Friday, November 26, 2010

Baseball Confession

I love when players give baseballs and batting gloves and whatever else to fans.  I hate that they really only give them to little kids.  Sure, they just made the day of that little kid, but little kids aren’t the only ones that would be ecstatic to get something from a player.  Next season I’ll be 17 and most players probably think 17 year old girls are only at games to look at the players.  I’m not.  I love the game and would definitely freak out if any of the players gave me anything.  Sure, I’ve been a baseball fan for my entire life, but I really started loving the game when I was 11 years old.  Even then it was too late to qualify as one of the cute kids the players like to accommodate.  I just hate that I’ll never get to experience the same joy as some of the other kids.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Xavier Nady

It's Thanksgiving.  Besides family, friends, and all the other mushy stuff that I am beyond thankful for, I'm also thankful for Xavier Nady.

I became a die-hard Mets fan towards the end of 2005 and throughout the 2006 season.  In 2006 my favorite players were David Wright and Xavier Nady.  I loved them both and never wanted to miss an at-bat.  I was ecstatic whenever the lineup had David batting fifth and Xavier batting sixth.  I'd smile with every pitch and cheer every hit.  I couldn't imagine the Mets without them.

My fandom was tested on July 30.  Xavier was traded to the Pirates.  I was upset.  I was beyond upset.  I cried.  After that I could've forgotten about him.  He could've become some random player I would never think about again.  But that's not what happened.  I followed the Pirates games.  I looked at every box score to see what how he did.  And eventually I started to like other players.  As unfortunate as it sounds, I became a Pirates fan.  I was still a Mets fan but I wanted the Pirates to win as well.  When the Mets had the chance to clinch in Pittsburgh my heart was torn.  I saw Xavier and wanted to root for the Pirates, then I saw the Mets
and I wanted them to win and invite X to celebrate.  The Pirates swept the Mets and I don't remember how I felt, probably because I didn't feel anything.

Xavier Nady and the trade to the Pirates taught me to love baseball and not only the Mets.  I learned about another team and other players.  I followed games besides the Mets games.  I found out I could be a die-hard Mets fan while rooting for other teams.  My baseball life has really only gotten better since the trade, even if I still want X back today.

That's what I'm thankful for in baseball, not only this year, but every year.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Flashback: 2006 Edition

I was thinking about the 2006 season.  The season that went so well until one pitch to Carlos Beltran.  Seven players from 2006 made an appearance on the Mets of 2010.

Two of those players, John Maine and Pedro Feliciano, have a good shot of not coming back next season.  Another, Oliver Perez, doesn't deserve to come back next season.  Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Mike Pelfrey will most likely be a part of the 2011 Mets.

So much has changed since 2006.  I remember the NL East clincher and the fun postgame interviews.  Omar Minaya was praised for putting together such a dominant team so quickly, with the signings of Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran, and the trade for Carlos Delgado.  Willie Randolph was thought of highly for managing a team that clinched in mid-September.  People wondered how he would rest players but still keep them focused for the playoffs with so much time after the clincher.  David Wright talked about making the playoffs something that happened every year.

And Tom Glavine cared.

The 2006 team had players such as Xavier Nady and Shawn Green.  They had Julio Franco and Chad Bradford.  There were so many minor players that contributed that year.

I really hope the fresh voices of Sandy Alderson's staff, including Terry Collins, can bring winning baseball back to the Mets.

Let's Go Mets!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Welcome To The Roster

Yesterday the Mets added Zach Lutz, Jordanny Valdespin, Armando Rodriquez, and Josh Stinson to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft.

Zach Lutz became a favorite of mine this season.  He plays third base so he is obviously blocked by David Wright.  However, the Mets clearly aren't ready to give up on him.  He has come a long way from his first day on the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2007 when he broke his foot.  At first it looked like he would be an injury-prone draft bust after playing 25 games in his first two seasons.  This year he spent most of the year in Binghamton and hit 17 home runs with a .289 batting average.  He added another homer when he ended the year in Buffalo.  He started the season in Single-A and finished in AAA, showing a ton of improvement.  And oh yeah, he grew up as a Mets fan.

I hate saying it but Zach will probably have to be traded at some point.  Obviously the Mets want to keep him and see how good he can get, building up value, but barring something happening to David Wright, there just isn't room for Zach.  It's unfortunate but every team has positions that are blocked.  He'll probably spend 2011 in AAA but hopefully he eventually get a chance somewhere.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Joe Smith Still Exists

Smitty?  Minor league deal?  No deal at all?  He was one of their best relievers last season.  He was sent down at the beginning of the season to fix his mechanics so that might throw some people off.  But, if you look, you'll see once he came back he was pretty dominant.  Most of his bad outings were when the rest of the bullpen was also falling apart.  He still had his struggles against left-handed batters but that's expected.  Who was the last right-handed side-armer did consistently well against lefties?  His main job was to get righties out and that's what he did.  Righties hit .160 against him this year, the best of his career after having three years of .190 or above.  He's improved and he's going to continue to improve.  He has grown into a pitcher in the American League.   Manny Acta also seems to speak very highly of him.  The few times he's actually quoted talking about Joe, he only says good things.  As long as Manny Acta is the manager I don't see how the Indians can let Joe Smith go.  I just don't see how the Indians can not offer him a contract.

But if they do somehow let him go, the Mets better sign him.

I know what I'm responding to is from a few months ago.  However there just isn't a reason for the Indians to let him go.  I don't see them completely revamping their bullpen when they still have other needs to fill.  Joe isn't going to ask for a lot of money and keeping him around would be the easiest and best thing.

Now back to your regularly scheduled Mets programming. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bobby Likes Dogs

The Mets had 'Bark In The Park' games a couple of times this season.  Apparently Bobby Parnell made a friend at one of them.  He adopted Abby at the end of the season.  I think this is adorable, especially when he interrupted the photo-shoot of Ike and Joshy.

Really, Bobby, you couldn't get any cuter.

A Quick Thought On Mets Catchers.

In my head I agree the Mets are “a little thin” at catcher in AAA.  But then I think of Mike Nickeas and I know he could be an awesome backup.  I know it isn't a good idea to have a second year starter and rookie backup, but it's not like Mike is bad at fielding.  Backup catchers are usually around for their defense.

Josh Thole should be the full-time starter.  For the second half of the season that's what he was, and he did quite nicely.  The Mets will probably sign someone to be the backup and Nickeas will be around in AAA if there's an injury.  

Joshy will be fun to watch.  He'll come into Spring Training knowing he has a spot on the team and will have more time to get to know the pitchers.  I really don't see his catching skills all of a sudden being so terrible in ST that he can't be the everyday starter.

I'd love to see a Joshy/Mike catching tandem at some point, but as long as Josh gets the starting job things should be okay in Mets-land.

Let's Go Mets!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Xavier!

Today, Xavier Clifford Nady VI turns 32 years old.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Best Game Of The Season

When the season starts some cool games are expected throughout the year.  Extra innings, pitchers duels, battles of the bullpen, high scoring blowouts, and box score oddities like position players pitching.  However, they don't usually all come in the first month of the season and they don't usually all happen in one game.

On April 17, the Mets beat the Cardinals 3-2 in a game that when 20 innings and took 6 hours and 53 minutes to play.  It started as a pitchers duel between Johan Santana and Jaime Garcia and eventually stayed scoreless through 18 innings.  The game featured the first MLB hit for Raul Valdes, pitching in relief.  It also was a game in which Francisco Rodriguez got the win and Mike Pelfrey got his first save.  Both Felipe Lopez and Joe Mather pitched for the Cardinals, with Mather getting the loss.

This game had everything except a hit from Jeff Francoeur, who went 0-for-7 and his season seemed to spiral downward from there, and it just got better as the innings got later.  It even had a base-hit from Mike Jacobs.  People went out for dinner and expected to come back and check the box score for the results.  It started in the late afternoon but ended with the night games.

I watched most of this game and listened to the parts I couldn't watch.  I don't think I realized how cool the game was until the 15th inning.  Spending almost 7 hours of my day watching baseball wasn't bad, but I don't think the Mets will have another game like this anytime soon.

Let's Go Mets!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Minor Move

Josh Satin.  He's another random minor leaguer I like.  Well, he's playing in the Arizona Fall League.  Up until now he was on the 'taxi squad' meaning he could only play on Wednesday and Saturday.  Due to an injury he is now Mesa's regular team.

In obviously limited playing time Josh is hitting .438.  He hit .311 in the minors this year and I saw him when I went to the B-Mets game.  You'll be seeing more of him here in the future.  Just warning you.

Let's Go Mets!

On The Way Back

Daniel Murphy injured his knee at the very end of Spring Training.  He made his way back and was in the minor leagues learning to play 2nd base when his knee was re-injured on a takeout slide.  Well, he's playing in winter ball.  He's playing and he hasn't stopped hitting.  His average is .306 and he has 1 home run, 4 doubles, and 11 RBI.  He also has 3 stolen bases.  There hasn't been any whining about his defense so I assume he's improving at second base.

I want Daniel Murphy to get a chance at second base next year.  At least he should get a shot in Spring Training.  He proved he can handle first base so he should get the opportunity to prove himself at second.  I don't think his failure to play the outfield should hurt him.  He's an infielder.  If he can become a utility infielder then great.  He certainly has always been able to hit and has now played 3rd, 1st, and 2nd base.  He's going to work hard no matter where he is asked to play.  

He's hit .275 in 204 career games in the majors.  He even led the Mets in homers in 2009 . . . with 12.  Murph was going to be the Opening Day first baseman before his injury.  He should absolutely be in the Mets plans for next season.

Let's Go Mets!