Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Stuff

I'm on my way up to Rockland County to celebrate the last day of summer - hopefully you all are doing something to enjoy the long weekend. Just a couple of quick hits from articles I read this morning, with comment:

Dugout Central posted a speculative look at which numbers MLB teams are going to retire next. I was unimpressed with the Mets' list. From the blog:
  • Dwight Gooden (16)

Both “Doc” and Darryl Strawberry are very tough calls. Both were gifted players who would have been better except for their self-destructive behavior. If either gets honored, I’d go with Gooden first.

I'm still beating the "retire Mike Piazza's number" drum, but I am on the fence about Gooden. He spent over a decade with the Mets, but injuries and drug use tarnished his career. No pitcher was more electric in 1984 and 1985, but something changed in 1986. I've read that then-pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre changed Gooden's approach to focus more on contact and less on strikeouts. His K/9 rate never dropped as significantly as people tend to believe, but Gooden's aura of dominance was never the same. There was an ERA spike in the 1990 season that never came back to 1980's levels and he nearly washed out after the 1994 season, when his ongoing drug use caused baseball to ban Gooden for the 1995 season.

All that said, I have to admit that every time a Met is given #16, my first thought is, "that's Dr. K's number." If he cleans himself up and increases his profile over the next few years, I could see the justification for retiring the number.

Meanwhile, Cody Ross refuses to shut up and act like a man, still whining about getting plunked by Mike Pelfrey on Saturday. Ross made a fool of himself by throwing a temper tantrum between home and first and causing both benches to empty - sound and fury signifying nothing. Pelfrey was mostly amused by the incident and said as much after the game, which is only making little Cody angrier. From the article:

Pelfrey said he did Ross a favor by hitting him with a 2-2 pitch. He also accused him of fake charging the mound Aug. 10, when he hit Ross between the shoulder blades with a fastball after giving up a two-run double in the fifth for a 6-1 deficit.

"I didn't fake charge," Ross said. "He hit me, on purpose, and I jumped up and ran to first. I didn't take any steps toward the mound. I jumped up and ran to first. I never looked at him.

"Apparently he can't control his sinker. He has no idea where it's going. If he wants to pop off, I'll let him pop off. I figure you would do that if you were 3-0 against a team and not 0-3, but it is what it is."

Cody Ross = tough guy! Look, batters sometimes get hit by pitches in baseball. Pelfrey has hit Ross twice this season and both times the game situation made it clear that it was unintentional. He acted like a fool on Saturday night and still hasn't shown enough grace and common sense to shut up and let the whole silly episode blow over. I know Ross used to pal around with rodeo clowns, but the time for being a clown is over. You're a baseball player now, Cody - try to act like one.

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