Carroll: No Matter How You Slice It, The Mets Rafael Montero Has Been A Bust

     Before knowledgeable Mets fans ever heard of Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom, Steven Matz or Noah Syndergaard, they were very much aware of Rafael Montero who in 2011 and 2012 was being called by scouts the best pitcher in the team’s minor league system. There were comparisons to Dwight Gooden because of his blazing fastball.

      The hype never matched the reality at the big league level. Montero was wild and major league hitters weren’t fooled when he did get the ball over the plate. As other Mets pitchers got promoted from the minors and achieved far more success, Montero was pretty much forgotten about. A 1-5 record with a 5.51 earned run average in the majors will help do that.

      Montero missed most of the 2015 season with a rotator cuff injury. He returned to the Mets’ Las Vegas AAA team in 2016 where he was dreadful.

      While most teams would have released him, the Mets, who are always renown for great pitching in their pipeline, discovered that their minor leagues were suddenly threadbare when it came to quality arms. They calculated that they had little to lose by keeping Montero around.

      When Noah Syndergaard was placed on the disabled list, joining both Steven Matz and Seth Lugo on it, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson understandably figured that desperate times called for desperate measures. He announced that Rafael Montero had once again been promoted to the Mets and would start against the Miami  Marlins Friday night.

      If Montero could eat up, say, six innings and not get bombed, then it would be cause for celebration. To quote a line that actor Stacy Keach uttered when playing Mike Hammer in the 1980s CBS series based on the famed fictional Mickey Spillane character, “I expect nothing and I still come back disappointed!” Sure enough, Montero couldn’t make it through four innings as he gave up five runs and was lucky that he did not give up more. The Mets managed to come back and beat the Marlins, 8-7, which of course was no thanks to Montero.

     Montero’s ineffectiveness was practically forgotten about roughly 36 hours later when the Mets announced that Matt Harvey was suspended for a mysterious violation of team rules and thus missed his Sunday start against the Marlins. His teammates didn’t appear to show up for the game either as they got one puny hit in a dreary 7-0 loss. 

     There was a report that Harvey was suffering a migraine headache as the reason for his failing to come to Citi Field on Saturday. I have found Harvey to be aloof and unfriendly but he deserves the right to defend himself concerning this suspension.

     He is also the Mets union player rep so it would be shocking if he didn’t file a grievance with the Major League Baseball Players Association .


     Charles Barkley will be showing a different side than most viewers associate with the TNT NBA analyst and Basketball Hall of Famer next Sunday and Tuesday nights. Barkley, who is known for his quips and humorous putdowns of both athletes and his colleagues, will be dropping the “Sir Charles” shtick and is instead  heading into Edward R. Murrow territory when he hosts a four-part special on TNT titled “American Race.”

     Barkley attends a town hall in Baltimore concerning police brutality allegations and is given a hard time by the audience for being sympathetic to law enforcement. He also visits a bar in the Koreatown section of LA and a burger joint in Dallas whose owners are Muslims. The segment that is guaranteed to generate the most buzz is his interview with white supremacist Richard Spencer.

     I asked Barkley at a press event promoting the miniseries last week if he encountered any resistance from Turner Broadcasting executives or his own management team about delving into a “third rail” topic so to speak. I also asked if he was concerned that viewers who know him for his sports comedic musings would take to him in this more serious vein. “This is a subject that has always interested me and that is why I am doing this,” he replied but he also acknowledged that some might have trouble accepting this facet of his career.

     Former Mets catcher Todd Pratt is back in baseball after too long a hiatus. He is the manager of the Miami Marlins’ South Atlantic League affiliate, the Greensboro Grasshoppers. Pratt has both a vast baseball knowledge and excellent media skills so I expect him to be managing a Major League Baseball team in the near future.

     You can be certain that New York Racing Association officials will be praying that the 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming will be able to cross the finish line first again in two weeks in Baltimore at the Preakness. A potential Triple Crown winner at the Belmont Stakes ensures a big gate and tons of interest in thoroughbred racing.

     VICE, the fastest growing media company in the 21st century thanks to its successful marketing to millennials (CEO/founder Shane Smith calls his company the Time Warner of the streets), held its newfront presentation to media and advertisers last Friday afternoon. It was an unusual presentation as it ended with a three-round amateur boxing fight in a regulation ring. VICE has quietly devoted a lot of resources to sports reporting and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them compete with a more cost-conscious ESPN and the major cable and broadcast networks for the television rights to major sports ten years from now.

     It is always refreshing to see TV networks program comedies to adults again. Kudos to NBC for airing “Great News” on Tuesdays at 9 PM. The show which stars the up-and -coming Briga Heelan as well as a pair of veteran actors who know how to easily coax an intelligent laugh, Andrea Martin and John Michael Higgins, takes place at a fictional CNN knock-off. It’s clear that all involved here spent a lot of time watching every episode of the 1970s CBS classic, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

     Stephen Colbert found himself surrounded in controversy after making a course joke during his “Late Show” monolog about President Trump’s strange relationship with Vladimir Putin as he used a borderline epithet. The Federal Communications Commission announced that they would investigate to see if indecency rules were violated.

    I did not find the joke funny but all comedians commit “groaners” from time to time. The FCC should have better things to do than worry about. The marketplace has determined that the rules for “R-rated” language have loosened considerably over the years as long as the programs air after 10 PM.

     If you are looking to check out a popular warm weather destination before the summer gets underway, Cape May, located at the southern tip of New Jersey, is an excellent getaway. Be sure to visit the amusement park and fun restaurants at Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, just north of the Cape.

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