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):


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.


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!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Continuing Saga Of My Awkward Life

I would have been happy with a wave.  Just a "hello."  I knew there wasn't going to be batting practice because it was a day game after a night game and the Mets had all kinds of on-field events with Nickelodeon Day, Dog Day, and Cheerleading Day all happening at once.  It isn't unheard of, though, for players to come out shortly before the game to sign some autographs.

But on this day that didn't happen.  The pitchers signed autographs after they finished their long toss and the field and dugout was basically empty of players.  Basically.  There were moments when some players would come out to the dugout to see the dogs that were up for adoption.

At one point Mike Nickeas, Mike Baxter, and Dillon Gee made their way to the dugout.  Oh hey, here's an opportunity to get a wave or a greeting or anything, I thought.  "Mike!"  I'd gotten his attention from here before.  Unfortunately, I didn't think this through and when Mike Baxter turned around I froze.  I couldn't say "No, the other Mike."  So I did it again. "Mike!"  Baxter turned around again.  It happened once more before they were gone and I could add Mike Baxter to the list with Austin Kearns of players that think I'm a freak.

I had given up hope of seeing Nickeas at that point.  I didn't have anything for him to sign so why bother?  But of course I didn't just go sit in my seat.  I waited.  And once he was in the dugout I finally got his attention.  Remember how I didn't have anything for him to sign?  I wish I did.  I know I have 98597438732 autographs from him already but what's one more when you're avoiding awkwardness?  He waved.  He also asked if I had anything for him to sign.  However, he didn't come out of the dugout, it was one of those hand-signal/somewhat-yelling conversations.  And while he was doing this my sister took it as an opportunity to translate this mixed-up language for me, and I decided to turn around and listen to her translations and things just smiled.  The conversation ended with an awkward thumbs up and the game went one.

I'd just like to take this time to apologize to Mike Nickeas for being so awkward.  I'm sorry.  Next time I will let you go on with the game and I won't try to say hi or get a wave or anything.

. . . Actually, that probably won't happen.

But still . . . I'm sorry.

Let's Go Mets!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Home Sweet Home?

"Ellie, what are we going to do about this offense?"  Kevin Burkhardt asked when he came to say at a Mets game about a month ago.  At that time I didn't know what to tell Kevin and now, a month later, I am utterly speechless.  The Mets offense has fallen asleep and it seems to be gone for the winter.  They haven't scored more than three runs in a home game in what seems like 12 years and in those 12 years they've had one multi-run inning.

The thing is, I don't have clue what the Mets can do to get out of this funk.  Individually, it doesn't feel like anybody is playing worse than usual.  Daniel Murphy is getting hits, David Wright is getting hits, Ike Davis is getting hits.  Scott Hairston continues to hit home runs, Lucas Duda has even gotten a few hits.

And to compound the feeling of the Mets offense being woefully poor, it seems to be 100x worse at home.  This season nobody can blame the fences being too far back.  But the numbers don't lie.

David Wright is hitting .331 on the road and .296 at home.  Ike Davis is hitting .259 on the road and .181 at home.  Mike Baxter is hitting .321 on the road and .208 at home.  Ronny Cedeno is hitting .316 on the road and .228 at home.  Ruben Tejada is hitting .313 on the road and .267 at home.

It is not as if the players feel more pressure at home, playing in front of not even half-full crowds.  The fans that are coming to games clearly aren't expecting much.

It's just so frustrating.  There just doesn't seem to be anything they can do with the lineup or pregame routine to jump-start things.  They've tried batting Mike Baxter first, they've tried batting Ronny Cedeno first.  They've tried playing Kelly Shoppach against a righty and Ike Davis and Lucas Duda against lefties.  They've hit Daniel Murphy second.  They've put Jason Bay in the lineup.  They tried having the starters take BP closer to game time.

Nothing has worked so far and I don't magically see anything working.  The Mets are in quite a funk and the only light at the end of the tunnel seems to be that they are starting a road trip.  However, ending the season on with this kind of home performance isn't going to put a good taste in fans mouths.

Hopefully they'll turn it around on the road and keep the momentum for the last homestand.  They desperately need it.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Poor Zach

The Mets announced that Zach Lutz will have surgery on the hamate bone in his left hand on Monday. It's the same hand he had surgery on in the middle of the season.

I feel really terrible for Zach.  For one thing, he was on fire the entire time he was healthy with the Bisons.  Terry Collins had also just said he wanted to find a way to get him some playing time with the Mets.  The Bisons broadcasters constantly went on about how this surgery is unfortunate because it only takes about twenty minutes but it sidelines players for months.  I guess the good news is that Lutz has the entire offseason to recover and he knows he can come back from this surgery and play well.

Hopefully Zach Lutz will bounce back from this and compete for a bench spot in Spring Training.

Let's Go Mets!

. . . If things get really weird this winter Zach could find himself as the Mets third baseman . . .
. . . Well, as much as I love Zach, if David Wright is gone the Mets have big issues . . .

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Thank You

Last Sunday the Buffalo Bisons played what was likely there last game as a Mets affiliate.  They lost 6-0.

Buffalo's affiliation with the Mets was one marred by the struggles of the big league team.  The Mets constantly had to shuttle players back and forth due to injuries and ineffectiveness, leaving the Bisons roster perpetually depleted.  The new regime in the front office also came too late for the newly drafted talent to reach Buffalo.  Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey spent time there, R.A. Dickey did too.  But it was seemingly too little too late.

The Bisons most productive offensive players were the likes of Josh Satin, Valentino Pascucci, and Zach Lutz, with Fred Lewis contributing this year too.  None of them are expected to be impact players for the Mets.  They missed Wilmer Flores by a season and Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini are still a ways away.

However, despite the disappointing results this team gave me what is very possibly my favorite memory.  The 2010 B-Mets captured my attention and by 2011 they were all Bisons.  I watched Mike Nickeas, Zach Lutz, Josh Satin, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis make it all the way to the big leagues.  I saw them all get their first MLB hit and then they all went back to the Bisons.  The demotions were disappointing but they proved worth it, as Nickeas, Lutz, and Satin all proved they could still play well (and I'm sure Nieuwenhuis would have too had he not gotten hurt).  The demotions were also the reason I had the best day of my life.

At Fenway Park on September 18, 2012, I was closer to my favorite team than I ever think I will be again.  The Bisons were all class acts as I finally got to know when I met Zach Lutz, Josh Satin, Robert Carson, and Dylan Owen for the first time and Mike Nickeas for like the eighth time.  Every single player asked would sign for every fan that wanted an autograph.  They interacted with everybody and gave fans who might not be able to go to another minor league game a great memory.

I know one of the main reasons the Mets won't be with the Bisons is because of attendance.  I also know that even though I didn't buy I ticket and go to every game I still followed as much as humanly possible.  Just because this fan wasn't in a seat, it doesn't mean she wasn't dedicated.  I guess it's too bad that long-distance dedication doesn't bring in revenue.

This season it really felt more like the Bisons were my favorite team than the Mets and it takes a special group of players (and people) to make that happen.

Thank you, Buffalo Bisons, for four years of baseball and memories I will always cherish.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to fall in love with the nicest baseball players on the face of the earth.  Thank you for allowing me to see the promise in the future of the Mets organization through the players that aren't necessarily prospects.

A picture is supposedly worth a thousand words but this is priceless.