He’s 33 years old now, and even before he returned to Flushing this weekend as a shell of his former self, he was playing like a shell of the Wright who owned Citi Field. And that’s hardly fair for the Mets, who have so many reasons to move on but undoubtedly won’t if Wright wants to play again next season. He has four years and $77 million remaining on his deal. It’s hard to see the Mets not indulging the comeback of the player who once defined the franchise, of not penciling him in at third base out of obligation. It’s hard to see Fred Wilpon, who called Wright “one of the best ever,” and Terry Collins not giving Wright a chance to play through his issues.
Thing is, even before all this, Wright was having issues. This was a player in decline even before late May, when he was diagnosed with the herniated disc that led to June surgery. David Wright just wasn’t — and isn’t — the David Wright of old, isn’t the same player who carried the franchise and its fans through so many middling years. He hasn’t hit .300 since 2013, hasn’t bopped 20 homers since 2012 (when he hit 21).
And at his age, coming off major neck surgery, after years of hoisting the team on his shoulders (no wonder he has a bad back), does anyone actually think he can ever really be the player he once was?
It seems unlikely, sure, but who’d have wagered a (presumably) PED-free Alex Rodriguez would hit 33 HR’s last season at the age of 39 after missing the entire 2014 season on suspension and playing just 44 games the year prior? Presuming the Mets are committed to fielding the best lineup possible (and that’s certainly been the case for most of the last two years), why begrudge Wright the opportunity to mount a comeback? “Hardly fair to the Mets?” Who put a gun to the franchise’s head and forced them to commit $138 million to a guy who might well have won a couple of rings had he gone elsewhere at the time? You’d have to go back to the days of Dick Young to find the last time a NY columnist so blatantly carried water for ownership (and trust me, Ebenezer Samuel is not gonna be mentioned in the same breath very often).
More than once I’ve moaned long and loud about Wright’s on-field struggles and the way he’s been almost entirely immune from criticism, but suggesting he’s under some obligation to hand money and uniform back to the club is beyond nonsensical. Whether he’s owed $70 million or $70, David Wright has a right to ply his trade to the best of his abilities. If he’s no longer capable of helping the team win, that’s a shame, sure, but that’s one real-life result of the Mets rolling the dice on a long-term pact. And there’s something slightly screwy about Samuel’s timing, what with Jose Reyes on the brink of returning to the top of the Mets batting order. Like Wright, Reyes has been the definition of injury-prone. Like Wright, Reyes’ production and range have diminished. Unlike Reyes, Wright has yet to be accused of shoving a woman into a sliding glass door. Yet it’s David Wright who should save face by declaring his retirement (and leave a gargantuan sum of money on the table).
Greeting to members of the Yankee Universe as well as to the deeply envious, intensely insecure types (like say, this blog’s publisher) who can only dream of being a part of it. Before I address the topic du jour, I’d like to thank the folks at Vice Sports for the wonderful profile of yours truly that recently appeared. Until recently, I was only familiar with Vice’s heroic efforts to close some firetrap “music venue” that catered to the sort of arrested adolescents that keep CSTB’s founder in well, I don’t know, premium macaroni and cheese? Either way, it was nice to see that Vice’s skill-set exceeded simply cleaning up Brooklyn.
But I digress. What the Yankee Universe really wants is an answer to the question, “IS RANDY L A BUYER OR SELLER?”. “IS RANDY IN OR IS HE OUT?” “IS THE GREATEST PROFESSIONAL SPORTS FRANCHISE OF ALL-TIME RUN BY MEN OF COURAGE OR GUTLESS, SIMPERING NERDS WITH THE INITIALS, ‘B.C.’?
Friends, the answer to each of these questions is the former, I assure you. Surely there are enough self-styled historians reading this who can tell me how many times a Wild Card team has gone on to win a World Series. I’d ask our General Manager that very question but I fear sending him to the internet to look it up is what our Human Resource director has called a “trigger episode”. Of course, I had to look that up myself as I couldn’t understand why Cashman would be watching Roy Rogers re-runs on the job, but it wouldn’t be the first time he played fast and loose with his responsibilities.
Writing for something or other called Today’s Knuckleball (seriously?), Jon Heyman writes, “Word among rivals is that general manager Brian Cashman may be less convinced that staying the course is the way to go and more receptive to the idea of a rare sale of stars (though Cashman himself doesn’t exactly admit that that’s the case).”
Oh yeah, he’s got a real poker face. Let me take this opportunity to spell it out for our oversexed GM ; there’s an old saying, “He who dares, wins.” There’s no old saying along the lines of “he who dares to embarrass his employers by prowling for librarians and jumping out of airplanes manages to keep his job forever because he’s fucking teflon or something.”
With the possible exception of my beloved labradors and The National’s Matt Berninger, no one on earth means more to me than New York Yankees season ticket holders, particularly those in our Legends Suites. My colleagues and I — who typically can be found in our executive offices at 9am, not engaged in carnal activity in some 2 1/2 star hotel (that’s right, Cashman, there’s a tracking device on your car) are completely, utterly devoted to putting a competitive product on the field. You wanna talk about rebuilding, Brian? Try rebuilding your farce of a marriage, that is, if you can handle the hard truths this hand-picked, highly decorated counselor is ready to dispense. Even better, the sessions are on me. Like I keep telling you, I’m as magnanimous as I’m handsome.
So if any other clubs think they’re getting Chapman or Miller on the cheap, they’re sorely mistaken. When we capture our 28th World Championship in November, the media and my dick-for-brains colleague alike will be kissing my brilliant ass, but I shall always remember those who really believed in me. With that in mind, I would strongly suggest everyone in the organization who feels that way make some sort of formal loyalty pledge, or perhaps authorize a 5% transfer of their biweekly paycheck to this wonderful organization.
“There were a couple incidents on the ice where he blew a tire. It happened in Colorado,” Lavoie explained.
“I remember being between the benches in that game in Winnipeg. After P.K. blew a tire and the Jets scored a goal, during a TV timeout, I saw P.K. Subban on the ice and you had Pierre Gervais, who’s responsible for equipment with the Montreal Canadiens, had to go on the ice and tell P.K., ‘There’s no problem with your skate.’ It doesn’t seem like much, but it was kinda showing up the organization, like, ‘Hey, it’s not my fault. My skates are not done the right way.’ Obviously, it’s not a skate problem.”
SI’s Ben Reiter invaded the palatial estate of soon-to-be-inducted Hall Of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. and quizzed the former Mariners/Reds outfielder about his subjects including but not limited to his post-baseball life and nearly convincing Alex Rodriguez (above, middle) to become a sperm donor. :
Griffey enlisted Seattle’s trainer, Rick Griffin, to convince the rookie Rodriguez that the club’s stars—including Jay Buhner and Randy Johnson—were involved in a scheme to sell their sperm to the highest bidder, as if they were thoroughbred stallions, and that Rodriguez might himself attract an appreciable stud fee. He brought in a fake doctor. “Dude, you got great genes,” Griffey told the rookie. The callow Rodriguez was skeptical at first. Then he started to come around. “How much money do you think we could make?” he asked. Griffey, mercifully, pulled the plug before donations were to be harvested. “Everybody has rookie hazing,” he says. “That was his.”
Griffey hasn’t spoken to Rodriguez, whose career went on to mirror Bonds’s more than his own, in several years. “Is he doing what he’s supposed to be doing for his kids, being a dad?” Griffey asks. “From what I hear, he’s doing that. That’s the only thing you care about. I also understand, from the guys, that he’s a much better teammate now than he was four or five years ago.”
Architect of the 1986 Bears’ famed 46 defense and former Eagles/Cardinals head coach Buddy Ryan passed away Tuesday at the age of 85. Though remembered by many for his tumultuous relationships with Mike Ditka and Kevin Gilbride, one of Ryan’s more sensational moments came in the Eagles’ Thanksgiving ’89 visit to Dallas, in which Rex and Rob’s dad was accused of placing a bounty on the head of Cowboys K Luis Zendajas. From the Dallas Morning News’ Rainer Sabin :
On the opening kickoff of the second half, Lined up near the sideline, Philadelphia rookie linebacker Jessie Small raced past three Cowboys and blasted Luis Zendejas, Dallas’ 175-pound kicker who had been cut by the Eagles that season. Struck in the helmet as he tried to duck, Zendejas staggered off the field.
Afterward, in his news conference, Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson claimed Ryan had placed a $200 bounty on Zendejas and a $500 bounty on Dallas QB Troy Aikman. Zendejas told reporters Eagles special teams coach Al Roberts and Philadelphia punter John Teltschik warned him before the game he would be targeted. Once the Eagles put the finishing touches on their victory, Johnson wanted to confront Ryan and discuss the matter.
“I would have, but he wouldn’t stay on the field long enough,” Johnson said that day. “He got his fat rear end into the dressing room.”
Zendejas told reporters he taped a conversation he had with Roberts, the Eagles assistant coach, discussing the bounty. Roberts, in response, threatened to sue Zendejas if he were to be fired because of any potential fallout.
“If I can’t keep a job in this league for the next 15 years, then Luis is going to pay me,” Roberts said. “Get my point? Luis is going to pay. I’m going to own a Mexican restaurant, and I’m going to name it The Bounty.”
Progress Wrestling’s 5000 to 1 takes place tomorrow afternoon at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, and with all due respect to the advertised Marty Skrull vs. Tommy End collision, the main attraction is arguably a match between Jinny Couture and former personal assistant Elizabth aka Laura Di Matteo. Ever wonder what it would’ve been like had Virgil turned on Ted DiBiase? Me neither, but this contemporary dispute touches on timely issues including but not limited to class warfare, exploitation of new arrivals, and Progress’ interviewer ending up like Jim Rome after calling Jim Everett, “Chris”. OK, maybe that part isn’t so timely. Timeless, more like it.