Oct 25

Examining Pros And Cons Of Mets’ Layoff

There is no telling how the Mets’ long layoff will come into play during the World Series. There will be rust if they lose Tuesday night; there will be needed rest should they win behind Matt Harvey in Game 1. Since it’s all speculation prior to the first pitch, here’s what I’m thinking.

HARVEY:  Bruised arm has time to heal. (Getty)

HARVEY: Bruised arm has time to heal. (Getty)

The Cons:

1) Will Daniel Murphy cool down? Nobody has ever been as hot as the Mets’ second baseman. Terry Collins said something the other day about Murphy’s legs needing a rest, but when you’re as hot as he has been, you want to keep swinging.

2) Turning it on again. It isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. Layoffs, in all sports, are hit and miss. The Mets limped into the playoffs, so there was speculation they might be an easy out. After surviving the Dodgers in the NLDS, the Mets hit on all cylinders against Chicago. When you’re as hot as they have been, you don’t want to stop playing. They can can rest during the winter.

3) The pitchers need to stay in a groove, too. Pitchers are especially creatures of habits, and if a pitcher is too strong the first thing to go is command. And, against a team that works the count and relies on contact such as Kansas City that could mean an early hole.

The Pros:

1) Rest can be good. There are some Mets, not necessarily Murphy, but others. perhaps catcher Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores, that could use a day or two to regroup. You might also include Jeurys Familia in that group.

2) The time to heal. From Yoenis Cespedes‘ shoulder to Juan Uribe‘s chest to pitchers Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey, the latter two whose innings became an issue this fall, could use the time to regroup. The extra time should also benefit Harvey’s bruised pitching arm.

3)  The long layoff enabled Collins to set up his rotation the way he wanted, which was Harvey and deGrom in Games 1 and 2 on the road, and Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz in Games 3 and 4 at Citi Field.

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Oct 24

Murphy Showing Us The Folly Of WAR

Ladies and Gentlemen, I do not profess to be a disciple of baseball’s new statistical age. I do not know what Daniel Murphy’s regular season WAR was entering the playoffs, nor, do I know what his WAR is during this postseason.

I am sure somebody will find both numbers and post them with a delightful note how I don’t know anything. You may have your fun, but you will be wrong on that last point.

MURPHY: Can't measure this. (AP)

MURPHY: Can’t measure this. (AP)

WAR is a mathematical formula designed to provide a definite measure of a player’s ability to perform and produce. But, it is nonsense – or crap, ca ca, doo doo, bull or any other descriptor – for the simple reasons players are human and the variables of measure aren’t identical in each case.

These playoffs have shown us Murphy’s recent tear is beyond compare. He is having a once-in-a-lifetime stretch against the highest level of competition and under the hottest lights. That it is against Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta under the glare and intensity of the playoffs should account for more than it coming against the Miami Marlins in May, but it doesn’t. The math comes out the same.

WAR doesn’t account for the human element within the player, or the outside variables. If WAR were a true measure, wouldn’t all conditions be the same?

Everything would be identical, as is a true scientific survey the measuring samples should be the same: the opposing pitcher; the weather; the field conditions; the lighting; how much sleep he had; the game conditions; what he had for breakfast; is he getting along with his WAG; and the home plate umpire? (Speaking of which, it is a shame what happened last night to the Blue Jays, but then again, lousing umpiring is a human element.) Also, in the cases of Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens, you would need the steroid dosages.

All those variables are different for each hitter, which makes the final number nothing more than a wild guess. The only true stats are those we’ve had for over a century: hits, runs scored, runs driven in and average. Of course, the new age disregards those numbers, foolishly calling them obsolete.

I once had a conversation with a retired player about the preponderance of statistics, and he liked my idea of a do-your-job stat. Going into each at-bat a player has a specific objective, whether it be to get on base, advance a runner, or drive him in. The success of that at-bat is dependent on what he does.

That’s why strikeouts are a necessary measure, as they tell us of an empty at-bat. Today’s young, baseball minds want everything to be the same, but that is impossible.

Murphy’s do-your-job stat for this postseason is more than phenomenal. It probably is beyond comprehension as he’s not only doing his job, but everybody else’s, too.

Yeah, I know I am older than most of you, but I have no intention of lecturing. However, I have covered well over 2,000 games and probably seen another 1,000. I know this much, what Murphy is giving us exceeds amazing. It’s something beyond what WAR vainly attempts to do. It is something you can’t draft on FanDuel.

So, turn away from your calculators, computers and stat tables, because you’re missing a historical reckoning. I just wish I didn’t have to wait until Tuesday to see him play again because what he has is fleeting and I don’t want to see him lose it.

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Oct 23

Wright Responds To Cubs’ Gesture

Mets captain David Wright was extremely taken by the Cubs’ gesture of presenting him the third base bag from the deciding Game 4 of the NLCS.

In an email, Wright wrote the gesture was: “Incredibly cool. I’m very appreciative of the gesture and I will obviously display it proudly. Both the Cubs organization and the Cubs fans are top notch.”

Thanks David for your response.

ON DECK: Mets World Series rotation.

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Oct 23

Mets’ Fans Should Be Pulling For Toronto

As Mets fans, I would think you would be pulling for Toronto tonight and the ALCS to go seven games. Regardless of the opponent, the World Series starts Tuesday, but you want it to go seven to put a strain on whatever rotation gets in.

From the Mets’ pitching perspective, Toronto should be a better match-up. The Blue Jays have a powerful lineup, while the Royals tend to be more of a contact team. That being said, I can see Mets pitchers piling up the strikeouts.

Of course, the flip side to all this is Mets-killer Troy Tulowitzki. That reminds me, I wonder what Jose Reyes is thinking right about now. Reyes against the Mets in the World Series would have been fun.

ON DECK: Wright responds to Cubs gesture.

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Oct 22

Classy Gesture By Cubs To Wright

Every once in awhile you read something that makes you feel good about sports and what they are supposed to be about, and that includes a very classy gesture extended by the Chicago Cubs to Mets captain and third baseman David Wright when they presented him the third base bag used in Game 4 of the NLCS.


Cubs Recognize Wright: FOX Sports

Cubs Recognize Wright: FOX Sports

That was my first thought. The Mets just crushed them in the playoffs, sweeping them without trailing for one moment in the series. Not a second.

They did it because of their respect for Wright and what he’s meant to the sport. They didn’t have to considering what just happened to them.

When a player retires, and this isn’t to suggest that’s what’s going on here, other teams usually present him with gifts. These guys, and that includes Wright, can afford anything they want. Wright once told me he’s embarrassed when he goes out to eat and the restaurant comps his meals.

He can afford to buy the restaurant, much less the meal. He understands why it happens. But getting something like the third base bag from Wrigley Field is something he would cherish more than say, a power boat or television.

The Mets took unfair heat when they made similar gestures to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. The pitching rubber from Citi Field meant a lot more to Rivera than anything they could have bought.

I covered the Yankees for a long time and know what meant lot to Rivera. I’ve also been around the Mets since 2006 and know this means to Wright.

This is Wright’s 12th season, but only his second in the playoffs. Who better than the Cubs would appreciate a playoff drought? After all, some of the best players in their history, Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Ferguson Jenkins and Billy Williams, never played in the postseason with them.

The Cubs understand and should be commended.

I don’t know whose idea this was, whether it was manager Joe Maddon, or Theo Epstein, somebody in marketing, Kris Bryant or one of the concessionaires who sells that terrific deep dish. It doesn’t matter. The bottom line is a classy player was recognized for his class and integrity.

And, someday the Cubs will be rewarded for their class.