Ron Darling thought twice to make the contrast, understanding it may seem like overstatement. But the more he thought of it, the more it appeared suitable to him.
The significance of Max Scherzer going to the Mets?
“It’s palpable,” Darling was stating over the phone. “You’re getting one of the great pitchers in the game and one of the great individuals you’re ever going to meet.
“I equate it to (Tom) Brady going to Tampa Bay. It might be a little different. But what did you think of Tampa Bay before Brady got there? You didn’t give them two thoughts. But because of who he is and what he brings, he goes there and you’re like, ‘Shoot, they’ve got a pretty good club.’
“I think Max will mean that much to the Mets. It’s like, ‘OK, they’ve come up short (in recent years) for a lot of reasons, but it’s a different team now.’ ”
Well, why not? Scherzer might not compare with Brady when it pertains to champion rings — who does? — however he definitely has an aura about him, owed to his one title, his 3 Cy Young awards, his capability to hold back Father Time, and a will to win that is famous amongst his peers.
For all of those factors, Darling thinks that Scherzer is the most impactful gamer the Mets might have signed this winter season. His anticipated on-mound efficiency will be the greatest part of it, clearly, however the management intangibles connected with the 37-year-old right-hander might be extremely crucial also.
There are indicators that the chemistry in the Mets’ clubhouse was less than perfect last season, a minimum of according to club sources I’ve spoken to in current weeks. The end-of-season quotes from a couple of gamers stating they required to be pressed more; the Francisco Lindor–Jeff McNeil dust-up; and the thumbs-down rubbish all provide factor, in retrospection, to think the Mets required more powerful management.
As such it deserved keeping in mind that Scherzer talked honestly throughout his Zoom contact Wednesday about how a couple of brand-new gamers can alter culture in a clubhouse, practically as if he’d been warned that something wasn’t rather ideal with the Mets in 2021.
Darling, on the other hand, stated, “You hear a lot of stories, but it’s hard to assume clarity. Some of the stories seem to contradict what the players were saying all season, that they had a great culture in the clubhouse, so I’m not sure what to make of it.
“I can only go by what they were saying, but then you heard some of those quotes at the end of the season and it was like they came off what they’d been saying. Maybe they were determined to stick together… and then at the end they realized it wasn’t exactly what they thought it was.
“But to me none of that is as important as what they’re getting now with Scherzer. He makes everyone accountable by the way he works, the way he gets ready for games.”
To that point, Darling mentioned a first-hand example. Working the NLDS for TBS, he got to Dodger Stadium a couple of hours prior to Game 4, as normal, and began doing his preparation in the television cubicle when he observed Scherzer ranging from nasty pole to nasty pole in the outfield, the day after he’d taken a heartbreaker of a 1-0 loss, regardless of controling the Giants for 7 innings.
“So, I’m watching him run for awhile,” Darling remembered. “And then I go back to doing my pre-game work. And after awhile I look up and he’s still running. It seemed like he ran for an hour. I don’t know that for a fact, but it was long enough that at one point I remember thinking, ‘Damn, that freakin’ guy is still running?’
“That stuff is palpable on a ballclub, man. That works. He lost a 1-0 game, his team was down 2-1 in a five-game series, but he’s out there working like that because he believed he was going to pitch again.”
Scherzer did pitch once again because series 2 days later on, coming out of the bullpen in Game 5 to pitch the ninth inning and liquidate a one-run video game to win the series. Scherzer had actually done that kind of thing for the Nationals in 2019 to assist them win their champion, however this time it showed to be a little excessive.
He just pitched 4 1/3 innings in Game 2 of the NLCS versus the Braves, and after that couldn’t make his scheduled start in Game 6 since of arm tiredness. Perhaps it was an indication that Scherzer at 37 can’t be Superman any longer, and the Mets would be clever not to press him too hard.
For his part, nevertheless, Scherzer was bold on the topic throughout his Zoom call, firmly insisting the issue was that his arm wasn’t as built-up as regular for the additional work since the Dodgers had actually restricted his pitch counts to attempt and protect him for the postseason.
“They didn’t let me pitch enough,” Scherzer stated.
Whether that’s really real or not, it’s another factor that, as Darling kept in mind, “Everybody loves and respects the hell out of Max.”
With all of that in mind, not to discuss the cumulative state of euphoria Mets fans have actually remained in for the recently, Scherzer definitely appears worth the three-year, $130 million offer he signed.
Meanwhile, Darling states he can’t wait to see him group with Jacob deGrom at the top of the rotation, and keeps in mind that while the buzz will be “as only New York will have it,” he thinks the co-aces will prosper in the brand-new dynamic.
“DeGrom is one of the best at compartmentalizing what he does and how to get ready for that,” Darling stated. “It doesn’t matter if he plays for a team that wins 100 or loses 100, he makes sure his day to pitch is protected and taken care of. He does that better than anybody.
“And having Max around is going to help him in other ways. Just like Keith (Hernandez) used to banter with you guys, and Coney (David Cone) became that spokesperson type of guy with the Yankees, I could see Max taking that kind of role with the Mets and taking some heat off players who would prefer not to talk to the media.”
“Max just has that quality. He’s an incredibly intelligent ballplayer who’s put a lot of thought into a lot of things, and he’s going to be one of the main persons with the Players Association as they go through this lockout. You could make the argument that when you get to January, February, Max Scherzer is going to be as important as any player in the game.”
Yes, it was clear throughout Scherzer’s Zoom call that he is enthusiastic about the requirement for modification in the still-to-be-negotiated brand-new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is barely a surprise. His profession is evidence enough that he’s enthusiastic about whatever.
Or, as Darling recommended, even Brady-like.