“We are going to the store.”
“Because we need food.”
At which point you realize that no matter where you go with this the answer back is going to be the same. The line between inquisitive and annoying is a fine line.
But I’m sorry, when I think about Dan Warthen, it’s always the word that just leaps to my mind.
Dan Warthen was hired as Mets pitching coach on June 17, 2008. Jerry Manual was the manager at the time, Omar Minaya the GM. We still played our games in a place called Shea Stadium. Since that time, Jerry was jettisoned, Omar was sent packing, and we are in year five at Citi Field. A park where we have never made the playoffs, hell, to look at it Fred’s way, a place where we have never played a meaningful September game. One constant besides that is Dan Warthen.
So I ask, why? Was it the way he consistently got through to Oliver Perez, helping him mature into a frontline starter? Perhaps some sage advice to Omar to not re-sign the guy no matter what? Nope, can’t be that. Maybe the brass is impressed with the solid relationship he built with John Maine back then? Maybe the great job Warthen and Manual did with Jenrry Meija? Umm, no, I would think not.
It could be simple, perhaps the Mets are conducting some type of experiment to see how far you can push left arms. With Warthen as pitching coach, Pedro Feliciano logged 86, 88, and 92 innings between 2008 and 2010. Feliciano left for the Yankees and his arm immediately disintegrated. Not stopping there, Dr. Franken Warthen teamed with new manager Terry Collins to pitch Tim Byrdak 72 times in 2011, and then said let’s take it up a notch in 2012. In 2012, from Opening Day until August 1, Byrdak pitched 56 times. Included in this were five separate occasions where Tim pitched four days in a row. That’s days, not games. His reconstructive
surgery soon followed. Now Scott Rice is the next guinea pig. I hear the doctors at the Hospital for Special Surgery have started a pool. Now, when it comes to the relievers, sure, first Jerry Manual, then Terry Collins, have been the guys walking out to the mound to make the moves. And as manager they have ultimate responsibility. But this guy is the pitching coach. And the common link to the pattern.
Now on the positive side, there certainly is Matt Harvey. Every single person associated with Matt looks good. But I have to say I have a hard time giving a lot of credit to Warthen. I still think Matt Harvey is a freak of nature. And now yesterday came Zack Wheeler’s second start and early in the game I started getting texts from my friend Dan.
“Who is calling this game? Buck keeps looking in the dugout.”
“This is nuts, where is the fastball?”
Dan wasn’t the only one who noticed how weird it was, Ron Darling began bringing it up over and over again. A young pitcher throws 98 MPH and the first idea of the staff is less fastballs? Then later, on the postgame, Bobby Ojeda compared it to Matt Harvey’s second career start, when he threw a preponderance of changeups. I had forgotten about that! And it left me back to my short Dan Warthen query again.