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New York Mets Should Use Kangaroo Court

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 16:  Johan Santana #57 of the New York Mets pitches to the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on May 16, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  The Mets won 9-6.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Kevin McCarthyContributor IJune 3, 2009

If there is one thing the Mets can learn from the Yankees, it should be this: They need to bring back the Kangaroo Court.

CC Sabathia said he doesn’t remember being on a team that doesn’t use the court, and I have suspicions that the Mets don’t even know what it is. The old Mets teams used to do it, and assuming the current Mets do not use the kangaroo court system, it needs to be brought back.

For those who aren’t familiar with what the kangaroo court is, here is a quick explanation from Drew Olson of OnMilwaukee.com:

“You really don’t see kangaroo court any more these days,” Brewers first base coach Dave Nelson said before a recent game. “You know where you see it? At fantasy camp. I did a fantasy camp a few years ago and we did one. That’s about the only place you see it now.”

According to Dictionary.com, the phrase “kangaroo court” has two definitions:

1. A mock court set up in violation of established legal procedure.

2. A court characterized by dishonesty or incompetence.

When it comes to baseball, those definitions are accurate and almost interchangeable. Years ago, every clubhouse had a suggestion box on the wall with the words “court cases” (or a variation) scribbled on the outside. It was here that players would write up their teammates for transgressions that occurred both on and off the field. The Kangaroo Court would convene occasionally and the cases would be heard by the “judge,” who was often the player with the most seniority, the best sense of humor or a combination of the two — and a jury of veteran teammates who would levy fines. Money collected often would go to charity, a team party or both.

The cases ranged from on-field mental errors—throwing to the wrong base or failing to tag up on a fly ball or spitting tobacco juice on one’s jersey—to off-field things like wearing a questionable suit, eating while naked in the clubhouse, spilling a drink on the plane or just about anything else.

 

Why institute the Kangaroo Court? There are many reasons that would help the Mets in a multitude of ways.

First off, it brings a team together. The Yankees had a great time during it, and with all the new faces that continually shuffle in an out of this injury-plagued team, wouldn’t it be a great way to get to know everyone? Spring Training only comes around once a year.

I’m sure Fernando Martinez may feel out of place a bit. What about Ramon Martinez? Wilson Valdez? It’s a great ice breaker that they could have fun doing.

More importantly, however, it makes people explain to the whole team what happened when they made a mental error. Imagine having Fernando Martinez in front of the whole team explaining why he didn’t run to first? Carlos Beltran, why didn’t you slide? Johan Santana, why did you walk the pitcher two times in one game? David Wright, how come you didn’t move the runner over? Jose Reyes, why why did you make the first out at third base?

I’d love to see one of the players be the judge, like Mariano Rivera was for the Yankees.

The Honorable Judge Santana

The Honorable Judge Santana

Somehow the Mets would screw this up, however, and put Jerry Manuel in as judge. Who would be a good choice? It has to be Johan Santana.

The ace fears no one and would be a great guy to dish out the punishments. Sorry Carlos Delgado, not only are you injured, but frankly, you would be a terrible judge. Jose Reyes may be the longest tenured Met, but could the judge realistically be a guy who has the most infractions? David Wright? I’m not sure if he could handle that.

Alex Cora could collect all the infractions during the month. I’d like to see the jury consist of the following: Carlos Beltran, J.J. Putz, David Wright, and John Maine. Mike Pelfrey could be the bailiff.

With all the bad stuff happening to the Mets, it is still important to have fun. This would be a great way for the team to acknowledge mistakes, make fun of each other, and relax. Would it be taking a page out of the Yankees book? It can be perceived that way. However, it would a great way for this team to really come together, and more seriously, stop those stupid mental mistakes.

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