Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Omar Being Isiah and the Mets Being the Knicks

I'm sure everyone is well aware of Omar Minaya's bizarre press conference yesterday where he calls out NY Daily News Mets beat writer Adam Rubin as someone who wanted to be a Met executive during Tony Bernazard's firing announcement. When pressed by Rubin, Omar played the "I'm not saying, I'm just saying" card, which Rubin rightfully accused Minaya of questioning his motives for reporting on Bernazard's tirades with the Mets minor league players and Francisco Rodriguez. The fact is, Rubin was correct in calling out Bernazard's behavior because it was embarrassing, and he was correct in that aspect as well. The underlying theme of this story has become how Minaya has started to turn the Mets into the Isiah-era Knicks.

Now, before I continue, let's state the fact that the Mets have at the very least played competitive baseball, which the Knicks didn't do. However, the NBA doesn't let you just pick up any player from free agency, while baseball does. Thus, the Mets are capable of picking up guys like Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana, giving the impression of a good team. However, this season has shown us the failures of the Minaya-era as an organization and that you can't just keep throwing money to solve a problem, especially if you won't go full bore into throwing money. That was the story of the 1980s Yankees and it led to George Steinbrenner being banned by Commissioner Fay Vincent in order to win a pissing match with Dave Winfield (which he lost).

Back in 2004, the Mets were a mess. The 2000 NL pennant seemed like it was ancient and an the failures of the Art Howe era were taking shape. Then, the infamous Scott Kazmir-Victor Zambrano trade occured and almost immediately, was deemed a failure that would rank with Nolan Ryan, Amos Otis and Tom Seaver. It was then when the Wilpon's hired Omar Minaya to rebuild the Mets. It was immediate change as he went after Carlos Beltran, the most sought after hitter in free agency and Pedro Martinez and signed them. The Mets bounced back to 83-79 in 2005, then continued improvement with Beltran, David Wright and Jose Reyes to a division title in 2006. Little did anyone know that this would be the peak for the Mets under Minaya.

After breezing past the Dodgers in the Division Series, they faced a less-than stellar Cards team in the NLCS. Two games I will remember in that series as Game 2 was a crushing loss when Billy Wagner gave up a homer to So Taguchi and then were shutout in Game 3 by Jeff Suppan. Eventually, this series went seven and despite one of the greatest catches by Endy Chavez, Yadier Molina of all people hit a 9th-inning homer to win it. The following season, the Mets looked like they were going to make up for the playoff loss, but then started the first of an annual tradition of collapses in September. After last season, it was pivotal for Minaya to shake this team up that continued to fall apart. Instead, he left them completely bare in the farm system and now they can't make any trades.

To be fair, the injuries the Mets have had are devastating. Any team who loses three of their best four players and have to depend on Gary Sheffield at age 40 for their power is in trouble. Also, their farm system was depleted from the Johan Santana trade. Unfortunately, they haven't done a good job with the farm before and after the trade and have also got rid of plenty of players that would be huge for this team today. Heath Bell should still be in a Mets uniform, instead of being traded for a bag of balls. Then, he would be the closer and the money used on K-Rod could be used on another hitter. Xavier Nady shouldn't have been traded, he was a quality bat with a gritty edge; the type of player who is plentiful with the Phillies. Also, the Nady led to the enigma that is Ollie. Speaking of him, the Mets should of never resigned Oliver Perez this offseason; they should of paid the extra price for Derek Lowe, a proven commodity.

Omar Minaya got the job mainly because of his work with the Expos before they moved to Washington. Even though the team was on the cusp of contraction, the trade that I always remember was the Bartolo Colon trade which the Expos gave up Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips. Thus, I believe his reputation was inflated to begin with. He did what he set out to do, he made the Mets relevant, even had them a game from the World Series. However, the way the franchise turned, with the September chokes, the way in which they fired Willie Randolph, the Bernazard mess, players complaining about team doctors and now the war of words between Rubin and Minaya.

Back in 2003, the Knicks were in the same scenario when they fired Scott Layden because his years, the Knicks a bland boring team full of undersized forwards and an albatross of a contract for Allan Houston. Then they hired Isiah and he turned them from boring to embarrassment. That's what it seems like the Mets have done. Now it's time to let Omar go or take a chance that more bad can happen with the team. Perhaps the words "truck party" will be uttered again.


  1. This is actually worse then the Knicks because the Isiah/Dolan Knicks didn't even acknowledge the media. Employees were too scared to talk to the media LOL Now thats not good either but at least you would never have to worry about a wrtier being called out in a press conference

  2. Well, you're right that the Knicks wouldn't be in this situation, and for that matter, neither would Glen Sather. Of courrse, the Knicks had their own issues with the sexual harassment suit and the whole Larry Brown fiasco.