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Showing posts from April, 2020

The One That Got Away

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I knew when I started blogging again I was going to have to get to this eventually. I almost returned to blogging in the winter of 2018-2019 to share my personal thoughts on the trade with the Mariners, but work was so crazy at that point that there literally wasn't any free time. Still, I found myself doing something that I actually did quit often during my decade blogging hiatus: composing a potential blog post in my head on the subject of the trade of Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.

The final push to actually write this post today was this article by Joel Sherman in the New York Post yesterday. I did a double take when I first saw the piece. I gulped, and asked myself, is Joel Sherman already saying this trade is the equivalent of the Mets trading future Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan for the dried-up husk of Jim Fregosi? While further reading actually contained some good points that I agreed with, the premise was so clearly a bridge too far that it m…

The Stolen Summer

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I wrote yesterday's post voicing my growing frustration with all the recent slew of articles predicting with some surety that baseball is coming back. As much as I try to stay hopeful and will continue to do so, I think I'm done with promises that are lacking in any real specifics. The story of this pandemic, at least to me, seems to be a lot of posturing and empty promises with little to back them up.

I spent a bit of time on that piece yesterday.  I started it in the morning and didn't post it until after 11 pm. I just kept walking away from it because expressing frustration isn't my favorite type of expression. I spent time taking my pups for a long walk in the woods and doing some stuff around the house. When I finally did publish the finished piece I grabbed my tablet to check out what what new in the world that day.

One of the first thing that I noticed was an article by Joel Sherman in the NY Post about the same subject. The article starts out by asserting, &quo…

Pining for the Fjords

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I started writing a post this morning based on Ken Rosenthal's piece for The Athletic regarding Major League Baseball's ongoing attempt to revive a baseball season. I found myself increasingly frustrated, as it's starting to feel that I'm just writing the same thing over and over again. Both Rosenthal's article today and Jeff Passan's on ESPN yesterday were excellent looks on how complicated and fluid the plans to reopen the game really are, but the hope that I used to enjoy from reading stuff like this is fading fast.

The reason that I started blogging about the Mets was not that I considered the subject of New York Mets baseball to be the most important thing in my life, but rather it was my favorite temporary escape from the often harsh realities of everyday existence. In the same way, neither I nor any other sane person believes that playing baseball again is the most important objective in our country right now. The only defensible reason for bringing the …

Not If But When... Maybe?

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Jeff Passan at ESPN has a really good article up on the site today regarding the potential return of Major League Baseball.

Passan begins by expressing a lot of optimism that we'll see a return of some sort of  baseball in 2020, and also mentions the sanguineness of the folks who run the game. There really does seems to be a growing consensus, although it would be nice if some kind of substantial and detailed plan comes out. If we all knew exactly what baseball is working towards we'd have something on which to base our hopes. The plans all still seem quite nebulous and changeable. My personal optimism seems to rise and fall depending on the day.

The biggest obstacle seems to be the still quite glaring lack of adequate testing in this country. Without a vaccine, which we certainly won't see this year, testing is everything - whether it's a plan to reopen the game or just getting people back to work. We keep hearing promises of greatly expanded testing, but the date whe…

The Year We Said Goodbye

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When I decided to start writing again a little over a month ago, I knew that I would need to find things to write about given the current stuck in limbo reality that has overtaken baseball and our normal lives.

I decided to spend some time writing about the 2005 season for a lot of reasons. It was the first year that I started writing my old blog. It was a season of dramatic comings and goings for the Mets. There were some interesting characters and games to talk about.  It was the year that both Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran came to town.

It was also the year that one of the greatest players to ever wear a New York Mets uniform saw the curtain come down on his terrific 7+ season run in the old ballpark in Flushing, Queens.

Mike Piazza was an iconic figure in this town. As with any great player, he means something a little different to every Mets fan who cheered him on over his time here. I'm not conceited enough to pretend to summarize what he meant to all of us, I can only s…

Stopping the Cheaters

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Joel Sherman had a new piece today in the New York Post discussing potential ideas to forestall another electronic cheating scandal similar to the ones in Houston and Boston. The one I would completely agree with is getting rid of the replay room and forcing managers to make a decision on their own about whether to call for a review on a play. I concur with Sherman that has to happen.

There would be a side benefit to this policy beyond stopping teams from using the live video and contact with the dugout in elaborate electronic cheating schemes.  While the idea of using replay to right grievous mistakes by umpires is something most of us can support, the way replay has evolved has hurt the pace of games. Every time there's a close play we watch transparent delaying tactics utilized by teams while they are awaiting a call from their booth. That whole act has gotten quite old over the years.

Sherman suggests allowing a manager 2 challenges and giving him 5 seconds to decide whether t…

America's Vanishing Game

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On Tuesday there was an article on Baseball America that stated that Minor League baseball was willing to concede to MLB's proposal to cut the Major League affiliation of 42 current minor league teams, while adding two teams, the St. Paul Saints and Sugar Land Skeeters, to affiliated ball.

There was push back on this immediately, with reporting that no such deal was agreed to at all.  Negotiations are underway as the current agreement between the two parties expires after this season -  a season that seems unlikely to see traditional minor league baseball happen at all.

If you're curious about all the details of this proposal, Baseball America posted an excellent piece last October going into all of the details. I won't go into a huge amount of details, the gist is that many of the facilities of minor league clubs are aging into dangerous obsolescence, with about 1/4 of them at a level that MLB is unacceptable.  To eliminate these parks (and to save money), MLB wants to lo…

Unequal Justice

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I was reading Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich's article in The Athletic this morning about the pathetic little slap on the wrist the Red Sox received for their own electronic cheating scandal. I understand that what the Red Sox did was always considered a lesser sin than what the Astros got whacked for, but losing a second round draft pick and having a relatively low level employee suspended for a year seems quite a small price to pay.

I know that MLB was working without a Mike Fiers type of insider informant with the Sox, but this wasn't even the first time they were caught doing electronic cheating. Remember the whole Apple Watch in the dugout fiasco from a couple of years back.

There's a lot of excuse making in Commissioner Manfred's statement on why the Red Sox were treated so leniently. The article brings up some good questions. To me, the punishment was handed out sounds an awful lot like a deal struck between the league and the club to try to bring things to a c…

What Might Have Been

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I had some fun with my proposal yesterday that we band together and take advantage of the supposed fire sale price to purchase the Mets. John from Albany, who writes at Mack's Mets, left a comment asking me if I remembered back when Wilpon and Doubleday bought the team back in 1980 that there was another group of fans that were involved in the bidding.

I honestly don't remember this. I was 21 at the time and basically falling in love with every girl that let me get past first base, and really didn't pay as much attention to the off the field stuff. I spent some time on Google trying to find some info on this, but came up empty. It's fascinating to think of the Mets with some sort of Green Bay Packers type of ownership.

I did find a couple of interesting pieces to share on the 1980 sale. This one on Barstool Sports was a nice summary of the January 1980 sale and the events leading up to it.  A couple of thoughts from that one:

First, I forgot that Fred Wilpon's init…

Let's All Buy the Mets

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Since I wrote a coupleof times on the subject yesterday I've been reading quite a bit on the Alex Rodriguez bid to buy the Mets. I've seen it stated in so many places now that A-Rod is going to be able to steal the team at a cheap discount that I've started to question why I shouldn't try to come up with a bid to buy the club.

Being a man of action, I've already looked under the cushions of my couch and come up with almost a dollar in change.  I haven't looked in my car yet, but I'm fairly confident that I can come up with at least that much there. That's made me so confident in my chances that I am starting to look for minority investors to aid in this endeavor. If you're interested, and you still have an untapped change jar in your kitchen cabinet, let's talk.

Of course, if the Mets are to be really had at a steep discount, I suspect that you, me and A-Rod might have some more competition. Sure, there's that troublesome pandemic going on r…

Shopping in the Bargain Aisle

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Since my main post earlier today a new article went up on the New York Post's site concerning Alex Rodriguez' attempt to purchase the Mets.

The gist of it is that A-Rod is putting together a group that can purchase the team outright, but the Wilpons might not get as much as they would have selling the club if times were normal. None of that seems all that surprising. Given all the uncertainty about when the sport might return to business as usual, the new owners would be taking on a fair amount of financial risk. They certainly couldn't expect to make a profit for this year, and who knows how far along things will be next year.

The story cites an unnamed source close to the Wilpons as describing them as "motivated sellers".  The article points out that the Mets owners have had cash flow problems for years since the Madoff pipeline dried up.  Obviously that situation is exacerbated by the fact that no money is coming in right now.

That whole situation with the Wil…

Thoughts on a Potential A-Rod Led Ownership

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A friend of mine sent me a text asking me how I felt about the possibility of A-Rod and Jennifer Lopez being involved in a bid to purchase the Mets. My friend is a Yankees fan, and the question was clearly posed because he thought I might be offended by the thought of the former Yankee steroid pariah and his pop diva girlfriend owning my team.

I hated to disappoint my friend, but frankly it didn't bother me at all. It still remains to be seen if they're going to be able to pull enough investors into the deal to make it work, but if they do I can't imagine the Mets ownership situation being any worse than it is now. It's more than time for the Wilpons to pass control of the Mets to someone who is able to steer the club into a future that isn't constantly limited by the personal finances of the owner.

Of course, the big question is not who technically owns the team, which certainly won't be one single person. It's all going to come down to the decisions they …

Monday Musings, Pandemic Edition

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After spending the last week or so writing some rather long posts I thought I might take a break from that today and share some thoughts on a few different things.

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I really enjoyed putting together yesterday's post on Mr. Koo's glorious day from 15 years ago. It was almost as much fun to write about as it was to actually watch the game when it unfolded in real time. The details of that game still stick in my head so clearly, and I sure can't say that about many of my life experiences from a decade and a half ago.
Still, I had to do a bit of research to write that piece. Yesterday I recommended a long, well-researched piece by Rory Costello on the game itself.  I went back to enjoy that article in full after I posted my piece last night and discovered a second article by Rory Costello on the same site on Mr. Koo's entire career.  Turns out he wound up playing ball in Australia at the end of his career and he still lives there and coaches baseball.

We Can Be Heroes, Just For One Day

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Some players achieve greatness in New York sports by sustaining excellence over a long period of time.  The names Seaver, Koosman, Wright, Strawberry and Gooden are all examples of ballplayers who called Queens home for a good chunk of their career and earned their way into the pantheon of greatness.  Day in and day out over a period of years they became heroes one game winning homer and one complete game shutout at a time.

Then there's another type of guy. This player did not maintain greatness for any length of time, but had a moment so unforgettable that he took a shortcut to eternal glory.  In this case, he was a pitcher who spent one year in American major league baseball, appearing in 23 innings spread over 33 games with the New York Mets in 2005.  He was used as a LOOGY, an import from Korean baseball, and his name was Dae-sung Koo.  His nickname was Mr. Koo - As I recall, he got that because that was his answer to reporters when they asked what to call him.

If it wasn'…

Getting Back to Normal

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Joel Sherman has another good piece in the New York Post today on the uncertainties involved in baseball returning this season. I tend to use Sherman's writings as a starting point quite often, and it's for two good reasons. The first is that the Post is one of the few newspapers not behind a paywall yet. The second is that Sherman is a gifted writer who tends to avoid the easy cliché or the cheap hot take most of the time. That was true 15 years ago when I started the first blog and it's still true today.

I criticize him when I think it's due, but it's only fair to point out the fact that it's nice that there are still a few guys out there who can write about the sport in a manner that's thoughtful and intelligent. The way sports are talked about on radio or TV has tended to cheapen a lot of writing on sports.  Kudos to Sherman for avoiding that trap.  I know Sherman doesn't have a clue I exist and can care less about my opinion of him, but credit wher…