September 13, 2007

Mets Ramblings...

Since we have a rare off-day today, I thought I'd offer my two cents on a couple of tidbits about the Mets, and baseball in general...

Did you know that the Astros have only had 2 seasons with sub-.500 records since 1991 (before 2007)? What does this mean for the Mets? Well, what 2-player combo was consistent through the majority of that streak? Bagwell and Biggio. Biggio is retiring after this season, on the way to the Hall of Fame; Bagwell hasn't played in nearly two seasons, the result of a career-ending injury, also on the way to the hall. Who comprises OUR 2-player combo, similar to that of Biggio and Bagwell? Wright and Reyes, of course!! Now add Beltran (5 years), Milledge and Gomez, Pelfrey & Humber, Pena & Martinez, and Guerra & Mulvey, and you can begin to see the brilliance in Omar’s strategic plan. Any combo of those young players can bring in Johan Santana, if, after Ryan stepping down today, the Twins still plan to low-ball him to death with their offers. Imagine – Wright, Reyes, Santana, Gomez, Maine, Perez, Pena and Beltran over the next 5 years!!! Whatever happens, we have 2 players who, if they continue on the paths they've already began upon, will rival and, hopefully, surpass Bagwell/Biggio in stats as well as, again, hopefully, longevity with one team.

In a recent column of Buster Olney’s, at, Olney interviewed (via email) the Royal’s starter, Brian Bannister. Bannister credits his dad, former pitcher Floyd, as his main role model, However, he is also quite lavish with his praise for Mets’ pitcher, Tom Glavine, as well as pitching coach, Rick Peterson.

On Peterson:

I feel fortunate because I was brought up under another special thinker, Rick Peterson, the pitching coach for the Mets. Under the surface, baseball is simply a game of skill and probabilities amplified by the physical tools a player has when performing those skills. Rick is able to show his pitchers how to put those probabilities in their favor by controlling what counts they pitch in, and then tailoring the pitches they throw to each individual pitchers' skill set and talent. In his system, velocity is the least important of the four variables a pitcher can control, even though it is typically prioritized with fans and scouts alike. He also is a tremendous psychologist, and he knows what it takes to get the most out of each of his pitchers. It is no surprise that his staff is at or near the top of the league year in and year out.

On Glavine:

Besides my father, who passed on 15 years worth of pitching experience to me, the pitcher I enjoy watching most is Tom Glavine. What makes Tom successful is how intensely he prepares for a game, and when he is on the mound his mental toughness if off the charts. I think every young pitcher should have the opportunity to watch one of his bullpen sessions in between starts. He can hit his spots throwing as slow or as hard as he wants to, and every pitch is knee-high or lower. I try and emulate the same routine two times in between every start. I have tremendous respect for Tom, and it was an honor to play with him last year.

Of Pelfrey, Bannister and Humber, it’s no secret that Bannister was thought to possess the least upside of the three young hurlers. If you are judging using things such as speed as your main criteria, a case can still be made that this is true. However, one thing that also determines how well a pitcher can translate pure talent and potential into results at the major league level is force of will, or that “bulldog-like” quality necessary to attack batters at the major league level. Bannister obviously has this quality in spades, and it’s refreshing to see his choice in role models and the praise he offered towards each. And who knows – one day, he might just be back in a pinstriped, blue and orange uniform! Stranger things have been known to happen around here!

Where have you gone, Alfonso Soriano? And aren’t you glad we didn’t spend nearly $200 million on him?

Where have you gone, Barry Zito, and aren’t you glad we didn’t spend nearly $150 million on him?

Pedro, Pedro, Pedro….oh, that feels sooooooooooooo good to say, even better to watch him on the mound. In his report on Baseball Tonight last night, following the Mets’ game on ESPN, Gammons basically said that Pedro puts this Mets’ team into a different stratosphere, that with him back on the team, the Mets’ are a cockier, more self-confident team thanks to the great intangibles of teamwork and enthusiasm that Pedro brings. Gammons also said that at his current performance level, Pedro doesn’t need that 94mph fastball, as moving his pitches from the mid-60’s up through about 90mph is more than confusing for opposing hitters and Pedro’s return might just be the difference-maker for the Mets. Well-said, Peter, a long-time Pedro admirer (like myself, of course), and let’s hope that truer words cannot be said!!!

Great piece from Don earlier today on Lastings Milledge, and it’s great to see him play at the level we all anticipated he’d be able to perform at. Just think- a few months ago, outfield was our weakest point, laden with injuries as we were. Now, in September, Alou is back with a vengeance, his 17-game hitting streak supporting our case for his option to be picked up next year; Beltran, now over his injuries, returning to the player he was last season; Milledge finally realizing his potential and getting a chance to play regularly; Green, realizing he’s not the deep threat he used to be, spraying hits and knocking in timely runs (and Happy New Year to you, Shawn!); Anderson, making us wonder why Omar ever allowed him to leave in the first place; Chavez, defense and speed aplenty, hoping that we’ll see him in blue and orange for many years to come (yes, a pairing with Alou would be amazing); and Gomez, still recovering from his injury and being thrown into the majors perhaps before he was ready, his mighty speed making us drool in anticipation of the day that he follows Reyes in the line-up for years to come, in front of Mr. Wright. What a difference a few months makes, huh?Speaking of Mr. Wright, we just have to say it - WRIGHT FOR MVP!! Nuff said!

Speaking of Mr. Wright again, earlier this season, another Mets’ website stated that it didn’t really make a difference as to who batted where in the line-up; think Willie (and that writer) wish Wright had been inserted into the three-hole earlier?

In less than a year, I will be drinking a bottle of GTS Wine, and the first toast will be for the greatest Met of them all, Mr. George Thomas Seaver! Hopefully the second toast will be to the 2007 World Series Champion, New York Mets!

It MAY look like we have a comfortable lead right now in the NL East, but this is the time when we need to turn it up even another notch and ensure that not only can’t the Phils catch us, but that we head into the play-offs with positive momentum, scaring whoever has to face us in the first round and beyond!

Much will be said today about Willie’s maneuverings with his bullpen, and I will simply state that if Mr. Mota has to appear in any “meaningful” games, I don’t know that I will be able to stay in the same room as the television. I know that it’s a good thing that John’s weapons were well away from HIS television last night…

In a short series, I’m glad I don’t have to choose 3 starters from Pedro, Glavine, O-Hern, Perez & Maine! It’s going to be very hard NOT to keep O-Hern in the short rotation, due to his play-off experience, and there’s no way that Pedro came back from his injuries to do anything less than start. Therefore, a bullpen of Maine, Sosa, Heilman, Feliciano and Wagner is quite impressive, with the likes of Schoeneweis, Mota, Sele, Pelfrey, etc. to choose from to round it out. Let’s hope none of them (except Pelfrey) see any action after the end of the regular season.

If anyone would have told me (or you) three years ago that I’d be ecstatic at the thought that Tom Glavine was probably coming back for his sixth season with us, I would have gone past the sobriety test and had them sent immediately to Bellevue! The thought of another 25 great starts from Tommy G. means that we have another year to grow our young talent, and could possibly refrain from having to trade for Santana and instead sign him as a free agent after the 2008 season!

Isn’t it amazing that at the start of the season, everyone was knocking the depth of the Mets’ starting pitchers, calling it our weakest link, and now the majority of these same writers are lauding us with praise over the great depth of this same staff?

Perhaps Julio Franco has stayed in such good physical shape at the cost of his mental health- how else to explain the thought that he could somehow wrest the team from Willie Randolph and become their manager? So much for being a “great clubhouse guy…”

Right after MLB investigates Gary Matthews, Jr., Troy Glaus and Rick Ankiel, perhaps they should investigate Devil Rays first baseman, Carlos Pena; if he comes up clean, perhaps they should investigate the brains of all of the GMs that waived him over the past few years.

Three years ago, I was hoping that a restructuring of the organization would mean a chance to contend for a Series title within five years; now, at the same time I remain so stoked about this season, I am also, like many of you, drifting ahead mentally to next season and the riches it will bring in terms of new players, continued maturity from our budding superstars, as well as the long-term, contending status that Omar has brought to us so quickly. Man, it’s great to be a Mets’ fan these days, huh?

As promised, tomorrow (a few days late) we will continue with our series of articles looking at the upcoming MLB awards, as well as finishing our article about this season’s baseball travails, including a recap of our Mets’ season to date.

Enjoy the off-day – we won’t have any more!!!


Anonymous said...

that is a great thout

Anonymous said...

sorry thought

Anonymous said...

biggio and bagwell to reyes and wright nice

David Rubin & Jonathan Elfenbein said...

I think Biggio & Bagwell are a better duo for Mets' fans than Jeter & Posada would have been, no? (LOL) It's rare for 2 players to be identified so closely with one organization at the same time- let's hope that this remains the case with David & Jose for many, many years to come!