Archive for the ‘Other blogs’ Category

A lot can happen in a year

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I was reading Hardball Times while at work today, and saw a link to an article written there a year ago called “Five Questions: New York Mets.”  It’s weird what you can take in from an article written a year ago.  Following a baseball team day to day, week to week, month to month, you forget things as the season goes along, particularly things from spring training.  Anyway, go back and read that article if you have a chance, and take note of the following:

  • Last spring, Luis Castillo and Carlos Beltran had not taken the field before March 15th.  This year, both were healthy and ready to go at the start of spring.
  • Carlos Delgado was still recovering from a hip injury, and was having a dreadful start to spring which would carry over to the regular season.  This year, Delgado has played well, including some nice hitting in the WBC.
  • Ryan Church suffered his first concussion after the collision with Marlon Anderson early in spring training.  Other than a minor knee injury, he has been healthy all spring this year.
  • Brian Schneider didn’t have much of a chance to catch his new starting staff at the start of spring due to a sore hamstring.  This year, he has been a regular in the lineup and has a year of catching this entire staff under his belt.

And so on.  A lot of these seemingly minor issues, which you don’t think about at the time, let alone by season’s end, have not been problems this season.  This year, other than an elbow scare with Johan Santana (which hopefully will not rear its head again), everybody is healthy.  Not everybody has been in camp, of course, thanks to the WBC, but the guys who need to play every day are, and those who would be counted on to play key reserve spots are also getting work.  Health-wise, everybody is doing well so far (knock on wood).

Another issue revolves around Johan Santana.  Last year, he was the key news story for the team in spring training, as he had been acquired only a month beforehand.  Every reporter, every camera, every fan was documenting his every move.  This year, while he did become a story because of the elbow, he hasn’t been the overriding story.  Now, he’s a true part of the team, his simply being a Met is no longer a story.  Everything about his spring is more familiar than last year.  The Mets don’t have a calibre of star who has had anything like that join the team this year, not even K-Rod.  The story is on the team and how they can play better than last year.

I think we’re silently working our way into a good spot.  Last year, we all had expectations, even as spring training sort of became something of a disaster.  A rough spring spilled into the regular season, and after a bad start, Willie Randolph lost his job.  Jerry Manuel righted the ship, brought the Mets back into playoff contention, but ultimately the bad start was too much to overcome.  A lot was made of the way the Mets finished the season, but if the Mets hadn’t started the season so poorly, there is a good chance that the Mets would have made the playoffs.

This year?  Spring is going well.  Don’t pay attention to the record; most of those games have been played by second string hitters.  Our hitters are healthy, they are just playing for scattered WBC teams across the country.  Everybody is healthy, most of the players are doing OK, and if things continue to progress as they have, the Mets will have a full, healthy roster going into the season.  The guy managing the team isn’t Willie Randolph, another plus.  Things just feel like they are moving in a better direction this year.

Yet, most Mets fans will say that they are not optimistic.  The collapses from the past two seasons definitely still linger in most people’s minds, and this offseason ultimately felt unfulfilling after a promising start.  Last year, the Mets made their big move on the eve of spring training; this year, they made their big move in November.  It changes the psychology of how the fans look at their team.  There is optimism to be found on the 2009 Mets, just as there was reason for pessimism for the 2008 Mets that most Mets fans chose to overlook.  Personally, I just hope that they can stay healthy and enter the year at 100%, because a good start could be what makes the difference for this team.

I am a big fan of what they do over at FireJoeMorgan.com

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

If you read this, you’ll know why.  They get it, to me.  Besides destroying my least favorite baseball announcer on a regular basis, they get baseball as well as any blog on the internet.  If the Mets bullpen holds one lead, there isn’t talk of the Mets’ lack of fire; it’s all about how they had the resilience to hold off the Phillies during their big charge.  Please don’t forget this…it was the bullpen that ruined this year more than anything else, with the starting rotation and Jose Reyes’ sharp 2nd half plunge being secondary factors.  More about the bullpen later this week.

I agree with this completely

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Over at Unfiltered, the Baseball Prospectus blog, Gary Huckaby sums up my feelings exactly.  I have believed this since day one; sometimes good teams play bad baseball.  Over the past two weeks, the Mets have been a good team that played very bad baseball, and that’s why they won’t be in the playoffs this week.  It still hurts to say that, but it’s true.

One more quick note about updates – I will be updating as news comes in this off-season.  Not every day, just reactions to general news as it hits the wire.  If/when Willie Randolph gets fired, I’ll have a comment about it here.  If/when the Mets make a major signing or trade, I’ll have a comment about it here.  Any major news that involves the Mets from here on out, you can expect a comment from me about it, good or bad.  When I have time, I’ll try to get columns up if I have a topic to write about.  This past weekend, I happened to have two.  Don’t expect that every week.  But do expect more than what I have posted since May; after last October, my reaction to what happened was to write less and less until I had stopped updating here.  This time around, my reaction to this particular collapse is to use this forum to speak on Mets issues more and to try to work through the hurt.

Blog roundup

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006

In lieu of Quick Hits today, since it’s a bit on the slow side, here’s what some other blogs are saying. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these anyway, and there are other great blogs out there to read besides mine.

Matt Cerrone at MetsBlog destroyed Yankee fans in light of the stupid Metallica controversy. Good work, they deserved every venomous word you said, Matt. Meanwhile, our friend Dave Murray at Mets Guy in Michigan, also skewered Mike Francesa and comes up with some Yankee songs that nobody else can ever, ever use again, because the Yankees used them. Again, good work.

Over at 20 Years in the Making, they take a good, detailed look at the current season, and talk about Opening Day, the debut on SNY, and other good stuff. Make sure to check that out.

And over at Faith and Fear in Flushing, Greg Prince takes a look at some of the Mets issues of the day. I met Greg as part of the Mets blogger shoot that took place for Mets Weekly a few weeks ago (your old friend Cox was not used as part of the shoot, but I was invited to attend and was unfortunately cut. I guess thems are the breaks). All of the guys there were nice, but Greg was nice enough to help me find my way back to Penn Station without getting lost, so for that, I thank him. Go read his blog.

Piazza to wear #33

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006

And yes, that headline should tell you how slow of a news day it is today. Mike Piazza was introduced to Padres fans yesterday, and seemed very non-committal towards playing past this season. You know, I have to think that this may be the end of the line for Mike. He had very little interest throughout most of the free agency period, and signed for only $2 million, which is a steep paycut from what he made last year. Plus, playing at Petco will not help that decline at all, though he should get the two homers he needs for 400. Still, I consider myself a Piazza fan, and I’ll be rooting for him, even as a Padre, this season.

The Mets are doing something special this August 19th. They are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the greatest baseball team to ever play the game during a ceremony before a game against the Rockies. I guess the team figured their best chance of emulating their success from 1986 would be to play the Colorado Rockies. Anyway, they have invited all of the members from the ‘86 Mets to make an appearance at that game. Man, I so want to go to that game. I’m just glad that the team is embracing that championship year so much, between that, the hiring of several Mets from that team all over the organization, and the 20th anniversary DVD that’s coming out. I just hope that this video is a DVD Easter Egg on the World Series DVD. If you only click on one link that I am posting today, click on the video link. Trust me…you will not be disappointed.

Hey, Benjie Molina. You’re an idiot. You turned down three years, $18 million from the Mets so you could sign a one year, $5 million contract with the Blue Jays. The rumor was that Molina was looking to sign for about $8 million a year, but underestimated the market for catchers, or was thinking that Omar Minaya’s bank roll was unlimited. I guess he was wrong. By the way, shouldn’t the Mets’ catching situation end all discussion once and for all about the Mets’ hiring practices? The top two free agents on the open market were both Latinos. Omar could have very easily signed either one, but he instead trades for the Italian guy. I mean, it was already a ridiculous statement to make, but…yeah, a lot of sports talk guys in New York are really dumb. Maybe they’re like that everywhere.

Want to read about what other Mets fans want to see in the new ballpark? Mets Guy in Michigan and Faith and Fear in Flushing both give very good ideas. I am kind of alarmed that the fans haven’t really been shown anything recent in terms of new ballpark ideas. The last thing I can remember seeing was the ballpark designs from 1999. I am guessing those have probably been altered at least a little. I was going to write my own column detailing what I’d like to see, but I have nothing unique or original, and besides, the new Mets park will probably wind up looking like all the rest of the new ball parks, only blue and orange. So what’s the use? But if you have any ideas for the new Mets park, leave ‘em in feedback, I’d be interested in reading your ideas.

Finally, as I posted yesterday, I am looking for 1-3 fantasy baseball owners for a head-to-head, points-based fantasy baseball league for the upcoming season. Entry fee is $40. If you are interested, I will send you a copy of the rulebook. E-Mail me at MiracleMets@optonline.net if interested.

Carlos Delgado excited about World Baseball Classic

Friday, February 3rd, 2006

And so am I. I mean, I’m seeing USA vs South Africa, man! South Africa! Actually, I do think the tournament will be interesting, as US should be very good, the Domincan’s lineup is killer, Puerto Rico’s team is pretty well rounded, Japan fields a pretty good team, Venezuela should be formidable, Cuba is a great unknown, but has the tradition and experience in international competition, and even teams like Mexico and Canada won’t be pushovers at all. Even Italy has its share of major leaguers, including Mike Piazza, thanks to Americans with Italian bloodlines, and hey, the Netherlands has Andruw Jones. To say the US is a favorite is not a lock at all; I’m not sure anybody can compete with the lineup the Dominican will put out there. The competition should be very good; it’s just that the particular game I will be watching will not be very good at all. Anyway, I’ll be watching the WBC, and if you’re a baseball fan, I’m sure you will be too.

And the point of all this is…Carlos Delgado gave a press conference pumping up the World Baseball Classic. He said it shouldn’t be an issue, missing time in Mets camp because of the WBC, and I agree. 1) Puerto Rico’s camp is in Port St. Lucie, so it’s not like he’ll be that far away from the center of the action, and 2) Baseball is not a team-oriented sport, especially if you’re a first baseman. All this means is that Delgado will need a few more weeks to get used to the throws coming from Wright, Reyes, and whomever plays second. It shouldn’t have an effect on his hitting at all, and it won’t affect him on a personal level. Heck, most of the people that would have been in camp at that point are minor leaguers who won’t be on the team when it breaks camp. Most of the players left by the time the WBC ends will be the guys who he plays with in New York, so…I don’t think it will matter at all for him. It will just take him a little longer to remember the Assistant Equipment Manager’s name. For audio of Delgado’s conference call, click here.

With not a lot else out there, I’ll do what I always do on a slow news day – link to MetsGeek.com. Today we link to Matt Gelb’s 10 Questions about Spring Training article. With us only about two weeks from pitchers and catchers reporting, I thought now would be a great time to link to that. I am as excited as anybody about Spring Training, mostly because we’re only about two weeks away from having things to link to daily. I can’t wait. With so much going on this spring, I’m sure we’ll have a ton of good stuff going up every day. Matt talks a lot about the bullpen issues surrounding the team, but it’s a good read and I highly encourage you to read it. More tomorrow.