Saturday, August 12, 2006

What A Difference A Day Makes...

Recently, John Young, site creator of the great Mets' blog SheaNation (click the link) & I were discussing trade blunders, and of course, we both agreed that without the trade of Scott Kazmir, Omar Minaya probably would not have been given the opportunity by Wilpon & Company to take over the organization, which makes the trade far more acceptable and allows both of us to sleep better at night. Now think back to 1992, time spent in prison under the watch of one Al Harazin, and such signings as Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman, Eddie Murray & Willie Randolph, all moves that back-fired terribly in the ex-lawyer's face. Fast forward to Steve Phillips, and the signings of Mo Vaughan, Roberto Alomar, etc...we all know how THAT turned out! Now rewind to Joe McIllvane and the trade for one Juan Samuel...okay- here's where the magic comes in. Willie Randolph is the Mets manager, handling the clubhouse better then anyone since Davey Johnson; Juan Samuel has become one of the better minor league coaches, and he works for us; and Phillips drafted Jose Reyes & David Wright, but they might not have received an opportunity to blossom under another GM's watch. What Omar is doing in creating a team that is poised to win now AND in the future, is inspiring to watch. However, what we didn't know is that Omar can even look at piles of supposed junk and turn them into gold! Witness Jose Valentin, Endy Chavez, Roberto Hernandez, Orlando Hernandez, and now even Michael Tucker! Omar's touch turns players who were never-were's or whose career took downward spirals into key players on a championship-bound team! Without the contributions of Valentin & Chavez or the recent great pitching from Hernandez, we certainly would not be 25 games over .500, as we are now! Under previous regimes, if you had told me that we had signed the likes of Jose Lima, Jeremy Gonzalez, Michael Tucker, Jose Offerman, Dave Williams, Jose Valentin and Endy Chavez, and were actually getting amazing production from 2 of them, as well as having a third join the team and bolster our OF ranks, I would have asked you to refrain from speaking with me while you were blind-drunk! Not every move Omar makes is the right one, and we miss Nady, among others, but if you look at the big picture (and with Omar, you HAVE to do this), he has done a masterful job of turning us around in under 2 years!!! Think about this- at the start of the year, we were told by every so-called expert and publication that our minor leagues were barren of prospects...and today, besides the call-ups of Milledge, Ring, Bell & Maine, our minor leaguers with great upside include Pelfrey, Gomez, Humber, Soler, Martinez, Owens, Flores, Bannister, Pena, Concepcion, Guerra, Mulvey, Carp, Diaz, Hernandez, Niese & Lindstrom, to name but a few...and for a team that has such a "high" payroll, we still number bargains such as Milledge, Wright, Reyes, Heilman, Ring, Bell, Maine, Feliciano & Oliver. We will have Wright, Milledge (we hope), Reyes, Beltran, Maine, Heilman, Pelfrey, Humber, Bannister, Soler, et al, together for a long time to come, and Omar has indeed used a blueprint similar to that of the 1996-era Yankees in building a team whose cornerstone is youth, filled out with veterans and role players, combining to create one of the greatest clubhouses we've ever had, where team chemistry is excellent and the entire organization buys into everything that Omar has (and will) create. I just finished re-reading "The Worst Team Money Could Buy" by Bob Klapisch & John Harper, and I can't believe that nightmare was only 14 years ago- it now seems like decades ago! Thank you, Omar, for TRULY giving us meaningful games to play (all pun intended) and a team to be proud of. Mets' fans deserve let's take 2 of 3 from the Nationals!!!

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