A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Beltran Dealt; Devil Ray Dozen
|Ken Griffey Jr.|
NEW JERSEY— It’s time for another baseball chat, only this time, it’s a mid-season roundtable to discuss the teams that are in mid-season form, whether it be good or bad.
We’ll start with the good.
In Houston , the Astros are 38-34, but it seems that they have underacheived in the National League Central division. So, general manager Gerry Hunsicker decided to step to the front, and bring in the highly touted center fielder from the Kansas City Royals, Carlos Beltran. As part of a 3-team trade, the Astros get Beltran, while closer Octavio Dotel gets shipped to Oakland . I’m still trying to figure out that one. Does the Houston brass have that much confidence in whomever they want to close games, or did Dotel give up one too many home runs in the sandbox known as Minute Maid Park ? After all, the ‘Stros did send Richard Hidalgo to the New York Mets for David Weathers, who greeted the Houston fans by giving up a grand slam on Wednesday night to Pittsburgh’s Jason Kendall in a 7-2 loss. If there was ever to be a turning point for Houston , the Beltran deal is it.
As for the Yankees, I think that there are 29 other teams in baseball who would love to have their schedule. That would basically consist of too many games against the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Devil Rays. Now, they just have to hope their pitching can stay in one piece. Kevin Brown is on the disabled list, Jon Leiber is pitching like he’s still on the DL, and Jose Contreras may be emotionally disabled, if he can’t straighten out his family situation. Luckily for them, they will be spending the weekend at home against the cross-town rival Mets. Ever since interleague play began, the Mets are the one team that the Yanks are always a step ahead of.
Jumping back to the D-Rays, they went on a great run of 12 straight wins, before losing a tough extra inning affair to Toronto on Wednesday.
Well, you have to make Lou Pinella an early candidate for American League Manager of the Year if this keeps up. Once Fred McGriff reach 500 home runs, exactly what will be the drawing card over at Tropicana Field? As if there is one now.
Speaking of 500 home runs, Ken Griffey Jr. accomplished the feat this past Sunday in St. Louis . At age 34, he should be able to reach to where Barry Bonds is right now, which is in the mid-600′s for his career home run total, but who knows how far he could have gone if those injuries hadn’t got in the way. I guess we’ll never know.
As for Barry Bonds, this whole steriod scandal just doesn’t seem to go away. Now, you have more people coming out, saying that he was taking “undetectable” steroids. Unless we catch the guy red-handed, it’s time for us to get on with the rest of our lives, and play the rest of the season. If you think there’s a media blitz now, just wait until Bonds approaches 700 homers. That’s when the fun really begins.
Finally, I’ll finish off with my team, the Mets. You have the classic symptoms of a .500 team here. Aside from that, I only want to know one thing. Who was the individual who gets paid by this franchise to do the international scouting? Whomever this individual is – and I don’t care if it is one of the sons of the owner – should be fired on the spot.
This team had no business signing Kaz Matsui out of Japan to an expensive contract. He leads all shortstops with 15 errors, and a bunch of bonehead plays on the bases, and at the plate.
It just confirms my belief that despite the success of Ichiro, Hideki Matsui, and Hideo Nomo, Japanese baseball is inferior to the American product. If these guys were such mega-stars, then their numbers would reflect that here. They don’t. Of course, you have to factor in that these are the New York Mets we are talking about. They barely have rhyme or reason for a majority of their moves, and as a fan, it’s quite frustrating to watch at times. I could vent on and on about these guys, but I’ll put it off until my next issue. Until that time comes to pass, peace…