2005-06-22T08:23:46.603-07:00Long hiatus. But I have decided to give this another go.
2005-04-18T09:55:31.770-07:00Ok, so I had a chance to catch one of the televised games this weekend on WPIX, and attempted to listen to the radio broadcast as closely as possible Friday.
2005-04-14T09:15:41.160-07:00Sure I can try to catch BBTN and other recap sources, but this Time Warner & Cablevision cry baby spat is taking the heart out of the blogger.
2005-04-12T08:49:05.050-07:00Three things to chew on after the completion of the first official week of games...some Mets some not...
2005-04-12T07:48:04.256-07:00Yesterday's 8-4 win at Shea stadium, proved two things. The Mets can play from behind, and perhaps more importantly they can play from behind without the longball.
2005-04-11T07:35:58.403-07:00Not what the doctor ordered for the Mets for a fresh start and new faces.
2005-04-05T17:38:12.983-07:00Not much you can say about the sudden and flat end to opening day for the New York Mets. This blog be damned, as I sit without access two well over two-thirds of the games due to the infants at Time Warner Cable and Cablevision.
2005-04-04T08:42:51.963-07:00So, what of the National LeagueAgain, the left coast or things close to it first.NL West...1. San Francisco Giants2. San Diego Padres3. Arizona Diamondbacks4. Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles5. Colorado RockiesYes, Barry Bonds is on the DL indefinitely. Yes he has been the most destructive offensive force in the game since Babe Ruth. But one thing Barry does not do that the Babe did is pitch. The Giants are a veteran laden team, that can ill afford to take any hits beyond the massive loss of Bonds. But in a division that is more or less lifeless it is hard to abondon a pitching staff lead by what most believe to be a an extremely healthy Jason Schmidt. Don't underestimate the impact of Mike Matheny as an acquisition, nor Omar Visquel. Not world beaters but glue with serious credentials and loads of positive experience. The Giants are going to need someone to emerge and shoulder some offensive burden (lets be realistic NO one is replacing Bonds or close to it) or will need to dial a number around the trade deadline, but their pitching should help be in that position come the time. The Padres are intriguing, but not quite there yet, 2005 should be a major step in the right direction for their future, and if they can keep things together and add a veteran arm things could get interesting for them quickly. Arizona clearly reinvented themselves last season, but improving off of 51 wins is not a difficult task. At very least the Snake fans will be able to go to the ballpark this summer sans paper-bags. The only thing saving the Dodgers from last place or oblivion are the lowly Colorado Rockies. Jim Tracy is rewarded for getting the club back to the post season for the first time in nearly a decade and is rewarded with an ambivalent if not puzzling offseason. The Blue part ways with Adrian Beltre, who yes had a career year to date, but more or less replaced him with the same financial package for JD Drew, whom by the way had a career year for Atlanta. While the Braves have financial limitations, the fact that they showed no interest in Drew speaks volumes to me. In a pitching rich market, the Dodgers sat sideline and settled with the remaining lot, one of their own in Odalis Perez. Their changes were oddly cosmetic and not good enough to keep up with their success from a year ago, add injury concerns for top closer Eric Gagne and Tracy should not be shy about putting his house on the market. I have nothing to say about the Rockies, they will score runs, we all know that.NL Central...1. St. Louis Cardinals2. Chicago Cubs3. Houston Astros4. Pittsburgh Pirates5. Milwaukee Brewers6. Cincinnati RedsThis is again a tough division, but will not be as competitive as it has in the last few seasons. Father time has caught up to Houston, where fans will lament their we can almost taste it feel from the 2004 NLCS. Pitching will likely keep them afloat but the lack of Lance Berkman and the mileage on Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell will not help matters. The Cardinals teeter on the edge of two possibilites, utter collapse following an outstanding season which saw them virtually not show up in the World Series, or mission to the embarrassment of the former. The addition of Mark Mulder allows the rest of the staff to fall into proper placement, if healthy Matt Morris as your number two is a pleasant concept. St. Louis should be able to go five deep this season fairly consistently. While they lost Edgar Reneteria, they absorbed the hit with a not insignificant pickup in David Eckstien. Sometimes times need a sparkplug, and the thought of Jim Edmonds, Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen is troubling to any pitcher. The only thing holding the Cubbies back is the question on the arms front for Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. While those are significant questions, do not overlook the impact of Carlos Zambrano or 300 game winner Greg Maddux. Th[...]
2005-04-03T20:20:21.336-07:00Alot of change swept through Major League Baseball this offseason. If you examine the four teams in League Championship Series play alone, change was an overriding theme. For the second straight year the Yankees made a major overhaul in their starting rotation. The Red Sox swapped out two of the top starting pitchers, the Cardinals added an ace and the Astros got decked across the board. Their is element of change beyond rosters that is in the air as well. So without much more mystery here is my humble approach to predicting the 2005 Major League Baseball season.AMERICAN LEAGUEThe West...1. Los Angles Angels of Anahiem California in Some County2. Texas Rangers3. Oakland A's4. Seattle MarinersThe Angels are stacked and actually upgraded offesively if that is possible both through external means (Olrando Cabrera) and internal redeployment as RBI machine Garret Anderson returns to what the Angels hope is a full year paired with reigning MVP Vladimir Guerrero. The Angels also have chips on the table ready and waiting in the upper ends of their system. Texas still does not quite have the pitching, but Buck Showalter will again prove why he is one of the best with Texas hoping he will deliver what was taken out of his hands both in New York and Arizona. While they will fall short to the Angels they will compete for the Wild Card. Seattle certainly upgraded their offense, and that is about it. They never answered the question of their shortfall from 2000 to 2003. They never had an ace or anything close to it. Impossible to imagine Oakland last I guess, but certainly not last in the division. I think Billy Beane's baseball hubris has caught up to him. That is not to say Beane's trades this off season where horrid, but it is pushing the luck envelope to believe they will survive the loss of both Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson, as they survived the loses of Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada. Beane's "Money Ball" clones will be barking the payroll line in his defense, but he traded two of the most coveted arms, for good, but not maximum yield, further limiting his potential gain by insisting on dealing both pithers to the National League. Beane's A's biggest run this summer will be convincing in coming ownership not to press on dealing certain talent, because he probably will have a much better team in 2006. The A's at third in this division very well could be there just shy or above .500.The Central...1. Minnesota Twins2. Cleveland Indians3. Detroit Tigers4. Kansas City Royals5. Chicago White SoxI won't go as far as predicting the Twins to win the World Series, quite frankly, I don't think they can even make it, but winning the Central should be going away for a team that returns all its key components, should be healthier and adds talent from within the system. Cleveland's plan to be competitive for the division again, by I believe 2005 was the date set by GM Mark Shapiro, should come to fruition, but they cannot run with Minnesota, there is no Boston or Texas in this division to seriously challenge for supremacy. Detroit had a curious offseason, and while Magglio Ordonez has quitely shown signs he is healthy and ready to get right back on top of the horse, Detroit was nowhere to be seen on the pitching front. And in fact the two teams they should and probably will finish in front arguably have better or at least more potential in their starting staffs than do the Tigers. The Royals have alot of young talent, especially in the arms department, they should be interesting to watch if for no other reason than they should be the future of the division, at least until free agency. The White Sox, one wonders what their plan was this offseason. Realistically they should probably win more games than Kansas City, but they deserve to finish last for being asleep at the wheel for three years running.The East..[...]
2005-03-24T09:38:06.816-08:00Opening day is slowly approaching and while wild with anticipation, who knows if the jerks at Time Warner and Cablevision will ever let us see it.
2005-03-22T20:13:59.486-08:00If there were a soundtrack for Major League Baseball's current affair of the heart and its relationship to all its willing participants it would be most fitting to be Neil Young's grin and bare the nerves and bone grit of his 1974 release On the Beach. A record that covers a dirty several year period of personal loss, suicide, corruption, hypocrisy and fatal idolism among other things.You don't hear much of this coming out of last week's congressional tribute to Rowan & Martin but Barry Bonds was right, at least about one thing..."All of you guys lied. "To be sure Bonds is not as shoulder shrug innocent as he believes himself to be, but he is damn right about the microscope and the web weaved.I hear some people been talkin' me downContrary to the beliefs of Curt Schilling, Rafael Palmiero, Barry Bonds and a host of others Jose Canseco did not bring this upon Major League Baseball. Major League Baseball brought the steroid (and thus far largely unmentioned supplements) scandal upon themselves. The players are primarily guilty for taking the lead. Their union guilty of using it as a cloak and dagger negotiation tactic. The management is guilty of playing make believe and turning a happy blind eye and cashing gate receipts (you will notice Bud Selig is not talking much these days about the great state of the game stellar attendance etal). The fans are guilty of horrible ignorance or down right stupidity (if you actually thought something was not up, even before Androtestine was found in Mark McGwire's locker). Most of all the press, yes the news corp., is guilty of total conspired selective choice ignorance.Some are bound for happiness, some are bound to glorySome are bound to live with less, who can tell your story?The press you say? How so? Well it is funny how money drives things for people (and I am not going to attempt to dissect for you what money is and how sad people use it as an excuse or a crutch, Ayn Rand already does that in quick fashion in Atlas Shrugged). You had your faint whispers and snickers about the epic growth in homerun production in baseball. The occassional wink and nod from the rare analyst, but by and large these individuals sat by and fed you the great race of 1998. There were the ESPN all-star week homerun derby's with alot of "Back, back, back..." as I recall. Then Bonds 2001, splish splashed with the occassional question of "How did you get so big again?" But the reporters where all to happy to ask, receive denial and move on. For the few that did persist in their questioning, you can only wonder how their subsequent access to players was treated, and where there oh so righteous editors were placing their stories if it all. Homeruns you see were selling, not just tickets and hotdogs, but newspapers, television ads, radio ads and corporate sponsored internet chats with baseball "insiders".So all you critics sit aloneYou're no better than me for what you've shownYou see, this is where I get lost in the who is where shuffle. Seems to me, these reporters can corner a young and somewhat ignorant kid like John Rocker into proclaiming his utter lack of perception. They manage to find out the intracite details of roster moves and front office squabbles. They get to who stole who's chef. Yet somehow, they want you to believe, that perhaps they too were "suspicious", but they just could not crack the nut. Bullocks, and don't nevermind. They did not want to find out. Anyone that did want to find out was coalesced enough by a producer or editor to let it die. These guys are in the locker rooms day in and day out over the course of every season, and you mean to tell me that the players were so smooth it was impossible to break the code?To Mom and Dad this just doesn't matter,But it's either that or pay off the kidnapperThe sorriest part [...]
2005-03-18T04:39:17.686-08:00HE AIN'T HEAVY HE'S MY ROLE PLAYER
2005-03-16T07:01:18.413-08:00The good news...Yusmeiro Petit pitched a couple of good innings against Clevelands A lineup yesterday. The bad news, he was doing it in place of an injured Steve Trachsel. An injury which looks increasingly serious...from the good folks at the NY Post: http://nypost.com/sports/mets/41167.htm
2005-03-16T03:49:54.606-08:00Not much to discuss when the rain comes down in Florida.I have not really discussed nor wanted to the Congressional charade that is scheduled for Thursday. Steroids in baseball is and was a problem, but not that big a problem. In time the guilty parties will be 100% identifiable, several of the key suspects have basically wink - wink admitted as such (Bonds, Giambi, Sheffield) the debate will rage over asterisks and whose record is real. The union and players all want to window dress and move on for the most part, to be fair so do the owners and management.Why anyone is shocked by what has transpired in the past few months is just laughable to me. Yet how and why people are just willing to look past it all is similarly pure comedy. I had to laugh out loud yesterday when Chipper Jones dismissed the pending hearings and suggested he really does not care as, "Barry with or without steroids is the greatest baseball player I have ever seen." Chipper, that is probably true, but one thing is irrefutabley certain, had Bonds and others not used steroids the wealth of their achievements would not be as great.Bonds physical tampering allowed him to have the absolute best years of his career when other players physically break down and decline. Not a a coincidence. It is artificial. It is cheating. Bonds has recently made the vapid argument that steroids can't help your vision or hand to eye coordination. Thanks for the insight Barry, then why did you need steroids? Simple answer to remain physically viable when natural time says it is over.So as the debate simmers to a small boil into forgotten times of less trivial matters, one will be left to visit Cooperstown and view figures such as Bonds, McGwire and Sosa (please lets not be stupid on this one) and their mark on the game. At the same time weak minds want you to believe that steroid use is wrong, these players were still surely great, but don't dare to mention the likes of Pete Rose or even worse Joe Jackson, for they committed the greatest sin of cheating the game. On Rose they are unequivocally correct. How anyone could think the steroid bunch differs is beyond me, their actions changed the outcomes of games.Now Joe Jackson was accused of the ultimate crime in conspiring to throw the 1919 World Series. Lets ponder the observation of Mr. Bonds and several (too many to name) pundits of the baseball world. Surely hitting a ball, seeing it, and mastering the hand to eye coordination is one of the most difficult tenets of professional sports, if not the most. That being the case Jackson is without a doubt the greatest hitter of all-time. Because in throwing the World Series, he managed to hit .375, score 5 runs and drive in 6, and on a side note fielding 30 chances without an error. http://www.chicagohs.org/history/blacksox/joe2.htmlJackson was guilty of not turning in his cheating teammates, there is enough evidence to support his innocence and his flat out play on the field refutes an attempt to conspire to lose. Unless of course you believe he was so skilled a hitter that he could dial in and choose his exact moments of success.Perhaps that is why players like Chipper Jones weigh in as they did yesterday, as much as they know what happened is wrong, they also know they watched it happen.Someday Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds will be due a plaque in a modest building in central New York. Their ascent to immortality is a little more akin to professional wrestling than baseball. I don't need congress, the FBI or a grand jury to clue me into it. All I needed to be skeptical was the Androstenedione found in McGwire's locker in 1998. Suspicion turned to enlightenment. Perhaps we can have a fun Barry Bonds press conference during the week[...]
2005-03-14T07:04:08.646-08:00No sooner had I written you would like to see a little more life from Reyes and Matsui...http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/nym/stats/nym_springtraining_stats.jspWell, Jose had a nice weekend anyhow. To be honest, I am not certain the total accuracy of these statistics, I was fairly certain that David Wright hit a homerun last week. Maybe there is an A vs. B element in here?--------------------------------------------------------------Kris Benson looked sharp yesterday (caveat emptor - It was Detroit though)...http://www.nj.com/mets/affiliate_media/spnet.ssf?/default.asp?c=advance&page=mlb/scores/final/B144845.htmOn the other Chris front, Woodward is making life difficult for one of the last standing Mets from the 2000 World Series team. Hard to imagine Joe McEwing is going to make this roster over he or Cairo.More on the "deep depth" (who does not love the old-timers like Earl Weaver) of the Mets infield at the official site...http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20050313&content_id=966370&vkey=spt2005news&fext=.jsp&c_id=nym--------------------------------------------------------------Some personal observations on where this puts the Mets roster:For starters it seems that for now Kaz Matsui has been handling second base rather well. Admittedly I have only seen limited action (DAMN Timewarner and Cablevision, GROW UP!) but his look at second is if it is his natural position, where as at shortstop he looked strained last year.My concern is with consistency from Matsui's bat, I always felt one way or another his defense will stabilize, the question is can he handle being a top of the order producer which the Mets so desperately need? And how long do you allow the question to linger? Realistically it hinges on the how the games play out, if the Mets are as a team doing okay, Matsui will probably have a longer leash both defensively and offensively.Across the way we all know the only thing that can hold back Jose Reyes is health. If he has it, look out, dynamite. The Mets and Reyes desperately need to avoid the disabled list, if not only for piece of mind.David Wright is the good soldier, saying all the correct things, but as the warmth of April approaches (or at least its perception) it looks likely that Wright will be hitting in the back third of the Mets lineup. The question is how far back? Wright is still green as they say, but does anyone really question whether he has better plate acumen than Reyes and Matsui, and certainly than Mike Cameron, whose ego has already been bruised this offseason. I would hate to see Wright wasted in the seventh spot, or baseball gods forbid, the eighth hole. Lots of juggling to do for Willie and lots of tabs to keep early in the season.I always liked the way Bobby Valentine was able to balance the 1999 Mets lineup, easily the best offensive team in Mets history. Granted Valentine was afforded the opportunity to pencil in hall of famer to be Rickey Henderson into the leadoff spot, but his approach to often put Roger Cedeno in the seventh hole was an interesting tactic. It provided a level of protection to the free swinging Rey Ordonez in that Cedeno's speed brought the ball to the strikezone more often. Either Reyes or Matsui would fit in similarly and would do the same for say Mike Cameron, or perhaps even more interestingly Doug Mientkiewicz, the latter of which handles the bat extremely well. Ultimately a lineup as such is pretty interesting (Reyes and Matsui being more or less interchangeable):1 - Jose Reyes2 - David Wright3 - Carlos Beltran4 - Mike Piazza5 - Cliff Floyd6 - Mike Cameron7 - Kaz Matsui8 - Doug MientkiewiczStill feels weird to write Carlos Beltran's name in [...]
2005-03-11T08:16:44.573-08:00Some early numbers from Florida...
2005-03-10T04:24:52.783-08:00Pedro Martinez second start of the spring became a simulated game yesterday. A brief rehash from Mark Hale:
2005-03-07T07:44:53.330-08:00Phil Mushnick gets into the bizarre episode of Carlos Delgado's emancipation proclamation from end of last week. If I am reading this very grumpy, tired old man correctly, he thinks Omar Minaya should be investigated for seeking to connect with latino players? Or is he simply suggesting in kind that there should some sort of new age KKK division for Caucasian GM's?
2005-03-05T06:47:50.490-08:00Bob Klapisch weighs in on the obvious...
2005-03-01T12:53:05.273-08:00This is the swan song for MSG's brief tenure covering the Mets.
2005-03-01T12:34:37.546-08:00Joel Sherman goes down memory lane in comparing yesterday to today...
2005-02-28T14:12:47.683-08:00Baseball needs a new helping hand.Following the rancor of the ill-advised and timed players strike that wiped out the entire 1994 post-season, baseball had spent its last ounce of integrity.A lot of speculation of who and what brought the fans back to the game, arguments are made about homeruns and as obvious tangent steroids, but to reality the game was revived by timeless qualities. History, namely Cal Ripken and his pursuit of the impossible, Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played streak, and as much as it pains me to say it, the return of the New York Yankees the following season. Ripken was an easy sell, only a total fool would discount his achievement. The man did not miss work for 16 years! What followed was the return of an historic franchise, coupled with the resurgence of old baseball cities such as Cleveland, St. Louis and Ripken's Baltimore.Yes the hoopla around the homerun and the great fake race of 1998, and the subsequent less enchanting race just three years later wooed the casual fan in awe. But baseball's diehards live for and relish moments without suspicion. As much fanfare as was bestowed on the magic 62 and 71, only the willingly blind did not accept that some laboratory had a hand in those events.In contrast to those unequivocal mockeries of human physical achievement, baseball once had a marquee name that for many reasons, some of which were quite valid, fans had grown to love hating. So with some distance and perspective, the good fortune of health could allow Ken Griffey Jr. to restore some integrity to the game and perhaps resurrect his career on a positive path.I can admit to feeling some sense of divine justice in how Griffey's career turned after he forced his way out of Seattle following the 1999 season, and for spurning the Mets (albeit thankfully in retrospect). After a solid first season in Cincinnati, Griffey had amassed an astonishing 438 homeruns in a little more than 11 full seasons, one of which was got short by 50 games due to the strike. This was a player whom it seemed legitimately possible might crack 800 homeruns in his career. Injuries derailed that thought to become just another in series of what if questions to be debated for fans through the ages.At 35, Griffey has lost what easily where the last key prime years of career to maddening injuries. It would be premature, however, to pronounce him finished. Certainly baseball could much benefit a return to grace for its former poster boy.History and fate always seem to have a funny way of working things out over time. I am not going to sit here and tell you I wish ill on any certain player, but there is that glimmering hope of divine justice. In that light it would be a surprise coupe for all involved were Griffey to have a comeback season. I would welcome the opportunity to watch his easy flowing swing and somewhat ego laden follow through once again. Imagine if Griffey were able to top the 50 homerun mark just one more time, and in the most extreme of possibilities could string together a healthy 5 to 7 year run to end his career. Sometime around 2011, perhaps fans could legitimately stand as Hank Aaron's career homerun record stood challenged. Perhaps if fate serves it will still be standing.Aaron has been often referred to as a compiler by one noted sports analyst. A reference that is meant to separate his achievement from the mind boggling single season achievements of Babe Ruth in the 1920's. Aaron very well might have not hit 50 homeruns in a season, let alone[...]
2005-02-27T05:51:54.873-08:00Here is a look at what is in the world of the press a few days before the first game of the spring...Kevin Kernan at the Post, time travels with a "new" Mets of a decade ago...http://nypost.com/sports/41428.htmMark Hale follows up yesterdays "what if Pedro and Willie bang heads?" with lets remember for the millionth time, Mike Piazza's throwing or lack thereof.http://nypost.com/sports/mets/41424.htmI won't dismiss Hale's assertion, no one ever has, Piazza has never been in the top level at throwing %, what's worse is he routinely allows the most steals. But the question really is does this really mean anything. I say no. Go check the stats at ESPN.com (hint you can go beyond 2001 if you are crafty).http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/fielding?groupId=9&season=2004&seasonType=2&split=78&sortOrder=true&sortColumn=catcherERAThe fact is one aspect of Piazza's game is suspect. Across the board, when he has caught the majority of a season (you need to really check 2002 and prior for this) he routinely per game handles the most total chances, at the highest rate of success (ie not making errors) and more importantly his CERA (Catchers Earned Run Average of the pitching staff) is consistently in the top percent of all the major leagues.Hale vaguely points out that Piazza can catch, as the stats clearly point out. Until someone shows me a catcher who can throwout around 35% of runners year in and year out, and keep the staff together. Naysayers will say things like CERA has more to do with the pitchers. BS. You are wearing blinders, go look at Ivan Rodriquez over the past few seasons, it is a complete partnership. With Florida his CS% was down, his CERA was improved. Good catchers work well with good staffs regardless of CS%. Look at Jason Varitek or Mike Matheny.Again there is no denying Piazza's throwing is poor, but there is no evidence this has negatively impacted the Mets. Certainly one considers that it puts added pressure on pitchers, perhaps increasing their workload, but it does not appear to hurt their bottomline.Carlos Beltran tech savvy...from Newsdayhttp://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/mets/ny-spmets0227,0,3018276.story?coll=ny-mets-bigpixAlso from the LI printing...David Lennon on a subject of this blog from last week (see Coming Back Home)http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/mets/ny-spstraw274159605feb27,0,6996344.story?coll=ny-mets-printBack to the future and the past...I did not realize when posting it yesterday, but the "Canoe" piece was some sort of drama log by none other than Delgado's brain child agent David Sloane...http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/story/284943p-244100c.htmlAll I can say is, it used to be us who had our player agents writing stupid articles. Good luck Florida very interested to read Mr. Sloanes articles after the games are played. If you are not inclined to read, Sloane indicated that the Mets are a 4th place team with or without Carlos...Beltran that is.[...]
2005-02-25T21:53:55.116-08:00It was only a matter of time before the first articles of the spring lofting some final good bye grenades at Al Leiter and John Franco. It certainly won't be the last, with Leiter the stories will be revisited at least over the course of 8 series against the Marlins. Franco the heavier baggage of the two has the less weighted travel dignity of Houston and the NL Central on his side.