Mar 05

Keeping an eye on Pelfrey.

Of all the Mets’ pitchers, Mike Pelfrey might be the most intriguing because this summer could determine his future with the team. Another year like 2011, and he’ll be pitching elsewhere in 2013.

There are few things less watchable in sports than a spring training intrasquad game, but Pelfrey threw two hitless innings and said he was happy with his sinker. That’s the pitch he must refine this year.

There are younger pitchers who are ahead of Pelfrey in their development, but the glimpses he has flashed makes him worth waiting for … but for how long?

 

Mar 05

Judge rules against Mets …. will be appealed

As the Mets get ready to open their spring training schedule tonight – David Wright is not expected to play because of a strained rib cage muscle – the issue that will be the backdrop to their season moved centerstage this morning.

U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff ruled Mets owner Fred Wilpon must pay as much as $83 million because of the Ponzi scheme. The ruling also set a March 19 trial date for another $303 million.

This decision will be appealed, so the Wilpon’s aren’t hitting in the bottom of the ninth. At least not yet.

I don’t know how this will finish, but today only deepened the hole and put the Mets under more financial pressure. I’d bet the Mets would jump at the chance to settle for just $83 million, but this will drag on, their legal fees will mount and we can disregard any idea of being able to acquire talent at midseason if it is competitive.

Regardless of how today’s decision would have been, it would have been appealed. But, the negative ruling only reinforced the sentiment this will be a dark season.

On the positive side, Ike Davis is cleared. However, the prospect of him having a lengthy illness and Wright hurting already reinforced the Mets’ lack of depth. On that note, I am pleased Justin Turner will get the opportunity to back up Davis at first rather than disrupt Lucas Duda’s development in right field.

 

 

Mar 02

Mets need to hit the streets hawking tickets.

Over the last few days I was on the ESPN.com website and noticed ads for Yankees tickets. Even on the Mets site. I don’t see the Mets on the ESPN site advertising for tickets.

Actually, I don’t t see any ads by the Mets for tickets anywhere.

The Yankees will outdraw the Mets this year even without the ads, but they are still in there pitching for business while the team from Flushing does nothing.

Now is the time, when there’s the spring interest in baseball to promote, but I’m not seeing much of that – just more from the Yankees. The Mets need to be all over the newspapers, the Internet, radio and TV hawking their tickets.

You will undoubtedly see commercials for Mets tickets on SNY, but want to guess how much they’ll pay for them?

I know a lot of fans complain about ticket prices even though the Mets have dropped their rates. There is such a thing as supply and demand, and when the supply is high and demand is low, something must be done to get the buyer to act. That something is lower the prices again until the customer will act.

It is quite simple really, that in absence of a winning product on the field, the Mets must do something to generate interest in purchasing tickets.

I know what they are thinking: “If we lower the ticket price from $50 to $40 we are losing $10.’’ That’s not true, because if nobody is buying the ticket at $50 they are losing a chance at $50.

It is better to lower the price than to have the seat go empty. Of course, it is still better to put a competitive team on the field.

 

Mar 01

Anxious for Santana

I am on record as saying not to expect anything from Johan Santana, but I can’t help but wonder about his bullpen session today in which he faces live hitters.

SANTANA: Will it be a ``thumbs up'' day for him?

There’s always that competitive rush pitchers get when throwing to a hitter and Santana is smart enough not to let his adrenalin get the best of him. Afterall, it has been a long process so far and we don’t want any setbacks.

A good showing from Santana today – and it all comes down to how he’s feeling afterward – can give this camp a shot of life. With Santana on the mound the Mets believe they have a good chance to win the game, and that’s a feeling they don’t always have with others in the rotation.

We all know what not having Santana means: A vast hole in the rotation with no real No. 1; no stopper makes it possible for long losing streaks; and most importantly, the black cloud continues to hang over this organization.

 

Feb 29

It’s not going to end here

They are still talking about adding an extra wild card , but it won’t end there. The one-game playoff is bound to drag on to three games, then five ….

I realize the old format will never be again, but the more you add to the playoff format the more the sport is diluted. The season drags on long enough as it is and this won’t help matters. What if there’s two teams vying for the final seed? Do you add another game?

The suggested format would allow the three division winners first-round byes, but what if one of the wild cards has a superior record to a division winner.  That’s not entirely fair, either.

As it is, the integrity of the regular season is compromised because of interleague play the unbalanced schedule as not every team runs the same race to October. Unfortunately, I never see them doing away with interleague play although it is not nearly the success Major League Baseball portrays it to be. Interleauge play is compelling in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, but other than that, who really cares?

Yes, they’ll show up in Pittsburgh when the Yankees are in town, but there’s nothing exciting about seeing the Royals or Mariners come in. There’s just not the draw MLB executives believe.

Sadly, as long as Bud Selig is commissioner, interleague play is here to stay.

If they really want to do something about the integrity of the regular season, and by extension, the playoffs, here’s a system that could work.

I’d do away with the division format and simply have the two leagues. If they insist on interleague play, they could structure it where every team plays the same schedule. The same schedule promotes fairness.

From there, I’d take the top four teams and seed them so one plays four and two plays three. That would  be a fairer and more equitable solution.