The Kid, wannabe major-league manager and walking punchline to sports journalists whom he might have put off a few times back in the day, was hired late last week to manage the Atlantic League's Long Island Ducks. He is getting closer to managing in the majors, at least geographically, since the Ducks' ballpark is not that far away from the new home of the New York Mets, whom Carter played for to no small amount of critical acclaim. Nevertheless, the critics only want to focus on the negative. Shame on them:
"He'll be in the New York media market now, and at some point, he'll say something dumb. Something that will increase the wedge between him and Mets ownership. That will hurt his reputation again.In the parlance of our time, that is cruel, Mr. Davidoff. It's mean-spirited. It's immature. It's unprofessional, and you guys are jerks if you came away with it, taking things out of context, and then tried to spread something about Gary Carter. It's not fair and not right.
"It'll be a complaint that the Mets didn't respect what he did for them. That he put in his time in the minor leagues, so why didn't he get a chance at the major-league level? Something within that theme.
"You can set your watch to it.
"Twice, in 2004 and again last year, Carter lobbied for the Mets' managing job while the office still was occupied, first by Art Howe and then by Willie Randolph. In last year's despicable sales pitch, on Sirius Satellite Radio, he said he could get out of his contract with the independent Orange County Flyers at a moment's notice. It led former teammate Keith Hernandez to shred Carter on an SNY telecast.
"Carter came to the All-Star Game festivities in New York, and at a media availability in Manhattan, he still didn't understand what he did wrong. I asked him if he thought that even if he intended no harm, he created a great deal of it.
" 'Obviously, I think what was transpiring was they were trying to take the heat off Willie at the time and throw me under the bus,' he said, the 'they' referring to Mets management.
"He just doesn't get it." — Ken Davidoff, Newsday
The real Gary Carter is not the caricature put out by these dishonest leakers. The reality is he is a tough, capable, knowledgeable and focused baseball manager. He also had 1,225 career RBI in the majors, which makes him 1,225 more career ribbies qualified than current Amazin's manager Jerry Manuel to lead a major-league dugout.
Managerial experience? He had one thousand, two hundred twenty-five career RBI, people!
Meantime, in a story that seems unrelated but is in the same vein, Shea "Sinking Ship" Hillenbrand is contemplating a comeback. Hillenbrand played last season in, wait for it, the Atlantic League.
"I just had a bad year in '07. I was with the Angels and I thought I was going to be the full-time DH but they wound up having Vlad Guerrero and Garret Anderson take some time there, so I wasn't playing much and it was hard for me to stay in any kind of groove at the plate. It was just a bad year, but I never expected to be sitting out in '08. I played for York in the Independent League for half of a year and hit .340 so I know I can still hit and help someone. I had the problem up there in Toronto with John Gibbons (in 2006), so maybe that's followed me. But I've learned a lot and just want the chance to get back into the game.One wishes him all the best, especially given that Hillenbrand, especially through his family's work with animals and underprivileged youth, does not fit the stereotype of a self-absorbed athlete (that's why it is a stereotype). He did hit .340 in 153 at-bats in the Atlantic League last season, but it was with his customary lack of power (two homers) and walks (five). It also came in a league where an entire team batted .303.
"... I know my skills and they haven't gone away; in fact, they're better, because like I said, I'm entering my prime years right now. I know from all the players I've played with -- like Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Barry Bonds - that I can really help a team with younger players." -- Boston Globe
However, if he says he can still play, who are you to doubt him, you doubters? Take him on his word. Take Gary Carter on his, too. He might not be ready for the big stage yet, but don't rule him out in 2012.
Is Carter just a lame Duck? (Ken Davidoff, Long Island Newsday)
The Kid can manage, I tells ya (June 17)