Monday, March 1, 2010

If Omar Minaya Is Pryzbylewski...

Over at Baseball Analysts, they are doing a feature called Stakeholders wherein they interview someone affiliated with each Major League team and preview the upcoming season. Yesterday, Jeremy Greenhouse interviewed Pat Andriola from The Hardball Times about the Mets and led off with an awesome question. (Fair warning: If you haven't watched The Wire, you're probably not going to get much out of this post):
Jeremy Greenhouse: If Omar Minaya were a character from The Wire, who would he be?

Pat Andriola: I need a minute to think about this...You know who I think it is, it’s Pryzbylewski. Prezbo is clearly a guy, like Omar as a GM, who is thrown into a certain situation. Prezbo was in the police department where everything lines up for him to be there, but maybe it’s not the best situation for him. Like Prezbo was better off at school, maybe Minaya should be on the sidelines as a scout—head of scouting—because he gets a deer in the headlights look as GM. He makes some silly signings, like Prezbo shoots a cop accidentally. I think that’s it. That’s my on the spot answer.
Like the question, Pat's response is excellent, too. If you were feeling less charitable, you might pick Herc as Minaya's analog, but that might imply that he only got promoted to GM because caught Jeff Wilpon getting a blowjob on his desk.

Prez isn't a bad guy, but he clearly made some mistakes during his time as a cop. And some of those mistakes might have cost him much more dearly if he wasn't the son-in-law of Major Valcheck. Similarly, if Minaya was working for someone other than the Wilpons, he probably would have been sacked after the Luis Castillo deal (accidentally discharging his gun in the office) or re-singing Oliver Perez (beating up the kid who was leaning on the squad car in front of the high rises). Perhaps the part where he accidentally shoots a fellow cop is yet to come.

To continue this analogy a bit further, I think Brian Cashman's closest comparable in The Wire is Stringer Bell. Both are quiet and calculating and second in the chain of command - Cashman reports to the Steinbrenners and Stringer to Avon Barksdale. All Cashman is concerned about is winning and all Stringer cares about is making money, while their employers have different concerns (the Steinbrenners want to be profitable and Barksdale is obsessed with his name and reputation). Both are a few steps removed from where the rubber meets the road but still have a deep understanding of The Game. Each has a rabid customer base in fantastic market and runs the operation like a streamlined business even though their industry is filled with firms that don't.

For those who made it this far without having seen The Wire, or those in the process of re-watching it, check out the fantastic reviews that Alan Sepinwall wrote on his blog for seasons 1, 2, 4 & 5. I discovered Alan's work during my first time through Season 4 and reading his synopses increased my enjoyment and understanding of the series exponentially. I've since started from the beginning and am working my way through, checking his summaries after every episode. Highly recommended.

If you've got any clever baseball-to-The Wire analogies, feel free to drop them in the comments.


  1. Hank Steinbrenner - Ziggy Sobatka

  2. Excellent one, Anon.

    I've got Selig as Burrell, Marlo as Theo Epstein, and Scott Boras either Maury Levy, Omar or Clay Davis (although I can't take credit for coming up with the last one).

  3. Read the site everyday. Good stuff.

    By the way. Billy Beane - Carcetti.

  4. So are the Rays/Andrew Friedman = the boy Marlow? Does that make the Red Sox/Theo Prop Joe?

  5. Although he's not a current figure, you could make a solid case for Billy Martin as McNulty. Alcoholism was inextricably linked to their production at their chosen professions, fueled their work but also interfered with it. All McNulty wanted to do was solve murder cases and what made him good at (dogged investigative skills, unwillingness to back down) was also what pissed his bosses off. Martin was a great short term manager but the same fiery demeanor that enabled him to turn teams around so quickly also inevitably led to him getting booted a few years later.

  6. Steve - That would certainly work considering Marlo was the newest to the game and Prop Joe was from the East Side and a natural rival of the West Side Barksdales/Yanks.

    Andy - That's a great one, man. Certainly a similar dynamic with the booze/work relationship and their short term success.

  7. alright...i got it.

    lester=bernie williams.

  8. Manny Ramirez - Cheese.