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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why should Yankee players and fans have to keep Mickey Mantle's open?

There was a whole to-do in the media this weekend about how the Mickey Mantle's restaurant is in financial trouble, and may have to close. They haven't paid rent for four months, and may be evicted soon. (Imagine that!)

So Bill Liederman, the former owner of the place, is trying to raise one million dollars to keep the restaurant open. He has been trying to hit up retired Yankee players like Goose Gossage and David Cone for $10,000 each, and current players as well, and seemed annoyed that they weren't jumping to do so. "Their agents just laugh," he complained about the current team.

And this morning, I heard Liederman being interviewed on 1010 WINS asking for fans to donate $1,000 or more each and "band together" and save the restaurant, because "most Yankee fans have been there." To which I say, you have got to be kidding me in expecting fans -- or anybody -- to give money for this!

I guess I missed when a restaurant with an unusable website, serving overpriced, lousy food, with terrible service from wait staff and bartenders alike (check out the reviews online for the place -- they're brutal!), became a charity. Especially when the place's owners haven't bothered to pay their rent for this entire year.

Am I supposed to be outraged that the landlord is trying to evict them? Absolutely not. He's not running a charity, either. Of all the worthwhile things that people can spend their money on, and donate their money to, and Liederman is trying to keep a tourist trap open? No thanks, I'll pass. Especially given what a jerk Liederman is. Let me explain.

I can have a long memory on things. And I remember the stunt Liederman pulled when he owned the place. In 2004, when the Boston Red Sox beat the Yankees in the ALCS, it was naturally one of the most horrible times ever for Yankee fans. So what did Liederman do? He announced that he was renaming the place from Mickey Mantle's Restaurant to Ted Williams' Restaurant through the end of the World Series. He also sold Red Sox hats in the store.

I was appalled over that, as were many, many Yankee fans, who called and showed up to complain. That was a terrible time, and to have the owner of Mickey Mantle's, whose restaurant's existence was based on Yankee fans, do such a thing was ridiculously tasteless. Way to kick your fan base in the stomach, dude.

Then Liederman had the gall to say that The Mick gave him the idea: "His spirit came to me when the game was over and said, 'Bill, let's do this for my favorite player. Let's put Ted's name up there for a week,'" Liederman told the press at the time. How ridiculous.

Since Liederman's "joke" didn't go over well with either the Yankee fan base or with the Mantle family, the sign was pulled down within a few days, and he ended up selling the place within the year.

Now he's back in the picture, trying to get Yankee fans and players to give their hard-earned money to keep it open. To which I say, why don't you hit up your beloved Red Sox Nation for donations, dude? Sell your scheme somewhere else. I ain't buying it.


What do you think? Tell us about it!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Why trading away Jesus Montero will haunt the Yankees for years

Today's a big day for baseball -- one highly-touted rookie is making his major league debuts, and the other got a callup. Bryce Harper, who was Baseball America's No. 1 prospect in 2011, got called up from the Washington Nationals and will make his MLB debut tonight. And Mike Trout, No. 2 on that list, is getting to play today for the Los Angeles of Anaheim (they released Bobby Abreu to make room for him; Trout did get to play a bit last year, but now he's getting a more of a chance). Guess who was No. 3 on that Baseball America list? Jesus Montero, who hit a homer last night. Meanwhile, Michael Pineda (No. 16 on the list) cooled his heels after his visit earlier this week to the Carl Pavano Memorial MRI tube. Thanks for nothing, Brian Cashman.

I was getting some grief on Facebook this week, being accused of "second-guessing" the Montero-Pineda trade. Excuse me? I didn't second-guess; I first-guessed! And one of the reasons I had such misgivings over the trade was this -- that generally speaking, Yankee fans feel much more passionately, and have more invested, in homegrown players. And that it would have been awesome to see Montero hitting up a storm in pinstripes for the next decade or two.

It was exciting last September to see Montero in the big leagues for the first time, and watch him start to show the promise we had heard so much about. Now we will get to see him show that promise in Seattle, while we hear how Pineda is progressing from torn labrum surgery. Lovely.

Yet there are still some Yankee fans and media shills who insist it's still "too soon" to judge the trade. Are you kidding me? Right now, it's as big of a rout as Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf!

Yet the pro-Cashman voices among New York sportswriters -- which is to say, pretty much all of them -- gave Cash a pass. Again. Shocking, I know. Even if you believe Cashman's story, that Pineda wasn't damaged goods, that there were no red flags due to him having a 5+ ERA and losing velocity at the end of last season, you have to wonder what the heck the Yanks were doing with the way they managed -- more like mismanaged -- Pineda.

Like why didn't the Yankees pony up and get the dye-contrast MRI in the first place? It's a true fact that the regular MRI does not catch partially torn labrums. When Pineda was shut down, they should have put him in the dye-contrast version of the Carl Pavano Memorial MRI tube. Why didn't they?

And again, let me remind you of what injury expert Will Carroll wrote on April 4, after Pineda was diagnosed with "tendinitis":
As for Pineda, he might be better served looking to another starter on his staff for a better comp. CC Sabathia had some shoulder issues early in his career. A trip to Glenn Fleisig's lab in Birmingham helped him change some things, and the results speak for themselves. Why Pineda isn't heading down there is beyond me.  

It is also odd to me, given Cashman's insistence that Seattle did not give him "damaged goods," that he would have this conversation with Pineda this spring:
Cashman said he, too, had wondered about the condition of Pineda's shoulder during spring training, when he struggled to get his fastball above 90 mph on a consistent basis.

"I asked him several times through an interpreter if he had ever been in an MRI tube at Seattle," Cashman said. "Each time, the answer was the same.

"Nunca."

Never.
Yet there is not a single voice in the mainstream sports media who covers the Yanks who will criticize Cashman for any of this, or even ask questions wondering about it all. The closest there has been to any criticism came from the New York Daily News' sports media columnist Bob Raissman, who pointed out how much the press is in the tank for Cashman. He notes that this stems from the days when Cashman was "George Steinbrenner's whipping boy," and writes:

Cashman gained the reputation of a humble nebbish who had the misfortune of working for an intransigent bully. In Cashman, the media discovered a sympathetic figure.

Those days are long gone. Cashman is a powerful executive who can mix it up, even taking on some Steinbrenner characteristics. Like playing the role of threatening bully. Yet in the mind’s eye of many who cover him, he’s still seen as the same old sympathetic figure.

Few find fault with the way he handled all aspects of the Pineda deal. Judging by the tone of the stories and commentary, the scribes/voices are dismissive and downright disgusted when any conspiracy theories are even mentioned.
This is why I laugh when people talk about the tough New York media. Because they are a bunch of marshmallows when it comes to Brian Cashman, falling all over themselves to defend him here. The way they did with Joe Torre.

One day, after Cashman is gone, and wields no power, you might actually get a real assessment of what a crummy job he has done over the last few years, but until then, fuggeddaboudit, as they say in Brooklyn.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Some Yankee fans think that with Michael Pineda-Jesus Montero trade, there must be a pony in here somewhere

I was in Whole Foods yesterday when Squawker Jon called to tell me that Michael Pineda had a torn labrum, and would be out for the year. Needless to say, my reaction didn't exactly fit the peace-and-love vibe of the store! And I am still positively irate, over 12 hours later.

Best case scenario is that Pineda comes back some time early next summer. Meanwhile, Jesus Montero is starting to heat up, and even getting enough time at catcher to qualify in that position in fantasy baseball. Not bad for somebody who we were told could never catch.

And Hector Noesi is a major league pitcher for the Mariners getting a start tonight. Given that Pineda is out for what could be a year and a half, and given that there is no guarantee he will be able to pitch the way he once did, this trade is a complete and utter disaster for the Yankees so far.

Yet there is a sizable contingent of sportswriters and Yankee fans who still say that it is "too soon" to evaluate the trade. Really? Frankly, they remind me of the naive boy in the story presented with a mound of animal excrement as a Christmas gift. In that anecdote, the little boy keeps on digging through the poop, saying, "There must be a pony in here somewhere."

Newsflash: there ain't no pony. It's not Jose Campos, who is now being touted as being a superstar to justify the trade, even though he is only in Single A. And it certainly isn't Michael Pineda, who may never live up to his promise, and could end up being more like Phil Hughes Part Deux than anything else (and Hughes was terrible again last night.)

There is no bright side for the Yankees to this trade, as much as some try to downplay this as being no big thing. And don't tell me it's simply bad luck. It should have occurred to Brian Cashman that the Mariners might have been selling him a bag of beans here. It's not just that the Mariners have a history of trying to hold up the Yankees -- remember how they demanded more in the Cliff Lee trade? It's that why would they want to trade Pineda in the first place, if he was supposed to be so great?

I was against this trade from the beginning -- it never added up to me, the way it did to the "experts." So I'm not the least bit surprised that this has ended so poorly. (Incidentally, at least trading Montero for Cliff Lee, as costly as it would have been, may have helped the Yankees win No. 28 in 2010. Instead, Cashman gave up the team's best prospect for what is turning out to be a whole heap of nothing.)

And let's review the fact that Pineda's 2011 second-half numbers were so terrible -- he went from 8-6 with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.035 WHIP to a 1-4 record in the second half, with a 5.12 ERA and a 1.224 WHIP, and a significantly diminished velocity. Gee, did it ever occur to Cashman that there could have been a physical reason for that decline?  How can he be so naive?

Then again, we're talking about a GM who actually thought that signing Everyday Pedro Feliciano to a two-year, $8 million deal was a good risk, and who seemed to be the only person in the world to be shocked that Feliciano got injured so quickly into his Yankee tenure!

Then there is what injury expert Will Carroll of Sports Illustrated wrote on February 29 of this year, before Pineda ever even threw a pitch in a spring training game, giving Pineda a "red light" as an injury risk:
The Pineda trade seems like a coup for the Yankees, even giving up a solid hitter in Jesus Montero, but Pineda is in a bad situation. He's young, coming off a season where he saw a massive innings increase and a hit-the-wall moment as bad as any we've seen in several seasons. He's a red flag risk on that alone, which is horrible. (DAN STAT). On top of that, the records of Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild in dealing with precisely this type of situation is terrible. As much as I like Pineda the pitcher, I can't handle Pineda the risk.
Then Carroll wrote this on April 4 about Pineda:
The parallels between Pineda and Phil Hughes are too perfect. Well, not perfect, since we're talking about young pitchers and injuries. Hughes injured his leg, started overthrowing a bit, and ended up with a sore shoulder. It set back his career more than we realize, even now. Pineda came in out of condition, still showing signs of last year's workload, and finally admitted that his arm was hurting.
An MRI came back with "no structural damage" and the calming diagnosis of tendinitis. Don't be fooled. The biceps tendon is a structure, one that's important to a pitcher. One of the buzzwords in sports medicine is the "biceps-labrum complex." Essentially, the labrum and biceps tendon work in concert, in ways doctors are still figuring out. The classic "buckethandle" labrum tear might have a different mechanism than doctors long thought.
As for Pineda, he might be better served looking to another starter on his staff for a better comp. CC Sabathia had some shoulder issues early in his career. A trip to Glenn Fleisig's lab in Birmingham helped him change some things, and the results speak for themselves. Why Pineda isn't heading down there is beyond me. 
So why didn't the Yanks do what Carroll recommended? And why didn't they take Pineda's condition seriously?

All spring, we heard Cashman downplay Pineda's lack of velocity this spring and make excuses for him. Now he admits that this was a sign that he was hurt. Gee, ya think?

I have to wonder, what is it that Cashman is going to have to do to get some of his defenders to stop justifying his actions? He gave away the franchise's most highly touted prospect, somebody who he himself compared to Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols, for a player who may very well have been damaged goods in the first place. Boy, that Cash is sooooo smart, isn't he?

I have said it before and I will say it again. Brian Cashman has exactly one tool in the toolkit -- the ability to spend a lot of money. Yes, he got Nick Swisher for Wilson Betemit -- this is the trade Cashman fans always bring up whenever the subject of  his record comes up. But he got to make that trade for two reasons. One was that Ozzie Guillen despised Swisher and wanted him out. The second was that it was a salary dump -- the White Sox still owed Swisher $20+ million, and the Yanks could afford that type of salary.

Even the Curtis Granderson trade involved the ability of the Yanks to pay for his salary. (And it's not like the Yanks got a steal on getting him in the first place -- they still had to give up Ian Kennedy, Austin Jackson and Phil Coke. Granderson is a superstar now, but he didn't come cheap.)

So tell me, what are the great Brian Cashman deals in recent years that he has made on his baseball savvy? Trading for Javier Vazquez again? Trying to get back Carl Pavano? Signing Kei Igawa?

And sorry, I don't buy Cashman's story that Pineda fully tore his labrum just this weekend. Some of his acolytes think it's cute, the way Cash constantly plays fast and loose with the truth. I don't. Why should I buy anything Cashman says, when it is clear he has a very long track record of saying what he needed to, regardless of whether it was accurate or not, in order to deflect criticism? When you do things like tell reporters about how A.J. Burnett really has great numbers, and that we all need to smoke the objectivity pipe to see it, then you pay the Pirates $20 million on Burnett's salary just to get rid of him, you don't exactly come across as a truthteller.

I think it's time that some folks wake up and drink the reality potion, to use a Cashmanism. And the reality is that Brian Cashman is a pretty crummy general manager. I said at the time of the trade that I had zero faith in his judgment. My faith in his judgment now? It's less than zero!

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cheering for Jose Reyes

I went to Citi Field last night specifically to cheer Jose Reyes in his first game back in New York. I appreciate all he did for the team and can't see how anyone can blame him for leaving when the Mets did not make him an offer. I stood and cheered for his first at-bat, then treated him like any other member of the Marlins, rooting for the Mets to get him out, but not booing him, either.

I was actually more disappointed in the size of the crowd than the number of boos, which grew steadily with each of Reyes' at-bats. At least the people booing were presumably passionate Met fans, even if I disagreed with them. Unfortunately, with the latest injury news concerning Mike Pelfrey and Jason Bay, the Mets may be doomed to a lot more small, angry crowds.

As bad as it was for the Mets to allow the homegrown Reyes to leave, it was an even bigger payroll sin to skimp on depth. You simply can't go into a season assuming that nobody will get hurt, especially a member of the starting rotation. Sure, Jason Bay doesn't seem like a big loss, but he's tied for the team lead in homers with 3, and his .776 OPS is fifth-best on the team. And because the Mets have no depth, he'll have to be replaced by Mike Baxter and minor leaguer Jordany Valdespin, who's actually a middle infielder. Andres Torres is due back soon, but there's no assurance that he can stay healthy or productive?

And now there has to be an assumption that Kirk Nieuwenhuis is for real and that Lucas Duda will be for real.

As for Pelfrey, he had a 2.29 through three starts. Now the Mets appear ready to replace him in the rotation with Chris Schwinden, aka a warm body from the minors.

In today's Post, Joel Sherman says the Mets should model themselves after the Cardinals, a team that continues to be successful with a mid-level payroll. Sherman notes that while the Mets might not get back to a $140 million payroll in the near future, "they should at least be in the Cardinals’ $110 million range — and soon."

Unfortunately, they are now in the $90 million range. Imagine what the Mets could have done this year with another $20 million. Here are three possibilities:

  • They could have have a bench. 
  • They could have acquired another player to help make up for the loss of a star through free agency, just as the Cardinals did when they lost Albert Pujols and signed a free agent named Carlos Beltran. Obviously Beltran is no Pujols, but he is tied for second in the National League with five homers.
  •  They could have re-signed Reyes.

On the bright side, Johan Santana turned in a vintage performance and reminded people that he's worth the money when he's healthy.

And, most amazing of all, the Mets won with Squawker Lisa in the ballpark!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Yes, we are showing up at Citi Field to see Jose Reyes' return

While "showing up at Citi Field" does not quite have the same ring as "showing up at Shea," Squawker Jon and I are going to be at Citi Field tonight for Jose Reyes' return to Flushing. Jon is showing up because he is a Reyes fan. I am showing up because I can't resist a chance to stick it to the Mets for not even making an offer to their best position player of the last decade (yes, Reyes is better than David Wright!)

Anyhow, we will be at the first Citi Tuesday at the ballpark. The folks at Citibank sent us information on what that entails. Here is the information we received. If you are a Citi customer, you are eligible to participate:

CITI TO INTRODUCE “CITI TUESDAYS” ADDED VALUE SPECIALS FOR METS FANS WHO ARE CITI CARDHOLDERS

New Season-Long Promotion to Offer Citi Customers and Mets Fans Rewards and Savings During Each Tuesday of the Season Beginning April 24

A Citi Tuesdays information booth will be set up by the Shea Bridge at Citi Field every Tuesday for fans to learn about the special offers. Citi customers who show their Citi credit or debit card at the booth will receive a $10 gift card (supplies are limited, offered on a first come first served basis) valid at Citi Field retail stores, concessions, restaurants, clubs, in-seat service and ticket window locations. Other Citi Tuesday rewards and benefits include:

· 10% off Mets Tuesday game day walk-up ticket purchases made with a Citi credit or debit card at Citi Field, while supplies last.

· A free gift for fans who make a purchase of $75 or more with their Citi credit or debit card, after all other discounts have been applied, at Citi Field retail locations during Tuesday games.

· Special access to the Acela and Caesars Clubs for Citi cardholders and a guest who visit the Citi Information Booth by Shea Bridge. Access is limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

· A complimentary dessert of their choice for fans dining in the Acela and Delta Clubs with the purchase of one entrĂ©e with a Citi credit or debit card with a maximum of two desserts per table.

· 50,000 ThankYou points to be given away to one lucky fan during Tuesday home games. All fans in attendance are eligible.

· And all season long, 10% off purchases Monday through Thursday and 5% off purchases made from Friday through Sunday when using a Citi credit or debit card at Citi Field retail locations.

Monday, April 23, 2012

On Michael Pineda, A.J. Burnett, Pedro Feliciano, and the media's double standard

I just want to, for once, admit that Squawker Jon was totally right on something. Specifically, he called the Michael Pineda injury issue correctly three weeks ago, comparing it to Phil Hughes' tendinitis, and mocking Joe Girardi for calling the diagnosis at the time "great news:"
When reporters noted that Hughes was also diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis last year, and he missed three months and finished the season with a 5.79 ERA, here was Girardi's response:

"They both got tendinitis, but I wouldn't necessarily say they're similar [injuries]," Girardi said. "There's a lot of parts to that shoulder."
Girardi's rationalizing about Pineda's injury reminds me of how some people said that Johan Santana would make it back faster than Chien-Ming Wang and others who had the same injury because all injuries are different.
Jon also noted in that column about how the Mets and Yanks get treated differently in the media when it comes to such injuries. He also has been saying to me in person that Andy Pettitte would be pitching before Pineda would.

Anyhow, now Pineda has had a setback that looks to be pretty bad -- he isn't expected back for what could be months. You know, just the way that Hughes shoulder tendinitis kept him out until after the All-Star Break.

Marc Carig wrote something rather shocking for the Star-Ledger about Pineda, talking about why the Yanks are so upset on the recent news on the pitcher (emphasis added):
When the Yankees placed Michael Pineda on the 15-day DL, they did so for two reasons.
They wanted to rest his right shoulder, which the Yankees believed to be afflicted by minor tendinitis. And they hoped to give him a chance to mentally regroup after a difficult first spring training with the Yankees. Conveniently, the minor injury afforded the Yankees the benefit of time, which they hoped Pineda would use to catch up on the conditioning he did not do in the winter.
Which is why, privately, the Yankees were stunned Saturday when the 23-year-old Pineda reported lingering pain in the back of his right shoulder.
I was against the Jesus Montero/Michael Pineda trade from Day One, and nothing has changed my mind. And to hear that he was put on the DL in part because of his conditioning is appalling. Didn't the Yankees have enough pitchers -- Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, to name two -- who have shown up to spring training overweight and out of shape? They had to trade Montero to get another one? Good grief.

Obviously, I knew Pineda showed up fat to spring training, but to hear that he was put on the DL for said lack of conditioning is outrageous. Let me get this straight -- Pineda is in only his second season, and he is already acting like an entitled veteran? Who did the due dilgence on his personality? Yet again, Cashman shows a breathtaking lack of judgment, something he never gets called on by his buddies in the press.

Granted, Montero hasn't exactly set the world on fire as a Mariner just yet, but at least he is in shape and playing, two things Pineda is not. And I have to wonder if, yet again, Cashman got taken to the cleaners by another GM.

Also, when Cashman is not outwitted by other GMs in the game, he does dumb signings, like signing Everyday Pedro Feliciano for two years and $8 million after the Mets completely overworked him. And guess what? Chances are that Feliciano, who is recovering from rotator cuff surgery, will never pitch for the Yankees, something completely unshocking to every Met fan out there.

In other news, A.J. Burnett, the pitcher we Yankee fans are paying over $20 million for to *not* pitch for the Yankees in the next two seasons, pitched seven shutout innings Saturday for the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving up only three hits and striking out seven. And yes, he came back from an orbital bone fracture quicker than Pineda will return!

The trade of Burnett to the Pirates really did not get enough media scrutiny. As maddening as Burnett was as a Yankee, it makes no sense to me to pay him $20+ million of the $33 million owed to him to pitch somewhere else. Some Yankee fans acted like Cash was some magician for getting rid of him. Gimme a break. The Yanks would have been better off keeping him and sticking him in the bullpen than paying him so much money to pitch elsewhere, simply to keep their options open.

Anyhow, the Yanks are stuck with Pineda being injured -- he's going for a dye-contrast MRI this week -- and with Brian Cashman, the most overrated GM in all of baseball. Oh, joy.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

On "Knuckleball!" and our evening at the Tribeca Film Festival

Thanks to the folks involved with the movie Knuckleball! for getting one of our readers into the VIP section of the premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, and getting Squawker Jon and myself in as well. We all also received autographed copies of the movie poster Saturday night. Oh, and I got to meet not just renowned chef David Burke -- I was just at his Bloomingdale's eatery the night before -- but I got to meet Mr. Met, too!  How cool is that?

Anyhow, Jon has given his review of the Knuckleball! I thought the movie was really good, and that you couldn't help but feel empathy for R.A. Dickey, and (gulp) Tim Wakefield! (Wake seems like a decent guy, as he did with the Sox -- he always seemed to make No. 1 on the "Boston player I can tolerate" list!) There was footage after the Aaron Boone home run of him slumped in his chair in his locker room, and teammates comforting him. It's funny, though -- giving up that homer hasn't really stuck with him as far as his reputation, because Grady Little, not Wakefield, is the one who gets the blame for that loss. (There isn't any talk about the Red Sox's horrendous 2011 collapse, though. Too bad!)

I covered my eyes during the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox stuff, and booed Joe Torre when he was seen in a clip being interviewed for the movie. (What else would you expect from me? Torre's gotta be the bride at every wedding, and the corpse at every funeral. Enough!)

It was cool sitting with John of the Mighty Quinn Media Machine, as well as Ed from Studious Metsimus and Taryn from A Gal for All Seasons. Nice to see our blogging friends in the flesh!

The movie was fun, and the evening was a great one. Thanks, everyone!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Is this Red Sox team unlikable not just to Yankees fans, but to Boston fans?

I just finished watching Saturday's Yankees-Red Sox game on the MLB TV broadcast hooked up to my television. Well worth watching, even though I knew how it ended! What was really obvious was that Bobby Valentine is the designated Boston scapegoat for the team's woes this year -- he was getting booed way more than anybody else on the team.

Now, Bobby V certainly isn't perfect, but man, the Red Sox are an extraordinary unlikable team, and the lion's share of the blame ought to go on them, more than the manager. Boston is, what, 10-34 since September 2011? Those are 1962 Mets numbers. That speaks to a real dysfunction. Maybe the players are just mad that their little country club got busted up; maybe they are peeved they can no longer booze it up in the clubhouse or eat fried chicken during games. Boo bleeding hoo.

And what a bunch of jerks there are in the Boston clubhouse now -- even more than usual! I was struck by something Friday when watching an interview with Pedro Martinez Friday, after he spoke at Boston's 100-year celebration for Fenway Park -- how he was somebody Yankee fans loved to hate. He was a worthwhile opponent -- talented and intelligent, and a real warrior (although him pushing Don Zimmer to the ground was pretty ridiculous.) He was a real character, and fun to watch, no matter if you were rooting for him or against him.

Who do the Sox have now as their warrior, their ace? Josh Beckett, an ignorant clown who 1) has never apologized for being the ringleader of the fried chicken and beer brigade, 2) who is obsessed with finding the "snitch" who told the media about it, and 3) who reportedly blames Kevin Youkilis for the leak. Whatta guy.

Here's what Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston wrote the other day about Beckett. For all the media interest in Valentine calling out Youkilis, the more interesting story to me was this:

Josh Beckett complained bitterly about clubhouse "snitches," and it turns out he and other players made some effort to identify who the "snitch" was, the person or persons Beckett and others felt had leaked damning information about things that went on in what the players considered their inner sanctum.

There were reasons to believe Youkilis was one of the players called out by Beckett.

So, let me get this straight. You have arguably the worst September collapse ever, even with a record payroll, you think it's okay to get your drink on during games, and your biggest concern is finding the snitches? Good grief.

Then there's Dustin Pedroia, who is apparently bent out of shape that his buddy Francona is no longer in the team. Dustin, who some fans compare to Derek Jeter, had this to say the other day when it came to Bobby V calling out Youkilis:


“I know Youk plays as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen in my life and I have his back and his teammates have his back,’’ Pedroia said. “We know how hard he plays. I don’t really understand what Bobby’s trying to do, but that’s not the way we go about our stuff around here. I’m sure he’ll figure that out soon.’’...


When he was asked if Valentine’s was to try to motivate Youkilis, Pedroia replied: “Maybe in Japan or something, but over here in the US we’re on a three-game winning streak and we want to feel good and keep it rolling.

Calling out his own manager? And what is the "that’s not the way we go about our stuff around here"? No, the way the Red Sox go about their stuff around there is stinking up a storm in September, drinking in the clubhouse during games, and isolating good guys like Jacoby Ellsbury (remember how Youkilis called him out?) Take that quote that Pedroia said, and put in in the mouth of somebody that you may not like in baseball. It would be considered insubordinate by anybody else, that's for sure. Pedroia's only 28, but he already has that spoiled, entitled veteran thing down pat!

Bill Madden wrote this
about how the inmates are running the asylum in Beantown, talking about the mess Valentine is in:
And this doesn’t include the near player revolt he had on his hands the very first week of spring training when, the Daily News has learned, he got all over shortstop Mike Aviles in what sources described as “a very ugly scene” during infield drills. After a group of Red Sox players confronted him with outrage, Valentine had to apologize to Aviles.
I wasn't there, but it sounds like most of the Red Sox team are all too happy to keep the place a country club, where they don't get challenged on anything. The thing is, though, I can't imagine that Red Sox fans are real happy to be rooting for these guys. Who wants to cheer for the clowns on this team? But man, is this delicious to watch for this Yankee fan!

Dickey, Wakefield shine in "Knuckleball!"

Last night, Squawker Lisa and I went to the Tribeca Film Festival for the premiere of the baseball documentary "Knuckleball!" The movie celebrates the tiny fraternity of MLB knuckleballers, with the main focus on the only two knuckleballers active in 2011 - the Mets' R.A. Dickey and the Red Sox' Tim Wakefield (who retired after the season).

There probably wouldn't have been a film without Dickey's great personality and Wakefield's dignity. While this film figures to appeal more to Mets and Red Sox fans, Squawker Lisa was able to enjoy it as well (particularly since they showed a clip of Wakefield surrendering Aaron Boone's pennant-clinching homer in 2003).

With great personal stories such as Dickey's and Phil Niekro's (whose coal miner father, when presented with a $250 offer for his son to sign with the Braves organization, said he wasn't sure if he could come up with the money), it's no wonder the film focused more on the personal than the baseball, but I would have liked to have seen a little more about the knuckleball itself and why more pitchers don't give it a shot.  

While at the screening, we saw fellow bloggers Ed Leyro (Studious Metsimus), Taryn Cooper (A Gal for All Seasons) and John Quinn (Mighty Quinn Media Machine).

It was such a fun night for fans of the Mets and Red Sox that I was able to avoid dwelling on the fact that the Yankees rallied from 9-0 down to beat Boston 15-9 in what is already being called the Bobby Valentine's Day Massacre until I got home and saw the highlights, along with those from ex-Met Philip Humber's perfect game. As I wrote earlier, at least the Met didn't make this day a complete baseball nightmare by losing the Luis Castillo Sequel game.

Speaking of the Mets, they announced the attendance on the broadcast - 33,000. Didn't think they were doing that too often this year with the struggling attendance. But Lisa and I had the same thought - since it was Bark in the Park Day, were the Mets counting only human patrons, or dogs as well?

Dumb and Humber

The only thing worse than the Mets blowing a sure win when a fielder overran what should have been a game-ending pop would be if it occurred the same day yet another ex-Met threw a no-hitter.

Fortunately, the Mets were able to rebound from Kirk Nieuwenhuis' ninth-inning misadventure and beat the Giants, with help from the Giants and manager Bruce Bochy. Bochy decided that the bottom of the ninth was the perfect time for 35-year-old veteran 1B-OF Aubrey Huff to make his first-ever appearance at second base. Huff's failure to cover the bag helped keep the Mets' rally going before they eventually won on an bad throw by Buster Posey.

As bad as the top of the ninth was - aside from the shades-of-Luis Castillo botched popup, closer Frank Francisco was pulled in the middle of an inning after surrending runs for the fourth straight appearance - the Mets showed more heart than recent teams by coming back to win on a great play by Scott Hairston, sliding into Posey to force him to throw wildly, but making a clean slide into the catcher who missed most of last season after being hurt in a home-plate collision.
 
As for Humber, good for him. It doesn't reflect poorly on the Mets that they let him go, considering he was part of the package for Johan Santana and it took him two more stops before he found some success with the White Sox.

Yankees pummel Red Sox, and I miss all of it!

Squawker Jon and I were meeting up in Battery Park City to see the premiere of Knuckleball! last night, so we missed seeing the Yankees-Red Sox game. To be blunt, when I saw that Freddy Garcia was pitching for the Yanks, I didn't expect much, especially given that it was a FOX broadcast, which the Yanks have a bad record on. Nor did the Yanks get much -- Garcia didn't make it out of the second inning.

Anyhow, when I saw that the score was 9-0 Red Sox, I figured that the game was over. Then the Yanks kept on coming back. We ran into the Mighty Quinn Media Machine in the VIP section of the movie showing while waiting for the movie to start (more on the flick in a separate post!) and every time one of us took a look at the score, it seemed like the Yanks were threatening. Then somehow, they ended up putting on 15 runs on the boards, without Boston scoring another run in the game! Unbelievable!

Needless to say, I was pleased as punch at the results, while my Red Sox fan and Met fan cohorts were not exactly thrilled by the turn of events. Heh!

I am watching the replay of MLB TV via Roku right now. I just bought a subscription to MLB TV, and this is the first time I've watched a game on it. I immediately skipped to the top of the inning, and was thrilled to hear no broadcasters. No McCarver, no Buck. It was aweseome! Then they started yakking again -- the reason some of the broadcast replay did not have them is because apparently the FOX broadcast had cut to Philip Humber's perfect game, so people watching live missed seeing Nick Swisher's grand slam live! If I had been one of them, I would have been ticked off. (By the way, how about it -- yet another former Met pitches a perfect game!)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yankees ruin Fenway's 100th birthday party

Shocker -- Squawker Jon and I had an argument over today's New York Post cover. I left a message telling Jon to check it out -- it features, of course, Alex Rodriguez hitting a homer to help beat the Boston Red Sox and put a damper on Fenway Park's 100th anniversary celebration, with the headline "100 Years of Ass Kicking."

Anyhow, here is the email I received from Jon in return, with the subject line "The Math Is a Little Off':

Since 2003:
Championships: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1
Pennants: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1
Head-to-Head Playoff Series: Red Sox 1, Yankees 0

Nice "Met math" we have going there. 100 years gets cut down to eight. And he doesn't even actually include 2003, a year the Yanks beat the Red Sox head-to-head in the ALCS. Lovely.

So, Jon, if you want to cut 100 years down to eight, I have a few suggestions for the years to pick:

1936-1943:
Championships: Yankees 6, Red Sox 0

Pennants: Yankees 7, Red Sox 0


or maybe these eight years:

1949-1956:

Championships: Yankees 6, Red Sox 0

Pennants: Yankees 7, Red Sox 0


or how about these eight years?:

1996-2003:

Championships: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0

Pennants: Yankees 6, Red Sox 0
Head-to-Head Playoff Series:  Yankees 2,  Red Sox 0
Mets Being Humiliated as the Yankees Beat Them Head-to-Head in the World Series: 1

You see? This is why the Yankees simply had to beat the Mets in the 200 World Series. Because the way the Met math works, like the way Jon tries to twist around the Yankees/Red Sox numbers to most disfavor the Yankees, it would not matter how many times the Yanks beat the Mets head-to-head, or how many rings the Bombers had. In Met math, like it is in Red Sox math, every other time the Yanks dominated the other team would not matter if the Yanks had lost head-to-head.

Fortunately, Jon's Mets did not win in 2000. So all he has to crow about is how another team did against the Yanks in some teensy slice of history. Is that all ya got, buddy?


What do you think? Tell us about it!








Sunday, April 15, 2012

Win an autographed poster and VIP tickets to "Knuckleball!"


The baseball documentary Knuckleball! will be premiering for free on Saturday, April 21st as a part of the Tribeca Drive-in at the Tribeca Film Festival.  Here's your chance to win a chance to sit in the VIP section, and get a movie poster autographed by four famous knuckleballers, including R.A. Dickey, Tim Wakefield, Jim Bouton and Charlie Hough.
Simply tell us what your favorite sports movie is -- you can email us at subwaysquawkers@gmail.com -- and you could be on your way to winning!

Here are some details on the film:

This classic sports story recounts the 2011 journey of the last professional knuckleball pitchers: Tim Wakefield, a 17-year Red Sox veteran, and Mets up-and-comer R.A. Dickey. Together with just four other living knuckleballers, they shine a light on their remarkable brotherhood and the shared pursuit of honor and craftsmanship.

The Tribeca Drive-in will open at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, April 21st, and include live music, giveaways, baseball trivia contests and pitching clinics with pro knuckleballers R.A. Dickey; Tim Wakefield, formerly of the Boston Red Sox; Charlie Hough, formerly of the Dodgers and Rangers; and former New York Yankee Jim Bouton. The world premiere of Knuckleball! will follow at 8:15 p.m.

LOCATION:
Tribeca Drive-In® At the World Financial Center Plaza (West Street between Vesey & Liberty Streets)



For more info about the film, visit www.knuckleballmovie.com


Simply tell us what your favorite sports movie is -- you can email us at subwaysquawkers@gmail.com -- and you could be on your way to winning VIP admission, as well as an autographed movie poster signed by Dickey, Wakefield, Hough, and Bouton!! Please send in your entry by Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. Thanks!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Honor Chipper Jones? How about with a gift certificate to Hooters?

Sorry, Mets fans, for jinxing your team. (Well, not really, but I have to be nice!) Squawker Jon is right -- I am the Citi Field jinx!

But when it comes to making dopey moves, your team doesn't need any help. Like the reported notion for the Mets planning to somehow honor Chipper (Larry) Jones in his last season. Why would you give a moment's tribute to somebody who mocked your team by naming his child Shea, and who has kicked your team's fannies ten ways to Tuesday? When I wrote on my Facebook page that the Mets were going to do something to commemorate Chipper's career, even Yankee fans were outraged. More than one said that it would be like the Bombers honoring David Ortiz for his career!

You guys have one retired player number in 50 years, and you're going to do something to honor Chipper? Really? If your team does so, I strongly suggest giving him a gift certificate to Hooters (Google Chipper Jones and Hooters for the details!), coupled with a showing of "The Three Stooges," with everybody chanting "Lar-ry!"

What I remember most about the Mets first post 9/11 game at home was not Mike Piazza's home run, or Liza Minnelli singing "New York, New York." It was how jarring it was to see Mets players hug Chipper Jones! Please, keep the hate. Don't do anything to honor this clown!

* * *

Speaking of the Mets, I want to point out two things about Dillon Gee, the starting pitcher in the game we attended. First of all, he was seen on this pre-game clip on Diamond Vision telling fans not to jump on the field. Then he pauses, and strokes his beard. What's up with that? Is he auditioning for the new season of "Duck Dynasty"?

Then there is the matter of his theme song. The part of the song played when he enters of the game says: "You can run on for a long time, run on for a long time, run on for a long time." It sounded like Johnny Cash, and it was. The song is entitled "God's Gonna Cut You Down," and the lyrics that weren't featured in the intro are pretty intense:
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down
Yikes!

* * *

As for today's Yankees Opening Day, sadly, I am not going. But it makes me feel like an Old Timer to see that the now-retired Jorge Posada is throwing out the first pitch!


What do you think? Tell us about it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Squawker Lisa, the Citi Field Jinx

It seems like every time I go to a Met game with Squawker Lisa, the Mets lose. Tonight we were at Citi Field to see the undefeated Mets. The first batter, Ian Desmond, homered. The jinx was on.

One look at the Mets' lineup and I knew it would be a long evening. No David Wright. No Ike Davis. Ronny Cedeno batting second. Jason Bay hitting cleanup.  At least David Wright should be back soon, I thought.

Then I got home and found out that his finger was fractured. Can we blame this on Lisa as well?

It must be the Lisa jinx. How does Daniel Murphy save Monday night's game in the field and revert to the Murphy who can't field when Lisa's in the house?

Bobby Parnell comes in the game, and by the time I finish telling Lisa how he's turned over a new leaf this year, he's given up two doubles, another hit and a walk.

Against my better judgment, I bought in to the Mets' fast start while seeing it on TV. Then you go to a game and find yourself sitting in a mostly empty ballpark where the biggest cheer all night was for a girl who correctly guessed which Met cap on the video board hid the bag of potato chips.

When we left the ballpark, we headed for the platform where the express 7 train left for Manhattan last year, only to find that there were no express trains tonight. Are the crowds too small to bother with express trains now?

Tomorrow will probably be warm and sunny (we could have used blankets tonight). Johan Santana against Stephen Strasburg. There's a chance things could go well for the Mets - Lisa and I won't be at the game.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Which Subway Squawker Will Jinx the Mets Tonight?

The good news for me today is that our long national nightmare is over; the Yankees finally won a game. Yippee! And the good news for Squawker Jon is that his Mets are still undefeated, after a walkoff win last night. However, the bad news will be starting for the Mets soon enough tonight, since Squawker Jon and I will be in the house! And you will be shocked to hear how we got the tickets.

Yes, I signed up for that Club Mets thing --for $19.95, you can get the MLB audio for your computer for the entire season, as well as two free tickets to a game in the Nationals series, and other discounts and whatnot. Of course, this would happen to be the series where the Mets are selling $2.50 tickets, so it's not quite as sweet a deal as it seemed to be a few months ago. But it's still a pretty good deal -- the audio alone is worth $19.99, more than the Club Mets membership! (The Yankees' type of membership for this -- Yankees Universe -- isn't even anywhere near as good a deal, by the way -- if you want free tickets, you have to sign up for the $295 membership. Yikes!)

So anyhow, Squawker Jon and I will be at the game tonight, and the question is, which one of us will jinx the team. It would seem like I would be the jinx, since I am the Yankee fan in enemy territory. But then again, we are talking about Squawker Jon here, the man who killed Mike Pelfrey's career after he purchased a Pelfrey t-shirt!

But what if the Mets (gulp) win tonight, and the Yankees lose in their own game? Jon will hurt himself doing the Snoopy Dance all the way back home! Good grief, as Charlie Brown would say!

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Look who's 3-0 and look who's 0-3

Squawker Lisa, there's still plenty of room if you want to climb aboard the Met bandwagon. See what a closer looks like when he's 3-for-3 in saves. See a veteran pitcher coming back from a serious injury pitch five shutout innings on Opening Day instead of jumping on a trampoline. See a young starter who shows up in camp in shape, isn't nervous about pitching in New York, and instead of going on the DL, takes a no-hitter into the seventh.

I'm going to enjoy the Mets' success as much as I can now because it isn't likely to last. Maybe it's not a coincidence that they swept the Braves, who are coming off a historic collapse. The Red Sox are also 0-3 and there are lots of theories that it could be a hangover (no clubhouse pun intended) from last year, so it could be the same thing with the Braves.

One of the best pieces of news for the Mets might have been that Jon Niese's no-hit bid was broken up in the seventh inning. Terry Collins said emphatically after the game that he would have have pulled Niese after 115 pitches, no-hitter or not.

But the Mets are desperate for good publicity. They've been accused of pushing players to play through injuries. If Niese had been pulled, the Mets' great start would have been drowned in boos. Instead of celebrating Niese's strong performance and new contract, the fans would come away feeling cheated.

Last year, the Mets found a way to spoil what should have been a franchise triumph - the team's first batting title - when Jose Reyes abruptly came out of his last game in the first inning. I didn't have a problem with Reyes making an early exit, but the whole situation could have been handled better.

Imagine if Niese had thrown 130 pitches and the Braves broke up the no-hitter in the eighth or ninth. Now it's the clueless Mets risking the health of a pitcher they just signed to a five-year deal.
 
So things are actually looking pretty good for the Mets at the moment.

At least until Mike Pelfrey pitches tonight.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What's the Worst Thing About Friday's Opening Day Debacle?

It is only one game, but geez, Squawker Jon and all the Yankee-haters of the world had to enjoy yesterday's Yankees loss. As my friend Joe, a Red Sox fan, put it to me on Facebook, "My joy in seeing Sabathia give up the grand slam was only exceeded by watching Mariano blow the save AND take the loss." And Squawker Jon may be on the disabled list from doing the Snoopy Dance!
Sheesh.

And what was up with Joe Girardi intentionally walking the immortal Sean Rodriguez to load the bases in order to have CC face Carlos Pena, who then hit that grand slam? Yikes. Sabathia seemed to be laboring in this game, that's for sure.

Oh, and so much for that five-man infield, eh? Raul Ibanez home run aside, it wasn't a good day for the Yanks. Not to mention having to hear the trash talk! Not a good day.

I heard Suzyn Waldman going on and on in the pre-game about the exciting Game 162 the Rays had to get into the playoffs last year. You'd hardly know, though, that it was against the Yankees!

* * *

Jon also asked when the Michael Pineda era was going to begin. Smartypants.

An aside -- there has been nothing that has happened since the Pineda/Montero trade that has made me any less queasy over it, from Pineda showing up to spring training overweight, to the lack of speed on his fastball, to the tendinitis. He seems like a nice enough guy, but I still think the Yanks should have not made the deal.

And to be blunt, after Brian Cashman's little scandal, suffice it to say that I have even less faith in Cashman's judgment than I did before. And it's not the infidelity itself, it's the fact that it apparently took him literally years to realize that Louise Neathway was a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Not to mention how he wrote that bunny-boiler a letter of  recommendation on Yankees letterhead. How appalling, as is him reportedly having her sit in the same section as the Yankee wives.  What was he thinking?

On a brighter note, looking forward to the rest of the season. And Jon, you can chortle now, but at least my team will be playing meaningful games past Opening Day!


What do you think? Tell us about it!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Opening Day: The more things change...

It was great to see Johan Santana's successful return from a serious injury, combining with the revamped bullpen to shut out the Braves on Opening Day. But the Mets can't get through a day without several reminders of their numerous problems.

With two on and two out in the fifth inning, the Mets had their first scoring opportunity. It was time to pinch hit for Santana, who was going to come out anyway. So the Mets sent up...

Mike Baxter.
 
The Mets' unwillingness to spend the little it takes to have a major-league bench might be the most frustrating thing about their financial issues. If you don't have productive stars, you can't win. If you don't have depth, you can't compete.

Do the Mets expect to not have any injuries? That idea went out the window in the seventh, when Andres Torres pulled up lame while chasing Tyler Pastornicky's triple.  Now I have to learn how to spell Nieuwenhuis.

This franchise desperately needs to restore its credibility. But it doesn't help to trumpet sellling out Citi Field on Opening Day with the largest crowd in the ballpark's history, not when every story about the game mentions the patches of empty seats, which were clearly visible on TV.

Even the much-maligned Mets medical staff offered its own bit of self-promotion, touting Santana's successful surgery and recovery.  Yes, it's great to see Santana back out there, even if he may never be the Santana of old. But Santana had reduced velocity and barely made it through the fifth inning. It may not yet be time to start celebrating.

At least, however, the Mets are over .500, tied for first and have a better record than the Yankees. So I'm going to enjoy it while I can.  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Opening Day: 2012 Mets more like 1978 squad than 1984

It's impossible to sell the current Mets squad as a contender, so some are attempting to draw comparisons to 1984, when a team that had won 68 games the year before and had not been good for years suddenly won 90 games. But the 1984 Mets already had Keith Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry and were adding a rookie named Dwight Gooden.

The 2012 Mets have three players who have had multiple All-Star appearances - David Wright, Johan Santana and Jason Bay. If all three of these players have seasons representative of what they've done in the past, and a lot of other things go right, the Mets can win 90 games.

But everyone knows that's not going to happen. Even team apologists have given up hoping the new fences will help the hopeless Bay and are muttering about platooning, though there's currently nobody to platoon him with.

While Santana's comeback is probably the most positive thing about the 2012 Mets, the most optimistic projections fall well short of his former status as perennial Cy Young candidate.

David Wright does have a good chance to return to his former glory, and if he does, what's a potential scenario?

He gets traded.

When the Mets finally return to contention,they are going to look drastically different than they do now. While Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada and Jon Niese could all be part of a future contender, with the possible exception of Davis, all figure to be complementary pieces more than part of an All-Star core.

At this point, I'd settle for comparison to 1983, when that 68-win squad did finish the season with a lineup that included Hernandez, Strawberry, Mookie Wilson, Hubie Brooks and George Foster.

But in the short run, the 2012 Mets figure to be more like the 1978 version, when the team that got rid of Tom Seaver and Dave Kingman the year before tried to make do with what was left.

Jose Reyes is no Tom Seaver, but he might be just as irreplaceable. And the Mets also start a season without Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez, who were both with the team last year into July. With all these players, the Mets were one game over .500 at the All-Star break, only to go 31-40 in the second half.

It was almost like rubbing it in when ESPN's kickoff of the 2012 season (at least on American soil) featured Reyes and Beltran performing for their new teams, the Marlins and Cardinals.

Let's hope it's not too long before the Mets are again worth featuring on ESPN.

But in the meantime, I expect 72 wins this year and a last-place finish, but at least some hope for the future with positive showings from Davis, Niese and Duda and a late-season appearance by Matt Harvey.

As for the Yankees, 92 wins and the playoffs. Robinson Cano competes for MVP while A-Rod continues his decline. Brian Cashman blames Seattle for overusing Michael Pineda.

Squawker Lisa has at least one Met prediction I'm willing to print - the team announces on Opening Day that they are retiring Gary Carter's number. Let's hope so.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Imagine if Mets had Yankee-style injuries

A pitcher pitches an inning with a broken elbow. Another pitcher suffers a gruesome injury jumping on a trampoline. A third pitcher, traded for the team's top prospect, goes on the DL. Sounds like the Mets. But it's the Yankees.

The Mets have a well-deserved reputation for screwing up medical matters, but the Yankees have had their own woes lately.  The difference is that nobody is saying "Same old Yankees." Not yet, anyway.

On  Saturday, Cesar Cabral, who was on track to win a job in the Yankees bullpen, pitched an inning with a broken elbow. Now he's on the 60-day DL.

In 2009, Jon Niese appeared to injure his hamstring making a play at first. The crack Met medical team decided to let him try a practice pitch. I still cringe at the sight of Niese crumpling to the ground, now with a completely torn hamstring. 

If Cabral had been a Met, we probably would have had photoshopped pictures of the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail on the mound in a Met uniform while Met trainers agree with him that the loss of his arms and legs is "just a flesh wound."

After missing most of last season, former Met phenom Ike Davis has seen his comeback complicated by something called Valley Fever. The general reaction? Only the Mets could have a player come down with a disease most people have never heard of.

After missing most of last season, former Yankee phenom Joba Chamberlain has seen his comeback complicated by an injury caused by jumping on a trampoline. The general reaction? What a good dad!

When the Mets traded top prospect Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano, they were accused of negligence in failing to realize that Zambrano had a damaged arm.

When the Yankees traded top prospect Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda, manager Joe Girardi described it as "great news" when an MRI showed only shoulder tendinitis.

When reporters noted that Phil Hughes was also diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis last year, and he missed three months and finished the season with a 5.79 ERA, here was Girardi's response:

"They both got tendinitis, but I wouldn't necessarily say they're similar [injuries]," Girardi said. "There's a lot of parts to that shoulder."

Girardi's rationalizing about Pineda's injury reminds me of how some people said that Johan Santana would make it back faster than Chien-Ming Wang and others who had the same injury because all injuries are different.

Of course, all injuries are different. Pineda might miss much less time than Hughes.

Or he might miss more time.

It's way too early to judge the Pineda-Montero trade. And unlike the Kazmir debacle, this trade looked like a good deal for the New York team, or at least a fair deal, depending on how upset one was to see Montero go.
 
But it's fair to say that the trade could look better as of now. And it's fair to say that Mets are no longer alone when it comes to medical misadventures.