SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Notes from Watching the Mets and Diamondbacks

I was with a bunch of old friends this weekend near Key West, and amidst the barbecue and boating we tuned into the Mets-Diamondbacks game. Here are a few thoughts:

1. Dbacks, what's with the dome and the lighting? It looked like you were hosting a night game in broad daylight. I realize it's terribly hot in Phoenix during baseball season, but change the ambience a bit.

2. The Dbacks have excelled at building their team from the ground up through their farm system.

3. Mets' starter Mike Pelphrey needs to learn to finish hitters and strike them out. He has a blazing fastball, but until he learns to set up hitters better through locating the fastball and getting his breaking ball and slider to bite better, he's not going to be able to go through the opposing lineup more than twice. With the heat he brings on his fastball, you wonder whether the Mets' brass might consider turning him into a closer once Billy Wagner leaves.

4. The Mets' fans with me are down on Willie Randolph and yearn for Nationals' manager Manny Acta to replace him. They intimated that it was Acta, and not Randolph, who was GM Omar Minaya's top choice to replace Art Howe as Mets' skipper several years ago. Their beefs with Randolph: he treats different players too differently, can be too passive at times and is too hard on his second basemen (given that he played the position) and made the wrong call on prospect Ruben Gotay. The observation about Randolph and second basemen is particularly compelling given recent comments that recently fired Mavericks' head coach Avery Johnson never established a good point guard in Dallas (because he played the position once himself).

To me, the Mets still have a formidable lineup and good enough pitching to go deep into the season in playoff contention. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, have established themselves as the top team in the National League.

For now.

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