Two summers ago, I wrote a blog Baseball: American National Pastime Or Dominican?
about the New York Mets as seen through the eyes of fawning New York Times
reporter Jonathan Mahler in his piece â€?Building the B?©isbol Brand
â€? Summarized, Mahler wrote that the Metsâ€™ â€?Latin-inflected style of playâ€?
under the direction of its Dominican-born general manager Omar Minaya would be the wave of baseballâ€™s future. Mahlerâ€™s suggestion was that good players could only be found in the Dominican Republic—no mention of the thousands of talented players in NCAA baseball programs or on American sandlots and high school fields.
I took exception to virtually every word in Mahlerâ€™s article. And as baseball fans across America now know in light of the Metsâ€™ complete fold (you can read the details in your local sport page—if you donâ€™t know them already).
Forget about â€?Latin-inflected style of play.â€?
The phrases most often found in the four New York dailies to describe the Mets this morning are â€?historical collapseâ€?
and â€?complete chokeâ€?
In short, I was right and Mahler was wrong. Good baseball, the Times
take to the contrary, is not unique to Dominicans, Cubans or Japanese.
High on the list of culprits for the Mets late season bust is Mahlerâ€™s favorite baseball front office executive, Minaya. The Daily News
wrote: â€?The luster is certainly off Minaya.â€?
And in the same story fingers were pointed at Jose Reyes, Carlos Gomez and Endy Chavez for â€?inattentive play.â€? Gomez and Reyes are Dominican; Chavez is from Venezuela. [Seven Reasons Why the Mets Are Going Home
, By Adam Rubin, New York Daily News
, October 1, 2007]
Reyes was a complete flop at the end going 0-5
in the crucial last game and failing to run out simple ground balls.
A more useful account of what it will takes for winning baseball came from William C. Rhoden, a veteran Times sport columnist who, unlike Mahler, knows understands the sport.
Philadelphia Philliesâ€™ general manager Pat Gillick told Rhoden that he once thought that talent was everything in a baseball player. Now, however, Gillick says he looks for â€?mental toughness, character, passion and the desire to win.â€?
[For Mets, A Question of Talent or Character,
William C. Rhoden, New York Times
, October 1, 2007]
Minaya hasnâ€™t learned that lesson. Gillickâ€™s teams—this yearâ€™s Phillies and before that the Toronto Blue Jays (five time division and two time World Series champions) have been winners while Minayaâ€™s have consistently come up short.