Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why is Ryan Church not playing?

Marty Noble of mlb.com was asked in his most recent Mets Inbox why Ryan Church has seen his playing time continually decrease while players such as Gary Sheffield have seen plenty of playing time with worse numbers. He wrote:

"You hardly are alone in your wonder. My sense of it, and that of others, including men in uniform, is that Church has been shortchanged -- in words, plans and, since the season began, playing time. It began early in Spring Training. The comments manager Jerry Manuel made about him then seemed unnecessarily uncomplimentary. Then Church made most of the trips and played as much as anyone other than Daniel Murphy in exhibition games. He was exhausted by mid-March. Since Opening Day, he has become the player most affected by the batting-order imbalance -- too many left-handed hitters.

"Church is a fine outfielder, the best defensive right fielder the Mets franchise has had, and he ought to be in right as often as possible in Citi Field. He plays hard; no one can quarrel with that. And he was hitting early on. I suspect Manuel didn't want to sit Murphy when he was having so much trouble in left field and have Murphy begin to doubt himself."

Now here's my take on it: Omar Minaya has had the reputation since his days with Montreal that he favors mediocre minority (specifically hispanic) players to even good white players. His seeming preference all through the offseason to stick with Ollie Perez instead of Wolf or Lowe looked like further evidence of that. Could he be pulling the strings against Ryan Church? Or could Jerry Manuel have the same preference? Sheff has hit nothing at all (other than his 500th homerun), Tatis can get at-bats at other positions (and has done so, with Delgado's health issues). And look how long it took for Jeremy Reed (who is also white) to finally get a start. He only just got his first one this past week, over 20 games into the season. And while Daniel Murphy was favored by Jerry Manuel in his statements during Spring Training, Murphy has also seen his starts decrease in favor of Tatis and Sheffield. So while one white outfielder was favored over another, they both take backseats to the minorities. I'm curious what will happen when Brian Schneider comes back from his injury (whenever that may wind up being). Is Minaya going to try long and hard to deal him away in order to keep Ramon Castro and Omir Santos?

Now suppose an organization was intentionally playing very mediocre white players over much better and more productive black or hispanic players simply due to race. That organization would be subject to lawsuits and be branded as racist by fans. Should the Mets not be viewed the same way? Racism against whites is still racism.

1 comment:

backpacker161 said...

Interesting comment on the racism, I think I will ponder this for a little, then post a real comment, but still... very thought provoking