Mets Merized Online » fans http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:07:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 Happy Thanksgiving Day From Everyone At MMO! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/happy-thanksgiving-day-from-everyone-at-mmo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/happy-thanksgiving-day-from-everyone-at-mmo.html/#comments Thu, 24 Nov 2016 11:00:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226840 Macys-Parade

On behalf of everyone at Metsmerized Online, we would like to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Have yourselves a wonderful day and make some great memories with your friends, families and loved ones.

Thanks to the New York Mets for another fun and exciting season, the second one in a row. Thanks to Sandy Alderson and his staff for making the Mets great again and I know that with a little luck that World Series championship will be ours next season.

Thanks to Terry Collins and his staff, and of course all the players that gave us everything they had this year and provided us with some amazing thrills and memories. The future is certainly bright and we look forward to an even better season in 2017.

Thanks to all of you – our readers. It’s such an enormous pleasure to share our opinions and interact with all of you each and every day. You are the greatest and most passionate baseball fans in the world and without you this site is nothing. Our passion for the Mets binds all of us together, and though we may not always agree on how to get there, we still all share one common goal and that is to see the Mets win another championship.

Finally, we are thankful for all of the brave men and women who continue to serve our country and defend our American way of life. Our thoughts are always with them and we honor their incredible courage and commitment to protecting our freedom and values.

It’s been an honor to serve you these last 12 years and we look forward to 12 more. Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone!

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Psychics Agree: No Fifth Year For Cespedes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/psychics-agree-no-fifth-year-for-cespedes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/psychics-agree-no-fifth-year-for-cespedes.html/#comments Wed, 23 Nov 2016 20:00:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227000 yoenis cespedes

The New York Post indicated that the Mets remain interested in signing Yoenis Cespedes to a four year contract, but a fifth year could wind up being a deal breaker. We can spend all day speculating about the actual reason for this rumored line in the sand.

Many fans still think the Wilpons have no intention of signing Yo and are just trying to give the impression that they made their best effort to keep him here. It’s also possible that this is all just part of the negotiating process for Sandy Alderson.

The Mets may also just be leaking this news to the media purely as a negotiating tactic. In the end the Mets may cave and give Cespedes exactly what he wants because they recognize how important he is to the team.

The Cespedes negotiations have implications that go beyond simply losing or retaining the most valuable bat on the team. Many fans will see the outcome as a signal for the direction of the franchise. If Yo leaves, some Mets fans will see that as confirmation of their worst fears regarding the Wilpons’ willingness to spend. On the contrary, if he signs a multi-year deal with the Mets, some fans will see this as a sign that the team’s payroll is going in the right direction.

That being said, many baseball “psychics” seem to know exactly how the Cespedes deal will turn out. I can’t tell you how many fans have talked to me or tweeted at me to state their support of a four year deal for Cespedes, but not a five year deal.

The baseball fans that take hard stances against giving a free agent “the extra year” always baffle me. Baseball doesn’t have a hard salary cap. The Mets’ payroll is not approaching the current MLB luxury tax threshold. So why do Mets fans have strong views on this? Do people seriously feel that a four year deal is acceptable, but a fifth year is so unreasonable that they’d rather not watch Cespedes (i.e. the most exciting baseball player in New York City) play at Citi Field?

Why are some people specifically afraid of a fifth year? Do you have a crystal ball? These fans act like they know with certainty that at 35 years old Yoenis Cespedes will cease to be a productive major leaguer. At 34 he’ll be fine. But at 35? He’s done!

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In my opinion, you can make one of two arguments when it comes to Cespedes:

Argument 1: Don’t sign Yo and instead spread out that money across multiple players to improve the team.

Argument 2: Go all out to sign Yo to a four or five year deal and hope he maintains his power and health over the course of the deal.

I understand that there’s uncertainty surrounding a contract that takes a player into his mid 30′s, but arguing over the merits of a four or five or even six year contract for a 31 year old player coming off the two best seasons of his career, drawing arbitrary lines in the sand is ridiculous in my opinion.

Sure, long-term deals can be hit or miss. Jose Reyes signed a six year deal with the Marlins at 28, and it didn’t really work out due to injuries and his off the field problems. David Wright signed an eight year deal at 29 and due to his health issues that hasn’t really worked out.

On the other hand, Carlos Beltran signed a seven year deal with the Mets at 27, and he’s still going strong at 39. The four year deal the Mets gave to Curtis Granderson has worked out thus far, and he’s 35 years old.

The point is, unless these baseball fortune tellers have seen Yo’s medical reports and somehow know for a fact that he’s on the path to early retirement, I don’t how they can possibly sell me on the argument that a four year deal makes sense but a five year deal is irresponsible.

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President Obama Awards Medal of Freedom to Vin Scully http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/president-obama-awards-medal-of-freedom-to-vin-scully.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/president-obama-awards-medal-of-freedom-to-vin-scully.html/#comments Wed, 16 Nov 2016 13:29:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226628 vin-scully

Vin Scully, among 20 others, have been named by President Barack Obama as this year’s recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The President described the honor as, “Not just our nation’s highest civilian honor – it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better. From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”

Other honorees include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ellen Degeneres, Robert De Niro, Bill and Melinda Gates, Tom Hanks, Michael Jordan, Lorne Michaels, Robert Redford, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, and more.

Vin Scully, who recently retired after 67 years of broadcasting, certainly deserves this honor. He was also inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988.

He is known to all baseball fans, but to Mets fans, well, his voice is the soundtrack to one of our favorite clips:

“So the winning run is at second base, with two outs, three and two to Mookie Wilson. Little roller up along first… Behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!”

Congratulations, Vin! We miss you, thanks for the memories!

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The Binghamton Mets Are Now the Rumble Ponies http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/the-binghamton-mets-are-now-the-rumble-ponies.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/the-binghamton-mets-are-now-the-rumble-ponies.html/#comments Thu, 03 Nov 2016 14:52:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225771 cwwjf46uoaazcxs

The Binghamton Mets have been renamed the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. The renaming of the team was part of the new affiliation agreement between the Mets and Binghamton’s new owner John Hughes.

As Hughes told WBNG, “What I’m looking to do is strengthen the ties between the team and the community. I want the community to really be able to identify with this team, as well as this team be a proud representative of the Binghamton heritage, the Binghamton name and have something the community can relate to.”

With that the soon to be former B-Mets had a contest where fans could submit suggestions for what the new team name should be. The finalists were:

  1. Bullheads
  2. Gobblers
  3. Rocking Horses
  4. Rumble Ponies
  5. Timber Jockeys
  6. Stud Muffins

The Bullheads were a reference to the catfish that are in the nearby Susquehanna River, and the Gobblers were in reference to the turkey hunting that occurs in the area. The final four submissions were a nod to the fact that Binghamton considers itself the “Carousel Capital of the World.” As noted, and frankly unsurprisingly,

Accordingly, the 2017 season will be the inaugural season of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. The new team colors will be red, blue and silver. A tribute to the Triple Cities’ carousel heritage, the “Binghamton Rumble Ponies” is a herd of fierce horses that no carousel center pole can contain.

Binghamton has been the Mets Double-A affiliate and played at NYSEG Stadium since 1992.

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Mets Free Agents Who Were Better Than Their Reputation http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/mets-free-agents-who-were-better-than-their-reputation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/mets-free-agents-who-were-better-than-their-reputation.html/#comments Sat, 29 Oct 2016 18:30:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=217246 The suffering-rich tradition of the New York Mets is rivaled by few other organizations in pro sports, so it’s only natural that fans are going to lash out at some of their players. This is especially true of the many free agent acquisitions that went sour during their tenures with the Mets.

But sometimes, fans aren’t always right. Many players, like Vince Coleman, Mo Vaughn, Kazuo Matsui, and Oliver Perez, perhaps deserve that reputation. But some of these players were hated for non-baseball reasons or specific moments, and were otherwise pretty good on the field. Here are just four of those players:

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1. Bobby Bonilla – He didn’t live up to the hype of his record-setting five-year, $29 million contract, but he was mostly solid during his tenure with the Mets. Bonilla hit .270/.356/.495 with 95 home runs and 295 RBI in 515 games with the Mets.

His last two seasons during his first stint in New York were particularly solid. In 1994, he batted .290/.374/.504 with 20 homers and 67 RBI in 108 games. The following year, he batted .325/.385/.599 with 18 homers and 53 RBI in 80 games before he was traded to the Orioles– those are MVP-caliber numbers.

Of course, he failed miserably during his second stint with the Mets in 1999, and yada yada yada the team is paying him until 2035.

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2. Tom Glavine – Glavine is often put in the same category of players like Willie Mays or Mo Vaughn who came to the Mets long after they were productive. This isn’t really fair to Glavine; he wasn’t the Hall of Fame pitcher he was for the Braves in the 90′s, but he was mostly decent with the Mets. He was 61-56 with a 3.97 ERA and 107 ERA+. These aren’t elite stats, but they’re good for someone who was in their late-30′s. Then came the last day of the 2007 season…

carlos-beltran

3. Carlos Beltran – Many have argued that Beltran didn’t live up to the seven-year, $119 million contract he was given in 2005. Fred Wilpon thought so. This is largely due to him striking out looking to end the 2006 NLCS.

In reality, however, Beltran is one of the best players in franchise history. He is fourth all-time in OPS, fifth in slugging, sixth in homers, RBI and on-base-percentage, and eighth in runs scored. Aside from the strikeout looking, he’s far better than people give him credit for.

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4. Francisco Rodriguez – “K-Rod” came to the Mets after recording an MLB-record 62 saves with the Angels in 2008. While he never put up numbers like that again, Rodriguez was not awful on the field while he was with the Mets. He compiled a 3.05 ERA and 129 ERA+, and was even named an All-Star in 2009. But he’s best remembered for being injured after assaulting his girlfriend’s father after a game — one of the most bizarre moments in Mets history.

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Curtis Granderson Winner of 2016 Roberto Clemente Award http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/curtis-granderson-winner-of-2016-roberto-clemente-award.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/curtis-granderson-winner-of-2016-roberto-clemente-award.html/#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2016 22:55:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225488 cv46-ajxeaaf9kg

Congratulations to New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson who was just named the recipient of the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award.

Curtis Granderson is an outstanding ambassador for our game and a positive role model for kids,” Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

“His commitment to the many communities that have touched his life and the great impact of these efforts makes him a very deserving recipient of our most prestigious award. On behalf of Major League Baseball and all of our Clubs, I congratulate Curtis and thank him and all of our nominees this year for everything they do to make a difference in the lives of others.”

The Roberto Clemente Award is given annually to the Major League Baseball (MLB) player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team”, as voted on by baseball fans and members of the media.

“To be mentioned in same breath with Clemente, even for a little bit of time, is really cool and an honor,” Granderson said when told of the news.

Granderson is the fourth Met to win the award, joining Gary Carter (1989), Al Leiter (2000) and Carlos Delgado (2006).

Congrats Grandy!

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Wear Orange On Wednesday! #WEARORANGE http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/hey-mets-fans-wear-orange-on-wednesday-wearorange.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/hey-mets-fans-wear-orange-on-wednesday-wearorange.html/#comments Tue, 04 Oct 2016 19:07:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224223 mets-fans

As far as I’m concerned, Mets fans are without question the best and most loyal fans in baseball. Their passion for the team is always on full display here on MMO and of course on social media where Mets Twitter has become an MLB phenomenon.

The connections that Mets fans make with the players is widely known and it goes all the way back to the formative years when Casey Stengel donned his rumpled Mets pinstripes and led a rag-tag group of players into our hearts. From that day forward, the Orange & Blue started running through all our veins.

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Right from the start, Mets fans changed the dynamic between a team and it’s fans, celebrating the first ever Banner Day, adopting a lovable mascot, having their own anthem, and let’s not forget baseball’s best game chant – Let’s Go Mets!.

Mets fans loved their team and through all the good times and bad, we always wore our team colors with pride. No matter how dire the circumstances, you can be sure to hear the true die-hards utter our now famous rallying cry “Ya Gotta Believe”, and believe we did.

I come to you with a call to arms.

It came to my attention that the many loyal fans of the 7 Line Army who will be attending Wednesday’s Wild Card Game, will all be donning one of their bright orange t-shirts.

I’ve always thought it was so cool to look toward right center to see an entire section of Mets fans all dressed in royal blue or bright orange whenever they came to Citi, and even more so during their many invasions when the team was on the road.

One of our readers posed the question:

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Wouldn’t it be cool if the Giants or Cardinals were to show up at Citi Field on Wednesday to see an incredible sea of orange?

You know what? It would be better than cool, it would be…

Totally Freaking Outrageous!

Why don’t we make it a reality?

Why don’t we make it happen?

Let’s all show up for the game on Wednesday, wearing the brightest orange t-shirts, tanks, blouses, jackets, whatever, that you can find!

Tell your family, tell your friends, tell your co-workers…

If you are heading out to Citi Field for the Wild Card Game…

WEAR ORANGE!

RT this article or pass this along to every Met fan you know, especially if they are going to the game!

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLUE!

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I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/i-get-knocked-down-but-i-get-up-again.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/i-get-knocked-down-but-i-get-up-again.html/#comments Sat, 17 Sep 2016 13:15:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223119 jose reyes asdrubal cabrera

An Amazin’ 1-2 Punch at the Top of the Order!

I get knocked down,
But I get up again.
Never ever gonna keep me down.

I get knocked down,
But I get up again.
Never ever gonna keep me down.

Damn, now I’m gonna have that song stuck in my head all day…

I can’t stop smiling after a Mets game these days. I love this Mets team so much. They are so incredibly captivating and engaging to watch night in and night out, and I would argue that they are more fun to watch than last year’s version, which is saying a lot.

I really thought we’d win more games than we did last season, but it doesn’t bother me one bit that we may not win 90 games this year – Even though we still have a slim shot if we win 12 of our last 15 games. (Totally doable!)

And that’s why I’m so hooked on these 2016 Mets. I can’t even count how many gut punches this team has endured this season because there have been so many of them. Going into the 2016 season, the Mets had two faces of the franchise; their beloved captain and third baseman David Wright, and their indisputable ace and dark knight of Gotham, right-hander Matt Harvey. Before the 4th of July weekend, both of them were out for the season.

When the news broke for each of them, it hit us like a ton of brinks, even though neither of them were exactly having good seasons. It was a psychological blow not only for us fans, but for the team as well. Each of them were the heart and pulse of the team and leaders in the clubhouse.

lucas duda hr

Joe D. Really Misses Duda Smash!

There were other huge losses, perhaps none greater than the team’s cleanup hitter Lucas Duda, who had crushed 64 homers over his last 1,000 at-bats and whose OPS was second only to Yoenis Cespedes in 2015. We lost Duda before the end of May, and while James Loney provided a quick fix, let’s not kid ourselves, Loney’s OPS was 200 points lower than Duda and his 0.3 WAR is nothing to write home about. But still the Mets dealt with the loss and endured.

Honestly, when Asdrubal Cabrera landed on the DL with that knee injury, I wanted to punch a wall. It felt like everything kept going against us. Between that, and then Neil Walker‘s balky back and Yoenis Cespedes’ strained quad, I think any other team would have been so demoralized they would have simply quit. But still the Mets kept fighting even though 80 percent of their opening day lineup was either out for the year, limping, hobbled or had the Zika virus.

I guess the last nail in the coffin came when on top of everything we had already endured, news broke that Zack Wheeler was not returning this season, Steven Matz was out with a bum shoulder, and Jacob deGrom had a strained forearm. It was enough that the media closed the book on 2016 and articles popped up about firing Terry Collins and calling Sandy Alderson to the carpet. One New York Post article even suggested blowing it all up and having a fire sale. (Really?)

But this season wasn’t over by a long shot. Enter the Replace-Mets, who not only revitalized the team with their youth, energy and enthusiasm, but they made the team so much fun to watch. But more important than that, the team started winning and little by little that 5 1/2 game deficit behind the second wild card started to evaporate.

Lo and behold, the ballpark was full again, the fans were delirious, and the Amazins owned the back pages again as the Replace-Mets took turns playing the hero. And of course it didn’t hurt that Asdrubal and Cespedes were back from the DL, taking names, and kicking some major ass at the plate. It was all starting to come together for the Orange and Blue, and what perfect timing.

robert gsellman

Robert Gsellman, Replace-Met Extraordinaire!

August ended on a high note as the Mets defeated the Marlins 5-2 on the last day of the month thanks to a two-run blast by Wilmer Flores and then an 8th inning bases loaded double by Kelly Johnson. It was a memorable game because not only did we send the Marlins into a death spiral, but the Mets had closed the gap behind the Cardinals to just 1.5 games and the wild card was clearly within our grasp.

After a heartbreaking loss to at home to the Nationals with Noah Syndergaard on the mound, the Replace-Mets again rose to the occasion as Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo came through with spectacular performances and each earned a win as we took the final two games against the Nats to take the series, and while we were at it we caught the Cards and took hold of the second wild card. The Mets would go on to win six games in a row featuring huge home runs by Matt Reynolds, Wilmer Fores and Alejandro De Aza, and more great pitching by the Replace-Mets. It was so freaking exciting to take it all in.

So now here we are, with just 15 games left to play and the postseason beckoning… And there’s no god-damn f’kin way any team is going to keep these New York Mets from taking the field on Wednesday, October 5. No way, no how. This Mets team has earned their right to fight this one-game battle with lots of blood, plenty of sweat, and countless tears. It was all so very gruelling, and yet all so very satisfying as well. 

The only question, as far as I’m concerned, is whether or not that wild card game will be played at Citi Field… And I’d bet you dollars to donuts that it will.

So there’s my two cents on the next 15 games and the Amazin outcome. And to all my not so optimistic friends, this why you never give up in June, July or August. Because Mets Baby!

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Prominent Writer Asks Piazza About Steroid Use During HOF Conference Call http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/prominent-writer-asks-piazza-about-steroid-use-during-hall-of-fame-conference-call.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/prominent-writer-asks-piazza-about-steroid-use-during-hall-of-fame-conference-call.html/#comments Sat, 16 Jul 2016 14:30:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=217737 mike piazza

A week from Sunday, Mike Piazza will be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame, officially cementing his place among the game’s greatest players. Surely, the days and weeks leading up to the ceremony would be a time for the former All Star to celebrate, to relive and remember his greatest accomplishments and contributions to New York sports lore.

Perhaps not. Yesterday, Piazza had his obligatory Hall of Fame conference call with the media, an opportunity for the writers to get quotes for their feel good stories about the player being inducted.

But someone always has to spoil the fun. Yesterday, that person was former New York Times baseball reporter Murray Chass, who started off the questioning with a good old fashioned gut punch, asking Piazza point blank about his steroid use. Ever composed, Piazza responded, “I have addressed that many times in the past, sir.”

This isn’t the first time Chass has come after the former Mets backstop. In 2013, the writer published this scalding piece about Piazza, attacking his book  as “a work of fiction” and his reputation as a clean ballplayer. Chass insists that Piazza cheated. However, reasoning is somewhat twisted. His key piece of evidence comes from his locker room observation of Piazza’s back acne. Yeah, you read that right.

People, this is why we can’t have nice things.

The greatest offensive catcher in baseball history had his baseball legacy and personal character challenged because of back acne. Seriously?

Seriously. Chass, in addition to writers Joel Sherman and Jeff Pearlman all cite Piazza’s unfortunately placed acne as the smoking gun indicating his steroid use. How else could a catcher drafted in the 62nd round because of a favor called in by his father become a baseball legend?

The narrative just doesn’t fit.

According to the BBWAA Hall of Fame Election rules, a player is to be judged on his “record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

New York Mets - 2003 Season File Photos

Over an impressive 16 year career, the 12 time All Star batted .308 while slugging .545 with a catcher’s record 427 home runs. Statistically speaking, he is the greatest offensive catcher of the past century.

His epic home run against the Braves in the first game played at Shea after 9/11 can be considered one of the most significant events in New York sports history. That fateful blast united a city and gave fans who had no reason to be happy something to smile about.

Not to be lost in his tangible achievements, Piazza was also known as a great teammate and a leader in the Mets’ clubhouse who had the utmost respect for the game.

Given the criteria for induction, Piazza checks all the boxes. Nowhere does it state that suspicion of cheating constitutes a breach of the game’s integrity.

On January 6th, 2016, 83 percent of baseball’s most esteemed writers decided that Piazza belongs among the game’s greats. Their votes echoed the sentiments of millions of baseball fans across the nation.

Unfortunately, Murray Chass cannot let go. He refuses to let Piazza and his supporters revel in achieving baseball’s greatest accomplishment. While he may view his intentions as a noble effort to keep the Hall of Fame exclusive and pure, his attempted slander of Piazza reflects poorly on only one person, himself.

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Featured Article: What is Brandon Nimmo? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/featured-article-what-is-brandon-nimmo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/featured-article-what-is-brandon-nimmo.html/#comments Sat, 25 Jun 2016 17:08:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=215149 brandon nimmo

An MMO Fan Shot by Marc M. (Not4)

With Brandon Nimmo set to make his MLB debut with the Mets, here is an article we posted last week that is well worth reading.

As most fans know, Brandon Nimmo was the Mets’ first round pick (no.13, infamously 1 slot ahead of Jose Fernandez) in 2011.  When drafted, he was very raw having grown up in Wyoming, a state apparently without high school baseball.  Nimmo was therefore viewed as a bit of a project who was unlikely to be fast-tracked.

But, as we all know, once a 1st round pick gets on the fans’ radar, the proverbial clock starts ticking, patience gets short and expectations rise (often unrealistically), followed by so-called “prospect fatigue” from having heard about him for so long.  Inevitably, when a prospect fails to move quickly enough through the system, or their stats are not strong enough for some fans’ liking, these fans (who often do not even follow the minors) make pre-mature, definitive proclamations that the prospect is a “BUST”.  So it has been with Nimmo and countless other Mets’ prospects in recent years.

Since being drafted Nimmo has lost some of his speed, and gained some bulk, but still seems to have enough speed to continue to play solid, if unspectacular CF.  If he loses more speed either because of injury or simply getting bigger, he may be limited to a corner OF spot.  His advanced approach at the plate continues to be his calling card as he is praised for regularly getting into hitter’s counts, but at the same time, he is regularly knocked for not being aggressive enough and taking too many hittable pitches after getting to a favorable count.

Some recent reports have credited Nimmo’s being more aggressive this year in those situations, which has helped drive his success.  If true, that is a huge step forward for him.  Either way, at this point, reports of his demise [as a prospect] are grossly exaggerated, but in fairness, so too would be the opposite view that he is a sure-fire MLB star in the making.  The simple truth is that we do not know what Nimmo will ultimately be, but we are getting closer to finding out.  Parenthetically, the need for some fans to rush to judgment on prospects or even younger MLB players has always confounded me.

Debunking the “Slow Start” Myth

“Nimmo struggles with his first X PAs at every level”.  Let’s just put this narrative to rest one and for all, as it simply is not accurate.  He has now played at all 4 full season levels in the minors.  He raked out of the gates in both Savannah and St. Lucie, struggled badly out of the gates in Binghamton and hit okay out of the gates in Vegas.  Here are the facts, focusing first on Bingo:

  • Nimmo absolutely struggled when first promoted to Binghamton in 2014, hitting .189/.318/.360/.679 in 31 games, covering 133 PA.  (I guess you could argue he also struggled later that fall when he played in the AZ Fall League, albeit that was only 15 total games in total). 
  • Nimmo absolutely raked in 2013 when first playing in Savannah, to the tune of .440/.520/.603/1.123 in his first 16 games, covering 75 PA. 
  • Nimmo absolutely raked in 2014 when first playing in St. Lucie, hitting .407/.530/.549/1.080 in his first 24 games, covering 115 PA. 
  • Nimmo was okay – neither great nor bad when first promoted to Vegas late in 2015.  He started out pretty well, hitting .304/.431/.435/.866 in 15 games (58 PA), but then slumped badly in the next 13 games (37 PA)before finishing with a hot last 4 games (17 PA) of the season.  That 13 game slump pulled down his overall line for Vegas in 2015 to .264/.393/.418 – again, not horrible, but no WOW factor either.  Granted all of these are SSS, but given the results, it’s simply not accurate to characterize his performance when first promoted to Vegas as “struggling to adjust.”
  • Extending Nimmo’s AAA performance to this year also fails to support the notion that he had a difficult adjustment period.  While Nimmo got off to a very slow start over the first 16 games (70 PA) this year in Vegas, the prevailing view is that slow start was at least somewhat caused by the time he missed in ST with a foot injury.  He has been on a tear since then though, over the last 36 games (167 PA, hitting .385/.467/.657 over that time, for an overall line of .330/.411/.529 over 52 games and 237 PA.

Judging Nimmo’s Performance in Context

At the outset, it bears noting that statistics in the minors are not always indicative of future success at higher levels.  Some players who lack the tools to succeed at the MLB level can succeed in lower levels or even upper levels of the minors.  Conversely, some players do not post eye-popping stats at some levels in the minors, but have the tools to succeed in the MLB.  Inasmuch as the focus of so many fans has been based upon Nimmo’s perceived “initial struggles at each level” or his perceived unimpressive production throughout the minors, it is worthwhile to look a little closer at each year, beyond his hot starts in 2013 and 2014 and slow start in 2015 to see if he was able to sustain the hot starts and turn around the slow start and if not, what happened.

  • As noted earlier, in Savannah in 2013, Nimmo started the year on a tear hitting .440/.520/.603/1.123 when he suffered a wrist injury in late April.  He tried to play through it a few games before winding up on the DL.  He came back at the end of May and struggled with the nagging wrist injury for all of June and a large chunk of July, as he tried to compensate for and play through the injury.  But once his wrist fully healed in July, he really tore it up again. While I cannot say conclusively that all of his struggles in Savannah were related to that wrist, it seems more likely that they were tied to the injury than to a difficulty adjusting to pitchers’ adjustments.  His overall line in Savannah was not eye-popping impressive, though hardly the train wreck people make it out to be, as he hit .273/.397/.359 in a pitcher friendly park and league.  But when you dive deeper, it was a tale of two seasons:  He was horrible for the 48 games (211 PA) or so when he was playing with a bad wrist (.184/.300/.246), but was fantastic for the 62 games (269 PA) he was healthy, hitting .347/.472/.454. 
  • In St. Lucie, after that hot 24 game start (115 PA), he struggled for 15 games (67 PA, .196/.328/.232/.561), before rebounding to hit .313/.433/.513/.945 in his next 23 games (97 PA) and earning a promotion to AA.  A 15 game slump sandwiched between 24 and 23 game stretches of solid production speaks for itself, as does his overall sold line in A+, hitting .322/.448/.458/.906 in 62 games (279 PA).  
  • In Binghamton in 2014, after that horrid 31 game beginning, he performed considerably better in his last 34 games (146 PA), hitting .279/.359/.426/.  Nimmo actually had a mini slump his last 5 games of that season, which pulled down his numbers.  In fact, his triple slash for the 29 game stretch (prior to the 5 game swoon to end the season) was .321/.408/.495. Obviously, we cannot ignore those final 5 games, but his success for 29 games after a slow start in his first 34 games shows that even the one time that Nimmo had a very slow start at a level, he ultimately made an adjustment and enjoyed a nice stretch of production. (He started 2015 in AA and hit okay – .297/.368/.420/.788 for the first 1-1/2 months (34 games, 155 PA) before hitting the DL with a knee injury, which unfortunately plagued him for the remainder of the 2015.  He largely struggled the rest of that year, hitting .260/.340/.313/.653 in 34 games (147 PA) in AA after returning from the DL, and then .264/.393/.418/.810 in 32 games (112 PA) after being promoted to Vegas. 

What to Expect From Here?

The jury is still out on Nimmo.  No one knows whether he will turn out to be a star or a bust, or more likely somewhere in between.  But he has worked his way to the precipice of the Majors and seems to be playing the best ball of his life.  Some recent accounts have indicated that one of the reasons for Nimmo’s success has been that he finally has changed his approach to be more aggressive at the plate once he gets into hitters counts.

Reports (and video highlights) indicate that Nimmo has been driving the balls into the gaps this season, including to left-center, which is very encouraging and diminishes some of the concern that his success is simply a PCL phenomena.  Truly looking at this performance in context reveals a player who has played far better than the average fan realizes, though still one with some flaws.  Until Nimmo gets called up to the big league team and performs at that level, any conclusions declaring him a bust or a future HOFer are premature to say the least.

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by Marc M. (Not4). Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Bryce Harper Feels Bad for Matt Harvey http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/bryce-harper-feels-bad-for-matt-harvey.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/bryce-harper-feels-bad-for-matt-harvey.html/#comments Fri, 20 May 2016 13:23:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=212393 bryce harper

After starting his career career going 0-for-22 with seven strikeouts against Matt Harvey, Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper finally got his first base hit against the Mets right-hander.

However, Harper wasn’t gloating about it after the Nationals defeated the Mets in a 9-1 trouncing. Instead, the 2015 National League MVP was surprisingly melancholy after the game and said he felt sorry for Harvey when he saw him booed off the mound by Mets fans after  2.2 excruciating innings. Kevin Ducey of Sports Illustrated had the story.

“I feel bad for him. He comes off the mound and gets booed, and he’s one of the best in baseball,” Harper told Ducey.

Harper has seen Harvey at his best. He’s seen Harvey work hard in the offseason to return to form. He also saw Harvey get booed by his hometown fans, saying it was a sad sight to see.

“For what he did in the playoffs last year? To be able to come back and try to get through the playoffs? He’s one of the first guys to ever come back and go 0 to 200 innings. That’s tough. I think he’s got a great arm, and he’s a lot of fun to watch.”

“Working out with him in the off-season, being around him and stuff, he works his tail off,” Harper continued. “He’s one of the best in baseball and I respect the hell out of him. He’ll come back. It’s just part of the game.”

Truth is no one really knows at this point how to get Harvey back on track. If there was a simple answer, Terry Collins certainly didn’t offer one, and neither did pitching coach Dan Warthen. There are many theories as to what the issue could be, and the prevailing one points to a lack of confidence.

However, as Harper said, we do know that Harvey is “working his tail off.”  That should give us all hope that eventually, Harvey will figure it out.

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Living With G(no)me Regrets? We Can Help…. http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/living-with-gnome-regrets-we-can-help.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/living-with-gnome-regrets-we-can-help.html/#comments Mon, 02 May 2016 17:42:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=210948 thore gnome syndergaard

Mets Fans Express Disdain for Promo Guidelines

Admonish: (Verb) to caution, advise, or counsel against something

I tried my best.  I can look back on that day and say I tried my best to warn everyone I could to get there early.  Anyone I knew that was going to a game I let them know that in order to secure yourself a Noah Syndergaard Garden Gnome, you need to be in line when the gates open.

Some of you listened. Others, well, are reading this article now hoping for a second chance.

My family and I (four of us total), left our house at noon.  We packed the car and departed four hours before the game’s scheduled start time. Upon our arrival at approximately 1:00 pm, to our dismay, this was the view we had when walking down the steps at the Mets-Willets Point subway stop.

citi field lines gnome

Luckily, as a season ticket holder, I am allowed early access to the ballpark on weekend games.  Season ticket holders with plans of 40 games and up can enter Citi Field at the Rotunda 30 minutes before other fans.  A line formed towards the middle of the rotunda adjacent to the Shea Apple.

When the gates opened, exclusively for our line, a dash ensued reminiscent of a Black Friday scene.  Anyone not in our line started migrating toward the front of our queue.  In the chaos, my six year old son was knocked down quite hard.  His hat fell off and he hit his head on the cement.

He is a tough kid. He has to be. Growing up with the Mets teams of 2010-2014 he has learned how to take a hit, both metaphorical and physical.  He got up, dusted himself off and reapplied his teams lid that he wears daily with pride.

The most amazing part of this story, is that the large woman that knocked him down looked back, saw him tumble, but just kept charging towards the gate.  No acknowledgement, no words exchanged, no assistance offered.  My oldest son looks at me and simply says “That was not very nice.”  Precisely.

After watching grown men scuffle with security guards and ticket agents coming on the scene to quell the brewing storm, my family and I made it in.  Gnome’s in hand, we went out to Kiddie Field so my boys could run around before the lines got too intolerable.  We ran into my ticket rep and friend that I have known for a decade.

To her credit as well as the Mets, she told me they were reviewing the entry procedures to make it more smooth for early access.  I proposed signs and a roped area where tickets were checked upon entry or even a separate entrance.  She assured me that all these things were already being reviewed.

While reviewing social media rants regarding the exhaustion of the Gnome supply,  my wife and I had an idea.

We went back down to the Rotunda to witness the scene.  It was not a great moment for humanity.  A record regular season crowd would leave over 2/3 of the group Gnomeless and agitated.  I explained the situation to my sons best I could as their combined age is ten, and instructed them to take one of our Gnomes and give it to any boy or girl that they want to make them feel happy.

After five minutes of deliberation that rivaled a grand jury, my boys picked a six year old who was crying in the rotunda.  They walked up to the boy and his dad to explain that we had an extra.  They handed it over and the boys face lit up like he just saw Santa Claus.  The father was extremely thankful offering fifty dollars, shirts for the kids, beers for me.  I just told him to pay it forward.  The kids learned a valuable lesson about tithing and giving back and not letting the actions of others impact you or change your day.

I want to continue to give.  So If you made it all they way to the bottom of this article you are now eligible for a free Gnome from ME.  Here’s how to get it…

Step 1: Follow @Metsmerized on Twitter (you probably already do)

Step 2: Retweet this article

Step 3: Follow me @theteacherchris

I will pick a random winner the next time a Met hits a home run.  As soon as the Met crosses the plate, check your DM’s.  Because you could be the winner… Good Luck to you all!

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MMO Flashback: Mets Trade Rusty Staub http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mmo-flashback-mets-trade-rusty-staub.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mmo-flashback-mets-trade-rusty-staub.html/#comments Mon, 25 Apr 2016 16:33:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=210432 Rusty-StaubIn 1975, Rusty Staub had his best season ever for the Mets, batting .282/.371/.448 with 30 doubles, 19 home runs and 105 RBI.

Then, in the offseason, for reasons few fans could understand, the Mets traded Staub to Detroit for veteran left-handed pitcher Mickey Lolich. Actually, the trade was Staub and AAA pitcher Bill Laxton for Lolich and AAA outfielder Billy Baldwin.

I remember thinking that maybe this guy Baldwin was some super-prospect (he wasn’t) because otherwise, this trade was hard to justify.

Trade Staub? Maybe not unthinkable, because the Mets thought they had his replacement in the much younger Mike Vail. But for Lolich? Was that the best they could do ?

Mike Vail came to the Mets as a minor league throw-in in an otherwise inconsequential swap of utility infielders with the Cardinals. But Vail quickly established himself as a superior hitter at the AAA level, and he was an immediate sensation when the Mets brought him up. His 23-game hitting streak made fans and team officials think they had found a future long-term fixture in right field.

With Vail in the picture, maybe they thought Staub could be a valuable trade commodity to a team that had a solid starting three in Koosman, Seaver, and Matlack, but needed an established 4th starter.

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In his heyday, Lolich was the Tigers’ pitching star of the 1968 World Series, but by 1975, he was still a workhorse, but a 35-year old, terribly out of shape workhorse who had lost 39 games in his last two seasons and didn’t figure to get much better. Would a change of leagues return Lolich to glory?

Well, Lolich went 8-13 for the Mets in 30 starts and was soon departed, while Staub continued to be a productive hitter for years. Fortunately, Rusty returned to the Mets a few years later and he became baseball’s premier pinch-hitter.

And as for Vail? He injured his ankle playing basketball in the off-season, leaving a gaping hole in the Mets’ lineup.  And when he returned, he never lived up to his potential with the Mets, although he hung around with a few other teams for a while as a 4th outfielder and pinch hitter.

The 1976 Mets finished 86-76 with neither Vail or Lolich making many positive contributions. Could the Mets have been a legitimate contender if they had kept Staub ? We’ll never know.

In his 23 year career as a major leaguer, Staub collected some gaudy offensive numbers including 2,796 hits, 1,225 walks, 499 doubles, 296 home runs and 1,449 RBI. He retired with a career slash of .279/.362/.439 and a 129 OPS+.

Rusty’s only postseason came in 1973 with the Mets, where he led the team with a .341 average, .413 on-base and a whopping 1.096 OPS in 11 games with four home runs and 11 RBI.

After a serious health scare in 2015, Rusty is doing fine now and continues to participate in many charitable endeavors for the families and victims of 9/11 and first responders. He had the privilege of tossing the first pitch during this year’s Mets home opener and will forever remain one of the team’s most beloved players.

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Maximus Cespedes Gives Everyone A Scare http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/maximus-cespedes-gives-everyone-a-scare.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/maximus-cespedes-gives-everyone-a-scare.html/#comments Wed, 13 Apr 2016 22:35:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209615 yoenis cespedes foul

Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes gave everybody a scare in today’s Mets 2-1 victory over the Marlins.

In the eighth inning, Ichiro Suzuki sliced a pitch from reliever Jerry Blevins toward the seats in foul territory.

Cespedes was off and running and when he reached the wall he dived into the seats to try and make the grab. His body disappeared into a dozen or so fans as one of them made the catch.

Trainers ran onto the field as everyone in Citi Field held their collective breaths. But after a few minutes, Cespedes emerged a little shook up and would later say he banged up his knee and was just a little sore.

“I was trying to give max effort for the team,” Cespedes said. “I was trying to get the team a win.”

Just call him Maximus… Are you not entertained?

Here it is in case you missed it:

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The Boys Are Back In Town! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/the-boys-are-back-in-town.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/the-boys-are-back-in-town.html/#comments Fri, 08 Apr 2016 13:27:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209188 us flag at citi

Strike up the band, the New York Mets are at Citi Field today at 1:10 PM for their home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies! The Mets are 34-20 (.630) in Home Openers, including 4-3 at Citi Field.

Jacob deGrom is still slated to start the Mets, but if he gets a call from his wife Stacey that she is going into labor with the couple’s first child, he is Gone in Sixty Seconds. If that happens, Old Reliable Bartolo Colon will step in.

DeGrom was named to the NL All-Star team in 2015 and became the 11th pitcher in team history to record 200 strikeouts in a season. He finished fourth in the NL with a 2.54 ERA, tied for eighth in strikeouts (205), tied for seventh in wins (14) and fifth in opponents’ batting average against (.215).

For the second straight season deGrom will start the Home Opener vs. the Phillies. Last year, deGrom fired 6.1 scoreless innings and picked up the win in a 2-0 victory over Philadelphia in the Home Opener on April 13.

The players are all excited and chomping at the bit to get on the field and defend their National League Championship after receiving their handsome rings in a private ceremony on Thursday. And according to team captain David Wright there’s no place like home.

“What we did so great last year was take care of business at home. It will be a good test for us this weekend with a divisional rival coming in, a lot of emotion in the stadium. Guys are pumped to be here. Guys are ready to get the season under way and start playing every day. It should be a good atmosphere.”

Prior to today’s game, the Mets will raise the National League Pennant banner. Former NL Champions Rusty Staub (1973), John Franco (2000) and Edgardo Alfonzo (2000) will hoist the flag. A packed Citi Field will go wild at the site of that… Awesome!

I woke up with a huge smile this morning at the thought of all today’s festivities, seeing the players in their home uniforms, and just getting back to some good old fashioned Mets baseball in our home ballpark. There’s something magical and special about that first home game of a brand new season.

Enjoy the day, and Let’s Go Mets!

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Baby Watch: DeGrom Still Slated To Start Home Opener On Friday http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/baby-watch-degrom-still-slated-to-start-home-opener-on-friday.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/baby-watch-degrom-still-slated-to-start-home-opener-on-friday.html/#comments Thu, 07 Apr 2016 21:30:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209167 jacob degrom

Jacob deGrom is still slated to start tomorrow’s Mets home opener at Citi Field. He still plans to drop everything and leave to be with his wife Stacey to witness the birth of their first child, but until that call comes, he plans to pitch against the Phillies.

“After a good season last year, we’re looking forward to getting back in front of our own fans, and I’m expecting a baby boy,” deGrom said. “So, it’s definitely an exciting time.”

If deGrom does miss his start, veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon will pitch in his place.

“One thing about Bartolo, he handles all the situations,” manager Terry Collins said. “He’s such a veteran, he’s used to having rain delays, used to getting spot starts, all those things that have occurred throughout his career. So if something happens to Jake and we need a guy, I think he’s the best guy to step in.”

If deGrom does start on Friday, the plan is to have Colon pitch on Saturday followed by Matt Harvey on Sunday and Steven Matz on Monday.

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Mets Encourage Fans To Arrive Early For Opening Weekend Festivities http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mets-encourage-fans-to-arrive-early-for-opening-weekend-festivities.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mets-encourage-fans-to-arrive-early-for-opening-weekend-festivities.html/#comments Wed, 06 Apr 2016 16:02:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209080 citi field opening day

In anticipation of big crowds and enhanced security procedures, the Mets encourage fans to take mass transit and arrive early for their opening weekend Friday, April 8 through Sunday, April 10 at Citi Field.

Pre-Game ceremonies will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Friday and will include raising a National League Championship banner. Below are the festivities included with each day.

Friday, April 8 – Philadelphia (1:10 p.m. SNY – 12:30 Pregame ceremonies) – HOME OPENER

  • 2016 Magnetic Schedule presented by Hyundai to all fans in attendance
  • National League Pennant banner raising ceremony pregame by former Mets NL Champions John Franco and Edgardo Alfonzo (2000) and Rusty Staub (1973)
  • The club will honor members of the NYPD and FDNY who have been injured in the line of duty this past year with first pitch, game ball delivery and a special NYPD helicopter flyover. Mayor de Blasio and Commissioners Bratton and Nigro will be in attendance.
  • National Anthem by the Grammy-award winning show Hamilton:

Chris Jackson (plays George Washington)/Anthony Ramos (plays Hamilton’s son)

Saturday, April 9 - Philadelphia (7:10 p.m. PIX 11)

  • Postgame Fireworks presented by Coca-Cola.

Sunday, April 10 - Philadelphia (1:10 p.m. SNY)

  • “Let’s Go Mets” Rally Towels given to all fans in attendance
  • Players to wear replica ’86 jerseys in honor of the 30th anniversary of the 1986 Championship Team
  • Family Sunday – Before every Sunday home game beginning at 11:00 a.m. on the Mets Plaza, adjacent to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, there is a full fan fest with Mets featured family-friendly activities including kids inflatables, sign-making station, face painters, balloon artists and entertainment. Postgame Mr. Met Dash when kids 12 and under can come down onto the field and run the bases, weather permitting.

The 7 Subway is the fast, convenient, and “green” way to travel to the game. The Mets-Willets Point station is adjacent to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Direct Long Island Rail Road service to Citi Field is available from Penn Station, Woodside and all stations on the Port Washington Branch. For more details visit www.mta.info and click on “Take the Train to the Game”.

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Mets Valued At $1.65 Billion, Season Tickets Have More Than Doubled http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mets-valued-at-1-65-billion-season-tickets-have-more-than-doubled.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mets-valued-at-1-65-billion-season-tickets-have-more-than-doubled.html/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2016 18:34:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208288 Mets fans citi

The New York Mets were ranked as the sixth most valuable MLB franchise by Forbes today. The New York Yankees came in first with their value set at $3.4 billion dollars. Forbes says the Mets are worth $1.65 billion dollars and have annual revenue of $313 million.

TEAM VALUE REVENUE
1. New York Yankees $3.4B $516M
2. Los Angeles Dodgers $2.5B $438M
3. Boston Red Sox $2.3B $398M
4. San Francisco Giants $2.25B $409M
5. Chicago Cubs $2.2B $340M
6. New York Mets $1.65B $313M
7. St. Louis Cardinals $1.6B $300M
8. Los Angeles Angels $1.34B $312M
9. Washington Nationals $1.3B $293M
10. Philadelphia Phillies $1.24B $263M

In an interview with Neil Best of Newsday, Mets Chief Revenue Officer Lou DePaoli said that last year’s World Series run continues to provide big boosts to many of the team’s revenue streams.

For one, the season-ticket holder base has more than doubled compared to this time last year. While DePaoli declined to give any numbers, he did say that fans are motivated both by the fact that late last year games began to sell out, shutting out non-season ticket holders on the primary market, and because season-ticket plans allow for access to playoff tickets at face value.

The Mets drew 2,569,753 in attendance last season, their best Citi Field’s inaugural season in 2009 and an increase of 18.11 percent over 2014 according to Newsday, and those figures are expected to be eclipsed again in 2016.

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MMO Exclusive: Greg Prince Discusses “Amazin’ Again” and 2015 Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mmo-exclusive-greg-prince-discusses-amazin-again-and-2015-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mmo-exclusive-greg-prince-discusses-amazin-again-and-2015-season.html/#comments Thu, 17 Mar 2016 17:05:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207882 mets win nlcs

We have a special treat for you today as beloved Mets historian, die-hard Mets fan and popular author Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing, was kind enough to answer some questions about his brand new book Amazin’ Again which went on sale March 15.

Amazin’ Again captures all the drama and magic of the New York Mets’ 2015 season that saw them capture the NL East from the Washington Nationals and then defeat the heavily favored Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs to win the National League pennant.

Greg answers a few questions from me and also takes some questions from Mets fans in our MMO Community. Please enjoy…

Joe - I’m so glad to have a true keepsake and treasure to remember the 2015 season with your new book. At what point in the season did you know this was something you wanted to do. Was there a moment in the 2015 season that clicked and became the impetus for your decision to chronicle this exciting year for the Mets?

Greg – The thought crossed my mind in late summer, and a few readers were kind enough to bring it up on their own, but it wasn’t really on my radar until an editor friend of mine got in touch and suggested his publisher might be interested in a Mets Win the World Series book, the catch being the Mets had to win the World Series. This was literally hours before Game One in Kansas City. It was going to be a “quickie” book, designed to be out ASAP after the theoretical parade and draw in fans who conceivably couldn’t get enough of their World Champion Mets.

Well, you know what happened where that was concerned. I thought the project — which I’d been working on between games with the great hope that I could finish it and that would come to be — was dead once Game Five was over. But in a come-from-behind story worthy of the 2015 Mets, I was given the thumbs-up to continue, to expand and, thankfully, to take a little more time to complete it. The thinking was it had been such a milestone season for the Mets and they had achieved plenty in winning the pennant, so why not?

Joe – They say every season has a turning point, but I believe the 2015 Mets season had a few turning points. Wilmer Flores’ wild walk-off was certainly one of them, what other defining moments like that stood out to you?

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Greg – The perfect homestand in April reset expectations. In one ten-game stretch, it was as if the Mets stopped being that ridiculous team we’d all gotten used to and demanded to be taken seriously. If they clinched anything that early, it was a sense of self-respect, one that was contagious to us, the fans.

The other big moment, destined to be glossed over (except in my book), was triggered by the West Coast road trip that started July. They were teetering on the edge of oblivion, despite the great start, and weren’t hitting a lick. It was reasonable to expect they’d go to L.A. and San Francisco, face very good teams with, especially in the Dodgers’ case, extraordinary starting pitching, and scuffle. Instead they took two out of three in each series and then came home to sweep a pretty good Diamondbacks club. After all the flailing of May and June, they finished the first half on a 7-2 run and were within whispering distance of Washington.

Without that spurt, I doubt the Mets would have wound up in position to make the Flores home run or the National series matter.

Joe – What were your expectations for the Mets going into the 2015 season and at what point did you start believing that, “Hey, I think this team could go all the way?”

Greg – My well-honed cynicism, which dated to the Collapse of 2007, was willing to cede to the conventional wisdom that the Mets could break .500 in 2015. I thought the Wild Card was a stretch, but not out of the question. The 13-3 start really changed the stakes. The gradual separation of themselves from Washington in August, which culminated in the seven straight wins in Colorado and Philadelphia, made the World Series more a potential reality than a pipe dream.

Joe – 1973, 2000 and now 2015. All three years the Mets advanced to the World Series and lost. Can you draw any comparisons between those teams and which would you say is the best team in terms of talent?

Greg – It strikes me that the 1973 and 2000 teams were peaking within their eras.

Post-1969, the Mets were comprised of continually good pitching and hardly any hitting; in ’73, the stars aligned (several hot Septembers on offense, the legendary malaise of the rest of the N.L. East) to make that work. That group would turn over drastically after a disappointing 1974 and wound up, sadly, a shell of itself by 1977.

The 2000 team, I think it’s often forgotten, was the culmination of a great ascent: rise into contention in 1997, just miss the playoffs in 1998, come very close to the World Series in 1999, win the pennant in 2000. Then there was a precipitous dropoff the year after and another housecleaning that didn’t do much good.

We don’t know the next Met chapter that follows 2015, but what makes me believe this could be the start of something big is the pitching. How can you bet against a team packing three to five aces plus a legit closer? Throw in the signing of Cespedes and they go into 2016 far more solid than they did in 1974 or 2001.

If anything, the ’73 and ’00 teams had more proven talent, but that also meant the core members didn’t have many really good years left. That’s the difference between those years and 2015. Other than Wright, Granderson and Colon, you’re talking about core members who were and are getting better.

Just from a narrative sense, all three teams gave us great thrill rides. 1973 and the legacy of You Gotta Believe speaks for itself. 2000 is probably undervalued because of who the World Series was lost to, but that was one of the most satisfying regular seasons I can recall, not to mention we were party to a fantastic NLDS and awesome NLCS performance. 2015 had a bit more of the element of surprise when viewed from a preseason standpoint. It was crazy to think the 1973 Mets could win their division in August, but not in March. The 2000 Mets were coming off a playoff appearance and had added a top-notch lefty pitcher. Nobody was picking the 2015 Mets to beat the Nationals in March.

Joe – Terry Collins gets killed a lot by fans and critics. But here he is entering his sixth season at the helm of the Mets fresh off an improbable World Series run. Is it time for fans to embrace him?

Greg – Terry Collins is as subject to first-, second- and third-guessing as any manager in the game, but he deserves the benefit of the doubt on the whole. You can pick apart certain decisions from last year (and I do in the World Series chapter) but you have to admire how he handled his players. Five seasons in and I can’t recall any One Met Said criticism making it into the media. Keeping 25 men happy or at least not grouchy all year long is probably as big a deal as who pitches the seventh on a given night.

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And now some questions from the fan base…

Dark HelMet – In your long history of Mets-fandom, have you ever experienced such a seismic shift of a season than the week around the trade deadline where everything changed so dramatically for the Mets?

Greg – All in all, probably not. I’ve seen Met teams turn on a dime in the standings and I’ve seen Met teams make a flurry of moves, but I’ve never seen it all sync so quickly and so well. In one week, they bring up or in Conforto, Johnson, Uribe, Clippard and Cespedes and as soon as they do, they go off on a tear that completely flips the order of things in their division and sends them rocketing to the playoffs. You can’t ask for a bigger, better turnaround.

Kevin M. – There are a lot of fans that are of the opinion Alderson didn’t expect the team to be in the position they were in around trade deadline time. It’s said by some that if not for the Nats underachieving, Sandy wouldn’t have made the moves he did. So the question is, if we were 1.5 or more games back, instead of 1.5 ahead, do we still acquire help, and make a push, like we did to hold on to the lead, or are we sellers, and preparing for 2016?

Greg – One can never speak with certainty to unknowables. We do know that in July 2015, the Mets were hanging close enough so that the GM saw the merit in making moves, whereas in previous Julys, they were, at best, on the perimeter of maybe having a chance. If the Mets were a little further from first place or a playoff spot when the trading deadline came around last year…who knows? But I kind of doubt Alderson would have been as active. I think he said something to that effect along the way.

BarnRat – Other than the Pennant, what do you judge as the greatest achievement of 2015, and other than not winning the World Series, what do you judge as the greatest disappointment of 2015?

Greg – The best team achievement was psychological. They stopped being “the Mets” as we knew them. You know, the whole #LOLMets thing. It doesn’t exist any longer as an organizing principle of our fandom. In tandem with that, the Mets are no longer the “other” team in their own city. I don’t know that they “own New York,” but I do know that as we speak, the center of baseball gravity around here has shifted to Flushing. It happened so matter-of-factly that it feels less than momentous, but I believe (assuming they keep up the good work) it will mean a great deal, particularly to the generation of fans just coming of age. I’ve always told anybody who’d listen that this stuff is cyclical, and it is. The last cycle lasted 20 years was all, thus it was considered a given that the Mets were always “the little brothers” or whatever. As someone who lived through much better Met times, I knew that wasn’t the case.

Individually, the continued development of deGrom, the emergence of Syndergaard, the hint of Matz and the return of Harvey — none of which was in place a year ago — was collectively enormous. It’s easy to take this kind of pitching for granted now that we’re used to it, but wow…this kind of pitching!

Disappointment? Though it didn’t stop them from getting far, I’m sorry we didn’t get a full year of Travis d’Arnaud. I thought he was on his way to the All-Star Game when he game out of the gate as he did in April. I hope his progress continues. I suppose it’s also a downer that Juan Lagares has gone from key piece to outfield afterthought. He looked very good in the postseason and perhaps he will find his way back to the forefront for 2017 and beyond.

Greggofboken – The push to the pennant seemed to be the result of several factors: the acquisition of Cespedes (as a third choice), the strengthening of the Mets depth at the trade deadline, the return of key injured players, and the Nats’ failures due to injury or under-performance. Which of these, in your eyes was the single biggest determinant in our finish, how do your own conclusions differ from what you believe to be popular sentiment, and if you were to weight them how much of the Mets’ pennant was due to skilled planning vs. circumstances that broke the Mets’ way?

Greg – To win a pennant, almost everything has to go right, and I think that’s what happened. The Mets, even at their offensively lousiest, never sank more than 4½ games behind the Nationals. If Washington had played as hyped, it might very well have been a different story. But they were more human than thought, the Mets were a little better stocked than predicted (particularly once everybody was off the DL) and moves that couldn’t have been foreseen were made. Cespedes’s acquisition was clearly the axis on which 2015 tilted, but he didn’t do it alone.

Gus L. – We kept hearing and seeing how the Royals were relentless. However, it’s hard to believe that pitchers such as Volquez, a player that three teams gave up on and has a history of control problems, Cueto, a pitcher that down the stretch was so fragile and horrid that the Royals wouldn’t pitch him on the road, and a classic journeyman in Chris Young were able to shut down the Mets offense with such success. Did the Mets seem, or were they, psyched out over the grandness of it all?

Greg – I am tempted to say it was simply their year more than it was our year. Given that we led in every World Series game, that might be too handy an explanation, but if they didn’t seem unbeatable, they just seemed a little more — to use a Keithism — on point. They made enough plays that needed to be made and the Mets didn’t. I had a bit of a bad feeling about the long layoff between the NLCS clincher and the World Series opener, but I don’t want to put too much blame there, because I surely enjoyed the Mets sweeping the Cubs. I don’t think the Mets were psyched out. In the end, they just got beat.

It certainly sets up a way more fascinating season-opening series than anybody could have otherwise dreamed up for this year.

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You can purchase your hard cover copy of Amazin’ Again on Amazon for less than $15 bucks! I’ve already got mine and added it to my Mets book collection!

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MMO Exclusive: Catching Up With Cliff Floyd http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mmo-exclusive-where-are-they-now-catching-up-with-cliff-floyd.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mmo-exclusive-where-are-they-now-catching-up-with-cliff-floyd.html/#comments Wed, 02 Mar 2016 17:23:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207052 cliff floyd mets

Where Are They Now? Cliff Floyd

Baseball players tend to disappear after retirement. Without the spotlight of national media, or admiration of thousands of fans, they fade back into mainstream society. They leave only memories, and their absence from the game makes it easy to forget that these guys we watched on TV are still real people. My mission is to make fans remember these forgotten players by having them talk to us and answer our burning question, “Where are they now?”

Today I chatted with former Mets outfielder Cliff Floyd to hear his take on the 2006 playoffs, what he’s doing now, and his thoughts on the current Mets team.

I am also kicking off a podcast to accompany the transcribed interview that you can listen to here, let me know what you think!

Noah: So you played on the Mets for the greater part of four seasons, what was your proudest moment while on the team?

Cliff: Well it goes back to ’06 and the postseason and you know we had, in my mind, the team that was destined to win the World Series and unfortunately it didn’t happen. But that was one of my proudest moments; being able to see the fans go crazy. You know, to see Shea Stadium swaying back and forth. You couldn’t go through a day without thinking about it. I was so stuck on getting that team to the World Series and winning it for those fans in Queens. And it didn’t happen, that actually still haunts me to this day.

Noah: The Mets were really mediocre before that 2006 season. What aside from the acquisitions of Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado really took that team to the next level?

Cliff: For me, it was more that we understood what accountability was. I think that when you look at the team we had, it was a bunch of veterans that just played the way we were supposed to play (the game). When you have that, I don’t care who the manageer is, you just flow together, and we had a good bunch. We really did. Everybody knew exactly what their roles were, and it helped so much mentally, just to be able to come to the park knowing that “even if I might not get it done today, we are going to get the win regardless.” Every once in a while we took the loss, and we also knew how to bounce back from those as well.

Noah: So was there any one player that shaped you as a player or as an individual during your time with the team?

Cliff: Man, I had so many different ones, Jerry Manuel was there, Rick Downs… But I could relate to Jerry because he was with me back in my Montreal days. He had managerial experience, coaching experience; he knew how to “keep the mind right” while allowing you to go through those trials and tribulations of a season. Especially in New York City too, playing on that stage while trying to figure out how to be successful and also deal with the fans and deal with the media, things like that. But on the field, he was always watching everything, critiquing my swing and things like that in addition to helping me just stay mentally focused. So I would say probably Jerry Manuel.

Noah: Just going back to the 2006 NLCS, Endy Chavez played left field for you when you were injured. And he really wrote his name into Mets lore with that tremendous catch to rob Scott Rolen of a home run. Now tell me honestly Cliff, if you were playing, do you make that catch?

Cliff: (Laughs) Nah man, I’m not making that one! You know, I was dealing with that Achilles injury, and in my mind, I woke up that morning around 6:00 and went to the doctor and got a shot in my calf muscle. I thought that it was gonna work itself down to the point where I could play. That’s what made me feel like we were going to the World Series. Because Endy Chavez made that catch, I knew I couldn’t have made that catch, that’s a home run for anybody in most situations. Your left fielder’s not catching that ball because most times your most versatile player’s usually in center. And in addition, with me being hurt, I definitely wasn’t gonna make that catch. Endy Chavez- athletic as he is -, was there in the right place at the right time.

Noah: You mentioned that you were injured during the series, but you were still called upon to pinch hit in the ninth inning of that game against Adam Wainwright who was really dealing. Looking back on it – I know you struck out in your at-bat against him – How would you have approached that at-bat differently?

Cliff: I think I would’ve just cut down a little bit on my swing. Knowing that I felt good, and I could hear the fans- and I never really heard them- when you focus and you’re in the moment, you never really hear them, but on deck I could hear the fans going “take us to the promised land, c’mon Cliffy, you can do this.” Everybody stood up when I walked to the dish to take that at bat. I probably wouldn’t have swung as hard as I was swinging. He threw me two fastballs, literally right down the middle. When you miss your pitches in this game, you’re succeptible to getting thrown the out pitch, and for Wainwright, the out pitch was that curveball. The rest was history.

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Noah: Yeah, Mets fans definitely know that. So, moving to the next part of the interview, what have you done since moving on from professional baseball, and as the title of this series says, Where are you now?

Cliff: Where am I now?  I guess I’m all over the place.  I’m fortunate enough to be able to stay in the game.  MLB Network has been tremendous, allowing me to give my expertise and knowledge on what I’ve learned playing this game, give our viewers an opportunity to get a different perspective on the game.  It’s been great, the fans have been great.  Also being able to do MLB radio on Sirius XM has been awesome.  I do a show from 2:00 to 5:00 with Casey Stern, three days a week.  It’s great, it keeps me going, keeps me in the moment as well, it keeps me updated on all these new players.  Once you leave the game, the players that you played with- a few of them are still left- but most times, the game does evolve, it comes full circle, and you get new players.  So, I’ve had to adjust to that, but I’ve invented a ball cap liner to go underneath the hats of young baseball players to protect them and keep safety first.  We just launched that last month.

So, I’m doing a lot of this and a lot of that, family is first and foremost important. I’ve got my son who’s playing baseball now, my two daughters and my wife. We’re down here in south Florida. I’m really busy, but really thankful that I had the opportunity to live that first part of my life (as a player) and now have a chance to still stay in the game and stay relevent. When people say “hey aren’t you on TV?”, I’m like “yeah.” So people do know that I’m still doing my thing.

Noah: Is that recognition something that made you choose to become an analyst after your playing career?

Cliff: That’s a great question. I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve really thought about that at a particular time. If it falls in your lap, it just happens that way. You don’t really think that you can just go on TV, have this earpiece in your ear and have your producer talking to you, and you have the chance to speak your mind. My mind never worked like that. I was just keen on getting that fastball and doing something with it, that’s what I did for 18 years. So you don’t think that the opportunity is ever going to present itself, and when it does, you have to jump all over it or you’re gonna miss the boat. So you jump in, you don’t know if you’re any good. You ask questions, but you have to be careful when you ask people things like “Have you watched me? Am I good?” Because of course they’re gonna say “yeah keep doing your thing” Nobody will say you sound like crap, so you have to be careful, and you have to do your homework and do all the other things you need to do to be successful.

Noah: So you’re still around the game a lot, do you ever miss playing?

Cliff: Oh yeah. I miss playing 100 percent. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I missed my check more than I miss playing, but I think they go hand in hand. And those days of being around your boys in the locker room, getting to the stadium at 2:00 and getting some work in, that’s what I miss more. The laughing and the camraderie of being in the locker room, being on the team plane, and doing all the things you want to do, those are the things that I’ll always miss; and I can never get that back. For the most part, being able to go to the (MLB) network gives me that chance to be around my boys. When I got there, I swear, it was like being back in the dugout or the clubhouse, that’s how much fun we have.

Noah: As an analyst, you know I have to ask you this question. What do you see in this current Mets team, and how far do you see them going this year?

Cliff: Well I think that Sandy Alderson did a great job this offseason, I think when you look at what they had to upgrade – I don’t think it was much – bringing back Cespedes was huge, we saw enough last year in the second half of the season that made this a mandatory type of signing, the offense was absolutely horrific in the first half.

Getting some guys healthy, like Travis d’Arnaud – who’s coming to camp healthy this year – and David Wright. Sandy’s plan on how to play him makes a lot of sense, limiting him to about 130 games or whatever it may be depending on how strong he comes out of camp.

And then adding a lefty down in the bullpen for (Jeurys) Familia in Antonio Bastardo, he had a great year last year. They needed a lefty to come in and get some tough outs. All around, I think they did a great job. I hope Sandy recovers and gets back to 100 percent health wise, he did what he needed to do to make sure this team is ready to win the NL East.

Then fixing up the middle defense, you have guys like Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera who solidify the defense and allow the pitchers to relax and let guys put the ball in play. That’s a key for this young staff. Allowing them to grow, but also knowing that you can put them in situations where they can throw the ball over the plate and have guys make the play behind them.

Noah: You mentioned David Wright earlier, who you played with when he was a rookie. Now, he’s really the leader of this Mets team. How has he matured as a leader both on and off the field?

Cliff: I think from a leadership standpoint, everything that comes out of his mouth, he thinks about it, he knows exactly how to make sure he keeps the organization first and foremost. When you look at the team, he makes sure everything goes (smoothly). He has the right manager in Terry Collins to allow him to feel comfortable to say whatever he wants to say. It’s tough on him media-wise in New York City.

The numbers haven’t been there, but I think he’s handled it very well. I think when you look at how tough he is, that in itself is maturity part for me because as I mentioned earlier to you, accountability goes so far in this game and he’s been accountable for everything he’s done on the field and when you do that, you let your actions on the field do the talking for you as opposed to talking so much about what you want to do and just go out and play. He’s done a good job of that.

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Noah: The next top Mets prospect Michael Conforto is currently making the jump from being a successful minor leaguer to a successful big league player. You were really in the same position, you came up as a top prospect, how did you make that transition, and what advice would you offer to Michael today?

Cliff: Yeah you make that jump because you do what you need to do on the field. And your successful when you believe in your abilities. I think that’s the key for anybody. At the big league level, when you’re successful, and you believe in your talent, it just oozes out. I think Michael understands that right now, I think he sees the light. I think he knows the bright lights and the big city, he has to bottle that up and take it with him everywhere he goes. And know that no matter what happens, the opportunity he has here is his to keep.

All the fans want him, nobody wants to see him go back to Triple A. I think that as we watch him grow now, my advice to him is always find time for yourself, and when you get to the park, there are going to be times where people are going to pull you here and there, but stay in your lane. Don’t try to do too much, and if you think you’re not gonna do well, then take that number 30 off, because that’s a good number to have. (Just joking)

Noah: Definitely, yeah.

Cliff: He understands what to think. I was able to talk to him last year a bit; he understands that responsibility lies in his ability to do his job. Like anybody else, and I’ve always said this, if you don’t do it, somebody else will. The game won’t wait for you. He’s not the first (top prospect) and he won’t be the last. That’s just how cutthroat this game is, it’s business. So with the talent that he has, he has to just go out there and play and let (his talent) do the work for him.

Noah: So if you could give Mets fans any message today, what would it be?

Cliff: Buy season tickets for five years and see what happens after that. (Laughs) These guys that they have on the mound are going to make or break this team. And I don’t know what’s going to happen when it’s free agent time, and we’ve heard rumblings of the Mets signing them. I just think that now is when you reap the benefits of having that type of team. Just enjoy every minute. You know a winning opportunity in any sport is very small. When you have the pitching staff that the Mets have right now, you enjoy every minute of it because when it’s gone and you’re rebuilding, then you go through that time of where you’re complaining and you dislike all the other teams out there. But when you have this type of (winning) team, and these types of pitchers, you get season tickets and you show your love for the team.

Noah: So now my last question is about Tom Glavine. Before coming to the Mets, you absolutely raked against him, batting .400 in 39 at-bats. He then joined you on the team in 2003. So I guess the saying is “if you can’t beat them, join them”, was this just Glavine giving up?

Cliff: (Laughs) I don’t know man. Still to this day, when I tell people I used to rake him, you don’t know who you’re going to hit and see well. I can’t tell you one thing I picked up off of him that made me so successful, I really can’t tell you. You just don’t know. He put balls where my bat could get to them, and whatever he threw, I hit. He threw a lot of strikes, my mindset was go out there and swing at everything he threw, and we’ll see what happens after that. I took that approach every once in a while, I should have took it more in my career. I didn’t because I didn’t really think that pitchers were reliable enough to do that. But it allowed me to go to bat and have a different mindset against guys who threw strikes, and Glavine was one of them. I had a ton of success, and I don’t take for granted one minute of my at bats against him because because you could go out there and go 0 for 4 against him too. I appreciated and enjoyed it, but listening to him talk on the bench, you could see why he was so successful. He believed that his 85 mile per hour fastball was just as good as anyone’s 97 or 98.

Noah: Thanks so much for your time Cliff, I really appreciate it.

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That does it for us here today, check back in a few days to hear what a star pitcher from the 1973 team had to say about his time with the Mets.

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Syndergaard Has Cespedes Fever http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/syndergaard-has-cespedes-fever.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/syndergaard-has-cespedes-fever.html/#comments Tue, 23 Feb 2016 13:17:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=206602 syndergaard cespedes yo knows

When the Mets re-signed Yoenis Cespedes, not only were the fans enamored by it-but, most of his teammates were as well. Noah Syndergaard has been one of the more outspoken players on his admiration for Cespedes.

In an article by Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, Syndergaard recalls exactly why he believes that Cespedes is so awesome. Syndergaard states, “Let me see, the way he walks in the clubhouse, he just has that presence, that swagger, the charisma that he carries himself with.” Syndergaard continued, “But he’s also very humble at the same time. He’s just a standup guy to be around.”

This was pretty interesting to see him refer to Cespedes as humble and as a standup guy. Many people questioned why no team jumped at the opportunity to sign the 5-tool outfielder. Some media members and fans alike called into question his character. After all, he did jump around the league quite a bit. From the A’s, to the Red Sox, then on to the Tigers, and finally to the Mets- where it seems that he has finally found a home.

Syndergaard’s thoughts continued, “I think it’s awesome that he is also a scratch golfer and I am an aspiring golfer and know how hard it is,” he added. “And just the talent. Wow. I’ve never seen anybody hit a ball that hard and far.”

It is quite interesting to see Syndergaard bring up Cespedes playing golf. In the past, Ces received some flak for playing golf-most notably during the World Series. Bravo to Mr. Syndergaard for having his teammate’s back. I am certain Yoenis will have his by knocking in some runs during the season.

Noah concluded, “I am extremely happy to have him as a teammate again.” I think that all Mets fans would agree with that statement. We are ecstatic to see Cespedes donning a Mets uniform again. Now go and bring home that Championship!

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