Monday, September 1, 2008

My Monday Musings on Sports

Due to the holiday, there was no Max Kellerman and Brian Kenny show today. Instead, 1050 ran a "best of" segment featuring interviews and selected calls from the last few months. Rather than rehashing stale sports topics that were rebroadcast in today's "best of" performance, I would like to give my own take on some of the recent sports topics of conversation, along with an insight into an interview with Teddy Atlas from last week.

In relation to Mets fans and their attempt to pump Carlos Delgado, I can honestly say that I don't know which planet they are on. Yes, he has 30 home runs (tied for 6th in the NL) and 93 RBIs (tied for 8th in the NL). But Delgado also has a poor batting average (.257) and is hitting an unbelievably poor .154 with the bases loaded. Is he doing better than Mets fans could and should have expected? Absolutely. Is he an MVP? Of course not.

My question is, why are Mets fans are not touting Manuel for Manager of the Year. The Mets are 43-26 under Manuel (.623). Prorated over the course of an entire season, the Mets would have over 100 wins under Manuel. Not even the Cubs have that high a winning percentage. If the Mets finish the final 25 games at the same winning percentage, their record under Manuel would be 59-35, a record befitting serious consideration in the Manager of the Year balloting.

In connection with the Yankees, I wonder whether their downfall this year is less about the quality of the players and more about the improvement of the rest of the AL East. No, Max has not paid me to say this and I am still convinced that Joba, Hughes, Kennedy and Rasner are the second coming of 1994's Generation K. Still, the numbers don't lie. In 2003 the Yankees had a 65% winning pct vs the Orioles, Blue Jays and Devil Rays (OBD) and a 61% winning pct against the rest of the league. [I don't factor the Red Sox into the equation since they have been on par with the Yankees for the last five years]. In 2004 the Yankees were 72% against the OBD and 57% against the rest of the league. In 2005 they were 56% against the OBD and 60% against the rest of the league. In 2006 they were 64% against the OBD and 58% against everyone else. In 2007 they were 57% against OBD and 60% against everyone else. In the present year they are 52% against the OBD and 53% against all other teams. If the Yankees had performed against their divisional bottom feeders at their usual rate of success, they would at least be talking wild card. Since they have not been able to take advantage of the Orioles, Blue Jays and Rays, they are largely irrelevant.

A couple of quick football thoughts - does either NY football GM have a clue about depth at skill positions? The Giants are now carrying two quarterbacks on their 53 man roster. If either goes down in a game they will not have any backup QB available if needed. Of course, the Jets are carrying four QBs, but the Giants can't reach across and take any of theirs. But the Jets have their own problems since they are carrying only three RBs on their active roster. If Washington or Jones goes down, the Jets will only have one RB left who can carry the football. [I can't seriously consider Tony Richardson since he carried the ball 18 times in the last three years]. Maybe the Jets will use one of their seven WRs to run the ball.

One other quick point in relation to a Teddy Atlas interview from last Wednesday. It was interesting to hear Max Kellerman and Brian Kenny ask the master motivator what he would say to the Mets to get them going. He responded that he would sit down with the bullpen and remind them of their roles and their past successes and their potential. In this way he would be able to motivate them to simply do the jobs they were capable of doing and the team could succeed.

The comments by Mr. Atlas about succeeding by accepting your situation and excelling based on where you are situated reminded me of a story I heard not that long ago about R' Gifter, the Rosh Yeshiva at Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland. The Rabbi and some of his students were on a plane flying to a wedding when the plane encountered difficulty and was forced to land. When it became apparent that they were not going to make it to the wedding, R' Gifter and the students began to look for a place to pray Mincha (afternoon prayer). They asked the custodian for an empty room and he opened one for them and remained while they prayed. Someone noticed that the custodian was mumbling while they were praying and asked the custodian about it. The custodian told them that he was not an observant Jew, but that his father had recently died and he needed to say the Kaddish (mourner's prayer). He then told them that his father had come to him in a dream to tell him to say Kaddish for him. He said to his father that their was no prayer service where he lived, but his father said that he would bring the service to the son. Sure enough, the plane was forced to land at that airport and he was present for the prayer service.

I'm not saying that Teddy Atlas had a story like this in mind when he hypothesized about what he would tell the Mets to motivate their bullpen. But accepting that one's situation is what it is and making the most of it (like the Rabbi and his students who realized they were not getting to the wedding and thus formed the minyan which allowed the custodian to pray) always leads to positive results. Hashem puts everyone in a position where they are capable of succeeding, we just need to figure out our role is and do our best once we do discern our position. As taught by Mr. Atlas, if we do accept our role and strive to do our best in this capacity, we are assured of succeeding.

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1 comment:

ModoxYshvshChsd said...

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