Friday, August 31, 2012

September Call-ups

The Mets made their first two call-ups for the month as Mike Nickeas and Zach Lutz will join the team in Miami tomorrow.

In 22 games and 66 at-bats Mike Nickeas hit .364 with 6 doubles and 10 runs scored.  He also caught 8 runners trying to steal.

Zach Lutz played in 72 games and hit .299.  He hit 10 home runs, 16 doubles, and had an OBP of .413.  He played 55 games at third base, 10 at first base, and was the designated hitter for six games.

They aren't really going to change the Mets season but it is always nice to reward players for good work.  I wasn't sure how Nickeas would respond to the mid-season demotion but I was ecstatic when he started his time with Buffalo on fire and he didn't cool down.  Many people will write off this stretch but he has never really hit well in AAA so seeing him figure out what to fix was nice.  No matter where he's playing I'm going to be happy when he plays well.

As for Lutz, he has been hitting for most of the season.  Hand surgery kept him out for about two months but that never hindered his season.  With the smallest bit of luck this would be his third stint in the majors but his 2011 season was cut short by a second concussion.  His OBP hasn't been as high as it is since he played 24 games with the Cyclones in 2008.  He really has been solid this season and this call-up is more than deserved.

Hopefully Mike and Zach will get some playing time.  They won't be the only September call-ups but there probably won't be many more position players, if any at all.  They both showed promise with the Bisons.

Let's Go Mets!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

So Everybody Can Know

Mike Nickeas went 3-for-3 tonight in the Bisons 10-3 win over the Rochester Red Wings.  He had two singles, a double, scored two runs, and drove in two runs.  He is currently hitting .349 with Buffalo.

I'll just leave that there.

Let's Go Mets!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Do Not Let Him Go

I would like to believe the Mets have a bright future.  They have so many bright players on the team and coming up through the system.  They also have a great leader in David Wright.  I just don't know what would happen if David Wright wasn't there.

Seemingly since he was called up David Wright has been the voice and face of this team.  He has hustled everyday and stayed to talk about all of it after every game.  He talked in 2006 when he was one of the young guys, still finding his way through the league.  He talked in 2007, 2008, and 2009 as well, when he had to grow up quickly or else.  David Wright has been through manager explosions and front office overhauls.  He got to the postseason when he was 23 yet he hasn't been back.  He has had to fight for every bit of success since then, and it hasn't been much.

Sure, David Wright hasn't been the leader of a dynasty.  But he has been the leader on a team that only knows him as the leader.  This team would be lost without him.  Ike Davis isn't ready to take over this team.  The Mets don't have enough faith in Daniel Murphy to leave it to him.  R.A. Dickey is a good candidate, but if David isn't here then R.A. probably won't be either.

David Wright really is the only option.

The Mets have to re-sign David Wright.  They have to re-sign him this winter.  I don't want to see him play through his option and reach free agency or get anywhere close to reaching free agency.  This is the man that literally broke his back for the team.  He barely missed a series when he broke a finger.  He was ready to break a rib for the team before Terry Collins had to step in.  Give Mr. Wright a blank check and let him fill it in.  I cannot begin to fathom what else he would have to do to deserve it.

Let's Go Mets!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Disney Words

It's hard to believe words said in a Disney movie from 2007 can be relevant to the Mets season, or any sports season, but these are so true.

One of the questions that keeps getting asked is whether or not you would trade the no-hitter for a healthy, effective season from Johan Santana.  It is really one of the most ridiculous questions in existence.  On June 1, 2012, Johan Santana made history for the New York Mets.  After 50 years and 8020 games the Mets finally had a no-hitter.  Does nobody remember what it felt like to watch?  What it was like to stay in the same position for hours because if you moved it would somehow change the outcome of the game?  Is the exuberance of the moments after the final pitch gone and forgotten?  Howie Rose called it a "surreal feeling" and he could not have been more right.  That feeling was unbelievable yet people are willing to sacrifice it for a handful of average games and a few more wins.

But that game isn't the only positive forgotten because of the second half free fall.  There are all the walk-offs and come-from-behind wins.  The R.A. Dickey one-hitters.  The promise of Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Ruben Tejada.  The losses do not take away the wins.  They do take away from the wins either.  I would not for a second wish the Mets had a few more wins but never had a reason to call up Nieuwenhuis or Matt Harvey.  The Mets have a bright future, perhaps in part because of the bad times.

I know it's hard to enjoy the current play of the Mets.  I also know the first half of this season was awesome.  Instead of defining the season by the downfalls, let's remember the history and magic that also surrounded this team.  Everybody loses ugly games every season.  It is not everyday that history is made.

Let's Go Mets!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

At Least It's An Answer

Wally Backman was finally asked about Mike Nickeas after tonight's game.  He injured a finger on his left hand but the Bisons are not expecting to need to make a roster move or put him on the Disabled List.  For now Mike is day-to-day and while he could play if needed, Matt Tuiasosopo is the emergency catcher for the team.

I'm happy it's not more serious.  Mike has dealt with so many injuries throughout his career I'm glad this one isn't expected to keep him out for long.  I'm also just relieved now that I know what the injury is.

Feel better, Mike!  Hopefully you'll be back before the weekend.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Um . . .

Nobody asked Wally Backman about Mike Nickeas after the game.  So I don't really know what to do now.

Um . . . I'm surprisingly not panicky.  Well, at least not right now.

Um . . . Now I am.

I guess that's all for now.


Now it's the bottom of the sixth inning and Mike Nickeas is out of the game.

Somebody hold me while I cry.

It's Worrying Me

During his at-bat in the fifth inning tonight Mike Nickeas swung awkwardly and let go of the bat with his left hand. He took a long time to get back in the box and ultimately popped out in the at-bat. In the bottom of the inning he took of his mitt multiple times to flex his hand.

I obviously don't know what exactly is wrong or I wouldn't be wondering about it here. Whatever it is I hope it isn't too bad. If Mike is injured I'm going to cry.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The View From Fenway

My pictures from yesterday are posted!

Go Bisons Go!

Some Other Thoughts From The Game

When the players came into the dugout they didn't all have their jerseys on and some didn't have their belts on. I guess that's what happens when you don't have your own locker room before a game.

Josh Satin was one of the last players to put his jersey on. It's not a bad thing. It just contributes to The Man, The Myth, The Legend, Josh Satin. You go Josh!

During the first game I could tell which leg the on-deck batter would slide on due to the fraying in the pants. Yes, I was that close. No, I was not looking at that during the second game.

And finally, despite the fact that I have spoken to Mike Nickeas numerous times and he has hugged me multiple times, I still felt completely overwhelmed when he was on deck and standing right in front of me.

It really was a beyond awesome day!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Buffalo Bisons And The Best Day Ever

The three hour drive didn't matter. Not even spending those three hours in the backseat of our Toyota Camry with both of my siblings couldn't ruin today. This day was for watching Minor League Baseball.

I got to Fenway at noon and after some adventures finding an open ticket window, found my way to my seat with my dad and brother. Our seats were two sections over from the visitor's dugout and in the second row. I saw people around the dugout and knew it was where I needed to be before the Bisons game.

The first game was between the short season A-ball Hudson Valley Renegades (Rays) and Lowell Spinners (Red Sox). I didn't pay too much attention to the game due in part to the fact that I was so close to baseball players and the fangirl in me was exploding.

I figured there would be a bit of time for the Renegades to clear out of the dugout before the Bisons took over but the PawSox came on the field almost immediately after the first game and the Bisons weren't far behind. I made my way to the area next to the dugout and found Mike Nickeas walking on the field. When I got Mike's attention (I almost want to say when he saw me but I don't know about that) he came over and we talked a little and I asked if I could get another picture with him. He was very nice and came back after he put his gear down.

At this point all the Bisons were in the dugout and I could recognize most of them and the day was already awesome because of Mike. I got the attention of Zach Lutz, Josh Satin, and Matt den Dekker and took pictures with all of them as well.

After all that the only player I really knew I wanted to see was Robert Carson. I kept looking over to see where he was and if he was close enough to call him over. However, as he was walking back from throwing and stretching he recognized me and smiled and came right over. Rob is one of the coolest guys ever. I follow him on twitter (@justrobcarson) and instagram (robcarson73) and he joked about me blowing up his instagram notifications earlier in the day. After we were done talking I asked if he could get Dylan Owen to come over. I talked to Owen a little and took a picture with him as well.

One my favorite parts of the day was when Wally Backman walked by as Rob Carson was signing for fans behind the dugout. I asked Wally who was catching and he responded that Nickeas was. After I gave that a thumbs up Carson laughed and my day was basically made with that.

The game itself was a lot of fun. Mike Nickeas, Zach Lutz, and Josh Satin all did nicely and my seats were directly behind where the on-deck batter waited. At one point my brother's ridiculous talking made Mike laugh. The Bisons won which was the cherry on top of an already amazing day.

After the game I went back next to the dugout where Mike Nickeas was signing autographs. I told him his hit made my day and he thanked me and said it made his day too. I said goodbye to him and was ready to head to dinner. But the fun wasn't over. Fenway Park is awesome because you can see the visiting players walk to the clubhouse. I made Zach Lutz smile when I said "Good game, Zach!" and saw Mike one last time.

I had a big, goofy smile on my face all day. I always love seeing Mike Nickeas more than anything else in the world. To add meeting so many other cool players to that is beyond words. I really cannot believe how awesome Mike Nickeas and the Bisons are.

Let's Go Bisons!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Friendship Bracelets

Almost every girl knows how to make friendship bracelets out of embroidery floss.  Whether they were made by a friend or just done by yourself wearing them always made you feel a little bit cooler than the other ten year olds.  However, R.A. Dickey knows they aren't only for preteen girls.  Each of his daughters made him a bracelet before he climbed Kilimanjaro over the winter.  He had worn them everyday until today when Dusty Baker had the umpires talk to R.A. and ultimately cut off the bracelets.

Obviously those bracelets were very important to R.A. Dickey.  After the inning ended he got the bracelets back and put them in his cap for the rest of the game.  I cannot possibly figure out why Baker decided to bring them up now, after Dickey had pitched with them for 3/4 of the season.  This isn't the first time Baker has shown a lack of class, but that's a topic for another time.

As for the Mets, I don't know if it's the fact that I have new string and two weeks to fill or something else but now I'm inspired to make blue and orange bracelets for the entire team.  I'm still debating whether this is actually a good idea because I don't want to end up making 25 bracelets and then chickening out and not sending them.

R.A. Dickey should never have been forced to cut off those bracelets.  Be it Dusty Baker, or the umpires enforcing a rule 23 starts into the season, this was not the way to do it.

I guess I should go get my string.

Let's Go Mets!

Monday, August 13, 2012

What I Would Be Saying

The young fan pictured with Rob Johnson obviously was very lucky to have the experience of a lifetime.  He got to hang out in the Mets dugout and spend time with a real live Major League Baseball player.  He probably asked Johnson fun questions about hitting and catching and being a professional baseball player.  However, if I had been that kid the conversation probably would have been a little different.

"You're not Mike Nickeas . . ."
"Why aren't you Mike Nickeas?"
"Where is Mike Nickeas?"
"I want Mike Nickeas to be here, why isn't he here?"
"What are you doing here?"
"Ugh, just go get Mike Nickeas, you're boring."
"LOOK!  It's Josh Thole!  Bye!"

"Wait.  Where's Mike Nickeas?'

Sunday, August 12, 2012

How Is This Still Possible?

The Reno Aces hosted an event they titled Women's Baseball 101. Really. It was marketed for women of all knowledge and skill levels but it would teach everything about the game starting with the rules and how to throw a baseball. One player characterized the event as "reaching out" to women, which just screams "charity case" to me.

This event alone would bother me no matter what, but perhaps it struck me so strongly because it's not the only instance of teams thinking females need special instruction. The Yankees played video highlights of their Fantasy Camp for Women during the last game I was at.

A part of me is surprised that women are still singled out and another part is never really shocked at this. But for it to be happening now? During an Olympics in which the USA women have the third most gold medals overall? During the same Olympics where people are trying to fathom why softball isn't included? Justifying softball's exclusion by saying the USA women are too good. During the Little League World Series where a Hawaiian team with two girls came one win away from Williamsport?

Yes. Now. When women have shown more than ever that they know the sport.

I follow countless female writers who know more than many men of the same position. I follow and know softball players that are lightyears more knowledgeable than some of the "experts" out there.

The fact that teams think they need to make special accommodations for women to learn the game appalls me. I learned about baseball because my dad played t-ball with me, my sister, and my brother in our front yard. We all learned the same sport at the same time and now my brother and I have played baseball and softball, respectively, our entire lives and my sister knows more about the game than the average fan. We all started and learned the game the same way.

I don't think I will ever not be bothered by these occurrences. Instead of specializing events for women, just make all events for everybody. Is it really so hard to simply have a Baseball 101 event? Or to show some highlights or pictures of women in promotions for Fantasy Camps, to show everyone can come (not that it should be a question in the first place)?

I Hope This Doesn't Jinx Him

With my luck, Zach Lutz will wake up tomorrow with a stiff neck or something.  But it's out of my control so I'm just going to continue with this post.

Zach Lutz has been injured more than enough times to span multiple careers.  From stress fractures, to pulled hamstrings, to broken fingers, to concussions, he has spent more than his share of time on the Disabled List.  This season, however, has been somewhat friendly to Zach.

Lutz has already played in 52 games for the Bisons this season, and he also appeared in four games with the Mets.  Last season he only played 61 games for the Bisons.  The only time he missed a significant amount of games was right after his stint in the Majors when he broke a bone in his hand.  And when in years past he has been slow to get back to his game after injuries, this year he came back on fire.  In fact, he's batting .281 since he returned from the broken bone and he's hitting .307 for the season.

Zach Lutz could be a nice player for the Mets.  He plays both corner infield positions and has always had good power.  This season he has shown he can be a consistent average hitter as well.  He has only made four errors all season, three at third base and one at first base.

Zach is 26 years old so it is unfortunate for him that the Mets have both corners of the infield covered.  If he does get a September call-up, I expect to see a much more composed, confident player than the one who went 1-for-8 during his first Major League stint.

Let's Go Mets!

Another sign that maybe his luck has changed?  He was grazed with yet another pitch in the helmet but only missed one game.

Monday, August 6, 2012

What If ...?

I have frequently found myself wondering where the Mets would be if the All Star Break had never happened.  If they had been able to keep the positive momentum from the first half of the season going. If R.A. Dickey never had to worry about Buster Posey's ability to catch a knuckleball and if David Wright never had to think about whether San Francisco fans loved their players more than New York fans love their players.  I just wonder what would have happened if the Mets train had been allowed to keep rolling.

There are so many 'What if...?'s to go with this Mets season.  What if Mike Pelfrey didn't need Tommy John surgery?  What if Pelfrey had been able to continue his strong start?  What if Ike Davis had hit over .200 for most of the season?  What if Dillon Gee didn't need surgery?

The Mets fought through those questions for more than half the season.  They had Chris Young make a quick comeback from his own surgery and contribute more than a few quality starts.  They brought up Jeremy Hefner and saw him hold his own in a few games.  They continued to support Ike until he finally started to look like himself.

But there are also the questions the Mets couldn't fight through.  What if Johan Santana does need a rest after major surgery and a laborious no-hitter?  What if Jason Bay doesn't ever figure it out at the plate?  What if the bullpen never gets their act together?

The Mets, as any team would, couldn't stay consistent with 3/5 of their Opening Day starting rotation on the Disabled List.  They couldn't fight back from every lead blown by the bullpen.  And they have struggled to get productivity from their outfielders, most notably Jason Bay.

The Mets shocked the world in the first half of the season.  The fall back to mediocrity hasn't been easy to watch but considering what the Mets are up against it is also not surprising.  They fought themselves and won for much of the season.  But injuries and ineffectiveness have caught up to them.

This team still has promise, for the rest of this season and definitely for future seasons.  Johan Santana has bounced back nicely, despite this recent DL stint.  R.A. Dickey can be unbelievably good.  David Wright is back, even though some will argue he never left.  Ruben Tejada has impressed everyone.  And Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Ike Davis, and Daniel Murphy have shown they can all be big contributors.

For half a season it all worked out.  The 'What if...?'s didn't matter because the Mets plowed through them.  Unfortunately, they ran out of gas.

But who knows?  What if Johan Santana's return and Matt Harvey's arrival spark another surge?

Let's Go Mets!