dinsdag, november 26, 2002

Mets Deputize Baylor, Coaching Staff Set

Newsday announced that the Mets have added Don Baylor as bench coach and have finally decided on a pitching coach: Vern Ruhle. Not exactly the histrionic sort of hiring one might hope for to assuage the nerves of fans hoping for a new generation of pitching. Ruhle had been the pitching coach for the Philadelphia Phillies the last two years before he was set loose, fired, laid-off, canned, axed, booted, sacked, terminated, etc. following this season when under his guidance and leadership, the Phillie staff managed a collective 4.17 ERA, or 9th out of 16 National League teams. To put it in persepective, as miserable as Met pitching was at times last season, they had a collective ERA of only 3.89. When he was given the ole heave ho, Phillie manager Larry Bowa said "I think Vern did a good job, I just think sometimes the young kids weren't getting his message the right way. I think he's very knowledgeable as a pitching coach, but I think some of the stuff he said was too deep for the young kids." Too deep? What was he teaching them? The Geometry of Binomial Coefficients??

In all fairness, Ruhle, 51, spent two seasons as the Phillies' pitching coach and was given a lot of credit for the team's significant turnaround in 2001, when the staff lowered its earned run average from 4.77 to 4.15, which was sixth best in the league. I suppose back then, he was still resorting to stick figures and Australopithecusian grunting.

As for Baylor, he was fired this past season as manager of the Chicago Cubs. After a stint as a hitting coach with the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals, Baylor became manager of the expansion Colorado Rockies in 1993. He was named manager of the year in 1995 after the Rockies went 77-67 and won the wild card. But he was fired for the first time after a 77-85 season in 1998 and joined the Braves as hitting coach the following season. He joined the Cubs before the 2000 season and has a 627-685 record in 8½ seasons.

Meanwhile, in the Tom Glavine Creepstakes, the Mets have finally eliminated a fundamental roadblock for signing the Biovar of Billerica to a Mets contract, the fact that they had no pitching coach to introduce Glavine to. Mr. Glavine, meet Mr. Ruhle. Meanwhile, agent Gregg Clifton, who represents Glavine AND Toothless Fatso Wells among other players at Octagon, is preparing a counterproposal for the Mets and Phillies to be presented today, formally asking for a fourth year. Either the Mets stand pat and wait for another team to make the first volley, or the Mets come up with an improved three-year offer with a fourth-year option. If the Mets choose to structure an option year for the free agent left-hander, it is likely to be based on innings pitched and appearances - similar to the Braves' proposal. Hey, why don't they take on another guaranteed 15 years and offer him the mayorship of New York while they're at it? I mean, Glavine will only be 37 when spring training starts next season. What's to say he couldn't pitch another 15 years of solid baseball? How do we know Glavine won't find the map to The Fountain of Youth and live to pitch the Mets to championships well into the year 2,200? I say the sky's the limit. If the Mets can hire a pair of roustabouts like Baylor and Ruhle, then there isn't anything they can't do. If the Mets offer Glavine a 15 year guaranteed contract, do you think he's going to turn it down? No way! And then the Mets have Glavine and then the championship champagne can commence to popping and all the world will be good and well for the fugacious Fred Wilpon who will reign o'er the streets parades of Gotham like a wizard with his gut instincts still intact and finally grind the memories of George Steinbrenner beneath the toe of his shoe like cigarette butt.

Coaching staff announcement indeed. What's next? The Pope gets named Mike Piazza's personal trainer?

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