Friday, June 27, 2008

Probably not the last word on 'The Kid can manage, I tells ya!'

It would be mean to say there's an overall feeling of pity coursing through The New York Times' article on Gary Carter, Mike Toth's dream manager for your Toronto Blue Jays.

No, it's more like a kind of weary sadness felt toward an ex-ballplayer who still wants to be called "Kid" at the age of fifty-four. Carter more or less lost it on a correspondent from The Times. The Old Grey Lady -- talk about pure sensationalism! -- downplayed it and buried his blowup at the end of the article.

" 'I've always been accommodating and it's hurt me because I've worn my heart on my sleeve,” Carter said, lacing his answers with expletives. 'They throw me under the bus and two weeks later, he (Mets manager Willie Randolph) is fired anyway. Yeah, so I'm the one to blame. If this is what it's about, I don’t want you to print it.

"If I'm thrown under the bus because of my desires to one day manage in the major leagues, then every one of you guys don't ever come to me again. Period. Am I clear?"
The sense of sadness comes from realizing that Gary Carter, like a lot of pro athletes once the game is done with them, is trapped. Not to do dollar-store psychology, but it's like he doesn't have the self-awareness to get past his little baseball bubble, the only place he could exist, and it kind of sucks to have that confirmed, in black and white. He couldn't hold up to honest questions in a 1-on-1 interview from someone who was there to write a mostly positive story -- how would he handle the post-game scrums in the majors?

This just makes it seem all the more batshit crazy to ever believe that Gary Carter will ever manage a game in the major leagues, even on a drunken wager between a couple of MLB owners. The only person who should be rooting him to get a shot is the old Dodgers leadoff man Maury Wills, since he would no longer be the worst great player-turned-manager in major-league history.

Update: Jeff Blair links to us, and provides a link to a T.J. Simers column in the L.A. Times.

The Kid Keeps Himself in the Picture (Billy Witz, New York Times)
Gary Carter is suddenly a dead-end kid (T.J. Simers, L.A. Times; via Jeff Blair, who linked to us!)


Tyler King said...

If Buck Martinez got a job, I wouldn't rule anything out...

sager said...

Buck wasn't called "Camera Carter" and "Kodak" by his teammates in the '80s either.

Jordie Dwyer said...

The only sad thing I find about this whole story is....the fact you put the labels Journalism and Toth

Tyler King said...

He probably wasn't called Camera Carter because neither of his names start with a C.

sager said...

Buck did get to manage Team USA at the World Baseball Classic so he couldn't have been totally unemployable.

Then again, what just happened to Canada's skipper?

Keith Borkowsky said...

Sounds like Gary Carter is bitter in a Hal Lanier kind of a way. But there's a big difference. One was NL Manager of the Year, while the other refused an assignment that could have gotten him further along. Even if it's in an armpit. That's life. You have to do that sometimes.

Keith Borkowsky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sager said...

Hal Lanier at least has a bit of an excuse... if his Astros had beat the Mets in the '86 playoffs (two extra-inning losses and a 9th-inning loss on a walk-off homer), they go to the World Series because they had Mike Scott ready for Game 7.

They probably would have had a good shot at the Red Sox in the Series... they were turf team, speed and defence, and the Red Sox were a small-park team with a slow outfield. (In World Series that were played on both surfaces, the turf teams won 8-of-11.)

Then he'd probably still have some no-account "special adviser" job somewhere in the majors. C'est la vie!