Mets Merized Online » Yadier Molina Fri, 20 Jan 2017 18:51:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Young Arms and Healthy Bats Revive Mets Wild Card Hunt Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:10:55 +0000 jeurys familia

Another dubious decision by manager Terry Collins could have caused damaging results, but the Mets were saved by a couple of pitching prospects who performed gracefully under pressure.

In a must win series opener against the Cardinals, starter Jon Niese lasted a third of an inning as his faulty knee failed him, retiring only one of the four batters he faced.

Rookies Robert Gsellman and Josh Smoker restored order tossing a combined 5 2/3 scoreless innings to keep the Mets alive and well in the wild card hunt, with Gsellman getting the 7-4 win in his major league debut.

Gsellman’s introduction to the bigs was foreboding when his first offering was drilled for a double off the bat of Yadier Molina, scoring two of the runners he inherited from Niese.  After Jhonny Peralta tied it up with a ground out to Reyes, the young right-hander struck out Jedd Gyorko, maintaining his cool for the rest of his joyous stay.

Even though Gsellman was warned Niese may have an early exit.  “It was my first time ever coming out of the bullpen, so it felt kind of awkward,” Gsellman said. “You still have to take the mound the same way as when you’re starting.”

Gsellman showed some jitters, but also flashed some big-league stuff after that Molina double, and we saw some of the maturity and pitching smarts that his former B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez talked about in April.

“I think he’s going to be the next guy, I really believe so,” Lopez said of Gsellman. “He probably doesn’t light you guys up with the radar gun. Probably he doesn’t throw the 97, 98 like Syndergaard, Wheeler, Harvey, Matz. I’ll tell you what, this guy — we talked about him in the meetings when big-league camp started.”

Another interesting point in the cited article, was that despite trading away 10 minor-league pitchers last season, the Mets held on to Gsellman and then added him to the 40-man roster last off-season to protect him in the Rule 5 Draft. It seemed obvious he was being regarded as a keeper.

wilmer flores hr

Offensively for the Mets, they continue to flex some more muscle since they’ve gotten healthier. Wilmer Flores drew first blood last night, with a three run blast in the top of the first, which Niese gave right back in the bottom of the inning.

But Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera, red hot from his return from the DL, regained the lead on consecutive run-scoring hits in the 2nd, then Justin Ruggiano provided a signature moment when he crushed a solo shot to center for a 6-3 cushion in the 4th.  The 461-foot blast eclipsed the 457-foot homer by Yoenis Cespedes that was deemed the longest of the season. 

After a Randal Grichuk line drive home run closed the gap 6-4, James Loney picked a fine time to break his slump with a flare to center field, tacking on another dose of insurance.

St. Louis had many attempts to get back in the game, but the Mets bullpen of Jerry Blevins, Jim Henderson, and Addison Reed muscled their way out of men in scoring position, paving the way for Jeurys Familia’s MLB-leading 42nd save.

This monumental win puts the Mets 3 ½ games within striking distance of St. Louis for the second wild card spot, and a chance to gain more ground on Wednesday when Jacob deGrom, looking to redeem himself after his last dreadful outing against the Giants, takes the mound.

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Familia’s Saves Streak Ends With Heartbreak Thu, 28 Jul 2016 09:01:35 +0000 familia darnaud

For the second straight day the Mets grabbed the elusive RISP brass ring, only to have it fall on the carousal floor Wednesday night after the Cardinals rallied for two runs in their 5-4 win.

Jeurys Familia stepped onto the mound in the top of the 9th holding a one run lead in his trusty right hand, and did what he hadn’t done in 52 consecutive outings.  Blow a save.  In fact the Mets were 48-0 when leading after 8 innings.

The prolific closing act of this offensively struggling team flirted with danger one time too many when he issued a one out walk to the pesky Jedd Gyorko, the guy that hurt the Mets with a two-run homer in the first game of their double-header on Monday.

Yadier Molina, who broke New York’s heart during Game 7 of the NLCS nearly a decade ago, delivered a game tying RBI double, then Kolten Wong brought him home with the streak-ending dagger double to left field.

“I just tried to get a ground ball,” Familia said of his pitch to Molina. “I left it a little bit in the middle and he had a good swing.”

Fair to say that Yadier is still public enemy number one in Flushing.

The Mets drew first blood in the top of the 2nd with a double to left by James Loney and an RBI single by Neil Walker’s recently awoken bat.

Logan Verrett couldn’t close the door with two outs in the bottom of the inning, surrendering back-to-back deuces to Matt Holliday and Matt Adams giving St Louis a 3-1 lead.

But then in the In the 7th, it seemed like the makings of a modest two game winning streak was on the menu when consecutive singles by Travis d’Arnaud and Alejandro De Aza, a wild pitch by Adam Wainwright and a two-run shot by Yoenis Cespedes gave the Mets a one run lead.

Addison Reed retired the side in order in the 8th, setting the stage for Familia’s 53rd save which never came to fruition.

“You know it’s eventually gonna happen,” Wilmer Flores said of Familia’s inability to come through. “Nobody’s perfect. He made a pitch Molina was ready for. Some hitters would try to pull that ball. Molina didn’t.”

The loss meant the Mets still haven’t won consecutive games for nearly three weeks.

“It’s definitely a tough one to swallow since we came back,” Wilmer Flores said of his teammate Familia. “What can you do? We’re still right there. And we still believe in him.”

“Nobody’s perfect. He made a pitch Molina was ready for. Some hitters would try to pull that ball. Molina didn’t.”

The collateral damage that was done tonight put the Mets 5.5 back of the Nationals and in 4th position of a wild card spot, a half game behind the Cardinals, and 1.5 away from the Marlins and the surging LA Dodgers. It’s suddenly getting pretty crowded around here.

Regardless of the result, kudos to Familia for an incredible record-setting run. His 52 consecutive saves in the regular season dating back to August 1, 2015, is the third-longest streak in major league history. And his 36 consecutive saves to open this season are a Mets franchise record. Shake it off, big guy.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 5, Cardinals 5 Fri, 25 Mar 2016 20:43:01 +0000 noah syndergaard

The New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals finished in a 5-5 tie this afternoon at Tradition Field.

Noah Syndergaard pitched very well for the Mets. Thor struck out nine and walked none in six innings, allowing two runs on five hits. Syndergaard has struck out 19 and walked one in 17 2/3 innings this spring training.

The Mets had some good at-bats against Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha. David Wright walked in the bottom of the first and looked limber tagging up from first to move to second on a sacrifice fly and sprinting around third on a Neil Walker single— although he was tagged out by Mets Nemesis Yadier Molina on a bang-bang play at the plate.

The Mets got on the board in the second inning. Kevin Plawecki reached on an error by former Met Ruben Tejada, who couldn’t keep a tough hop from getting over him. Juan Lagares singled to get Plawecki to third, and Matt Reynolds knocked the game’s first run home.

The Cards struck back in the fourth on doubles from Matt Holliday and Matt Adams, tying the game at one. New York got back out in front on a single from Wilmer Flores, a double from Plawecki and a single from Reynolds that made it 2-1, but Syndergaard hit into a double-play to end the inning before the Mets could capitalize further.

St Louis came right back in the next inning to tie it back up on a single from the pitcher Wacha and a double from Carpenter.  But in the bottom of the sixth, the Mets loaded the bases with nobody out when Flores doubled, Plawecki walked, and Lagares reached on an error. Sacrifice flies from Reynolds and Travis d’Arnaud put the Mets up 4-2.

Jerry Blevins came in to face a lefty to begin the seventh and got his man, before Jim Henderson got the next two outs. Addison Reed pitched a scoreless eighth to get the ball to Jeurys Familia.

But the Mets closer struggled after getitng the first out. Randal Grichuk homered, Adams and Brandon Moss singled, and Jedd Gyorko doubled to tie the game at 4. After Familia intentionally walked the next batter to set up the double-play and a force at any base, he unintentionally walked Greg Garcia to force in the go-ahead run. Zack Thornton (the prospect from the Ike Davis trade) came in and induced a double-play to end the inning and keep the Mets in the ballgame.

The Mets fought back in the bottom of the ninth. After two quick outs to start the ninth, Eric Campbell singled and stole second, before scoring on a single from Kevin Kaczmarski that tied the game at five. The Mets could not score a sixth run, and the game ended in a tie, snapping the Mets’ seven-game losing streak.

kevin plawecki

There were some great signs today. Thor looked great, Plawecki, Reynolds, Lagares, and Walker did as well, the bullpen did a good job to get the ball to Familia, and the Mets rallied in the bottom of the ninth to pick up their closer on an off day. At the end of the day, you want to see the team win, but it’s March. Soon, it will be April, and when the calendar turns, then it will be time to obsess over the wins and losses.

Juan Lagares has looked like his 2014 self in the field thus far, although he hasn’t yet needed to make a huge throw, so we’ll have to wait and see whether the cannon is back.

It was weird seeing Ruben Tejada in a Cardinals uniform today. It was, however, nice to see the way in which he interacted with the Mets players whenever they got anywhere near him. Curtis Granderson even hugged him after getting tagged out at one point. I’m hoping for the best for Ruben going forward.

Wilmer Flores played a fine first base today. The more positions he can play, the more value he’ll add to this team. I was glad to see the Mets give him a look at that position today, especially since it made it easier to get Reynolds in the lineup.

It was also great to see Wright playing in back-to-back games. Just like us, he’s waited a long time for this team to be good, and he deserves a championship more than anybody.

The Mets will travel to Disney on Saturday to play the Atlanta Braves at 1:05 PM. Starting for the Mets will be  RHP Jacob deGrom who will oppose RHP Bud Norris for the Braves.

Note to Readers: I am pleased to announce that I will be working at Citi Field for the New York Mets this summer. I could not be more thrilled. However, there are obviously questions about any limitations on what I can and cannot write. I intend to continue writing for MMO. Like most writers on this site, I am already an openly biased Mets fan and will be positive toward the team more often than not, but I will not write things I do not believe. My thoughts and opinions (here, on Twitter, and elsewhere) do not represent those of the team, and I am not privy to inside information from a front office perspective. There are certain topics I might not be able to write articles on, but when I do write, I will put in the same effort I always do to help make this site and this community as amazing as it is.


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3 Up, 3 Down: Hollywood Hulk Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:43:26 +0000 duda unleashed

The Mets continued their West Coast road trip and stopped by Los Angeles for a 3 game set against the N.L. West leading Dodgers. NY dropped 2 of 3, but unlike previous series, there were great individual takeaways for players looking to lock up their positions for 2015 and beyond. Conversely, the veterans were showed up by their younger counterparts. Below is a recap of 3 stocks that went up and 3 that went down over the weekend.

3 Up

1. The Hulk, The Dude, The Big Lebowski. Lucas Duda has a lot of nicknames, but he’s collecting even more home runs this season. The 1st baseman hit .417 in the series with a whopping 1.166 slugging percentage. He reached his career high in single season home run totals with 26 (and counting), as well as having a career best 5 RBI game on Sunday. Duda was also a key part in the Mets triple play from Sunday, gunning down the over aggressive Yasiel Puig at home plate after finishing off a double play ball from second basemen Daniel Murphy. Among all 1st basemen in MLB, Lucas is 3rd in WAR with a score of 3.8. Among all MLB players, he is 2nd in slugging percentage against right handed pitching this season, pounding righties at a .580 clip. Lucas is doing an excellent job and has emerged as one of the premier sluggers in all of baseball.

2. Juan Lagares bounced back from a recent slump to turn in an excellent series. While not as slug happy as Duda, he hit at a .455 clip, including a home run, which helped him generate an OPS of .871. The offensive numbers are very respectable for arguably the top center fielder in the game. Lagares is 1st in MLB in DWAR among all qualified outfielders, by a long shot, with a score of 3.5. The next closest OF is Atlanta’s right fielder Jason Heyward with a DWAR mark of 3.1. At his position alone, Juan is second among all center fielders in the game for overall WAR (4.9- also leads the Mets), tied with Pirates all-star Andrew McCutchen and trailing only Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout (6.0). That’s some great company for a guy who doesn’t even have 400 at bats in the majors this season. Lagares brings enough value with his glove that if he hits .275 for his career, he would be more than productive to lock up long term. There’s more power to come once his plate discipline improves, as he gains more patience and slightly better pitch recognition, he could be expected to put out 10-15 home runs with great gap-to-gap doubles power at Citi Field. Quick thought, if David Wright is injured and out, put Juan in the 2 hole. On the year, Juan has a triple slash line of .333/.385/.968 as the #2 hitter.

3. Travis d’Arnaud had a solid series, hitting .308 with a solo home run, contributing his one and only RBI for the series. His overall performance is important because it reinforces the potential that’s been realized since returning from his demotion to AAA Las Vegas in June. In 47 games since his return on June 24th, Travis has the following numbers: Batting Average (.263), SLG (.486), OPS (.794), 2B (10), HR (9). Over the course of a 162 game season, this projects d’Arnaud at 34 doubles, 31 home runs and 79 RBI’s. Compared to last season’s total among all catchers in MLB, that puts him 5th in doubles, 1st in home runs and 2nd in RBI’s- tied with Yadier Molina. Travis is tied for 1st in MLB for HR’s among catchers in the month of August with 5.

3 Down

1. David Wright finally broke down and left Sunday’s game with what the team described as muscle spasms in the right side of his neck. Terry Collins insisted that The Captain was not injured prior to yesterday’s start, but he needs to be shut down for the remainder of the year if he goes to the disabled list for any reason. The team is keeping him day-to-day at the moment, but his sore left shoulder along with other nagging injuries are undoubtedly contributing to his poor performance dating back to June and it’s not getting better in the short term, nor helping in the long term.’s Anthony DiComo noted that Wright has gone his last 62 plate appearances without an extra base hit, batting 0.95 in his last 6 games. I hope the Mets realize that although he’s not as outspoken as the Matt Harvey types, Wright is also a warrior and will not always do what’s best for his body by playing through injuries. That’s admirable when the playoffs are on the line, but get healthy, we need the old David for 2015.

2. As if Wright’s injury wasn’t enough of a blow to the offense, Daniel Murphy is also listed as day-to-day after leaving the ninth inning with a cramp in his right calf. Within a span of two hours, the Mets lost 2 of their 3 veteran position players and Murphy’s status is even less predictable as this is his first time experiencing an injury of this nature. When asked about his return, he said, “I really can’t tell you how it’s going to feel until we get to Tuesday”.

3. This rubbed me the wrong way, so I’m taking liberties with the 3rd down and calling out Terry Collins for comparing Lucas Duda to Ike Davis after the former churned out a 2 home run performance in a 11-3 victory over the Dodgers. In the post-game interview, Collins stated that he had seen another Mets basemen have the type of second half that Lucas is having in former incumbent Ike Davis. Why make that comparison? Davis is a forgotten topic for most fans, mainly due to Lucas Duda’s incredible performance as the starting first base since June 1st (Terry- that’s more than 1 half) . His production from that date over the course of a full season would put Duda at 42 home runs and 115 RBI. Also, his glove has improved vastly (minus a boneheaded foul ball botch near the 1st base line this series, like Keith Hernandez always says Dude…TWO HANDS!). I thought Bobby Ojeda responded perfectly in his SNY post game recap saying, “The manager would do well to stop using that comparison and just let Lucas Duda shine on his own”. Agreed.


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Steven Matz Makes Grapefruit League Debut Mon, 03 Mar 2014 13:03:28 +0000 steven matz

Matz displaying the changeup grip.

You’ve heard the name before, but 2013 was the first real look at the Mets’ LHP prospect Steven Matz due to him missing significant time recovering from arm injuries.

I recently named him as my Mets’ pitching prospect to watch in 2014, as he seems to be on a path to be named a top-five prospect very soon. When a scout finds a left-handed pitching prospect that bring an electric 95 mph fastball, it’s like a fisherman landing an 800 pound marlin. It’s easy to see why the Mets protected Matz from the Rule 5 Draft, and added him to the 40-man roster—every angler looking to hook an 800 pound marlin would have cast their line into the water.

Not many Mets fans have gotten a chance to see this young man pitch and see why everyone is so excited. Unless you live in the Savannah area, odds are you are limited to the one video that can be found on YouTube that shows Matz throwing about 15 pitches—some better than others. You may have also seen a Vine of him spinning things on his finger like a Harlem Globetrotter. However, if you hung around long enough in the Mets game yesterday, you would have gotten a chance to see Matz on the bump.

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 8.00.38 AM

Matz came in the fourth inning of yesterday’s matchup against the Cardinals, and gave Mets fans another glance of what the future holds. The first batter he faced was Yadier Molina—talk about pressure. He quickly got behind 3-0 in the count, as he couldn’t spot his fastball. But Matz battled back, and struck out Molina on six pitches.

Facing his second batter, he flashed two very good curveballs before giving up a base hit on a fastball.

Here is some further analysis of what we saw in Matz’s appearance yesterday.


This is a plus offering for Matz. The command was a little shaky yesterday, but it’s very early in the year. With more innings, the command will come. He wasn’t afraid to come inside on the right-handed hitters, and was very aggressive with his fastball, which was very nice to see from a guy who brings a mid-90s heater.

Curve Ball

I have heard that Matz has scrapped the slider in favor of a more effective curve ball, and yesterday was the first chance I got to see it. His curve didn’t have the 12-to-6 break you normally see, it was more like 11-to-5, but it was extremely effective. However, he stuck to fastballs for the majority of the pitches he threw.


Matz throws a very solid changeup that has plus-potential. It has excellent movement—tailing away from the right-handed hitters/in on lefties. He struck out a batter with a changeup to end the fourth inning yesterday and it looked nasty. With his velocity, he can pepper fastballs on the inside half, and changeups on the outside half to keep the hitters off-balance, and be very successful.

In all, Mets fans should definitely look for great things from Matz in 2014. It’s easy to see why he is creating a buzz and there is a ton of excitement building for the young fireballer again. He struck out over 28% of the batters he faced in 2013 and put up a FIP of 2.63, which is excellent. He will probably start the season in St. Lucie and be a nice replacement as the ace of the staff after Noah Syndergaard set St. Lucie ablaze in 2013.

Bold Prediction: After watching him pitch in yesterday’s game, he has the stuff to skip to Binghamton. If he doesn’t start there, he should join Binghamton right around the All-Star break. He could be in the mix for a 2015 call-up and possible bullpen option for late 2014 if he doesn’t exceed his innings limit.

Presented By Diehards


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What Can We Make Of Juan Centeno? Thu, 26 Dec 2013 13:58:38 +0000 matsuzaka centeno

This paragraph in a article about the bias of Top 100 lists, started me thinking:

“It’s interesting that Yadier Molina never made a top 100 list when you consider he was a semi-high pick with two brothers in the big leagues and never hit below .275 in a full-season minor league. The thing that worked against Molina is that he didn’t start hitting for power until much later. It is said that power is the last tool to develop and Molina should be the poster boy for that mantra. He could always hit, as you can see from his minor league averages, but didn’t top double-digit home runs in the big leagues until his eighth season in St. Louis.”

The same article mentions Kevin Plawecki in this manner:

“Mets’ 2012 supplemental first rounder Kevin Plawecki has shown that his tremendous hand-eye coordination carried from Purdue to the pro ranks. He only hit eight balls over the fence this year, but eventually some of his doubles—he ranked second among all minor league catchers this year with 38—will turn into home runs .”

But, what about the only big league catcher to throw out Billy Hamilton stealing?  Yes, it was by an eyelash, but he was out!


This from the MLB article linked with the video:

While Centeno will go down as the first catcher to nail Hamilton, credit Matsuzaka as well. Working from the stretch instead of his usual deliberate windup, he made one pickoff throw before throwing a fastball to the plate.  “I talked to the pitchers earlier about being quick to the plate, changing looks with him, doing pickoffs to first, all that stuff. [Hamilton] likes to run early,” Centeno said. “Today, I just went to the mound and said, ‘I think he’s going to go first pitch, let’s go quick pitch and fastball down and away.’ That’s how it happened, and we got him.”

Here is what Terry Collins had to say about Centeno on the verge of his first major league start, who had batted .305 (65-213) with 10 doubles in 67 games for Triple-A Las Vegas, “He’s as good a defender as we have,” Collins said. “He has gotten better offensively. He is going to get some hits. He absolutely controls the running game.”

Back in the late 70′s, we had John Stearns as our starter and Ron Hodges as his lefty complement.  Hodges was a good defensive catcher, but hit 19 homeruns in 1,426 at bats over 12 years on the Mets.  So, while Anthony Recker has shown some power potential, he is 30 years old and has never shown to be more than a low batting average and some power on any level in the minors or majors.  Recker is more organizational depth, while Centeno at 24 should be considered a solid part of the future.

The Mets originally drafted Juan Centeno in the 32nd round of the 2007 draft.  His defense-first skillset is a nice complement to d’Arnaud’s offensive potential.  Although d’Arnaud is considered above average defensively with a good bat, he is a right handed hitter.  Centeno is a lefty contact hitter with excellent defense but lesser offense.  The question is “what’s your preference?”

Centeno has only accumulated 1138 plate appearances over 7 minor league seasons and needs the 350+ at bats in Las Vegas over a full season to improve his offensive game, however, I would like to see him switch with Recker by late June and getting two starts a week in the majors.  That should put him on a pace of about 175-200 plate appearances for a full year.  He will learn the pro game at the MLB level and would be an absolutely perfect compliment to d’Arnaud in every way.

Presented By Diehards

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Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen Win Most Valuable Player Awards Fri, 15 Nov 2013 03:11:15 +0000 Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates were named American and National League Most Valuable Players tonight by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Miguel  Cabrera

Cabrera finished with 385 points, while Mike Trout got five first-place votes and 282 points. Baltimore’s first baseman Chris Davis, who led the majors with 53 homers and 138 RBIs, was third.

Cabrera, 30, is the first American Leaguer to win back-to-back MVPs since Frank Thomas in 1993 and ’94 and just the sixth ever to do so in that league. Last year, Cabrera became the first hitter to win the Triple Crown in either league in 45 years. This season, he was better across the board, falling two RBIs short of his 2012 total of 139 and matching his home run output of 44 in fewer plate appearances while posting career highs in batting average (.348), slugging percentage (.636) and OPS+ (187).

andrew mccutchen

McCutchen, third in MVP balloting last season, got 409 points. Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt finished second with 242 points, while Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina received the other two first-place votes and came in third. Pittsburgh has its first NL MVP since Barry Bonds in ’92.

McCutchen, 27, batted .317/.404/.508 with 21 homers and 84 RBIs this season. Over the last two seasons he has hit .322/.402/.531 (160 OPS+) while averaging 102 runs, 190 hits, 26 home runs, 90 RBIs and 24 stolen bases, while playing a strong centerfield.

Congratulations to both Miguel and Andrew.

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MLB Announces Finalists For Cy Young, MVP, Rookie of the Year Awards Wed, 06 Nov 2013 02:14:28 +0000 The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) just announced the top three finalists for American League and National League Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, and Most Valuable Player awards.

jose fernandez

National League Rookie of the Year

Jose Fernandez, SP, Marlins
Shelby Miller, SP, Cardinals
Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers

American League Rookie of the Year

Chris Archer, SP, Rays
Jose Iglesias, SS, Tigers
Wil Myers, OF, Rays

fredi gonzalez

National League Manager of the Year

Fredi Gonzalez, Braves
Clint Hurdle, Pirates
Don Mattingly, Dodgers

American League Manager of the Year

John Farrell, Red Sox
Terry Francona, Indians
Bob Melvin, Athletics


National League Cy Young Award

Jose Fernandez, Marlins
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals

American League Cy Young Award

Yu Darvish, Rangers
Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners
Max Scherzer, Tigers

andrew mccutchen

National League MVP

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals

American League MVP

Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Tigers
Mike Trout, OF, Angels
Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles

No Mets were nominated for awards…

The official winners will be announced next week and rolled out according to the following schedule:

  • Monday, November 11 – Rookie of the Year Awards
  • Tuesday, November 12 – Manager of the Year Awards
  • Wednesday, November 13 – Cy Young Awards
  • Thursday, November 14 – Most Valuable Player Awards
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It’s Slow. It’s Boring. The Games Are Too Long. But Enough About Football… Tue, 05 Nov 2013 13:33:12 +0000 Jose Valentin was ninety feet from home. Endy Chavez was on second representing the tying run. Pinch-runner Anderson Hernandez was on first. Bases loaded, 2 outs, bottom of the 9th. The Mets trailed 3-1. A base hit would tie it, a double would send us to the World Series against Detroit. 56,357 fanatics screamed and cheered and proudly shouted Let’s Go Mets as Carlos Beltran walked to the plate. 41 HR’s, 116 RBI’s and 38 doubles, Beltran was “the guy.” Adam Wainwright was quickly ahead in the count 0-2. The Cardinal rookie then delivered a curve over the outside corner at the knees that left Beltran paralyzed. Ty Cobb would have been caught looking. Shea became deathly quiet as Yadier Molina bounded up and down like his feet were on fire.

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But what if it didn’t happen?

Imagine if after the 0-2 pitch that stunned Beltran, the umpires would have stood around to discuss things. Imagine if they gathered at home and measured the strike zone and determined where exactly the ball crossed the plate. Sound crazy? Not really. Isn’t that exactly what happens when a football player leaps at fourth down and inches?

I grew up in Queens and rooted for the Dallas Cowboys because my dad knew Roger Staubach (and yes, I had that Cowboys cheerleader poster in my bedroom) My dad rooted for the Rangers, me the Islanders. He was a Knicks fan. I never got into basketball. However, these sports were ancillary. Ours was a baseball home.

Even baseball fans complain about the length of a ballgame. Pitching changes, visits to the mound, throws to first. It slows down the game they claim. Football has more action. Football is faster. Baseball is boring. My question is this: If Football truly is faster then why does it take so long? The game is rigidly designed into 4 15-minute quarters. One hour. Yet, a typical game runs triple that. In other words for 2 hours of a 3 hour game there is nothing happening. Two of every three minutes are pointless.


Here’s an example of a possession: The offense has the ball on their own 20. They huddle and discuss what they should do. They walk up to the line of scrimmage. The quarterback counts, he steps back, he hands off to the running back. The RB gets 3 yards. Now, we watch players untangle from each other and what happens next? They retreat in the opposite direction to discuss the next play. Another huddle, another meeting, another plan. The offense returns to the line of scrimmage again. The QB counts, steps back, turns right this time, hands the ball to the RB. Now he gets 4 yards. 3rd and three.

Once again, players unravel and walk off to yet again have another meeting. What should we do now? After their conference concludes, the QB does some more counting and throws downfield. Ohhh, incomplete pass. The clock now stops and we watch some players walk off the field as other players walk onto the field. The ball is kicked sixty yards and the receiver drops to his knees to signal fair catch. The clock stops again so players can exit the field again, only to be replaced by a brand new squad. And now, with this new group on the gridiron, what’s the first order of business? Let’s have a discussion so we can decide what to do.

And this is more exciting than baseball? Imagine a catcher talking to the pitcher after every pitch or the infielders meeting on the mound following every foul ball?

If these huddles/meetings are so important, let me put forth another scenario. Offense has the ball on their own 30, they’re losing by 5 points with 2 minutes left, no time-outs. Exciting stuff. Now–with the game on the line and time ticking away–in the most crucial 120 seconds of all–they line up quickly and repeatedly throw the ball downfield—WITHOUT a meeting. What? NOW is the one time they SHOULD have a discussion. At the most critical juncture of the game they DON’T discuss what to do? If huddles are not needed with the game on the line then what was the point of all the huddles for the first 2 hours and 50 minutes?

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I haven’t seen so many pointless meetings since I turned on C-Span and watched our government in action.

Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of meetings. The only thing worse than sitting through one is watching other people engage in meetings. But that’s the essence of Football: An endless series of meetings about what to do next.

Yes, I’m no longer a football fan—as you probably gathered. I know I’m in the minority, both in the real world and even here on a Mets website. To me, watching a pitcher throw to first to keep a runner close or a batter stepping out to break a pitcher’s rhythm is far more electrifying than watching people outfitted like gladiators trotting on and off the sidelines.

One of the many things I love about the beauty of Baseball is the history, the memories. But mostly the endless possibilities. I’ve watched thousands and thousands of games over 41 seasons. However, I still witness events I’ve never observed before. After four decades I saw a game end on an obstruction call at third base. The following day the game ended with a runner being picked-off. When was the last time anyone saw that, much less in the World Series?

There’s also the uniqueness of baseball, uniqueness without specifics. You can describe a moment in baseball to the casual fan without supplying names and he or she will know exactly what you’re talking about:

Remember when that one guy hit the slow roller down the 1B line and the guy missed it? Remember when they said there was too much pine tar on that one dude’s bat and he went ballistic after negating his HR? Remember when what’s his name threw a Perfect Game in the World Series? Whatever happened to the chubby guy who “called his shot?” Every one of you knows exactly who and what I’m referring to.

babe ruth

Now, on the football side of the ledger: Remember when that guy threw into the end zone and the guy leaped and caught the ball? Remember when that one fella broke free and ran for the first down?

Baseball you watch. Football you look at.

Baseball is something where you ponder endless possibilities. Do you hit and run in this situation? Do you play the infield back and give up a run? Do you pinch hit for the pitcher even though it’s only the sixth inning? Do you send the runner home even though the right fielder has a strong arm? It’s the anticipation of action.

What is there to consider in football? Should the wide receiver go deep? Should the RB have ran right instead of left? Not the same.

In Baseball we know immediately what happened. In Football we have to wait to see if what we just saw really did happen.

I like when a QB dives over guys to try and get that one yard for a first down. Did he make it? Did the defense hold him? Will the other team get the ball right here? Who knows? Let’s watch the officials come out with a chain and two sticks and try and determine a distance of ten yards. Thrilling stuff!

Tight end avoids two defenders in the end zone. Touchdown!!! But wait, maybe not. There’s a flag on the play. Now we sit back and watch the zebras discuss things. (Good, more discussions) Pass interference. Touchdown doesn’t count.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Just like when I played stickball with my friends at age nine, it’s a DO-OVER!

When Shane Victorino doubled in three and hammered the first nail into the Cardinals coffin last week, it REALLY happened. Michael Wacha would’ve loved to have the pitch back but Cards skipper Mike Matheny couldn’t ask for a DO OVER. Not only is there no crying in baseball, but there’s also no DO-OVERS.

I also get a laugh when ESPN is touting the great performance of some quarterback. He completed 18 of 31 passes. Really? To me, that’s 13 errors. Imagine if David Wright only completed 18 of 31 throws across the diamond?

Remember when Chuck Knoblauch was pretty much run out of town for an erratic arm? If he played football, an arm like that would get him enshrined in Canton.

People also grumble about baseball salaries, yet no one vents about Football salaries. Yes, in the grand scheme of things, it’s ludicrous how much athletes get paid. However, why is the argument only focused on baseball? Ballplayers play 3 hours a night for six months. Football players play 3 hours a week—unless, of course, they have a by-week. (I wish I could get 2 weeks off after working 3 hours).

The World Series is now over and the next big thing is the Super Bowl. Ahh, yes, the Super Bowl. A “sporting” event watched by one hundred million Americans. And what does everyone talk about for days after? The game? No. Commercials. Somewhere between a little kid dressed as Darth Vader and Britney Spears dancing, there was apparently a game played.

What’s the most talked about Super Bowl moment of the last twenty years?


Granted, I’m not objective when it comes to Football. I wouldn’t even consider myself a casual fan. I can’t recall who won last year’s Commercial Bowl. Over the last twenty five years I’ve watched a couple: the two the Giants played in and the second half of whichever one Bruce Springsteen performed at halftime. As a football outsider I don’t know anything about recent Super Bowl history. Yet, I’m familiar with the periphery events: commercials, lights going out, wardrobe malfunctions. It’s interesting how even to football fans themselves the most memorable events of the Holy Grail of their sport is what goes on off the field.

I know Allen Craig scored a run on an obstruction call. I know Kolten Wong was picked off to end game four. I don’t, however, recall who sung God Bless America in the 7th inning stretch.

I know Whitney Houston once sung a rousing rendition of the National Anthem during a Super Bowl but I have no idea who won that afternoon.

In a few months one of every three Americans will have a party, consume plenty of chicken fingers and pizza and watch a game, eagerly as excited about the commercials and half-time show as they are with the goings-on on the field. Me? I look forward to the Super Bowl as well. Once that’s out of the way I know it’s only a couple weeks until pitchers and catchers report and we can get back to what’s important.

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An Ode To Whitestone Mike Fri, 18 Oct 2013 02:16:32 +0000 You know when I was just a teenager, I was the drummer in a band we called Andromeda. Yes, I’m aware that some Swedish band has since swiped our name, but that’s okay as I heard they were heavy metal too. I also wrote dozens of songs, mostly on the backs of napkins at 3:00 AM in the morning, while plowing through a plate of pancakes or french toast and a bottomless cup of coffee at the Vegas Diner in Brooklyn. :-)

So here I am watching the ALCS  tonight and feeling kind of bored… I took a look at the site, as I’m currently working on a major rebuild for next month, and I got a little sad when I saw the Mike Baxter post as our top story. As you know he was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers today. I know that Baxter wasn’t long for this team, but you know how it is… We all hate goodbyes…

mike baxter

The Agony and the Ecstasy

I got to thinking about instrumental he was in ending the no-hitter drought for the Mets and preserving it for Johan Santana with a magnificent grab in the seventh inning.

Playing in left field, Baxter sprinted back just in time to snare Yadier Molina’s drive, but the momentum had him crashing full speed into the outfield wall. Though clearly injured and crumpled on the ground, he clutched the ball tightly for the out.

The catch wiped him out with a displaced collarbone as well as a concussion. Poor Mike was never quite the same hitter when he returned from the disabled list eight weeks later. But I thought I’d honor him with a poem…

An Ode To Whitestone Mike

It wasn’t just a common fly,
That Whitestone Mike had caught.
This catch was either do or die,
A drop would be for naught.

With tensions building in the stands,
The faithful held their breaths.
And on the mound he clenched his hands,
As Johan turns and sweats.

A giant wall stood in his path,
But glory would prevail.
As Whitestone Mike had timed the catch,
And every soul exhaled.

And as they helped him to his feet,
The crowed let our a roar.
The No-No Johan would complete,
The drought would be no more.

Be good Mike, you’ll always be Metsmerized around here…

Mike  Baxter

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This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: Root For The Mole, Not The Cardinals Edition Sun, 13 Oct 2013 04:47:05 +0000 beltran

Before the post season started, a few people asked me which two teams I predicted would meet in the World Series. I calmly responded that I hoped it would come down to the Pirates and the Athletics. Well as we know predictions are like opinions – everybody has one, and of course mine were wrong.

So now that we are down to the final four teams, I will have to hold my nose and root for the Red Sox as well as the Cardinals to meet in the Fall Classic. Why would I choose those two teams you may ask ? Well with the Sox I can’t hold much of a grudge. I mean we did beat them in ’86 and I am eternally grateful for their coming back from being three games down in the ’04 ALCS against the Goliaths of the American League, the New York Yankees, and go on to beat the Cards to win the World Series that year.

But I have hated the Cardinals of St Louis ever since that team took what was rightfully ours way back in ’85. Everyone knew that the Mets should have been the team that represented the National League East in the post season, but the Amazins faltered towards the end finishing in second place.

As we all know, the Mets would go on to win it all in ’86, but in ’87 the Cards once again stuck a dagger into the hearts of Met fans when on the 21st of September, Terry Pendleton hit that game tying home run off Roger McDowell and winning it in the tenth..

Zoom ahead 19 years to 2006, when it seemed like the Mets had the National League all sewn up and was on the verge of heading to the World Series for the first time since 2000. Once again it was our age-old rival who delivered the crushing blow as the Mets were shutdown by the Cards – this time from a Yadier Molina homerun that ended up being the game winner and a Adam Wainwright curveball that even the great Bambino himself couldn’t hit. But Carlos Beltran – one of the best postseason players at the time and still today was fooled by that nasty curve and didn’t even attempt to swing at the pitch that was eventually called strike 3. Game over! The Mets quest to be the 2006 NLCS and World Series Champs had ended.

So here we are seven years later, and Beltran (as well as his world famous mole) are members of the hated Cardinals. He currently has 9 RBIs and two home runs this postseason with plenty of action still ahead. He seems to be his stoic self at the plate, and I just have to root for him.

As much as I want to root for the Sox if they make it to the World Series, I most likely find myself painfully rooting for the Cards if they get past the Dodgers. Beltran has yet to win a World Series ring, and I feel that he is more than deserving. He never did me wrong as a Mets fan. He always tried to play as hard as he could – even when injured. It almost always seemed like he got a hit in the clutch when the team always seemed to need one. And when he came back from knee surgery in 2011, he checked his ego at the door and switched to right field because the Mets were afraid that his outfield range would greatly be affected. He stepped aside for the younger Angel Pagan in center field while delivering an MVP type season up until his final game as a Met. He came in on top and he went out on top.

And if it wasn’t for Carlos hitting the cover off the ball during the ’11 season we may never have gotten Zack Wheeler from the Giants  – which we all know at the time and now was a steal.

So if it comes down to the Cards versus the Sox during the Fall Classic, take a word of advice – Root  for Beltran to win a ring, and try to forget that the rest of the Cardinals will be getting one too.

Carlos = Beltran

And with that said…. HERE COMES THE INFAMY!!!!

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today include:

Mets third base coach from ’68-’75, Eddie Yost would have been 87 (1926).

Middle reliever from ’73-’74, John Strohmayer is 67  (1946).

Spot starter/middle reliever from ’90-’91,  Julio Valera is 45  (1968).

Middle reliever from the ’11 season, Taylor Buchholz is 32 (1981)

Some other notables include:

The New York Mets traded spot starter/middle reliever, Ray Sadecki and middle reliever, Tommy Moore to the St. Louis Cardinals for third baseman,  Joe Torre on October 13, 1974. Not a bad score for the one time N.L MVP and batting champion (’71) , golden glove award winner (’65), but by the time he came to the Mets he was often injured. Although he did hit over .300 one time as a Met ( ’75) he had morphed into a double play machine – even doing it infamously four times in one game!

Mo Vaughn is openly rooting for the Cardinals and the Red Sox – but not because he likes the teams …. It’s because he loves their FOOD !!!!!

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Featured Post: Harvey Was Not The Hero We Deserved, But The One We Needed Wed, 28 Aug 2013 12:09:01 +0000 MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets

Matt Harvey is going to miss a significant amount of time; not much else is known at this moment.

What has been well-documented however, is just how much of an impact the Dark Knight of Gotham has had on the New York Mets organization and their fans alike.

The mood surrounding this franchise has plunged further and further into disappointment, animosity and frustration ever since Adam Wainwright‘s infamous breaking ball struck the black leather of Yadier Molina‘s mitt. After back-to-back September collapses and pair of sub-par seasons, a change in management brought hope of brighter days, however the immediate years following only became more gut-wrenching. Since Sandy Alderson took over following the 2010 season, fans have had to endure the departures of Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and R.A. Dickey to name a few; all on the premise of a brighter tomorrow through the procuring of young talent at the expense of the performance at the major league level.

the future

The 2013 season has marked the infusion of those farmhands that have been so long awaited. Zack Wheeler is proving his 2011 acquisition to be worth while. The Amazin’s are already enjoying the fruits of their labor from the Dickey deal with Travis d’Arnaud behind the dish. Following years of development and growth since their mid-teens, Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores have finally made it to the show. All have been encouraging and enormously exciting to watch, but all pale in comparison to the energy generated by the emergence of Matt Harvey.

In his first full season–sans their ailing, aged ace in Johan Santana–Harvey exploded out of the gate, quickly gaining national attention. By the third week of April, contests in which he started became not a Mets game, but ‘Harvey Day’. Fans amassed in the stands of Citi Field to see the most exciting young pitcher in Queens since 1984, just to get a glimpse of his increasingly legendary “stuff”. By May, the 24-year old flamethrower was plastered on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the first time a player in orange-and-blue had received such an esteem in nearly five years.

From then on it just got better; Harvey could not be stopped. Anytime he went to the mound, a no-hitter was more than possible, three times becoming probable with bids into the seventh inning. Eventually it all came to a pinnacle when Bruce Bochy named the Mets’ ace to the incredibly rare honor of starting the All-Star Game at his home ballpark, going on to put up two goose eggs for the National League including three strikeouts, one of which being the reigning Triple-Crown Winner.

harvey wrightSince the mid-summer classic,  the master “plan” of the future has become the present with the arrival of the organization’s top prospects converging on Roosevelt Avenue. ESPN has tagged the Mets as the team of the future in New York; baseball media hubs across the country have begun to recognize the Amazin’s as a club on the rise and no longer in the doldrums of mediocrity.

All was going so well until yesterday when a sobering MRI revealed the ulnar collateral ligament of Harvey lying in his right elbow with a partial tear, crushing many with the very real possibility of the Mets being without one of the game’s best hurlers until 2015.

Until Harvey returns, his absence will be felt in the worst of ways; but his effect on this entire franchise will remain. He has turned another year of “punting” into a season of new beginnings. His performance along with his demeanor has single-handedly altered the culture surrounding the Mets from the second fiddle team of New York to the club to watch out for. The fanbase has wholly changed from beleaguered to stimulated; apathetic to optimistic.

The Mets had to have this year. They desperately needed a season that portrayed direction rather than a ship lost at sea. Matt Harvey has given the Mets that; he has granted them a new look and a new hope, and will return.

The Dark Knight will rise once again. When, we don’t know just yet; but whether that is in one month or twelve, the 2013 season will go down as the year that the corner has officially been turned in Gotham, and that is largely in part to Harvey; and nothing can take that away.

For he truly is the hero not that we deserved, but the one that we needed.

the dark knight matt-harvey

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Beltran’s Cooperstown Headgear Sun, 21 Jul 2013 13:21:11 +0000 MLB: SEP 22 Mets v MarlinsI find it impossible to read an article or a forum about Carlos Beltran without there being some mention of “the curveball” or Adam Wainwright. That of course refers to Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS where, with the bases loaded and the winning run on first base with two outs in the ninth, Beltran stared a curveball from Adam Wainwright all the way into the glove of Yadier Molina, thus ending the series. I also find it appalling that many choose this one playoff at-bat to define Beltran’s career. Do they forget that Beltran owns the highest career OPS in Major League Baseball postseason history? Or that he is a career 11/11 in stolen base attempts during games in October? Enough about the postseason. Beltran’s career batting average at .283 is higher than that of Hall of Famers Willie Stargell and Larry Doby. His career OPS surpasses that of George Brett and Al Kaline. If his eight All Star nominations (equivalent to the number reached by Andre Dawson, Darryl Strawberry, and Chipper Jones) and his eight 100 RBI seasons aren’t Hall of Fame worthy, well, he’s sixth in WAR among active players, and he’s only 36! He still has maybe three more decent years before he decides to hang up the spikes. And according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that’s exactly how many more years Beltran actually wants to play. So let’s say Beltran gets into the Hall of Fame. What team’s cap should he wear? Which team deserves it? Let’s find out.

Beltran has played for five teams. The Royals, the Astros, the Mets, the Giants, and he currently wears the uniform of the Cardinals. We can eliminate two of those right away. Beltran played in Houston for all of three months, so bye bye ‘Stros. Beltran was traded to the Giants at the deadline in 2011 for Zack Wheeler and ended up playing in San Francisco for 44 games so no love in the Bay Area when the Hall of Fame comes knocking.

beltran royalsThat leaves us with Kansas City, New York, and St. Louis. Beltran played for the Royals and Mets for six and a half seasons each, and he’s currently in his second year with the Cardinals. So say Beltran plays his three more years with the Cardinals, and makes two more All Star teams. 10 selections sure isn’t bad. With that being said, the Cardinals do have to go, only because five years loses to six and a half in the end. Why do years matter? Well, look at history. Gary Carter went in to the Hall of Fame as an Expo because he played more years (12) than he did in New York (5) despite having some of his greatest seasons in the Big Apple.

So we’re down to two. The Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets. Let’s take a look at what Beltran did in a Royals uniform. Despite only receiving one All Star spot in his tenure, the 1999 American League Rookie of the Year hit .287 with 123 HR while he was there. He lost his starting center field job in 2000 to Johnny Damon but got his job, and his Rookie of the Year form, back in 2001 when he hit .306 and recorded 101 RBI. Beltran went on to hit over .300 once more in his time in Kansas City. All in all, a solid career in the state of Missouri.

And now for an analysis of his Mets career. In his six and a half years in New York, Beltran hit .280 with 559 RBI and 149 HR. Not to mention his two years with ten or more assists. He was named to the NL All Star squad six times and racked up three Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers for his mantle. His time with the Mets was shortened by injury, hitting only 17 HR from 2009-2010, but despite this still managed to play at least 60 games in every year. Beltran recorded 100 stolen bases and managed to get caught only 16 times. He finished with an above average OPS at .869 and his SLG was an even .500. A brilliant career in New York that is unfortunately overshadowed by one pitch.

So now the decision. Beltran stole 164 bases and hit .287 with the Royals, but hit 149 HR and drove in 559 runs with the Mets. He can’t be in the Hall with two hats, so he must wear…that of the New York Mets.

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AL Defeats NL 3-0 In Mid-Summer Classic Amid Some Memorable Moments Wed, 17 Jul 2013 04:29:11 +0000

Well the 2013 All-Star Game has come to a close as the American League defeated the National League by the score of 3-0. It was the lowest-scoring All-Star Game since 1990, when the AL earned a 2-0 victory.

I loved the Opening Ceremonies and it was great to see Carlos Beltran and Mariano Rivera get some nice ovations, but not nearly as loud and boisterous as the ovations for the Mets All-Stars David Wright and Matt Harvey.

USP-MLB_-All-Star-Game matt harvey

Matt Harvey was greeted by a first pitch double by leadoff hitter Mike Trout, but then went on to pitch two scoreless innings and facing eight batters while striking out three.

Things got a little scary when he hit the Yankees’ Robinson Cano just above the knee and he was removed from the game. Harvey apologized to Cano afterward and it looks like the All Star second baseman will be fine.

“The last thing I wanted to do was go out there and possibly injure somebody,” Harvey said.

david wright

David Wright, who has now made more All-Star Game appearances than any other Met in franchise history (7), went 1-for-3 with a single. This will end a whirlwind three days for Wright who was running around all over the city as the face of the Mets and the face of this All-Star Game, acting as the unofficial ambassador and saying all the right things.

“I’m glad that I could help promote this game,” said Wright. “I’m glad that I could help represent the New York Mets. I look at is as trying to be a good host. I think I’m trying to be a good ambassador for the game and then obviously trying to be an ambassador for the New York Mets. That’s kind of the responsibility that I feel.”

Some of the in-game entertainment included was Candice Glover singing the National Anthem, Marc Anthony singing God Bless America, and Neil Diamond singing Sweet Caroline. When I first heard Diamond would be appearing I thought it was silly, but then I learned it was to honor the bombings in Boston. Both Diamond and Anthony absolutely energized the crowd.

mariano rivera

Then Mariano Rivera came out to pitch the eighth inning and it was the highlight of the evening for me. That’s what I will remember most about this All-Star Game. Citi Field blasted Metallica’s Enter Sandman while players and coaches in both dugouts came out and applauded him while the crowd gave him a 4-minute standing ovation. It was quite a moment and everyone was on their feet.

Rivera was named the All-Star Game MVP for his 1-2-3 inning. Afterward, he was to emotional to speak, but eventually got out a few choice humble comments. Classy as always.

All in all it was a great Mid-Summer Classic and the largest crowd in Citi Field history nearing close to 42,000 fans including standing room only.

harvey wright

Original Post 3:30 PM

The starting lineups for tonight are…

American League

  1. CF: Mike Trout, Angels
  2. 2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees
  3. 3B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
  4. 1B: Chris Davis, Orioles
  5. LF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
  6. DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox
  7. RF: Adam Jones, Orioles
  8. C: Joe Mauer, Twins
  9. SS: J.J. Hardy, Orioles

Starting pitcher: Max Scherzer, Tigers

National League:

  1. 2B Brandon Phillips, Reds
  2. RF: Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
  3. 1B: Joey Votto, Reds
  4. 3B: David Wright, Mets
  5. LF: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
  6. C Yadier Molina, Cardinals
  7. SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
  8. DH: Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
  9. CF: Bryce Harper, Nationals

Starting pitcher: Matt Harvey, Mets

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Mets Well Represented In Top 5 In Jersey Sales Thu, 11 Jul 2013 18:00:28 +0000 According to and Major League Baseball, the Mets have two of the five most popular jerseys purchased this season.

Probably to nobody’s surprise, Matt Harvey finds himself #5 on this list, but quite frankly to my surprise, David Wright is ranked #4 on the list!

Jersey sales are a funny thing. Often times when a player changes teams you’ll note a spike in jersey sales, but this year’s doesn’t really represent anything like that.

The Mets rank 20th in average attendance this year, yet two of their players are seemingly some of the most popular players in today’s game.

There’s been a lot of talk over the last few years about whether or not David Wright is a superstar. In order to be a superstar, you need to have extreme popularity along with a high level of talent and performance.

It’s hard to argue against that criteria when it comes to Wright & Harvey.

The entire list consisted of Buster Posey, Mariano Rivera, Yadier Molina, David Wright, Matt Harvey, Bryce Harper, Derek Jeter, Manny Machado, Mike Trout and Yasiel Puig.

Reports that Pittsburgh fans are upset with Major League Baseball for including Bryce Harper on this list and not Pedro Alvarez are unconfirmed.

Congratulations to David Wright & Matt Harvey!

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Fear & Loathing of Sabermetrics Tue, 09 Jul 2013 17:54:38 +0000 simpsons sabermetrics

People fear what they do not understand. There’s no way to deny that. The truth is, baseball is still a game where people continue to hold on to “the way things used to be” in their hearts.

It’s why there is no full replay yet, it’s why people are against the DH in the NL even though the NL is at a disadvantage during the regular season or AL during the World Series… or why people don’t like interleague play when in reality if every team plays every team an equal # of times, you’ll get a better idea of who the best teams are.

Stats are the same way. If you use ANY stats to evaluate players, then to me you shouldn’t turn your nose at people who use different stats that you.

When Henry Chadwick came up with Batting Average and ERA, you probably would have seen the same type of attitude about those stats that you do with some sabr stats today. Why? Because fans and executives knew what they knew without needing the help of some silly mathematical formula.

It’s information. Information isn’t the problem, it’s how you utilize that information that makes or breaks the value of the info. Most people I have found who “hate” sabermetrics, haven’t even given them a chance and just dislike a non-traditionalist view of the sport they grew up with.

If I write down step by step instructions on how to change a light bulb and you take that information and the light doesn’t turn on – that doesn’t mean the information I gave was wrong, it means the execution of the information was flawed. We’re all humans, and nobody has ever claimed that sabermetrics give you THE answer. You may evaluate a sabermetric stat differently than I do.

Gaining more information about a player can hurt or help a fan or executive. It depends on how much they rely on this information and how they interpret it that will dictate whether it helps or hurts.

In my experience, fans can go overboard with sabermetric analysis on both sides of the table. I believe in the value of information, and scouting. I believe a batting average can tell you as a fan enough about a player, but it might not be the best statistic to use when investing $100million on a player.

The truth is, every team has access to the basic information but they choose different ways to interpret and analyze the data. The Tampa Bay Rays in all likelihood have different statistical formulas for player evaluation than say the average fan has access to.

What sabermetrics do a better job at than “traditional” statistics is they try to explain in more detail why something is happening that perhaps is a fluke. For example, it might help you understand why a pitcher with bad statistics (traditional) appears to be struggling, but perhaps he isn’t as bad as those numbers make you believe. This can help a GM find talent that is perhaps underappreciated.

Where sabermetrics fails is defining and evaluating character. You cannot put a value on a player like Marco Scutaro or Yadier Molina using sabermetrics. They bring something to the table that statistical analysis cannot define. Besides their on the field presence, they clearly make all of the players around them better. You cannot replace that, and it’s very hard to find.

I rarely if ever use sabermetrics to evaluate a player I like. When it comes to pitchers, I like W, L, SV, ERA, IP/K, BB/K, HR, IR/IRS and WHIP. With hitters I like Doubles, Triples, HR, RBI, BB, K, SB, AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS.

Those statistics put me almost all the way toward “traditionalist,” but you will never, ever find me scoffing at somebody who uses sabermetrics because the more information you have – the better you can understand what is in front of you.

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A Molina Home Run Followed By Two Collapses: AKA The Good Ol’ Days Fri, 14 Jun 2013 12:00:11 +0000 mets-cardinals-2006 - CopyIn four decades of rooting for the Mets my most painful memory, without a doubt, was when Yadier Molina deposited an Aaron Heilman pitch over the wall in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. I literally could not believe what I saw. Seeing is believing—but not in this case. 2006, like 1986, was OUR year. The 162 games were a mere formality.

It took us all winter to recover but when April 07 rolled around, we were ready. Sometimes you learn and become stronger by losing. 86 was an amazin’ year, but lets not forget the fact we lost two close pennant races in 84 and 85. We’d learn, we’d grow, we’d be hungry. So obviously, 2007 would surely be our year. But it was not to be. After the Mets historical collapse, blowing a seven game lead with 17 games left, it was devastating. Choking is for OTHER teams: The Cubs in 69, the entire division in 73, Boston in the 10th inning. But still, we dusted ourselves off and looked forward to next year.

But 2008 brought more heartbreak. For the second straight year, our Mets missed the wild card by one game on the very last day of the season.

That period was undoubtedly the most heartbreaking, gut-wrenching three year span in team history. But man oh man, what I wouldn’t give to be in that situation again. I view those years as a great movie…that just had a bad ending.

The Mets fan base is an interesting bunch. Since our inception, we’ve never expected much. Look, if we wanted to win every year, we’d be Yankee fans. The difference between us and them is simple: Yankee fans feel anything less than the post-season is a failure. On the flip-side, Mets fans are generally content finishing at .500.

We don’t ask for a dynasty. We don’t hunger for 20 straight division titles or however many the Braves won. Cardinal fans have seen their team competing year-in and year-out since the 1930′s. San Francisco waited over fifty years for their first title. Yet, they have always had solid fan support.

But us? We just ask for competitive baseball. Just give us a good team. Not great. Good. Fun to watch. And maybe an actual pennant race thrown in once in awhile for good measure. That’s all we ask. Yet, we can’t even get that from the Wilpons and Alderson.

Those of us who witnessed the Seaver/Koosman days always hold it close to our heart. But think about it. In the 8 years from 69 to 76, we got just 1 championship and 2 pennants. Yet, the sweet cherished memories are recalled fondly. We talk about the 80’s as if we were the Yankees of the 1920’s. However, we only managed one World Series and one division title. The reason these years are so special for us is NOT because we won a string of championships, NOT because we dominated the league year after year. Rather, we were good. Competitive. From 69 through 76 and from 84 through 90, we knew we at least had a shot.

Those feelings of hope are now long gone. 162 games of Mets baseball is no longer fun and enjoyable, but seems more like six months of torture. In the mid 80’s, even if the Mets trailed, you could just FEEL that we’d win. It was not a matter of IF we’d win, but HOW we’d win. Over the last few years, even if the Mets are leading late, we expect the worst. We anticipate the bullpen blowing a lead or someone making an error that opens the floodgates.

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Yes, we’d love to be Champions…but we’d be content with just being good and respectable. Me personally? I’d love to go through the pain and heartbreak of 06, 07, and 08 all over again. It sucked at the time. But it was nice to be oh-so-close. Ask yourself: Would you rather see the Mets lose the Wild Caed in game 162 or basically being out of it by Memorial Day.

Sandy Alderson’s first season was 2011. Since that time, our attendance and our wins have gone down while disgust and contempt has gone up. It was just 2007, not really that long ago, where the Mets were considered the powerhouse of the NL East. For once, WE were the team to beat. Yet, since Alderson has taken over, not only have we not been competitive and not only have we fans become an embittered and sour bunch, but we haven’t even played a meaningful game after the All-Star Break.

Last season we surprised some people by staying in the thick of things for the first half. But we then faltered badly. This season has been a monumental failure almost since Opening Day. I mention about the good ol’ days of 06-08. Hell, I can even refer to the good ol’ days of 2012 where, at least for a little while, we had hope. Hope– something that doesn’t exist anymore.

To Sandy, Fred and Jeff—we’re not asking for a dynasty or to dominate the league for 5 straight years. Just a decent product, a team we could support and feel excited about. That’s all. We’d be happy with that. But as we are in the midst of season number three with Alderson, not only does a championship appear nowhere on the horizon, but even respectability seems like an impossible dream.

As I said earlier, 06-08 was like a great movie that just had a bad ending. Now, with the current state of this team, we are just a bad movie. Period. If the 2013 Mets were a movie, I’d walk out of the theater after 20 minutes and ask for a refund.

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All Star Voting Update: Sandoval Leads Wright Tue, 04 Jun 2013 18:07:58 +0000 2013 all star game logo citi fieldAs the first round of voting is tallied for the 2013 All Star Game at Citi Field, no Met is currently leading the vote to be an All-Star Game starter.

It’s a closer battle at third base, where Pablo Sandoval leads David Wright, 1,094,475 votes to 967,299. Sandoval toppled Wright last year as you may remember which prompted Mets general manager Sandy Alderson to go on Twitter to voice his displeasure with fans.

John Buck is the only other Met player who appears in the top five for voting at any position, ranking third behind Buster Posey and Yadier Molina. The Giants catcher is again pacing the All Star balloting, receiving over 1.2 million votes so far.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy will select the pitching as is customary, and there’s little doubt that Matt Harvey will be among his selections.

Considering the sparse attendance at Citi Field these days, the Mets’ best chance of getting Wright or any other Mets selected would be through voting online.

Do your part by clicking the banner and casting your 25 votes…

vote mets

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Mets Waste Solid Start By Marcum In 4-2 Loss To Cardinals Thu, 16 May 2013 11:12:49 +0000 rick ankiel

Lately, it seems the only thing the Mets excel at is finding ways to lose.

Shaun Marcum had his first quality start as a Met, going 6.2 innings allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits while walking one and punching out three. He threw 96 pitches, 65 of which for strikes, however fell to 0-4 on the year in easily his best effort for the Amazin’s this season.

After matching goose eggs with the Cardinal’s young phenom Shelby MIller, things got rocky in the bottom of the fourth. With Matt Holliday on first and two out, Jon Jay roped a double to Mike Baxter in right that went to the wall. Seeing that he didn’t have a play on Holliday, who came around to score, Daniel Murphy threw to third and pinned Jay in a run down. Apparently giving up, Jay stood almost still in front of Wright for a routine play to tag him. Wright went to lay the tag on, but dropped the ball. As it skidded into the infield, Jay was able to safely make it to third base, costing Wright just his third error on the year. Tony Cruz would follow up with a knock to make it a 2-0 ballgame.

Looking overmatched at the plate, the offense was completely anemic against Miller who did not have his best stuff today. He held the Mets off the board through 5.2 frames before being relieved by Randy Choate for the last out of the sixth. In the seventh against Seth Maness, John Buck got himself on base with a one out single, setting the table Rick Ankiel. On the seventh pitch of the at bat with a full count, Ankiel took a 90mph sinker deep to center to tie up the ballgame at two. Maybe the Mets luck is finally starting to turn around right?

Wrong. In the bottom half of the frame, Marcum got the first two outs but got himself into trouble with runners on first and third. After which he was lifted for this year’s go-to lefty, Scott Rice. Rice came on to face the former-Met Ty Wigginton, and on the first-pitch of the at-bat, threw a breaking ball that careened off John Buck and to the backstop, scoring the lead run in Daniel Descalso.

After the end of the seventh, the life was sucked out of the Mets. Carlos Beltran walked to lead off the eighth. Matt Holliday grounded into what would be a routine double-play, but the throw from Murphy sailed into the home dugout, allowing him to go to second. Allen Craig would also be walked to create a nice opportunity for Yadier Molina, who came through with a base hit to drive in the insurance run and make it 4-2.

After the wild pitch from Rice, the offense showed little fight as they went down 1-2-3 in both the eighth and ninth to end the game.

John Buck had a nice day at the plate, but a horrible one on the basepaths as he was doubled off on a Ruben Tejada liner that was caught, then made a boneheaded steal attempt, resulting in the slow-footed backstop being picked off at second. That plus the key wild pitch, and it was overall a night to forget for Buck.

The offense continues to be ice cold. Ike Davis and Lucas Duda both had 0-fers in this game.

The Mets just aren’t playing good baseball, it is as simple as that. They are giving opposing teams extra outs with sloppy D and giving away at-bats with an inept lineup.

Two positives to take away from this one however was the encouraging start from Marcum, and the solid offensive effort by Rick Ankiel.

The Mets have now lost six-games in a row for the second time this season and are 8-18 in their last 26 games. They now have the third worst record in baseball at 14-23, nine games under .500. Only Houston and Miami are worse.

Jonathon Niese (2-4, 5.93 ERA) opposes right-hander Adam Wainwright (5-2, 2.30) in the series finale on Thursday at 1:45 PM. The Mets look to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Cardinals which last happened in 1982 when Keith Hernandez played for St. Louis.

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The 2013 Mets Have No Chance To Win. However… Sun, 24 Feb 2013 04:54:34 +0000 Kranepool was one Casey's favorite students.

We wont win this season. We wont compete this season. We wont be any good this season. Okay, now that that’s settled, lets go ‘Play Ball’ this season and see what happens. Opening Day is a little over one month away and when that first pitch is thrown, the Mets technically have just as good a chance as anyone to win.

We Mets fans are an interesting bunch Always have been. In 1962 that other team in New York were defending World Champions (again) They had guys named Yogi and Mickey and Whitey and Moose. And they had Roger Maris fresh off breaking what had been deemed the unbreakable record. However, just a few miles away, playing in a dilapidated stadium that was close to being demolished, there was a new team in a town. The Mets countered with guys named Choo Choo, Elio, Marvelous Marv and ‘Hot’ Rod.

And yet, even though the 62 Yankees won 96 games and their eighth World Championship in 13 years, it was the new kids in town who drew more fans.

The difference between the fan bases of our two clubs is simple: Yankees fans feel that anything less than a Championship is simply unacceptable. Mets fans, on the other hand, are ecstatic over finishing .500.

We always hope for the best…but prepare for the worst.

When you think back to 1986, what are the words that come to mind? Swagger. Confidence. Arrogance. Buckner. One word that never really gets brought up is ‘Miracle.’ Sure, Mookie’s slow roller was a gift from the ghosts of Joan Payson and Gil Hodges. But ‘miracle’ is more fitting of 1969 than 1986.

Think back to Game Six. No, not that one. The one against Houston. The Mets were leading the Astros three games to two but we came into the ninth trailing by three and Mike Scott, who’d already shut us down twice in a week and on his way to winning the Cy Young Award, was poised for game seven. Remember that feeling?

Remember that feeling in another Game Six? After Keith flied out, Gary stepped to the plate. The Mets trailed 5-3 in the bottom of the tenth, bases empty and two outs. No hope. Shea was deathly quiet. Failure was written on Davey’s face. The players sat on the bench staring in utter shock and despair at what was playing out before them. Losing was bad enough. Being the team whom the Red Sox would break their curse against was downright embarrassing. But the most heart-wrenching feeling of all was disbelief. Why?

1986 was OUR year. We were supposed to win. We deserved to win. We were entitled. We were the best team. My heavens—We had turned into the Yankees.

And two days later when ‘the dream came true,’ sure, we were elated. But the agony of possible defeat far outweighed the thrill of victory.

In the mid and late 80’s expectations were always high. This was something new for our Metsies. We’re never favored or picked to go far. But with this new burden comes a heavy task. When excellence is expected, almost demanded, anything less is deemed failure. However, when nothing at all is expected and something great happens, it’s that much sweeter.

Over the last quarter century, the two most heartbreaking moments for us came off the bat of catchers: Mike Scioscia and Yadier %$#&^% Molina.

In 1988, the Mets were expected to repeat their ’86 performance. We won 100 games, 10 of those coming in 11 matchups against the Dodgers that season. When Scioscia hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth in game four against Doc, we were shell-shocked. The Mets never recovered. We were supposed to win. But in the blink of an eye (or the swing of a bat) our expectations and sense of entitlement was crushed.

Same could be said of 2006. That years’ Mets were similar in many ways to the 1986 club. Confident, some arrogance. We dethroned the much hated Braves. Yes, 2006 would definitely be our year. That is until Yadier Molina dug in.

As if 2006 was not heartbreaking enough, the subsequent collapses the next two seasons were downright unfathomable. Choking is hard enough to swallow. But choking when you’re expected to win? That just seems unfair, cruel.

Tug McGrawIn 1973, the Mets were not good. To say our hitting was anemic would be an understatement. Only one player had over 16 HRs. Only one player hit over 280, Rusty Staub was our RBI leader, plating a whopping 76. No one even had double digits in SB’s. Even our traditionally strong pitching was a letdown. Two of our big three pitchers, Jerry Koosman and Jon Matlack both finished with more losses than wins. And on August 31, our closer Tug McGraw, had an ERA north of 5.00.

But somehow, with no expectations, 1973 remains one of the best years in Mets history. We managed to finagle the NL East title, upset a Big Red Machine team that was filled top to bottom with would-be Hall of Famers. And then, pushed the A’s in the midst of their dynasty, to seven games, even getting the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning of Game Seven.

There are certain players that are held in reverence by their team’s fans. The Red Sox have Ted Williams, the Cubs Ernie Banks, the Royals George Brett. And for us it’s No. 41.

But Tom Seaver was not always Tom Seaver. In the spring of 1969, Seaver was not yet Tom Terrific. He was a promising 24-year old kid with a mediocre 32 wins and 25 losses. (No one expected Seaver to win almost as many games that season as he’d won in the previous two). In Spring Training that March Seaver was joined by Cleon Jones who was a career .272 hitter. (No one dreamed that Cleon would hit .340 in 1969) Former Rookie of the Year Tommie Agee was coming off hitting .217 the previous year. At 26, Agee was considered a has-been.

And if this wasn’t bad enough, our manager was none other than Gil Hodges. Sure, Hodges was loved by New York fans but as a skipper, he achieved little success. With 6 managerial seasons under his belt, the former Brooklyn first baseman had a lackluster .407 winning percentage.

Now, as we inch our way closer to another season, we have little hope. Will Jon Niese turn into another Tom Seaver? No. Will Lucas Duda, like Cleon, hit 340? Of course not. Will Terry Collins join Davey and Gil as championship managers? No way.

But just for the hell of it, lets play out the season and see what happens. In 1962, Casey Stengel told his team, “All I ask is that you bust your hiney on that field.”

Do the Mets have any chance to win it all this season? I think we have about as good a chance as we did in the spring of 1969.

we're number one 1969 mets topps

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First Pitch Mitch: Top 2012 MLB Players By Position Sun, 23 Sep 2012 13:00:46 +0000 The season is winding down, and it’s time for me to pick out the FirstPitchMitch All-Stars. The FPM All-Stars are like the All-Madden team of baseball – they are the best of the best. When this team steps in to the stadium the skies open up, and the baseball gods marvel at their creation.

Without further ado, I present the first ever FPM All-Stars… 

Catcher – Yadier Molina

Yadier narrowly edged out Buster Posey simply because only 37 players were successful when stealing bases with Molina behind the plate in 2012. He threw out a ridiculous 47% of runners attempting to nab a base. Did I mention he put up some dynamite offensive numbers as well? He’s hitting .321, to go along with 20 HR and a .888 OPS. His WAR, for you sabermetric fans, is currently a 6.8.


First Base – Prince Fielder

Every team deserves a prince. Fielder put up very solid offensive numbers again this year hitting .304, to go along with 27 HR and 101 RBI. Any guy that swings the bat with the intensity of a kid trying to knock the candy out of a piñata will always have a spot on the FPMASs. With that monster swing, he only struck out 77 times in 537 AB this year – awesome.


Second Base – Robinson Cano

Is there any question regarding who would be the second baseman on this team? No need to go through the stats, but he’s hitting .299 with 30 HR this year. There’s always next year Aaron Hill.


Shortstop – Derek Jeter

Does this guy get old? He’s having one of the finest offensive seasons of his career, to go along with his solid defense at the all-important position of shortstop. Jeet is currently hitting .323, to go along with 30 2B and 15 HR. I love that his uniform is always dirty, and there’s always room on the FPMASs for future Hall of Famers.


Third Base – Miguel Cabrera

Can you say Triple Crown? Barring some sort of ridiculous slump we will have our first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. He is currently hitting .333, with 41 HR and 130 RBI. Triple Crown winners can play whatever position they want on FMPASs, but Miguel will be a third base. 


Left Field – Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton is the best player in baseball – period. I don’t care if he’s listed as a center fielder, he’s playing left field for the FPMASs. Ryan Braun might be upset with me, but nobody can argue with a stat line of .287/42/123. Josh Hamilton will retire from this game as a legend, and legends are always welcome on the FPMASs.


Center Field – Mike Trout

I really had a hard time with this one. My heart was yelling Andrew McCutchen, but my brain kept whispering Trout. They both play a ridiculous center field. They both hit for average and power. It really came down to the stolen bases. Mike Trout was simply the better all-around player this year. For a rookie to put a team on his shoulders, when Albert Pujols is on the team, says enough. For you sabermetric fans, Trout leads the league with a 10.1 WAR.


Right Field – Giancarlo Stanton

The player formerly known as Mike. This guy hits moon shots. I watched him at batting practice down at Citi Field in early August, and his upper deck blasts were jaw dropping. I would love to see how many homeruns this kid could hit in a season if he could stay healthy. Only three right fielders had a higher WAR than Stanton this year, and Jay Bruce may play on a better team, but Stanton is a better player.


Designated Hitter – Edwin Encarnacion

Who can argue with 40 HR, 120 RBI, and a .280 batting average from your DH position? ‘Nuff said.


Starting Pitcher – R.A. Dickey

Come on…you knew I was getting a New York Met on this team somewhere. Dickey has been one of the very few reasons Mets fans have had to smile all year. With 18 wins, 205 Ks, 2.67 ERA, and in the discussion for a Cy Young award – Dickey is the clear choice as the FPMASs starting pitcher. Now we gotta get Molina one of those crazy big catcher’s mitts for when Dickey throws his “Dancing Destroyer.”


Closer – Fernando Rodney

This guy is lights out and wears his hat cockily tilted to the side. Love it. With 43 saves, a ridiculously minuscule 0.66 ERA, and 68K in 68 innings pitched – I will be tapping my right arm as I walk out to the mound in the ninth inning to replace Dickey.

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So there it is, the first ever FirstPitchMitch All-Star Team. The baseball gods are happy with my choices, but what about the readers? Use the comment section below if you have any conflicting player choices you would like to share.

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