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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Shealogy

It's over. Shea Stadium is officially demolished. We all want to equate the stadium to an old friend, maybe one that had seen better days, one that would be sorely missed. To me, the most chilling moment was that last game, that last walk out. All the pictures, all the drive-bys, all the reports since then have felt empty because without baseball Shea was just a building.


Shea Stadium died five months ago. That's when it contracted that terminal illness that we all knew would take her life within months. Yesterday it finally happened; Shea Stadium took it's last breath. To me, it was a relief. Finally she'd been put out of her misery, having her innards photographed and displayed for everyone to see, her illness discussed across the world.


I ask that you remember her as she was in her glory days, and not in her sickness. Don't remember the final tumble of those ramps, or the demolition of the scoreboard. Remember the fans rushing the field after that first championship, even if you weren't there. Remember Ventura's Grand Single, Pratt's home run, the glove that never came down, Seaver, Strawberry, That amazing June comeback against the Braves in the 8th, or whatever your favorite moments were.


She's in a better place now, in our minds, on our blogs, on our highlight reels. Take a month, or 53 days, to mourn. A new friend waits on the horizon. One you don't quite know yet, one you've only exchanged the briefest of words with. You may be skeptical you can ever get along, or that you'll ever love again, but you will. It has tough foundations to fill, but rumor is it's up to the task.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Still Cheating


The baseball players that decided to cheat, especially the ones that cheated this century, are unlikely to have stopped cheating because of testing. In past decades these things were almost universally, if secretly, accepted in baseball so It's harder to be annoyed at any one guy. Everyone was cheating to get that edge. But as Balco happened, as we started to talk about making baseball clean, many people continued to cheat. The guys that have been caught, A-Rod among them, aren't likely to have stopped because of the 2004 testing policy, especially considering how weak the original penalty was. More likely these guys, used to taking something undetectable that gave them a boost, simply switched to something else undetectable. Many of them are wealthy and have access to many trainers and resources that can provide these things. So even when A-Rod tries to tell us, as guys like Pettite have told us in the past, that it was a momentary mistake, they only did it once, they're clean now, it's hard for me to believe. I'm sure most of them switched to HGH or something else that is undetectable in today's drug tests.

Friday, January 30, 2009

New site

New link. see above.

http://optimisticmetsfan.ceetar.com

I totally butchered the template for the blog in doing this, so I'll have to mess with that.

I also somehow lost part of my blog list..I don't know If I saved that anywhere. If I missed/lost your blog, it wasn't intentional. (except in one case) Contact me and I'll add it back.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon on Optimistic Mets Fan:


I've got a fair selection of topics slated once Spring Training starts and we can start to smell Opening Day:


My yearly baseball wagers.


My fantasy teams, and what types of leagues I'm going to join. Hopefully a nice rotisserie league.


The Second Annual Letters to the NL East where I address all five teams in the division, and the Yankees.


Thoughts and observations on my first ever trip to Spring Training. I'm going to see Three Mets Games, against the Marlins, Nats, and Tigers, as well as the Twins versus the Pirates.


While I'm down in Florida, I'm going to be catching a game of the World Baseball Classic.


And that's just some of the thrilling prose I'll have for you over the next two months or so..before we can get down to some serious April baseball.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fantasy Baseball

I've just started reading Fantasyland. If you don't know, it's about about Wall Street Journal Writer Sam Walker's entrance into one of the most prestigious rotisserie fantasy baseball leagues. Even thought I'm not a stathead, and cringe at the idea of spending hours and hours poring over minute details about minor leagues, I'm finding the book entertaining.


So entertaining in fact, that I want to join a rotisserie league this year. Usually I play in 3-6 different free Yahoo leagues, as well as a salary cap league on Sporting News. That one isn't quite rotisserie though, because anybody can buy the same players. I'm researching the 'better' rotisserie leagues out there to try to find one to join, but suggestions are always welcome.

Monday, January 12, 2009

We Don't Need More Offense

There seems to be a desperate need among some fans for the Mets to upgrade their offense. Some people are overly freaked out to the point (not that it takes much for some) of screaming and yelling about the Wilpons and/or Minaya and the inevitable 'please spend like the Yankees' pleas.


They're off-target. The offense we have is fine. The one area I'd like to see improved is the bench, and this isn't something you sign Manny Ramirez for. I'd be reluctant to sign an outfielder if it limits Murphy's playing time, and I think Castillo is going to have a more than acceptable year. Even without those two positions, which was basically where the Mets were last year, they scored the second most runs in the National League (ahead of Philadelphia). Some of it was bad situational stuff, which you have to pin on both HoJo, and Manuel's lineup and pinch hitting selections. Hopefully both of these get better, but one of the things that definitely will help is the better bullpen. For two years now, repeated blown saves have overshadowed the offense. The Mets weren't flat in 2007, the bullpen just gave back the lead too often. The Mets weren't unable to get a big hit in 2008, the big hits just were just obscured by the bullpen giving the lead back, or making the game so out of reach that the big hit that was needed was a 6-run home run.


The Mets will seem to hit better in 2009 even if the lineup stays the same. The Mets will be more capable of winning that 3-2 game, and suddenly their offense will be plenty.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Wheels Coming Off

J.C. Romero suspended

The magic that culminated in a 2008 Phillies championship is starting to crumble.  It was an odd culmination of player resurgence, finding the hot relievers, and just plain luck that got the Phillies to where they were.   Maybe this is the first sign that the magic was a one year thing, and they'll soon be back in third place where they belong.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Orioles Fan

Mistaken for an Orioles fan.

 

I don’t really care what the Mets color scheme is, what uniforms they wear, or what symbols they use.  The Citi Field logo isn’t great, but I just don’t care.  Some fans dislike that the Mets every incorporated black into their apparel.  I personally don’t care, although I like sticking to the history of the blue and orange from the Dodgers and Giants.  Tangently, I really thought the All-Star jerseys worn in San Francisco in 2007 should’ve been Black for the AL and Orange for the NL, rather than the other way around.  It was just a passing thought though.

 

However, I do like variety.  I was annoyed that the Diamondbacks ditched the purple.  I actually like some of the older 80s style flashy uniforms.  I dislike teams looking the same, everyone wearing the same grays and whites and pinstripes. 

 

The other day I was out at a restaurant, wearing a black and orange Mets shirt that I’d gotten cheap somewhere.  One of the servers came over to me and said “Nice shirt”, and happened to start talking baseball.  He mentioned some third base prospect I’d never heard of, and since I don’t follow prospects or hot stove too closely, I figured he meant 2B, and it was some guy the Mets were looking at as a possible Castillo replacement.  I gave a suitably vague answer, and he walked away, but I still felt confused.  Then it dawned on me that he didn’t actually see the front of my shirt, merely the colors, and I (which he came over and verified later) correctly assumed that he mistook me for an Orioles fan. 

 

Must be sad times in Baltimore if the most exciting thing to look forward to is a 3B prospect.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

RyanHoward-Rod


I like my title, shame you won't see that on the back pages of the Post.


K-Rod.


Pretty much the best closer in the game. At least arguably. Definitely the bets Free Agent relief pitcher on the market, and as much as I'm reluctant to always try to 'buy' the best team, this was the right move. I'm not nearly as excited about it as I was Santana, but I'm fully of the mind that if Wagner doesn't get hurt, the Mets win the division, and probably the Phillies don't win the Series.


Omar filled the biggest hole with the biggest plug. We still need a a bunch of relievers, but I don't think they need to be big name guys. Pull in a bunch of guys from the minors, waivers, other teams, rule-5, wherever, and see who can thrive in this system with these coaches and players.


The last two starters should be the next priority. I wouldn't be against Pedro/Ollie. Not both, but one of them. Perez is probably the better option, but his consistency is infuriating and overly taxing on the bullpen's piece of mind. I don't trust Niese to step in and be a reliable 5th starter. I think they should assume he'll be the guy that'll get called up when they need a 6th, or a fill in guy when someone needs to skip a start. I'm not overly concerned with who it is, but It'd be nice to have another big innings guys so the bullpens innings can be kept down.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

How many more days?

Watched some football today. Giants look good.

I miss baseball.

Baseball.

Spring Training Yet?


Speaking of which, I got my letter for renewal of season plans. Thinking about whether I should get a 15 game package, or just try to get 15 games on my own. Of course, I can have 3 extra seats, so if anyone out there wants to join me/us..

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Banner

I hate the offseason.  Not just because there's not baseball, but because all there is is rumor.  Rumors the Mets will get this player, or that player, or talk to this player, or this player wants this money, this many years...yawn.  It's all useless conjecture.  I'd rather just read the news as it happens, not try to guess at it.  Otherwise I'd be a weatherman. (*snicker*).  

It's a minor thing, but I'm debating when I should change the top rail image on the blog.  Right now it's a random picture of the banners that were in right field.  But Shea is no longer the home of the Mets.  Should I post a picture of Citi from the outside, or wait until the first and post a picture from the game?  Decisions decisions..

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Jets At Shea

The elusive picture of Shea for the Jets. Notice how the field level is rotated. This picture is from 1964.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Losingest Team in MLB

The Phillies are one of the oldest baseball teams, and have lost the most games.  They found lightning in a bottle in their bullpen this year, and the teams they faced, which weren't the top teams in the game, were unable to exploit their weaknesses.  They played a strong September and October, much like the Rockies last year, or the Cardinals the year before.  They won.  It sucks. I take solace in that they only get one title a century, and they've used up this one's only eight years in. 

My money's on 20,000 losses before the third championship.

However, from a rivalry standpoint, this just amps it up.  Despise years and chances, both teams have two.  Phillies fans aren't going to discard their hatred for us, and we know they only come out when they're winning.  But now we've grown an intense dislike for them too.  This could get interesting.  Or the Phillies could pack it in and place fourth next year, and the rivalry, like the Phillies themselves, will be a flash in the pan.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bounty

The stupid "The division hates the Mets" story got me thinking.  Metstradamus joked about the Mets putting bounties on other players.  Fine, do it.  Not real bounties, but something team building and fun.  Whoever has the best game against the Phillies in a series gets to set the radio/tv for a week.  A pitcher who gets Hanley out the most gets to pick where they eat dinner next. 

 

This all probably stems from the general disconnect players and fans have.  While there is often a jealousy of New York money and success and popularity, it’s rarely the other way around.  What does Hanley Ramirez have for the Mets to hate?  We’re trying to get them to feel our hatred.

 

We seem to have criticized the Mets for acting like they deserved the division in ’07.  Well, they did deserve the division, and I think they should continue to act like that.  The Mets should walk into opposing stadiums like they own the place.  Walk into ’09 like they own the division. 

 

This would be great:

 

Wright: “The division is ours this year.”

 

Reporter: “But aren’t the Phillies the defending division champs? Don’t you have to go through them?”

 

Wright: “Even bad teams get lucky sometimes.  The Phillies..who’s on that team?  Cole..somebody or another right?  Bring it on.”

 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Crossword

It's the off season(except for two teams..damn them), and as I hate rumors, I haven't been posting much.

I noticed this in today's AMNY crossword puzzle, and while it's true in a past tense sense, it's a little outdated now.

65 Across: Shea Player.

It's obviously Met (Although Jet would also work, since both teams used to play there, and neither do now), but right now the Mets don't have a home. They're still on the moving truck between them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Postseason baseball

Last year I got right into the postseason, and the Phillies being pummeled didn't hurt. It was like I was so expectant of the season not being over. This year I was just so disappointed and disillusioned that I haven't been into it. Sox looked good last night, but I'm still pulling for the Rays I think. (I like to compare them to the '69 Mets, but last night certainly reminded me of the '08 Mets. Both teams blew it after Kazmir left! haha..that was..bad)

Islanders don't look great, but I'm thinking there might be some fun there. I caught opening night at the Prudential Center against the Devils, they lost, but I had fun.

I'm going to be in Buffalo this weekend, I wonder if I should pick up a Bisons shirt or something.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Jets at Shea

I know I saw a picture at one point, but I can't find any on the internet at the moment.


Does anyone out there have a good picture of the field level rotated out to accommodate the Jets?

Friday, October 03, 2008

First Offseason Move

Well, Omar's poised to make his first mistake of the off season. Hopefully it's his only mistake. I have confidence he'll do what's needed to improve this team, without caving to what whiny fans think is the best course of action. However, keeping Manuel who failed as a bench coach, failed as an interim manager, and may have even failed as a leader in the clubhouse and managed a team that was succeeding and cruising, even without Billy Wagner, and managed to have them crash and burn again.

Luckily managers don't have that big an impact, and if you give anybody the right players they can't succeed. If the bullpen did, or will, pitch well enough that Manuel doesn't have to constantly tamper with it, he won't be able to screw it up. Maybe if he resides over a spring training for real, he won't treat next September like one.

Omar's decisions can only get better from here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Better Luck Next Year

This doesn't hurt as much, but it still sucks.  These players are too good to be this bad.  MVP candidates, Cy Young candidate, Gold Gloves, probably some Silver Sluggers..with players this good you can't be this bad.  The injuries to Wagner and Maine hurt, sure, but it's something deeper.  The bullpen had streaks here and there, so they definitely showed talent, even if it was rare.  I don't discredit Omar, he did a lot to shake things up from last year, but many of them failed, but plenty succeeded also.  

So what's left?  Management.  We all credit Warthon with Perez and Pelfrey turning around, but Pelfrey had already shown flashes.  Did Warthon speed that up? maybe.  Allowing Perez to be Perez was certainly helpful at first, but yesterday he pitched like April, excellent until the 6th inning.  The offense continually put pressure on the bullpen because they wouldn't score more runs, and then the bullpen continually put pressure on the offense because they couldn't put up zeros.  For such great players they struggled with situational hitting, except for some streaks and some guys like Castillo who had good numbers in key situations.  The batters often failed to hit the ball on the ground, or get a sac fly, or go the other way, or not swing for the fences, while the pitchers often failed to be able to induce a groundball, or throw a pitch that won't be hit out.  The manager and coaches are the people most responsible for creating these game plans, and they haven't worked.  Maybe part of it is the calling of the game.  Could Schneider be responsible?  Was he even calling all the pitches?  Was his almost-platoon status inhibiting his authority to call pitches and be respected by the pitchers?  Who knows, but something is wrong with the fundamentals, and I think Jerry Manuel is doing more harm than good. 

The farewell ceremony was touching and nice at least.  That's two stadiums I've closed out in two years now.  

Sunday, September 28, 2008

All or Nothing

Heres hoping the Mets are cooking tomorrow
Shea was great on Saturday. And hopefully it'll be great on Sunday. Hopefully this isn't actually the last game. Either way I'm going to take 6 zillion pictures. It's going to be insane, and we won't know the final of the Brewers game until the middle of the Shea Goodbye ceremony, which will make it all the more nerve wracking.

What Johan did was amazing. Oliver Perez never moved from his spot leaning on the railing in the front of the dug out, and was one of the first out to congratulate him. Here's hoping he was taking notes.

Friday, September 26, 2008

All...or nothing.

This team is very all or nothing this year.  It feels that way sometimes in games, and now the whole season is at that point.  The whole relationship with the fans is at that point too.  Win, and everythings golden.  lose, and the floodgates will have opened.  

This season has the potential to be great, to create two or three or more all-time Mets favorites, ones that might even surpass guys like Keith Hernandez and Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry.  

It could also tumble down, and have fans calling for these guys heads.  Even the 'franchise' ones.  This weekend will start to tell the story, and hopefully it's only the beginning of the story.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Smart At-Bats

I only want to talk about one specific at-bat here.  It happened in the 9th inning, while Ryan Church was at bat.  I was watching the defense and I saw before the final pitch that the second baseman and shortstop had moved in dramatically, to the front edge of the dirt.  I was curious why, but then I realized.  They were setting up Church for a ground ball with the bases load.  Sure enough, ground ball, fielded, throw home for the force.  Couldn't someone in the dugout, or Church himself, seen this and adjusted accordingly?  I'm not a baseball player but that made me see the Mets as overmatched.

Bad all Around

That game was miserable. Manuel's managing of it no better than the situational hitting. The crowd felt alive, energetic, excited..it was almost a borderline playoff feel. Until Sanchez let up the tying hits.

How can Manuel be so inconsistent? How can he use reliever after reliever when someone is in trouble in earlier innings, but leaves Ayala in there for two? Shouldn't he have gone somewhere else, or at least pulled him after the first hit, if not the second? Why did he pinch hit for Schneider, but leave Argenis in to bat when he already got his hit for the month? And then pull Argenis after the inning anyway!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Good Bye and Good Riddence

The Mets game was a disaster, all across the board.  Managing, situational hitting, bullpen.. So while we still have a lead in the wild card and a more than adequate chance to make the division title ours, I’m going to talk about something else.

 

It’s hard to be a baseball fan without at least a little respect for Yankee Stadium (not necessarily the Yankees themselves).  The Stadium has been around for roughly 86 years, and housed some of the earlier stages of baseballs history.  If there is a baseball ‘god’, it’s Babe Ruth, who made the first marks at the Stadium.  So my gut reaction is that they shouldn’t be demolishing something full of so much baseball lore.

 

The Mets fan and Yankees hater side of me enjoys that they’re knocking down something so historic.  You could argue that the Curse of the Bambino that supposedly stopped the Red Sox from winning was actually reversed when the Yankees went through the process of starting to dismantle the Bambino’s house.  The Red Sox won twice, and the Yankees have gradually gotten worse and worse, until this season when they will miss the playoffs entirely.  Going into the final game ever at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees number for elimination is 1.  This means that if they lose, not only will it be the final regular season game in the building, but also clinches that it will be the last game, period.  They’re currently up 5-3 in the 5th, but we’ll see how it turns out. 

 

Physically, Yankee stadium isn’t very nice.  The concourses, specifically on the ground floor, are tight and feel cave like.  The seats aren’t great, and the upper deck is tall and steep.  The entire place feels old, because it _is_ old.  Besides the ‘magic’ behind the historical place, I’m glad they’re knocking it down.  As a baseball fan in New York, I do occasionally find myself at the place, whether randomly or for a Subway Series game, and my priorities when visiting are my own comfort and enjoyment.  I already have to deal with Yankee fans when I’m there, so why add in small concourses, ancient bathrooms, long lines, broken seats and all the other things wrong with the place? 

 

Babe Ruth may miss the place, but I won’t.  May the Yankees live to regret this decision and be doomed to decades of failure.

 

Back to the Mets, I’m sick and tired of Mets fans acting like Luis Castillo is beating up babies and stabbing nuns in the clubhouse.  To me it seems like he plays at least as hard as anyone, and he certainly gets on base more than Argenis Reyes, and more than Easley.  I don’t think the 7th spot in the lineup is the best location for him, but that’s Manuel’s lineup, not Castillo’s.  The guy might not have the range he used to, but he’s certainly not stationary.  If the Mets were pounding in runs, specifically in clutch spots, then maybe you live with a defensive Argenis a little more often.  Right now though, they need both Castillo’s OBP, and his average with runners in scoring position.  

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Division Title is Brewing

Regardless of the struggles for the division, the Brewers inability to win games has put up a safety net for the Mets.  They own a substantial lead over the wild card challengers in Milwaukee, so that even were they to lose the division they’d likely make the playoffs.  However, with a Mets win last night, and a Phillies loss, the Mets are now one loss ahead for the division.  That’s really two, because if they were to end tied, the Mets as winners of the season series would get the division, and the Phillies the Wild Card. 

 

There are nine games left, which is also the magic number to clinch the division outright.  Seven is the magic number to clinch the postseason altogether.  Both are doable.  This team looks good right now; finding ways to win, capitalizing on errors, and not letting their own errors hurt them.

 

86 wins in the book, with nine to play.  Chances are they don’t win every one of them, but end up with a comfortable 90-92.  Which is where they’d have been last year if their collapse had been mini instead of total.  Time to finish it out, put the Phillies away, and win this division.  Leave the final weekend at Shea for Shea, not trying to make the playoffs.

 

Argenis Reyes really should just told he can come back next year.  His spot in the lineup should just read ‘out’.  I know Castillo has been slow returning from the DL, but so has Church, and we’re not killing him.  Castillo is better than Argenis, and a hurt Castillo is better than a hurt Easley, and I don’t think Castillo’s that hurt.  Maybe he’s lost a step here and there, but he still can run the bases, still can draw the walk, still gets on base.  If he can get on base, and Wright, Beltran and Delgado can hit, then everythings peachy.  Argenis Reyes however, hasn’t had a hit in over a month spanning 12 games.  He’s had one walk in that span.  Castillo accomplished both last night.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Magic Number Mojo

Obviously baseball is a very superstitious sport.  That doesn't mean jinxes are real, or that some things don't have to happen the way they do.  There are some things you just can't wait until the last minute to plan for.  The playoffs are one of them.  Many Mets fans out there don't want anyone mentioning the magic number for instance, but if these fans got their way the Mets would wake up on October First having made the playoffs, but having even more issues.

A. They already sent the groundscrew home for the winter, so the field isn't ready, the grass isn't cut, the trap hasn't protected the field, (They're knocking it all down anyway right?), and the lines aren't drawn.

b. No one's showing up to see them play, since they never printed or sold the tickets.

c. The vendors and ushers aren't there to escort anyone to their seats or sell them hot dogs.  There aren't any hot dogs anyway, since they didn't reorder from Aramark past September 28th. (Would anyone be surprised if the concessions are out of virtually everything that day, clinched or not?)

d. In fact, the wrecking ball is already dismantling Shea, because everyone told them to assume the season was over October first until told otherwise.  Can't play at Yankee Stadium, since that's meeting the same fate.   

e. If they did manage to play, it wouldn't be on the radio.  Fox has the tv covered, but Howie Rose is already in Uniondale and Wayne Hagin went home. 

f. Mr. Met is off doing weddings and other apperances, unable to man the Pepsi Party Patrol Cannon.  



In all, the number (and not just on Metsblog) has been posted before.  '06 as well as '07.  Would Glavine and Mota have pitched better if the number wasn't up there? no.  Even without it on the main page, it'd be mentioned in every thread.  Everytime you look at the standings and the Phillies score, you're thinking "how many more Mets wins and Phillies loses before we're in?".  So posting it is merely giving us the info we want, which is what the blog is for.  I'm too lazy to come up with a proper auto-updating widget (and don't know javascript well enough) to put up the Magic Number, but it stands at 13 with I believe 26 games left.  

Can't win them all

Wow.  Bummer of a weekend.  It turns out this team is roughly the same team as last year.  I’d originally thought the bullpen was better, but without Wagner, it just isn’t.  The bigger deal is that the Brewers seem to be freefalling again, like last year.  It’s shocking that the Phillies beat them in 4 games, but the Mets at least still have a two game in the loss lead.  One of those games is to night. 

 

I’m still not worried, this has been the trend for most of the season.  They’d get a little good run going, and the Phillies would struggle a bit.  Then it’d reverse, and the Phillies would catch back up.  But each cycle of this, the Mets seemed to gain a little bit of ground.  In July and early August, the Mets would get to a game or two lead, and lose it again.  Now they’re getting a three of four game lead, and letting it dwindle down to one or two.  I still think it’s likely the Mets win by four, and I think it’s entirely probable that the Phillies lose 3 games this week.  If the Mets can lose less than that, or go 5-2, next week they’ll be a solid three games up with a week to play. 

 

The biggest problem is still that the bullpen is unsettled.  Last year at this time, we didn’t know who to go with when.  Maybe because they were all struggling or hurt.  This year it appears to be the same story.  For the most part guys like Ayala and Stokes have been solid since coming here, but is that something that’s going to be the norm?  Or are they going to be tired out from being the go-to guys, and by the final weekend, we won’t know who to call on in a tight spot? 

 

The Mets have had plenty of opportunity to put this division away.  There have been a game here and there that they just let get away, gave up early, or couldn’t shut the door on.  They could easily be in a position that the Phillies wouldn’t even be sending out ticketing emails about coming to see their playoff push. 

 

However, it is what it is.  Let’s see the Mets end this this week, play TWO games better than the Phillies, and enter the final week four games up. The Cubs have a magic number of seven, and likely will be using those four games against the Mets for rest and setting up for the playoffs.  Just like it’s been each of the last three seasons, the division is there for the Mets taking.  

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Citi Field: Home of the Mets, and only the Mets.

 News today confirms what has probably been the plan all along.  A shiny new Home Run Apple at the Citi.  This is just as it should be, I don’t understand those that want the same old decrepit apple from Shea.  It’s worn out and needs to be replaced anyway.  Moving it would be as silly as taking the seats from Shea to put in Citi Field.

 

A lot of stuff about Citi Field hasn’t been decided or released yet.  There will be plenty of Shea mementos, and plenty of references to the Mets, despite what some people like to think.  For example, the neon guys from the outside of Shea will be featured in one of the clubhouses somewhere, and while we can’t see them, they’ll be there.  I’m sure other things will as well.  Citi Field is not some Dodger tribute either.  The fa├žade of the rotunda will resemble Ebbett’s Field, which I think is a nice touch for the part of the stadium that will be named one of the few baseball players that actually transcends the sport.  There are a couple of names for landings and areas that are tributes to old Dodgers and Giants, and you might say it’s a bit too much, and maybe it is.  However, there will be plenty of Mets stuff all around, as well as any new memories and additions that happen will likely to Mets related.  These Dodger/Giant references are merely the way to recognize and remember the past that led to the creation of the Mets.  It’s a way for Mets fans and the next generation to not forget the roots of the team, while we move into a new state of the art facility designed specifically for the New York Mets.  Next summer, when the Mets are making memories and leaving their mark all over the place, no one will be thinking about the Dodgers. 

 

Another misconception is that the average fan is being priced out of Citi Field.  This is just people overreacting to little snippets of news and expectation.  The facts are that there will be plenty of affordable seating at the Citi, and the concessions are likely to be on par with Shea, just with more options and better quality.  I’ve heard from a variety of season ticket holders, and while the top prices for the very best seats are obscene, some people are actually paying less than they are this year.  There are definitely reasonable priced tickets, and it will be possible for everyone to see a game at the Field next year.  I believe the cheapest ticket is going to be $12, compared to $5 this year.  There will probably be the occasional special and discount too.  And this doesn’t include the Standing Room Only tickets, which they haven’t discussed yet. 

 

Of course, there are some things about the new stadium that aren’t perfect.  Despite the ‘good views everywhere’ philosophy, I don’t like the limited seating.  Financially I understand why it was done; it would probably take decades to replace the cost of building those extra 10k charging what they’d be worth.  While more legroom and closer seats is important, those next 10 thousand people that get left out of the big game would rather be inside than out.  However, the Mets rarely average more than the capacity of Citi Field, and the only reason they did this year is because it’s the last year at Shea. 

 

All in all, I’m looking forward to Citi Field a lot.  Shea Stadium has a lot of memories, but just like everyone eventually moves out of their first apartment that was falling apart but fun nonetheless, it’s time for the Mets and the fans to move to a better home.

 

 

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Best Season Ever?

Greg over at Faith and Fear likes to go on about the ‘almost’ seasons like ’97; years that express the Mets rebirth from the basement into a competitor. These are usually seasons that have little or no possibility of horrific disappointment because you expect nothing and know it’d be a crazy long shot for anything magical to happen.


No one is looking at 2007 with anything but disgust; At least not on this end of the Jersey Turnpike. There was very little ‘good’ to take out of last year. Even something that might have been something, Glavine’s 300th win, was forever marred by..well you know. I’m sure there were some fun and memorable moments from 2007, but I find myself at a mental block whenever thoughts stray to that year.


2008 will be better, because it’s not like those other years where we expected nothing and got something. Not because it can’t possibly be worse. In a way it combines that magical trait of moving from nowhere to somewhere with the expectation of something exceptional. Much like ’83 or ’96 were worthless years leading into something bigger, ’07 will be the same way. The difference with 2008 is that it’s not coming off an era of irrelevance. Disregarding all the Shea Goodbye and other off the field stuff, 2008 is a recovery year but not just one where we look at the team and enjoy watching them because there is hope and good baseball for once. 2008 has endless possibilities all the way to the end, but even if it were to end as horrifically as any other season there is still that ‘97/’05 quality to it that will keep it in our minds.


For us younger fans (And by that I mean under 30 or so, which is a sad statement in it of itself), I imagine this is how it felt to watch Gooden in 1984. Pelfrey has blossomed into something every team dreams of, a home grown Ace. Even if he might never be the Ace on the Mets because we already have one, even If the Mets never win another game this year, there is something rather exciting coming out of 2008 that makes most of us rather giddy. Can you imagine what the future holds with a 1-2 punch of Santana and Pelfrey? How about how solid Daniel Murphy looks at the plate, coming seemingly out of nowhere? And of course I don’t need to express how wonderful it is to have two franchise ‘veterans’ in Wright and Reyes continue to shine. They hopefully haven’t even reached their prime yet, and they already hold places in the Mets record books that will have them mentioned for decades to come. These are only some of the moments that make 2008 already memorable. From as simple as sweeping the Yankees in the final Subway Series at Yankee Stadium to the possibility of winning it all, 2008 has something for every Mets fan to remember fondly.


Where will this chapter of Mets history take us? That’s yet to be determined, but it’s safe to say that the season will be full of successes no matter how it ends. Step back from the internal strife, the bullpen woes, and the late-inning offensive slumps to appreciate the good aspects of the season. Whether it’s Reyes’ or Wright’s all around good play, the joy of watching an emerging Ace or an already dominant one, the discarded player in Tatis making a comeback to have an excellent year, or any of the other exciting secondary stories that are playing out this year. Then brace for the next four to eight weeks as I expect this season could jump to near the top of the list of best seasons ever for both young and old fans alike.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Who's got the '08 Magic?

I find myself every year kind of liking the Cubs..just because..they're less harmless than a baby bear. Like the Red Sox did, they have a pretty loyal fanbase for never having won. And of course I'm rooting for them as much as any of those fans this weekend.

So if the baseball gods chose based on 'magic'...who wins between the Cubs and the Rays this year? The Cubs look like one of the best teams in baseball, and they just seem to have a sense about them of winning. The Rays have now assured themselves of their first non-losing season. Ever, and yet they continue to push to replicate the '69 Mets. So in terms of baseball magic, you'd think these two teams are the favorites for the World Series. Who wins out? My money's on the Mets.

I have faith in the Cubs to do well against the Phillies. They took the game against their 'ace', and no reason why they can't win at least two out of three here. I think yesterday around 9:30 is when the Phillies may have said good bye to first place for the next dozen years or so.

don't pump up the Cubs too much though, we still have to face them in September, and even if we no longer have the Phillies to worry about then, we still need to win 3-1 to take a slim one game edge in the all-time season series against them.

The Yankees edge out a victory today to remain a slim six games behind the wild card leading Red Sox, a team that even without Beckett looks much better than the 'Bronx Bombers'. The Yankees finish on the road, so the last game at Yankee Stadium will be earlier than that. Is it possible they take the wrecking ball to it before the season even ends? Either way, I'd bet that it starts coming down before the Mets clean out their lockers for the last time.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hot Potato


The game of hot potato continues. Can anyone remember the last time their was a serious division fight? 2006 was a runaway, and 2007 ended with a crazy game of hot potato, with both the Mets and the Phillies doing their best not be be stuck with the division in the end. The Phillies lost, or won depending on how you look at it, that game, but it appears we're playing a new round. I serously thought that by this point in August the Mets would be taking that potato like a football and heading into the end zone. Instead they floundered around in April, and whenever they've acquired the lead, they've made sure to play just bad enough to lose it again. Then the Phillies take a shot at playing badly, the Mets catch and pass them, and we repeat the process.


Sure, last night sucked. Not because of anything Philly is or did, but the same revolving story with the Mets. The bullpen giving it up in key situations, although Pedro could've been better, the inability to score after putting up runs early. This wasn't a 'great battle', it was an exercise in frustration. However, it was just one game, and even if it technically puts the Phillys back in first, there is still plenty of time to play. It's merely a two game series, and tonight is merely one more game. I wasn't surprised that the Mets, who were so hot, have faltered a little of the last five games, but it's time to make a serious play.


We've got Santana going, they've got Kendrick. A mismatch on paper, but then so was this division going into this year. Santana's pitched so brilliantly lately, you wonder if he's not just due for something more medicore. However, the Mets are also due to beat on Kendrick a little, and maybe they'll be able to mess up a now tired Phillies bullpen. Getting Kendrick out early serves that purpose as well. Keeping the bullpen puts pressure on their starters, and gives the Cubs a prime opportunity to beat on them this weekend. The Mets have an off day tomorrow, which allows them to throw everything they've got at the Phillies today and rest after.


It's an important game, but not a dire one by any stretch. Let's see the Mets get back to some decent baseball and put some solid distance between them and the Phillies. I'd like to see the September series as an opportunity to bury the Phillies, not a close battle.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

On the (W)right Track


Does it get any better than this? The Mets continue to demonstrate that they are the class of the National League East. Braves dominate the Mets? Braves won seven of nine this year? Guess not. Better luck next year Braves.


The Phillies fall another game back, and now face the Dodgers, while the Mets face the Astros. The Dodgers are a better team, but their records aren’t that far apart. Then the two teams meet up for two next week. There are no real goals; just play better than the Phillies do. I’d like them to finish with the Phillies and be further ahead then they are now.


This was one of those games where you almost expect the Mets to drop one. They’ve been hot, they can’t win them all, Pedro can be hit or miss sometimes, and the bullpen hasn’t blown a game in a couple of days. Instead, the Mets pull one out, and now have Santana on the mound tomorrow. It doesn’t matter that it’s against Oswalt.

Now only are Ace’s supposed to stop losing streaks, but they’re supposed to string together winning streaks. All of a sudden the Mets have another winning streak, and Johan has a chance to make it longer. The Mets are on pace for 90 wins for the first time in ages. Johan on the mound, an emotional walk-off win, coupled with the return of Ryan Church, and the Mets will be rolling tomorrow night.


Things have to be looking bad for the Phillies. They lost ground despite playing the Nationals and winning two of three. They’re going into another four game series against the Dodgers, against whom they were swept recently. Could the Phillies fold under the pressure and go away so soon? Only time will tell.

Email from Ford

Okay, I admit I was bored.

I emailed the Ford Motor Company about advertising Derek Jeter on SNY. The reply was pretty generic, which was probably to be expected.


fromcrcfmc@ford.com
toceetar@gmail.com
dateThu, Aug 21, 2008 at 11:02 AM
subjectFord Motor Company

hide details 11:02 AM
Reply

Dear Ceetar,

Thank you for contacting the Ford Motor Company Customer Relationship Center regarding the Derek Jeter’s Ford Challenge advertisement.

Feedback such as yours allows us to examine our practices and policies to ensure that we meet or exceed the expectations of our customers in the future. We regret that you have not had a favorable experience, and appreciate the time you have taken to write us.

If you have any other inquiries, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to address them for you.

Sincerely,
Alji
Customer Relationship Center
Ford Motor Company

For online support visit us at: www.customersaskford.com which contains answers to frequently asked questions and links to other key product and service information.

[THREAD ID:1-47VKUC]

-----Original Message-----

From: "ceetar@gmail.com"
Sent: 8/20/2008 01:53:31 AM
To:
Subject: Sales/Advertising

Ford Motor CompanyMain Topic: SalesAdvertisingEmail Questions: There is such a thing as bad publicity. Seeing Derek Jeter advertise your product on SNY (The TV Home of the New York Mets) only makes me think bad things about Ford and the Ford Edge. Every time I see one I think to myself "I hate that car". The commercials run at least once per commercial break it seems, and the audience is at least 95% biased against the spokesperson in question. Seems like a bad decision to me. Owner First Name: Ceetar Owner Last Name: CeetarOwner Email Address: ceetar@gmail.comClient Browser : Firefox 3Client OS : Windows

Rookies are Rosey

I'm feeling rather chipper, excuse my pun, about the state of the Mets right now. Specifically about Mike Pelfrey, and Daniel Murphy. It's still too early to know anything about Murphy, but so far he's looked spectacular. He may not be the greatest outfielder, but he's not an outfielder. He's shown the willingness and ability to play anywhere however, and if the Mets decided the best way to fill left field, for now and the future, is to keep going with the conversion process for Murphy, I'm sure he'd turn out to be more than serviceable out there.

Pelfrey has got enough major league innings under his belt now to say that he's not a flash in the pan. Pelfrey is looking more and more like the real thing the more he pitches. The Mets organization, even without uber-conservative Peterson, wants to try to keep an eye on Pelfrey's inning count as the latest viewpoint is that it's important to keep the young pitchers from throwing too many innings too fast. Pelfrey is pitching too well for that. Manuel was probably thinking that he'd let Pelfrey pitch a solid six or so innings, and go to the bullpen. Pelfrey was too economical and too dominant to make a decision like that anything but stupid. With less than 100 pitches, Letting Pelfrey finish out the game for his first complete game was good for the bullpen's stamina, Pelfrey's confidence, the fans entertainment, and most importantly, It was good for the Mets.

Church looks like he could return soon, and where a month ago the Mets were desperate for a _second_ outfielder, now they're trying to figure out how to have playing time for five of them...not to mention Endy, who really has been a big help, despite the horrible start he got off to. Assuming Church comes back soon, there should be enough playing time for Church, Evans, Murphy, and Tatis among the two corner outfield positions, including the possibility that some of them could give Delgado a day off. Hopefully Endy can find some playing time also, to stay sharp, and maybe Beltran can get a day off here and there, depending on the playoff race.

Everything's coming up roses for the Mets lately.
Update Links New URL! http://optimisticmetsfan.ceetar.com