Keidel: Ollie’s Folly

By Jason Keidel
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Oliver Perez, our favorite piñata, is back in the news. As always, he slides in slowly, like one of his hanging curveballs, with his own delusional bent.

“I think why I’m here has always been as a starting pitcher,” Perez said from the Mets’ spring training complex. “I have to focus about the team.”

That would be a first, Ollie.

Perez pitches like he’s on a morphine drip. New Yorkers accept the agony of defeat, not apathy in defeat. Despite the sheen of Madison Avenue and NYC’s reputation for opulence, our town was built on blue-collar grit. And Perez is antithetical to that ethic.

It singes the sensibilities of a sane person to watch Perez loaf around for $36 million while someone you know toils for ten bucks an hour. That contract, perhaps more than anything else, is the face of the Omar Minaya regime. Some folks accused Minaya of signing players because of their language, but it was their logic that got Minaya fired.

It’s hard to imagine that Minaya was so myopic that he employed free agents based on ancestry. He just didn’t get the job done, and signing Perez became the avatar of his failure.

But now Perez, through some miracle (or Tony Robbins mantra) is ready to redeem himself!

The fact that he magically found his mojo in a contract year tells you everything. It’s not a new concept for a player to play harder in the dusk of his old deal, but a pro athlete generally hustles from whistle to gun.

Not Ollie, who showed up fat for a few spring trainings, who refused to return to the minors to work on his mechanics, who, to the disgust of mankind, refused to join the team on a trip to Walter Reed to comfort our wounded heroes.

I wrote a column about that infamous team trip (“Three Blind Mets”), sans three teammates. Carlos Beltran, though wrong to refuse, at least had a conflicting charitable commitment. Luis Castillo? No excuse. His explanation was weak, like his play, like the popup that squirted out of his glove against the Yankees.

But there’s something to Perez that speaks and reeks of indifference. He doesn’t give a damn. Not only didn’t he show up for our troops, he was defiant in his disrespect. “I don’t answer anything about outside the stadium,” was his response when asked about his absence. He really said it.

The Bernie Madoff drama is real and really bad for business. Too many folks claim to know not only the extent of the damage he did, but also that the Wilpons knew all about it. Such speculation is fruitless. But it’s also a pretext to bash a baseball club that has won just one title in forty years. The fan base is ornery enough without Perez’s deranged declarations about his place in the rotation.

Sandy Alderson leads a front office front-loaded with brain cells. Alderson should already know that New Yorkers won’t watch the Mets if Oliver Perez is pitching. Unless he pitches for the opponent, the Citi Field sun should never shine on his behind again.

Feel free to email me:

Can you stomach the idea of Oliver Perez in the Mets’ rotation? Sound off in the comments below!

pixy Keidel: Ollies Folly
  • metsfan1

    I think Mets fans have been unfair and a bit ungrateful to Omar Minaya. Oliver Perez received the fat contract because there were not many left handed pitchers available who had won 15 and 13 games in a season, and were still relatively young, with pretty good stuff despite inconsistency. His upside was good and even pitched pretty well under pressure in the playoffs, albeit with some good defensive help. We’re rating Omar on Ollie’s poor play since the signing, but if we had gone without the lefty and he had signed elsewhere we would have blamed Omar for not getting lefty pitching to battle those lefty heavy Phillies. Let’s not forget all of the great signings that Omar accomplished that kept the Mets competitive despite end of year struggles due to primarily injuries and inconsistent lineups and pitching. Thanks Omar and good luck!

  • Alex

    I think I might actually buy a Perez pinata from that way I can take out my frustrations.

  • Kurt Spitzner

    As a lifelong and consumate Mets fan theres no way on God’s green Earth that I will ever forgive his many transgressions let alone condone his appearance at any time for any reason with the NY Mets!He has made his stand many times which proves to anyone with any grey matter that he cares nothing about the game,this team,or the youth of this nation!And regardless of what many soothsayers out there may be hoping for there is very little chance if any that he will all of a sudden change they way that he ultimately is inside which is a childish self centered little brat and theres no room on this side of NY for such a player for lack of a better word!If Alderson is as smart as everyone says he is then he will jetison him and soon! Next on the agenda he can also dump that poor excuse for a human being francisco rodrigues aka frankie flowers because theres no room on this side of town for him,his temper or his lambougini! The NY Mets need to get rid of all the bad karma that has dragged this team into the doldrums for the last 5-6 years and start fresh for US the FANS sake!

  • RealityChuck

    Alderson is doing the right thing — see what he shows in spring training. If he has nothing, release him.

    Fans may hate him now, but if he starts and pitches well, things will change.

    • Anime Me!

      Sorry Chuck, one needs only to look as far as Benitez to realize Ollie doesn’t have a prayer. Here is a player that actually did put up great numbers while with the Mets. He had his days and roller coaster games, who hasn’t, but when it was all said and done he lost the trust and the respect of the fans. So much so, it was deemed acceptable (in some areas “gleeful”) in the eyes of Mets fans when he was traded to the Yankees of all places. Ollie could be lights out and throw the Mets first no-hitter, there will still be fans that immediately say, good…now he has trade value. He will never regain any respect from the NY faithful.

    • JK

      I respectfully disagree, Chuck. Sometimes a person betrays the public too often to regain trust. And is there anything in his history to suggest he will succeed this year?

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