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.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Conflicted

The Winter Meetings have come and gone and as the new year approaches, Mets fans have been louder than the actual team. The lack of communication and commitment to a competitive payroll has lead some fans in the direction of a boycott.

Part of me really wants to boycott. That part of me wanted a new Mets t-shirt for Hanukkah but only asked for a Red Sox hat because I've already started moving toward a boycott. That part of me is ready to yell and scream and make sure everybody knows I won't give the organization a cent until the Wilpons either commit to spending enough to field a competitive team or sell the team to someone else who will.

But a big part of me loves baseball and the Mets. I love Brandon Nimmo. I love Michael Conforto. I love Jerry Blevins and Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. I love most of the misfits who put on a Mets uniform. I want to watch them and cheer for them and support them.

I also just spent most of three years without baseball and I don't know if I can lose it again. Baseball is an important escape for me. I can't afford to see Broadway shows all the time and my favorite artists aren't always on tour but for half the year I can watch the Mets on TV.

I know boycotts aren't supposed to be easy but there's so much other crap in the world that I don't know if I can justify taking the one accessible escape out of my life.

I obviously want the Mets to win. I want to root for a good team. If I watch games next season, it won't be because I approve of the ownership or entire organization. I'll watch because the players don't deserve to be abandoned by their fans. I'll watch because I'd be more miserable with no baseball than with bad baseball.

I won't judge anyone for not watching and hopefully nobody will judge me for watching.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

What's The Point?

Baseball is supposed to be an escape. Most things in the world suck right now but baseball is supposed to be there to provide a level of happiness and relief from the mess.

Right now though, the Mets are just another source of frustration in my life. The Winter Meetings have barely begun and Sandy Alderson has already made it more than clear the team has no intention of improving in any way. Forget being in the mix for a big bat or starting pitcher because relief pitchers are too expensive for the Mets. Oh and don't get your hopes up about trade acquisitions because the Mets have no prospects to offer.

THE METS TRADED EVERY PLAYER WORTH A DAMN OVER THE SUMMER AND HAVE NEITHER PROSPECTS NOR PAYROLL FLEXIBILITY TO SHOW FOR IT.

The GM all but admitted that they were too broke to even entertain the idea of Giancarlo Stanton. The GM insulted angel of angels Brandon Nimmo in his sarcastic comment about the team's inaction on the reigning NL MVP. Brandon Nimmo somehow manages to find happiness while playing for the bargain bin baseball team from Queens. Brandon Nimmo's endless enthusiasm is just about the only reason I still care about this team. He was just Santa Claus at the team's holiday part for goodness sake. Brandon Nimmo would do anything for this team and he does not deserve to be the punchline of Sandy Alderson's jokes.

I could spend hours writing about Brandon Nimmo and how the world needs more Brandon Nimmos (and maybe eventually I will). But at the moment I am too angry for that kind of positivity.

I am angry at Sandy Alderson for throwing a talented young player under the bus. I am angry at Sandy Alderson for trading half the team last season for a bucket of baseballs. I am even angrier at the Wilpons for giving the Mets a shoestring budget in the biggest market in the league.

I don't know how the Wilpons are allowed to own this team. I don't know how MLB is okay with a team in New York City only being competitive once in a blue moon when everything lines up perfectly. I don't know how Mets fans are supposed to keep investing time and money in this organization.

The current state of the Mets is unacceptable.

Monday, November 6, 2017

A Blazing Hot Take About Rivalries

Last night I found myself scrolling through tweets about Andrew Benintendi, looking for other people who shared my excitement about his status as a finalist for Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, most of the tweets were from rival fans, criticizing the people who dare celebrate his accomplishments even though he is not going to win the award. I left the search more angry than enthusiastic and I was really just disappointed.

One of my favorite results of my time away from baseball was my newfound ability to watch baseball games without letting them control my mood. The Mets or Red Sox could lose a series or two in a row and I would just be happy to be able to watch the game. Of course, I preferred when they won but losses were no longer the end of the world.

However, I lost that control during every Red Sox - Yankees series. Maybe it was due to the fact that at any given time I can live with up to 2.5 Yankees fans or the crossover of New York Rangers/Yankees fans on my Twitter timeline, but I felt trapped. I could not find a way to enjoy small moments in a Red Sox loss without constantly being reminded that it was a loss and how dare I enjoy a loss?

As someone who grew up just as the Mets were finally able to exact some revenge on the once-mighty Braves, I get why rivalries can be fun. My favorite Mets wins used to be the ones when they embarrassed Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and the Phillies. But as someone who was burnt out by caring too much about everything happening on a baseball field, I find them more stressful than fun. I cannot control if the team I root for wins on any given day. Why is it fun to yell at friends/strangers/anyone because years ago they decided to root for one team and you decided to root for another?

This year has been about me learning how I can be a baseball fan without burning out again. So far that means doing whatever I can to enjoy as many moments as possible no matter the opponent or outcome of a game. It means I want to be able to enjoy an Andrew Benintendi home run without a million Yankees fans screaming about how Aaron Judge hit one further. It means I want to be able to watch Benintendi make a diving catch or cut down a runner at home plate without someone bringing up the 450-foot home run Judge hit a week ago.

Two completely different players who are going to have vastly different careers are constantly mentioned in the same breath because they are on rival teams. If one of them were on the White Sox the comparisons would not happen.

Yes, I know Andrew Benintendi is not going to win Rookie of the Year.  No, I am not going to stop celebrating a damn good season because someone else had a flashier year.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Since U Been Gone

Here I am writing again. Following baseball again.

In September 2013 I was still writing here, as well as for another Mets blog and my university's newspaper. I was in my school's College of Communication and my road to being my version of professional journalist was clear and open. But I was overwhelmed. For the first time ever I did not want to write. At all. Everything from writing about the Mets to writing research papers stressed me out. It was the hardest semester of my life.

I stopped writing and instead found my escape in music. First in the bands and artists I loved and, once I was home for winter break, then in musical theatre. For the first time since middle school, the baseball-music balance in my life shifted back to music.

That is where I have been for the past four years. I switched my Journalism major to a Psychology major and Theatre Arts minor. I took dance classes, I did a musical theatre intensive in New York City, I was in a few plays and musicals, I started learning how to play guitar and write songs. And as of last week, I went to my first real New York somewhat-kinda-sorta Equity audition (even though it was somewhat-kinda-sorta unintentional).

During the years I spent immersed in everything music, theatre, and musical theatre, the Mets fluctuated between really bad and really good. For the most part, I watched from afar. I needed to separate myself from baseball. I needed to remember who I was apart from the Mets. I will forever remember the World Series Harvey Day I experienced in person in 2015. But besides that game, I probably only went to a handful of games from 2014-2016.

This season I went to games and watched games on TV and found a way to love baseball without letting it control my emotions and well-being.

Now I have found my way back here. I do not know how much I am going to write here. I do not know what I am going to write about when I do write here. I have no idea if everything on here will be writing or if I am going to do something completely different. I just think I am ready to talk about the Mets and Red Sox and baseball again in more than 140 characters at a time.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's That Time Of Year Again

Yes, it is time for the Mets to unofficially officially welcome their rookies to Major League Baseball.  The Mets theme this year is weddings, as so many of them are getting married after this season, and Zack Wheeler is playing the bride.  I will keep updating this post with pictures as they come in on twitter, instagram, and elsewhere.

The first picture of Zack's wedding gown

He looks beautiful

The first glimpse of the rest of the party with Wilmer Flores as maid of honor


And the stunning Travis d'Arnaud

My goodness...

A more formal picture of the party

And some individual pictures




Dillon Gee is not impressed

Wow

Zachary Craig Lutz. My favorite. I'm crying.

Just more insanity

JOSH SATIN

Your reward for looking at the entire post is a video from LaTroy Hawkins

Monday, September 2, 2013

My Favorite September Call Up

Mike Nickeas is a Major League Baseball player again.

For real.

Thank you, Blue Jays for giving him more time in the majors.
Thank you, Mike for being so awesome.

He has not had a great season by any means, but he played in 58 games for the Bisons, more than any other catcher.  He caught all but one of Ricky Romero's Bisons starts.  His one home run of the season was of the walk-off variety and 41% of his hits for the season were doubles.  Mike also won Most Inspirational Player, as voted on by his Bisons teammates.

I do not expect him to play much this month.  Hopefully he will get an at-bat here or there and maybe even catch one of R.A. Dickey's starts.

All that matters to me is that Mike Nickeas and Josh Thole are teammates again.


Oh and the Blue Jays are coming to Boston in a few weeks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Actual Breaking News

Rob Carson and Matt den Dekker seem to be joining the Mets. Jack Leathersich, who was sent back to AA Binghamton on Monday, will now stay in AAA with the Las Vegas 51s. 

Matt Harvey to the DL opens up one roster spot but the second move isn't as obvious. 

Stay tuned for the official move later.