Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

2011 was not a kind year for the Mets. However, it was one of my favorite seasons as a fan. My initial perception of my favorite player as the nicest person ever was confirmed and I found out a lot of the other Mets were really nice too.

I connected with baseball in a way I never have before. I went to three minor league games in two days and was closer to the game than ever. I followed a full minor league season for the first time. I finally spent time learning about more than one minor league player and looking at the players that will make the Mets in the future.

I enjoyed the early success of the Indians and endured the dog days of both the Mets and Indians seasons. I finally got to watch every Indians game of the season and of course I watched every Mets game.

Joe Smith had his best season yet. Josh Thole learned through experience. Mike Nickeas saw actual time on the Major League roster. Xavier Nady had his season ended by a Met and Grady Sizemore's season never really got started. David Wright cemented himself as the face of the franchise. The other face decided to leave for Miami.

There was the night in Philadelphia when Mets and Phillies fans all cheered together for America. And when all of New York was rooting for the Red Sox to miss the playoffs and complete a bigger collapse than the Mets of 2007. The excitement of the last day of the season was enough for two lifetimes. And well, the postseason was Written In The Stars.

I couldn't have gotten much more out of a disappointing Mets season. And now I get to enjoy the offseason with the Rangers. Hopefully my new year will start well with the Winter Classic and I'll get to enjoy hockey while waiting for baseball.

On New Year's Eve my calendar is on the Rangers. Their Winter Classic is taking me through the new year and their season will take me to spring. The spring will bring a new year of Mets baseball and both teams will bring memories all year.

Happy New Year!
And enjoy whatever you like to pass time during the winter.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

When You Really Love A Team

Some of you might not know that the Mets are not my only sports team and that baseball is not my only sport. I also love the Rangers. I never played hockey so I don't have the same connection to hockey that I have to baseball but I have grown to really love the sport. And this year I really love the Rangers.

Maybe it's because I went to yesterday's game, but today I have not been able to get enough Rangers. I just want to see and read everything about every player on the team. And I've never felt that before. Not about the 2006 and 2007 Mets that dominated (for the most part). Not about the lovable loser Mets of the last few years. But I simply love everything about these Rangers.

It helps that they're winning. It helps that whatever group of players is thrown onto the ice does the job. And it really helps that the fan base supports all of the players. Unlike the Mets fan base, the Rangers fans look past the small mistakes. Even when the team has hit rough patches during the past few seasons, the fans have found the positives when it looks like there aren't any. They have stood behind the smallest players and continued to have undying love for the biggest players.

The wins mean a lot. But something has to be said when the backup goalie is absolutely beloved.

I've never loved a team this much. I've never had this much confidence in a team. I'm new to this so give me time to fangirl and enjoy it while it's around. If there's one thing I know, the fun doesn't last forever.

Let's Go Mets!
Let's Go Rangers!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

There is Also This

On Mets Hot Stove on SNY Josh Thole just spoke about how much of a help Mike Nickeas has been throughout his career. They have had a good relationship and Mike had been a catching mentor for Josh in the minor leagues.

Going with Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas would mean going with an already established relationship. Thole could thrive with the right mentor and Nickeas already has been that mentor. Having Mike around for a full season could help Josh become the everyday catcher the Mets want him to be. Instead of simply working on defense during the offseason and Spring Training there would be someone there to work with Josh everyday of the season.

And being around a Major League hitting coach all year could help Mike as well.

Let's Go Mets!

Spinning This Into A Positive

The Mets signed catcher Rob Johnson to a minor league deal. Like Mike Nickeas he is a defensively-oriented catcher. Last year he posted a 3.26 catchers ERA while hitting only .190 for the Padres.

Naturally the first thing I thought of was that Mike Nickeas might not be the backup catcher after all. There will be competition now. Once Spring Training rolls around I will be the only person that cares about the backup catcher competition but right now more people are acknowledging it. Nothing has ever been handed to Nickeas during his baseball career. And this signing will keep his career that way. And the pessimist in me keeps saying the signing just means he won't ever really be a big leaguer.

But then there's the other side of me that's trying to make this positive. Perhaps the Mets just signed Johnson to be minor league depth. Maybe the minor league deal actually means he'll spend the season in the minor leagues. Or maybe Johnson was signed to show that Mike Nickeas is not the worst option out there. Maybe this was just a move to motivate Nickeas, not that he would need any outside motivation. But maybe, just maybe, the Mets still plan on going with Nickeas as their backup catcher.

Oh, what the offseason has come to.
Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chandler Totally Wouldn't Go For This

One of the perks of becoming a minority owner of the Mets is getting to hang out with Mr. Met whenever you want. Yup. You get as much of that giant baseball headed mascot as you want. But I guess if you don't like big heads then don't bother buying part of the team.

This got me thinking about what I would do if I got to spend a day with Mr. Met.

Well, first I would sleep in because if I got to school with Mr. Met there is no way I would get in trouble. Once I got to school I'd bring him to all my classes. In each class he'd teach us different cheers and we'd sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame and Meet The Mets. For lunch we'd go into the village and make everyone there Mets fans. We'd get through the rest of my classes after lunch and then head out to have more fun after school. We would definitely go visit my sixth grade social studies teacher because he's a Mets fan. And after that it would be time to go to Citi Field for the game. Mr. Met would get me behind the scenes access to everything. I'd get to meet the players and be part of the pregame media sessions. Mr. Met would make a surprise visit to the SNY and WFAN booths during the game and of course I would come with him. After the Mets win I would go with him to congratulate Mike Nickeas on his awesome game and participate in the post game media sessions as well.

Then I'd go home and go to bed after a long, fun day. Of course, I'd wake up and it would all be a dream because spending a day with Mr. Met is too cool to be a reality.

Players come and go but Mr. Met is forever.
Let's Go Mets!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

An Offseason Poem

The weather is getting colder,
The Winter Meetings are over.
Nobody knows what the Mets roster will be,
And it probably won't be under the team's Christmas tree.

But never fear,
Sandy Alderson is here.
He'll bring pitchers, outfielders, and a backup infielder or two,
But if you're a free agent catcher he doesn't want you.

David Wright and Ike Davis and Jon Niese might be traded,
However only if Sandy is utterly delighted.
These players are the best,
So Sandy won't just give them away to the rest.

Still for now the team is not whole,
There's still some room on the payroll.
Maybe Sandy will give us something to cheer,
As we celebrate the holidays and the new year!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

They're My Catchers

Before all the trades and signings yesterday the Mets said something about a move they will not be making. The Mets said they aren't interested in the catchers market and they will go into 2012 with who they have now.

For most people this announcement is irrelevant to their view of the team. And for the people that do care about this, the majority aren't too pleased. I'm not part of that majority.

Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas are my favorite players. It's quite an experience having favorites that never have been the best player. But it's the best feeling when you finally see them succeed.

Josh Thole has already had a taste of success. His beginning of the season struggles this year were not fun for anybody to watch. However they just made it even more fun to see his improvement as the season went on. He turned his season from the disaster of having pitchers ask not to throw to him to creating relationships and connections with the pitching staff. Josh earned praise from not only Terry Collins, but also from individual pitchers that benefitted the most from Thole's work.

Most people would look at The career of Mike Nickeas and glance over any possibility of him having any major league success. I'm not going to say he is going to have an established career as a starting catcher but I've taken it one step at a time as a fan of him. He got a major league call-up in 2010. He made a major league start in 2010. He made the Opening Day roster in 2011. He hit a major league home run in 2011. In 2012 he could quite possibly be the full season backup catcher. Mike has gotten so much farther than many people thought he would and there's no reason for him to stop defying those doubters.

I don't know how many of you will go for rooting for the hardworking defy the odds type. But it doesn't really matter. That is just who the Mets catchers are and if you watch the Mets that's who you'll see. I can't wait to watch them.

Let's go Mets!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

On Jose Reyes

All signs point to Jose Reyes signing with the Miami Marlins.  The contract is reported to be something around 6 years and $110 million.  Inevitably, Mets fans on twitter are all over the place.

Yes, I wanted the Mets to re-sign Jose Reyes.  However, now that there are actual parameters of his contract I'm not going to say the Mets should have topped the offer.  I'm also not going to complain about the fact that the Marlins "of all teams" were the highest bidders.  They were told by Major League Baseball that they had to add payroll and they have done that and more.  Just because they had not been big spenders before doesn't mean they would never have the capacity to spend.

Multiple factors were working against the Mets in their pursuit of Jose Reyes.  The Marlins are adding payroll while the Mets are trying to cut payroll.  There is also the fact that players just don't stay with one organization for their entire career anymore.  Joe Mauer signing a big contract with his original team last year was rare, and the Twins had the hometown factor working for them.  New York has never been Jose Reyes's hometown and he did not feel compelled to take less money to stay here.

It was Jose Reyes's decision and he chose more money and the Marlins.

The Mets will move on.  Players come and go.  Just remember that now the Mets could get a more expensive closer or catcher or anything else.  They will spend at least some of the money elsewhere not only this year but every year they would have been paying this contract.  And they will still play baseball in 2012 and beyond.

So take a deep breath and remember . . .
Let's Go Mets!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hired By The Padres

That's Omar Minaya's current status, in case you were wondering.  I can't help but remember all those wonderful times he tried to say one thing, couldn't quite find the words, and ultimately said something completely different.  If he's not the one speaking for them, the Padres should have a nice addition to their scouting department.

Ah, memories.

This Is Really Cool

I just came across this piece from 2008 and all of a sudden it's relevant again.  It's a prediction of theoretical 2012 All-Star teams based on their careers through the beginning of 2008.

There are some players that simply didn't continue the way they could have.  Russell Martin, Grady Sizemore, Scott Kazmir, and Brandon Webb are all on the team.  And there are other names that are right on the money.  Albert Pujols, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Braun, and Justin Upton have grown into elite players.

Perhaps the most interesting part is seeing who just missed the cut.  Brian McCann is one of the best catchers in the game today but he is only mentioned as part of the "Best of the rest."  Lars Anderson is mentioned as a "sleeper" and he hasn't even made an impact in the majors yet.  Matt Antonelli is also mentioned in "Best of the rest" but injuries have slowed his progress and he also hasn't had much of a chance in the majors yet.  Alex Gordon had a much improved 2011 season so seeing him mentioned is cool, but he's listed with the third baseman because nobody could've predicted his move to the outfield.  Troy Tulowitzki is described as a "real risk" and I'll leave it at that.  And I love the Justin Masterson and Chris Perez mentions as they proved this year that they can keep up with the best.

It's really cool seeing how the Major Leagues panned out.  I wonder how 2015 will look.

Keeping "The Core"

Where has 2006 gone?  That team with David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado.  The Carloses are gone and who knows what's going to happen with Jose.  But David Wright will be a Met next year and Sandy Alderson has no plans to change that.  So to all those people that wanted to blow up the "core" months or even years ago, this offseason is for you.

In 2012 the Mets will have a new core.  David Wright will be there to lead the team.  He's still the face of the franchise.  But instead of the Carloses there is Ike Davis and Angel Pagan.  Mets fans will see the next generation of the team.  The success may not come as quickly as it did in 2006 but hopefully this time it will last longer.  Maybe by having a homegrown core the Mets will have more years of success.  In an ideal world the core would feel loyal to the Mets and do what they could to stay with the team.

But having a homegrown core means more than just wins on the field.  It means throughout the organization the Mets did their job.  The front office drafted good players.  The coaches from the lowest levels of the minor leagues to the more demanding stages of AA and AAA prepared the players.  And the major league personnel knew how to bring out the best in the players.

So even if Jose Reyes isn't back next year, if David Wright is the last piece of the last playoff team, the Mets could still be okay.  And the way fans see the team as okay on the field means they are also okay off the field.  And that makes for quite the future.

Let's Go Mets!