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

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is Being A Met Fan More Fun?

I have to tell you, this is making a lot of sense to me.

"Back then, you never knew whether the Yanks would make the World Series or finish third," he says. "Sure, I wanted them to win every game. But the truth is, I love not knowing what's going to happen in baseball. There's something fun about entering a season and not being sure how your team will do."

Would it be better for the Mets to be in the playoffs for the next ten years or to have years like '07 only to come back in '08 and '09 and be treated to trips to the playoffs and even the World Series perhaps. If the Mets made it in this year and continued to do so over the next five years, it would be nice for sure, but would it be as exciting as true pennant races and the unknown?

One of the early economic principles I learned in college was the theory of marginal utility.

UTILITY: Economist-speak for a good thing; a measure of satisfaction. Underlying most economic theory is the assumption that people do things because doing so gives them utility. People want as much utility as they can get. However, the more they have, the less difference an additional unit of utility will make – there is diminishing MARGINAL utility. Utility is not the same as utilitarianism, a political philosophy based on achieving the greatest happiness of the greatest number.

One triple cheesebuger is great, but two? If one was good, two should be twice as good, right? Not so much. Your stomach, your significant other, and possibly your ass would have something to say about that. Could this be applicable to baseball? It sure seems like Braves fans had become indifferent after not even selling out playoff games. Of course, there has to be some reward at some point. Us Met fans endure a lot, but if the Mets can win something in the next few years, the disaster that was 2007 will be distant memory and it will taste that much sweeter.

When did a baseball season in New York become solely about the finish line, and not about the journey? How can a team that clawed its way out of a 14½-game hole be deemed a failure for falling to a team -- the Cleveland Indians -- that features two of the league's top five starting pitchers? Do the memories of Alex Rodriguez's 54 home runs and Chien-Ming Wang's 19 wins and Derek Jeter's steely determination and Joba Chamberlain's meteoric rise fade to ashes without a diamond-studded ring?

So buck up...if the Mets were the Yankees, you wouldn't even care right now. At least the Mets have something to look forward to while the Yankees are destined for another season of 'failure' in 2008.

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  • Schuerholz is stepping down as the GM and moving up to second in command of the Braves with Frank Wren sliding into his spot. Will it matter? Who cares. This next decade is all about the Mets and they are their own worst enemy.

    Prediction....Frank Wren's big first move? Tom Glavine back to Atlanta and what a joyful occasion that will be. Also, how does Tom feel about Atlanta even though his child and wife were unable to attend his first games as a Met in Atlanta?

  • Is A-Rod bluffing? I hope not. He is the lynchpin for me in regards to the Yankees having a shot at the playoffs next season. If he returns, they are in. If he skips town, they are out.

  • The Phillies are willing to spend more money on next year's club. That is all well and fine if there was something to spend it on. Also, with a team that has so many holes in the bullpen and the rotation, they would not have enough to band-aid those ouchies. I know I'm probably jinxing the Mets, but they should run away with the division with a few smart moves. In reality, the '06 season covered up some of their blemishes and the '07 season put them to the forefront. The '08 season should be the reality.

  • The Rockies kick ass. Everyone should be fearful of the machine that is the Rockies.
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    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    The Times Are A-Changin'

    These are not your slightly older uncle's Yankees. The winds of change are blowing in the Bronx and it signals a possible changing of the guard. The Yankees have gotten younger and should continue to get younger and might not be the Yankees of old who would bid on a player and pay as much as needed to get the deal done. They truly seem committed to building a team the right way.

    They have said they will not pursue A-Rod if he opts out and they might not. Even if they do get involved with the bidding, they probably will not just keep bidding until everyone is trumped, which likely means he will be gone. Despite how vital he is to the team, I can see them just holding tight and sticking to a number and if someone blows them out of the water, so be it. Mike Lowell will be out there and there were rumors that Aramis Ramirez might be available opening up a spot (and cash) for A-Rod on the Cubs.

    Regardless, there is always some darkhorse team that comes out of nowhere to bid some ridiculous amount and it is clear there are teams with glaring needs and some cash that could jump into the A-Rod sweepstakes and outbid the Yankees. It would not surprise many people to see someone put their next ten years of financial flexibility in jeopardy out of desperation.

    As old adage goes, it is insane to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Well, what the Yankees have been doing is not working which is why they will probably do things uncharacteristically. They might be in a bit of transitional phase while they cleanse their team of the Giambis, Damons, Matsuis, Mussinas, etc. They really cannot go after any top tier talent (not that there is any out there this off-season) with every position taken with the exception of first and possibly third and catcher and they need to bring along their youth.

    You might see the Yankees hold tight this off season and go back into battle with the same crew with the idea that a full year with Duncan, Hughes, Kennedy, and Chamberlain might provide that extra spark. Lowell might be a possible acquisition and a trade might be in the works with their sudden glut of pitching talent, but I cannot see anything gigantic happening. The wildcard is how Posada and Rivera might be affected if Torre leaves, but I think they will ultimately be back and I will make a bold prediction now. If A-Rod leaves, the Yankees team will not make the playoffs in '08. That is not to say that is a bad thing as their young pitchers will be taking lumps and team will be gearing up for 2009.

    * * *

  • Two days and two Yankees-centric posts? I don't get it either. I think I have not put enough time in to digest what the Mets need to do. I need to get a 30-pack of PBRs and write something on the topic.

  • Matsui back in spotlight with stellar playoff run

    Who would have thought that headline would have ever been printed about Kazuo?

    In Colorado's three-game sweep of the Phillies, the second baseman went 5-for-12 (.417) with a double, two triples and six RBIs. His Game 2 grand slam in Philadelphia was, in Matsui's words, "very cool, my best moment in baseball."

  • How is this not #1?

    50. Zimmer charges Pedro, Game 3, 2003 (Yankees vs. Red Sox): A Yankee (Karim Garcia!) gets plunked by Pedro Martinez. Pedro then gestures to the Yankee dugout, possibly indicating he's going to throw at their heads. Fast-forward to a high-inside Roger Clemens pitch to Manny Ramirez. Benches clear and 72-year-old Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer tries to take out Pedro, only to be thrown to the ground.

    It has it all. Drama, comedy, brawling, excitement, a fat guy....

    Out of the top fifty though, a team that has not been to the playoffs all that much surely was involved in a lot of intense moments. Come to think about it, that does not surprise me at all the Mets would check in so many times. Nothing is ever easy with the Mets and good or bad, the Mets bring out some pretty intense emotions.

  • Unless you are into a Michael Barrett type mood, Ramon and LoDuca should be brought back.

  • Ken has some info...

    The White Sox, Tigers and Mets are among the teams that could be interested in Eckstein — and Eckstein would figure to be open-minded if the Mets or another club wanted him to move to second base.

    Four words.

    Please God. Not him.

  • Also from the above link:

    Rather than trade left-hander Johan Santana, the Twins might be better off moving closer Joe Nathan, whom they could replace internally with righty Pat Neshek. The Twins are certain to exercise Nathan's $6 million option, and the scarcity of quality closers on the open market could bring the Twins a substantial return. The Yankees might be first in line for Nathan if they lose Mariano Rivera as a free agent. The Mets could not ignore Nathan, either, even with closer Billy Wagner signed through 2009...

    Trading Nathan would be a smart thing unless they decide to just go for it. However, going for it would not be the right thing to do since they direly need to acquire some pop if they plan to actually make some real noise. Frankly, they should explore trading Johan and Nothan to see if they can bring in a monumental haul.

  • From Bada....Waldman crying.... I can listen to that all day. In fact, while we are laughing at her, give this one another listen.

    If that does not satiate that voracious appetite of yours of laughing at Suzyn Waldman, enjoy this one.


  • Tuesday, October 09, 2007

    Save Joe Torre

    Sizemore rounding third . . .
    Here's Damon's throw to the plate . . .
    Bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce
    ~ Rob Neyer

    I was thinking about the Joe Torre situation and I truly believe that we as anti-Yankee people should endorse him coming back in 2008. God forbid they get someone that can effectively use a bullpen. If Torre knew how to navigate through late inning pitching changes, he might have two more World Series rings to add to his collection.

    Sure, that is pure speculation, but I am reasonably sure there were two series that I saw that were a directly effected by bullpen moves. I for one am fully supporting his return and I do believe we should pitch in and perhaps start a petition. I do think all our efforts would be for naught as I think they both move on, but we simply cannot give up the dream.

    As to who would replace him if he was not brought back, the buzz has been that Tony LaRussa might be choice. According to Madden, LaRussa wants to manage at one more stop and have a chance to win another championship. The Yankees would certainly fit that bill and it allows Mattingly to get more experience under his belt. It does make sense since the Yankees would never go with a 'no-namer' and still positions Donnie Baseball as the heir whereas Girardi would probably be in for the long haul and blocking the Boss's favorite.

    Of course popular notion is that no one could handle the media as well as Torre, but I call bullshit. I've heard many o' manager do pre/post games, including Eric Wedge during these playoffs, and many are very savvy and intelligent. The notion that no one else could do it is simply false and utterly ridiculous. Torre's staunchest supporters have always pointed to his handling of personalities, his even keeled approach, and the way he handles the media as the reason he is so successful in New York and simply do not believe anyone could do that outside of Yankee blood presumably.

    I think all those people need to wake up and realize that Joe Torre does not walk on water, his poo does in fact stink, and the man is a marginal manager at best. Sure, he says nice things to the media, but I do believe a lot of people would have the ability to do that and LaRussa, Mattingly, or Girardi would be able to do just swell. It might be weird for a bit without him, but I'm sure things will return to 'normal' for the Yankees shortly.

    * * *

  • Ha ha!

    Clemens and his agents, the Hendricks brothers, a wily band of career plotters, knew the position the Yankees were in and held them up for a prorated $28 million salary, the highest single-season salary a major league player has ever had.

    Clemens’s first start for the Yankees came June 9, which set his salary for the season at $17,442,622. Making 17 starts during the season, he earned roughly $1 million a start. But Clemens, a six-time 20-game winner and a seven-time winner of the Cy Young award, has the credentials to demand that level of pay, or whatever level of pay a club is willing to give.

    Even if he was to pitch, he would have to do it for less than $10 million for sure. I hope he can manage to feed his family on that.

    For the record, I seriously doubt he will be back.

  • Tim Marchan does not like the NL.

    The Rockies and the Diamondbacks are the best on offer from the NL this year. One of them is going to follow in the proud tradition of last year's 83-win St. Louis Cardinals. Aside from our man in the Sangre de Cristos (and, possibly, the Almighty), no one should care all that much more than they care about Japan's Championship Series. The real title fight starts Friday, in Boston.

    That is the load of crap. I do not think I need to remind anyone that 2000 went to the AL, 2001 went to the NL, 2002 went to the AL, 2003 went to the NL, 2004 went to the AL, 2005 went to the AL, and 2006 went to the NL. I may not be the smartest human in the world, but the NL has fared well despite being overmatched on paper in every contest that they won.

    The AL winner is hardly a surefire bet to win anything. Yes, there are more talented teams in the AL, but I think history has proved that the NL has a shot here and I certainly do not agree that the NL does not have a team that the casual fan can get behind. Both teams are exactly the type of exciting team (and especially the Rockies) that a casual fan can get behind as they are the quintessential underdog.

    Call me crazy, but there is a lot of young talented teams in the NL that have bright futures. Things go in ebbs and flows and the NL will rise again and may very well be on the verge of growing up if the Mets can finally make that jump to a perennial playoff team, the Dodgers young guys get a chance to play, the D-Backs keep taking steps forward, the Brewers keep getting better, and the Rockies keep up their resurgence.

    There are teams that are loaded with talent that are extremely close to turning a corner and that is impossible to ignore.
  • Labels:

    Sunday, October 07, 2007

    Sufficient Amounts of Ass Kicking

    Three series and four sweeps. What an amazing first week of playoffs and the Rockies just keep on laying waste to whomever is in their way and you can be sure that a Troy Tulowitzki t-shirt jersey will be ordered and be on my body when I head to Shea next year. I'm officially on the Colorado bandwagon and they have been ridiculously fun to watch so far in the playoffs. As for the Indians, they will forever own a little piece of real estate in my heart if they can dispatch the New York Yankees so I can turn on the radio and not hear about their greatness any more.

    Speaking of the Yankees, George's comments about Torre were hysterical.

    "His job is on the line," the Yankees' owner said in a phone interview. "I think we're paying him a lot of money. He's the highest-paid manager in baseball, so I don't think we'd take him back if we don't win this series."

    Why should any manager get $7 million? While some think a manager's salary should be comeasurate with the team's salary, I think it is a colossal waste of money. Unless the manager is reinventing the game of baseball, you are better advised to spend that elsewhere or just keep building up a warchest. Of course the door is open since he said he does not 'think' he will taking him back, you would have to wonder if both sides would really want to continue a relationship after this season.

    Even more ridiculous, Mike Francesa was speaking about Steinbrenner's statements and said it is OK when he does something like that because it is expected, but it is not OK when Jeff Wilpon does it because he is not Steinbrenner. While one is surely known for it, it certainly does not give him carte blanche to continually act like an ass. It could have been a motivational tactic to get Torre's players to step up, but I am not sure that is the point. What if Jeff was just trying to serve up a healthy plate of motivation? It was plain to see they needed it.

    So if you are keeping score at home, the Mets cannot do anything without getting criticized because they 'haven't done anything' and the Yankees can do whatever they want which includes Joba 'showing up' the other team every time he is mound. Chalk up the Mets celebratory habits in the column of something they are not allowed to do because they have not done anything. It was also said that Tom Glavine would sit in the dugout and shake his head when the Mets youthful exuberance would be on display.

    To that I say my Tom Glavine jersey will be getting torched this week. Hopefully by Wednesday I will be able light it up, but I have to borrow a camera. Mine conveniently broke while I was in Africa and I need to send it in. But once I get one, goodbye Glavine jersey and hello extra space for one more shirt in my closet.

    * * *

  • Would getting rid of Torre have anything to do with Mariano and Jorge returning the Yankees? I would say no and it does not matter how much they publicly might allude to it mattering. In the end, they will probably be in the Bronx next season and I would assume two year contracts would be the contract length of choice in each for the Yankees with maybe a third option year.

  • Joel Sherman is huffing more than his fair share of spray paint. Here is what he believes the Mets need:

    1. More Passion
    So the Mets should look seriously at free agents Aaron Rowand to play center field and David Eckstein to play second base, and/or see if they could pry someone such as the Angels' jack-in-the-box Chone Figgins to be their jack-of-all-trades.

    Eckstein is cute in all, but I might rip my eyes out if I had to see him in a Mets uniform everyday. I would not mind Figgins for what he could bring to this team, but the Angels would be hard pressed to part with a guy who can basically fill in anywhere for them and steals a ton of bases. Also, I doubt Eckstein is the missing piece of the puzzle in terms of chemistry for this team.

    If you buy all of that, Eckstein's peskiness and seriousness about winning would enliven the Mets.

    Seriousness about winning? Who does not need more of that?

    By signing Rowand, the Mets would rob the NL East champ Phillies of a big piece. Putting Carlos Beltran in right field might diminish his leg injuries. Having Rowand and Beltran would allow the Mets to more comfortably play the limited range of Moises Alou (yes, pick up his option) in left field and also liberate the Mets to more aggressively use one or two pieces of their strength, high-end, young outfielders (Carlos Gomez, Lastings Milledge, Fernando Martinez), to pursue pitching.

    More grinders? Yes! If the Mets can get Rowand and Eckstein that will have the grinding-est bunch of grinders who have every grinded...or ground. Really though, I think the Mets already played that game of moving gold glove caliber center fielders to right field. The Mets have a wealth of outfield talent and they should use it balance out a high payroll and help them maintain some flexibility.

    And anyone who suggests the Mets should trade Jose Reyes for Santana is a fool. You might not like how the season ended, but Reyes is 24 and one of the majors' 25 best players. You build around that, you do not trade that. Better to keep Reyes and be the high bidder for Santana a year from now if the lefty gets to the free-agent market.

    Nothing to add here. I agree that Santana is nice, but it will not happen. I also like the fact he called Buster Olney a fool.

    I would seriously consider giving Aaron Heilman another rotation shot. He has the stuff for it and it is where his heart is. And if St. Louis' Braden Looper can win 12 games and throw 175 innings in his first year converted from the 'pen, Heilman can do at least that.

    I like thinking outside of the box, but I think that would be a bad idea. I think the Mets will roll with The Duque again and Humber and Pelfrey will battle it out for the fifth spot. Really, The Duque's disappearance at the end of '06 and '07 was horrible, but he will be counted on less if the Mets can have a full year of Pedro and get decent starts from Humber or Pelfrey. There might not be much depth, but you need to get those young guys going at some point and the Mets are deep enough with veterans to let them take some lumps and get up to speed. They need to be an integral part of the plan next season and whomever is not in the rotation needs to get shifted into the bullpen.

    So if the White Sox want to get rid of the $20 million left on Jose Contreras' pact enough that they would take the steroid twins, Guillermo Mota and Scott Schoeneweis, the Mets should seriously consider it. Workhorse types including Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo, Oakland's Joe Blanton, the White Sox's Jon Garland, Texas' Kevin Millwood, Detroit's Nate Robertson and Florida's Dontrelle Willis are likely to be on the trade market. The Mets should determine the one or two they like the best and see if there is a deal to be made.

    I would condone this with the exception of Dontrelle. I would also only condone this if The Duque was going to be headed to the bullpen as I truly believe that the Mets need to start working in their top pitching prospects in some fashion. They can never become veterans unless you give them some chances to actually pitch.

    The Mets believe in their scouting acumen and in Peterson. Therefore, they should be very active in the Rule 5 draft, minor league free agency, and the Japanese market to provide as many 'pen possibilities to churn through next year as possible, because spending big on marginal guys such as Mota and Schoeneweis is foolhardy.

    Getting a hard thrower in the Rule 5 or some foreign import is a great low risk/high rewark move that I fully support.

  • Genetically altered gnats that were trained to only attack players wearing Yankee uniforms? While bugs are annoying, I do believe suspending play would have been a ridiculous decision to make in the playoffs.

    But with his team teetering on the brink of a knockout, the old Steinbrenner came out swinging on Saturday night, putting Torre on immediate notice and ripping into umpire Bruce Froemming, the veteran crew chief from Friday night's Game 2 who declined to stop play despite an infestation of Lake Erie gnats.

    "The umpire was full of [expletive]," Steinbrenner said of the retiring Froemming. "He won't umpire our games anymore."

    In the wake of that Game 2 defeat, Steinbrenner said the Yankees had complained to baseball commissioner Bud Selig about the decision to play on. "[Selig] just said, 'That's in the umpires' hands,' " Steinbrenner said. "But Jesus Christ, it was terrible. It messed up the whole team, [Derek] Jeter, all of them."

    Oh, Jeter as well? Then the game 110% (coincidently the effort Jeter is magically able to give while other mere mortals can give only 100%) should have been called. I had no idea Captain Jetes was adversely affected as well. Either way, both teams had to deal with it and champions persevere, right?

    Billy Beane lays down some common sense on the topic.

    "I have, but I'm trying to remember where it happened. That situation was not unlike cold weather or wind -- part of the elements that both teams deal with. I've actually seen bugs much worse than that; remember I spent too much time in minor leagues. Unless you forgot, I was not a good player! Remember, the bugs were bothering hitters, too. A zero sum situation."

  • John Delcos is kind enough to offer up some free advice.

    1. Fix Jose Reyes:
    I wholeheartedly agree that Jose Reyes' perceived attitude issues need to get dealt with, but how do you do that exactly? If Willie was also a contributing factor, it would be of paramount concern and other players should be gauged as to their feelings about the skipper.

    2. Re-sign Tom Glavine:
    I realize he has been pretty good over the years and did give the Mets 200 innings, but it is clear he has nothing left in the tank. Without the homeplate umps help, he is exposed and likely to get rocked. I would rather use the season to see if some youth can step up and help this rotation. If you need anything else to help sway your mind, check this out. Sure it was a team effort, but Glavine just needs to move on and his perceived indifference about his last start was just one more reason I did not need to formulate my opinion on the topic.

    3. Release Guillermo Mota:
    I would wait until the spring. However, if he is flat in the spring again and someone steps up, then release him before Willie has the chance to call his number daily.

    4. Go after Chad Cordero:
    I would love Cordero, but not at the expense of Humber which is to say he will not be available. No way the Nats let him go for nothing and I think Humber could contribute to the bullpen positively if given the chance making any deal for Cordero nebulous.

    5. Figure out a temporary plan for Pelfrey and Humber:
    As stated above, one should get a rotation spot and another a legit spot in the bullpen.

    6. Be prepared to lose Aaron Heilman:
    I am not against dealing him for someone that will help the team, but he was the Mets second best reliever in the second half and I hardly think now is the time to start dealing away whatever useful bullpen arms the Mets have. He can buck up and wait for his chance to leave the Mets when his six years of service time is up.

    7. Re-sign catcher Paul Lo Duca:
    I've stated my opinion on this one time and time again so I will not repeat it.

    8. Bring back Moises Alou:
    No brainer. He needs to come back.

    9. Bring back Luis Castillo and Damion Easley:
    I am OK with this as long it is not for longer than two years and not much more than he made in 2007, but I would like to see Gotay get groomed to be a super sub that gets a sizeable amount of at-bats. As for Easley, he is welcome back in 2008.

    10. Sign Adam Dunn:
    Only if he is on first base and Delgado is magically traded, but I want Lastings to start in right field because I think he could be a true impact player next year.

  • Thanks to John for sending this one to me.....
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