Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bring Back The Outrage

This winter fans were angry at the Mets. We were angry about the Mets signing Jose Reyes and guaranteeing a roster spot to a black hole. We were angry about spending most of the miniscule budget on 3 years of Jay Bruce. We were angry about the Mets only addressing their shaky rotation with Jason Vargas.

Then the season started and the Mets played well and we were all so happy just to have actual real baseball back and the outrage went away. All of a sudden people seemed okay with the Mets pissing away the off-season because there was a baseball game on every night and a skeleton lineup of Mets was better than the emptiness of winter.

Well, it is time to bring the outrage back. Actually, the outrage never should have subsided.

On a good day, the current Mets roster will feature a bench of Jose Reyes, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, and Tomas Nido. Instead of versatile players like Ty Kelly and Phillip Evans they are carrying multiple players who left their best days in 2011. They do not have a viable backup outfielder and or even one true third baseman during Todd Frazier's DL stint. Ownership has handcuffed Mickey Callaway and guaranteed this season will be forgettable, like most of this decade.

Nothing about the way the Mets are run should sit well with fans. Nobody should be okay with the Mets stunting the growth of Brandon Nimmo or Michael Conforto by limiting their playing time against left-handed pitchers. Nobody should be okay with the Mets wasting a roster spot on Jose Reyes, who cannot hit his way out of a paper bag and is also somehow called a "positive influence" after shoving his wife through a glass door. Nobody should be okay with the Mets ownership constantly filling gaping roster holes with Silly Putty because they refuse to spend money on concrete. Nobody should be okay with watching the best years of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, and even Amed Rosario go to waste because the Wilpons are too cheap to surround them with talent.

Mets fans are known for being fiercely loyal and I believe part of such loyalty includes holding the right parties accountable when things are moving in the wrong direction. There has never been a more obvious time to start (or continue) yelling and screaming and letting the sports world know this is not okay.

Mets fans, as well as players and coaches throughout the organization, deserve better.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Benintendi & Betts & Nimmo Oh My

Andrew Benintendi - 3 RBI

Brandon Nimmo - 2 hits, 1 run scored (the game-winning run!)

Mookie Betts - ANOTHER home run

Joe Kelly - Absolutely filthy scoreless 7th inning

Devin Mesoraco - Game-tying home run

The Red Sox won, the Mets win, oh and I got to watch Joe Smith pitch (he did not have the stellar results of those mentioned above, but I enjoy every opportunity to see him).

If baseball were always like today, life would be so easy.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Why Baseball Was Good Today

I need to stay true to my word so I am starting my new activity right away.

Today, baseball has been very good. Not only are the Red Sox winning (6-0 as the 9th inning begins), but I have been able to watch most of the game on MLB Network. As a fan outside of Boston, I do not get as many opportunities as I would like to watch the Red Sox. Yes, they play the Yankees a lot but the combination of rivalry stress and the subpar YES Network broadcasters make me question whether I really need to watch those games. Following games on Twitter or Gameday is okay but it does not compare to actually knowing what happens at the same time as everybody else. It really is nice to see and tweet about a Xander Bogaerts home run when it happens instead of 2 minutes later.

Unexpectedly having the Red Sox on TV, especially when there is no Mets game demanding a share of my attention, is quite a pleasant surprise. The cherry on top is the Sox playing an all-around great game.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

When I let myself get attached to baseball again I wanted to do so without the negative energy and despair that often comes with being a Mets fan and their Groundhog Day-like losing seasons. This year the Mets and Red Sox both got off to great starts so for a little while it was easy to simply enjoy baseball. Unfortunately, the Mets are now ice cold and somehow the Red Sox have not sustained their .890 winning percentage (crazy, I know).

But I still want to be positive. I still want to enjoy baseball as much as possible. I cannot control the outcome of any game so letting them negatively affect my mood is silly.

From now on I am going to pick out one or a few reasons baseball was good each day. Even on days when both the Mets and Red Sox lose, I will think about a Brandon Nimmo or Andrew Benintendi home run, or Amed Rosario getting a few hits to break out of a slump, or Blake Swihart actually getting a start.

This exercise is mostly for myself but if someone else sees it and is able to come up with their own reason to smile about baseball - that'd be pretty cool.

If I have a lot to say I will write on here and if only have a note or two I will probably just use Twitter.

I am going to end this post and start this activity with a picture I found while finally looking through an old memory card. It is from a 2013 Red Sox playoff workout during their World Series run and if David Ortiz grinning from ear to ear does not make you happy then you may be in the wrong place.

A post shared by Helen Elizabeth (@hesilf) on

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Mickey Callaway Is Still The Right Man For This Job

I don't know if I can count how many times the Mets have signed the wrong player or brought in the wrong coach under the guise of "veteran leadership." However, this offseason they finally went with a rookie, a wild card, someone young and bright and full of potential when they hired Mickey Callaway to be the manager. He said all the right things during Spring Training - talking about fixing Matt Harvey and getting every ounce of ability out of Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler. He got off to a hot start in April, every pinch hitter seemed to be driving in runs and every reliever was getting big outs. Then May started and the Mets stopped hitting and pitching at the same time. All of sudden pinch hitters were striking out and relievers were blowing leads left and right. People began second-guessing every move Callaway made because, simply put, nothing was working.

In true New York fashion, on May 10th, less than a quarter of the way through the season, people are questioning whether Callaway should have his job. Mickey Callaway absolutely should have his job and the Mets' shortcomings are not his fault.

The fate of this season was never in Mickey Callaway's control. Yet, how the Mets reach the finish line is something he can control. This season should be about keeping the young players on the field as much as possible. Brandon Nimmo should play more than Jay Bruce. Seth Lugo should be in the starting rotation instead of Jason Vargas. P.J. Conlon and Jacob Rhame should be in the bullpen. Ty Kelly should replace Jose Reyes on the bench. Luis Guillorme and Wilmer Flores should get every start while Todd Frazier is out.

Mickey Callaway himself is young for his job. He has many years of managing in his future and it could be so much fun to watch the players on the field mature as Callaway matures as a manager. Imagine having a manager who knew exactly which pitchers Michael Conforto was best built to succeed against and which were a better matchup for Juan Lagares or Brandon Nimmo. Imagine having a manager who could spot the first signs of fatigue towards the end of a Steven Matz start. Imagine having a manger who has spent so much time growing with his players that he knows how many games they can play without a day off and which questions to ask to find out if they are banged up.

I spent all winter watching as young Rangers were terrified of making mistakes because even the smallest flub would lead to being benched. It is so refreshing to see something different from the Mets. Just the fact that Mickey Callaway has kept an even keel during a prolonged, frustrating slump is an encouraging sign and I truly cannot wait to see what he does with the rest of the season.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Matt Harvey's Ego Did Not Take Down The Dark Knight

The Mets are going to DFA Matt Harvey tomorrow morning and it will be the official end of an era. Matt Harvey was a superstar, a huge personality in a huge market, and for a little while he had the talent to back it up.

He was dominant when he made his Major League debut in 2012 and fought back from Tommy John surgery to dominate once again. Game 5 of the 2015 World Series was electric for 8 innings. My entire family and I'm sure most of section 131 can still hear "It's a Ha-vey day!" whenever anything remotely Matt Harvey-related pops up. Unfortunately, that game was the last time Harvey would truly be the Dark Knight.

Thoracic outlet syndrome has stolen what almost certainly would have been a long, lucrative career from Matt Harvey. Permanent nerve damage and a resulting lack of velocity, command, and general effectiveness are why he will no longer be a New York Met. It sucks. It sucks that a once promising career has been sabotaged by something out of everybody's control. It must have really sucked for then-26-year-old Matt Harvey to no longer have the ability he had just a few months prior.

To make something abundantly clear, partying and pouting did not steal Harvey's career. Athletes have done way worse things than partying and drinking at those parties and dating models and even showing up late. Harvey would still be on the Mets if he could pitch - whether or not he was engaging in such extracurricular activities.

Matt Harvey as we once knew him is never coming back. Now it is up to him (and his desire to work in the minors) whether any Matt Harvey steps on a Major League Baseball field again.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Minor League Baseball Players Deserve Better




It is no secret that most of my favorite baseball players are not superstars. Most of them spent most of their careers in the Minor Leagues. Most of them were on the 2010 Binghamton Mets. Mike Nickeas, Zach Lutz, and Josh Satin are just a few of the players I followed through Binghamton and New Orleans and Buffalo and Las Vegas. In my mind they were superstars, even if they weren't actually top prospects or future MLB stars.

One of the most frustrating parts of growing up is learning all the ways the thing you thought was wonderful and fun and pure is not so wonderful and fun and pure. Minor League Baseball is not exempt from such realizations. I read enough back then to know MiLB life was not glamorous or easy (to say the least) but I didn't realize just how bad it was. It hurts thinking back on some of my most cherished memories and understanding what the people on the field were sacrificing.

The people on Minor League Baseball fields across the country work for less than minimum wage during the season and for absolutely nothing during Spring Training. The people on Minor League Baseball fields live in poverty so Major League Baseball owners can line their own pockets. Those same Major League Baseball owners somehow expect to get peak performance out of people not provided with a living wage for their full-time work. When I made less than minimum wage as a camp counselor and intern I was living at home and it wasn't really necessary for me to be at peak physical fitness. Minor League Baseball players are not teenagers working summer jobs or college students at internships. Minor League Baseball players are professional athletes who are not being provided with the necessary resources for peak productivity.

I wish I knew what I could do to help MiLB players achieve fair wages. (For the record, I also wish interns and really anybody working could make minimum wage.) For now though, I just want to put it out there that MiLB players are awesome. Their families and all of the people rooting for them and supporting them are awesome. It's kind of amazing that anyone chooses to be a baseball player. I know I'm only one person, only one small voice, but I'm incredibly grateful for the MiLB players who I continue to call my favorites and I'm astounded by everything they worked through to play for as long as they did.

Major League Baseball has more than enough money to fairly compensate Minor League Baseball players. It's about time more people joined this fight.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Oh For The Love Of David Wright

It is really hard to root for the Mets when ownership uses the face of the franchise as a scapegoat.

Jeff Wilpon did exactly that when he said the INSURANCE POLICY on David Wright's contract was too expensive and one reason why the payroll is so low.

I cannot believe David Wright is being painted as the enemy. The captain. The guy who took a major hometown discount instead of testing the free agent market. The one player who didn't crumble as the team collapsed around him in 2007 and 2008. The forever-Met who is still fighting to play one more season, one more game, one more inning, even though his body has betrayed him in every way possible.

Mets ownership has now essentially joined the chorus of idiots calling for David Wright to retire. Mets ownership wants Wright to call it a career because they could save some cash. It is all but guaranteed that whatever money saved would not be reinvested in the team, but Jeff Wilpon does not care. He wants to pocket as much money as possible, even if it means throwing his franchise player into the trash.

David Wright should retire when he is ready to retire. He has earned the right to fight for his career. It sucks thinking about 2005 and 2006 and how promising his career looked. I can only imagine how I would spiral if it looked like all my dreams were coming to fruition only to have my own body pull them away. I would like to believe I would fight tooth and nail to get back on track. So, it really is not surprising that David wants to play again before he retires. Yeah, he is a professional athlete, but he is also a human being fighting for his career.

The surprising part of this whole situation is that the Wilpons are now holding David Wright's eternal optimism against the team.

I have heard and read about the ways the Wilpons ruin relationships with past players but seeing it play out before my eyes is infuriating and heartbreaking.

David Wright deserves better. Mets fans deserve better.

I'm really just dumbfounded right now. I know this is not the most eloquent collection of thoughts but I had to get this out. I did not want this to pass without adding my flames to the fire.

Monday, January 8, 2018

About Brandon Nimmo

In my last post I basically said I could've talked for hours about Brandon Nimmo but it just wasn't the right time. Well, now it's the right time.

People so often forget one of the most basic facts about baseball -- it is a game. And guess what? Games are supposed to be fun.

Brandon Nimmo seems to remember that baseball is supposed to be fun. He got most of his playing time after the competitive part of the Mets season was over. Yet, he was still very clearly having fun out there. Win or lose he would find a reason to smile while it looked like others were playing out the string. If he made a diving catch or hit a home run, you could feel his excitement and how thrilled he was to be on a Major League Baseball diamond. 

During one September game, on Sunday Night Baseball no less, Nimmo hit two home runs and was beaming as he rounded the bases a second time. It was at that moment I decided Brandon Nimmo would be the reason I watched the rest of the lost season. His pure joy was a welcome reminder of why I spent so much time playing softball as a kid and watching baseball as both a kid and adult. He was once a kid who dreamed about playing in the Major Leagues and now he is one of the lucky few adults whose dream came true.

One of the biggest disappointments in my college experience was finding out how uninterested theatre majors were in actually talking about theatre. We were all in school, working towards our dream careers in a dream industry, but everybody was seemingly too cool to acknowledge the reason we wanted to do any of this in the first place.

So during that trip around the bases, I realized Brandon Nimmo would have been the person who wanted to talk about Broadway. He would have been the person to "fangirl" over the awesome new play or musical. He would be the one to know that we were working on some truly strange plays now because in a year or two or three or seven, we would be creating the shows that made a new generation of kids excited about theatre.

The world needs more people like Brandon Nimmo. The world needs more people who can celebrate reaching a goal or making their dream come true, whether the dream is in sports or literally anything else.

Every single person who has ever liked baseball, be it for a lifetime or just a couple of weeks, should watch Brandon Nimmo play. They should see how happy he is to be doing what he loves. He might remind them why they loved baseball in the first place. He definitely makes it easier to remember this is all for fun.