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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Random Tidbits

Did you ever have a hankering for a mint that was bacon flavored and just wonder how the hell you were going to satiate your desire for pork flavored breath fresheners? Wonder no more.

Each one of these mints tastes like a delicious slice of crispy bacon with just a hint of mint flavor to give it that extra punch! It may sound weird but once you taste it, you'll see that mint and bacon is a match made in China.

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  • Strippers/crime stoppers?

    Still, fake money in circulation is a fraction of 1 percent of genuine currency, Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren told the paper.

    The paper reported that counterfeiters are getting more bold, with one person arrested after offering a counterfeiting how-to class. The report also said that one man was caught at a strip club after strippers realized he was passing out fake bills and called police while the bouncer held the man.

    God bless strippers.

  • You cannot make this stuff up.

    A tour bus of U.S. senior citizens defended themselves against a group of alleged muggers, sending two of them fleeing and killing a third in the Atlantic coast city of Limon, police said.

    One of the tourists -- a retired member of the U.S. military -- put assailant Warner Segura in a head lock and broke his clavicle after the 20-year-old and two other men armed with a knife and gun held up their tour bus Wednesday, said Luis Hernandez, the police chief of Limon, 80 miles east of San Jose.

    That dude was gangster.

  • Now to baseball...let's not have anyone get their panties all bundled up about today's game and Perez's shaky start. Most guys that dominate Spring Training are guys that are trying to make the team and giving it their best. However, pitchers who have their spot, pitch like Tom Glavine in spring of '06 when he put up a 5.06 ERA. Sure, results are nice. But if a pitcher is going to truly work on things, chances are he is going to get knocked around. It may sound counter intuitive to be happy about a bad performance, but if Perez was working on things like keeping his shoulder in and getting some consistency down rather than revert to bad habits just to be a bunch of minor leaguers, it was a great start.

    "I was happy with the way he threw today," Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca said. "I think a couple years ago he might have went out there and just tried to throw 100 miles per hour. Today he worked on throwing strikes."

    Bad numbers now will hopefully lead to a more comfortable Perez and better numbers later. So sit back and watch to see the progress and how things unfold. You can practice all you want, but until you try out your new stuff in live games, you really have not accomplished much. There is going to be a learning curve here.

  • In Peterson We Trust...

    "We've made some minor adjustments that have allowed him to be himself," said Peterson. "I'd compare it to driving a car. You pull out of the parking lot, something doesn't feel right, and you realize you've got the parking brake on. You take it off and away you go.

    "I think what we've done for him is take the parking brake off. It's a minor adjustment but it makes a huge impact. We want him to throw consistently at the bottom of the strike zone, because then, if hitters have to gear up for 94 (mph) down, how do you think they'll handle 98 up in the zone?"

    At this point, Ambiorix Burgos and Joe Smith seem to be generating some excitement in camp. It's early yes, but the returns have been good so far. Currently, the Mets have Jon Adkins, Ambiorix Burgos, Jorge Sosa, Billy Wagner, Aaron Heilman, Duaner Sanchez, Juan Padilla, Pedro Feliciano, and Scott Schoenweiss who could all be effective relievers in the big leagues this season. The problem is there is only room for seven. With Wagner, Heilman, Sanchez, Feliciano, and Schoenweiss locks with Adkins, Sosa, and Padilla the leading candidates for the last two spots for a myriad of reasons, it means Burgos and Smith may be the defacto cuts come time to break north because they can still go to the minors. All this does not even factor in the fact that Mota will be back at some point.

    I've spoken about Omar hedging the Mets suspect rotation with his bullpen. If you can effectively shorten the game, you need much less out of a starting rotation. When you have a lesser starting rotation, that tight bullpen is certainly good to have. That's not to say the Mets will be as bad as everyone predicts, but it gives some insurance. Hell, if the Mets want to get crazy, they can go with a four man rotation while carrying eight relievers and having them go four or even five innings a night if something tragic happens and a suitable replacement could not be found. While it would certainly be unlikely, it could work for a period of time and it certainly would not be that much of a stretch since there are still people who vehemently support the four man rotation. The point is there are options to control the damage if things go out of control and this bullpen is looking like it just might be the best in the best if the bigs for a second year in a row and might be good enough to mitigate any damage caused by the rotation.
  • Labels:

    Monday, February 26, 2007

    No Love

    Lastings Milledge went from golden boy to enigmatic, overly brash outfielder before he even took a swing at the big league level. The Mets spent the winter trying to deal him, but his stock dropped a bit and that contributed to them not being able to extract proper value for him. Now? The Mets lack of faith in him continues.

    Martinez is as talented as he is young. But fellow outfielder Carlos Gomez is more advanced and likely to reach the big leagues sooner, maybe even by the end of the 2007, but certainly by the end of the 2008 season.

    The club's whispered fantasy is to have Martinez (probably in left) and Gomez flanking Carlos Beltran when the new ballpark, Citi Field, opens in 2009.

    Not only does Lastings have to silence the critics in the media (which could be seemingly impossible with the NY media), but he has to silence the people in his own organization who have lost faith in him.

    "This team is going to be it for the next decade. I want to be here for that, for the dynasty we're building and the new stadium. I want to be on the best team, on the Mets in New York. That's why I'm glad I'm here." -- Milledge, on his place with the Mets and his inclusion in so many trade rumors and reports

    Milledge showed up to camp with some extra muscle and a new attitude. Throw on top of that Milledge flashing some of his tools that made and still make a lot of scouts drool. The character around the clubhouse is a direct result of the players that Omar Minaya brought in and those players will have a big effect on Milledge. Lastings might not have a big chance at making this team out of Spring Training. In fact, I do not think he has much of a chance even if he tears it up and Green sucks. However, Lastings might end up making it an extremely hard decision for Omar to not bring him north once the dust settles.

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  • Behold...the anit-Coop.

    Am I the only person who thinks the Mets made a mistake by not resigning Steve Trachsel? El Duque is already hurting in 2007. It amazes me how much people love Oliver Perez and his 6.00-plus ERA. He would have been a goat in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series if not for one of the greatest catches in the history of baseball by Endy Chavez. And people want Perez in the rotation. Yet people point out Tracshel's 4.97 ERA as being bad. I see him as a guy who will start 30 games and be a consistent starter.
    -- Billy M., Tallahassee, Fla.

    I can't shoot many holes in what you say. But Perez clearly has a higher ceiling than Trachsel, and the last month of Trachsel's time with the Mets -- his absence from late regular-season games and his performance in the postseason pretty much ushered him out of New York. The Mets won 20 of his 30 starts. If Perez makes 30 starts -- i.e., if he pitches well enough to be part of the rotation for the entire season -- the Mets will be delighted.

    I wonder if Billy M. had a straight face on when he wrote that question.

  • I like Mulvey as a prospect, but I am still extremely curious as to why he put up such mediocre numbers while playing for such bastion of college baseball in Villanova. Regardless, he is drawing some high praises in camp.

    Mulvey, who is from Parlin, N.J., and played at Villanova, throws a fastball, curve, changeup and slider. He's hit 96 mph on the radar gun and can throw between 92 and 94 on a regular basis, said Rick Waits, the Mets' Minor League pitching coordinator.

    "Usually a young pitcher might have command of one or two of his pitches," Waits said. "But Kevin has four solid pitches he can throw for strikes. It's a rare pitcher you can say that about."

  • John Donovan echoes the sentiment that the Mets are heavily counting on John Maine and Oliver Perez to step up and help carry this rotation.

    As much promise as the two pitchers may hold, they both have well-defined shortcomings. Maine's off-speed repertoire is sorely short-handed, which is bound to hurt him if he doesn't perfect the changeup that he's been working on this spring. And though everybody loves Perez's stuff, his control is a huge issue.

    The baseball world is not buying into the idea that these two are going to pan out, but I have faith. Maybe it's blind faith, but I still have faith.

  • This is why I love Rick Peterson. I used to doubt him, but I have the utmost confidence in him to guide the Mets young arms and get Oliver Perez back on track and get Mike Pelfrey to be 2007's Justin Verlander.

    "If someone says to you, 'I'm lost,' what would be the first thing that you would respond?" Peterson, the Mets' pitching coach, asked. "Where do you want to go? It's a logical question. Can you show me your map? [Perez said] 'I don't have one.' No wonder you're lost."

    It is really scary what the Pirates managed to do to him.

    "I'm back," Perez said. "I'm happy. The last few games I was feeling really good. I know that's me. After the season I was trying to continue to learn and understand about what happened last year. Now that feels like a long time ago. The Mets believed in me. I understand I can do this. That's why I'm here."

    As for Pelfrey, he reminds me a lot of Verlander. A guy that didn't have all that much time in the minors and got a bit roughed up in limited exposure to the bigs in his first pro season. Pelfrey's fastball can certainly set him up for success in '07 at the big league level.

    How fast he grasps command of that pitch will dictate when he comes to the majors. Why get rid of the curveball?

    "When you make adjustments with pitch selection with pitchers, it's based on making an off-speed pitch that matches the strength of your fastball," Peterson explained.

    "So if you got a power sinker, that's going at this angle," Peterson said, making a left to right cutting motion with his right hand, "the best thing that you can do is have a pitch that goes softer in the opposite angle."

    How does Peterson get this point across to pitchers like Pelfrey?

    "I use this analogy," he said. "I ask them, 'Do you like vanilla ice cream?'


    'Do you like ketchup?'


    'Do you like ketchup on your vanilla ice cream?'

    'Not a good mix.' "

    Swellicious. One thing about being a good teacher is being able to get people to understand what you are talking about. I'm not specifically referring to Peterson's little analogies when I say this, but Peterson seemingly has the ability to get pitchers that have the desire listen and learn to do the right things to make them better.

    "You look at these Fortune 500 companies," Peterson said, "and they come out with new products, and people go, 'It's so simple. Why didn't I think of that?' And the reason is, you didn't have that vision.

    "You only see it after someone showed it to you. It's not really telling them what to see, but where to look. So they can see it in their own way."

  • It's go time...game #1 is today. Spring Training is boring and can drag on at times, but these games need to happen before th regular season can start so bring it on.

  • Bada...RE: your comments from the other day. I think we all agree that the Mets rotation is not ideal. Zito or Daisuke would have been spectacular. A trade for Haren would have been great too. But the Mets were not able to execute on those plans, but not for a lack of trying. However, this team does not need to be carried by their starting rotation. This team is well rounded and you have to look at their rotation last year and digest the fact that there were 12 starts made between Zambrano, Gonzalez, and Lima with another 30 by Traschel. If Pedro can return in time to make ten starts to warm up for the playoffs and be Pedro (yes, that is a sizable if), I have reason to believe this rotation will be better than last year's version. Things could fall apart, but that can happen with any team. The upside is here for the Mets and there is the possibility that Maine is a mid-rotation guy that can be depended on, Oliver Perez starting to figure things out in his last few starts, Mike Pelfrey finally found a pitch to compliment his immensely special fastball, and that the doctors patched up Pedro's arm. That sounds like a lot to go right, but I didn't say anything that was that much of a leap of faith. The arms are there. Things could fall apart, but the talent is there.