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Section 23

Updated: 2012-04-15T18:37:24.727-07:00




Long hiatus. But I have decided to give this another go.

With the lights out...


Ok, 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.

There is little much to say that has not been said about the weekend. You would like to finish off a team when you take the first two, but as short handed and struggling as the Mets are offensively you take solace in 2 of 3 from the Marlins right now.

What I will point out beyond congratulations to Aaron Heilmann for a tremendous performance on Friday, and welcome to Pedro, who even with marginal stuff looked dominant on Saturday, is the art of poor journalism.

The piece by Colin Stephenson of the Newark Star Ledger, available at NJ.COM is a perfect example of op-ed reporting. Stephenson asserts his personal opinion of the emotive tense of Willie Randolph's post game interview, which is fine, but you don't see Willie Randolph or any of the context to which Stephenson characterizes his words.

My problem is with his use of "trying to be kind" in reference to Randolph's post game conference. It is irrelevant to the reader whether Stephenson thinks or knows Randolph is trying to be kind, all that matters is that Randolph answers a question as asked. This is a small example of New York writers attempting to drive the storyline as opposed to the game driving it. Of course Glavine did not hit his spots well as evidence by the walks, deep counts and ultimately his loss.

Hard To Blog What you Do not See...


Sure 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.

I will always be trying to add some insight and often will try to listen to games on the radio, but the lack of MSG/FSN makes this venture difficult.

Obviously last nights win was big as it kept the good vibes alive, but also Ishii pitched better than could be expected. It is hard to overstate those 1 run wins and as much when they are in extra innings. Those things have a habit of building, and for a new team with alot of young players it can start to roll. It does not hurt the veterans either who start to smell momentum over hear we go again.

Not being able to watch last nights game in its entirety is doubly painful, I love the pitchers duel more than anything in baseball.

Aroun the Horn...


Three things to chew on after the completion of the first official week of games...some Mets some not...

1. Boo Birds. This week put the official stamp on New York as the most god awful representation of mutant minions existing on earth. New York fans are horrible creatures with low self esteem and anger management issues. Submitted as new evidence, the Yankee faithful booed, yes they BOOED Mariano Rivera. After that display of utter lack of respect you deserve 86 years of misery times two. The pond scum at Shea is no better. On opening day Kaz Matsui, Felix Heredia and Braden Looper were booed for simply having there names announced. Folks there are no two ways about it. If you feel the need to boo your own players for lack of success stop going to games, it is a cost relative issue to you personally. You feel it is pay exchange right to belittle your own team with lame excuses like "I only root for laundry." Seriously consider staying home, exposing your mental prowess is not doing your meager ego any good. Someone gives a lack luster "effort" fine have at them. I never booed Bobby Bonilla, never saw the point, but I can understand why you might want to. Rivera has earned a level of makegoods that should transcend time, space and physics. As for the Mets contingent, I can only suppose you really think Looper enjoyed Monday in Cincy, that Matsui is set on being a disappointment and that Heredia is just a nuiscance. New York is a town of spoiled misfits and a-clowns.

2. The Phillies and Pat Burrell. Think he misses Larry Bowa? Hardly, hitting .448 with 4 HRs and 17 RBIs in 7 games. There is a reason I was picking Philadelphia to finally show up, and this in one of them. Phils fans are hoping that this is finally a sign of the real Burrell.

3. The "enhancement" testing has thus far outed to leadoff hitters. That seems like it is really working, NOT. Couldn't possibly be that players juiced have wised up, slimmed down and kept a low profile. Or worse have the money and means to access the key masking agents.

Thats two...


Yesterday'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.

The difference maker for the Flushing Fellows yesterday was the leg game. Specifically Jose Reyes and Kaz Matsui. Combine some less than stellar play from the Astros (hey first you giveth then you taketh away, although we gave to Cincy and Atlanta) the Mets capitalized on the little differences that makes winners out of former losers.

To me the turning point of yesterday's action was clearly Jose Reyes ability to leg himself out of potential double play in the 8th inning. Victor Diaz who had reached on a walk and moved to third on Marlon Anderson's third pinch hit of the young season (watch out Lee Mazzili, Rusty Staub and Lenny Harris) scored as Reyes beat a hurried throw from Houston shortstop Adam Everett. There is some debate as to whether Houston pitcher Russ Springer should have gone home with the throw, one thing for sure, he will unlikely consider trying to double off Reyes should the situation present itself again. With the game tied and Kaz Matsui at the plate, Reyes under the thankfully open door policy of Willie Randolph quickly stole second base. From there he promptly jetted home on Matsui's slap single to center.

So another nice come from behind win. So following a less than fulfilling opening week, the Mets have had one give away loss, four regular ole L's and two consecutive take aways in their W column. In the season ending boxscore Sunday and Monday look less to the naked eye than opening days one run defeat to Cincy, but turning around 1 run deficits two days running in the 8th inning is a nice building block for success.

Opening week blues...


Not what the doctor ordered for the Mets for a fresh start and new faces.

The horror that transpired in Cincinnati on opening day in the bottom of the ninth trickled down right through to the top of the eighth inning yesterday in Atlanta.

The Mets looked like the same hapless and somewhat scared drones we have grown to know all to well over the past several seasons. The question was how could it be possible? How could you bring in a new GM (again!) and new Manager with all but one new coach (again!) and overhaul five of your eight position players from opening day a year ago, only to see the same legally bad and uninspired baseball.

When Pedro Martinez grounded out to John Smoltz in the top of the 7th inning yesterday, you could not help but think he was wondering the same thing as you..."Did I make a mistake?"

Happily the Mets finally won their first game of the season and the first under manager Willie Randolph yesterday. To some extent, the way Smoltz was rolling (although give a big assist to another mindless thirdbase coach, of which the Mets seem to have an endless supply) even the spector of 0-6 you had to chalk up to his magnificence as opposed to Met failure, he was dealing that well. Kudos to Willie Randolph, although more than one mental midget called WFAN yesterday to complain when he had Miguel Cairo sacrifice Jose Reyes into scoring Position. My goodness how could be playing for a tie on the because we had only one other blown chance to score against Smoltz at that point. Get the game tied and at least you have some relief if not momentum. Gloriously, we witnessed yesterday exactly why as successful as Bobby Cox has been in the regular season, why the Braves get dumped in the first round of the playoffs continously. Personally after 7 innings, I pat John Smoltz on the back and say thank you, but Cox allowed his closer of four years to hit the mound in the eighth with 110+ pitches on the arm. Earlier in the day Cox spoke with Ed Coleman of WFAN about how the Braves were getting the good breaks so far and his team could just as easily lost four or five games. Perhaps caught up in too much of the moment, he gave the Mets a break they very much desparately needed. Carlos Beltran acknowledged that opportunity graciously.

So the Mets salvaged some dignity yesterday. Having only seen part of Friday's game (before TWC axed my Turner South MLB extra innings preview in the 5th inning), Saturday's low level intensity and yesterday's affair it is not easy to get too pumped about the New Mets. All else is dark thanks in part to Time Warner and Cablevision.

Perhaps the New Mets were simply shell shocked and tight after Monday's kicker. Whatever the issue, the New Mets looked an awful lot like those old Mets, leaving an endless procession of runners in scoring position until two 8th inning situations delivered via homeruns.

Opening Day...Ouch!


Not 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.

The Mets had a lot of things go right yesterday, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez, as discussed by Adam Rubin in the Daily News.

The Mets had a major meltdown from their closer, but less overt were the ten men left on base, and the two double plays from the bat of David Wright. I am not here to blast this game on Wright's shoulders, but each game is more or less a composite of success and failures, rarely is it once action. Braden Looper happened to be the most recent and relevant action yesterady afternoon.

There is a theory in baseball that on average you can more or less count on winning a third of your games and losing another third. It is what happens in the remaining third that makes or breaks your season. Basically you are going to have your share of 6 to 1 or 7 to 3 affairs that appear relatively harmless, and your presence on the tail end of those scores as well. But the real makeup of a team is the 1 and 2 run games. How you fare in these contests, and how many you cough up and how many you take back sets you apart from pretender to contender. The Mets take a big "L" in this category of games yesterday. For the sake of arguement it is a two game loss swing. Not only did they lose by a run, they coughed up a two run lead with only three outs to go. They lost one that was in their bag.

Oh by the way, John Smoltz return was hardly awe inspiring. And yet I doubt the Braves are ready for mutiny. The marathon still has 161 to go.

The Senior Circuit...


So, 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 Season Predictions


Alot 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..[...]

Moving on from Steroids for awhile...


Opening 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.

Speaking of jerks, well that is probably a little harsh, but my often whipping boy is back up to sly undercuts against the Mets, Jayson Stark. Check out his four page drama regarding the potential trials of fire for Carlos Beltran. Jason, really, is it necessary to write an article dissecting the potential articles that could await Beltran? He is cautious enough to keep seeming semi-objective and respectful of Beltran, but you can't help but see a tinge of that Sports-writer hoping you fail undertone. Who could blame him, it is infinitely more interesting to the masses to vulture a dead body than to hand a crutch to someone in need.

Good news travels like a wildfire, bad news travels slow. Ain't that the truth.

Ooh Baby, That's Hard to Change


If 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 [...]

Lots of doings in Metland and beyond...


For starters, and this news is getting late early...Joe McEwing was released yesterday. I was not going to bother linking to any articles, but Mark Hale seems to do as much justice as can be done...

In the end the mutants will be happy, they conjured fantastic stories of McEwing holding back deserving minor league bench players, as well as secret meetings with Al Leiter and John Franco to plot the next trade of a deserving prospect.

Bottomline, McEwing did his job well, he earned his pay, he happened to be a role player on a team so bad it was irrelevant that they had any role players. Then again the expectations in New York are so absurd that every bench player is expected to challenge the records for pinch-hits in a season each year. Folks, Rusty Staub and Lee Mazzilli sub supreme seasons (ugh I can't I believe I typed that name) only happen once and awhile, it only happened a couple of times for them.

Again late eary on this news...

A lot of deception or wishful thinking out in Metland. Trachsel's delivery my have been slow, his games longer than most and his consistency an issue, but it is far reaching to believe that Matt Ginter is going to slide in and hold the fort. Trachsel gave bigtime innings in a day and age when starters have become notoriously cheap on stamina. When you consider Trachsel last year pitched what is considered a quality start 63% of his outings you wonder how you get that from a replacement number three or four in the rotation. The thing about Trachsel, is the other roughly third breakdown oddly. About half are borderline in the quality category, either off by a one third of an inning or having allowed 4 runs as opposed to 3. Then there is the remaining half, otherwise known as bombs

So all the comparing of Trachsels saber-stats, uber-stats and just plain stats do not answer the question, can Matt Ginter pitch 200 innings and 2 out of every 3 starts be very effective. Assuming the Mets offense is vastly improved this season, and assuming that Trachsel would likely have been facing teams number three and four starters more often than the top of rotation guys, it is not hard to imagine him having won 15 games, seriously, he did win 16 for the 2003 version of titanic.

Granted this would have been a much more traumatic problem without Pedro Martinez or Kris Benson. Still with questions regarding Pedro's health needing to be proven untrue, issues regarding whether Glavine was first half 2004 or the rest of his Mets tenure, and whether or not Victor Zambrano should have remained an outfielder puts an early magnifying glass on the season.

Now more than ever Kris Benson needs to turn the corner toward major league baseball pitcher and Rick Petersen needs to find that "10 minutes" to get Zambrano straight. It is too early to be thinking Petit or Humber, far too early.

Good news...bad news...


The 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:

A reality check of epic proportions on the mighty expectations placed on Jose Reyes and the value of Carlos and Pedro in deflecting the spotlight, a major part of those acquisitions, Newsday testifies:,0,5331566.column?coll=ny-mets-print

Rainy days...Congressional Quarterly...Forgotten Greats.


Not 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. 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[...]

Catching up on the weekend...


No sooner had I written you would like to see a little more life from Reyes and Matsui..., 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)... 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... 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 [...]



Some early numbers from Florida...

Encouraging? Mike Piazza seems to be grooving in his limited time thus far. With every swing of the bat, what little trade value Jason Phillips has brightens.

Discouraging? Jose Reyes and Kaz Matsui, you would like to see more life there.

Washed Away...


Pedro Martinez second start of the spring became a simulated game yesterday. A brief rehash from Mark Hale:


The Daily Snooze gets a little deeper into the news that appears to signal Mike Cameron will definitively be in rightfield on opening day...

I think they are overplaying Strawberry's influence, but what would New York sports be without hyper-drama. Perhaps the clown festival on the Mets message boards will end regarding Cameron's less than thrilled attitude regarding the switch. Lord knows we all enjoy being replaced at work by someone making three times as much as us, and losing our office.


I have no idea who Anthony Rieber is, but he weighs in on what will be a somewhat important or at least impact decision by Willie and Omar...,0,4454236.story?coll=ny-mets-print

I have felt from the moment that Juan Castro was brought into camp that Phillips days were numbered. I am keeping my fingers crossed. Jason may very well be a great guy and I certainly wish him no ill will. I just never want to see him swing a bat at Shea in a Mets uniform again. Rieber refers to Phillips 2004 season as one were "he lost confidence". Really? Among other things.

A more interesting note to the article is Tom Glavine's praising of Phillips. One thing is certain, and since no one in the press talks about it, I wonder what exactly to make of Glavine's incompatibility with Mike Piazza. Piazza rarely has caught Glavine, and was almost exclusively kept away from him last year (firstbase experiment aside even). Glavine has tossed twice this spring, not surprisingly neither time to Piazza. Piazza is going to be sure to get some well desereved extra breathers this year, this should come about every fifth day I imagine, begining with Wednesday April 6th.

Checking out the scene...


Phil 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?

We blog, you decide...


Mark Hale weighs in on some topics that will be beaten to a bloody mess until sometime in July.

Whereas, I think the monitoring of Victor Zambrano is a bit much, if most Mets fans are thinking like me, and I imagine that regarding Zambrano they are, anything that Victor does even remotely positive will be welcome. If he manages to harness this "potential" we have heard about, fans would be ecstatic. Other than that the will permanently be a reminder that Scott Kazmir was unexpectedly and without warrant dealt.


Gammon's has some tidbits on the Mets middle men (that is Matsui and Reyes) as well. He also is the first to come out of the closet and say...DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE CARDINALS...


News and Quotes


Bob Klapisch weighs in on the obvious...
Adam Rubin on what is quickly becoming one of the strangest sub-plots to the 2005 season. Why Sloane and Delgado insist on discussing this is just bizarre.

Perhaps you wonder why I have not weighed in on the Al Leiter slaughter that has gone on in print, radio and the myriad of neanderthal message boards the past few days. For one, Mike Francessa of WFAN has weighed in enough, figuratively and literally. Honestly, as much as Al should just let it go, the fact that Slim Brain and the Diet Coke Machine think that Leiter is off base in criticizing their holinesses is what is truly laughable. I enjoyed listening to Francessa jabber on Thursday for no less than fifteen minutes about how Al should just get over it. At some point it is too pathetic neo-adolescents speaking around each other trying to get the last word. So lets just have a group shut-up, you are collectively annoying.

Elsewhere to be critical of the dynamic dumb dumbs.

Dumb One and Dumb Two, blathered on high Wednesday about the silliness of ESPN covering the first spring training games. Who watches this stuff, they said? Who cares, this is overkill they belched.

I could not help but laugh at the irony of these two discussing the overkill of sports coverage. But I guess that is why they branch out into the exciting territory of doing play by play recaps of new Sopranos episodes, which we can joyfully retrench to in about 18 months. In the meantime we will get to hear the clown princes of overkill discuss five hours a day, five days a week, some 240 odd days a year the intimate details of such things as the Al Leiters pipeline to the Mets front office insisting they have sources that they can't divulge.

In the meantime try calling to make a point to the monkees without having a documented, authoritative source that is notarized.

MSG offerings...


This is the swan song for MSG's brief tenure covering the Mets.

You have to wonder how the network will live without a viable sports property between May and October, considering how often the Knicks and Rangers tee it up in the playoffs.

It was fun while it lasted, and I am sure they will be somewhat sour through the season. If you have not seen it, check out John Giannone's conversation with Mike Piazza - - in the multimedia section.

Giannone and the MSG folks then did an in studio tap dance around the notion of Piazza catching at age 36. Yes, Johnny Bench was already in retirement, and yes Carlton Fisk had a subpar year at age 36, but he also then had a monster year at 37 and some fairly productive ones into his early 40's (see: And don't make the boneheaded leap that Fisk was DHing in the good old American League, he was playing 80% of this games or more catching. Now does anyone want to deny that Mike Piazza is in better physical condition than Carlton Fisk was at the same time of their respective careers?

Around the Horn 3.1.05


Joel Sherman goes down memory lane in comparing yesterday to today...

A little dramatic on his assertions, especially when you consider, how many organizations have developed the likes of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, Jon Matlack and Dwight Gooden. The Mets position players have been star struck and cross luck. Using Bernard Gilkey's doubles record is utterly silly. If he really wanted to make a point, he could reference Lance Johnson as the single season hits leader, or a host of other bizarre team records...have fun at...

A better part of his prose from today...
"We both have come up with this organization and both have come to love this organization," Wright said. "I speak for us both when I say we love being Mets and I speak for us both when I say we both bleed orange and blue."
Homer Simpson once said, "Dear lord, please bless this rocket house and all those who dwell in this rocket house." My sentiments exactly.

Shifting topics away from Shea...


Baseball 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[...]

Sidebar Managing


I admit curiosity when Phillips was so vocal about Randolphs's "lack of experience". Comes across as an, "oh boy, how bad will I look if Randolph gets the job and does well."

Sunday Wire...


Here 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... 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. 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 (hint you can go beyond 2001 if you are crafty). 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 Newsday,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),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... 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.[...]

Mastering the Obvious


It 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.

So with all the conspiracy theorists in Mets chat land getting their collective groove on today, I present perhaps what you have already read:

From Shaun Powell in Newsday -,0,1453404.column?coll=ny-sports-columnists

And from the Great White North -

As much as Powell's piece is somewhat "here is the new world of Mets" entertaining, this much is true; Omar Minaya was given the check book after a massive July 31, 2004 brain trust malfunction following three disasterous offseasons. Conveniently glossed over in the grand Leiter and Franco meddling player GM fantasy land was the John Harper article on January 12, 2005 in the Daily News. But New York fans insist on digging the stupid truth over the much more realistic possibilites.

The "canoe" article had every newbie and original member of the "Anti Leiter Uber Fan Hater Club" (heretofor known as ALUFHC) spitting useless bullets to their head nodding clones on Mets messages boards.

Folks, hard to swallow, but Al Leiter said no untruths in that article. Currently he who laughs last, and for now Leiter the GM you all grew to hate played a fiddle you did not want to hear.

Now who was it again that openly campaigned to get Gary Sheffield at Shea...hmm...who could that be?