Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Of all the wonderful days in sports, this one most deserves to be its own national holiday. Today is Opening Day. A day when young and old can finally come out of hibernation and greet the glorious return of spring...and what better way to say hello then with the Great American Pastime?

Cliched as it is, there's only one way to properly ring in the new season:
And because the Amazin's don't play till tomorrow, we Mets fans get to celebrate twofold!
Game #1 is TOMORROW!

See you then.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Opening Day Optimism (sort of)

My how time flies: here we are at the last week of March already. March Madness has been even more mad than usual this year (Go Butler), but don't forget that the Great American Pastime is just around the corner. Opening Day is in *4* *3* days, and the M-E-T-S Mets kick off their 2011 campaign the next day in Florida.

While experts aren't giving us much of a chance this year and we're still feeling the effects of Madoffgate (the $25 million loan from MLB, the $1 billion lawsuit against the Wilpons), nothing can be certain until that first pitch is thrown. Let's look at the positives: Ollie's finally gone, which means we've got a GM who knows goods have expiration dates. More good news: Johan Santana is only out for half the season as opposed to all of it...okay, that's a stretch. But it's a positive stretch! Here's another: unlike some teams in the league, we still make more money winning than losing. Which means we're not total failures.

Okay, optimism doesn't come easy with this team, whether you're on the Hudson River or Lake Michigan. Perhaps the best way to go is to just take it one game at a time and enjoy wins when they come. Even if we lose 90 games this year, it still means that 72 times we won, right?

This guy knows what I'm talking about:



Monday, March 21, 2011

Ollie's what?

Those of you following know of my disdain for one Oliver Perez; I think I've made light of him in every single post so far. Well today, the dreams of Mets fans all over the world have finally been realized.

This morning, GM Sandy Alderson announced that Ollie has been cut from the ballclub. The Mets will eat his $12 million owed, meaning he will still have to be paid that money eventually (all those other contracts mentioned in that article are another story...thanks Adam Rubin for reminding us that we will be paying a player who hasn't suited up since 1999 $1 million a year until 2035).

When you think about it, everyone goes home happy. The Amazin's free up another roster spot, Mets fans have one less source of daily anguish, and Ollie goes home with his $12 million and doesn't have to embarrass himself in front of 30,000 screaming New Yorkers anymore. When you think about it, he could have quite a lucrative career as a magician...he fooled ex-GM Omar Minaya into thinking he was worth $36 million, right? And imagine what he could do on Wall Street! that my biggest source of blogging fodder is on the streets, it's got me what? What do I write about?

Opening Day @ the Marlins is only 11 days away. Until then, I'll figure something out. Stay tuned.


Common Sense Realized

Oliver Perez has been released. Thanks Sandy. Better late than never.

(Cue exit music)


Saturday, March 19, 2011

The End of an Errror?

It's been a busy couple days in Port St. Lucie. One remnant of Omar Minaya's is already gone, and the world's most unlikely $12 million-man is closer than ever to being shown the door. Maybe shown isn't the right word...

Yesterday, the Mets released the underachieving Luis Castillo, removing him from consideration in a very crowded battle for second base. My money's on Daniel Murphy for that job; remember, he was supposed to be on first base last year before the rise of Ike Davis. As for Castillo, the $6 million remaining on his contract will still be absorbed into the Amazin's payroll, meaning they will still have to pay his salary should he be picked up by another team.

Speaking of absorbing dangerous poison into the bloodstream, more news from Oliver Perez. Ollie gave up back-to-back home runs to minor league players in the seventh inning of the Mets' split-squad game against the Washington Nationals. On the plus side, New York did end up winning 7-4 on a strong performance by aspiring starter Chris Capuano.

On the minus side, there's still Ollie. "I didn't do my job, and that's why they scored four runs," Perez acknowledged. "That's a really bad job." At least he's right about something. His stats through seven Spring Training appearances: 9 2/3 innings, 13 hits, 8 walks, and an ERA of 8.38. If you keep track of WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched), it's over 2. Horrendous. Numbers not even Charlie "Bi-winning" Sheen could justify.

Oliver Perez should have been gone when he refused to take reassignment last year. Oliver Perez should have been gone when Jerry Manuel had to make up an injury to free up a roster spot. He should have been gone when he came back from that injury and sat on the bench for two months. And he should have been gone after last year's nightmare of a finish in Game 162 (3 walks and a hit batsman in the 14th). Now is another chance, the best chance, for Sandy Alderson to finally, once and for all, wash the organization's hands clean of this extremely lucky and totally incompetent ballplayer. Please do not disappoint us Mr. GM.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Young Guard Taking Charge

This is the final year Omar Minaya's "Three Amigos": Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo, and Oliver Perez, are under contract to the orange and blue. While a healthy Beltran will be missed after 2011, Castillo and Ollie are two who we can do without. Thankfully, new manager Terry Collins is recognizing early that the two latter amigos have worn out their effectiveness and transferring power to the Young Guard.

Pitcher Chris Young, recently solidified into the Mets rotation, went 5 1/3 innings, allowing just one run, and first baseman Ike Davis drove in 3 runs as the Amazin's came on top over the Washington Nationals in tonight's Grapefruit League matchup.

Secondbaseman Castillo made a fielding gaffe in the 2nd inning, but the team refused to falter and came out on top. Recently dumped from the rotation race, Ollie did his best to earn a spot as left-handed specialist, walking one and striking out another. Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez came in the 9th for a scoreless save.

Spring Training is meaningless, of course, but this is a good sign for the rotation if Young stays healthy. And I just love Ike Davis; if he can improve on his 19 HR 71 RBI from his rookie year, the Mets will have a star for years to come...unless they trade him. This is the club that shipped off Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi, remember.

What's important to take from this is the casual shifting of power from Minaya's prizes and over to the future. Castillo is in a four-way fight for second base (if he's truly the best, he'll earn it) and Ollie seems to have accepted his diminished role (hopefully we won't have to pull out the box this year). Letting Young, Davis, and the rest of the Young Guard take their place as the center of the franchise can only benefit this squad that still has talent and perhaps an outside chance at the Wild Card.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

This is What Counts for Good News in Queens

You know your team is struggling when the best news of the week is that your ailing ace is still out for half the season as opposed to the all of it.

Contrary to a report by North Jersey's The Record that pitcher Johan Santana was behind on his rehab and could miss the whole season, the Mets sidelined southpaw came out today and said he was, in fact, right on schedule, and is still likely to be available in July.

An exasperated Johan commented, "How can I have a setback at this point, where I'm just beginning to throw?" Stranger things have happened. At least there were no golf clubs around (am I right, Doc Gooden?).

In the past 7 days, the Amazin's went 4-6 in Spring Training (meaningless), Carlos Beltran was sidelined once again, and Oliver Perez continued to exist. This is the best news I've heard all week. In a week in which things sucked, this news sucks less. Which makes it good news. Get well soon, Johan. Maybe when you come back in July we'll still be in striking distance.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Heritage of Orange & Blue

I'm the Midwestern Met. Originally born and raised Hoosier, right now I'm a college undergrad working on my Communications degree, and someday I hope to be be a professional sportscaster. Baseball has been an obsession since I was about 9, but what makes me a needle in a haystack is that I'm not a Cubs fan, a White Sox fan, or even a Reds or Tigers fan. My heart bleeds orange and blue for the amazin' New York Mets.

I know what you're thinking: how in the name of Mookie Wilson can a Midwestern boy like the Mets? Perhaps I should explain.

Grandpa moved to New York City around 1950 and adopted the Giants as his team. He used to tell me stories of dancing in the streets with Grandma and his Morningside Heights neighbors the day Bobby Thompson hit his "Shot Heard Round the World" in '51. The Giants moved west 2 years after Dad was born, but Grandpa refused to defect to the Yankees. Thus, Dad grew up a Mets fan all along the East Coast. His first professor job was in Muncie, IN, where he met Mom. They married 2 years before Davey Johnson's boys won the World Series.

I was born in '91. When I was old enough, Dad passed the New York tradition on to me. My first big experience with baseball was Robin Ventura's grand slam single against the Braves in the '99 NLCS; my first World Series was the next year when the Mets faced those hated Yankees. I was a casual fan for the next few years but in 2010, I decided to fully embrace my birthright and paint my heart orange and blue...and look at how THAT year turned out.

I know how tough it can be to follow an organization that seems to bottle losing and market it as a miracle cure...if you're trying to cure happiness. So the purpose of this blog is to provide you with a grain of salt and put an outsider's spin on the daily happenings of the Amazin's.

It may seem like the wrong choice, one which will surely add unnecessary pain to my already stressful life. But I have no regrets about embracing my heritage because one day, the Mets will right the ship, and I want to be there to celebrate when '86 rolls around again. Until then, subscribe now and we'll get there together.
Let's Go Mets GO!

Best regards,
Midwestern Met (MM)

Nine-Lives Ollie?

It's become a Mets ritual: spring training starts, optimism is high, then it dies the minute Oliver Perez gets one toe on the mound.

For what seems like the 1000th time, the world's most unlikely $12 million man was responsible for a pitching performance that would make '62 "ace" Roger Craig look like Christy Mathewson. Minaya's Folly gave up 3 runs in the 1st inning, 2 of them on a Carlos Lee double, allowed 4 hits in total, and walked 2 more in 3 innings of work, giving the Houston Astros a 5-4 victory over the Amazin's.

Inexplicably, Perez still thinks he'll have no trouble picking up a spot in the rotation come April. "I don't have to think [about] pressure," he says. This one's half true...don't have to worry about losing when the game's already lost.

Now I'm all for second chances, but this is beyond ridiculous. If this guy gets any more chances people will think he's a cat with nine lives...perhaps that would explain why he's such a lousy pitcher. Feline house pets are not usually known to be good major league ballplayers. Except Johnny Mize. He was the "Big Cat." So was Andres Galarraga. Catfish Hunter was kinda like that but not really - he was a fish. Somehow I think we'd be better off with a fish than with Ollie.