Monday, December 29, 2008

Mets Lifer, Volume 1: Collapse

This Christmas I had the idea that I wanted to give my dad, who's a big fan of Mets Lifer, something blog/Mets related. The result of that idea is a book version of Mets Lifer that covers all the posts of the 2007 season and is aptly titled Mets Lifer, Volume 1: Collapse.

As I was compiling the posts for print I found it surprising and enlightening to review what took place over the 2007 season because some events and some feelings that were captured in those posts surprised me as a I look at them with the past season in perspective.

One of the biggest surprises was how intense Luis Castillo played those last two months of the 2007 season when others were not pulling their weight. To no surprise the bullpen was just as atrocious in '07 as they were in '08.

Right now I'm compiling the posts of the 2008 season to create another book which will be titled, Mets Lifer, Volume 2: Deja Vu. I've found the reliving of the past two seasons has been somewhat therapeautic and it gives me hope for 2009. However, I felt the same way after 2007 so I guess we never know until September ends.

For more details on Mets Lifer, Volume 1: Collapse or to buy a copy, click here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Club Mets Offer

For 2009 the Mets are starting what they're calling "Club Mets." No it has nothing to do with vacations in the Carribean, but it doesn offer Mets fans access to some deals and benefits.

It's $19.95 for the year and gets you access to MLB.com's Gameday Audio as well as some additional discounts and promotions. The MLB Gameday Audio alone is worth the price and if you take advantage of one of the other deals they offer it might be worth it.

For more info, visit Mets.com.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2008 Met of the Year Tournament

You have to go over to The 'Ropolitans and check out the Met of the Year tournament that has been put together. This NCAA tourney style contest pits Mets players against each other to determine who the Met of the Year for 2008 really is. It's all based on fan voting and it's a creative and great way to decide who the award winner should be.

I think it will come down to Santana vs. Wright, but several first round matchups have Blowenweiss vs. Luis Castillo (do I have to pick one?), Heilman vs Tatis (choke vs clutch?), and Beltran vs. Vargas (that's not even fair).

Click here to check out the 2008 Met of the Year tournament.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Homegrown vs. Acquired Talent

There's an interesting debate going on over at Sully Baseball. Sully is taking a look at the age old debate of homegrown talent vs. acquired talent for each MLB team. He's just compiled his list for the Mets and there are some interesting arguments to be made.

Sully does a great job of picking a starter and a reserve for each position while also building a starting rotation and bullpen for both the homegrown and acquired talent teams. Looking down the list of Mets homegrown talent I agree with the majority of his picks except for the fact that he has Buddy Harrelson starting at SS over Jose Reyes. And I would probably start Lenny Dykstra over Lee Mazilli in center.

What's impressive is if you look at the homegrown starting rotation and you see how unbelievable these pitchers were including the likes of Seaver, Gooden, Nolan Ryan, and Jerry Koosman.

Of course the acquired talent team looks pretty appetizing with Piazza at C, Hernandez at 1B, Beltran in center, with Cone, Leiter, & Darling in the rotation. Actually the acquired team is made up of more players that played well as a Met than the homegrown team.

You have to check out the full post and read through the entire list. You won't regret it and Sully uses his comedic background to add some nice satire and sarcasm to it.

See the full list by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mets Top 11 Prospects for 2009

Baseball Prospectus has released their list of the top 11 prospects within the Mets organization. I'll give you two guesses who's number 1 on the list. Here's a hint: it's not Pedro MARTINEZ.

So surprise, surpise. FMart is listed at #1. Jon Niese is #5. And two middle infielders are listed as #2 & #3. Kunz has dropped like a lead balloon down to #10. I've got to be honest that I haven't a clue about any of these guys except for Niese, Kunz and Martinez. I guess Daniel Murphy is no longer a prospect.

Visit Baseball Prospectus for the full rundown.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bullpen Cleansing

The Mets traded Scott Schoeneweis to the D’Backs for RHP Conor Robertson. Robertson was 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in nine games with Arizona this past season.

Scott Schoeneweis is gone. So is Heilman. So is Mota. So is Joe Smith. Call it a cleansing. Call it a purging. Call it a Christmas blessing.

The Mets bullpen will look nothing like the bullpen we had last year or the year before. It's about time.

I'm sure Conor Robertson isn't exactly Dennis Eckersley, but still I can't believe the Mets got someone to take Blowenweis.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blowenweis for Marquis? Am I Dreaming?

Jon Heyman of SI.com is reporting that there are talks going on between the Cubs and Mets for starting pitcher Jason Marquis.

Heyman feels the Mets should send reliever Scott Schoeneweis to the Cubs, who are offering to pay a portion of Marquis’s $9–million salary in 2009, after which he will be a free agent.

Sure that's what Heyman feels, but how do the Cubs feel about it? If they're willing to take Blowenweis straight up for Marquis, you gotta pull the trigger on that one.

I'll even drive Blowenweis all the way out to Chicago to seal the deal. Keep it up Omar. Bring us some more arms.

A Mets Lifer Christmas Wish List

K-Rod, Putz, and a very distant Aaron Heilman. Christmas appears to have arrived early this year for Mets Lifers. But like any good human being, we're never satisfied with what we have. Here's a Christmas Wish List from Mets Lifer:
  1. Sony Blu-Ray DVD player - The Dark Knight on Blu-Ray. Sick.
  2. Rafael Furcal - I'm dreaming of a white Christmas with Rafael Furcal at 2B. Do you really think he wants to play for the A's? Doesn't he know that guarantees that he'll be traded at the deadline in one of the next 2 seasons. A Reyes/Furcal tandem up the middle would be unreal. It might just be a dream, but hey, it's the holidays.
  3. Derek Lowe - The Yanks want him. The Sox might want him. The Phillies want him. We can't let the Phillies get him. If he's reasonably priced, the Mets should make a pitch for him. He eats up innings, usually is healthy, and has big game experience. If he's not available an affordable Jason Marquis will suffice.
  4. Flip Video HD Camera - Have you seen this thing? It's the size of a soda can, records HD video and is under $200. 
  5. A Traded Scott Blowenweiss - Addition by subtraction. Last year it was Guillermo Mota. This year it's Blowenweiss. Maybe Willie wants him in Milwaukee?
  6. An Omar Minaya Surprise - I'm not talking a Matt Wise type of surprise. I'm talking a John Maine surprise or Carlos Beltran surprise. Minaya has a knack for picking up players nobody wanted or nobody thought Minaya could get. Those types of deals have gotten the Mets Beltran, Maine & Oliver Perez. I have a feeling another one of those moves is in the works. Who doesn't love a little suprise for Christmas?

Two Putzes in One Trade

So long Mr. Heilman. Nice to see you go. The Mets jettisoned one Aaron Heilman yesterday along with a number of other players in a 12 player deal with the centerpiece being the Mets acquisition of JJ Putz.

According to the team press release, the Mets have acquired RHP J.J. Putz, RHP Sean Green, and OF Jeremy Reed from the Mariners in a three-team trade. Additionally the Mets have sent Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez, Jason Vargas, Mike Carp, Ezequiel Carrera and Maikel Cleto to the Mariners, while sending Joe Smith to the Indians.With Putz and K-Rod the Mets now have a duel closers and are starting to implement the very strategy we outlined here at Mets Lifer just a few days ago in this post.

It's great to see that Omar and the Mets are addressing the biggest issue first before doing anything else. We all know how desperate the team is to get some bullpen help, and they've arguable just gone out and gotten the best two relievers available. I'll be sad to see Endy Chavez go, but that's for purely sentimental reasons.

On a side note, the Mets now have possibly the two players with the worst names in all of baseball: Putz and Argenis.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Huge Improvement

The details need to be ironed out, but when all is said and done the Mets have reached a deal to sign Francisco Rodriguez as their new closer. The terms of the deal are evidently 3 years for $37 million.
The amazing thing is the Mets got the guy they wanted, at the price they wanted, and for the amount of years that they wanted. Wow. How things change in a matter of months. Remember when KRod was going to have a bidding war for him and the Mets were going to have to shell out whatever he demanded?

Omar got it done.

Whether you like this move or not, you cannot argue the fact that KRod is the best closer on the market. I guess you could argue otherwise, but the facts remain the same that he holds the record for most saves in a season, he's playoff tested (and approved), and he's just turning 27 years old in January.
A young, hard throwing, proven closer with a career ERA under 2.40 and 587 K's in 451 IP. What more could you ask for?

Ok, I could ask for more and I actually I'm going to right now, give the Rockies Heilman & Feliciano for Huston Street. Are these two guys really that valuable that we wouldn't ship them off in an instant? I'm done with Aaron Heilman experiment and right now the Mets have two lefty specialist in their pen with both Feliciano and Blowenweiss. Make the move and unload the dead weight.

The Mets need another arm or two in the bullpen and as our good friend from Bugs & Cranks, Brad Bortone, previously commented getting a guy like Jason Marquis for the rotation would be a nice addition.

But the important thing is we have a closer. That's step 1. Way to get it done before Christmas, Omar. Christmas came early.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Meet the K-Rod

The Mets had dinner in Vegas last night with Francisco Rodriguez. Details of the meeting are under lock and key, but the feeling is the Mets will make an offer to K-Rod this week.

Let the bargaining begin.

I still feel strongly that the Mets should sign K-Rod AND another closer. I think having a two-headed closer rotation would be a huge asset for the Mets. Whether they go get Fuentes, Hoffman, or Street, I don't care. Just give me to guys with a closer mentality to secure those 8th & 9th innings.

All I want for Christmas is a closer and the disposal of Luis Castillo. Please Santa, please.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Future of Bullpens

It's no secret that I think the Mets should sign K-Rod. I like him. He's young. He's a proven closer.

However, I've also come to think that the Mets should also sign/trade for a guy like Huston Street or Chad Cordero or even Trevor Hoffman in addition to K-Rod.

Here's why.

I think the closer position in baseball will experience the same change that the running back position is currently going through in the NFL. Previously, in the NFL you needed one marquee running back for your team to be successful. Think about it. You had Barry Sanders, Walter Payton in past decades. You have Clinton Portis, Tomlinson and Sean Alexander in more recent years.

But look at the position now. Now teams are finding success by have a core group of RBs (at least two) that can split carries and be inserted based on the situation that best suits their strengths. The NY Giants have proven this to be successful based on their Super Bowl Run last year and current winning streak this year by using a 3-headed running back tandem of Jacobs, Ward & Bradshaw with Jacobs being the central back.

Even Tomlinson is splitting carries with Sproles for the Chargers. Look at the Titans with LenDale White and Chris Johnson. Or the Jets with Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.

This is what I think is going to happen over the next several years with the closer position. You will no longer have one closer who carries the load for your team. Instead you'll have multiple relievers with closer-type mentalities and velocity who each bring a different advantage.

That's why the Mets should be looking at getting multiple closers. The old rule used to be that you can't bring in your closer until the 9th inning. But what if the heart of the order is up in the 8th inning of a tight game? Why not bring in K-Rod to pitch the 8th and then have a guy like Huston Street come in and close out the 9th?

This would allow managers to play the lefty vs. lefty/righty vs. righty game and throw some surprises at opposing teams as they can't be certain who will be coming in to pitch the 9th so they can't save that righty specialist pinch hitter because the Mets might wait and bring in the righty closer to pitch the 9th.

This new scenario would also cut down on some of the pressure of the closer and the mid-relievers as you're now asking your mid-relievers to just get you through the 6th & 7th and then your closers can take over the 8th & 9th.

No one has really tried it yet, and with the bullpen struggles the Mets have faced over the past two seasons I think it's time for the club to try something different because what we currently got ain't working.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Kruk Hates the Mets

As I was working off the stuffing and mashed potatoes, I came across this little nugget about John Kruk yapping his fat head off about none other than the NY Mets. "I know I'm supposed to be biased because I work for ESPN, said Kruk, "but I still hate the Mets."Huh? Why does it seem like everyone associated with Philadelphia is obsessed with talking about the Mets? It's downright comical how an entire city has such a gigantic inferiority complex. But I guess that happens when one teams' fan base outnumbers the others in their own ballpark.  

It should be noted that I actually like Kruk on BBTN, and he was after all, doing a good cause as you will read in the article. So kudos to him for that. 

And the Turkeys of the Year are...


While CNN honors the year in heroes, Sports Illustrated churned out their list for Turkeys of the Year. See who made it from out beloved Mets by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Things Mets Lifers Can Be Thankful For

It's that time of year when we reflect back on all that life has thrown at us, ignore the bad stuff, and focus on what we can be thankful for.

As a Mets Lifer, it's tough to be thankful for a team that pulled a stunt like the Mets did not once, but two years in a row. But still, here's a list of things Mets Lifers can be thankful for:

  1. David Wright & Jose Reyes - The future is still bright
  2. Daniel Murphy - The future is brighter yet...
  3. Tom Glavine is not on the Mets
  4. Willie Randolph is on the Brewers - Can you say more Guillermo Mota please?
  5. A brand new ballpark - Who cares what they name it? It's still going to look really nice.
  6. Last time the Mets collapsed the Giants won the Super Bowl! Deja vu?
  7. Moises Alou is guaranteed to not be on the disabled list this year
  8. Johan Santana - The ace you've always wanted
  9. At least we're not Cubs fans - I never believed in curses until this season
  10. The Mets have a shot at signing LeBron James in 2010 - Who needs Brooklyn? Queens, baby!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Surprise! Heilman Wants To Start

It's like daylight savings time. Every year around this time Aaron Heilman talks about being a starter. According to Newsday, Heilman spoke with Omar Minaya about his desire to be a starting pitcher.

Ok, I think it's time to grant Heilman his wish...let him be a starter on another team. Really it's a win-win situation. We'll improve our bullpen by getting rid of Heilman. Heilman will be happy because he'll get to be a starter for another team. The Mets fans across the country will rejoice as if a house just landed on the wicked witch of the West.

If a team is interested in Aaron Heilman, let them have him. He might be a young arm. He might even improve over time, but I seriously doubt it's going to happen in New York. What has Aaron Heilman shown us that warrants the Mets keeping him?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Is Bobby Jenks Worth Fernando Martinez?

Oh, the hot stove is heating up.

Today, Newsday had an article about the Mets interest in closers and cited that Omar Minaya is shying away from K-Rod and liking Bobby Jenks instead. Omar, you sly negotiator you. Is this a little ploy to get K-Rod's bid down to a more reasonable level?

I like Bobby Jenks and think he would be a worthwhile closer for the ballclub. The problem is Jenks requires a trade where K-Rod is a free agent. The word is that Jenks would cost a couple of young prospects, including Fernando Martinez.

So is Jenks worth giving up FMart? I don't think so.

With other options out there in free agency or that can be bought for less, I think the Mets are better off going for KRod or Fuentes in free agency than giving away FMart. Save him for when we need a really big deal, like trading for Matt Holliday in July 2009.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holliday is Still Attainable

I was shocked this past week when I heard about the Matt Holliday deal to the A's. The A's are in the middle of rebuilding their franchise, so it seemed odd to me that they would unload some of their young talent for a guy who won't be around for very long.

But that's the magic that is Billy Beane.

Beane knows that Holliday is the marqee piece of trade bait for the upcoming season. Come July 2009, every playoff team will be knocking on Beane's door to find out what Beane wants for this prized outfielder. In fact, I'm willing to bet that Beane already has the players in mind that he wants for Matt Holliday.

Do you honestly see the A's keeping Holliday long term? I don't. That's why the Mets still have a chance to get him. My thinking is that Beane would rather have FMart, Niese, and Daniel Murphy than the prospects he gave up to get Holliday.

I'm pleased that the Phillies didn't get Holliday. Can you imagine that lineup if they did? Talk about power, ouch.

So be prepared for some more Holliday talk floating around Citi Field well into the next season.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wright Just Fine with K-Rod or Fuentes

In an atricle from the Associated Press, on MLB.com, David Wright talks about the Mets' need for a 'facelift' and makes his pitch for K-Rod or Brian Fuentes to come to Queens.

Clearly, everyone, including Wright, knows what this organization needs to do. Priority #1 is getting a closer. Then you sure up the rest of the relief corp with Juan Cruz RHP from Arizona who throws gas, (71k's 52 innings) and Joe Biemel LHP, from the Dodgers, and you have yourself a formidable pen. Plus, dump the remaining posion and Wright has himself that facelift he referenced and Mets Lifers can rejoice - if for no other reason - in not having to watch Blowenweis or Heilman serve up anymore victories for opposing teams.

And so Friday, free agents are open for business. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what Omar is going to do.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Willie Randolph New Brewers Bench Coach, Guarantees More Guillermo Mota

Congratulations Willie Randolph on landing a new job. That Mets' paycheck was about to run out so it's good to see you out there pounding the pavement and submitting those resumes.

So you're the new bench coach for the Milwaukee Brewers. Way to go. You found the only team dumb enough to take Guillermo Mota off the Mets hands. But hey, he's your guy so this must be a perfect fit for you.

I'm pleased to see you back in baseball and I'm hopeful that you'll be influential in bringing Mota into every game the Brewers play against the Mets.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hot Stove Heating Up

It's that time of year again, Mets Lifers. The Hot stove is heating up and there is plenty of buzz in the air for the NY Mets. For a closer look, click on today's headlines in the local papers.

NY Post: MARKET LOOKS SET TO DELIVER RELIEF TO 'PEN

Daily News: Omar Minaya closing in on closers

Newsday: Mets trying to revamp the bullpen

NY Times: Dodgers Seem More Keen on Ramírez Than Mets



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Most Hilarious Comment from a Philadelphia Commenter

The Mets Lifer blog posts get feed to another site, BleacherReport.com, which is another sports community site for people to read and comment on a whole slew of sports blogs.

I literally fell out of my chair laughing when an apparent Philadelphia Phillies fan made a comment on my post regarding Jimmy Rollins' Secret Crush on the Mets. Here's the comment that was made on that post:

"...why would Rollins want to be on an inferior team over the last two seasons? Frontrunners, he called Phils fans mid-season. What bigger frontrunners are there than the Mets fans?"

Did you catch that last statement? Doesn't it make you giggle? I mean come on. Frontrunners? Are you serious?

Obviously this person has no clue when it comes to what being a Mets fan is all about and the sufferring, disappointment, and tears that come along with choosing this path for your life. I could see calling some Yankee fans, Boston Red Sox fans, Patriot fans, Spurs fans as frontrunners, but Mets fans?

I still laugh every time I read it. Hope you get a chuckle from it too. Oh to be a frontrunner...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Jimmy Rollins Secretly Wishes He Was on the Mets

Oh Jimmy. Yesterday, to start off the celebration of the Phillies first World Series in nearly 3 decades Jimmy Rollins stepped to the podium to talk about who? His great teammates? No. His coaches? Nope. The great fans of Philadelphia? No such thing. His mom and dad? Not even close.

Jimmy Rollins talked about Johan Santana and the Mets.

Really. You just won the World Series. You're going to Disney World and in your moment in the sun you talk about the Mets? Come on Jimmy.

I understand that the Phillies hate the Mets. I get the fact that the majority of the NL East despises the Mets. I'm totally ok with that. In fact, I kind of like it. But the fact that Jimmy Rollins can't get the Mets off his mind makes me think he has a little school boy desire to be on the Mets.

Think about it. What the first sign that a boy likes a girl? He picks on her. He makes fun of her. He teases her. But secretly that's the boy's way of showing he likes her. That's so Jimmy Rollins.

In any case, Rollins should enjoy his time on the top of the baseball mountain. Honestly the first thing I thought of when I heard Rollins statement was whether Santana would throw at his head the first time he faces him next season. You know all this hate and tension between these teams is going to explode at some point. We're going to see one of the Ray Knight type of brawls one of these years.

Probably sooner than later.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ugly Philly People

Ah, and so the taunting begins. Yes, Mets fans, as the sign being held by these 3 victims of the ugly stick says, deal with it. The Phillies are World Champs. I wonder if this means Citizens Bank Park will finally draw more Phils fans than Mets fans. 
I also wonder if the Mets' bullpen will get a share of the Phillies' post season earnings. You know, I mean, they were after all, a big part of Philly's success. 

Go Giants! 
 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Long, Deserved Headache Has Arrived

Guess what? Phillies won the World Series. Yes, the losingest franchise in all of sports has won the title. I caught the 9th inning last night and was just praying that Lidge would blow his first save in the World Series by giving up a 2-run home run and then immediately ball up into the fetal position on the mound as flashbacks of Albert Pujols rang through his head.

Didn't happen though.

As a Mets fan, can you even fathom a closer who doesn't blow a save the entire year? It's unfathomable. The crazy part is the Phillies only won the NL East by 2 games. The Mets blew 29 saves.

And so a long, deserved headache has arrived. We will now be subject to Philadelphia Phillie fans boasting about their team for another 365 days until a new champion is crowned. We will have to watch Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins puff out their chest and deem themselves as superior beings.

And you know what? They can.

The Phillies won games when they needed to. They never seem to get blown out and never seem to give up. Those are traits of a champion and things I'd like to see the Mets do more often.

So take an Advil, get some rest, and prepare for a long winter of Philly boasting. Omar is on the clock.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

2009 Potential Lineup - As of October 29, 2008

As the hot stove starts to heat up, every so often we'll post the Mets Lifer proposed starting lineup for the 2009 season. It will be interesting to see how this lineup changes and evolves as the winter months drag on and trades are made.

But as of October 29, 2008, with the current roster the Mets have in place, here's the Mets Lifer proposed starting lineup:
  1. Reyes, SS - duh
  2. Murphy, 2B - He hits better than Castillo and Easley. He can cover as much ground as Castillo. He can take 2 strikes as well as Castillo. So why not start him?
  3. Wright, 3B - make sense
  4. Beltran, CF - I like him at cleanup, but I can easily be convinced that he should bat 2nd.
  5. Delgado, 1B - See if he starts off as slow as last year before you move him down
  6. Church, RF - If he stays healthy, I'd love to see if he can start off the season like he did last year
  7. Tatis, LF - Comeback player of the year deserves a chance to prove he's not a one-hit wonder
  8. Schneider, C - There'll be a lot of talk about improving at catcher this offseason. Um, wasn't that what Minaya convinced us he was doing when he traded for Schneider last year?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Please Don't Be Creative

I love when baseball teams use unique phrases to describe their approach to things as a way to dance around the issue. Case in point, according the New York Post the Mets are going to be "creative" in their approach in finding a new closer for next season.

Hmmm. Why creative? Why not be sensible? Or logical? Or determined? Why creative?

Creative is a code word for "we're not ready to commit to spending a boat load of money on K-Rod." Which is really unfortunate. The last thing we want the Mets to be is creative. Let's use some logic and get some solid players to fill our holes. The Mets were creative when they traded for Luis Castillo. You could argue the Mets were creative when they signed Moises Alou to yet another year even though the man hadn't played a full season in what feels like a decade.

Do we really want Brian Fuentes to be our closer? Does anyone seriously think Brian Fuentes is truly an improvement? Well, I guess anything is an improvement over our current bullpen situation, but it's not like Brian Fuentes is a lights out solid option.

Whether you want K-Rod (like I do) or not, I think we can both agree that we don't want the Mets to be creative in fixing their bullpen problems. Let's use some scientific method in our approach and get reliable arms who have a proven track record of getting the job done.

You want to be creative? Go be an art director.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fernando Tatis: Comeback Player of the Year

Congratulations to Fernando Tatis for winning the Sporting News' Comeback Player of the Year Award as voted by the players. I think you'd be hard pressed to find a more surprising turnaround in any sport than the story of Fernando Tatis.

Tatis had Mets fans depressed when he got injured late in the season, and already has us talking about keeping him as our right-handed bat off the bench. These are thoughts that would have never crossed the minds of any Mets fan back in April.

I like Tatis for his hustle, his fearless hitting in the clutch, and for the fact that he generally appears to be one of baseball's good guys. Congrats to you Fernando. Well deserved.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Hunt for K-Rod

Bring me K-Rod to appease my anger. Bring me K-Rod and make me forget Scott Blowenweiss. Bring me K-Rod or I will have to suffer through yet another year of the BLOWpen.

According to ESPN radio, the Mets are arming themselves for negotiation battle for Francisco Rodriguez of the Angels. The soon to be 27-year old, all-time saves record holder is looking for a potential 5-year deal worth $15 million per year.

The Mets of course are saying they're not willing to meet those demands, but I guess that's the dance they have to play to get things started.

While getting K-Rod is not the only answer to the Mets problem, it does solve the most glaring, gaping hole in the Mets dugout. With 29 blown saves, the Mets only needed to cut that number to 27 or 28 to make the playoffs. I think K-Rod saved 29 games in April last year.

With Wagner pretty much done and Luis Ayala not looking like a solid answer, the Mets are in desperate need of a reliable closer. And the great thing about K-Rod is he's a young guy with a solid arm who appears not to have any issues with closing out games in clutch situations.

If the Mets get K-Rod, I'd be a happy man and I could then focus my anger on Luis Castillo.

The Phillies As Characters from Rocky

Our friends over at Bugs and Cranks have outdone themselves this time. In honor of the Phillies making the World Series, Rays writer, Dave, put together his list of Phillies that best fit various characters from the Rocky movies. Pat Burrell as Thunderlips is my personal favorite, although Cole Hamels as Mrs. Drago is pretty hilarious.

And I never realized just how much Shane Victorino and Rocky (from Rocky & Bullwinkle) look alike. It's actually quite creepy.

Head over to Bugs and Cranks to check out the full list or just click here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Keith Hernandez

Today marks Keith Hernandez's 55th birthday. Hernandez was the reason I wanted to play first base in little league and I told my parents I needed flip down glasses and a first baseman's glove just like Keith's.

After leaving the Mets, his appearance on Seinfeld made him more of a national pop icon than his Just for Men commercials, but I think it's safe to say that every Mets Lifer is pleased to have Keith in the broadcast booth and be involved in the Mets organization.

Happy Birthday Keith. Here's to hoping the Mets can pick up a player/leader like you in this offseason.

Did You Ever Think You'd Cheer for the Devil Rays?

They'll always be Devil Rays to me.

But no, I never thought I'd be seriously cheering for them. But I am now. The Rays finished off the Red Sox last night and are headed to their first every World Series appearance.

These are trying times for Mets Lifers. The stock market is plummeting, the housing crisis is everywhere, and the Phillies are on the verge of becoming world champions. Which is scarier? They're all so close in my mind.

I need Scott Kazmir, Evan Longoria and Cliff Floyd to put up some huge numbers against the Fightin' Phils. Can you imagine starting the 2009 season with the Phillies as defending champs? I shudder at the thought.

So break out your Rays t-shirts (do they even have such a thing?) and tune in to FOX on Wednesday night if only to pray that you can catch a glimpse of Shane Victorino striking out. This World Series is more important than I thought. It's coming together to fight for what is good in this world and to prevent evil from being victorious.

Go Rays!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Waiting for Mike Scioscia

Every Mets Lifer who can remember the 1988 NLCS cringes when they hear the name Mike Scioscia. His home run off the untouchable Doc Gooden sent the 1988 Mets into a tailspin and ultimately was the turning point for the Mets fortunes for years to come.

Now it's almost 20 years later, and I'm waiting for another Mike Scioscia moment. This time for the Phillies.

The fighting Phils are headed to the World Series. As much as I dislike them (especially Shane Victorino), they deserve to be there. They've played well and always seem to win when they need to.

But that said, I still would love to see them make it all the way to the World Series only to have their title hopes crushed by a modern day Mike Scioscia. Call it bitterness. Call it hate. Call it whatever you want. I gotta root for something.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What to do with Daniel Murphy?

Oh, Danny Boy. Daniel Murphy was one of the few bright spots for the Mets this past season. The kid plays hard-nosed baseball, shows patience at the plate and proved himself to be a serious student of the game. I think every Mets fan would agree that we are anxious to see what this kid can bring to the table in future years.

Or should we?

Murphy's stock is pretty high right now. Teams have seen what he can do and any rookie that can come into the league and bat over .300 for more than a month has to peak some interest from competing scouts. Do we sell high or wait for the stock to continue to go up?

That's a tough question.

The other side to the equation is that if the Mets keep Murphy where are they going to play him for the long term? He is a natural infielder and has played both third and second base. The Mets obviously have a need for a reliable second baseman so why wouldn't you play him there? But of course the Mets are interested in Orlando Hudson and if you get a veteran like that what do you do with Murphy?

You could continue to play him in left field, but I don't think anyone believes that Murphy will be a career corner outfielder. Also you may have heard of this kid called Fernando Martinez who is just waiting to take his spot in left field every day for the Mets for the next decade.

Some say that Murphy's future is at first base. I don't see it, but I could be talked into it. Do you trade Martinez as a blue chipper for some reliable pitching? Can Murphy get you a couple of young arms? Do you let Murphy platoon with Delgado next season when Murphy isn't playing left field?

There are so many different scenarios, but I think the best one is to let the kid play second base. Orlando Hudson is intriguing, but I have an odd feeling that he's got Luis Castillo potential. Think of an infield with Wright, Reyes and Murphy and you have a young core of players for the next 7 years that can start everyday and have the potential to hit .300 one through three in the batting order.

I think Murphy will turn out to be a poor man's John Olerud or Paul Moliter. I'd like to see the Mets hold onto him, but I was crazy about Carlos Gomez last year and got over that real quick when the name Santana came into play. If Murphy and a few prospects can get you a guy like Peavy or Oswalt, you may have to let him go.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Isn't a Baseball Season 162 Games?

If you've ever played basketball or if you are a basketball fan you know how a game can come down to the final shot. You make it you win. You miss it you lose. But the thing is every coach, player and true fan knows that you didn't lose the game because of that final shot. You lost the game because you shot 60% from the free throw line, or you had 10 turnovers, or you were down 15 in the first half and lucky enough to still be in it come the 4th quarter.

Sure you had a shot to win it, but it's the sum total of your efforts in the entire game that causes you to win or lose. Somehow, this concept is getting lost on Mets fans.

I've heard dozens of Mets fan talk to me about this year's debacle. The majority are demanding a major overhaul of the team and that drastic changes need to be made. Some are blaming Omar. Some are blaming the bullpen. Some are blaming the lack of clutch hitting. But the focus is all on the last week of the season.

I hate to break this to you, but baseball is a 162 game season. Sure there's a ton of focus on games down the stretch, but honestly a win in April is worth just as much as a win September. There's too much focus on the final week of the season. It was a horrible week and the Mets played poorly, but what if that week was in May? Would we still be talking about it?

If the Mets swapped the last week of the season for a week in June do you know what would have happened? The Mets would have still missed the playoffs. An extra win in July, August, April, May or whenever would have gotten the Mets in the playoffs so don't focus on the last week of the season.

You have to look at the issues effecting the team for the entire course of the season. Issue numero uno is the bullpen. I think we all know that. Issue number two is second base. The revolving door at second base and the proof that Luis Castillo does not have knees is a big problem. Issue number three, left field. Alou killed us. Angel Pagan was one of those unforeseeable successes that quickly got dashed by an improbable injury. Murphy and Evans performed admirably, but are we ready to put them in as every day players?

Beltran, Wright, Delgado & Reyes had fantastic years at the plate. I fully expect Delgado to decline this next year because he's getting older, but there isn't a dire need to revamp this entire squad. I can live with it if you don't sign Delgado and go get a really good, young first baseman, but it's not a necessity.

People talk about the leadership of Cliff Floyd and how the Mets are missing that type of presence. How many years did we win with Cliff Floyd? And the year we made it to the playoffs with Floyd he didn't even play half the games because he was injured. So don't talk to me about how invaluable Cliff Floyd was. The Rays are doing great, but don't try and sell me the fact that it's because of Cliff Floyd's clubhouse presence that they were able to turn the corner. Please, spare me.

Could the Mets use a solid, scrappy veteran? Absolutely. Do they need to overhaul the entire team to do so? Absolutely not.

It's a 162 game season folks. The Mets were under .500 when Willie was fired. If they played 2 games above .500 during that stretch we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Let the CC Sabathia Debate Begin

Now that the Brewers are officially out of the playoffs, it's time to officially begin speculation on where the top pitcher in the free agent market will land.

CC (stands for Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger) Sabathia is looking for Santana-type money, but may be willing to accept a 5 year deal. Rumored teams of interesting include the Mets, Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants. Sabathia is a West Coast guy and he likes to swing the bat so to me the Dodgers appear to be the front runners.

I'm actually against the Mets going after Sabathia for a couple of reasons. First he's out of shape. Look at Santana compared to Sabathia. Santana is an athlete. Sabathia is your uncle with a fastball.

Second reason is he's just dying to get hurt. The Brewers were smart and used Sabathia for as long as they could. Combine his weight with his inning pitched last year and you've got a guy who's just waiting for a trip to the DL.

Third, I'm not sold he's a top notch pitcher. Don't get me wrong. Sabathia is a great starter and would be an asset to any team, but let me ask you, would you rather have Sabathia or Roy Halladay? What about Sabathia vs. Roy Oswalt? Or Scott Kazmir? Or Josh Beckett? Or Brandon Webb? Or Dan Haren? Or Tim Lincecum? Or Carlos Zambrano?

I think I'd rather have one of the guys listed above before Sabathia if they were available.

Sabathia had an amazing year and is worthy of a new contract. He'll be a tier 1 pitcher for pretty much any team he joins, but if we're looking at the long term here I'm not confident Sabathia can maintain his current performance over a 5 year span.

Unless Mike Golic gets him on Nutri-System. Then that's another story.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Century of Disappointment

Think you're feeling down as a Mets fan because we didn't make the playoffs for a second straight year? Cheer up! At least you're not a Cubs fan.
A team that looked as if they were guaranteed a spot in the World Series ran into Manny and the boys from L.A. and got swept. It's bad enough that they lost, but to lose twice in your own building and then get swept is just devastating.

That makes it over 100 years since the Cubs have won the World Series. The Mets last won in 1986 which seems like eons ago, but that's nothing compared to a century's worth of coming up short.

I feel for you Cubs fans. I just wouldn't want to be you.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Everybody Loves Jerry

After the shortest and most inexplicable holdout we've seen, Jerry Manuel (a.k.a American Gangsta) agreed to a 2-year deal with the Mets on Friday.

I'm glad to see Jerry Manuel be given the chance to manage the team for a full year, and to have the ability to make his own player decision from the get-go. I also like the fact that the Mets did this right away. No waiting around letting the rumor mill churn with thoughts of Bobby Valentine or letting idiots scream for Buck Schowalter. They completed their first order of business and can now focus on fixing their bullpen.

Manuel has the respect of the current players and many of them have spoken out about how much they enjoy playing for him. I think he's the one guy who can handle the constant questions and comparisons to the collapse as the Mets look forward to 2009. He's got the temperment and the intelligence to handle it.

Glad to have you back Jerry. Now let's hope Omar can make some other deals happen to improve this club like signing K-Rod. Now that'd be gangsta.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Will You Be Watching the MLB Playoffs?

Right now, I'm done with baseball. The anxiety and effort that it took watching the Mets these last few weeks has me drained. I need a baseball vacation.

I did, however, listen the 9th inning of the Brewers/Phillies game yesterday on the way home from work. I was just waiting for Lidge to blow his first game of the year in the playoffs, but alas it was not to be.

I'm getting caught up with some TV viewing (the new show "Fringe" is quite good), relaxing a bit, and focusing on football (Giants 3-0!).

I might find myself flipping the channel to check out the World Series, but for now I'm done watching baseball. Call me jaded. Call me an unappreciative baseball fan. Call me whatever. For now, I need a break.

How about you?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hall of Famers


Other than a World Series celebration, this is possibly the most fitting way to close Shea Stadium. Cheers to placidian for the great shot.

Favorite Shea Memory: My First Foul Ball

I've been to some great games at Shea. From last week's comeback against the Cubs in the rain, to the clinching game in 2006 to the game where Daryl knocked the lights out in the scoreboard, I've enjoyed some memorable moments at Shea.

But one moment at Shea will always stick out in my mind. It's the day I got my first foul ball.

It was a Saturday afternoon game with a 1 pm start and was one of those gorgeous days in May where it was cool enough in the shade and comfortable in the sun. I was 9 years old and my friend Gary and I were headed to Shea with my parents to see the Cardinals and Mets play back in 1987. Gary was a Pirates fan, but he was willing to see the Mets play the hated Cardinals at that time. Both Gary & I brought our baseball gloves to the game, had our baseball hats on and were psyched about the snacks my mom was packing for the game (mmmm, Twizzlers).

My dad got us seats in the lower level about 20+ rows from the first baseline. They were great seats and I always love sitting along the first base side. The view just seems to be better from there. In any case we got to the game early to watch batting practice and enjoy the day.

The four of us were sitting all in one row when a woman approached us and said my mom was sitting in her seat. We checked our tickets and sure enough my dad didn't buy 4 seats sitting together. One of the tickets was for a seat in the row directly in front of us.

Since the woman was by herself, my parents asked if she would mind sitting in the seat that was in the row in front of us so that we could all sit together. This crazy lady wouldn't have it. She put up a stink and demanded that she sit in the seat she paid for. So my mom got up and sat by herself next to some other folks in the row directly in front of us. Mom wasn't pleased, but she wasn't going to let some annoying woman ruin the game.

The Mets got behind early (surprise) and in the 4th or 5th inning Kevin McReynolds stepped up to the plate and fouled off a pitch. Amazingly the foul ball was headed right toward us. I felt this sense of excitement and fright as this ball appeared to be heading right towards me. My dad, Gary and I stood up and anticipated the ball's arrival.

At the last moment the ball appeared to be tailing off to the right of me and I stretched my glove as far as I could but the ball was just out of my reach. I heard this loud smack as the ball hit the hand of a man about 2 seats to the right of me. The ball fell to the ground and there was a scramble as folks in the area all looked for the foul ball.

While this was happening, my mom also saw the foul ball coming our way, but reacted in the exact opposite way of everyone else. She ducked down, covered her head and was bracing for impact.

As the crowd scoured for the ball, lo and behold, my mom removes her hands from covering her head, turns around, and hands me the foul ball. The ball ricocheted off the man's hands to the right of me, rolled around on the ground, and plopped down right at her feet. While mom was tucking her head inbetween her knees, the ball rolled right to her.

I was stunned that there was my mom, holding a foul ball, and it was mine to have. I grabbed the ball and began waving it around and showing it off in total amazement. Meanwhile, the pain in the neck woman who had refused to switch seats with us turned to me and said, "Oh. I guess if I had switched seats, I would have gotten it."

I desperately wanted to start a little dance of joy in her face with my tongue sticking out and sticking my nose up, but I resisted. I was very mature for a 9 year old.

The Mets ended up losing that game, but it didn't matter. I had my first foul ball and a memorable story to tell about it. And how many kids can say that their mom caught a foul ball?

Naming Names

It's the third day since the end of the Mets season and I'm already hearing people talk definitively about what deals are being made in the offseason. Wow. People are naming names earlier this year than ever before, which leads me to believe that somehow in some way Scott Boras is behind this.

I've heard Manny Ramirez, CC Sabathia, K-Rod, Eric Byrnes, Orlando Hudson, and Derrick Lowe all linked to the Mets in the last 48 hours. And this is not hearsay from bloggers or water cooler chat. This is from online and offline media. It's crazy.

Right now any names linked to the Mets are guaranteed to be wrong. Remember last October when A-Rod was all the rage? See how that worked out. Then there was the talk about the Mets farm system being too weak to make a deal for Santana. Strike 2.

And then last fall there was the ridiculous idea that the Mets would sign Luis Castillo to a multi-year deal. Oh wait. . .

In any case, don't believe the hype. Don't pay attention to names at this point, or at least don't take them seriously. If you want to dream about Roy Halladay in a Mets uniform, please do so. If you want to envision Manny as a Met, knock yourself out, but don't take it as gospel for a second.

It's way too early. The only names that you can guarantee will be Mets next season are Wright, Reyes, Santana & Beltran. That's right, I said Beltran.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Being a Mets Lifer

I've heard more people remark today than ever before how glad they are that they aren't a Mets fan. Now today is not the optimal day to be one, and the scars from the past two seasons will not quickly heal. But aren't there worse things to be?

You could be a Pirates fan, a Rangers fan, a Royals fan, an Orioles fan, a Nationals fan (if there is such a thing) or a Mariners fan and have no hope of contending in the next decade.

You could be a Braves fan, an A's fan, a Giants fan, or a Padres fan and see that your team was once a power and is now in a rebuilding cycle that could take several seasons.

You could be a Cubs fan and not have won anything in the last century. You could be a Phillies fan and be a fan of the most losingest franchise in all of sports. You could be a Yankees fan and finally realize that money can't solve all your problems. You could be a Cardinals fan and realize that having the best player in baseball doesn't guarantee you a spot in the playoffs every year.

You could be an Astros fan and realize that Miguel Tejada isn't the player he used to be. You could be a Blue Jays fan and realize no matter how hard you try Halladay can't pitch every day.

Each team's fan base has its pros and cons. It just seems that the Mets fan base has had more to suffer through and in more dramatic fashion that any other team of late. And that might be true, but if you're a Mets Lifer this is nothing new.

Highs and lows are our specialty. We've had the high of 1986 only to be followed by the demise of Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry in the years to follow. We had the hope of Generation K followed by the reality that they just weren't that good. We signed big name players like Frank Viola, Brett Saberhagen, Roberto Alomar, Bobby Bonilla, Mo Vaugh, Jeromy Burnitz, and the list goes on, only to see that they were not the players they once were.

We had an MVP season from Kevin McReynolds only to find out that he could really care less. We traded Lenny Dysktra for Juan Samuel only to have Dykstra become the NL MVP.

The list continues, but we remained faithful. Isn't that what a Mets Lifer is all about?

I bet you can name at least 5 people that started calling themselves "Yankee fans" around 1996. I can think of at least ten. And I bet you know at least 2 or 3 people who have become Red Sox fans starting around 2004. Now how many Mets fans do you know that are fair weather fans? That's right, you don't know any. Why? Because to be a Mets Lifer, you're in this for the long haul. A losing season, an utter and total collapse followed by another collapse isn't enough to sway your loyalty. You're invested in this team through thick and thin.

Sure we'll take our lumps this week and for the next few weeks. The word "collapse" will be used again and again as we approach the new season, but in a few months something is going to happen. You're going to be back. You'll be looking at tickets to Citi Field. You'll be playing general manager. You'll start adjusting the lineup card. You'll start yelling at Mike Francesa when he talks about trading Jose Reyes.

It's a vicious cycle folks. I speak from experience. It's what a Mets Lifer does. It's a badge of honor some days, it's a burden on other days. But it's what we are so come to grips with it.

Blown Opportunity for Shea

from guest blogger, Siroty:

The Mets opened Shea Stadium known as the “loveable losers.” As a Mets Lifer, today I only put quotes around “losers.” Not because of the way the season ended. We could have predicted the bullpen would blow it. The Mets are “losers” because of the way they planned and carried off one of the worst ceremonies in the history of sports.

Love or hate Shea, it is a place where many of us first saw Major League Baseball. We remember driving in, passing Yankee Stadium, inching in traffic past LaGuardia knowing Shea would suddenly appear with its blue and orange squares or “The Magic is Back” banner visible from afar. As kids, we practically pulled our parents up the ramps so that we could see that burst of green and the scoreboard first visible from the concourse. And if you were lucky enough, you got to go to batting helmet day. Wow!

For me, I saw Tom’s Seaver near no-hitter. I still hate Leron Lee! I tried to change my birthday by a day so I could share Bud Harrelson’s birthday of June 6. I proudly wore my Tom Seaver jersey and my camp nickname was “Seaver.” Those were the seeds of memories. Then in adulthood we enjoyed more games, both live and in person, and we learned more about the game, the players, coaches, announcers. Shea became part of us and for some of us we were able to share this passion with our our kids.

So how the Mets close our memories. Like “Losers!” If you were to plan an event just days after Yankee Stadium closed, wouldn’t you bust your butt to have your ceremony come close to it? You couldn’t match the names or the events of Yankee Stadium, but you could sure try on the presentation.

So what do the Mets do to close their stadium?
  1. Hold it after the final blown game, 30 minutes after Gary Cohen was forced to “throw it” from the press box to Maz in the parking lot! Classy! Maz was THE Mets. It’s like Michael Kay “throwing it” to Roy White at the Yankee Stadium bat. Not in a million years. And that is not even bashing the Mets for holding the ceremony after the game. Duke basketball holds Senior Day after their last home game. Maybe Coach K is a special assistant to the owners.
  2. Then, from Maz in the parking lot, its back to Howie Rose who apparently is NOT ON THE FIELD. Who planned this?
  3. Then, with the field lined with police and security and have seemingly hundreds milling about home plate, Howie starts by introducing longtime employees, Tommie Agee’s family, Bob Murphy’s wife and Ralph Kiner. Nice start. Except the event planners have them walk from behind home plate, along the stands behind all of the people milling about behind home plates to a chair in front of the Mets dugout. Invisible. Oh, the love of being a Mets VIP!
  4. Now here come the players. First those who couldn’t be here. OK. But where was Ray Knight and how could he not be there? Bobby Valentine? How about those who passed away? We couldn’t have spared a moment of silence for those Mets?
  5. Then the players we all have memories of. Howie introduces them with a short and eloquent into and they come in from either bullpen and disappear behind the wall of cops. Why not have them walk straight from the outfield to their designated position along the infield so we could really see them, cheer them one last time and let the memories flood our minds. Must have been because the outfield was reserved for cardboard displays no one could see. Who planned this?
  6. The jerseys for each era was a nice touch, but did anyone ask for measurements of chest and waist sizes and then maybe add an inch or two. To say some of the jerseys were ill-fitting was an understatement. Who planned this?
  7. Then they made Howie rush through the intros. My goodness, Mets heroes at Shea for one final time and all we can get is a minute or two of cheers? “Welcome Back Doc Gooden!” OK. Now onto the next guy. Drugs or no drugs, I have the right to fondly remember those days of Ks. This was MY stadium. MY memories. Why the rush? Who planned this?
  8. Then let’s have each player touch home plate. Nice touch. Except couldn’t the organizers have allowed Howie to introduce each player again as he moved to the plate? One last ovation. And what about the pitchers? Guess Shea didn’t have a mound! And where did all of the players go after touching home plate?
  9. Piazza and Seaver leaving together was AWESOME. Couldn’t the other players gone out that same way before the final two to a thunderous ovation with Seaver and Piazza last?
And if you didn’t think the ceremony was important, ask Hernandez and Darling. They were caught up in the same emotion we all were. Like the place, hate the place. It’s our Shea. Our memories. The Mets failed miserably.

Stay or Go?

It's time to play everyone's favorite Mets game: Stay or Go? It's simple really. You determine which player should stay and which player should go. Don't worry about contracts, free agency, etc. It's a blood-letting day so just go with whatever that angry voice inside your head is thinking.

Here we go:
Wright - stay
Reyes - stay
Beltran - stay
Santana - are you kidding me? stay
Maine - stay
Delgado - not sure yet, for now stay
Perez - hmmm, stay for now
Schneider - stay
Church - stay for now
Murphy - love this kid, stay
Pedro - go
Heilman - hahahahaha, go. Go now.
Schoeneweis - see above
Argenis Reyes - stay
Ramon Martinez - I guess you have to give him another shot. stay.
Pelfrey - stay
Castro - stay
Castillo - I'll drive him to the airport. Go.
Feliciano - go
Sanchez - go, right now
Parnell - stay
Stokes - stay
Ayala - bye bye
Evans - back to the minors, go
Tatis - tough one, stay for now
Chavez - as bad as he is at the plate, he's vital in the field. Stay.
Jerry Manuel - for his press conferences alone, stay.
Luis Aguayo - this dude's a serious liability, go.
Marlon Anderson - please retire, go.
Jon Niese - stay
Brandon Knight - go
Nelson Figueroa - go
Omar Minaya - if you get K-Rod, you can stay
Easley - tough luck kid, go
Angel Pagan - who?

Don't Lose Sight of the Problem

Yes, the Mets offense is less than clutch. Yes, the Mets have had their share of starting pitching issues. However, let's not lose sight of the real problem: the bullpen.

You can pick 1 of 29 games this year that the bullpen blew and say "If we just won that one game, things would have been different." And you know what? You'd be right.

The Mets inability to score runs this past week will take center stage on talk radio and TV, but the point is that the Mets bullpen blew 29 saves this year. That's right 29. All it would have taken is for two of those opportunities not to have been blown and you're talking about an entirely different season.

Schoeneweiss? Gone. Feliciano? Hasta la vista. Heilman? Adios. Sanchez? What time's your flight? Ayala? Nice to know ya.

I keep Parnell, Stokes and even Smith because they're young guys who have a chance to improve. Then I go out and rebuild that bullpen.

The real key is getting a closer this offseason. I pronounce Monday, September 29th the official Go Get K-Rod day. If the Mets don't get K-Rod, Omar Minaya's contract should be ripped up. Anyone who says the Mets should not pay K-Rod whatever he wants deserves to be taken out back and beaten. Why?

Look at what Santana did this weekend, forget that, what he did all season. He's a gamer and he's worth the money. K-Rod has 60+ saves this year. That's right. 60+ saves. You want to tell me that's not what the Mets need? You crazy.

So ignore the talk about the Mets needed to shake up the "core players." Turn a deaf ear to talk of trading Beltran or getting rid of Reyes. Those are the idiots talking. It's bullpen, bullpen, bullpen.

Bring me K-Rod.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Long September

And it's easy to believe, maybe next year will be better than the last. Or maybe not. Goodbye Shea. It's a shame you had to go like this.

Unparalleled Anxiety

So I'm headed to the game today and I am as nervous as I have ever been as a fan. The butterflies are already floating around but I am fired up. This is what we live for. 

I can remember being at that game in '99 against the Pirates, when we were in the exact same situation today. The place was jacked up, anticipating our first playoff appearance in 11 seasons. Sure enough, we won 1-0 on a wild pitch, and we beat the Reds the next night in a one game playoff. 

But today, my anxiety is at an all time high simply because of all the pressure this team is under. Plus, this has been the most grueling season I have ever experienced. The ups and down, big wins and brutal losses, the injuries, down by 7 1/2 games, up by 3 1/2 in September, it's been one heck of a ride and it all comes down to today (and maybe tomorrow but first things first). All I know is that Shea will be rocking today and my wife and I will be right there with all of those crazed Lifers. 

Say your prayers, cross your fingers and May the Force be With Us! 

Superman Returns

Did you have any doubt that Johan Santana would come through? Nope, me neither. He's our Superman. He's Mr. Clutch. He's Mr. Dominant. And he's worth every penny.

I will say that last pitch to Cody Ross made my heart stop beating for about 2 seconds, but good ol' Endy Chavez was there for the catch.

So today it's Oliver Perez. He stepped up in Game 7 of the NLCS and I expect him to do the same today. The Mets have to win because Cheeseburger Cheeseburger Sabathia is pitching for the Brew crew which is a guaranteed win.

Let's Go Mets!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

At Least Santana is a Competitor

Everyone's talking about Johan Santana pitching on 3 days rest, and how this can be a risky move since he just came off a 125 pitch game. I'm sorry, but has anyone been watching these losers? Of course he has to pitch, and of course he was the one who demanded to take the ball. Why? Because he has guts. He has heart. Because he competes, which is more than I could say about the other guys on this team. I'm not even sure how he's going to do today, but I do know one thing: He is not going to whimp out like the rest of these little girls have. At least when I watch the game today, I'll be watching someone I can actually be proud of.

This Team Makes Me Appreciate Mike Piazza

Last night when they revealed the top 3 moments in Shea Stadium history, I found myself caught up in the moment when they showed Mike Piazza's inspiring home run back in September of 2001.

Later on Piazza joined Gary, Keith, and Ron in the booth to talk baseball and Shea memories when Keith Hernandez remarked that he'd never seen a player with as many clutch home runs as Piazza.


How badly do you wish we had a Piazza on this team? Although Piazza had his struggles there were countless times when he stepped up to the plate late in a game that you just knew something was going to happen. Now with which player on this current team do you get that feeling? That's right. None of them.


I remember the 1999 NLCS series against the Braves where Piazza was just horrendously struggling at the plate. But then in the 8th inning of game 6, Piazza came through when the Mets needed it most, nailing a home run to tie the game. Of course Kenny Rogers came in and ruined the Mets chances the next inning, but the point is even when Piazza seemed lost at the plate he delivered in that clutch moment time and time again.


Appreciate Mike Piazza for what he did for this club, and let's hope and pray that someday we'll get that kind of player again.

Show Me Some Pride You Scared Bunch of Little Girls

The Marlins have nothing to play for except for pride and the fact that they want to destroy the Mets for personal reasons.

The Mets have everything to play for, but are playing like a bunch of school girls. You want to play four-square, that's fine but you've got all of November to do it. This is crunch time and you guys are acting like a group of spineless, one-celled organisms.

Do you enjoy having the media in your face talking collapse every day? Do you like getting booed at your home field because you can't do diddly squat? Do you like being the laughing stock of baseball? If you do than by all means keep it up, you're doing a fine job.

But if you hate the fact that history is repeating itself, suck it up and play with some pride. So you might not make the playoffs this year. So you screwed up the final month of the season. You can still play with some heart for the fans, for New York, and for yourselves.

This is the final weekend at Shea when Mets fans from across the country are making their pilgrimage back to Queens to say farewell. All the Met greats are going to be there, but I'm here to let you know that right now none of you will be included in that group in the future.

Show the fans, the city and this stadium some respect and win these next two games regardless of what the Brewers do. Play with some pride for crying out loud. You look like a bunch of nancies out there. It's a wonder you won 80+ games.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Choke II Almost Complete

I'd like to thank the Mets for showing up tonight and really putting on a strong effort, only going down 6-1 to the Marlins. I mean, really, it was only a 5 run difference so there is a silver lining folks. 

Wow...are you kidding me? As incredible last as night's game was, they inexplicably come out tonight and lay an egg - which, really is the Mets' way when you come to think of it. 

Is anyone surprised with the way this game ended up? The Marlins, who of course despise the Mets, and take great pleasure in knocking them out of it, thrive off this type of atmosphere, while the Mets, true to form, puke all over the pressure and willingly get throttled. Sure, this club has been resilient, bouncing back from bad losses but the big problem is, they lose more than they win when it's counted most. Do you realize that not only do the Braves and Phillies own us, but the Marlins do as well? 2 straight seasons they're going to kill our hopes and our team just stands there like scared little men, and accepts it.
 
Much has been made about the Brewers going in the tank losing 15 of 19 in September, but everyone failed to realize that no one, no team in sports, let alone baseball, collapses better than the Mets. Everyone has a chance when they're chasing the Mets down the stretch. And so the Brewers, deserving all the credit in the world, have reeled off 5 straight victories during crunch time, unlike our beloved Mets who are just about finished polishing off their second straight September choke job. 

So once again, thank you NY Mets. This has been a fun, exciting ride, believe you me. Can't wait to see how you follow this one up next year, especially in September. That'll be triple the fun. 
  

ESPN Diamond Trax Searches MLB Intro Songs

One of the more interesting looks into a player's personality is what song he chooses for his intro music to the plate or coming in from the bullpen.

ESPN.com has launched a new section of their site called Diamond Trax which lets you search by team and player to see what their current intro music is. The list is not exhaustive but they do a great job giving you the songs for the more popular players on each team.

For the Mets, they have Wright, Reyes, Beltran, Delgado, among others. I've been enamored with the music Brian Schneider chooses because I think it's in total conflict to my stereotype of what kind of person he is. When I looked him up on the site I had to laugh at the diversity in his choices which includes Wyclef Jean, Baby Bash, and then oddly enough, Phil Collins.

Diamond Trax also links you to iTunes so you can listen to cuts of each song and buy them if you want. Great job ESPN. It's about time someone thought of this.

Check out ESPN.com Diamond Trax here.

Why Rain this Weekend Should Be Welcomed

I might be the biggest disbeliever in the Mets ability to sweep doubleheaders. History has proven to me that the Mets are unlikely to win both games of a doubleheader.

But I'm telling you that a double header on Sunday is just what the doctor ordered.

Friday's game looks to be a definite wash, which would force a doubleheader on Saturday. Now the key is for the skies to continue to open up on Saturday and force the doubleheader to be moved to Sunday.

That would be a huge benefit to the Mets. You see the Mets are stupidly preparing to send Nelson Figueroa or Brandon Knight out to pitch on Saturday. Basically two hacks are being sent to the mound to determine our playoff chances. By raining out Friday and Saturday, the Mets now have the ability to pitch Mike Pelfrey in game one on extra rest, and then throw Johan Santana in game 2 on normal rest.

A Pelfrey/Santana doubleheader lineup is the best situation for the Mets and allows them to have their top 2 pitchers throw in the most significant games of the season. Then on Monday you can pitch Oliver Perez or whoever is available to close out the season.

The other advantage is that the delay allows the Mets to see what unfolds with the Brewers and Phillies. The Mets will have full knowledge of what they need to do to make the playoffs.

Although I'm usually a guy who hates doubleheaders and likes to play the games as they're written on the schedule, I think a rain out on Friday and Saturday is exactly what the Mets need.

Unlikely Heroes

Go ahead and try to write a list of the Mets ulikely heroes this year and you'll find it surprising just how many there are. From Tatis to Murphy to Evans to Pelfrey, the list is unreal when you think about the perception of these players back in April.

There are two more names to add to the list: Robinson Cancel and Ramon Martinez.

Believe I didn't want to see these guys start last night let alone be up in the 8th inning in a clutch situation. But that's the difference between Jerry Manuel and most managers. He goes with the guys who are swinging the bat well.

Martinez off of his first hit as a Met on Wednesday night came through huge on Thursday. I was screaming for Manuel to pinch hit for him. Martinez is a righty and he was facing a righty on the mound. It made no sense that this inexperienced guy be left in, but boy did it ever pay off.

And Cancel (a.k.a. The Refrigerator) came up with the most timely hit of the night. Unreal.

David Wright might be in the running for MVP and be batting over .340 in September, but these two no-name guys proved to be more clutch than even our beloved superstar.

Rain, Rincon and Redemption

Last night was more than likely my last visit to Shea Stadium. My dad got tickets Wednesday morning and by the time Wednesday at 11 p.m. rolled around I didn't feel like going. Then I saw the weather forecast and I really didn't feel like going.

But as a Mets Lifer, we go to games rain or shine in good times and in bad. Unfortunately Pedro Martinez was starting whom I have no confidence in and he didn't let me down because he gave up a 2 run bomb in the first inning.

The rain started to fall and even though the Mets tied up the game there was this sense that the Mets were going to fold again. But Pedro looked to be in control after the first few innings, and when he exited in the 7th inning everyone in the stadium was up on their feet for a standing ovation. Pedro deserved it.

And then came Ricardo Rincon. One pitch. One stinkin' pitch and Rincon gave up a 3 run blast to the hottest hitter on the planet last night, some guy named Hoffenhoofer or whatever. I've been to games before and heard booing. I think Armando Benitez and Aaron Heilman are tied for the worst boos I've ever heard, but last night Rincon topped them all. You could just feel the anger and venom from the Shea faithful at having to watch this BLOWpen screw up another chance at victory. It was nasty, but not undeserved.

Then came the slide. I'm not sure how Ryan Church accomplished it, but it doesn't matter. He was safe and there was opportunity for redemption in the form of Carlos Beltran.

Shea erupted with a mixed concoction of relief and euphoria as the Mets were able to exorcise the demons of Wednesday night and keep themselves in the playoff chase. I love it when you're walking out of Shea after a game and the fans are still chanting "Let's go Mets!"

Whether or not the Mets are successful this weekend, I have to say that the last game I saw at Shea may have been the best one yet.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

HUGE WIN!

Well, that was easy...

Un-freakin'-believeable! That, Mets Lifers, was 
H-U-G-E! Just when you thought this team was dead (raising my hand), they picked themselves off the mat once again and fought their way to one of the more improbable victories this team has had. There wasn't a Lifer alive who thought they would pull this game out, especially after going down by 3 in the 7th. But somehow, by some miracle, they got the job done and find themselves still tied with the Brewers with 3 games to play. 

I'm not really sure how many more of these games I can take. I seriously tried to remain calm early in this game. I had almost a resigned feeling after last night's embarrassment. I didn't even feel excited when Church tied it up at 3. I just knew we'd give it back. So I held my emotions in check all the way until Ramon Martinez (love this guy!) came to the plate in the 8th, down by 2. Then, I was sucked right back in again...yelling at Jerry on the TV for leaving Martinez in to hit. "Noooo.....why are you leaving him in there???" 

From then on, my chest was burning, heart was pumping and I was loving this game and team all over again! For some crazy reason, I live for these games. More often than not, we are let down, hearts ripped out, and we all know how this team has a knack for that, but it's games like these that keep me coming back. I can never get it out of me. The swing of emotions from last night's devastating loss to tonight's exhilarating victory reminded me of mine and Dave's first posts to this site more than 18 months ago. 
 

Glutton for Punishment

I know I'm asking for it, but I'm headed to Shea Stadium for the game tonight. I'm still hurt from last night's loss. I have zero confidence in Pedro Martinez (can you imagine saying that 7 years ago?). And it's cold, going to rain, and the game will probably be delayed.

But it's my last trip to Shea Stadium, for better or worse. I'm wearing my Tom Seaver jersey, hoping that Tom's spirit will inhabit Pedro (or the bullpen) for just one night. So if you see a guy with a Tom Seaver jersey praying for a win in the Loge section, it's me.

For better or worse, although it's more likely worse, lets' go Mets.

Carlos Voltron

This article from the Onion has been the bright spot in an otherwise very dark day. The article is entitled Struggling Mets Combine Forces to form Carlos Voltron, and in the doom and gloom days of September it's good to laugh every once in a while.

The best part is the closing paragraph which reads:
"Meanwhile, defending a comfortable 600-0 lead in the top of ninth, the Mets decided to rest up Carlos Voltron by moving him to the outfield and replacing him with reliever Aaron Heilman, who lost the lead and eventually the game after giving up 618 runs to close the inning."

Funny, but with a hint of realism. Check it out by clicking here.

Don't Pitch Garbage on Saturday

I'm sorry Jerry Manuel, but on this topic you're dead wrong. Manuel went on WFAN yesterday talking to Mike Francesa about who the potential starter will be on Saturday. Manuel said he will not use Johan Santana on short rest.

That's almost the dumbest thing I've heard all year.

I understand why Manuel is saying this. The plan is to use Santana on Sunday for the last game of the season, but unless something providential happens I think the Mets need to win Saturday's game first before they worry about Sunday.

There is no reason not to pitch Santana on short rest. Do you honestly think Santana will say no he can't pitch? Of course not. Look at how the Brewers are using C.C. Sabathia. You don't think we can do the same with Santana? He's got the whole winter to rest.

The Mets have to win Saturday's game. They have to win all their games at this point. If you send out Figueroa or Niese or Stokes, you're basically settling for second best when you've got filet mignon sitting their in the fridge. You can't pitch garbage in one of the most crucial games of the season. Haven't we already learned our lesson from Niese's last outing. The kid may be great some day, but he's not ready for prime time yet.

Pitch Santana on short rest on Saturday and then all hands on deck for Sunday. I'm telling you if you don't win these next few games it won't matter who you pitch on Sunday because we'll be out of it by then.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Metsblog.com and the Butterfly Effect

The butterfly effect (or sometimes referred to as chaos theory) is a phrase that refers to the effectual relationships between two seemingly unrelated events.The theory goes that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Japan, it may cause a tsunami in the Phillipines.

So with that in mind I have come to a conclusion: The Mets have Metsblog.com to thank for their current downward spiral into oblivion.

You see Metsblog.com is an extremely popular blog about the Mets. Chances are if you're reading this right now, you've probably already been on Metsblog.com at some point today. The fact is Metsblog.com is not only one of the most popular New York sports blogs, but one of the most popular sports blogs nationally.

Is it coincidence that over the last 3 years Metsblog.com has made great strides in popularity and website traffic and the Mets continue to struggle in the clutch? Is there a relationship between Geico's sponsorship of Metsblog.com and the fact that it is now officially a part of the SNY network and the continued collapse of the Mets in September?

Could it not be a possibility that the more comments Metsblog.com gets on their daily posts is causing more problems in the Mets bullpen and forcing Ryan Church into a drunken stupor of strikeouts night after night?

It's something to think about. Or it could just be that Jobu put a curse on this team. Or that Omar Minaya sold his soul to the devil for a new 4 year contract.

There has to be some explanation because no team can choke this much year after year on their own accord. They've got to be getting help from somewhere. I think Metsblog.com has some soul searching they need to do.