Yes, Jason Bay is going to be big in New York -- a big bust, that is
The statement came 28 years ago.
In the winter of 1981-82, the New York Mets were Big Apple nobodies -- a star-less, charisma-less franchise coming off of a miserable 41-62 strike-shortened season. The team had drawn 704,244 fans, seventh in the National League (and not even half the total of the cross-town Yankees), and its marketing exclamation, "The magic is back!" rang hollow. Unless
With this as a backdrop,
Did Cashen think the former National League MVP was the missing piece that New York needed to turn itself into a winner? Hardly. While the Mets offense was nothing to brag about, it was the club's rotten starting rotation and lowly middle infield that required the most attention. "But signing George was a message to baseball and to our fans that we were in it to win," Cashen said. "From here on out, we would do whatever it takes."
The outcome: Foster hit 13 home runs in his first season in New York. He played an abysmal left field, was booed mercilessly, shunned in his own clubhouse and -- even as he went on to spend 3½ more decent seasons with the Mets -- labeled one of the biggest busts in the team's history. By the time the team won the 1986 World Series, he was out of baseball.
Why? Because George Foster was a bad fit.
* * *
As we approach 2010, New York Mets history is about to repeat itself. According to WFAN, the team has
Like Foster 28 years back, this will not go well.
Jason Bay is a good ballplayer. A fine ballplayer. Heck, an excellent ballplayer. With Boston last year, residing in cozy Fenway Park, the 31-year-old All-Star hit 36 home runs with 119 RBIs, thus making him the pulse of an otherwise aging Red Sox lineup. He has cleared 30 home runs in four of his last five seasons. Bay also happens to be one of the game's truly good guys -- likeable, agreeable, approachable, laid-back. The complete package.
Yet for all the positives Bay brings to an organization, he lacks the one tool that the Mets truly need -- an ability to move walls.
When New York's brain-dead powers-that-be decided that Citi Field should feature spacious outfield grass and power alleys from here to Hagåtña, they unintentionally dictated the type of team that GM
Sluggers? What sluggers? Playing in Shea Stadium in 2008,
In their new digs, the Mets also require arms. Lots and lots of arms. They require starters who can hold a game close -- guys like
No doubt those Met fans who had been waiting for their team to make a statement will be pleased. Bay, like Foster, is a big name with big power and big skills.
He will also be a big bust.