Bay Area Brawl

It’s unseasonably cold in New York but I had the pleasure of spending Memorial Day at Citi Field watching the Mets beat the Brewers. The Mets are now 3-0 in games I’ve attended this season. (One of them being a road game in Philly) And if I was planning to be in New York for the rest of the season I would make a healthy case for someone to buy me a season ticket plan. (More on my move away from NY in a later post.) 

But the more entertaining story of the day was out in San Francisco, where everyone’s favorite bro-y baby man Bryce Harper chose to charge the mount after Strickland nails him in the hip with a 98 mph pitch. Now, as much as I love a good fight in hockey, I do not love a fight in baseball. Hockey lends it self to violence, where as in baseball, it just seems unnecessary. The Nats were up on the Giants, and they would go on to win the game 3-0. There was absolutely no reason for Harper to react the way he did. Also, the man clearly cannot throw a helmet at someone the right way. 

Strickland isn’t totally innocent here. Some were wondering if this was a revenge throw for Harper hitting two home runs off him back in 2014 during the NLDS. I highly doubt that was the reasoning behind the throw. As if Bryce Harper doesn’t give everyone in the MLB a new reason to hate him every other day. There’s no way the man is holding a grudge from the year the Giants ended up winning the World Series. 

The only fun part about this whole thing were the photos. I mean come on, they look like oil paintings from a war scene:

So much drama. So much bad hair flowing in the wind. Two Giants players collided with each other. I think one of them was Brandon Crawford? Anyway, you can checkout the full video here.

Does Pitching Win Championships?

The Mets losing streak has officially hit 6 games and even though they’re well below the .500 mark the NL east is so terrible that they’ve still managed to hang on to second place. And as I continue to watch their steady decline into a place that’s a bit more familiar for the team. I can’t help but wonder if maybe building around young starting pitching was a terrible idea. 

A couple years back the Bleacher Report put out this article dissecting the anatomy of a championship team. The key here it seems, is to have a majority of your players “home grown” from within the team’s farm system. I couldn’t agree more. It’s just that usually those particular players are a bit more spread out throughout their positions on the field. What the Mets had was a talented crop of young fireballers that all came up around the same time. 

This did two things: it depleted their farm system of most of it’s pitching talent (yes we still have one or two left in low A ball) and it meant that there was a bit less of a focus on the young talent of the position players. 

Sure, it was a dream when all the young starters had just come up and were healthy. 2015 was a great year for the Mets. But two years later we’re seeing just how much of a problem it can be to build a team around just those young arms. It looks like some of those teams mentioned in the article have at least, one or two home grown aces on their staff, but it’s the other home grown position players, putting up those offensive numbers as well that became crucial in winning those championships. That’s why the Royals were able to win it all in 2015. Funny how even that bleacher report article from 2011 mentions young Royal’s stars like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. Two players who became main fixtures in that team just 4 years later. 

It’s not all bad for the Mets though. Some may consider this year already lost, but I think going forward that championship window is still open for them. I can’t see Harvey sticking around but they’ll at least lock down DeGrom and Syndergaard. Two pitchers who are more than capable of being aces on this staff and have made it clear in the past that they would be thrilled to be able to stay in New York. We need to throw away that pipe dream of the perfect pitching staff and work with what’s actually in front of us. You don’t need a staff of five flamethrowers, round out the rest with some good pitchers with solid command. By that time the Mets will have officially brought up young prospects Dominic Smith (1B) and Amed Rosario (SS) both of whom are currently excelling in triple A. TJ Rivera will stick around to play 3B (I hope) and Conforto has already shown so much improvement and a key to the future as both a hitter and an outfielder. 

If the Mets do it right, this won’t be the fall of Rome. It will just be a little hiccup in what could be very bright 2018-2019 seasons for them. That window of opportunity is still open, now it’s just a matter of whether or not they’ll throw themselves out of it. 

 

One of the Greats.

If I haven’t made it abundantly clear at this point, from my posts, or the Noah Syndergaard banner on the site, I am a Mets fan. True blue, till I die, most likely from a heart attack that the team will give me. 

I grew up in a house divided. My mother was a Yankee fan and my father a Mets fan. And while she left my father to select my baseball religion, I did end up watching a lot of Yankee games on certain nights. I started following baseball in 1998. Right around the time where the Yankees were on their consecutive World Series runs, and the Mets had one of the best infields in baseball. 2000 was a heartbreak in my home. Watching my mom and sister celebrate their victory over that “other team from New York” when I was 10 years old wasn’t easy. My father kind of just looked at me with a face that said “Yeah, get used to this being a Mets fan.” I was fine with that, and settled nicely into the role of lovable losers with the Mets. 

Since the Mets often missed the playoffs, I found myself watching a lot of Yankee games with my mom in the fall, getting to enjoy Derek Jeter’s classic moments. We stayed up late to see him become Mr. November, and watched in awe at “The Flip” in the 2003 ALDS against the A’s. And even though there were times where my dislike for the Yankees was at an all time high, I always liked and respected Derek Jeter for being a class act, and one of the best in the game. 

I remember jumping up and down in the living room with her on those nights where the Yankees won it all. Those four years (aside from the year they beat the Mets) were nothing if not an absolute thrill to witness. It’s amazing to know I got to grow up in a time where I could watch a baseball legend born on the field. I often think about how it must have been how kids felt growing up and getting to see players like Mantle and Ruth. 

And while my dad made me a Mets fan, it was my mom’s passion for baseball and her team, that made me become that type of baseball fan that I am today. She would cut out the Yankees (and Mets) schedules from the Daily News and attach them to our fridge. Then on the Yankee schedule she would add either a “W” or an “L” within each little box after every game to keep track throughout the season. And I knew that at 7pm each night that it was time for baseball, my mom would settle in with her espresso on the couch and we could watch with her. 

And so because yesterday was mother’s day I wanna say thanks to the woman who gave me so much and is truly one of the greats. Here’s a photo of my mom attempting to make me a Yankee fan at a young age and I guess my face pretty much says it all:

Darkest Before the Dawn…

This is the last bit I will say about this Matt Harvey incident that transpired over the past few days. Harvey is much like a spoiled child that the Mets are now trying to suddenly keep in control. And while he offered an apologize yesterday, the whole vibe seemed to be more so in the vein of “I’m doing this because I have to” but the media and his teammates seem to be satisfied with it for now. 

The reason I say this, is because Harvey was quoted for things like “I will do everything in my power to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” Yeah, I’d hope so. You’re a 28 year old man, and you’re talking about your choice to party and stay out at a club on Cinco De Mayo as though it was a natural disaster that could have been prevented if you would have just put a few more sandbags down at the ocean wall. Act like an adult, and maybe just don’t choose to party two nights before your next start. 

Somehow in the midst of all this chaos though, the Mets are still playing well. Conforto is making sure no one takes his starting job away from him, Wheeler pitched fantastic last night, and TJ Rivera has a major league batting average of .327. They’ve already managed to take 2 of 3 from the ailing last place Giants and can hopefully complete a sweep today with Tommy Milone on the mound. 

So to quote that cheesy but relevant line from what I believe was said in second film in the Dark Knight series: “It’s always darkest before the dawn, but I promise you, dawn is coming.” 

Maybe not for Matt Harvey, but the Mets seem like they can carry on just fine without him. 

Gotham. Is. Pissed.

To say that the Mets are off to a rocky start to their season at this point would be a gross understatement. Injuries plague the team, Syndergaard is now on the 60 day DL, Cabrera is lucky that his thumb injury isn’t worse, Cespedes still has yet to rejoin the line up. But despite all these things, the Mets seemed to be on the up and up these past few games. They came back to win in Miami after being down 7-1, and that’s just the type of teasing hope that Mets fans get right before we are kicked in the face. 

News broke yesterday that Matt Harvey would be suspended for 3 days without pay. The suspension had apparently started the night before, but what this meant was that Harvey would not start the Sunday afternoon game. Instead, Adam Wilk was called up from Las Vegas to pitch in his place. 

Mets fans have pretty much had it at this point with Harvey’s non sense. I don’t doubt of course that if Harvey had been putting up great numbers that this incident may have not been as big of a deal. But Harvey in all aspects seems to have been on the steady decline since 2015 ended. The years of 2012-13 playing the Dark Knight, hero for his team and city seem to be over. And every time it looks like he may turn a corner and head back in that direction, something like this happens, or he says something stupid because of his agent, or he’s hurt again. This is just another awful distraction for a team who for the first time in over a decade could have had a potential shot at another World Series run. 

Some are speculating that the suspension may have had something to do with the clubhouse prank pictured below after the Saturday night game {NSFW}: 

And while crass, it seems unlikely that this would be the case. There’s also no proof that Harvey was behind said prank. Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins were both pretty pissed about what ever the issue actually was and both are determined to try and keep the issue in house. 

The New York media is ruthless, and it’s only a matter of time before we all find out what it was that got Harvey suspended for “a violation of club rules,” and for three days without pay it must have been something that really upset the organization. 

To add insult to injury, instead of acting like an adult about the situation Harvey is instead fighting the 3 game suspension. My guess is that Harvey won’t be a Met much longer after this. The past season and a half Harvey seems to be more trouble than he’s worth. The Mets organization and fans are getting frustrated and tired of waiting for him to grow up. 

Late in the Game

Baseball fans! I know, I’m super late writing my first post of the 2017 season. We’re already through the month of April and to say baseball’s first month was interesting would be an understatement. I’ve been going through some big life adjustments so hence the quiet April on my end, but I’m back and officially off the DL. 

Speaking of the DL, that’s where most of the Mets have been living. Syndergaard, Cespedes, Matz, Duda, Flores, am I missing someone? Probably. Because that list is already far too long for my liking after one month of baseball. At the Mets home opener this year things seemed hopeful. They beat the Braves 6-0 and as usual for a brief shinning moment Mets fans felt that “this would be the year.” It’s still very early of course, too soon to really say that it’s absolutely not going to be the year, but losing to the Nationals 23-5 after your ace pitcher is injured, doesn’t exactly leave anyone with an air of confidence. 

It hasn’t just been the Mets though, April shattered everyone’s expectations of who would be at the top of their division. Both Colorado and Arizona sit at the top of the NL West standings and the Giants are dead last. The Cubs have a hold of the NL Central but are still only one win over .500, and in the AL East, Boston and Toronto can’t seem to get their offense going. Although Chris Coghlan flipping over Yadier Molina was absolutely spectacular:

I can watch that video a hundred times and still can’t believe he managed to pull that off. But despite where things stand at the end of April, there’s still a lot of baseball left to play. My hope is that things will start trending upward for these teams with high expectations. But if not, it will have been the year of the upset from the moment the season has started.