Monday, December 17, 2012

Bugs & Cranks » Obligatory RA Dickey Trade Post

I was about to embark on my own obligatory RA Dickey trade post, but as per usual Brad Bortone has done it for me. The link below is to Brad's synopsis of what you want to hear vs. what is really happening. As per usual, he does it with his own wit and humorous style.

This is a long term move that you hope turns out as planned. Alderson has a pretty decent record on this topic so I think he's earned the right to trust him on this. It's tough losing a fan favorite like Dickey. It's tough losing a Cy Young winner. But sometimes you need to think with your brain and not your hear.

Check out Brad's post at the link below:

Bugs & Cranks » Obligatory RA Dickey Trade Post:

'via Blog this'

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mets Finally Make the Wright Move

It's been a while since we've been able to be excited about a move the Mets have made, but today is one of those days.

Whether you like the dollar figures, the contract terms, the deferred payments or not, today you have the first opportunity at a legitimate lifetime Met. Even Tom Seaver didn't spend his entire career with the Mets. Gooden, Strawberry, Hernandez, and Piazza all moved to other teams.

But today the Mets record books will now be covered with the name of Wright. At the end of this contract David Wright will most likely own the top spot in every single batting record in the Mets books. He will be the face of the franchise not just for the next decade, but for well beyond that.

The Wilpons and Wright may not realize it, but they've finally given Mets fans a legacy name to hold onto. While other teams have names that immediately conjure up images of teams past, the Mets are forced to share most of those names with other clubs, but now with Wright that should no longer be the case.

A lot of fans still don't care for Wright. They think he's not as good in the clutch as he should be or that he's not the leader they want him to be. Regardless of those aspects, there is one thing you can't deny: David Wright wants to be a New York Met. There are very few players that you can say that about.

So celebrate the fact that the Captain returns. Not just for another 162 game season. Or even 7 seasons. Celebrate that you have a Mets legend in the making that no other team can share.

Welcome back, David Wright.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why Jason Bay's Departure Puts More Pressure on the Mets

When I first heard the news, I literally shouted "Alleluia." Jason Bay and the Mets have reached an agreement and he is officially an unrestricted free agent which basically guarantees that he'll have an MVP season next year wherever he lands.

All kidding aside, this move is a great one and I'm surprised Sandy Alderson and the Mets were able to make it. But what they may not realize is that this puts more pressure on them than if Bay was still on the team.

Like Oliver Perez and other failed signings before him, Jason Bay was the lighting rod for Mets aggravation. He was signed by Omar Minaya and never came close to even half of what the Mets expected of him. Regardless of what other players were doing or not doing, you could always count on blaming Jason Bay for something.

But that last remnant of the former GM regime is gone. The onus is now all on Alderson.

The central antagonist on the Mets will no longer be there to take the blame. Now the Mets and Alderson have to make their own moves to correct the situation in which they find themselves. At least with Bay, the Mets had a solid defender in one of the corner spots. Now all three outfield positions need filling. Duda should not be a lock to continue in right field. Hairston probably won't be resigned and isn't an everyday player anyway. Then you have the laundry list of young players that aren't quite ready for prime time in Baxter, Kirk, Valdespin, etc.

So where do the Mets go from here? Filling one starting outfield position is tough for any team, but filling three is bordering on impossible. The Mets will fill those spots, but the question remains how much of an upgrade will those fill-ins be?

2014 was supposed to be the year the Mets would make their moves. Bay would be off the books as would Santana. Now that Bay has exited early, does that give the Mets room to make moves in 2013? Only time will tell, but they'll have to look in the mirror to find someone to blame.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My 2012 Mets Post Mortem Rant with Bugs and Cranks

I'm a big fan of what Brad Bortone does over at Bugs & Cranks in blogging about the Mets. He's not the everyday game recap type of blogger, but picks and chooses his spots to write what I think is some of the wittiest and insightful writing on our beloved Mess, I mean, Mets.

Brad hit me up a few weeks ago to partner up on a post mortem of the 2012 Mets campaign and I jumped at the chance to chime in.

Head over to Bugs and Cranks to check out the rundown of responses for what was yet another disappointing season in Flushing.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mets Deja Vu All Over Again

I'm waiting for Chevy Chase to yell "Look kids, Big Ben! Parliament!" because I feel like life as a Mets fan is just one continuous circle. 

Welcome to the postseason. For some that means playoff baseball. For Mets fans, it's a literal interpretation of the term meaning the season after the season has begun. And for the Mets, it's the most meaningful part of this baseball team since late June.

There are some highlights from the 2012 Mets campaign. R.A. Dickey's Cy Young season. Ike Davis overcoming an abysmal start to finish with 32 home runs and 90 RBI. The emergence of Matt Harvey as a future star.

But of course the negative outweighs the positive in 2012. We shouldn't be surprised. We've been here before. It's another season that started well only to crumble late. I use "late" loosely as things imploded around July 12, but the point is still the same. 

The Mets are on a sick cycle carousel that nauseatingly continues to turn.

The following statements are true for 2012 but could easily be made in reference to any of the last 4 seasons:
  • Jason Bay was hurt most of the year.
  • When Jason Bay wasn't hurt he was pretty awful.
  • The bullpen stinks.
  • It appears like the team fell apart after the All Star Break.
  • We need a major improvement at catcher.
  • INSERT PROSPECT NAME HERE played great to start but after 100+ at bats got exposed for the mid-level talent that he is.
On top of that the Mets are faced yet again with another dilemma in whether or not they should sign a big name star to an extended contract. While Ruben Tejada turned out to be a fully capable replacement for Reyes, the same cannot be said of David Wright.

So what was old is new again. Actually it probably never got old. It's just coming back around for another turn.

I said it last October and I'll say it again this October. There is much work to be done for the Mets in order to not just make this team competitive, but make it watchable.

I love baseball. I love the Mets. I don't like having the season end like it dead, but boy am I glad the torture is over...for now.

Monday, October 1, 2012

#FAIL: Entire Mets Coaching Staff to Return in 2013

Terry Collins announced today that his entire coaching staff will return to the Mets next year. Sure. That makes sense.

Let's not make any changes to a coaching staff that lost control of this team in the second half. Let's keep an entire staff that has a proven record of being better than average in the first half of the season only to nose dive in the second half.

Let's keep all the people who are molding the arms of the BLOWpen. In fact, let's keep things status quo since they've been going so well for us.

Perhaps this is just a PR move to stop questions from being asked. I hope so. But anyone with half a brain and at least one good eye can see that status quo is not the direction the Mets should be headed in.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

RA Dickey is Better Than You Think

Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted out this afternoon that RA Dickey is officially the front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award after notching his 20th win of the season today. Dickey is currently .01 points behind Clayton Kershaw in ERA. He leads the league in strikeouts after recording 13 K's in his victory this afternoon. And he's currently tied for the lead in wins with the Nationals' Gio Gonzalez.

But even with all those achievements, Dickey is better than even what those numbers can say.

Dickey has recorded these league-leading totals with one of the worst bullpens in baseball finishing out many of his games. Off the top of my head I can think of at least 4 separate occasions where Dickey left with the lead and then had it blown by the infamous Mets' BLOWpen.

On top of that the anemic Mets offense has forced Dickey to lose several games where he has given up 2 runs or less because the Mets couldn't muster any support for their ace.

Add all that up and not only do you have a Cy Young candidate, but a pitcher that has achieved greatness with little to zero help. How many wins would Dickey have if he was on the Nationals or the Braves or even the Yankees? A case could be made that he might be pushing 24 or 25 wins.

Dickey has accounted for nearly 30% of the Mets wins this year, more than any other starting pitcher in baseball. He's the hands down Cy Young favorite, but beyond that his season is one all baseball fans should take notice of.

Fear the Knuckler.

Mets King of Hits: David Wright

David Wright has set the Mets record for career hits. His name is likely the most popular one in the Mets record books. He's the face of the franchise and now deservedly the icon of the record books.

Normally this type of feat would require much jubilation and celebration, but the perceptive Mets fan views this new achievement with trepidation.

Could the new batting king of the Mets record books be gone next year?

It's quite possible. The feelings of good tidings and great joy now will soon fade into contract negotiations and the memory of teams that never lived up to expectations.

Whether or not you like David Wright, there's no arguing he is the New York Mets. Just a Piazza, Hernandez, Strawberry & Gooden were icons of years past for nearly a decade David Wright is what most people associate with this team.

So in consecutive years could the Mets lose their two most identifiable players in Reyes and Wright? Yes. It's very possible.

Should they let that happen? I say no. An argument can be made that the money used to pay Wright could be used more efficiently elsewhere. The key word there is COULD. You know what you're going to get from Wright. A .300 average, 20+ HRs and 90+ RBI with an above average fielding 3B. Could a better and more affordable option be in the farm system or gotten through free agency? Sure, but Bobby Parnell COULD save 30 games next year. It's possible, but not probable.

If you look at the iconic Mets names I listed above, none of them spent their entire career with the Mets. In fact, none of them spent the majority of their career with the Mets. None of them retired as a Met. Should that mean something to a team struggling to even have a winning record? Yes.

Wright gives the Mets an icon. Something the crosstown team has had in spades. It gives us a player to call our own. It may not translate into an increase in W's, but no one player can.

If the Mets lose Wright, they will lose their identity. They should make every effort to avoid that, but the real question is will David Wright want to stay?

Can't say I'd blame him if he left, but it would set this team farther back than you think.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Ike Davis Fallacy of False Cause

If you're not familiar with the term, fallacy of false cause is an economic term that's defined as the logical fallacy of arguing that two events that are correlated (that is, happen at about the same time), are assumed to have a causal connection. In other words, one event causes the other.

It's a fallacy that is often used by armchair GM's like myself. For instance, we say that since someone got married and now their home run totals are down, the player's married life is effecting his power at the plate. Logically, that's probably not the issue, but it makes for good sports fodder.

With all that said, I am now admittedly stating an argument that should be considered a fallacy of false cause. Here it goes: The Mets were better when Ike Davis was awful.

Ike Davis hit his 30th home run of the year last night and did so by having a multi-homer game. Since mid-June, Davis is batting over .270 and is leading the team in home runs and RBI over the same stretch. His second half turnaround is remarkable after most people, myself included, had written him off as a guy who needed to be sent down to the minors.

All that being said, over the same stretch of time the Mets record is nearly 20 games under .500. When Ike Davis was batting a miserable .170 for the better part of the season, the Mets were an above .500 team. Beyond that, David Wright was batting in the .320's when Davis was awful, but since Davis' turnaround Wright has been batting closer to .250.

Why? How does this happen? When Davis couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, there were plenty of games where the Mets needed his bat to protect Wright in the order or come through with an extra base hit in a close game. So now that he's hitting better shouldn't Wright see improved numbers because of a little protection in the order? If Davis is hitting more home runs and driving in runs shouldn't that translate into more W's?

One would think so, but one would also be wrong.

The Ike Davis Fallacy of False Cause is the perfect example that baseball is a team game and the Mets as a team are in need of much retooling. One player cannot swing the pendulum of losing in the opposite direction. A greater collective force is needed to change the tide.

I'm sure true baseball people realize this and see that the Mets can't just go out and get BJ Upton and think the Mets troubles are resolved. There's a greater force at work here.

Much work needs to be done.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Are We There Yet? Awaiting the End of Another Mets Season

Are we there yet? Someone please tell me we're almost done with this Mets season. Just when you thought it couldn't possibly get worse, it does. I don't know why anyone goes to Citi Field these days as the Mets can't seem to ever win a game there.

I just want this season to be over.

Football has my attention. I'll do anything to distract me from this Mets baseball season. Yet I still find myself checking the score, watching an inning or two, and of course getting irate and frustrated at what I see.

Let's just stop. Only play games where Dickey starts so that he can get the 20 wins and Cy Young award he deserves. I don't want to see the kids play because I've been watching them play for most of this year.

For Mets fans, the off season is the highlight of the year. It's where hope lives and possibilities are endless. Let's move on to whether the Mets will sign David Wright. Will they trade Duda, Murphy or Davis? Can they sign an Upton brother? What on earth will they do about the bullpen? Will Terry Collins really be back?

Those are the important questions. Those are the things we're concerned about. Not seeing Bay strikeout again with the bases loaded. Not watch Duda lumber around in left field. Not see Valdespin swing and miss at balls out of the strike zone. None of that matters.

The young arms are nice to see, but all they can do is ruin their chances because when spring training comes around no one really remembers the 3 scoreless innings in relief when the Mets lost 6 out of 7. But they will remember you giving up 6 runs in 3 1/3 innings.

It's a sad commentary. Frankly any commentary on the Mets of late is sad so let's just stop. Get Dickey his Cy Young and pack it in. It's time for us disappointment addicts to move on.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Results Show that Terry Collins Needs to Go

19 and 38. That's the Mets record in the second half of the 2012 baseball season. If their current ways continue, they will hold the record for the worst second half record of a team that was over .500 before the All Star break.

That's a .333 winning percentage. Only the 1983 Angels have a .333 record after the break when they were above .500 before it.

If you can somehow stomach watching a game, you can see this team is beyond pitiful. Anemic isn't even a word to describe the offense. Emaciated might be better but still not strong enough. To a man every single Mets player looks awful with runners in scoring position.

The pitching has been relatively decent, but the product on the field is far from even being average.Add all that up and it signals Terry Collins demise.

Here's a guy who prides himself on getting his team ready to play every game and that "never give up" attitude. Terry may still have that attitude, but his players aren't personifying it. If we look at the Terry Collins era, a second half collapse seems to be the common theme. Each of the last three years the Mets have turned early season surprise success into total meltdown come August. This year was just the most egregious demise.

You should blame the players. You should call out the coaching staff. No one is innocent on this team. They all should be shamed by the outcome, but when a ship continues to hit icebergs on every journey, you have to think that captain might not be in control.

I really like Terry Collins, but something tells me he's more an executive cheerleader than a guy who can get what's needed out of his team. Players like him. He likes players. He's a guy with solid character, but sometimes you need to sacrifice those nice things for quality results.

The Mets and their fans are at a point where we need to be focused on results. Leave emotions, niceties and loyalty at the door. W's are what we long for.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Still Remembering 9/11

Every year I plan on writing a post about 9/11 and how baseball was one of the binding elements in the New York area after the horrible events on that September morning. But each year, I go back and read a post from Brad at Bugs and Cranks and realize I don't need to say anything else because this post is almost a mirror of my point of view.

Two years ago I was fortunate enough to get an autographed photo of that famed Mike Piazza home run swing during that first game after 9/11. It's in my office and is a constant reminder of how huge that moment was not just for a Mets fan or a baseball fan but for New York as a whole.

So as we all reflect on what this day has come to mean, I hope you will take a look at Brad's post.

Monday, September 10, 2012

So Long Lex Luthor

Good riddance. There's a lot of talk about Larry Jones' farewell tour and the applause he's gotten on his rocking chair tour through the majors. The only reason I would be cheering is that I'd never have to see Larry Jones again.

I saw tweets yesterday and heard commentators talk about the Mets fans giving Jones a farewell applause. Why? Why on earth would we celebrate a man who did nothing but terrorize our team for the better part of 2 decades? Would Superman pay homage to Lex Luthor's death? Would Batman shed a tear for the Joker's demise? Was Zach Morris giving credit to AC Slater when Kelly Kapowski dumped him? No, no and definitely no.

Larry Jones is our arch-nemesis. Ding dong the witch is dead. This is a time to be jubilant. Not for respect. I honestly wanted the Mets to hit him in the back on his final at bat and then tip their cap to him as waltzed down to first base.

That's a farewell.

Freddie Freeman appears to be quickly filling in the shoes Larry is leaving behind so it looks like the Braves will have a Mets killer in training to annoy us for the next 20 years.

I will openly admit, Larry Jones is a hall of famer. He's one of the best baseball players I've seen in person. He's a competitor and a legend.

But don't let the door hit you on the way out Lex...I mean...Larry.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Box of Mets Cereal

Sure it's kind of old. Probably stale, but who wouldn't want a box of Mets cereal from 2000 with Piazza, Leiter, Alfonzo and Franco on it. Ok, I could do without Franco too.

It can be yours. Just head over to to place your bid.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Trust is Gone from Mets Nation

Terry Collins has talked about fighting until the end. The goal being to finish in 3rd place (woohoo!). Players will say the right things and the product on the field will hopefully not have a lingering feeling of apathy.

But let's not kid ourselves. The season is over. The only argument that can be made is RA Dickey deserves a Cy Young award so for his starts there should be nothing holding us back from fighting to the bitter end. But the other days are just merely a means to another disappointing end.

While I've enjoyed the recent 4 game win streak and taking a series from the Phillies, the thought still lingers in my mind that we lost 4 straight to the pitiful Rockies and even splitting that series would have made things a whole lot more interesting let alone if we swept them.

There's also the thought that as soon as the Mets come back to Citi Field another massive losing streak awaits them because they've show no sign of life when playing in Queens. So we can go through the motions now, I will still watch games and cheer for this team, but for the most part it's time to move on.

Move on to what is the bigger question? I'm not talking football or basketball or hockey. I'm talking about what are we going to move onto specific to the Mets. At this point I feel like the Mets should just have a computer run this team. The guy in your fantasy league who does "auto-draft" always seems to end up with a half decent team where the guy who over thinks every pick often finds himself out of the playoffs.

That's how I feel about the Mets front office at this point. Let's just set it to auto-draft and see where we end up because the human beings making decisions haven't really helped a whole lot.

Sure there's the bright star of Matt Harvey, the hope of Zach Wheeler and the addition by subtraction in 2014 with the departure of Jason Bay, but it's the moves in between that will make or break this team.

Just look at the bullpen as a reference point. It is the most overhauled portion of the 2012 Mets and got the most attention from Sandy Alderson this past offseason. But even a blind man can see that is the worst part of the Mets. So what's going to happen when they tinker with the lineup? Or starting pitching? Faith is one thing, but blind faith in something that has done nothing to prove it deserves said faith is just idiotic.

Yet that's where Mets fans find themselves. Again. I understand it's a rebuilding process. But what I understand even more is that we've been given no reason to trust those steering this ship.

It all comes down to trust. A team can be bad, but if you trust those who are running things to turn things around, it can still make for an energized fan base. Right now the Mets have no trust left with their fans, that battered group of loyal individuals who pretty soon will not blindly shell out money to watch a sinking ship.

Trust is gone from Flushing. A crowd of Doubting Thomas' gather at Citi Field. It's time to see some action. Or maybe it's time for a rebellion.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Evolving Batting Stance of David Wright

There are players throughout baseball history with signature batting stances. Off the top of my head I think of Darryl Strawberry, Julio Franco, Gary Sheffield, Keith Hernandez, and Dave Magadan are few from recent Mets memory that I can think of. These hitters had a stance that you could imitate because they did the same thing every time.

Most of the names mentioned were pretty good hitters. None hit like Gwynn for their entire career, but they weren't slackers. But something has recently changed in baseball philosophy where it's now acceptable for hitters to tinker with their swing.

Maybe this has always gone on but I find it hard to believe that Tony Gwynn, Todd Helton or Paul Molitor messed with their batting stance as drastically as player do today.

Look at this picture below which was brilliantly put together by Rich Macleod and tweeted out this afternoon. This isn't tinkering. This is an evolution. Did Jordan change his shooting form from year to year? Does Peyton Manning tinker with his mechanics this much?

Maybe the ends justify the means. Wright was hitting .355 earlier this year and is still in the top 10 in batting average. It still makes me scratch my head that a guy who's now a seasoned veteran would be messing with his approach to the plate this much over the course of several years.

Photo credit to Rich Macleod

Friday, August 24, 2012

RA Dickey is an Inspiration

This past week I've found myself back in a familiar place: being down on the Mets. It's an annual rite of passage Mets fans take when things predictably fall apart. There's nothing wrong with being down on this team. I still love them. I still cheer for them. But man they are frustrating to watch.

A friend forwarded me this video of Eric Fleming who works for the Corcoran Group in New York City, and it made me realize what an amazing thing we have this year in R.A. Dickey. Not just the magical Cy Young worthy run that he's making, but the fact that he is an incredible story and should be an inspiration to us all.

In an era of performance enhancing drugs, liars, cheaters and guys who just won't go away (ahem, Clemens), Dickey is a rarity. A humble, unselfish guy who is a wunderkind on the mound and from reading his book an even remarkable person.

Watch Eric's video and try to appreciate what we as Mets fans have been able to enjoy in RA Dickey in spite of blowpens, bad contracts and losing streaks. Don't lose sight of the good in the shadow of the bad.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Movie Titles for the 2012 Mets

During yet another epic fail of a game and to prevent myself from pulling a Hulk smash on my television, I resorted to a juvenile distraction...Twitter. I started thinking about how you couldn't make a tear-jerker of a movie as bad as this season has been in July and August. So what would the title of this doomed Mets season be.

With the help of some other feeble minded Mets fans, here are some options for you that are plays off of existing movie titles and were tweaked to be appropriate for the 2012 Mets.

  1. BLOWpen Strikes Back
  2. Raiders of the Lost Season
  3. The Curse of the BLOWpen
  4. Strikeout Kings
  5. A No Hope
  6. The Loss Boys
  7. Death Angels in the Outfield
  8. Dumb and Dumberer
  9. BLOWn Away
  10. BLOW Out
  11. Come BLOW Your Horn
  12. Let the Win BLOW
  13. The Expendables
  14. The BLOWpen Legacy
  15. The BLOWpen Ultimatum
  16. The BLOWpen Supremacy
  17. Most leads are...Gone in 60 Seconds
  18. Scary Movie
  19. (30) Million Dollar Baby
  20. The Other Guys
  21. Legends of the Fail (my personal favorite)
  22. Five Runs is Not Enough
  23. Man Not on Fire (the Jason Bay story)
  24. Mets leads go...Up in Smoke
  25. The Lost World
  26. Losing and Other Drugs
  27. Superbad
  28. when will Jason Bay get his next hit?....28 Days Later or From Here to Eternity

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

MetsMerized: Fixing This Amazin’ Mess

This is a really good post with some real thought behind how to fix the Mets beyond the players on the field. We all know how badly the Mets need personnel changes, but does a great job going beyond the players and looking at how the Mets have lost a connection to their fans.

It's worth a read at the link below:
Fixing This Amazin’ Mess | Mets Merized Online:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Even a Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut: Jason Bay Homers

Like the fat kid who somehow manages a home run in kick ball, the Mets bench exploded last night when Jason Bay not only homered, but managed to squeek out a single as well.

With the home run, Jason Bay now has as many extra base hits as Matt Harvey since the All Star break.

The crazy part is whenver Bay does something good there's a thought that creeps into your mind. You start wondering, will this be the hit that breaks him out of this funk?

But no. Even blind squirrels find nuts every once in a while. Bay just happened to have a lucky day where he found two. Color me a sinic but I've been thinking these same thoughts for the last 3 seasons. I'm sure you have to.

So let's just celebrate Bay's game for what it is. Like Haley's comet, these days appear every once in a while. Today we'll be back to our regularly scheduled program.

But man can that Harvey did hit...he pitches pretty good too.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Waiting for Terry Collins to go Ballistic

The day is coming when Terry Collins just can't take it anymore. He is so good at saying all the right things and being positive. He's been a way better manager than I could have imagined, but the time is coming when he's going to snap.

Collins isn't one to hold back his emotions. We've seen a number of times on the positive side like when Reyes won the batting title last year or when Santana threw the no-hitter. He's not afraid to shed a tear or get choked up. And I think the same will eventually be true when times are bad.

We saw a glimpse of it earlier in the year when Kirk dropped an easy fly ball towards the end of a winnable game and even more recently when he barked at Dan Warthen after the BLOWpen blew yet another opportunity to get a W.

But all of these were just small potatoes compared to what's coming. Last night during the post game press conference, you could see the fumes stirring in Collins' head. He's had enough. It's one thing to lose games, but Collins won't accept consistently poor performance, on the mound and at the plate. He's a manager who wants to see effort. If you're playing hard, trying hard and you come up short on the scoreboard, he can live with that. But lazy, sloppy and unintelligent play must be dealt with. And that's what the Mets are putting on display.

Attendance is down over last year and any good will the Mets earned with their first half surprise is now completely erased. Collins should be mad. I know I'm mad. I'm the type of fan that watches every single game, but last night after back to back home runs and then strikeout after strikeout from the Mets hitters against a guy with an ERA over 6...I changed the channel. In fact I forgot to even check the score until this morning which of course was not a surprise because I knew it would be a loss.

That's apathy setting in for the most hardcore of fans and it's the most dangerous thing for a New York sports team. Apathy leads to lower ticket and merchandise sales. It leads to more pressure on management and players to perform. And it takes even longer to win back the good favor of the people.

You think Mets fans have been apathetic before? Things are just getting started.

But a Terry Collins implosion could temporarily stem the tide. I want Collins to unleash his inner-Pinella. I don't even care if it's directed at the umps or his own team. Someone needs to ignite a fire. A cleansing fire, perhaps, to burn away this smog of mediocrity that lingers over this team.

Unleash the beast, Collins. At the very least it will be the most entertaining part of this team that we've seen in months.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Quandry that is the Mets Outfield Situation

I'd write about another episode of the BLOWpen, but that story is as tired as the plot lines for NCIS. Let's focus on playing armchair GM, shall we?

Sure the bullpen is horrendous. There are questions with starting pitching, but the recent attention of the Mets blogosphere has been on the outfield. The Mets currently have the professional equivalent of the Bad News Bears out there. You've got you're ridiculously underperforming star (Bay), the speedster who can't really hit (Torres), the kid with the big mouth (Valdespin), the hometown boy you want to cheer for (Baxter) and the guy who either hits a home run or strikes out (Hairston). 

Forget Bad News Bears. That's the casting call for Major League 4. 

Because none of this motley crew is performing at an exceptional rate, Mets fans are longing for the days of Duda and Kirk who are currently relinquished to Triple A.

How soon we forget?

Honestly, the current rag tag crew is performing at a higher level than Duda and Kirk (except for Jason Bay of course). Valdespin is not going to hit a clutch 3-run homer every time at bat. He strikes out a lot, but not as much a Kirk who was getting eaten up on high fastballs like shrimp at a buffet. 

Duda just looked lost. the last month or so in the majors, but the fact still remains that he was in the top 3 on the team in HRs & RBI before he went down.

Baxter is a multi-position player who probably shouldn't be an every day guy, but should certainly be on a team at the major league level for his pinch hitting alone.

Hairston is Hairston. You know what you get.

Torres is, as we thought, and older version of Angel Pagan. 

And Bay...just needs to crawl under a rock..and stay there...for a while.

Where am I going with this? The fact of the matter is that regardless of who we think deserves to be starting or who needs to be sent down, the Mets still need an entirely new outfield.

Valdespin is too rough to be a starter yet, but honestly he and Baxter are the best options for the future which isn't saying much. Your corner outfielders are supposed to provide you with power and the Mets have had a drought in that aspect for several years now.

There are kids in the minor that show promise and potential, but I'm far from ready to bank my hopes on Duda & Kirk. I was ridiculously high on Kirk at the start of the season, but given enough at bats I was able to see, like most NL pitchers, there are serious holes in his game at the plate.

The point is there is no easy fix and with Bay's contract still looming for another year, it's hard to see the Mets making significant moves to right what's wrong in the outfield.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Link: The 10 Best Things About Being a New York Mets Fan

This is such a great post. Yankees fans will read it and mock, but really that shouldn't bother Mets fans.

The timing of this post is great because just last night I went to a Yankees game for the first time in about a dozen years. It was with some people at work so not a game I would choose to go to or pay money for. That being said I figured I'd be able to get into the game and admire the winning ways of this year's Yankees team. Not so. The more I watched the more I found myself disliking the team. There was no underdog to root for. No story line. No anticipation of what was to come. A couple of home runs later the Yanks won without breaking a sweat.

It's easy to be a Yankees fan. I take nothing away from the people that are avid Yankees fans. They should enjoy their team, but it takes a very special person to be a Mets fan through thick and thin. There's hope, there's uncertainty and always plenty of drama. It's like watching a sports soap opera and you're just waiting for one story line to end happily instead of tragically.

The only thing missing from the list that I would add would be Mets fans on Twitter. Following the Twitter timeline during a game is therapy, comedy and camaraderie all rolled into one. Without a doubt, Mets fans are some of the wittiest people out there.

Check out the list at the link below and use it to appease your tragic thoughts for this year's team:
The 10 Best Things About Being a New York Mets Fan | Bleacher Report | Bleacher Report:

Should Dan Warthen Be Held Accountable?

In the business world you have annual reviews. A time where you sit down and find out what you're doing well and what needs improving. You're given specific action items that you need to accomplish and the glaring holes in your performance are shared so that you have opportunity to improve them.

I have no idea how "reviews" work in the baseball world, but I wonder if someone is sitting down with Dan Warthen to talk about how his pitching staff is performing?

Let me start by saying that I'm not the person who blames managers for on field performance...unless your name is Willie Randolph. Dan Warthen has not thrown a single bad pitch this year. His pitchers are responsible for their own actions from game to game. But what Warthen should be held accountable for is the longer term growth or ineptitude of his pitchers. Bad games happen, but what you don't want to see is the same problems occurring over and over and over. A coach should be able to see the issues, bring them to the players attention, and make sure they can work to resolve it.

With that being said there is a glaring mental problem with Mets pitching. They have a habit of imploding in a single inning. The Mets are rarely beaten over the course of 9 innings. They tend to lose due to the fact that single inning accounted for the majority of the runs.

If you look at the Mets record this year, all but 7 losses have come because Mets pitching has given up 3+ runs in a single inning. 54 losses have come because Mets pitching can't get out of an inning and they allow a floodgate of runs to open.

We all know the BLOWpen issues, but this is occurring with starting pitching as well. No Mets starter is innocent of these charges. In fact all of them have given up 3+ runs before the 5th inning in one game or another. So in the first 4 innings of a game the Mets consistently find themselves in a ditch they have to crawl out of.

Why is this such an issue? It has to do with a combination of lack of mental strength and situation awareness. Mets pitching has to realize that it is imperative to stop the bleeding of runs ASAP because of the power shortage that is the Mets lineup. Efforts need to be made to hammer this home especially as the Mets continue to dig themselves deeper and deeper into a sub .500 hole.

Dan Warthen is not fully to blame, but when his "employees" consistently fall into the same trap over and over and over, 54 games worth,  you would think this is a vital area that a pitching coach needs to work on with his staff.

Maybe he is, but whatever he's doing is not working.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

San Fran is Just What the Mets Needed

The city by the Bay seems to have a nice effect on the Mets. In fact, it's exactly what this team needed. The series was not pretty. It was downright ugly, even disgusting, at times, but the Mets leave with a series win in what was an unexpected result.

A West Coast road trip is always brutal on this team. Given the fact that they were falling faster than a lead balloon, it was the last thing the Mets needed. After splitting the series in Arizona, a trip to San Fran to face the division leading/tied Giants didn't look promising. Games 1 through 3 of the series would support my point, but the results are what counts.

During the Mets skid in the post-All Star break freefall, nothing was going right. Umpires. Errors. Strikeouts. Ineptitude. You name it, the Mets were doing it poorly. But against the Giants all of sudden the Mets were able to scrape out some wins despite poor performance. And honestly that's what competing teams do. They scratch out wins even when things aren't going their way. That was what the first half Mets did so well and we're finally seeing that again in the second half.

Every double play is an adventure. The BLOWpen gives you ulcers. Hitting with runners in scoring position is still a rarity, but even so the Mets a leaving the Bay area with a 3-1 series win and some momentum behind him as they're currently 5-3 on this road trip.

So now San Diego awaits. A team the Mets SHOULD beat. Should. Not guaranteed but the Mets could start to climb out of this cavernous hole they've dug for themselves if they can continue to find ways to win in San Diego.

By no stretch of the imagination am I think this team is back in contention. What I am saying is the first half traits that we loved in this 2012 team is starting to show up again. Well except for Jason Bay, but that's a separate rant all together...

I'm not looking for the Mets to win every game. I'm looking for the spark, the tenacity, the energy that carried us from April thru June to continue to be seen in August and September.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

There Are No Fans Like Mets Fans

If you see a bleary-eyed co-worker today, they're probably a Mets fan. If a friend of yours sounds a little sluggish, chances are he/she is a Mets Lifer. If you read a number of misspellings in this post or poor use of grammar, forgive me. I went to sleep around 2:30 a.m.thanks to my beloved Mets.

A West Coast road trip is taxing enough on the players, but the fans feel it as well. I'm not just talking about the late nights. It's the way the Mets play baseball that has the biggest effect.

The Mets played a horrendous game last night defensively despite great pitching from Jeremy Hefner but somehow came back to take the lead. Only to blow it. Only to take the lead. Only to almost blow it again with the final out being a fly ball on the warning track in dead center field.

But half the fun of last night was following my fellow Mets fans on Twitter as we all shared our sorrow, disgust, jubilation and anxiety together online. The same people I saw tweeting at 10 pm were still going strong at 2 a.m. The late night also brings out the wittiest of retorts and was the one thing that kept me from throwing my remote at Bobby Parnell.

Through thick and thin, fun and disappointment, the Mets fans seem to always be there. Hoping, praying and cheering for our New York team.

Let's go Mets!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

History Has Me Questioning Faith in Mets Future

Right now it feels like the Mets will not win another game all season. It's an overreaction. I realize they play the Padres again so there's at least one or two wins waiting, but in the span of 10 days the 2012 season has become a complete wash.

On Twitter I see a number of Mets fans talking about "staying positive" and "not booing" and "believing" and they are perfectly within their right to think that way. But to me, that's being overly Pollyanish. As a Mets fan for life I've earned the right to question the team, to be disgusted with certain player's performances and even boo if I feel like it. There are no mid-year reviews or performance assessments in Major League Baseball. No pay cuts for bad performance. The fans are the ones who act as judge and jury. And right now most of the Mets are guilty of being awful.

I read this morning on about the plans for the future and how the front office has had their sights on 2014. This is all part of a master rebuilding plan. Well pardon me but I'm a doubting Thomas.

How many times over the last decade have we looked towards the future with promise? How many times have we been told a player is untouchable because in 3-4 years he will be the every day starter. Fernando Martinez. Lastings Milledge. Mike Pelfrey. Eddie Kunz. Just to name a few.

My grandfather had an old Portugese saying he like to remind us of. He would say, "Tomorrow, tomorrow.not today say all the lazy people." I'm not calling Sandy Alderson lazy, but I am saying that he's got a history of poor planning and scouting to contend with and it feels like we are sacrificing the present on the altar of the future.

And the future is not guaranteed.

So in the midst of a potential MVP season from David Wright and the rare opportunity to have a Cy Young winner in RA Dickey and even the potential for a playoff berth, the Mets have decided to not fill the holes in this team, even partially, to help make 2012 a winning season.

Yes, yes it's "early" in the season. You can tell me "they're only 6 back in the Wild Card" but let's be honest. This team is digging a hole that they are going to have to play .700 ball to crawl out of. And with no bullpen help, the insistence of playing a .180 average outfielder everyday, platooning a catcher who can't hit the broadside of a barn and 2 holes in the starting rotation make 2012 the year experts predicted it would be for the Mets.

Pandora's box was opened after the all star break. The last thing at the bottom of Pandora's box is hope. Apparently the Mets will wait until 2014 for that to come back.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This is Year 5 of the BLOWpen

The following was written on this very blog in 2007, but might as well have been written today:
I swear these kinds of losses are ripping me up. I can only imagine what it must be like to walk around in that clubhouse as a member of that BLOWpen. If I'm a beat writer covering this team, I'm observing that vibe - the interaction, if any - and writing about that. Players will say all the right things, but you know deep down, it's killing them. It seems like any loss the Mets have, it's because of this BLOWpen. Today was the 27th BLOWN save of the year, holding true to their name, BLOWpen.
Sure...everyone will talk about missed opportunities to tack on runs, and no doubt, it hurts.... Fact is, every other baseball fan on the planet knows it, the BLOWpen just cannot get the job done. Period! That's why there is such an emphasis on this club to score any chance they get. Unfortunately, that's not the way baseball works. If teams get a hit JUST 4 times out of ten with RISP, those teams would be making history. Hitters get out 72% of the time, even less with runners on. The law of averages will tell you that pitchers win the battle more often than not. Unless, of course, you're the NY Mets' BLOWpen. Then, everybody gets a hit...

 Apparently nothing has changed in 5 years.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mets Are Right Where Sandy Alderson Wants Them

Free falling doesn't even begin to describe the current state of the Mets. Losers of 10 out of their last 11 and with back to back extra inning implosions by the illustrious BLOWpen have Mets fans feeling like they'll never see another win all season. Just 10 days ago the Mets were players in the pennant race and scrambling to see what moves the team could make to plug the holes in the current Mets rotation and lineup.

Sandy Alderson came out and firmly stated that the Mets would be buyers come the trade deadline. A move that was more for PR and ticket sales than anything else. Mr. Alderson wants nothing to do with buying at the trade deadline and the current slide has the Mets just where he wants them.

You see Sandy Alderson is a strategist. He doesn't think 1 move or 2 moves ahead. He's thinking 20 moves ahead and right now his eyes are set on 2013. A pennant race this year would mess with the master plan he has set. If he has to spend money or deal prospects this year, it will screw with his plans for next year.

The need for bullpen help has been evident since April. The overly left-handed lineup was also a blaring flaw in the makeup of the team for the last two months. But Mr. Alderson has done nothing. Sure you could argue that there weren't deals to be made or the Mets don't have the right pieces to offer, but I don't believe that.

Brett Myers could have been had for a song and a dance. The Yanks pulled Ichiro (not that I want him) from Seattle. There are a ton of moves that could have been made to help salvage this season. But nothing was done because Mr. Alderson (and maybe the Wilpons) wanted to be certain that the Mets wouldn't fall apart before spending any cash or dealing away precious prospects.

So for now Mets fans must wallow in the filth that has become this season. No bullpen help is seemingly on the way and with 2 starters now down for the foreseeable future, no rotation help is on its way either.

The Mets are standing pat and riding the year out. If a move is made this week or next I will be shocked unless it's one of the selling variety.

Next year is becoming the Flushing mantra. Like someone with affinity for abuse, Mets fans have to keep coming back to see if anything will change.

A BLOWpen problem has only been looming over us for the last 5 years. No need to rush.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Most Depressing Fact About the 2012 Mets

I'm such a downer. Sorry. It's just that type of week. With yet another down by a run-bullpen gives up more runs-almost come back-but don't type of game, I'm spent. I'm sitting there in a comatose state after the game with SNY on in the background when all of a sudden I find a way to get even more irate.

Chris Carlin states the following: through 91 games the 2012 Mets have the same exact record as the 2011 Mets.


This year just felt so much more promising. The youth. The starting pitching. The comebacks. But all it takes is an extended losing streak to snap you back to reality.

I don't want to believe this Mets team has teased us for the first 4 months of the season. I want to believe this team can make things interesting come September. I realize it's still relatively early and there's time to get back in the fight. But it sure doesn't feel like it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

BLOWpen Lessons Not Learned

I'm just a fan. A loyal Mets fan. I've played baseball. I've watched thousands of games. But I realize that I'm not a baseball expert. No surprise there, but what is surprising is how "baseball people" on the Mets still haven't learned their lesson.

Last night's embarrassingly awful loss to the Nationals after what was an incredible comeback in the 9th inning was riddled with moves the average Mets fan knows you shouldn't make. Here's my case:

Lesson #1 - Bobby Parnell is of Fragile Mind
He just blew a massive save attempt the other day. You cannot trot him back out in a pressure situation and expect him to overcome. He's not a closer. He's a guy with a real fast fastball and a decent curve, but he throws the ball ridiculously straight. Parnell's psyche is potentially shattered for another month. He can be the 8th inning guy, but as soon as trouble mounts he must be pulled because he doesn't have the mental fortitude to pitch out of it.

Lesson #2 - Tim Byrdak Cannot Pitch to Righties
Tim Byrdak is a great lefty specialist, but that's it. To bring him in to close out the game in the 10th is baffling as the first left handed batter that you knew wouldn't be pinch hit for wasn't scheduled to be up until the 4th batter in the inning. This isn't the first time we've seen this. Byrdak continues to get hit by righties. Let him face the lefties and be done. In order to face a lefty the Mets had to walk the bases loaded and we know what happened after that. Don't give me the old force at any base excuse. With the amount of walks this bullpen has given up I was certain Beato would have walked the winning run in instead of the wild pitch.

Lesson #3 - Leadoff Walks Kill
Leadoff walks are the harbinger of all bad innings. If a Mets reliever walks the leadoff batter, he must be pulled. It's all down hill from there.

Lesson #4 - The Mets Are Desperate for a BLOWpen Enema
This is a lesson that should have been learned 3 seasons ago. As bad as last night's loss was, did it really shock anyone? It hurt, but it wasn't surprising. No lead is safe and one additional pitcher won't solve the problem. I'm ready to bring up the entire bullpen of the Buffalo Bisons and give them a shot. Can they possibly be any worse than the worst bullpen in baseball?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Return of Jason Bay is a Conundrum for Mets

I've been looking for an excuse to use conundrum in a title and now I've found it. Jason Bay is the ultimate conundrum. The highest paid everyday player who produces the least. What do you do with him? Throw the "right-handed bat" argument out the window because it's stupid. These are professionals and if you're paid enough you should be able to hit lefties and righties.

As Jason Bay returns to the Mets tonight it opens up a bit of a Pandora's box with regards to the Mets outfield situation. Big Bucks Bay is going to play. You don't sign him for that money to have him ride the bench. A platoon is possible but even that causes issues.

Right now Kirk is not the same player he was in April. He's got growing pains and we all should have expected it, but with the Mets current skid and a huge series against the division leaders you have to think Terry Collins wants to put his best players out there.

All of a sudden the Mets have a very crowded outfield. Besides Kirk and Bay, you have Torres, Hairston, Duda, and Valdespin. Valdespin shouldn't be in the bigs unless he's going to play regularly. Torres is your only stolen base option except for maybe the aforementioned Valdespin. Duda has been your everyday right fielder since opening day, but Scott Hairston is potentially the best right handed bat you have after Wright.

Against lefties do you have Torres, Hairston & Bay and then against righties you have Valdespin, Kirk and Duda? It's possible but swapping out your entire outfield every other day seems idiotic.

If Bay produces....sorry I had to stop laughing...ok IF he produces, he'll play everyday and I expect Kirk & Torres to platoon. If Bay doesn't produce (and by produce I mean bat above .250), then the questions will start flying and Terry Collins will have to spin a wheel to figure out who to play each day.

Too many options is normally a good problem, but not when most of them are mediocre. A rejuvenated Bay would be a huge lift for the Mets and even allow them to avoid any trade talks for another hitter.

But how likely is that to happen?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mets Lessons Learned from Atlanta

Welcome to the second half of the baseball season. So far it's zero fun. Just a lot of pain, agony and horrendousness if you ask me. The debacle in Atlanta should give the Mets a few lessons they need to learn (preferably quickly) in order to keep their 2012 season in check. Here they are:

  1. The Mets BLOWpen is BLOWriffic: You thought the bullpen was bad. Now you definitely know it's not bad, it's atrocious. The Mets have leaned on starting pitching for the entire first half which is has allowed the BLOWpen to only be an issue once or twice a week at best. What we saw this weekend is if the starters struggle through 5 innings, the Mets have zero chance of holding or regaining a lead as this BLOWpen has more holes than a Dunkin Donuts. Something has to be done about
  2. This Offense Can Score Runs: Let's ignore the Ben Sheets Homecoming on Sunday. The first two games of the series the Mets averaged 6 runs per game. And David Wright went 0 for 5 on Saturday in which they scored 7 runs. The Mets have a way of getting guys to fill in when others are struggling. They've done it all season so it shouldn't be a surprise to see it continue. Sure it takes 5 hits to score 2 runs, but the run production with the Mets is solid even without a solid slugging bat in the middle of the lineup.
  3. The Braves Aren't Going Anywhere: The Nats are in first place but don't be shocked if Atlanta catches or passes them by the end of August. The lineup is solid 1 through 6 and they've got home run potential on their bench. Freddy Gonzalez isn't the most adept manager out there but he's got enough pieces to make a run during Chipper Jones' swan song.
  4. We Wish Bobby Parnell was Craig Kimbrel: A right handed pitcher who can reach triple digits, mix his fastball with off speed pitches and be the legitimate closer of the future. That's what we thought we had with Parnell but we're not even close when you see Craig Kimbrel. This kid is unreal. He hits every spot. Throws with authority and appears unflappable on the mound. I would trade Ruben Tejada and Matt Harvey for him right now if I could. Mark my words. He's going to dominate the Mets for the next 5 years or more.
  5. Never Take Ruben Tejada Out of Game on a Double Switch: Idiotic move of the month was made by temporary manager Bob Gerin on Saturday when he took Tejada out as part of a double switch and replace him Ronny Cedeno. I get that a double switch was necessary as the pitcher was due up in the following inning, but why take out the best defensive player in the entire franchise during a tight game? Oh and he just also happens to be your second best hitter after David Wright too. So of course a ball is hit to shortstop that might have been playable by Tejada. No guarantees but still every Mets fan was thinking the same thing when that ball was hit....Tejada would've had it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

2012 Mets Mid Year Review

In the business world you don't get letter grades, you get plunked into general categories of achievement. So instead of a Mets report card, here's my breakdown of the 2012 Mets as if they were up for their mid-year review. The categories are below expectations, meets expectations and exceeds expectations. We'll start with the underachievers.

Below Expectations

  • Jason Bay: This is saying something because I honestly had zero expectations for Bay this year and yet somehow he continues to disappoint. Booing him after he got a concussion may have been the low point for Mets fans this year, but we're sick of guys who play hard and don't really do anything. Last time I checked, playing hard and batting .200 still means you stink.
  • Mets catchers: Thole, Nickeas, etc. are all sub par. Thole is better at the plate than Nickeas, but that's not saying much. I still don't understand why teams don't try and steal a base every time someone gets on because it's apparent that Thole can't throw anyone out.
  • Justin Turner: He's had one great at bat this year, but otherwise he's only area of excellence is smashing whip cream into the faces of teammates.
  • Ike Davis: I had high hopes for Davis this year. I was thinking 30 HRs/100 RBI type of season. Even though he's turned it on a bit of late, the horrendous output in April, May and most of June left a huge gap in the Mets lineup. 
  • Daniel Murphy: I like Murphy. I want him to do well, but he's baffling at times. Surprisingly his defense isn't the issue. It's his inconsistency at the plate that's the question. You like Murphy because he can hit .300, but when he doesn't you wonder if you'd be better off with a different option. If he can't hit well, what does he really offer? 
Meets Expectations
  • The BLOWpen: Some people thought the Mets made improvements in the offseason to the perennial disappointment that has been the Mets bullpen. I wasn't one of them. The Mets bullpen boasts the highest bullpen ERA in the majors and continues to find ways to blow games. Business as usual.
  • Jon Niese: Sunday's debacle against the Cubs aside, Niese has become the pitcher we expected him to be. Not an All Star but a reliable left-handed option.
  • Andres Torres: Angel Pagan only shorter and older. Yup, that's Torres.
  • Lucas Duda: He's not impressive, but he's what we expected. Below average fielder who has some pop. You hope for more, but at least he's been more consistently productive than Ike Davis.
  • David Wright: You may think David Wright deserves to be in the exceeds expectations category, but I think Wright is showing us he's the player we all knew he was. He's in the top 5 in average and doubles. His fielding has been solid. He's in the top of the pack for MVP considerations at the midway point. That is what I expect from Wright year in and year out. All Star. MVP. Captain.
Exceeds Expectations
  • Ruben Tejada: Jose who? Tejada is beyond impressive. We always knew he'd be a great fielder, but his patience at the plate and how he's hitting for average is truly unexpected. In my wildest dreams I thought Tejada might hit .275, but he's batting well over .300 and is doing the little things like working counts and drawing walks that makes him so valuable at the top of the order. If he hadn't been hurt for a month, the Mets may have had a few more wins added to their total because of his defense and his offense.
  • R.A. Dickey & Johan Santana: Both of these guys have earned the right to be called the ace of the staff. Both are having years that we did not expect. Dickey's numbers are superior and has gotten him into the Cy Young discussion, but the fact that Santana has come back healthy and pitched consistently well is equally impressive. Plus throwing the first no-hitter in Mets history really helps.
  • Scott Hairston: This guy eats lefties for lunch, dinner and then a midnight snack. Hairston could lead the Mets in home runs while not playing every day. He's also decent in the field and makes you wonder if he should be playing more than Duda or Kirk. After Tejada, Hairston has been the biggest surprise of the first half for the Mets.
  • Mike Baxter: Don't forget about this guy. He's been out for a month, but Baxter was a pinch hitting machine for most of April and May. I think he hit a double every other at bat and of course made the great catch to save the Johan no-no. Since he's been out, the Mets have missed that extra reliable bat on the bench and an alternative option in the outfield.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Playing All 27 Outs

The 2012 Mets play to the last out. They even play to the last strike. There is no mailing it in with this team. There's a sense that every guy wants to play his hardest because who knows where he'll be in the coming months.

Is it because of Terry Collins that the Mets play this way? Possibly, but I have to think it's ingrained in each player. Call them hard nosed, overachievers but it's gritty play like we saw last night that makes the 2012 Mets so fun to watch.

Last night's game against the Phils should have been a loss. The Mets resident ace, R.A. Dickey, didn't have it. You could tell from the first inning that the knuckleball wasn't working its magic like it normally does. Dickey had control problems and the Phils hits were hard.

The Mets crawled their way back only to give up the lead again. But it didn't matter. The 27th out hadn't occurred yet. With 2 outs and 2 strikes in the 9th inning the Mets seem to play their most disciplined baseball. Ruben Tejada looked like Keith Hernandez at the plate, working the count and following off pitches. Murphy muscled a cue shot and ran as hard as anyone in baseball to avoid an infield out.

Then Mr. Wright comes up with the game tied and does what a veteran hitter should do. He knew Pappelbon would throw a fastball on the first pitch so Wright breaks his pattern of taking the first pitch and slaps a little blooper into no-man's land to win the game.

The fact that this happened against the Phillies makes it all that more enjoyable, but it's the type of play you see night in and night out from this team. The Mets have their warts: the BLOWpen, their fielding, their left-handed heavy lineup. But because they play with such intensity every night and never seem to give up, we often overlook their shortcomings and just enjoy the love for the game that's displayed on the field.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Mysterious Moves of Terry Collins

Let me start by saying I like Terry Collins a lot. I love his attitude and demeanor. Overall I think he's the right guy for this team, but some of his moves lately are baffling.

Take Sunday night for instance. Bases loaded in a tie game with 2 outs. Righty on the mound. Instead of a seasoned player, like Scott Hairston being able to bat for himself he puts in the rookie Captain Kirk (yes, I still don't know how to spell his last name from memory) in the tightest of spots. I get he was doing the lefty vs. righty thing, but there's gotta be some common sense that tells you don't throw the rookie cold off the bench into the tensest moment of the game. He had Murphy on the bench too who is a much better contact hitter than Kirk even though he's been struggling.

Speaking of Murphy, all of a sudden Murphy is no longer considered a starter? We live through Ike Davis batting .150 for 3 months, but Murphy's average drops to .270 and all of a sudden he's relinquished to platoon duties? Where's the consistency. Murphy is a hitter. His glove in the field will never be golden. With the rag tag defense the Mets already have is Murphy really going to do that much more damage? Why isn't he given the opportunity to play his way out of a slump when he's way more reliable a hitter than Davis?

Then you have the whole Torres/Kirk/Hairston platoon going on in the outfield. Kirk should be playing every day. He's proven he's a talented player and has earned the right to do so. The Mets lineup is already lefty heavy so is it really going to make a difference that Torres is in vs. Kirk?

There seems to be a lot of turnover on the lineup card the past month where for the first few months of the season it had been relatively consistent outside of injuries. I think the Mets play is showing this to be an issue as well. The defense has been atrocious and there's no continuity in the lineup.

The Mets are a flawed team with some serious holes and I'm not even getting into the pitching/bullpen. But the best thing for a young team is to allow them to get into a rythmn, establish roles and quit over analyzing ways to mask the issues your team has.

Let Kirk play everyday. Give Murphy the chance given to Ike. Let's not make the lineup card a daily surprise.

Friday, June 22, 2012

ESPYS Interview Series: Mike Piazza

I'm a sucker for any post about Mike Piazza so I was excited to see ESPN's series of the greatest sports moments in the last 20 years feature Mike Piazza in one of my all-time favorite Mets moments. Check out the video below and click here to read the full interview with the future Hall of Famer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Appreciating RA Dickey

I remember when the Mets called up R.A. Dickey a few years ago. I mocked that the best option the Mets had to fill a starting rotation hole was an aging pitcher who was banished to the minor leagues and forced to try a knuckle ball to save his career.

Since that point RA Dickey has done nothing but make me appreciate him. From his demeanor to his fastball to his Bugs Bunny knuckler to his consistency, R.A. Dickey is heaven sent.

Honestly he is. Without Dickey the Mets probably would have forced a young arm into the mix too early. They would certainly have fewer wins. And Santana would left alone on an island as being the one reliable option the Mets have as a starter.

Dickey is proving that it's never too late to change for the better. His life's story is a fantastic read if you haven't picked up his new book and if there ever was a player made for the NY media, it's Dickey.

The Mets should lock him up for a few more years and ride this amazing Dickey Train for as long as they can. No longer am I asking, "Is Santana pitching?" when headed to Citi Field. I'm hoping Dickey is on the mound so I can see the wonder that he has become.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Not Breaking Bad for the Mets

The Mets may very well be the luckiest team in baseball so far this year. It feels odd saying that when I consider how many players have been on the DL and the amount of people in the starting lineup that have a sub .200 batting average but it's true.

For once, things are not breaking bad for the New York Mets.

They've had their stretches where they play poorly. Their defense is suspect. And the bullpen is schizophrenic. But whenever the Mets have been on the brink, just a loss or two away from spiraling downward, they come back in a major way.

This week's series with the Rays was just that. Losing 5 of 6 to the Nats & Yanks and then having to go on the road to face arguably the best starting rotation in baseball felt like the Mets were doomed. So what do they do? They score more runs in 3 games than Dickey has given up all year.

Not only that but they do it by hitting an amazing amount of home runs and some from the unlikeliest of sources: Jason Bay & Ike Davis. Sure the Mets couldn't beat the Astros earlier this year, but when you sweep the Tampa Bay Rays on the road you kind of forget about those low moment.

Add onto all this the sensational play of Captain Kirk, the productivity of whomever the Mets plugin at shortstop, the renaissance of R.A. Dickey and the consistency and leadership from David Wright and you have a true marriage of skill and a series of fortunate events.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mets Bullpen: A Culture of Blowing?

In business, companies have a culture that represents their brand regardless of changes in personnel and leadership at the top. Apple's culture is still the same even though Steve Jobs is no longer at the head. Some things have changed, but the core of what Apple is and does remains consistent. The same can be said of Southwest Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Nike and Google.

The pieces change but the way things are done and the end product it produces remains the same. Unfortunately what's worked for these great brands is what's killing the Mets bullpen.

The Mets are trying to change their culture this year. No more free agents for hire as the backbone of the ballclub. Home grown talent permeates the lineup. But unfortunately the bullpen is going to need a cultural shift to get out of it's current standing as a BLOWpen.

How many years in a row has the Mets bullpen been consistently blowing tight game after tight game? It's been a while. You could go back to the days of John Franco, who may be lauded as a great reliever, but true Mets fans know that Franco was always one to have runners on base and blew his fair share of close games during his time with the Mets.

Then you have Benitez, Looper, Ayala, and KRod. Add in Heilman, Parnell, Acosta, and Mota and you have a decades worth of blowing.

No bullpen in baseball is perfect, but the Mets bullpen is performing poorly on an annual basis. It's become a culture of blowing. So how do you change a culture like that? I can't say that I have the answer, but if it's anything like culture change in business it takes a long time and it starts at the top.

You can say the bullpen mishaps this weekend aren't necessarily the fault of the pitchers. Fine, you can make that excuse, but that's all it is.

A culture change is needed. Perhaps even something drastic. Those who refuse to look at history to help change the future are doomed to repeat it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bugs & Cranks » Oh, Wait…Is There Another Subway Series?

The always witty Brad Bortone of Bugs & Cranks posts a witty commentary on his views of the upcoming Subway Series and reveals surprising evidence that the Mets & Yankees are actually quite evenly matched for once.

Check out his post at the link below:
Bugs & Cranks » Oh, Wait…Is There Another Subway Series?:

Ike Davis is Holding Back the Mets But He's Not To Blame

Ike Davis is an automatic out. He's the fat kid on your little league team. He gets up to the plate. Flails at a couple of pitches. Most of the time strikes out. But every once in awhile gets a hit.When that happens we all cheer. Not because we're happy for his success, but because we're surprised something good actually happened.

I like Ike Davis a lot. I had high hopes for him, but there's something wrong between his ears that needs to get worked out. His failures are painful to watch and it's not his fault. The Mets are letting him dig his own grave.

By coming out a few weeks ago and saying they aren't going to send Ike Davis to the minor leagues the Mets organization ruined more than a few games as well as potentially the season for Ike. What they did is show they have no accountability for young hitters. Ike is getting a free pass for being the worst hitter in the National League when he hasn't even been an All Star caliber player. He's only been playing in the bigs for parts of 3 seasons. He's hardly a seasoned veteran that has earned the respect to fight through it. Even Jason Bay's numbers look stellar compared to Ike. Sure he's a nice guy, great in the clubhouse and all that, but last time I checked being nice doesn't put fans in the seats or get you to the playoffs. Wins do.

The Mets are also causing the success of others to be hindered by Ike's playing time. Davis has played almost every game since the announcement that he wasn't headed to the minors. During that time frame, Scott Hairston has hit more home runs, scored more runs and gotten more hits than Ike has the entire month of May. And he's done all that for the most part coming off the bench. When Bay comes back will Kirk have to platoon instead of letting Duda play first? When did the Mets stop putting the team first in the hopes of not hurting someone's feelings.

If the organization honestly believes that Ike Davis would be totally crushed by being sent to the minors do they think that keeping him in the majors and making him suffer through every game and every at bat in total embarrassment is doing much to help his cause?

With interleague play upon us, the struggles of Davis will be even more obvious. Someone who bats merely .200 would be a 25% increase in production compared to Davis. Think about all the horrible hitters the Mets have had in their history. None of the every day players have hit for average as poorly as Davis to this point in the season.

Ike Davis needs help and the Mets aren't giving it to him. With all eyes on the Subway Series and nationally televised games this weekend, you can be sure Ike Davis will want to be out of the spotlight instead of being forced into it.

And most importantly, it's costing the Mets wins. That's too high a price for even the nicest of guys.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Defending Mets Jorts Fan

On Friday night as I jumped around in front of the TV as Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets history I was shocked to see a Gary Carter jersey in the pile of Mets players mobbing Santana (image above courtesy of NY Post). As the camera zoomed out I finally saw that this was a man wearing jean shorts and he was about to get pummeled by security. I laughed at the brazen move by this die hard fan and then was a bit surprised to see he was the only one who ran out on the field during an iconic moment for Mets fan.

I was surprised and saddened to find out that this Mets fan, Rafael Diaz, spent the next two nights in jail for this moment of admitted stupidity and he actually missed his son's first birthday because of it. On top of that he has been banned from Citi Field - FOR LIFE!!! Really? Are they going to hang up his picture at every gate and have security make sure he doesn't enter? Come on. This is an unenforceable ruling, but it gets worse. Diaz could also spend a year jail and a $25,000 fine.

I understand that's the law. He broke the law and there's a penalty for it, but let's put things in perspective. It was a victim-less crime. This poor guy is probably getting sufficient punishment from his wife for getting thrown in jail and then missing their son's birthday. He'll be working this one off for way longer than the 1 year jail sentence.

But beyond that, what Diaz did is an iconic moment. Every single highlight of the Santana no hitter shown for the next 50 years will have Diaz in it. I know I won't soon forget him and it reminded me of another iconic baseball moment.

When Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run record what's the first visual that comes to your mind? I'm guessing it's probably this image to the right. You may not remember who the pitcher was or where the home run was hit to, but you distinctly remember these two guys in funny looking outfits running with Hank Aaron around the bases. In fact an image of this shot is hanging up in the hall of fame. The hall of fame.

Today's game, fans and environment is much different than when Hank Aaron entered the record books, but the fan's reaction is still the same. Uncontrollable jubilation that makes you do something crazy.

Here's to you Rafael Diaz. You did what we all wanted to do. You can have one of my tickets the next time I head to Citi Field. Just wear a mustache and glasses.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Only True Mets Fans Can Understand the Significance of this Moment

You can talk about the hit that should have been. You can boast about how your team has thrown multiple no hitters. You can be impressed at the pitching prowess of Johan Santana. But unless you're a true Mets fan, you can't appreciate just how special the no-hitter last night really was.

I received tweets, texts and messages from friends who are fans of the Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox, Brewers and a handful of other teams who all knew how excited I would be about Santana's no hitter but as I browsed my Twitter stream and Facebook feed to see other Mets fans reaction our feelings were all the same...amazement.

I honestly didn't think I'd see a no hitter in my lifetime. I certainly didn't expect it to come this season with low expectations and an uncertainty of what to expect from a Santana just coming off of surgery. If you look at last night's lineup it was littered with 8 left handed hitters and 6 of them from the Mets farm system. 2 of them were batting under .200. 1 of them just came off the DL.

Then you have Santana who's pitch count has been scrutinized more than the Dead Sea scrolls. You have Collins who was a manager no one expected or wanted. There are so many unexpected elements in place this season that to see a no hitter in this year of all years is simply surreal.

I've watched the highlights at least 15 times already and it's not old. I'm perusing every Mets blog imaginable and every post I'm reading is exactly the same although the words are different. The thread that connects us is not just that we're Mets fans, but we're appreciating the unexpectedness of this moment.

I watched this video from Andrew Vazzano of The Ropolitans and felt it could have been a video from any true Mets fan across the country. Enjoy this moment Mets Lifers. Appreciate it for what most Mets memorable moments are...amazing.