Watching the Mets last year it became increasingly evident that R.A. Dickey’s book was incomplete. The title, Wherever I Wind Up, ended up going unanswered, or at least understated.
He ended up a successful, and well-paid, pitcher for the Mets happy to have his own parking spot, but that’s only the start of where he’s going. After the book was written, and despite saying he’d never lead the league in strikeouts, he did in fact lead the league in strikeouts and won the NL Cy Young award as well.
Well Plume has published a new paperback version of Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for truth, authenticity, and the perfect knuckleball with a new epilogue where Dickey breaks down the 2012 season including Johan’s no-hitter, the All-Star Game, the reaction to his book, and the Cy Young Award. If you haven’t read it yet or want to see what else he has to say, check it out.
Of course, Dickey has already continued on further, being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays and getting an extension. Maybe one day he’ll write another book, or a followup, because I suspect he still has a lot of story in him.
Follow @Ceetar today while I share my observations and pictures from Opening Day.
Quick bullet point type list of things I”ll be scoping out today because I procrastinated this post and now it’s late.
Trackman thingy. I found this article very interesting, and am going to see if I can find the panel.
New Beer. Is there any new beer, and what is it?
New food. Most of the new food has been previewed some, but I’ll still be checking it out and getting a feel for what’s new.
There’s always new signs and kiosks and advertising. Subtle changes in the way Citi Field operates. I’m always interested in those things, the way the escalators run, how the security is behaving. That sort of thing.
Tailgate and Mets fan friends. Checking in with all the fun fans and bloggers that I rarely see anywhere but at Citi Field. It’s a new season, let’s have some fun!
And of course, most importantly, a Mets win! Let’s go Jon Niese!
Shannon Shark of Mets Police wrote an ebook called Send The Beer Guy. So I read it, and then wrote this review of said ebook.
Even if he’s a little harsh on the Piazza-era Mets, it’s a good read. There’s the typical Mets fan timeline of how he became, and was cemented as, a Mets fan, his favorite players and all that, but it also chronicles his time working as a vendor at Shea Stadium (hence the title).
Some great behind the scenes stories there, and much like Dickey’s book last year, he intersperses ’current’ impressions of the 2012 season as he’s writing. That part was probably unnecessary, particularly since most of the people buying it are already fans and probably got those observations first hand from @MetsPolice during the season, but it does break up the book in an interesting way.
Anyway, It’s a scant $3.99 in the Amazon Kindle Store, and is a quick read. Give it a whirl.
Remember R.A. Dickey? He was a great pitcher for the Mets for three years, and features prominently in a movie about his signature pitch. This movie, by MPI/FilmBuff which you can get here (released April 2nd), was filmed during the 2011 season and in addition to Dickey features Tim Wakefield and the five other retired knuckleballers.
And you can win a copy! Three lucky readers will take home their very own copy of the DVD. All you have to do is have a little optimism about the 2013 New York Mets. Follow @Ceetar on Twitter and send me a mention with the hashtag #Knuckleball and the one aspect of the 2013 season you’re most excited about. Additionally you can email email@example.com with your submission, comment on this post, message Optimistic Mets Fan on Facebook, or randomly run into me in real life and tell me your answer. (Who knows, creatively getting me your submission may win you brownie points)
I spent some time poking through the DVD. I definitely recommend it, and check out some of the additional features if you want to know more about the knuckleball. The best part may be the conversation between Dickey, Wakefield, Hough and Niekro, just sitting around talking about it. That’s worth the price of the DVD itself. Also very interesting is all the super slo-mo images of the knuckleball in flight, that’s always fascinating.
And a favorite part of mine is when R.A. Dickey visits some young baseball players in Ramapo, NJ and teases them that he’s not going to tell them about his pitch because it’s a “Mets secret” and a lot of them are Yankees fans. When one kid asks who he owns, he responds with Derek Jeter. A little bit of trolling by Dickey there, and it’s much appreciated.
Here’s the synopsis:
The definitive documentary about the impossible-to-hit pitch, the knuckleball!
From acclaimed filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg (The Devil Came on Horseback; Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work) this heartfelt, funny and deeply engaging film delves into the legendary subculture of the knuckleball and the brotherhood of men who share the drive, imagination and humility to throw baseball‘s slowest, most disrespected pitch. Filmed throughout the 2011 season, KNUCKLEBALL follows 37 year-old R.A. Dickey (New York Mets and 2012 All-Star) and 18-year veteran Tim Wakefield, formerly the oldest player in the major leagues and an icon of the Boston Red Sox, detailing their personal and professional triumphs of the season while exploring the bond between them and their only allies, the five living retired knuckleballers - Charlie Hough, Wilbur Wood, Jim Bouton, Tom Candiotti, and Hall of Famer Phil Niekro. KNUCKLEBALL is the story of these extraordinary men, and the sacrifices they made to a pitch that would come to define their lives.
Nearly 2 hours of Featurettes, Interviews, and More
You can read a full recap at Amazin’ Avenue.
Sandy had spoken earlier about not having been tempted yet to trade some pitching depth for a really good outfielder, or for anything else, but he then rattled off a dozen or so names and talked about the minor league roster crunch and that perhaps he’d be tempted soon. My question was meant to be a followup to that, where I asked, or tried to ask, what would push that temptation to the point that a trade is made?
He responded with a lot of talk about how close they came to making some moves with Bourn or Upton, and talked confidentially about the club, but it did dance around the question a bit. I was trying to figure out what the factor would be that changed his mindset from tempting to need and if part of the temptation might stem from the current plan getting derailed a little bit?
Perhaps if I could’ve asked a followup question I would’ve asked “If the Mets had won 83 games last year instead of what they did, is it more likely you would’ve traded for Upton?” What I was really looking for is if the temptation to trade these players is going to be the result of the team’s success, or is going to drive the team’s success. When does focus shift from making shrewd transactions to needing to acquire the player you want, even if it’s an overpay. Is it only when adding a player like Justin Upton makes the Mets a favorite to make the playoffs, or can it be done simply to make the team better and let other factors, such as long-term success from Zack Wheeler, be what puts them over the top?
I ended a Citi Field drought Saturday by making it out to the park for Mike Piazza bobblehead day. You can check him out in my new header image.
I was finally able to have the Steak Sandwich from Pat LaFrieda. It was delicious, as confirmed by a billion other people at this point. Also confirmed by others, but worth posting here for completeness’ sake, the beer selection. No new beers available, despite rumors/hopes that other Sixpoint nano-kegs would be present, but you do get Sixpoint Sweet Action, Brooklyn 16oz cans, and three pints of the mass produced variety.
The Mets won, which was nice to see. They even scored three runs! The crowd, understandably, was dead. There was no Lets Go Mets chant until the 9th inning, and the scoreboard barely prompted us to cheer. There was an annoying bunch beyond us that wanted to scream for long periods of times when Dickey struck someone out..mercifully R.A. Dickey only struck out two.
Realizing my chances were running low, I got a Carvel Sunday in an ice cream helmet, so I could add the 50th anniversary helmet cap to my collection. The ice cream hit the spot too.
Tejada made a really neat jump and fake on a throw to third from Scott Hairston. It kept Greene from taking an extra base on the throw, and although it’s a play that should probably be made on most chances, it’s still nice to see the Mets putting in the right effort and execution on the fundamentals.
There will be one more Seatcrew.com ticket giveaway in early September.
I’ll be out of the country for the second half of September. Likely without much internet or time. I’m probably going to schedule a bunch of baseball and beer related posts, so keep an eye out for that.
Banner day is Sunday before the game against the Padres. You should head to the game and help convince the Mets you want them to do Banner Day every year. Seriously. Make a banner, go to the game, take pictures, tweet pictures, talk about the banners.
I’ve mocked up a little design that I think would make a cool banner, or at least part of a banner. Or even a t-shirt. So, celebrate the Mets 50th anniversary with a banner and have some fun on Sunday!
As you probably know by now, Hofstra held Dana Brand’s 50th Anniversary of the Mets conference last week. I wrote a paper on the new age of Mets fans, like myself, who have not seen a Mets World Series Championship. I talk about the differences in rooting for the team without remembering them going all the way, without that light at the end of the tunnel. I emphasize how different it is for us not to have lived through all the great stories told about the ’86 and ’69 teams and how a lot of the changes to baseball like the Wild Card or black uniforms are things we’ve pretty much always had.
Check out some of the other bloggers who were there, particularly Greg at Faith and Fear in Flushing who put a lot of work in making it a conference Dana would’ve been proud of. On the Black. A Gal For All Seasons. Metstradamus. The Eddie Kranepool Society. Mets Police. And probably a bunch I’m forgetting this morning.
You can read my paper in its entirety here.
Calling predictions predictions under-emphasizes how inaccurate and subject to random luck they are, even when it’s the so-called experts making them. I am not an expert, merely a blogger that likes to think positively. So what do I think the Mets do in 2012?
I think the highest probability bet is they finish third. Right around 82-84 wins. I know there are people out there that think that’s crazy, but it’s really not that outlandish. The bullpen and rotation are improved over last year, even if you want to argue over how much. The offense lost some big pieces, but it’s also got some guys back too. Adding in some power to a team that was already going to get on base a lot should score a lot of runs. I don’t think the Marlins improved enough to get above .500, and I think one of either the Nationals or Braves will deal with enough problems to fall below that mark.
This doesn’t mean the Mets can’t make the playoffs. (Nor does it mean they can’t finish last) I’ve watched enough baseball to know anything can happen, and I think the Mets do have enough potential upside in a lot of their players to be able to realize competitiveness if enough things go right. Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada, even Dillon Gee, Jon Niese and Josh Thole all are of an age or stage in their career where improvement is possible, even expected. Mike Pelfrey keeping the ball down and yielding fewer home runs this season and Johan’s shoulder holding up better than we can reasonably home are other key factors that could lead to a good Mets season.
So all in all this season should at least be a lot of fun. If you had to pick just one thing to zone in on and believe in, one reason to seriously watch this Mets baseball team, I’d say watch Lucas Duda and Ike Davis. The lefty power the Mets have this season is very real and the Pepsi Porch may become the new hot spot to catch a home run ball this season.
The Mostly Mets Podcast, with Toby Hyde, Patrick Flood, and Ted Berg is a succulent weekly podcast that’s, oddly enough, mostly about the Mets. It’s really _all_ about the Mets they just occasionally wander off the train of thought to tackle other appetizing stories around baseball, sports, or the world of awesome sandwiches. They record once a week for about an hour, usually a little more, and occasionally mix in an interview with a Mets player or coach, or another interesting party if it’s topical to the theme of the week. They even take listener feedback! Even mine!
It’s what I always envision sports talk radio should be. All three of them know what they are talking about and present their points not with arrogance or yelling, but with some forethought and research. They all have different areas of expertise, which makes them perfect blend of ingredients. They know the prospects, they can crunch the numbers, and they have a good sense of the strategy of the game itself. They usually release new episodes on Thursday afternoons, and they’re usually just foot-long enough for the final three legs of my work commute for the week.
It’s a delicious show and I always found my brain sated after listening. Whether it’s pondering the upside of a pitching prospect, discussing defensive positioning, or trying to figure out the next time I’m going to be near that sandwich shop Ted is raving about, I always walk away from the podcast with something to chew on.