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Retire Enter Sandman, Yanks Control Rays Destiny, Is NY Right for David, Looking Back ’96



By Mike Silva ~ September 20th, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

We have waxed poetic about Mariano Rivera for days now. I don’t think there is anything else left to say about his impact on the Yankees and the game of baseball. We all know he is going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer, but what about the entrance music that has become famous for closers?

If you are a closer going forward do you want to use Metallica’s “Enter Sandman?” Forget it if you pitch for the Yankees, but why would you do this if you were the closer for another team? Rivera’s level of perfection is one that will probably never be reached again. Do you want to add more scrutiny to an already difficult job by copying the song?

Maybe it’s time to retire “Enter Sandman” as the official entrance music for closers due to the nature of who made it famous.

***

Do you remember opening day 2006? I do. The Mets defeated Washington 3-2, but that wasn’t the story, according to WFAN’s Mike Francesa, because he was more concerned how the new Mets closer must “cease and desist” the use of Rivera’s “Enter Sandman” entrance song. Rivera collecting his 602nd save reminded me of that silly scenario, which I discuss over at Sports Media Watchdog:

“I don’t care if Billy Wagner did it in Houston and did it in Philly. Nobody knew he did it. The Mets announcers didn’t know it. No one in the stadium knew this was his song. Nobody in America knew this was his song. I know he has a relationship with Metallica, but I don’t care if he grew up and he was in the band. When you come to this town you cannot co-opt something, now that you’re a Met sometimes you’re gonna have to do a little changing, because you’re coming to a town where a guy has turned that song into an event. Point is, at Yankee Stadium this is a huge deal, this is symbolic, it’s known around baseball that this is a big deal. You can’tco-opt it. It’s lame. Find something else.”

I was joking (partially) about retiring Enter Sandman. Honestly, who cares about what song the closer comes in the game to? As long as it pumps him and has a personal meaning that is fine with me. If it’s Enter Sandman, fine. I wouldn’t go that route, but that’s just me.

Of course, when you struggle to fill 25 minutes of talk radio an hour (yes that’s all WFAN hosts really are required to talk due to commercials and updates), then maybe it’s time to retire as well; right Mike?

***

If I am the Yankees I want nothing to do with Tampa in the ALCS. They actually will have a say about this since the four game showdown at the Stadium this week could put an end to the Rays playoff hopes.

Joe Maddon‘s crew is only 1 game back of Boston in the loss column after the Sox split a double-header with Baltimore. While the Rays face the Yankees, Boston finishes off their 4-game series with the Orioles. The Sox are doing their best impression of the ’07 Mets, while the O’s are doing a damn good job playing hard ala Washington and Florida.

If you are Maddon could you expect better than a split? Especially considering the teams play a doubleheader on Wednesday. With Beckett pitching the Sox should be able to win one of the next two against Baltimore. That, coupled with a Rays split at the Stadium, would put the Sox two ahead in the loss column heading into the weekend. That is when Boston comes to the Stadium for a three-game set, while Tampa will be home against Toronto. That is followed up with Boston going to Baltimore for 3 games, while Tampa finishes up with the Yankees at the Trop.

I think the Rays have a great shot this thing. Boston’s pitching has fallen completely apart. They needed 18 runs last night to overcome John Lackey‘s putrid performance. Do you have faith in the Sox pitching right now? I don’t.

In the end, the Yankees could be in the most enviable position. If they beat both Tampa and Boston in 6 of their final 10 matchups its very likely the Sox wind up in the playoffs. That is presuming Boston can take care of business against the Orioles, which after last night appears to be no easy task.

Would you rather face Beckett, Lester, and the Sox bullpen in a short series or David Price, James Shields, and Jeremy Hellickson? Easy answer. Of course, can you see the Sox getting past Texas or Detroit in a short series? Probably not.

The Yankees will be the favorites either way, but the Rays are the kind of team that looks very dangerous this time of the year. If I were the Yanks I would be afraid and stay away. They can ensure this will happen by taking care of business with them head to head.

Imagine this run leads to Tampa making the playoffs, beating the Yankees in a Steinbrenner Series ALCS, and winning the World Series over the Phillies? Now that would make a great movie as a sequel to Moneyball.

***

David Wright has become a topic of conversation on the site again. Yesterday, I spoke about how the Matt Cain beaning had a negative effect on his performance since 2009. His former hitting coach even spoke about it on Twitter.

Later in the day, NYBD contributor Chuck Johnson wrote that it’s time to trade David Wright as part of the Mets rebuilding process. He believes the Mets payroll is too prohibitive to keep Wright around. Ultimately, Sandy Alderson may need to make the difficult decision between Wright and Reyes. An incredulous statement considering the team resides in New York, but reality in a situation where you have an ownership group that we are finding out may never have been financially equipped to own a professional sports team outright.

I believe the Mets could find enough room to keep Reyes and Wright around going forward. I do believe they can be part of the solution, but I know they need to either develop or acquire newer version of Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran. Both Reyes and Wright are great players that probably can’t carry a team. They are not Bonds, Pujols, or an in-prime Alex Rodriguez. Each needs to be part of a multipronged attack so they can relax and just concentrated on being themselves.

The last part, “relaxing and being himself,” is what I think David Wright will never do here. Things have gotten so bad for Wright that its clear the stress of the Mets troubles are starting to wear on him. Give him credit, he isn’t demanding a trade or complaining about his plight. Quite the contrary, Wright is putting additional pressure on himself to turn this around. Something that he is incapable of doing by himself.

The picture painted by Andy Martino of the Daily News tells me that Wright might benefit from a change of scenery:

 ”I guess it’s just in my nature to focus on the negatives, and what I could have done, instead of the positive,” Wright says. “Having a short-term memory and being able to forget about it – it would probably be the ideal situation, but I just don’t know if that’s in my DNA. I wish I could.”

The guy is telling you he is not built for the enormity of this task. Anyone who plays for this team is taking on a smaller version of what the Red Sox had with the curse. There is a dark cloud above the organization that will follow anyone who puts the uniform on until they win another championship. The fans and media will bring up these failures, and Wright will always have to be faced with that. It’s not fair, but its the nature of the New York beast.

I want David Wright to spend his entire career in New York. He is a very good home grown player. He’s given the fans some incredible moments during his tenure, and most important, he is a guy that is likeable and you want to root for. It’s that likeable nature that makes me want to reach out and tell him to get out of here. See if someone will give Sandy Alderson a “Herschel Walker type deal” for his services. Yes, he would only be under that team’s control for a year, but Wright is a guy that is loyal and wouldn’t put an organization through a dog and pony free agent show. I bet he would sign an extension as part of the deal. Just a guess, but a pretty good one based on what I know about him. His talents would flourish on a team like Boston, St. Louis, Philadelphia, or the Yankees. I am not saying those teams would be interested, but just that type of environment would be desirable.

This is not the ideal scenario, but it might be one that is right (no pun intended) for both David and the organization going forward.

***

Maybe it’s something in the water, but after writing about Wally Whitehurst not receiving a ’96 championship ring, I took a trip back to the future and checked out 1996 season reviews of all 30 teams over at Baseball Prospectus.

They are not kind to the future World Champs

 Welcome to Management 101A. Or, in the case of the Yankees, Mismanagement 101A. This team has been floundering like a gaffed halibut since Jimmy Carter had approval ratings in the 70s. Some of that is due to King George, but in all fairness, there’s been more mediocrity in the Yankee front office than in the CBS prime time lineup. We could go back through the storied regime of His Majesty, but instead, let’s just concentrate on the last few months.

What do baseball owners want to do? Make money, and as long as that’s being accomplished, perhaps win a few games. Well, to make money, it’s usually a pretty good idea to get people through the turnstiles, then charge them four bucks for beer that’s as appealing as Danny DeVito’s “personal” lint. So how did the Yankees set about this daunting task? By deriding the neighborhood around the park, of course. “It’s not safe!” “There’s no parking!” “Muggers, murderers and rapists, oh my!” Hell, sign me up for a game or two. Live the adventure. Come to a Yankee Game! Stab wound? You’re in for half price!

Of course, all this is just the ceremonial whining before the team threatens to move, extorts the local taxpayers and builds a new stadium/movie theater/tanning booth. So we’ll let that one ride for now. How about personnel moves? “We’re very proud to add Darryl Strawberry and Ruben Sierra to the Yankee Family of Stars.” Do I really need to comment on this? Sierra’s an expensive lump of flesh, sinew, and baldness, and Strawberry, although once a great hitter, is on the bad side of 32, and hasn’t played enough to keep his once formidable skills. But hey, we’re winning, right?

Hey, is that Joe Torre I see on the horizon? Boy, he’s certainly a big step up over, um, Showalter, isn’t he? I mean, he turned a promising catcher into an ignorable 3B, managed to allow pitchers to maintain their injury histories, and um, well, did lots of neat stuff.

I won’t even get into five bonus years of Don “Albatross” Mattingly. At least not yet. Perhaps I’ll mention him in the player section below. In fact, I think I’d bet on it.

Sometimes, organizations are able to overcome their own incompetence. The Yankees have spent several years concentrating on what their prospects can’t do, rather than what they can. Billy Masse sat in favor of Luis Polonia. Dave Silvestri was sent packing to free up shortstop time for Tony Fernandez. Just like a bunch of other organizations, the Yankees have been exceedingly risk-averse, choosing guaranteed dishwater over potential champagne.

Despite their aversion to youth, however, the Yankees are again bursting with talent. Derek Jeter looks to lead a new breed of shortstops he’s probably as good as all the hype. In addition to being a “tools” player, Ruben Rivera appears to actually have a fair amount of talent, and you can’t swing a dead cat in the Yankees’ farm system without hitting three live arms.

At the time of this writing, the Yankees signed Wade Boggs to a 2-year deal, which is probably a smart, if a bit expensive move. The Yankees have decent prospects at several positions, and looking at some of the other teams, I would expect they’re the envy of most organizations. Of course, knowing Joe Torre, he’ll manage to send Derek Jeter down for some much needed “seasoning” and talk the Jim Frey clone of the month in the GM chair to trade for David Howard, Mike Bordick, and tickets to “Cats.”

Shots at Clueless Joe, talk of Jeter not being ready, and bashing George Steinbrenner. Yes, it sounds like 1996. Personally, I didn’t think the ’96 Yanks were any good either. I guess both BP and Mike Silva were wrong.

The Mets version can best be summarized by this statement:

And who they’ve developed again. First came Bobby Jones, no one’s idea of a power pitcher but a solid pitcher who foreshadowed the flamethrowers to come. Jason Isringhausen, once a 44th-round draft pick, with a curveball that some compare to the ultimate standard, Bert Blyleven. Bill Pulsipher, who if healthy boasts a fearsome arsenal from a left-hander with a Jack McDowell-like mentality to go with it. Paul Wilson, the crown jewel of the system, who’s so polished that he could step in as the ace of a dozen teams right now. And behind these three the Mets have stockpiled Juan Acevedo, Robert Person, Dave Mlicki, and a horde of prospects behind them. With possibly the best young pitching in all of baseball, all that stands between the Mets and the postseason is a legitimate offense.

Ah, the offense. An offense without a legitimate leadoff hitter Lance Johnson isn’t, sorry and with a potential 3-4-5 in the lineup of Brogna, Kent, and Hundley. In short, there isn’t one bat in this lineup that really scares, or even annoys, an opposing manager. Overall, the team looks a lot like the Mets’ editions of the early ’70s, with a terrific pitching staff but a lifeless offense that spelled mediocrity – four straight years of either 82 or 83 wins.

Glad to see BP has been consistent in railing against players that don’t walk with their take about Johnson. Of course, One Dog wound up hitting .333 in 1996 and being part of a pretty damn good three pronged offensive attack that included Todd Hundley‘s then 41-homer record for catchers, and Bernard Gilkey‘s season that produced a .317 batting average with 30 HR and 117 RBI.

It was the pitching that stunk. Think about it how Bobby Jones turned out to be the best of the group. You just never know how things will turn out.

***

I am going to preview of Moneyball tonight. Expect a review in tomorrow’s Morning Digest. I promise it won’t be as self-important as some of the others you have encountered to date.

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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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2 Responses to Retire Enter Sandman, Yanks Control Rays Destiny, Is NY Right for David, Looking Back ’96

  1. Ben Vinutti

    It really doesn’t matter who winds up winning the wild card, as the Yanks will not have the pitching and are too inconsistent at the plate to win the ALCS – maybe not even the ALDS. The Yanks bullpen hasn’t been the greatest either this month – I gotta believe fatigue is setting in for DRob and Ayala and Logan. I would prefer not to have to watch the A Hole fans in Boston during the ALDS, even though they would be watching the Sawx lose to Texas or Detroit – so I am rooting for Tampa to win the wild card. Rooting for the Yanks but a realist – WS not gonna happen this year.
    As far as Wright goes, I gotta believe his trade value has been reduced enough that it would be foolish to trade him now. He needs a rebound next season to get his perceived value back to where he would garner a high end prospect or two.

  2. Brien Jackson

    I would have thought everyone would have been over this silly “who do you want to play in the playoffs?” stuff after last year. It’s the playoffs, every team is good. QED.

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