The Big Mouth at the
end of the Sports Bar
Big Mouth Opinions Dated
12/18/96 Joe Mac's Stategy and Marlins
12/20/96 Olerud's at First, but I'm batting .500
1/7/97 Dodgers for Sale, Back to Brooklyn?
1/25/97 The Superbowl and the Mets
2/12/97 Pre-Spring Training View of the Mets
3/6/97 Brooklyn Dodgers vs. the Mets
3/22/97 Pulse and Izzy sent to the Minors. Why? I'll tell you why!
4/03/97 CAN THE SEASON BE OVER ON OPENING DAY?
6/28/97 "MR. SYLVESTER, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR CROW?"
I think I've figured out Joe Mac's strategy. It all revolves around the big three pitchers (Izzy, Pulse, and Wilson) and, most interestingly, the Florida Marlins.
Its obvious that Joe's gonna give the kiddie corps one more year before scrapping the youth movement. Why one more year? Answer: The Marlins. Here's why: Marlins attendance has decreased each and every year since inception. Mr. Wayne's making 1997 his big splash year to try to reverse the trend. Why '97, Mr. Wayne? Because there's a labor agreement and because, most significantly, the Marlins (and Rockies) are NOT subject to the luxury tax this year. Wayne ol' boy is using his free pass to stock up and try and make the Fish successful-especially at the gate.
How's this play against the Mets? Several ways. It is now clear the Fish are going all out this year. Joe Mac would have had to bid against a determined Dave Dombroski and would end up paying more than he would have, or look lousy losing the free agent to the Fish.
Then there's the scenario of what happens if the Fish fail (again, especially at the gate). Look for Wayne and Dave to hold a pre-'98 fire sale. Joe Mac figures he'll to swoop in for some bargains. Of course, if the Fish succeed, all it cost Joe is a year's time in which he can better evaluate the 'big three'.
Its only my conjecture, but it does hold water. Anyway, I do figure that the Mets WILL pick up a first baseman before openning day; probably Hal Morris (my predicition).
OK, I'm one for two. But how many major leaguers bat .500? Joe Mac DID trade for a first baseman, but not Morris.
John Olerud's our new first baseman. My opinion? He's better than Butchie, who's a stiff with both bat and glove. But is he the answer to a maiden's prayer? Undoubtedly no. Frankly, I thought Joe could have done better. We lost Robert Person, while a little inconsistant, has been useful as both a spot starter and a middle releiver.
The upside is that Olerud's in his walk year, and that historically means improved output. We can only hope.
By the way, when he was first signed by Toronto, Baseball America did a story on him saying that he was such an outstanding pitching prospect that he could be the first two way player since Babe Ruth. So maybe we won't miss Robert Person after all!
1/7/97Dodgers for Sale, Back to Brooklyn?
OK, So Peter O'Malley is selling the Dodgers. So what's it mean to us Mets fans? As direct descendants of the Brooklyn Dodgers fans, (and some of the older of us WERE Brooklyn fans), the first impression is "Very interesting, but..so what?"
Maybe we Mets fans should care, at least a little. Hot off the presses is the following article I lifted from FASTBALL.COM
I've highlight a quote from Mayor Guiliani towards the end of the article.
Bring the Bums home, say borough boosters
4:37 p.m. Eastern time, Tuesday, Jan. 7
NEW YORK (AP) - It was be-still-my-heart time Tuesday for Brooklynites who have never gotten over the departure of their beloved Bums 40 years ago.
With the hated O'Malley - and that means any member of the owning family - selling the Dodgers, can the team be brought back from Los Angeles to the borough of its birth?
Brooklyn's borough president, Howard Golden, sent letters to Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani asking them to join in setting up a commission to look at how it might be done.
"We've got a lot of money in New York City and a lot of good developers who might be interested," Golden said.
"Bring 'Em Back!" the New York Post shouted on page one. Columnist Jack Newfield said announcement by the Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley that the team is for sale could mean an end to what he called "40 years lost in the desert."
Newfield said he still ranks Peter's father, Walter, who took the team west, as one of the centuries three worst people - the other two being Hitler and Stalin.
Newfield laid out a scenario in which he assigned various politicians, public relations men, money and power brokers and show biz stars to organize, finance and promote the effort.
"It'll happen when Camelot reappears in England," was the cold-eyed appraisal of author Roger Kahn, a Brooklyn native whose book "The Boys of Summer" chronicled the great Brooklyn Dodger team that beat the Yankees in 1955.
He pointed out that a thumbs down by the Yankees or Mets would block any Dodger return, even if the economics were doable.
"Nobody's going to bring them back to Brooklyn," Kahn said. "It's not a skybox place, is it? It's 2 1/2 million people with a major league team in Queens (the Mets) and a major league team in the Bronx (the Yankees).
The city couldn't support three teams 40 years ago, he maintained. "The Giants, with Willie Mays in center field, drew 600,000," he said, and the team would have gone under if it hadn't joined O'Malley's shift to California.
Giuliani, a Yankees fan while growing up in Brooklyn, called Golden's proposed commission a good idea, but said, "It has to start with the following premise: Keep the Mets in New York."
Realistically, the Mets have the right to block any attempt to move within 35 miles of Shea Stadium or the city limits.
The mayor said the Mets and Yankees had been loyal to New York and he would do nothing to jeopardize them. The city and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner remain at odds over the future of the team with the lease on Yankee Stadium due to expire in five years.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, a petition circulator in Newfield's scheme, said although it was a long shot, he would gladly join any campaign to bring the Dodgers home.
"I remember how bitter I was when O'Malley took them away," Hynes said. "I always remembered they made a million bucks a year for the five years prior to leaving."
But a site in downtown Los Angeles for a new ballpark was more than the city could offer Walter O'Malley.
"His father brought them away from Brooklyn because of greed, and I think Peter's doing it for the same reason," Hynes said of the sale.
DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, RUDY!
Where the hell are the Mets going?
Not to be an alarmist, and certainly not to be disloyal to the memory of the Brooklyn Dodgers, but the Mets come first! Before the "Bring 'Em Back" gang get too, carried away, lets keep focus. The Mets are the franchise that righted the unrightable wrong. Why make them pay for Walter O'Malley's original sin?
Hey, isn't Slimebrenner the one who's threatening to move the Yankees out of the city? LET HIM! Why not move out the Yankees and bring back the Dodgers?
Super Bowl Time...I'm so excited! And I guess you know why...That means its only 3 weeks til pitchers and catchers report! A true Super Bowl story: Fourth quarter of a (typical) one sided blowout 'Not-so-Super game', the party breaks out in a rousing chorus of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame!" When that happens again, we know baseball as a sport is regaining it's lost popularity!
2/12/97 Pre-Spring Training View of the Mets
OK, there might not be the excitement of 1996 this spring, but there's still a Mets team out there for 1997.
Offensively, they should score enough runs to be competitive, given even a partial return to form from Carlos Baerga.
Defense should improve. Hiring Keith Hernandez can only help, along with a maturing process from Rey Ordenez. Olerud will be better at first than Butch Huskey.
Pitching! What was our strength is now filling surgeons' offices. Here's 3 views of how I view the Mets pitching situation based up my mood at the time:
Pessimistic view: Izzy. Pulse and Wilson never amount to much. Damaged goods. Wasted potential. '97 starters wil be Harnisch, Jones, Clark, Reynoso and Mlicki. Club finishes below .500 again. Fan's must wait for the next wave of young pitchers, most of whom are about two years away.
Optimistic view: Two or maybe all three of Izzy, Pulse, and Wilson recover with flying colors. Moreover, without the hoopla and hype of '96, they go on to perform similar to last years expectations. Club beats out either the Bravos or the Fish for a wildcard.
Most Likely View: One of the three young pitchers does well. The other two fail. The improved bullpen means 6-8 moree wins. Club finishes around .500, a ten game improvement, but far short of the NL wildcard.
I'll be attending a bunch of spring training games aain this spring. By opening day maybe I'll have a more consistant, concise and complete opinion. (or maybe I'll just be sunburnt, hungover, and another 10 pounds overweight!)
3/6/973/6/97 Brooklyn Dodgers vs. the Mets
This story just came over the wire services. I'm posting it in it's entirety as an update to the Brooklyn Dodger story.
Brooklyn Dodgers play Mets for pennant - maybe?
4:24 p.m. Eastern time, Thursday, March 6
NEW YORK (AP) - It may happen only on a field of dreams, but imagine the Dodgers winning the World Series again - back home in Brooklyn.
"It would be awesome!" said New York Gov. George Pataki, who on Thursday announced "an all-out effort" to bring the beloved Bums back from Los Angeles.
"The Dodgers should come back to Brooklyn, where they belong," he said, just as the Yankees "belong in the Bronx and the Mets belong in Queens."
Standing beside Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden, who wore a Dodgers jacket, Pataki announced the makeup of a special commission to look into the possibility of getting back the team that Walter O'Malley moved to Los Angeles 40 years ago.
The team went up for sale earlier this year.
A fantasy of having three major league teams in New York City again may be exciting, but pulling it off "will be very difficult," the governor conceded. The Mets and the Yankees can block any team from moving into the city, according to baseball's Major League Agreement, and they surely would to protect their marketplace.
Pataki hopes the man who wrote "The Boys of Summer," Roger Kahn, can help bring back at least some of the 1950s baseball romance he wrote about in his best-selling book.
Kahn is one of two people the governor appointed to a six-member commission that will look into how the comeback could be financed. The governor also named former Gov. Hugh Carey to the commission.
The other appointees were named by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Golden. They are Brooklyn developer Bruce Ratner, Rafael Esparra of the City Commission on Human Rights, Brooklyn Union Gas executive Robert Catell and former school chancellor Frank Macchiarola, now president of St. Francis College.
Obstacles include finding the money to buy one of baseball's most successful teams, which has finished first or second 19 times in 27 seasons. The Dodgers are expected to sell for more than $300 million.
The panel also will examine potential sites for a new ballpark. No timetable has been set for a decision.
The effort to bring back the Dodgers coincides with the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut with the team as the first black player of the 20th century.
If New Yorkers pull it off, would the governor be rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers?
"Nah," he said, "I'd still be cheering for the Yankees!"
Well, while Pataki has no taste, at least he's honest. For that matter, If and when the Dodgers return, I'm still a Mets fan...but it would be great, wouldn't it?
Pulse and Izzy sent to the Minors. Why? I'll tell you why!
I never saw Pulse or Izzy throw in a game, so my opinion is based on what I read. First, the Mets management pre-ordained their demotion to AAA. Why? My guess is a combination of things:
1) From a phyiscal point of view, they wanted them to work on mechanics, etc. and if they get beat up in the minors, it wouldn't effect their confidence to pitch in the majors
2) More importantly, from an emotional point of view, Mets management wanted to send a message. What message? I'm not sure. maybe ..."Hey, you guys could be pitching here if you keep disappointing" or something like that.
3) Given the complex state of baseball's minor league assignment process and major league time, could the Mets be jerking them around a little to protect their own interests? Would a month in the minors delay their free agent status a few years down the road? Would it affect the expansion draft this winter? Answer, I don't think so, but I'm no expert.
4) To diffuse (de-fuse?) attention the NY and national media would heap upon them as "keys to the Mets success". The simple fact that Pulse and Izzy are so vitally important to the Mets ability to compete this year probably makes this the single most important reason to send them down for a while.
CAN THE SEASON BE OVER ON OPENING DAY?
God, I hope not, but the April Fools Day opener this year is the type of game that, had it come later in the season, could spell the end to a teams chances by killing their morale. This team needs a lift. But instead, last night they flopped again. This time, John Franco blew a save and eventually allowing some of the authors of the April Fools Day joke back into the game. Same result. another bitter loss. (Bobby Jones goes today, so I beleive we'll get off the schnide. )
To his credit, Joe Mac is showing no tolerance. He has stated that unless they produce, certain members of the revamped bullpen will be gone when Reynoso, Izzy and Pulse get called up.
On the other hand, Joe has stated how hard he worked to get us this pen. My thoughts "AND THIS IS THE BEST YOU COULD DO?" Joe, go out and get us some pitching!
And, uh, Joe, doesn't your contract expire at the end of this season?
"MR. SYLVESTER, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR CROW?"
I've watched these Mets over the last 3 months amd have been, well, Amazed! You can't say enough about the job Bob Apodaca and Bobby Valentine have done. Through injuries and without much help in the way of trades or young talent, these Mets pitchers are getting it done! The defense has been rock solid, the role players step up and contribute like clockwork. What looked like a formula for disaster has turned into a confident thriving team. When you consider that the Mets should be getting stronger as players come off the DL and some others, like Gilkey, who are bound to get hot, the second half should be as strong or stronger than the first.
I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to Joe MacIllvane for the things I said in this column and yelled at him in the stands. Joe, I've never been so happy to be wrong!
OF FISH AND FIRE SALES
Speaking of Joe Mac, the very first opinion in this column, writing in December , 1996 spoke of his strategy in signing free agent pitchers as opposed to that of GM Dave Dombrowski of the Florida Marlins. I stated that Marlins owner Wayne Huisenga would spend big to improve attendance. I figured if attendance didn't improve enough, that he would hold a fire sale and dump talent during the winter of '97-'98.
So far Mr. Wayne has done me one better by putting the Marlins up for sale (By the way, does this make Huisenga a Fishmonger?) How long it takes Huisenga to find a buyer could determine whether Joe Mac has a chance to shop at Dave Dombrowski's Marlin Fire Sale this winter! Do you want Bobby Bo back? (Ha ha, just kidding!)
And Hey, Bartender! Bring another round for all the Mets fans in the place!