Friday, July 18, 2014

Kick it Off

Truth be told, the title sounds like I am about to write about the start of the American Football season, but that's not seriously arriving for another month and a half (and I am much less excited for that than I am for baseball to gear back up.) When I thought of my first words to describe my feelings for the "2nd half" of the season to begin, I thought, "kick. It. Off."

There is a validity to us Mets fans' optimism that hadn't been there the other times these last few years we've been cautiously optimistic, and part of that certainly has to do with having a roster void of Rod Barajases and the Jeff Francouers. The team's offense looks to have started clicking with every single person that can play daily contributing with the kind of situational hitting we haven't seen in these here parts in a long time. The players who DON'T play everyday? Well...they have been great from the get-go, and that young bullpen we dreamed about in the offseason is finally starting to round into form.

So, i dont feel dread about this upcoming 2nd half. I feel if this team and their young roster continues their development and continues to click, there is no reason they can't finish over point five hundred.

Gear it up, boys.
And kick it off.

ROUND. IN. TO. FORM.
LET'S. GO. METS.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Wheels Come Off (...Yeah...I Went There...)


If you asked me going into the series with the Athletics whether I would take a split against the best team in baseball, I would have gladly said yes.

With the way the Mets have been playing and the way they went about splitting the series, the good feelings have not dissipated.

The Mets battled at the end with 5 runs on 2 home runs: Lucas Duda's pinch-hit 3-run HR off a lefty, and another by Mr. Power, Chris Young. AND Curtis kept his ridiculous hot streak going with a 3 for 4 night to push his average to .242. THAT is starting to look more familiar.

The most concerning thing to come out of that last game is the way Zack Wheeler followed up his 3-hit shutout against the Marlins. 

With this one, the only thing you can do is brush off a 2-inning dud against the best offense in baseball and go get 'em next time.

I just don't want this game to remind me so much of THIS game.

Can't completely compare the two considering that in 2012, we had been playing much better over the course of the 1st half at the time of that failed comeback against the Cubs than we had been leading up to THIS failed comeback.

Hopefully, we don't play as miserable going forward as we did after that failed comeback.

Time for Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh.

I like that town and have to make it back there for a baseball game sometime.

Keep pushin', Metsies.

SAY. HI. TO. IKE.
LET'S. GO. METS.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @convertedmetfan. For more from myself and others on the Mets, head over to Rising Apple. And for the latest on a Brooklyn Baseball TV Series I am developing, Like the Bedford & Sullivan Facebook page, follow on Twitter hereand listen to the research process here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Where Did THAT Come From?!


No matter how good and energetic the Mets looked in Miami, their 10-1 win yesterday was the LAST thing I saw coming, especially at home AND against the best team in baseball, the Oakland Athletics.

The story lines were ripe for dissection.

You had the Mets coming off of a solid road trip, about to take on the best team in baseball, whom they once lost a World Series to in 7 games.

And sidenote: forget about that 1973 fact and the novelty of the two teams facing each other. The Mets and the Athletics' logos are just aesthetically pleasing next to each other.

Anyway...

You had Bartolo Colon on the mound, facing his former team who opted to not bring him back. They decided to give a 2 year, 22 million dollar deal to the man on the mound for them last night, Scott Kazmir, who was facing the Mets for the 1st time in Queens since the infamous deal that sent him to Tampa Bay in exchange for the greatest pitcher of all time, Victor Zambrano. AND Scott's been the best pitcher in the American League this year.

On top of that, you had Chris Young facing his former team, with reports surfacing on the off day Monday that he may be released Thursday.

And let's run with that one for a second.

I thought it was a ridiculous leak, and one that made no sense if you were really contemplating releasing him when Juan Lagares returns Thursday, then that's basically squashed when you then have to go to the press and say, "Those reports are false."

It brings up what Josh Thole talked about when saying how everything is a story here, and no matter how much I think it's clear the last thing any players anywhere need to pay attention to is anything but the baseball they need to play, it is true that the New York atmosphere is something fierce and rather unique, other than maybe Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago.

There might be something to the leak, though, where a conspiracy theory can be formed that it was calculated and a last-minute ditch effort to light a fire under the 7.25 million dollar man. At least for one game, Chris Young responded and resoundingly so. We'll see what happens...

You also had Travis d'Arnaud fresh off his AAA stint, where he tore the cover off the ball. Though he still struck out twice, a 3-run bomb certainly takes a load off. Though he wasn't in the 5-hole as myself and Keith Hernandez had hoped, Terry didn't bat him just ahead of the pitcher's spot, which was a step in the right direction.

Speaking of the 4 home runs the Mets hit (the 1st time all year they have done so in Citi Field, with the only other time in 2014 coming at Yankee Stadium), the only bomb that wasn't an original (stupid) dimension home run was Curtis Granderson's, a dunker over the Mo's zone wall which gave us a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 2nd. What's awesome about THAT shot was that the dugout was still abuzz from it when Chris Young launched his 1st of the night.

The team certainly looks to have new life, which can be traced back to when Bartolo Colon collected his 1st hit in 9 years last week against the Cardinals (and collected ANOTHER one last night!) They've got the towels twirlin' and the bats properly swingin'.

Tonight, Zack Wheeler goes for the 1st time since the best start of his career last week, so I am very much looking forward to how he follows that up, especially against what has been by far the best offense in baseball.

KEEP. 'EM. SWINGIN'.
LET'S. GO. METS.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @convertedmetfan. For more from myself and others on the Mets, head over to Rising Apple. And for the latest on a Brooklyn Baseball TV Series I am developing, Like the Bedford & Sullivan Facebook page, follow on Twitter hereand listen to the research process here.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Weird Sigh of Relief

Listen, the Mets are going to be the Mets.

We've come to realize this.

And unfortunately, they've showed promise throughout their history of a franchise ready to break out.

You look through most of Mets history, it's littered with teams that just couldn't get over the hump. After their first 6 years of losing 100 games, the Mets generally tended to avoid that. And teams that don't lose 100, like the teams we've gotten used to over the last 6 years, are ones that will show way too much promise in all the wins they put together, only to botch most of the losing ones. And its weird about losing teams, 'cause I'm sure other losing teams out there in different geographies blow most of their games, too. But some just get shellacked from the get-go. The Mets...well, as certain people have documented, they have always seemed to be way too close to be losing so much.

But this weekend, unlike other weekends spent in Miami, this team took 3 of 4, and needed one of the greatest throwing performances in baseball history to lose one, and even that came with some flaws from everyone involved (including Major League Baseball). Those plays just aren't NEARLY as fun anymore. Players are forgetting, because the rule is so vague, that ACCORDING to the rule, you can STILL run the catcher over if he has the ball. But you literally have a SPLIT-SECOND basically to notice he has the ball and decide that you are going to run them over. Just like it takes time and seasoning to really recognize a ball entering your plane on its way from someone's hand 60 feet 6 inches away, it's gonna take some time for players to adjust to completely altering how you go about that play.

Through it all, though, the Mets took a 3 of 4 out of Miami this weekend, beginning with a resounding 1-0 win by Zack Wheeler and ending resoundingly in the last game (that was partly begun with an awesome suicide squeeze.)

And no matter what the Marlins can be, they can also be the Marlins sometimes. And you know what I just said makes COMPLETE sense. So, even when the Marlins are losing 98 games, it's always nice to take 3 of 4 to the Marlins.

And I think I've come to realize...I actually like the Marlins uniforms. In that utter hatred type of way.

Look, as a baseball fan you want the full baseball experience, especially in your rivalries, and in that great baseball way, you want your rival to have a clear, defining contrast to your clear, defining uniform identity. And the Marlins in their Miami incarnation have made much more of a clear, defining decision with their aesthetic identity. Forget the fact that I was KINDA a Marlins fan when I was a mild to cold baseball fan, and do happen to love the clear-cut choice of the teal at the beginning (though they are REALLY ugly), but they got away from straight-up teal and that just wasn't nearly as cool in its ugliness. So, I actually give credit to the Marlins for going all-in on their Miami incarnation. You actually found something more annoying than the plainness of the Florida one. I applaud you for making that decision to add yourselves to the history of the baseball uniform.

The straight-up orange ones, though, are REALLY ugly and shouldn't exist.

And there's freakin' FISH to the left of their home plate, for cryin' out loud.

Who we taking on next? Let's see...

Oh. OAKland.

Well...

There's only two things left to say...

LET'S. GO. METS....
And

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @convertedmetfan. For more from myself and others on the Mets, head over to Rising Apple. And for the latest on a Brooklyn Baseball TV Series I am developing, Like the Bedford & Sullivan Facebook page, follow on Twitter hereand listen to the research process here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Game

I arrived to my 2nd training shift at the Hell's Kitchen Two Boots just before 5 o' clock yesterday afternoon, and I must say, my timing for monitoring this game was impeccable.

Between the minutes of 7:10 and 7:20, I checked on the game during a calmer moment. No sooner after seeing on the main page that EricYoung, Jr. was on 1st base and Daniel Murphy was up to the plate did it say in the gameday play-by-play that Daniel Murphy had grounded into a double play. I rolled my eyes and put my phone back in my pocket. With many different slices to choose from (including The Newman, Cleopatra Jones, Grandma Bess, Bayou Beast, The Larry Tate, The Night Tripper, Mr. Pink, Tony Clifton, The Bird, The Earth Mother, and V for Vegan) a man decided, not knowing his Mr. Pink was on its way out of the oven, to change his order to The Newman. Instead of Creole Chicken, plum tomatoes, fresh garlic & mozzarella, he decided on sopressata & sweet italian sausage on a white pie. With no one else claiming a Mr. Pink in the moment, I decided to get the slice for dinner and stole away for a hot second to the back outside.

I arrived there with the slice in my hand and my phone in the other, ready to get my MLB gameday on with the sounds of the crowd in the backyard of Rudy's Bar & Grill hopping. Gameday catches you up quickly on the pitches in the AB you're arriving to, and with David Wright up, it showed me the 4 pitches I had missed. Then, after a pause, clearly having caught up to the gameday's pace, the 5th pitch said "In play, run(s)" which could only mean one thing with no one on. With the words, "David Wright homers on a fly ball to center field," I knew it must have been a bomb, and couldn't wait to see the highlight when it got loaded. I finished up my slice and headed inside to do my job.

I checked in periodically, including watching the home run on my way home to my apartment a block and an avenue over for my actual roughly half-hour break. It was usually the end of an inning I would catch, giving me a quick update that hardly wasted any time compared  to following it pitch-by-pitch. As it got later into the evening, it was a surprise but refreshing to see the Mets with a 1-0 lead still intact, the game moving briskly along with Wheeler apparently dealing and the Major League debuter Andrew Heaney dealing as well after the Marlins-home-run-structure-moon-shot by David. On a whim, with a slow moment in the store, I checked just in time for a live look-in with 2 out in the 9th, and Reed Johnson up. The phone sat right under the register so I could keep an eye on everything else my eyes needed to be on. The thorn that is Reed gave us more to worry about with a great AB that finished with a clean single past a diving Ruben Tejada, then Rafael Furcal scared the BeJesus out of all of us with a lacer to center that was right at Chris Young. With a 1969 New York Mets poster hanging on my left, the 2014 New York Mets had wrapped up one of the best games of the year.  I could turn off the live-look-in.

So, Zack Wheeler, after all his struggles this year, pitched the ballgame of his life so far with a 3-hit shutout. It almost felt like Gary was calling a no-hitter at the end when I watched the highlights, with so much meaning behind Zack completing it. It meant a lot to the Mets and to Zack Wheeler's career. It couldn't have been scripted any better with the recently slumping captain of our ballclub winning it with a solo shot in the 1st inning. Wright gave Wheeler the run he would need and he ran with it.

Here's what Keith Hernandez had to say with 1 out in the 9th:
“There’s no reason why these young kids...young MEN…and I’m speaking of Wheeler going 9 innings- I know they’re not conditioned to, but I am so hopeful that it gets back to a starter, in a close game- let HIM win or lose it. Don’t have someone come in and lose it FOR him.”
Amen.

Zack Wheeler was able to do what Bartolo Colon was not allowed to do yesterday, and it was immensely impressive. This is when the naysayers who were calling for Wheeler to get sent down as he continued to struggle get proven wrong. This team will win or lose with Wheeler, and it's all part of the evolution of this ballclub, which has been a hard thing to pick up on lately.

This is the kind of game when everything else doesn't matter anymore. The baseball is the only thing that does.

When I see Josh Thole say that "the hardest thing in the baseball world is to play in New York for the Mets....EVERYTHING is a story there,” and then I see this game, it kind of makes me think that’s the EXACT reason we traded him, other than being R.A. Dickey’s personal catcher (and THAT GUY seemed to do alright in this town, bro.) I've met Josh Thole and he's a really nice dude, but a quote like that just screams incorrect to me. No matter how much we criticize Sandy with where the Major League club currently stands under his tenure, one thing I think is more of a strength than a weakness of his is that he really doesn't care about ANY of that noise. And it would seem he really doesn't. That's something that is extremely valuable in this town. 

Enough worrying about everything we, the fans, are worried about, or about the fact that we keep asking questions about the things we are worried about. 

Just play baseball. You’ll probably do it pretty well.

Wayta pitch, Zack.
LET'S. GO. METS.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @convertedmetfan. For more from myself and others on the Mets, head over to Rising Apple. And for the latest on a Brooklyn Baseball TV Series I am developing, Like the Bedford & Sullivan Facebook page, follow on Twitter hereand listen to the research process here.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Just When You Thought it Couldn't Be Fun Anymore...

THIS happens:



And sidenote: When I went looking for the above video to grab the proper embed code, just pressing "video" on the main page of mlb.com, THIS was the 1st video on the main video page:



As cool as that is, I digress.

Bartolo Colon has been an extremely entertaining person to watch fail at hitting this year. With his helmet-losing spins and an approach that only a rather large man who has pitched the majority of his games in the American League could have, I swear that Bartolo has been worth making a Met just so we have those batting memories to make us warm on a cold, 2020 winter afternoon.

We knew he'd eventually get his 1st hit as a Metropolitan. The way it went down, however, couldn't have been more perfect. We're down 1-0 in a game that has rapidly traveled to the 6th, in jeopardy of getting swept, and Bartolo laces the 2nd-pitch fastball down the left field line for an easy double that he could just jog on in for. And we're talking Bartolo Colon jogging. Then, Eric Young, Jr., who we cannot deny adds something extra to this team when he is on the roster, drives him in, before our slumping Captain drives EYJ in to give us our first lead of the series. Could this be the turning point? Probably not. But it definitely lightened the mood and gave some life to a team that has looked severely lifeless the majority of the year.

And one of the reasons it probably isn't the turning point is because of this man. Danny Abriano of Rising Apple, as always, precisely describes why Terry Collins' thought process defies logic. I feel I can sum up some modern day managers' thought processes: It’s the moment where they say to themselves, “Well, I gotta do something.” When nothing was the something to do. Terry's explanation was that 86 pitches in that hot weather was the equivalent to 120. Terry, come on! You're the oldest manager in all of baseball! There's got to be a part of you that thinks all of this is absolutely ridiculous. Why are we babying these people?! Back in the day, I'm pretty sure the one to finish the game is the 40-year-old veteran ace who is absolutely cruising with a 2-run lead. We're babying the babies of baseball....we really gotta baby the 40-year-old big man who defies what our minds say a older man of his size can do in the first place? My God.


Outside of the little zany world we like to call the Mets, I'd be remiss not to touch on Tony Gwynn in this forum. I commented the day of on social media, but failed to do so in my first post after his death. The only time I ever saw Mr. Padre play was in his last season of 2001 facing the Marlins at Joe Robbie Stadium. Somewhere out there prior to the digital age, there are photos I took with, what was the film called? "Advantex?" Anyway, you had the choice of the kind of picture you could take, i.e., you could take a panoramic photo and it would get developed on that kind of sized paper. Whatever, that's not the point. The point is I obviously focused on Tony Gywnn, who is arguably the greatest hitter of the last 20 years of the 20th Century, though his hitting was the last thing that drew you to him. I always wanted to hear what the man had to say because he seemed to be more than just a solid man. When I heard Monday morning that he had passed away, my heart got a little weaker. That was some sad news, and baseball has a void that it will never be able to fill. He went way too early, and completely shocked me regardless of having heard he had be dealing with some health issues. 

I raise a glass to Anthony Keith Gwynn, Sr.
You will be sorely missed.

LET'S. GO. METS.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @convertedmetfan. For more from myself and others on the Mets, head over to Rising Apple. And for the latest on a Brooklyn Baseball TV Series I am developing, Like the Bedford & Sullivan Facebook page, follow on Twitter hereand listen to the research process here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Time to Put a Smile on Your Face

While I haven't been posting, the Mets have gone ahead and lost a series to the Good Brew Crew, won a series to the Bad Dad Crew, and now dropped another series to the Great Red Crew, continuing to keep that RISP number at a loser's level. With myself, my aunt, uncle, cousin and lil sis on hand for Father's Day at a rather full, actually, Citi Field, I was happy to see Curtis provide a spark at the top of that lineup with an awesome Pepsi Porch leadoff home run. I have been settling into the family of Mets fans that is Two Boots that the poor sight of the Mets in San Louis has not generally been in mine. Though I did not work Monday Night, I do not have cable, nor plan to anytime soon on my budget, so my sight generally does not take in the Mets live, rather listening to Howie and Josh describe the sight that's in their eyes.

Photo Credit: Bluenatic
It's clear, however, that we all need to just smile. Unless we take some serious political protest stance in some fashion or another, which would be interesting to see but I'll tell ya right now that I won't be the leader of the revolution, this team will most likely fail to be properly managed all the way from the top down. The Wilpons do not know how to run a ballclub, let alone know what it means to run the New York Metropolitan National League Baseball Club. I have very little faith, no matter what happens- no matter whether they have a winning season over the next couple of years- that the Mets can have sustained success with the Wilpons at the helm.

So, when I think about what I want to write on this blog at this particular moment, all I can think of is playing the song below, because every time I listen to it, it puts a huge smile on my face. Don't read into any of the lyrics, though I'm sure many of you may do so. That was not my intention, no matter how poignant it may seem at this particular Metsian intersection. I just want to smile, and tonight, when I got home from Two Boots and settled down, the song came on, and I just smiled. So, screw it, man. Let's just listen to Bob Marley.

LET'S. GO. METS.


Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @convertedmetfan. For more from myself and others on the Mets, head over to Rising Apple. And for the latest on a Brooklyn Baseball TV Series I am developing, Like the Bedford & Sullivan Facebook page, follow on Twitter hereand listen to the research process here.