New Mets HOF Member John Franco: First Pitch at Citi Field

Congratulations to John Franco for being selected for the Mets Hall of Fame.

Did you know John Franco threw out the first ever ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field?  It’s true!  It took place at an exhibition game between St. Johns and Georgetown.  Franco went to St. Johns, so was tagged to do the honors.

John Franco throws out the first ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field. -CeetarJohn Franco Throwing out the first ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field for a St. Johns game. -Ceetar

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Some Applicable Quotes For the Mets

It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

Deli81 Chuck Palahniuk quotes (American freelance Journalist, Satirist and Novelist. b.1961)
“Success is how high you bounce when you hit rock bottom.”
-George Patton
Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.
Looking down on disappointment only blinds you for what’s ahead, you can always benefit from a loss as long as it is a lesson to you.
How achievest thou something meaningful in thy life when thou art very deeply wedded to thy urgly and miserable past?
The only way to prevail is to hit rock bottom.  After all, you need something to push off of to fly high.
“Life’s real failure is when you do not realize how close you were to success when you gave up.”

-Deli81 Chuck Palahniuk quotes (American freelance Journalist, Satirist and Novelist. b.1961)

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit rock bottom.”

-George Patton

Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.

You’d have thought they’d have learned already..

Looking down on disappointment only blinds you for what’s ahead, you can always benefit from a loss as long as it is a lesson to you.

How achievest thou something meaningful in thy life when thou art very deeply wedded to thy ugly and miserable past?

referring to Perez and Manuel/Minaya/Warthen etc? Need to put the past behind them.

The only way to prevail is to hit rock bottom.  After all, you need something to push off of to fly high.

I thought 2009 was rock bottom..

“Life’s real failure is when you do not realize how close you were to success when you gave up.”

This is my favorite.  Seems very applicable to baseball and the many tiny adjustments that a great player makes throughout a season. “game of inches”

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No John Maine in the Bullpen

A popular opinion on the handling of John Maine over the years has been to suggest he’d be better in the bullpen.  Metsblog has a post on this topic today as well.  Maine has occasionally struggled to get through 6 innings, although I would emphasize that this isn’t always the case, and some theorize that he’d have more success with being able to go all-out in one or two innings without worrying about a second time through the order.

I disagree.  I’m not saying Maine usually gets far into games, but I don’t think he’s ever a risk to throw three innings and completely task the bullpen.  In April and May of 2009 (throwing out the first June start where he was injured and went on the DL), he averaged around 5.2IP and went 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA.  This includes the first three starts of the season, where a pitcher is normally on a pitch count.  Without those he averaged 6IP over the next seven starts.  He made one bad start over that stretch, allowing five runs (four earned) over 5.1IP.  Every other start was a quality one.  So it’s not that long ago that John Maine both pitched six innings regularly and was good at it.  I know six innings isn’t amazing, but it’s more valuable than a couple of innings here and there out of the bullpen.  2010 was less pleasant for Maine, but he did have three of four quality starts after he redid his mechanics. 

My biggest problem with the idea of moving Maine to the bullpen is injury.  Maine’s injuries have always been injuries that seem fatigue and wear and tear related.  Putting him in a position where he’d possibly pitch, or get ready to pitch, every day would negate days of rest where his shoulder can just recover.   Especially with the way Manuel works the bullpen, I’d be worried this would be cause for further injury.

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Upcoming Expections For The Mets

I understand the season has been hurtful so far.  I also understand that even the worst teams in baseball don’t play this badly, and that they will win more games.  So how do we shake this feeling of doom?

YaGottaBelieveSign

I’m pretty confident in Pelfrey throwing a good game tonight.  I think what he worked on this Spring is going to help a lot, he’s getting less distracted on the mound, and has that cocky confidence that this team needs. 

You never know with Perez, and I worry that the stupid tinkering that Warthen did with Maine was also a failure for Perez, but I think the Mets will have a chance to win the game tomorrow when he pitches. 

Santana is due to bounce back and win one on Saturday.  He’s Johan Santana after all.

Then Maine, who I think gets a huge boost being out from under Warthen’s shackles.  Doesn’t mean he’ll be successful though, especially the first time going back to what’s worked for him, but the numbers are there if you choose to believe. (those numbers being a 4-1 2.75 ERA May last year before surgery in June.  Those numbers being that he was hitting 93 last year, and was 91-92 in the return from surgery in September)  I’m hoping being able to be comfortable will be like a weight off his shoulder and he’ll do just fine.  I’m certainly not ready to believe Maine’s career is over.

Maybe they drop one of those, which would put them at 5-7.  Then they go home for a 10 game home stand where if they go 6-4 they’re back at .500 and go to Philadelphia, a park the Mets love to hit in with hopefully the offense finally clicking, and knock the ball, and 2009, out of the park.

That’s the formula to shake these bad feelings away.  If the Mets can get to Philadelphia near .500 and play well there against an injured Phillies team and assert, even if it’s just for one series, that they’re the better team it will go a long way to returning the confidence to this team, and to it’s fans.

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Aftershocks of the 2009 Mets Season

aftershockThe 2009 season for the Mets was a disaster.  After careful review, it appears that the specific type of disaster was earthquake.  Even after the disastrous season ended we’ve been hit with aftershocks.  Aftershocks are known as smaller earthquakes that follow after the original quake, not to be confused with the alcohol beverage that was needed for us fans to get through the season.  They can still be dangerous, but generally get smaller and farther apart as time goes on.

Carlos Beltran’s scoped knee surgery was the first aftershock of the 2009 disaster.  While final damage totals are not yet in for this one, it’s expected he’ll miss up to a month of real time.  The last report I heard suggested that he’d be cleared to resume baseball activities right around the time the Mets head north for Opening Day.

The Jose Reyes Thyroid aftershock hit last week, when blood work revealed that Reyes has an overactive thyroid.  The results and treatment for this are still being determined, but many opinions suggest that it shouldn’t be a big deal and he can get back to playing soon.  This smaller aftershock was still upsetting, but it seems like it won’t be one that did much damage.

Other smaller aftershocks have occurred throughout Spring Training for the Mets.  Francisco Rodriguez came down with pink eye, pinkeyebut didn’t become a zombie.  Fernando Tatis is batting some knee issues, and Nick Evans strained his forearm.  Neither is considered serious and Frankie is back and pitching again.

The big thing to remember here is it’s not 2009 anymore.  You can check the calendar if you don’t believe me.  Every tweak or setback or injury is not indicative of disaster, and the bad luck that plagued the Mets in 2009 was just that; bad luck.  The way Reyes did not adequately recover from his hamstring injuries has nothing to do with what his thyroid may or may not be doing right now, and the bone bruise that Beltran had does not relate to his recovery from having his knee scoped in the off season.  Right now we’re still in limbo waiting on how Reyes will be treated by doctors and when he’ll get back down to Florida to continue Spring Training, but once he does everything will be alright.  Soon it will be time for baseball to count, and we can start obsessing over wins and losses and pitching performances and home run totals instead of thyroid levels and pink eye symptoms.

Visit The Real Dirty Mets Blog for lively discussion on this, and other, Mets topics.

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A Healthier Orange and Blue 2010

Last night a player, wearing Orange and Blue, returned to play after an injury-plagued 2009.  I’m going to take this as a sign of good things to come for those other injured orange and blue wearing professional athletes, even if it is a different sport.  Last night Rick DiPietro made his first start in goal for the Islanders in over a year.  He’s one of their franchise players, and having him back with the team means a ton to their long term success.

From MetsStuff

In 2010 the Mets will be getting Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana, Oliver Perez, and John Maine back from injuries in 2009.  Even David Wright missed time in 2009.  Maine and Beltran actually returned before 2009 was over, and the others are all on schedule to be healthy by Spring Training, with Oliver Perez already working out.

Of course, this doesn’t guarantee anything.  Filling out the lineup card doesn’t count as a win, but the Mets had been competitive the three years prior to 2009 and with these guys back it’s hard to expect they won’t be again.

We could spend time breaking down lineups, breaking down the Phillies lineups, analyzing trades and offseason acquisitions, evaluating players and prospects and predicting what 2010 will bring. We can and will do that, but the rosters aren’t set yet, and Spring Training is not quite here.  There will be time enough for everyone to declare who the favorite is, and why.  There will be time to document what the Mets need to do, and what the other teams need to do to get to the playoffs.  Right now it’s about formulating the roster that will take the field on April 5th.  Omar’s working on a catcher and a pitcher, and time is working to get those players we already have healthy and back on the field.

I’m going to take Rick DiPietro’s return as a sign that the 2009 orange and blue injury bug is over, and that 2010 will bring much success.

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2009 World Series: Bad News

As everyone has made light of, this World Series sucks for a Mets fan.

Mets fans are pretty split on which side they’re rooting for, if you can even call it rooting.  Funny thing is, you see plenty of Yankees fans saying that we should be rooting for them, but I don’t hear any Phillies fans making that same argument.

From Mets

Personally, I’m rooting for the Yankees to lose.  I don’t get any joy or any more grief no matter what the Phillies do, but the Yankees winning would really irk me.  It’d blow my theory of them being cursed for knocking down the house that Ruth built, it’d give even more fuel to the “Jeter’s the best player ever” arguments you hear, as well as the constant reminder about how much they’ve won.  Their eight rings to the Mets two would start to get a little insurmountable, whereas three for the Phillies wouldn’t be as rough.

From Mets

Some say that the cracks in Yankee Stadium will open up and swallow both teams into Hell.

Some compare it to 1999 although despite how much it sucked losing the Braves, the Braves fans were never in the equation as hated rivals.  Others suggest we ask who the Yankees were rooting for in 1986 and root accordingly.

Personally, I’m just not watching.  I get no joy out of watching either team, and if you factor in all the game-delay tactics, the 50 million pitching changes, and the pop-fly home runs, I’m just not sure it’s going to be fun to watch anyway.

I’ll be watching the Islanders at the Rangers Wednesday night.

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MLB Playoff Predictions

Let’s talk MLB playoff predictions. My picks are probably slightly biased, but there is nothing wrong with that. Anything can happen.

NLDS:

Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies.

My pick is the Rockies. Probably in four games. The Phillies have shown at times this year that they are not that good a team. They haven’t been playing well lately. Lee hasn’t had a good September and Hamels hasn’t had a good year, period. Their bullpen is shaky. They won last year because their pitching got hot at the right time. I don’t see that happening this year. The Rockies have the Wild Card momentum thing going for them, and they can actually pitch pretty well, which is the best thing to have to face the Phillies.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals

This is another case of a hot team facing a team that coasted in. The Dodgers are a good team, but I don’t think they have things clicking. I think the Cardinals, behind their pitching and their Pujols, take this series in four games. You can never rule out the Mannywood factor, but I think even if he has a good series, which he probably will, it won’t be enough.

ALDS:

Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees

This series is being billed as a mismatch, but I think there is too much Yankees love out there. We can talk all we want about being tired and worn out, but I bet the Twins wouldn’t describe themselves that way. I think game 163 even helps them, because they won’t have time to unwind and feel tired. They barely have enough time to get to the next game. I think the Twins take the series in four. I think age catches up to the Yankees offensively, I think the pitching won’t be up to task, especially Joba after how he’s been mishandled. The one thing to say is that if the Yankees can hold off the steamroller in game one and win it, I think the Twins could cave to exhaustion and collapse in three.

Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

This is a compelling series too, and I think the hardest one to pick. I think this series will go five, and be the best series. I’m giving the edge to the Red Sox, because I think they have an edge talent wise and that will shine through, but it’ll be close.

NLCS: Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals

I think this is where the Rockies magic wears off. I think they get destroyed, and swept, by the Cardinals.

ALCS: Boston Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins

Similarly I think the Red Sox take care of the Twins in five.

World Series: Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals

I think this is going to be the best World Series in a long time. I think it’ll go to November 5th, all the way to game seven. The Red Sox will take it in the end, winning their third championship of the decade and establishing themselves as the dynasty of the early century.

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Goodbye 2009 New York Mets

Goodbye 2009 New York Mets

From 100409_Astros

I caught your final game in person at Citi Field, and it was a good game. I’m glad I was there.

From 100409_Astros

Better luck next year. How many days until pitchers and catchers?

From 100409_Astros

I hope the rumors about Manuel and Warthen staying are false. For 2010’s sake.

From 100409_Astros
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