Mets Merized Online » Michael Baron http://metsmerizedonline.com Fri, 01 Aug 2014 01:21:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Sprinting to the Finish: The Culture of Losing http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/sprinting-to-the-finish-the-culture-of-losing.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/sprinting-to-the-finish-the-culture-of-losing.html/#comments Fri, 20 Sep 2013 17:00:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129668 Six weeks ago, an unidentified Mets executive – and really, how many are there – told Mike Puma of the Post that the front office was pleased with the work of Terry Collins and his staff. Then he said this:

“I think they’re doing a good job of sprinting to the finish line.”

Sure, if the runner in question is Ramon Castro.

The Mets are sprinting nowhere, once again. They’re tumbling, scuffling, tripping to the finish line, another dreary soul-crushing fourth place finish, another dispiriting September, acres of empty seats in the cool Flushing air.

They call the top deck at Citi Field the “Promenade” but that suggests movement, as in quantities of people moving around, promenading to and fro, while top quality baseball unfolds on the greensward below. Static, empty green seats and old Nathan’s wrappers blowing like ghost town tumbleweeds does not a “promenade” make.

I’m not sure what to make of the insistence that Terry Collins has created some sort of miracle with the low-rent talent Sandy Alderson has given him. Isn’t that narrative either a vicious indictment of Alderson (who has seemed as checked out at times as any New York sports general manager this side of Glen Sather) or the very faintest of praise for Collins? I’m not a Collins hater. I admire a gritty baseball lifer as much as the next Wilford Brimley fan, but I simply have no understanding of this movement to keep him at the helm as the team slips further into irrelevance. It’s not that he’s been a disaster. In some ways I agree with Michael Baron of Metsblog, who repeated on Twitter once again the line that “we will just be having the same argument about the next manager. In the end, it really doesnt matter too much.”

You could almost hear Baron (who has great eye behind the lens, by the way) sigh in frustration.

Yet I think it does matter, at least a little bit. When Gil Hodges took over a losing franchise in 1968, he changed the culture. Old-timers will remember that it was like flipping a switch. The Mets didn’t win right away, but losing became unacceptable and the man in the dugout was clearly the man in charge of what happened at Shea Stadium. Davey Johnson‘s arrival – one Mets generation later – had a similar effect, and Johnson had managed many of the young players who formed the core of the juggernaut Mets of 1986.

One of those young wallbangers was Wally Backman, a knock-about second baseman who would do anything to win. Backman is finishing his second year managing the Mets AAA affiliate, making the post-season despite the revolving door on his bench, as the big club filled its empty slots and shuttled players between Vegas and Flushing like a partially inebriated blackjack player flicking his chips between hands. Backman is a hot head, a brawler, and the kind of character that gets the attention of young players. He’s had Flores. He’s had Lagares. He’s had Wheeler and the rest.

The party line seems to be another year of Collins. But why not Backman? Why not the brawler with the dirty uniform? Yeah the talent level doesn’t (yet) indicate a winner in Queens – but can’t the manager at least be obsessed with not losing? I think so. Time for Wally-Ball.

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Not Another Valdespin Story http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/not-another-valdespin-story.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/not-another-valdespin-story.html/#comments Mon, 15 Jul 2013 14:51:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124873 jordany valdespin

This story isn’t about Jordany Valdespin, this story is about the N.Y. Mets and their borderline comical PR machinations.

The Mets had another major twist in the Valdespin saga yesterday.

On this episode of How the Valde-spins, Jordany was notified that he would be demoted to AAA where he could get regular at bats.

Jordany proceeded to have a conniption, a melt-down, a tantrum, an epic hissy fit or whatever you want to call it.

That was certainly a story, one with creepy little centipede legs that would keep the Mets beat writers in business for another week at least. But wait, there’s more …

Later in the evening Michael Baron would tweet that a source from the NY Post reported that Jordany called Collins a “c—ksucker” and demanded that he be put on the DL. This would later be confirmed in a story by Mike Puma at 11:15 pm:

According to a Mets source, the volatile utilityman, upon learning he had been demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday, got into a confrontation with Terry Collins, during which he called the manager a “c–ksucker.”

Someone needs to explain that one to me because it’s just weird.

TC: Jordany, I’m sorry kid, but we’ve decided to send you to Las Vegas where you can get regular at bats.

JV1: WHAT? You c—cksucker, put me on the DL.

That doesn’t make much sense does it? Valdespin isn’t even injured. And why would Terry suck clocks? What’s so bad about calling Collins a clocksucker? It’s not like he called him a juicebag.

A lot doesn’t make sense, like why all of a sudden do they now become concerned about Valdespin’s at-bats when he hasn’t been getting at-bats pretty much since they brought him up?

It took Terry Collins this long to notice that Valdespin wasn’t playing much?

Ricky Bones: Hey Terry, have you noticed Valdespin only has 6 at-bats this month?

TC: Gee, Ricky, no I hadn’t noticed that.

RB: Terry get your mouth off that clock, you don’t know where it’s been.

Again, not a lot of making sense here. They waited this long, why not wait until after the break to send Valdespin down?

Oh, right because they wanted to bring up scary old guy who punches out Starling (I love that visual) … ok never mind. I understand it was really important to shore up the bullpen for this final game of the series, because it’s all about winning correct?

Which is why Matt Harvey was rested for the Saturday game? He had a blister … one that takes more than a few days to heal, but not enough days to keep him out of the All Star game … we know a lot about this blister. The blister will heal sometime between Harvey’s scheduled start on Saturday and the All Star game, we somehow know this. Perhaps Terry Collins knows this because of all his clocks — he probably has a clock labeled “Matt Harvey’s Blister.”

Ok so maybe it isn’t about the blister. Maybe this is just an opportunity to start limiting Harvey’s innings?

Soooo … you pull your ace and you plug in one of your better relievers leaving an already tattered pen undermanned, which ends up biting you in the rear when LaTroy Hawkins who is battling triceps tendinitis (which is better than battling a triceratops with dermatitis) becomes “unavailable.”

That’s when you end up with a guy named Germen (who had a 5.70 ERA in AAA) in a crucial spot in an extra inning game against a team that presents a true test of just how “competitive” these Mets might be.

Long story short, we leave Pittsburgh just as unsure as we came in. But the point of all this is, we needed a reliever on Saturday, why couldn’t they bring up a body? Why didn’t they send Valdespin down on Saturday?

Because Atchison was still on the DL and they had no one else in the system to shore up the pen?

If that was the case wouldn’t it have been better to leave Torres in the pen and bring up someone else from Vegas for a spot start? But hey, who am I to second guess, I’m getting a headache just thinking about this and from all the clock noise. I’m sure they had reasons for playing their cards the way they did in Pittsburgh. What’s certain, however, is that the questionable player moves made it necessary that they cut a player for Sunday’s game, and that player was Valdespin … And Valdespin went kablam.

If the stuff on twitter about what Valdespin said to Collins is true, Valdespin might be suspended sometime today. As much as the Mets wish to quash this with the All Star game coming up (I’m sure they’d have preferred to deal with this after the break), the comments got out and there has to be a response … if only because MLB will probably force their hand if they don’t. The comments are in clear violation of the CBA’s behavior guidelines, namely insubordination.

So the Mets end up with pie in their face, much like Valdespin after he survived John Buck‘s decapitation attempt. They’re damned if they suspend Valdespin because it will cast a cloud of in-house drama over the All Star festivities, and damned if they don’t because everyone (including the office of the Commissioner) will know that Valdespin flipped out and called his manager a “c—ksucker” and the team didn’t discipline him, again because of said All Star festivities. This would make the organization look phony and pathetically image conscious.

It all makes me feel like the Mets are focusing way too much on this particular mid-season exhibition instead of focusing more on how to win games. The Mets, in a typical bout of public opinion paranoia have stepped in it by not taking immediate disciplinary action. They might be able to save face by promptly addressing this today, but the smart money says they will somehow botch it, worst case being a violation of Valdespin’s right to due process.

Enjoy the All Star Break…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your thoughts on the portrayal of El Dramático?

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Jordany Valdespin Against Left-Handed Pitching http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/jordany-valdespin-against-left-handed-pitching.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/jordany-valdespin-against-left-handed-pitching.html/#comments Sun, 05 May 2013 15:33:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=117630 jordany-valdespinJordany Valdespin was initially slated not to start against LHP Chris Sale on Tuesday according to Terry Collins and as reported by Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

That’s irrelevant now that Sale was moved up to pitch on Monday and will not pitch against the Mets after all.

Michael Baron of MetsBlog pointed out that against left-handed pitching, Valdespin is hitting just .182 with a .545 OPS. But what he failed to mention was that he only has 11 at-bats against left-handed pitching this season and an average fan will just look at those numbers and say he can’t hit LHP and nothing could be further from the truth.

Ike Davis, who has three times as much playing time against LHP this season is batting .138 with a .435 OPS.

I just wanted to throw that in to be fair to Valdespin while providing some actual context.

You don’t get better at something until you get more opportunities to learn and improve. Davis has gotten those opportunities and done nothing with them.

Valdespin, on the other hand, hasn’t been given enough time to make a judgement on him or write him off against left-handed pitching. In Spring Training, Valdespin batted .429 against LHP and led the team overall with a .883 OPS. Valdespin batted .276 against LHP from 2010-2012 in the minors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The flair was in full effect.

valdespin heads home

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

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

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

What are your thoughts on last night’s game?

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Valdespin Comes Through Again In Mets 7-6 Comeback Win! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/valdespin-comes-through-again-in-mets-7-6-comeback-win.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/valdespin-comes-through-again-in-mets-7-6-comeback-win.html/#comments Thu, 02 May 2013 04:19:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=117109

Just call him Mr. Clutch or as our own Daniel Nelson likes to refer to him, “El Dramatico”. Yes, of course we’re talking about the incredible Jordany Valdespin who came off the bench once again and delivered another dramatic pinch-hit home run to help the Mets beat the Marlins 7-6 and salvage the final game of the series.

Jordany-Valdespin-390x220Valdespin continues to display an uncanny ability for rising to the occasion whenever the Mets need a big hit, and in the last two seasons, no player in baseball has delivered more pinch-hit home runs than El Dramatico.

His five pinch-hit homers last season set a franchise record, and only one month into the season he’s already launched his second big knock of the year.

The Mets were trailing by three when David Wright opened the sixth with a leadoff double. Marlon Byrd followed with an RBI single and after another Ike Davis single, Valdespin took reliever A.J. Ramos deep with three-run homer. It was incredible and even more so was watching Spin pumping his fist as he rounded the bases. It put the Mets up 5-4.

An inning later, the Mets would tack on two more runs thanks to a two-run double by John Buck who begins the month of May the much in the same way he ended April. Buck now leads the league with 27 RBI.

David Wright had a great game with a dazzling play at third base and he homered, singled, and doubled at the plate.

Dillon Gee started the game and delivered a very rocky performance in which he was tagged for four runs on nine hits and two walks. It could have been worse if not for some nifty plays in the field.

Things got dicey in the bottom of the seventh when Lucas Duda misplayed a fly ball by Justin Ruggiano off reliever Scott Atchison allowing two more Marlins run to score and make the score 7-6. But the bullpen held down the fort the rest of the way, and Bobby Parnell pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to seal the victory and end the Mets’ six game losing streak. For Parnell it was his third save of the season.

This wasn’t a picture perfect win, but after a week of grim and disheartening losses, I’ll take it. After a day off on Thursday, the Mets will head to Atlanta to begin a weekend series with the Braves on Friday night at Turner Field. Shaun Marcum will make his second start of the season and will oppose the Braves’ Mike Minor at 7:05 pm.

mets win

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Paul DePodesta On What Makes A Championship Player http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/06/paul-depodesta-on-what-makes-a-championship-player.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/06/paul-depodesta-on-what-makes-a-championship-player.html/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2011 14:11:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=53264 Last night, I had the pleasure of being on a conference call with Paul DePodesta, the Mets’ Vice President of Player Development & Amateur Scouting. He was kind enough to field questions from me and several other Mets bloggers, and I was able to get the following question in:

Joe DeCaro, Mets Merized Online:

A few years ago while in San Diego, you made/said the following quote in an interview:

 ”Makeup is often what separates the championship players from the rest of the pack. Nobody on talent alone is a championship player.”

Please expand on that a little and explain what you meant by makeup. Is it something you look for early in the pre-draft process, or is it something a player develops with the rest of his game over time?

Also, in your opinion, how does Jose Reyes rank as far as makeup goes and being a championship-type player.

Paul DePodesta, New York Mets:

For me, makeup can mean an awful lot of different things. It certainly can mean work ethic, character, selflessness. I think there are a lot of things that we look for when we talk about makeup. Certainly in that quote, those were some of the things I was referring to.

Some of the great players I’ve been lucky enough to be around over the years are guys that have tremendous ability but also outwork everybody else, too. I think that’s part of what makes them great. They also have a tremendous distaste for losing and also play the game with a lot of passion — they do everything with a lot of passion. They want to be out there, they want to compete, and they want to do what it takes to win. And they’re willing to make sacrifices today that they know might not pay off for them not only tomorrow but maybe not in a year, maybe not in two or three years, but eventually will pay off for them. I think that’s a special kind of mindset and certainly not everybody has it.

And there are plenty of players in the big leagues who are extremely talented and who work pretty hard and are very good and productive players, but I think what will cut off and separate guys is that will combined with that passion. And in that sense, it’s absolutely something we look for in the draft.

The minor leagues are a real grind, a real grind. Not a whole lot of players get through it, and it’s not always just because of talent. They deal with an awful lot of failure, they deal with a lot of fatigue, they deal with a lot of selfishness on the part of other players — everybody’s goal isn’t necessarily to win, it’s to get to the big leagues in front of their teammates, in front of the guy that’s playing next to him. It can be a difficult atmosphere, so we absolutely look for guys who can not only survive in that atmosphere, but really thrive in it and do well where others might get capsized.

In terms of Jose Reyes, it’s probably not my place to comment. Since I’ve been with the Mets, I’ve spent the bulk of my time on the road; I think I’ve been in New York for all of ten days and have only gotten to see a handful of games live, as opposed to TV, but I can tell you this: he certainly plays the game with a tremendous amount of passion, one of the keys I was talking about earlier. He loves to play, and I think he brings up the people around him, and I think that’s pretty obvious, even when you’re just watching on TV. That’s certainly an admirable quality.

As always, I want to thanks the Mets for the opportunity to paticipate in these types of functions which allows fans like us to gain more insight on the organizational philosophy of the team, as well as a better overall perspective.

James Kannengieser and Alex Nelson did the tedious work of transcribing the entire conference call which you can read on their site, Amazin Avenue. Thanks, guys.

You can also listen to our friend Kerel from On The Black who asked DePo about the upcoming Moneyball movie, which I thought was pretty interesting. Stephen Keane of the Kranepool Society also had a great question regarding the recent drat. Michael Baron of MetsBlog also has a summary recap of the call.

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Exclusive Interview with MetsBlog’s Michael Baron http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/05/exclusive-interview-with-metsblogs-michael-baron.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/05/exclusive-interview-with-metsblogs-michael-baron.html/#comments Tue, 10 May 2011 12:00:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=49921 I’m pleased to present a Q&A I recently conducted with Michael Baron of MetsBlog. Like a lot of us, Michael is a very passionate Mets fan who eats, drinks, and sleeps Mets.  As we all know, he does an amazing job covering the Mets on a variety of levels, whether its through his contributions on MetsBlog, his spectacular photography, or through his in-game tweets on Twitter. Michael finds a variety of ways to not only cover the Mets, but also share his immense passion for them.

In this exclusive interview, Michael was very kind enough to answer questions about his website, photography, and of course, MetsBlog. 

Brandon Butler:  Can you give our readers a short bio about yourself?

Michael Baron:  Well, I have been a Met fan since 1985, which is when I attended my first game at Shea Stadium. I have been fortunate to witness many memorable moments at Shea Stadium, including Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Todd Pratt’s Division Series clinching home run in 1999 as well as Robin Ventura’s grand slam single, plus the entire 2006 postseason.

Brandon Butler: For you, whats it been like writing for the biggest Mets blog on the internet, while at the same time working with the Matthew Cerrone?

Michael Baron:  It’s been an amazing experience. It’s fun to be able to talk about what’s passionate to me on a grand stage like MetsBlog, and to be able to discuss my knowledge and experience with so many people.  Matt is great to work with and is so helpful. I have learned so much from him about online and social media while writing MetsBlog, and he has helped to guide me on my own endeavors as well.

Brandon Butler:  I’ve been reading the blog over the past couple weeks, and noticed Brian Erni is the new guy on the MetsBlog team. Can you give our readers a short bio of Brian, and what he is going to be doing for MetsBlog in the future?

Michael Baron:  Yes Brian is new to MetsBlog, and it’s exciting to have him on the team. He brings passionate logic to us, which is a different perspective for me because sometimes I find myself being simply passionate about the team.

Brandon Butler:  How did you get started in photography?

Michael Baron:  The first game I ever photographed was a Spring Training game in Tampa between the Astros and Yankees, when I was on a college recruiting tour in 1998. I shot it in black and white and really enjoyed the perspective it brought for me, because I was looking for different things inside the game to shoot.  I got my first digital point and shoot camera in 2002, and from then on, I have shot mostly every game I’ve attended. Through the years, I have been able to upgrade my equipment which has given me better quality as well as different opportunities with my photographs.

Brandon Butler:  Can you tell our readers about your website michaelgbaron.com?

Michael Baron:  I am still working on the direction and the message I am trying to convey with the site, but it is the primary resource for all of my sports photographs, which has spanned nine years. It contains mostly Mets photographs, but I have also shot football and hockey, as well as other Spring Training camps from around Florida.

Brandon Butler:  One final question.  I’ve seen a lot of photos of the Mets that you’ve taken, but if you had to choose one picture that would be your absolute favorite, which one would you choose and why? 

Michael Baron: On Opening Day in 2010, I shot a sequence of Johan Santana pitching. He has such great mechanics, and I was fortunate to snap one shot of him just as he was about to release a pitch. That is definitely one of my favorite shots.

For more information on Michael and his photography, you can visit his website HERE.  He has some of the best photos of the Mets you’ll ever see, and I highly recommend you check them out. They really are amazing. You can also check out Michael, Matt and the rest of the MetsBlog crew at MetsBlog.com as well.

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Will Chris Capuano Win A Spot In The Rotation? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/02/will-chris-capuano-win-a-spot-in-the-rotation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/02/will-chris-capuano-win-a-spot-in-the-rotation.html/#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 17:16:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=44338 Yesterday in my Key Players post, I included Chris Capuano as one of the players to watch this Spring because its going to be interesting to see whether or not he will win a spot on the rotation or be part of the bullpen. 

I asked MetsBlog’s Michael Baron this particular, but yet intriguing question about Chris Capuano yesterday.

According to Michael, Capuano will apparently be competing early on for a spot in the rotation, but then again Terry Collins said that he won’t let Chris Capuano start until he first proves he is 100% healthy. Michael concludes that Capuano will likely end up in the rotation, but is better suited to work out of the bullpen as a lefty specialist. 

I completely agree with Michael’s take. I too feel that Capuano would serve a more useful role working out out of the bullpen most likely as a lefty specialist to fill the role left vacant by Pedro Feliciano who signed with the New York Yankees.

Sure, he will get a chance to compete for the rotation, but my gut tells me that he’ll end up in the bullpen, regardless. Thanks to Michael Baron for fielding my question. 

If you would like to ask me questions, or just follow me on Twitter, click here.  I may put your questions up in a future post.

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