Friday, July 20, 2012

The Reason To Doubt

I have been a die-hard, loyal Mets fan since the beginning of the 2008 season. You may ask how I got to be this much of a Met fan. Well, the truth is, The Norfolk Tides used to be the Mets Triple-A Affiliate until they went to the Orioles. My Dad grew up in Norfolk for most of his childhood, so I sort of started to follow the Tides until I found out the Shocking Truth: They were not actually an MLB team. So through some crazy reason in my young mind, I started following the Mets as I did the Tides. This little seed of a fan of the Mets then started growing. In fact, it grew so much, that it has turned into the sports obsession that I have today with the Mets. I cheer, I boo, and of course I get angry sometimes at my beloved Orange and Blue. But, in the midst of their recent 6 game losing streak, which pushed them down to 3rd in the NL East and tied for 4th in the Wild Card race I finally came to the conclusion that this is just simply not our time. Sure, it’s easy to say that we are only 3 and a half games out of making the playoffs, but really, if you combine our lineup with our brutal schedule up ahead, things don’t add up.

Terry Collins came into the job with the right mentality. He had just been hired as manager of the New York Mets on a brisk, November morning in 2010. Signing a two-year contract, Collins knew what he was getting into. He had just signed up to manage a team that was not heading in the right direction. The Mets had gone from having the best record in ’06 (97 wins) to having 79 wins in ’09. Collins knew that he would have to turn the team around or he would have the same fate as Jerry Manuel, whom Collins was replacing. In 2011, Collins led a team that was predicted last by Sports Illustrated to a forecasted 77 wins, astounding even new GM Sandy Alderson who did not believe his team would hit that level of success. Even though Terry had not led the team to more wins than in ’ 09, Sandy still wanted to keep him around. He liked what he saw in Collins. Terry took advantage of this opportunity by telling the Mets that they can be contenders and that we can “prove everybody wrong”. Well, those words of motivation have helped the Mets this year as again Sports Illustrated predicted them last in the NL East. Even so, the Mets stormed out of the gates and were 46-40 heading into the break. But then, a familiar foe showed up again.

In 2007, the Mets looked like they were going to make the playoffs for the second consecutive year for only the second time in franchise history. As September approached, the Mets had an 8 and ½ game lead over the number two team, the Phillies. Most would say that the division was locked up barring and fatal collapse in the final month of the year. Then it happened. The Mets started to fall on their faces. Losing games, bad starting pitching, and even worse hitting created the perfect storm. That 8 and ½ game lead started shrinking by the day. Mets lose. Phillies win. Mets lose. Phillies win. This pattern continued until the end of September, where the Mets saw themselves looking up at the Phillies, not down. They had just had the worse September collapse of any team in the last 100 years. They ended up losing the Wild-card spot, completing the awful month. Ever since that September, the Mets have never been as close to making the playoffs. In fact, they even collapsed the next year in September, but only losing and 5 game lead this time. Over the years, the negatives of the Mets have been bigger then positives. Since 2010, they have had a winning record in the first half of the year, only to slump in the second half, losing their swagger, and looking up at more and more teams in the East. That’s exactly what it’s looked like this year. Out of the All-Star Break, the team went 0-5, fall to 7 games behind the Nationals.

The Mets are going to need a few more pieces to fall into place before they can make a serious run at the Post Season. Trust me, I can be the most optimistic Mets fan out there, but seriously, our hopes will come crashing down on us. Here are the pieces we need before we start thinking post season.

1. Bullpen Help. This is really an easy one. Our bullpen has the highest ERA in the majors, the biggest gap in ERA between starters and the bullpen. There have been at least 16 games this year where our bullpen has given up the lead in a situation where we could have won. Possible Replacements: Brandon Fuentes, LHP, St. Louis

2. A Power Right Handed Bat. Because Jason Bay is most likely on the trading block for some Bullpen Help, we are going to need another righty that can step in there (other than David Wright) and get pitchers nervous. Possible Replacements: Jonny Gomes, A’s, Josh Willingham, Twins, and Kelly Shoppach, Red Sox.

3. A 1-2-3 Pitching Punch. Matt Harvey could easily be the third piece in the punch short term, but Johan and R.A are getting old. We have young guns in the Minors (Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler) that could help, but I have a feeling that we need one more veteran in there to help Harvey out. Possible Replacements: Ryan Dempster, Cubs, Matt Garza, Cubs.

If these final puzzle pieces fall into place within the next two years, I have hope that we could make the post season in 2014 or 2015, and make a serious run in the postseason in 2016. Ya Gotta Believe!

R.I.P Gary "The Kid" Carter #8. Never Forget Jose Reyes.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mid-Season Awards

This is the the 2nd of the 4 editions that I will have of awards this year (1st Quarter, Mid-Season, 3rd Quarter, End of Year, and then Playoffs if we make it.) I hope to show you that over the course of just 40.5 games each part of the year, awards will change and stay the same.

MVP: David Wright Previous Winner: David Wright. This award stays with David through the mid point of the year because he has ignited the flame in this offense that has led us to be 6 games over .500 and in contention for the playoffs. He still has a startling .351 average (3rd in the NL) and is tied for the team lead in Homers with 12. Also, hes not too shabby in the RBI department either, where he has 59 of them which is 5th in the NL.
Silver Slugger: Scott Hairston. Previous Winner: Lucas Duda. I give the mid-season award to Hairston because, even though he is not a regular starter, he makes the most of his opportunities. He his 12 Homeruns which is tied with the team lead (Duda only has 11). What is more surprising about Hairston is, if you look at his splits this year against Righties and Lefties, it almost looks as if 2 totally different people were batting. He has a average in the .340s, 11 Homers, and 90 percent of his RBI's against Lefties. Against Righties, Hairston only has a average in the .160s, 1 Homer, and only 10 percent of his RBIs.
Cy Young: R.A Dickey Previous Winner: R.A Dickey. Dickey has almost locked up this award all year if he keeps at his pace. He has an active win streak of 11 consecutive wins, and went for a stretch of 44 2/3 innings without surrendering a earned run. Dickey is tied for the NL league in wins, 2nd in strikeouts, and is stifling more and more batters with his dancing knuckleball each time he starts. Dickey is 12-1 at the Mid-point, What will we be saying by the end of the year? 24-2?
Rookie of The Year: Jordany Valdespin Previous Winner: Kirk Nieuwenhuis This award would have still been Kirk's if it wasn't for his recent slump that he's been in. As for the current winner, 'Spinsanity as I call him, has been clutch in every way possible. Now, his fielding skills might be real crummy, but 'Spin has made up for that by hitting late game Homers (may 7), and showing us his legs. This is my Award To Watch though in the 2nd half because with Dillion Gee being out indefinitely, maybe some rookie pitchers could change my mind.
Best Newcomer: Andres Torres Previous Winner: Jon Rauch Torres, even with his low .200s batting average, still wins the award because he has saved many catches with his glove, stole some bases with his legs, and drawn a lot of walks. Take This: Even with his low .200s batting average, Torres still has an On-Base Percentage up in the .340s. That just shows how many walks he has drawn. Rauch, on the other hand, has dropped to rock bottom, and has caught the Bad Pitching disease from the other bullpen members (Probably caught it from Frank Francisco)
Biggest Disappointment: Our Bullpen Previous Winner: Our Bullpen/Ike Davis. Ike's performance in June got him off the hook for this award, but Our bullpen could not seem to get off it with him. Our bull pen has a combined ERA in the 6.50s, largest in the league by at least 1.00. Now, I'm not trying to say anything good about our bullpen, but with the trade deadline approaching, The Mets are seeking bullpen help from other sources. This could lighten up some of the anxiety that i have every 7th inning when that big metal door in Citi Field creaks open, letting someone out to the real mound.
Biggest Surprise: Ike's Turnaround Previous Winner: Terry Collins managing Injuries. Ike wins the award here for his stellar performance since June 1. Ike has gone from a .160 average to a average just over .210. He has found his power, getting 7 Homers since June, and is once again tied for the team lead. Ike has helped himself out too, by not swinging at pitching 2 feet off the plate, and watching them go by. Ike should continue to improve.
R.I.P Gary "The Kid" Carter #8. Never Forget Jose Reyes.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Mets' Top 10 All-Stars in History

In Honor of All-Star Weekend, I have come up with a list of the Mets, just the Mets, Top 10 All Stars in the 50-year history of the franchise (with some honorable mentions of course) I will count the Top 10 in this post down Top 40 style, so let it begin!

10. David Wright- Wright, who is the current 3rd Basemen for the Mets Wright now (did you see what i did there), is making his case for the NL MVP this year. But in the last week of fan voting this year, Giants 3rd  Basemen Pablo Sandoval beat out Wright for the starting job for the NL by 1.6 Million votes. Mets fans were up in arms once they heard about Sandoval beating Wright arguing that Wright has had the better year and all that,but it really came down to Giants fans supporting their 3rd basemen more in the final weeks of voting. The stats are thrown out the door. Never mind that, This year is Wrights 6th appearence in a Met uniform, also having appearences in 2006, '07, '08, '09, '10, and now 2012. 

9.  Ed Kranepool- Even though he only did have 1 All-Star appearence (in 1965), Kranepool was apart of many other big things as a Met. For Starters, if you think Bryce Harper is young, think again. Kranepool made his MLB debut with the Mets in their debut season as an expansion team. He was 17 years old when he got the call-up in September of that dreadful season for the Mets. Kranepool went on to be one of the best Mets first basemens of all-time, and was a big part of that 1969 Miracle Mets team that won it all against all odds.

8. Keith Hernandez- Keith, who came to the Mets in a trade from the Cardinals in the offseason after the '83 season, helped the team who had not been good since '69, do a complete 180 turn. After almost losing 100 games in '83, The Mets almost won 100 games in '84. Keith made the All-Star team that year, the first as a Met of the 3 he would have ('86, '87). Now, in '84 the Mets would not make the postseason, but Keith was the one who ignited the spark that turned this team around.

7. Jerry Koosman- Koosman, who barely made it as a Met in 1966, came to be one of the Mets stars alongside Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan in the Mets rotation in the late 60s. He broke the rotation a '68, and was a star in '69, getting a 17-8 record. He pitched in game 5 of the World Series that the Mets eventually beat the Orioles that year. Koosman is also famous because he brought to Met fans a whole new vibe they had never seen before. He rembraced Tug McGraw's "Ya Gotta Believe" slogan and Yogi Berra's "it aint over til its over". This gave Met fans hope, something they had never had before. Appearences: 1968, 1969

6. Willie Mays-  The Say Hey Kid was not a Met for long, and he is famously a San Francisco Giant,  but Mays still has his mark in the Mets organization. After his time with the New York BASEBALL Giants, Mays remained popular in New York. Even though he was aged, when he came to the Mets there was a lot of buzz. Mays was apart of the 1973 Mets World Series team that lost to the Athletics in 7 games. Mays played a season and a half for the Mets from 1972 to 1973, He made the All-Star team both of those years, which is remarkable since he was 41 at the time

5. Dwight Gooden- Doc Gooden, as they often called him, was and still is one of the most famous Mets of all time.Gooden made his MLB debut with the Mets in 1984 at 19 years of age. He quickly became known as one of the most feared pitchers in the game, and played a key role, along with Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter, in the 1986 Amazin' Mets World Series winning team. He played his whole 10 year career with the Mets, from 1984 to 1994. His career would have been longer but he was suspended the whole 1995 season after testing positive for cocaine use. He then retired from baseball forever, but is still a drug mess. Appearences: 1984-86, 1988.

4. Gary Carter- "The Kid" shows up at 4 on our list, and I don't think much has to be said about him. But I will anyway. Carter made a splash in his 1985 debut for the Mets after being traded from the Expos in the offseason after '84. Carter hit a 10th Inning Homer to give the Mets a win over rival the St. Louis Cardinals on Opening in 1985, a nice first impression. His youthful atmosphere spirited the locker room and gave the mets that push they needed to win the World Series in 1986 over the Red Sox. Carter made 4 consecutive All-Star appearences for the Mets from 1985-1988. Sadly All was not well for Carter after his career ended. He was diagnosed with a gyroblastomia tumor and cancer in his brain in 2011. Carter got extensive treatment and chemotherapy on the cancer, but sadly, Cancer won the battle as he died on February 16, 2012, only at the Age of 57.

3. Darryl Strawberry- "Straw" as they called him, you can make an argument for as the Best Met ever. (eventually you will lose though because it is Tom Seaver) Strawberry made his debut with the Mets in 1983, and made his case why he was here to stay. His rare ability (at least in those days) to be able to hit 35-35 guy made him a very valuble asset, especially on the World Champion '86 team. Strawberry was very popular in New York during his prime, but as he declined in numbers, so did his mentalb stability. He was also Suspended in 1995 for his usage of cocaine. After that though, he was a big part, along with Dwight Gooden, a part of the 1996 World Series Champion Yankees club. He also help them in '98 and '99 to win the World Series. Appearences: 1984-90 (7 appearences)

2. Mike Piazza- The main piece in "The Best New York Mets Trade Ever" on May 22, 2012. The Mets traded for Pizza in exchange for Preston Wilson, Ed Yarnell, and Geoff Geotz. Let's just say we got the better part of that trade. Piazza helped us make consecutive playoff appearences for the 1st time ever in  1999 and 2000 (where we lost to the Yankees in the World Series). Piazza was known a little bit for his temper, as shown in his famous broken bat incident with Roger Clemens during the playoffs of 2000. In 2001, he gave back to the city of New York, as 10 days after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centers, He homered in the 10th inning of  home game, and gave the Mets the win, and winning for the city. He went on the play very productive years for the Mets until after 2005, when he was not re-signed with the Mets, and went and signed with the Padres. His Number is one of the 4 retired on the "Great Wall of Flushing" in left field of Citi Field. Appearences: 1998- '02, 2004-'05 (7 appearences)

1. Tom Seaver, THE BEST MET EVER, is number 1 on our list Terrific Tom was the biggest part in turning the once dreadful club from 1962-1968 into a contender. His mix of speeds and how he controlled his pitches was so sought out for in those days by scouts, once the Mets heard about it, they jumped at the chance to get him. He proved the scouts right, as he was the captain and leader on the squad. His leadership rewarded him with the Mets turning it around in '69....and well you know the story. Tom's number is one of  4 out on the "Great Wall Of Flushing" in left field in the Mets ballpark, Citi field. Tom has sealed his place in Mets fans' hearts for life and will always be....well Terrific Appearences: 1967- 73, 1975-76 (9 appearences)
R.I.P Gary "The Kid" Carter #8. Never Forget Jose Reyes.

Willie Mays


Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Resilience of Our 1-2 Punch

Sexual Abuse. Mount Kilimanjaro. Shoulder Surgery. Those are just some of the things R.A Dickey and Johan Santana have faced and conquered in their lives. Dickey wrote a book in the offseason finally telling the public about his troubles in his childhood, including being abused by a 14-year old girl and a 17 year old male. He then went on about how he perfected his knuckleball over many, many years with the help from some greats, Charlie Hough and Phil Niekro. With this help, he finally became a steady starter in the big leagues, but then landed in Flushing, where Jerry Manuel gave him the chance to be in the rotation. Dickey took full advantage as he set his career highs in wins and Games started. When Manuel was replaced by Terry Collins, nothing changed for Dickey as he still was guarenteed a spot in the 5-man rotation. Dickey was extremely elated when he heard that news. Dickey, though, was not the same in 2011 as he was in 2010. He was very shaky, and could not get a grip on why his knuckleball was not working as it was in the previous year. He worked on it in the offseason, and tuned up on the glitches. This year, Dickey has emerged as the front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award. He is 11-1, getting wins in his last 9 decisions. He's thrown 2 1-hitters (consecutive), and has not allowed a earned run in his last 40 and 1/3 innings, nearing Dwight Gooden for the team record. Gooden has 49 consecutive scoreless Innings. That means, if Dickey can keep up his brilliance in his next start and go the distance for and 3rd consecutive start, and for the 4th time in his last 5 starts, he will pass Doc Gooden for the Team record. Pretty amazing story, huh? A guy that has overcome abuse, childhood  abandonment, adversity as a pitcher, and perfecting the toughest pitch in baseball, is now competing for the Cy Young and leading a relatively young rotation in the right direction. I guess that's why his nickname is Really.Amazin. Dickey.

Johan, let's just say, has had it easier then his #2 Starter R.A. Johan came to the Mets in the 2007 offseason in a blockbuster trade because Johan was arguably the best pitcher in the MLB at the time. The deal for Johan included now One Game Wonder Philip Humber, who is now on the White Sox. The Mets signed Johan to a BIG 130 Million dollar contract, but was never the same in a Met uniform as he was in a Twin uniform.He went 40-25 in his first 3 years as a Met, with about a 2.80 ERA. Now those stats aren't too bad, but not exactly what you expect from the BEST Pitcher in the MLB. In late 2010, though, Johan tore his shoulder apart and had to later undergo surgery. That surgery on his throwing shoulder would then keep him out the following year, 2011. He went through some rehab starts with the High-A St.Lucie with success, but the doctors said he could not resume baseball activities until next year. Johan came back this year and was named the opening day starter by skipper Terry Collins. Many people were shocked by this, knowing that he had just come off the biggest change of his baseball career. Johan went out to face the Atlanta Braves on Opening Day, ready to prove all the critics wrong and that he was back for good. His critics were silenced. Johan threw an absolute gem against the high powered Braves lineup that included All-Stars Brian McCann and Jason Heyward. The extent of his gem? How about a 1-0 shutout for a Mets win. Johan came back down to earth, going 1-3 in his next 4 decisions. He approached the mound on June 1, 2012 and he felt in a groove after his bullpen session. This was the 8,020th game in Mets history, and the Mets were 1 of 2 teams left in the league without a no-hitter in their franchise history. Johan, from his first pitch in the game, was absolutley unstoppable. His fastball had more "zip" on it than usual, he was pulling the string more on his changeup, and his curveball fell off the table everytime he threw it to the Cardinals hitters. He had a no hitter through 6, but then it was threatened. Yadier Molina sent a shot to Left Field, where rookie Mike Baxter was playing for the Injured Jason Bay. Baxter went in pursuit of the ball, and caught it at the edge of the warning track. The fans gasps turned to cheers as they saw the ball settle into Baxter's glove. The fans gasped again once they saw what happened next. As Baxter caught it, he could not catch his balence and went crashing, shoulder-first, into the wall. Baxter laid on the ground, ball still in the glove,but motionless. The trainers rushed out to Baxter, and finally got him up and walked him off the field. Fans clapped fo Baxter, who could have just saved the first no-no in Mets History. In fact , he did. Johan retired the next 8 batters that he needed to get the no-no and went crazy when he struck out David Freese for the final out. The whole team rushed to the mound and jumped and mobbed Johan, as he had just made HI57ORY.

R.I.P Gary "The Kid" Carter #8. Never Forget Jose Reyes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fandom Has Its Faults: Day 1

As I read Bill Simmons newest article,  named The Consequences Of Caring, yesterday evening, It brought to me a new revelation as a truly passionate sports fan. As sports fans, no matter what age or size, If we have a favorite team in a specific sport, we live and die by that teams performance. It does not matter if that team is last in their division every year or they have 10 consecutive losing seasons. We laugh, cry, cheer, boo, and stand by our team no matter what. I'm about to take you on a journey, a journey into the mind a life of a passionate Met fan. I must warn you though, some of this content has been bleeped out due to its younger viewers.
Day 1: Saturday 6/9/12
I wake up on Saturday morning, still recovering from the beatdown-in-the Bronx the night before. The Yankees had hit 4, count em 4! Homers off of ace Johan Santana, who in his last start had thrown the first no hitter in Mets history. Home Run Derby champ from the year before, Robinson Cano had 2 2 run shots in the 2nd and 4th innngs, also starting the back-to-back-to back homers from Nick Swisher, Andruw Jones, and him of course. Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda had a no hitter through 6 and 2/3 innings pitched, and only led a run come in the 9th inning, when it did not matter anymore. The Yankees won the game Friday night 9 to 1, and brought back memories to Mets fans of why they own the city. I knew Saturday's game was not gonna be easier, as the Yankees had Phil Hughes on the mound. Now, I know that name doesn't jump out at you, but Hughes had just come off his best start as a Yankee, no scratch that, the best start of his career. He threw a complete game and overshadowed Tigers ace Justin Verlander, as he won the game only allowing 1 run. Now, The Mets had Dillon Gee on the mound who has had a string of 3 consecutive good starts, but the bullpen has given up the fantastic outings. Gee has had a no decision in all of those. For some reason though, after losing the last game in the Cardinals, and 2 of 3 to the Nats, and then last night to the Yankees, there were questions on how much longer the makeshift squad of no-names and minor leaguers good push this offense to win games. Game time finally rolled around, and I rushed downstairs to the basement, turned on the 60 inch TV to FOX, and blasted the surround sound. By the end of the first inning, I already needed a Xanax. Gee had already a balk, letting A-Rod drive in Jeter. Then Gee had loaded the bases with only one out. By this time, the Xanax wasn't working and I was gnawing down my nails to the nub. In the 3rd, we fired back though. Omar Quintanilla hit a shot to right. I yelled "Go, Go, Go!" I saw the ball finally go over the right field fence, and absolutley went bezerk. "YEA BABY! OMAR!!! HOMER!!!" I yelled, not mattering who heard me. Even though it was only a solo shot and it just tied the game. I knew how much that tying run meant to the team, win or lose the game, i knew we were back in it. Every inning when the Yankees were at-bat, I was gnawing on my nails more and more. In the 6th though, David Wright came up to bat. I cooled down in my chair a little, knowing he could give us the lead with one swing. That one swing finally came. A drive going deep. I said "Go, Go, GO!!!" again this time. The ball just went over Curtis Granderson's glove, counting as a Homer. I ran around in circles yelling again my Home Run cheer. "YEA BUDDY!!!! THAT"S THE WRIGHT STUFF!!! DAVID WRIGHT!!!" That shot put us up 2-1 in the Top of the 6th. The Yankees were not down and out, and my pacing around and the gnawing on my nails did not stop. Grandy-Man got on 3rd in the bottom half, and Mark Teixera came up. He was another one of those one-swing guys who could put the Yankees ahead. Gee through his one bad pitch of the game at the exact wrong time. Tex sent it deep. My hands crept up towards my head. The Yankees fans gasped. The ball went over the wall, putting the Yankees up 3-2. My hands were fully over my face and head now. I was filled with shock and more shock. I was petrified that we had lost the lead with one swing of the bat. The Yankees though, did not widen there lead any, still giving us a chance to win it. In the 7th, we had the bottom of the order due up. Josh Thole, Omar Quintanilla, then the top of the order starting with Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Thole got on first with a single, starting a rally. Sort of. Omar Quintanilla, the hero earlier in the day, was up next. I was up, pacing around more like never before, knowing that this was our bestchance to tie the game back up again before the Yankees lock down bullpen came in and shut things down. Omar hit another drive deep, this time to left-center field. I was jumping up and down, hoping for at least a double with no outs so we could tie or take the lead. Curtis Granderson  playing in shallow center field raced over to try and save a run. Curtis with his mad and unhuman like speed, got to the ball and made a fantastic over the shoulder catch. When he made that catch, it took all hope out of me that we were gonna win that game. We were down a run, and the momentum had shifted dramatically in  their favor. My hands were on my face, and I was in deep distress. Watch Curtis' great catch here: From that moment on, the Yankees pitching was shut-down the rest of the way, as they didnt allow any more runs across for the Mets. Even Grandy added one of his own with yet another Yankee Homer. As they made the last out though, I was still pissed off at Tex and Grandy for making those two plays that sealed yet another losing series for the Mets, and Yankees got the Bragging rights. I was so mad, I threw a stuffed bear against the wall as hard as I could. I almost tore off my Mets slap bracelet and did the same thing, but stopped myself, knowing that it would not do any good. The Yankees had beat us once again, thats the concept I could not grasp. We had the lead the we let it fall through our fingers. "Ugh, This team man, This team...." I said to myself.
R.I.P Gary "The Kid" Carter #8. Never Forget Jose Reyes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

1st Quarter Awards

Believe it or not, The 1st Quarter of this somewhat beautiful 2012 season is already over. There has been bright spots, dark spots, and surprises out of the blur. Here are the awards:
MVP: David Wright. Easy choice for this award. The face of the franchise has been making big hits, great defensive plays, and helping his teammates all through out the year. He also leads the NL in Batting Average with an amazing .415.
Silver Slugger: Lucas Duda. Even though not the leader on the team in HR's (his name will show up later), Lucas has benefited greatly from the moved in Citi Field walls. He has 4 HR's so far, with at least 1 that would not have been a Homer if not for the moved in fences.
Cy Young: R.A Dickey. The resilient knuckleballer is the most that jumps out at you on the rotation so far into the year. Even with his knuckleball, he has a 5-1 record and an ERA just over 3. He has given up a lot of longballs this year, but he hasn't let that phase him. Nothing phases him.
Rookie of The Year: Kirk Nieuwenhuis. I might have spelled that last name wrong. Kirk, callled up after Andres Torres strained his calf on Opening Day, has been the catalyst of this Mets team. Everything about him in the big leagues is astounding for a rookie, hitting, speed, defensively. He can do it all and probably should have been called up sooner.
Best Newcomer: Jon Rauch. You might be surprised that i'm giving this award to a pitcher. Rauch has deserved it though. Rauch did not give up his first run in a Met uniform until his 7th apparance, ever since then, Rauch has been somewhat shaky, but still is the most consistent in our horrible bullpen.
Biggest Dissapointment: Our Bullpen/ Ike Davis. Bullpen first. The Bullpen has blown so many well pitched games by our starters, late game leads, and its arms. Without their inconsistency, we could easily be contending for 1st in our division, not 3rd. On to Ike. Ike, even though the team Leader in Homers, Ike's average is a horrific .160. Whenever in a big, potential game changing situation, Ike can't come through with that big swing of his.
Biggest Surprise: Terry Collins managing Injuries. Collins, our manager, gets the award here because of his fantastic fishing through our farm system and backup players to find replacement for Injured players (jason Bay, Ruben Tejada, Josh Thole) and replacing them with no-name but talanted players (Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Ronny Cedeno, Rob Johnson and Jordany Valdespin).
R.I.P Gary "The Kid" Carter #8. Never Forget Jose Reyes.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Where Are They Now?: Beltran, Reyes, and Pagan Edition

In the game of baseball, people make names for themselves. Players also come and go within the complicated GM system today in the major leagues. Trades before the deadline, mid-season moves and the MLB Draft, these can determine if your team is a contender or not. But this is not a story about a team that has made those moves, it's about the players involved and how they have fared after their tenure in a Mets uniform.

It's an image that will be forever burned in all Mets fans eyes forever. All Star centerfielder Carlos Beltran taking a curveball Strike 3 from Adam Wainwright with the bases loaded in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. Ever since that one pitch in Beltran's career, all Mets fans have remembered him as the scapegoat of that 2006 playoffs.  No matter how many Homeruns or walk-off hits he had, it would never be enough to get that image out of Mets fans eyes. So, last year, new GM Sandy Alderson made a daring move right before the trade deadline. He sent the aging Beltran to San Francisco for a young, promising prodigy named Zack Wheeler. Beltran gave his final hugs to his Mets teammates before he left for the Bay, and started his new life. In his half season with San Francisco, Beltran made basically no impact all year. He did reach 300 career Home Runs with the Giants though. Beltran became a free agent, and signed a deal with the Cardinals during the offseason. This year, with the Cardinals, he has been tearing the cover off the ball. He has 14 Bombs so far this year, which leads the National League.

He was cheered as he exited off the field for what would be the last time in a Mets uniform. Jose Reyes had just gotten a hit to extend his lead in the Batting Title race against Ryan Braun, the eventual NL MVP. The controversy spread across many sports shows later that night about how Reyes had taken himself out of the game to secure his spot as the batting champ, the 1st in Mets history. Mets fans also knew that Reyes might have taken himself out of a Mets uniform too. Reyes was due to be a free agent in the offseason, and there was a slim chance that he would return to the Big Apple, especially with the financial situation swirling around the team. Reyes would later take his talents to South Beach that year to a revamped Miami Marlins team. Reyes is now leading off for the Marlins and bringing his electricity to that team. Now, his average isn't as good as last year, neither is his fielding, and neither is his play. 

Andres Torres sat in his San Francisco home, and got the call he wasn't expecting. It was his manager Bruce Bochy, telling him that he had been traded to the Mets for Centerfielder Angel Pagan. Pagan, the longtime centerfielder since Beltran hurt his knee in the '09 season, had made outstanding plays, clutch hits, and had captured Mets fans hearts in the big outfield of Citi. Pagan, not the leadoff man in the Big Apple because of Reyes, still had his speed has a weapon while on the bases. He had double-digit steals in each of his years as a regular starter. He wasn't your traditional centerfielder, capturing the minds of the media, he was humble. One of my favorite memories of the daring Pagan-Reyes-Beltran combo was on a Wednesday night last year in late July. It was a nationally televised game, mostly because of the Beltran trade rumors surrounding the team, and nothing would prepare the Mets for what would happen. Beltran hit a bomb early in the game, what would turn out to be his last homer in a Met uniform. Reyes got another multi hit game, as he had so oftenly done during the year. The bullpen, though, let the offense down in the Top of the 9th, letting the game get tied. Pagan, who had been quiet all game, sat in the dugout waiting for his turn at bat. He finally stepped up in the box, took a few pitches, then let it rip. Rip was the correct word to use. He ripped the ball and it went over the fence for a walk-off solo shot. His teammates awaited him at home plate, mobbing him once he got there. While getting interviewed on the sidelines, he got the shaving cream pie-in-the-face. Pagan smiled. Pagan, now is starting for the Giants in centerfield, and is tearing up the cover on the ball.
R.I.P Gary "The Kid" Carter #8. Never Forget Jose Reyes.                 Pictured: Beltran Strikes out, Fans cheer on Reyes, Angel hits a Bomb.      

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review Of Dickey's Book

As I said in my last post, my one on R.A Dickey, He wrote a book in the offseason entitled "Wherever I Wind Up: My Search for Truth, Authenticity, and the perfect Knuckleball". I recently read the book via Ibooks on my Spring Break Trip to Bald Head Island. Let me just tell you, if you are looking for a book on the hard ups and downs of life, incorporating faith into your everyday life, and a very inspiring story, Go grab this book of the shelves NOW. R.A Dickey and Wayne Coffey take us on an exhilerating ride through each stage of Dickey's life up to now. It teaches us how he went through tough times from his birth, one summer that was the worst you could imagine, and being taught the complex nature of the perfect knuckleball. This book is absolutely a tear-jerking one but a great one nevertheless. GO GET IT NOW!

R.I.P Gary "The Kid" Carter #8. Never Forget Jose Reyes.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

R.A Dickey's Road to Success

When R.A Dickey took the mound Saturday vs division rival the Atlanta Braves, it meant more to him then your average 1st start of the year. Dickey, the only knuckleballer left in the major leagues after long time veteran Tim Wakefield retired last year, has not had the easiest road to the starting rotation with the New York Mets.

After being drafted 18th overall by the Texas Rangers in the 1996 Draft, Dickey was offered a signing bonus of 810,000. Then, In his first team photo, a Rangers physician saw that his arm was hanging down oddly in the picture. The Rangers did further examination of Dickey's arm and found out the crazy discovery: Dickey had no ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm. After hearing the news, the Rangers downed their signing bonus offer to 75,000 dollars. Dickey did eventually make his major league debut for the Rangers in 2001, with a mid 80s fastball, a nasty breaking ball, and a forkball. Dickey eventually turned his forkball (which is actually a hard knuckleball) into an knuckleball. The transfer to the knuckleball would allow Dickey's career to go on for a longer time, without straining his arm with no ligament. After 10 years up and down in the Rangers minor league system, Dickey signed a minor league deal with the Brewers in 2007. He was named Triple-A Pitcher of the Year that year with the Brewers Affiliate, the Nashville Sounds. Dickey then became a minor league free agent, and was invited to spring training by the Minnesota Twins. Minnesota did not hold Dickey for long, as the Seattle Mariners got him in the Rule 5 Draft. Dickey made it to the majors with the Mariners in 2008, and got his name into the record books. He threw 4 wild pitches in a inning vs his former club, the Twins. This tied a former record set by Phil Niekro and Walter Johnson. Then, later that year, Dickey got a record of his own. He started the most games by a pitcher with fewer than 4 days of rest, He started 6. In late December of that same year, Dickey was picked up again by the Twins and pitched in 35 games for them.

Dickey was not picked up by another major league club for over a year after his 2nd stint with the Twins until on January 5, 2010, when the New York Mets picked him up, invited him to spring training, and then assigned him to Triple-A Buffalo. That year, Dickey made his debut for the Mets on May 19 vs the Nationals. He impressed throwing 6 solid innings. Dickey became a regular member of the Mets rotation, throwing every 5th day. The thing that sealed his fate in the rotation for the Mets happened on August 13, 2010. The Mets had to face their bitter division rival and offensive machines, The Philadelphia Phillies. Dickey kept his cool through out the entire game, and threw a complete game 1-hitter, only giving up a bloop single to starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Dickey went on to start 26 games for the Mets that year, and got 11 wins. Both career highs for Dickey. In early 2011, The Mets offered Dickey a 2-year extension, with a 1 million dollar signing bonus, a 18 percent increase from the signing bonus that the Rangers offered him just 15 years earlier before the discovery of his missing ligament. The Mets gave him 2.25 million in 2011, and will get 4.25 million this year if healthy. He has a 5 million dollar option for 2013, and a 300,000 dollar buyout. Last year, Dickey set another career high in starts with 32, but only had a record of 8-13.

Despite cautions from the Mets during the 2011 offseason, R.A went with his plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with a few of his friends to raise money for a charity to stop human trafficking in India. The Mets warned Dickey that if he got injured during the climb, they would void his contract. Dickey ignored the warning and successfully climbed Kilimanjaro with a few of his friends. Dickey returned from his expedition before spring training began, and told about the expedition and the charity that he donated to. A new light has been shined on why maybe Dickey chose to donate to this specific charity of choice. Dickey wrote a biography on himself during the offseason why he wasn't climbing Kilimanjaro. The autobiography starts out with him being 8 years old, and being sexually abused by a 13-year old female babysitter and once by a 17-year old male. The autobiography also states that Dickey contemplated suicide during the down years of his baseball career, and after cheating on his wife. The biography goes into great detail about more lows in Dickey's troubled childhood, including stating that his mom dragged him to Nashville bars when he was 5 and would drink constantly until closing time, and that he slept in abandoned warehouses alone as a teenager. Dickey found a syringe in the Rangers clubhouse in 2001, that could have belonged to then shortstop Alex Rodriguez, who has since been convicted for using steroids, but Dickey said that the Rangers could have forever been associated with Steroids if he had used it. If you want to read more about Dickey's tear-jerking stories, his book is called "Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball". This is what makes R.A Dickey's road to Success a truly remarkable thing.

NOTE: All information comes from,, and

R.I.P Gary "The Kid" Carter #8. Never Forget Jose Reyes.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A lookahead to the 2012 New York Mets

This year, The New York Mets have new players, a (new) ballpark, and some new noses on their squad. I'm hear to show you what to look for in this year's Metros.
Low Expectations: Don't expect to much out of the Mets this year, has they are going to figure out how to play on without their long-time shortstop, Jose Reyes, who left for the Miami Marlins just before the winter meetings. This means that Ruben Tejada or Ronny Cedeno will most likely be starting at Shortstop for the Mets Opening Day. The loss of Reyes gave the Marlins the spark that the Mets once had, and their great pitching staff does not make the Mets chances any better. I predict that the Mets will end up under .500 another year, and could even end up in the cellar of the NL East.
Big Citi Changes: GM Sandy Alderson finally finalized the move of making Citi field into a more "hitter-friendly" ballpark early in the offseason. They brought in the "great wall of Flushing" in Left Field in to 385 feet. They brought in the Mo's Zone in right center field from 415 feet to 395 feet. These changes in the ballpark will definitley help power hitters like David Wright and Jason Bay rise to their Million Dollar Contracts potential.
New Nose Niese: During last year, Now San Francisco Giant Carlos Beltran suggested to Jonathan Niese for him to get a new nose to help him breath easier on the mound while pitching. When Niese showed up to pitchers and Catchers camp in mid-February, his nose had a whole new look to it! The new nose for Niese should help his delivery to be more aero-dynamic while on the mound. Well in his first Spring Training outing, The Mets and Niese could breath much easier. He faced 7 batters in 2 innings and did not let any runs in, and struck out 2.
Additions to Watch: The Mets picked up a few new faces in The offseason to help their offensive punch. They traded center fielder Angel Pagan to the Giants for speedy center-fielder Andres Torres. Torres will most likey be our leadoff man, the spot the Reyes held last year. The Mets also got free agent Shortstop Ronny Cedeno who was on the Pirates last year. Cedeno holds the Major League record for most games played without comitting an error in the field. Him and Ruben Tejada will battle it out for the starting job at Shortstop.
Don't Forget Him!: I bet when Johan Santana warmed up on September 20,2010, he was not thinking about his left shoulder, which was tearing apart after each warm up pitch he threw. He took the mound for the Mets that day, not knowing what was to come. Johan did not pitch again for 18 months to Major League batters. Johan arrived to camp in February with his shoulder repaired, smiling, and ready to pitch. When he made his spring debut, Johan looked like his old self, pitching 2 innings, not even allowing a hit. Look for Johan to have at least a double digit win season this year, and maybe make a run for the Comeback player of the year award.
All in all, love this baseball season while you can, and GO METS!!!
R.I.P Gary "The Kid" Carter #8. Never Forget Jose Reyes.