Tag Archives: reyes

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.

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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….

F-Mart Should Play Center

14 Mar

John Harper of the NY Daily News suggests this morning that Fernando Martinez should be the centerfield substitute for Carlos Beltran until the star center fielder returns.  Martinez is having a great spring, following winning the MVP award of the Caribbean Series this winter.

The worst case for Martinez is if he struggles, they can send him the Buffalo where he will continue to grow as a ball player. He may add some energy to the Mets and become a bright spot in a month that may be difficult if Reyes is out. If Jenrry Mejia makes the club, Mets fans will have two of their top prospects on the club.

While we probably won’t see Josh Thole much this season, unless there are injuries and/or the Mets fall out of contention. Ike Davis will be waiting in the wings if Daniel Murphy fails.

Jeter Shows Class

13 Mar

Kevin Kernan of the New York Post contributes an interesting piece this morning about Derek Jeter commenting on Jose Reyes.

Speaking of Reyes’ most recent injury, Jeter says, “You wish him the best. I don’t like to see anybody go through that kind of stuff. It’s just that he’s had such bad luck. You have to assume that his luck is going to change here soon. All you can do is be patient.”

While it is easy for Mets fans to dislike the Yankees, Jeter continues to show class and this is just another example of why he is such a special player.

What Could’ve Been

11 Mar

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By Jim Walters

Take yourself back to that fateful Thursday October night in 2006 when Flushing was the center of the baseball world. Shea Stadium was filled to capacity and the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals battled in the seventh and final game of the National League Championship Series.

We know about the Endy Chavez catch, the Yadier Molina home run and the Carlos Beltran strike out. We even remember Willie Randolph tapping Cliff Floyd to pinch hit and not sacrifice as well as the strong performance of an unknown starter named Oliver Perez.

What we sometimes forget is what happened in the bottom of the sixth inning when all the momentum in the world favored the home team after Chavez’ amazing catch. New York loaded the bases with the help of a Scott Rolen error, giving Jose Valentin the opportunity to come to the plate with the bases loaded and one out.

What would’ve happened to this franchise if Valentin drove in that run or if Chavez, who followed, was able to get a two-out hit. The Mets could’ve went on to win the World Series and maybe all of the September collapses that followed could’ve been different. We will never know.

On the day we heard Jose Reyes would be away from the game for as many as eight weeks, adding further panic to a beaten fan base that is still shell shocked from a snake-bitten 2009, I find myself thinking back to that October night when 55,000 fans believed there was no way that the Mets weren’t on their way to the World Series.

The Mets were on top of the world following the catch and the go ahead run was only 90 feet away with Valentin at the plate.

It’s been all down hill ever since.

Can the Mets Survive

11 Mar

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By Jim Walters

It is very possible that the Mets may play until May 15th without their star center fielder and shortstop. This makes up 37 games, almost one-fourth of their schedule. While they will play their first 16 of 22 games at home in Citi Field, can the line-up produce enough to keep up with a pitching staff that most expect to be shaky at best.

The probable line-up with Cora at short and Pagan in center will look like this:

Pagan, Castillo, Wright, Bay, Murphy, Francoeur, Cora, Barajas.

Not murders row by any sense of the imagination. This line-up will demand that the Mets  pitch well. With question marks making up the rotation from number two to five, as well as anyone’s guess for who will pitch the 8th inning, this team is in serious trouble with 24 days to go until Opening Day.

Ghost of Shea Strikes Again

11 Mar

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By Jim Walters

As news regarding Jose Reyes thyroid issue hit the press this morning, the prognosis was the Mets shortstop would miss 2-8 weeks. Fans who lived and died with this team over the past year knew it was going to be at least two months before Reyes played again.

As this bad news scattered through the news wires and twitter, you could hear the harmonious shriek of “what is going on?”

The answer, the ghost of Shea Stadium.

When Citi Field opened its doors to the public last April, the outcry from Mets fans came flowing in. While the new park in Queens showed off its shiny new apple and perfectly angled seats, fans were left asking, where are the Mets colors and Mets decor. While nice gestures like a new apple and keeping the old one, as well as the iconic skyline, connected the old and new chapters of Mets history, ownership did not do enough to make this park feel like the home stadium of the Mets.

During the season, adjustments were made. The team decided to no longer hide the few championship banners they possessed and they plastered images of old and current Mets in the inside and outside of Citi Field.

Besides the retired “Shea” that stood tall next to the numbers of Casey Stengal, Gil Hodges, Tom Seaver and Jackie Robinson, memories of Shea Stadium, the home of the Mets from 1964-2009, were noticeably absent. The memory of beloved Shea was left in the team’s past.

While the Yankees designed their new cathedral as an upgrade of  their old stadium, the Mets went for a completely new look. While many will say this was a smart move as the cookie-cutter design of the 1960s and 1970s was no longer fashionable or fan-friendly, the designers did forget to bring over the orange and blue that Shea so appropriately provided.

While the Mets played their first season at home in a ball park other than Shea Stadium for the first time since 1963, the team struggled for most of the year. After the first month, the injury bug hit this team as hard as it has ever hit a ball club in the history of this game. As the stars fell, so did the Mets in the standings. By September, Citi Field’s empty seats finally resembled the many empty Fall nights at old Shea.

Those connected to the spiritual world started to question if there was something or someone behind this sudden streak of bad luck. Sure the Mets would never be considered a winning franchise, with more losing seasons that winning ones. But, the bloating disabled list, as well as a defensive performance that had little leaguers laughing, started to reveal that someone or something had a score to settle.

Perhaps, the ghost of Shea Stadium, or maybe it was the baseball gods, who were trying to even the score, playing a part in the 2009 season. Maybe the proper tribute was not displayed to the stadium next door, as ownership continued to express how Citi Field was a great improvement, treating old Shea as the ex who was used and abused until something better came along.

Maybe 2009 was Shea’s revenge.

During the offseason, steps were taken to calm this ghost. Orange walls and a bridge named after beloved Shea were offered as peace offerings. The question left to be answered is, will it be enough?

Many fans pleaded with the Mets to change the outfield wall colors to blue. This simple move would remind the fans of Shea in its later years. While it is probably a pretty penny to replace the material, it may be the sacrifice this team needs to make to please the past so there can be a future.

Down in Florida, the injuries are starting to pile up. Jose Reyes and his thyroid, Carlos Beltran and his knee. Francisco Rodriguez can’t see and Kelvim Escobar can’t throw. Is this a simple hiccup in March or a repeat performance of last year’s plague?

It’s time the Mets make peace with old Shea.