Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Good News!

If you read this, then you will see that Mike Nickeas is the front runner to win the backup catcher spot. It's weird that he's the front runner for anything but I will definitely take it.

Dear Mets,
Please don't ruin this excitement.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

It Is That Time Of Year

There is about a week and a half of Spring Training left and I simply don't have much to say. I am tired of talking about injuries and unfortunately for me, that seems to be the only topic of conversation for the Mets.

My feelings are pretty simple. I'm sick of the games that don't matter. I'm not interested in seeing minor leaguers play out of position. I don't want to watch a "maybe" or "almost" Opening Day lineup start games.

Just wake me up when there are 25 names on the roster and the pitches, hits, and runs count.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Turning Point

The Wilpon/settlement/investors news has been dissected already. To the dismay of some fans that news brings the greater possibility of the Wilpons keeping the Mets for the foreseeable future. I'm taking another approach.

I am not completely familiar with the status of the Wilpons' accounts/budget/other big economic word but I know this situation never got to the same extreme as the Dodgers, the team many are comparing the Mets to. There didn't seem to be a time when team personnel were in danger of missing a paycheck. The Mets could have been financially massacred but they weren't. It may have cost them Jose Reyes but that wasn't the first time a big player left his original team. And maybe they will have to pass on other big free agents for a couple more years, it won't be the end of the world.

It should be no surprise that I would love to see the Mets have a homegrown team. A limited payroll could be exactly what is needed for that to happen. The Mets have already started to go that direction with six of nine planned Opening Day starters coming from their own system. Even past that, the farm system isn't as dry as it was only a few seasons ago.

It really is up to the fans now. They have to realize the Mets are building their own team. They're not going to see star players right away. They're also going to see some players before they're stars. It's going to take time. And ultimately, if they want the Mets to sign and keep their homegrown stars they have to have the money and some of that money needs to come from revenue. The fans need to stick with the team if they want the big players. If they want to see the good times they should be there for the bad.

The Mets are seemingly working their way up from the bottom. It won't be easy and it won't be fast but it'll happen. It has always been hard to convince New York fans to wait yet that's exactly what has to be done. The other thing about New York is that money will come eventually no matter what (having fans is always helpful though) so once the Mets do bounce back their ceiling could be sky-high.

Monday's ruling was a turning point for the Mets organization. They already had a reason to build from within but now there's a glimmer of hope for the financial future of the team.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thank You, Nationals

Xavier Nady has a team. Well, he has an organization. The Nationals signed him to a minor league contract. He'll only be attending minor league Spring Training with them.

I don't care that it's the Nationals. I don't care that it's a minor league deal. I am just so happy that someone is giving him a chance.

Go get 'em, X!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Reason To Smile

Most talk about the Mets and injuries this year has involved bad news. A new injury, a setback, more cluelessness. However, one player has found their road to recovery.

Maybe we shouldn't be smiling about Johan Santana just yet. Maybe we should save any smiles for Opening Day. But maybe we should smile now because this fan base has been through hell and we deserve to smile about something.

Johan Santana has now made it healthily through a start of 65 pitches. Never mind the fact that he gave up his first runs of Spring Training. He got through the start and hasn't had any setbacks since.

Going into the spring the idea of having Johan for Opening Day was almost a pipe dream. No Met could ever recover from such an injury do reasonably (as if missing an entire season is reasonable). First, the long toss was okay. Then he threw off the mound. The reports were cautiously optimistic. He looked good but still had a long way to go before seeing game action. Then he was able to stay on schedule with his next bullpen session. And the bullpen session after that. The idea of Santana pitching in an actual game was becoming a reality. He threw one inning, then two. 20 pitches, 30 pitches, 65 pitches. He once again looked like the pitcher the Mets thought they were getting in 2008.

The Mets haven't had an "ace" since the middle of 2010. Series would go by with other teams putting their top starting pitcher against Mike Pelfrey or Jon Niese. Just the concept of actually having our top pitcher starting on Opening Day is a reason to smile. The concept that a cornerstone of this Mets team is almost back from a serious injury is a reason to smile. The concept of having one of baseball's best pitchers throwing 120 innings for the Mets is a reason to smile.

So stop thinking about all the unresolved injuries for a second and starting dreaming about the end of a long road to recovery. Smile for a second. It's not all bad.

Let's Go Mets!

By The Way

Xavier Nady hasn't signed and I don't think there's much interest in him.

I don't want to deal with Dillon Gee being the one who ended his career.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One Note Spring

I'd love for this Spring Training to have been about the future of the Mets. To be about all the players we will see making their Major League debuts in the next two seasons. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the focus thus far.

So far, Spring Training has been all about injuries. There isn't really any one person that can be blamed for that though, which is what is so frustrating. People can keep blaming the trainers and doctors and strength and conditioning coaches but in the end there isn't really a way to place blame. But I know it's only natural to look for a scapegoat.

Unfortunately, the conversation will continue to be about injuries until everyone is healthy. And even when players insist they will be alright there will still be fans panicking about their ailments. For example, David Wright tried to explain his injury today. He mentioned his injury was a slight tear. Then when it was explained that a slight tear is the same as a sprain people just didn't accept it. I cannot count how many times I saw fans flipping about about how David went from having a sore ribcage to having a tear.

Mets fans have fallen into the habit of assuming the worst when it comes to injuries. It sucks. It really sucks. It certainly doesn't look like that attitude is going to change this spring but hopefully it will change soon.

Let's Go Mets!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Yes, I'm Scared

Mike Nickeas didn't necessarily come into Spring Training as the favorite to be the backup catcher but some people (me) just kinda decided Spring Training would play out and he would ultimately make the team. However, yesterday Adam Rubin reported the scouts have liked what they've seen from Rob Johnson. At first I wondered what they could see in Johnson that Nickeas didn't have. They are basically the same player, strong defensive catchers that have never really shown much at the plate. I just couldn't think of what Johnson could be doing that impressed scouts so much. But it didn't stop one thought from creeping into my mind. All of a sudden there was the very real possibility that Mike Nickeas would not be on the Opening Day roster.

I had never really thought about a Mets roster with catchers other than Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. They finished the season last year and the Mets didn't sign any big name catchers. Thole and Nickeas were the first catchers in camp, the first ones working with Bob Geren, the first ones to play in the first exhibition game. The Mets said there would be a competition to be the backup catcher but they didn't really mean it. I didn't want them to mean it. But then Lucas May kept hitting (everyone knew he would) and Rob Johnson did something (I'm still not sure what) and there was a competition.

I figured any Bisons games I would be watching this year would be for Zach Lutz, Josh Satin, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Mike Nickeas would be on SNY with the Mets. But yesterday I started to think I would be watching Mike Nickeas with the Bisons too. It really shouldn't be that big of a deal. I've followed minor league baseball long enough that I actually like more players in the minors than the majors. I guess I had just spent all winter hoping this would be the year I would see my favorite player in the majors all season. And he wouldn't start the season in the majors because another player was injured (or still had eight games remaining on a PED suspension). He would be there because that is who the Mets want there. I never should have been thinking that far in advance. I did know there was going to be some sort of competition. I knew the job wasn't really going to be handed to him.

I wanted to dream. I wanted to stop prefacing conversations with my friends with, "You know that minor league baseball player I like?". I wanted it to be, "You know my favorite player on the Mets?". Yes, there is still the real possibility of him making the team. I could be worrying for nothing. After all, he was 2-for-3 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI, and a run scored today. He spent all offseason working on his swing and the last thing I want to do is doubt that the work will pay off.

But I just can't help but think about that report. And I can't help but think he might be back in AAA to start the season. And I can't help but wonder how much minor league baseball one person can take before it's too much. And I can't help but think about that season that he's not at Spring Training at all.

I know those are stupid things to think about it but I can't help it.

. . .
Let's Go Mets!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dropping Like Flies

I try to be optimistic. I try to spin whatever misfortune comes the Mets way into a positive. If a player is injured during Spring Training it means another will have a chance to shine. It means the injured player will be fresher when the season starts. But when there is seemingly a new injury everyday it is hard to find positives in all of them.

Scott Hairston and Kirk Nieuwenhuis both have oblique injuries. David Wright has a rib cage injury. Tim Byrdak has a knee injury. Pedro Beato has a shoulder injury. Lucas Duda has a back injury. Ike Davis has Valley Fever.

I still don't think it's that big of a deal if players miss Spring Training games. They're all professionals and they don't need the excessive reps of exhibition games. What frustrates me is the unpredictability of the injuries. When David Wright or Lucas Duda says they want to come back tomorrow, they feel like they are close to returning, only to feel like they haven't made progress once tomorrow rolls around. The time to say "He'll get into a game next week." will eventually run out.

It's Spring Training. This is when teams have time to shut down players without risking losing important at-bats or innings or a big game. If curing David Wright takes a week of him doing absolutely no baseball activities then this is the time for that week. He knows how to field a ground ball and lace a double into right field. But he has to be healthy to do it.

There are still three and a half weeks until Opening Day. That's plenty of time for healthy players to get injured and injured players to return from injuries. It's frustrating but it's going to happen.

Let's Go Mets!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Sorry about the lack of posts. School ----> exhaustion ----> no posts. I'll have something up tomorrow, I promise.

Let's Go Mets!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Seeing The Future

Spring Training is full of no-name minor leaguers playing the late innings of games.  Usually, that means once the sixth inning rolls around there isn't much of a reason to keep watching.  However, this spring it already seems like it's going to be different.  The Mets have some exciting prospects and they are getting playing time early.

We have already seen Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker playing centerfield.  Darrell Ceciliani played right field yesterday and Brandon Nimmo and Wilmer Flores also got some at-bats.  Jeurys Familia has already thrown a couple of innings as well.  Seeing the future of the organization is very different than seeing Jose A. Reyes getting a hand full of at-bats.

There is no way to avoid the late-game lull because it is simply how Spring Training works.  The starters get the reps they need and then do their conditioning on the backfields while the minor leaguers play out the games.  There isn't much to take from Spring Training stats, but seeing how pitchers respond to jams and batters perform with men on base can be interesting.  It is also cool to just see how prospects play.  I didn't how fast Ceciliani was until yesterday and I also enjoyed seeing den Dekker in centerfield.

The monotony of Spring Training will get to any baseball fan but at least this year it might not come as quickly.

Let's Go Mets!

Monday, March 5, 2012

More Great Words

During today's game Kevin Burkhardt spoke to Matt Harvey and one topic of interest was Mike Nickeas. Mike caught Harvey during the offseason as they were both in the Atlanta area.

It really doesn't matter what some fans are saying about Mike Nickeas when his teammates are speaking this highly of him.

Let's Go Mets!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Calm Down

The Mets have not even played a Spring Training game and fans are already worrying about injuries. Or in Ike Davis's case, illness. Whether it be Ike's mild case of Valley Fever or David Wright's rib cage discomfort some fans really need to take a deep breath.

Every Mets fan knows the medical staff has been less than stellar for the past few seasons. But it's also unreasonable to think they haven't learned from experience. They aren't telling player to play through injuries anymore. Two years ago they might have told David Wright to "rub some dirt on it" and play through the discomfort. This year, they're not.

And isn't it better to be cautious? I'd rather see David sit out a few Spring Training exhibition games than not know he needed the extra rest until he was out for a month in the middle of May.

As for the people wondering how Ike's mysterious "lung infection" turned into Valley Fever, the lung infection has always been Valley Fever. It was always called a mild infection and Ike still isn't showing any symptoms. Just because his illness now has a name doesn't mean it is all of a sudden going to become severe. He has been given instructions from the team doctors to avoid extreme fatigue and past that his mild case should clear on its own.

There is still a month until the season. 31 days for these mild afflictions to clear. Missing a few more Spring Training innings is not going to ruin anybody's season.

So take a step away from ledge, breathe, and …

Let's Go Mets!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

32 Days

In just over a month the Mets season will have started.  They will have played a game that counts in the standings.  Started their journey to prove all the doubters wrong.  In 32 days they will have played baseball just like every other team because no matter how much money the Wilpons do or do not have and no matter what illnesses the medical staff does or does not diagnose, they are a Major League Baseball team.  They will have played one game and have at least 161 more to play.

On April 5, Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, and Kevin Burkhardt will be at Citi Field broadcasting the game.  David Wright, Josh Thole, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, and the rest of the starters will take the field ready to play all nine innings after a long spring of late-inning minor league replacements.  R.A. Dickey or Johan Santana or Jon Niese will take the mound, ready to throw the first pitch of the season.  Perhaps the smaller dimensions of Citi Field will bring the Home Run Apple out early.  If the Mets win then "Taken' Care of Business" will play throughout the stadium.

I can't wait 32 more days.  I don't want to sit through the endless innings of players with numbers in the 80s playing the ends of games.  I don't want to see pitchers only throwing at 75 percent because they're saving themselves for the season.  I want to see the season they are all waiting for.  I want to know there will be a lineup at 4 o'clock and a game at 7 o'clock.  I want that game to count.  I want to know every player is putting in full effort because one win could be the difference in a season.

I want to see Jon Niese buckling knees with his curveball.  I want to see batters completely baffled by R.A. Dickey's knuckleball.  I want the Mets dugout to explode when Daniel Murphy gets a 2-RBI double and the Mets get a lead.  I want Josh Thole to high-five Jon Rauch after he gets the last out of a game.  I want to see Justin Turner give someone a pie in the face during their postgame interview on the field.  And I want it all to be under the lights at Citi Field because there's nothing better than a night baseball game.  A game that starts in the heat with the sun beating down and ends with the cool breeze that carried that late home run over the wall.

The offseason is over but I want more.  Let's fast-forward to the exhibition games and get right to the real thing.  Please?

Let's Go Mets!