The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

March Madness

I’m going to level with you: baseball season hasn’t started yet. Sorry to come at you right out of the blue like that, but that’s the type of hard-hitting journalism we’re known for here at, world-famous armpit of the internet.

I’m going to assume that’s the reason, you know, for the absolute drivel pouring out of sportswriters right now. Seems like it was just the other day I was lambasting a pair of jackoffs for their looney-tunes conclusion that the only reason any team would release an expensive old replacement-level player with a notoriously sour attitude is racism (fun fact: after the Phillies picked Castillo off the heap, he blew off his first scheduled start). And today? Today we have fan favourite Jeff Passan, who says the Mets are doomed because — ah, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Don’t want to spoil the comedy reveal before the comedy reveal!

Mets’ problems go beyond Castillo, Perez

That’s true. Their rotation is still chock full of J. Niese and M. Pelfrey and things of that ilk. Which is what you’re going to talk about, I assume. Right, Jeff?

The New York Mets set their chum slick this week. Deep in their pocket, they always held Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, and the notion that whacking either – or, as they chose, both – would cause embarrassed devotees to pop their heads out of the water and feast on long-decayed meat. And they did. This was no Irish wake.

Hoo boy, I’m in trouble already. This ain’t Finnegans Wake either, Jeff, so maybe now’d be a good time to start writing coherently.

Yet the joy in Perez and Castillo finally shedding Mets uniforms gave way to a truer reality, and one far harsher than the bad contracts, lackadaisical play and general apathy surrounding the franchise: The Wilpon family and Saul Katz still own the team.

Ohhhhhh burn! Megaburn. You’re right: they do. And they’ll continue to make dumb decisions and generally run their expensive team into the ground. That’s what you’re saying, right, Jeff? Right?

They just happen to be accused of profiting off the biggest financial fraud in the history of the modern world, which – considering all the con men, swindlers and crooks who have come to pass – is quite the achievement.

Wait… what? You’re not talking about baseball at all, are you, Jeff.

Oh lordy. Jeff’s on his soapbox again. Repent ye baseball mans lest ye be found wanting!

As much as the Wilpons try to distance the Mets from Bernie Madoff, their worlds bleed into one another more by the day.

And there it is, for all to see: the big problem with the Mets is that they didn’t get burned by Bernie Madoff. I swear to god sportswriters live in some alternate damn dimension. A dimension in which one can, with a straight face, describe Madoff’s swindle as "the biggest financial fraud in the history of the modern world" and somehow still think you’re writing a goddamn baseball article.

Bernie Madoff, unfunded liabilities: $65 billion
Social Security, unfunded liabilities: $17.9 trillion

On the press-release portion of the Mets’ website, sandwiched in between statements concerning the releases of Perez and Castillo, are two harshly worded attacks against their nemesis, Irving Picard, who is in charge of reclaiming money for victims of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and is pursuing $1 billion from Katz and Fred Wilpon.

Some fucking vulture tries to extort a billion dollars out of me, he’ll be lucky if harsh words are all he gets.

The most recent is particularly captivating: a 12-bullet-point anthem of innocence in which they call Picard a liar without acknowledging him by name. He is, in their parlance, the Trustee, nebulous- and nefarious-sounding.

Hey Jeff, have you ever read like a legal document? Even the EULA you had to accept before you could use your MacBook Pro? That’s how they read. For complicated legal reasons that, much like your article, have nothing whatsoever to do with goddamn baseball.

Wilpon, Katz and their spinmeisters have it wrong: Picard, to the common man, is the hero, working on behalf of those fleeced, and his doggedness in chasing Mets ownership brands them forever.

No, Jeff, you have it wrong: the common man doesn’t give two shits about this. Picard is somebody with a comedy name who gave us another chuckle at the Mets’ expense and that’s about it, really. The "common" man in the real world — as opposed to the world that exists only inside your head and Das Kapital — doesn’t cheer for forced redistribution of wealth unless it’s being redistributed to him. Do you see?

They may well be innocent of what Picard alleges – that they knew, or should have known, about the Madoff scheme because of a longstanding personal relationship with him, and that they ignored warnings that something was amiss with the return on investment. That no longer matters.

You say this weird shit all the time, Jeff — so often that I’m beginning to think you really believe it, whereas before I was just assuming you weren’t reading it over to see what you’d just said.

Last year: "his case lends credence to a belief among some black baseball players that should frighten MLB: They’re treated differently. True or not, it doesn’t matter."

This year: "They may well be innocent of what Picard alleges… That no longer matters."

No, Jeff, no: whether or not they actually did the thing they’re accused of sure fucking does matter, you insane crazy person.

The fashion in which Wilpon and Katz continue to defend themselves – the public proclamations, the terse language, the sheer vehemence of it all – is terribly off-putting.

Well, I say! How positively uncouth. Really, chaps, perhaps ‘twould be more proper to defend yourselves a spot less vehemently, rather? Pip pip!

To see business owners so misjudge their audience is solar-eclipse-black humor.

Let’s ignore the nonsense-words at the end of that sentence and really get down, as they say, to the heart of the matter: business owners, contrary to your odd idea, do not have an "audience." Or, well, they do, but it’s pretty much just you and me, man. And I think it’s funny and you’ll take any chance you get to act like a giant hipster doofus and talk about shit like "the common man." Seriously, just say "proles" next time — you won’t seem any more faggy or obnoxious.

The actual Mets fans? They’ll come back as soon as the team starts winning games, no matter what the owners are accused of. Mark my words.

Even the rich Mets fans, for whom the team built Citi Field, can’t stand by this pyramid of incompetence.

What about that sentence of incompetence? Can they stand by it, Jeff? I need to know!

It’s one thing to alienate blue-collar supporters, as both the Mets and Yankees did with their new stadiums. At least the Yankees still win. will sell me Mets tickets right now for, like, $12. But, oh, those poor blue-collar workers who can’t afford that steep price! The tragedy of the common man! O blue-collar man, weepeth not thou neither pineth for yon New York Mets!

The Mets have stunk two years running; collapsed the two years prior; kept Omar Minaya as general manager too long; botched the firing of manager Willie Randolph; mishandled Jason Bay’s concussion; watched Perez, Castillo and Carlos Beltran skip a team visit to wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center; spent minimally internationally, even less in the draft; and fostered an inconceivable amount of ill will considering their resources.

Yeah, but who cares about that? That’s just baseball stuff. Real fans only care about financial scandals the team owner is implicated in, and baseless accusations of racism.

Not so awful that it catches Bud Selig’s wrath, of course.

Fucking Bud. Why don’t you fix it?? Get on your baseball hotline to baseball NATO and start bombing baseball Libya. Then all evil everywhere will be vanquished!

Now MLB is vetting potential Mets investors – not majority, of course, because the accusations levied against Wilpon and Katz seem not to bother MLB nearly as much as McCourt’s, whose domestic toxicity spilled over into business.

Well, see, Jeff, what the Mets are dealing with is unproven accusations from a nutbar. The McCourts actually failed to pay the bills. Those are not at all the same thing, and your ham-fisted gloss isn’t fooling anybody. The problem facing the McCourts isn’t accusations of anything.

Never mind the hypocrisy in it all. MLB is a $7 billion industry. Wilpon is a Selig loyalist. And this is what fealty buys: a hall pass for intertwining the business Selig runs with Bernie Madoff.

Who was, at the time the Mets were doing business with him, not known to be running a ponzi scheme. Nice ex post facto moralising, Jeff, but it hasn’t been demonstrated that the Mets did anything wrong. Perhaps that has something to do with why they haven’t been punished for it!

Then there are like thirteen more paragraphs where he just says the same things over and over again. Unlike Jeff, my patience for endless repetition is limited, so, hey, welcome to the part of the article where I skip that! Let’s pick out the only thing about baseball he says in the entire rest of the piece.

GM Sandy Alderson, another Selig stalwart, will turn the franchise around if given the proper resources. After eating nearly $20 million in Perez and Castillo’s salaries, that is far from a given.

Whose decision was it to eat those salaries? Why, none other than GM Sandy Alderson’s! He’ll turn that shit around if only he stops denying himself all the resources. Which list apparently includes -0.1 WAR 2B and -1.5 WAR SP.

That’s really it for this article. Angst angst angst isn’t there some central authority somewhere that can banish all evil from the world angst angst. You know something? I’ve been critiquing bad sportswriting on the internet for thirty-four years next month, and the weird fantasy world sportswriters live in still amazes me. You’d think I’d be inured to this shit after so many teams-only-win-because-of-magic articles, but Jeff’s found a new stunner for me in his allegation that fans only watch because they believe in the spiritual purity of the team’s owner.

March 23rd, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments