The Nub

Sticking to a Dubious Strategy on Both Fields

Asked what about the Mets’ six dismal years leading to the World Series gave him most satisfaction, discount ask owner’s son Jeff Wilpon replied: “We stuck to it.” That is, doctor the team resisted spending on high-priced position players; nurturing inexpensive young arms on the farm instead.

We imagine that’s cold comfort for many Mets fans who remember the pain of being emotionally invested in a team that betrayed itself as non-competitive as early as late spring or start of summer. Fans elsewhere, in places like Arizona, Colorado, Miami, Minnesota, San Diego, and even Houston and Chicago, want, need, a team that will divert them; not necessarily a first-place team, but one that can keep them involved into September. In NY, six dark years have the cumulative effect of causing heartbreak to fans who – perhaps foolishly – care.

Caring or not, we know Baseball is a trivial pastime compared to the game of war. One of Team USA’s wars has been playing out for 14 years in Afghanistan, at a cost – cited by Reuters – of roughly 2,400 American and 92,000 Afghan lives (about a third of them civilians). The estimated cost in dollars is well over $7 trillion. Skipper Obama’s rationale for keeping 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan is virtually the same as leadoff man George W. Bush’s. Said Obama a week and a half ago: “I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again.”

The best our endless, massive investment has succeeded in accomplishing is this: we’ve kept the Taliban from completely overrunning the country. But there’s little doubt they will still be around when Team USA leaves the field. When that finally happens – years from now – we may wind up expressing a variation of the self-congratulatory Mets front office: “At least we didn’t cut and run – we stuck to it.”

Another Dismal Effort: “The early American position (on Syria) was that the first step in resolving the dispute had to be the removal of (Bashar al-) Assad from office. Those who knew him saw this as a fruitless demand, but it has been maintained for more than four years. In effect, our prerequisite for peace efforts has been an impossibility.” – Jimmy Carter, in NY Times

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The Confident Game: One old, and one new reason why Royals fans feel they’ll beat the Mets in the Series: closer Wade Davis (the old), second baseman Ben Zobrist (the new). Three key Mets: Jacob deGram, Daniel Murphy, Curtis Granderson surely help give fans in NY a different idea.

Advantage KC: Mets Skipper Terry Collins conceded yesterday the Royals have an edge entering the Series. “They’ve been through it,” he said. “It’s better to know what you’re getting into than not.”

Betrayal of Tulo: “His new teammates eagerly welcomed (Troy) Tulowitzki from day one. He fit seamlessly into the culture of veteran leadership in the clubhouse. He battled through a shoulder injury and a batting slump. He played spotless defense and delivered three big hits in the playoffs. But he never felt quite like he belonged. ‘I mean, these guys are great and I’m getting to know them,’ he said. “But at the same time, when you don’t spend the whole year with the team, it’s hard to feel settled’…He had enjoyed his teammates and the ride to the post-season. He was not complaining about the Blue Jays. But the bitterness from the trade still lingered. He said the Rockies had told him, ‘Hey, you’re not going anywhere.’ He felt betrayed.”– John Lott, National Post (of Canada)

LA Skipper-Talk: “(Gabe) Kapler, who recently completed his first season as Dodgers farm director, is the early industry-wide favorite to replace Don Mattingly. Coach Tim Wallach and third base coach Ron Roenicke (are also under consideration)” – Dylan Hernandez, LA Times –


(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)


About Richard Starkey

Dick Starkey handled media for former NY Governor Mario Cuomo, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and many other office-holders and candidates. He was sports editor of the Paris-based Herald Tribune. Perfect Pitch partner Robert Sullivan was the first to adapt focus groups to politics and has been called by Cuomo and others one of the "best" pollsters in the country.