The so called â€śbuzzâ€ť on NYC sports â€śtalk radioâ€ť this week branding Mets GM Omar Minaya a racist is simply ludicrous. However, the people keep calling in with their rants and the radio jocks help feed the flames, so the issue made the newspaper yesterday. In a solid article in the NY Daily News, Bob Rasmussen (who covers the sports radio scene) clearly took the issue apart and showed that this matter is nothing but a lot of hot air (with emphasis on quite an abundance of hot air).
One thing is certainly true about what Minaya has done for the team: he has greatly improved the lineup. Granted there has been a change in demographics, as Rasmussen notes in his piece: â€śWhen Minaya arrived, there were eight Latin players on the team. As the Mets head to spring training, there are 18 Latin players on the 40-man roster.â€ť While this seems like a significant increase, it certainly is more a case of quality players being acquired who just happen to be Latin.
The thing that bothers me about these claims the most is that the callers and the wacky jocks are missing the whole point. Ever since Minaya was named GM he has striven to make the Mets a top-notch organization and first-class team. One of the finest ways he moved toward those goals was by appointing Willie Randolph as field manager. Minaya didnâ€™t chose Willie because he is black, and anyone who claims this is the one who might be racist. Willie Randolph was chosen because he had all the right tools and necessary coaching experience to be a fine manager, and it didnâ€™t hurt that he is a native New Yorker who grew up a Mets fan (just like Omar Minaya).
The players that Minaya has acquired since he began his tenure as GM include Paul Lo Duca and Billy Wagner (who are white). The addition of quality players such as Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, and Ramon Castro are part of Minayaâ€™s quest to make the team a serious contender and not, as these callers claim, part of some master plan to recast the Mets on the basis of race.
I am a life-long Mets fan, and I certainly welcome the changes Minaya has brought to Shea. We suffered long enough under Steve Phillips (who is white) and his less than inspiring leadership as GM. Remember his most famous flops: Roberto Alomar, Jeromy Burnitz, and Roger Cedeno? Most notably, Phillips wasted the opportunity of having arguably the best player in Mets franchise history, Mike Piazza, and was never able to build a quality team around him.
The inherent problem with something like â€śtalk radioâ€ť is that itâ€™s for the most part blather. The people who somehow get on there usually have something to prove to their friends (or alternately their enemies) who are listening or some kind of axe to grind. I have been listening to these shows for many years, but now I am convinced itâ€™s time to give them up no matter how much I love sports.