Monthly Archives: August 2009

Are the Mets like the Orioles of the late ’90s?

empty citi field

My buddy Whitehead pointed out a very interesting column written by Joel Sherman of the NY Post comparing the current state of the New York Mets to the collapse of the Orioles in the late ’90s.

You can read Sherman’s column here.

While I don’t think the situation of the two teams is completely analogous, there is probably more in common between the two than not. What should bother Met fans the most is the terrible shape of the farm system and the seemingly troubled financial state of ownership.

If the Mets can no longer buy themselves into contention, and don’t have the depth to bring prospects up that can fill holes, they have nowhere left to go but down. I spent the summer watching a lot of Mets baseball, so I can state firsthand that many of these prospects the Mets have brought up are more than a year away from being Major-League ready, or are complete junk.

I do feel for Met fans. I wouldn’t wish the Orioles’ last decade on any franchise (although if it happened to the Yankees or Red Sox, I wouldn’t be all that upset [would rather it happen to the Sox first, and then the Yankees]). Having an ownership group that gets way too involved in personnel moves is one of the most frustrating things with which a sports fan has to deal. Without any accountability, owners can freely run their organizations into the ground without repercussion.

Met fans should hope that Bud Selig gets involved, like Sherman mentions in his column. It doesn’t seem like the Wilpon family is going to make the changes on their own.

I don’t think Mets fans will wait a decade for the team to be competitive again. They might burn Citi Field to the ground long before then.

Additional Link of the Day: Joe Posnanski’s column on Northwestern grad and Kansas City Royal relief pitcher Chris “Disco” Hayes.

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Sports in a Social World

Today I bought a Blackberry. That got me thinking (and Fus as well) about the state of a sports fan in today’s media world. I posted a couple of thoughts on my latest SportsFanLive blog post. The link is below:

You can check the article out here.

An Open Letter to Roger Goodell

goodell

Dear Commissioner Goodell,

Congratulations. You are in charge of the most popular professional sports league in the United States, and one of the most popular leagues on the entire planet. You inherited a moneymaking machine, and so far have done nothing to mess that up. But that doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels, because there are problems with the NFL that are bubbling just under the surface.

Some are more serious than others, but addressing these as soon as possible will make your league so much better. The NBA and MLB are catching up to you, so if you want to remain the top dog, here are some pieces of advice on how to make the NFL better:

– Cut the preseason games in half, immediately. I can’t take 4 weeks of training camp/preseason talk anymore. Nobody cares about the preseason. The players certainly don’t. So why continue to shove 4 games down our throats? I’m ready for the season to start right now, but since it hasn’t, I’m subjected to constant NFL talk about nothing. Just make the switch to 18 regular season games and we’ll all be much happier in August.

– Address steroids in the NFL as soon as possible. We all know they are in the locker and training rooms. And most of us are content to turn a blind eye, for now. But it’s only a matter of time before an investigative journalist blows the cover off steroids in football. When that happens, you are going to have a problem that would take 15 Bud Seligs to address. If you institute extremely rigid testing now, that has the ability to detect all of these crazy drugs that players are probably taking, you have the chance to do something that baseball will forever regret not doing: preemptively stopping a huge scandal in your sport.

– This might be wishful thinking, but I would love if you told all 24-hour sporting networks (ahem, ESPN) to chill on the NFL coverage during the week. The league is being stuffed down our collective throats. This might be appealing to some fans, but many I have talked to are getting sick of it. Hour after hour of meaningless talk before the games have even started. Then, during the season, we are forced to suffer through storylines such as “Does T.O. think Tony Romo puts too much ranch dressing on his salad?” or “Should Chad Johnson trademark the phrase ‘Child please’?” (the answer is yes, he should). My point is, give the sport and its fans some room to breathe. Maybe you can’t do anything about this, Roger, but talk with ESPN and let them know that we can’t take constant Monday-Friday NFL talk.

– Stop extending your Sunday Ticket package with DirecTV. I don’t know the numbers, but I can’t imagine you are making more money by giving them exclusivity than by giving the package to a couple of different companies. Put the package on cable, please. Not everyone can get DirecTV. But many of us would, I promise. So stop making us wake up early on a Sunday just so we can go to a bar to watch our out-of-town game. Let us roll out of bed and watch the game on cable. You’ll make a lot of people happy.

– Change the salary cap structure. It’s only a matter of time before the players’ union strengthens, and when it does, we are going to have one nasty labor battle. If there is anything to learn from MLB, the NBA and the NHL, it’s that you better not lose a season via a strike. That’s the best way to dethrone yourself. I don’t think the system should resemble baseball’s by any means, but the fact that a team can cut a player for absolutely no reason, and not have to pay him the remainder of his contract, is pretty ridiculous. There has to be a happy medium we can find between the baseball and the NFL, where small market teams can still compete without having forcing players to suffer under a hard salary cap.

– Too often, a player who has spent his whole career in one city is forced to leave because of cap issues at the very end of his career (think Jerry Rice, Emmit Smith, etc.). TheĀ  NFL needs to institute a rule similar to the NBA’s Larry Bird exception, which allows a team to exceed the cap to resign one of its own players for an amount up to the maximum salary. In fact, a soft cap like the NBA has seems pretty fair to me, though I am admittedly unaware of its shortfalls.

I love the NFL, and football Sundays are some of the best days of the year. But my loyalty to your league, Mr. Goodell, is not unwavering. Please consider some of these changes (I’m sure you have already) before it’s too late.

The clock is ticking.

Your devout fan (for now),

Gotti.

P.S. The comment section below has some of the gripes of the readers of this blog. I invite you to check them out as well (that’s your cue to comment, readers).

Read and Respond: The Michael Vick Saga

Last week I solicited comments from you about the Michael Vick signing.

I picked out some of the best and responded to them on my latest SportsFanLive column.

You can read that here.

Seeking Your Thoughts on Michael Vick

vick

It seems like everyone has an opinion on the Philadelphia Eagles signing Michael Vick. The news has transcended the sports world and is making its way around dinner tables, subway trains and places of business, even among those who wouldn’t have been able to pick Vick out of a lineup before the dogfighting scandal broke.

I have my own opinion on the matter, but before I divulge, I want to hear from the loyal Between the Headset readers. What are your thoughts on the Eagles signing Vick, both from a P.R. standpoint and a football standpoint?

Should every team have passed on Vick, or are teams going to regret leaving him alone?

Leave a comment below, and I will respond to the best ones with my own thoughts.

The Art (or Disaster) of Fight Songs…and SportsFanLive

Today’s post begins a partnership between Between the Headset and a startup sports website, SportsFanLive.

SportsFanLive has asked me to blog for them once or twice a week. Thus, some of my posts will not be hosted on AndrewGothelf.com, but instead on their site. Regardless, whenever I post on SportsFanLive, I will link to the post back on this site.

Today’s post is my list of the best and worst fight songs in college and the pros, complete with video evidence.

You can see the post here.

Sorry For Partying

Been verrrrrrrryyyyy busy lately, hence the lack of updates. Expect the blog to be back in full force in the coming days!