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Proper Met Homage to Pat Burrell

December 16, 2008
No more Burrell nightmares for me, thanks.

No more Burrell nightmares for me, thanks.

I find the New York Times to be a funny paper when it comes to metropolitan news and sports reporting. It’s like they do it because they know that by tradition, they’re forced to have these sections, like: “Yes, we realize some of our button-down, work-a-day-johnny readers care about such drivel like ‘what’s to be done with the MTA’ and this new-fangled sport called Base Ball, which seems to be an upstart mix of the gentlemen’s athletic endeavors of rounders and kick the can.”

The Times has good journalists in the sports section; George Vescey, William Rhoden, and Richard Sandomir are all very good writers. The problem is that the Grey Old Lady’s sports writers are not, uh, kept up to date that much. I’ve already cyber-mocked Murray Chass’s similarity to Ted Stevens; but generally, the Times’s baseball writers are either waxing nostalgic about pitchers throwing 500 innings a year or using batting average to determine a player’s overall worth. (Not that the Daily News or the New York Post are much different on this steadfast refusal to reevaluating what “worth” is in MLB.)

I actually like Ben Shpigel’s reporting in the Times; much like the older journalists, he has a good feel for putting together coherent copy. But something like this from this past Friday makes me want to eat my own hand:

The gist of it is “The Phils signed the amazing unbelievable Raul Ibanez, and he will make life living hell for the Mets’ pitching staff unless the amazing unbelievable Oliver Perez is re-signed.”

Huh. Okay. Shpigel lauds Ibanez’s RBI total over the last three years and his lefty bat as the main reasons this 36-year-old outfielder deserves $31.5 million over three years instead of Pat Burrell.

As a Met fan, here is a partial list of things I would rather see at the plate against us instead of Pat Burrell with the game on the line:

Any other MLB player, except Chipper Jones

Zombie Ted Williams

Megatron

The embodiments of Famine and Pestilence

A man made out of maple, parallel-grained wood

Yeah, Pat the Bat had a terrible 2008 against the Mets. He had an OPS under .600, struck out almost a third of his at-bats against us, and even with a BABIP of .275, hit just .197. (The man still drew 11 walks- one less than the number of hits he had.) For the first time in Burrell’s career – CAREER – he hit more homers against a team other the Mets. Let me reiterate this in case 2008 sticks out too broadly for Burrell not being a Met-destroyer.

Patrick Brian Burrell has played 1306 games. 151 of those games have come against the Mets; 151 have also come against the Marlins. The aforementioned Messr. Burrell has hit 251 career home runs. Twenty-six of those have come against the Marlins. FORTY-TWO of them have come against the Mets.

And these homers are not all solo shots in the eighth inning of a blowout. Some of these are soul-crushing blows, destroying the Met fans’ hopes, desires, and sunshiney dreams. It’s like a black cloud made up of equal parts of ravens and bees striding to the plate when he comes up.

To wit: June 7th, 2007. The Mets, first in the division, lead the Phils by a run going into the ninth inning. Billy Wagner, who at that point in the year has converted 13 saves in a row with a 1.44 ERA, is on to close it out. Burrell hits a solo shot to send it to extras, and the Phillies win in 10.

August 27th to August 30th, 2007. Despite the fact that Collapse V1.0 didn’t _really_ start until September, this was the loud pounding on the Mets’ palace door. A four-game series against the Phillies. Burrell hits four homers and drives in seven runs, leading to a full sweep of the Shea folk.

This respected Mariner blogger  and this respected Philly blogger both feel the same way about Ibanez: Despite his better clubhouse presence and his slightly higher average, he’s as bad a fielder as Burrell, is older, is not appreciably less expensive, will cost the Phillies a draft pick, and – most importantly – won’t gain them any wins. Even if we need a southpaw something fierce right now, I’d rather face Ibanez than Burrell with the game on the line.

Which leads me to this second point about Oliver Perez. Here’s a very good article about why you shouldn’t let Scott Boras’s typical gilded-bordered client book about Ollie get to you. Perez is pretty good, but if Boras wants money comparable to Burnett, pppbbbbbbhhhhh. Ibanez is not a player we should start strategizing against. The fact that Burrell is (hopefully) moving out of the NL East is fine with me, and that’s maybe the biggest development of these last couple of days for the Mets.

Postscript:

Look, I’m a Times man. Always have been. However, I feel that by now I could kinda ghostwrite most of its op-ed columnists. Here’s how I’d do it if I were…

Paul Krugman: “As my readers will recall, my September 2003 column accurately showed that whatever the hell is happening right this minute would eventually happen. I am God, all bow down to me.”

Thomas Friedman: “While I was in Addis Ababa last week, my two friends hosting me there told me something about the country, and that clearly speaks for the entire country; I am significantly in touch with this flat world.”

Nicholas Kristof: “Fala Tulawi is a 15 year old girl who saw unspeakable horrors in Countryiana, including but not limited to: the loss of her house, the butchering and stewing of her parents, the rape of her turtle, etc.”

Maureen Dowd: “Here’s a funny prescient nickname for a higher-up who has comic foibles.”

David Brooks: “Bemoan the fall of the Republican brand, and wail in the streets for the division of conservatism, and blibberty blabbity bloop.”

(I won’t include Bill Kristol here, because it’ll be a cold day in hell before I recognize him as a columnist.)

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2 Comments
  1. Danny permalink

    Saw this via metsblog.com.

    your ghost-writing 1-line summaries are awesome. made me laugh.

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