Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

A no-hitter.  A 20 game Cy Young Award winner.  A third baseman signed for the future.  The Mets 74-88 record doesn't tell even half the story of the year for this team.  It doesn't tell the story of the thrill first half comebacks.  It only reveals the heartbreak from the second half of the season.

The personal feats are what made this year worthwhile.  David Wright being on an offensive tear for the first few months of the season.  R.A. Dickey being nearly unhittable and giving his catchers fits.  Howie Rose losing his mind calling the lost out of Johan Santana's no-hitter.

Numbers won't make you laugh about Ike Davis's plight with Valley Fever.  They won't tell you how much fun the Mets seem to have had at his charity event.  No statistic will describe just what Jeremy Hefner looks like in a tight football referee costume.  Tim Byrdak's bowling prowess can't be revealed by WHIP or ERA.  Jerry the Chicken didn't play a game for the Mets but he can't be left out.  Does anybody have a count of just how many times Wonderwall played before someone figured out how to use Justin Turner's iPod?


There are frustrating parts of every year.  The injuries, trades that weren't made, trades that were made, signings that backfired.  But all of those moves are part of building a team that brings unique memories no matter what.  A different team simply wouldn't have the same bonding moments.  In baseball you get to see many teams throughout the year.  In January there is only a skeleton of a roster.  By April it's a full team yet it still manages to evolve.  And once November rolls around it's a skeleton again.

Nobody knew R.A. Dickey would actually be that good.  Nobody knew the Mets would finally have a no-hitter in the books this year.  Heck, the year started not even knowing when Johan would pitch at all.  Yes, it ends without R.A. and more questions about Santana.  But it was all worth it for the thrill that each pitch brought this year.

2012 was historic.  2012 was worth it.

Let's Go Mets!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Best Friend One Could Have

There are a lot of times when I find myself looking forward to the time between 3 and 4 PM. During baseball season it's when the Mets lineup is usually announced. It's the hour that starts best part of the day. A lot of times I essentially sleep-walk through the day until the Mets game starts. It is not the most productive way to spend my days, but sometimes it is what I have to do.

Baseball season encompasses six months of the year. Every day there is a game. It doesn't not show up because you got upset about the previous night's results. If a game is supposed to happen and it doesn't, it's rescheduled and is ultimately still there. Baseball doesn't care if you had a fight with your (ex)-best friend. It doesn't care if you're too sick to leave the house. Baseball will be there.

From April through September there will be bats and gloves and baseballs and teams playing games. Hundreds of teams playing every single day. The excitement of those five strikeouts in a row. The exhilaration of back-to-back home runs. For a few minutes nothing else has to matter. Put all the events together and you have hours where baseball can be the only thing in the world. Those afternoons and nights are the best parts of the day.

But they are also the most evil parts of the year. They're what makes those other months of the year so difficult. The weeknights when you stare at your homework for hours, simply because you have no reason to finish it early. The minutes and hours and days after a fight when you just desperately want something else to think about. Any time you need an escape from the reality of your own life.

It's what makes rumors, trades, and signings so big. They're the closest you can get to that escape. But the distraction of each isn't quite as long. So you need more. The rumors come pouring at you and you want them all to be true. Each new rumor brings you daydreams of that player making a diving catch and hitting a screaming line drive. You need them to be true because otherwise your moment in baseball bliss is over.

This is why the first sights of Spring Training are so amazing. No longer do you have to fantasize about the dirt-stained uniforms. The smack of bat to ball and ball to mitt is real once again. On August 11 these simple workouts would be a drag, but on February 11 they are the best thing in existence.

The alternate reality comes back. There is something to catch you when you fall. Baseball is there once again to hold your hand through the bad times and make the good times even better.

The best thing about baseball is that it always comes back. Baseball's reality doesn't make your reality worse with lockouts and never ending negotiations.

For essentially my entire life baseball has been a constant. If it hurts me one night it comes back the next day and does whatever it can to make up for its wrongdoings. It has never been on the phone or gone to do errands when it promised to show up. I never had to ask twice to spend time with it.

It's baseball. It just is amazing.

Monday, December 17, 2012

For Real This Time

Thank you, Mike Nickeas.  Thank you for giving me my favorite memories as a Mets fan.  Thank you for making the dreams of any sports fan come true for me.  Thank you for always being a class act and never outwardly showing that you were sick of seeing me.

I am probably one of few that will miss Mike Nickeas.  He truly was my favorite player.  At times that made me feel silly or stupid.  I questioned whether I should just move on and dedicate my fandom to David Wright or Ike Davis.  But I'm glad I never changed.  Rooting for Mike Nickeas was the coolest thing I could ever do.  He brought me closer to baseball than I ever imagined I would be.

My first time at Spring Training.  My first minor league baseball game.  His first Major League call-up.  Sitting where I am now and being utterly shocked at his response to my letter.  When he remembered me at Spring Training.  And remembered me again at every game I went to.  That time I almost had a coherent conversation with him.  The best day of my life.

That first year I rooted for him I followed the New Orleans Zephyrs games on GameDay.  I remember almost injuring myself one time after he hit a grand slam.  I devoted so many hours to reading box scores and game recaps, hoping for one mention of him.  I really had no idea what I was getting myself into.

These are memories I would never trade for anything.  These are memories I have brought up over and over again because I still can't believe they're real.  They include me rooting for him once as a Bison.  He's probably going to be a Bison again.  The MLB affiliation and uniform design have changed but that's it.  My spirit and dedication will be as strong as ever.  This trade can shake me but it certainly will not break me.  The idea of Mike Nickeas in another organization isn't really something I like thinking about.  Unfortunately, it's reality.

This trade was necessary.  I like thinking about the fact that Mike Nickeas, Josh Thole, and R.A. Dickey are traveling as one.  I like realizing that the Blue Jays took him when seemingly everybody else in the Mets system was available.  He was wanted by the Blue Jays and that's a heck of a lot better than being a spare part.  I have no reason to believe the Mets organization treated Mike with anything but the class he deserves.

This trade is the first trade that really tests me as a fan.  It tests whether I root for the player or the "laundry."  I can think of Mets I still love rooting for, but there's such a gap between my level of interest in any of them and Mike.  I don't think there will be an answer until the season starts.  I've never wanted to get the offseason over with more than I do right now.

The bright side of this trade is that while Josh Thole and Mike are gone, they are with the same team.  They are spending the next chapter of their careers together, which is so fitting for both of them.  I also don't have to stay up all night to watch Mike Nickeas play and I don't have to get accustomed to the other half of the AAA affiliates.  I also happen to really like the Bisons broadcasters and now I get to keep listening to them.  I'm also lucky the Blue Jays are in the AL East since it happens to be pretty easy for me to go to Yankee Stadium.

The Blue Jays also don't seem to have anyone in their system above Mike on the AAA depth chart.  Maybe he'll be with the team on one of their visits to Yankee Stadium.

A little over a month ago I thought his days as a Met were over.  At that point I wrote, "Whatever happens, it won't be the same."

It certainly isn't the same.

Mike Nickeas is no longer with the Mets.  Mike Nickeas is with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Good luck with the Blue Jays.  Or the Bisons.  Both, I guess.  You did more than you ever had to do here.  I will never regret making you my favorite player.  You were the best favorite I could ever ask for.  I hope the Blue Jays treat you with the respect you deserve and I can only look forward to how much more this change will teach me about baseball.

First Things First

The Mets improved their team immensely today.  R.A. Dickey won the Cy Young last season but he was a necessary piece to trade to improve the Mets weakest position.  Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas were the other players the Mets gave to the Blue Jays, and while they were important to my interest in the Mets, they were not instrumental in the team's success.

In return for Dickey, Thole, and Nickeas the Mets received C Travis d'Arnaud, RHP Noah Syndergaard, C John Buck, and OF Wuilmer Becerra from the Blue Jays.  Travis d'Arnaud is arguably the best catching prospect in the game.  The Mets go from having nothing at the position to having a future as bright as it has ever been.  He is a solid hitter who has also been praised for his leadership abilities.  He'll likely spend the first few weeks of the season in AAA but should definitely see MLB action this season.

Jon Buck will likely serve as the starting catcher until d'Arnaud is ready.

You can click here to read more about the other members of the trade.

This trade is obviously a little tough for me to swallow.  The Mets managed to trade both of my favorite players in one move.  I truly believe Josh Thole has a bright future.  He got a bad draw this season with his concussion and being tasked with catching the wildest knuckleball in the history of baseball.  Both catchers from the Mets deserve credit for working with Dickey.

The Mets used their strength to improve their weakness.  Sandy Alderson deserves a great amount of praise for pulling off a move like this.  The Mets all of a sudden have concrete pieces to build a winner. It's a great feeling and one that can only improve in time.  I applaud those who were patient with Alderson and trusted him to do his job.  And to those that didn't, told ya so.

Let's Go Mets!

Monday, December 10, 2012

One More Note About Prospects

My twitter timeline this morning includes seemingly every prospect-gone-bad story out there. From trades that went bust to trades that didn't happen because of untouchable players. Every example is covered.

There is a reason such players are called prospects. No team knows what the player will do in the Major Leagues. But if every team was obsessed with the pessimistic view of prospects that don't pan out there would never be any trades at all ever.

There are plenty of prospects that do grow into capable big leaguers. The trades come from that mindset.

The Logical Move

The story of the Mets offseason has moved to R.A. Dickey now that David Wright has a home for the future. And this story reads quite differently than any other of the offseason. The Mets front office is genuinely conflicted as to whether to trade him or sign him to an extension. The good news is they can not really lose either way. The bad news is this could go wrong fast.

If the Mets do decide to trade Dickey it shouldn't just be about grabbing at the shiniest object on the market. As of last night the shiniest object, Wil Meyers, was traded elsewhere. So now instead of reaching for an outstanding outfield prospect they would be reaching for Mike Olt, a third baseman. I understand that he's a prime prospect. However, he is still a third baseman, a position the Mets have covered for a long while. It seems to have become the Mets trademark to move infielders to the outfield and if that's what they want to do with Olt, that's they're decision. But if it doesn't, they would have given their Cy Young winner for a blocked prospect.

Obviously, there are many scenarios that wouldn't have the Mets get Olt. But with the Dodgers and Royals out of the market for Dickey the next logical teams are the Rangers and Blue Jays. And while it's easy to go for the biggest prospect and the biggest offer out there, it's more important to get a prospect that will help. The Blue Jays seem to have a surplus of catchers so maybe they'd be better trade partners.

The Mets are right to ask for a lot in trades. They're right to want a top-tier prospect. This is a trade for a Cy Young winner. It's also one situation where they can look for the perfect trade because signing Dickey to an extension is just as good a move.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Here To Stay

This guy.

(photo from MLB.com)

Simply Amazin'

Sporting a blue and white button down shirt with an orange tie David Wright addressed the media. He was also wearing the new blue jersey. A jersey he will wear next season and for many seasons after. Mr. Wright is here to stay and it is the greatest thing the Mets could give their fans this winter.

Throughout their history the Mets have had franchise players that donned other uniforms. Tom Seaver wasn't a lifelong Met. Neither was Darryl Strawberry. Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, and Mike Piazza spent prominent parts of their careers with the team, but weren't homegrown. Jose Reyes certainly didn't stick around. But David Wright did.

The contract extension was agreed on last week. However the awesome feeling of finally having a lifelong Met didn't really hit me until today. When David was there in all his blue and orange. When he spoke about growing up rooting for the team. When he spoke about not accomplishing the ultimate goal yet. When he said he couldn't wait to change that fact. It was simply amazin'.

Wright has been through everything with this organization. It's hard to believe he made his MLB debut over eight years ago. It's even harder to believe he'll be a Met for the next eight years.

Where will you be in April of 2020? Because David Wright will be at Citi Field.

Let's Go Mets!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Keep Coming Back

I became a Mets fan in 2005.  Before then, they were just that other New York baseball team.  I could've been a Yankees fan, heck for the first 10 years of my life Mike Piazza was the only Met I really knew much about.  Edgardo Alfonzo was the guy whose last name was Alfonso Soriano's first name.  I saw Nick Johnson and Chuck Knoblauch more than Benny Agbayani and Robin Ventura.

But in 2005 that changed.  It changed with David Wright and Cliff Floyd.  I just saw David Wright make that barehanded catch and I didn't care about the team record or the ERA of the pitchers.  I just wanted to see Wright and Mike Jacobs and Jose Reyes.  2005 was the first year I enjoyed watching baseball game after baseball game on TV.  Somehow that year I finally understood simple concepts such as the difference between the top and bottom of an inning and what the designated hitter actually means.

The Mets just seemed to mean more to me than their crosstown rivals.  The great thing about being a die-hard fan is that there's never really an explanation for the obsession.  There's a reason for the initial interest but the full-blown addiction just kinda happens.  That infatuation is why die-hard fans will enjoy next season no matter what happens.

I have come back to the Mets every year since 2005.  I have seen them dominate in 2006 and crash and burn in 2007 and 2008.  Yet none of that stopped me from watching and rooting the next year.  It didn't stop any of the other die-hard fans.  This group of fans found a way to root for the backup backup backup 2nd baseman in 2009.  This group of fans will find players to fall in love with in 2013.

I'm going to root for David Wright next year, contract extension or no contract extension.  I'm going to enjoy every inning he plays as a New York Met because he's the only player left from that 2005 season.  He's the first Met that I called my favorite player, the last Met left from the 2006 playoffs.  I'm going to watch Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Ruben Tejada, and Ike Davis grow into the future and cheer for every win because it's all another piece of the puzzle.

In 2013 I'm going to watch as many Mets games as possible simply because they're the Mets.  They're the team with Gary, Keith, and Ron in the booth and Kevin Burkhardt sitting somewhere in the stands. They're the team that is perpetually the underdog no matter how many runs they score or strikeouts their pitchers get.

There is no simple explanation.  There isn't really a complicated explanation either.  But I'm going to come back next year and the year after that and the year after that.

I guess it's just because they're the Mets.

Let's Go Mets!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm So Frustrated I Can't Think Of A Proper Title

Just today it has looked like the Mets were never going to sign David Wright, to a deal looking somewhat almost possibly imminent, and back to talks to moving slowly and no deal being anywhere close.  This is perhaps one of the most frustrating things about loving and following a New York sports team.  There are so many newspapers and so many beat writers and so many people that want to know everything about every move that it's impossible to let anything just play out.

The part of me that dreams about being a writer wants to know everything about the negotiations.  What the Mets are thinking, what David Wright and his agents are thinking, why the Mets haven't just given him a blank check, who's leaking the information, is there more information that's not being reported, just how far are the sides from making a deal.

But there's another part of me that doesn't want to know anything.  If it weren't for the media leaking details of supposed contract offers there wouldn't be any reason to deny those offers.  Both sides should be able to negotiate without worrying about the media.  The fans shouldn't have to decide which reports to believe.  I'm sick of seeing fans and the media speculate the terms of the contract and when it's going to be done.

Nobody looks good when a player denies getting the reported offer.  People are forced to choose if they want to believe the news source or the beloved player.  If they don't believe the reporter then how will they get their precious news and rumors that fuel their irrationally critical rants?  But if they don't believe the face of the franchise they can't possibly be taken seriously as dedicated fans, can they?

. . . I'm getting off topic. . .

The David Wright situation seems to have just gotten so far past any hope of a happy medium of information and optimism for me.  I don't want to believe any reports because I don't want to see any reports.  Yet, I know I should try to take the reports seriously because I want to be the one on the other side of them at some point.

The writers are just doing their jobs.  I wish I could be the one writing about those offers.  But they're the very thing I detest reading as a fan.  It's frustrating and it's just one of many obstacles between the life of a fan and a professional.

Sigh.

Let's Go Mets!

Monday, November 26, 2012

In Which I Make Mike Pelfrey Relevant

Mike Pelfrey last threw a pitch on April 21.  That day he threw 102 pitches in eight innings and only gave up one run.  Shortly after he had Tommy John surgery and spent the rest of the season healing and preparing to pitch in 2013.  Right now he is a Met.  By the end of the month he will be a free agent.  The combination of his inconsistency on the mound, major surgery, and having Scott Boras as his agent work against the Mets giving him another chance.  But offering him a minor league contract might not be the end of the world.

Pelfrey will turn 29 in January, already younger than some of the low-risk signings they've made for previous seasons.  He only knows this organization, and he has only had a real issue with Rick Peterson who has been gone for quite a while.  And perhaps the biggest point, he actually looked pretty good before the surgery.  His two other starts this season saw him throw 6 innings and give up 1 run and 5.2 innings while giving up 3 runs.  In his shortest outing he had 8 strikeouts.

Statistics of three starts aren't nearly enough to look at though.  The 2008 season proved that he isn't always able to carry success.  But this season showed me the first signs of a desire to improve, even if it meant rebuilding his approach.  Rick Peterson forced Pelfrey to change his entire approach to pitching and now, more than a few years later, that can be connected to his downfall.  He used to be able to blow batters away with his sinking fastball and fool batters with his curveball.  He turned into a pitcher with a decent, but not overwhelming, fastball, inconsistent change-up, and sinker.

It would be an understatement to say he experienced growing pains.  People expected him to be a ground ball pitcher.  They saw his 6'7" frame and wanted him to fire his fastball past every batter.  His mechanics were largely inconsistent.  That is, they were inconsistent until this year.

It's hard to judge such a small sample size but I'm going to judge it anyway.  As opposed to last year and the year before that and the year before that, all seasons that his sinker didn't quite sink enough and his pitches flattened by the fifth inning, this season he finally made productive adjustments to his windup.  He worked on staying on top of his sinker, and in his limited innings he was able to make the adjustment.  He made a conscious effort to stand more upright on the mound.  Perhaps the most noticeable consistency in his windup was his addition of a reach over his head before throwing the pitch.

One thing that may be important to note with Pelfrey is that his success doesn't necessarily rely on strikeouts.  In 2008 and 2010, his two better seasons, he had 110 and 113 strikeouts, respectively.  But in 2009 and 2011, two of his much more trying seasons, he had 107 and 105 strikeouts, respectively.

Comfort has been essential to any possibility of success throughout Pelfrey's career.  He will probably get offers from other teams, and he has every right to consider each offer as deeply as he wants.  But I can't imagine him getting many offers of Major League contracts.  The Mets have nothing to lose by offering him a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training.  There is no such thing as too much pitching depth.  Heck, maybe he'll shock the world and become a valuable relief pitcher.  They'll never know if they don't try.

Let's Go Mets!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Stuffing For The Mind

I'm still in somewhat of a food coma and combining that with the lack of a hockey season and the fact that I'm watching a concert of The Fray on TV, puts me in a weird place. But The Fray isn't totally irrelevant to my history with the Mets and hearing How To Save A Life reminds me of that.

I first fell completely in love with the Mets in 2006. I was only 12 years old and I spent a lot of time on the computer (some things never change I guess). I watched most Mets games on TV but I also followed a decent number of games on GameDay as I listened to music. However, I only listened to one playlist which I'm pretty sure was named 'MeTs GaMeS' or something similar.

This playlist was special. One might think it would have only baseball related songs since it was saved for baseball games. It did have Centerfield by John Fogerty as well as And We Say ... Let's Go Mets! (which I still know all the words too). But it also had How To Save A Life, It Ends Tonight, Slide, and so many other songs.

Those songs were part of my first full season with the Mets. When I hear them I still think of the nights I spent watching GameDay. It was with me that entire season, including when I became uber-emo preteen and listened to It Ends Tonight after game 7 of the NLCS.

Unfortunately 12 year old me didn't think I'd ever care about the original playlist and kept adding songs to it until it essentially contained my entire music library. I wish I knew the original songs on it. If only so I could relive some of the magic of that season again.

I guess I'll just sit here in my turkey-induced haze and file that under my first world problems.

I hope everybody enjoyed their Thanksgiving. I'm not really sure how this post relates to Thanksgiving but just consider it a little extra stuffing. In a year or two I'll probably regret letting saying of this, the way people regret eating so much stuffing for the month and a half after Thanksgiving.

Let's Go Mets!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Lesson For The Mets

This has been quite a busy week for baseball. From the announcements of the major award winners to trades and signings, the offseason quickly started to take shape. One of those trades was the huge blockbuster between the Marlins and Blue Jays.

Among those dealt by the Marlins were Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes. They both signed big contracts with Miami just last year and according to reports they also both received verbal no-trade agreements. The Marlins have many issues in their front office, among them is their refusal to include such no-trade clauses in contracts. Combine that with their constant dumping of any big name player they ever have and you've created an environment nobody is going to want to play in.

Baseball has reached an era where players are looking for job security as much as they are looking for money. Every free agent wants a multiyear deal so they know where they will be spending the next 3-7 years of their life. What the Marlins have done, and what the Mets must not do, is make a habit of making those long-term commitments mean absolutely nothing.

There is a difference between trading Carlos Beltran in the last year of his contract and trading David Wright because you don't want to give him one. It's not the same when a player has had that sense of security from one team for almost 10 years and then it's disregarded. If the Mets can't even lock up their biggest homegrown player since the 1080s then why should any free agent feel secure in this organization?

This also speaks to R.A. Dickey's situation. You'd think winning the Cy Young award would guarantee a return, and it certainly works in the favor of his return, but it does not guarantee it. The Mets have seen what happens when they focus on veterans and it includes uneven play and late-season collapses. Howeve, they have also seen the never ending cycle of rebuild take a toll on the fanbase. R.A. Dickey is an important piece in finding the balance between the two.

Garnering trust from other players is important for any organization. Any group of players with partial no-trade clauses lets you know which teams are respected and which are unappealing. The Mets play in New York. They should be appealing to almost any young player. The same logic should put Miami as an appealing spot for those players. But there's something else that makes me think we'll be seeing a lot more players put the Marlins on their no-trade lists.

Whether Wright and Dickey have contract extensions by the Winter Meetings or jot, the Mets have to think about what trading them would mean. Not just to the on-field results, but to the organization as a whole.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Xavier!

Xavier Nady just got his second World Series ring, this time with the San Francisco Giants.  He didn't get much playing time in the playoffs but he still got to enjoy the journey.  Today he turns 34 years old.








Happy birthday Xavier!

My Favorite Quote

"I want to thank the BBWAA for this prestigious award. I owe so much to my teammates for their support during the year, especially Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, who did such a great job behind the plate all season."
R.A. Dickey deserves mounds of credit and congratulations for his Cy Young award.  All of his quotes are eloquent, as he is one of most well-spoken people around baseball, but this one was my favorite.  He never forgets anyone, not even his catchers.  I love seeing the "backstops" get recognition.  After all, their nickname shows just how much of an afterthought they once were.

Thank you, R.A. Dickey, for bringing some joy to a trying season.  And thank you for acknowledging everyone who helped you along the way.

Let's Go Mets!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It Can Wait

I had something to write about for today.  Keyword: had.  Then the Marlins decided to blow up their franchise again and everything else in the baseball world became irrelevant.

Hey Mets fans!  The good news is the Mets aren't the worst run organization in Major League Baseball!  That's something to celebrate!

Let's Go Mets!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Something Else About Patience And Trades

One of the biggest problems with the last front office regime was that they didn't seem to have a plan, and when they did have a plan they didn't stick to it.  Sandy Alderson and his staff have a plan and all accounts show they are sticking to it.  Their plan has never been to go all in or "win now."  It has been to rebuild and develop through their own system.  That was always going to take multiple seasons.  It's not fair to criticize them for wanting to stick to that.

The last front office fell into the trap of being in New York and seemingly went after every player that had ever been considered a semi-big name.  That front office failed miserably because that doesn't work.  Alderson inherited a mess that couldn't just magically be cleaned up.  He quickly moved past the big market pressures of New York.  "Win now" was never something he was putting on this organization.

So using the reasoning of "win now" to keep R.A. Dickey shows ignorance of this regime's strategy.  It doesn't make sense to go into every season thinking they'll reevaluate every offseason trade chip once they know if they're contenders.  If they were to do that they would never get any valuable assets in any trade.

This front office has done little to lose respect and faith of the fanbase.  If you have lost respect of it, and your reasoning is that they're not trying to win immediately I don't want to hear it.  All that tells me is that you weren't listening from the start.

You Could Go Either Way

A team usually doesn't think of trading a Cy Young Award-caliber pitcher.  Usually if a team has such a player they are looking to lock that player up for the rest of their career.  However, it also isn't a common occurrence that such a pitcher is a 38 year old knuckleballer.

R.A. Dickey proved himself this year.  Throwing a pitch so many have questioned and doubted, he had a season for the history books.  He has earned trust and respect from any organization he pitches for.  But is it too late for him to get a big contract?  Reports say he wants a five year deal.  Even without discussing money that's too much.  Even the best athletes break down in their forties and that deal would take him to age 43.  I wouldn't want to see the Mets go farther than three years on any contract for him.  If he is still pitching well at age 41 they can reevaluate.

Or they could go an entirely different route and look to trade him.  If you had asked me in September about an R.A. Dickey trade I would've wanted to throw a brick at you.  But think about where he is in his career and where the Mets are going.  They aren't looking to be contenders next season.  They also have a lot of holes to fill with not a lot of money.  So would trading him be the worst thing ever?  Probably not.  This would be the definition of 'selling high' on a player.  The Mets desperately need a catcher and right-handed outfielder and they could target at least one of those in such a deal.

The concept is simple.  Go the way that helps the team the most.  And that doesn't mean only looking towards 2013.  It means which way would make the Mets the better team in 2014, 2015, and however long his theoretical contract would extend.  Is it really going to be helpful to still be rotating catchers in 2014 but have a 40 year old throwing a knuckleball?

Simple problem, not such a simple solution.

I don't see how the Mets can lose with this situation.  I also don't think they are actively trying to trade him.  There is nothing wrong with putting him out there and seeing what they could get.  If there is a move that would bring them players to help the team, they should make it.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

*Cut* *Save For Later*

And just like that he's back!  The Mets signed Mike Nickeas to a minor league deal and invited him to Major League Spring Training.

As for everything I said yesterday, I'll just save it for later I guess.  The longer it's saved the better.

As for bringing him back, I think it is a good move for the Mets.  He will be at Spring Training where he was so helpful this year with the other catchers and players this year.  He will also be in Las Vegas working with some of the best arms in the system.  Zack Wheeler, Darin Gorski, and Collin McHugh will all log innings there and the Mets have always shown they trust Mike with their best arms.

Mike has always seemed like a natural leader and a great teacher.  He is going to make an amazing coach when he's done playing.  Maybe the best part of this move is that he gets to play and teach at the same time.  If there was ever a player destined to be a manager one day, it's him.

Obviously I am beyond happy he is back.  He has always helped this organization even when he hasn't been on the Major League field.

Let's Go Mets!

le sigh

via flickr

Patience: It's A Virtue

Last offseason and the offseason before that I wrote about the Mets being a hole they had to dig their way out of.  I know at least once I said the next season or two wouldn't be the most fun to watch.  I said it is important to keep in mind that struggling for a few years is the first steps to success for years to come.

Yet, while the games are being played that concept is forgotten.  It is also forgotten when the next offseason comes around and the Mets aren't ready to spend on big free agents and completely overhaul the roster.  Last year it was understood that the Mets weren't going to make big moves.  People claimed to realize a level of patience was need with the organization.  But now that some of the patience has been spent, nobody seems willing to use any more.

Zack Wheeler was never going to be ready for the big leagues to start 2013.  Matt Harvey was a year ago, and still is now, a prospect.  Nobody knew if Ruben Tejada would turn into the answer at shortstop.  This year was just Ike Davis's first full Major League season.  The Lucas Duda outfield experiment was exactly that, an experiment which does not in any way assure success.  David Wright was essentially the only guarantee entering 2012.

In some ways the success of this year's team was a curse.  The hot start made it look like this team was a piece or two away from the playoffs.  R.A. Dickey's spectacular season and the early offensive outbursts were a surprise.  It was fun to watch but the success came well earlier than expected.  Jon Niese grew into a reliable starter, Bobby Parnell showed flashes of vast improvement, and veterans like Tim Byrdak and Jon Rauch had nice stretches.

But the fact is most of the team is really young.  Jason Bay, Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, Frank Francisco, Manny Acosta, and Andres Torres are the only players age 30 or older on the current roster. For years all we wanted was for the team to get younger.  Now that it is we want immediate success.  Well, for one second think about that concept.  Does it really make sense for all these young players to click immediately?  A young team means growing pains, and it means all of those struggles will be happening at once.

The bright side is that once all these players struggle and learn, they will find success.  The even brighter side is they will still be young enough to keep growing.  The brightest side is that they have years of success ahead of them, and those years will be spent with the Mets.

The good thing about this season's early excitement is that is showed the potential of this team.  They just need a little bit more of your patience.  They will grow and play that way consistently.  It will just take time.

Let's Go Mets!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Few More Words

I have this template open.  I'm ready to write endless words about my favorite player.  But I've already said everything that's running through my mind.  You all know how awesome he is in my book.  You all know I'd give anything for him to be on the Mets roster forever.  When it comes to any other player I can write about them realistically.  But when it's about Mike Nickeas, I revert to that excited 14 year old at Spring Training.

How can I not?  Mike Nickeas is the one who made my first minor league baseball game one I will never forget.  He is the one who sent me his cap because I wrote him a letter.  Mike Nickeas remembered me at my next Spring Training and every single game after that.

If it weren't for Mike Nickeas I wouldn't have gone to Fenway to see the Bisons this year.  I have said it countless times, and I'm going to say it again.  That day was the most exciting day of my life.

Mike Nickeas changed everything about my baseball and Mets fandom.  There were times I felt like I was only rooting for the Mets because he was on the roster.  When he was on the Bisons there were times I felt like more of a Bisons fan than a Mets fan.  It's funny to think a split-second at Spring Training could lead to so much.  He made being a Mets fan bearable because I knew, if there was nothing else, one of the players was an awesome human being.

I am never going to regret rooting for him.  For all the reasons I have already explained and for so many more I'll never explain on here.  But no amount of strikeouts are errors can erase any of the fun memories that came from his career with this organization.  I do know at one point he felt the same way.

There is so much more I have to say but I just can't find the words right now.  Maybe he'll end up back in the organization.  Maybe he'll end up in another organization.  I hate thinking he might not end up anywhere.

Whatever happens, it won't be the same.

I think I just need a hug.


Double Welp

Baseball America has every minor league free agent for every team listed.  Mike Nickeas is on that list.

. . .

*headdesk*


I should be careful.  That *headdesk* probably gave me a concussion.

Welp

So many questions surrounding the Mets this offseason yet I'm going to be most concerned with this.  I'm not going to pretend I know what he's going to do.  Adam Rubin thinks it is Mike's choice to stay in the organization or elect free agency.  I guess I'll let things play out and hope for the best.

I obviously want him back with the Mets but I'd root for him if he was playing for a Single-A Padres affiliate.

Let's Go Mets!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Making Adjustments

The Mets AAA players aren't the only ones that have to get used to the Pacific Coast League.  The Mets affiliation with the Las Vegas 51s also means fans have to get used to following the new league.  There probably aren't that many fans worrying about being about to follow AAA baseball but that doesn't mean I'm not already thinking about it.

Today I looked at the 51s schedule for next season and was almost immediately faced with a problem I didn't even realize existed.  I had no idea what most of the schedule actually meant.  I wasn't used to these teams and the abbreviations used for them on the schedule.  All of a sudden COL wasn't for the Columbus Clippers, as it meant the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.  There was SLC and FRE and TUC.  The schedule also reinforced that watching these games is going to be a major pain when they mostly start at 10 PM on the east coast.

Then the little orange video camera icon caught my eye.  A new affiliation means new broadcasts and a new broadcast team.  Ben Wagner calls the games for the Bisons but he's not moving with the Mets.  I was lucky to find Wagner on twitter and he was nice enough to answer any questions I had about the team.  Now I have to find the 51s broadcasters and hope they're as accommodating.  And if they're not as open, I have to find somebody else who covers them.

But none of that is even the worst part about all of this.  Playing in the PCL means I won't be able to see this team in person.  There aren't any cities anywhere close to New York that they play in.  This year I got lucky with the Bisons playing at Fenway and last year I actually got to see the team in their own ballpark.  My family is neither old nor tacky enough to pick up and go to Vegas on a whim and there really isn't any reason to go the other cities.  Does Vanderbilt have an engineering school?  Does my brother want to see it?  When are the 51s going to Nashville?

Well, fortunately for the three of us following the 51s all season, the deal with the Mets is only for two years. In two years the Mets will try to get back in the International League and maybe some team closer to the western half of the United States will get the Vegas team.  If not, maybe some PCL team in the central time zone will be free and the Mets will be able to snatch them.

The next two seasons are going to be an adventure for the Mets and their minor league followers.  Hopefully the 51s won't play too many extra inning games.

Let's Go Mets!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Captain In The Outfield

No, I don't mean the Mets should move David Wright to left field.  That title is referring to Captain Kirk, as in Nieuwenhuis.  With so many holes in the Mets lineup and such a tight budget the team has to find as many in-house fixes as possible.  Kirk Nieuwenhuis could be one of those if the Mets have him play centerfield to start the season.

He played over half a season in the big leagues this year before being sent back to AAA where a foot injury ultimately ended his season.  He hit .252 with 7 home runs in 91 games with the Mets.  Mediocre numbers that could be a lot worse if not for a hot start in the league.  The most startling number in Kirk's line is 98 strikeouts in those 91 games.  What's even more frightening, he didn't have any month where he had more games played than strikeouts.  In fact, he has only had two seasons, his first two in professional baseball, where he played more games than he had total strikeouts.  Obviously that is an issue, but David Wright, Ike Davis, and numerous other baseball players have fought through high-strikeout seasons and ultimately found success.

Let's look past the strikeouts for a second.  It isn't like he doesn't know how to hit.  In five minor league seasons he has an OPS of .817.  He has also hit as many as 43 doubles in a season.  His lowest batting average in a minor league season (excluding the 5 games he played with the Bisons this year) is .274.  The strikeouts are ugly but they're simply not the whole story of his offense.

But what about his defense?  One of the biggest problems early in the 2012 season was the rotating outfield and the lack of leadership in the outfield.  There was seemingly a different centerfielder every night which lead to confusion and a hesitance to take charge of the field.  However, Nieuwenhuis's presence changed that.  Balls stopped dropping between fielders because this centerfielder not only had the ability to cover a tremendous amount of ground, he used that ability on every play.  In an outfield that could have Jason Bay and Lucas Duda manning the corners, his aggressiveness would be more than welcomed.

Hopefully Kirk will come to Spring Training healthy, as he has suffered unfortunate injuries the last two years.  He can't work out the kinks if he can't play.  Kirk and Matt den Dekker have been the future of the outfield for a couple of years.  Kirk has always been ahead of den Dekker and still is, as Matt still hasn't found his way through all AAA pitching.  It's going to be hard to keep this future if Kirk doesn't stay healthy for a full season.  But once he does stay healthy he is going to make an impact.

Let's Go Mets!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

He's Here To Stay

The Mets have already picked up David Wright's option for next season.  Their next and biggest step of the offseason is signing Wright to a long-term contract.  Wright has said he wants this contract to take him into retirement.  He is turning 30 in December so one would figure that means he's looking for around eight years in this deal.  At this point, David has pretty much earned the right to write his own check.  The Mets aren't going to go overboard but I also don't see them keeping their pockets tight.

The Mets first offer in these negotiations was reportedly 6 years, $100 million.  That doesn't make 7 years with an 8th year option, $120 million out of the question.

But let's look past the numbers for a second.  Last year with Jose Reyes there was seemingly a new rumor everyday.  There was also the fact that Reyes was a free agent.  The Mets had other teams to compete with and ultimately they just didn't want to fight.  This year the Mets are trying to keep Wright away from free agency.  They aren't going risk getting to the point they did with Reyes.

There also aren't the same rumors flying everywhere.  Some people may take the silence to mean the sides aren't even talking.  But to me it means the sides are talking and they are serious about getting this deal done.  Neither side is messing around and letting any information out, keeping the third voice, the media, out of the negotiations.  I would like to believe the next time we hear about David Wright's contract it will mean the terms are settled and he has a contract for as long as imaginable.

This will not be a repeat of Jose Reyes.  David Wright is the face of this franchise, and he was even when Reyes was here.  The Mets saw what happened when their 2nd star left.  The consequences of their top star leaving is something they won't get close to.  If there was ever a player the Wilpons need to open their wallet for, it's David.  He is the captain, official or not, and he is definitely not going anywhere.

Let's Go Mets!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Outrighted

The Mets announced that Mike Nickeas was outrighted off the 40-man roster and assigned to AAA Las Vegas.

I'm having trouble coming up with words for this.  For most people that sentence would be the news and that'd be that.  I can't just stop there, though.  I know 2012 was a disappointing season for Nickeas but I'm never going to believe that was his last chance.

He went down to AAA in the middle of the season and hit .364 over 22 games.  When he came back up in September he wasn't really given a chance to show if that hard work would carry over.  But nobody hits over .360 by accident.  He was driving the ball down the lines and in the gaps, hitting to all fields.  Maybe I was the only one paying enough attention to him to notice.  Hit hit 6 doubles in 66 at bats and hit .414 in his last ten games with the Bisons.  I refuse to believe that was just a hot streak.

I probably sound like an idiot for pointing out offensive statistics of a seemingly perpetually slumping hitter.  But if this September was his last shot at the big leagues then the Mets did it wrong.  His September call-up may have been a "pity" call-up but if anyone else put up those numbers they call-up would've been well earned.

The Mets fan in me is thrilled that Mike is still in the organization.  The Mike Nickeas fan in me is a bit gutted, though.  He deserves another chance and now that he's off the 40-man roster if it happens it probably won't be here.  Maybe this will be a good thing, as Las Vegas is a notorious hitters-park.  He may never become a consistent hitter, but he has shown he does have some ability.  That warrants some respect.

Mike Nickeas has been a Major League caliber defender since his first day in AA, and maybe he did find some offense over the summer.  I just hope I get a chance to see if he did.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo in erm . . . short).  I love writing so you'd think participating would be a no-brainer.  However, having the time to complete that is just something I don't see happening.  So instead I'm going to make it my goal to write just as many words as one would write during NaNoWriMo but here, about the Mets.  (Okay, maybe not quite as many words because that would be a 175-page novel about the Mets and they just aren't that interesting right now.)

There is never a bad time to write, and I have put off writing a lot of things about this team.  I'm not going to let that happen for the rest of the month, and hopefully for the months after that.

So, here's to a month of Mets thoughts.  I'll try to keep them positive!

Let's Go Mets!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Josh!

Today, Josh Thole turns 26 years old.  He also reminds us he is still young enough to bounce back from a trying season and be a capable catcher for the Mets.







In 2013 Josh will look to regain his form at the plate.  He got off to a quick start this year, hitting .284 with a .356 OBP before he sustained a concussion in May.  Nobody knows how his season might have gone if he had stayed healthy, but I have faith.

I hope Josh had an awesome day!
Happy birthday and here's to a healthy and successful 2013 season!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The World Series

I can't believe there are only a few games left of the baseball season.  The Mets may not have gotten anywhere close to the World Series but that doesn't mean I don't have a rooting interest.  It is almost impossible for me to watch any sporting event and not root for somebody, even if the teams involved are completely irrelevant to the teams I like.  So, if I'm going to be watching the entire World Series, I have to root for some team and that team is the Giants.

When most Mets fans think of the Giants they think of the negatives.  Matt Cain beaning David Wright, Cain and Sandoval starting over R.A. Dickey and Wright in the All Star Game, Buster Posey not being allowed to catch Dickey's knuckleball.  But not everything about the Giants is bad.

Five players on the Giants World Series roster played for the Mets.  They could only have one of those players and I would still be rooting for them.  Xavier Nady is all I need to pledge my allegiance in this series.

Xavier Nady has been my favorite player since I started watching baseball obsessively.  He's the first player I ever followed off the Mets and it is beyond weird to think it has been over six years since I started rooting for him.  I also realize how special winning this World Series would be to him.  Many of the quotes from Nady about playing this year are about how thankful he is to have a uniform to put on. He almost didn't have a team this year yet he has somehow found himself on a World Series roster.  He is on a roster, ready to play for the team he cheered for as a kid.  This is the definition of "dream come true" for Xavier Nady.  He does already have a ring from the Yankees in 2009 but he was injured for most of that season and this is his first time putting on a uniform in the World Series.

I cannot imagine ever rooting for Xavier Nady to lose a game, much less the biggest games of the year. He may not get much playing time but he still has Giants written across his chest and number 12 on his back.  He is a part of that team.

One of my favorite players is in the World Series.  I have to root for his team.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Because I Just Want To Write

Sometimes I want to open a blank page and write.  In other words, sometimes I want to open a template for a new post and write, but that doesn't sound as elegant or refreshing or like anything fun at all.  But sometimes it's just what I want to do.  I'll open the new post and stare at it for a few minutes, trying to figure out what exactly I should write about.  I try to think of everything happening around the Mets and everything I might have a new perspective on.  Sometimes I come up with something interesting after those few minutes.  There are times I don't even need to think about it at all, and I just start writing.

Now is one of those times I stare at the page and cannot think of anything.  I don't know enough about the Mets finances to talk about next year's payroll or the offers they should make to David Wright and R.A. Dickey.  I could write about roster changes for next season but I'm still not ready to think about the Mets without Mike Nickeas.  I could add to the never-ending list of posts about why Dickey should win the Cy Young award.  I already wrote about the necessity for the Mets to sign Wright.  I could write endless posts about the awesomeness of Mike Nickeas but nobody wants to read that

I so badly want to write but I have nothing to say.  Some people might call it "writer's block" but I look up to the top of this post and wonder if I actually do have writer's block.  I mean, I seem have written plenty.  But have I really written anything?  I didn't say anything about which prospects must be on the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 Draft.  I didn't talk about who should play centerfield for the Mets next season, or right field or left field for that matter.  I didn't put myself in the shoes of Sandy Alderson and systematically explain the changes I would make to improve the team.

Okay.  Maybe it isn't that I can't think of anything to write about.  Maybe it's that I can't think about anything I want to write about.  If I don't want to read it, I'm not going to write it.  The online Mets community has been inundated with all the speculation in the world.  Between the beat writers and the blogs and the twitter world, there is so much I don't want to see any more of.

So instead of writing any of that stuff, I have this.

Let's Go Mets!

I'm Bored

If you're as bored as I am then you should look at my pictures from the time the Bisons played at Fenway because somehow they look really good and I'm looking at them and they're making me happy because that day was beyond awesome but they're also making me sad because it is actually the offseason for the Mets and also because the Mets aren't affiliated with the Bisons anymore but you shouldn't let that stop you from looking at the pictures so I'm going to end this sentence now and just post the link to the album with the pictures.

Let's Go Mets!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Welcome To The Offseason

Is it the offseason?  I never know whether or not to consider October (and sometimes the first days of November) the offseason.  The offseason started for 20 of 30 teams a couple of weeks ago but the playoffs are still going on so technically there is still Major League Baseball being played.

Either way, these are the most frustrating days of the year for me.  It is the time of the year when it's too early for any moves to be made but without any Mets baseball to watch.  This is when all of the armchair GMs are firing away with their ideas to improve the team.  Some of them involve trading franchise players.  Some of them involve throwing money at fringy free agents.  Most of them are completely absurd.

In recent years this has become the time for people to dissect the Mets finances.  When they declare they refuse to give more money to the organization until they start producing a product worth their hard-earned pennies.  This has become the time of year when fans declare whether or not they are going to renew their season ticket plans, and proudly share that decision with the entire world.  It's when people arbitrarily decided how many games they will attend next season, without any knowledge of what the team is actually focusing on for the offseason and the performance of next year's team.

October 15 is way too early to know how the offseason is going to shape up.  It's too early to know what players the Mets are going to sign, trade, re-sign, or release.  Front office officials can say anything they want, they can say they aren't going to increase the payroll or they aren't going to trade big prospects.  When the moves are actually made (or not made) I'll react to them.

Right now I don't know what to believe and I don't really feel like listening to anyone who may or may not have special "sources."  There are still four teams playing baseball right now.  There are still teams whose seasons haven't ended and therefore teams that aren't close to thinking about offseason moves.  This is the awkward in between time when baseball fans are anxious for news when there just isn't going to be any news for a few more weeks.

So maybe we shouldn't be joining the offseason just yet.  Maybe we should enjoy playoff baseball while we have it, because it'll be over in the blink of an eye.  Instead of deciding how we feel about the offseason now, let's enjoy the baseball we have and not freak out until something actually happens.

Let's Go Mets!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I Just Don't Like It

Since the moment plans for a certain calendar of Mets fans was announced I was against it.  I made it clear on twitter that I didn't like one of my most despised aspects of society invading my favorite baseball team.  It's relevant again today so I thought I'd expand on my feelings in a setting that allows me to use more than 140 characters.

Girls and women are still facing an uphill battle when it comes to equality in the sports world.  Tremendous strides have been made and there are now plenty of female athletes and writers and other figures in the sports community.  However, there is still a ways to go for all females to have the same credibility as males, be it as a fan, athlete, writer, or otherwise.  It's something I think is ridiculous.  It's also something that I have a hard time ignoring when I see people make the situation worse for female fans.

This calendar is supposed to be a calendar of female Mets fans, representing the fanbase and also the brand associated with the calendar.  This year anybody could apply to be in the calendar.  You just had to submit a picture or two and a short piece about yourself as a Mets fan.  It seemed harmless enough but it still bothered me.  This year's calendar was all about sexy Mets fans and the one being created for next year would be the same, just this time the public had a voice.  Yes, the requirement for a piece about being a fan makes it seemingly necessary for all applicants to be actual fans but the main thing was clearly the pictures.  Some of the entries only had one sentence in the fan description part.

Why does this make the situation for female fans worse, you ask?  It's another layer added to the pile of "females would rather look cute than be taken seriously" crap.  This isn't a calendar of 12 of the most-dedicated female fans, it's a calendar of 12 of the most attractive females who have the ability to wear Mets clothing.  It's not saying that females can be huge Mets fans too, it's saying females can look hot if you put the right ones in half a shirt.  It's saying if you don't look like these 12 women you're not going to get attention from male fans.  The most bothersome thing is that these 12 women may not even really be fans.  There's nothing about which games they've been to or how many times they change plans so they can follow a game, it's about how sexy they can look in a certain piece of clothing.  Sure, they could be die-hard fans, but it's just so hard to believe when all they really want to do is flaunt their looks, not their dedication.

Instead of this calendar I think it would be more fun to have a calendar of fans having fun at games.  Don't single out certain people to represent an entire demographic.  Show fans together, enjoying being a fan.  I want to see people having fun being a Mets fan, even in the times when it's hardest to be a fan.  Those fans will truly represent the fanbase and there is no shortage of female fans that could be included.  If you insist on promoting your brand, show off the pictures you took of people in your gear at games all season, everyone knows you have plenty. I just don't get this calendar.  I wouldn't get it if it were a calendar of attractive men showing dressed in Mets gear either.  Give me real fans in a real environment or give me the players.  Show me the fun of the game, not a staged photo-shoot.

Let's Go Mets!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Have To Say It One More Time

Yesterday I basically listed what I loved the most about the 2012 baseball season.  However, there is one aspect of not only this season but the 2008, 2010, and 2011 seasons that has made my dreams as a 14-year old baseball fanatic come true.  Every baseball fan has that one player they root for unconditionally, no matter how they play or who they play for.  Everybody dreams of being able to meet that player.

2012 wouldn't have been so cool if I hadn't gone to Spring Training in 2008 and if I hadn't gone to that B-Mets game in 2010 and all the Mets games and the Bisons game in 2011.  2012 wouldn't have been my favorite baseball season if Mike Nickeas wasn't the coolest person on the face of the earth.

After 2008 my dream was to get his autograph again, now that I actually knew who he was.  My dream wasn't to go to a game, take a picture with him, have him toss me a baseball during the game, and see my brother get a bat from him.  My dream wasn't to write to him after he finally got his first major league call-up that year and get a hat from him in return.  My dream wasn't to go to Spring Training and have him remember me and then remember me at every game I went to after that.  My dream wasn't for him to know who I am, outside of a random fan and autograph-seeker.  That was all beyond my dreams, beyond anything I could possibly imagine.

I don't know how to thank Mike Nickeas and feel like it's anywhere near enough for how awesome he has been.  I'll probably eventually grow out of the excitement that comes with my favorite player knowing I exist.  However, right now I still have kid in me that finds it the most awesome thing in the world.

Thank you, Mike Nickeas.  I've said it before but I'm saying it again because I can't possibly say it enough.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thank You



This season may look like another failed year on paper.  But for me it was a season I'll never forget.  From seeing Mike Nickeas spend most of the season in the major leagues to having the time of my life at a minor league game at Fenway Park, this baseball season was a blast.  My highlights may not be the same as everyone else's but they will always be special to me.

Johan Santana's no-hitter, R.A. Dickey's 1-hitters, David Wright's first half for the ages.  Everybody enjoyed those.  Mike Nickeas's grand slam, the multiple times he laid down perfect suicide squeeze bunts, watching him tear it up in AAA, how he ended his season by throwing a runner out trying to steal, Zach Lutz getting his first major league hit, Rob Carson dominating during his September call-up.  We all have the moments that are only special to us and those are just a few of mine.  I still refuse to believe my favorite player knows my name and I still find myself wishing I could thank him for being so nice.  I find myself wondering how August 18 was such a perfect day and wishing the Mets could have the Buffalo Bisons for one more season, so I could really say goodbye.

This season was filled with days I will remember forever.  I finally met Joe Smith, and I found out first-hand how awesome my favorite minor league players are.  There was a month-long stretch during which I went to one game a week.  I went to Social Media Night and got to talk to Kevin Burkhardt, someone I look up to, at one my last games of the season.  I watched R.A. Dickey win his 19th game from the fifth row of my favorite section at Citi Field.  I went to a game with my aunt and a game with one of my best friends.

I don't think I will ever enjoy a baseball season as much as I enjoyed this season.  I have so many questions and there's so much uncertainty about whether I'll even get to see some of my favorite players again.  So for now, I'm just going to try to enjoy everything I loved about this year.

2012 may not have been a banner year for the Mets organization but it definitely was a banner year for this fan.  Thank you, Mets.  Thank you, Buffalo Bisons.  Thank you, Rob Carson, Dylan Owen, Zach Lutz, and Josh Satin.  Thank you, Kevin Burkhardt.  Thank you, Mike Nickeas.

Let's Go Mets!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Worst Series Of The Season

The Mets could sweep this series from the Marlins.  They could score over ten runs in every game.  They could hit home runs in every inning.  Yet I would still despise its existence.  No matter what happens in these games the season will end once they end.  Once the final out of Wednesday's game is made the season is over.

This season shouldn't be ending.  The Mets should have more time to recapture the magic of the first half.  There should be more games to relive Johan Santana's no-hitter and R.A. Dickey's perpetual dominance.  Tomorrow is R.A. Dickey's last start of the season.  The last start of a season nobody wants to see end.  He will take his 20 wins and try to add one more.  After tomorrow his quest for the Cy Young award will be over, there will simply be nothing he can do to change his fate.

The last series of the season brings a helpless feeling to my fandom.  I want to keep rooting deep into October.  There is just nothing to root for.  Fans ten other teams will get to watch at least one more game.  They will have their pre-game and postgame shows with their favorite broadcasters.  But for Mets fans there won't be any more Gary, Keith, Ron, and Kevin until the first episodes of Mets Hot Stove in the dead of winter.

On Thursday night I'll probably be a little lost.  I'll turn on SNY at 6:30 looking for Chris Carlin and Bobby Ojeda.  Instead I'll see Jets highlights or another sign of a night without a game.  But I'll move past that because Thursday is a common off day, the Mets will just be traveling.  So it won't be until Friday when I fall apart.  When I get off the train and into the car and there is no Mets game to put on the radio, and no game on TV when I get home.

This series stinks because it is the last series of a once-spectacular season from David Wright.  It is the last series of Ruben Tejada's emergence as a more-than-reliable shortstop.  It is the last series Ike Davis has to bolster much improved second half statistics.

No matter how poorly the Mets do I always dread the last series of the season.  The series that has nothing after it on SNY's pocket schedule.  I dread it because I know once this abismal season is gone I'm going to miss all the little things I enjoyed.

Let's Go Mets!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Good Stuff (To Be Updated)

One more group shot courtesy of Justin Turner:

Fred Lewis put a bunch of other pictures on instagram:
Group picture!!!

Jordany Valdespin is not the man right now

It's Rob Carson and Mike Nickeas's back! (and Mike's beautiful hair)

Poor Matt Harvey

Collin McHugh wants to make sure you buckle up!

Justin Turner finally got a group shot (Joe Golia, the Bisons trainer, seems to be there):

More from Kelly Shoppach:

Thank you Kelly Shoppach for including Mike Nickeas in your picture:

These three are from Adam Rubin:
Jenrry Mejia
Jeurys Familia and Elvin Ramirez
Collin McHugh



This one is from Justin Turner:

From Jeremy Hefner on twitter (Josh Edgin is the other one in the picture):

Fred Lewis posted this photo of Rob Carson on instagram.  He says there are more pictures to come . . .
This one is not necessarily appropriate for all ages (because of a gesture not attire) (also from Fred Lewis on instagram):

UPDATE: A Twist

The Mets are clever.  Now let's just hope they finally will let Josh Thole join the big boys and not have to dress up again.

Pictures to come . . .

A Disappointing Development

As the last travel day of the season today would traditionally be the day for rookie hazing.  However, Jeremy Hefner tweeted that today is NFL jersey day for the entire team.  That means the Mets either already did their rookie hazing and it somehow slipped past every member of the media and everybody with any form of social media, or they are skipping the event all together this season.  Or it could be that so many players are rookies they couldn't afford to buy enough costumes . . .



Maybe they'll surprise us (and the rookies) and make them dress up as NFL cheerleaders, although that would be highly unoriginal after last year's theme.

Sigh.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Thought He Was Bald

David Wright has definitely come a long way since I first noticed him in 2005, thinking he was bald until I finally saw him without a cap.  As an 11 year old I didn't really have a favorite player.  I was at Shea Stadium and I wanted a Mike Piazza t-shirt.  My second choice was Cliff Floyd.  I didn't even think about David Wright until they didn't have Piazza or Floyd shirts in my size.

"What player should I get?"
"David Wright seems pretty good.  Get this one."  My dad was right.

Today, David Wright collected the 1,419th hit of his career.  He now has the most hits for any New York Mets player ever.  Earlier this season he got the 735th RBI of his career, giving him that Mets record as well.  He is the longest tenured current Met and the leader of a young team looking to find its place in the league.  His only taste of the postseason was in 2006, when he was one of the kids still looking forward to a long future in the majors.  Since then his career has been one filled with personal triumph but lacking team success.

In 2007 Wright had a MVP caliber season, .325 batting average, 30 home runs, 42 doubles, 107 RBI, and 34 stolen bases.  However, that Mets team fell apart in September and even though he hit .352 with 6 home runs and 20 RBI, he still couldn't secure the award.  In 2008 he hit 33 home runs, had 124 RBI, 42 home runs, and a batting average over .300 but the team fell out of playoff contention in the last days of the season once again.  He was fun the watch but the team was impossible.

The next few years he fought through injuries.  First a concussion after he was hit in the head with an errant fastball.  He later tried to play through a broken back, although his attempt ended when his production tailed off.  This year he did play through a broken pinky, and he did so superbly.

David Wright is the face of this franchise.  In an era where everything is scrutinized and replayed over and over again on the internet and through social media he has been present for every interview and to answer every question after every tough loss or draining injury.  David has given everything to this organization without getting much in return.  He has always put the team in front of himself, admitting tying the hits record yesterday was bittersweet because they lost the game.

So cheers to you, David Allen Wright.  You got hits 1,419 and 1,420 and you hold yet another Mets record.  You deserve this recognition and you deserve to enjoy this accomplishment, after all, you won today.  Now let's hope the Mets reward you for all this come the winter.  This organization owes you quite the Christmas present.

Let's Go Mets!