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

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What About The Children?

It is good to see Ari taking a stance on the topic, but I am biased on the issue. I see myself as a bit of purist and hearing the 'ding' of the bat does not do it for me. I understand wood makes college baseball less exciting and the younger leagues infinitely less exciting, but did I miss ed where there were a ton of ratings to lose in the first place?

Also, the idea that wood would be more expensive is true in a way, but not to the extent that people would believe. The popular notion is that they will break and cost a lot of money to replace. On the whole they do break more, but when I played in my wooden bat baseball league two summers ago, I broke just about a bat a game including a $120 x-bat. That prompted me to purchase this Louisville Slugger composite bat, which did not break and even withstood the beating of a few bums and hookers.

As for performance, I think it is obvious what metal bats bring to the table. They certainly spur more offense, but wooden bats certainly did not stifle my grand display of awesomeness. Working counts, level swings, and the idea of small ball would go a long way to helping make wooden bats more palatable. The kids and teenagers that made their young careers out of uppercut swings that took advantage of aluminum certainly would not have the best of transitions, but does anyone want them to?

Furthermore, why do pitchers need to get shit on? Lost in all this complaining of toning down offense and making the game more boring and therefore losing the interest of kids is the guy on the other end of things. Why is every advantage in baseball seemingly given to the batters? Everyone is concerned with little Billy's arm these days. How about we stifle the offense a bit with a wooden bat which should have some residual effects in terms of their pitch counts and how hard they have to work.

The biggest issue for me is the really young kids. They simply would have a hard time swinging a -3 or higher wooden bat. My only two suggestions would be to allow aluminum bats at the extreme lower levels with less of a differential than normal, which should help out a bit. Try and crack down on illegal bats and make kids in the sixth grade and higher use wood. The other thing you can to make a lighter bat that does not perform as well as your typical aluminum. The wood/composite bat I used had some grooves taken out of the barrel and had been filled in with a composite material and then the bat was given a clear composite shell. If that composite shell is lighter but does not enhance performance, what about making a -5 or -6 wood/composite bat for the kiddies by replacing more of the wood with composite on the outside with a solid wood core?

There will be undoubtedly less runs and if that pushes more kids to track in high school (it won't) or some other sport on the lower levels, so be it. I am fairly certain it would be for the betterment of youth baseball and probably teach kids some better swinging mechanics and a better approach. I am not going to pretend the danger is a tremendous one to keep aluminum bats around. I played baseball my entire life, which consisted of three or four leagues a year at some points, and never saw anyone sustain any significant injuries from an aluminum bat hit baseball. However, the league I played in a few years ago was aluminum the year before and was switched due to some pitcher getting their jaw broken with a liner back to the mound. That can still happen with wood, but unless you are professional hitter, the odds are obviously less.

Down with aluminum and trust the talent to be able to overcome. I suspect big league scouts and teams would also be ok with giving a stipend to college baseball for some bats as well.

* * *

  • Returning from a 5-1 road trip against also-rans Pittsburgh and Washington, Randolph deemed this stretch of 13 games against playoff-contending San Diego, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Atlanta as "push time" despite the ongoing rash of injuries that has befallen his first-place club all season.

    "It's like that phrase 'Don't tell me about the labor pain, just show me the baby.' Same thing in baseball, play the game," Randolph said as rain washed out batting practice.

    It is go-time and Willie is tossing out some gems for quote of year. Taking it to one of the best starting pitchers in the league on Tuesday and taking two back from one of the best closers of all time after they get a run off of yours is big time. That is playoff type stuff and the Mets are looking like a playoff team.

    John Maine is becoming a bit of a concern, but he has not been horrible. I still agree with the many who have suggested skipping a start or two for Oliver Perez and John Maine. At this point, the Mets lead is big enough that only a monumental collapse by them would lose this thing and it is hard to envision this team doing that. Some mental time and some days off for their arms might do them some good.

  • Peavy vs. Lawrence? Hard to get upset about that loss and Peavy was pretty damn good. He struck out twelve but was undone by his walks or else he would have made a nice run at 17 or 18 Ks.

    Then there is Mota....I've stood by holding out hope, but the site of him has began to make me wretch a bit. I thought he was going have a glorious two innings and then things fell apart fast.

  • You think Apple got the better end of this deal?

    In the latest in a long series of European iPhone rumors, FT Deutchland, sister paper to the Financial Times, reports today that Apple (AAPL) has signed contracts with three European cellphone operators -- T-Mobile of Germany, Orange of France and O2 in the UK -- that require the companies to give Apple a 10% kickback on revenue collected from calls and data transfers made via iPhones.

    That is just nuts.

  • Jim Callis weighs in on some Mets stuff in his last chat:

    Tim (Bflo): True or False - the Mets will regret not signing Brandon Efferson?

    SportsNation Jim Callis: True.

    I am curious if it was Efferson sticking to a $1,000,000 price tag or if it came down to $100,000 or so and the Mets just sticking to their guns. Callis had originally reported that a deal worth less than $500,000 could have gotten it done, but who knows if that was actually true.

    Jesse (Los Angeles, CA): Rate the NY pitching prospects: Hughes, Chamberlain, Pelfrey, Humber, Guerra.

    SportsNation Jim Callis: I'd keep your order, except I'd put Guerra in the middle.

    It is obvious that Chamberlain and Hughes are ahead of the Mets group, but I was surprised a bit to see Guerra being in front of Humber and Pelfrey in his eyes. Humber and Pelfrey are having disappointing seasons, but this was their first really down season in reality.

  • Jerry Crasnick lays the smakcdown...

    In reality, the Mets are willing to wait for the rap video of Milledge's life to play out. He's been so hyped for so long, people lose sight of the fact that he's 22 years old. Milledge is two months younger than Felix Pie, and two years younger than rookies Ryan Braun and Hunter Pence.

    In recent weeks, Milledge has bonded with new Mets coach Rickey Henderson and hit his way back to prominence. He's batting .381 in August, and he began the Mets' winning rally against Trevor Hoffman with a single Tuesday night. With the Mets' outfield aging, he's looking like more of a cornerstone player than trade bait these days.

    In fact, 'trade bait' might not be a back nickname for him.

  • Curt speaks and says some interesting things. First, he has a list of ten or so teams that he would like to go to. Given Zambrano's exit from the free agent field, Schilling might be the only true possible impact arm. Also, he comes with health risks but he mentions that he will only be looking for a one year deal so that should assuage some fears. However, this was the most interesting item:

    “The only other option would be a situation like here (Tampa Bay) where you have a tremendous young nucleus of pitchers, young players, a good manager, and good people where my last year could be spent having an impact on guys far beyond my playing days.”

    I am sure it will not have to reach that point and someone would take a flier on him being there is upside, but I would love to see Schilling head up a Tampa rotation in '08.

  • The Mets are pretty impressed with Milledge who is batting .370 with 15 runs and 13 RBIs in August.

    "For a young kid to stand up there against Trevor Hoffman in that situation, and do what he did, isn't easy," Minaya said. "To grind it out isn't something you expect from a kid you pushed to the big leagues. But we had an idea he had the talent.

    "You know, you can scout talent, but sometimes you don't know what a player has until you see him in a situation like that. He's got something inside. He likes the moment. He's going to help this team win World Series games."

    I do not see Milledge as a guy who would wilt in the spotlight, but I see him as someone who thrives. He is cocky, but that also means he believes in himself. He might do some things that irritate people, but he is been a solid citizen overall and is becoming a postgame fixture for SNY because he is always willing to step up and talk.

  • Tobi Stoner pitched a gem in St. Lucie's win over Brevard County. He went eight innings and gave up four hits, no runs, and no walks while striking out four.

    For good measure, Joe Hieptas and his knuckleball closed it out.

  • Phil Humber took a no hitter into the ninth, but lost it with one down. He was over 100 pitches in the seventh inning, but they let him go for it much to my surprise. He made it through the 8th rather quickly which allowed him to come out for the ninth and eventually left with 121 pitches. His line for the night is 8.1 innings, one hit, one earned run, and one walk with ten strikeouts. Great game for Phil. Too bad Burgos came in and pulled a Mota and let the game get tied in the ninth losing the win for Humber.

  • Thirty runs? Thirty fucking runs? They picked up 27 runs on their run differential and pretty much just shit on the Orioles in the process. Nuts. Crazy. Insane.

    Things that I was impressed with:
    1) The Orioles only had to use four pitchers, which is pretty good for a team that gave up thirty runs.
    2) The eighth and ninth batters for the Rangers went eight for twelve with nine runs scored and fourteen RBIs. Best production ever from an 8th and 9th batter at one time on one team? I'm going to have to say yes.
    3) Paul Shuey gave up nine runs in two innings. However, out of the six outs he recorded, five were strikeouts.
    4) Thirty runs scored against the Orioles with only one error. Not one of those runs were unearned.
    5) There was not one stolen base the entire game.

  • Ummm.....yeah.

    That is a man who thinks he is sexy. He is owning the bank of that creek.



    Anonymous benny said...

    I was at the game tonight and fucking Mota. I don't get him. He pitches a VERY easy inning, throwing only 8 pitches! His fastball was looking nice, his changeup was going exactly where he wanted. And then... he had to go out there for that next inning and seriously, what the fuck happened? He pitched great to the first two batter and then he lost control of everything and as soon as he had 2 balls, I knew he was done, he wasn't going to get out of the innings easy. Fucking Mota man. I'm soo sick and tired of his inconsistancy.

    I've spoken about the metal bat vs wooden bat thing before and I just think its better to just keep the metal bats. And to me its all about the financial aspect of it. I mean, I was a broke joke and I never had any bats, the bats I used were always some other players and if I were in a league with wooden bats I don't know how open the parents would be to letting a teammate possibly break thier bat so they have to buy one. Then there's the whole splinters thing which is dangerous, especially in parks that aren't in tip top shape when it comes to taking care and maintaining the field. If baseball really wants to promote itself in the "urban" areas, then I think metal bats are the way to go. Because the metal bats come from donations. And 3 donated bats a year are much easier to come by than 50 or so wooden ones, I just think it'll be easier to get a person/organization to donate the metal bats than the wooden.

    God that was such a mis-match and I was just shaking my head as I saw both pitchers warming up in pre-game.

    Regarding the Mets pitching prospects, I'm VERY dissapointed in Pelfrey but I really wanna see what Humber has. He's been pitching in the hitter friendly PCL all year and his ratios aren't that bad. I think he'd be great at Shea.

    Curt Schilling either has the ego of a I dunno what or Curt Schilling is the fucking man for that quote on the Tampa Bay thing.

    Yeah 30 runs is pretty intense. I think I had more fun watching that scoreboard with Texas than watching the Mets tonight

    1:59 AM

    Anonymous Tommy said...

    I don't want to see Mota in a meaningful spot until September 1st. As far as I'm concerned, Willie needs to put him in the Aaron Sele role (you know, where you forget the guy is even on the team because he pitches once every other week). And after September 1st, I hope to not see him at all with the roster expansion and return of Joseph Smith. Willie's loyalty, or as he likes to call it, "gut feeling," has consistently bit the team in the ass as far as the pen. Sometimes I wonder if he and Valentin sold their souls to the devil because of the results that they both appear to have ... Then I realize it's the Reyes and Wrights and Beltrans and Wagner and El Duques that bring up everyone around them and make Wilpon look remotely smart for hiring Willie in the first place.

    Metal or wood? Personally wood, but everything Benny stated above is valid. and it'd just be way too hard to implement from a financial perspective unless Louisville Slugger plans on chopping down a whole bunch of trees to donate to NYC kids.

    Schilling, at least it appears to me, wants to do what Pedro did for the Mets and bring some crediblity to the D-Rays or wherever he goes. Cool, only problem is that Tampa still spends no money, and aside from Kazmir, who in that rotation could he really have a positive effect on? I know they drafted Price, but him joining the rotation out of ST next year just isn't happening, especially since the babying of young arms nowadays.

    Vlad Putin must be high. That's all I got on that one.

    Free Humber. Seriously. Would you want to see 83mph Brian Lawrence or a kid in his mid 20s who will be motivated and is suposedly one of your better prospects? The latter, thank you very much. In addition, the whole "he needs to build up arm strength" argument with Humber is a bunch of bs, he threw 120+ pitches yesterday (granted he was going for the no-no). And as far as Burgos, that may be one deal Omar dropped the ball on, Humber didn't even get a win after 8 1/3 of no-hit baseball.

    All in all, the entire NL East lost. Can't stress yesterday's game, even though it's frustrating to see the team kick the shit out of the Padres pen and even tack on a few off Peavy. If you told me we split a win and loss from Young and Peavy, look good even though we lost, and don't lose one game in the standings before this season began, I think we all take it and run.

    Let's hope for a win tonight, take the series, and concentrate on beating some quality teams the next 9 or so games to put away the division.


    7:57 AM

    Blogger Sidd Finch said...

    It's a bummer watching Mota, because he has great stuff, I figure as long as the Mets keep 5 games in front, it might be frustrating, but I think he can work his way out of this.

    I think Mota is a one-inning guy anyways, a lot of his trouble comes when he goes out to start an inning when he's already pitched in an inning.

    If they are going to go with Aluminum bats, they should go to a safety ball. The ball jumps off Aluminmu bats. I've compared major league and eastern league baseballs with little league baseballs, and the professional balls are safer than the little league balls, like comparing Pinnacle golf balls to a Titelist.

    The amazing thing about the Texas game is that Baltimore led 3-0 going into the fourth inning.

    Also, I noticed that Gabbard won that game, I still think that was a steal for the Rangers.

    8:36 AM

    Blogger AE said...

    i just bought an '08 louisville slugger omaha. it's an aluminum bat and i'm totally stoked on it. i will be using it in my fall league (which is in nj - mike you should come out and watch some "serious" baseball).

    however, i do believe the game was meant to be played with wood - even though i love my aluminum bat.

    11:39 AM

    Blogger Sidd Finch said...

    Mike, I think you scared everyone away with that pic of Vladdy.

    3:51 PM

    Anonymous jake said...

    if we win tonight i think that gives us 8 out of the last 10. not quite the 10 in a row mike wished for early last week, but still pretty swell.

    the team is just full of studs.

    4:32 PM

    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    Tonight we saw the other side of the coin. The late in his career Glavine that doesn’t get that pitch a foot off the plate for a strike coupled with a team that is patient against him. Glavine with an aggressive team and/or an umpire with a wide strike zone is lights out. Otherwise he is lit up. Fortunately there is much more of the former than the latter.

    There was a discussion tonight on whether or not Glavine was being booed. I believe the fans were booing Willie for leaving Glavine in there for as long as he did. But in all fairness to Willie the bullpen has been over used and of late very hittable.

    The environmentalist in me says use aluminum bats but not in professional ball where it could kill someone.

    I called a friend of mine who roots for the Orioles and asked him what’s wrong with the Ravens defense that they allowed 30 points. He didn’t appreciate it.

    Wags in a little funk blows a save and Heilman with another golpher ball that negate great Mets comebacks.

    11:55 PM


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