(I’m posting for Pucklius, because Blogger sucks.)
At the beginning of the 2012 Major League Baseball I wrote on this here blog a forecast of the New York Mets with such doom and gloom it might have sent the most optimistic fans running for the hills. In short I said that the real pain of watching this team was not how good or bad they would play this year but that the bleak financial outlook left a fan without any hope at all for this season or the next. I’m not going to say I was wrong, because the financial situation of the team, cloudy as it is, still leaves a great deal of concern for the future. I should also say that while I thought this would be a year in which the team went nowhere and made few strides toward being a consistent postseason contender, I didn’t think it would really be that bad.
Of course, I didn’t think it would be good either.
I thought that like every season there would be the occasional moments of joy and excitement, the rare comeback win or the fun rookie hot streak by the latest incarnation of Timo Perez in which a callup drums up excitement until the rest of the Majors had scouted him to death and adjusted for him. But I didn’t expect or count on a few things. I didn’t count on the Mets sweeping the Braves to open the season and get off on the right foot, I didn’t count on Johan Santana smoothly coming back from major shoulder surgery, I didn’t count on David Wright coming back to life and I didn’t count on a suddenly pleasant and happy locker room that made its impact on the field because the 25 guys on the roster all genuinely like each other.
And I certainly did not count on Robert Allen Dickey suddenly becoming the most dominant pitcher on the planet. Dear God, I did not count on that.
All of this is good news for any Mets fan and shockingly it has given us all a reason to hope and a reason to believe, but before we all start high-fiving raucously and sending in our deposits for playoff tickets, I think it would be sane on everyone’s part to dial down the optimism for a bit and take a look at a few things. The Mets are six games over .500, which is good, but it’s not great either. Their run differential is an unimpressive +3 and was negative for nearly the entire season until this week. They’ve scored fewer runs than Milwaukee, Colorado and Toronto, and they’ve given up more than Pittsburgh, Oakland and Kansas City. First baseman Ike Davis, who is expected to be one of the few dependable cogs in the New York Mets machine for this season and the future is teetering uncomfortably around the Mendoza line, rarely cracking a .200 average and staying below .300 with his on-base percentage — though his power numbers are decent and he has been hitting far better of late. But perhaps most concerning is the fact that the Mets have been a maddeningly inconsistent squad all season. Before a sweep Baltimore at home this week (the franchise’s first time beating the O’s in three straight at home since the 1969 World Series), the Mets were swept by the Reds after impressively beating up the Tampa Bay Rays on the road in a sweep after being swept by the Yankees after dropping two of three to the Nationals after taking three of four from the defending-champion Cardinals… well, you get the point. The Mets have their share of impressive showings so far this season against top-tier competition, but they’ve also been swept by the Houston Astros, an outfit that would probably lose to some better AAA teams.
So in the end, all of this adds up to, well, no one really knows. T… Read more...
Last night, YOUR New York Mets were ready to call it a loser. On their way to an 8-0 loss at the hands of the Beer Men of The Good Land, Amazins’ reliever D.J. Carrasco gave up a home run to Rickie Weeks. On the first pitch after Weeks had rounded the bases, Carrasco plunked reigning National League Most Valuable Player and object of Mambino disdain, Ryan Braun.
Carrasco was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Gary Darling, and Mets manager Terry Collins wasn’t surprised. So what did he do?
When it was Wright’s turn to bat in the bottom of the 7th inning, Collins sent no-namer Jordany Valdespin (cool name, bro) to the plate instead of his star 3rd baseman. Wright is to the Mets as Braun is to the Brewers, and coupled with the fact that DW notched 2 of the Metropolitans’ 5 hits off of Zack Greinke, Collins knew what was going down.
After the jump, I have power-ranked the participants involved in last night’s event.
“I respect the fact that (Wright) wanted to stay in the game. I don’t fault them for making that decision at all.” Nice quote from Braun, I guess. He’s not one to put his name in the papers. He wouldn’t hold a press conference to explain himself about anything at all.
4. Jordany Valdespin
“Hey kid, I’m not risking the face of the franchise. Go in there and bat for him. If you get hit, we’ll send you down to AAA.” -what Terry Collins would have said if he didn’t care about the kid’s feelings
Kinda reminds me of Major League 2, when Jake Taylor sent Roger Dorn into face the lefty Bucek, for the sole purpose of stepping into an inside pitch to get on base:
3. Terry Collins
The Mets manager job was such a terrible attraction, that Collins, the team’s friggin “minor-league field coordinator,” emerged as the best candidate for the position. Collins came into his new digs knowing that the team had owners for which “incompetent” was an understatement and “impotent” was a likely possibility, both of which due to the Wilpons’ flirtation with Bernie Madoff. To his credit, however, Collins has steered this ship through the perfect storm to a 20-16 record, which currently places his team in the 2nd NL Wild Card spot.
Collins knows he’s playing with house money. But unlike me, a dude who uses that opportunity to bet the farm for the chance at more money, Collins assessed the situation, pulling Wright and also, Daniel Murphy (who’s hitting a sweet .336), and walked away from the casino. His boys are injury-free and live to play another day. He won’t have to consider a trip to the ATM for another withdrawal.
2. David Wright
Dude wanted to stay in and get hit. What a freaking big boy move by DW. International blogging sensation KFC of Barstool Sports New York called it the best Mets moment in the last 3 years. And looking back at their tortured history, that sounds about right.
When we play sports, the physical contact doesn’t bother us because people don’t do that ish intentionally (unless they do). But to WANT to step in and face the music is not something that us normal people do on the daily. When we expect to get hit, that normal human element of fear usually chimes in:
1. Mets fans
I am not one of them, thank God. But it’s nice to see the red-headed stepchild smile every once in a while.
We can’t wipe the smiles off our faces over here at MAMBINO. The reign of Frank McCourt has come to it’s unofficial end, with the paperwork ready to be drawn up and stamped. We will all breathe easier knowing that the autocratic rule of one of the most disgraced owners in professional sports will soon be a but a bad memory. I’ve truly never wanted to move past anything more than this, ex-girlfriends included.
That last sentence obviously was untrue.
For weeks this winter, the chatter on the interweb was that the Dodgers were secretly in the running for first baseman Prince Fielder, a power-hitting whale (of a human), whose massive presence both on the field and in the line-up was the exact addition LA so desperately needed. The offer never turned into anything more than that, sadly, as Fielder and his agent Scott Boras signed a massive 9-year, $214 million dollar deal with the Detroit Tigers, a deal that I don’t necessarily think makes the Tigers into a title contender. Nevertheless, Prince is now a Tiger, and my dreams of a make-good 1-year deal is off the table.
As we stated in our 2012 Dodgers Preview, the team just can’t be considered a contender this year. They face deficits in their starting rotation, every infield position and at least 1 corner outfield spot. Playoffs are simply out of the question for this October. Except for aiming at a .500 record retaining our dignity, the 2012 season will largely be the Dodgers’ front office holding a 162-game audition for the 2013 edition of the boys in blue. GM Ned Colleti and company will see which players would be able to impact a championship-caliber team going forward, and which men should be sold off for prospects and future considerations.
That all being said, let’s look towards winter 2012-2013, when the Dodgers will ride Guggenheim Partners checkbook in landing the big players on the free agent market. Mark Walter, Stan Kasten, and of course, Magic Johnson know they have to make a big national splash, one that says “THE DODGERS ARE BACK”, which will sadly be the next major LA marketing campaign (just envision that Billboard on the 10 Freeway – I’d put even odds on it happening).
Who will the free agents be? Who will be the next Los Angeles Dodger? Here is the list of 2013 free agents so far, courtesy of MAMBINO-approved superblog mlbtraderumors.com. From it, we’ve cherry-picked the very best free agents that the new and improved Los Angeles Dodgers will most likely be after:
1). Cole Hamels, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies
With a bullet. The fastest bullet that’s ever existed. Like, one of those talking bullets from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” One of those.
His deal: Cole Hamels is going to be, without a doubt, the most sought-after free agent on the market. He’s one of the 10 best pitchers in the league (CC-Verlander-Halladay-Felix-Clayton-Cliff Lee-Lincecum-Weaver-Wainwright-Hamels? Challenge!) and everyone is going to be after him. I’d say the likely suitors are the Phillies, Yankees (just because), Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Texas, Chicago Cubs and the Dodgers.
Why the Dodgers want him: Because he’s one of the 10 best pitchers in the league. LA has a rotation of guys that are chock full of 3, 4 and 5 starting pitchers, rather than a potential 1 or 2 type of guy. NL Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw has finally come into the ace we all thought he’d be one day, but behind him are guys like Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly. Cole Hamels would give the Dodgers a 1-2 … Read more...
If you’ve read my sporadic updates on this here fair blog you’ve probably gotten a clue that I am a New York Giants fan. As a result, well, this month’s been pretty good, and my mindset has followed accordingly. But if anything can drag me down from these Monrovian few weeks it’s the unsettling news that baseball season is just over a month away.
Don’t get me wrong.
I like baseball. Love it even. I try to see at least part of all 162 games live on TV each season (provided I’m in the country), and I’ve actually seen my favorite team play in person in 14 different stadiums around the U.S. If making multiple trips to Milwaukee and driving from Chicago to Detroit and back in a day to see your team isn’t evidence of love, I’m not sure what is. There’s one problem with all of this, though.
My team is the New York Mets.
Don’t blame me for this. I sure don’t. I’m pretty sure the responsibility for this lies with my father, who took me to my first baseball game ever at Shea Stadium in 1991, got my name on the scoreboard because it was near my birthday and then hung a framed picture of the message above my bed for my entire childhood. Waking up every morning and seeing this left me no choice. All I could think every day was, “Wow, maybe this Bud is for me.“
The ultimate irony in all of this, of course, is that my parents are actually Yankees fans. The fact that my first game was a Mets game was for me random chance, but not them. They had a choice, they chose poorly, and now I pay the price for six months every year.
On the plus side for me, this season the price I pay probably won’t be that high. With what’s looking like a potentially disastrous and certainly unpleasant season in Flushing, I can expect prices for tickets to torpedo pretty significantly on the secondary market — beyond the five-game package I so foolishly bought already. I should note though that even the Mets acknowledge their tickets won’t exactly be the most desirable on the market. My package breaks down to about $12 per ticket, which is pretty much what it costs to see a team in a small market like Pittsburgh, where I’m going to be in April for roughly the same price — and standing room tickets at that.
It makes sense that the Mets would be priced out similarly to a small market club because this season it appears that, well, they are one. Far be it from me to assume that a team in the media capital of the planet is a “small market” club — I wouldn’t want to insult the Royals and Brewers of the world, though both have more promising seasons ahead than the Mets do. Still, it’s hard for people not to bandy the “small market” phrase about. After all, this is a team that has slashed its payroll this season by a record $52 million. This of course was brought on both by the club losing approximately $70 million in the 2011 season, and a Greece-like austerity-driven payroll philosophy as a result of what are, uh, considerable financial restraints on the owning Wilpon family.
While the team’s likely disaster of a season has made them the butt of endless jokes by no less an authority than the team’s general manager, it’s enough to leave a lifelong fan like myself wondering why he or she should even bother investing time, energy or emotion into their team. After all, gone from last season are Francisco Rodriguez, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran — whom Mets fans will miss far more than they ever thought they would. Granted, K-RodR… Read more...