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Showing posts from August, 2020

Spring is Coming

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It almost seems fitting that the last days of the Wilpon era in Queens are shaping up to be one last miserable sh*tshow. As depressing as the last three days were for any Mets fan still paying attention, imagine how bad it would all feel if you knew the Wilpons were still going to own the club after this season. While this nightmare isn't quite over yet, the end is finally in sight.

I had a bunch of ideas that I wanted to write about today, but then I wound up working until almost 7 tonight. My back operation is scheduled for Friday, and we're trying to get as much as possible done this week. If I can't get to them this week they'll give me something to do next week while I'm laid up. As a fan, it's exciting to contemplate a future where the Mets are more than just an easy punchline for the media.

Joel Sherman wrote a piece about Steve Cohen in the New York Post on Saturday after it had been announced that the multibillionaire had entered into exclusive negoti…

Another Lost Season, but a New Day Is Coming

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From my post on Wednesday:
I'm not dumb enough to try to predict what happens today or tomorrow, but I will offer a prediction of sorts. As they have done since the weird, truncated 2020 baseball season began just over a month ago, at some point soon the Mets will put together a promising stretch of games. Just about the point you're thinking that maybe they can actually make a push for the expanded playoff field, they will run off another stretch of almost unwatchable bad baseball. Lather, rinse, repeat. So, the team got back to within one game of .500 with an exhilarating double header win on Friday. After allowing myself a few minutes to savor what had just happened, I thought to myself, they won't even wait until this weekend is over to let all of the air back out of this balloon. I don't feel any sense of smugness over being proven right, I was actually hoping against hope that they would prove me wrong. Trust me, whenever I make a pessimistic prediction about th…

Much Ado About Nothing

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When I first read about the incident of Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen being caught on a hot mic criticizing MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, I didn't think all that much about it. I knew it was going to cost Van Wagenen some personal embarrassment, and that he would have to publicly apologize to Manfred for his words. I figured after that it some folks would have a laugh over Brodie's self-inflicted wound and that would be it. What Van Wagenen had said about Manfred, that the Commissioner "just didn't get it" regarding the protest, seemed relatively mild to me. If I was Manfred, I would have accepted Van Wagenen's apology and just moved on.

However, when things like this happen to the Mets, they get amplified. The story now in multiple places seems to be that the affair with the hot mic has "overshadowed" the protest on the field, to which my reaction is, "huh, really?"

A sampling:

The Athletic:
A show of solidarity by players is overshadowed by…

The Mets Tradition of Not Supporting Pitchers

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I started this post early in the afternoon, well before the Mets and Marlins walked off the field tonight. It seems silly not to acknowledge what happened. I greatly respect the decision of the players to act according to their beliefs and in support of their teammate. It's a reminder of something that the coronavirus has already shown us this year, that some things are more important than a ballgame.
Together. 🧡💙 pic.twitter.com/l27BR5lS2o — New York Mets (@Mets) August 28, 2020
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I had to get up really early today, so I didn't watch last night's Mets-Marlins game. When I woke up and read about what happened, I was very glad not to have witnessed another terrific Jacob deGrom pitching performance getting unrewarded with a win. This multi-season story arc has gone beyond bizarre, it's become kind of pathetic.

I remember in my early years of watching the Mets how many times the team's inept offense cost Tom Seaver a win. The one reason not …

You Can Dress Them Up, but You Can't Take Them Out

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The Mets sure know how to dampen a return to action with lousy play. An uninspired double header shutout loss to the Marlins drops their record to 12-16, not to mention completely obliterating whatever momentum they built with 3 wins in a row over these same Marlins before COVID-19 put them out of action for four days. Of course, those three wins in a row came after three dispiriting losses to the Phillies after the Mets were swept in that series. It's been a virtual rollercoaster with this club all year.

I'm not dumb enough to try to predict what happens today or tomorrow, but I will offer a prediction of sorts. As they have done since the weird, truncated 2020 baseball season began just over a month ago, at some point soon the Mets will put together a promising stretch of games. Just about the point you're thinking that maybe they can actually make a push for the expanded playoff field, they will run off another stretch of almost unwatchable bad baseball. Lather, rinse,…

Deadlines Everywhere

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Ken Rosenthal had a piece at The Athletic today that cited an unnamed rival executive predicting the Mets would be a "surprising player" at the August 31 trade deadline this year. The reasons cited were the money saved when Yoenis Céspedes and Marcus Stroman opting out, plus Brodie Van Wagenen's supposed desperation to save his job. While I suppose anything can happen, I don't put much stock in the predictions of anonymous sources. I don't think the Mets will be all that aggressive at this deadline for several reasons:
I don't think the team has money to burn because two fairly well paid players opted out. The Wilpons were struggling even before the pandemic closed off some revenue streams.
I don't think Van Wagenen is as desperate as sometimes depicted. He's a Stamford graduate who was a very successful sports agent. If the Mets fire him, he goes back to being a rich, successful agent. Where does the desperation supposedly come from?
Putting aside the …

Beating the Odds, Part 2

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As described in Part 1 of this post, the Wild Card Los Angeles Dodgers were the darlings of the baseball pundits going into the 2006 NLDS vs. the New York Mets. Almost all of them picked the Dodgers to win the series, ignoring the 9 win advantage the Mets had amassed in the regular season. With Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez done for the season, the Mets' starting rotation was seen as their Achilles heel. However, despite having to replace El Duque with rookie John Maine in game 1 against the Dodgers' ace Derek Lowe, the Mets drew first blood with a stirring 6-5 victory in front of their home fans.

Game 2 would also be played at Shea, a night game on Thursday, October 5 with an 8:20 pm start time. Tom Glavine would be starting for the Mets, a future Hall of Famer who had aged into a slightly above average mid-rotation starter. Still, he was the best the Mets had left that was still healthy enough to pitch. Glavine was opposed by Dodgers rookie Hong-Chih Kuo, a 24-year-o…

Beating the Odds, Part 1

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For all of their flaws, and despite the fact that their season ended short of the goal, the 2006 Mets remain one of my all-time favorites. That team had a wonderful resiliency that allowed them to come just a bit short of 100 wins despite their many flaws. Nothing showcased their resiliency and toughness more than the 2006 Division series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

When the Mets faced the Dodgers in the 2006 NLDS, almost every pundit you could find was picking the Dodgers to win the series. This was despite the fact that the Division winning Mets had amassed 97 wins in the regular season, while the Wild Card Dodgers had only managed 88 wins. The Dodgers had been a streaky team, alternating impressive winning streaks intermingled with stretches of bad play.

The Dodgers had started the second half of their season losing 13 out of 14 games to seemingly bury their playoff chances, but then had won 17 of 18 to put themselves back in the picture. They continued to alternate stretches…

By Any Other Name

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1970 was my second season rooting for the New York Mets. It was the year that I began to learn the harsh reality of what it truly meant to be a Mets fan. After the Mets had won the World Series in my first go-round as a fan, I was expecting another title and some more 1969-like magic. At age 11, I was due for one of the first rude awakenings of my life.

The Mets pitching staff continued to feature Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman at the top of the rotation, along with holdovers Gary Gentry, Jim McAndrew and the promising but frustrating Nolan Ryan. Unfortunately, while Tom Seaver was still Tom Seaver, injuries began to chip away at the rest of the starting staff. Because of that, an unfamiliar pitcher began making starts for the Mets in May, a southpaw named Ray Sadecki. In fairness, he didn't do a bad job in those starts, but he wasn't as good as Seaver and Koosman. With my limited knowledge of the game at that time, I just couldn't understand why those two guys couldn't…

Out of an Abundance of Caution

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Whenever MLB decides to cancel games because of positive COVID-19 tests, they always feel the need to issue a press release claiming the action was taken "out of an abundance of caution." This overused phrase in general has become a favorite of whoever writes MLB's press releases on cancelled games. I'm sure they have a macro created in Microsoft Word to save themselves the extra typing.

Nothing wrong with an abundance of caution, of course. I wish MLB adhered to that idea instead of bailing out the Wilpons out a decade ago.

Claiming an action is being taken out of an abundance of caution is basically saying that the action goes beyond any reasonable precaution. Sure, we don't HAVE to do this thing, but we're going to go ahead and do it anyway just to show you all how serious we are in keeping everyone safe. The only thing is, that's not quite the case. We know that one Met player and one staff member have tested positive. Undoubtedly they have been in co…

The Bullpen Shuffle and MLB's Failure

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I feel as if I made a pretty good case yesterday why I wouldn't move Seth Lugo into the starting rotation. I don't find it all that surprising that the Mets chose to do exactly that, however. It's a pretty big gamble, but when you're left without any great choices, you're going to have to roll the dice. In the attempt to patch the big, glaring hole in their starting rotation, the Mets made a move that weakened what has become arguably one of their greatest strengths this season, the bullpen.
The news that Edwin Diaz has been returned to the closer role is a bit unnerving, particularly after a night where he blew a save by walking in a run. In fairness. Diaz was put into a mighty tough spot, and I'll give him some credit for coming back and getting the final out without further damage. He did look filthy striking out the side in the ninth, too. Even at his best, however, Diaz is a guy who always seems like he's one mistake away from blowing it. The Mets wil…

Is There a Fix for 2020?

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A lot going on lately with the Mets. They've played a couple of solid games against a depleted and overmatched Marlins team. Nothing wrong with winning games that you're supposed to, but my mind hasn't really changes about the club's overall chances this season. If anything, the bad news about David Peterson has made me less optimistic about everything. Not that I don't hope that I'm wrong, of course. Nothing would make me happier than being proven to be dead wrong about their chances.

The reason that I missed posting yesterday was due to a flare-up in my back problem during a walk with my dogs. I have a doctor's appointment next week to schedule an operation on a couple of really bad discs. In the meantime, I have progressed to a point where I can take my pups for walks in the woods as long as I walk very carefully and avoid doing something to trigger spasms. Unfortunately, almost halfway through a 4 mile walk I tripped and triggered it. All I could do wa…

Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Mets

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Yesterday I wrote about the feeling that comes upon you when relationships and New York Mets seasons go bad. Not that the season is over for the 9-14 Mets. Barring a COVID-19 shutdown, they still have 37 games to play. Mathematically they can put themselves back into the expanded playoff picture with a streak of solid play, but it's hard to realistically imagine that happening with the starting pitching they have right now. The rotation beyond Jacob deGrom is an absolute crapshoot right now, full of pitchers who are ticking time bombs, just waiting for that one big inning to put the club hopelessly behind.

People say, "look at the 2019 Nationals. They got off to a terrible start, then they won the World Series." Of course, the Nationals had great starting pitching to carry them when they went on that run. We have deGrom.

Right now the number two guy behind deGrom looks like rookie David Peterson, who is enduring shoulder issues and is hardly an established major league p…

I've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'

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I used to have a little ritual that I would do whenever one of my relationships ended. I'd take long drives at night, listening to sad music and allow myself to wallow in a sort of self-absorbed melancholy. Depending on how I felt about the girl and how the relationship ended, this process of letting go would take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. I always knew I was ready to move on when the realization would strike me how ridiculous I was being. Looking back, the whole idea of it seems rather silly and clichéd, but it worked.

Of course, it took a little while to perfect the whole art of getting over a woman. I can still remember vividly the hurt and emptiness I felt at the conclusion of my first serious relationship. While I had dated girls for various amounts of time, usually quite short, this one was different. We were together for more than a year, and even lived together for a while. When she left, I felt like there was a big hole in my life. I didn't have the ex…