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Floyd’s Final Lesson

By Mike Silva ~ February 4th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

In a week dominated by Super Bowl coverage, Cliff Floyd gave us some interesting baseball tidbits. If you haven’t listened yet, you should download his live interview with WFAN’s Mike Francesa.

First, this really is a game of inches. Talking about the infamous Game 7 against St. Louis, Cliff pointed out how he “just missed” Adam Wainwright’s fastball with two on/none out in the ninth inning. The MLB Network was replaying that game last weekend. If you watch the ninth there were two other “near misses” for the Mets: 1) Jose Reyes line drive that hung up for Jim Edmonds, and 2) Carlos Beltran taking a Wainwright fastball to start his at-bat. The franchise hasn’t been the same since that ninth inning.

Second, he brought up the bunt, or lack thereof, by Willie Randolph. No surprise that Floyd was surprised about getting the call in that spot. He admitted not “surprised” that he got the call, but was able to adjust and take his cuts. I still don’t have a problem with Randolph not bunting, but hearing Floyd’s take changes my mind a bit. You have to put players in positions to succeed every night. Randolph didn’t do that with Cliff Floyd in Game 7. You can argue that he failed to do that, consistently, with his bullpen throughout his 3.5 year tenure.

Finally, Uncle Cliff talked about leadership. We argue about this here often, mainly since this is one of the few sites that embrace the concept. There is no doubt that poor managerial decisions, a porous bullpen, and a shallow starting rotation have been the main reasons for Mets failures since 2006. However, if you look at the 06’ Mets roster it wasn’t the best 25 men the last five years. Why were they so successful? The telling statement was how Floyd talked about helping Randolph, and keeping the clubhouse positive. This was something, even he admitted, he didn’t think was important earlier in his career. As time went on his thought process changed, and he believes the Mets may be lacking some of the leadership he provided during his tenure. Floyd didn’t indict anyone, but didn’t you get the sense he might be referring to Carlos Delgado when he talked about keeping people positives? I also thought of Carlos Beltran.

Think back to the Rubin/Minaya fiasco and Ed Coleman’s report of how some players, who were friendly with Bernazard, felt that Adam Rubin was gloating. We don’t know if that is Beltran or Delgado, remember, Delgado didn’t have great things to say about Bernazard while a free agent, but we do know both weren’t fans of Willie Randolph. Add in the conversation where Floyd talked about players “getting fat” after a big contract (see Oliver Perez), and you have yourself a dysfunctional pot of ballplayers.

During his Mets tenure Cliff Floyd was a gamer. He played hurt, provided the type of offense expected from a corner outfield, and was a clubhouse leader. One of my favorite Floyd moments was his foul ball/fair ball game winning homer against Anaheim in 2005. As he announced his retirement on WFAN he gave his former teammates one last lesson. Is there someone in the room that can replace his lost veteran leadership? Alex Cora? Will David Wright step up? Jeff Francoeur? Obviously we don’t know. Leadership won’t help the lack of a second lefty out of the bullpen, innings from the rotation, and the offense being a bat short. It can, however, maximize the talent that currently is on the roster, which appears to be about an 85 win team.

He wasn’t the greatest Met of all time, but this team could sure use someone like Cliff Floyd in that locker room right now.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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3 Responses to Floyd’s Final Lesson

  1. metsfan73

    Good job Mike. We have scribed about Cliff and how his departure from the Mets was the downfall of this team (after ’06). Cliff was honest and was always approachable. Would admit if he made a mistake or didn’t hustle. He reached out to young players like David Wright and tried to teach them how to be a big league ball player. Unfortunately, there aren’t many like him left.

  2. Edgy DC

    First of all, this interview was reported as a rip. I don’t think it really was.

    Second of all, decrying the lack of leadership, while declaring that’s a quality he brought back in the day, is a little suppiciously self-serving, no?

    Third of all, I don’t know what you want regarding a “chance to succeed”? There were two on (the tying runners) and no outs in the ninth, with a righthander on the mound and the pitcher due up. Floyd was the best lefthanded hitter on the bench, wasn’t he? Isn’t that the sort of situation a good hitter should hope for?

    Lastly, I take contention with “There is no doubt that poor managerial decisions, a porous bullpen, and a shallow starting rotation have been the main reasons for Mets failures since 2006.”

    Two of those seasons, they missed the playoffs by one game, on the last day of the season, and certainly any of those reasons (and others) could have made up for that game and more. But the third season, with them over 20 games behind the division and wild card leaders, was largely the victim of a cascade of injuries. Blame the team for those injuries or blame the fates, but let’s not forget it ever happened or pretend it wouldn’t have mattered if Jerry Manuel had used the parades of Emil Browns better and put them in positions to succeed.

    I still like Cliff, my all-time number 30, but by ignoring the injurious year, as you are, he’s kind of talking out his ass here.

  3. Greg Pomes

    Floyd was the best hitter in that situation but don’t forget he was really hurt in that game. A ground ball would have been a sure DP. Willie should have bunted.

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