A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Was That Supposed to be Fun?

Why teams build parks in which balls fly out on seemingly routine fly balls is beyond me. Last year, Citizen's Bank Park ranked second in park factor for homeruns and six stadiums had a 1.195 or above. Disturbingly enough, the Phillies moved their fences back as far as they could and raised the wall a bit and none of that seemed to matter yesterday. Seven balls left the park and if it were not for a ridiculous highlight reel play by Sugar Pants, the Mets might not have won.

However, they did win and all ended well. It just seems that a bad brand of baseball is being bred with these small parks. The walls are closing in on all sides to 'increase the fan experience' (like they care about anything but money) and while I appreciate that, there needs to be some sanity. Less room for foul balls means more balls in play and more runs. More balls in play with shorter fences means more homeruns. What is being done to help pitchers? I am not begging for all new parks to be pitcher's parks, but there has to be a happy medium.

Baseball should implement some type of minimal square footage when it comes to foul areas and/or a minimum square footage for the fair and foul grounds combined. I get that the Rockies cannot help it and a major faux pa was committed when people thought it would be a good place to stick a team. However, cities like Philly have no excuse. Words cannot express my gratitude to the Wilpons for seemingly getting it right in their proposed park. They shorten the field down the lines, but added some in the power alleys. Of course no one will know how the park is going to play until games start getting played there, but it certainly looks like a neutral stadium that both pitchers and hitters should be able to succeed in. Why any team would every build something else is just a mystery.

* * *

  • The Mets climbed to the top of Baseball Prospectus' Hit List.

    The Mets take over the top spot by roughing up the fourth-ranked Dodgers and the reeling Diamondbacks while shedding the disappointing Kazuo Matsui (.256/.308/.363, .239 EqA in his MLB career). Carlos Beltran is red-hot, as he's now hitting .297/.406/.631 for the season and has surpassed last season's home run total in 100 fewer games; he and teammate David Wright are both in the NL's top five in VORP. Patching up a weak back end of the rotation are the Cuban duo of ancient Orlando Hernandez and rookie Alay Soler, who both toss two complete games--including Soler's two-hit shutout of Arizona--and yield just two runs in 25 innings.

    Oh, that is nicey nice.

    They also throw the Kansas City pitching staff under the bus when talking about the Blue Jays.

    The staff's underlying problem is vulnerability to the long ball; they're yielding 1.46 gophers per nine, worse than every major league team except the Royals, who don't really count as a major league team.

  • I can see it now. Five years from now after all the ripping on him and fans giving it to him, Alex will be in a padded room repeating 'I hit solid with an accelerated bat head' over...and over....and over...and over...

  • Despite Glavine single handedly killing my fantasy baseball team last night since Benny thought it would be a good idea to have homeruns against count, I cannot complain. The Mets are 12-2 when Glavine starts and he has been rock for this team for a while now dating back to the second half last season.

  • Nady is getting closer.

    Xavier Nady (appendectomy) played five innings in rightfield and went 2-for-4 with a double in an extended spring game yesterday in Port St. Lucie. He was eligible to come off the DL yesterday, but is more likely to return next week ... Billy Wagner didn't pitch in his return to Philadelphia last month, but admired the fans for their creative signs. "I'm impressed they could spell rat," Wagner said.

  • Watching Billy Wagner throw fastballs by Chase Utley when he is looking fastball is what having Wagner is all about. It was not the smoothest of games for Billy, but he was tossing in the high 90's and shut the door with some defensive help.

    "I've got 10 years in. I'm more concerned with trying to win a championship than going out there than impress the Philadelphia fans, or Philadelphia," Wagner said. "I'm trying to win for the Mets. That was my only concern."

  • Jose Reyes has now walked more times in 2006 already than he did the entire 2005 season. That is really, really amazing.

  • Cesar Izturis is back and with no where to go.

    "Third base isn't out of the question," Little said. "But we wouldn't ask him to do that unless he goes through some games at Triple-A at that position. I would kind of like for him to (do that), but whether he'll do it, you would have to ask him."

    Izturis is going to be one unhappy camper that is for sure.

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    Hm...maybe I'm nuts, but would a trade for Izturis to play 2B for the Mets be out of the question? Does he have experience there?

    12:06 PM

    Anonymous Benny Blanco from da Bronx said...

    Cesar Izturis has played 42 career games at 2nd base. Last time he did it was once in 2002 for the Dodgers.
    He played 41 in 2001 for the Blue Birds...

    With the Mets new stadium we better hope the winds benefit the pitcher :P

    Alex Rodriguez=Kaz Matsui. Look at the difference in production though... haha this guy would hit a Joe Carter homerun and still get booed for taking soo long to finally do it.

    Hey, Homeruns against should count. I hate it when pitchers should be competing with Albert Pujols for homeruns. I mean last year Jamie Moyer had like 45 of them... they deserve to be coutned against...

    12:16 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    I can't imagine Cesar would be worse defensively than Valentin. I admit, Valentin has been solid, but do any of us really expect it to last the whole season? I would seriously consider this.

    12:19 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Izturis would be fucking swell, but he will cost. I would be curious to see what they are asking for because he would be perfect.

    Benny, I think the wind will be a non factor. Today, the wind comes off the water and blows through right field. The new park actually looks like it comes in further than Shea currently does and encircles the field more. There is less open area/air in the outfield. I think the wind will subside some making it more even for both sides of the plate, or at the very least, the wind will still be there which I have no problems with.

    Yes, A-Rod will get booed no matter what. My favorite nickname Mr. March came from him doing something good...FOR THIS COUNTRY...and he still took some shit for it. Classic. That guy needs a PR makeover.

    Benny, they should count and I didn't mind until yesterday when they sent me into a tailspin. But I see you had some issues of your own.

    Izturis is a gold glover actually. So yeah, you can say he would better.

    12:25 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    Yes, but his Gold Gloves are at SS, no? You never know how a change in position will affect the defense. The only drawback would be whether you want to mess with the Mets' chemistry at this point. Valentin being an everyday player at 2B seems ludicrous on paper, but it has really clicked.

    12:42 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I agree on these new band boxes they are building. Has anyone noticed that the teams that really struggled to win a championship historically the Cubs and Red Sox played in quircky hitters parks that were like no others in the league. This may have been one of many factors in their failure.

    Is it just me or did the Mets 3 HR's clear the fence easy while the Phillies HR's particularly DeLucci's were outs in other parks.

    As far as Valentin. I am nopt desperate for a trade, ride it out. He will hit, but every time a ball goes to 2B I hold my breathe. Its like Kaz is back. Ride Valentin while he is hot but if Grudzalanek or Itzirus can be had cheap go for it.


    12:49 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    It'll click until he slumps, lol.

    I think at this point there nothing A-Rod can do to not be hated. Either bat 1.000 and hit 800 game winning Homeruns in a season, or give ALLLLLLL his money to 3rd world countries, starving children, paying for a kids college, and giving it to everyone on wellfare.
    And even then people would criticize for giving some money to another country rather than the US...

    I think Izturis' skills would transcend positions. He just has range. But then again alot of these guys are little bitches and it might affect him "mentally".

    12:53 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Adam, that is a great point. I truly think that it is harder to win in band boxes because it really hurts the staff over the course of the year and deters pitchers from coming there....the good ones at least.

    It's hard to use the entire 'pitching wins championships' adage when everyone is getting slammed night in and night out.

    It's not just you. The Mets shots were shots. The others were outs except for the for whatever when to right. Whatever when to left by the Phillies were harmless outs at Shea.

    He is scary at 2nd, though it has not been a problem yet. His range is predictably bad as well.

    Valentin will slump too. No way he rides this thing out all year.

    Let's just all laugh at A-Rod...HAHA!

    1:56 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    Mad Dog went on a tirade against Jeter this afternoon for not telling the Yank fans to stop booing him. This story gets better by the minute.

    2:01 PM

    Blogger Count Choculitis said...

    I have called A-rod, aka Slappy aka Double-Play rod, a "proven loser" for years now, and got laughed at by know-nothing imbeciles like Bookie D. The more time goes by, however, the more correct I get. And I heard someone call the Jabba The Hut & Mad Dog show last week who put it succintly and correctly: "I'd rather have a 4 star winner than a 5 star loser." Meaning, give me Jeter over A-rod any day of the week. Jeter has IT; A-rod has whatever the opposite of IT is. It's easy to feel bad for A-rod, I suppose, after all he's getting booed every night and talk radio is now officially all over him, but when you take your $252 million, allow your agent to demand perks and essentially sully your name, and then cry 4 years later because the team who can afford no one else but you sucks, I lean towards "screw you".

    2:05 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    Well technically he isn't really crying, whining, bitching, or complaining... I havn't seen anything that says he is.

    Oh and can all collectively laugh at the DBacks? Releasing Russ Ortiz and the $33million left owed to him?
    Jesus christ... that's fucking balls deep right there. Just ate that shit...

    2:20 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Now it's up to Jeter to not only win their games with intangibles, but he has to make the crowd stop booing the best player in the universe. Poor kid has a lot on his shoulders.


    "I'd rather have a 4 star winner than a 5 star loser" could be the line of the year. I'd agree on Jeter over A-Rod too. If anyone was sick of hearing about Jeter's intangibles and how he knows how to win and just didn't believe it (or get it like me), A-Rod proves that point daily.

    Wright is the best 3rd baseman in NY and that is not even up for debate.

    I don't feel bad for guys with a QUARTER BILLION DOLLAR contract. Screw him...

    2:21 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Well technically he isn't really crying, whining, bitching, or complaining

    Actually he did. He was sick about people calling him un-clutch and he whined. He said 'how can you hit 130 RBIs and not have any cluth hits'. He said more, it was an article.

    The D-Backs at it hard there. Wow. Just wow.

    2:22 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    If you're near a radio today, I advise in the strongest possible terms to put on the FAN. All A-Rod, all the time. Plus, I just got to hear Dog attempt to pronounce the word "interloper" (he pronounced it "interlooper").

    2:38 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    why stop with arod? derek jeter is an overrated wanker. when i think of intangibles i think of game-winning catches and making the opponent pay for intentionally walking someone to get to you. not a lucky play made bc a guy made a mistake in the playoffs. not crappy defense that joe morgan types think is excellent bc of style points.

    intangibles are stupid. but if we have to talk about them the conversation ends with sugar pants.


    2:39 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    Me personally, I hate that stupid term intangibles. I don't believe in something that you can't see. The things Jeter brings is over-rated since well, technically they havn't won since he was named captain.
    Jeter hasn't won a ring since A-Rod got that quarter of a billion dollar contract.
    Sure you could easily point to the previous rings he has but do people ever consider that the Yankees succeded for the reasons the Pistons in basketball and the Patriots in the football were so good? They were a unit. No superstars just one big unit and Jeter just "happened" to be there.
    Maybe Luis Sojo is a better player than A-Rod?
    How about we get Devon White a HOF plaque? He has 4 rings.
    Who could forget Chad Curtis? A mainstay in that yankee dynasty. He has a ton of rings he's better than A-Rod, right?
    Guys like Luis Sojo and Chad Curtis just happened to be there. Derek Jeter did participate and was a reason for victory but he got lucky. He was there for the ride. If he is soo ill then why havn't they won?
    If he was on ANY other team other than the Yankees, it'd be a wrap for him.
    If the Astros took him as the 1st pick you think they woulda won 4 rings in a row?
    What if the Reds, who had the 5th pick, one ahead of the Yankers took him?
    Fuck that shit yo...

    I hate Derek Jeter for the same reason I now hate the movie Scarface and for the same reason I don't like chicks like Vida Guerra, and Jennifer Lopez.
    When the whole world loves them it becomes annoying and they become "over-rated".
    People have to remember what the term over-rated is.
    When people ask that inevitable question of "Who would you pick 1st in a draft" its always Jeter.
    I dunno, it's just something about an average fielder with decent power, with a plain vanilla AVG that's thought of as God, that bothers me.
    But hey, he has INTANGIBLES!!! so its ok.
    Fuck intangibles. It's bullshit.
    Give me a "dead" team of guys with no intangibles like:
    Pudge, Ryan Howard, Jeff Kent, A-Rod, Manny, Sheffield, JD Drew, Eric Chavez and I'll show you a good fuckin' team that will win lots of games.

    3:15 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    I think you're on to something. The reasons the Yankees won 4 rings are: (1) Andy Pettite. (2) David Cone. (3) David Wells. (4) Roger Clemens. (5) John Wetteland. (6) Jimmy Key. (7) El Duque. (8) Mike Stanton. (9) Jeff Nelson. (10) Mo Rivera.

    Pitching, pitching, pitching. Jeter is a very, very nice player but he's not the Baseball Jesus Christ.

    3:27 PM

    Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

    izturis would be nice at 2b... at the right price though. we need more infield depth considering our inf bench is woodward and franco and marrero. franco and marrero dont do much and are pretty much stuck at 1b and C. izturis would be nice since he's fast and plays spectacular defense.

    ummm after having his ass eat up the mets for so many years, its great to have the mets finally chase ortiz's ass out of baseball.

    but something about him intrigues me. you dont win as much as he did by mistake. i think the mets should kick those tires just for shits and giggles. what would we have to lose? we could try it out for a bit and see if he gives us something. the rotation is a fragile and having options never hurt anyone

    3:27 PM

    Blogger BookieD said...

    Nobody is suggesting people should feel badly for A-Rod. The question is whether the treatment he gets from the fans is unjustified, and the answer is very likely a resounding "Yes." The biggest knock on him is that he can't get it done "in a big spot," "in the clutch," "when it counts," etc. While anyone will tell you that those terms are difficult to quantify, I have looked at whatever statistical data there is to support the claims. The bottom line is that A-Rod has been good, but not great in those situations (eg., his postseason line of .401OBP .534 SLG .305 AVG. is actually pretty damn good; Mike and the Dog ran his 2006 stats late/close stats, and they came out worse, but not horrible).

    The problem is that all anyone remembers is his failings in those situations, so you start defining "key moment" as basically any time A-Rod fails. I firmly believe that notwithstanding Big Papi's flare for the dramatic, the 2004 Yankees would not have made the postseason without Alex Rodriguez on their team.

    The bottom line is that while A-Rod is certainly not above criticism, he probably takes a lot more than he should because (i) he signed a contract for $250 million, which is nearly impossible to justify, (ii) Mets fans are pissed he didn't sign with the club in 2001, (iii) Red Sox fans are pissed their trade for him in '04 didn't go through (depite the fact that A-Rod offered to accept LESS MONEY to play there), (iv) Yankees fans hate him because he's not Derek Jeter and because they haven't won the World Series in the 2+ seasons he has played for them and (v) he hasn't won a championship notwithstanding 2 very good postseasons in Seattle ('97 & '00), playing well in 2004 until the entire Yankee team (including Captain Intangibles) went into the tank for the final 4 games vs. Boston. All of this, depite having HoF-certifiable credentials if he retired TODAY. But, I guess when you can just throw the term "Proven Loser" out there and justify it by the fact that he hasn't won a World Series by the ripe old age of 31, then that's all the argument you need, right Count Douchebag?

    4:51 PM

    Anonymous JohnF said...

    The D-Backs are on the hook for the remainder of Ortiz's $33 Million. That's ONLY $22 Million. Ouch, biggest contract swallow ever. Makes me wonder why it took the Mets so long to dump Kaz.

    4:54 PM

    Blogger BookieD said...

    BTW, I meant to write that the 2005 Yankees would not have made the postseason without A-Rod (i.e., A-Rod's MVP Season with the Yanks.).

    4:57 PM

    Blogger BookieD said...

    One last thing--I realize now that I have defended The NY Post and A-Rod in the same week. Clearly, I am going to hell.

    5:17 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    Well bookies, welcome to my world where I defend A-Rod on a daily basis.
    It's all good though, I'm sure your just like me, you just ask for some consistancy in the media.
    If A-Rod's gonna get shit on for the Yankees not advancing in the playoffs the previous years then Jeter who was batting even worse deserves some blame too.

    5:58 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    The Dog has serious issues speaking English....

    How about we get Devon White a HOF plaque? He has 4 rings.

    Solid point. As much as I don't like Jeter and think he is overpayed, he is like LoDuca in that he does all the little things. At least the Mets are paying $13,000,000 less a year...

    Pudge, Ryan Howard, Jeff Kent, A-Rod, Manny, Sheffield, JD Drew, Eric Chavez and I'll show you a good fuckin' team that will win lots of games.

    No one is doubting that, but guys like Eckstein are necessary. It just so happens that Jeter is a very, very, very high priced Eckstein with more pop and more athleticism.

    but something about him intrigues me. you dont win as much as he did by mistake

    Yes you can.

    Bookied...way to lay down the smack down, but A-Rod still deserves it all.

    Ouch, biggest contract swallow ever. Makes me wonder why it took the Mets so long to dump Kaz.

    Was it really the biggest contract dump? That is just nuts.....As for Kaz, I still believed in him until recently.

    Benny, just lay off the A-Rod man-love. Give it to Sugar Pants. The real face of NYC.

    6:20 PM

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    11:17 AM


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