Tag Archive for Charlie Samuels

Ike-illies Heel Revealed

In what was probably the lamest-looking Met injury since Mike Piazza ruptured a groin on an inside pitch in 2003, Ike Davis hit the disabled list today with what officials are calling an ankle sprain and bone bruise suffered while waiting for a pop fly to come down from the sky the other night. Couldn’t he have have gotten hurt diving into the stands or legging out a triple like a real jock? Whatever else is wrong with the Mets these days, Ike wasn’t ever part of the problem and his absence, even if it’s only for a few weeks, is going to hurt whatever expectations you had for the Mets. Fernando Martinez, who isn’t currently injured, was recalled to take his place and reportedly in Denver in his No. 26 jersey.

In case you didn’t see it, revealing article by the incomparable Paul Lukas of ESPN today examining the tossed-off manner with which the Mets adopted the ugly black uniforms they’ve been wearing for 13 years now. By all means read the article but don’t let me spoil the secret that it was motivated by a combination of greed and Yankee paranoia, poorly thought through, and carelessly executed. Given the fact that the man seemingly most responsible for this debacle was arrested the other day and charged with stealing from his bosses — you can’t get away with that in Flushing anymore — and otherwise brought shame and disrepute to the organization given his alleged involvement in an illegal sports gambling operation, you’d think the Mets would move to distance themselves from the literal and figurative darkness the whole black jersey represents, but the Mets never learn.

My friend and frequent MBTN contributor Paul the other day suggested he was rooting for Francisco Rodriguez’s option to kick in with the idea that it could represent the obligation that triggers the Wilpon’s ultimate financial ruin and forces them to the selling block and poorhouse. He wasn’t joking and I’m beginning to see the light myself.

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You Never Can Tell

Hey everyone, get your resumes together: The Mets need a new equipment guy.

As you may have read, the Mets confirmed today that Charlie Samuels has been suspended indefinitely after the team became aware that authorities were after him in connection with an illegal gambling ring.

Samuels had served as Met equipment manager for 27 years; needless to say he’s a figure whose influence on my little project here commands a good deal of respect. If you wanted to know why this player was issued that number; or why that other guy changed numbers; or what the deal was with those revolting black unis, he was the man to talk to. Only, he didn’t talk much: Through Mets officials, Charlie declined numerous requests over the years to be interviewed for this site and for the Mets By The Numbers book. As Jay Horwitz, the Mets director of public relations, told me the last time I asked, “He just doesn’t like doing that kind of stuff.” Occurs to me now I didn’t even know what he looked like.

And so it went: The study of uni numbers became something of a hunt: There was mystery and power in the clubhouse, and Charlie Samuels was careful with it. His name would pop up periodically, often in Marty Noble’s stories about who was lockering next to whom, and there was that bet he had with Mike Piazza’s dad: The Piazzas challenged him to lose weight (was it 50 pounds?) with a reward of a new car. I don’t recall whether he succeeded or not.

There also is an undercurrent of the clubhouse being a place where secrets and access were fiercely protected, and where the edges could get all jocky and scummy. It was Samuels who hired confessed steroid distributor Kirk Radomski. Rodamski has described his job with the Mets as looking out for and protecting athletes. “I did a lot of things for guys — things they didn’t want [their] wives to know or anyone to know. That is part of being in the clubhouse,” he told ESPN. Samuels it would appear may also have been involved in an enterprise better kept secret, and its difficult not to wonder who might else could be involved.

6Speaking of secrets, I was surprised to read Adam Rubin’s remarks in a recent Internet chat saying that he’d switched gears and now finds the prospect of Wally Backman as the next Mets’ manager to be a considerable longshot. Rubin called this a near certainty months before.  “I just think the Mets know things that are not circulated and don’t feel comfortable,” he said, though he declined to provide detail or even suggest knowledge of what those “things” were. This in some sense however was my concern over Backman, that he might embarrass the organization in some way, and why I have suspected the Mets would ultimately go with an experienced but malleable guy like Lee Mazzilli. In the meantime I find it hard to believe that there’s been 11 managerial hirings and/or re-signings this offseason and Bobby Valentine is still looking for work. Could it still happen?

Finally, goodbye and good luck to Joaquin Arias, who came over in the Jeff Francoeur trade and was claimed on waivers by Cleveland today. His departure closes the book on one-time prized prospect Lastings Milledge. Oh, Omar.

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Hey Charlie

Adam Dunn prefers to wear No. 44.

Just sayin’.

I don’t normally bang my fist on my desk and demand the Mets make trades but if the Marlins series suggested anything it’s that the Mets’ offense needs to improve, the bullpen could be better, the starting rotation could use some depth and the bench is shaky. Other than that though, looking great.

(bang)

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