Wednesday, September 29, 2010


That's what I was this afternoon.  I honestly didn't have words when Mike Nickeas got his first hit as a Major League Baseball player.  It was a clean ground ball up the middle for a single.  You can watch it here.  He also got another nice hit to left-center later in the game.  He left the game as part of a double-switch in the 8th inning.

It was fun to watch.  He didn't really get a chance in his first start when all the hype was on the starting pitcher and Mike was basically there to keep him calm.  Today there was no pressure.  He was there to catch, he was there to hit.  He was just playing.  This year he worked harder than ever to fix his swing and have a good offensive season.  I would've been more than a little disappointed if Mike finally made it to the majors and then hadn't gotten a hit.  Seeing him standing on first base after his hit was great.

Mike was never a prospect but that doesn't mean his first hit is any less special.  Congratulations Mike.  You got your first two hits as a Major League Baseball player today.  Now I'm hoping for many more.

Let's Go Mike!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Such A Beautiful Picture

I got an assignment in acting class last week.  We had to find a picture and make a character out of a person in that picture.   That is what you need to know to understand this story.

All weekend I have been looking for a picture.  Not just any picture.  A special picture.  It is a magazine-type ad for the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I remembered what it looked like.  It had a girl.  She had her hat backwards was looking up at a monument in the HOF.  I could picture it perfectly in my mind.  But, I could not find it.  On Friday night I looked at every Sports Illustrated I could find in my house.  I looked in three Mets yearbooks and a few Mets magazines.  No luck.  I even looked in the Spring Awakening playbill.  What?  I did not find the picture.  I had pretty much given up.  I looked for the Spamalot playbill, half to find the picture and half just to find it, but I had no luck.  I decided I would just go on the computer and print out a similar picture.  In addition to the similar-but-not-quite-as-good picture I printed out I found a guide from my last trip to the HOF.  I really had lost all hope of finding the picture I remember so vividly.

With my lost hope I decided to look at the Mets 2006 yearbook.  More for fun and to find Xavier Nady.  I looked at the copy I have that was taken apart at some point and I wanted to see if Xavier's picture was out so I could hang it up.  I still don't know if it is.  I don't know because I got distracted.  Yes, I was distracted by a most glorious picture.  It is the picture.  I found it in the Mets yearbook I refused to look at originally.  I didn't want to open the good copy I got as a gift and thought I had seen the picture in something more recent.  Alas, this was what I had been looking for all along. 

Oh, it's so nice to find what I'm looking for in the last place I look.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Once Upon A Time . . .

There was a baseball player.  He was a catcher.  His name was Nike Mickeas.

Nike had played in the minor leagues for a long time.  When he first started playing professional baseball he was both good at offense and defense.  As he quickly moved through the minor leagues his defense continued to impress but his offense was lagging.  Eventually his original organization gave up on him and he was traded for a crappy no-good outfielder.

In his new organization he stayed in the higher levels of the minor leagues.  He got a few chances in AAA but his offense was never there.  Then one season he came to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.  He left Spring Training and nobody was sure exactly where he would end up.  He even looked to be going to Single-A for a little while.  He went to AA and something amazing happened.  Nike was hitting!  He kept his batting average over .300 in AA and even was an All-Star!  He went to AAA for about a week before he got a September call-up.  This was Nike's minor league free agent year so things were looking good.

Nike had battled through injuries during his career.  He had so many injuries and had worked so hard that he had considered retirement in the offseason.  Now, however, he was in the big leagues.

Nike had made it.  He was going to get a chance!  Or so he thought.  Nike got one start.  He went 0-for-2 and didn't even play the whole game.  But, that's okay.  There was still a month left in the season and he would surely get another opportunity.

It was a blow-out against a bottom-feeder in the division and Nike's team had given up.  He got to catch the last 2 innings.  He had one at-bat and got out.  He was now 0-for-3 in his major league career.  But, there was still a few weeks left in the season so he would get another chance.

Alas, that is the last that has been seen of Nike.  He hasn't played in another game.  He continues to hope for another chance.  Just one more appearance in a game.  Maybe one day it will happen.

And that is the story of Nike Mickeas.  The catcher.  Perhaps he will get another major league at-bat.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's Really Ending

There is a week of regular season baseball left.  One week of turning on the TV at 7 o'clock and knowing exactly what I'm going to watch.  One week of watching the Mets, not because they're going to win, but because they are on and they are playing baseball.

Then it's over.  For the Mets and 22 other teams it will be the offseason.  It happens every year but I just can't get used to it.  Every offseason feels longer than the last.  The nights without games.  The days with game-recaps.  Sure, there will still be baseball news.  There will be signings and trades.  It just isn't as good as watching an actual game.  Kevin Burkhardt won't tell us what R.A. Dickey is reading between starts or which hitting drills Ike Davis is doing to stay consistent.  He won't be sitting next to the dugout.  Kevin will be telling us about the Mets next GM.  He'll be sitting in the SNY studios.  It's simply not the same.

Sure, I'll watch hockey and yeah, I'll enjoy it.  I just will never love it the way I love baseball.  Baseball has been a part of my life forever.  Watching the game, going to the game, playing the game.  I only started watching everyday a few years ago.  That was when the offseason got hard to handle.  The everyday routine of watching a baseball game ends for 6 months and once I get used to it even a little bit, baseball is coming back.

I really don't know what else to say but this quote from Fever Pitch sums things up pretty well:
TROY: Why do we inflict this on ourselves? 
BEN: Why? I'll tell you why -- 'cause the Red Sox never let you down. 
TROY: Huh? 
BEN: That's right. I mean, why? -- Because they haven't won a World Series in a century or so? So what? They're here. Every April, they're here. At 1:05 or at 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out...guess what? They make it up to you. Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don't get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that's here for you.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

There's Always Next Year?

The Mets were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday.  With their elimination came the time to really start looking towards next season.  There are a lot of reasons to think next year will be better than 2010.  It's not impossible to look worse than the 2010 Mets, but it certainly is hard.  With the combined embarrassments of management and the performance on the field, the season has been pretty hard.  I'm wondering if 2011 will be better.

I have no reason to believe the group of players on the 2011 team will be very different than anything we've seen this year.  The Mets need another starting pitcher but don't have the money to get anyone significant.  They need a second baseman that can hit but may have to live with a lack of offense from that position.  They also have make a decision about center field.  Oh yeah, they could end up needing a new lefty reliever with Perpetual Pedro up for a new contract.

The player situations are the small moves of the offseason.  I'm anxious to see what happens to the coaching staff and front office.  We already know Omar Minaya isn't going to be the general manager anymore.  That doesn't mean he won't be reassigned and ultimately stay in the organization, but I don't think he should be here at all.  This offseason should also mark the end of the Jerry Manuel era.  That also should mean all the coaches are gone, too.  The new general manager gets to chose a manager and the new manager gets to chose his coaches.

The Mets should have a sense of a fresh start in 2011.  New voices will be a good thing.  However, that could also mean a period of adjustment.  Maybe 2011 doesn't go perfectly.  Maybe the Mets don't make the playoffs.  I don't want a lack of success next season to lead fans to jump off a cliff.  Any changes mean an adjustment period.  I'm not looking for immediate results next season.

Of course, this is all just me.  The Mets have beaten me down and I honestly expect nothing from them.  A winning season would be great.  An average season would be nice.  A losing season would be expected.  It's sad but that's my mindset.

Anyway . . .

Let's Go Mets!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Now It's My Turn

Many people have taken a chance to voice their opinion on the Mets.  Well, now it's my turn.

For the first time ever I don't enjoy watching the Mets.  They don't seem to have a chance in any games anymore.  They aren't trying to win.  How do I know this?  I know the Mets are not trying to win because of a few trends.  

They aren't hustling.  The slow ground balls in the infield.  The hard hit balls to the outfield.  They are getting out. On the infield grounders either the runner is too slow or he simply isn't running down the line.  The balls rocketed to the outfield are hit off the wall and taken for granted.  They don't start to hustle until they get to first base and are thrown out on what would be a double for anyone else.  It's a pattern.  The most disturbing part is this pattern includes the "face of the franchise".  David Wright has been part of this all season.  During a game in July he watched a fly ball hit the left field wall and was thrown out trying to get a double.  Carlos Beltran hit a home run later that inning.  The Mets lost by one run in extras.

They don't do the little things.  The Mets have been atrocious with the bases loaded this season.  They haven't been good with runners in scoring position either.  When was the last time the Mets hit a sacrifice fly when they needed it?  When did they simply get the right ground ball to score a run?  It just hasn't happened.  It's sad when I feel most comfortable with R.A. Dickey at bat with runners in scoring position.

They just don't play the game hard.  During tonight's Mets game, Chase Utley took out Ruben Tejada at second base trying to break up a double play.  It very well could be seen as a dirty play.  I hate that kind of play because it is basically deliberately trying to hurt the opposing player.  But, I wouldn't mind seeing some from the Mets.  I don't want them sliding into second base so late they take out the knees of the infielder, but a hard slide would be nice to see.  It would also be nice to retaliate if the other team puts a Met in danger.  It would have been a pleasant surprise to see one of the pitchers throw in the direction of Chase Utley's butt tonight.  I don't want headhunting, but getting hit in the backside isn't the end of the world.

I want to know the Mets care.  It starts at the front office and goes all the way down to the players.  Only a few players should be safe this winter.  Omar can't be reassigned, he has to go away completely.  Jerry needs to go.  The trainers need to go.  The only coach I really want to see back is Chip Hale but the new manager should really get to chose his staff.

I want to see change this winter.  The Mets have so many issues it's scary thinking about them all.  Off the field, on the field, everywhere.


Let's Go Mets!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Life After Johan

His Mets career is far from over.  His baseball career is far from over.  But, his 2010 season is over and so is part of his 2011 season.  He won't be the Opening Day starter next year.  That's what the Mets have to figure out.

They need an ace.  No team goes into a season without an ace.  Even if you're the Astros and Bud Norris is your ace, it's somebody.  For the Mets it really is a toss-up at this point.  Mike Pelfrey?  Jon Niese?  R.A. Dickey??

The most obvious answer would be Mike Pelfrey.  He looked like an ace at the beginning of this season.  He has the "stuff" to be an ace.  But if the Mets start a season with their hopes resting on Mikey P. they have issues.  He's been inconsistent his entire career and an ace needs to be consistent.

Jon Niese has looked pretty good this year but he is not going to be the ace.  It will be his second full season in the big leagues and you can't rely on that to be an ace.

R.A. Dickey seems like a good option.  If he's back with the Mets next year he has a good shot at being the ace.  But as a knuckleball pitcher it's hard to know how a season is going to turn out.

At this moment I see the Mets going into next season without their ace.  They will be waiting for Johan Santana to come back with whatever mix of starting pitchers they can find.  That really isn't what I want to see, but that seems to be the Mets way.

Let's Go Mets!

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's A Game. Enjoy It.

Recently there has been plenty going on with the Mets.  On the field they aren't playing well, and off the field they have been a mess.  As a fan, I like some off-field stories, but this season there has been more going on off the field than on the field.  I know I started caring about the Mets because they play the best game in the world.  I wouldn't know anything about David Wright, or Mike Pelfrey, or Josh Thole if they didn't play baseball.

I'm sick of people getting more upset about what's going on off the field than the game that's being played.  Don't we all pay attention to this because of the game?  If you want to follow what is going on outside of the game, fine.  But once the game starts, root for your team.  I'm not saying you have to have warm-and-fuzzy feelings about a mean person, but you probably wouldn't want them to strikeout instead of win the game.  Even though Luis Castillo didn't join the Mets on their voluntary hospital trip doesn't mean I don't want him to get an RBI or make a good play in the field.

When the Mets take the field I want them to win.  I want their pitchers to throw strikes.  I want their batters to get hits.  I want to see competitive baseball because that's what I'm watching for.  I'm watching for the game.  I didn't fall in love with Angel Pagan and then the game he plays.  Sure, now that I know about Angel Pagan, I'll root for him if he's playing chess.  Baseball introduced me to Angel, and Jose, and Mike.

A Mets win makes me happy.  I'm not thinking about what the players will do when they leave the field.  I'm thinking about what they just did on it.  I'm thinking about the clutch hits and big strikeouts.  I'm enjoying the literal aspects of the game.  The ones I enjoy when I play.  Because it's a game.  Anybody can play a game.

It would be nice if just for a weekend all baseball fans can be just that.  Fans of the game they are watching.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's Bobby's Birthday!

Today, Robert Allen Parnell turns 26 years old.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOBBY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Love This Picture

I took this at the last Mets game I went to.  It's Josh Thole getting a base hit.

Let's Go Mets!

Monday, September 6, 2010


Softball season is many months away but I can't stop thinking about it.  By December I'm going to want to go outside and take batting practice.  I haven't wanted to play softball more in my life than I do right now.  I guess I'll just have to wait until March.

What I'm conflicted about does have to do with softball.  Specifically, what number I wear.  For the past 2 seasons I have worn #20.  There was no real thinking behind it besides it being the only normal number left by the time I picked and then I decided to stick with it.  Of course, now I kind of want to go back to #14.  That was the number I always liked wearing when I was younger and now I am starting to think I want it again.  But, I also like being consistent.  Heck, I've figured out every major leaguer currently wearing #20 and I root for them all.  But, I like the significance of #14 having been my number forever.  I really don't know.  Also, my softball coaches know me as #20, so if I go back to JV this year it would be weird to change numbers.  It would also be weird to go back to JV and see somebody else wearing #20.  Of course, now I'm thinking of my love for #14.

I can't figure this out.  It sounds stupid but it's honestly what I've been thinking about.  If I had to make a choice right now I think I would go with #14.  Of course, I have months to think about this and could end up deciding on a random Mark Buehrle tribute and going with #56.

Ah, well.  The Mets got crushed by the Nationals today.  It was almost a cool game because Mike Nickeas played.  He got to show off his awesome catcher defense because Ollie was pitching to him.  He still hasn't gotten a hit and I'm starting to think if he doesn't soon Jerry Manuel is going to forget he exists and put him behind all the other September call-ups on the bench.

Hmm . . . Maybe I should go with #14 because it's only one away from the #13 Mike Nickeas wears.

Let's Go Mets!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How David Wright Saved My Softball Career

We all know David Wright sticks out his tongue when he plays baseball.  What you may not know is that I also stick my tongue out in similar fashion.  You also may not know that I almost had to stop sticking out my tongue in similar fashion.

It was 2005.  I was having a catch with my dad and he noticed I would stick out my tongue on every throw and all the tough catches.  He told me to stop.  He didn't give me a reason, he just said it had to end.  I was a little peeved.  I wasn't trying to stick out my tongue, it would just happen.  I didn't do it because of David Wright, but I was aware that he did it too.

"But, David Wright sticks out his tongue!"  I tried to convince my dad it was normal.  He either didn't care or didn't believe me.  He simply told me to throw normally.  Still, he had not explained why he wanted to get rid of my seemingly harmless habit.

We would watch Mets games and I would look for David Wright highlights.  I wanted anything that showed him sticking out his tongue.  At the same time, I tried not to think about it when I played softball, but I knew I was still doing it.  I wasn't going to stop myself.  I didn't think it was cool, it was just something I did.

Eventually, we were watching a Mets game and they showed the highlight I needed.  Finally, David Wright made some play, I have no idea what kind of play it was, but he stuck out his tongue.  Not only did he stick out his tongue, my dad noticed he stuck out his tongue.

"Hey!  David Wright sticks out his tongue, too!  I guess you can keep doing that."

Let's Go Mets!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I Miss It Already

Today somebody commented that I am the only person still genuinely excited about the Mets.  I don't know if I'm the only one, but I do know I still get excited about every Mets game this season.

Why?  Why would I care about the rest of the Mets season?

There are a few reasons.  One of them is because Mike Nickeas is here.  It seems like he'll get minimal playing time for the rest of the season.  But he's here.

I also care because I simply love baseball and the Mets.  It's already September.  It feels like it was just the beginning of July.  It honestly feels like summer just started but it really is almost over.  Summer is the best time of the year.  I can think about baseball and only baseball.  There's something about watching a baseball game on a warm summer night.  It's definitely my favorite way to spend the summer.

So, what does that have to do with still caring about the Mets?

The Mets will be the last remaining sign of summer.  They will play into the first days of October after struggling through the dog days of August.  It will be (mostly) the same players going out and playing the same game.  It will be an escape from school when it starts in a few days.  And it will be an escape that I will love every moment of because I know it will go away for way too long.  I hate waiting through the offseason.  I hate counting down the days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.  I hate it because it means I'm still waiting.

I simply hate the offseason.  I hate not being able to turn on a Mets game in the evening.  I hate being bored on cold weekends because there's no Mets game to watch.  I hate that I can't go online and watch every great defensive play.
I want to read game recaps and even injury reports.  I want to hear about which pitchers look amazing this year and who can't field the way they used to.  I hate not being able to watch something I know everything about.

That's pretty much why I will watch every Mets game for the rest of the season.  I know the feeling of the offseason and I just hate it.

Let's Go Mets!

He Used To Play Soccer

This pregame interview with Mike Nickeas is great.  Just watch.


Mike Nickeas made his major league debut today.  He went 0-for-2 and there were two wild pitches.  He just looked really nervous out there.  I was perfectly fine with what I saw from Mike today.  He was put out there in a tough situation.  It was not only his major league debut, he was out there catching the top prospect.  Jenrry Mejia was supposed to light up the world and it's the catcher's job to make him look good.  The wild pitches certainly didn't make him look good.

I don't know what other playing time Mike is going to see.  I'm hoping he'll get to catch Johan Santana.  That would give him a chance to play without all the pressure of who's pitching.  It really wasn't Mike's fault that Mejia didn't have his best stuff.

Mike looked nervous out there, and he had every right to be.

Let's Go Mets!


If you have a TV and a way to watch the Mets game, you really should watch.  Mike Nickeas is making his major league debut.  He's catching and batting 7th.

So, yeah.  You should watch.

Let's Go Mets!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Should I Really Be This Excited?

Mike Nickeas is just some random baseball player.  Most people have never heard of him, and yet, I'm obsessed.  I saw him once, he said half a word in my general direction.  I saw him again, he spoke to me and I got a baseball and bat from him.

I guess I do have a reason to be excited about tomorrow.  He's expected to make his major league debut catching Jenrry Mejia.  I'll be watching every minute of the game from home.

Let's Go Mets!

Shoeless Joe Smith?

Apparently Joe Smith likes to spend time without shoes.  He isn't the only one, as Trevor Crowe also wasn't wearing shoes. I guess Jordan Brown wasn't brave enough and had to wear flip flops.

I like reading things like this.  Now I just need more pictures of Joe ...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

He Speaks!

If this video doesn't make you happy you need a lot of help.

Let's Go Mets!

It Couldn't Happen To A Better Guy

First, I want to congratulate Mike Nickeas on his call-up to the big leagues.  It really couldn't happen to a better guy.

Now, you're probably wondering why I like this guy in the first place.  He's just some random minor league catcher.

I've been to Spring Training once.  It was 2008 and Mike Nickeas was there.  I was getting autographs from pretty much anyone in a Mets uniform that was willing to sign.  It was busy and everybody wanted autographs.  I didn't know everybody who was signing, but I wanted them all.  When I finally found the guy that turned out to be Mike, he grabbed my baseball as soon as I got to him.  He said "'sup" and it was most likely to any random person, but I could've sworn he was talking to me.  After that, I didn't really care who else's autograph I got.  I just knew #59 supposedly asked me "'sup" and I needed to find out who it was.  When I did finally find out it was Mike Nickeas I wasn't going to forget that name.

My new favorite player started 2008 in AAA.  He didn't hit much in AAA and hit even less in AA.  I'm pretty sure he was injured at some point, but not much was happening.  2009 was more of the same.  Another injury ended his season early.  Then this year something amazing happened.  He didn't get much playing time at the beginning of the season.  Then the injuries started coming.  Finally, Mike was the one staying healthy.  The biggest of the injuries was Omir Santos, who is still out.  He was playing most of the games and was hitting.  He hit .283 with the B-Mets this season and was an Eastern League All-Star. He didn't spend much time in AAA this year, but obviously he's shown enough.  He's always had the defense, but the finding his swing has really helped this year.

And this finally brings me to our encounter this year.  For the first time I wondered why I've never been to a minor league game.  I also wondered why I've never seen Mike Nickeas play before.  I had been following his stats for a few years, but I had never seen him play.  The B-Mets were coming to Trenton which isn't terribly far from where I live, and I wanted to go.  I went to a game with the intention of getting an autograph from Mike Nickeas and just enjoying watching him play.  It turned out to be so much more.  Not only did I get his autograph, I also got a picture with him.  During the game, he threw the baseball from the last out of the 6th inning to me.  And after the game, after I told him I got the baseball after a mishap (my fault) he gave my brother a bat, which is now in my possession.  He was so nice, and I couldn't have asked for a better time at the game.

We always hear about the players that are really nice.  The ones the writers talk about and I'm glad I've had the chance to briefly meet one of the nicest players I could possibly imagine.  I'm glad the guy who happened to say half a word in my direction turned out to be a really cool dude.

Congrats, Mike.  You deserve it.

Let's Go Mets!


Mike Nickeas was just called up.  I'm not joking.  He will be joining the Mets in Atlanta and will be wearing #13.

Wow.  I really don't know what to say right now.  Just wow.

Congrats Mike!!!!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Minor Moves

As I noted before, the Mets have called up Lucas Duda and Jenrry Mejia.  For now, those are the only call-ups to the big club.  However, the Mets made a smaller move.  Zach Lutz has gone from the B-Mets to the Bisons.  He'll play the last week of the season in AAA.

Yay for Zach!  I saw him when I went to the B-Mets game and I really liked him.  For now he's back with Mike Nickeas and that's cool for me.

Let's Go Mets!

Maybe It Will Happen

Mike Nickeas has gone 0-for-4 in his past two games.  I was so excited about  a possible call-up and then he stops hitting.  I began to think the call-up wasn't going to happen.  Thankfully, this morning that feeling has gone away.  I wasn't sure how much playing time Mike would get when he first moved to the Bisons.  Today it was nice reading this:
When the Mets promote a third catcher in September, Mike Nickeas could be a feel-good story if he gets the nod over major league veterans J.R. House and Michael Barrett. A solid defensive catcher who was acquired from the Texas Rangers for Victor Diaz on Aug. 30, 2006, Nickeas had been a career .231 minor league hitter before this season. Nickeas, benefiting from injuries to catchers Omir SantosShawn Riggans and Luke Montz, hit .283 with five homers and 33 RBIs in 82 games with the B-Mets this season. He was promoted to Buffalo, made his first appearance last Wednesday and was tabbed as the Bisons’ No. 1 catcher.

I'm not really sure what my reaction to his call-up will be.  I really chose a random minor league player to follow and it's awesome that he could possibly be in the majors this month.

For now, the Mets called up Lucas Duda and Jenrry Mejia.

Let's Go Mets!