Tag Archives: 2010

We Made It Through

18 Mar

By Jim Walters

Today, college basketballs bounce throughout the country and generations of fans stop in their tracks to watch the country’s greatest sports tournament. As the NCAA road to the Final Four begins this afternoon, it marks the start of a new sports season.

What makes this time of the year different is that it starts after the biggest lull in the sports year. Following the Super Bowl, there is this 4-6 week drop-off that ends with this tournament. When the tournament runs its course, baseball is waiting for us to carry our imaginations into the late Fall.

Last season’s lull was calmed by the World Baseball Classic which teased  fans with games between the world’s best. While it provided early competition, most fans spent their time rooting more for their players to stay healthy than for execution on the field.

This year, we had the Olympics which moved February along at a quicker pace. Watching curling was fine for a short while, and hockey became relevant in this country for two weeks. Yet, there was still a sports gap in this country that melts away today with each last-second shot.

We ride this tournament until the Sunday of Championship weekend. The Yankees and Red Sox open the baseball season that night.

On Monday, April 5th, we are presented with one of those special days in sports. The Mets and Marlins open the 2010 season at Citi Field in the afternoon. Later that night, the championship game is held in Indianapolis.

So, we made it through the snow, the cold and the harshness of the sports lull.

Finally we can say it, let the games begin.

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See Mets in the Bronx

16 Mar

This Friday, March 19th at noon, Yankees single game tickets go on sale and the three game series with the Mets from June 18-20 appears to be on sale.

Friday’s game is scheduled for 7:05pm, Saturday for 1:05pm and Sunday is still TBD. Sunday may be an ESPN game at 8:05pm. ESPN has not picked their game yet. The Mets-Yankees Sunday night game at Citi Field will be aired on ESPN.

The Mets did not include the Yankees games at Citi Field in their single game ticket sales. You can see the Yankees, but you have to buy a package that is one of the following: four games of premium seat value, a six-pack in the upper deck level, 15-game pack, 40-game pack or full season.

Mets Youth Movement

16 Mar

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By Jim Walters

All of  a sudden, the New York Mets look young.

Consider this. Johan Santana is the oldest pitcher in the starting rotation. This is a far cry from the days of Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez.

In the outfield, Carlos Beltran is the veteran at age 32. In the infield, Luis Castillo takes the crown at the age of 33.

Yet all around the team, you see a youth movement. The following players are some of the 30 and younger Mets:  David Wright, Jose Reyes, Jeff Francoeur, Jason Bay, Daniel Murphy, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, John Maine, John Neise, Francisco Rodriguez.

When the Opening Day rosters are determined, this team will rank near the top as one of the younger teams in the game. Give Minaya credit as the Mets turned young before our eyes.

Unfortunately, they will depend on this youth  in the starting rotation to compete in a division that’s starting pitching is as young, but only better.

Manuel, Stay of Go

16 Mar

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By Jim Walters

Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News reports this morning that Jerry Manuel should stay as  the coach of the Mets this season, despite whatever happens during the course of the season.

Lupica depicts Manuel as the product of bad luck. He also looks back to 2008 when Manuel replaced Randolph, listing other coaches who would’ve lost that final game at Shea.

The media in this town is interesting. When they love a guy, he gets more passes than he deserves. But when the media dislikes a guy, they can write him off before the season even starts.

Manuel is loved in this town, probably due to his easy demeanor and sense of humor. He is an easy guy to root for.

However, he is no different that Willie Randolph who the Mets showed the door at the early morning hours on a west coast trip.

The only difference is that the media likes Manuel, and the injuries of last year and this spring will always be included into the explanation for his failures. Yet for Randolph, the lack of starting pitching during his tenure was his fault, not Minaya’s.

Last year, in addition to the injuries, the Mets did not play fundamental baseball. This falls on the manager. You don’t see this with Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa.

Manuel and Minaya are on thin ice despite what the media says because Mets ownership is as dysfunctional as the starting rotation is.

Perhaps the winner after this season will be Manuel who may get kicked out-of-town and doesn’t have to deal with the nonsense of this franchise anymore.

Maine Problem

15 Mar

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By Jim Walters

John Maine got lit up yesterday following Johan Santana’s strong starts in the spring. However, it was his post-game comments that really made him worthy of 45,000 jeers at Citi Field in three weeks.

Following the game, one in which he only pitched 2/3 of an inning and served up five runs to the Marlins, Maine said this:

“My mechanics felt fine,” Maine said. “I just wasn’t kind of that into it. It wasn’t good. It’s just I wasn’t all that prepared. The feeling that it’s not my game is the hardest thing. It’s a waste of a day.”

“I wasn’t into it. I wasn’t all that prepared.”

Are you kidding me.

This is simply unacceptable.

It wouldn’t be acceptable if it came out of Santana’s mouth. It’s certainly not acceptable when it comes from a pitcher who has only won more than 11 games in a season once in his career.

This team is supposed to be different. They are supposed to be embarrassed from last season, doing everything they can to rewrite the history books.

It’s just a matter of time before Maine is history. And I will be first in line to show him the door.

Biazarro World

14 Mar

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By Jim Walters

Remember when Elaine entered bizarro world in that classic Seinfeld episode. Her new friends were complete opposites from her regular crew of Jerry, George and Kramer.

Imagine if this season for the Mets is bizarro world and everything goes right. Here’s one man’s guess of what that would  look like.

  • Jose Reyes is out for only two weeks instead of 8 and he is playing short at Citi Field on April 5th. He proves to be innocent of the hgh questions, but a certain third baseman of the Bronx can’t say the same.
  • Carlos Beltran is in centerfield by the end of April, but fans will miss the tag team efforts of Angel Pagan and Gary Matthews Jr, who held down the fort. Beltran comes back and does for the Mets what A-Rod did for the Yankees upon his May return last year. He also reveals that his mole gives him his mojo.
  • Johan Santana wins 20 games, the Cy Young and beats Roy Halladay in the three head to head match-ups this season.
  • Daniel Murphy proves Omar right, hitting .305 with 20 home runs and 95 RBIs. He also manages to play a decent first base. Keith Hernandez reminds us that he’s responsible.
  • Benjie Molina pulls a hamstring in week three and Rod Barajas hits 20 home runs and bats .260.
  • David Wright returns to his old form, hitting 30 home runs, 120 RBIs and bats .310. Wright wins the first MVP for New York.
  • Jason Bay hits 35 home runs, bats .280 and drives in 120 runs. His legs prove to be fine as Peter Gammons offers a public apology. Unfortunately its on the MLB network and no one sees it.
  • John Maine and Mike Pelfrey each win 15 games. Oliver Perez, well, not even in bizarro world is he very good.
  • Jenrry Mejia and Francisco Rodriguez become the best 1-2 punch, making most games feel like a 7-inning game.
  • Luis Castillo doesn’t drop any pop-ups.
  • Jerry Manuel doesn’t have to foolishly say he expects any of his players to be back in a week.
  • Omar Minaya gets to lead press conferences again.
  • Citi Field lowers ticket prices so families can go to a game and not miss a mortgage payment.
  • Mets retire Mike Piazza’s number.
  • Mets win the division, go on to get revenge against the Cardinals and beat the Yankees in the World Series.
  • Mets don’t mention Phillies in their championship celebration.
  • And finally, kids throughout the city trade in their Yankees jerseys for “Don’t Mess with the Johan” t-shirts.

A guy could dream….

Can Mets Pitch Like 2006

12 Mar

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By Jim Walters

Entering the 2010 season, besides issues of health, the biggest concern for the New York Mets is their pitching staff.

Many baseball analysts already declared this as a major problem for New York, questioning what they can get out of the starting rotation. While Johan Santana is expected to have a strong year, although he is overcoming elbow surgery, the rest of the rotation is a mixed bag of question marks.

Back in 2006, New York ran away with the National League Eastern division, winning 97 games. They did it with a high-powered offense but the pitching wasn’t very solid.

Tom Glavine led the way that year, going 15-7, finally earning his contract. Steve Trachsel will always be remembered for his embarrassing performance in October, but he did go 15-8 as the Mets number two starter, pitching to a high era of 4.97.  Pedro Martinez went 9-8, Orlando Hernandez went 9-7 and John Maine was 6-5. Not very impressive.

The reason why this team was so successful, besides their high-powered offense, was their great bullpen.  Billy Wagner had a superb year with 40 saves, pitching to a record of 3-2.  Duaner Sanchez, 5-2, and Pedro Feliciano, 7-2, carried the Mets bullpen and kept games close for the offense. Darren Oliver, 4-1, stepped in many games that year when the starters failed. The bullpen also included Aaron Heilman, 4-5, and Chad Bradford, 4-2.

While the rotation was shaky, the bullpen was phenomenal. Yet as good as it was, it was certainly overworked, pitching 150 more innings in 2006 than it did in 2005. This workload hurt New York in the NLCS as the bullpen showed its wear and tear from a starting rotation that could not go deep into games.

It also didn’t help that in the closing weeks of the season, Martinez and Hernandez went down. Maine and Oliver Perez were asked to fill the void and they did, but it only added stress on to the pen.

Going into 2010, Santana needs to have a big year. The question that follows is this: can any other pitcher get to double-digits in wins? With a bullpen that has its own questions, the only promise that the Mets can give their fans going into the season is that this isn’t going to be easy.