Thursday, April 20, 2006

Losing something of its magic

The topic for the day was "Reproduction and Development in Vertebrates" in my freshmen Biology classes yesterday. I kept ESPN's Gamecast minimized on my computer so I could sneak a peek from time-to-time between lecture and class management. As the game progressed I realized an old fashioned NL pitching duel was underway at Shea Stadium between two of baseball's best.
There wouldn't be many relivers. (There weren't-only Aaron Heilman for a perfect ninth....and more on that later)
It wouldn't take long. (It didn't: 1:59).
It would be decided by all the best guys on the field. (It was-Tim Hudson, Andruw Jones and Tom Glavine)
It was the way we used to be.
But having said all of this, in losing two out of three to the Braves, this years Mets lost a little bit of its magic before heading for the west coast. A healthy team would find favorable conditions in the large new confines in San Diego. But alas, this is not what awaits them.
Its not often that three everyday players suddenly find themselves hurting and on the bench. These things are unpredictable and can leap upon a mannager. Its why the roster is 25 players. But over the last ten years make-up of rosters have changed in a significant fashion. During the 1980's it was common to carry ten pitchers, even nine. That practice has changed to 11 to 12, leaving significantly fewer players on the bench. Hence situations that persented itself to Willie Randolph this week. Aside from Paul LoDuca, the only available healthy player on the bench was Julio Franco. Thus only one time at bat for a pinch hitter when under more healthy or another roster structure more ways to get this game would have been available.
For example, with a staff of ten pitchers, Randolph would most ceratinly have had another left handed bat on the bench and also the opportunity to hit for Endy Chavez as well late in the game. If Victor Diaz had still been here instead of the luxury of two lefthanders in the bullpen, he would have been in left and Jose Valentine's veteran bat would have been available. If a third catcher had been available, he could have used the exteremly valuable Paul LoDuca at some point.
Teams have changed to desiring the luxury of extra pitching to the hinderance of their bench. Witness yesterday Willie Randolph's Mets.

3 Comments:

At 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having Jose Valentin's bat available is like having my bat available. I don't care if he's right handed/left handed or a switch hitter. If you can't even make contact, what difference does it make? It's time for Omar to swallow his pride and say...."okay, I blew it." And please don't tell me he got a hit last night. Sometimes you just luck out. Release him and bring up Diaz. No discussion!

 
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