Can’t stay away…

I started this blog with the best of intentions back in March. I planned to be dedicated, writing daily on a variety of things. Different themes each day, centered on my Mets but discussing baseball as a whole. Then the site changed, there were some issues. Then it seemed they were more focused on promoting celebrity know-nothings like Alyssa Milano and player blogs than those written by the fans, which is what I originally thought the site was to be about. I was bothered, and as I began to have more work responsibilities and less free time, those things made it an easier decision to cast this aside.

I thought about writing during early season struggles. I thought about writing when Willie was fired. I’ve thought an awful lot about writing about sports media idiocy, but I might blow out the bandwidth with that one. I’ve thought about writing about the fans knee-jerk reactions, but the big vein in my forehead would explode.

 

I don’t write this as though I think I’ve been missed…I’m a small blip on this radar screen. It’s just to explain why it’s been three months since my last post. So why now?

 

Last night’s debacle against the Phillies was gut wrenching. But the pain of watching Johan Santana throw 8 great innings only to be done in by a bullpen allowing 6 runs in the 9th has only been exacerbated by the completely asinine blame directed toward SANTANA, of all people, for not pitching the 9th.

 

And that, is 100 percent pure idiocy. I hear nonsense about how Santana should be “demanding” ball…that hasn’t happened in 30 years, and most of those tales are fabrication. The fact is that the game is handled differently now. You may not like the 100-pitch limit, but virtually everyone adheres to it 95% of the time.

But besides that, you can’t have it both ways. Fans cry about Reyes fighting Manuel to stay in a game, then turn around and gripe about Santana NOT fighting him. These people have no idea what the heck they’re even saying.

Third, they were up by three runs. A bullpen should be able to hold that. The critics MIGHT have a bit of an argument were this a 3-2 game. But if you don’t believe your entire bullpen can get 3 outs before giving up 3 runs, then the trade deadline focus needs to be the bullpen.

 

What it all comes down to, of course, is money. Fans resent the money these guys get. It’s why Carlos Beltran can never do well enough for them, why Johan Santana will always be a failure here no matter what he does, and why A-Rod has been so drastically underappreciated in the Bronx.

 

It also comes down to people being, quite honestly, ignorant. Take, for example, the dopes who cry about “bring me the 60s, when those guys threw complete games all the time…these guys are wusses.” Well hell, if we’re using that logic, aren’t those guys in the 60s “wusses” because they weren’t throwing 350 innings like Christy Mathewson did, who didn’t throw 400 innings like Cy Young did, who didn’t throw 600 innings like Tim Keefe did (1886…68 games, 68 starts, 68 complete games, 619 innings).

The game changes…the game evolves. At some point, if we’re lucky, sportswriters and the general fan base will as well.

GH  

 

 

 

 

Exhibit A

I post yesterday about the Mets not putting
the hammer down when they get the chance, so what do they do?
First inning tonight, 1 run in, Kyle Kendrick can’t find home
plate with a compass, Mets load the bases but Easley grounds
out to end it. You need to capitalize in those spots, and
last year they failed repeatedly at exactly
this.

Opening up the wound

Brutal loss by the Mets in their home opener today. This isn’t about panic over a 2-4 start…panic after 6 games is absurd. But the Mets let Jamie Moyer make them look silly, faltering on several circumstances where they could have put the hammer down, and the bullpen spit the bit. Add the Delgado error (throwing a DP ball that would have halted Philly’s take-the-lead rally off Chase Utley’s back, letting 2 runs score), and it’s not just a loss but an ugly loss.

If you fear something as a Mets fan, it’s this team lacking a killer instinct. We saw a lot last year that this team refused to bury a team. They would get 2 runs in, but have the bases loaded with 0 or 1 out, and get nothing further. Right now, the bullpen and the top of the order are having a real bad time…that’s a good way to, well, start 2-4.

Minor League Monday

Tentatively, Mondays will be a day to report on the Mets minor leagues, and perhaps some notes from around the farm systems of other teams as well.

  • If you were impressed by youngster Jonathan Niese during spring training, you’re not alone. Niese was solid during the spring – not ready, but showing certain promise – and his first start of the minor league season for AA Binghamton was 5 shutout innings of 1-hit, 5 strikeout ball. Baseball Prospectus notes that “While working on this pre-season’s Mets Top 11, two separate people inside the game pointed at Niese as having breakout potential.” Certainly bears watching.
  • Top prospect Fernando Martinez started the year 2 for 13 at Binghamton. He’s just one of a bunch of top prospects around the minors who started in a rut (we’ll get to some later).
  • I mocked the signing of Fernando Tatis, and still maintain that position. But his line the first week is pretty funny: .200 AVG, 800 SLG, 1.000 OPS. He’s 3 for 15…all three hits are homers.
  • I liked what I saw out of 3B Dan Murphy during his spring stay with the big club. Obviously, he’s blocked by Wright, and he’s not thought to have enough power to play a corner, but he bears watching. Nice start, 5-13, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Outside the Mets:

  • Jay Bruce had a rough start down at AAA Louisville, going 2 for 14. Corey Patterson’s inevitable slide hasn’t begun yet, but it will, so here’s hoping Bruce gets righted quickly.
  • Evan Longoria is 0 for 14 with 5 strikeouts.
  • Switch-hitting catcher Matt Wieters was given a record signing bonus by the Orioles ($6 million), and responded by slamming two homers in his debut.
  • Remember Jeff Allison? Top Marlins pitching prospect, focus of a Sports Illustrated report on his drug addiction and legal problems (he’s on probation for felonies, including grand theft auto and heroin possession). Hasn’t pitched since 2005…until the other night. Struck out 4, gave up 2 hits in 3 innings for High-A Jupiter with the Marlins. Long way to go, but he is only 23. Would be a great story if he makes it back.
  • Sticking with the Marlins, remember Dallas McPherson? The former standout Angels prospect and presumed Troy Glaus replacement until years of back injuries wiped out his prospect status. He homered in his first 3 games at AAA Albuquerque. I doubt he’ll ever be an impact player, but I’d love to just see him stay healthy a full year and see what he does.
  • Browsing AAA rosters is always good fun, because you find guys you didn’t even know were still around. Great things were expected for John Ford Griffin, the Yankees first-round pick in 2001. They never happened, and after being the key to the disasterous Jeff Weaver trade and years of assorted injuries, he’s now in AAA for the Dodgers.

20 Points

I mentioned a few days ago I was going to try to form some kind of schedule for the site. On Sundays, I will bang out something called 20 Points, which is pretty much self explanatory. Just things I’ve seen from the prior week, and thoughts on the current happenings (and perhaps some delving into baseball history and such). A few days into the baseball season, and some observations about the Mets and around the majors:

  1. First point, and this goes for the Mets and baseball as a whole…1 week is irrelevant. Now let’s continue.
  2. Johan Santana is the real deal. Just nasty, nasty stuff.
  3. Umpiring has been horrendous so far. Missed calls, erratic strike zones, just a pitiful job in several games I’ve watched.
  4. Chien-Ming Wang is vastly underrated. I’ve waited 3 years for this guy to falter, and he keeps pitching well (’07 playoffs notwithstanding). He doesn’t strike guys out, but he’s a Brandon Webb-type, which is plenty good.
  5. Johnny Cueto was impressive to watch. We’ll see if Dusty Baker can manage to ruin this kid by the end of the year.
  6. The Mike Hampton saga is almost comical to watch.
  7. The Pedro Martinez saga is not at all comical to watch.
  8. Ken Griffey Jr. is 6 homers away from 600 for his career. If this guy had stayed healthy, we’d have been talking about him instead of Bonds.
  9. Nice to see good early starts by the Royals and Orioles. Neither will last, though if the Tigers have health problems that division is anybody’s.
  10. Fantasy Baseball owners shouldn’t look at standings until May 1.
  11. Ben Sheets is Cy Young Award good if he can stay healthy.
  12. The story of Rick Ankiel is truly remarkable.
  13. The story of Jose Canseco is truly pathetic.
  14. The early developing love affair between Cubs fans and Kosuke Fukudome is enjoyable to watch. Not a superstar, perhaps, but this guy can play. And Wrigley needs a character.
  15. Sticking with the Cubs theme, watch for a big year from the terminally underrated Derrek Lee.
  16. The whole Joba Chamberlain fist pump debate took up far too much talk radio time here for a couple of days. Between the Yankee haters and the Yankee apologists, it was enough to make you want to throw up. It’s simple…I hate it, but it’s a different game now than it was (which was Frank Thomas’ mature response to the antics). More grandstanding, more attitude. Anyone who thinks what he’s doing isn’t orchestrated isn’t paying attention. And that’s totally fine if you want to approve of his doing it, just don’t whine if someone takes him or another Yankee pitcher deep and Cadillac’s it around the bases.
  17. The San Francisco Giants stink. Really, really badly.
  18.  If there’s a worse investment than Barry Zito I would love to know about it.
  19. Hate the Braves…love John Smoltz. What a gamer!
  20. Barring injury (always a question with him) Casey Kotchman of the Halos has a breakthrough year.

One added thing…if any of you are trying to comment and can’t, please shoot me an email at gforceedit@yahoo.com. I’ve been at a bunch of blogs here in the past week where it has said I am not allowed to comment. Not sure if this is with the redesign of what, but I’d like to know if you’re experiencing such a problem here.

Thanks.

GH