Josh Thole

Refuse To Get Up In Arms, Literally

If I could muster up some faux outrage for the slight of R.A. Dickey, who is by far and away the well-deserved candidate to start the All-Star Game, I would.  But I won’t.  For several reasons.

I’ve made no bones that I think the All-Star Game is just one ginormous shit show.  The game “counts,” yet I would venture to say that about 80% of the starters, let alone those who have made the roster simply because there needs to be a team representative, won’t even sniff the playoffs.  Besides personal gain (like All-Star bonuses, etc), what incentive is there for say, a Miguel Cabrera who played for the Marlins in 2006 to not Roger Dorn an easily playable ball, leading to Trevor Hoffman’s meltdown which essentially turned me off for the All-Star Game for good? And yes, I brought that up the other night on the Happy Recap’s podcast, because unlike 1986, I won’t get over it.  Dammit.

But there’s more.  Tony LaRussa pulled a Mr. 3000 and retired right after his team, dark horse candidates for the World Championship, won the World Series last year.  Besides San Francisco Giants fans stuffing the ballot box so less deserving players can start (Pablo Sandoval, really people?), is there a point to this whole thing?

Not really.  Except once again, personal accolades for the individual and home field advantage determination for the winner.

Makes sense to me.

(Editor’s Note: No, not really)

There are so many inconsistencies with it this year though.  Okay, so Mets fans all know and love R.A. Dickey, he’s awesome, hard-working, published author, a cool dude.  In essence, he’s one of us.  He’s had a monster break out year.  Well, I was on ANOTHER podcast earlier this season when someone asked if I thought he was a Cy Young candidate.  I said I’d need to see more consistent work after the second half (and his last two games didn’t look too hot, so take that with a grain of salt), but that even if he did coast it out and was awesomely awesome, chances are, the knuckleball, seen as an eccentric pitch, would be voted against him.  Turns out I was half right, as it worked against him for the All-Star Game start.

My favorite explanation was that LaRussa was not sure that Buster Posey, a dude who probably shouldn’t have even been starting anyway, might not be able to catch a knuckle ball.  Well, if Josh Thole is the only catcher, name him to the roster…or does Jason Varitek need to be called out of retirement…I guess Dickey is going to be throwing a lot of passed balls because NO ONE knows how to catch a knuckleball.

Seriously?  THAT’S YOUR REASON?

Now that I got that circular logic out of the way, I refuse to be upset about this.  It goes against everything that I stand for, really, regarding this exhibition.  This is what I find hilarious – an “exhibition” game, that “matters.”  Isn’t that the very definition of something that’s, I don’t know, a total paradox?  Sounds like it. But I was only an English lit major, what the hell do I know?

So my friend Sully writes a column today about how Matt Cain starting is a good thing.  Since I respect his opinion, and even when he bashes the Mets, I tend to agree with him from time to time, I wanted to address it here.  Like usual, I agree with some, disagree with other points.  Like one is Matt Cain paid his dues.  So, R.A. Dickey, who had an incredible journey to the majors, learned to knuckleball, published a book, wants to lecture on Faulkner and English lit masters when he’s retired…that’s bupkis?

R.A. Dickey has only been a star for a few months, consistently he argues.  Well, while I’d agree with one part (see my paragraph above about how I felt that he needed more of a body of work for me to consider a Cy Young, let alone a NL All-Star start, which by the way was totally deserved), but I have to ask…if not the All-Star Game…and let’s say for argument sake that he bowls over the competition, leads the Mets to the NL East title and the World Series…would that preclude him from getting a Cy Young…BECAUSE he *may* be in fact a one-hit wonder?

Does that make sense?  I mean, chances are, Dickey may come down to earth, and be more level in the second half…so that might not be Cy worthy.  But an All-Star start…that’s ever a time to have a so-called maybe one-hit wonder start.

I did agree, however, that Dickey coming into the game will give Mets fans a reason to stay tuned in middle innings.

But the All-Star Game is supposed to be based on merit, the cream of the crop, the top of the class.

Yet there’s the other side that it’s an exhibition game that “counts,” and the fans are voting their favorite players in.

Forgive me if I can’t muster up enough of an attempt to give a shit.

Yes, I did write about it, I did acknowledge it when I promised myself I wouldn’t.  The fact is, I could get upset about R.A. Dickey not starting the game, I could get upset that David Wright wasn’t voted as a starter because a fanbase 3000 miles away managed to game the system.

But that would actually make me admit that I care about the All-Star Game.  And I don’t.  In fact, I found out that Prince Fielder won the HR Derby once again on Twitter.  I didn’t watch.  I may watch tonight just to see my players play.  But that’s about it.

If the players and manager refuse to care about it, why should I?

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Accentuate The Positive

Thanks to Senor Solly for the photo!

Two days after the so-called “Hatgate” occurred (in case you’ve been ignoring Twitter, Facebook or any other media since Sunday, the Mets were explicitly “not allowed” to wear any FDNY or NYPD caps to honor the first responders to the 9-11 disaster during the nationally televised game on Sunday night), people are still talking about it.  I’m a little flummoxed, to be quite honest.  I get why the majority of folks are upset.  It was a somber night, we were recognizing the families and loved ones of victims and heroes alike who were intimately touched by the tragedy.  MLB puts its foot down over something that seemed like a simple request, that should have maybe had a shred of decency or common courtesy attached to it.

After all, the Mets and Chicago Cubs, two teams with basically nothing to play for in the heat of several rivalries and pennant races that were infinitely more important, were chosen as the highlighted game because of New York City’s intimate touch with the reality of the 10th anniversary’s commemoration.

I thought MLB was being petty.  I thought, “Let the team wear the damn hats.”  There was even a hash tag that was kind of fun on Twitter going around, saying “#WearTheHats.”  I had maybe about two or three tweets relating to that.  I mean, it seemed like a simple enough request, right?  Josh Thole, the Mets player representative (why?), said that there would be heavy fines.  R.A. Dickey later said that the hats they wore during the pregame ceremonies were taken away.

Seems excessive, but two days later people are STILL harping about it, with MLB’s Undynamic Duo, Bud Selig and Joe Torre, pointing fingers and doing a cover-your-ass implementation for the fallout.

My question is…why are we still talking about it?  Why are we making such a big deal?  Yes, I get that MLB was a bunch of douchecanoes who wouldn’t allow the Mets to take a simple request.  My theory is at this point, there is a lot more to be pissed off about regarding MLB’s relationship with the Mets and MLB in general, than harping on a few people with anger issues towards MLB.

Let’s go down the list!

1) The fact that former car salesman, Bud Selig, is allowed to have any hold over MLB.  A former owner with conflict of interest issues?  Nah, say it aint so.

2) The fact that the same former car salesman allows the Wilpon/Katz consortium to have any holdings in Major League Baseball whatsoever.

3) The fact that St. Joseph of Torre thinks that the Mets were “too public” with their 9-11 charity work.  Oh wait, that was one of the guys he managed.  Never mind.

4) That not only this game was a 8:05 pm start (and didn’t start till 8:20) on the same night as a Jets/Cowboys Sunday Night Football game, a school night AND was supposed to be a 1:10 pm game initially, since it went into extra innings, people had to stay late or leave early, leaving barely 5,000 people in the stands.

4) Steve over at Kranepool Society raises a very good question about Josh Thole’s standing as Mets player representative.  As he suggests, someone as tenured as say, David Wright, who if he’s anything tries to play the diplomat but has never shown himself to be a leader, hasn’t stepped up is a source of concern (especially for someone marketed as “face of the franchise).  I can’t say I know a lot about how that whole representative things plays out or how it’s even chosen, but it is kinda sad that a guy who can be demoted to the minors at any time is the representative.  Just sayin.

In the meantime, let’s look at some of the more positive aspects of Sunday night’s telecast.

1) The Mets, if they’re anything, are charitable and have brought the term “Never forget” to the forefront.  They offered hundreds of free tickets to the families of first responders and victims of 9-11.

2) Hosting a Class A pregame ceremony for the audience, including members of Tuesday’s Children (a 9-11 charity that the Mets have been actively involved in) coming out with the players to hold the flags.

3) The continued honoring of first responders and veterans are always a touching tribute to the Mets.

4) As much as I knock them, the Mets put on a good ceremony.  Period.

5) Terry Collins saying that it’s time to move on.  It is indeed time to move and start winning some damn ballgames.

Look, if anything, MLB won’t fuck with the Mets anymore, or any New York team for that matter, and let them do what they damn well want to do as far as wearing the caps next year. Or perhaps the Mets will be more prepared, and wear a pin commemorating (like a Yellow Ribbon inspired, similar to the red AIDS pins or breast cancer pins worn at different events) next year.  Or a patch.  Or something else.  They weren’t expecting this kind of fall out so perhaps decency and common sense will prevail.

Seriously, though, let’s move on from this, and learn to accentuate the positives from the night and the reaction of the team.  There were many other things that happened that we can applaud, and just ignore MLB’s acts of buffoonery.