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

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Flop Heard Around The World

The World Cup happens once every four years. To have it end the way it did yesterday is ridiculous. I've played sports my entire life and hate to lose. Whether it is playing a game of one on one basketball with my friend or a game of rock-paper-scissors, I don't want to lose. But that's not to say I'll do anything to win. If you get beat, take it like a man and try and come back and win on the field the right way. You play fair and try and beat your opponent the way the game is supposed to be played.

Ghana is unequivocally the biggest bunch of actors and poor sports. It was beyond irritating how many times they had to carried off on stretchers and went down holding their knees when they were not even hit anywhere close to their knee. The pinnacle of it all was when two players from both sides went up for a header and the US player's hand touched the Ghana player's back and he went down holding his shin. The United States did not play like that. After tying the game 1-1, the US had momentum until Ghana went up 2-1 thanks to a horrible call that lead to the penalty kick that changed the landscape of the game. The end result was a Ghana team sitting back on defense. Did the US really deserve to move on? You cannot argue the fact they were disappoint, but the certainly had a lot of things working against them.

The art of the flop in soccer is similar the flop in basketball and the game should be based on skill and not acting abilities. A team sitting back and playing defense and kicking the ball around to control the clock is similar to football team playing conservative and running the clock down. Both instances are allowed and part of the framework of the game nowadays. At times you almost feel that your team has no control of their fate due to these circumstances. There are bad calls in every sport and that is part of it when humans are making the calls. The penalty kick as a result of the bad call is acceptable. That stuff happens, but the flops ruin the game and the dropping back into ball control defense is frustrating especially when a team was put in that position unfairly.

You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the damn plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all.
~ Earl Weaver

While a lot of Americans are missing out on soccer which is an exciting sport to watch despite the negatives that irritate me, the entire world his missing out on baseball. Out of all the major sports in the world, the only sport you cannot hide is in baseball. Sure you can intentionally walk players, but you have to get 27 outs and you have to come at the other team giving them the same number of chances you had to make something happen. You simply cannot hide. No other game is like baseball (...and please, no one mention cricket) and it is far and away best sport in the world.

* * *

  • Best movie ever? Possibly.

  • It appears A-Rod's problems are the result of a mechanical flaw.

    "The problem is stemming from the inconsistent firing of cylinders in A-ROD's hydraulic system, causing his pressure-relief valve to start responding to every late-game algorithm by popping out to first base," said Yankees assistant engineer Lee Mazzilli, who is responsible for oiling A-ROD's hinges and tightening his shoulder screws between innings.

    You can hear the collective sigh of relief from the Yankee fan base.

    But A-ROD should be back and as good as new in four to six weeks." Yankee officials, however, have thus far experienced no problems with A-ROD's factory-installed voicebox, which has only repeated the same five stock phrases it was specifically

  • What's wrong with the All-Star game? A lot, but perhaps the biggest problem is the inclusion of one player from each team.

    Who will represent the Royals in the All-Star game? Will it be utility man Estaban German, who is batting .310 but has only had 100 ABs (hence, the one home run and seven RBIs)? Or how about red hot second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, who owns a .294 average with three jacks and a whopping 18 RBIs? Maybe it will be pitcher Elmer Dessens and his team-high four wins? Nothing says All-Star like Elmer Dessens.

    Nope, nothing says All-Star like Elmer Dessens. If MLB is going to feign some importance on this game, the best players should be there. A team is not good enough to actually send an All-Star? Too bad. Start drafting some.

  • It ain't even close.

    Top 5 2006 NL Center Fielders, by VORP
    Player         Team      EqA    VORP
    Carlos Beltran NYN .321 33.5
    Eric Byrnes ARI .292 21.6
    Andruw Jones ATL .282 19.6
    Ryan Freel CIN .282 14.7
    Kenny Lofton LAN .279 11.9
  • From the NYPost:

    The Mets have agreed to a deal with their sixth-round pick, high-school righthander Scott Schafer, according to a team official.

  • Carlos Delgado is hoping for cheers when he goes back to Toronto and there is no reason he should not get them. JP Riccardi did not want him and repeatedly said he would have never given Delgado a no-trade clause and wanted to dish him off. Delgado was criticized for not wanting to go to a winning a team and the chances of him coming back were nil. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons does not think there will be much of problem when Delgado returns.

    "Oh, I think he'll have a good one," Gibbons said. "He was always a fan favorite and he played great. He was probably one of the most loved guys that has played there."

  • As Met fans, it is hard to NOT get chills.

    However, of all their statistics, this is the most promising: They're both 23 years old.

    "(We're) in real good hands, obviously," manager Willie Randolph said. "Those kids are playing their butts off for us.

    "Carlos (Beltran) is having a nice year, but to watch David and Jose blossom right in front of your eyes, it's really special to see. And they're going to get even better, which is nice to know also. Jose is in a nice rhythm; he's hitting the (stuffing) out of the ball, and David has been getting big hits."

    The Mets have two of the most talented young players in the game and really, there are plenty of comparisons you can draw with the beginning of the Yankee dynasty when you throw in Milledge and Pelfrey.

    "Oh, boy," Martinez said of Wright. "MVP so far. That kid has done it all."

    Even with Pujols in the league, the question is not if Wright will win an MVP award, but how many. Pujols will win his share, but like Bonds, he will not win one every year. His game is so well rounded for a such a young kid it is scary.

  • Chad Bradford has been so good this year for the Mets that is not hard to see why the Mets used such a high pick on uber sidearmer Joe Smith.

  • The Mets have now pushed their lead over the Phillies to double digits despite their little swoon. The next goal should be to get to twenty games over .500. Once they get there to, push it further. They need to bury their opponents and keep setting goals. Injuries can still happen to some of their older core and the Mets need to build enough of a cushion to where it is no sweat if they do go down.

  • The Angels making a power move?

    Though it was reported in several Los Angeles area newspapers that the Angels could have an interest in Baltimore Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada, the two teams have not had any talks recently, according to an Orioles source. That may change, however, if the Orioles continue to slide in the standings.

    The source did not deny the team would listen to offers for the superstar shortstop if Baltimore plays poorly in the weeks leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.

    Miggy is certainly worth one of their middle infield stud prospects and the Angels have the depth to get it done. This is an interesting potential move to keep an eye on.
  • Thursday, June 22, 2006

    You ugly..you ugly...yo mamma says you ugly. (Part Deaux)

    "That's what you call a classic giveaway game right there," Willie Randolph said. "A total giveaway."

    Yesterday was a forgettable game for Billy Wagner and Xavier Nady. In the fourth inning, with runners at the corners Xavier whiffed looking on an absolute meatball. In the fifth, Nady whiffed with the bases loaded after Jose Valentin was intentionally walked to end the inning with the Mets down 4-2. Nady left five runners on base, but they were all big runs. His lack of production with runners in scoring position is certainly getting weird. He is now batting .152/.259/.239 with RISP compared to .313/.353/.563 with no one on. It just gets gradually worse as he is great with no one on, .258./.324/.677 with a runner on first, and he shrivels up with runners in scoring position. Nady also made a diving catch attempt that was a commendable effort, but ill advised.

    As for Wagner, ugly. He came in and got the first two batters out and proceeded to walk Austin Kearns and David Ross, allowed an infield single that was a tough break on a dribbler, and then Brandon Phillips singled to score two. I have to admit, after the first walk, I had a sinking feeling. Billy Wagner while the best closer in Mets history, does not instill the 'game over' confidence that I thought he would have brought and is not in Mariano Rivera's category of closers. Of course, no one is, but I thought he as the Mets answer to Rivera. There is no reason to go crazy over his fourth blown save as he is still pretty dominant, but I am marginally disappointed in Wagner thus far. I think he will hit more of a stride for the Mets, but he has had his issues early on.

    That's not to say there was no silver lining in that game. Jose Reyes continues to show why his skill sets are second to none. Every time Reyes comes to the park, he is a cycle waiting to happen and last night it finally happened for him. This kid owns a .283/.347/.472 line and anyone wondering which shortstop really deserves to start for the National League can stop wondering. It is Reyes and he is the best short stop in the NL right now. This kid has shown the desire to improve and he has done exactly that. Jose Valentin pushed his average to over .300 and went deep to center for his sixth homerun of the year. Simply nuts. Finally, Heath Bell looked very sharp. He struck out two in a fourteen pitch inning and he has now allowed twelve hits in his thirteen innings after allowing seven in his first two. It looks like he is settling in and hopefully he can add another reliable arm to an already great bullpen.

    * * *

  • For those of you who like the musical stylings of Radiohead, here is a show to download for you. It is their live Madison Square Garden show from June 14th.

  • Give the man a microphone and let him go.

    Angry with a recent column by Mariotti critical of Guillen's handling of recently demoted relief pitcher Sean Tracey and upset with Mariotti over past columns, Guillen said to reporters when referring to Mariotti before Tuesday's game, "What a piece of [expletive] he is, [expletive] fag."

    Guillen did make a reasonable explanation.

    Before writing the column, Couch asked Guillen for an explanation. Guillen defended his use of the term "fag" by saying this about homosexuals and the use of the word in question: "I don't have anything against those people. In my country, you call someone something like that and it is not the same as it is in this country."

    Guillen said that in his native Venezuela, that word is not a reference to a person's sexuality, but to his courage. He said he was saying that Mariotti is "not man enough to meet me and talk about [things before writing]."

    Now, I believe he is smart enough to know that in America it would have been taken exactly how it was, but fine. Not a bad explanation, but would Ozzie be Ozzie if he stopped there?

    Guillen also told Couch that he has gay friends, attends WNBA games, went to a Madonna concert and plans to go to the Gay Games in Chicago.

    WNBA games and a Madonna concert? Very nice touch.

    "If I hurt anybody with what I called him, I apologize, but I wasn't talking about those people," Guillen said. "I was talking strictly about [Mariotti]."

    I don't believe for a second Mariotti is truly deeply offended. I believe he is just trying to keep the trouble brewing and just to get Ozzie in trouble. Should he be fined or penalized in some way? Someone probably has to fine him just because we are so PC as society these days, but really, who cares? No one got hurt and if anyones feelings got hurt because a hot head made some remarks they need to reevaluate themselves. When John Rocker opened his mouth, you knew a train wreck was coming. The guy made himself sound so stupid that whatever he said should have rolled off their backs. The same goes for Ozzie.

  • The Mets lead the majors with 62 first-inning runs.

  • Cliffy is still day to day and it is uncertain if he will return for the Toronto series.

  • Reyes was the ninth Met to hit for a cycle.

  • Pedro is nuts.

    Ever since the Mets returned last week from their hugely successful 10-game road trip, Martinez and his plastic Mets bat have been a fixture in the dugout. That is where he lays in wait for his teammates, hoping they do something to earn a friendly tap with the bat.

    Xavier Nady went 2-for-4 with two home runs in the 9-2 victory over Cincinnati on Tuesday night, and he's lucky the bat is made of plastic.

    "I think he hit me on the head enough times, that I didn't even realize it anymore," Nady said.

  • Matt Lindstrom was picked for the Future's Game.

    Lindstrom, 26, is 1-2 with three saves and a 3.18 ERA in eight B-Mets appearances. He has 14 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings since being called up from Single-A St. Lucie on May 26. At St. Lucie, he went 1-0 with two saves and 16 strikeouts in 18 innings.
  • Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    Knee Jerk Media

    Q: What is Fairness, Consistency, and Having a Point?
    A: Three things the New York media is lacking.

    Alright, maybe that's not 100% true for every one out there, but for way too many. The pure lunacy of this article by Kevin Kernan is truly hard to convey in words.

    IF current All-Star voting holds, the Mets will have four starters in David Wright, Paul Lo Duca, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. They own an 81/2-game lead in the NL Least. Life is good.

    Despite all that, you might want to hold off on the champagne.

    This homestand has brought a dose of reality to the Mets. With last night's 4-2 loss to Cincinnati, they've dropped three of four to the struggling Orioles and the slumping Reds.

    Huh? What? The Mets were 1 and 3 and are now 2 and 3 on the current homestand after completely dominating on the road. I would be more concerned (not that I would actually be concerned) if it happened on the road. I have faith in the Mets to be able to win at Shea, but to go into a second place team's home and their closest division rival's home and annihilate them is a big boost and extremely impressive.

    Is there that little to write about that when the Mets still have not lost more than two games in a row it is time to hit the panic button? If anything you can take positives out of the fact they still beat themselves on Friday night and El Duque has showed he can give the Mets some solid outings from the back end of the rotation.

    If the playoffs started tomorrow, the Mets would be heading into the postseason with a 3-4 record against the three other National League playoff teams. That's a small sample, but it is a revealing sample. They are 3-3 in interleague play and 6-6 vs. the Central, the best division in the NL.

    Wow. Just wow. If you want to take small sample sizes and look to far into them, the Mets are 2-1 against the Yankees and the game that was lost had a four run implosion by Billy Wagner. Is the Mets going 2-1 against the Yankees revealing? Common sense tells me no. However, what is really bizarre is how Kernan then just goes into quotes about the Yankees.

    "It's hard to compare anything with the Yankee lineup," Arroyo admitted. "When you run a guy like Jorge Posada out in the seven or eight hole and he's hitting 30 home runs a year and is an All-Star every year, it's hard to compare anybody's lineup to that."

    Is there one Met fan that is sorry that this lineup is not the Yankee lineup? With Nady back and Cliff Floyd back soon, this Met lineup is as deep as any and that includes the Yankees who don't seem quite as dangerous now that Sheffield and Matsui are gone. People seem to think there is no reason to worry about the winners from the Bronx and the losers from Queens do give us reason for concern after a 1 and 3 start to a homestand after going 9-1 on a road trip.

    "You were 9-1 on your last road trip. You dropped three of your last four at home. How can you explain this?" a television reporter asked in a serious tone.

    "Wow," Randolph replied, startled by the directness. "We lost three out of four. You think we should mortgage the team or something like that? We're okay. We just have got to start another streak going again."

    If a sports writer has a hard time grasping that the 2006 Mets are not the 2001 through the 2005 Mets then they probably should not be writing about sports. Farva pointed out in the comment section yesterday that if the Mets play .500 the rest of the season, the Phillies would have to play no worse than 56-37 the rest of the way just to tie them in the standings with 90 wins. Just let that sink in. The Phillies have played under .500 ball and would have to pull off something miraculous to say the least to get back into it. As for the Yankees, they just keep getting older. One of these years their age is going to catch up with them and 2006 looks like it just might be the year with the Wild-Card possibly coming out of the AL Central. If I was placing bets on which team would make it further this year, the Mets would undoubtedly get my vote.

    * * *

  • The Yankees beat the Phillies 9-7. Ryan Howard knocked in all seven of the Phillies' runs. Nuts.

  • The National League East has cornered the market on bad bullpens. Here are the bottom five bullpens in the National League according to Baseball Prospectus.
    Team                    WXRL
    Atlanta Braves -1.107
    Florida Marlins 0.032
    San Francisco Giants 0.907
    Washington Nationals 0.999
    Chicago Cubs 1.008
  • Just when you start to warm up to Willie, he inexplicably says this.

    The rookie fired a strike from left field to Jose Valentin to catch Ryan Freel trying to stretch a hit into a double. It was his third assist in 18 games.

    "I still think his arm is average," Randolph said. "You make up for that by hustling to the ball."

    All you can say is Boo Yah!...Boo Yah! indeed. But why stop there?

    When Floyd is reinstated and Lastings Milledge is optioned to Class AAA Norfolk, manager Willie Randolph must decide who will hit eighth in the order between Xavier Nady and Jose Valentin.

    Hmm...tough choice. Who should hit eighth? A 27 year old power hitting right fielder who went deep twice last night and is still on pace for 30+ despite being on the DL for 15+ days or Jose Valentin who is 36 and playing better than he has in his career which means he is likely to slow down. I am leaning towards giving Nady the better pitches to hit and really, I'm not sure why this is tough.

  • It looks like Aaron Heilman might have fixed what has ailed him with some assistance from Rick Peterson.

    "Correcting these things is not like checking for misspellings," Heilman said. "There are certain things you have to look for to see if they are in the right place."

    The Mets really need Heilman to pitch like he did earlier in the year or else Duaner's arm just might fall off.

  • Carlos Delgado is good.

    THE STREAK: Carlos Delgado reached 20 homers for the 11th straight season, temporarily tied for the majors' longest active streak. Chipper Jones (seven homers) and Manny Ramirez (18) are bidding to reach that plateau for the 12th straight year in '06.

  • Lastings Milledge shows some maturity.

    "I don't believe in the numbers thing," said Milledge, who went 1-for-4 with a run scored last night. "I believe if you produce that they as an organization will find a place for you. You don't come here and then go down to work on things. I think you've got to learn it at the big league level."

    But Milledge knows that while he has shown flashes of potential - he threw out Ryan Freel in the first trying to stretch a single into a double - the 21-year-old hasn't shown enough consistency to merit bumping any of the regular outfielders from their roles.

    "I'm not producing enough," Milledge said. "I'm not doing bad. I'm doing fairly decent. But then again, I'm not producing enough for (Mets brass) to be like, 'Holy, we've got to have this guy here.'"

  • The kid will be fine.

  • The Human Rain Delay went deep for the third time in his career and the first time since 1998 when he was with the Chicago Cubs.

    Entitled as he was, Trachsel nonetheless ended his lap prematurely and made it a 180 of a different kind. "Even before I got to second base," Trachsel said, "I told myself, 'Don't let it go to your head.'" So by the time he returned to plate, the scene of the crime as it were, he had restored his game face.

    "You don't want to go out and give it up the next inning," Trachsel said. "I just waited to the seventh."

  • Does A-Rod = choker?

    Alex Rodriguez has reached a crisis point in his career. The widespread perception of him as being a choker — someone who puts up mammoth numbers but fails consistently in the clutch — has penetrated his skin, turned him sullen and fatalistic.

    "Rip away," he dared the media Thursday following another typical performance. "You can write the worst article, and say the worst things, and you're probably right."

    That day, with the bases empty in the seventh inning and the New York Yankees trailing the Cleveland Indians by five runs, Rodriguez crushed an estimated 500-foot homer — the kind of awe-inspiring swing that validates his standing as the most talented player in the game.

    But an inning later, with the Yankees down by only two and with the tying runs on base, Rodriguez struck out with a meek swing, cascades of boos trailing him back to the dugout.

    Always great to reminisce about that classic A-Rod moment. To answer my previous question, yes.

  • Mike Pelfrey is on a roll. In his last five games he is 3-0 and has won his last three decisions. He has a 5.91 H/9, 0.28 HR/9, 2.53 BB/9, 10.13 K/9, 0.94 WHIP, and a 1.41 ERA in his last five starts. Overall on the season between St. Lucie and Binghamton, he is 5-2 with a 8.25 h/9, 0.24 HR/9, 10.25 K/9, 1.22 WHIP, and a 2.24 ERA. Also, since I love cherry picking numbers, if you take out Pelfrey's worst start of the year when he gave up thirteen hits in four innings and gave up five runs, he has a sparkling 1.74 ERA and a 7.09 H/9 overall between both levels. It is safe to say Pelfrey is good.

  • Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    How Much Does a Win Cost?

    It is always interesting to see the correlation between payroll and wins to see which teams are getting the most for their money and which teams are clearly not getting much out of their enormous investment. Predictably, the Yankees are sitting at the top as they are every year paying the most money per win. With 38 wins so far, the Yankees have paid $5,122,712.61 per win. They are $1,625,508.94 in front of the Cubs who are paying the second most per win and the Yankees could have 55 wins and would still be paying more money per win than the Cubs.

    Out of the top five teams in dollars/win, three are in last place and they are teams that people did not quite expect to be underperforming as much as they have. The Cubs are paying the 2nd most per win, the Angels are paying the third most per win, and the Braves are paying the fifth most per win. All three teams were expected to be in the fray for their respective playoff hunts, but due to some injuries and generally suckiness, they are severly underperforming.

    The teams getting the most bang for their buck are the Milwaukee Brewers at $1,644,809.51, the Oakland Athletics at $1,637,975.76, the Cincinnati Reads at $1,602,882.08, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at $1,221,309.21, the Colorado Rockies at $1,178,085.71, and the Florida Marlins at $517,189.66. As bad as the Marlins were earlier in the year, they are not in last place and have ripped off eight wins in a row and have a lot of very young players playing very well. You can criticize their front office all you want, but they seem to be onto something and they would not surprise anyone that much be being in contention in two years. What they are doing with a $14,998,500 payroll is extremely impressive. They are not pushovers by any means.

    While this is far from scientific, the MLB average at this point for dollars/win is $2,168,412,57. So by that number, a team getting the right amount of production for their dollar should be in that area. The five closest teams to the average dollar/win are the New York Mets at $120,030.07 over, the Chicago White Sox at $104,459.41 over, the Baltimore Orioles at $37,516.42 over, the St. Louis Cardinals at $114,321.81 under, and the Washington Nationals at $257,564.27 under.

    Out of all the first place teams, the Oakland A's, the Texas Rangers ($1,795,491.11), and the Detroit Tigers ($1,795,931.87) should be commended for the teams they have put together in regards to the value they are getting from them. It is no surprise that Billy Beane is one of the tops in the league in terms of assembling a team that is producing with limited payroll and is on track for yet another very good season. However, Dave Dombrowski deserves a lot of credit for what he did in Detroit. He made some highly criticized moves in bringing in Magglio Ordonez and Ivan Rodriguez, but they did not end up bad at all at this point and that goes especially for Magglio. As for Texas, John Hart actually recovered nicely from his A-Rod and Chan Ho Park debacles and Jon Daniels picked up where he left off.

    As far as the Mets go, they are 13th overall with $2,350,813.09 per win, which is very reasonable. We have heard comments pertaining to the Mets not being scrutinized for buying a winning team like the Yankees while they should be by numerous people, but I think we all know that Omar has been fiscally responsible while assembling the best team in New York. To put in perspective, the Yankees could have won every single game they played this year and still would have paid more per win than the Mets. The Mets spendthrifts? Not anymore. Minaya in tandem with Wilpon & Co. had the wherewithal to not spend irresponsibly like past Mets teams have done and put a winning product that is set up for huge things in the future while maintaining payroll flexibility.

    * * *

  • Alright...Jon Donovan, I take back calling your a douchebag. It seems that I got caught up in nothing.

    A weekend stumble against the lowly Orioles could have cost the Mets, at least here in the PRs. But with a 9 1/2-game lead in the division, one of the best lineups in the NL, a 40-year-old lefty with 10 wins who is heading for the All-Star Game and a new superstar in third baseman David Wright, who can knock on the Mets these days?

    With the Mets #2 in the rankings and some nice words about the New York Metropolitans, you are off my shit list which you were wrongly put on. Furthermore, you gain some points for putting the Braves in the 26th spot.

  • Bronson Arroyo is for real. He looked sharp yesterday and put the ball wherever he wanted it. The Mets looked flat offensively again, but you have to give credit to Arroyo for pitching a great game. The Duque looked great for the Mets too and was a borderline pitch away from not giving a homerun up Ken Griffey Jr. Orlando probably hit just about every MPH between 60 and 90 and got Felipe Lopez out on a curveball that he thought was 50 MPH. It was a clinic last night between both starters of how to succeed without a dominant fastball.

    The Reds are a solid team, but very beatable one. Their bullpen is bad and they have a lot of holes in their lineup. Three of four is what I would have expected from the Mets this series, but they are already one game in the hole and struggling a bit. Two games would be a win for the Mets at this point before they take off on an important road trip to the AL East beasts.

  • Eli Gelman has some Mets minor league action in his article. Evan MacLane's goal for this season is to win fifteen games and make it to the bigs as a September call-up.

    "Win 15 games and be a September call-up," MacLane said without hesitation. "When September rolls around, I want (the Mets) to have to make a decision. I want to be good enough in their eyes that it will be a tough decision to make for them."

    Gelman also had a nice tidbit on Nick Evans who has been on fire.

    Hagerstown (Class A) first baseman Nick Evans is one of the top prospects in the Mets system and has shown his hitting prowess this month. The 20-year-old Evans, a fifth-round pick in 2004, batted .371 with six doubles, a triple, four home runs and 15 RBI in 16 games to date in June.

  • David Wright and Jose Reyes were co-players of the week.

    Jose Reyes and David Wright were named co-NL Players of the Week on Monday. Reyes went 13-for-26 with nine runs, while Wright had four home runs and 11 RBI.

  • Things are looking good for the Mets getting some serious presence at the All-Star game.

    First Base
    1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals, 1,777,968
    2. Carlos Delgado, Mets, 700,771
    3. Nomar Garciaparra, Dodgers, 497,585
    4. Lance Berkman, Astros, 486,581
    5. Ryan Howard, Phillies, 459,677

    Third Base
    1. David Wright, Mets, 1,018,804
    2. Scott Rolen, Cardinals, 819,390
    3. Morgan Ensberg, Astros, 531,479
    4. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins, 450,276
    5. Chipper Jones, Braves, 424,300

    1. Jose Reyes, Mets, 769,919
    2. David Eckstein, Cardinals, 689,054
    3. Edgar Renteria, Braves, 620,836
    4. Jack Wilson, Pirates, 594,919
    5. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies, 514,322

    1. Paul Lo Duca, Mets, 960,111
    2. Mike Piazza, Padres, 680,773
    3. Yadier Molina, Cardinals, 559,305
    4. Brad Ausmus, Astros, 535,338
    5. Michael Barrett, Cubs, 403,985

    1. Carlos Beltran, Mets, 1,129,865
    2. Alfonso Soriano, Nationals, 1,084,936
    3. Jason Bay, Pirates, 1,069,986

  • In the holy shit department, the Cubs came to play in the Jeff Samardzija negotiations. Jeff agreed in principle with the Cubs that allows him to finish up his senior year of football for Notre Dame.

    While the Cubs were still hashing out the details of the contract with Major League Baseball, Samardzija would receive $7.25 million if he makes baseball his primary sport. The Cubs have five years to pay Samardzija's bonus under baseball's rules regarding two-sport players. The deal is backloaded, with Samardzija receiving less than $1 million in the first year of the deal, according to sources with knowledge of the contract.

    That's a lotta meat. However, there is still some risk there.

    Samardzija threw 45 pitches in a Wrigley Field bullpen session on Friday and continued to stick to his plan: He will do his best to play both sports at as high a level as possible, until he realizes which sport is the best fit for him professionally. He had a breakout football season last fall, catching 15 touchdown passes among his 77 receptions for 1,249 yards.

  • Baseball Prospectus has a nice dig on Frenchy on this week's BP Hit List, which still has the Mets holding tight in the two spot.

    And while Lastings Milledge (.258/.309/.468) has impressed in some areas, it's worth noting that he has yet to draw an unintentional walk in 68 plate appearances--not quite Francoeurian, but worthy of a bus ticket back to Norfolk nonetheless.

    I'm not overly concerned about Milledge's lack of walks after making such huge strides in AAA this season. First off, Frenchy just goes up their hacking with no plan. Milledge has actually took some good pitches and showed a decent eye at the plate despite not walk once. Secondly, kids come up and press. They usually do not come up to walk, they come up to hit. He will settle in and start taking some free passes.

    It should also be noted that the Marlins are the next NL East team on the list at 19, the Phillies check in at 21, and the Nats and the Braves are 24 and 25 respectively.
  • Monday, June 19, 2006

    Met Nicknames

    So far during the season, Met fans have come up with several new nicknames for players on this team. There was Sugar Pants for David Wright, The Undertaker for Paul LoDuca from Metstra, Monday from some genius for Victor Zambrano, The Truth for Lastings Milledge from Benny, Jose "In the Clear" Valentin, and others that are escaping me right now. So, let's get this out of the way and get nicknames.

    David Wright = Sugar Pants
    Paul LoDuca = The Undertaker
    Victor Zambrano = Monday
    Jose Valentin = Jose "In the Clear" Valentin
    Lastings Milledge = The Truth
    Steve Trachsel = The Human Rain Delay (too priceless to throw aside)

    If you got a better one for anyone above? Let's hear it. Else, figure out a fitting one for everyone else including Willie. Let's try and keep it interesting as well and stay away from things like A-Rod and other typical crappy nicknames. Swearing is ok, being lewd is ok...just make sure it is good. Think before you suggest and try not to lay any clunkers. I'll be compiling a list for the side bar when all is said and done.

    * * *

  • John Donovan on Benny's shit list?

    Four quick hitters for a Friday E-Bag:

    Let's forget about the Mets for a second, shall we? I mean, I know that's practically blasphemy at this point. Everybody, suddenly, loves the Mets. The Mets are winners again.

    Bring your kiddies, bring your wife/Guaranteed to have the time of your life.

    Yeah, OK. The Mets are good. We get it.

    Why must you urinate on the Mets parade? Since the Mets last playoff trip, the A's made the playoffs three times, had 100+ wins twice, 90+ wins four times and 88+ wins five times. Is it exactly a story that the A's are good? Yes, the Mets were good on paper, but being good on paper and playing the games is totally different.

    The Mets not only have not been good for while, but the butt of just about every joke that related to Major League baseball. Met fans have taken a lot of abuse from Yankee fans over the years and now the Mets are good. Really good. Do not trivailize that because you don't like the Mets. The Mets are all over the place for their play of late because they are THE STORY.

  • David Segui was one of the people implicated in Jason Grimsley's affadavit.

    Segui emphasized that he obtained hGH legally from a doctor in Florida. He said he still takes it because he has a natural deficiency of the hormone. He said that when he saw the section of Grimsley's affidavit pertaining to him, he knew he had been implicated, though his name was blacked out.

    "It was almost word for word the conversation we had, except there's a couple key words that were left out," Segui told ESPN. "You know, 'legal' was one of the major - probably the most major omission in the affidavit. ... I was under doctor's prescription, under doctor's supervision."


    He would not speak specifically on the validity of Segui's case, but said: "You wouldn't expect it in an athlete because elite athletes cannot perform at an elite level if they have hGH deficiency or at least you wouldn't expect that they could. ... Having said all of that, he may have had a head injury or a pituitary tumor and didn't tell anybody about it. We don't know."

    All very interesting indeed. Is Segui telling the truth? Who knows. The doctor could have been crooked and said guys were low hGH and prescribed the drug. It would certainly not be the first time a doctor prescribed drugs illegally though they are definitely the minority.

  • Baseball America has an interesting story about Ernie Young, who has just hit his 300th minor league homerun.

  • The Devil Ray's AAA team really puts into perspective the 'problems' the Mets have had with Lastings Milledge.

    Upton's arrest and Dukes' suspension continue a frankly embarrassing year for the Bulls and the Rays farm system. Most notably, outfielder Delmon Young was suspended 50 games by the International League for throwing a bat at an umpire. Young is due to return to the field Tuesday.

    Three stars...three suspensions.

  • Um, yeah.

    Kevin Millar and the Baltimore Orioles were recently in Minnesota. Knowing the Red Sox were the next team coming in, Millar left a gift for his former manager, Terry Francona. It was a wrapped bag of dog poop. "I opened it and reached in before I realized what it was," Francona said. "I just called him back and said, 'Any chance you had of ever coming back here just went right down the toilet with that bag.'"

    He called the shit poop.

  • Ken Oberkfell has returned to the bench.

    Ken Oberkfell, manager of the Mets' Triple-A team in Norfolk, was on the bench for the first time this season yesterday after undergoing multiple surgeries during spring training because of blood clots in his left leg.

  • Tom Glavine netted his tenth win and it was not a pretty one. Thankfully Sugar Pants went deep and hit a grand slam while driving in five and Eli Marrero was impresseve defensively to save a few runs.

    "Every time you looked up, Eli was doing something," said Glavine. "Not just offensively, either. That catch he made was huge."

  • Ask BA on Evan MacLane:

      Mets fans have been hearing about Mike Pelfrey and, to a lesser extent, Philip Humber as potential future stars in the New York rotation. However, I've noticed that a prospect I'm not familiar with, lefthander Evan MacLane, has put up very impressive Triple-A numbers this year and was rated by Baseball America as having the best changeup and control among Mets prospects. What can you tell me about him and his ceiling?

      Josh Marker
      San Francisco
    Like Natale, MacLane has a humble draft pedigree. A 25th-round pick out of Feather River (Calif.) CC in 2003, he went 23-10, 2.74 in the lower minors and reached Double-A in mid-2005. He seemed to hit a wall there, going 3-2, 4.14 in nine starts. MacLane didn't fare any better in six starts at Binghamton this year, but he has been lights-out since arriving at Triple-A Norfolk, posting a 6-0, 2.11 mark in seven starts. His other numbers (47 innings, 42 hits, 14 walks, 33 strikeouts) aren't as impressive as his record.

    MacLane, 23, is a typical finesse lefthander. His mid-80s fastball and his curveball are fringy pitches most notable for his ability to locate them in the strike zone. His changeup is his best offering and he has little margin for error. He'll probably pitch in the majors but I don't see a huge ceiling. He looks more like a middle reliever than a starter to me.