Mets Merized Online » baseball Wed, 23 Apr 2014 02:47:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Restoring Trust and My Night at Citi Field Sun, 20 Apr 2014 23:50:34 +0000 Minor tweaks of the nutritional program are not the answer. Changing the eating schedule so the players have more time to digest their food will bring no measurable change in outcomes. The Mets failure to win games at Citi Field is a hot topic as we move towards the end of first month of a new season, and the Mets continue to under perform at their home ball park and over perform playing games on the road.

bartolo colonI visited Citi Field for the first time this season last night. The Mets and the Braves put on a baseball show that was definitely entertaining, and although ultimately disappointing, almost bordered on being fun. Yet, it was not the baseball game itself, but the mood of the Met faithful I found most fascinating. It’s mid April and hope does not spring eternal at Citi Field.

Reduced ticket prices taking some fans back to price levels found at Shea Stadium one-half century ago assured a good sized crowd. The Mets had just returned from a very successful 9 game road trip. Yet, a burned and maligned Met fan base was fidgety and impatient, in no mood for watching ‘the same old, same old’ on the greens of Citi Field.

Fan cynicism was everywhere at Citi Field last night. It wrapped itself around you shortly after the first pitch and squeezed tighter and tighter as the game unfolded. Met fans are clearly not as excited about their team as management might want us to believe. The Met faithful appeared suspicious and wary, no longer willing to be sold a bag of goods or willing to allow for more time. By the comments and reactions of the Met crowd it’s obvious few Met fans have adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude to the season with few jumping on the 90-win bandwagon.

The loud and skeptical mood of Met fans last night, the prevalent ‘buyers beware’ attitude that almost emanated everywhere around the stadium, got me wondering if that disposition might have something to do with the Mets poor play at Citi Field.

Ego is definitely a huge part of a professional athletes profile. Athletes who attain professional status represent a tiny fraction of those who at one time aspired to reach such lofty plateaus. Even so, no matter how hardened and tough the outer veneer of a professional athlete, internally, like everyone else, athletes care about their image.

In the world of psychology, self-handicapping refers to human behaviors intended to keep performance failure from damaging one’s image or self-esteem. Studies have shown that athletes, especially male athlete,s are often prone to self-handicapping to protect the sense of competence they have worked so hard over time to maintain.

When people self-handicap, they employ strategies or create obstacles and excuses to explain performance failures diverting attention to external factors outside their area of control rather than seeking answers by looking internally at things they can control. The effects of self-handicapping can be large and small and are found in almost all environments where people are expected to perform. In baseball terms, excuses like the size of the park, wind currents, or, perhaps, the eating and digestive habits of a team can be pointed to as causes of poor performance, rather than the skill levels of the players assembled on the field or the basic execution of those players when playing baseball.

The athletic playing field is an ideal setting to cultivate self-handicapping behaviors. Embarrassment, the fear of failure, demonstrating incompetence in public or facing unrealistic expectations are all associated with the self-handicapping.

Those factors are a fact of life playing professional sports in New York City. TRADE ‘EM ALL was the New York Daily headline greeting the Mets after the locals were one-hit in the opener of the current Citi Field series against Atlanta. That after completing a three game sweep in Arizona. Talk about pressure.

Twenty-four hour sports talk radio slices and dices individual player and team performance on a daily basis. It’s a fact, that staying positive is associated with improved work performance, and it takes work to stay positive when things aren’t going well for a professional sports team in New York.

That fact is magnified for the Mets and their fans playing in a city with a baseball market shared by the Yankees. Comparing yourself with others is proven to have a negative affect on performance helping create a huge reservoir of pressure when expectations rise and losing becomes even more of a disappointment.

And, it’s possible the whole affair can become a vicious cycle, the Met baseball team performing well below expectations, the local fan base becoming more and more frustrated and cynical amping up the pressure to perform, thus increasing the public ridicule and negativity associated with team performance. Anxiety and fear of failure builds increasing the self-handicapping effects thus almost setting up conditions conducive to future failures.

lucas dudaThe affect on an athlete are subtle but powerful just the same. They may manifest in the presence of aches or pains that might not appear on a highly successful team, of waning motivation or effort, of trying to hard which sometimes results in unanticipated mental error or fatigue. Could that be a part of a runner on third with no outs who runs on an infield groundout as Lucas Duda did in last nights game?

Could that be the cause to Ruben Tejada, who represented the tying run at the time, failing to advance from first base to scoring position at second, when the ball skipped past the catcher allowing Chris Young to advance from second base to third? I’m not sure, but Met fans who regularly follow the team know the team they watch on the road plays crisper baseball, is fundamentally more sound, and seems more energized and motivated than the team they watch at Citi Field.

Why? Could it be that once removed from playing baseball under the magnifying media lens of NYC, the Met players relax and thrive and perform more to their baseball abilities?

It was Buddha who said, “We are what we think. All that we are arises from our thoughts.” It would have been difficult for the Met players to have missed the negative vibes that bubbled in Citi Field last night. It was almost as if everyone in the ballpark was on edge, anticipating the exact moment the hammer would fall on their Mets. Amd, that includes the author of this post.

Some will accuse me of blaming Met fans for the team’s dismal performance at Citi Field. That’s not the case at all. After baseball expectations soared in Flushing from 2006 through 2008, the Mets went into free fall. For several years after, fans have given their trust in believing things were slowly and carefully turning around.

The aura of cynicism I felt last night at Citi Field just means the open season of blind faith is over, and Met fans are not willing to simply jump back into the trust-mode again. Met fans have the right to be skeptical. Trust in the Mets baseball operation must be earned.

How? Obviously, its imperative the Mets become competitive providing resources to field a playoff contending baseball operation. Our current levels of spending ranks near the bottom third of major league baseball, less player payroll this year than last, less last year then the year before. The size of a team’s payroll does not guarantee World Series success but it dramatically improves the chances the team you cheer for will compete for post season play. That’s part of building trust, especially in a market that asks fans to pay to watch that baseball at level’s that compete for tops in the game.

When Jose Valverde delivered the three-run home run pitch to Justin Upton last night it was stunning to see the mass exodus at Citi Field. Fans flooded the aisles hustling to escape the action on the field with almost more energy than the players demonstrated to play the game on the diamond. In no time flat, at least eighty percent of the fans in the stadium had vanished. There was simply no belief a Met rally was possible, even though the home team would battle back and almost tie the game.

As the fans were fleeing, my buddy leaned over and said to me, “You know, you could accept a home run shot like that if one of the kids had thrown the ball. It’s tough to take when it comes from Valverde.” That’s all part of the trust void. Over and over, we have read and relished and been assured that the arms were coming, that change was on the way. Yet, when roster decisions are made it seems “experienced,” “done it before” become organizational code words. Met fans know better. That’s not part of maintaining trust.

And, finally there is basic baseball execution. There was the snafu with the runner vacating third with no outs on an infield ground ball, the runner at first failing to advance on a passed ball when a lead runner on second moved to third, the ball tapped in front of the plate where the pitcher, ignoring umpire signals, thought the ball had hit the batter’s foot and was foul thus didn’t move to field the ball, then, when he did, rushed and threw the ball away allowing two runs, the bunt that went through Valverde’s legs in the fateful ninth, a wild pitch or passed ball that plated a run from third.

Baseball execution was horrid last night leveling trust we’re getting the best out of the players we do have available on our roster, no matter what their ability levels. And then the offense or lack thereof and the manager’s disclaimers that talk of a prevailing offensive philosophy is overblown. A catcher on our baseball team attended the game. Late in the game he leaned over and said to me, “I can play for the Mets. I’ve got pretty good defense but no offense, but that doesn’t seem to matter much.”

Later when the ball went between Valverde’s legs he quipped, “Major league baseball.” Major league execution it was not. Attention to detail and flawless mental execution of the game, too, would build trust.

1969, 1973, 1986, 2000, and even 2006 remind me Met fans are positive by nature, baseball fans yearning to throw their full support behind the team they love. The current fan perception of the Met team has come through several seasons of pain, several seasons of putting the heart ahead of the head of willingness to extend hope with little return. Met fans are tired, eager but not totally willing to get back in the game. Regaining trust is a difficult task, but it has been done before and can be done again. I have a hunch that when management provides reason for fans to trust, the wins will start piling up again at Citi Field.

Presented By Diehards

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Celebrating Shea? Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:36:23 +0000 shea night

On April 18th during a home series versus the Braves, the Mets will honor Shea by reducing tickets to 1969 era prices. For $3.50 you can get a ticket in the promenade outfield and for $19.64 you can plop your fanny into a baseline box seat!  $3.50 is about what you might expect to pay for a slice and a soft drink nowadays so it’s a sweet deal no doubt. You could conceivably take a family of 4 to the game, (stuffing a few bags of chips and juice bags into the kids’ pockets if you’re really cheap), all for 14 dollars – that’s about the cost of a Walking Dead boxed set, or a Millennium Falcon bottle cap opener … Shoot, you can even get a plastic shark with a frickin laser beam ($12.99) for only slightly less!

It is a killer whale of a deal no doubt, but like a lot of things these days this rollback confuses and perplexes me. Box seats to a Mets game are supposed to cost what an inflatable R2-D2 remote controlled droid costs, (foot pump included) — $47.99, but apparently, that’s also the price of a cup of coffee. Oh sure it’s a venti 48-shot mocha frappuccino soy, mocha drizzle, protein powder, caramel brulee topping with strawberry, two bananas, caramel drizzle, with frappuccino chips and vanilla bean ($47.30) at Starbucks, but still, it’s a cup of coffee!

So maybe regular priced box seats at Citi are not such a bad deal? Have I been away from N.Y. too long? By the way, that amount is also more or less the price of 4 ounces of quality tea in China … But what does any of this have to do with the price of baseball in Queens? Lots. The Wilpons are still scrambling to bring fans to the ballpark, and they’re getting desperate from the looks of it. Celebrating Shea? If you loved Shea so much Mr. Wilpon why did you tear it down?

new-york-mets braintrust collins, katz, wilpon alderson

You see, if I understand this correctly, the Wilpons need our support so that they can buy better baseball players. It’s a reasonable request I suppose, it’s our duty as Mets fans right?

That’s how it works, we trust the Wilpons with our hard earned cash … (trust – that’s a loaded word isn’t it?). They then take our money and in their infinite wisdom apply it to improving the team through the most prudent and exceptional means available to them.

They will not invest in ponzi schemes, they will not take players on meaningless helicopter rides, they will not sign players like Jason Bay or Bobby Bonilla, or Kaz Matsui, they will not gamble our money away or use it to buy waffle chips and beer or a brand new schooner for Jeff. I mean, just look at Jeff Wilpon he’s got a face you could trust if I ever saw one.

See the Mets are a blue collar organization … some of them even live in Queens. There are even indications that Mets ownership encourages their players to live in Queens, you figure the less they pay in rent the less the Mets have to pay them right? Makes sense. As reported by Gary Busio in the Post last spring, unlike Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez,  many Mets actually reside in Long Island City (for thousands less per month than what they would pay to live in Trump Tower or the Aldyn) …

instead of paying up to $18,000 per month (more or less the price of a new 2014 Toyota Prius) to live in a Manhattan penthouse, many of our players (and Mr. Collins himself) live in a Queens high-rise called the Avalon Riverview for a far more reasonable $2,300 to $5,200 per month (the price of a 2001 Ford Focus).

There is even a  Salon and Spa for player wives and girlfriends, where manicures run $15, a leg wax is $50, and a men’s haircut starts at $30. “The guy with the gray hair — the manager — he just came back,” a hairstylist at the shop said. “He’s a good customer!” So for the price of a box seat at Citi, Terry Collins can get his legs waxed! That’s not a bad deal at all.

caesars citi

I admit that many of our new fangled MLB venues are appealing to the eye and nose (and taste-buds), but not so much to the pocketbook. The problem is that Mets marketing has been trying to sell tickets at Manhattan penthouse prices without considering their stadium is located in Queens. Know your target audience, business 101 right?

As the National League’s blue collar descendant of the Giants and Dodgers, the Mets, from their inception, drew a working class clientele. Someone in the Mets hierarchy with a business acumen above 10th grade economics obviously realized the error in their approach and convinced the Wilpons to scale back prices.

They appear to have doubled special offers, and they instituted “dynamic pricing” intended (from what I gather) to unload tickets against low-interest opponents at low-interest prices. But one problem that remains is the blatant “stratification” of the crowd itself. so many “special” nooks and crannies reserved for the beautiful people, so many luxury boxes set aside for the jet set, so many “exclusive” clubs with the stanchions and the fuzzy ropes out front, so many “sterling” options dividing the poor slob from the rich, the really rich, and the ludicrously rich …

Sad really. One thing I miss about Shea was the feeling that we were all in one big rocking Mets melting pot.

But for a day at least you can forego the leg waxing or the most expensive cup of coffee in the world and not only take yourself to a game but bring the family and maybe even have some cash left over for that pedicure. You never know, you might even get to sit next to Terry Collins.


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It’s Time to End the Ruben Tejada Era at Shortstop Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:43:42 +0000 New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida

Since the beginning of the 2013 MLB season there have been exactly seven shortstops to amass at least 250 plate appearances and had their services be worth a negative WAR value.  Of those seven shortstops, two are currently on the Mets active roster.  The Magnificent 7 are as follows:

  1. Adeiny Hechavarria: 640 PA,  -1.4 WAR
  2. Eduardo Nunez: 340 PA,  -1.4 WAR
  3. Ruben Tejada: 272 PA,  -0.8 WAR
  4. Ronny Cedeno: 288 PA,  -0.7 WAR
  5. Brendan Ryan: 349 PA,   -0.6 WAR
  6. Daniel Descalso: 376 PA,  -0.4 WAR
  7. Omar Quintanilla: 371 PA,  -0.2 WAR

The worst number on this list is the -1.4 put up by Hechavarria with the Marlins, but he is scorching hot to start the 2014 season, and 2013 was his first full season in the major leagues. 

You could also make a case that if Tejada would have amassed 640 plate appearances at his current rate of awfulness, he would have been worth -1.6 WAR over the same time period, with 3 more years of experience than the young Marlins SS.

Eduardo Nunez only played SS for the Yankees because Jeter was out for most of the 2013 season recovering from ankle surgery.  He has recently been released.

Brendan Ryan has been released a couple of times, but has never been known for his bat.  He is a dynamite defensive SS, and is currently a backup.

Ronny Cedeno has been released multiple times and hasn’t been seen as a starter for several years, although he has been much better than Tejada.

Daniel Descalso split time with Pete Kozma, who was pretty bad in his own right, as both were replaced by Jhonny Peralta this offseason by the Cardinals.

That leaves Omar Quintanilla, who is currently our own backup, as the only other negative contributor with at least 250 plate appearances in 2013-2014.  Embarrassingly, he has been far better than Tejada at the plate, and only slightly worse defensively.  I am at a total loss for words that the position was not upgraded this offseason.  WOW.

I thought there was absolutely no way that Tejada would be as bad this season as he was in 2013, but Tejada has taken futility to a whole new level, and somehow has proven to be worse than he was last year.

Amazingly, through 14 games, Tejada has compiled a -0.4 fWAR, easily the worst in baseball at the position in the early part of the season.  He’s not getting better folks.  He’s getting worse.

We all have the same feeling when his spot in the lineup is approaching.  Its an automatic out.  I actually have more faith in Niese, Wheeler or even the 41 year old punch line in the batters box Bartolo Colon, to contribute something offensively than I do Tejada.

Travis d’Arnaud won’t see a pitch he can do anything with as long as the auto-out Tejada is hitting behind him in the lineup.

Tejada is still very young, but the fact is that he isn’t very talented.  There just aren’t any tools that suggest he’ll ever be a decent player.  He will never be a threat on the basepaths.  He will never hit for power or extra bases.  He will never be an elite defensive glove, or have a rocket arm, or great range, or be able to make the amazing defensive play.  He is what he is. He’s really bad.  He’s the worst starting position player in the game by a landslide right now.  What makes matters worse is that he doesn’t seem to want to put in the extra effort to better himself. So why is he still clogging up the roster and lineup card at this point?

We are 7-7 with what looks like a team that may be able to hang around in the Wild Card race with all the promising young talent on the horizon.  How long can we keep our heads above water with the black hole that is consuming the shortstop position for our beloved New York Mets?

Sandy, please get a shortstop that is a major league baseball player on this roster, and lets compete.

Our fanbase needs a team we can be proud of.

Its time to cut the BS and play some baseball.  The monitoring period for who can and who cannot play has expired.  Its time for a new era at the SS position.


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Shut-Down Relief At Its Best, Let’s Hear It For The Boys! Fri, 11 Apr 2014 18:33:52 +0000 USATSI jose valverde

One of the most volatile things in all of baseball is the effectiveness of a major league bullpen. It’s no easy task to put a top bullpen together, and nobody would know that better than our own general manager Sandy Alderson who has presided over three straight seasons of bullpen futility at its most deplorable levels.

It almost looked like we were in for yet another year of agonizing relief when the Mets bullpen began this season by allowing an unsightly 12 runs in their first 12 innings pitched.

But then something happened… Someone flipped a switch and all of a sudden we were treated to an amazing 14 inning stretch of shut-down, no-holds-barred, good old-fashioned domination - culminating in a dramatic series win against the Atlanta Braves! I gotta say, it was pretty freaking awesome to behold…

Given the inherent unpredictability of relief pitching, I implore you to enjoy this incredible ride while it lasts.

In the days following the announcement that we had lost our closer Bobby Parnell for the year to Tommy John surgery, this bullpen could have crumbled and nobody would have batted an eyelash.

But instead they did something even more remarkable.. These amazing guys all picked each other up and delivered one shining performance after another, never letting one baserunner touch home plate for 42 consecutive outs. Wow!

The bullpen has thrived led by veterans Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde at the backend and peppered with some great shut-down outings by Gonzalez Germen, Carlos Torres, Scott Rice and Jeurys Familia.

It was pure high-drama and it was baseball at its best…

So let’s hear it for the boys!

button simplyamazing

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MMO Morning Grind: Juan!!! Fri, 11 Apr 2014 11:05:35 +0000 USATSI  juan lagares

Good morning, Mets fans!

Great win last night. Juan Lagares is on my mind after getting the game-winning hit to help us beat the Braves, so let’s talk about him, and see if I can get through this entire article without making Juan single pun. Wait, never mind.

During the offseason and throughout spring training, the entire Mets community was abuzz with a raging debate in the outfield: Eric Young or Juan Lagares?

Juan Lagares has shown us from the start that he is one of the best defensive players in all of baseball. He has a cannon, good speed, a knack for reading the ball, and the ability to make incredibly acrobatic catches look easy (see my artistic rendering below of his amazing play from Wednesday night’s game).

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves

However, Lagares wasn’t too good with the bat in his rookie campaign. For that reason, a lot of people in the organization were leaning towards giving Eric Young the 3rd spot in the outfield.

To me, the debate, “Young vs. Lagares, Bat vs. Glove”, was always based on a false premise. Why? Because in 2013, Eric Young wasn’t a very good hitter either. The second-baseman-turned-outfielder hit .251 after being traded to the Mets in June. As for speed? Yes, Eric is very fast, but Lagares is no slouch on the bases himself.

I’ve always thought Lagares was the better player. Fortunately, Juan was given the starting job in center field and hasn’t looked back. Lagares a clutch home run on Opening Day, and in our first 9 games, the 25 year-old Dominican outfielder is hitting .303 and has knocked in 6 runs. The glove has been great, but that was to be expected. It is the bat of Juan Lagares that has been the most pleasant surprise of the season’s opening stretch.

However, Eric Young definitely has a few things to bring to the table as well. Due to the injury to Chris Young, the Mets have been able to use both Eric and Juan for the first couple weeks of the season. If Chris returns soon, and stays healthy, the Mets will be faced with a choice. Curtis Granderson will not be heading to the bench, and Juan Lagares has been too good so far for Terry Collins to remove him from the lineup. Chris Young will probably be given a chance to take the job from Eric, and if he can hit like he did in the spring, the job should be his.

The Mets have a young, gold-glove caliber player in the outfield who has shown that he might be able to do some damage with his bat. After months of debate, Juan Lagares looks like the J— the one who belongs in center.

Enjoy your day, Mets fans. Get ready to stay up late to watch us play the Angels on the West Coast tonight. I hear they have a pretty good center fielder, too…

Presented By Diehards

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Mets Farm Report: Campbell’s Blast Seals Victory For Las Vegas Wed, 09 Apr 2014 13:32:56 +0000 eric campbell mmo


Las Vegas won a tight one after they took off with three runs in the second, starting with a two-run double from Allan Dykstra and an RBI double from Daniel MunoRafael Montero threw five innings giving up five hits and three runs which came in the third. The 51s took the lead in the fifth scoring two runs off a Wilmer Flores single in the bottom of the fifth. They rallied again scoring twice more in the seventh on an Eric Campbell home run.


Greg Peavey pitched well after giving up two runs in the very first inning, going on to pitch four innings and striking out three. Cody SatterwhiteAdam Kolarek and Jon Velasquez each pitched shutout baseball in relief. Darrell Ceciliani hit well, going 2 for 5, with two doubles and  three RBIs. Matt Clark also added three hits with two singles and a home run.


It was a tough day for the St. Lucie Mets, and things were going well when Luis Cessa tossed six inning only giving up two runs. But  Beck Wheeler gave up three runs in the seventh andJulian Hilario let in sixth in the eighth. And they struggled just as much offensively. Aderlin Rodriguez was the only Mets who had any form of a successful day, going 2 for 3,  with two singles and a walk.


Game one of the double -header was tight, as the Sand Gnats sacrificed three runs in the third.Kevin McGowan pitched well, giving up just three earned runs in five innings while striking out five. Stephan Sabol was three for three with a sixth inning game-tying home run.


The Sand Gnats came out hot, scoring two runs off of a two-out single from L.J. Mazzilli and adding one more in the fourth after Jeff McNeil drew a bases loaded walk. Dario Alvarezpitched four innings off scoreless baseball, giving up only three hits and striking out five. Tim Peterson gave up one run in two innings of relief  and Robert Coles finished the GreenJackets off striking out two in the save.


In a good day for minor league baseball, Eric Campbell earns the nod for Player Of The Night. Campbell’s big two-run blast in the bottom of the seventh put the 51′s up by two and eventually led them to a win over Sacramento.

Check out Mets Minors On Deck for today’s probable starters.

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With A Heavy Heart, Colon Delivers A Sparkling Performance Wed, 09 Apr 2014 13:20:23 +0000 USATSI_ bartiolo colon by brad barr

One of my favorite moves of the offseason was the signing of Bartolo Colon to a two year, $20 million dollar deal. And while I never expected him to duplicate his near-Cy Young season of a year ago, I loved the veteran presence he was bringing and his ability to bear down in every game, throw strikes and give our team a chance to win.

Once you get past all the fat and age related jokes, you might just find that Colon is every bit the ace of this team.

Last night we saw Colon stymie the Atlanta Braves and toss seven scoreless innings as the he picked up his first win of the season and his first as a member of the Mets.

There was no nibbling on the corners, no long delays in between pitches, and no unnecessary wasted pitches. All we got was a blue-collar, nose-to-the-grindstone performance – the kind we don’t get enough of.

Colon allowed just six hits, no walks and struck out five. In a word, he was stellar. Among his 101 pitches thrown, the soon to be 41-year old threw 65 of his 88 fastballs for strikes.

When he threw his final pitch of the evening, a 93 mph fastball to retire Jason Heyward on a groundout, he looked like he was ready to go all the way. This guy wasn’t even breaking a sweat.

“He was really, really good tonight,” said Terry Collins after the game. “He pitched in, pitched out, pitched down, pitched up. He really gave them a different look no matter what he was throwing. He really did a good job.”

Asked about his dominating performance, Colon told reporters he felt great. “Especially when you face a team as tough as Atlanta, you prepare to be very tough mentally. So that’s how I felt today.”

Perhaps his catcher Travis d’Arnaud described it best. “His ball moves all over. I don’t even know what to say. I just know he has command of all his pitches and he did what he wanted to do.”

What made his performance even more remarkable was that Colon pitched the entire evening with a heavy heart.

“I have not had my head in baseball for several days. Not since they called me from my house to tell me that my mom has cancer,” Colon told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.

His mother, Adriana Morales, had been diagnosed with breast cancer and Bartolo will learn the results of further tests today.

“It’s a situation where you’re trying to be strong, but you cannot,” Colon said. “Everyone in the family is very worried, hoping the results come out negative. But when you hear the word cancer, you always think the worst.”

Colon plans to bring his mother to New York to ensure the best care.

“My mom is my best friend, my confidant,” he said. “I talk to her every day, and the only thing that comforts me is that she has not lost her sense of humor. She is a very happy woman.”

Say a prayer for our ace who left it all on the field last night. Let’s hope he gets some good news today about his mom…

Presented By Diehards

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Collins Says Duda Is His Guy At 1B, Davis Will Remain On Bench Fri, 04 Apr 2014 20:14:14 +0000 duda davis

April 4

Lucas Duda is now the starting first baseman for the Mets and will hold onto the job for a significant period of time.

Ike Davis will remain on the roster according to Terry Collins who also said he considered Duda his guy at first base all along.

Collins also said that Josh Satin will not be in a straight platoon with Duda, which means less playing time for him as well.

Collins believes Davis can be a great bench player. .

April 3

Terry Collins told reporters that he’s picking one first baseman and sticking with him, beginning on Friday. Collins wouldn’t announce who it would be, but did say that he would play him for a while.

Both Lucas Duda and Ike Davis played today with the latter singling late in the game for the first and only hit from the first base position in three games.  The Mets have started three different first baseman in that span.

This is so ridiculous….

The fact they thought they could get away with a three-man platoon at first base to begin the season in the first place makes me question just how smart these guys really are. Everyone knew this was doomed to failure except for them.

Well the good news is that this three-headed-monster experiment will end after three games instead of three weeks.

I just hope whomever they decide on means the other one goes straight to Triple-A Las Vegas. We don’t need anyone looking glum and feeling sorry for themselves in that dugout.

Can you believe that we’re only three games into the season and that we’ve had this much drama already?

Why can’t they just be normal for a few days, as we can all use the mental break.


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Orioles @ Tigers         - 1:08pm EST
Brewers @ Red Sox        - 2:05pm EST
Phillies @ Cubs          - 2:20pm EST
Twins @ Indians          - 3:05pm EST
Giants @ Dodgers         - 4:10pm EST
D-Backs @ Rockies        - 4:10pm EST
White Sox @ Royals       - 4:10pm EST
Cardinals @ Pirates      - 7:05pm EST
Yankees @ Blue Jays      - 7:07pm EST
Reds @ Mets              - 7:10pm EST
Padres @ marlins         - 7:10pm EST
Rangers @ Rays           - 7:10pm EST
Angels @ Astros          - 8:10pm EST
Mariners @ Athletics     - 10:05pm EST


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Slide Ruben, Slide! Thu, 03 Apr 2014 13:58:27 +0000 USATSI ruben tejada

What the heck happened last night during this play at home in the fifth inning that saw Ruben Tejada waltz in without so much as a hit or a slide?

Putting aside the fact that Tim Teufel should have never waved Tejada home, what the hell was Tejada thinking?

Apparently he wasn’t thinking at all because he was confused.

“He didn’t know what to do, so he did nothing,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He said, ‘I didn’t know I could hit the catcher.’”

One of the most exciting plays in any baseball game is that proverbial play at the plate. There’s something fascinating about watching how a confrontation at the plate unfolds, especially a close play.

Last night wasn’t close at all, but an attempt by Tejada to bowl over the catcher or try and tag the plate with a hook slide, would have at least increased the chances for the Mets to score. I mean do something for crying out loud!

But instead of a collision or a great slide, there was nothing but confusion. Awful job by Tejada.

“He does have to slide,” Collins said. “He has to do at least that.”

(Photo: USA Today)

Presented By Diehards

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A Long Crawl to Opening Day Tue, 01 Apr 2014 19:00:42 +0000 opening-day-baseball

In Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption, the main character, Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, uses a rock hammer and two decades of time to dig a tunnel from prison to freedom.

After six long, winter months without Mets baseball, my Dad and I traveled five hours and ten minutes through a snowstorm, traffic, lost parking, and a final sprint to the ballpark, to find our own freedom. Mets baseball and 54 degree sunshine! Andy Dufresne famously crawled through a river of sh*t and came out clean on the other side. After our ordeal to get to the ballpark, we felt the same exact way.

Opening Day is a tradition between many fathers (and don’t forget mothers) and sons (and don’t forget daughters). My Dad and I are no different. We have been going to Opening Day every year since I was five years old and the Mets played at what my Dad always liked to call, The Big Shea. I remember one year, when I was in fifth grade, my Mom was hesitant to let me skip school to go to the game. I left the house, wearing my blue Mets windbreaker, and started walking as if I was going to school. My Dad had the car waiting just around the corner where it was out of sight from the house. We snuck to the game (later feeling guilty so telling my Mom).

Things have changed a bit since I was that little kid in a blue windbreaker with the orange interlocking NY on the chest. I am a father, myself, now. My daughter just turned one year old. So for Opening Day 2014, the routine felt a little different. I put my daughter in a David Wright onesie, and dropped her off at daycare for the day, before driving to my Dad’s house, making sure to be on time, so we could leave at 8:00am sharp.

We live about 110 miles away from Citi Field, making it a two hour drive to the stadium. By leaving at 8:00am, we knew we would have plenty of time to get to the park, relax, and enjoy all of the pre-game festivities.

Or so we thought…

snow storm

8:00, 110 miles from Citi, 5 hours 10 minutes until first pitch.

As we began our journey, it began to snow. We brushed it off at first, both with our windshield wipers and minds, since it didn’t appear to be anything significant. But as we kept driving, the snow got more heavy. Suddenly, it was literally blizzard conditions. It wasn’t ever going to accumulate to a foot of snow, we were still confident of that, but the visibility and pace of the snowfall had reached blizzard-like intensity.

The thing about going to the game with my Dad is that he likes to have control. He is a year away from retirement, and despite his advanced age, he still likes to be the driver. The problem with that is despite the fact that I am clearly able to take the stress of driving away from him, I can’t. And that means, just like I would as a kid, as the snow got heavier, I got more worried about how he would react to it. Every time he asked me what I thought about the weather or our chances of making it through the snow, I made sure to give the most positive answer that I could. Nothing was stopping us from getting to that game.

10:00, 80 miles from Citi, 3 hours 10 minutes until first pitch.

After driving for two hours, we had made it 30 miles. Now, we were looking at 11:30 as the earliest we would get to the ballpark. Our extra relax time was lost. My Dad began to worry about the traffic once we got to the Citi Field exit. I kept reassuring him that everything would be okay.

11:45, 1 mile from Citi, 1 hour 25 minutes until first pitch.

We made it to the famous “Citi Field Marina” exit. It is a one lane exit off a major highway, so never fun to navigate into the stadium. But we had done it 1000 times before. I figured we would have the car parked by 12:15, the latest, and then we would have just enough time to get to our seats before the pre-game ceremonies began.

12:15, 1 mile from Citi, 55 minutes until first pitch.

At this point, the clock on the car’s dashboard was starting to become our enemy.

We had made absolutely no ground trying to get off the main exit, so we decided to try an alternate entrance. At that point, looking over the highway, we could see that just like last year on Opening Day, Cirque du Soleil had a gigantic tent taking up a huge swath of parking spots. When we got off the alternate exit, we were met by police pointing us in the opposite direction of the main lot we were trying to enter. We were forced to follow orange cones and a long line of cars to a lot somewhere on the perimeter of the stadium.

12:35, 1 mile from Citi, 35 minutes until first pitch.

Twenty minutes had passed and we still hadn’t reached the alternate lot that the Mets parking attendants promised to be sending us. There was an endless line of cars, filled with fans undoubtedly asking the same question. Why was there so much confusion about the parking?

12:45, 1.5 miles from Citi, 25 minutes until first pitch.

Now I am about to lose it. We have somehow driven to the wrong side of the 7 line subway tracks, bordering the World’s Fair grounds, and it is sinking in that we are going to miss first pitch. Even if we abandoned our car in the street, and walked from there, we would have trouble getting to our seat by 1:10.

12:50, 1.7 miles from Citi, 20 minutes until first pitch.

After four hours and fifty minutes, driving through snow, traffic, and endless confusion around Citi Field in search of parking, we needed to act quickly and desperately. We needed to park the car anywhere that wasn’t in the middle of the street, in order to have a chance of making it inside the stadium in time for first pitch. It is Opening Day! We can’t miss first pitch!

We pulled onto a side road away from the line of cars circling the stadium, and found an isolated area of parking spots underneath a bridge. There were a few other cars sparsely parked, or enough to make us feel at least somewhat comfortable we could leave our car there, so we parked and began a mad dash to the stadium.

A few minutes after 1:10, behind home plate, first pitch!

Once we cut through Flushing Meadows Park, we got a better idea of where we had parked our car. After years of coming to Shea, and now Citi, we had never found a reason to venture for parking this far from the stadium.

It took five hours, ten minutes, and every last second of the few minutes the game was delayed due to Ike Davis arriving late to the field, to see first pitch. We had dug our own tunnel from winter in Connecticut to sunshine at Citi Field. Opening Day!

Finally settled into our seats, sitting next to my Dad, and taking in the atmosphere of the ballpark, I realized something.

After our crazy journey to the ballpark, all of the hassle and frustration, it didn’t matter. We were there. The day wasn’t about a terrible commute to the stadium. It wasn’t about the parking fiasco. It wasn’t even about Bobby Parnell blowing another game to the Nationals. It was about me, my Dad, and Opening Day. Here we were again. Another adventure. Another memory together. Another day that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world

It is easy to build a routine around attending baseball games, even Opening Day. We go every year. We are fortunate enough to attend several games per year. What I thought about as we drove, this time, three hours through traffic to get home after the game, was how lucky I am. I got to see Opening Day with my Dad. How many more times will I get to say that in life? Whatever the number, not enough. And for that, a long day of traveling through snow, traffic, frustration, and a Mets loss, somehow felt clean on the other side.

Presented By Diehards

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Terry Collins Is On The Hot Seat Tue, 01 Apr 2014 12:15:19 +0000 terry-collins1

Ken Rosenthal of shares his take on Terry Collins and what he feels is an unrealistic expectation by Mets brass that the Mets are a 90 win team. Rosenthal says Collins was handed a roster laden with holes by Sandy Alderson and that he has put unfair pressure on his manager to get the job done.

Collins agreed to a two-year extension at the end of last season, seemingly deferring talk on his job status.

Then in late February, John Harper of the New York Daily News reported that GM Sandy Alderson told Mets executives and baseball personnel that the team can and maybe even should win 90 games.

“We better win 90,” owner Fred Wilpon added, according to Harper.


The Mets will not win 90 games. When they do not, the last person to blame will be Collins.

Alderson made brilliant trades to land right-handers Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard and catcher Travis d’Arnaud, but after more than three years on the job his roster still includes numerous holes.

Wilpon, meanwhile, again will field a payroll below $90 million while claiming that the team no longer faces financial problems.

Shame on both of them if this comes back to Collins.

Collins has his work cut out for him this season, this much is clear. After five straight losing seasons, three of them on Collins’ and Alderson’s watch, it’s time to start winning again.

Alderson believes that he’s constructed a team that will win 90 games this year and he has challenged Collins to get the job done. It should make for an interesting story line as the season evolves. Buckle yourselves in and enjoy the ride.

(Photo Credit: Howard Simmons/NY Daily News)

Presented By Diehards

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Mejia Gets A Clean Bill Of Health For Friday’s Start Mon, 31 Mar 2014 14:50:25 +0000 Brad Barr USA TODAY Sports jenrry mejia

Adam Rubin of ESPN NY writes that Jenrry Mejia was given a clean report by the team doctor and according to Terry Collins, Mejia also threw a baseball on Sunday and was deemed healthy and ready to take his turn in the rotation on Friday, when the Mets face the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field.

Mejia was struck with a line drive in the right forearm during last Friday’s game in Montreal. X-rays were negative, and he was diagnosed with inflammation.

(Photo Credit: Brad Barr USA TODAY)

Presented By Diehards

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Our Annual Opening Day Reading: Casey At The Bat Mon, 31 Mar 2014 04:09:43 +0000 casey-at-the-bat-story-1

It has become something of an Opening Day Tradition here on MMO; our annual reading of the great baseball classic Casey At The Bat. As we prepare for the Mets to return to action, please enjoy this legendary 1888 ballad that describes everything we love about this great game:

Casey At The Bat

By Ernest Lawrence Thayer, San Francisco Examiner – June 3, 1888

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that–
We’d put up even money now with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Johnnie safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,

And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped–
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted some one on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the sphereoid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville –mighty Casey has struck out.

casey 2

And as I added last year, please enjoy a recording of James Earl Jones reading Casey At The Bat complete with dramatic musical accompaniment.

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Gary, Keith and Ron: Those Voices In Our Heads Sun, 30 Mar 2014 14:53:52 +0000 gary keith ron sny

The Mets may not lead the league in many baseball categories, but they do excel in one area. The voices of the Mets SNY broadcast team; Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling, are the cream of the crop. All three were on top of their game in Steve Serby’s Q&A in the Sunday New York Post. Darling was also talking Met baseball this morning on WFAN.

Darling was asked to comment about Sandy Alderson’s 90-win dictate. The Met announcer indicated he didn’t believe Alderson’s quip was meant for public consumption and deftly sidestepped the question this way, “More importantly, if you’re playing .500 baseball by September 1, you’re going to play meaningful baseball in September. I mean really that’s all you have to do under the two-wild card system.”

Darling went on to point out the Mets played .500 ball over the final 100 games in 2013. What the Mets need to do, according to Darling, is to somehow turn that equation around and play .500 ball this season over the first 100 games of the season.

In another part of the interview, Darling was asked about the battle for the 5th spot in the Mets starting rotation, and the Mets decision to send Daisuke Matsuzaka to Triple-A Las Vegas. According to Matsuzaka that decision was purely a business decision. Darling went on to say that if the Mets brought their best pitching options north out of spring training, both Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero would be on the pitching staff.

For me, somehow Darling’s two points mesh about as well as a teenager with a dictionary. If it’s imperative for the Mets to play .500 baseball during the first 100 games of the season, it follows that it might be imperative to have your best roster available from the first day of the season.

I’ve said it before wins and losses in April have equal value with wins in losses in September. A team seriously hoping to play .500 baseball has their eye on the ball from day one. I fully understand the business ramifications that come with keeping the young kids on the roster and starting their service clocks before you have too. That’s exactly why so many organizations are moving to sign their talented young players to extensions while they are still under team control.

Darling didn’t pull punches when asked about Terry Collins’s churning outfield dilemma. “I think their outfield defense is so superior to last year. If you think your strength is gonna be your starting pitching, the defense is so important, and I just feel that Juan Lagares every single day he plays, does something to help your team. I just cannot envision him not in the lineup. Every day he makes a catch that saves two runs.”

Hernandez, too, raved about Lagares. “Juan Lagares is just off the charts. I haven’t seen anybody cover ground like him, and have a strong arm that’s accurate. He’s got the cannon for an arm, and he doesn’t miss cutoff men, he’s accurate. He can play the hell out of centerfield.”

Darling voiced support for Ike Davis as the Met first baseman. Darling recounted visiting Texas and reading a local newspaper about a first baseman that simply never lived up to his potential, a guy who was somewhat difficult to coach and willful. The Rangers decided to give up on that guy shipping him to Baltimore. That guy, Chris Davis, has hit 109 home runs for the Orioles in the last two seasons. Even so, Cohen and Darling both agree Ike will have a short leash if he can’t get cooking during the opening month of the season.

None of the Mets broadcast team seemed to think the Matt Harvey controversy was much of an issue. “Who cares where he rehabs? It’s a total non-story, who cares?” Cohen said in response to the question.

Darling was somewhat tongue in cheek saying that “baseball players, athletes in general, are usually told something and they just do it. And Harvey decided he wasn’t going to do it.” (chuckle)

Hernandez believes that the Mets team coming north this for tomorrow’s opener is a better edition than the one that arrived at Citi Field a year ago. The former Mets first base great believes the Mets are an above .500 team and will be disappointed if they can’t reach that level.

Let’s Go Mets!

Chill out guys and stop looking so bored.

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“The Kid” Game Thread: Mets vs Blue Jays, 7:05 PM Fri, 28 Mar 2014 20:35:10 +0000 gary-carter mets

Baseball will return to Olympic Stadium for the first time since 2004, the New York Mets will take on the Toronto Blue Jays in a pair of exhibition games beginning tonight at 7:05 PM.

Jenrry Mejia makes his final pitch for a rotation spot and will oppose Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle in what should be a sold-out Olympic Stadium.

A pregame tribute to the late Gary Carter will be the highlight of the evening. Carter’s wife Sandy and daughter Kimmy will be on hand to represent the the former Met and Expo catcher, who died in 2012 of brain cancer.

Carter’s last season in an Expos uniform was in 1992 and with the Mets in 1989. He also made brief stops with the San Francisco Giants in 1990 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1991.

Carter actually played in Montreal for more seasons (12) than he did with the Mets (5), but he will always be remembered as one of the great pieces added to the Mets squad during the 1980′s, that brought a championship back to the franchise. The ”Kid” as we all called him will forever be an icon in the eyes of Mets fans. 

“It is going to be hard. It hasn’t been two years yet, but I knew we had to be there,” Sandy Carter shares about the upcoming series. “I agreed when I heard there would be a game at the old park and then when I heard it was the Mets, I knew it was right. “It’s like two pieces of our hearts joining together that night.”

The “Kid” was a true icon and this tribute is a true testament to what his presence meant to the game. 

Here is tonight’s lineup for the Mets:

  1. Eric Young Jr., DH
  2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
  3. David Wright, 3B
  4. Curtis Granderson, RF
  5. Chris Young, LF
  6. Lucas Duda, 1B
  7. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  8. Juan Lagares, CF
  9. Ruben Tejada, SS

Anthony Seratelli will not make the team according to Terry Collins. Ruben Tejada and Omar Quintanilla are your 2014 Opening Day shortstops.

Enjoy the game which will be broadcast on MLB Network, and Lets Go Mets!

Gary Carter night at Shea Stadium   Original Filename: HS6nn01k6m.JPG

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MMO Exclusive: One on One with Catching Prospect Cam Maron Thu, 27 Mar 2014 04:03:00 +0000 cam maron

The Mets signed catching prospect Cam Maron in the 34th round of the 2009 Amateur Draft from Hicksville High School, in Hicksville, NY.  Maron, who is entering his sixth season in the Mets farm system, continues to make progress towards his dream of one day playing major league baseball.

The anticipation that a player feels prior to being drafted is sometimes filled with so much anxiety just knowing that they have been working the majority of their lives to reach that point. When the day finally arrives, it’s a moment of joy and celebration for the athlete as well as for their entire family.

Maron shared with me how his special day unfolded, “I’ll never forget it was the last day of classes in high school.  It was day three of the draft and I was very anxious and excited, and I didn’t sleep much that entire week.”

“I didn’t say anything to anyone, but I was getting phone calls and texts messages from family members and friends for the rest of the day. I remember the school announcing everything over the PA system. I was humbled, grateful and very thankful for the love and support that I received on that day.”

The Long Island native was taught the game of baseball by his father and he shares how one decision he made would change the way he would approach the game, “I remember my dad teaching me how to hit; he used to set me up right-handed and I would secretly switch my hands to left-handed as he turned his back and walked away. He would ask, ‘Why are you holding your hands like that?’, I used to say that it was comfortable, and he wouldn’t buy it.  After some while, he said, ‘All right, hold your hands like that but lets stand on this side of the plate’ (which was the left-handed side).  The first swing I smoked a line drive right past him and he said this kid is a lefty. The rest is history.”

The lefty hitting catcher starred at Hicksville high school and felt he made the right choice to pick pro ball over college to follow after his dream, “Looking back on it, I don’t remember it being a tough decision because I just wanted to play baseball, especially professional, since I was an early teenager. At the time, I think it was pretty tough because the normal teenage progression is going to college after high school, but I felt like I was prepared and I was going to put 100% of my effort into playing ball and getting better every day.”

“College will always be there and I will eventually go back to class at some point, but the time to play baseball is a very small window and I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity as soon as it presented itself.”

camden maronIn 2009, Maron was sent to the Gulf Coast Rookie league and played two seasons and combined he batted .303/.409/.427, with two home runs and 14 RBIs. He was then promoted to Kingsport (Rk) for the 2011 season and batted .318/.434/.413 with three home runs and 24 RBIs in 201 at bats.

The ideal promotion would have been to go to Brooklyn and not just because it was the next level up, but because it would mean that Maron would play baseball in his own backyard. “Playing in Brooklyn was something that I thought about as soon as I became a player in the organization. It would have been a really cool and amazing experience to be able to play so close to home,” says the catching prospect.

But that was not in the plans as he jumped a level and was sent to Savannah to finish the 2011 season and appeared in just one game.

In 2012, he remained with Savannah and batted .300/.403/.408, with five home runs and 47 RBI’s in 343 at bats.

Each season in played pro ball, he continued to make the right adjustments and progress and he shared with me how he has been able to stay focused and on the right path, “I think the adjustments were more off the field than on the field.  Getting used to the area and the routine each different manager had were the biggest things I remember.”

“Most of the teams we play throughout the minor league levels are the same, so their players are advancing at a similar rate as we are, most of the time. The pitchers I faced and the hitters I studied at lower levels are appearing again as I move up the ladder, and I have notes and reports on most of them, and that helps to formulate my plan for each game in the present.”

After his big season with the Sand Gnats, the Mets promoted Maron once again and he was sent to Class A Advanced St. Lucie for the 2013 season and it was the first time in pro ball that he experienced some adversity, “2013 was a great learning experience for me.  I learned a lot about myself and how to handle myself when things aren’t going right.  I took a lot of those situations and stored them in my mind for the future and ways to avoid them.”

With St. Lucie, he batted .235/.327/.295, with no home runs and 29 RBI’s in 285 at bats, “I think I was pressing too hard and trying to do too much at the plate and that attributed to my struggles. I was much less consistent and that was all on me. I looked in the mirror at the end of 2013 and said it was over now, time to flush all that out, and start on a new season.”

When the season was over the Mets sent him to participate in the Arizona Fall League and he felt honored to represent the organization, “I want to thank the Mets for the opportunity to play in the AFL, it really was an incredible experience that only a handful of players get to do.”

Maron continues, “The competition is really second-to-none, the best of the best in the minor leagues, all in one place. I learned a lot of things about game-calling and sequences, against higher-level players, on both sides of the ball. I wish that it was longer than six weeks, but the experience is invaluable and it is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my career.”

In the AFL, the catcher batted .216/.365/.255, five runs, two doubles, and 12 walks in 17 games and when it was over, he was not done getting ready for the 2014 season, “I resumed my usual winter workout routine back home on Long Island to do my strength and conditioning training at Professional Athletic Performance Center in Garden City, under strength coach Dean Maddalone.”

“We had a great group of guys that worked out, including major leaguers Jose Reyes, Pedro Beato, Adam Ottavino, along with fellow minor leaguers Steven Matz , Willie Carmona, Keith Couch, and a few independent-ball guys. Its a great atmosphere and we all push each other to get better, I would never train anywhere else.”

“I do all of my baseball activity, both hitting and defensive drills, at Performance Factory in Farmingdale under head hitting specialist Joe Francisco.  I have been hitting with Joe since I was a sophomore in high school and I can go to him for anything, he is like a second father to me, especially when it comes to anything baseball related.”

Now with the new season upon us, he will soon find out what team he will suit up for in 2014, and the hope is that he continues to move up the levels and continues to produce. “I am really looking forward to getting back out on the field with all my teammates and competing.  No matter how much you try to simulate a game situation, there is nothing like being in the heat of the battle with all your teammates, all pulling together for the same thing.”

Cam answered a few more questions for me; enjoy his responses.

David – Was there a coach/manager that you feel has helped you with your growth and development throughout the years in the minors?

Cam - There have been so many great coaches and managers throughout my minor league career, I can’t really say there has been one specific coach that stands out more than the others.  Our minor league catching coordinator, Bob Natal, has taught me a handful of things in each aspect of catching, whether it be mental, receiving, blocking, etc.  He is really a wealth of information, and there is rarely a question that he does not have an answer to.  All of my coaches have been very helpful and resourceful when it comes to growth and development on the field.  I am a firm believer that we are a combination of all the experiences we have endured throughout our lives, and that there is something to be learned every day.  I try to take a handful of useful information from each coach each year and put it all together with everything else I have learned.

David – What part of your game do you feel has improved over the past season?

Cam - I feel that my overall defensive game, especially my game-calling, has taken tremendous strides forward in the past year.  Although I did not feel great at the plate on most nights last year, I took it upon myself to still make a difference and help our team win by calling a solid game and helping to guide our pitchers along whatever plan we had in place.  I also feel that my exchange and throwing has come a long way in the past year and I have a lot more confidence during games now.

David – Anything you would like to share with the Mets fans?

Cam - Regardless of where I have played, there have always been Mets fans, whether it be in Scottsdale, Kingsport, Savannah, or St. Lucie, and sometimes even on the road.  Being a native New Yorker, and a Met fan growing up, I know how strong and well spread out the fans are.  I would just like to thank everyone that has supported the Mets, and specifically myself, throughout our careers.  We would not be anywhere without all of you, and I look forward to seeing you guys at the ballpark supporting us!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Thank you Cam for taking the time to share your journey with MMO and all our great readers. We look forward to another great Mets baseball season. LGM!

Watch Cam participate in a batting instruction video with Performance Factory:

Presented By Diehards

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Only The Marlins Are A Worse Draw On Road Than Mets Wed, 26 Mar 2014 13:57:28 +0000 mets tickets

Here is a different way to look at the secondary ticket market. (Hat tip to Joanne) Sreekar Jasthi of Nerd Wallet took a different approach and analyzed how visiting teams impacted ticket prices overall.

Using current ticket pricing data from TiqIQ, here is a chart showing the results of their team by team comparison.


Not surprisingly, the New York Yankees are still the biggest draw in the game, but what was surprising was where the New York Mets ranked.

Only the Miami Marlins were a worse draw on the road than the Mets who drove down ticket prices a little over 20% on average.

What that means is that a pair of tickets with a total face value of $60 can be had for about $45 at secondary ticket outlets like Stub Hub and TiqIQ.

Another chart also showed that there’s a big swing between average Mets ticket prices at home and on the road. Currently, the average ticket price at Citi Field is $88.59 while that figure drops to $68.77 on the road.

Presented By Diehards

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AL West Preview: Will Fielder Be Deciding Factor in Four Team Race? Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:00:19 +0000 prince-fielder

The AL West in my opinion represents the most wide open division in all of baseball, minus one team. I think everybody may be quick to jump on the Texas bandwagon again, especially after adding Prince Fielder to the mix, but I’m not so sure I’m ready to jump.

In your comments, we’d love to hear your predicted standings, your AL West MVP, AL West Best Pitcher, and AL West Top Sleeper.

5th Place: Houston Astros

I’ve heard people suggest that maybe the Astros could be a young team to watch out for in 2014. I’m sorry Astros fans, but I am not buying it.

There isn’t a lot to be said if you ask me. This is a team that is sticking to a plan to develop as much young talent as they possibly can, and to let the team grow into an eventual contender.

Astros fans may get some enjoyment out of watching players like Jose Altuve at 2B or Dexter Fowler in CF, but they won’t be able to stop this team from losing close to, if not 100 games.

I have a rule, well okay, it’s a new rule. If Scott Feldman is your ace, you’re in last place (that rhymes too!).

4th Place: Seattle Mariners

This is a team that might come off disappointing to some solely because of the Robinson Cano signing, but to me, they will be competitive – but slip in September.

I know the talk all spring was about whether or not the Mariners needed “one” more bat to go with Cano. And while I agree, they need more bats (more than one), I think it is still their pitching that will hold them back in 2014.

Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker are questionable for the start of the 2014 season already, and to me they need to have a healthy 2014 season if the Mariners want to have any chance at competing in this division. So, the fact they are already starting the year with injury issues is a problem for me.

Mets fans who are eager to see Nick Franklin in Citi Field most certainly should keep an eye on Brad Miller. If Miller looks to slip even a little, Franklin isn’t going anywhere.

Mike Zunino is a guy that not many really talk about, but he looks to be a pretty solid hitting catcher, and with Logan Morrison in the mix – it will be interesting to see how the whole Miguel Montero saga unfolds.

3rd Place: Oakland Athletics

Everybody who isn’t an anti-Beane personality probably enjoys watching this team play baseball. They are essentially a National League roster inside an American League division.

My concern here is that I believe three teams in this division got better this winter, and I don’t think Oakland was one of them. Therefore, I see them having a tougher time playing their division rivals and thus landing in third place.

When the A’s lost Bartolo Colon, they replaced him with Scott Kazmir – which is a slight twist of irony if you ask me. But, to Colon’s credit, that is a downgrade. Kazmir is already dealing with tricep problems, and that could be a bigger problem down the stretch.

They also replaced Grant Balfour with Jim Johnson, another downgrade if you ask me.

This is a grind it out type team, and while I don’t dislike their chances, I just cannot predict intangibles by looking at a roster on paper. They just do not stack up to the Angles or Rangers in this division.

2nd place: Texas Rangers

Part of this is an attempt at taking a risk with the first place team.

The Rangers lineup looks stacked in basically every position, except perhaps DH (which is odd when you think about it).

The addition of Prince Fielder gives them a major power threat in the heart of the order, something they will really enjoy when Shin-Soo Choo is getting on base ahead of Fielder. This offense will be relentless, and will be multi-dimensional with Jurickson Profar (assuming he comes back healthy in June) and Leonys Martin making big league names for themselves.

The rotation is lead by one of the best pitchers in the sport, Yu Darvish. Darvish seems to be getting better every year, and should be in the Cy Young conversation this year.

After Darvish however, things look questionable. Derek Holland is just getting ready to throw his first bullpen session of the year, Matt Harrison is dealing with back issues and after those three – you have more questions on performance than health.

Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando should provide solid end of the rotation depth, but the issue is that if Holland (mid-season) and Harrison do not do what Texas needs them to, then Texas is very thin in starting pitching.

I think their offense is good enough to carry them to a playoff berth, but I don’t think it will help them take the division.

1st Place: Los Angeles Angels

I am buying low on the Angels this year. It seems the popular pick by the traditionalist is the Rangers, and of course those with an affinity for advanced metrics will likely go with Oakland, but I really like the Angels this year.

This is a team that came into 2013 with a ton of expectations after the signing of Josh Hamilton, and they fell flat on their face.

I love the addition of David Freese at 3B, and in my view, if Hamilton and Albert Pujols are as healthy as they appear from this spring – then this is a team that will be very tough to out slug.

Pujols seems out to prove his critics wrong, and I’m not going to be the guy to bet against one of the best hitters I’ve ever seen. I’m not saying he will succeed for the length of that deal, I am saying he could easily put together one more excellent year.

I previewed and praised their offense without even mentioning Mike Trout. Self high-five.

Their rotation is similar to Texas except I have more faith in the health and bottom of the rotation here than in Texas. Weaver isn’t Darvish, but he’s really good. C.J. Wilson is better than any other pitcher in Texas, and Richards, Skaggs and Blanton or Santiago are to me equals if not better than Texas’ bottom rotation guys.

I really like the bullpen with Kevin Jepsen, Joe Smith and then Ernesto Frieri to slam the door shut.

The Angels have a top 5 manager in the sport, and under achieved last year. I am unwilling to bet on a repeat of that, and I am taking the Angels to take the division in a close race over Texas.

AL West MVP: Mike Trout, Los Angeles – He will be surrounded by veterans like Freese, Pujols and Hamilton that will compliment him nicely and allow him to really show just how elite he is (as if he hasn’t already).

AL West Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Seattle – I am looking for King Felix to fight with Darvish over the #1 pitcher in the division, but at the end of the day, I think Felix is motivated to take back his crown.

AL West Sleeper: Leonys Martin, Texas – A pretty solid year in 2013, but I am looking for Martin to become one of the most talked about young outfielders in the game after 2014.

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Texas Rangers

XtreemIcon’s Picks

My only disagreement in the standings comes at the top. Houston, Seattle and Oakland from the ground up looks about right, but Seattle won’t be competitive until September as Jessep suggests. This is the year, in my opinion, Felix Hernandez comes back down to earth. Too many innings and too little offense behind him. He’ll still be effective, but not great. He finished outside the top-ten last season and will continue his slow descent into mediocrity.

I like Texas to finish first because of their huge addition…Shin Soo Choo. Fielder will help and be a threat, but I predict him to underwhelm in Texas. People have him tabbed as a potential 40-home run guy because of the sardine can he’ll be playing in, but I just don’t see him turning the clock back to his Milwaukee days. He’s more likely to just reproduce his 2013 season. He’ll turn 30 this season, and while he’s been remarkably healthy, the other shoe has to drop some time. He’ll be good, but not what the Rangers thought they were getting.

I would recommend manager Ron Washington solve his DH problem by playing Fielder there and preserving him while using current DH and superior defensive first baseman Mtch Moreland in the field. If both guys are going to be in the lineup, why trot out a less-than-optimal defense?

Still, the team is better than Anaheim. I don’t expect Pujols to ever recapture his St. Louis glory, though I do expect a solid bounce back from Josh Hamilton. I just don’t trust the pitching to compete with Cy Young contender Yu Darvish and breakout candidate Martin Perez. Tanner Schneppers is poised to contribute in a big way, as well. The bullpen has experience and depth, with Joakim Soria, Neftali Perez and Alexi Ogando about as solid a 1-2-3 punch as there is.

AL West MVP: Mike Trout. He’s the best player in baseball and the rightful, two-time reigning league MVP.

AL West Cy Young: Yu Darvish. Sorry, Felix. Sell high, Jack Z.

AL West Sleeper: Martin Perez. There’s a lot of good, young talent in the AL West and I’m excited to see what George Springer can do, but Perez looks ready to vault into the stratosphere.


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NL West Preview: Can Anybody Stop The Dodgers? Mon, 24 Mar 2014 15:00:49 +0000 The National League West showcases the team that many believe are the favorites to win the World Series heading into 2014. How often though do we see a team that “everybody” agrees is the team to beat slip to reality when injuries and such come knocking on their door? Are the Dodgers going to fall into that same story line?

In your comments, we’d love to hear your predicted standings, your NL West MVP, NL West Best Pitcher, and NL West Top Sleeper.

5th Place: Colorado Rockies

As many Mets fans know, Dexter Fowler was sent to the Houston Astros this off-season, and while many Rockies fans may not have liked the moved then – I think they will really dislike the move when they see the negative defensive effects of the move.

This is a team to me, that is going to have trouble with their arms. So when you essentially diminish the defense by giving away Fowler, you’re not doing your pitchers any favors.

troy tulowitzki

The addition of Brett Anderson could prove to be a good move for Colorado, but he isn’t a “save the day” type starting pitcher.

Also, adding Justin Morneau to replace the Rockies legend Todd Helton should at least prove to be a somewhat lateral move in terms of production.

This is a team that will have trade rumors swirling about Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez all season long. If you’re paying attention to the Rockies in 2014, it’s because you’re curious where or if they end up being traded.

4th Place: San Francisco Giants

I understand this is likely not going to fly with many of you. But hear me out.

Everybody knows that in the NL, if you have pitching, you’re in good shape. The problem I have with San Francisco is I believe their rotation is relying on two big IF’s.

The first is whether or not Tim Lincecum can return to his winning ways, and if you have seen him this spring, you have your doubts. The second is whether or not Tim Hudson can stay healthy and be the guy this rotation needs on a consistent basis. If Hudson stays healthy, then yeah, I would say this team could fight for 3rd place or maybe even a wildcard.

The offense is still very bland. If there is any positive, it’s that Pablo Sandoval may be motivated by a new contract this year. I’m not a big Mike Morse fan, so I don’t even consider his addition as anything to really think about when predicting their offensive performance.

To me, this is a team that tries to do “just enough” at the plate, and I don’t like that. I think last year they showed that the model they’ve gone with can backfire tremendously. I’m expecting them to finish closer to .500, but not to be in any sort of playoff discussion.

3rd Place: San Diego Padres

I was a bit high on them last year, and I’ll stick with my positive outlook for this franchise. I actually really liked the decision to sign Josh Johnson here – I don’t think Johnson was a good fit for any team, but in San Diego, he may actually work. We’ve all seen what Johnson can do on his best days, so if he can find his winning ways again – he could be dangerous in San Diego.

chase headleyAndrew Cashner to me is a guy who could be a recognizable name by many come All-Star break. He’s got the stuff to be a solid #2 type starter, and if he comes into that role, the Padres could be in real good shape.

Of course, there are negatives. The offense isn’t really too good, and if Chase Headley doesn’t find his way back to 2012 form, they could be in trouble at the plate.

I think this could be one of those “fun” teams to watch all year, but it’s going to take a little bit of luck and a lot of health in order for that to be the case.

2nd place: Arizona Diamondbacks

Without many paying attention to them, Arizona has suddenly become a top wildcard contender for the last two years now.

mark trumbo

They made two significant moves as they head into the 2014 season that could make or break their playoff chances.

The first was adding Mark Trumbo to the mix. Now, they are gambling on Trumbo being able to power his way through the NL West (especially in Arizona), and have his strikeouts be worth his production. It’s a gamble, but it’s one that could pay off for this team.

The second was adding Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo is a guy many Mets fans are familiar with due to some recent desires to add him to the rotation. He’s a pretty consistent starter, and gives the team a 200+ innings guy that they can rely on. However, he is a guy that if you look at advanced metrics, he is sometimes more lucky than good. Will his luck run out?

The recent news that Patrick Corbin is likely out for the entire year doesn’t help this prediction for sure. However, as bad as that news is, I don’t think it kills their year as much as some think. This team has proven to be resilient and has an MVP candidate in Paul Goldschmidt, I think they can overcome the loss of their 24 year old starter and contend for a playoff berth.

1st Place: Los Angeles Dodgers

There is nothing I’d like more than to see my prediction be wrong, but I just cannot see how that might happen without catastrophic injuries.

This team is loaded, there is no other way to put it.

The Dodgers rotation is as nasty as you’ll find in the sport today. When you have the best pitcher in baseball pitching AHEAD of a former Cy Young winner in Greinke, paired with Hyun-jin Ry, Dan Haren and Paul Maholm or Josh Beckett, I’m not sure how your offense goes into any game thinking they have to overachieve for a victory.

yasiel-puig-blogTheir bullpen is also pretty filthy. Brian Wilson, Kenley Jansen and Chris Perez give this team so many late inning options that it’s scary.

The offense is as loaded as the rotation, and everybody is waiting to see how Yasiel Puig does with a full year under his belt, not only in terms of production – but in terms of maturity as well. He is probably the most entertaining player to watch in baseball today, and if he can back up his 2013 campaign with a better 2014, he could be an MVP candidate.

Speaking of MVP candidates, the Dodgers in reality, probably won’t have one because their lineup is filled with guys who could win an MVP.

Matt Kemp may be the key to all of the Dodgers success or failure though. If Kemp can get healthy, and stay healthy, I don’t see how this offense isn’t the best in baseball.

This team is not only good on paper, they are as deep as any team in baseball. They will be able to overcome an injury or two (so long as it’s not Kershaw), and that makes them a no brainer 1st place pick to me.

NL West MVP: Paul Goldschmidt – Mostly because I think if Arizona is in the mix, it’s in large part due to his production and he isn’t surrounded by studs like Dodger hitters are.

NL West Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw – He’s the best there is.

NL West Sleeper: Andrew Cashner – He had a decent 2013 campaign, but it was highly under the radar. I think he breaks out this year to become one of the NL’s best starters.

XtreemIcon’s Picks

Jessep did a great job detailing his picks, so I’m not going to reiterate everything he said, I’ll just point out where I disagree. From last to first, the division shapes up like this for me: Colorado/San Diego/San Francisco/Arizona/LA. The reason I have SD behind SF is not because I think SF will be any good (they spent an insane amount of money simply to bring back the same 76 win team they fielded last year), but because Headley will be traded at some point this season, which will decimate their already weak offense. And with Johnson and Cashner being question marks, they fall to 4th place. Not fifth, though. Colorado is that bad.

What I would like to add is that even though I chose Arizona to finish second, I don’t expect a good year out of them. Jessep think they will contend, and I most certainly do not. The second place finish is more like an indictment on the rest of the division than it is a vote of confidence for Arizona. Corbin hurts bad and Arroyo was a terrible signing. His ERA will likely hover around 4.50 and could be traded at the deadline, probably back to the Red Sox. I think LA will be the only team above .500 and will win the division by 20 games

NL West MVP: Paul Goldschmidt – His numbers will tell their own story.

NL West Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw – Period.

NL West Sleeper: Brandon Belt – He’s going to hit in the middle of the lineup and have the chance to do some real damage. He fixed a mechanical issue with his swing and tore it up in August and September. He’s going to challenge Goldschmidt for the division MVP.


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