Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why Wallace Matthews Should Not Have a Job

This column, and Larry's Dennis Dodd column from earlier today have both lead me to believe that the more stupid, vague jokes per column, the less intelliegent the columnist.

Exhibit A: Wallace Matthews. Wallace is very stupid and doesn't understand baseball. Let's examine his diatribe against the New York Mets. It's full of real "humdingers", as someone from Jon Heyman's time would say. Oh, and not to mention, a healthy dose of WRONGism!

Time again to knock stuffing out of Mets

We'll give him a pass. It was written on Thanskgiving.

It is Turkey Day, which means it is once again time to brine, stuff, baste and roast the Mets.

Having enjoyed more free rides this offseason than a serial turnstile-jumper circa 1977, the Mets made a comeback on Tuesday by trading Guillermo Mota for Johnny Estrada, who is Paul Lo Duca, only worse.

Serial turnstile-jumper circa 1977??? Here's some solid advice, Wallace. Any dumb jokes or references that require most readers to do a Google search to understand are best left out. Apparently there was some sort of power outage in New York that lasted a couple of days in 1977. Big whoop.

If this article was about the minor leagues, he'd be saying, "The Mets' farm system is going through a position player famine worse than the fish market circa 1838!"

This was blockbuster news because previously, during the same time period in which the Yankees had lost to the midges, passed their ownership torch from George to Boy George, fired one guy named Joe, hired another and entered into negotiations with three big-ticket free agents, the only activity in Mets camp was the removal of a bunion from El Duque's foot.

Oh great! Let's criticize the Mets for not being active in the offseason by using the Yankees as a basis of comparison! The Yankees have done a ton of really stupid things this offseason, but that doesn't matter, because Wallace Matthews is crediting them for being active. Oh, if only the Mets gave $45M to an aging reliever, $52.4M to an aging catcher, and needlessly endured negative publicity by shortchanging then replacing a manager who was perfectly fine. Then they'd be on the right track!

At least they think it was a bunion. The guy's so old, it might have been a vestigial toe.

At this point, the fictional comedy club in Wallace's mind explodes with laughter.

So far, this offseason is shaping up as even worse than last year's, when the Mets at least had an excuse. Having failed to make it out of the 2006 NLCS by, arguably, one called strike, GM Omar Minaya believed, with some justification, that all his team needed was a turn of the wrench or two to make the adjustments that would put the Mets in the World Series.

This year, having witnessed the worst collapse in New York baseball history, Minaya knows it's going to take a lot more than that. The problem is, what the Mets need most can't be had on the free-agent market.

Worst collapse in New York baseball history: see 2004 ALCS

Okay, now for the meat of Matthews' point. What is this thing that the Mets need! It's a riddle. The only hint is: it's not on the free agent market. So that rules out servicable starting pitchers and another good outfielder. But....both of these things are actually things the Mets need! What could Wallace mean here?

Heart transplants are not available.

Oh.....HEART transplants! We're in Eckstein territory! I don't think anyone told Wallace that Eckstein is a free agent!

Character can't be bought even for A-Rod type numbers.

Actually it can. 4 years of character can reportedly be bought for $36M. The Mets are apparently interested in this man, and you're still clueless.

As far as we know, not even BALCO has figured out how to bottle killer instinct.

Killer instinct. Because baseball is a sport in which you need killer instinct. Because you're always trying to use physical aggression to outfight somebody for something in baseball. This is what's wrong with the Mets, people!

Worst of all, Estrada looks to be just another part-time player on a roster that is chock full of same. Aside from David Wright at third, Jose Reyes at short and Carlos Beltran in center, the Mets don't have one everyday player who looks capable of playing a full season.

Whew. Ignorant lunchpail-alert Wallace is gone. We're back to ignorant WRONG Wallace.

Is Carlos Delgado really a part-time player? He's failed to log 500 at-bats once since 1996.

Ditto with Luis Castillo since 1999.

Then there are the corner outfielders: Moises Alou, who is a good half-player, or half of a good player, managing to appear in 87 games last season; Endy Chavez, who made it into 71 games, Lastings Milledge, who showed improvement but was lucky to make it through the year with his head still attached to his shoulders, Marlon Anderson, Ben Johnson and Carlos Gomez. Help.

Okay, you did a great job of exaggerating this problem. These 6 guys compete for 2 spots in the starting lineup.

"Team X is having serious problems. They have 5 guys that can catch, but they're never all healthy at the same time!"

As for first base, wouldn't Carlos Delgado look so much better in an American League uniform? At least you'd see him only four times a game.

Carlos Delgado, 2007: +9 FRAA. Carlos Delgado's fielding is not a reason the Mets failed in '07.

Which brings us to the starting pitching. Right now, it's El Duque, a man of indeterminate age, and Pedro Martinez, a man of indeterminate ability, although being in the walk year of his contract can only help. John Maine is dependable, but as for the lone lefty, he's Oliver Perez one start, Oliver Hardy the next. Cover your eyes when Mike Pelfrey and Phil Humber are given the baseball.

Oliver Hardy. What. The. Fuck.

That is a picture of Oliver Hardy. Wallace Matthews just made a joke that sometimes, Oliver Perez pitches like an actor who was born in the 19th century.

Oh yeah, and "cover your eyes" when Phil Humber, one of the best prospects in baseball, is pitching. He threw 7 innings last year. Call it quits on this one, boys!

Happy Thanksgiving, Mets fans. Enjoy your bird today, because a diet of turkey doesn't go down nearly as well in April.

Citizens of New York, fear Wallace's horrific tales of indigestion to come!


Andrew said...

I find it worth pointing out that while Matthews can be a total moron quite frequently - he is the ONLY member of the New York media who has called out the Yankees for the moves they have made, including this great piece yesterday (http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-spwally1127,0,4972994.column) that is the first time I have seen someone in New York write what we all know about the whole "I want to be a Yankee" scam that A-Fraud pulled.

As a lifelong Mets fan, the things he writes are fairly spot on. Sure, Delgado plays every day, and his RFAA is nice. Watch him play every day, and then tell me his defense doesn't hurt the team - RFAA for first baseman is a joke, because 1B are not charged with errors for the scoops they can't make, and the stretches they can't handle. I could go on... but I'll leave it by agreeing that Wallace's efforts at humor are awful - he's a disgrace.

pnoles said...


You're probably right on the first baseman FRAA thing. I just looked up Mark Teixeira, and his FRAA numbers as a first basemen are anything but Gold Glove worthy. So I'll grant you that one.

I actually read the column Wallace wrote yesterday before writing this. His bashing of the Yankees' signings are largely correct on the Posada/Rivera front, but he was using this same donkish Yankee activism to help criticize the Mets for doing nothing in this column. Can't do both.

And no, the things he writes about the Mets are not spot-on. He suggested as the year winded down that the main problem with the Mets was that they have no killer instinct.

Alternative explanation: something that has to do with baseball.

Jeff said...

The Oliver Hardy thing is a classic bad-sporswriter joke. Take either the first name or the last name of a reference and compare to a third party that has nothing to do with anything.

- Javy Lopez hit about as well as Jennifer Lopez last year.
- Roy Oswalt pitched with the same precision that Lee Harvey Oswalt shot with out of the book respository in Dallas, except the CIA didn't set up the NL hitters!

Yes I made those up in 19 seconds.

It's really tired and painful to read.

Andrew said...

I don't even listen to that killer instinct BS, etc. That's been in sports journalism for decades, and it's never going to change. But the problems he mentioned in regards to the actual players - those are right on the money. It's fun to be a Met fan and watch Omar sign Castillo to a 4 year deal. It truly is.

As for your comments about the 6 guys for the two OF spots - The only one of those guys who is capable of giving an above average performance for a full season is Moises Alou. At his age, the Mets will be lucky to get 70 games out of him this year. And because I respect the knowledge you guys I have, I know that you know this as well.

As for RF and RFAA, etc - these are awful stats for first basemen. To be honest, the only way to really know what kind of defense a first baseman plays is to watch them play on a regular basis, unless they're so bad that they are somehow able to post a sub .975 fielding percentage. Sub .980 even! I also think he was more alluding to the insane decline Delgado appears to be in the midst of. He ranked dead last among all MLB 1B in OBP, and 2nd to last in AVG and OPS. He's a shell of what he was even three years ago.

pnoles said...

Yeah, my point about the 6 outfielders was that he was trying to show that Mets everyday players aren't capable of playing a full season....but you can't list off 6 guys that compete for the same 2 positions to support that argument, because clearly, the majority of the 6 guys aren't everyday players.

As for Delgado, I granted you that point in my comment....read it again. I never made any claims about Delgado's offense in my post.

larry b said...

Jeff- Too soon for a JFK assassination joke! Too soon! (Also, it was Lee Harvey Oswald. But that was a sweet reference, so I'll let it slide.)

Tonus said...

Wallace needs to brush up on his historical references. Anyone jumping turnstiles during the 1977 blackout wasn't getting any free rides... since the subways run on electricity.

Andrew, I agree that the "killer instinct" stuff will be very difficult to get rid of from sports writing, but I would like to see some better analysis from someone who is explaining why a team failed down the stretch. So many sports writers avoid doing any research into performance (and if baseball has anything, it's an insane number of breakdowns of performance over the course of a season) and just fall back on "heart" or "intensity" or "killer instinct" or any of a number of buzzwords that sound great but are useless as an actual analysis of what went wrong.

GMs, managers, and players are slowly starting to catch on to the idea that numbers trump buzzwords. Hopefully that will spread to the people who cover the sports as well.

Jeff said...

Larry - Oh my god I'm an idiot - don't let that slide. Yeah that's what happens when you make up jokes really fast.

jf said...

bill simmons having a "marathon" chat... my god, that could keep you guys busy until, like... the end of time, or something