VP of the Year (2009) – New York Mets


ED: Ed Agner : PR: Phil Rippa : BB: Bill Barnwell

(originally posted 01/07/2010)

ED: Yeah, when Phil and I came up with this whole VP of the Month deal (and we’ve got one month done; take your bets on how long this lasts), we also decided to go with the VP of the entire year. Of course, we had no clue what to go on with this other than the sports entity that amuses us the most over the course of the entire year. While, of course, Tiger Woods made a late push to win this; Tiger and the resulting breathless coverage of his Thanksgiving fiasco and the many dalliances that were thusly uncovered mostly annoyed us. But the Mets…oh the Mets. The Mets sure do not/did not annoy.

PR: 2009 was a great year of baseball for me. I mean obviously the Yankees winning the World Series was aces but the Mets year got me through the long summer months. It was the gift that kept on giving. So when we were kicking around names, I think the progression went from Dayton Moore to Omar Minaya and… well… you will see.

BB: I still harbor some feelings for the Mets. They are like the ex-girlfriend who doesn’t make me want to bleed from the eyes when I see her. Crazy World Series tickets ex is like, I don’t know, a team built entirely of Paul O’Neill’s and Curt Schilling’s or something. Shudder.

ED: To best encapsulate how the Mets made us happy in ’09, one must look to ’08. The cowardly firing of Manager Willie Randolph mid-08 brought Phil and I more than a few chuckles. This firing, made ostensibly to thwart another late-season collapse, lead to…well, another late-season collapse. Somehow new Mets Manager Jerry Manuel takes neither the fall nor the blame for said ‘08 collapse. Phillies fans giggle and point on their way to a World Series championship.

PR: I like Willie Randolph a lot, so I am definitely in the camp of what a raw deal the Mets gave him so I was beyond tickled that the Baseball Gods decided to reward the Mets for their horrible horrible Karma. It really was amazing how Manuel and the team were absolved of all blame in the 2008 collapse. It was like a really fat smoker having a heart attack and then being like “BUT I DRINK DIET COKE!!!!”

BB: But I drin…

ED: The Mets thusly fortified their efforts to break in their NEW STADIUM~!!! in style by spending the ’08-09 offseason signing PVC~!!! Francisco Rodriguez; trading a slew of players in a three-team trade with Seattle and Cleveland to get JJ Putz, Jeremy Reed and Sean Green; and they gave fat contracts to the incredibly-mediocre Tim Redding and Livan Hernandez to shore up the rotation AND they re-upped for way too much to inconsistent (and fragile) P Oliver Perez . This…yeah, this alone would have made Phil and me happy.

PR: See what happens when they tried to sign pasty players?

BB: If we are going to rank the Mets’ successes by race:

1) Whites — Look in the crowd. Build an all-time Mets team. That’s a lotta white people.
2) Latinos — If we are just looking at the Minaya years, clearly, they are king, but can’t think of any
3) Blacks — High-risk, high-reward, obviously.
4) Hawaiians — I am sure Sid drinks Diet Coke too
5) Asians — Ron Darling was good but is kind of an ass now. Tsuyoshi Shinjo, your mileage may vary.
6) Jews — Jerry Koosman was Jewish right? Or did he just not pay taxes? I am confused. Also, marginally offended myself. Art Shamsky has to be Jewish. John Stearns? Lee Mazzilli? Ron Swoboda?
7) Midgets — Hooray for Ron Hunt
8) Cubans — Jorge Toca wants you to know that he is not messing around. Also, St. Rey. Who apparently defected to Buffalo, of all places, from Cuba. Imagine that culture shock.

ED: But did we mention that the Mets got a new stadium? Oh they did. And they sold the naming rights to troubled banking institution Citi Group. Whoops. So the Mets spent the beginning of ‘09 wondering if said institution was actually going to have the scratch to pay for the naming rights of said new stadium, not realizing that they maybe should have been spending more time figuring out how the dimensions of spacious new Citi Field was going to affect the team – in short, the dimensions affected the hitting very-very-very badly. And then there was the matter of a certain season-ticket holder who…well…

PR: The Mets also decided to pay tribute to history in their new stadium. Mind you that was the history of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Oh did that please me. LOOK AT THIS STATUE OF JACKIE ROBINSON!!!! PLEASE WATCH THIS WONDERFUL TRIBUTE TO BRANCH RICKEY!!! WE TRIED TO CHANGE OUR UNIFORMS BUT IT WAS TOO LATE IN THE YEAR!!! BUT WE HAVE PIZZA LOGOS!!!! USA! USA!

BB: If it ain’t RC Cola on the walls, it ain’t nothing.

ED: Said season-ticket holder was a Mr. Bernie Madoff who also ended up swindling the Wilpon ownership group of a few million dollars in the process. The Mets thusly begin to cry poor. (Phil, this is where we put the pic of the Madoff Mets jacket just to make us both giggle.)
BB: Part of me likes the idea that I know that this will end up being left in as is without being turned into an image with the message to Phil deleted. I also like that I just wrote a Meltzer sentence and it’s not going to be edited.

PR: See, if I wanted to edit it now I couldn’t. Part of that is because I STILL don’t know what Bill is trying to say in that sentence. Where are ESPN’s fancy editors when we need them?

ED: The Mets go to Spring Training with high hopes and more than a little desperation. Realizing quickly that they, offensively, were lacking some punch, the Mets jump all over recently-released Gary Sheffield to provide some pop to their outfield situation. Sheffield, 40, and coming off injuries and down offensive years in Detroit…as a DH, mind you, given that he had no defensive value anymore…comes in an…well, does about as well as anyone on the team. Which says a lot given that…

PR: At first I was trying to figure out if Ed meant Sheffield did well in Spring Training because I sure as hell don’t remember him doing well during the actual season. Then I saw the “as well as anyone on the team” caveat and was like “oh, okay”. Sheffield did have two good months (May and June) which was right around the same time all the Mets fans were hating David Wright because HE DIDN’T HAVE MORE RBIS!!!!! TRADE HIM!!! WE WANT SEXY JOSE REYES!!!!

BB: How many other Mets hit a 500th home run last year, Phil? How many? Answer is zero.

ED: Star CF Carlos Beltran plays all of 81 games for the Mets before injuring his knee – and injures it further while playing on the injured knee to show his TOUGHNESS~!!! to Mets management. Star SS Jose Reyes plays all of 36 games before an assortment of leg injuries takes him down – including a late season injury suffered while attempting to come back to the Mets long after the Mets were already blown out of the race. Star 1B Carlos Delgado plays all of 37 games before also succumbing to injury – this one a hip injury. And Star 3B David Wright never gets comfortable in spacious new Citi Field and puts up the following splits:

Home .298 .378 .434
Away .314 .401 .458

PR: HE SUCKS!!! HE DOESN’T HAVE MORE RBIS!!!!!! Yeah… I really should have saved this bit for the preview.

BB: Oh, like there will be a preview. And the only way to solve knee injuries is to make them worse. You should’ve seen what they told Mike Cameron to do to fix his brain.

ED: Oh, and before we finish up with the injury bits…Star SP Johan Santana begins ST with complaints of an ouchie left elbow. He opts out of the World Baseball Classic to get his elbow checked out, gets a clean bill of health from Mets medical experts and proceeds to pitch in pain for all of 25 games until he is shut down in August. (Ouch, and in looking up Santana’s Game Logs for ‘09, I see his BRef page is sponsored by PhilliesNation.com with the following message – “HAHAHAHAHA – The Mets are a joke!!!”) Poor-poor Mets.

PR: The more I think about it, the Mets training staff and their handling of injuries… or lack thereof, might be my favorite subplot of the 2009 season. The organization’s wonderful knack (wonderful for us, not for the players) of doing the absolute wrong thing every time someone tore or pulled something was starting to reach magical proportions. Mohegan Sun might want to consider bringing the doctors in to act as coolers because no one can derail someone so quickly. Poor poor Johan’s arm. Poor poor Jose Reyes’ legs. And while we are at it, poor poor Ryan Church’s brain. I promise that by the preview I will refind the amazing Mets injury chart.

BB: Stupid ace-high flush versus stupid straight flush. I hate you Rippa

ED: Needless to say the Mets flop horrendously and are essentially out of the race by Memorial Day. That alone would make the Mets a contender for 2009 VP of the Year. But as dearly-departed Billy Mays would say – BUT WAIT!!! THERE’S MORE!!!

PR: Wait?!?!?!?! Billy Mays is dead?!?!?!?! I mean you wouldn’t know it by the fact that TV and the As Seen On TV Stores ARE STILL RUNNING HIS SPOTS SIX MONTHS AFTER HIS DEATH!!!

BB: This would’ve been way easier if they had a smaller version of Billy Mays they could’ve just kept the same storylines going with. Oh and that guy could’ve gotten hurt every three months after that for three years.

ED: Enter the strange saga of Tony Bernazard, the Mets Vice President of Player Development. Media reports start leaking out that Bernazard threatened/challenged to fight the entire Mets Binghamton minor league team, Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, and possibly assorted scouts who dared to sit in his seat. (Bernazard, bear in mind, was also, allegedly the man who convinced Carlos Delgado sign with the Marlins in 2005 after speaking “street Spanish” to him in negotiations.) In one instance when suspended Mets minor league P Alex Merricks missed curfew, Bernazard allegedly let out the hidden motto of the Mets organization – “He f***ed the New York Mets, now the New York Mets are going to f*** you!” Indeed. Every Mets fan knows that sentiment very well, Tony.

PR: The stories of him ripping off his shirt when challenging people to fights are what makes me giddy for two years from now when we can write the Tony Bernazard FPOTM.

BB: Reading the nice things about him in the old Abstracts is cute. Oh, you have so much to learn in the future, Curmudgeonly Beard.

ED: Forced to do something about Bernazard, Mets GM Omar Minaya holds a press conference to announce the firing of Bernazard and proceeds to have a meltdown of epic proportions, accusing Mets beat writer Adam Rubin of reporting on Bernazard’s transgressions because he wanted Bernazard’s job. Even in New York, this falls into head-scratching territory and the end of the season could not come soon enough for everyone in the Mets organization.

PR: Oh Ed. You failed to mention the truly outstanding part of all this which was Omar not really apologizing for freaking out on Rubin and just going “Yeah… I used the wrong forum to do it.” and then Jeff Wilpon basically dragging Omar out like a petulant child to apologize all while basically saying “Our GM is a moron but not a big enough moron to fire because we don’t want people calling us racist for canning him.”

BB: And then Adam Rubin basically said he saw the writing on the media wall and admitted to all but begging for a job. Oh yeah — I made the right choice. Let’s go [redacted]!

ED: Except for Mets GM Omar Minaya who, three weeks before the trade deadline, makes the deal that had us all laughing far too much for far too long – trading oft-injured (though not completely useless ) OF Ryan Church to the Braves for HACKTASTIC~!!! Jeff Francoeur. Granted, Frenchy does end up finishing with the second highest HR total on the Mets (10) in only 75 games. Of course, this does not constitute good – especially given that the Mets are on the hook for almost $4 million dollars for him in 2010, this being for a spotty OF with a career line of .271/.311/.432 – but these are Omar Minaya’s Mets; it’s not about good, it’s about…umm…well, crap, Frenchy is not even Latino. I’ve got nothing.

PR: It’s a good thing Francoeur doesn’t believe in all those pesky stats they put up on the scoreboard. Of course – Mets fans are in love with the smuck. I just love that he is scared of the baseball. OH! OH! Should I mention the unassisted triple play he hit into to end a game here or should I save it for the preview?

BB: I don’t know how you guys haven’t mentioned David Wright helmetgate yet. Remember? David Wright got beaned in the head, came back, and was wearing a helmet that looked like the things you rolled around in in American Gladiators. And then Francouer explained that he was too cool to wear one of those, and Wright got bullied out of wearing them. You know, because you should listen to Jeff Francouer about stuff. I kinda picture him as the baseball Buff Bagwell. I COULD’VE BEEN THE ROCK!!

PR: GOD DAMMIT!!! I knew there was something we were forgetting. Sadly – now all I am picturing is Wright batting with a helmet that has a giant fist on it.

ED: The Mets finished 2009 at 70-92 (two games under their Pythagorean), 23 games behind the Phillies. (Hey, at least there was no late-season collapse. Moral victories mean something too, you know.) To kick sand in their faces, their division rival Philadelphia Phillies win the NL pennant and their cross-town rival Yankees win the World Series while the Mets sat at home and licked their wounds.

ED: As the Mets entered the ’09 offseason contemplating giving Jeff Francoeur a fat contract extension, the Mets iced the competition for VP of the Year by hiring DJ SPECIAL K!!!! Wayne Krivsky as an assistant GM. THIS…this was the point that made the Mets our clear-cut VP of the Year. And for that we say congrats and thank you, Mets.

PR: Obviously Ed is way excited about the Krivsky hire. I mean if they could somehow hire Jim Bowden too, it would make all the years of suffering in Ohio worth it for Ed.

ED: And heck, look on the bright side, at least Steve Phillips was no longer under the Mets employ this year too!

PR: Well, they always have 2010.

BB: Yeah, fuck the Mets.

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