200 Miles From the Citi

October 3, 2010 12:01 AM

The End


Sunday Paper (Year 2, Volume XL)

The Mets' season (mercifully) ends today.

A season that began with low expectations, saw the expectations soar with a surprisingly fast start, ended the same way it began - with Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel on the verge of losing their jobs.

Today will feature the last Mets game with Minaya as general manager and Manuel as manager.

And then what?

The names being bandied about now are GM names...which I suppose makes sense, because the GM will then help hire the manager.

Those GM names include John Hart and Jerry DiPoto (who turned down a lesser position with Arizona so that he could pursue this type of job), among others with GM experience.

I'm not going to speculate on who should take over as GM - but I hope it's someone with a good mix of baseball sense and common sense.  I feel like the guy he'll be taking over for had a healthy enough dose of one but not enough of the other - and too often it wasn't clear which one he had enough of.

When it comes time to name a manager, I suppose I have a strong preference, but outside of that, I want someone with energy.  I want the polar opposite of Jerry Manuel.  He never had a shot.  Manuel may be remembered as being snake-bitten by injury (losing Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana this year and almost his entire roster a year ago), but a year ago he never inspired his team to win - the year a new ballpark opened should have been a big year for the Mets.  They were flat from day one.  This year he couldn't manage to maintain a successful start.  He's flat.  The team was flat.  (My mom calls him boring.  She hasn't been this uninspired by a Mets manager since Art Howe.  She knows uninspiring...I'll give her that.)

Omar Minaya won't be remembered for turning the Mets into winners (however short-lived it was) by bringing in Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran and making them a popular destination spot.  He'll be remembered for taking a shot at a newspaper writer for criticizing the team and unsavory elements within the team.  He'll be remembered not for developing talent in the Mets farm system when there wasn't thought to be any, but for being the guy in charge of a team that had two of the worst September collapses in back-to-back seasons in history

By many - if not all - accounts, Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel are nice men who have been pleasures to deal with to people in the media these past few years.

I'd be OK if the next manager and GM weren't considered to be as nice.

What I really care about is them turning the Mets into consistent winners.

*Seems like David Wright really committed himself this last week and a half or so to get to thirty homers.  He's been on a tear - he hit another Saturday to get to 29 on the year.  He hasn't hit a double in a while, but he's had a bunch of homers.  I wonder if he created his own little individual goal to play for over these final meaningless games.

*Click here to find out why I'm rooting for the Braves and the Giants today.  Though my reasoning wasn't on the nose, and the order of finish wasn't perfect, I'd be pretty proud of myself for getting seven out of eight playoff teams (I had the Cubs winning the NL Central) in my preseason picks.  If you're curious about my post-season thoughts, I don't think I'll stray from what I picked in the pre-season, though maybe I'd change to the Phillies beating the NL Central champs in the first round instead of losing to them.

*It may sound weird considering there's been a lot of rain this week, but I can't remember a season where there has been as little disruption by rain as this one.  Heading into this final week, I'd say there were five or less postponements because of rain across the majors.

*Total trap game for the Jets today.  Coming off two straight division wins, they could easily look past the Bills - an "automatic" division win - right to Brett Favre and the Vikings next Monday night at New Meadowlands Stadium.  It shapes up as a game where the favored team could come out flat and disappoint.  But I'm sure the Jets are aware of their history against Buffalo...and there's no way they should ever look past the Bills.  I think the Jets will be OK today.

*Watch out for C.J. Spiller.  My prediction is he will become the latest in a long line of Bills running backs who inexplicably destroy the Jets.

*I'm going on three seasons since I no longer have DirecTV.  That means I'm back to the old-fashioned way of watching the Jets from out-of-town...planning my Sundays around whether or not I need to hit a bar to watch the games.  Well, the Bills are Week 4, and I thought this was going to be the week I had to go out - but the Patriots are on Monday night, and it looks like the Jets-Bills is the CBS regional offering here.  With a Monday nighter next week against Minnesota, it'll be at least five weeks before I have to go out.  (The season opener against Baltimore was national, obviously I got Jets-Pats, and then the Dolphins game was a Sunday nighter.)   For the record, I prefer watching the Jets in the privacy of my own home.  It's less embarrassing for everyone involved.

*I love it when pro sports franchises within a city get along and cross paths.  I remember during the 1993-1994 season, when both the Rangers and Knicks made runs at the championship, the two teams overlapped for a day in Washington, DC, and were staying at the same hotel.  There was video of Patrick Ewing and Mark Messier passing each other and stopping to chat in the hotel lobby.  It reminded me of when Muppets and Sesame Street characters appeared in the same special.

I bring this up because the Minnesota Twins are mad at the Timberwolves for ruining a sightline over right field at Target Field with a huge ad.  The Timberwolves say they are just trying to take advantage of all the attention that will be given to that spot because of the playoffs. Seems like sound business to me, as much as I love that view.  Hope it doesn't set a bad precedent for future cross-sports relationships.

*This week is that '30 For 30' episode I teased a week or two ago, where Bill Simmons had tweeted that Kevin Millar's home video of Curt Schilling's ankle was unbelievable, or something like that.  I think it's Tuesday night?  "Four Days In October", I think, about the 2004 ALCS.  I'll be watching.

*I haven't watched the whole thing from beginning to end, so this might be a premature complaint.  But I did see bits and pieces - in like 10-15 minute stretches - of "The Tenth Inning", Ken Burns' follow-up to his PBS documentary.  Seemed really good, though I could do without Mike Barnicle, ever.  He was fired for plagiarism.  (Allegations which he denied, but the facts pretty much implicate him.)  Plagiarism was always built up to be such a crime when I was going through my study of journalism - I feel like whenever he shows his face, he should have a brand, or it should be in the chyron beneath his name, like "Mike Barnicle - Former Columnist and Plagiarist".  Anyway.  Not what I came here to complain about...but clearly something that bothers me.

What I did want to say is that one of the stretches of the show I watched was the post-9/11 baseball world.  And they spent so much time talking about the events of 9/11 and the Yankees-Diamondbacks World Series...but what do you think about when you think about baseball in New York following 9/11?  Mike Piazza's homer in the Mets' comeback against the Braves, the night they wore the NYPD and PAPD and FDNY hats, when baseball returned to New York, right?  I thought that would merit at least a mention.  If it was mentioned, it was way out of order, because it wasn't in the 9/11 part.  I'll issue a retraction when I do watch the full four hours if it appears somewhere else.

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