Is the Daily News kidding?
Look, I understand its sports editors are addicted to the crack pipe of Yankee BS. I understand that every series with the Red Sox blots out the sun. I understand that there is a perception that the Yankees losing to Tampa Bay is novel. I understand that Phil Hughes being called up was a milestone. I understand that Phil Hughes nearly pitching a no-hitter was quite noteworthy. I even understand, in a twisted way, that George Steinbrenner not firing Joe Torre and Brian Cashman qualifies as a development.
But last night the Yankees didn’t play. They were rained out. The only thing that happened on their beat was the dismissal of someone on the training staff, the director of performance enhancement. That sounds kind of shady, like he was the in-house dispenser of pills to (allegedly) Jason Giambi. But he was just the guy in charge of stretching or pulling hamstrings or something. And because Hughes came up lame and because a bunch of his teammates recently did the same, the strength & conditioning dude was axed.
And that, not Oliver Perez’s 10 strikeouts versus the Marlins, is what covers the back page of today’s Daily News.
I give up. It’s a losing battle. The 2007 Mets are universally recognized as one of the best teams in baseball. The 2007 Yankees, who are likely to recover to some extent from their poor start, are still in last place. Yet in “New York’s hometown newspaper,” it’s 1961. It’s 1927. The Mets don’t exist, at least not in any manner comparable to that of the Yankees.
I thought it was an abomination last Sunday when my edition of the Times had nothing — nothing — on the Mets in its sports section. My edition wasn’t the earliest but it wasn’t the latest. It was the one distributed to most of Nassau County Sunday morning. Usually in those situations you can depend on reading one of those stories that was obviously written to fill the gap in between, why this player is doing so well or why that player is in a slump, something featureish. But there was nothing. Saturday had been a huge sports day and the Mets, whose heartstopping comeback versus the Nationals ended after deadline, got bumped. I didn’t like it, but I understood that choices needed to be made.
But this? The guy in charge of stretching is scapegoated? That’s what gets the majority of the back page? Not the Mets’ win over the Marlins, not the Devils’ playoff loss to the Senators, not something about something that actually happened yesterday? The dismissal of Marty Miller, whom nobody outside the Yankees’ clubhouse or the Miller household had ever heard of, is judged the biggest New York sports news of Wednesday?
Disgraceful. Absolutely disgraceful.
Listen, I get it. I get that Cashman firing a strength coach symbolizes Steinbrenner throwing his weight around and that more heads could roll and shape up or ship out and…blah, blah, fricking blah. This is the same dull, pointless story we’ve been fed as “news” for years. Decades. An actual event would be “Yankees go about their business quietly.” Everything else is white noise.
What do the Mets have to do? Win a lot? Play exciting baseball night in, night out? Run nip and tuck with their archrivals for first place? Send compelling stars out on to the field every day? They do that. Hell, David Wright was accommodating enough to fall into a deep struggle at the plate, which was bad news, but news with a tinge of controversy nonetheless.
But no. The Daily News does not care to cover the defending division champion, contending Mets as if they’re a defending division championship or contending for another one. The editors of that newspaper’s sports section choose not to shine a light on the fine work their Mets reporter Adam Rubin does on a regular basis (Roger Rubin filled in yesterday) nor play up the interesting Met sidebars by Sean Brennan or the worthy columns written about this team by excellent writers like Lisa Olson. Most days of late, the Mets are reduced to a red snipe in the lower right-hand corner of the back page. Today they made it all the way above the name plate. PEREZ & METS SINK FISH AT SHEA is there in a little box. YOU’RE FIRED! With angry Boss’ blessing, Cashman pulls plug on strength coach accompanying a picture of a testy Steinbrenner takes up most of the available space. The ratio of pages devoted to the two teams inside the paper is similar to what we see on the back.
I’ve long enjoyed buying the Daily News and reading it from cover to cover, continuing to do so even in this Internet age of ours. Suddenly, however, I find a surfeit of quarters in my front pocket.