September 13, 2018

Oh Captain! My Captain!

I don't get upset about sports very often anymore.  Mad? Sure.  How can you not get mad on a regular basis following this franchise?  But actual day altering upset?  I guess I've just aged out of it.  Today however, was a rough one.  How could you not get upset watching this:
This wasn't a surprise and I thought for sure I had mentally prepared myself for it, but yet here I sit...upset.  Why, though?

You see having been around for the entirety of David Wright's career, I'm acutely aware of how special he is.  I'm not just talking about talent, which he had plenty of.  I'm talking about everything else.  He gave you everything, and in the past few years he tried to give more than his body would allow.  But that's not it either...

Wright is unlike most other athletes.  Once a Met, always a Met, we saw him evolve from the face of the franchise, to the team's captain, and for a brief period of time, even Captain America.  He didn't flee for more money.  He didn't make the game about him.  He just played the game right, for as long as his body would let him.  He was a role model...perhaps one of the last.

In two week's time, David Wright will take the field for what will almost certainly be the final time.  I wish I could be there.  I wish I could take my son.  I wish he could know just how special David Wright is, before Wright gingerly limps off into the sunset.

We may never see another player come through Queens with the perfect package of talent, leadership, and grace.  That's what made Wright special.  That's why I'm upset.

I'll leave you with this.  My favorite David Wright moment.  Despite all of the injuries that have marred a career that once had Hall of Fame potential, this is how I'll remember him.

February 20, 2018

Mets Have Young Stud in PJ Conlon

The Mets seem to have struck gold in a 2015 draft pick, that happened to be in the 13rd round. They selected PJ Conlon, a left-handed pitcher that hails from Belfast, Ireland. PJ is currently seeking to become the first Major League pitcher from come from Ireland in over 72 years!

After three successful years as a University of San Diego Torero, the New York Mets took their chances on him. He’d posted a 2.83 ERA in 294.1 innings, an absolutely astounding figure given the fact that they play in the loaded West Coast Conference. The Toreros got a good one, as he helped lead them to multiple conference championship tournaments. Conlon is fond of the time he spent there, citing an extremely close bond with head coach Rich Hill and the rest of the coaching staff. Upon his departure, he had already received multiple All-American honors and even had two great summers with the prestigious Chatham Anglers of the Cape Cod League.

Soon after being drafted, he received a low $100,000 signing bonus. In his first season, he was assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones at the A- level. Just pitching 17 innings, he struck out 25 batters and allowed zero runs. This was enough to earn him a promotion in his second season, where he floated around with the Columbia Fireflies (A) and the St. Lucie Mets (A+). He was extremely successful and this is the season it became clear that Conlon was something special. In 78.1 innings with the Fireflies, he had allowed just 19 runs, striking out 61 and winning 8 of 12 starts. After being promoted again, the St. Lucie Mets saw him pitch 63.2 innings for a 1.41 ERA on a 0.96 WHIP.

In the off-season though, trade rumors began to arise. Mets fans seemed to be pleading the organization to keep the young stud, which they luckily did. The franchise seemed to doubt Conlon a little, considering draft reports cited him as being too small and weak. He only stands about 5’11”, and his fastball rarely tops the low 90s. Conlon was invited to the 2017 Spring Training, in a move that seemed kind of like a test for the crafty lefty. This gave the Mets a chance to judge his stuff even more, and they seemed to like it enough to keep him around. Last season was spent in AA, with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. His stats weren’t quite as phenomenal, but that can be accredited to the fact that he’s just two levels away from the Show. Conlon’s record was 8-9, with a 3.37 ERA in 136 innings, which was good enough to earn him an organization All-Star nod. Prior to the 2018 season beginning, he’s racked up four All-Star appearances throughout post-season and franchise votes. PJ has even been pitcher of the week three times, all of which go towards his case of an MLB promotion.

As 2018’s Spring Training begins, Conlon has secured another invite. So far, he’s just thrown live batting practice against the club. Mets manager Mickey Callaway has spoken highly of him, saying, “He was throwing the ball where he wanted to, pitching in off the plate, good changeup down and away, so I think he’s another piece of the puzzle that can help us sometime in the near future.” Star right-fielder Jay Bruce also spoke highly of Conlon, remarking that his changeup was “pretty good”. It seems that this next season he will float between AA and AAA, with the small possibility of an MLB call-up. The possibility of a call-up to the Major Leagues within the next two seasons is very high, though. It was just announced a day ago that Conlon will be converted into a relief pitcher, something that would make way for his debut at the highest level. The Mets currently have a strong enough rotation to not deem him necessary, thus the conversion being a way to find him time and growth in the Show. Currently, most prospect rankings have Conlon anywhere from 15-30th in the entire organization. That’s pretty good, nonetheless considering that he was a 13th round pick. For now, Mets fans can only wait and see what happens. They can be hopeful that he will eventually be called up but regardless, the young stud has a very bright future. If somehow a trade does go through, New York will certainly get some good assets for him. All in all, it seems as if this 24-year old kid will in fact break the long drought of Irish-born players in the MLB.

February 5, 2018

The Eagles, The Mets, & Winning The Big One

Everything, like a tide, rises and falls. Every fan, no matter their passion or intensity at some point, will have times in their life when the team they love is not the focal point of their life. It's necessary, healthy even. It feels strange at first, losing track of the team's record, not knowing who the starting pitcher is on a given night. It's the stuff you couldn't understand why your dad couldn't keep track of, until you couldn't either.


I guess, in part, it started for me when it got to the point where I wasn't younger than most of the guys on the team anymore. I remember how I felt when I watched Mike Piazza put one over the wall in the first game back at Shea after 9/11; it was hero worship. The man could do no wrong. Al Leiter, nobody's version of an all time great, was a boyhood idol. If you strapped on the orange and blue and were even semi-successful, you were a hero. I have an oddly specific memory of Mike Bordick, freshly acquired from the Orioles, launching the first pitch he saw as a Met into the seats. I know where I was, what I was doing. I remember thinking Mike Bordick was going to be an all-time Met great (he is not).

As you get older, though, you start to see them for the kids and men that they are. It has its ups and downs. Darryl Strawberry became less of a hero, but a guy like Curtis Granderson became a player I couldn't have been prouder of. What they did between the lines still mattered, but who they were off of it shined a different light on them. The workmen, the Edgardo Alfonzo's, Benny Agbayani's, the jobbers, the guys who fought to get there, became a different type of hero. The guys who ran the charity foundations started to get more of my attention than the guys with the homers. Straw comes full circle, conquers his addictions, and opens a support center for others struggling, and you pull for him. You watch the Wilmer Flores fiasco unfold and, rather then a ballplayer being traded, you see a kid essentially being fired from the first company he ever worked for. Call it maturation or just getting older, but you notice different things.

I was 15 years old when the Mets lost the 2000 World Series. I was thirty when they finally made it back in 2015. A lot of time had passed in the middle, and a lot had changed. Summers became time for a job, and then suddenly every day was time for a job. The job was a way to pay for gas until I turned 21, and then it was a way to pay for gas and beer. One day, the job becomes a career. One day, you meet someone. Some day down the road, you're a dad. The tv that used to still be tuned to SNY when you turned it on in the morning is on Disney Junior and you can't remember the last time it wasn't. The spare time you used to watch the games in just doesn't exist anymore, and when the team drops ten games below five hundred, you find out a week later. It's not that I love the team any less, there are just some things I love a whole lot more.

But when that World Series against the Royals came around, man, it came right back. Every pitch was the world, every day off in between games was an eternity, and the eventual defeat was as painful as it was when I was 15. While they were playing those games, a switch flipped and all I wanted was that team to win it all. They didn't.

As I watched Philadelphia tear itself limb from limb because it finally got what it had wanted for the last 52 years, I mostly laughed at Philly just being itself and setting fire to anything it could find. But I drive into and work in the Philadelphia market every day, and I listened to their sports talk radio today. Man, people were in tears. Every caller was emotional, most of them talking about waiting for it for so long. A lot of them were young guys, in their twenties, the team was their life. A lot of them, though, were a lot older. Seventy and eighty year olds, talking about the Super Bowl that finally came, about family members that weren't around anymore to share in it. These people cared. They had lived full lives, raised families, had careers and retired, but when the Eagles finally won it all, they felt like kids again. Suddenly, again, the team was their life.

It was comforting, in an odd way. I still watch a lot of baseball. It's not like I've checked out on the team. But hearing those people, they way they felt after waiting a helluva lot longer than I have so far, made me feel better. At some point, either by design or through attrition, the Mets are going to win the World Series. It's kind of nice to know, whenever it finally happens, I'll be 15 again.

Mets Sign Todd Frazier, Embrace Mediocrity

Todd Frazier, a walking, talking baseball player, is headed to the Mets. Coming off a season where he batted a light .213, the Mets have decided to spend $17 million for two years of meh production at a corner infield spot. 

It’s a shallow free agent pool, I know, but .213 in a stacked Yankee lineup is not going to get better when he moves to Queens. We may officially have signed a third baseman who threatens the Mendoza line more than he threatens opposing pitchers. Give me crippled David Wright. 

Philadelphia Is Burning

Save the Liberty Bell, leave the rest. These people are degenerates. Imagine what would have happened if they lost.

Not baseball related, but our NL East rival fans have long proven themselves to be mindless savages. Always good to see it can reach new heights.

January 25, 2018

Is This Thing Still On?

I've decided to post here on Effing Mets for the first time in forever because hey, the Mets signed Jose Reyes, and the last time that would have been a good idea I was in my twenties and this blog was my life. I know the team has promised that the signing won't prevent them from spending more going forward, but we all know, in reality, they are counting beans pretty closely up there in Flushing.

Jeff Wilpon, the man blessed enough to be the fastest of Fred Wilpon's sperm but who possesses no other discernible talents, joined the press to ensure the fans that the team can be trusted to maximize whatever money they actually spend.

“Certain teams spend $200 million to get value to get the $130 million in value you need to get from players versus other teams who spend $95 million to get that value. You can get there different ways," he said. I have no video, but I choose to believe this line was delivered with a straight face. I suppose he has the Mets long track record of success to lean on when he makes that statement.

This isn't a team in a rebuild, as rob patterson (all lowercase) argues to me. It's not, and the distinction lies here: a team in rebuild has a goddamn plan. This is a team trying to put on a facade of competing now, while tamping down both payroll and expectations as much as they can, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with too many of their starting positions. Hoping for lightning in a bottle year in and year out isn't a plan to win any more than standing at the liquor store counter and furiously scratching off lottery tickets is a retirement plan. Yes, you can win $100, which you will inevitably blow on a handle of liquor that comes in a plastic bottle because your father never really loved you and sometimes it's just easier not to feel anything at all, but largely it is still going to leave you broke. Yet here the Mets are, scratching away.

The payroll number isn't the problem. The amount being spent is fine, I don't demand the team get to $200 million to prove to me it's trying. But this team has real problems that need real solutions, not retreads that can be gotten on the cheap. You have talented teams by either paying for talent or recognizing it where others have missed it, and right now I trust this front office to do neither.

November 2, 2015

Mets Lose The Effing World Series...

Mets fans will have 154 days to lick their wounds before these two teams meet again on Opening Day 2016.  In just five games the Kansas City Royals picked apart our New York Mets in heartbreaking fashion.  As painful as it was to watch the Royals celebrate at Citi Field, it will be the what ifs that will haunt the Mets and their fans for the foreseeable future.  Below are some of my thoughts...

Biggest Losers:
Daniel Murphy - My god what a way to go out.  Murphy has done everything asked of him over the last eight seasons.  From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows seen in just three weeks... After blowing everyone away in both series leading up to it, Murphy struggled all over during the World Series.  His two errors, on seemingly routine plays, will forever overshadow all the good his done in a Mets uniform.  As he moves on and finds a new team this winter, it will be difficult to determine just how much money he cost himself this weekend.

Yoenis Cespedes - Lets face facts... The Mets probably don't find themselves in the postseason without the impressive Cuban outfielder acquired at the deadline via a comedy of failed negotiations.  That said, when the big lights went out, Cespedes was no where to be found.  Whats worse, at least for a fan like myself, is the seemingly nonchalant way he goes about his business.  There is no arguing the power that goes along with his rocket right arm, but can you imaging enduring him not running out certain plays for the next seven years.  A month ago, I would have been furious had the Mets not made a very serious attempt at retaining him, but now I'm honestly not sure if Queens is a viable long-term option.

Glaring Weaknesses:
I you had to pick a the Mets most glaring weakness heading into this series, it would have been their defense.  Sadly enough, costly errors Cespedes, Murphy, Wright, and Duda all but doomed the six months of effort that went into the 2015 season.  And for a Mets offense that went dormant at the wrong time, there was no overcoming such shortcomings.

It didn't stop there, though.  The Royals managed to run roughshod on Travis d'Arnaud turning bloop singles into quick doubles all series, applying immense pressure on the team's pitchers, particularly late in games.  The bullpen, which had received much praise throughout the waning stages of the regular season just couldn't hold on.  If there was a blueprint to beating the 2015 Mets, the Royals followed it to the letter.


We can sit here and argue about what could have been.  Had the Mets been able to close out games this week, its very possible we'd be planning a parade.  Instead we search for answers.  The Mets have the pitching to be right back here next season, should the front office and the team's ownership find ways to fill the holes left by departing players.  The 2015 results, while a year early by most estimations, were not a fluke,  The New York Mets shouldn't find themselves to be the butt of endless jokes anytime soon.  

Although it didn't end with a championship, 2015 was an impressive display of what can happen when a team comes together.  Hopefully you've enjoyed along the way, and don't find that experience completely ruined by the outcome.  There is no telling when we go on this type of wild ride again.  So take a few days to shake off the loss, and remember, You Gotta Believe!