Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Archive for March, 2010

Logorama

Posted by JD on March 11, 2010

Taking a pause from the Mets and Spring Training, I present to you Logorama, the Oscar-winning Animated Short Film. It is far, far more awesome than I gathered from the brief showing it got on the Oscar telecast and well worth your time.

Logorama: The Movie

And, if you’re into this sort of thing, here is Nicolas Schmerkin’s (the director) acceptance speech. I give him a ton of credit: it’s hard to be original and witty in that kind of setting, but he I think he pulled it off.

Posted in Humor | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Double Standard

Posted by JD on March 10, 2010

I missed today’s game because of work, but I was able to read the summary on Metsblog. It sounded like a typical Spring Training game to me, albeit with a dramatic game-winning home run thrown in. Then, I read the following:

However, (Jesus) Sucre’s home run was scored a single because he was mobbed by his teammates after reaching first base, and so only one was ruled to score on the hit.

My blood immediately started boiling. Not because of the act itself, but because of the implied double standard. After three years of hearing about how insufferable the Mets are, the Braves mobbed a player because he won a SPRING TRAINING (act like you’ve been there before). How often have we heard how annoying the Mets players are? How Jose Reyes’ clownish behavior was the reason why the other teams in the division tried extra hard to beat the Mets. Does anyone care to wager that we’ll hear that kind of crap directed towards the Braves? I didn’t think so.

Again, I’m not upset at the act itself. I like to see expressive players. I want to know that they’re enjoying themselves: it’s part of the fun of watching the game for me. But if you’re going to hold one team to an absurd standard, then it’s only fair to hold them all to it. I hate to sound like a defensive Mets fan, but I really doubt that will ever happen.

Posted in Spring Training | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The Bandwagon Rolls Again

Posted by JD on March 8, 2010

Long-time readers of this blog may recall that I lead an ill-fated Oliver Perez bandwagon last year. Well, the Loopy Lefty has suckered me again. After watching his Spring Training debut, I feel I have little choice but to crank up the bandwagon yet again. I know it’s not worth it. He’ll probably implode again and make a fool of me once more, but I just can’t help myself. Be warned: you’ll be peppered with a lot of pro-Ollie posts and tweets from this point on.

That being said, here are a few notes from yesterday’s game:

1. Ollie got screwed at the start of the in the first inning. He walked Justin Maxwell to start the game, but settled down and got the next batter (Ian Desmond) to an 0-2 count on two swing-and-miss pitches. Omir Santos couldn’t get a good throw off to second (allowing Maxwell to steal) and Desmond dribbled the next pitch into right. Luis Castillo’s total lack of range was blindingly obvious as the Nats scored the first run of the game (not to mention that Jeff Francoeur absolutely air-mailed the throw to the plate). I’m sure this will be an ongoing storyline throughout the season.

2. The next two batters were classic Ollie. First, he induced Elijah Dukes, arguably the Nationals’ best hitter, to strike out swinging. Then he hung a 1-0 pitch to the far-less imposing Mike Morse, who promptly clubbed it way over the fence. That two at-bat sequence could serve as a career synopsis, no?

3. Ollie gave up another run in the top of the second on a Wily Tavares double and his pace slowed WAY down. I thought he was about to go off the rails, but he actually rallied to get Maxwell with a swinging strike out and Desmond with a fly out to Francoeur in right. I admit I’m looking for any positive I can find, but I was encouraged by how Ollie settled down and got the outs he needed. Evil Ollie would have imploded in that situation. I thought it was a good sign that he got out of the inning after surrendering one run.

4. Ollie got Dukes to pop out and Morse to fly out to deep center to start the third before Pudge Rodriguez punched a single into center field. Kevin Mench then plated Pudge with a double. By my count the sequence took less than 8 pitches. Adam Kennedy then grounded a 3-1 fastball into right which (again) Castillo should have grabbed. It would have been the sixth run surrendered by Perez had Francoeur not thrown a bullet* to the plate to nail Mench.

*Frenchy actually had two assists on throws to the plate. I think his arm is over-rated, but he got two out of three at the plate today. I’m hard on him, but credit where it’s due.

All in all Perez threw 49 pitches, 33 of which were strikes. It wasn’t a great outing but it wasn’t as bad as the box score made it out to be. And it was good enough to get me to bring the bandwagon out of mothballs. I guess I’ll be in Ollie’s corner for as long as I can stand it.

Posted in Mets, Oliver Perez, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Why The Cablevision/ABC Battle Matters to Mets Fans

Posted by JD on March 7, 2010

As many of you know first-hand, Cablevision and Disney are currently locked in a contract dispute that has prevented millions of local viewers from viewing the Oscars. I can’t say that I’m qualified to judge who’s right or wrong here, nor do I care to: that’s for you to decide. What I can tell you is that those of you who openly pine for the Wilpons to sell the Mets should pay close attention, because the Dolans are the prime candidates to be the owner should they sell.

Cablevision owns the Rangers, Knicks, Liberty, Madison Square Garden, and various other related properties. Charles Dolan (founder and chairman) and his son Jim (president, CEO, and blues guitarist*) have cornered the Long Island media market: they recently purchased Newsday and have a virtual stranglehold on the market (if you haven’t read this article about how they’ve neutered Newsday, I urge you to do so). The sports and news properties they own primarily serve as content-providers, cash cows that drive viewers to subscribe to their cable monopoly. It’s a effective strategy: current market studies show that 75% of Long Island house holds are Cablevision subscribers.

*I ask you this: is there anything more offensive than the son of a billionaire playing the blues? I think not.

Any fan of the Rangers or Knicks (and I’m both) can tell you that the Dolans value conformity and loyalty over anything else. Glen Sather has run the Rangers into mediocrity since 2000 and Scott Layden and Isiah Thomas absolutely ruined what should be one of the NBA’s premiere franchises, but they kept their jobs because swore allegiance to the Dolan flag. The bottom line for the organization is not the number of championships they win, it’s the number of subscribers they have. The worst part of this equation is that by their definition they’re very successful: Cablevision makes money hand over fist.

I can tell you this: the Dolans haven’t had viable summer content for their MSG network since SNY debuted. They would jump on the chance to purchase the Mets and have more than enough money to do so. SNY would disappear or become MSG2 and 1050 AM would become the flagship radio station. Every negative surrounding the Rangers’ and Knicks’ front offices would be replicated in Flushing before you could blink an eye. Cronyism may or may not be present in the front office today, but you can bet your bottom dollar that it would become institutionalized as soon as the purchase was completed.

You can say what you want about the Wilpons and I certainly won’t defend them (personally, I happen to think that Fred’s not that bad, but Jeff strikes me as a total buffoon). Their priorities often conflict with the average fan and I think we’ve all been frustrated by them more than once (to be charitable). However, as tone-deaf as they may seem, they strike me as being infinitely more responsive to us than the Dolans would be. Speaking strictly as a fan who dreams of new ownership for my hockey and basketball teams, I hope the Wilpons don’t sell. I don’t think I could handle having the Dolans run three of my favorite franchises, and that’s the most likely outcome.

Posted in Mets, The Wilpons | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

I Call It Messin’ with the Kid(s)

Posted by JD on March 5, 2010

Jenrry Mejia had a great outing today, throwing 19 pitches (17 for strikes) and striking out four of the seven batters he faced. Mejia, still just 20, is a tantalizing talent who’s had a nice Spring Training so far. This is one of my favorite parts of any spring: a prospect comes in a meets or exceeds our expectations, and we can all let ourselves get excited about his potential. Mejia looked like the real deal today and it’s a safe bet that he’ll be a part of the pitching staff for a long time to come.

That being said, let’s hope  the Mets exercise some restraint with him. There seems to be a growing sentiment towards using Mejia in an eighth inning roll. David Lennon of Newsday tweeted this after today’s game: “(Jerry) Manuel compares Mejia’s fastball to the great Rivera. Warthen says composure like Gooden. Adds Jerry, “Got to get him on the team!” And Adam Rubin of the Daily News echoed the sentiment: “Jerry, Warthen praise Mejia. Bullpen is crowded, but he could force his way on with outings like today’s”. Looks to me like the Mejia-bandwagon is getting cranked up.

That’s nice and all, but not at the cost of his development. As I mentioned, he still can’t legally buy himself a beer. He’s never pitched above the AA level and only threw 44 1/3 innings there. He’s never been subjected to late-inning pressure, having started all but seven of the 47 games he’s appeared in. Heck, he’s only pitched a total of 210 innings of any kind in pro-ball.

IMHO he’s better off starting the season in Binghamton as a starter, building his durability and learning how to deal with more advanced hitters in all type of situations. If that goes well, the Mets should give the fine folks of Buffalo a chance to see him pitch. This will allow him to steadily build innings against more experienced opponents while mitigating the Verducci Effect. While I’m not entirely sold on the theory, I think he needs to build on the 94 2/3 innings he threw in 2009, something which almost certainly wouldn’t happen if he is given the eighth inning roll with the big club. And, it’s better to let him hone his secondary and tertiary pitches in a steady progression rather than limiting him to his (apparently awesome) fastball.

Monetarily, the Mets should also be leery of starting Mejia’s service-time clock. Every day spent in the minors pushes out his arbitration eligibility and saves them money down the road. And there’s another factor to consider: the value of The Unknown. Remember “The Teenage Hitting Machine”? Fernando Martinez was an uber-prospect, a five-tool stud who could anchor a franchise (and he still may be). But his brief exposure to Major League Baseball showed that he wasn’t quite seasoned enough, which in turn may have lowered his trade value. Why risk that with Mejia? Last I checked, there was a pretty good catcher in Minnesota and a decent first baseman in San Diego who have yet to re-sign with their franchises. Why risk devaluing an asset that might be used to acquire them?

The same arguments can be applied to Ike Davis, though admittedly to a lesser degree. Davis is older and starred for Arizona State University, a major college program. But he only has 727 professional plate appearances, none of which has come at the AAA level. There’s probably less downside to letting him break camp with the big club, but there’s risk nonetheless. The Mets should proceed carefully with him as well.

Listen, I want these kids to force management to consider keeping them: there’s nothing better than watching home-grown players succeed. But even more than that, I want management to place the long-term benefits to the players and the franchise ahead of the three or four wins these kids will bring this year. Unfortunately, Omar Minaya has been on shaky ground this past year (and he knows it) and Jerry Manuel is surrounded by potential replacements up and down the organization. Hopefully, they can the resist the temptation to save their own skins, but I wouldn’t bet on it. They’re focus is probably going to remain set on winning today, future benefits be damned.

Posted in Jerry Manuel, Mets, Omar Minaya, Spring Training | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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