Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thank You Fans

I just saw a very brief commercial from the Mets saying "Thank You Fans". So let me pose a question everyone out there.
What is the best way for the Mets organization to really show its thanks to the fans for the 2010 season?
I'm thinking a commercial that airs after Mets pitching faced 10 batters in 1 inning late in a game isn't going to cut it.


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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bob Murphy Day

I was 7 years ago today that we as Mets fans bit farewell to the voice of the Mets.

MLB.com has a tribute page up from when he passed away the following summer. It includes the pregame ceremony from before his final game.

It's worth watching. Find the item called "Mets pregame tribute to Bob Murphy" and click on the link next to it. I can't seem to mimic the scripting to link to the popup window directly. While you're there, check out the other links. A few of them still work.

Watch it. He tells a good story of his 42 seasons with the Mets. That may be worth including in the 50 year history of the New York Mets.

I still say SNY should rebroadcast these pregame ceremonies as winter/rain delay/filler programming like they do with Mets Yearbook.


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Sunday, September 19, 2010

The End of the Baseball Season

2 weeks left. For good or bad, the baseball season only has 2 weeks left in it. It doesn't matter how your team is doing, whether they've been out of it since mid-May, mid-July, mid-September, or if they're still in it. There's only 2 weeks left to watch regular season baseball. The 6 month journey is quickly coming to an end. One more home series. One more road series. 2 weeks left to say goodbye to the National Pastime. 2 weeks to find out if there may be joy in the season, or 2 weeks left to end the misery.


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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another Day, Another Mets Injury

One point on today's game and Luis Hernandez's injury and home run. I was watching on TV and saw it live. I said to my dad that based on the pain he was in and the length of time that he was being looked at by the "trainer", that he had a broken bone in his foot.

Then why was he allowed to stay in the game to continue the at bat? He hit the home run, made it about 5 steps on adrenaline, and had a terrible limp the rest of the way around the bases. It was clear from there that he had to come out of the game. It was also a bit dramatic watching this kid limp around the bases hitting the home run with a broken foot.

When the trainers are looking at him, if they aren't convinced that he must be removed immediately, why not do a running test with him like they would have a possibly-injured pitcher throw a couple pitches?

The only thing that's changed since last year regarding injuries for the Mets has been luck.


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Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Pulsipher of the Nation

A few days ago, I was approached by Frank Gray of MetsGazette.com to share my opinion in their weekly segment "The Pulsipher of the Nation" (named of course for the ex-Met prospect whose name sounds like "pulse").

Frank's question to me, and also to Matthew Falkenbury of The Daily Stache, was "Which Mets pitcher has performed like an Ace this season and why?". I'll put the disclaimer now that I basically had my answer written up when it was announced that Johan Santana was going to be shut down for the season with the tear and pending surgery.

Since I don't give short answers to questions (and I was asked to make it take more than 2 sentences), I wrote several paragraphs breaking down the 4 Mets main starting pitchers before coming to my conclusion.

Go read my answer as well as Matthew's here, in this week's edition of Mets Gazette's "Pulsipher of the Nation".

Thanks go out to Frank for the opportunity to share my opinion and put me in the company of some really good bloggers/Mets fans as guests in this segment.


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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Is It Better To Have Won And Lost Than To Never Have Won At All?

This is a comparison on being a fanatic of different teams in different sports in different seasons, looking at how they have brought joy and sorrow to me over the past almost quarter century. The title of the post it meant to ask the question - which is better to be a fan of? I am NOT here to start finding fault or solutions with the reasons for failure and losing.

My sports year is divided (with lots of overlap when you consider pre- and post-seasons, and the hot-stove action) between the New York Mets of MLB and the New Jersey Devils of the NHL. For the color enabled browsers, I will draw out the comparisons using the colors that you saw in mentioning the names of the teams.

I am finishing my 24th full season, and next month, my 24th calendar year as a Mets fan. Over that time, I've had just a taste of the ultimate success when I was too young and too fresh to fully appreciate it, and a few fuller but shorter tastes even coming close. Most seasons have ended long before their time in ultimate failure with some good enough to have just a disappointing ending instead. Maybe the disappointing ending is the best I can ask for.

I am going into 13th full season as a full-time die-hard Devils fan, with about 5 or 6 seasons as a more casual Devils fan before it mixed in, and 1 season without the NHL entirely. Over that time, I've seen the Devils win 3 Stanley Cups, including 1 in person, 1 other Finals appearance, and make the playoffs all but 1 season since 1994. But most seasons have ended with great regular season success and failure in the playoffs.

Between the two sports and seasons, failure and success can be measured differently. If you think about it, any season that ends without the championship can be considered "failure", but it's all relative to the overall success of the team. For some teams, just being in the playoffs can be a "success". For others, not going far in the playoffs can be a "failure" even if they qualify every season. The success and failure for playoff teams not winning the championship is relative to how often they qualify for the playoffs. It should be noted that it is different between the two leagues on how many teams qualify for the post-season. After each takes the division winners (6 overall for both), MLB takes 2 wild card teams while the NHL takes 10. With the additional teams in the NHL, their playoff is 4 rounds compared to MLB's 3. But the playoff structure isn't necessarily the point here, rather a bridge between comparing apples and oranges.

In the 24 seasons that I have been a Mets fan, the Mets have made the post-season 4 times. I would call 3 of those post-seasons an ultimate failure based on the expectations of the club. I've written before about how I think each of those 3 failures sent the team into a downward spiral (and with the latest of them, I'm starting to see credible writers leaning towards that opinion as well). Only 1999 was a success, mostly because they were back from the abyss and just happy to be there - and they did make it back the next season. Like I mentioned earlier, most of my 24 seasons as a Mets fan have been an utter disappointment. Just using the .500 mark as a barometer, this could be the 11th season below .500 over that time. 2 others are known for the "collapses". 3 others had 2nd place finishes (before or without winning the Wild Card).

In 20 years of following the Devils (I'll draw that line in the fall of 1990), I've seen them miss the playoffs only once (with the league itself missing the playoffs one other time), but most of those seasons have ended in playoff disappointment. In that time, 18 playoff appearances and 10 first-round exits. The first couple were in the team's phase of being in the playoffs as a "success". 6 of those 10 were in seasons in which the Devils finished 1st of 2nd in their division (in fact, they've finished outside of the top 2 in the Atlantic Division only twice since the division was formed in 1993-94). 3 other times, they finished 1st in the Division and failed to make the Conference Finals (3rd round). But every season has been fun to watch, filled with hope and relative success, It has only been in the playoffs where constant success has eluded the team (relative to the regular season success).

So I ask the question. Which is better? To have won (a lot in the regular season) and lost (a lot in the playoffs) or to have never (or hardly) won at all?


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Friday, September 3, 2010

The 5/6 report - 27 games left

Only 27 games left.

After 27 games, the Mets were 15-12, 1/2 game back.
After 54 games, the Mets were 27-27, 5 games back.
After 81 games, the Mets were 45-36, 3 games back.
After 108 games, the Mets were 54-54, 7.5 games back of Atlanta in the NL East and 8 games back in the Wild Card.
And now, after 135 games, 66-69, 12.5 games back of the Braves in the NL East and 10.5 games back in the Wild Card.

I'll keep it short and sweet. The Mets have no life in them right now. In the last 27 games, they were 3 under after alternating win and loss for most of that stretch. K-Rod went down for the year. Reyes got hurt again (not that he's injury prone or anything). I said back on August 1 that the Mets season was over, and despite people getting up on every win, the Mets have shown me nothing to contradict my statement. It's getting harder and harder to keep watching them. Changes need to be made, and maybe they've been decided on (with the decision kept quiet until October 4). One change won't make a difference. Changes need to be made at multiple levels during the off-season. I'll get to that another day.

The good news is that Spring Training starts in 6 months, and we get to do this all over again for the 50th time.


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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Word of the Day: "September Training"

Last season, I invented a new vocabulary word - "September Training". I described it here last August.

Let me explain it again.

September Training is a combination of Spring Training, when teams use meaningless (exhibition) games to evaluate their player pool, and September callups, when the rosters expand beyond the 24 25 players allowed. It's the start of looking towards the new season with some younger players (I'll leave Omar's quote out of it for now).

This year's examples are Jenrry Mejia (as a starter), Fernando Martinez (if he's healthy), and Lucas Duda (and probably some others later on).


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