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Alex Rodriguez suspended for 162 games

Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season today, after a ruling by MLB arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. The suspension includes both the regular and any potential postseason appearance for the Yankees. This suspension could be the end of the 38-year-old slugger’s career.

The MLB had orginally issued Rodriguez a 211-game suspension for his alleged role in the Biogenesis scandal based on overwhelming evidence that Rodriguez had not only obtained illegal performance enhancing substances, but also sought to hinder their investigation into those allegations. Rodriguez appealled the decision and played 44 games for the Yankees, posting a .244 average to go along with 7 home runs and 19 RBI.

In a statement, Rodriguez said he would appeal Horowitz’s decision in federal court.

Rodriguez’s suspension will cost him $25 million and it gives the Yankees a chance to get their 2014 payroll under $189 million. Rodriguez would have also recieved millions in performance-based incentives. From 2015-2017, the Yankees owed Rodriguez $61 million and it’s possibile the team could negotiate a buyout, try to void what’s left or simply release Rodriguez.

The MLB Player’s Association, who participated in his defense, released their own statement, saying that while they “strongly disagree” with the ruling, they recognize that “a final and binding decision has been reached.”

Of the thirteen players suspended in the Biogensis scandal, including former Met Jordany Valdespin and Mets prospect Cesar Puello, Rodriguez was the only player to appeal his suspension. The other twelve players, most notably Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, reached an agreement with the League for the length of their suspension and waived their right to appeal to an arbitrator as part of the agreement.

I’m not a fan of Alex Rodriguez, never have been never will be. There was talk of acquiring Rodriguez in 2002 but I never wanted any part of Rodriguez. To me, this appeal isn’t based on baseball. It’s based on money. A lot of money. While the Steinbrenner family may be dancing in the streets today for saving the money, Alex Rodriguez has lost $25 million. And he’s mad, obviously. I think Rodriguez has put himself on a baseball pedestal, where he thinks that if he appeals the decision, he’s still going to get his money. I think he thinks he’s going to get away with it because he’s Alex Rodriguez.

Rodriguez had admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs prior to the 2003 survey testing year, but he hasn’t failed a drug test since then. But then again, how do we not know that Rodriguez has found a way to beat the drug test? With evidence overwhelming pointing to Rodriguez’s guilt, he’s making himself look stupid by appealing the decision. He should move on, because the Yankees already have.

From WFAN to WOR: Smooth Transition

MetsBlog is reporting that Josh Lewin expects to move from WFAN to WOR, though the details are being worked out.

When the deal was announced in early November, it had been announced that Howie Rose would also make the switch over to WOR, though Ed Coleman could end up staying at WFAN.

A lot of Mets fans, myself included, will miss the snazzy WFAN jingle. But it’s not like we don’t have YouTube for those kind of things. To be perfectly honest, I had forgotten all about the move to WOR until I was in the JetBlue terminal at JFK. I usually hop over to the WFAN store and stock up on Mets pens, because one can never have too many Mets pens. I also got a pair of cozy pajama pants there, but I digress. There were no Mets pens to be had. Or cozy pajama pants. Or any Mets merchandise for that matter. It’s like the terminal forgot the Mets were also a professional sports team in New York.

I texted my brother to tell him of this sacrilege and he had to remind me that we are now on WOR. WOR, which kind of sounds like war.

Jumping over to WOR isn’t like moving from Citi Field to Shea Stadium. Shea was a dump, but it was our dump; Citi Field is only beginning to feel like home. I expect the move to WOR to be smooth, especially with Howie and Josh along for the ride. It’s the simple things in life like listening to the game on my phone from Florida that make me marvel at today’s technology. Moving radio stations isn’t like moving stadiums, but at least we don’t have to begrudingly listen to Mike Francesa anymore. Thanks, WOR!

Happy Mets Year!

January 1, 2014.

It’s the start of a new year, filled with new hopes and new dreams. Many people make resolutions to lose weight or to be more healthy, but let’s face it, by January 2nd, they’re stuffing their faces with McDonald’s.

As I turn the calendar from 2013 to 2014 and Daniel Murphy makes the first of his two appearances on my Mets calendar, my only thoughts came back to this blog and how I essentially abandoned it mid-way through 2013.

I don’t think it was a lack of passion for the team (as I type, I still proudly wear the orange and blue) or a lack of passion for the blog. Something inside myself just stopped and I resolved to never let that happen again in 2014, or ever. I resolved to pick this blog back up, whether anybody reads it or not because I want to write. I want to engage in discussion about the team, their free agency signings, etc. That’s why I enjoy Twitter so much (if you don’t already, follow my Twitter handle, @jessicabrooke5. I promise I won’t bite); it allows the platform for conversation. The beauty of Twitter is that people can agree and disagree with each other, but in the end, we are all Mets fans and that’s what matters. We celebrate a victory and lament a loss. We ream Terry Collins when he makes a bad pitching decision and we cheer David Wright when he hits a game-winning home run. We’re Mets fans; Mets fans are family.

So, here I am, typing away on the first day of the new year, just like I said I would. Resolutions take work and I realize that. Happy New Year, and don’t pig out on McDonald’s tomorrow.

Jessica

There’s No Crying in Baseball

metsfanLast night, the Mets completed their second six game losing streak in as many weeks.

Just to quickly summarize how bad things have gotten for the Mets: Justin Turner is your only .300 hitter, Shaun Marcum and Jeremy Hefner can’t win, even on a good day, and there is even a Twitter feed dedicated to telling fans whether or not Ike Davis struck out. The drama over Jordany Valdespin’s showboating and subsequent plunking against the Pirates isn’t exactly helping things either.

The breaking point had to be when my dad texted me last night to apologize for making me a Mets fan. Anybody that knows me knows that I live for the Mets, and have since I was four years old. Baseball is my sport; I can’t exactly call myself a football fan or a hockey fan since I only casually follow the Jets and the Islanders. When baseball season is over, I count down the days until pitchers and catchers report and Opening Day is my Christmas morning.

The last six seasons have been bad, each in their own unique way, but this season has been atrocious. In their last 26 games, the Mets are 7-19. Despite this, the Mets are still a safe 4.5 games ahead of the Marlins for The Battle for Fourth. The only days I look forward to are the days that Matt Harvey pitches, and even those aren’t guaranteed wins anymore. Harvey is easily the best thing about the Mets this season and should stand with an 8-0 record right now, but doesn’t due to lack of run support.

There is no set every day outfield; even our newest Met, Rick Ankiel, is platooned in center with Juan Lagares, who should be playing every day based on defense alone. If the outfield doesn’t produce anything offensively, then they should at least play defense. The bullpen is worn out because aside from Harvey, none of the starters have been going seven innings. It’s the same recipe for disaster that we had in 2012, except the 2013 Mets have imploded quicker than expected.

Through all of this, I can’t help but laugh. I have to make sarcastic remarks on Twitter (if you don’t already follow me, follow me here) otherwise I’ll go insane. There’s no point in getting depressed about the Mets because you have to expect it from them by now. I still plan on going to Citi Field in July and enjoying all the stadium has to offer me because it’s a beautiful ballpark that I haven’t visited in over two years. I still listen to Howie and Josh on the FAN religiously because I enjoy the banter. Maybe the Mets will win a game or two and I will find a reason to be slightly more optimistic, but for right now, there’s no crying in baseball because you’ll miss it when it’s gone in October.

 

 

Don’t Mess With the No-Han!

Johan Santana threw a no-hitter last night.

Yes, I just typed that.

Fans will always remember June 1, 2012 as the night history was made, the night a team with 35 one-hitters finally got their no-no.

The first no-hitter in franchise history doesn’t come without controversy, with some media speculating about whether or not Carlos Beltran’s ground ball in the sixth inning went foul. But that’s just how the Mets roll. That ball will always be foul in the minds of the believers.

The first no-hitter in franchise history didn’t come without heroics as Mike Baxter slammed into the wall, robbing Yadier Molina of what should have been an extra-base hit. Mike Baxter goes down as a hero in the minds of the believers.

The first no-hitter in franchise history didn’t come without the superstition, fans believing that any move that they made would break the no-hitter. For me, I didn’t leave work until the game was over. I was afraid that if I left, the no-no bid would be gone. I didn’t even watch the game, because if I turned it on in the middle, the first thing I would have seen was Yadier Molina getting that extra-base hit to end the no-hit bid. That, and I was, you know, at work.

But the first no-hitter in franchise history did come with something. It provided Citi Field with its own little piece of history. Something happened at Citi Field that had never happened at Shea. The no-hitter provided Mets fans with their first really good memories of Citi Field, whether you were there or not, whether or not you even watched the game. No longer is Citi Field a really fancy upgrade from Shea Stadium that pays tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Citi Field is a home, a sacred land where history was made.

In their 51st season and in their 8,020th game, the Mets have finally given a younger generation of Mets fans something to smile about.

Extend the Man

There is no question that David Wright is the star of this Mets organization. We are at the quarter stretch and Wright leads the majors in batting average (.405). Along with a .500 on-base percentage and .628 slugging percentage, David Wright is the living, breathing version of Moneyball that sabermetricians can point to and say, “He is helping the team win games by getting on base and creating runs.”

It’s no secret that Wright is in the sixth year of his six year, $55 million contract. Wright stands to make $15 million this year and has a $16 million team option for the 2013 season, which Wright can choose to void if he gets traded (I shudder at the thought).

During last night’s 11-5 loss to the Padres, Mets GM Sandy Alderson visited Gary Cohen and Ron Darling in the broadcast booth and said that there was “no great impediment” to signing Wright to an extension.

I agree and disagree. Sure, David has gotten off to the best start of his career. But we don’t know how the season’s going to end. We don’t know how 2013 is going to go. He could get hurt, he could have a bad season, he could get traded for all we know. Time is certainly on Sandy Alderson’s side if he wants to wait things out and see how well David performs.

I disagree with Alderson’s take on Wright’s contract situation only because I think a lot of fans are still reeling over the loss of Jose Reyes. Jose won the organization’s first batting title and then, depending on who you believe, was either made an offer that the Marlins beat or wasn’t offered anything at all except for the salary arbitration that guaranteed the Mets their draft pick. Or he just wasn’t offered anything. Again, that depends on who you believe. Alderson took the same, layed back approach with Jose’s contract situation that he seems to be taking with Wright’s and Jose ended up signing with another team, a divisional rival no less.

David Wright, love him or hate him, is the face of the organization. David Wright, love him or hate him, is the only player on the current Mets roster that I can see being a “career Met.” Tom Seaver didn’t do it. Dwight Gooden didn’t do it. Darryl Strawberry didn’t do it. All the players that are considered franchise greats either moved on from the Mets or were acquired from another team. David Wright is the one player that can not only be a career Met, but can also be considered a Mets great. And I would like to hope that Mr. Alderson would think that there was a little more impediment about Wright’s contract situation than he says there is.

I Miss Ike Davis

Terry Collins said in his pregame news conference that Ike Davis will not be demoted to AAA. Instead, Collins says, Ike will work out his problems at the major league level. For the time being, Collins says he will use Davis based on match-ups.

Ike’s numbers at the quarter stretch would justify demotion if Terry Collins had decided to go that route.

So far this season, Ike is hitting just a .159 and has a paltry .213 on-base percentage. However, Ike does lead the team in home runs (5) and has 15 RBI. To put things into perspective, Ike is 8-for-64 in the month of May and has two hits in his last 36 at-bats. Oh, and his batting average at Citi Field is .065. That’s two, maybe three, hits.

Even though Terry Collins is preaching patience at the plate, I don’t think Ike is practicing it. He has 10 walks to 44 strikeouts. If he does that for the rest of season, he’ll be on track for 40 walks and 176 strikeouts, give or take a few. Sure, Ike has players hitting around him like David Wright and Daniel Murphy, but even they might begin to see less pitches if Ike continues to struggle.

Collins has stated that his reason for not sending Ike to the minors is because he doesn’t think Ike will learn to adjust. He believes Ike will turn it around, as he has seen Ike become more aggressive during batting practice. I have to admit, this past week, it does encourage me to see Ike pull the ball into the outfield, even if it lands in the outfielder’s glove. It means that he’s at least getting good pitches to swing at. We signed Ike Davis to be a home run hitter, not a base hit up the middle kind of guy. But any fan would be happy to see a base hit up the middle from this guy.

I don’t know how much of Ike’s struggles can be blamed on the valley fever he seemingly contracted (and still has?) but ever since he was diagnosed, I haven’t heard a peep about the valley fever. I’m not sure if I entirely know what valley fever is.

I think another reason for Terry Collins deciding against demotion at this time is the organization’s lack of depth. Jason Bay, Ruben Tejada and Josh Thole are all still on the disabled list. To demote Ike would meaning shifting Murphy or Justin Turner to first and promoting Jordany Valdespin to play second. There really is no one else to play first base, unless the Mets have marveled science and David Wright can play two positions at once.

The person who is the most frustrated with the situation at hand is Ike Davis. He was the hottest hitter coming out of spring training and then it all went away. Ike just needs to calm down, watch some video, and figure what he did then that he wasn’t doing now. Oh, and flip over the dugout and make a catch. He still has that going for him.

Everybody Clap Your Hands!

David Wright is off to a hot start, there’s no denying that. His .571 average and 1.473 OPS over the first six games have him on track for another solid year in the three-hole of the Mets lineup. However, in the midst of their 4-0 start, the Mets got some startling news: “David Wright fractured his pinky.”

Wright had x-rays done and was cleared for baseball activity as tolerated. Wright said that while the pain had subsided, he couldn’t properly grip the bat. He was scratched from the next two games and there was even talk of a stint on the disabled list if the swelling on his pinky didn’t go down.

Then the talk started:

Wright’s just being a wuss.

If this was high school or collegiate baseball, the coach would have told him to tape his fingers together and suck it up.

Wright’s a pussy. (That one was my personal favorite)

The Daily News even contributed a piece on Wright’s extension being dependent on his health, even though before the 2009 concussion, Wright was averaging 158-159 games per season. Wright’s missing bat was obviously felt on the team, because they lost the next two games.

Luckily for those Mets fans holding their breaths, Wright returned to the Mets lineup just in time to face the Phillies. The first pitch Wright saw against Cliff Lee cleared the center field fence.

Then the talk started:

Wright’s a beast.

What pinky problems?

I love you David! (Okay, this might have been me)

A similar situation happened not two days after David Wright made his return to the lineup. Word came across the Mets wire that Jason Bay had jammed his ring finger sliding back into first base in Saturday’s game against the Phillies. Bay was scratched from Sunday’s lineup. Even though the Mets lost, that loss can be solely blamed on the bullpen.

I’m not the only Mets fan that believes Jason Bay has gotten off to a slow start. Actually, you should have yourself checked for concussion if you don’t think Jason Bay has gotten off to a slow start. 5-for-27 may not be the best way to win over Mets fans looking to have a decent season. But Bay had figured out his problems at the plate, and had hit his first home run of the season.

But there was no talk of Jason Bay being a wuss when he was scratched because of his ring finger. In fact, Mets fans seemed to be delighted that their weakest link was out of the lineup, even if that meant Lucas Duda coming in against the lefty Cole Hamels. Duda went 2-for-4 but Hamels ended up getting the win.

It doesn’t matter if the player is David Wright or Jason Bay, any loss in the Mets lineup is one that they can’t afford. The Mets lack the depth in their farm system to cover any long term injuries to the team. Who would we call up to replace Wright? Zach Lutz? Do we have Daniel Murphy play third and promote Jordany Valdespin from AA? Any player that would be in AAA in any other organization is already playing for the Mets.

Before you make a joke about someone jamming their middle while sliding back to first base, think about the lack of depth in the organization and realize that if it’s Josh Thole that gets hurt, then Mike Nickeas is the starting catcher.

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

Well, the Mets have gone through a full rotation. After getting off to a 4-0 start, instilling hope in the eyes of many, the Mets have gone back to being the baseball team that we all know and love.

Jason Bay can’t hit the ball to save his life. David Wright fractured his pinky, jeopardizing Terry Collins’ plan to keep Daniel Murphy at second base. Dillon Gee hasn’t shaved his Brian Wilson-esque beard. Perhaps most worrying for the Mets is that in two starts, they’ve scored zero runs for Johan Santana.

Sure, they won on Opening Day…but the run came after Santana came out of the game. Yesterday, the Mets didn’t even score a run after they went to bullpen. On Opening Day, the Mets shut out the Braves. Yesterday, Johan only allowed one earned run. Am I missing something here? Did Santana not come back after 16 months and we have a new guy pitching who says his name is Johan Santana?

But this is nothing new for the Mets. Type in “Johan Santana run support” into any search engine, and one is bombarded with news items about Johan Santana from 2009 and 2010 about how he doesn’t get any run support. One story from yesteryear called him the “Unluckiest Pitcher in Baseball.” It’s not a stretch.

Take into consideration our divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies. You can pretty much count on Roy Halladay going out there every time and notch another quality start into his belt. In reality, the Phillies only have to score one more run than the other team and maybe tack on an insurance run or two to prevent the other team from coimng back. It has been the Mets’ experience that not only does Halladay shut them down, but the offense tacks on one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN runs for Halladay.

I can’t comment on the atmosphere of the Mets clubhouse, but part of me wonders if when Santana’s pitching, the hitters feel like they can be lax in their jobs. I’m not saying that having the stability of Johan Santana is a bad thing; the hitters take for granted that Santana is going to go out there and shut down the opponent and strike out 10 or 11 batters. I am worried about R.A. Dickey in this same fashion. Dating back to last year, Dickey has 13 straight quality starts. What’s to prevent Ike Davis from saying, “R.A. won’t let off more than three runs. I can chill” or “We have Johan freaking Santana. I can chill.”

Baseball is a two way street. Just as the pitchers have to pitch well, the hitters have to hit the ball. If Johan pitches well, isn’t entitled to more than three runs of support per start over the course of 25-30 starts?

 

This is a Fangirl Post

This actually happened:

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