Thursday, December 29, 2005

Leave Willie Alone... for now

Enough with bashing Willie please. Even the most incompetent manager (who makes it to the ML level anyway) can’t lose you 10 games. Take a look at any of the tons of research that have been done about it. Educate yourselves.

This isn’t Fantasy Baseball. Not every yahoo can go out there and manage a baseball team. Maybe I know more than Willie Randolph about VORP and splits and probably every other thing related to what people talk about on baseball blogs... but the man was a professional. Baseball is his life. He has the respect of the players.

The bottom line is, the Mets had a vastly improved season last year, and they DIDN’T give up. Willie was slow to realize things, but he did get there. Wright higher in the order, Piazza lower. He took his time getting there, and you know what? I don’t blame him that much. Research has shown that poor lineup construction only costs you a handful of runs in a season, and there’s not understating the real-life aspect of baseball. If you drop Piazza to 7th on Opening Day, or in May, or whenever, God knows what happens.

Relax people. I know its New York, and I love it here... but lets give Randolph a chance first. Please. If he makes his rookie mistakes again, I’ll be with you guys and the “Fire Willie” chants. But right now, while the players still like him and play for him, I can live with a tactical error here or there.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Edgardo Alfonzo

The year was 2000.

The Mets former promising third baseman now manned second base. He made the move the year before, at age 25, coming off a season in 1998 where he batted .278, clubbed 17 homers, and walked almost as much as he struck out (65-77). He did not, however, let his ego get in the way.

In 1999 and 2000, he was a quiet yet productive part of what was one of the best infields of all time. In 1999, he, Mike Piazza, John Olerud, and Robin Ventura combined for 118 home runs, 448 RBI, and the lowest on base percentage of the group was .361

In 2000, Olerud was replaced by Todd Zeile, who had a fine season.

It was Fonzie, however, who truly shone. Quietly, he had one of the finest seasons ever by a New York Metropolitan. Quietly, he had one of the best seasons ever by a second baseman. He made ten errors, and didn't reach 100 RBI... but what did he do?

.324 Batting Average
.425 On-Base Percentage
.542 Slugging Percentage
109 Runs
94 RBI
95 BB
70 Strikeouts

He was also hit by pitch 5 times, and lofted 6 sac flies. He did everything but make plays standing on his head in the field, and tragically, almost nobody knew it. He hit in the clutch. He would change positions again in 2002, in deference to future Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar. All he wanted to do was win, no matter how, no matter what, and represent the colors well. And for that, I think he should be recognized.

It's been dark times since you left, Fonz, but finally another young Met third baseman is starting to make waves. Hopefully he leaves as positive an impact on the organization as you have.