Mets Merized Online » Daniel Nelson http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 06 Feb 2016 23:29:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 Happy Mother’s Day: Mets Memories, Family, and Believing http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/happy-mothers-day-mets-memories-family-and-believing.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/happy-mothers-day-mets-memories-family-and-believing.html/#comments Sun, 10 May 2015 10:33:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=181164 happy mothers day

A Message From Joe D. – One of the great things about MMO is all the great original content from the hundreds of Mets fans that have come and gone throughout the years. I love all the personal stories and the incredible passion and sentiment that goes into all those wonderful articles and Fan Shots.

Every year on Mother’s Day, I like to look back and re-post an article that evokes the spirit of home and family in a Mets kind of way. Enjoy this post by Daniel Nelson who interned with us in 2013 and is now a digital and editorial producer for San Francisco State University. So with that, I’d like to wish all you Mets Moms out there a very Happy Mother’s Day. 

1969 NLCS

Tucked away in the mountains of Tehachapi, Calif. rests a modest cottage. Living in that cottage are John and Jill Nelson. These are my parents.

In any given room, you can find the typical conventions of any old west-style household. There are paintings of horses on every wall, candle holders made from welded horseshoes on the dining room table and small pieces from alfalfa-hay flakes scattered across the 70s-style brown carpet.

If you look deep enough in the closets, underneath the abundance of dust, you’ll find something any true baseball fan has: memorabilia. In my parents’ case, the majority happens to be New York Mets memorabilia.

This offseason has dragged on for what seems like an eternity. The Mets continue to be written off, but this is something my parents have been used to hearing for as long as they’ve followed the Mets—something that’s been engrained in the way I’ve followed the Mets my whole life. I’m sure it’s something we all recognize.

See, my parents haven’t always resided on the West Coast. For a large chuck of their lives, they lived in Fair Lawn, N.J.—in Bergen County, which is right on the border of New York and New Jersey. They both worked for the Associated Press in New York.

My father is originally from Federal Way, Wash. so he indirectly adopted the Mets through my mother, who grew up in Kenilworth, N.J.

Whenever I visit my parents in Tehachapi, they tell me stories from when they watched and covered the Mets. They have a more impartial perspective because they are both journalists. You can tell when they talk about the Mets though, there’s just a hint attachment. I recently got a chance to visit them and they dusted off all their memorabilia and told me the stories behind it.

1969 poster from Jock Magazine (The magazine cost 60 cents and the poster is about 3 feet in length)

This 1969 poster from Jock Magazine cost 60 cents and measured about 3 feet in length.

Since the anniversary of Gary Carter’s passing, I’ve been asking them a lot about Mets teams of old. I want to share some stories and memorabilia with you. It’s my hope that we can put aside the Mets’ current foibles and focus primarily on something the Mets have done throughout the franchise’s history: defy the odds.

This offseason reminds me of the season preceding 1969—the “Miracle Mets” season.

go mets button footer

My mother got this Daily News issued button and the poster seen above during the Mets’ World Series run in 1969. The Mets clinched the division on Sept. 24, 1969 with a win over the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0.

It was also fan appreciation day. My mother and grandfather were both in attendance. My mother was 16 years old. She remembers fans climbing the foul poles and everyone rushing onto the field to grab a chunk of grass after the Mets won the game. On the way home, she recalls almost everyone riding the train holding a piece of grass. It would be nice to see the Mets get that kind of support from the fanbase again. There was a time when, despite how bad the Mets were, fans still showed a lot of support.

1986 NLCS score book

1986 NLCS Score Book

By the time 1986 rolled around, my father had become an established writer for the Associated Press. My older brother had been born so my mother became more of a fan. She went to a lot of games in ’86 and kept many things along the way.

Box score from Game 3 of the NLCS against the Astros at Shea Stadium

Box score from Game 3 of the NLCS against the Astros at Shea Stadium

As we all know, the Mets beat the Houston Astros in the ’86 NLCS in six games to move on to the World Series. My mother attended Game 3 (as you can see from the handwritten box score). The Mets won the game 6-5 with a walk-off home run by Lenny Dykstra. She said when Dykstra hit the two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th inning, the stands in Shea Stadium shook back and forth.

Two-page spread of the NL champion Mets in The Record newspaper on Sunday, Oct. 19, 1986

Two-page spread of the NL Champion Mets featured in The Record on Sunday, Oct. 19, 1986

During the ’86 World Series, my father wrote an evaluation of each team’s roster for the AP. He picked which team had the upper hand at each position. These evaluations were distributed to newspapers across the country that didn’t have traveling baseball writers and didn’t have as much knowledge about each team. When it came to third base, my father picked Ray Knight to be the better player over Wade Boggs. Every paper that the comparison was distributed to ran it except for one publication based in Boston. The paper refused to publish it unless Knight was replaced by Boggs. My father refused and the paper didn’t run his piece. When the World Series was over, Knight was named World Series MVP.

Mets box score from Game 6 of the 1986 World SeriesRed Sox box score from Game 6 of the 1986 World Series

My mother’s score card from Game 6 of the 1986 World Series

Both my mother and father were at Game 6. My mother was in the stands with my grandmother and my father was in the press box covering the game for the AP.

Back then, my father used to dictate the games over the phone back to the AP office. When Keith Hernandez made the second out of the 9th inning, the Series seemed all but wrapped up for the Red Sox. After Carter’s two-out hit in the inning, my father recalls telling the AP office, “Hold on. Something crazy is about to happen.”

It’s indicative of the way the Mets play. We saw it a lot in 2012 when the Mets piled up all those two-out runs.

My mother was sitting on the first base side in between home and first. She remembers Red Sox fans sitting a few rows in front of her going crazy after the second out of the 9th inning. After Wilson’s grounder to Bill Buckner at first, she claims that even if Buckner had fielded the ball, Wilson would have beat the throw. When the ball rolled passed Buckner, she recalls all of Shea Stadium going completely silent for a split second.

As Knight rounded third base seconds later, she said Shea blew up like someone had set off dynamite from under the seats. When she looked down at the Red Sox fans a few rows in front her, they were no where to be found.

I love hearing these stories whenever I get a chance to go home. The Mets are more than just my favorite team, they provide a special bond between me and my family. I’m a big believer in the Mets, and at the start of every new season I don’t ever count them out. History tells us that the Mets have a penchant for surprising everybody. I like it when we fly under the radar. They play better with a chip on their shoulders. With all that being said, I feel something amazin’ is in the works. Ya gotta believe!

tug mcgraw

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Surprise, Surprise. A-Rod Gets Plunked In Return To Fenway http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/surprise-surprise-a-rod-gets-plunked-in-return-to-fenway.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/surprise-surprise-a-rod-gets-plunked-in-return-to-fenway.html/#comments Mon, 19 Aug 2013 15:12:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127441 ArodX

I rarely post anything that isn’t Mets related, but I hope people had a chance to watch yesterday’s game between the Yankees and Red Sox in Fenway Park. Another chapter was written into one of the most storied rivalries in sports.

In the second inning, Alex Rodriguez walked to the plate engulfed in a tidal wave of boos to face Ryan Dempster. Fans started chanting “You’re-a, chea-ter.” Dempster set the tone by throwing the first ball behind Rodriguez’s legs, causing the Yankees slugger to fall to the ground. Three pitches later, Dempster pegged Rodriguez in the elbow. Umpire Brian O’Nora then issued warnings to Dempster and both benches. Manager Joe Girardi was then ejected for justly arguing about why Dempster wasn’t thrown out and why his team was issued a warning.

But revenge is a dish best served in center field. Later in the sixth inning, Rodriguez took Dempster deep to centerfield for a solo home run. It was A-Rod’s 649th career home run, but it had to feel a bit more significant given the circumstances. Rodriguez took a second or two to celebrate on top of home plate. The Yankees went on to win 9-6.

I didn’t understand why Dempster wasn’t warned after the first pitch. His intent was crystal clear. It also put the Yankees at a disadvantage because any retaliation would have gotten C.C. Sabathia ejected immediately. That wound up being moot. It also seemed ill-advised given how close the race in the AL East is. Dempster could have been tossed and the bullpen might have been taxed for their West Coast road trip.

It seemed like this was just a personal vendetta from Dempster, but it’s a microcosm of how most players feel about Rodriguez in general. For the Yankees, the beaning seemed to fire them up. It may be a rallying point for a seemingly indefensible situation.

At any rate, A-Rod should get used to it. Getting drilled is the least of his worries these days.

What are your thoughts?

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One Of The Strangest Years A Professional Athlete Can Have http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/one-of-the-strangest-years-a-professional-athlete-can-have.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/one-of-the-strangest-years-a-professional-athlete-can-have.html/#comments Wed, 07 Aug 2013 05:45:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=126544 jordany-valdespin

A couple mornings ago I received a slew of text messages in rapid succession. They were all about the tweet released by FOX’s Ken Rosenthal and Jordany Valdespin’s 50-game suspension.

At first, I felt bad. My dark horse in 2013 added a new chapter entitled “PEDs” into the comedic novella he’s called a career. The one I called El Dramático for his propensity to pimp long home runs and throw tantrums when things didn’t follow the script had seemingly drawn his last straw.

Then I felt indifferent. Let’s face it. His stock was plummeting faster than Matt Garza’s Twitter followers. His days in New York were numbered anyway.

On a whole, I felt good Major League Baseball finally cracked down on athletes besmirching the game of baseball. I’m sick of listening to PEDs discussions and it’s about time players were held accountable.

After I visited both sides of the emotional spectrum, all I could think about was the bizarre year Valdespin’s had in general. What started out as a prospect poised to showcase his talent this season, turned into a six-month odyssey that often fell outside any reasonable verisimilitude. I hope Alex Rodriguez is sending thank you cards to Valdespin for carrying some of the load in New York.

In honor of our fallen compañero, let’s reminisce about the season El Hombre has had. In reality, we’ll probably never see him in a Mets uniform again.

March 11, 2013 vs. Detroit Tigers

Jordany Valdespin

During a Spring Training game, Valdespin launched a home run off Justin Verlander over the right-field wall. Then after a ground out, Valdespin stepped in against Verlander and took a 94-mph fastball right in the cojones. When media asked where the ball hit him, in throwback fashion, Valdespin answered, “My manhood.” No damage was done, which has now led many to jest that his grapes were actually raisins…

April 24, 2013 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

jordany valdespin

In a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 10th inning, Valdespin faced Josh Wall with the bases juiced. With one out, all Valdespin needed to do was hit a deep fly ball to win the game. On a 2-1 pitch, he did just that and ended up winning the game on a walk-off grand slam. As Valdespin does with most home runs, he strolled down the line holding his bat out as if the bat boy was going to rush out and grab it before he rounded first. Unfortunately, the story didn’t end there. John Buck smacked Valdespin in the face with a pie during a postgame interview so hard that the impact could have been heard in San Pedro de Macoris and for all the wrong reasons; many were furiously talking about the Latin enigma.

May 7, 2013 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

valdespin high five

Let’s set the scene: bottom of the ninth, one out and Valdespin steps into the box to pinch-hit against veteran reliever Jose Contreras. Contreras quickly falls behind Valdespin and on a 2-0 pitch, JV1 swings out of his shoes, flings his left leg back behind home plate, cranks one deep into the Pepsi Porch AND THE METS…cut the lead to five. We all remember Valdespin taking a second to admire his work and then staring defiantly into his own dugout.

The next day, manager Terry Collins sent Valdespin up to pinch-hit fully armored, much to Valdespin’s chagrin, knowing he’d get drilled. Low and behold, Pirates reliever Bryan Morris obliged Collins and plunked Valdespin. What ensued was a week-long media frenzy that still lingers with every mention of the Dominican utilityman.

July 13, 2013

collins_040913

During a demotion to Triple-A, a volatile Valdespin allegedly called Collins a “c—sucker.” The incident happened after a 4-2 loss to the Pirates and left a teary-eyed Valdespin wondering, “How could this possibly be happening to the man right now?” Valdespin was reported to have tried inventing an injury to land on the DL, but instead was relegated to the Las Vegas 51s with only a strained left ego muscle. He left the Mets with a .188 batting average, four home runs, 16 RBIs and a chip on his shoulder.

July 29, 2013 vs. Sacramento River Cats

backman

Valdespin got the start at second base for the Las Vegas 51s. He hit a three-run bomb in the third inning and subsequently got plunked later in the game. In retribution, 51s pitcher Armando Rodriguez hit River Cats second baseman Grant Green and the benches cleared. The aftermath was the ejection of Rodriguez, Valdespin and both managers. ‘Spin was then sentenced to a three-game suspension. He hit .466/.537/.759 with three home runs and 24 RBIs in 16 games for Las Vegas.

August 5, 2013

 

 

That brings us to Monday.  At 9:33 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, Ken Rosenthal single-handedly caused my Twitter feed to erupt into orange-and-blue bedlam. He took Mets fans by surprise when he mentioned Valdespin would be one of two Mets players to serve a 50-game suspension. The other was the more obvious Cesar Puello.

Valdespin has now been suspended by two different baseball leagues in the same week, a feat I never thought possible, and will try for the cycle in 2014.

I’m not sure how to feel about El Dramático anymore. To be honest, I, like many others, have sort of detached myself. He could feasibly play for the Mets in the last few games of the season. By then we’ll know if the Mets have a shot. If he does play, fans will either cascade him with heaps of heckling or pray that he has one more dramatic at-bat to save the season. My money is on the former.

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Trade Ideas: Marlon Byrd for Joe Nathan http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/trade-ideas-marlon-byrd-for-joe-nathan.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/trade-ideas-marlon-byrd-for-joe-nathan.html/#comments Mon, 29 Jul 2013 21:00:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=126049 byrd hrAh, the trading deadline; my favorite time of year. It’s the midseason plot point where words like “blockbuster” are thrown around like clothes in a dryer and can change the fate of any team.

I don’t think a blockbuster is in the Mets’ near future. I do believe there are trades that can be made if Sandy Alderson decides to lift his backside from his chair and pull his hands out.

One idea I’ve been pondering is trading Marlon Byrd for Texas Rangers reliever Joe Nathan.nathan

Nathan, 38, has been reported on the trade block for the last few days now. In 44 games for the Rangers this season, he’s 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 44 strike outs and 11 walks.

It’s also been reported that the Rangers are looking for another right-handed power bat in the lineup. That’s been made all too obvious by their recent admissions that they would actually play Manny Ramirez. I’d like to think that Byrd is a step up for the Rangers from Ramirez.

Byrd also has some experience playing in Texas. He spent some of his best years there, including a career-best, 20-home-run-89-RBI season. Byrd hit .283 that year, which is right around the average he’s at now. The Rangers are familiar with Byrd. I would think they would rather plug him in than a deteriorating Ramirez. It’s a low-risk acquisition that also allows them to not have to eat up what remains of Alex Rios’ seven-year, $69.835 million contract, a player they also considered pursuing according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Heyman also mentioned that the Rangers were looking at Byrd as a backup plan if a Rios deal fell through.

The beauty is that Byrd won’t have to play in the outfield every day in the American League. Byrd has played a great right field, which will only add to his current value, but we’ve seen the effects of playing every day on Byrd. Despite that, he’s still batting .281 with a career-high in slugging percentage (.513). That slugging, in part, comes from the 17 home runs, 17 doubles and three triples he’s already hit. He’s on pace to surpass his season-high home run total (20). With 59 RBIs to this point, he could also break that season-high RBI total (89).

What all this means is that Byrd would be a good addition to a Rangers lineup that is sure to be buyers at the deadline. Whether Byrd could net Nathan is another matter. I think the trade can benefit each team. The fear is that Nathan is an old reliever that may not last long enough to make an impact with the Mets in years to come. I’m not saying the Mets should pursue this trade with vigor, but it poses an interesting scenario for them before the deadline. It’s a longshot, but as we know, anything can happen at the trade deadline.

What do you think about trading Byrd to the Rangers for Nathan?

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Mets Need More Pitching More Than They Need Marlon Byrd http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mets-need-more-pitching-more-than-they-need-marlon-byrd.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mets-need-more-pitching-more-than-they-need-marlon-byrd.html/#comments Sat, 27 Jul 2013 15:57:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125912 carlos torres

There’s an old adage in baseball: you can never have enough good pitching. There’s another adage in life: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

Beat both in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy and you’ve got something resembling the 2013 New York Mets.

In case none of that makes any sense, consider someone like Carlos Torres. In his last two starts, he’s gone 11 IP allowing 12 hits, two walks, two earned runs and striking out 11. He’s 1-0 over those two games—a quality candidate for long relief later on.

jenrry mejiaAlso look no further than Jenrry Mejia. In Mejia’s debut he pitched seven scoreless innings, gave up seven hits, struck out seven, didn’t surrender a walk and earned the win.

Torres and Mejia are just a few of the productive commodities the Mets have stashed on their roster.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Okay, if that’s the case, then why has the team been so mediocre? If the Mets have all this talent on the team, why can’t they put it together?”

That’s where the second ingredient comes into play. Terry Collins can sit in the dugout and watch young or talented or both players all season. That doesn’t mean he’s going to play them. Sandy Alderson can watch his dumpster dive players over-perform. That doesn’t mean he’s going to flip them.

I believe that most teams can make the postseason. It’s about whether you put the right combination of players out there. Making the right organizational moves can assist that endeavor. It’s taken too long for that to happen. It took too long and an injury to get Omar Quintanilla to play every day at shortstop. It took too long to decide to platoon Ike Davis. Juan Lagares is finally getting a chance to play every day.

Yes, Shaun Marcum was a failure. Yes, Brandon Lyon was a failure. There are players on this roster that can fill those voids though. Some of them aren’t pitchers. A player like Marlon Byrd can net pitching—something you can never have enough. I’m not saying he can bring back a top pitching prospect, but I don’t see a problem with trading him for a bullpen arm.

If the Mets are striving to follow the San Francisco Giants mold, they must keep solidifying their pitching.

I don’t think you trade a good player in the middle of a winning season. I also think you don’t keep a 35-year-old outfielder when you’re in the middle of a rebuilding year. You’re 11 games out of the wild card spot and you’d need to pull off one of the most miraculous second half’s in team history. I’m sorry. I’m just being realistic. The Mets have a better chance of competing for the next few years with another bullpen arm than they do of making a run with Byrd this season.

This isn’t to discredit what Byrd’s been doing. He’s been good for the locker room, good on the field and good for this organization. That only adds credence to the idea that some team will be interested in acquiring him for something the Mets could always use more pitching.

Trade Byrd. Keep Bobby Parnell.

What do you think the Mets should do by the trade deadline?

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Marlon Byrd: “I Love This Organization And I’d Love To Stay” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/marlon-byrd-i-love-this-organization-and-id-love-to-stay.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/marlon-byrd-i-love-this-organization-and-id-love-to-stay.html/#comments Thu, 11 Jul 2013 13:53:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124439 byrd auto

Marlon Byrd checks in with MMO to talk about his experience playing for the Mets, how he’s bounced back from his 50-game PEDs suspension, his time in the Mexican League, if he thinks he’ll be traded and how to carry the momentum into the second half of the season.

MMO: David mentioned before yesterday’s game that it’s been great having you on this team for your presence on and off the field, especially for the younger guys. How have you felt about your time with the Mets so far?

MB: I’m just having a great time. This is a great group of guys and I was glad to make the team out of Spring Training. This great organization gave me a great opportunity and I’m just trying to reward them with good play. Like I said before, great group of guys so it’s easy to fit in and it’s been easy to work with a lot of these young guys. This team’s going to be good very soon.

MMO: Many people were skeptical about how you’d perform this year after having a down year last year. What’s been the key for you bouncing back this year?

MB: Just work, getting better. I remember after last year and my positive test, any numbers that I put up now or anything good, people are going to be skeptical. People are going to make comments. It’s part of the game. There’s nothing I can do. I made my mistake last year so I try to move on because I lived through it. It’s one of those things where I continue to work and try to get better and hopefully put together good seasons.

byrd hr

MMO: You’ve made some recent comments about how playing in the Mexican league has rejuvenated your love for baseball. What was your experience like down there?

MB: It was different down there. I had a great time. I love Culiacán, living in a different country, learning a different culture, learning a different language. At the same time, you’re a foreign player. You start learning about how it is for the guys from the Dominican, Venezuela, and Japanese players to come to the States and play on foreign soil. It’s one of those things where, when I finished playing, I really appreciated Major League Baseball and I was excited to get back.

MMO: You’re no stranger to this business at this point in your career. With your production so far this year, do you suspect there’s a chance you might be traded to a contending team who needs another power bat in the lineup?

MB: That’s a part of the business. Sandy Alderson’s going to do anything possible to make this organization the best it can be. That could be keeping me or trading me for some pieces down the road. It’s one of those things where I need to keep producing so I can make his job a little bit easier. If he does want to trade me, he can get some key pieces back instead of just getting rid of me for no reason. Again, it’s part of the business. I’ve been around long enough. I’ve been traded. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I love this organization and I’d love to stay.

byrd  hr 2

MMO: What’s going to need to happen to carry over this momentum the team’s had into the second half of the season?

MB: Stay healthy. Our pitchers, our bullpen has been beat up, but they’ve done a great job this year. They’ve pitched a lot of innings and made a lot of appearances. Keeping our starting pitching healthy too; having our youngster, Zack Wheeler, really blossom, learn and get better while he’s here and keep the offense consistent. You know, we hit a low point around May and really weren’t hitting the ball like we wanted to. If we have those type of runs, we need to shorten them—maybe three or four days long and not two weeks long. If we do that and stay consistent, we’ll be fine.

MMO wants to thank Marlon Byrd for taking some time out of his big day to talk to us. Also thanks to Jay Horwitz, Shannon Forde and the New York Mets for all the hook-ups these last three weeks. We appreciate all you do for us…. Joe D.

addicted to mets button

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Wheeler Shines And Byrd Homers Again As Mets Sweep Giants http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/wheeler-shines-and-byrd-homers-again-as-mets-sweep-giants.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/wheeler-shines-and-byrd-homers-again-as-mets-sweep-giants.html/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 23:38:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124468 wheeler sf

WHEELER WOWS THEM AT FRISCO!

Matt Cain lasted 21 minutes, 0.2 innings and 36 pitches as the Mets tagged him for three runs to take a lead in the first and escort Cain to the showers early. Daniel Murphy started the scoring off with an RBI single and John Buck followed it up with a two-run single. Cain has never left the game against the Mets without pitching at least five innings.

byrd  hr 2Marlon Byrd tacked on two more with a home run in the fifth to put the Mets up 5-0. The home run marked the third time Byrd has homered in consecutive games this season. He did so May 29 and 30, June 12 and 13 then again today and yesterday. Byrd is now at 15 for the season. His career high for a season is 20 back in 2009 with the Rangers. He’s been phenomenal hitting in 12 of his last 14 games and going 19-for-61 (.311) with 4 homers and 13 RBIs in that span.

Zack Wheeler came out and took a no hitter into the fourth before Pablo Sandoval broke it up with a single to shallow right. He pitched well in his homecoming to San Francisco.

“I got drafted by the Giants, and obviously I wanted to pitch here,” Wheeler said. “It’s definitely a pitcher-friendly park. I was lucky enough to get traded. I’m in a good situation now. I’m happy here where I’m at.”

He went seven innings on 101 pitches allowing one earned run over three hits and three walks while striking out five.

“That’s the best all-around stuff I’ve seen so far,” Collins said. “Great movement on his fastball. His changeup was the best I’ve seen. He used his breaking stuff when he needed to, but I thought his changeup really, really kept them off the fastball and he got some easy outs. The ball had good life today.”

He also drove in a run with a ringing double to centerfield to plate Buck and make it 6-0. The double gave Wheeler his first career RBI.

Since last night’s go ahead sac fly, Murphy seems to be snapping out of his funk and driving the ball. He notched his 23rd double of the season to score Wheeler in the sixth and gave the Mets a 7-0 lead. He finished the game 2-for-5.

The Giants finally broke through on Wheeler in the seventh with an RBI single by Brandon Crawford, Wheeler’s former Class-A teammate, making it 7-1.

The bullpen was decent again for the Mets. Josh Edgin came in and pitched a scoreless eighth and LaTroy Hawkins pitched through the ninth surrendering one run as the Mets went on to win 7-2.

This is the first series sweep for the Mets since late May when they swept the Yankees in four games. The Mets will head to Pittsburgh to for a three-game series and then head back to New York for the All-Star game, where we will have coverage live from Citi Field all week.

It’s been a great series here in San Francisco. Let’s keep it up!

mets win byrd

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David Wright: It’s Time To See Which Players Are Part Of Our Future http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/david-wright-its-time-to-see-which-players-are-part-of-our-future.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/david-wright-its-time-to-see-which-players-are-part-of-our-future.html/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 15:27:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124345 wright all star

Seven-time All-Star third baseman David Wright checked in with MMO before Game 2 of the Mets’ three-game series against the Giants tonight, to share his thoughts about playing in the All-Star Game at Citi Field, the National League’s chances for the Home Run Derby, all these crazy extra inning games, and what’s in store for the second half of the season.

MMO: You’re going to your seventh All-Star Game and you have a plethora of personal accolades, but what’s it like, personally, to start the All-Star Game in your home ballpark?

DW: I think the obvious answer is that it’s a tremendous honor. I’ve been in seven All-Star Games, but this one’s going to mean the most to me by far. I grew up a Mets fan, was drafted by the Mets, developed by the Mets and hopefully will finish my career with the Mets. To represent the New York Mets in an All-Star Game at Citi Field is a once in a career opportunity and I’ll try to soak in as much as I can. It’s been a tremendous honor being associated with this organization, being associated with the fans and for them to vote me into be the starter is pretty amazing.

david wright

MMO What do you think the National League’s chances are in the Home Run Derby this year?

DW: Probably slim to none. Hopefully I put together a good enough team. There’s some formidable guys out there on both sides, but it’s going to be fun. You know, it’s for the fans and you just want to put on a good show for the fans. Hopefully, I picked some guys that can do that.

MMO: How are you guys feeling after all these extra-inning games?

DW: You feel funny complaining and saying, “I’m flying charter flights, I’m staying in five-star hotels, I play baseball for a living,” so I feel a little funny complaining, but I’ve never seen anything like this—the weather, the travel. We had to go back to Colorado for a game, had to go back to Minnesota for a game, doubleheaders, start times at midnight. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen the weather, for the most part, wreak havoc on us the way it has this year. On top of that, you get the numerous extra innings, like last night, here and there—15, 16 innings, which it seems we’ve done pretty regularly. It makes for quite the grind so I think the All-Star break is going to be good for us.

wright davis

MMO: You guys have been playing some solid baseball as of late. How do you hope to carry that into the second half and is there anything you can learn from last season’s second-half letdown?

DW: I’m not sure there’s much you can learn from it. I think that we have a lot of young, hungry guys. There will be times where we’re probably not the best team on the field, but we’re going to be prepared, hungry, especially with a clubhouse full of young guys trying to make a name for themselves and want to be a part of this organization moving forward so I think the hunger is always going to be there. Now it’s just a matter of going out there and executing. When we’ve struggled, it hasn’t been because of being complacent, it’s been because we haven’t executed. I think it’s part of my job to make sure that we’re prepared and we’re getting our work in every day and staying hungry. As far as executing, when you have a young team like we have, it’s going to be a roller coaster ride. Some weeks you play well, some weeks you don’t play well. Some of the additions we’ve had, like Marlon, has helped, you know, kind of a veteran presence. It’s also always nice when you have Matt Harvey pitching the way he has and stepping up. We have people in place, now it’s just a matter of seeing who is going to win those jobs and be a part of this thing in the future.

MMO wants to thank David Wright for taking some time to talk to us. We all look forward to seeing him lead this team back to glory in the very near future. We’re almost there… Stay tuned for more coverage throughout this series live from AT&T Park.

david wright homers

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Recker And Byrd Homer To Lift Mets Past Giants http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/recker-and-byrd-homer-to-lift-mets-past-giants.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/recker-and-byrd-homer-to-lift-mets-past-giants.html/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 05:49:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124367 It was déjà vu all over again to start Game 2 of the Mets’ three-game series against the Giants.

anthony recker

The Giants took an early 2-0 off Dillon Gee. This time the Giants scored on an Anthony Recker error trying to catch Brandon Belt stealing that scored Hunter Pence and a poor fielder’s choice by Daniel Murphy that allowed Belt to score.

The Mets battled back in the fourth and hung three on Barry Zito on a two-run single by Andrew Brown followed by an Omar Quintanilla RBI single.

The Mets had a chance to tack on more in the fifth, but a questionable caught stealing call against Eric Young squashed the rally. Terry Collins went out to argue the play and upon further review it looked like Brandon Crawford’s glove missed Young.

Anthony Recker hit a two-run home run in the sixth to give the Mets a 5-3 lead.

“I think it was a cutter in, maybe a fastball in, that stayed up and I was able to get the good part of the bat on it,” Recker said.

In 2013, Recker has hit five home runs—four of which have given the Mets the lead or tied a game. The Mets are also 10-8 in Recker’s 18 starts this season. They are 6-1 in his last seven starts. I think it’s time to put the Recker project into effect.

marlon byrdGee almost gave the lead right back after leading off the bottom of the sixth with two walks. An infield hit by Tony Abreu got the Giants within one, but Gee giveth and Gee taketh away. Gregor Blanco smoked a line drive right at Gee who made a slick catch and doubled up Abreu at first to end the inning and maintain a 5-4 lead.

“I mean, I saw it, but that was definitely where the luck went my way for once,” Gee said. “I went back to the dugout after that and everybody said, ‘You deserve that after the all those infield hits.’ If it hadn’t gone right at me, right there in my glove, there’s no way I would have caught it.”

Gee surrendered another leadoff walk in the seventh and it wound up tying the game 5-5 after Pablo Sandoval’s sacrifice fly. Scott Rice came in to get the last out of the seventh and kept the game tied. Gee finished the game at 108 pitches in 6.2 IP with nine hits, five earned runs, five walks and three strike outs. It wasn’t very dominant, but it did keep them in the game.

Murphy gave the Mets a 6-5 lead in the eighth on a sacrifice fly, but the big at-bat came from Marlon Byrd who launched a grand slam into deep left field to make it 10-5.

“Dan Murphy’s at-bat, he’s down in the count and Affeldt’s awfully tough on lefties and I thought Dan had a good at-bat to give us a run.” Collins said. “Marlon just goes up and does what he does. He’s dangerous and he just got a hanging slider and made a big difference.”

It was the seventh grand slam of Byrd’s career. The last one was back in 2009. In 2009 with Texas, Byrd tallied a season-high 20 home runs. So far this year, he has 14. Byrd has been a great asset for the Mets. It will be interesting to see what they do with him come the trade deadline.

“You don’t always come through, but it’s just one of those things where, when you do, it just feels good,” Byrd said. “I’ve had seven good swings with the bases loaded, but I’ve also had some strike outs. Tonight was on of those one’s where I put a good swing on it.”

Carlos Torres finished the game for the Mets after giving up a run and they took Game 2 10-6.

Maybe a forgotten play in the game was the picture-perfect relay from Brown to Quintanilla to Recker that saved an early run in the first inning. It didn’t wind up factoring in this one, but it’s a microcosm of the cohesion this team is starting to show.

Can’t wait to see Zack Wheeler and Matt Cain pitch tomorrow. Should be a good one.

 

 

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Solid Bullpen And Tired Giants Defense Lead To Mets 4-3 Win http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/solid-bullpen-and-tired-giants-defense-lead-to-mets-4-3-win.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/solid-bullpen-and-tired-giants-defense-lead-to-mets-4-3-win.html/#comments Tue, 09 Jul 2013 08:10:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124224 eric young

The Night’s Still Young!

In what looked on paper to be a pitcher’s duel between Matt Harvey and Tim Lincecum, turned out to be an extra-inning duel between both bullpens.

Buster Posey struck first with a two-run home run in the first inning to give the Giants an early 2-0 lead. It took Harvey 50 pitches to get through the first two innings.

Lincecum took a no hitter into the fifth, but Marlon Byrd broke it up with a leadoff single. The Mets got on the board with a double by John Buck that drove in Byrd later that inning to cut the lead in half 2-1. The Mets looked to get more, but Omar Quintanilla struck out on a questionable call that had Terry Collins chirping from the dugout and Harvey grounded out to end the inning.

The Mets tacked on two more to take a 3-2 lead in the sixth after a Daniel Murphy single, a doubleplay groundout by Ike Davis that scored a run and some sub-par defense by the Giants’ outfield.

Harvey went out to pitch the seventh inning with 107 pitches under his belt and it cost the Mets. Harvey surrendered a leadoff triple to Hunter Pence on the first pitch and promptly gave up a single to Brandon Crawford to tie the game 3-3. With Harvey on pace to throw about 240 innings, it didn’t make a lot of sense to keep him out there. It would have been the perfect time to pull him and save him an inning pitched down the road.

The bullpen was stellar in this one. Carlos Torres came in to pitch a scoreless eighth and ninth. David Aardsma held the Giants scoreless again in the 10th and 11th. Greg Burke came on after that and held the Giants at bay in the 12th and 13th. Josh Edgin came in to pitch the 14th and 15th and surrendered no runs. After the Mets grabbed the lead in the 16th, Bobby Parnell shut the door to finally end the five-and-a-half hour marathon.

recker

The Home (Team) Recker

The Mets had a chance in the 11th with two outs and runners in the corners. Byrd couldn’t leg out an infield single after Crawford made a great play to get him out and the game continued. They had another opportunity in the 12th after a leadoff single by Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Buck struck out and the inning was abruptly ended by a fine snag at third by Pablo Sandoval who doubled up Nieuwenhuis at first. The offense went ice cold till the 16th when Eric Young singled and eventually made it to third. After Wright was intentionally walked, Anthony Recker came in to pinch hit with runners in the corners and two outs. Recker grounded to Crawford who made an error that allowed Young to score, giving the Mets a 4-3 lead.

A move lost in the game was Collins’ decision to stick with Davis in the ninth to face left-handed Jeremy Affeldt instead of hot-hitting Josh Satin. Davis proceeded to pop out and Sergio Romo came on to get the last two outs. Seems like Collins is sticking to his guns when it comes to Davis.

All-in-all, good win for the Mets. It was worth the wait. Now, it’s my bedtime.

Stay tuned for the next two games against the Giants where I’ll be live tweeting from AT&T Park.

Note from Joe D.

This just in from Daniel, Collins said Jordany Valdespin would have pitched after Parnell if the game continued.

“Recker had hit,” Collins said. “I wasn’t going to bring in Dillon Gee with his issues with his arm.”

Also, Harvey has been pitching with a blister the last three weeks, but after the game, Harvey said he’s fine.

“It kind of started not the last start, but the start before,” Harvey said. “It’s no excuse for my poor pitching. And I feel fine with it. I just have to figure some things out and get back out there.”

Additionally, Collins said that Harvey might skip his next scheduled start against the Pirates. It would be the first time Harvey has ever skipped a start. Collins said it wouldn’t be because of the blister, but because of Harvey’s pending appearance in the All-Star Game. Collins said Harvey’s outing would either be shortened or he wouldn’t pitch at all in preparation for the All-Star Game.

Geez… What am I still doing up? I’m outta here… The Mets win!

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Mets Make It Official, Ike Davis Is With The Team http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mets-make-it-official-ike-davis-is-with-the-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mets-make-it-official-ike-davis-is-with-the-team.html/#comments Fri, 05 Jul 2013 19:31:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123850 ike-davis

Mets Official Release: 

The Mets will recall first baseman Ike Davis from Las Vegas (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League prior to tonight’s game. Davis will wear #29 and will be in Milwaukee tonight. A corresponding roster move will also be made tonight. Davis was optioned to Las Vegas on June 10. He hit .293 (22-75) with 21 runs scored, seven doubles, seven home runs, 13 RBI, 17 walks and 18 strikeouts in 21 games with the 51s. Davis has batted .161 (30-186) with three doubles, five home runs and 16 RBI in 55 games with the Mets this season.

Updated by Joe D. 

Based on comments made by Terry Collins Thursday and Wednesday, Ike Davis will return to the Mets and be immediately installed as the everyday first baseman.

“We’re not bringing Ike up to be a platoon player I can assure you of that.”

Wow… Not even to be considered in a platoon…

Davis batted .293 during his stint with Las Vegas and slugged seven homers in 75 Triple-A at-bats.

Obviously, this will have a huge impact on Josh Satin who will see his playing time reduced to a pinch-hitter with an occasional spot start. Only three days ago, Collins called Satin the team’ savior.

“He’s getting big hits for us. I’ll tell you what: Every team has someone that surprises you and saves you. And right now he’s our savior, because this guy has come up and filled a big hole for us.”

Satin is batting .353 with a homer and seven RBIs in 51 at-bats and is in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak and 25-game on base streak. During his last 15 games, Satin leads the major league in hits and overall has a .468 on-base percentage.

This goes to the heart of what I always say about the team’s half-assed approach to rebuilding.

This is why it’s going to take 5-6 years to complete their rebuild rather than 2-3 years.

They are still too intent on making moves to try and win a game or two in a lost season, rather than evaluating what they have and determining if they are keepers and part of the longterm view.  It’s been their modus operandi for the last three seasons and it’s why we have more significant holes to fill now than when Sandy Alderson first took over.

Mostly I feel bad for the younger players who have shown promise, but not enough of it because their playing time is limited and you can’t base decisions on the small sample sizes that arise from their limited play at the major league level. True rebuilding teams don’t operate this way.

Original Post 7/4

According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork, Ike Davis was told he will be rejoining the Mets tomorrow in Milwaukee. The Mets have been playing with four bench players and eight relievers. Gonzalez Germen is likely to be sent down for Davis.

Davis is batting cleanup in tonight’s lineup for the Las Vegas 51s. The 51s are playing in Arizona against Triple-A Tucson. Davis has hit .293 with seven home runs and 13 RBI in 21 games since being sent to Las Vegas.

Terry Collins will now have to decide what to do about hot-hitting Josh Satin. Satin has a 10-game hitting streak and has reached base in 14 straight games. He’s hitting .353 with one home run and seven RBIs in 51 Major League at-bats.

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Featured Post: Is Juan Lagares The Mets’ Center Fielder Of The Future? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/featured-post-is-juan-lagares-the-mets-center-fielder-of-the-future.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/featured-post-is-juan-lagares-the-mets-center-fielder-of-the-future.html/#comments Sun, 23 Jun 2013 19:05:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=122818 Juan Lagares

For a majority of you who visit this site, you watch too much baseball. How else would you describe watching the Mets day-after-day? The more you watch, the more you become desensitized. Most plays start to seem ordinary. That tends to happen to me.

I got a chance to watch yesterday’s 4-3 win against the Phillies with a friend of mine. She hardly watches baseball. She couldn’t tell you the difference between the leadoff and cleanup hitter, but she did make some interesting comments.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Carlos Ruiz smoked a ball to deep center. Naturally, Juan Lagares broke back and flagged the ball down for the third out—bailing Jeremy Hefner out of a bases-loaded jam. It was a play he made look easy enough for me to not give a second thought. When it happened, my friend said, “Wow. That guy’s fast.” It was a simple statement. Most athletes are fast. The more I thought about it, the more intuitive I thought it was.

Lagares is a pretty good center fielder. Being fast doesn’t always translate to being a good outfielder. He takes good routes to balls as well. As I thought about my friend’s statement after the play, I thought about how hard Ruiz hit the ball. Ruiz got himself into a hitter’s count and knew he might get something to drive. That’s exactly what happened. They say the hardest ball to judge is the line drive right to you. Right off the bat, Lagares broke back, caught the ball and kept the score tied 3-3. It was a pivotal moment in the game. Lagares has continued to make those kinds of plays in center field.

The problem has been Lagares at the plate. He hasn’t shown a lot of patience, but that’s beginning to change. That’s what enough playing time will do for a player. It’s the argument I kept making for Jordany Valdespin. If you get enough reps instead of getting one at bat every three nights, you’re going to improve no matter who you are.

Lagares is batting just .234 this season with 24 strike outs, two walks and a .250 OBP, but in the month of June, he’s improved. This month he’s batting .319—148 more points than the previous month. His strike outs are still high, but that comes with being a rookie. More importantly, he’s getting hits when they matter. His double in the top of the sixth drove in the deciding run and was his second double of the game (props to Lucas Duda for chugging around those bases).

Lagares has been able to translate his speed to offense and stretch singles into doubles. He shows the kind of spirit Mets coaches have failed to inspire in the team this season.

My friend might not know much about baseball, but talent is recognized universally. Lagares could be the Mets’ future center fielder. He could also be the latest bust in an otherwise throwaway season. Either way, I’ll be watching him a little more closely in games to come. You should too.

What do you think about Juan Lagares so far?

juan lagares

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Atlanta Braves Broadcaster Shows Little Class During Matt Harvey At Bat http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/atlanta-braves-broadcaster-shows-little-class-during-matt-harvey-at-bat.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/atlanta-braves-broadcaster-shows-little-class-during-matt-harvey-at-bat.html/#comments Wed, 19 Jun 2013 16:27:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=122555 This is just something I noticed during the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader. During Matt Harvey‘s at bat in the top of the third, an Atlanta Braves broadcaster made a comment in bad taste.

Here’s the clip.

For those of unable to play video at work or office, what Braves announcer Joe Simpson said was that he hopes that Matt Harvey strains his oblique.

I thought it was a bit classless to wish an injury on someone. I guess it’s just Atlanta’s way of expressing their fear of the future. Brace yourself Braves fans. There’s a lot more Harvey where that came from.

 

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Are Valdespin’s Days As A Met Numbered? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/are-valdespins-days-as-a-met-numbered.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/are-valdespins-days-as-a-met-numbered.html/#comments Mon, 17 Jun 2013 11:36:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=122202 jordany valdespin

Please, join me as I throw a handful of dirt on the coffin of Jordany Valdespin’s career as a New York Met.

The one I used to call El Dramático for his ability to spark rallies and hit long home runs is getting playing time for one reason: he’s being shopped. Don’t expect him to be with the Mets past the trade deadline.

I’ve been a staunch defender of Valdespin since the Mets’ first intrasquad game. He had the tools to be a starter in 2013. He still has the tools. Whatever the case, it just hasn’t come together.

There are a plethora of reasons why Valdespin’s days are numbered. He’s batting .207/.264/..328 on the season with a 24/6 K/BB ratio and 4-for-7 in stolen base attempts. He’s 3-for-23 with five strikeouts and no walks since taking over the second base and leadoff duties. Additionally, he’s not playing well defensively and the positions he does play are better suited by other players on this year’s team (Juan Lagares and Daniel Murphy). The list goes on longer than his pimped out dingers. Even though his latest audition isn’t going well, I expect he’ll be sent somewhere for cash or packaged in a trade with some farm arms.

Saturday’s game was a microcosm of how he’s performed since receiving more playing time: a few defensive miscues and little offense. He threw a ball over Jonathon Niese’s head, something you’d see in a Little League game…maybe. He also had two force outs at second that could have seriously injured him. When a second baseman makes a force at second, he normally shifts his momentum toward the outfield to avoid a hard slide. Valdespin just planted on the bag and got upended by Cody Ransom twice. He’s just not doing the fundamentals.

Things could have been done differently during Valdespin’s time as a Metropolitan. He was mismanaged by Terry Collins, he handled situations poorly and every negative was put under a microscope by the media, myself included.

It pains me to say, but he’s poisoning the team. Whether it’s his fault or not is moot. I believe he has a long career ahead of him, but it won’t be with the Mets. He’ll probably be one of the many who leaves the Mets and enjoys success in another venue. Some players just aren’t cut out to play under the magnifying glass in New York.

He could thrive in a platoon role in hitter-friendly parks like Coors Field or Great American Bandbox. Just don’t expect there to be many more Valdespin No. 1 jerseys produced in orange and blue.

What are your thoughts on Jordany Valdespin’s recent one-week audition at second base?

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David Wright Named NL Captain For Home Run Derby http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/david-wright-named-nl-captain-for-home-run-derby.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/david-wright-named-nl-captain-for-home-run-derby.html/#comments Wed, 12 Jun 2013 05:21:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=121726 home run derby

A New York player will captain both Home Run Derby teams during this year’s All-Star week. David Wright will captain the National League while Robinson Cano will look to lead the American League to it’s fourth-straight title.

Wright, who hasn’t participated in the Derby since 2006, will select three additional players from the National League to complete his squad. Wright currently sits tied for 27th in the National League in home runs with eight. He’s tied for third on the Mets with Marlon Byrd behind Lucas Duda (10) and John Buck (11).

This marks the first official hometown representative for the Mets for the All-Star activities at Citi Field.

A Mets Player has not won the Home Run Derby since Daryl Strawberry shared the award with Angles first baseman Wally Joyner in 1986 in The Astrodome.

Thoughts from Joe D.

Wright currently ranks second in All-Star voting at third base, behind San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval, and needs your votes start the All-Star Game at Citi Field.

Lets do what we can to see Wright overtake Sandoval so that he can rightfully be the starting third baseman for the NL. He is ahead of Sandoval is just about ever offensive category and as a defender he blows the chubby hobbit away.

Vote for David Wright now at cast your 35 votes at Mets.com. We have until Thursday, July 4, at 11:59 p.m. ET to get this done. Come on Met fans… Lets Do This!

WRIGHT VOTE NOW!

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Some Observations During The Mets’ Four-Game Winning Streak http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/some-obersavations-during-the-mets-four-game-winning-streak.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/some-obersavations-during-the-mets-four-game-winning-streak.html/#comments Thu, 30 May 2013 16:11:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=120337 wright davis

After a brief hiatus taking finals, I’m back to subject myself to more repetitive anxiety by watching Mets games.

It’s been interesting to step away for a week and come back with a fresh perspective. Things have changed a bit. The Mets have a four-game winning streak for one.

There are some things that haven’t changed—or they’ve gotten worse. Here are a few observations I’ve made over the last week:

Lucas Duda is improving

I like what Duda has been doing at the plate lately. In the last seven days he’s batted .320 with eight hits, one home run and five RBIs. His OBP is also .346 in that stretch. His numbers aren’t sexy, but they’re solid. He’s not taking the first pitch every time anymore. If it’s a first pitch fastball, you’ll usually see a healthy cut from Duda. That’s a promising sight for an RBI guy like him. If he can improve on his already successful plate discipline, he could be poised for a productive year. He should be a lock in the three or four spot. I almost like him better batting third because it gives David Wright, a better hitter, more chances to hit with more runners on base similar to the Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips tandem in Cincinnati.

Ike Davis is appalling

I know. We’ve all heard it so much, but it bears repeating as long as he stays in the lineup. You know a guy’s going badly when the nicknames for him on Twitter start getting creative.

  • Strike Davis
  • Ikkke
  • Ike Vegas

The list goes on. Don’t be deceived by his recent 2-for-4 performance Mets fans. His approach at the plate still needs a lot of work. His hands are so low when the pitch comes in it’s amazing he can even make contact. He’s doing a lot of flailing during at-bats even when he winds up with a hit. His multi-hit game might even make things worse for the team. He could get enough slack to start another horrendous slump.

Matt Harvey is putrid

Okay, maybe putrid isn’t a good word. I just like classifying his pitches in words like “filthy” or “disgusting.” That’s what Harvey’s been even on off days. He now holds a tidy 1.83 ERA with 84 strike outs and 17 walks in 78 innings pitched, but is only 5-0. I’ve expressed my fears about this situation. Onus isn’t put on the win-loss record so much, but you can see Harvey getting visibly frustrated during these games. When Brett Gardner scored the Yankees only run in Tuesday’s win, Harvey’s rage was too much to contain. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but mark my words; he’s going to wear himself out mentally and physically if he doesn’t get more run support.

Daniel Murphy is the model of consistency

Remember when Murphy was in a 9-for-61 slump? Me either. Double Dan is back to his old ways with four doubles in the last seven games and batting over .300 again. So far, this is the third season in a row where Murphy has been putting up these kinds of numbers and it looks like he’ll end up around .300 for the third-straight year.

What are your thoughts during the current streak?

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Valdespin Won’t Let Criticism Lower His Self Esteem http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/yet-another-development-in-the-jordany-valdespin-story.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/yet-another-development-in-the-jordany-valdespin-story.html/#comments Tue, 14 May 2013 20:18:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=118811 Updated at 4:00 PM

They criticize me to lower my self esteem but I’m going straight to the top. I was not born to lose.

Original Post 1:00 PM

sandy-alderson

“Valdespin knew that was coming. I don’t think it’s fair to say that since we didn’t hit one of the Pittsburgh hitters that he doesn’t have a friend. The notion that he was hung out to dry I think is a mistake. I’m not telling you he’s the most popular guy in the clubhouse, but I don’t think he was hung out to dry.”

That was the quote we heard from Mets GM Sandy Alderson when asked about the continuing Jordany Valdespin issue on Mike Francesa’s radio show yesterday.

Today, another new development has come to light according to Andy Martino of The Daily News.

Martino reported that Valdespin tried to “wiggle his way” out of pinch-hitting on Saturday against the Pirates. Valdespin allegedly sent word to trainer Ray Ramirez that he was “unavailable” to pinch-hit in Saturday’s blowout loss, according to Martino’s source who witnessed the dugout incident.

Much to the chagrin of Valdespin’s teammates, Ramirez sent word to Collins. Collins overruled the decision and sent Valdespin up anyway with body armor and an elbow protector.

Half of Alderson’s quote above now makes sense. Valdespin knew the inevitable plunking would occur if he stepped into the box so he tried to escape his fate. To say he wasn’t left out to dry seems like a stretch now with these new elements to the story.

This coverage is beginning to feel like the Casey Anthony trial, but the issue continues to be that Valdespin’s teammates and coaches decided to discipline him vicariously through the Pirates and not internally.

Valdespin has quirks, to put it mildly. He doesn’t play the game to the standards of conventional baseball in America, but this is clearly something he didn’t deserve given the circumstances.

We will be updating you with more information as it pertains to this story as it unfolds.

Thoughts from Joe D.

What have I been saying about this since day one?

Hung out to dry?

You betcha…

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Was Valdespin Sent Up By Collins To Get Hit? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/was-valdespin-sent-up-by-collins-to-get-hit.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/was-valdespin-sent-up-by-collins-to-get-hit.html/#comments Mon, 13 May 2013 18:56:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=118450 jordany-valdespin

Updated by Joe D. at 2:30 PM

Just caught this on MetsBlog who seems to have just caught on to what has been a two day debate here:

It almost sounds like Collins put Valdespin in a situation he knew would end up with a hit-by-pitch, maybe in an effort to teach Valdespin a lesson, right? If that’s the case, is that why Valdespin threw a ‘tantrum,’ as fans and media have described it?

Unfortunately, we’ll never know if Collins sent Valdespin up to hit knowing he’d be beaned, in a game down nine runs. And, there is no way to know if his teammates were really indifferent, even though that’s what it looked like. I hope this isn’t the case. I really hope Collins didn’t risk getting a player injured, just so the youngster could learn a lesson. I also hope Terry’s players don’t go on to question his leadership because of it, even if the guys understand his reasoning. In other words, I really hope this just goes away…

Matt, first welcome to the party. Also, you may want to read my post entitled, “This Team Is Fractured”. It has even more insights in it that will help you realize what’s going on.

One thing though, your closing comment, “I really hope this goes away.”

Sitting on one’s hands and saying ten Hail Mary’s is not going to make this go away. It’s Terry Collins who should go away and I believe you know the reason why.

Aren’t you the one who always says, “hope is not a strategy”?

It would be great if we could wish this into the cornfield, but a fractured clubhouse is not just going to go away all by itself. This is not the first time we’ve seen Collins divide a major league clubhouse…

Do you really believe that Valdespin was showing up the Pirates and not Terry Collins when he hit that homer? Watch it again… What do you see…

Do you think Collins didn’t know that bat flip was intended for him and not the Pirates?

Weren’t you right there at the post game?

“I know he’s trying to make a statement because he hasn’t been in the lineup. I know he’s trying to make a statement to everybody what he can do. If he keeps hitting homers, he can stand at home plate all he wants, I guess. As long as they start coming up at the right time.”

Collins sent Valdespin up there to get his just desserts as one of our readers pointed out.

It’s not as unbelievable as it sounds, it’s human nature to want to get even.

Luckily he wasn’t seriously injured.

That said, Valdespin needs some reprimanding, some friendship, some understanding, and some baseball etiquette. That much is also clear.

Original Post May 13, 12:00 PM

They say that the cream always rises to the top. Except of course when you don’t use it and just let it sit around and spoil.

That’s what continues to happen with Jordany Valdespin.

In the latest chapter of the New York soap opera titled “El Dramático,” Valdespin was intentionally hit by a pitch by Pirates reliever Bryan Morris. This stemmed from Valdespin’s prolonged admiration of his 426-foot moonshot into the Pepsi Porch in the latter innings of Friday’s lopsided loss.

It isn’t troubling that Valdespin basked in his bomb on Friday or that he even got hit by a pitch Saturday. What’s troubling is the lack of support from his teammates and the coaching staff.

In the often glorified unwritten rules of baseball, it states that a team is informally granted permission to peg a player if he showboats after a home run. I get that. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but it’s something I’ve learned to accept as a baseball fan.

david wright

What bothers me is that no one is there to have his back when it happens. David Wright went on the record after Saturday’s loss and offered a somewhat head-scratching statement about the incident.

“You’ve got guys that support Valdespin, and guys obviously are trying to help him,” Wright said. ”I think toning down some of his flair might be appropriate.”

So what he said is that guys support him, but he should tone it down? I don’t see how publicly concurring with the over-the-top perception of Valdespin is showing support. Wright was dubbed as the team’s captain to begin the season, but I’ve seen little in the way of upholding that title. Sure, he’s produced on the field this season, but as long as Valdespin wears that orange and blue uniform, he deserves the support of every player on that roster. It’s a captain’s job to ensure that.

terry collins

That leads me to Terry Collins’ management. If there was any speculation as to Collins’ disdain for the Mets’ productive bench player, it seemed to be dispelled Saturday night. With the Mets down 10-1 in the 7th inning, Collins forced Valdespin into the game to receive what he thought Valdespin had coming to him. Sure enough, Valdespin was drilled in the right forearm.

“They threw at him,” Collins said. “I knew they might. It’s part of the game.”

Collins’ rationale was that he didn’t want to burn two bench players by using Mike Baxter. So at the expense of wasting an additional bench player in a bigger blowout than the night before, he threw Valdespin into the fray. The brief moment was a microcosm of the prodigious disconnects between Valdespin and the Mets.

Valdespin went on to “throw a fit” in the dugout after the inning ended according to SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt, who was very boisterous about the incident over Twitter and showed his lack of support for the Mets utility man.

For the most part, I enjoy Burkhardt, but I think he’s the one who’s a little lost. I find it sort of unprofessional to go on the Internet and talk about a Major League baseball player’s lack of understanding. I mean, he did make it to the Major Leagues after all. I’d venture to say he has a pretty firm grasp on the game Kev-o, but thanks for your insight. It’ll be interesting to see Burkhardt’s postgame interview after Valdespin’s next walkoff.

Valdespin refused to address the media about the incident after the game.

If you don’t like the guy, trade him. If you can’t stand a guy for outwardly expressing his emotions on the field, tell him behind closed doors. Don’t make a mockery of him by having him walk the plank on national television and then telling the media he should tone it down. With teammates like that, who needs opponents?

I seem to recall a championship team in 1986 that had copious amounts of player tension. The Mets were also loathed for their frequent curtain calls and arrogant attitudes. That was their identity. Now their identity is the evident lack thereof.

The media circus that has surrounded this team is getting out of hand. I dislike having to spend the first half of the season contributing to this debacle. There are more disconcerting issues on this team.

jon niese

Jonathon Niese’s consistent struggles are putting more pressure on Matt Harvey to perform. If Harvey doesn’t continue his unimaginable season, the fan base will alienate themselves further from the team. If Harvey does continue and the Mets don’t figure things out offensively, he could grow old of this team and be gone for good. I don’t know how many times you can expect a guy to throw nine innings of one-hit baseball without giving up a run and settle for a no decision. It’s those kinds of games that will make a guy lose interest.

Daniel Murphy is mired in a horrific 9-for-61 slump. He’s been a solid hitter for the Mets and they’re going to need his bat if they want things to get better.

Ike Davis has been so bad that he’s been seeing bench time. When he is playing, he still can’t get it together. Fellow MMO writer John Delcos expressed his feelings on the first baseman’s future:

“Davis’ slow start should definitely cause the Mets to resist the temptation of signing him to a multi-year extension. Davis is hitting a paltry .170 with a .270 on-base percentage. He already has 35 strikeouts with just 17 hits and 13 walks. He has four homers and eight RBI.”

I’ve gone on a little longer than I normally do. I haven’t been a Mets fan as long as many of you who go back to the sixties and seventies, but I can safely say this is the worst state I’ve ever seen this franchise in. What happened in that game ranks up there with Tom Glavine‘s meltdown in 2007 in the way it felt. A real punch in the gut.

It’s hard to tell where the Mets go from here. In all probability, this will be swept under the front office’s Persian rugs instead of being used as a way to band together. The only silver lining is a morbid one. Things can’t get any worse.

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Jordany Valdespin Suffers From A Chronic Case Of Negative Framing http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/jordany-valdespin-suffers-from-a-chronic-case-of-negative-framing.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/jordany-valdespin-suffers-from-a-chronic-case-of-negative-framing.html/#comments Sun, 05 May 2013 16:21:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=117575 valdespin 2

The concept of fault lines in the media is something we all witness on a daily basis, but rarely recognize. Fault lines are a tool that help shape the perception of ourselves, others and events around us. The ones most are familiar with are culture and gender, but they can also contain factors of age, socioeconomic status and geographical location of the subject.

Some of these categories can help us in understanding the enigma that is Jordany Valdespin.

As I surf around the web at the plethora of voices representing the Mets, I can’t help but notice one underlying theme: Valdespin bothers people. That’s fine. This is nothing new. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, myself included.

Valdespin was the subject of another Mets controversy when he didn’t attend a batting practice session before Friday night’s game in Atlanta. Here’s what we know from recent reports:

  • Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork reports Valdespin was asked to attend batting practice before Friday night’s game and did not show up.
  • Rubin also reports that Valdespin said to ESPNDeportes’ Marly Rivera that he had been told not to attend by a coach.

The rest is speculation. It’s safe to say general consensus is that Mets fans and media are upset. Rubin went on to say that “team insiders” said the Mets were “irked” by the incident.

“Anyway, it is all part of the Valdespin package,” Rubin writes.

Let me come full circle in regards to fault lines. I’m 24 years old. Valdespin is 25. I’m not here to speak on behalf of Valdespin because we’re a year apart in age, but let me present this analogy:

If one of my professors told me that coming to a class was voluntary, I might not go. That shouldn’t besmirch my academic track record or define who I am as a student. That doesn’t represent the Nelson “package.” I currently hold a 3.7 GPA and consider myself a good student. That doesn’t mean I’m going to show up to every extracurricular activity that’s asked of me. I have a life outside of school.

I’m willing to acknowledge that there’s a difference between going to college and playing baseball. I pay for school and Valdespin gets paid to play baseball, but the principle is the same. We both possess lives outside of what we spend a majority of our time doing. We shouldn’t immediately make a decision about Valdespin because of media priming. If you ask me to attend something voluntary, there’s a chance I might not go.

Maybe Valdespin felt the need to rest a nagging injury. Maybe he wanted to hang out with his friends. Maybe his dog died. Who knows? My point is that this seems more like a matter of opportunity cost than being mature. I’ll do my best to attend most extracurricular activities, which we have no reason to believe Valdespin doesn’t as Michael Baron of MetsBlog writes:

“Now, Valdespin has participated in early batting practice many times since joining the Mets last year, and he has done so on the road as well.”

But sometimes I need a break from the grind. Baron also writes:

“Perhaps if he conformed to the culture and practices of the team consistently, he would reap the rewards of his performances and talents and be respected a little more as well…”

This is where the cultural fault line comes into play. If I own a store and want someone to show up to work then I tell them to show up. I don’t turn it into a test and then get upset when the person doesn’t pass. That’s not an acceptable culture by any rational standards.

I’ve spent a lot of time tutoring international students around my own age and most take instruction quite literally. A coach told Valdespin not to come to practice so he didn’t go. That’s all we have to go on. Apparently that makes him immature. That seems a bit unfair. I would even venture to say that it’s immature of the Mets to be upset that Valdespin didn’t pick up on a hint that they think he should have taken.

At the end of the day, many who think unfavorably of Valdespin won’t read this. If they do, they’ll quickly click away. It’s called the cognitive dissonance theory and it basically means that people will go out of their way to imbibe information that conforms to their already established belief systems to prevent conflict of thought. It just seems like El Dramático gets thrown under the bus quite often and if I or other MMO contributors don’t step out and say something, he’ll fall victim to the throws of negative media. Such is the world we live in, I suppose.

What are your thoughts on the portrayal of El Dramático?

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David Wright, El Dramático And Clutch Offense Spark Another Rally http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/david-wright-el-dramatico-and-clutch-offense-spark-another-rally.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/david-wright-el-dramatico-and-clutch-offense-spark-another-rally.html/#comments Sat, 04 May 2013 12:42:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=117456 valdesin safe

When you live on the West Coast, sometimes you have to listen to the other team’s broadcast. It can be excruciating. When your team starts winning, especially in clutch fashion, there’s nothing better.

That’s what happened to me while listening to the Braves announcers last night. When the Braves made a move, the Mets had an answer. Clutch offense was the theme of the game.

Evan Gattis hit a home run off Brandon Lyon and Mets fans released a digital sigh throughout the Twittersphere. They had read this ending before.

Then David Wright summoned his inner Walt Whitman and had fans singing, “O Captain! My Captain!” Wright hit a clutch 464-foot home run off Craig Kimbrel that tied the game at five in the 9th. Bobby Parnell bailed out Lyon after Lyon gave up a leadoff double in the bottom half of the frame and the Mets went into extras unscathed. The Mets have played seven innings of extra-inning baseball in the last four games.

Lucas Duda and Marlon Byrd went down consecutively and the top of the 10th looked all but over. Then El Dramático stepped to the plate…

Jordany Valdespin worked a walk to get on with two outs in the 10th. Then he stole second and furiously clapped his hands before calling for time. The spark was created. He had attempted to steal third, which had some viewers scratching their heads. Michael Baron wasn’t too impressed with Valdespin’s enthusiasm over Twitter.

I had assured him that El Dramático had the base stolen, but Mr. Baron still wasn’t having it.

You’re right, but he did get a good jump and that’s why he went for it. Leave my tune singing out of it!

While fielding more questions, Baron at least tried to be positive. So, whatever, I guess.

The flair was in full effect.

valdespin heads home

Mike Baxter and Ruben Tejada followed up with a walk and a base hit to drive home Valdespin for a 6-5 lead. Valdespin, who leads the league in style points in the early part of the season, slid into home plate head first. I don’t know why. It was brought to my attention that on-deck hitter Daniel Murphy instructed him to, but it was fantastic nonetheless. Murphy followed things up with a much-needed insurance run and Jeurys Familia shut the door for his first career save.

It was a good game for the Mets and it sent a message that they haven’t given up yet even if the media and fans have. John Buck hit another home run and his stock is skyrocketing. He now has 10 home runs and 29 RBIs. Duda and Byrd also went yard and the Mets tallied four long balls in the 7-5 victory. I even have to give it up to Terry Collins for a couple savvy managerial decisions in this one. Even if it only happens twice a day, you still have to point out when I dead clock is right. As for the ubiquitous why-isn’t-Valdespin-starting-every-day question? I don’t know. We could be watching El Dramático start rallies like that in the 1st inning three or four times a week, but for whatever reason, we’re not. I’ve given up on coming up with a legitimate explanation because there really isn’t one anymore.

All I know is Jonathon Niese and Matt Harvey are back on the mound, which gives the Mets a good shot at taking the series on the road.

What are your thoughts on last night’s game?

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