Archive for the 'General' Category
May 14th, 2013 by Lou
I have become about as apathetic as I have ever been in regard to the New York Mets. I don’t even care if I see the games anymore . Oh I will turn on the pregame show, a full hour now, and listen to Bobby Ojeda’s terrific analysis of what is going wrong with team but when the game starts, all bets are off. After a couple of inning of futile at bats, I usually wonder elsewhere, either on the dial, or around the house. Look, I am a life long Mets fan but enough is enough. I cannot allow myself to suffer this type of abuse night after night.
I do think the Mets are on the right track by rebuilding a farm system that was neglected for years. Money thrown at big name ballplayers was the only methodology used by the club. It is precisely because of that approach that we suffer every day in May of 2013. It’s David Wright and Matt Harvey. They are the only reason to tune in these days. I was hoping Ike Davis would be launching them out of the park and in the gaps like he did so often the second half of last season. But so far he is playing exactly as he did the first have of 2012 and that was terrible.
The problem with the Mets is simple…
The Mets need hitting. That’s the answer. By not scoring runs, the offense is putting tremendous pressure on the starting pitching. The starting pitching is very thin beyond Harvey. Jeremy Hefner is really not that bad but he needs four or five runs to work with every time out. He ain’t gettin that. Neither is Marcum, Niese, or Gee. These guys are unable to pitch shutouts, they simply are not that good but they would be better on a team like the Cardinals that can put up runs. With the pitching unable to stop the other team from scoring, the bullpen is brought in too early and is getting burned out and we are not even to Memorial Day. Nope, the problem is not pitching, it is an offense that simply cannot score. The Mets rank near the bottom of the league in almost every offensive category. And what is in the pipeline to come up from the minors? More pitching. Yes, catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud could be an offensive force but by and large the Mets are hitting weak in the minors. Sandy Alderson is going to have to trade or sign offensive players or this team will continue to struggle. Pitching is the most important aspect of baseball but runs are what win ballgames.
So while the Mets continue to struggle, I continue to remain uncommitted. Take a look at the crowds, or should I say gatherings, at Citi Field. Last week, except for the Matt Harvey near perfecto, the new ballpark looked almost entirely empty. So am I alone in my apathy? Highly doubtful. You might say if I really wanted to support the team, I should go to the ballpark anyway. Not at those prices, no thank you. Lower the field level tickets to 25 or 30 dollars a seat and I would go. But no way will I pay 300 dollars to watch this charade.
And yes, when the Mets do get good again, perhaps in 2014 or 2015, I will become more interested. But I am no frontrunner. A frontrunner would be following the Yankees or the Braves now. I hate both those teams and would never root for them. Here’s what I do. Each night I take a look at the Mets minor league affiliates to see how some of their prize prospects are doing. I wonder how they will be when they come up or what major league players we might be able to get for them. To view night after night, these predictable and boring ballgames is an exercise for the most dire masochists. I refuse to inflict such mental anguish upon myself.
I can’t totally disconnect from the team. I know what they are doing. I just can’t sit there watching the train wreck over and over again.
May 9th, 2013 by Lou
Mets fact… Last night’s 6-3 loss to the White Sox was the first time this year a Mets game was decided by 3 runs. You can look it up.
The Mets have been in nine one run games (losing 6 of them), four decided by 2 runs, seven decided by 4 runs, and five games decided by 5 runs. There have been four games decided by 6 or more runs and surprisingly the Mets are 3-1 in those games.
The next inter-league series for the Mets will be against the Yankees at Citi Field on May 27th. That will be a home and home series, two at Citi and then two at Yankee Stadium II (really III). Isn’t it interesting that I actually thought the Yankees were headed for oblivion this year and the Mets would be the surprise team in New York. Will I ever learn?
Instead of the Astros, maybe the Mets should have moved to the American League. Since 1997 the Mets are 138-128 (.519) against the junior circuit. And that’s with a 36-54 record against the Yankees. Remove the Yanks from the mix and the Mets are 102-74 (.580). You can look that up too.
May 8th, 2013 by Lou
Last night’s win was only the fourth time in history the Mets played the White Sox. It was the first game ever that the bunch from the south side of Chicago played in Flushing. There is one more game tonight then next month the Mets will play a two game set at US Cellular field. It will mark the first time in many years that the Mets made more than one trip to Chicago in a single season.
The Mets will play at Wrigley Field next weekend for a three game set. Then they will return to Chicago the last week of June to finish their four game inter-league series with the White Sox.
The last time, prior to last evening, the Mets played an inter-league game against the White Sox was in June of 2002 in Chicago. The Mets won the first game of the series by a score of 3-1. Pedro Astacio was the winner. The Mets lost the next two games by scores of 10-8 and 2-1.
The Mets never played the ChiSox again even in seasons when they went head to head with AL Central teams. It’s odd considering the Mets had played the Tigers 15 times the Twins 12 times (not including this season) and the Indians 9 times. The Mets have played the Royals only six times but that is still more times than the three games they had played against the White Sox in all of these years since inter-league play began.
April 23rd, 2013 by Lou
Once again, baseball helped a city heal from a terrorist attack.
On Saturday (delayed one day), the Red Sox began a ten game home stand against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. No one believes a baseball game could possible undo the havoc those two terrorist brothers unleashed on the city of Boston, the lives they ended and many others who will forever be changed, both physically and mentally. But symbolically there was something special when a large amount of people congregate and cheered and showed the world that Boston will survive and not be intimidated to change their way, our way, of life. And what better place where people come together that so epitomizes the American way of life than a baseball game, especially at one of the two most historic ballparks in the country, Fenway Park.
We in the New York area know all too well how much both New York baseball teams helped New Yorkers, residents of both New Jersey and Connecticut, begin the healing process after the 9/11 attacks. The Mets played the first game in New York after the attacks ten days later when they defeated the Braves at Shea Stadium. Later in October there was the classic games five and six of the ’01 World Series when the Yankees came back with dramatic home runs to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks. Although the Yanks ultimately lost the series, those games helped everyone in New York distract themselves from the horrors of just a month earlier.
The Red Sox are an integral part of the fabric of Boston and its people. The Marathon bombings will not be forgotten because the Sox took the field on Saturday but you can be sure they helped to put a smile on the face of the great people of Boston.
It did not matter if the Red Sox won or lost on Saturday. Ultimately that was not the point. The fact that Fenway was packed, that people showed they would not be intimidated, that they could cheer and heal together is really what mattered. However, something of baseball significance did happen and was eerily similar to what happened back on September 21, 2001 at Shea Stadium.
Mike Piazza hit perhaps his most significant home run as a Met that evening. In the bottom of the eighth with the Braves leading 3-2, Piazza hit a monster home run to center field with a man on to give the Mets the lead and ultimately the 3-2 win. No baseball game could ever comfort those who lost friends and loved ones or those simply in shock of such tragic events as 9/11 but at least it allowed people to feel somewhat normal again, at least for a little while.
Strangely reminiscent of that game was the one on Saturday at Fenway. Like the Mets, the Sox trailed for most of the game until the eighth inning. With the Royals leading 2-1, Boston rallied.
Jonny Gomes led off the inning as a pinch hitter then doubled. Dustin Pedroia walked setting up the Hollywood version of the inning with David Ortiz coming up. Now for this truly to be a parallel in history event, Big Poppi should have homered as Mike Piazza once did, capping off an F-bomb dropping day. However, Oritz hit into a double play letting the wind out of the Red Sox sails. However after import Mike Napoli walked, Daniel Nova hit his fourth home run of the season into the right field bleachers giving the Red Sox a 4-2 lead as the crowd simply went wild. The Royals’ Lorenzo Cain homered in the 9th to make it a one run game but closer Andrew Bailey shut the door for the emotional 4-3 win.
Of course it had to end that way, it just had to. Again its not much and certainly pales in comparison to the losses suffered by so many people that simply wanted to celebrate a great Massachusetts tradition known as the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day. Ultimately America is about moving on, slowly but surely. The Red Sox and baseball helped their city do just that.
April 17th, 2013 by Lou
Somehow I knew when Daniel Murphy worked the count in the 5th inning to 3 and 2 then struck out on ball in the dirt by his ankles with the bases loaded, the game was lost. The Mets had an 8-2 lead but at Coors Field, I knew it wouldn’t be enough.
April 12th, 2013 by Lou
The highest temperature the Mets may see this weekend in Minneapolis is 43° Fahrenheit. (6° Celsius). Ah, the summer game. That’s bad enough but the lowest temperature could be 28° F (-2° C). Sorry but if it’s below freezing at game time… no game. Please, no game. We don’t need Jon Niese hurting his arm throwing in such conditions.
Is it possible NASA could provide a solution for baseball during the global warming age? Oh, I know… those who believe Global Warming is a hoax will say “What global warming, look how cold it is?”
That misunderstanding among the scientifically illiterate is what has caused scientists and politicians to now refer to the crises as Global Climate Change. That’s because there are many that assume if the temperature in their own backyard is cold, global warming cannot possibly be the case. However the term Global Warming is accurate because it refers to the earth’s average temperature, not the temp at game time at Target Field.
The average temperature on the planet is 61° F (16° C). The vast majority of scientists around the world have concluded through empirical evidence that the constant insertion of pollution in the atmosphere from fossil fuels is increasing the average temperature on the planet. An increase of just a single degree can cause (or is causing) catastrophic weather events such as Sandy, devastating tornados in the south, scorched farm land in the Midwest from draught, and some of the most powerful hurricanes and cyclones recorded to date. However, this rise in temperature does not mean palm trees will be adorning the Citi Field plazas anytime soon.
As the average temp rises, the ocean water near the surface heats up and evaporates more quickly, causing more moisture in the atmosphere which in turn provides more fuel to energize storms. Also while areas of the planet experience hotter temperatures other parts will be colder. This was the theme of the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” although it was portrayed poorly and quite inaccurately.
The long term solution is of course to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels and to embrace renewable technology. Other countries are doing this with much more gusto than we seem to be able to do here in the US. Why is that? Could it be related to oil company profits? I guess that suggestion would make me appear cynical.
I could go on but I will spear you the science/political lesson and try to bring this back to baseball.
I know we have had early and late parts of baseball seasons in the past that were cold, rainy, and even snowy. In 1982, the Mets opener in Philadelphia was delayed a day because of a major snowstorm in the northeast. But that was rare. We typically did not see such severe weather every year as we do now. The problem is real and based on facts, not a congressperson’s agenda because oil or coal jobs in the districts he or she represents. Of course baseball is nothing in comparison to when people lose loved ones and their homes as was the case with Sandy and other recent catastrophic storms. But let me attempt to at least lighten the mood a bit.
I always go back to scheduling. There should be no night games scheduled in the northern states till May 1st. Stadiums with roofs and in warmer climates should be utilized more in the early and late part of the season. Games should be postponed if the temp is below 50° F (10° C) to protect the players from injury. All fields should be heated as is the case at Target Field and Citi Field. Perhaps even some regular season games should be played in the Caribbean or Mexico. This has been done in recent years but in the middle of the season which made no sense from a weather perspective. Perhaps it even has come time that the World Series is played at a neutral site, not a decision I would be fond of by the way.
So where does NASA come in?
In the 1960s, NASA had contractors build space suits that could protect astronauts on the lunar surface from temperatures that ran from 226° F to -243.4° F (107° C to -153° C). They came up with an undergarment that had coolant running through tiny tubes throughout the suit. Now granted the coolant circulated through the astronaut’s backpack and I am not suggesting that something so cumbersome be worn during a baseball game. But we are talking about technology developed a half century ago. A lot of advancement has occurred over the last 50 years. Can’t they come up with something that ballplayers can wear under the uniform to help keep them warm?
Wouldn’t you think this should be a national priority? (asked with tongue firmly implanted in cheek)
April 3rd, 2013 by Lou
Why play night games so early in the season? Does this really make any sense?
Tonight’s game time temperature is estimated to be 43 degrees dropping to 38 by 10:00PM. Why would any team want to expose their talent to these conditions? Muscles can tighten up causing injuries, perhaps sidelining a player for a few weeks. Remember Tim Leary folks?
Tim Leary was one of the Mets top pitching prospects in the early 1980s. Leary started the third game of the opening series at Wrigley field in 1981. It was a cold, rainy, miserable day. He lasted two innings and left the game with a strained elbow. He was never the same afterwards. It was the last game he started for the Mets that season. By 1985 he was gone from the club. He did manage to hang around baseball through 1994 but he never became the star we all had hoped. Was it the weather that did Leary in back in ’81 or was it just a coincidence? No one will ever know but it probably helped to cause Mets manager Joe Torre to lose his job at the end of the season.
Tonight, Matt Harvey takes the mound. I think everyone will agree that Harvey has the potential to be an ace one day. Certainly the technology is better today than it was 30 years ago so I’m sure the Mets staff will do their best to keep Harvey’s arm lose and warm. But the Mets as an organization could have done more. The thing most obvious in my mind is the schedule. Why in the world are they playing night games so early in the season? I know the Mets are not the only team to do so. Heck, seven miles away the Yankees are doing the same thing.
It is not the earliest day of the year the Mets played a night game but its pretty close. In 1998 and 2003 the Mets played their first home night game on April 2nd. And of course they have played road games early in the season as well. In fact they played a night game on March 30th in 2000 as the home team but that was in the Tokyo Dome.
Years ago, teams in the northern states did not play night games till late April or early May. From 1962 through 1984 the Mets did not play their first home night game until as early as April 16th (’82) and as late as May 6th (’64 and ’66). During most of those years, the Mets did not turn on the lights until the last week of April or first week of May–WHEN THE WEATHER WAS FREAKIN WARM! (spoken in my best Sam Kinison voice)
After the ’84 season, gradually the first Shea night game began to creep up in the calendar. In ’85 the Mets played their first night game at home on April 12th, the earliest ever. Two years later they did it on April 10th and in 1993 the Mets played under the stars on April 9th. The Mets opened their season at home at night in 1995 on April 15th but that was because of the shortened season following the ’94 strike.
In 1996, the Mets played their first home night game on April 5th, the earliest ever up to that point. Two years later and again in 2003, they beat the April 5th date when the Mets played their earliest night game ever on April 2nd. Now it has become pretty much standard that game two of the season at home will be a night game. It’s crazy and makes no sense unless you consider one thing… money! It always boils down to the bottom line.
I assume (just guessing here) that the Mets will make more money tonight from TV revenue airing the game in prime time than they will from the gate. It’s likely the Mets will have a very small crowd this evening, especially with the weather being so cold. Now even if the Mets were playing a day game today, the crowd would likely be small. So you have to figure a small crowd either during the day or at night, from the Mets’ financial perspective, it makes sense to get the TV advertising dollar. Don’t forget, the team owners (Wilpon and Katz) own a big chunk of SNY, the Mets station and they are running a business.
There are a lot of things that can make baseball better. Unfortunately the almighty buck always wins out. Just hope none of the players tonight, on either club, suffer for the team being so short sided.