The one Mets dilemma Steve Cohen may not be able to fix
Professor Wagstaff, the new president of Huxley College, played by Groucho Marx, explained to medical students the sudden rush of blood to the head:
“We then come to the bloodstream. The blood rushes from the head, down to the feet … gets a look at those feet, and rushes back to the head again. This is known as auction pinochle.”
Heady stuff, the Mets in new hands, those belonging to hedge-funder Steve Cohen. Change and hope fill the hearts and heads of Mets fans.
One thing, however, is still unclear: How is Cohen’s presence going to fundamentally change the desperate, diminished way the Mets, not to mention 29 other teams, now choose to play baseball? How is Cohen’s money going to rescue or recuse the Mets from joining hands as MLB and its teams leap off the ledge?
At a time when MLB is in self-directed decay, how does Cohen’s purchase of the Mets signal an improved or more logic-driven product? Or has he bought high — $2.4 billion — into a self-destructive business?
Steve CohenReutersSimply put, how will Cohen’s ownership provide the stimulus or direction to avoid the tsunami that has made baseball a strikeout or home run, .200 batting average, empty-the-bullpens, all-night expensive enterprise?
How will Cohen’s administration remove the now time-tested insanity of managers trying to script games via inning-specific relievers, no matter how effective the previous pitcher and how long the game is stretched for no sensible reason?
Will the Mets become more inclined to play fundamentally sound, winning baseball rather than swing for the solar system on every pitch? Will the shift be defeated through a few bunts or just putting the ball in play the other way for gift singles and doubles?
Will the bunt even be taught? Recall Dominic Smith ascended to the Mets having never ever bunted. Will classes on how to actually put the ball in play be mandatory?
The Mets have changed owners but can the owner change the Mets?
Will the Mets now purchase more expensive batters to strike out a lot, and more expensive starters to throw five, maybe six innings?
Baseball doesn’t merely need a makeover, it needs radical change, a throwback to when it was played smartly — to win — and was played at least as much to entertain TV audiences as to sustain TV revenue. How is Cohen’s ownership of the Mets — any team — going to perform such a better-very-late-than-never reversal?
Perhaps, when the blood has ceased rushing to the head, we’ll be provided some answers.
CBS makes it hard to hear expensive voice
In view of the $17.5 million per season for 10 seasons CBS is paying Tony Romo, wouldn’t it behoove CBS to pay more attention to Romo’s delivery, just so, well you know, he can be heard?
Romo has a raspy voice, one that grows raspier with in-game use. The strain to hear what he’s saying escalates as he becomes difficult to hear beyond a muffle. Can’t CBS simply adjust the volume of his game microphone to meet his pipes?
At $17.5 million per, cut him a break! And if he’s worth hearing, cut us a break!
We see that mindless “QB Passer Rating” stats have returned to TV, as if passes are the same as free throws.
No. 19 of all-time? Chad Pennington. No 26 is Carson Palmer, No. 27 is Daunte Culpepper. Troy Aikman is 62nd, Bart Starr is No. 70 and Dan Fouts is 77th. Ken Stabler, who quarterbacked 13 postseason games, is No. 113.
Joe Namath, who smartly threw the ball away to protect his knees — all incomplete passes, including drops, and throw-aways to avoid sacks, are factored as failures — is ranked No. 174, 100 places behind Jeff George. And Matt Hasselbeck, at 55th, was far better than John Elway, a mediocre QB at No. 78?
Those who favor the high-percentage short pass-and-run game are granted statistical supremacy, thus Case Keenum, a last-resort QB for six teams, is ranked 40th while Terry Bradshaw is 148th.
But keep those stats coming!
Among the upsides to COVID-diminished live audiences:
1) In golf, no fools, drunken or sober, hollering, “You da man!” or, “Get in the hole!”
2) No standard-silly shots of Giants or Jets fans, drunken or sober, banging the padded side of the lower deck in PSL Stadium.
Crazy horse victory is amazing
One need not be a horse-racing fan to be stunned by this: Last week at the Listowel track in Ireland, a 6-year-old gelding, Costalotmore, won by an officially declared 39 lengths! Nearly as stunning is that Costalotmore went off at 20-1.
Who wasn’t a fan of “This Week In Baseball”? Last week, one of its top youngblood producers of the 1980s, Bob Bodziner, died at 62.
Now hear this: Sunday’s local team games have Kevin Burkhardt and, uh-oh, Daryl “Moose”/“The Speech Maker” Johnston calling Fox’s 49ers-Giants. CBS has Hollerin’ Kevin Harlan with new partner Trent “The Underappreciated ”Green working Jets-Colts to follow.
Do Michael Kay, Paul O’Neill and David Cone not yet realize that every game, often all game, they laugh out loud at what YES’s audience recognizes as barely worth a grin?
Larry Wilson, ubiquitous No. 8 formerly of the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals and ounce-for-ounce the toughest defensive back I can recall (he once intercepted a pass with a broken hand and nearly returned it for a TD), died last week at 82. The Hall of Famer was listed as 6-feet, 190 pounds, but that defied the eyes. He was smaller, and almost always, by far, the smallest man on the field.
New York State AG Letitia James talked tough back in April when she threatened going after cable and satellite systems for charging for undelivered and unplayed sports telecasts. Yeah! But after four months and tens of millions dollars of subscriber fees pocketed in exchange for nothing, James’s threats, which I mistook as genuine, were hollow.
Bill Belichick in ads for Subway sandwiches? I figured he’d endorse something closer to his persona, like a stool softener.
As soon as the Celtics served early notice that they would try — but fail — to beat the Heat with 3-point heaves in the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, the clanging made me remember it was recycling night, thus I was gone to save the planet. The Celts took 40 3s, nearly half their field goal attempts, and made 14.
Now NBC is relegating 175 English Premier League matches to its new Peacock streaming pay network. Sports as bait-and-switch chum continues.
Intrepid Post baseball beat man George King is retiring after 25 years of raking valuable diamond muck. I had no idea that he was British royalty — or was named after his grandfather then father — until he retuned a call. The caller ID appeared as “King George III.” No fooling.