
(The crowd starts chanting "We want Zambrano!" Security drags Ollie off the stage.)
Howie Rose: Our final induction into the 2010 Hall of Shame, is...
Management responded to the calls for the team's history to be honored, but when the biggest names of 1986 finally got their long-overdue induction into the Mets Hall of Fame, there were too many empty seats.
Photo by Jon Lewin.