Archaeologists Unearth 2500 year old Dead Letter Office in China, Locate Letter to Jer Ree Manu L from Some Dumb Guy Named Lao Tzu.
Could this mysterious prophecy from ancient China be meant for our beleaguered Mets manager Jerry Manuel?
This ancient letter from Lao Tzu (author of the Tao Te Ching) states that the sage….
does not grasp, therefore he does not lose….”
“In pursuing their affairs, people often fail when they are close to success.
If one is as cautious at the end as at the beginning,
there will be no failures.
For this reason,
The sage desires to be without desire
and does not prize goods that are hard to obtain.
he learns not to learn
and reverts to what the masses pass by.”
In spite of all appearances, Jerry Manuel has done well with this team.
Back in 2000, he managed the Chicago White Sox to an American League division pennant, and was 95 and 67 (.586) with the sox that year. He bested that mark with the Mets this year, the last week included, with a 55 and 38 (591) win/loss record, a full five points higher in the winning percentage. In Manuel’s last year managing the White Sox, the team went to 86 and 76 (.531) and landed in second like our 08 Mets, but again, his recent win-loss stats were better.
Perhaps the most dramatic example of Manuel’s influence is Carlos Deglado. Randolph was fired on June 18th. On June 25th, Delgado was still batting .229. In July, Carlos got game, and became for two months just about the best hitter in the National League. It was one of the truly wonderful memories of 2008 to hear that loud chorus of boos turn to equally loud chants of “MVP” in only a month. Those of us who watched those games remember that his fielding at first base was pretty exceptional as well, both gutsy and consistent at the same time. He ended the year with 38 homers, 115 rbis and a .271 batting average. The Daily News wrote on September 11th, a summary of his remarkable ressurection…
“…..a resurgence that has produced 69 RBI in 67 games since June 27. Besides the RBI, Delgado’s 24 homers over that same span are the most in baseball. And, as Delgado has gone, so, too, have Manuel and the Mets, who were 38-39 and in third place on June 26.”
Too bad the party didn’t last. Delgado deserved to play in the post season this year, and perhaps become MVP for real. One more reason to weep for the 2008 Metropolitans. If they really were an opera company, 08 would be their “La Boheme.” Their bullpen coughed up too much blood in the final act.
If you watched the first game of the World Series Thursday, you saw former Mets property, Scott Kazmir as the home team opening pitcher in the 2008 World Series. Just like the Met he almost was, he caved to a Philadelphia Phillies homer right off the bat for two big runs which his team was never able to match. That notwithstanding, he did look great out there after blowing any possibility of a shutout and cruised against the NL’s best home run team for six innings on national TV.
How did we lose this guy? You won’t believe it when I tell you.
We gave him up for Victor Zambrano, probably the worst pitcher in recent Mets history, as explained in my new book The Boys of Shea. The trade was with the Devil Rays and within months Kazmir was starting for that young, talent-hungry team.
Victor Zambrano (see illustration, right)
gave up an extraordinary number of
runs early in 2006,
and in April actually gave up almost
a fifth of all runs scored off the
He was a
“house of horrors”
and gave new
Hotel,” with 15
earned runs allowed in only 14 innings.
Scott Kazmir wasn’t perfect, but someone on the Mets organizations should have known that four consecutive no hitters in school ball was an indication of something about his ability!! When did Victor Z ever do that? Scott went through some bad months in 05, elbow injuries and the like, but now still a young pup, is one of the premiere pitchers in the majors, just when the Mets need young lefthanders like fish need water.
Here are some notes from Scott Kazmir’s website:
In 2004, he was considered the top pitching prospect for the New York Mets. While playing for their Double-A team, the Binghamton Mets, he was infamously traded along with minor league pitcher Joselo Diaz to the Devil Rays on July 30, 2004 for Victor Zambrano and Bartolomé Fortunato. This trade was big news, and continues to be widely criticized by the New York media and fan base given Kazmir’s subsequent success. There is also speculation that the move may have led to the demotion of then-General Manager Jim Duquette within the organization.
As was the case two years before with Jeremy Bonderman of the Detroit Tigers, Kazmir was traded to a losing team with a need to quickly develop young pitching. He started 2004 with the Single-A St. Lucie Mets, and after his trade to the Devil Rays, he received only a few starts at Double-A Montgomery. However, he was essentially expected to anchor a young Rays pitching staff from the time he arrived in Tampa Bay. He had a 2-3 record and an ERA of 5.67 in 8 appearances (7 starts) in 2004, but he was clearly making strides in his development; he struck out 11.07 batters per nine innings.
FORMER MET STAR CLIFF FLOYD COULD BREAK NEW GROUND IN POST SEASON
This World Series by the way has 24 guys under 30, and Kazmir is one of them. Cliff Floyd is also playing for the Rays, and he is slightly over 30 and is 1 for 3 so far (.333) in the World Series. Cliff Floyd is featured in my book The Boys of Shea, but did you know that he hit his second post season home run against the Red Sox last week, going 2 for 10 in the ALCS? He has yet to hit a World Series home run, so let’s cheer him on to do it this week because born in 1972,(36 years old) he might not have too many shots left. Way to go Cliff!
THE BUMMER REPORT
a sad update to the above article. Looks like Cliff will never hit a Series home run, barring a miracle next year.
Here is the MLB website report on the series dated Sunday October 26th, 2008.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said Floyd hurt his right shoulder in Game 2 at Tropicana Field either while trying to slide or on a pickoff play at second base.
“Yesterday he was hurting, to the point where it was difficult to sleep,” Maddon said. “We tried to get through last night with him. He was available, but he’s not today. We’ve got the appropriate paperwork in order, Hinske’s on and Floyd is off.”
Floyd battled injuries during the 2008 season but still managed to hit .268 with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs in 80 games. In the postseason, the veteran slugger hit .222 with a home run and two RBIs in 18 at-bats.
The long-awaited The Boys of Shea is now available for immediate online purchase. To check out this strange phenomenon, click on onto https://createspace.com/3353411 . The price via Amazon is $12 plus reasonable postage, and this glossy brand spanking new paperback will be shipped to your door.Tell your friends that they can go to www.amazon.com , scroll to books, and type in “2006 Mets” in the search field, and my book The Boys of Shea will come up (okay, one entry ranking after the Mets own yearbook) Of course, even better you scroll to books, type in “The Boys of Shea” or any combination of boys and Shea, and the book will come up first, and you can order it online and will appear almost immediately at your doorstep if you’re as willing to pay for speed as the Mets were when they resigned Jose Reyes in the middle of 2006 as described in my book. Otherwise it might take a few days.
You can’t understand the significance of the current Mets September malaise without a deep understanding of the history behind the team, and 2006 was the seminal year in the current team’s development, the year that molded their crazy little psyches.
As the Mets switch to Citifield across the street it is a perfect time to reflect on the greatness that was Shea, specifically the last great season at “America’s Tallest (Major League) Ballpark,” Shea Stadium.
For an autographed copy, send $12 plus $4 postage (check or money order) to Evan Pritchard PO Box 1028 Woodstock NY 12498, and mention who you want it autographed to.
For further information call (212)714-7151 and leave a message.
“The Boys of Shea” Celebrates One of the Most Memorable Seasons Played at Old Stadium
In case you hadn’t heard, the Mets did not make the post season in 08, (deja vu all over again) and Shea Stadium is going the way of the Dodo. It would have been nice to make the last game at Charlie Shea a championship game, but it was not to be. There was too much water, and too many Marlins in the way the last week of the season. The 2008 season ended in a heart-wrenching hankie-honker of a game that was followed by a macabre funeral for the old edifice involving over-the-hill players from former years and former sad seasons, as well as a few World Series games as well.
There is alot to lament about, and there is no Joy in Metville these days, but at least there have not been any taxi cab wrecks involving expensive players for over two years. So instead of dwelling on the last two years of pennantless baseball, readers can buy my new book and read my joyous and rhapsodic account of one of the happiest seasons (until that last pitch of course!) in baseball history, 2006, a year that must be considered “the last great golden age” of Shea Stadium. Alot of records were broken and alot of exciting games marked that season, but perhaps the most inspiring thing was how excited and ebullient the players themselves were. We had never seen such “handshakes” (dances, boogaloos, cha chas, etc) in the major leagues before, or so many smiles, so many impossible comebacks. The atmosphere was giddy, and this book will insure that those smiles–and the stadium that gave those young faces a national stage– will never be forgotten.
Like the Brooklyn Dodgers, whom some consider their rightful predecessors, (Robert Moses wanted the Dodgers to move to Queens) the 2006 Mets were America’s most beloved bums. The title of the book pays homage to Roger Kahn’s great book ‘The Boys of Summer” about those same Dodgers of 50 some years earlier, and backs it up by digging up some remarkably similar statistics between the two teams. In hindsight, it is interesting that Ebbets Field was destroyed (albeit 3 years) after a similarly inconclusive season by the Dodgers. In their final season in New York, 1957, the Dodgers went 84 and 70 for a .545 average; the 2008 Mets went 89-73 for a .549 winning average. The Dodgers finished third that last year, the Mets finished second in thier last year. Part of Ebbets field is now a parking lot, as most of Shea Stadium will soon be.
Ebbets Field will be remembered as the “temple of summer” thanks in part to Kahn’s book, but Shea Stadium may also some day be added to that heavenly roster of stadiums that exist no more but which increase in glory and mythological stature as time goes by. If so, it may be in some small part because of this new book The Boys of Shea.
To help fight against the erasure of this great stadium from the memory of baseball, and to become part of the literary immortalization of the boys of Shea, you owe it to yourself to read this poetic and evocative book. See previous entries or go to amazon.com and purchase your copy today. The past will never be the same.