With the excitement of Opening Day, and the disappointment of a rain delay and a loss, our first series win, and Matt Harvey’s return the Mets have packed a lot into the first week of the season. Now it’s time to settle in for the long season and make the Mets a part of our routine.
Next week the Mets return home, we get Citi Field noises and visits, normal 7:10 start times and the flood–might still be a trickle–of Mets caps and jerseys representing people headed to the game that evening. The Mets play everyday. It becomes a routine. Arrow, Jeopardy and iZombie episodes pile up on the DVR. We’ll have seen every NL East team by next weekend, and we’ll get acquainted with new heroes and villains.
Baseball is back!
Monday is Opening Day. I’ll be doing my usually stroll through the stadium looking for what’s new, cataloging the new beer selection, and just generally tweeting and sharing interesting observations. Make sure you follow along on Twitter.
Are you? I admit I’m almost always excited when Opening Day comes around.
It’s about Matt Harvey. Harvey has star power, and that’s going to be fun. Whether or not he is an MVP candidate or not, he’ll pitch well because he’s a talented pitcher. He’ll be interesting and exciting as well, and he’ll piss people off. All that makes for good entertainment.
It’s about Juan Lagares, who even in Spring Training was impressing opposing announcers making plays in center field. While Lagares might not be great at the plate, I have confidence in him driving the ball occasionally and playing well enough to be an extremely valuable all-around player.
It’s about David Wright being back and healthy. Sure, he might not stay like that, but I have hope he will. He’s a Mets legend we have the privilege of still watching, and I’m going to enjoy that. He did seem to be a little looser this spring, but of course it’s spring training and most people feel pretty good. Outside of strictly gameplay, I’ve seen a few stories this spring about the Mets doing something ‘at Wright’s suggestion’. Seems like he’s taking this captain thing seriously.
What about Lucas Duda, our quirky big-man with the lumberjack swing? Jacob deGrom’s hair, and his pitching? The varied amount of hard throwers in the bullpen? The impending promotion of even more talented starting pitching?
The Nationals are certainly going to present a challenge, but they’ve shown plenty of signs of injury too.
The Marlins made a lot of changes, and have a lot of young players, but change for change’s sake isn’t always good change and just because a player is young and has talent doesn’t mean he becomes a useful major leaguer overnight. The Marlins will probably be what the Marlins usually are; pesky but ultimately an average team.
The Braves and Phillies are barely worth mentioning.
It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be without some struggle.
But it IS going to be fun.
Baseball is back!
The Mets have committed to not riding Matt Harvey, just back from Tommy John surgery, as hard as they can from bell to bell. A little caution and prudence is the right course here.
Managing the innings and workload early is the best way to handle this. Despite what you see in meaningless Spring Training games, there just might be an adjustment period for Harvey as he settles into facing competitive batters again. April, and the cold, are generally harsher on bodies than the warmer summer months and even the fall after you’ve build up arm strength all season. He’ll still face the Washington Nationals, the Mets’ principal foe this season, in the first round.
It’s those very Nationals that provided the template for what not to do. Perhaps if the Nationals had been wiser in 2012 about resting Steven Strasburg earlier in the season, they’d have had innings left to use him in the playoffs and perhaps the Nationals would have more to show for their playoff appearances than they do right now.
A slow ramp up is the right move with Harvey, especially as his own mentality would have him pressing hard and fast from the get-go. Ease into it; it’s a long season and the hope is to have Harvey healthy and fresh for October.
These days most pitchers and catchers are in camp days earlier, and the position players are showing up earlier and earlier too. Thanks to the Mets acquiring a popular training program and moving it to Port St. Lucie, many players have been down there sporadically all winter, working out and getting ready for the season.
What we’re really counting down to when we talk about pitchers and catchers is to the day many of the media and beat writers start covering the team from Spring Training. The day is less about the start of baseball season and more about the start of forced columns about how guys are in the best shape of their lives. It’s basically beat writers taking attendance of all the players walking through the door.
What we’re really looking for is the first game against another opponent. The first game is Wednesday March 4th, and it’s the first game on the radio as well. We’ll get Josh Lewin’s voice, and perhaps Howie Rose’s as well if he can pop over to Florida between Islanders games in Dallas and Nashville, and the sounds of baseball in our ears. That’s when things start getting real, when two teams face off each other and half-heartedly try to get each other out while preparing for the regular season. The first television/SNY broadcast will probably be Friday March 6th against the Tigers.
It’s 20 days until the first Mets Spring Training game.
Simple, yet colorful. Blue and Orange.
On January 10th is the second annual Queens Baseball Convention at McFaddens Citi Field. If you talk to anyone that was there last year, you know that it was generally considered a blast, and this year will be even better. It’s basically the Mets fanfest you’ve always wished the Mets would hold, just held by fans–specifically Shannon and Mediagoon of Metspolice, Darren of The7Line and associated friends.
That includes me. I had a blast last time helping out and chatting with everyone about the Met and Baseball on a cold winter day. There were players, autographs, interesting panels and Mr. Met, and this year will be even better. I’ll be on hand wearing a jersey with ‘Ceetar’ on the back, so I’ll be easy to spot. (Last year I wore a Pagan jersey)
There’s plenty going on, as you can see from the website. My favorites are Josh Lewin being on hand to host the awards session. Mookie Wilson and Wally Backman will be there doing a panel and autographs. Ed Charles will accept the Gil Hodges Unforgettable Fire Award.
The calendar will just have turned and the holidays are in the rear view mirror. We’ll all be missing baseball and here’s a great way to get your fix with fellow fans. There’s even a t-shirt option with your ticket! Why not come out to the park and have a good time?
It’s understandable to be frustrated with the Mets results over the last few years, but your frustration does not necessitate the Mets approaching the winter meetings, or the offseason in general, in any different way. They’re still going to do what they need to do, and aren’t going to let four random days in December force them into a move they’re not ready to make. In the digital age the advantage of having so many baseball people in one place at the same time is mostly negated by cellphones and the internet. Everyone’s available at any time, and there is even more pressure on GMs. I wonder if they even sleep. Did Brian Sabean finally cave and call Sandy Alderson at 3am, “Fine, you can have Wheeler.”?
There are no bonus points for getting things done this week. It’s great for the writers because there are a lot of people to talk to in one place, and there are things going on, but just because writers have more to say doesn’t mean there is any added obligation to make something happen for them.
It’s a long season, and the Mets have already started adding and moving pieces. Yes, there is work to do, and yes they’ve fielded an incomplete team in years past, but not completing the roster in December doesn’t lose them any games. Get back to me in April.
The NL MVP race was a tough one, not just because of the debate about how much Clayton Kershaw deserves to be included as a pitcher. Andrew McCutchen, with the highest wRC+ and the most WAR and the only player with an OBP above .400 seemed like the best choice. I hated putting Freeman on this list. In a year with great pitching, I felt like it had to go to a hitter that succeeding against those odds.
- Andrew McCutchen
- GianCarlo Stanton
- Clayton Kershaw
- Buster Posey
- Yasiel Puig
- Anthony Rizzo
- Josh Harrison
- Johnathan Lucroy
- Johnny Cueto
- Freddie Freeman
In the AL I felt it was a little easier. Mike Trout is crazy good.
- Mike Trout
- Jose Bautista
- Victor Martinez
- Jose Abreu
- Corey Kluber
- Michael Brantley
- Adrian Beltre
- Felix Hernandez
- Miguel Cabrera
- Robinson Cano
Los Angeles – The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners in its Cy Young category Wednesday, with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw winning the group’s National League award, and Felix Hernandez, of the Seattle Mariners, being selected in the American League.
Clayton Kershaw was a no-brainer, and his unanimous selection means everyone else agreed. After the playoffs I do feel a little silly having left Madison Bumgarner off the ballot entirely, but there was a lot of good pitching.
Hernandez’s selection was more contested. I voted for Corey Kluber, who did receive more first-place votes but less total points. It was really a toss-up either way, as both guys were definitely deserving. I ultimately erred on the side of Kluber’s higher WAR and strikeout total.
- Clayton Kershaw
- Johnny Cueto
- Adam Wainwright
- Zack Greinke
- Cole Hamels
- Corey Kluber
- Felix Hernandez
- Chris Sale
- Jon Lester
- David Price
The IBWAA, of which I am a member, is the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America and released the results of their Rookie of the Year balloting today. I can’t speak to how it mirrors the official award, but I’m happy with the result.
Los Angeles – The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners in the Rookie of the Year category Monday, with the Chicago White Sox’ Jose Abreu winning the group’s American League award, and Jacob deGrom, of the New York Mets, being selected in the National League.
Jacob deGrom received 105 first place votes and beat out Billy Hamilton by 130 points.
- Jacob deGrom
- Billy Hamilton
- Travis d’Arnaud
- Jose Abreu
- Kevin Kiermaier
- Collin McHugh
Jacob deGrom was a no-brainer for me, and though it may be tinged with a little home-town favoritism, it can’t be understated how good Travis d’Arnaud was after his demotion, and at a critical position.