August 2, 2012

Patriotic Zombies

Filed under: humanity, Sports, Strange — Tags: , , , — skeptisys @ 11:04 am

New Yorkers love to make fun of people in the middle of America for blindly doing what they are told.

Stop at the intersection!  Don’t park here!  Go to war with those brown people!  Don’t be Gay!  Go to church every Sunday!  Cover your heart!  Give up your freedoms!  Do this!  Do that!  Don’t do that!  While North Korea, the old Soviet Russia, and Kansas says, “yes sir!”, New Yorkers respond, “oh yeah?  says who?”  An eerie event at the Mets game told me those days of NY pride may be over.

Eating overpriced pizza and drinking beer with my significant other on a busy hot Saturday at Citi Field before a Mets game.  Thousands of fans were bustling around us in the left field concessions, an area full of food, alcohol, souvenirs, and carnival games such as ‘dunk the poor college kid wearing the opposing team’s jersey’.  The sound of a crowd of loud baseball fans talking loudly all at once made it difficult to hear each other without shouting.  Then suddenly, it stopped dead.  No moving, no talking.  Not just some people, but literally everybody but us 2 turned to an quiet immobile statue.

As we looked up to see thousands of people stopped dead where they stood, listening to the National Anthem quietly…we panicked and ran.  Not one person seemed to notice us, the only moving people in the area, dodging their stiff bodies.  ‘How much time will our baseball caps save our lives if they start to eat our brains?’, we thought as we danced around the statues.

Then, as suddenly as it began, the silence ended.  The National Anthem had ended and the multitude of people started moving again loudly, all at once.

I wanted to compare them to well-trained dogs, but even dogs move in anticipation of the next command.  Trillions of dollars spent in PR have turned this country into obedient sheep, and I am afraid.  And apparently, with only 2 of 40,000 in this sample size, I am in the minority.

We are still freaked by this event.  Are we becoming the new Soviet Union, with blind patriotism and poverty replacing freedom and happiness?

June 17, 2008

Mets fire Willie Randolph in the middle of the night

Filed under: News, Sports — Tags: , , — skeptisys @ 8:34 am

Joe Torre Willie Randolph Mets Yankees managers

I fell asleep during the 8th inning of last night’s Mets/Angels game, with the Mets leading 8-6.  When I awoke at about 4:30 AM EST, the TV was reporting Willie Randolph and 2 coaches were fired.  “Wow”, I thought, “I must have missed a heckeva 9th inning”

Did Willie deserve to get fired?  The best argument for keeping him is that he was a very successful manager.  But the Mets routinely fire their best managers:

Yogi Berra, 3 winning years in 4 and a World Series appearance – fired.

Davey Johnson, most successful manager in Mets history, winning 59% of his games and a championship – chewed-up, spit-out, then canned.

Bobby Valentine, a World Series and then the door.

The Mets seem to be happier as losers, with Casey Stengal or Joe Torre, than they are as winners.  Look at Randolph vs. Torre as Mets managers.  Torre managed 151 more games than Randolph (even though 1 season was a strike shortened 1981), but still won fewer games.

Record as Mets manager: Torre 286-420 .405.

Randolph: 302-253 .544

Expectations?  Year before Randolph took over Mets were 71-91.  Year before Torre, 86-76.

So yes, Randolph deserved to get fired – he was successful.

Another question.  Last year the Mets collapsed at the end of the season, and lost the title.  Did this cost the Mets their Willie?  Bill James, in his latest book Bill James Gold Mine 2008 lists the 5 biggest collapses by James’ reasonable method.  Let’s take a look at how the managers fared after the collapse:

1951 Brooklyn, Chuck Dressen managed 2 more seasons and won NL title each year, before quitting over contract duration.

1964 Phillies, Gene Mauch managed Phils for 4 more years, wining records each season.

1978 Red Sox, Don Zimmer managed 2 more good seasons in Boston.

1914 Giants, John McGraw continued to manage the Giants for 18 more years.

And the 2007 Mets, the only team of the 5 to dump their manager.  That’s fine, I am sure the Mets would have fired John McGraw too, if he won for them.

Willie Randolph 1977 Yankees baseball card

Photos: top Torre/Randolph- from the Gothamist.

bottom: Sporting News

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