Friday, February 29, 2008

Leave Jose Reyes Alone, Sort Of

It's spring training. Not a whole lot going on so reporters need something to talk about now that the Johan Santana story line is getting stale. So what's the logical next controversial topic? How about criticizing Jose Reyes.

Reyes slump in the last two months of the season last year caused many a critic to scrutinize his "born to hand jive" attitude in the dugout and the occasional dancing he seen doing in the midst of close games. People talk about how it's juvenile, or that it ticks off the opposing team.

I say, leave my Jose Reyes alone. The Reyes smile should not (and better not) go away. It's that childish smile and attitude is part of what makes him a likable and exciting player to watch. There's no doubt when you watch Jose Reyes that the guy enjoys the game of baseball. You don't need to have the demeanor of John Olerud to be a great baseball player.

However, Reyes is not excused from all criticism. If you want to criticize him about his lackluster effort running out base hits or his impatience at the plate, I'm right there with you. I think last season was a reality check for Reyes. The game was seemingly easy for him and he was taking it for granted. He wasn't making the right adjustments and didn't have the mental toughness to withstand a late season slump.

That's what the coaching staff should be examining, and I believe that Reyes knows this needs to be an area of improvement for him. But the top step handshakes and dugout giddiness that I see from Reyes is ok with me as long as he's producing.

If opposing teams don't like it, so what?

I expect big things from Reyes this year and a whole lot more walks. Reyes needs to bat around .310 for the Mets to have a successful season. I'm confident that when he gets on base Beltran, Wright and Alou (when healthy) will drive him in.

I'm psyched for opening day and there's no one else I want at the top of my lineup more than Jose Reyes. Hand jives and all.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Beltran Speaks Out on Mets Hot Stove

Check out this clip from SNY's Mets Hot Stove where Carlos Beltran talks about his latest comments and how it feels to be beaned by Johan Santana. What a way to start spring training. Where's my bat & glove? I feel like playing catch.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mets Cause Marriage

I met a guy last night who conveyed to me possibly one of the best stories of meeting a girl that I have ever heard.

It all started in October of 1986 with game 7 of the World Series taking place between the Mets and Red Sox. A young man named Mike is at a sports bar in Manhattan enjoying the game with some friends. Mike notices a girl hanging out with some of her friends across the bar, but doesn't really have an excuse to go talk to her.

While the Mets are fighting for baseball supremacy, Mike notices a guy with a Red Sox hat walks into the place and bumps into the girl he was eying and spills her drink on her. Mike realizes it's time to take action. He stands up on a chair and yells to everyone in the place that there's a Red Sox fan in the building a points at the guy who's just spilled a drink all over this girl.

The crowd, needless to say, turns on the Boston fan and ridicules him out of the place. Mike goes over to the girl and asks if she's alright and strikes up a conversation.

A few hours later Jesse Orosco throws his glove into the air as the Mets win the World Series, and Mike has just met the woman he would later marry.

It's a match made in Mets heaven.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Beltran is Making Guarantees?

The man who is never "100%" stepped out and called the Mets the "team to beat" in the NL East this year.

What is in the drinking water in Port St. Lucie? Has everyone gone mad?

Beltran who is for the most part a very quiet and laid back guy made this extremely abnormal comment on Friday. I guess Santana is lighting a fire in his teammates just as us Mets Lifers. Think about it for a second. All of Mets fandom was psyched about the potential of getting Santana, and then elated when we finally signed him.

Why shouldn't the Mets players feel the same way?

I guess it's only natural, but I do hate guarantees in sports. It just sets yourself up for a major disappointment. Even if you do come through on your guarantee nobody remembers it because you're suppose to win. Now if the Royals came out and said they were the team to beat and then they won the American League pennant, that would be remembered.

The Mets need to win the NL East. They need to win in the playoffs as well. Anything less is pretty much unacceptable. So it really makes Beltran's guarantee seem that much more insignificant.

We expect to win. We have to win.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Jose Reyes is MLB 2K8 Cover Boy

As an avid gamer, I know that the MLB game series from 2K8 is by far the best baseball series I've ever played. While last year's cover boy for MLB 2K7 was Derek Jeter, the 2008 version sports our very own Jose Reyes.

Check it out:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Burning Bullpen Questions

As we approach spring training the starting rotation is pretty much set. We know what our lineup will probably look like. We even have a good idea about who will be on the bench come April 1.

But the questions that still remain involve the Mets bullpen. The root of many a loss in 2007, the bullpen did not get a massive overhaul this offseason, but did receive some changes. But there are a number of questions that I need answered about the 2008 Mets bullpen.

1. Which Joe Smith should I expect?
Joe Smith was lights out early in the '07 season. The rookie was getting lefties and righties out while keeping his pitch count down. Then something happened mid-season and he lost his mojo. I've read that Smith has been working out this offseason at his alma mater Wright State to improve his mechanics, but will that translate into success? If the original Joe Smith shows up and stays all season the Mets bullpen will be considered much more reliable.

2. Can Duaner Sanchez stay healthy?
If it was up to me Duaner Sanchez would live in a padded room in the basement of Shea Stadium. Give him DirectTV, give him a laptop, he can even have visitors, but don't let this guy out into the wide world. He's a walking magnet for injury. No more cab rides for Duaner. But seriously, if Duaner Sanchez doesn't stay healthy for a third straight season, not only would the Mets lose out on a potentially perfect setup man, but Sanchez might lose out on his big league career.

3. Is Pedro Feliciano capable of getting our right-handed batters consistently?
There's no doubt that Feliciano is fantastic against lefties, but I'd like to see him be given the chance to get out righties as well. Willie Randolph likes having a lefty and a rightie specialist in the bullpen, and often times that leads to Feliciano only facing one batter. I think Feliciano has the stuff to get out more than just lefties, but he'll need the opportunity to prove it.

4. Will Blowenweiss lose his nickname?
Probably not.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Beltran Whining Again

There are certain things in sports that you can you predict based on the time of year. If it's NFL training camp, you can expect Michael Strahan not to show up. If it's preseason basketball, we can expect Allen Iverson not to show up for practice.

And of course if it's spring training, we know that Carlos Beltran is going to talk about how he's not 100%. Here's Beltran's quote in this morning's Journal News:

“I don’t feel 100 percent, but I hope to be by the start of the season. I couldn’t play anymore like that. I didn’t feel pain as much as I did weakness…I just want to be 100 percent and to be able to do a lot more.”

Ok. I really like Beltran. I think he has tremendous talent and does a lot of things really well that the Mets need from a centerfielder. But come on Beltran, you're a major leaguer. Suck it up and play. How many times did we hear Piazza or Carter or Dykstra complain about not being 100%. None. They all had injuries that plagued them but they're professionals and they know that there's no excuse for not going out there and giving your all on the field.

The Mets need Beltran both at the plate and in the field to be GIVING 100% whether or not he feels 100%. That's all I ask and for the amount of money he's getting that the least we should expect from him.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Top 10 Mets Prospects has come out with their annual list of Mets top prospects.

I'll give you two guesses as to who's #1 on the list. After looking at the top 10 outside of Fernando Martinez, there's not a lot of guys that we'll see in the majors any time soon.

According to here's the top Mets prospects:

#1 Fernando Martinez
(AA) 60G .271, 11(2B), 1(3B), 4HR, 21RBI, 20BB, 51K, 3SB
(Rk) 3G .111, 1(3B), 1RBI, 1BB, 6K

#2 Eddie Kunz
(Short-A) 0-1, 6.75ERA, 12IP, 8BB, 9K, .190BAA

#3 Jonathan Niese
(High-A) 11-7, 4.29ERA, 134.1IP, 31BB, 110K, .285BAA

#4 Brant Rustich
(Short-A) 2-0, 2SAVE, 2.13ERA, 12.2IP, 1BB, 11K, .095BAA
(Rk) 1-0, 0.87ERA, 10.1IP, 1BB, 10K, .158BAA

#5 Nathan Vineyard
(Rk) 0-3, 5.27ERA, 27.1IP, 9BB, 33K, .265BAA

Click here to view the top 10.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Cleansing

It's been 21 years since I have felt this good as a sports fan. I was just 15 back in '86 & '87 and it's hard to believe it's taken so long to duplicate that euphoric feeling I had when the Mets won the World Series and the Giants won the Super Bowl. Heck, at that time, I thought that's what was going to happen every year. With Doc & Darryl and LT and Simms, I assumed championships would become standard practice for these two teams. 

Unfortunately, I was wrong. Although the G-Men did pull off an upset of a different kind in Super Bowl XXV against the Bills, the Mets have come up lame for the last 21 years. 21 years...hard to believe.

The truth is, the Giants championship could not have come at a better time for me as a Mets Lifer. The pain and humiliation I felt after that epic collapse racked my brain relentlessly for months. It downright tortured me...Until the Giants went on an improbable run through the post season and the Mets got Santana. As a fan, all you want is satisfaction, fulfillment that your team is the best for that season. You want to taste victory so bad, even more than the players do. After all, we invest so much time in our teams that you just want a pay off. Yet, we all know 99% of the time we are destined for disappointment. 

So with a Super Bowl championship feeling flowing through my veins, and Mr. Johan Santan in Orange and Blue, a perfectly timed cleansing has taken place. I can now look forward to pitchers and catchers reporting next week as the pain of that historic collapse is well behind me. And that is as great a feeling as any for this Mets Lifer. 

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Best Subtractions of the Mets Offseason

Lots of teams improve their rosters by adding new players, but the Mets have made a few moves to eliminate people from their team that has actually had more of an impact than adding some players.

Here's a list of the top people that the Mets have let go this offseason that will greatly improve the team:

1. Guillermo Mota - This is a no brainer. Mota was horrendous throughout most of 2007. It seemed like every time he came in there were at least 2 runs to be given up. Sure the Mets unloaded him for Johnny Estrada whom the Mets quickly dumped, but Mota's removal from the roster prevents Willie Randolph from being tempted to put him in close games. For some reason I have a feeling we'll see Mota ditch pitching and try and become an outfielder. Just a hunch.

2. Rickey Henderson - The king of stolen bases will no longer be able to mold the minds of Mets players. Henderson, while possibly the games best leadoff hitter of all time, was not the type of role model you want influencing young players. There are rumors that he got some of the young guys, like Carlos Gomez, involved in some serious gambling debt, and we all know about his lack of work ethic. While Omar Minaya loves him, Henderson's removal will remove a negative influence that I believe he had on Jose Reyes and some of the younger players.

3. Philip Humber - The trade of Humber means more in the sense that it brought Johan Santana to the Mets, but it also prevents us Mets fans and Mets brass from getting to caught up in the idea of Humber rather than his actual talents. Humber was lauded as a top notch pitching prospect that Mets fans wanted to see pitch at the major league level. The Mets have a tendency to rush pitchers along and then get disappointed in their performance mainly because they can't handle the pressure and expectations from playing in New York. Humber was doomed to follow in the footsteps of Bill Pulsipher in there being too much expected of him too early. He's better off in Minnesota with some chance to grow, and the Mets can focus on molding Mike Pelfrey into the pitcher we know he can be.

It's Pay Day for Ryan Church

Ryan Church and the Mets agreed to a $2MM contract for 2008 pretty much making him the starting right fielder on opening day in April.

Here's the crazy part: Church was making $395k last year. So basically he's getting a $1.6MM raise. What were his stats again? Hmmm, Church batted .272 with 15 homers, 70 RBIs and 43 doubles.

So that's worth $2MM in the majors today? What's even funnier is the incentive money that Church can get. He can earn an additional $120,000 in performances bonuses: $50,000 for 450 plate appearances; $40,000 for 535 plate appearances and $30,000 for 550 plate appearances.

So basically church gets a raise if he doesn't get injured or isn't so horrible that Randolph refuses to play him.

In my mind Church has got a lot to prove. This is a one year deal that could amount to something larger if Church is successful. I've always like him as a role player on the Nationals, but a corner outfielder in New York, in my mind, should be a big bat that contributes.

I'd be satisfied if Church bats .275 with 20 home runs and 80 RBIs, but if he can exceed those stats he might win over a lot more people that might want him to stick around.

Spring training is right around the corner. I can almost taste it.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

2008 Mets Strengths and Weaknesses

I was recently asked to give my take on the Mets strengths and weaknesses as we head into spring training in a few weeks. While I could probably go on about this topic for pages on end, I've tried to compile my list in a concise manner which I'll share with you below:

(a) Starting Pitching - The Mets are the only MLB team with three 15 game winners in Perez, Maine & Santana. Plus having Pedro Martinez for a full year makes it possible to have four 15 game winners in one season which would be a remarkable feat.

(b) Speed - arguably the fastest lineup in the NL with Endy, Reyes, Beltran, & Wright leading the way. Bunts, steals, and hit & run are all options available from anyone in the lineup.

(c) Infield defense - at pretty much every position we have a solid defender. If Delgado can keep picking balls out of the dirt and Reyes & Wright can keep his errant throws to a minimum the infield could have fewer than 20 errors this year.

(a) Bullpen questions - If El Duque is in the pen it makes it a lot stronger. Otherwise we're pretty much bringing back the same group of guys who blew a ton of game last year, minus Mota. Wagner is going to be solid but Feliciano, Schoeneweis and the return of Duaner Sanchez will decide the fate of at least 20 games this year

(b) Power hitting - Outside of David Wright and Beltran power hitting is rare in the Mets lineup. Alou will put up numbers when he's not hurt, but Delgado & Church are huge question marks as far as power at the plate. If the Mets got 50 home runs between those two we'd be in good shape.

(c) In-game managing - Randolph has a tough time managing a tight game. His refusal to put down a squeeze with Reyes/Chavez on third and 1 out or less cost the Mets at least 2 or 3 games last year. His bullpen maneuvering is always questionable as we've seen with his obsession with putting Mota in close games. Randolph has a lot to prove in how he handles games down the stretch.

Overall I think the Mets are in good shape as a team heading into spring training. I'd like to see a power right-handed bat be added to the bench for those late game situations, but otherwise I like the reserves we have in Marlon Anderson, Jose Valentin, Ruben Gotay & Endy Chavez.

The Mets should be positioned to make a run late into the playoffs, but that's what I thought last year.

Johan Santana: His Colors Are Orange and Blue

Saw this on SNY last night. Who's ready for the 2008 season? I know I am.

The New Mets Radio Announcer

Now that the Mets signed Johan Santana, it was time for them to sign their second biggest acquisition of the off season, their new radio announcer.

The Daily News reports that Wayne Hagin will become the new voice of the Mets on WFAN. Hagin has been an announcer for the Cardinals and Rockies.

I was hoping for a young up and coming announcer to be signed, a guy like Dave Popkin, but Hagin's resume looks solid enough that I'm sure he'll be an adequate wing man to Howie Rose.

For more on Wayne Hagin, click here to read the story in the Daily News.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Have You Forgotten the Mets Collapse?

This has been an amazing week.

Johan Santana has joined the Mets as the dominant ace pitcher the Mets have needed for so long. Between that excitement and the fact that the New York Giants just won the Super Bowl in such amazing fashion has lifted the burden of the 2007 Mets collapse off my shoulders.

Honestly, I haven't thought about it. The Giants win and the Santana signing basically erased that depression.

But is that ok? Should I continue to hold this burden until the Mets have redeemed themselves? In my opinion absolutely not. But there are some people who should. Namely those men who will be on the 2008 Mets roster.

As a fan we should be able to get over the 2007 collapse. I'm sure our Yankee fan acquaintances will remind us of it from time to time, but I want this year's Mets team to carry it like a chip on their shoulder. It should be a motivator as well as quest for redemption on this year's team.

While we have the pieces in place to make another run, it will all depend on how this team can close in August & September. I know David Wright won't forget. Let's hope the other players follow suit.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mets Lifer on Facebook

Mets Lifer has joined the social networking community of Facebook with our very own fan page. If you're a Facebook user you can keep up with Mets Lifer posts and mingle with other Mets fans by becoming a "fan" of

To become a fan of Mets Lifer on Facebook, login to your Facebook account and search for in the search box.

To visit Facebook, click here.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Best Week Ever?

Could this be the best week ever? Here's the list of accomplishments this week that might make this my best week ever:

  1. Mets sign Johan Santana
  2. Giants win the Super Bowl
  3. Eli Manning now can officially rub his MVP trophy in Tiki Barber's face
  4. Just won two Starbucks gift cards
  5. Great episode of Friday Night Lights
  6. My son has just become enamored with Star Wars and video games
  7. Got an email from Jeffrey Lyons commenting on Mets Lifer
The only way there's a better week is when the Mets win the World Series. But if history repeats itself in '86, when the Giants win the Super Bowl & the Mets won the World Series, we could be celebrating again in October.

Let's hope so.

The Johan Santana Song

This is just priceless.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Attention Mets: Give Santana What He Wants

I know Omar Minaya is trying to do the right thing by not committing to a pitcher for more than 5 years, but he cannot, I repeat, cannot screw this up over an extra two years.

If the Mets win even one World Series during that seven year span we won't care that we overpaid for the final two years.

Get the deal done.

Santana is holding all the chips. If the Mets don't give in to his demands, he goes back to Minnesota and gets traded at the trading deadline and tests the free agent market where someone will meet his demands.

The Mets would then be the laughing stock of baseball and the ire of their fans might even be greater than the debacle that was last September.

Just get the deal done.

Give him 7 years. He's the best pitcher in baseball right now. And right now is when we need him most.

Get the deal done. The clock is ticking.