Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ask The Carlos and Sir Chokes A Lot

Carlos Betran signed with the Mets before the 2005 season.  The 2005 season was also the first season I really started to care about the Mets.  This is my first time really rooting for the Mets without Carlos Beltran and it is a bit weird.  I have had a love/hate relationship with Beltran throughout his tenure in New York.  However, now that he's gone I feel like there's a hole in the Mets roster.

I was mostly indifferent to Carlos Beltran until his great 2006 season when the rest of the Mets were great too.  And at some point the Mets had a roadtrip that included trips to Houston and Colorado.  During the series in Houston I was playing around with my Carlos Beltran bobblehead, asking it yes or no questions about if the batter would hit a home run or if the pitcher would get out of a jam.  Maybe it was because the Mets were on a good stretch and I was only asking questions that I wanted to be answered with 'yes' but the bobblehead was right every time.  Thus, Ask The Carlos came to be.  The bobblehead continued to predict things correcting, including a David Wright home run in Colorado. 

Sir Chokes A Lot shows the "hate" side of my Beltran fandom.  Yes, he had that horrible moment to end the 2006 NLCS but overall he was pretty "clutch" for the Mets.  It was probably my tendency to remember the bad moments that created the nickname.  However, it was another connection to Carlos that makes me miss him more now.

From a 2005 bobblehead giveaway to becoming the under-appreciated RBI Whore this year, Carlos Beltran will always hold a special place in my Mets history.  He deserves more than he got in New York.  Hopefully he'll get another shot in the playoffs this year.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

He's Actually Coming Back This Time!

The impending approval of the Carlos Beltran trade leaves the Mets with an open roster spot.  Well, just look at who is going to snatch it up! None other than Mike Nickeas!



Unfortunately, the Mets only plan to keep him up here until Nick Evans is eligible to return in ten days.  If only somebody with the Mets maybe realized they have six outfielders on the roster and two of those outfielders can play some infield positions.  Also, the Mets just so happen to be 5-1 when Mike catches this season.  And if he stayed, the Mets could get Ronny Paulino at-bats when he otherwise would have to stay on the bench as the backup catcher.

Okay.  I should just leave that stuff alone for nine days and enjoy the fact that Mike Nickeas is coming back.

Let's Go Mets!

Monday, July 25, 2011

In Defense of Jason Bay

No, I'm not going to defend Jason Bay's poor offense.  I'm not going to justify the Mets playing him everyday or anything like that.  I don't think he should be playing everyday but that is material for a whole other post.  What I don't like is the fans calling him out for not working hard enough or not caring or saying it's okay if he doesn't do well because he has the millions of dollars anyway.

Jason Bay obviously wants to perform.  It is never fun to fail.  And for somebody like Jason Bay who had so much success for so long, it must flat-out suck.  Last year he started to get hot in the series in Los Angeles right before he felt the concussion symptoms that ended his season.  This season he got off to a late start because of another injury.  It is not easy to come back from an injury in the first place but the fact that there was so much pressure on him to perform just makes it that much more difficult.  Just to come back from an injury takes effort and hard work.

The perpetual slump is no-doubt wearing on him.  Jason Bay's defense has become the best part of his game. His offense has gotten to the point that when he gets an RBI it's a relief to me.  I can't imagine how it feels for him.  With every at-bat becoming such a battle and such a challenge the mental strain is unimaginable.  He's spent over a year trying to figure things out and he still has work to do.

I feel bad for Jason Bay.  It is not fun to watch him fail time after time.  I don't care how much money he's making.  It just stinks watching it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Minor League Thoughts - Binghamton

Recently I made the journey with my dad to upstate New York.  The trip was mainly to see colleges but I also got to see the Binghamton Mets and Buffalo Bisons.

On Thursday the Binghamton Mets played a doubleheader against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, managed by  Sal Fasano.  But I wasn't there to see Fasano or the Fisher Cats.  I was there to see Josh Satin, Matt den Dekker, and the rest of the B-Mets.  I am not as familiar with the B-Mets this year as I was last year.  I know which players are doing well but I don't know the entire team.  I liked that because it gave me the chance to simply enjoy the games and the atmosphere.  And it was definitely different than any game I'd been to before.

The gates opened about thirty minutes before first pitch and that's pretty much when I got to the stadium.  Nobody was on the field or in the dugout so I figured out where my seats were (between the first base dugout and home plate) and then went to wait for autographs in the seats on the other end of the dugout.  Matt den Dekker was one of the first players to come into the dugout and I got his attention right away.  He was really sweet and promised to sign as soon as he had a free second.  When Matt did come to sign he was still really nice and seemed happy that somebody wanted his autograph in particular.

Basically right after Matt signed for me the rest of the B-Mets began to make their way into the dugout and onto the field to stretch.  I wanted to get Josh Satin's autograph after he finished stretching and throwing but he din't stop to sign so I only took a few pictures.  I got autographs from a few other guys including Robert Carson, and Eric Campbell before I made my way back to my seats for the game.

The games were alright.  The B-Mets lost the first and won the second.  The fact that I was only paying attention to the players specifically when Josh Satin and Matt den Dekker (and eventually also Dusty Ryan) meant I was actually just watching the game for the baseball being played.  I don't do that very often.

Between games I met the official bffl of the B-Mets, Amber, which was a lot of fun.  Overall, the night was a success.

Oh yeah, on this particular night there was an Elvis impersonator as entertainment.  I cannot imagine what goes through the players minds during the games with all the wacky gimmicks brought in by the team.  The fans seemed more into the entertainment that wasn't the game more than the game itself.  I think more people asked for autographs from the Elvis impersonator than from the players.  On the other hand, I was there to see the players and the team and the game and when I did ask specific players for autographs and when I knew the names of the players they really seemed to appreciate it.

It was a lot of fun and definitely different than any other game I've been to.

Let's Go Mets!


Pictures from the game are here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Seeing The Future

The first half of the 2011 Mets season has been confusing.  It has been up and down and while in the win-loss column, the up has outweighed the down, in reality the season could be taken either way.  At this point, the Mets are playing without Johan Santana, David Wright, Ike Davis, and Jose Reyes.  In their places, players like Dillon Gee, Justin Turner, Lucas Duda, and Ruben Tejada have not only played, but played well.

There were no expectations for this team coming into the season.  Last year was seemingly a down year for everyone.  This was just going to be the first year of a new regime.  People were just going to adjust to the new flow of the organization.  Then the Mets got off to a slow start and people were already talking about who was going to be gone by the trade deadline.  This was April.

Now it's July and just over half the season has been played.  The Mets are two games over .500 due in large part to the players that weren't even supposed to be on the team.  They're also where they are because of Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, two players that were always meant to contribute.  Beltran and Reyes are also the subject of the same talks of players that could be gone by the trade deadline.

The Mets could be very different next season but the changes have already started to take shape.  Dillon Gee is already helping as well as Justin Turner and others.  There is also Bobby Parnell who could find himself with a much bigger role in the bullpen if Francisco Rodriguez is traded.

It would be awesome for David Wright and Jose Reyes to be a part of the Mets future.  I would love to see them as the veteran leaders of the next successful Mets team after they were the young guys in 2006.  Either way, we have seen how much the Mets can get from the players around them or with them.

Let's Go Mets!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

On Interleague Play and the Subway Series

The Mets capped of their interleague play this season with a walk-off win against the Yankees.  It was exciting, fun, and an unexpected comeback against Mariano Rivera.  It also represented what I don't like about interleague play.

For the most part, I like interleague play.  I like seeing players and teams I would not normally see.  The different competition is fun to watch.  However, interleague play is unfair and part of what makes it unfair is the Subway Series.  Every year the Mets have to play against the Yankees twice.  The Yankees are pretty much a given to be a hard team to beat and the Mets have to play them six times a year while other teams in their division might not play them at all.

While interleague play is fun, these games are real and they count for the season.  Uneven scheduling and competition level create a conflict.  The Mets played every division leader this season.  However, the rest of their division did not face the same teams.  If every other team in the NL East played every division leader that would have created more equality in interleague play.  However, until each team in each division is playing against the same teams, it will continue to be unfair.

I don't have a solution or a particular way I would fix interleague.  I just know I won't enjoy it completely until it's fair.  The Mets happened to do quite well against some tough teams this year, but that might not always be the case for the Mets or for any other team.

Let's Go Mets!