Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Breaking News

Sidney Crosby is not a doctor.

Now that that's cleared up we may return to our regularly scheduled programming.

This Is What Happens When I'm Bored

If you're reading this I assume you have noticed that the blog looks different.  There is no particular reason behind the switch, I just wanted a new look.  I think it's pretty good given my inability to understand HTML and the fact that I have no plans to learn.  So this is basically a creation of blogger with my own personalization.


Let's Go Mets!

He (Almost) Has A Team

Just last week it looked like Xavier Nady could start the 2012 season without a team. Today things look much better for him.

The San Francisco Giants are interested in signing him and Nady is interested in joining the Giants. And this would work well for both parties. Pat Burrell announced his retirement today so the Giants need a bat more than they did a week ago. Nady plays the same positions as Burrell and could probably play in the field more often than Burrell had. For Xavier the Giants are a fit because they give him a place to play and are close to home. Nady is from the Bay Area and it will be nice for him to be at home after being in so many different cities in recent years.

Hopefully this mutual interest can develop into a contract. Xavier Nady can still contribute and the Giants would be getting a nice player. Obviously I'm not an expert on what the Giants need but he wouldn't hurt on a minor league deal.

Monday, January 30, 2012

More All Star Stuff

While we're on the topic I wanted to talk about the actual All Star Game.

Major League Baseball is going to have a drastically different schedule starting in 2013 and I think it is going to change the feel of the All Star Game. The game has been a fun way for fans and players to see members of the opposing league who they wouldn't normally see during the season. However, once the schedule changes there will be interleague play everyday. The perpetual interleague play will take away from the value of seeing the other league.

This is a problem Major League Baseball is bringing on themselves. The excitement of seeing the best Tigers or Angels players simply won't be there if the National League team has already played them during the season.

But there are ways to save the All Star Game from spiraling into oblivion. The most obvious thing is to remove World Series home field advantage from the game. With the trend of players dropping out for whatever reason they come up with it would make sense to make the game a fun exhibition again. Don't make it seem like the players being "honored" are really just given more work to do. If being an All Star is really an honor than the league should be doing whatever it takes to make the entire week fun, relaxing, and an event players will look forward to.

As for making it exciting to see players that won't be so unfamiliar anymore, the only thing that comes to mind would be an NHL-style draft. Maybe it's because I'm still hyped up about the NHL All Star Weekend, but I really enjoyed that draft. I enjoy that the NHL makes it a full exhibition game with team captains picking the teams. It really makes it fun to watch completely mixed teams and even teammates playing against each other. It wouldn't make any of the players less familiar but it would mix up the leagues an put players together that otherwise never would be.

The NHL has the entire All Star celebration perfect. I hate seeing MLB's fading away. I know when the game actually comes around I'll just be happy it exists, but watching the hockey this weekend reminds me of everything that could be added.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Better Than The Home Run Derby

It is All Star Weekend for the NHL and yesterday was perhaps the best event of any All Star weekend in any league. The Superskills Competition is fun for the fans to watch and players to be a part of. I would love if something like it was added to the MLB All Star weekend.

In the NHL it consists of six events an all the players are involved in some way. The events include Fastest Skater, Breakaway Challenge, Accuracy Shooting, Skills Challenge Relay, Hardest Shot, and Elimination Shootout. The Fastest Skater event could easily be paralleled to the fastest trip around the bases. The other events cannot be paralleled as easily but it wouldn't be too hard to come up with other challenges for baseball.

There could be a smaller home run challenge. And another event could be whichever team can do what I know as the "Star Drill" in the shortest amount of time. There could be other outfield and infield competitions as well.

This kind of event, no matter what the specifics are, is just better than what the Home Run Derby is now. It gets all the All Stars involved instead of just a handful and showcases the entire sport as opposed to just one aspect. It also brings another connection to the fans when they see the players doing drills that they might have practiced. The NHL players know it's fun and just enjoy showing their skills to the fans and other All Stars that are watching. These are the best players in the game and this format gives them the best chance to flaunt the fact.

Last year MLB had a lot of trouble getting players to actually want to participate in the All Star Game. If they insist on making the game count for something then they need to give the players a reason to show up. A skills competition could create a stage for the fastest players, the hardest throwers, and the most accurate throwers and hitters as well as the power hitters that already participate in the Home Run Derby. An event like this would replace the Home Run Derby but it wouldn't remove the entire spotlight from those involved. It would simply broaden the spotlight.

I would watch the NHL Superskills Competition over the MLB Home Run Derby any day. It has gotten to the point, for me, where I have more fun watching the other players on the sidelines with their kids during the Home Run Derby.  Making a baseball skills competition would be something I'd watch for what it is (and not just the cute children) and would be awesome.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Season Without Expectations

Much of the disappointment from the recent Mets seasons has come from the fact that the team was expected to be better.  Despite what players' careers showed, the Mets were simply expected to overcome history and be a decent, if not actually good, team.

It started early last season.  Johan Santana was not going to be on the Opening Day roster so the Mets were still looking for somebody to lead the rotation.  Mike Pelfrey was given the Opening Day start and people immediately started calling him the "ace" of last year's staff.  But in reality, he was not the "ace" then and during the season he proved that he wasn't going to grow into #1 starter status.  It was ridiculous to think that all of a sudden he would be a consistent pitcher.  It was unreasonable to think that simply because he was starting the first game of the season, he would be amazing and lead the team throughout the season.

Another case of sky-high expectations has been with Josh Thole throughout his career.  Thole always hit well in the minor leagues and continued that strong offense when he was first called up.  However, once he was given the job as the starting catcher there was added pressure to not only still be the consistent hitter, but also to play defense at a higher level.  Josh only started catching full time in 2008.  He only three years to go from 1st baseman that occasionally catches to starting MLB catcher.  If anybody thinks that is an easy thing to do, they need their head checked.  Thole will continue to improve defensively but he isn't going to magically turn into a defensive-whiz.  It will time and could seem like a longer process because it is happening in the Major Leagues.

And then there are the expectations for the team as a whole.  Players, coaches, managers, front office members will all come out and say they think the Mets are going to play well and it is going to be an exciting year.  Don't believe all of it.  What are they supposed to say?  They're not going to say they think the team is going to have a below .500 record because that would show they aren't confident in the product they are selling to the fans.  I'm not saying not to believe if they say a certain player has improved or the team is getting better at a certain part of the game.  But if you don't have a reason to be confident about something, they might not either.  The difference is that people ask the players, coaches, managers, front office members their thoughts and sometimes being brutally honest will have brutal consequences.

I'm going into the 2012 season without expectations for specific players to do well.  I don't expect the team to thrive either.  I'm just going to watch what's there and know that this is where the Mets are.  It stinks now, but that just means the only way to go is up.

Let's Go Mets!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sorry About That

My post this morning was barely in English.  I apologize to anybody that tried to read it.  Basically, I miss baseball so much that I can no longer speak the only language I have ever been fluent in.  In other words, I cannot put into words how much I miss baseball.  I cannot express how bored I am with the lack of Mets on-field news.

I want baseball and I want it now.

Writer's Block

John Franco was elected to the Mets Hall of Fame today!

25 days until pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie for Spring Training!

. . . And not much else is happening in the world of the Mets right now.  Players have been signed.  Invites to Spring Training have been sent.

Now we wait.  Most of the baseball world waits now.  Prince Fielder signed and now Roy Oswalt is the biggest of the free agents left.  But that still leaves 29 teams without big moves to make.  The Mets will wait and continue to watch Johan Santana rehab and hopefully start pitching again.  They'll figure just which position Daniel Murphy should focus on this spring.  Ike Davis will continue to wait to put on a uniform again.  And David Wright will continue to contemplate how he is supposed to be the only person that remembers what it's like to win.

For 25 more days.

Until then there won't be much to say.  No moves to figure out.  No Mets ridiculousness to worry about.  Just nervous anticipation about what could possibly go wrong this season.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

He's Still A Free Agent

Can someone please sign Xavier Nady? Anyone?  Bueller?

C'mon, he's actually pretty good.  He can play first base, right field, left field, and would probably try third base again if you asked nicely.  He also can hit a bit.  And he can hit home runs and get a lot of hits against lefties.  He'll belly-flop to make a catch or send opponents face-first into fences to help the team.

Xavier Nady will be there.  No need to worry about him missing time because maybe he has appendicitis, he already dealt with that in 2006.  Some might played a strong role in saving Cal's baseball program and he went to Berkeley so he has quite the education.  He is quite an expert on the name Xavier and could help any teammates start long-lasting family traditions.  And he has also taken in teammates with more serious problems.

Whichever team gets Xavier Nady will be getting quite the player and quite the person.  If interested, they should contact Scott Boras.  It will be worth it.

Thinking about how much I miss him makes me want to cry.  Can someone please just give him a contract?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I've Been Broken

Usually I am the one being positive about the Mets.  I love their minor league teams and players so I look at the good parts and enforce the fact that things will eventually be okay.  Unfortunately right now, I just don't see that future coming soon.

I had more hope before last season.  I knew for sure that 2011 was a rebuilding year and that I shouldn't have any expectations for the major league team.  I knew to look for success in the minor leagues, not necessarily in the teams as a whole but in certain individual players.  Maybe it's just that being a "New York fan" has caught up with me.  Maybe it is that I have become impatient and I just don't want to wait for the minor leaguers anymore. I have turned into a fan that wants major league success now and I'm too lazy to look more than a few months into the future.

Whatever it is, I don't like it.  I love that I became attached to players such as Zach Lutz, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Josh Satin, Mike Nickeas, and Kai Gronauer.  I hate that I can't bear to wait any longer for them all to have a shot to contribute in the majors.  And I hate even more that if they do get a shot, they might not actually succeed.  I love that I have found the minor leagues as an outlet for baseball and Mets optimism.  I hate that everyone else hasn't made the same discovery.  I hate that there will always be fans that only see the Mets signing players that are meant to be one year gap-fillers but think the Mets are simply stupid and putting their future in the hands of aging veterans.  I love loving the Mets.  I hate that some people want everything from this franchise but refuse to have faith in it.  I hate those people that only see the surface.

Believe me, I cannot wait for Spring Training to start.  It's the fact that I am excited about the seasons of more minor leaguers than major leaguers that has me almost dreading this Mets season.  I would rather see Josh Satin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis than Ronny Cedeno and Scott Hairston.

I see the future.  I am excited about the future.  I want the future to be now.

Let's Go Mets!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A New Number?

Currently I only find Mike Nickeas and the New York Rangers to be interesting so you're just going to have to work with me.

Mike Nickeas has stayed busy this winter doing many things, including coaching kids in Atlanta.  The article is cool and it says nice things about Nickeas and makes me happy and everything.  However, it also says he's going to be wearing a number other than 13 next year:
"When the Braves play the Mets this season, look for Nickeas. He'll be wearing #4."
I liked him in #13.  And I also have a t-shirt and jersey with 'Nickeas 13' on them and I don't want those to be wasted. Maybe it's not true.  Ah, I guess we'll see.

And that's all I have for now.

Let's Go Mets!

(Also, Mike still has the flow and he also has a beard, in case you were wondering.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One Chance

A really great interview with Mike Nickeas was done by MetsMerizedOnline.com and I recommend you all go read it.

There has been so much negativity surround the Mets bench and the fact that Mike Nickeas (gasp!) of all people is going to be the backup catcher and this was nice breath of fresh air.  It's not like the Mets didn't make it clear that they weren't spending money in places they didn't have to.  Well, the Mets have Nickeas already and they did in fact spend some (minimal) money on catchers.  But there is absolutely nothing wrong with having Mike Nickeas as the backup catcher.

There is nobody who has worked harder than Mike.  He has given everything to this organization.  He worked through injuries to finally have a chance to play everyday.  Even when he wasn't playing in AA he was working with Josh Thole, who was in-effect taking his potential job, on being a better defender.  Then in 2010 he finally had some luck.  He finally was the healthy one.  He could finally focus on his game while Thole kept moving through the system.  He finally figured things out with Luis Natera.  Yet he was still helping the future when the Mets wanted to keep him with Jenrry Mejia.

Now he is actually getting a chance to live the dream.  He could start the year on the Mets roster and stay there all season.  He will have Spring Training to work with Dave Hudgens and whichever other coaches he needs to improve his own game.  And he will still be there to help Josh Thole and the pitchers.  So if the Mets decide he is their backup catcher it goes beyond the field and beyond his own game.  Just remember that.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Hockey Request

The Hobey Baker Award is given out annually to the top men's collegiate ice hockey player.

From the website:

This year Cornell goalie Andy Iles is up a candidate.  I know you don't all follow hockey but I'm going to throw some stats at you anyway.  As of December 30, Iles 1.82 GAA and a .923 save percentage.  He is 7-4-1 with 5 shutouts and made the USA IIHF World Junior Championships roster as the emergency goalie.  Last year he was the backup for the World Junior Championships.

I can't really explain why I like him because I don't really have a reason.  I guess it's because I saw him as the underdog last year while watching the WJCs and just continued to root for him.  He has had a magical season and it would really be amazing if he just got some fan recognition for this award.

If you have an extra 30 seconds I would love it if you would vote for him.  


A Dose Of Good News

Last season Zach Lutz suffered through two concussions after being hit in the head by two pitches.  His season ended early because of the second concussion.

The good news is that he seems to be healthy and is getting ready for the season.

Hopefully he will be healthy all year and get a chance to see Major League life.  But recovering from those concussions is the first step and thank goodness that should be done.

Zach Lutz can hit and he can play both first and third base.  A healthy year could mean a lot for an organization in a state of flux.  The only way he would come up and get consistent playing time would be if David Wright gets injured (which would be terrible and a whole other set of problems) but it would be quite something to see him get a shot.

I always seem to like the injury-prone ones.

Let's Go Mets!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Letting F-Mart Go Is Okay

Since 2005 we have been hearing about Fernando Martinez.  He was the "Teenage Hitting Machine."  The prospect that would actually work out during a time the Mets were relying on free agents.  He was the future.  However, his knees told another story.  They were constantly a cause for concern and prevented him from playing consistently.  Even though he had such a strong bat, he just couldn't stay on the field.

Fernando Martinez is now 23 years old and has been placed on waivers by the Mets.  F-Mart defines why prospects are prospects.  Why they aren't superstars the minute they sign to play professional baseball.  If this was a perfect world he wouldn't have knee issues and he would have simply been in the minors because that's the way things work.  When he was called up in 2009 he would have hit right away and there wouldn't be that image of him face-planting in the Miller Park outfield in the 2009 Mets blooper-reel.

There are going to be people that say the Mets didn't give him a shot.  Didn't give him enough of a shot.  They are going to say he's still young and could still work out.  That last point is true, but it is also true that the Mets did whatever they could to have him succeed.  He didn't warrant more MLB time from his minor league production.  Yes, when he played he could hit but he just could never play enough for that time to mean much.

Perhaps another team will pick him up and figure out how to deal with the arthritic-kneed 23 year old.  And if nobody wants to take that chance the Mets will have more time to work with him.  Either way, the Mets have different prospects now.  They aren't Fernando Martinez but the same risks are there.  Some of them could work out and other won't.  Fernando Martinez simply was one that didn't.

Let's Go Mets!