Tuesday, March 25, 2008

NOW Pay-Rod Says He Shoulda Been A Met

The back page of today's New York Daily News has habitual attention-hog Alex Rodriguez moaning that he should have signed with the Mets back in 2000, instead of taking the record-setting $252 million ten-year contract that Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks threw his way.

I think I speak for many Mets fans when I say, So freakin' what?

If Pay-Rod had signed with the Mets back when they were hot-and-heavy over him, we might not be enjoying the contributions of homegrown Jose Reyes and David Wright. After all, the kind of money the Mets would have wound up paying him -- probably not $252 million over any number of years -- would definitely have prevented Reyes from coming aboard, at least as a shortstop (Rodriguez' original position). The Mets have had a history of shifting promising players to different positions in the past -- Edgardo Alfonzo's late-90s third-to-second-to-third shuffle comes to mind -- but chances are that Rodriguez' presence would have jammed up the shortstop position for years to come and, if there had been a third-base or second-base prospect considered more promising than Reyes, the jam might have prevented him from becoming a Met at all.

Last year Rodriguez was foolish enough to follow the advice of his mercenary agent, Scott Boras, and turn down a sure-thing offer from the Yankees in favor of testing the free-agent market. Apparently $25 million a year was no longer enough to live on, or maybe Boras' share, $2.5 million or so, wasn't enough for him. There was plenty of speculation that the Mets might sign him, and David Wright had gone on record during the season to assert that he'd gladly shift to second base if that was what it took to land Pay-Rod. Thankfully that didn't happen, because this lifelong Mets fan was ready to shift allegiance to the Yankees for good if they had signed Mister Me for all the money the Wilpon family had in the bank. When Steve Phillips, the Mets' general manager back in 2000, claimed that he had stopped negotiations for fear that signing Rodriguez would create a team of 24+1 instead of a 25-man unit, he was widely ridiculed. I think the time that has passed, and Rodriguez' true contributions to the terrible Texas Rangers team and the not-good-enough Yankees, have proved Phillips right. Yeah, OK, A-Rod won an MVP award with the Rangers, but on a last-place team that's meaningless. What could it mean: that the team wouldn't have been as deeply in last place? The basement is still the basement, whether the team in front of you is only one game ahead or 20.

Having said all that, though, I could easily be wrong. I cried foul when the Mets let Alfonzo go in favor of an unknown thrid baseman named Ty Willingham. I figured he'd be just another in the series of forgotten names on the list Mets' third-basemen. But Willingham turned out to be a good hitter and fielder. During Ty's second year, though, there was all this talk about this wunderkind in the minors named David Wright.

"Oh no, not again," I thought. I figured the Mets had just "lucked out" this time with Willingham and that there was no reason to tinker with a good thing. Again, I was wrong -- Wright has turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to the Mets team.

Hookers and Cheaters and Britney, Oh My!

I'm back. Sorry if it looked like I'd abandoned this blog...

Spitzer and Paterson

By now everyone on the planet knows about former New York State governor Eliot Spitzer and his foolishness with high-priced prostitutes and with money-laundering, both on his own end (moving money between accounts to avoid triggering bank secrecy procedures) and in his dealings with the escort service that got him busted (paying a shell company that was under surveillance). He is both a former prosecutor and a former state attorney general, so I think it's fair to say that he couldn't possibly have been any dumber in how he went about his business.

All concerned parties in Albany breathed a sigh of relief at the prospect of dealing with the incoming governor, Spitzer's lieutenant governor David Paterson. But now it's come out that Paterson and his wife have both had affairs in the not-so-distant past. Since he came out with it -- actually they both admitted to having cheated -- it shouldn't really be a major issue, though of course the media is going to milk every drop of coverage they can wring out of it. A greater issue, maybe, is that he misused campaign funds at various times, usually reimbursing the payments later. So what? What politician hasn't dipped into the till and then repaid it later? The crime, when there is one, is using taxpayer funds, or campaign funds, for personal things and then not reporting or repaying. But, as was pointed out today, there are probably plenty of people not at all happy that the man at the top of New York State's government is black. If they can find something, anything, that might discredit him, they could consider it worth their while to fling it at him and see what happens.

That includes today's page 5 article in the New York Daily News on Paterson's past experiments with drugs. There were "whispers" circulating Albany about his past drug use, so he admitted to having used marijuana and cocaine a few times. This was in the 70s, when he was in his early 20s. The man is 53 now. Let it rest.

Or would those same folks rather have to deal with... Governor Joe Bruno, with the potential to be the Republican version of the Democrat "bulldog" Spitzer?

And on top of all this, it now comes out that some political sleazebag (his own self-description) named Stone now claims that he was the one that tipped the Feds off to Spitzer's wrongdoing while he was being paid consultant's fees of $20K a month by Bruno and other Republicans. But -- get this -- Stone claims also that, although Spitzer was in the middle of a smear campaign against Bruno, he
did not tell Bruno about the Spitzer dirt he mailed off to the Feds.

And this is someone with no sense of loyalty (but what sleazebag is ever loyal?) -- he hates Bruno's top aide so much that, even though he considers Bruno his mentor, he'd "happily" bring Bruno down if that's what it takes to put the aide out of the picture.

And they call "Kristin" a whore...

(Except for this line, I don't think Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick deserves even a mention here. "Liar liar," etc.)

Get Your Britney Fix Here

I'm not one to join the Britney Spears media pileon, especially since I'm NOT member of the media, but it's interesting that Britney decided to start her "artistic reputation rehab," as NY Daily News entertainment writer David Hinkley puts it, by taking a cameo role in a sitcom. In this case, "How I Met Your Mother." I've never watched the show, and didn't get a chance to see it last night, but by all accounts she did good. Let's see what happens next...