March 28, 2015

Real of Fake?

A little over a week to go and it seems that the Mets should have all sorts of issues.  Yes, Zack Wheeler is done for the season and so is Josh Edgin, these are injuries and the Mets will not be the only team to deal with such problems.  It's a long season and all teams will miss significant games due to injury.

The way the media is talking you would think the Mets are in utter disarray however.  From the Opening Day starter to the home opener starter to the lineup and what may happen with Matt Harvey 6 years from now Mets fans should be crying themselves to sleep nightly.

Here's how I see it, take it with a grain of salt, it's an opinion and we know what those are like.  I could care less who starts Opening Day or the home opener, I don't care who bats ninth and at the moment I don't care about Matt Harvey circa 2021.  All I care about is winning.  Lots and lots of winning, not whining.  Big difference between the two.

Let's take each situation individually.  If Matt Harvey starts the first game of the home opener does that really change our fortunes for the whole season?  The Mets have the best winning percentage of any MLB team on opening day, how many World Series has it gotten us?  Technically one, the Mets lost Opening Day 11-10 to the Expos in 1969.  So I could care less if the bat boy starts Opening Day, I want Harvey on the hill for Game one of the NLDS, the NLCS and the World Series.  Starting Opening Day does not guarantee that and never will.  If the Mets want to sell some extra tickets to an otherwise dead game so be it, that's their prerogative.  Also, all the people, fans and media members alike (you know who you are Boomer and Carton) that are complaining now would be the same flip-flopping, band wagon jumpers that would complain if Harvey got shut down in late September due to over use.  "Maybe the Mets should have waited a week or two to start Harvey so this didn't happen, blah, blah, blah, dirka, dirka, jihad, jihad".  I want wins, not Opening Day pride.

The lineup is less of a concern, if they guys we have hit it won't matter.  Lagares can hit 12th for all I care, if he's productive it's good for the team.  The Mets do not have a true lead off man so don't get it all twisted that they are trying to be somewhat creative in scoring runs.  I still feel the team needs another big hitter to lengthen the lineup, then you can put Lagares and d'Arnaud wherever the hell you want and it won't matter, I want runs, lots of runs and I don't care how they get scored.

Lastly, everyone is all up in arms about pissing Matt Harvey off because he isn't pitching Opening Day or the home opener.  In 5-6 years when he hits free agency he will leave because of this one moment or that one moment.  He wants the ball, good, he should, he is the ace of the team, no doubt, but they still need to be cautious and keep him reigned in to avoid further injury or some kind of Strasburg drama come late September.  Harvey is going to sign for the most money on the team that can provide the best chance to win, like every other player in baseball with extremely rare exception.  If the Mets keep this pitching together, make a few savvy moves and find sustained success Harvey will stay, cause the team will be profitable and be able to pay him while giving him a team that can win a World Series.

That's it, stop the bitching and whining, enjoy the start of the season and let's see what we have.  Don't get caught up in the rhetoric that drives sports talk radio or the crazy, Randy Quaid style Mets fans who aren't ever happy.  This team will be good, very good, playoffs or not the Mets are on the right track and this year will be different.

March 15, 2015

The "Curse" of Tommy John

Tommy John, two words no pitcher ever wants to hear, it's a career altering surgery that the vast majority of pitchers rebound from but they lose a minimum of a year in the game and spend time in that vast empty void called rehab.

It's not as hard for the fans, depending on the pitcher.  Let's be honest, Matt Harvey having TJ was much more emotionally unnerving than either of Jeremy Hefner's.  Josh Edgin is the latest Met to hear that news and while this one doesn't rank as highly as Harvey's it is more significant than Hefner's.

Putting the impact of an injury on a scale is a cruel and cold move but it's necessary to understand how we think as fans.  Bobby Parnell went down on day 1 last year and no one really blinked an eye.  Not because we think ill of Parnell, but we were all still suffering through the malaise of knowing that Harvey was not on the bump for that Opening Day.  Also, Jenrry Mejia filled the role admirably and the Mets ended up with a fairly decent bullpen once we moved on from old retreads.

The point here is that the Mets are not the only team dealing with this issue, TJ surgery is not confined to Queens, better teams have dealt with bigger losses to this surgery and still fared very well.  The Cardinals lost Adam Wainwright to TJ in 2011 and they won the World Series.  The Braves lost Johnny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty in 2013 and still made the playoffs.

The Mets roster this year most likely does not stack up against these two teams, but it does show that a team can be successful despite injuries.  As most people say injuries are going to happen and they should not be used as an excuse since all teams deal with them.

This dependence on a LOOGY is something that has only really surfaced as a "role" in the last 10-15 years.  Bullpen specialist is slang for can't get three consecutive outs consistently.  It analogous to calling a secretary an administrative assistant or a janitor an environmental custodian.  We all want to feel good about our jobs but lets be honest, why has it become such a carousel in the bullpen.  You get this one out and then you get that one out, so on and so forth.  Thanks a lot Tony LaRussa, this is pretty much your fault and another reason games are three and half hours long.

I want 6-7 guys in the bullpen who can get outs, lefty, righty, man, woman, child, alien, whatever.  Throw strikes, get outs, strand runners.  I don't think it's too much to ask of major league caliber players to do their jobs.  Just don't get nuts that we no longer have Josh Edgin for the season.  This is a primary reason why the team held on to all of its young pitching, depth.  I have screamed and yelled a few times about trading one or two of them for another bat but reality has once again set in that they need those arms and they aren't the ready commodity we always think they are.  Someone in the front office was proactive enough to say we can't afford to trade these arms away just yet and with good reason.  Two fifths of the starting rotation has had TJ, another may (although unlikely) be in the offing and a few of our top prospects have already had the dreaded surgery as well.

This is just a fact of life.  Like Seinfeld said you are really just cheering for the laundry after all and the name on the front of the jersey is and should be more important than the one on the back.  Having Matt Harvey helps, a lot, but it does not solve all of our ills.  Ask Steve Carlton what it's like to be a good pitcher on a horrendous team.

It's still March, I don't care that the Mets lead baseball in 8 different offensive categories, mostly off guys who'll be bagging groceries in six weeks.  What counts is April 6th and beyond.  Stay healthy, get your reps in, the next man must step up and fill the voids we have.  Beware the Ides of March, that is unless your season doesn't begin until three weeks later.

March 1, 2015

Stop Being a Tool!

So March has begun and the talk has been plentiful surrounding the boys from Queens.  From the overt positivity about making the playoffs to the E:60 The Dark Knight Rises special, the Mets are making some headlines.

Surprisingly (or not, in this writer's mind) many fans have been taken aback by the braggarts in Port St. Lucie.  How can they talk like this, can't we win something first?  This is typical Mets, talk a big game and fail to back it up.  How quickly we forget the tongue lashings being directed towards Sandy Alderson just a few years ago when he "failed" to act like the team would be good.  Sports talk radio was littered with these same "fans" that can't stand the positive talk today bashing the negative talk of yesterday.

Hey guys, do us all a favor, pick a point of view and be man enough to stand by it.  Don't criticize and play devil's advocate so if things go bad you can act like you knew better.  The word fan is derived from and short for fanatic, go look this up in the dictionary.  Or better yet, just google it for the literacy impaired.  In short you'll find out that a fanatic is someone singularly devoted to a cause, good or bad, rain or shine, shit storm or not.  I'm a Mets fan, I call like I see it but I choose to let it play out on the field.  Let them talk big, we always get pissy about them not acting like a big market team financially but when they do it in other ways we jump all over them to stop.

Do yourself a favor, watch the E:60 special about Matt Harvey and get excited for what could be.  Jump on the bandwagon a little bit and get behind these young players.  Give Terry Collins a chance with a decent roster and see what he can do.  You don't need to be Nostradamus to be a fan, you just have to have some character and watch regardless of the ebbs and flows of the season.  Guess what?  The Mets will lose a few games this year, they'll win a few too.  The players recently  have said talk is cheap and while they are confident in what they can accomplish they know nothing is won in February and March, no one mentions that on the airwaves because its rational and even keeled, unlike most Mets fans who are fickle, Randy Quaid like characters who wallow in their misery and for some reason seem to enjoy it more when the team sucks too.

I want to see them win, a lot.  I want a World Series, soon.  Despite that having been a far fetched dream over the last 15 years one thing has never changed, I bleed orange and blue.  Maybe you should try it too.  Stop being a cynical dumb ass, pick up your remote, turn on SNY and get excited if for no other reason than it's time.