Mets Merized Online » fans http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 03 Feb 2016 13:19:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 How A New Generation Of Mets Fans Could Influence The Team’s Future http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/how-a-new-generation-of-mets-fans-could-influence-the-teams-future.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/how-a-new-generation-of-mets-fans-could-influence-the-teams-future.html/#comments Sun, 31 Jan 2016 13:00:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=205367 mets fans

An MMO Fan Shot by Rebecca

Parents and kids are eagerly getting ready for the 2016 baseball season. They’re starting to practice out in the yard, planning weekend trips to the ballpark and shopping around for the best kids baseball gloves and mitts.

Some of these young baseball players are going to be the next generation of Mets fans. With only the last few years as a frame of reference, they have little understanding of just how far the New York Mets have come. It’s an important factor considering that these young fans will influence the team’s fanbase for years to come.

From Lackluster to All Stars

Kids tend to like their home team or the team that’s dominating their division like the Mets did last year. But some of us old timers appreciate the Mets for their ability to rise up from underdog status. The kiddos that began watching in the 2015 season have no idea how far the Mets have come over the last decade.

It all started in 2007. After an amazing 97-65 season in 2006 and a fantastic start to the 2007 season, things began to quickly unravel. Though they had a winning season, the Mets infamously lost a seven game lead in the NL East division with just 17 games to go in the season. On all fronts – offensive, defensive and pitching – the Mets gave the division away to the Phillies.

In 2008 the team faired no better. But fans would have much preferred barely losing the division over what was to come next. The 2009 season marked a complete implosion for the Mets that set off six straight years of losing seasons.

The attendance at Mets’ games dropped dramatically as many of the newer fans that were gained in 2006-2007 lost patience waiting for the team to pick things up. In the 2008 season, the Mets had a record attendance of 4,021,534. By the 2013 season that number fell to just 2,136,655.

It didn’t help that right around the corner is another well-known clubhouse: the New York Yankees. After 27 championships the Yankees are the go-to for New Yorkers that are in it to win it.

Last year was the turning point for the Mets. They easily won the NL East by seven games over the Nationals. For only the fifth time in the franchise’s history, the Mets made it to the World Series after defeating the Chicago Cubs. Attendance was already up to 2,569,753 in 2015 so it will be interesting to see how many more people show up for games this year.

Baseball: A Game That’s Built on Generations

Kids enjoy a lot of sports, but few professional leagues have a young following like baseball. Go to any game, whether it’s minor league or major league, and you’ll see plenty of kids running around. They sit in the stands with their gloves on waiting for that rare opportunity to snag a foul ball or home run. They eagerly wait by the dugout hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite players and maybe even get an autograph.

It’s also a game that is traditionally passed down from one generation to the next. When a kid becomes a serious fan, there’s a good chance they’ll bring their own children to watch the team decades later.

This is an important factor for an MLB team for many reasons, one of the most important being future recruitment. Some of today’s youngest baseball fans will inevitably become professional players. The teams they love now and grow up watching will get top consideration when it comes time to sign deals.

Still not convinced of the powerful persuasion a child’s favorite baseball team can have? Former Mets General Manager Omar Minaya and former Manager Willie Randolph joined the Mets in 2004 when the team was struggling. Why? Both have stated that they wanted to help a team they cheered on as kids regain its former glory.

Right now the Mets are capturing the attention of another generation of kids. Whether they’ll be able to continue performing and create fans for life is the question. But with an all star pitching staff that’s well solidified, the Mets are poised for great things in 2016 and for seasons to come. I will always thank my dad for making me the passionate Met fan I am today, and now I’m looking forward to passing that on to my own daughter. See you all at Citi Field and Let’s Go Mets.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Rebecca. 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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The Horsemen: Gooden Says Mets Young Starters Are “Crazy Good” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/the-horsemen-gooden-says-mets-young-starters-are-crazy-good.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/the-horsemen-gooden-says-mets-young-starters-are-crazy-good.html/#comments Sat, 30 Jan 2016 14:27:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=205359 horsemen

Here is the latest Mets graphic by MMO reader and graphic designer David Dolinsky who you can follow on Twitter at @david_dolinsky.

This stunning image is entitled “The Horsemen” and features young Mets starters Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.

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You may recall David shared some other great Mets graphics like this one entitled “THOR” last October. You can check out those other spectacular Mets graphics here. I love the way he depicts our young guns who are going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2016.

Incidentally, former Mets starting pitcher Dwight Gooden, couldn’t stop raving about the Amazins’ hard-throwing rotation in an interview with Kevin Kernan of the New York Post.

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A four-time All Star and the 1985 NL Cy Young, Gooden believes the Mets are on the verge of a dynasty that will be fueled by the team’s young and dominating starting rotation.

“A staff like this comes together once in a generation,” Gooden told The Post. ”These guys are crazy good and no one wants to face them.”

Gooden said he sees a lot of himself in Thor. “I’d say Syndergaard is my favorite. I’m not saying Syndergaard is the best pitcher on that staff, but I like watching him. He has that bulldog mentality… His aggressiveness reminds me of me, although he is more vocal than I was. Throw inside, move the batter’s feet.’’

He offered some sage advice for Mets ownership and GM Sandy Alderson, ”If I were the owner of the Mets, I would try to lock these guys up now,” Gooden said. “Buy out the arbitration years and two or three years of free agency. They are that good.”

They certainly are! I can’t wait for this season to get underway already – this year is going to be epic.

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Manfred: DH Not Coming To The National League http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/manfred-dh-not-coming-to-the-national-league.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/manfred-dh-not-coming-to-the-national-league.html/#comments Tue, 26 Jan 2016 01:34:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=205008 rob manfred

In an interview with Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the National League will not adopt the designated hitter.

“The most likely result on the designated hitter for the foreseeable future is the status quo,” Manfred said. “I think the vast majority of clubs in the National League want to stay where they are.”

\Manfred told Crasnick that he was merely discussing the pros and cons of a possible change and did not mean to create the impression that NL clubs want to adopt the DH. He created a firestorm last week when he said the following:

“Twenty years ago, when you talked to National League owners about the DH, you’d think you were talking some sort of heretical comment. But we have a newer group. There’s been turnover. And I think our owners in general have demonstrated a willingness to change the game in ways that we think would be good for the fans, always respecting the history and traditions of the sport.”

In an attempt to boost sagging run production during the post-steroids era, implementing the designated hitter in the National League has been often discussed as a possible solution.

Personally, I prefer the strategy that is inherent without the DH. I love the intricate complexities that the double-switches, pinch-hitters, bench management, and critical pitching decisions add to the overall tapestry of the game from an intellectual perspective. It’s part of what makes baseball such a cerebral game.

Luckily, logic and sanity prevailed here, and the Senior Circuit will continue to hold tight to a time honored tradition, at least for the foreseeable future.

The American League adopted the DH in 1973. With the advent of inter-league games and during the World Series, National League teams do adopt the DH when playing in American League parks. But for many baseball purists, that’s as close to league wide implementation as they ever want to get.

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Culmination Of An Unlikely Five-Year Plan http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/culmination-of-an-unlikely-five-year-plan.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/culmination-of-an-unlikely-five-year-plan.html/#comments Mon, 25 Jan 2016 11:30:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204885 sandy-alderson-paul-depodesta-j-p-ricciardi-2010-11-16-19-0-14

When Sandy Alderson was installed as the new general manager of the Mets in October of 2010, he inherited a team whose public persona had been battered and stigmatized by the effects of the Madoff scandal as well as a plunge in the standings. The campaign just concluded had resulted in the second of what would be four consecutive 4th place finishes in the division, an ugly comedown for a squad that had contended strongly during the heyday of the Willie Randolph-led era from 2006 through 2008.

As an essentially hand-picked-by-the-Commissioner successor to the splashy and largely successful tenure of Omar Minaya (“specially Selig-ted” if you will), Alderson was viewed by much of the fanbase and NY press as a kind of “conservator” whose mission was to oversee a hobbled operation that faced an indeterminate period of forced financial restraint. Charged with a rebuild, although that term would rarely be invoked, he assembled a front office staff whose “moneyball” pedigree purportedly could allow at least a faint hope of contention in the near term.

The reality of the situation would prove far less optimistic, and with the institution of a “small-cap value” vs. “large-cap growth” philosophy in the area of player acquisition (something that will make the most sense to those familiar with investment terminology), a new age of organizational identity was underway. The deadline trade of Carlos Beltran to the Giants for Zack Wheeler in July of 2011 put any remaining illusions of an immediate turnaround to rest.

Despite all signs pointing to the contrary, Sandy, never the most forthcoming of people during a press conference, steadfastly maintained that his personnel decisions were not primarily made for financial reasons and that the front office had one eye on keeping the current team viable for some realistic level of contention. While some degree of truth, stretched though it may be, was undoubtedly present in these statements, the overall direction of the organization was made manifest by the character of the team’s transaction log.

One-year contracts for reclamation projects became the order of the day, and if a reasonable level of performance was the reward, the player in question, now armed with negotiating leverage born of a bounce-back season, was allowed to seek greener pastures elsewhere (e.g. Chris Capuano).

DIGIPIXMeanwhile, the Mets intelligentsia headed back to the bargain bin to pad the roster for the next go-round. The decision not to trade eventual free agent shortstop Jose Reyes for prospects was viewed askance after he signed a big money contract with the Marlins in December of 2011, but the team was able to draft promising backstop Kevin Plawecki with the compensation pick they received as a result. Otherwise, the scrapheap remained the primary shopping destination for patches to the lineup, rotation, or bullpen of the big club while a strategy was being put in place for farther down the line.

Consequently, mound innings were soaked up by the likes of 40-ish Miguel Bastista (kind of a less-sexy “Big Sexy”) and Chris Young (the 6’ 10” soft tosser who came back to haunt the team in the 2015 WS), while at-bats went to the likes of lefty-killer Scott Hairston and utility man Willie Harris.

When R.A. Dickey (one of Minaya’s remaining reclamation projects) unexpectedly morphed into the greatest one-season knuckleball phenomenon in baseball history, Alderson had the good sense to sell high and parlay the 2012 Cy Young winner into what increasingly appears to be a largely one-sided trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. Two components of that deal, catcher Travis D’Arnaud and Nordic-by-way-of-Texas quasi-deity Noah Syndergaard, figured significantly in this past season’s near-championship run and look to provide the possibility of the same going forward while lower level “throw-in” Wuilmer Becerra’s performance in A-Ball has tantalized fans by demonstrating his toolsy future possibilities.

The following season, a similar scenario resulting from the signing of veteran (and PED-tarnished) outfielder Marlon Byrd who was spun off to the Pirates for promising infielder Dilson Herrera and since-departed reliever Vic Black. Along the way, Minaya-regime signees such as Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz have been nurtured along and now stand to comprise the balance of an historically fearsome (even by Mets’ standards) starting rotation.

The increasingly impressive statistics compiled by the team’s young starters and newly appointed closer Jeurys Familia highlighted why the team’s surprising early-2015 performance was more than a fluke. At the same time, the abysmal numbers put up by the offensive side of the equation signaled a warning that the team’s policy of prospect hoarding was no longer the correct strategy to follow.

michael conforto juan uribe

The evolution of the team and its front office was made clear during the latter part of last July when, in the space of a week, the lineup was transformed by a series of transactions that added Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe from the Braves, the heralded prospect Michael Conforto from AA Binghamton, and most significantly, Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers. As we all know, this set of moves worked about as well as one could hope and the suddenly league-leading offense that resulted nearly brought a championship to the Queens faithful, a possibility that seems oh-so realistic going forward now that Cespedes’ services have been retained for the upcoming season and perhaps beyond.

Is it just me, or did it seem as if things began happening at a seriously accelerated pace last summer once the decision was made to go for it? How much more restraint would have been used in maintaining the integrity of the Met minor league system has the big club lagged somewhat farther behind the Nationals heading into the season’s second half? Would the fluctuating concept of Matt Harvey’s innings limit have been of greater concern? Would Conforto and his sweet swing been ticketed for a bump up to Vegas instead of Flushing? What kind of dam had to break to actually lend some credence to the idea that Sandy could spend if he felt it was warranted? Was the team able to do it all along, at least at the “middle market” level?

Regardless, through a combination of calculated gambles, intuitive moves with prospects, and decisive action once decisions were made, it appears that whatever oddball path of a five-year plan was used by Sandy Alderson and his sabermetric brain trust to get the Mets where they are has worked, at least for the most part.

Granted, there have been some duds (e.g John Mayberry, Brad Emaus) and talent miscalculations along the way (e.g Justin Turner), but nobody’s perfect. The Cespedes signing, at what are clearly terms that favor the team over the player, may best represent the triumph of the Alderson approach. He will wait, and wait, and wait, sometimes to the point of driving the team’s fans to the point of madness, but in the end he often gets what he wants, the way he wants it. And right now, his methodology resembles nothing so much as true vision.

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Mets Closing In On Three-Year Deal With Cespedes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-closing-in-on-three-year-deal-with-cespedes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-closing-in-on-three-year-deal-with-cespedes.html/#comments Sat, 23 Jan 2016 04:00:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204667 yoenis cespedes

Latest update, 11 p.m.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is now reporting that the Mets and Yoenis Cespedes are “closing in” on a deal

According to Rosenthal, the deal will be in the range of three years and $70 million with an opt-out after year one.

10 p.m. update:

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the infamous “mystery team” has reappeared. As Heyman reports, the Mets and Nationals are not the only teams still in play for Cespedes.

The Angels, White Sox, and Braves have been linked to Cespedes in the past. The Astros have as well, but MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart says they are not one of the “mystery teams.”

This is far from over.

Afternoon Update

Here’s the latest on what is becoming an intriguing ever-evolving news cycle on the Yoenis Cespedes front. Let’s cut straight to the chase.

As you know, the Mets and Roc Nation are currently engaged in negotiations this morning and afternoon after learning that Cespedes strongly desires to remain with the Mets. Two sources said the Cuban slugger is “torn” between choosing the Nationals and their five-year, $100 million deal or the Mets and a three year deal.

Buster Olney of ESPN then heard that Cespedes and the Mets are discussing a three-year deal with an opt-out clause after the first year. Interesting in that it would allow Cespedes to become a free agent again next season when the market for outfielders will not be as robust as it was this Winter. It also keeps the Mets from tying Cespedes up longterm.

However, John Harper of the Daily News is reporting that the Mets are even considering increasing their offer to more than three years.

It’s all pointing to a desire from both sides to be reunited again which makes the odds of that happening very good.

By the way, how do you think the Nationals feel that they have a five year offer to Cespedes and that they’re being left hanging because Yo loves the Mets so much he might be willing to leave two years and $40 million or more on the table?

It says a lot about Nats, but it also says a lot more about the Mets. We are a team on the rise that everyone wants to play for. We’ve been seeing this all Winter long. Flushing has become a hot spot destination and the Mets are back in fashion.

Original AM Report

If you thought this Yoenis Cespedes drama was closing in on the final act with the Cuban slugger taking his notable talents to the Washington Nationals…. Think again.

According to a report by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, two sources with knowledge of what Cespedes is thinking say he prefers to stay with the Mets.

The Nationals do in fact have a five year offer to Cespedes according to multiple sources, with the value being north of $100 million according to Jon Heyman.

However, Cespedes is torn between taking the Nationals’ five-year offer or going back to the team he loved playing for on a three year deal or less.

Rosenthal adds that the lead agent for Cespedes, CAA’s Brodie Van Wagenen, remains in touch with the Mets, and the two sides are scheduled to speak again on Friday.

Meanwhile Mets manager Terry Collins continued to push his feelings on the matter. “He works very hard to be a good teammate,” Collins said. “His pre-game routine is off the charts . . . off the charts. He has things that he does right before a game in the batting cage . . . When he walks on to that field, he’s legit.”

As you know, the Mets have yet to make a formal offer, but all that could change on Friday when the two sides meet again, perhaps in a last ditch effort to keep Cespedes in Flushing.

Mets fans torched the team on Thursday on social media, slamming ownership and the front office for failing to keep to their promise to spend this offseason after record attendance, revenues, viewership and profits. And while payroll has gone up about $10 million to $115 million – many feel that is nowhere near enough for a team in the game’s biggest market and coming off a gut-wrenching World Series loss. And they’re right.

While things got heated on Twitter – so much so that it picked up national attention – one ultra popular Mets Blogger chose to berate the fan base and suggested they go root for another team if they were unhappy with ownership and their handling of the team. That was a big mistake and eventually he was forced to duck for cover and delete all his tweets while all hell broke loose against him.

Here’s the question. Let’s say the report is true and the Nationals do indeed have a five-year, $100 million dollar on the table, should the Mets stick to their guns and hold fast to that three-year, $60 million stance?

Or should they just concede the fourth and fifth years, or perhaps raise the three-year offer to let’s say $75 million? Would that work?

Bottom Line… This is far from over. For a very welcomed change, the game’s best players actually want to play for the Mets – and that’s awesome to see. If Cespedes listens to his heart, the Mets could have him signed, sealed and delivered by the end of this weekend. How huge would that be?!?!

Site Note: I apologize for my lack of posts, but the truth is I’m dealing with some heavy duty health issues and I’m confined to the hospital. The only time I have to myself is during light’s out when I can get on my phone and write something late at night – assuming I have the energy. I miss you guys. Thanks for understanding.

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Mike Piazza Questions Enter A Gray Area After HOF Announcement http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mike-piazza-questions-enter-a-gray-area-after-hof-announcement.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mike-piazza-questions-enter-a-gray-area-after-hof-announcement.html/#comments Thu, 07 Jan 2016 15:16:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203716 pete-rose-e1426541102609

After he was banished from baseball for violating its golden rule, it appeared there would be no more moments of glory for Pete Rose. When you gamble in baseball, you always lose. You’re always out. No more managing the Reds. Certainly, no Hall of Fame.

Then Bud Selig relented, if only slightly. As part of the turn of the century, Major League Baseball wanted the fans to vote on the All Century Team. Even though Rose’s name would never be permitted on a Hall of Fame ballot, Major League Baseball was going to allow its fans to decide if the Hit King should be a part of the All Century Team. The fans selected Rose, and Selig invited Rose to take part in the honoring ceremony during the 1999 World Series.

At the time, we believed this would be the last time Pete Rose would ever step foot on a major league ball field. When the members of the All Century team were introduced, Rose received the biggest ovation. It was a big night for him. On that night, it was also a big night for Jim Gray to get an interview with Rose:

Jim Gray stood there and asked every question each and every person was hoping Rose would answer.  On the one hand, he was forceful in trying to get answers to his questions. On the other, he was seemingly doing his job. He would be universally derided. A new rule was set forth. There should be no tough questions when a former player is celebrating an achievement. That was until yesterday.

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Finally, after years of waiting, Mike Piazza was elected to the Hall of Fame. He then did the rounds to answer questions on what it meant to him to be a Hall of Famer. It was a victory tour of sorts for Piazza. Then came the question that you’re no longer supposed to ask on these occasions as transcribed by Adam Rubin of ESPN:

Are you bothered when people make accusations against you alleging steroid use and just cite acne on the back?

Someone broke the rule and went there. Piazza was gracious answering the question saying he “really want[ed] to celebrate his career” and accusations like that are out if his control.

In the past, this issue has rankled him. He once asked Peter Gammons, “what does acne have to do with steroids?”  He had steadfastly denied the steroids rumors. Rumors that have been propagated by the Murray Chasses and Jon Heymans of the world without any proof.

Despite the rumors and innuendo, Piazza rose above it all and became a Hall of Famer. He deserved his moment in the sun. However, someone had to go and ask him a steroids question during his HOF announcement press conference . At one time, it might have been a fair question. After 1999, such questions were supposed to be out of bounds. It wasn’t yesterday.

If someone like Pete Rose, who agreed to his own banishment under the cloud of his betting on baseball, can’t be asked hard questions, no one should. This goes double for Mike Piazza, who has never been implicated in any report, test, or investigation. Hopefully, one day these questions will end, and we can just focus on Piazza’s career. Unfortunately, that day is not today.  At least for today, no question is out of bounds no matter the setting.

It makes me wonder.  Is Piazza owed an apology for the question, or is Jim Gray owed an apology for the criticism he received?

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Despite Offseason Austerity, Mets Still Look Good Heading Into 2016 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/despite-offseason-austerity-mets-still-look-good-heading-into-2016.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/despite-offseason-austerity-mets-still-look-good-heading-into-2016.html/#comments Fri, 01 Jan 2016 18:16:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203306 Conforto Granderson

Mets fans hoping for a shiny new present this holiday season were left sorely disappointed. Instead we were gift wrapped Alejandra De Aza, the equivalent of getting a pair of wool socks as a present – you’ll use them occasionally and might even be glad you have them at some point, but you’re extremely underwhelmed when you see what’s in the box.

The signing of De Aza seems to have ended the Mets’ pursuit of a big hitter, if such a pursuit ever even existed. Throw in the acquisitions of infielders Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera, and the re-signing of 42-year old Bartolo Colon and Jerry Blevins for the bullpen, and you have an unexciting offseason that has re-ignited the ire of some Mets fans who were celebrating a National League pennant less than two months ago.

Most of the fans’ anger and frustration is directed towards the team’s owners, and rightfully so. The Wilpons won the lottery in the form of a great, dirt-cheap starting rotation, an unexpected World Series run and Michael Cuddyer’s sudden retirement halfway into his contract. Yet they still refuse to spend remotely like a team in the sport’s biggest market.

Howard Megdal recently reported that Fred Wilpon and co-owner Saul Katz are using team revenue to pay off their Madoff-incurred debt, which is a slap in the face to the fans that have supported this team through the (mostly bad) years. The Wilpons’ stinginess made re-signing Yoenis Cespedes or adding any other big time free agents impossible, unless any of them decided they’d rather play for free Shake Shack burgers than millions of dollars.

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Still, Mets fans need to step back down from the ledge. I hate how the Wilpons operate as much as anyone, but once the rage subsides you’ll notice that this team should still be very good in 2016.

As of December 28, post-De Aza, the Mets had the fourth best World Series odds according to Odds Shark, one spot ahead of the defending champion Kansas City Royals. And chances are Sandy Alderson is not done with the roster, even if he only adds another reliever or bench player.

Yes, I would have loved to see Cespedes, or even Ben Zobrist or Denard Span, in the lineup next season. But while Walker and Cabrera were not sexy additions, they are both solid baseball players whose ability to switch hit should help balance the lineup. Walker may not replace Daniel Murphy in our hearts, but he is a good hitter with decent power and is an upgrade over Murphy at second base. Although Cabrera has declined at the plate, he is still similar to Flores offensively and, despite rating below average on defense, is still much more reliable than the shaky Flores at shortstop.

Those two join a starting lineup that may lack a major threat but should be good enough to put up runs and prevent the offensive abyss that almost doomed the Mets last summer.

Granted, there are some questions marks, particularly the health of David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud, and the inconsistency of Lucas Duda and Juan Lagares, but what team doesn’t have those same issues or concerns?

Plus with Flores and De Aza, who actually hits righty pitching well, on the bench, the roster has the depth to fill injuries and glaring holes. I won’t even get into the starting pitching, which is so good that it can carry any offense that isn’t being anchored by Eric Campbell and John Mayberry, Jr.

So be as mad as you want at the Wilpons; they deserve it. Make your signs, construct your billboards, and fly your banners. But don’t be so down on the 2016 Mets. On paper they are still a very good team and the class of the division, and paper is all that matters in January. This is still a solid team with an excellent chance that they will meet or exceed their tremendous potential

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Smart Baseball Moves Or More Cost-Cutting? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/smart-baseball-moves-or-more-cost-cutting.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/smart-baseball-moves-or-more-cost-cutting.html/#comments Sat, 26 Dec 2015 14:18:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203111 new-york-mets collins alderson Wilpon

Joel Sherman of the New York Post, asks if the Mets lack of aggressiveness is just a series of good baseball decisions by the front office or evidence that they are still feeling the fallout of the Madoff debacle and simply don’t have the dough?

Don’t you just hate it when the media concocts these false paradigms and narratives? Why is it an either/or situation? Why can’t it be both, which is evidently – and sometimes painfully – obvious to anyone with half a brain?

I wanted Yoenis Cespedes back as much as the next guy. Ditto on Jason Heyward. But at what cost in years and dollars? After six years of trying to dig out from under the weight of some financially crippling and flexibility killing second generation contracts, did we really want to venture into those dangerous waters again?

Do you really want to see the Mets make a terrible financial commitment that would have hog-tied the franchise in the latter half of a six-year deal to Cespedes or a an eight-year deal to Heyward? Is that what you want? Do we really need the Mets to make a God-awful commitment just to prove whether or not the team has moved past the financial quagmire?

Or would you rather an intelligence guided approach that keeps the future in mind and is unwilling to perilously put the team in a compromising state that could risk their longterm viability?

I imagine that most of you would opt for the latter.

Sherman accuses the front office of suffering from paralysis by analysis to the detriment of the team. Really? Is that what the last five years have shown you, Joel? How did you ever get the moniker of baseball insider?

Here’s my take on this and it’s pretty much the same thing I’ve been saying since last Winter only now I feel even more confident saying it. It’s apparent that we are heading into the new season with an Opening Day lineup that is superior to the one we had last year. Sandy Alderson has earned the benefit of the doubt based on how he went about constructing last year’s roster and then bolstering it when the timing was right as he guided the Mets to their first World Series in 15 years. Excuse me for not ignoring that ever happened as so many are choosing to do.

Would I have liked to see some more robust spending on better acquisitions this Winter – especially for a team that is coming off a year that saw revenue increases of 30 percent or more across various streams? Of course, but I also understand that we are stuck with an ownership that only spent big when they were playing with Monopoly money reaped from ill-gotten gains. It’s easy to spend big when you’re duped into thinking that all your accounts are outpacing the S&P 500 by 15 percent or more for ten straight years.

I believe we have the perfect GM to guide this team under the intense financial stranglehold that has been placed on them from day one. I look at next season knowing full well that we’ll have Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Michael Conforto right from the get-go and locked in for the long haul. I’m excited to see our five starting pitchers go full throttle with no innings limits and lessening the stress on our bullpen.

I’ve already shared my thoughts on the additions of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera who not only boost last year’s middle infield production offensively and defensively, but also instantly upgrades the bench with Wilmer Flores replacing Kelly Johnson or Juan Uribe as the quasi-super utility guy if you will.

I expect big sophomore campaigns from Hansel Robles who’s stuff is every bit as filthy as anyone else in that bullpen. Having a healthy Jerry Blevins for an entire year as opposed to just two weeks, instantly gives us that reliable left-hander the team lacked all last season. If Addison Reed can pitch as well as he did during 2012-2014 when he saved 101 games, the Mets may just have themselves one of the best 1-2 punches in the league fronting the back of the pen. Reed turns 27 tomorrow and is well-positioned for a comeback season.

Could we have done better than an Alejandro De Aza and Juan Lagares platoon in center field this offseason? No doubt about it, but if it fails to produce I know we can count on Sandy to address the situation just as he did last season.

The number one thing to remember and always keep in mind is the division the Mets play in. I may have been the first person to point out last January that the Mets could win the division simply because the Washington Nationals were overrated and not as good as the team that ended the year in 2013. They proved to be worse than even I imagined. And now they are worse still in my opinion. The Braves have already moved onto 2017, and as for the Phillies and Marlins – well, they’re the Phillies and Marlins.

I have the Mets pegged for a 92+ win season in 2016, and I believe they will end the first half firmly entrenched in first place with a team that is thoroughly the class of the division and National League powerhouse.

I know that no matter what there will always be that contingent that loves to worry and complain about the team no matter what. I still remember that Chicken Little crap I saw by one prominent Mets blogger last September – September can you believe it!?!

But I’m hoping that even that small “Oh Woe Is Me” minority are astute enough to see how substantially better this team is than last April’s model, and that our divisional competition have all taken steps backwards.

The cold hard truth is that while the Mets could have made one or two more substantial moves that befitted a team that plays in the largest market it the game, I understand the reality of the situation with our dysfunctional ownership who have turned over their financial say to the banks and lenders they owe $880 million to.

The debt financiers call the shots now and all Sandy can do is use his know-how to override the shitty hand he’s been dealt. So far, Alderson’s rebuild plan and his responsiveness to team needs have been staggeringly impressive. And still, the best is yet to come. LGM

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Asdrubal Cabrera Willing To Play Third Base If Needed http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/asdrubal-cabrera-willing-to-play-third-base-if-needed.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/asdrubal-cabrera-willing-to-play-third-base-if-needed.html/#comments Mon, 21 Dec 2015 12:42:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202743 asdrubal cabrera

Recently acquired shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera participated on a conference call on Friday afternoon with the Mets beat and media. He weighed in on a number of topics which I’ve summarized below.

There was no hiding of his excitement of being with the Mets and Cabrera was genuinely thrilled. “They are a very good team. It’s a great city to play baseball and they are winners. Last year, they were in the World Series.”

He added how much he looked forward to playing in New York when he was with the Nationals. ”It’s a great city, a big city, I played there when I was in Washington, they have good support of the fans.”

“Whatever the team needs,” Cabrera said when asked about playing other positions and specifically third base.

“I think if you can play shortstop, you can play second or third base. I’m going to wait until spring training to see where they want me to play. I’m going to do my best.”

Cabrera, 30, is looking forward to pairing up with fellow newbie second baseman Neil Walker. ”I think he’s a great player, a great second baseman, he plays hard, plays the ball, he plays the ball right,” Cabrera said. “I am happy to be playing with him and we’ll try to go out and win a World Series.”

One of the things that attracted Cabrera to the Mets was the team’s young starting pitching, and he’s glad to be playing with them rather than having to face them. ”Oh man they are great, last year their pitchers, they were the best starting pitchers in the league,” Cabrera said. “I hope they do the same job as they did last year and we will win this year.”

Always known for being a fierce competitor, Cabrera batted .265 with 28 doubles, 15 home runs, and 58 RBIs in 551 plate appearances this past season for the Rays, posting a 104 wRC+ and 2.2 WAR in 143 games. He also finished the year with a strong second half, batting .328 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI. It bodes well heading into 2016.

He’s very motivated and incredibly psyched for next season. The best takeaway from the conference call was how often he talked about winning. I think he’s going to fit right in and fans will love his fiery play and personality.

(Updated 12/21)

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A Christmas Carol: The Sandy I Met http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/a-christmas-carol-the-sandy-i-met.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/a-christmas-carol-the-sandy-i-met.html/#comments Sun, 20 Dec 2015 19:11:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=136501 Actor Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge

Pen went to paper way back in 1843. Even so, the classic holiday novella, “The Christmas Carol” resonates with readers today as one of Charles Dickens’ most important literary contributions. No other character in the beloved novella captures the fascination of readers and viewers like Ebenezer Scrooge.

Many times, my mind shifts to Ebenezer Scrooge when I hear New York Met fans and members of the media characterize Met General Manager Sandy Alderson. For me, it’s almost like many who root for or write about the Mets, have stolen a page from Dickens when they reference the Met GM.

Think about it. Like Scrooge, Sandy Alderson is often vilified as a cold, reclusive figure, a definitive “low temperature guy,” stoic and self-contained. Dickens painted a portrait of Ebenezer Scrooge as a Victorian like miser, a character who symbolized the rich, the elite, protecting only their interests at the expense of the suffering poor.

Fast forward to modern times and consider how many Met fans depict Sandy Alderson. Ditto. In their world view, Sandy Alderson was planted in the Met front office by Commissioner Bud Selig to protect the interests of his friend, multi-millionaire Met owner Fred Wilpon. Like Scrooge, Alderson is presented as shrewd and cunning, a tight-fisted, emotionless hoarder, a guy fixated on protecting the interest of his boss while at the same time immune to the suffering of fans who live and die for the Mets.

To read some comments on Met blogs and fan sites it would be easy to come away believing Sandy Alderson is a synonym for a covetous, grasping, possessive guy with no soft edges. A man who defers to logic and sabermetrics to avoid the warmth that comes with feelings and emotion.

The Sandy Alderson popularly typified by many Met fans and the press is not the Sandy Alderson I met at a Binghamton Met game in early September of 2011.

It was the final weekend of Double-A baseball, and I was in a foul and Grinch-like mood myself. Hurricane Irene had just devastated the tiny Catskill Mountain town where I lived, Binghamton Met baseball would soon be ending, and I was in desperate need of a mental reprieve. I hunkered down in a seat in the top row behind home plate and went about my pre-game statistical recordings that come with keeping score at a baseball game.

I’m obsessive about keeping score when watching a ballgame. Batting and pitching statistics are recorded before the game and then every pitch and every play is charted. For the most part, I’m not approachable as I madly jot down notes in the moments before a baseball game begins.

On this particular day, I was aware someone had appeared in the aisle outside my row. I was sitting in the third seat and glanced up to note a gentleman studying his ticket stub, clearly deciding where he was supposed to sit. An odd feeling of recognition flooded my senses, but I struggled to match a name with the face. This stately fellow sent a ‘hello’ my way as he settled into the aisle seat, which I returned with a nod. Deferring to my statistics, I decided to try and figure out if I knew who this Met fan might be when the final pre-game stats had been logged.

scroogeTurning back toward the stranger I was certain I should know who he might be. He was clearly a man who cared about his appearance, trim and neat as a pin. He traveled without scorebook, notepad or camera, somewhat unusual for a solitary fan sitting in the part of the park where scouts representing major league franchises often assemble. He was busy on a cell phone, tweeting I assumed.

Age has a way of slowing name recognition, but it wasn’t long before the name Sandy Alderson surfaced. Oddly, that presented a dilemma of sorts. I have always followed a belief that people of celebrity deserve some privacy in public venues. Sandy Alderson was at NYSEG Stadium to watch Met baseball prospects not to engage in conversation with me. Yet, it’s always my habit to introduce myself to the folks who sit around me at a baseball game. The social aspect of watching baseball is one of the pleasures of the game. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to handle that divergence.

It was a Juan Lagares at-bat in the bottom of the first inning that was the icebreaker. The B-Mets were playing the Fighting Phils from Reading, and Lagares was the B-Met rightfielder that night. Lagares was on a tear, ripping Double-A pitching at a .370 clip after his arrival to Binghamton. I would later come to believe it was Lagares and Reese Havens that Sandy had really come to see.

Lagares pieced together an uncanny at-bat that lasted 13 pitches with the outfield prospect flying out to the warning track in left field on the final pitch. I leaned towards Sandy and said, “Now that was a major league at-bat.” Knowing what I know now about the Met organizational approach to hitting and the role average number of pitches in an at bat means when evaluating prospects, I would have predicted Sandy’s response to my comment. It was like the flood gates opened and conversation flowed easily between the two of us for the rest of the night.

I made a conscious decision that night not to broach controversial topics swirling around Met land at the time, the hottest issue whether Sandy would resign Jose Reyes. I wasn’t a reporter looking for a sports scoop. My goal was to enjoy Sandy’s company as I enjoyed the company of any new neighbor at a baseball game.

Far from self-contained, Sandy surprised me by peppering me with questions. He had a curious mind and wanted to know everything he could about me. His first line of questions concerned my relationship with the B-Mets. How often did I attend games? Was I a season ticket holder? When Sandy learned I had purchased a game pack, he wanted to know how that worked. What kind of statistics did I take? Did I do anything with them after the game? Where did my interest in baseball and the Mets originate from?

When Sandy learned I lived some two hours from Binghamton and the town where I lived had been hit hard by Irene, the line of questioning shifted. Sandy had seen news clips about the devastation and was clearly concerned. There was much he wanted to know. Was anyone lost? Were folks displaced? What was the extent of the damage? His questions addressed the clean-up, possible damages of my home and property, lodging and provisions for people effected by the storm, anything and everything related to the storm and its impact.

Before long word spread that the Met GM was in the house. A steady stream of Met fans stopped by to chat with Sandy or hawk an autograph. Sandy couldn’t have been more accommodating. He treated each Met fan with the same curiosity and graciousness he showed in his conversations with me, asking people their names or asking questions about them, always obliging, always amenable. I was struck with the sharp contrast between the image of Sandy painted by his distractors and the guy seated alongside me at this B-Met game.

1450639240454I laugh when I read frustrated Met fans accusing Sandy Alderson of not caring about the team he puts on the field. That is not the Sandy I met. Sandy wasn’t shy about asking my opinions about B-Met prospects. He chatted about some of the younger players in the system, and we talked in general about the Mets. The Met GM was constantly on his cell phone getting Met game updates, reporting the score to me with any commentary that had been passed his way. I remember Sandy was especially pleased to report rookie pitcher Josh Stinson had registered an inning of scoreless relief toward the end of the game.

The things about Sandy that most impressed me that night were his wit, his dry sense of humor, and his genuine appreciation for all the unusual things that take place at a minor league baseball park. No two minor league baseball venues are the same. Every minor league park is distinct. Each minor league franchise has it’s own discrete culture with during the game entertainment events that help define what makes them special.

In Binghamton’s case three between innings game events come to mind. Binghamton is a city nicknamed the “Carousel Capital of the World.” To celebrate that fact, the B-Mets have a Carousel Horse Mascot ridden by a Cowboy who throws hot dogs over the screen to screaming fans. “I remember telling Sandy to prepare himself for something he had never seen at a baseball park before and unless he returned to Binghamton would likely never see again.” He laughed heartily at the mayhem that followed.

With a twinkle in his eye and a smile from ear to ear, Sandy was riveted during a mid-game break when a gate in the fence along the left field stands was opened and hundreds of kids poured out on to the field racing across the outfield to exit through another gate on the right field side. Sandy talked about how important it was to connect baseball with young people and you could tell he approved of the youngster’s lap in the outfield.

The clincher came during the seventh inning stretch. I whispered to Sandy that he was in for a real Binghamton treat. During almost every B-Met home game since the franchise began in Binghamton 21 years ago, an elderly gent called ‘Jingles’ dances to his own lively signature song during the break between the halves of inning seven. Jingles stage is located directly behind where Sandy and I sat. Sandy loved it, clapping to the rhythm and cheering loudly with all the other B-Met fans when ‘JIngles’ completed his jig.

In fact, Sandy was so inspired, as he sat back down in his seat, I watched him fish around in a pocket and pull out his ticket stub. Sandy jotted something down on the stub, turned to me and said, “Here. Take this. If you ever get to New York City call this number, and I’ll make sure you have a good time.”

Stunned would be an understatement. By the time the game had ended, Lagares would add a basehit to his 13-pitch at bat. And Reese Havens went 2-5 with a double and RBI. Sandy and I shook hands and headed our separate ways.

Tiny_timUnlike the cold, solitary, uncaring Sandy Alderson portrayed in print, I experienced the polar opposite. The Sandy Alderson who watched a baseball game with me at NYSEG was curious, welcoming, fun-loving, and generous, nothing like Dicken’s Ebenezer Scrooge.

Oh, you probably want to know if I ever called the number on the ticket stub. Not during the remainder of the 2011 season. The Mets were limping along at the end of the year, so I reasoned I might make better use of Sandy’s offer early in the 2013 campaign.

As luck would have it, my son who resides in Los Angeles, came east for a cousin’s wedding. I hadn’t seen him in a year and asked if he would like to catch a game at Citi Field. A huge Met fan, who only sees his team on west coast swings, my son had never visited the Mets new ball park and was eager to make the trip.

I called the number. It hooked me with Sandy’s office. His secretary was great. She made the arrangements for us to see the game. When my two other children learned they hadn’t been included they were not too pleased with Dad. So, tail between my legs, I called back and inquired if there was a chance that there might be four tickets instead of two.

The end result – a magical night for me and my family. The Mets rolled out the red carpet, and we had a blast. It was an evening none will forget.

When we returned home I wanted to do something personal for Sandy in way of thanks. The Catskills and our mountains are famous for maple syrup. I sent Sandy and his secretary containers of home made syrup with a lengthy hand written thank you letter explaining how much the night meant to me and my family and, of course, expressing my thanks. Like the first President Bush, famous for his hand written thank you notes, Sandy impressed me as a similar kind of guy.

Several days later, when I returned home from my morning errands, I had a message on my answering machine from Sandy’s secretary to call his office. I did. After a pleasant chat, she told me how much she appreciated the maple syrup. She added that I had not left a return address on the package, and Sandy had asked her to call and get my address. I chuckled not expecting a thank-you for a thank-you, but sent along the information.

Not long after, a handwritten thank-you from Sandy on New York Met stationary arrived. It read:

John,

Thanks for your letter and the maple syrup! Both will help me through the month of September as we try to get back on a positive note here at Citi. I’m glad you enjoyed the trip here and look forward to seeing you again in Binghamton when I return there.

Regards, Sandy

I hope good fortune brings me together with Sandy Alderson again some day. Far from the Ebenezer Scrooge-like character unhappy Met fans portray him to play, the Sandy Alderson I met is everything Scrooge is not; a self-confident, fun-loving, genial, and generous guy. In the spirit of the Christmas season, I wish Sandy good fortune and good health and the joy that comes with a winning Met baseball season in New York.

An MMO Flashback from December 24, 2013.

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Mets and Coca-Cola Announce Landmark Partnership http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-and-coca-cola-announce-landmark-partnership.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-and-coca-cola-announce-landmark-partnership.html/#comments Mon, 07 Dec 2015 15:02:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201821 wilpon pepsi mets

The 2015 National League Champion New York Mets and The Coca-Cola Company announced today a long-term landmark agreement making Coca-Cola the newest Signature Partner of the Mets and Citi Field. Today’s announcement was made by representatives from the Mets and Coca-Cola as they rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The partnership between the two entities will include year-round Coca-Cola presence throughout Citi Field beginning in 2016 including a Coca-Cola themed seating area in right field. It will also feature products such as Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Dasani bottled water, Gold Peak Iced Tea, and others available throughout Citi Field.

In addition, the Mets and Coca-Cola will collaboratively plan and execute a variety of marketing, advertising, and promotional programs and platforms to maximize the impact of the partnership and to benefit fans, including the launch of commemorative 12-ounce Coca-Cola cans celebrating the Mets’ 2015 League Championship. Cans will be available throughout the New York Metropolitan area beginning next month.

“We are excited to partner with Coca-Cola as we align our brand with the most popular soft drink brand in the world,” said Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon. “Like the Mets, Coca-Cola has a very loyal fan base, and we are proud to partner with them and look forward to serving their products to our fans for many years to come. In addition, we look forward to implementing exciting new marketing programs at Citi Field and in the New York region.”

“Coca-Cola and the Mets share a passion to refresh baseball fans and enhance their entertainment,” said Sandy Douglas, President, Coca-Cola North America. “This partnership combines our iconic brand with a championship caliber team right here in the business and sports capital of the world. We are excited by the innovative marketing programs we have developed for the 2016 season, and are certain that they will inspire moments of optimism and happiness both on and off of Citi Field.”

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Five Takeaways From Mets Game 2 Loss http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/five-takeaways-from-mets-game-2-loss.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/five-takeaways-from-mets-game-2-loss.html/#comments Thu, 29 Oct 2015 14:40:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=198364 Last night the Mets and Jacob deGrom got knocked out early as they were unable to solve Johnny Cueto. The series is not getting off to the start the Mets or their fans would have hoped for after being completely dominated and heading back to Citi Field down two games. Here’s what you can takeaway from the loss last night:

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1. The Royals offense is better than I thought they would be and did a great job last night of making Jacob deGrom work. Alex Gordon came up huge again and sparked what turned into a four-run rally for Kansas City and a disastrous inning for deGrom. Last night was only the second time and first since May 26th, 2014 (3rd ML start) that deGrom has allowed more walks (3) than batters he struck out (2).

Wilmer flores

2. How about that guy playing shortstop for the Mets right now? Wilmer Flores made two more very  solid defensive plays last night and is beginning to look like he knows what he is doing at shortstop. His solid defensive postseason was highlighted by one play, showing off his good range and making an off balance throw to get Ben Zobrist in the 7th inning of Game 2. Let’s hope he can continue to flash the leather for a pitching staff that desperately needs help against the contact-hitting Royals.

3. The Mets offense is absolutely in a rut right now in what couldn’t be worse timing. They have now scored just one earned run in the last 18 innings while producing only seven hits during that span. The Mets did put the ball in play last night, striking out only four times against Cueto but failed to get an extra base hit. For the Mets to get back into this series guys like Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud are going to have to start producing.

hansel robles

4. I wasn’t sure before last night but the good news is that Hansel Robles and Sean Gilmartin are both alive and well. Robles worked a clean sixth inning (with some help from Yoenis Cespedes) showing some life on his fastball despite not having pitched for 18 days. Gilmartin got the final two outs in the 8th inning after not having pitched in a game since October 1st. Many disagreed with me but I thought either Robles or Gilmartin should have been brought into the bases loaded situation on Tuesday night. Both can strike out batters at a higher rate than Bartolo Colon and while I know they have struggled with inherited runners, either of them had a better chance of succeeding in that situation I think.

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5.  I think people forget because he has struggled with the Royals and got thrashed by the Blue Jays last week that Johnny Cueto is a good major league pitcher. Cueto is just one year removed from leading the National League in strikeouts and finishing second in the Cy Young voting. He had all his pitches working and was successful keeping the ball in the zone most of the night with only Lucas Duda having any success against him.

The Mets have put themselves into a 0-2 hole, but this team has shown all year they are resilient and I certainly wouldn’t count them out with three games coming up at Citi Field.

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Check Out These Stunning Mets Graphics! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/check-out-these-stunning-mets-graphics.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/check-out-these-stunning-mets-graphics.html/#comments Tue, 27 Oct 2015 13:00:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=198074 I’ve gotta tell ya… Running this site… Chatting with all of you incredible Mets fans – both readers and writers – is such a blast. I especially enjoy all the MMO readers that write in just to tell us how much they love the site, or to submit a Fan Shot, or to send in these amazing Mets Graphics that will blow your mind.

Longtime Met fan and graphic designer David Dolinsky sent these stunning images he created of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Jeurys Familia.

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 THE DEGROMINATOR

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 NOAH

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 THE DARK KNIGHT

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MAD MATZ

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FUEGO

Dave was raised a Met fan by his father who was originally a Yankee and Brooklyn Dodger fan. But when the Mets came around in ’62, his father followed them for fun and never looked back.

Like myself, Dave’s been a fan since the early 70′s and lived through all of the ups and downs. He created these designs for the pure enjoyment of celebrating our beloved team and this amazing season.

He will be designing more, so fans should check out his incredible work on his Flickr Page and follow him on Twitter @david_dolinsky.

Thanks so much for sharing these with us David, and Let’s Go Mets!

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Watch: Must See Mets Tribute Video http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mmo-exclusive-must-see-mets-tribute-video.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mmo-exclusive-must-see-mets-tribute-video.html/#comments Mon, 26 Oct 2015 04:41:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=197999 mets win nlcs

I love that so many fans are so inspired about our Mets right now that many of them are charged up and motivated to create some truly fantastic graphics and artwork, phenomenal sculptures, and dramatic videos and songs to celebrate the team and their amazing postseason run to a World Series Championship.

I wish I could post all of the incredible and uniquely inspired stuff that fans have been emailing me over the last two weeks. This stuff is all so cool. And please keep it coming!

On Friday when one of my writers asked me if I would post a Mets video by his dear friends, a wonderful rendition of Danny Boy dedicated to Daniel Murphy by Irish singer Maxine Linehan, the video went viral the next day and I received two wonderful thank you notes from Maxine and her husband Andrew.

I have another special treat for you this morning straight from the MMO Community, created by one of our own Omid Malekan a true Mets die-hard. This is the perfect video to get you energized for tomorrow night’s big game. I’m sure you will all love it. It’s called The Space Between, a dramatic video that will leave you profoundly proud and emotionally inspired for our New York Mets.

Please enjoy it and Let’s Go Mets..

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The Fog of Triumph and the Glory of the 2015 Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/the-fog-of-triumph-and-the-glory-of-the-2015-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/the-fog-of-triumph-and-the-glory-of-the-2015-mets.html/#comments Sun, 25 Oct 2015 15:13:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=197899 mets FB

If you’re like me, it’s been extremely difficult to find the time – or mood – to actually do any work these days.  After all, it serves only to disrupt the desired single-minded focus on the Mets.

But because there have been so very many memorable moments in this most memorable of years, it has actually become very difficult to process – not to mention comprehend – the whole thing, or focus on any single one, because each most-memorable-moment has been trumped by the next one…ad infinitum in 2015.

It is a rare thing, this fog of triumph.

As is most often the case, this magic carpet ride has been more about a most unexpected journey than the even more unexpected destination, lofty as that destination can now be.  So for a moment before we commence hostilities on the ultimate stage, take a breath, stop, and reflect on a season that is already an embarrassment of riches, overflowing with most-memorable-moments-and-memories – even before a single pitch is hurled in the fall classic.

In April, we thought that 11 game winning streak would probably be the highlight of a season in which we expected to compete, but not win.

But then came May and the unveiling of Thor,  who actually managed to  exceed the enormous expectations we had for him.

But that might have been displaced in June, with the unforgettable debut of Steven Matz, his dominant stuff perhaps expected, his four RBI’s certainly not.

But of course, this was just getting started.  Tip of the iceberg.

Eric Campbell Strikeout

Things began to fall apart.  Injuries and suspensions exacting a growing toll.  Mayberry and Campbell being the worst four and five hitters in major league history – against Clayton Kershaw, no less – came to symbolize a Mets offense so pathetic that it had become a trending topic among seamheads.  Something, anything, had to be done.

And then it happened.  In the space of a single week, this team pulled off arguably the most dramatic offensive transformation ever.  With trades and the return of disabled players, a third of the team turned over.  The offense went from worst to first.  Literally.  Almost overnight.  Could any transformation be more dramatic than that?

But these are the Mets, so of course before the transformation from the BC (Before Cespedes) Mets to the AD (After Deadline) Mets could take hold, the soap opera that was the transformation had to commence with pure pathos.  It had to start, as these fairy tales so often do, with hitting rock bottom.

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On the evening of July 29, who among us could believe anything would be more memorable – for better or worse – than Wilmer breaking into tears for all the world to see?  The trade exiling Mr. Flores to Milwaukee never happened, and seemed like a death blow, not to mention another in a long line of major embarrassments for this star-crossed franchise.  A failed trade magnified in the national spotlight.  And now, no big bat to put us over the top.

And the long-running narrative of the LOL Mets was neatly wrapped in a bow the next day with a ghastly loss to the Padres – worst of the season – in a drenching downpour that seemed both appropriately depressing and certain to fully – and perhaps finally – relegate us to the permanent ranks of cursed, snake bitten losers.

Will this curse, this embarrassment, this shame stay with us forever, I asked myself.  Thinking about all these years of collapses and Madoff and lousy teams, it seemed that, despite all this great young pitching, something was going very wrong.  Again.  After all, Generation K was going to be great, too…

If you had asked 1,000,000 Mets fans that day if they believed what has happened since was possible, precisely 0 would have said yes.  OK, maybe 1.

cespedes granderson

Certainly, when the rebirth of the Mets was complete, when this Phoenix began its rise from the ashes on that last day of July which will forever be etched in the memory of Mets fans everywhere, simply acquiring Yoenis Cespedes would have been more than enough.  Of course, thinking like a typical Mets fan, I knew he was a free swinger with big power. but also prone to strike out, not suited to CF, we were told, and since he would be joining his fourth team in two years, something must be wrong with him.  After all, the Mets had tried to trade for three other guys first.  I was grateful, but skeptical.

But, in a portent of the inconceivable pattern soon to emerge, even that huge trade was replaced in the realm of most-memorable-moment by the heroics of our instant folk hero that very evening.  Wilmer’s 12th inning homer to slay the mighty Nationals would surely be the stuff of legend.  It would surely stand up as the most-memorable-moment of the season.  Not.

It took a while, but when Mr. Cespedes started heating up, he went places no one thought possible.  17 homers in 41 games.  All big ones, it seemed.

Remember the eight home runs in one game in Philly in late August?  What the heck could top that?  Of course, in a classic case-in-point about displaced most-memorables, you may have long since forgotten that the Mets overcame five run deficits twice in sweeping that four game set in late at CBP.  What a series!  Most memorable?  Maybe for a few days.

david wright

We move to the opener of what turned out to be the best regular season series in franchise history, the three gamer in DC in early September, when the captain capped a late inning comeback with the game winning hit and later provided the season’s most iconic image, that fist-pumping, adrenaline-drenched, frustration-releasing celebration after scoring.

But true to form, that particular most-memorable-moment lasted all of one day.  My wife and I watched from three rows behind the plate the next night as Mr. Cespedes cracked a three run double – and the Nats walked the ballpark – in that 6 run 7th inning as the boys overcame a 7-1 deficit in the next sure-to-be-most-memorable-moment.

But even that memory only lasted an inning, displaced by Captain Kirk’s game-winning bomb.

And just how fitting was it – spooky even – that it was a comeback from the same 7-1 score by which they led in that horrible loss to the Padres on July 30.   One signalling a season that was going to end badly, the other serving as final confirmation this was all going to end well.

But it took only 24 hours for the previous night to be displaced in the memory bank, or at least equalled, by YC’s monstrous 8th inning home run off a shaken Drew Storen that assured a second straight sweep of the team that has tormented them for years, and locked them into an insurmountable lead atop the NL East.

Certainly, the series in Atlanta that followed could not provide any memories approaching that, right?  Wrong.  In the finale of that four game set, a game the Mets seemed almost to mail in, Daniel Murphy provided what no one at the time suspected would be a preview of an outrageous, unthinkable, unparalleled October display of power: a three run homer with two outs in the 9th to tie a game the Mets would win in extras to complete another sweep.

lucas duda hr

And then came Cincinnati.  Lucas Duda cracks a freakin’ grand slam in the first inning of the clincher.  Of course, that may have been topped by the captain’s three run bomb to place a perfect bow on a perfect day.  Or our manager spraying champagne on the fans in Cincinnati (and later Chicago).  Or the conga line with Mets fans along the rail in Cincinnati.  Or the captain proclaiming that he bleeds orange and blue.

But have not almost all of those incredible regular season memories somehow become almost dim or distant when we consider the bushel of memories from a still incomplete October (and likely November)?

Start with Jacob’s 13 strikeout performance in the opener of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium.  Then, the Utley play the next day – nothing if not memorable/unforgettable.  But only until it was displaced by the awesome sight of Reuben limping out to join his teammates, and the fans warming up for their beatdown of Utley by ferociously booing the Dodgers’ massage therapist (!) in the first-ever post-season game at Citi.

But as my wife and I looked on from the best seats in the house, those memories were quickly displaced by a ten run outburst over three innings that brought us to the precipice of clinching…only to see that performance displaced in the memory banks three days later by Jacob’s historically gritty, unforgettably clutch performance in the deciding game on the road.

daniel murphy nlds 4

And then, there’s the aforementioned Daniel Murphy.  It was pleasing to see him hit one homer, surprising to see him hit two, shocking to see him hit three, incredible to see him hit four, unbelievable to see him hit five, and otherworldly to see him hit six…in six straight games.  All other adjectives describing his feat have been well exhausted.

The greatest couple of post-season series by a hitter in major league history.  By a guy who never hit for power.  Against the best pitchers in the league. The stuff of legends they will be talking about for years to come.  Process that.  I have yet to succeed in doing so.

In the NLCS series against the Cubs, the memories are not so much of moments or components, but of the composite.  Scoring in every first inning.  Trailing not for a single inning.  Dominant starting pitching end to end, making good hitters look awful.  Preventing even a single leadoff hitter to reach base in the first three games.  A virtually flawless bullpen.  A shutdown closer.

But even with all that, the team did things against the Cubs even the most optimistic fans could not have envisioned.  Excellent defense.  Seven stolen bases.  Superb base running.

Wiping the floor with a 97 win team.  Looking unbeatable.

terry collins

And the managing?  Everything Terry Collins has touched with the AD Mets has turned to gold.  Um, exactly how did he morph from Art Howe into John McGraw?  And while we’re at it, exactly how did Jeurys Familia morph into Mariano Rivera?  And how did Curtis Granderson morph from Jason Bay into Rickey Henderson?

Perhaps these were gifts from the same angel who has obviously taken on Murph as a client.

I would say nothing could top the treasure trove of 2015 most-memorable-moments already burned into our souls.  But I’ve said that so many times in the last three months, I refuse to do so on the doorstep of the biggest prize of all.

The Royals are a worthy foe loaded for bear after coming this close to winning it all last year.  And while it is unrealistic to expect the Mets to perform as well as they did in the NLCS, if they come even close to that, it will not matter who they are playing.

Not sure about you, but I will need this entire winter to cut through this fog of triumph and process the full glory – ALL the most-memorable-moments of this forever season.  And the final act has yet even to begin.

I suspect it will all make for a winter that is anything but dark and cold.  What say we kick it off by meeting up at the Canyon of Heroes!

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Oh, What A KNIGHT! Harvey Speaks To Reporters… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/oh-what-a-knight-harvey-speaks-to-reporters.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/oh-what-a-knight-harvey-speaks-to-reporters.html/#comments Sun, 18 Oct 2015 15:19:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=197073 IMG_20151018_104637

Kudos to Newsday on this spectacular back page in today’s paper that perfectly describes the super-charged atmosphere at Citi Field, no doubt fueled by a dominant pitching performance by right-hander Matt Harvey.

After the game, Harvey spoke to reporters and fielded questions.

Was cold weather a factor in setting up your secondary pitches, making it much harder for the Cubs to kind of react to that?

“Yeah, I think that was the game plan going in. I know I don’t like to watch video too, too much, but Dan Warthen came in a couple hours before the game and just we kind of went over the guys a little bit more than normal.”

“I think the biggest thing was right off the bat he just said, “Find your secondary stuff and kind of work off of that.” Luckily I was able to throw it for a strike when I needed to, and kind of keep them off balance. They hit a couple balls hard, but luckily they were right at guys. I really just tried to throw strikes and the guys made all the plays behind me and they made it easy.”

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Were you happy with your performance after struggling somewhat in your NLDS start?

“I think after the first go around I definitely wasn’t happy. Obviously we won, and that was the most important thing. But I think I kind of said in the press conference yesterday that I really wanted to be back out there as much as I possibly could, and getting the ball the first game, I really wanted to start things off the right way and get us rolling. Fortunately enough I had things working pretty well, and we were able to do that.”

How’s the arm?

“The ball kind of dented my arm a little bit, got me right in the tricep. But I felt fine going out there again, and really felt fine through the rest of the game. It’s a little bit swollen right now, but the training staff will take care of that and we’ll be all set.”

matt harvey strikes out side

After a tumultuous month, how did it feel to be hearing fans chanting your name?

“Oh, it was great. I think after everything that’s happened, I think the biggest thing was really staying focused on what I had to do tonight. Regardless of what’s happened, my job was to go out and give us quality innings and keep the damage down and really, like I said, get us starting off right.”

“I wanted to go out there. I wanted this game bad, and luckily we put up some runs. I was able to limit damage, like Murph said. It was a complete team win, and it was nice being able to contribute to that.”

On pitching in the 8th inning.

“I think right away he (Terry) asked how the tricep was doing and if I was fine, and after I said the tricep was all good, it really wasn’t much conversation after that. I give him a lot of thanks for trusting me to go back out there.”

“Unfortunately, I threw a ball over the middle, and that hasn’t landed yet, but luckily Familia, who in my mind is the best closer in the game, came in and shut them down.”

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Conforto Comfortable Facing Greinke http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/conforto-comfortable-facing-greinke.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/conforto-comfortable-facing-greinke.html/#comments Thu, 15 Oct 2015 18:33:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=196651 michael conforto

Mets’ rookie Michael Conforto will make his second career postseason start tonight against Dodgers right-handed starter Zack Greinke. Conforto already faced Greinke back in game two, and he had successful night at the plate against him.

While he only recorded one hit, it was a huge one. Conforto blasted a solo home run to right field which gave the Mets an early 2-0 lead.

“I had two at-bats against him, I saw maybe three pitches to hit,” Conforto said. “The approach we had was pretty solid. It worked out for me.”

“I was just kind of trying to keep him in the middle of the plate, make him elevate,” Conforto said. “Then just try and get something you can hit the ball hard, but he has a lot of good stuff.” (Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News)

Conforto’s role has been limited this series because the Mets have benched him against all the Dodger lefties. However, he can make a big impact once again like he did back in Game 2.

He’s going to be a dangerous hitter for Greinke to deal with as he’s crushed right-handed pitching all season long.

In 160 regular season at bats, he batted .275 against them with 9 home runs and an OPS of .872.

Conforto was disappointed with the outcome of Tuesday night’s game, but he’s very excited for the opportunity to start tonight in Game 5.

“I think it’s exciting,” Conforto said after the Mets lost Game 4 Tuesday night. “We would have liked to win (Tuesday) and clinch this in front of our fans. But I think we all see it as an opportunity and we’re excited.”

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Mets Fans Were Loud and Proud and Stole the Show! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mets-fans-were-loud-and-proud-and-stole-the-show.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mets-fans-were-loud-and-proud-and-stole-the-show.html/#comments Tue, 13 Oct 2015 16:00:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=196410 AP NLDS DODGERS METS BASEBALL S BBN USA NY

There it is as plain as day – “Beat LA” – the greatest way for the Mets to retaliate against Chase Utley, Adrian Gonzalez and Don Mattingly, and exact our pound of flesh.

The New York Mets took care of business on Monday night and treated a packed and energized house at Citi Field to an incredible evening of moments we will treasure the rest of our lives.

ruben tejada waves

You knew it was going to be a special night before the game even started. We had a thunderous ovation and shower of support for injured shortstop Ruben Tejada… A chorus of jeers, taunts and boos rained down on the fiendish Chase Utley… And an emotional and heartfelt moment when Rusty Staub tossed the ceremonial first pitch home. It was all incredible and breathtaking.

While the Mets bats did all the talking on a perfect night for baseball, it was the great fans who filled every square inch of the park donning their orange and blue garb, that stole the show with their amazing passion coming through with such thunderous and dramatic effect.

“They were electric,” said starting pitcher Matt Harvey. “I think they definitely were the tenth man. I know the offense definitely fed off of their emotions, they were awesome from pitch one.”

Awesome. That’s a word we’ve been hearing a lot these days when talking about our New York Mets. But this team is so much more than that as they continue to amaze and thrill us in the most stunning and magical ways imaginable.

crowd fans nlds citi field credit Jim McIsaac Newsday

After being down 3-0 and coming right back in the bottom of the second with a resounding four-run counter-punch that stunned and suffocated the life out of the Dodgers, it was clear that the Mets were ready to exact a different kind of revenge for their fallen comrade.

There would be no hit batsmen or spikes-high slides… Just an incredible offensive beat-down that set a new franchise record for the most runs ever scored in a postseason game.

It was a gut-punch that put the Dodgers a game away from elimination much to the delight of the roaring fans. “Not in Our House,” one banner read. “Chase is a Disgrace,” read another. The message from the greatest fan base in the world was loud and clear.

fans mets citi cut to the chase

I’ve raved often enough about this Mets team and their capacity for rising to the occasion when the moment called for it, as well as their unparalleled resiliency and ability to comeback with such phenomenal voraciousness and fight.

But the fans have been equally impressive and last night they showed the nation their tremendous spirit and outpouring of love for their team. They were electric, energetic, responsive and on point. They created an atmosphere that hasn’t been seen in Flushing since the days of Big Shea.

Watching it all unfold and taking it all in was a super-charged delirious delight for all the senses. And for one magic-filled and memorable evening, we all came together as one powerful and passionate and singular voice to express our pride and appreciation for our New York Mets. I’m so proud to be a part of it with all of you. Thank you, Met fans, you’re the best. I love you guys…

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MMO Fan Shot: The Keepers Of The Diamond http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mmo-fan-shot-the-keepers-of-the-diamond.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mmo-fan-shot-the-keepers-of-the-diamond.html/#comments Mon, 12 Oct 2015 16:29:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=196325 shea3

A Guest Article by James H. Burns

When the Mets return to Citi Field today, there will be some members of the team’s extended family who will be missing their first post-season in the club’s history:

Men and women who wore the orange and blue, or some variation thereof, for decades.

For years, the ushers at Shea Stadium, were the most direct contact fans had with the ballclub. Many of them had been at the Met’s first “new stadium,” since its debut in 1964, and others had baseball pedigrees that went back to Yankee Stadium, the Polo Grounds or Ebbets Field in the 1950s!

But when Citi Field opened in 2009, many ushers felt that too many of their working conditions had changed, and they did not return for another season.

Many of these men, in their seventies, were part of the fun of going to a ballgame. Where else was the average patron going to be able to hobnob with someone who had a personal baseball history going back to the time of Jackie Robinson, and Joe DiMaggio? Other, younger veterans, had witnessed the Mets’ humble beginnings, their 1969 championship season, and all the seasons, thereafter:

Whether sublime, or elsewise!

As Citi Field was being erected, however, word began to come down to the staff that things were not going to be the same in the new environs. Now, according to every usher asked, it would be an automatically fire-able offense, if they took a tip.

shea seat attendant

This was a particularly nasty turn of events for those customers who had learned one of the great old ballpark’s secrets. If you arrived at Shea’s field box section one hour before game time, as the opposing team’s batting practice was winding down, you were allowed to sit there, before the prime level’s gates were shut down. (Those with tickets, of course, could always get in.)

If you stayed on the lower level (ignoring the stadium announcement to return to your actual ticket location), one of the ushers who knew you would give you a great seat, somewhere before “first pitch”–for a modest gratuity (five dollars, twenty years ago; escalated to ten bucks at the millenial). The ushers wouldn’t do this for just anybody. They had to believe that you were a nice, well behaved fan.

They were also, to some extent, helping the Mets. What looks better on television: Empty seats behind the players, or a group of happy enthusiasts? Even the ballplayers have said it’s disturbing to play to a phalanx of empty stands…

The Loge–Shea’s middle level–also got plenty of action, with the ushers sitting folks in seats that would otherwise be empty.

There were also a multitude of fans who simply enjoyed greeting those employees whom they could always count on seeing, and who had been a part of what was clearly a lovely part of their lives.

Having a conversation with one of these baseball lifers could, in fact, be a treat of the day.

The first odd turn at Citi Field was that ushers who had their Shea locations for seemingly forever, were switched out to new parts of the stadium.

But when many of the old-timers realized that Mets management was serious about enforcing their new rules… They found working for the team no longer made much sense.

One seventy-five year usher said, in 2009, “I can retire to Florida… How can I stay up North… Working for less money than I’ve ever made before?”

No one seemed to win in this particular scenario, as too many Mets telecasts over the last several years have been highlighted by the spectre of Citi’s oddly, darkly colored seats, with no one sitting in them

And perhaps it was an illusion, but many of the long-time vendors also seemed to be gone. People that some fans could recall seeing since their childhood, seemed to have disappeared somewhere between the new international food court, and Shake Shack….

(As Gary Cohen, the Mets’ lead broadcaster once noted, there also seemed to be far fewer vendors, than at Shea…)

To be sure, there are others among the long-time Mets employees who are still happily walking the club’s merry corridors of baseball.

If all of this seems odd to bring up now, during what has been the most unexpectedly happy of Mets seasons, it’s simply in an attempt to remember some of those who made being a Mets fan so special during all of those earlier, winning seasons.

There will, after all, be many former Mets players on hand for the festivities this week.

I’m just hoping that somewhere,Thomas, and Ken, and Harold, and all the rest are sitting comfortably in front of a TV–or at Citi Field!–enjoying another playoff run. And that somehow they know, that many of us recall how great it once was, to be there with them.

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JB_bioThis MMO Fan Shot was contributed by James H. Burns, who is a writer/actor living in Long Island. He has written for such magazines as GENTLEMAN’S QUARTERLY, ESQUIRE, HEAVY METAL and TWILIGHT ZONE; and more recently, Op-Eds or features for THE VILLAGE VOICE, THE SPORTING NEWS, CBS-NY.COM, and THE NEW YORK TIMES.

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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Featured Post: Patience, Prospects, And Staying The Course http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/featured-post-patience-prospects-and-staying-the-course.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/featured-post-patience-prospects-and-staying-the-course.html/#comments Sun, 11 Oct 2015 14:10:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=195887 As the Mets enter their first playoff series in nine years tonight, we can all agree that it sure has been a long, winding road back here. Since 2006, the Mets have experienced two managerial changes, a change in general manager, two historic collapses, and a host of mediocre seasons. For most of that time, it seemed as if the Mets were going nowhere. The organization was stuck in the purgatory of 70 to 79 wins, too many to get top draft picks, but too good to be even close to competitive.

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Alderson’s method has been slow and excruciating, a definite change of pace from the Minaya era.

When Sandy Alderson took over the team after the 2010 season, it seemed as if the organization had ground to a halt. Alderson’s style was in stark contrast to Omar Minaya’s: he was about as reluctant as any executive in baseball to make any flashy moves, especially those which required the team to take on salary. Say what you will about the Wilpons’ financial state (and I will always be in the camp that they withheld and continue to withhold money), but it did save the Mets from the restricting long-term commitments that had plagued the previous front office.

This made the early years of Alderson’s regime especially frustrating. At least Minaya tried to improve the big league club, however badly he often handled that. The biggest free agents the Mets seemed to bring in were the likes of Scott Hairston and Marlon Byrd. The Yankees dropping hundreds of millions on players seemingly every offseason didn’t exactly make things better. And that frustration was totally justified. A New York team should be players in free agency and trade talks every year.

However, Alderson saw what many fans either failed or refused to see. He looked at the Yankees and realized that method of building a winning club simply wasn’t possible in Queens. The Dodgers and Yankees are the only two teams who could, in theory, build successful teams year after year by just throwing money at their problems. No left fielder? We’ll just drop $100 million over seven years to fix that problem immediately. And when that player fizzles out three years later, we’ll spend another $100 million to fix that. This model may work for teams like the Yankees and Dodgers, the only two who can afford this, but it does not work for anyone else. The only way to build is to actually build. You know, from the ground up.

As frustrating as Sandy Alderson’s first actions were, they made sense. He liquidated most of what could be dealt and saved the few long term assets available (i.e. David Wright). Trading Carlos Beltran, R.A. Dickey, John Buck, and Marlon Byrd absolutely did make the team less competitive in the near term, but they were never going to help in the long term. And as much as general managers say they want to win immediately, the goal is always to build a long-term winner. That’s what’s best for the franchise, the league, and the fans.

You see, Alderson did what few general managers these days have the gumption to do: wait it out, knowing that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. If you build up your system enough, and stock it with top-tier young talent, odds are your system is going to produce a core of young, above-average, cheap players. In my opinion (and it seems like this is Alderson’s opinion too), you cannot win year after year without a young, cheap, core group of players. Even the Yankees, who I just said were the exception, needed Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and Jorge Posada to win in the late-90s.

noah syndergaard

Having cheap, controllable players like Syndergaard frees up millions of dollars to spend elsewhere if needed.

Stockpiling prospects, however unglamorous, is the best way to build this young core. With high prospect failure rates, you can’t just rely on one or two to save your franchise.

For years, the Mets did nothing but bring in top and middle-tier prospects. In fact, Michael Fulmer was, by far, the biggest prospect to be dealt during the Sandy Alderson regime. But more importantly, having a young core frees up a ridiculous amount of money to fill whatever miscellaneous holes your team has. This is where Bartolo Colon, Curtis Granderson, and Michael Cuddyer fit in. When you look at the Mets’ starting four heading into the division series, not only are all four absolute studs, but they all make the league minimum. In fact, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz will all be making the league minimum for multiple years. That’s part of what makes this all sustainable. Then you add in Michael Conforto and Travis d’Arnaud. Heck, even throw Matt Harvey in there, even though he’s arbitration-eligible this winter. All six of those guys will, combined, cost the Mets less than $10 million next season.

These last few years have been very trying for most Mets fans. Prospects develop slowly, and that sucks. Money has been tight, and hard decisions had to be made. Did Alderson do a perfect job in getting us here? Absolutely not. He has made some glaring mistakes. However, he’s limited his mistakes enough that he’s kept on this steady, gradual path towards a winning ballclub.

Building a team the right way requires diligence, patience, and the ability to withstand flak from fans and the media. Whatever you think about Alderson’s approach to baseball, how he acquired (or didn’t acquire) some of his prospects, or how he’s handled the media over these last few years, it’s clear that the hard-but-necessary path he took this franchise on has paid off. I can honestly sit here and say that the Mets are going to be good, and no matter what happens tonight, this weekend, or in the weeks ahead, they’re going to be good for many years to come.

Boy, does it feel good to say that.

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