National TV Unkind to Mets

Former G.M. spends night taking shots at Mets

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The 31 other big league teams desperately wish Phillips was still Mets G.M.

    Sunday wasn't the best night for the Mets. Mike Pelfrey got a little flustered by all the ESPN cameras and forgot how to deliver a pitch. His feet stopped listening to his brain, causing three balks and helped ease the Mets into a 2-0 loss to the Giants. People listening to their brain didn't do the Mets any favors either.

    Former Mets general manager Steve Phillips, now a member of ESPN's booth, spent a good portion of the night opining about the shortcomings of the Mets. He picked up on Omar Minaya's earlier comments about the team lacking edge, even though those comments seemed to have the desired effect of spurring the team into stronger play. Phillips said David Wright and Jose Reyes weren't leaders, which brought a strong rebuke from Joe Morgan, and then began to verbally assault Carlos Beltran.

    Phillips suggested that the Mets should trade Beltran because they needed more grit. Grit, to Phillips, is more important than a player who gets on base, hits with power, runs the bases well and plays a fine center field. That may not help the Mets, but it certainly explains why Phillips is no longer gainfully employed by a professional baseball team. Phillips, after all, tried to trade both Reyes and Wright during his tenure as G.M., and acquired such luminaries as Bobby Bonilla, Mike Bordick and Mo Vaughn. Those players weren't so much gritty as old and well past their prime. 

    The whole thing came off as a vindictive attack on the Mets with little to no regard for the way that they've actually been playing of late. And it got in the way of actually calling the game that was going on, which is, you know, your job. 

    A good announcer would have saved his vitriol for the moment where Jerry Manuel chooses to pinch hit Angel Pagan (career batting average vs. lefties of .225) for Daniel Murphy (Manuel's fair-haired boy of Spring Training) with the bases loaded in the eighth inning. You didn't even need to wait for the at-bat to play out to criticize it as mindless, by-the-book managing of the worst kind, but it probably takes a mind to notice that someone else isn't using theirs.   

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.