2011 New York Mets, Officially Losers

The Mets lost last night, ticking their losses total to 82 and cliched a third straight losing season.  Darn.

 

Never mind about the spoilers.  Phillies and Yankees are already in, so I say let the other chips fall where they may.

 

I had high hopes for this team, and I thought a .500 finish was pretty close to the floor.  Of course injuries are the ultimate wild card, which the New York Giants are finding out as well this year.

 

Which brings me to Lucas Duda.  I severely hope he doesn’t have a concussion.  Concussions are one of those things that doctors don’t fully understand, and that often have lingering effects months and years down the line that no one’s even sure about.   Duda said after the game he was told he didn’t have a concussion, and hopefully that’s the case.

 

Which brings me to my number one hope for the last seven games of the season; No More Injuries!

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Wall Adjustments Do Not Make Mets Better

I’ve never really cared about the walls at Citi Field.  They are what they are for both teams, and the height and distance have both positives and negatives. My biggest concern is that if they were to change them, that they would do something stupid like just draw another orange line, or construct a makeshift fence in front of it and mess with the aesthetics.  Sandy Alderson’s comments on the broadcast last night seem to suggest that they’ll put a lot of thought into how to meld the chances into the structure if they do make changes.  Alderson mentioned that they’ve done a lot of research on it, and with three years worth of data to look at they’re a little more confident in the decisions they’re reaching off the data.  Opinions about home runs and wall height are one thing, but I’m happy any decision that’s made will be based off hard data. 

Personally, I like the changes Randy over at The Apple suggested.  A row of seating in front of the wall in left, and a fence in right that turns the Mo’s Zone from a forgotten group area to a cool place to watch the game.  Being able to watch the game from what would literally be field level would be a lot of fun.  San Francisco has a similar type area out in right field of their ballpark. 

Still, the changes do not make the Mets better.  If the Mets move the fences in, they’ll move the fences in for the opponent as well.  Jason Bay will still need to hit the ball hard consistently, and his failure to do so for much of his Mets tenure is not because of the walls.  The Mets still have some work to do to make the 2012 team a contending team, and all moving in the walls does is change the configuration of the boxscore.  David Wright and the Mets still need to hit the ball over them more often than their opponents to win a lot of games.

A side effect of this is that we can no longer call it the Great Wall of Flushing if it’s changed, and I was starting to really like that nickname.  I thought it was a fun inside joke.

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More Nice Things About David Wright

A lot of this season my focus has been on just how awesome Jose Reyes is, but let’s not forget our Captain third baseman. David Wright is also a great player, and I feel it’s going a little unnoticed by those in the fan base that scream for change for change’s sake without stopping to appreciate what we have.

David Wright owns, or is in the process of owning, so many of the Mets offensive records.  He’s 8th in games played, 1st in doubles, 4th in home runs, 2nd (by 12) in RBIs, 6th in stolen bases, 4th in walks, first in total bases, 2nd in runs and third in hits, although he may never get to first in those last two as he’s chasing teammate Jose Reyes.  He trails only Darryl Strawberry and Mike Piazza in slugging percentage.

His 2007 season was one of the best offensive seasons in Mets history, and he did everything one player could do to try to will the Mets to the playoffs.  He did the same in September of 2008.

Year G PA R H 2B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP Awards
2007 160 711 113 196 42 30 107 34 5 94 115 .325 .416 .546 .963 149 330 14 AS,MVP-4,GG,SS
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2011.

He absolutely owns left-handed pitching. (To compare, Albert Pujols has a only marginally higher 1.085 OPS against lefties and that might just be the difference in slugging from playing in a slightly smaller park)

I Split G PA AB H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
  vs LHP as RHB 505 1165 984 336 84 51 176 159 157 .341 .433 .592 1.025 583
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2011.

He played through pain with a broken back for a month earlier this season and still managed a game winning home run here and there.  To that note, David Wright owns the Mets record for game-winning RBI.

Since returning from the disabled list he’s hitting .289/.364/.479 with 8 HR and 39 RBI in 54 games.  That projects to 24 HR and 118 RBI over a full season and is just a handful of walks and maybe a home run or two off his career average. He’s got 42 strikeouts, which would be 123 over a full season, or much closer to the 115 he averaged over his first four full seasons.  All that’s factoring in that he just had a rough 10 days or so both offensively and defensively.

Defensively he’s been a very up and down player.  He went a month after returning from the DL where he looked amazing, making great catches, and great throws.  Other times he goes through phases where he let’s balls get by him, and misses first base on his throws.  I’m not going to break out any fancy statistics here, because defensive statistics are spotty in the absolute best case scenarios, and Wright hasn’t collected enough data to form any coherent opinion.  There’s just too much noise in the data, but I’ve seen him play serious Gold Glove caliber defense, and I know he can do it again.

David Wright is a historic Met and in the prime of his career.  He’s part of the 2012 solution and is a pleasure to watch every day.  His value to the Mets franchise is just another reason another team is not going to blow Sandy Alderson away with an offer for him.  The Mets need more franchise defining great players, and trading away one of them is not the way to do that.

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New York Mets Oktoberfest

The Mets are having their annual Oktoberfest on September 23rd. It looks like decent fun, although I’d pass on the lederhosen.  If you pay attention at all, I’m almost as big a beer fan as I am a Mets fan, so things like this are right up my alley.

 

The Mets Oktoberfest is pretty good.  The food menu features Wiener Scnitzel, Beer Braised Bratwurst & Onions, German Style Fried Potatoes, German Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Soft Pretzels and a delicious Cookie Platter for dessert.  Of course, it doesn’t list the beer menu.   It’d be a shame if it was just the normal stuff off the Citi Field Beer List.  There needs to be at least a couple of Oktoberfests there, and a local variety like Brooklyn Brewery’s would be a great place to start.  Unfortunately, I’m busy next Friday and will be unable to go.  If someone is going and doesn’t mind reporting back to me, send me an email at ceetar@ceetar.com.

 

The price for the Oktoberfest party at Citi Field is $54 to sit in the Big Apple Reserved and get a free ticket lanyard.  I’m not going to quibble too much about something that includes free beer, but that’s $12 more than the Big Apple Reserved seating is for Premium games.   Normally, group sales get a discount on pricing.  The Social Media night the Mets held was $41 for the same seats, and including $18 of food and beverage credit.

 

I think the Mets could make more of this event.  This is New York, and as Sandy Alderson said about our farm systemeverything should be top of the line, not middle of the pack.   One example to follow might be the Houston Astros Oktoberfest.  The Astros event is two hours prior to the game, whereas the Mets event starts an hour early and goes until the 7th inning and conflicts with the game.   It’s a full-fledged party with polka music, folk dancers, and your own Astros beer stein!  Included are 12 2oz pours of 12 different beers available; many of them Oktoberfests and pumpkin ales.

 

The Astros event is separate from the game, so they allow you to buy a ticket to any section.  Obviously tickets in Houston are much much cheaper than tickets in New York, but they even discount them for you by about 40%.  They do tack on another $20 for the Oktoberfest package, but that’s still a great deal considering it’s an admission to a two hour party and you get at least a pint and a half of beer, and your own stein.  You could get all this, AND a baseball game, for as little as $27.

 

I’d love if the Mets followed the Astros example in 2012.  I know the Bullpen Plaza isn’t big enough for a full on party, but there are other options.  They could close off the Caesar’s Club for one day before the game, or block off a suitably sized section of the parking lot.   Another option would be to have a Mets Oktoberfest away game viewing party.  Have the event when the Mets are on the road.  The Caesar’s Club certainly has enough televisions to  tune to SNY.   I already own a Mets beer stein purchased the conventional way, but if a 2012 design was created, I’d certainly buy another one.

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New York Mets Episode ’11: The Nats Strike Back

As you’re likely aware, the Mets had Star Wars night last night to celebrate the release of the 6-part series on Blu-Ray.  They did a very good job with it, considering they only announced it a week or two ago.  I started a hashtag on Twitter yesterday called #MetsStarWarsQuotes, and I’ll mix in some of the funny ones between the pictures below.  Also check out Mediagoon’s coverage on the event over at Metspolice today. 

The free T-shirt pick up was in the bullpen plaza, so that’s where I headed first.  The Star Wars guys were doing a costume contest with kids, and were there when I arrived with Mr. Met. 

Aren't you a little short to be a relief pitcher? #MetsStarWarsQuotes

More after the break.

Continue reading “New York Mets Episode ’11: The Nats Strike Back”

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2011 Mets fading into the Sunset

The local football teams played Sunday night, marking the beginning of the end of baseball.  With the Mets eliminated from the NL East and almost eliminated from the Wild Card race, Mets related traffic and discussion has slowed to a crawl outside of the die-hard in Metsopotamia.

 

But we’re going to miss them when they’re gone.  The New York Mets now have as many games remaining as the New York Giants; another sign of the end.  Time is ticking down, the Mets are playing poor, sloppy and uninspired baseball and even Reyes isn’t hitting like he was for most of the rest of the season.

 

As much as it’s not much fun to watch lately, I’m going to watch.  You never know when something crazy will happen, and this team probably still has a couple of fun wins in them.  I’m going out to Citi Field tonight for Star Wars night, which should be interesting at least.

 

Much thanks to the Mets for including Optimistic Mets Fan in the final issue of Mets Magazine. It’s very cool to see this blog in the Mets program. If you happen to buy the final issue of the season, flip over to page 153 and check it out. Then turn to page 154 for Faith and Fear in Flushing‘s entry. I love that there is a Spanish translation as well, although anyone that needs it isn’t going to find the site too readable. Maybe I need a ‘translate to Spanish’ widget for Fanáticos Optimista de los Mets?

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Football Season Already?

When’d that happen?

With all the injuries (gee, that sounds familiar) the Giants aren’t being picked to win much of anything, but if there is one thing that holds true across all sports, its’ that the experts are just guessing.  Maybe the unknown players will turn out to be better than expected.  Eli Manning has been getting downgraded by many off a sub-par season, so chances are he’ll out-perform what’s expected.

 

The Jets are  ‘world beaters, who the Giants again’ story line seems to be the popular narrative this season, but the actual games rarely adhere to the stories reporters want them to.  The Giants seem to have an easy first half scheduleso perhaps they take advantage of that, reassess who’s healthy and who’s contributing, and play good football in the second half and make the playoffs.

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What Do You Need To See From Jason Bay?

Last week I posed a tongue-in-cheek relationship between how many home runs Jason Bay hits this season, and what record the Mets will be predicted to finish with next year.  He’s up to 12, good for an even 81-81 prediction.


He’s on another hot streak, where he’s actually driving the ball.  It’s good to see, but we’ve also seen it before.  He still seems to find ways to go into 0-30 stretches after getting hot, although the length of time between hot streaks seems to be lessening.  I can’t help but wonder if there were lingering effects of the concussion that even he wasn’t, or isn’t, aware of.


Regardless, the Mets could really use Jason Bay to be at least a contributing power threat next year.  I think if he can reach 15 home runs, and finish out September with numbers approaching his career averages on the month, that we can at least have some faith he’ll be useful next year.  His career line stands at

Year G PA AB H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
9 Seasons 1127 4758 4065 1113 227 202 705 583 1086 .274 .368 .493 .862 125
and his September numbers so far.
 
Split G GS PA AB H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
Sept/Oct 7 6 25 24 7 2 2 4 1 5 .292 .320 .625 .945 15 .294 175 150


What do you need to see from him to not go into 2012 feeling he’s a black hole in the lineup? Is it completely hopeless?  Do you need him to rack up a couple more doubles? Five more home runs?  Less strikeouts? Avoid any double-digit o’fers?
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Links From Metsopotamia

Shannon at Metspolice notices a decrease in Mets related traffic and twittering and ponders if anyone’s still here.  Well, I am.  It’s still baseball, it’s still the Mets, it’s still Citi Field.  I’m going to at least two more games this year.  I’m going to enjoy watching Duda seem to become a serious major league slugger, watching Reyes and Wright be Reyes and Wright, and looking for signs from guys like Bay, Pagan, Thole, Parnell, etc to see what we can do about next year.  You know you’re going to spend all offseason yelling about some of these guys, at least be informed and see how they finish the season with your own eyes.

Kerel of On The Black discusses Google Plus (add me to your circle if you like) and how well it worked for his weekly Mets chat with Dave Doyle of Mets Report.
Randy at The Apple says a humorous goodbye to the err, umm.. *pickastadiumname* the Marlins play in. 

In a fanpost at Amazin’ Avenue, nerfan breaks down the top 10 completely wrong arguments about the Mets.  Also known as ‘debunking sports radio’.

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