Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Omar Minaya Appears at Fordham; Mets Keep Winning

When the Mets were in free fall earlier this month, I grew sick of Terry Collins' postgame news conferences, when he kept insisting that the Mets would turn it around and go on a long winning streak. At one point, I think he mentioned winning nine of eleven, another time, something like winning six straight. I just wanted the Mets to win one straight.

Turns out Terry was right - the Mets have now won five straight. 5-0 since Jason Bay returned. And 5-0 since R.A. Dickey, after the team's last loss, said:

We can't just keep telling ourselves, 'Oh, we’re a better team than this.' We may not be. And we've got to be honest about that, and identify what we're doing wrong, and do it better. That's the only way you have any real growth…

Dickey is one of the few Mets to show leadership qualities. Now let's hope he can snap his own losing streak Wednesday and help the Mets continue to win.

Before the game, I went to see a panel discussion at Fordham moderated by Lenny Cassuto, co-editor of "The Cambridge Companion to Baseball." The panel included former Met GM Omar Minaya, baseball historian John Thorn, baseball writer and Pulitzer Prize finalist Alan Schwarz and Matthew Jacobson, a Yale professor and contributor to the Cambridge book.

It was a lively discussion on topics ranging from the declining number of African-Americans in baseball to instant replay. Some of the sharpest exchanges revolved around steroids. Thorn saw no need to make any changes to the record book, even going so far as to suggest that if Babe Ruth played today, he would be Matt Stairs. Schwarz said that he did not look forward to telling his young son that the home run record was held by Barry Bonds. Thorn replied that Bonds was the best hitter he's ever seen, and Thorn had seen Ted Williams play.

The panel was also not always in agreement on baseball's popularity in the U.S. When Minaya said that he saw plenty of baseball fields whenever he was on a plane coming in for a landing, Schwarz asked if anyone was on those fields and Cassuto said that he had just read that more and more baseball fields are being paved over.

When Minaya said that his purest experience of seeing a baseball game might have been in Cuba, Schwarz noted that "they have a hell of a salary cap."

Minaya said he would not want to see a robot determining balls and strikes because you need to be able to "go out there and argue."

Minaya mentioned that he had played ball in Tuscany, which made me think of Rick Peterson's statement when the Mets got rid of him that they were replacing a hardwood floor with Tuscany tile.

I'm still not sure that the Mets are better off with Dan Warthen, but the way the pitching has been the last few days, the Tuscany tile is looking pretty good.

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