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Baseball / Ross Newhan : Sutton Airs Displeasure With Met Arrogance

November 20, 1986|ROSS NEWHAN

The New York Mets' victory over the Boston Red Sox in the World Series seemed to displease Don Sutton almost as much as had the Red Sox's victory over the Angels in the American League playoffs.

Sutton was talking about it over breakfast the other day.

"I really didn't want the Mets to win," he said. "They project themselves, and the key word is project, as arrogant asses, and (Manager) Davey Johnson did nothing to change my mind when the first thing he said when they handed him the trophy was: 'Thank you, sir. We won 110 games, this is right where we deserve to be.'

"I have a little trouble with that. There may be times I come off like that, though I don't think I do. I mean, it's all right to think like that, just don't spray it on the rest of the world. I think you can read your own clippings to the point where you start believing what everyone is writing. I think that happens a lot."

Sutton's views span 22 years of major league experience and 310 wins. He is not the first to accuse the Mets of arrogance.

Asked if most winning teams aren't perceived in that light, he said: "I don't think the Baltimore Orioles were when they were winning every year. I don't think Boston was this year. I believe consistently good teams don't have to say, 'We win because we're good and we lost because you're lucky.'

"But I think that's the image the Mets project. If they got beat it was because the umpire made a bad call or the Cubs were lucky. They never got beat. I never heard them say they got beat. Eighteen to nothing? 'Hey, they just caught us on a bad day.' Yeah, it was Monday.

"If you get beat, you get beat. If you win, you win and move on. Nobody's infallible, but I think they sounded that way."

Sutton II: In the wake of his 15-11 regular season and the failure of the Angels to wrap up the playoffs in five games, Sutton, 41, had tears in his eyes as he stood in the Angels' clubhouse at Fenway Park after the climactic seventh game and said:

"At my age I have to realistically wonder if I'll ever get this close again. I'm sure there are guys in this room who are saying, 'Hey, we had a great year, we came close, you can't take away 92 wins,' but right now I can't deal with that. I see nothing positive in it."

Sutton was asked if he still carries scars. He shook his head and said: "I think we basically got what we earned, which may not make a lot of people happy to hear but is the truth.

"We had 'em put away but let 'em up. They didn't beat us, we lost to them. It may be semantics but that's how I feel about it. We had it on ice and let it get away. So I didn't enjoy it and still don't like it. But there's nothing I can do about it now except prepare to do it again."

Viewpoint: In the Most Valuable Player debate between pitcher and everyday player, the vote should generally go to the everyday player. This year, however, Don Mattingly's brilliant season was a justifiable second to Roger Clemens' 24-4.

Consider that:

--Clemens won 14 straight games at the start of the season, when the Red Sox opened their lead in the American League East, baseball's toughest division.

--He won 14 games after the Red Sox had lost.

--He was 20 games over .500 on a staff whose other four starters were a total of seven over.

--He was consistent throughout, fashioning an earned-run average of 2.98 before the All-Star break and after.

Where's Reggie? Angel General Manager Mike Port said Wednesday that he has left messages in a variety of cities in an attempt to arrange a meeting with Reggie Jackson so that, "We could discuss things to whatever end."

Port refused, however, to disclose the end he has in mind. The Angels have said they are attempting to re-sign free agents Bob Boone, Doug DeCinces and Brian Downing, but Jackson's status has been left uncertain.

It was surmised during the course of a season in which Jackson seemed to burn his bridges that he would not be back. Jackson's agent, Gary Walker, still does not expect him to be back.

"I'd be surprised if the meeting is anything more than a courtesy," Walker said from his Arizona office. "I'd be surprised if Reggie winds up being an Angel."

He added that Jackson was in Las Vegas on business and said he didn't sense any urgency in Port's desire to have a meeting.

"I'm used to dealing with Buzzie (Bavasi), who was almost always accessible," Walker said. "It's a major endeavor to arrange a meeting or even a phone call with Mike.

"I still believe the Angels would love it if Reggie would hook on with someone and go away with a smile."

In the second winter of the owners' free agent freeze-out, Walker said the lack of action makes him think that "everyone in baseball is on hiatus." He has heard enough, however, to believe there is genuine interest in Jackson. He refused to identify the interested clubs, but the Oakland A's are known to lead the list.

The A's reportedly are holding off on a decision regarding their own free-agent designated hitter, Dave Kingman, until the Angels make a decision on Jackson.

The A's, host team for the 1987 All-Star game, would like to build a marketing campaign around that and Jackson's final season.

They are also reportedly interested in another architect of their championship teams of the early '70s--San Francisco free agent Vida Blue.

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