Feb 13

Had a rough weekend.

Good afternoon folks. I was away for the weekend, but not by design as I was hospitalized.

I was in Westchester for an appointment when I fainted and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. I was crouching at the time on my cell phone, and when I stood up I got lightheaded and collapsed. When I came to, somebody had stolen my phone. There’s got to be a special section in hell for that guy.

Tests came back negative and I was released after staying overnight, but it was a wake-up call nonetheless. They couldn’t pinpoint the problem. Maybe just a freak thing, but it scared the hell out of me. When you wake up in a hallway and not know where you are, it is scary. I’m lucky they didn’t find anything serious, or it happened when I was driving.

I think about all the traveling I’ve done and how may nights I’ve been in a strange hotel. Lucky I wasn’t in some city halfway across the country.

When you’re in a hospital bed, you have time for a lot of thinking. You can’t sleep because they wake you up every two hours to take blood or test your blood pressure. And, the lights are always on and the nurses’ station is always noisy.

I thought about a lot of things, with the upcoming baseball season among them. I am working on a book I hope will be completed by the end of the season. I plan to be out at Citi Field a lot this summer working on several writing projects.  I also hope to do a lot of game stories for an Internet outlet. Looking forward to it.

Would rather be traveling full time, but I’m happy covering baseball nonetheless. It has been in my blood for a long time.

I’m also looking forward to the season with curiosity and interest. I’m trying to look past the dismal won-loss forecast and into the future. This is a tenuous period in Mets’ history with all the swirling economic and legal issues laying the groundwork for the next decade or so.

If the Wilpons fare poorly in court they could be forced to sell. Maybe they won’t be worth the $2 billion the Dodgers are reportedly valued, but the team, coupled with SNY and Citi Field will come at a high price.

If the Wilpons keep the franchise, it will be interesting to see how they dig themselves out of this hole and when will see them be viable again.

In this, the 50th anniversary of the Mets’ birth, some are writing this team could be a hapless as the 1962 team. It won’t happen.

As an expansion team, Casey Stengel’s group was a collection of veteran castoffs and lowly ranked prospects. There wasn’t a player on that team with the talent of David Wright, or the potential of Ike Davis and Jon Niese.

Today’s Mets aren’t deep in talent at the major league level and throughout the farm system, but there is talent and potential. There’s also an expanded playoff system not around in 1962, so if they catch fire, well, who knows?

People have said and written to me saying the 1969 team had low expectations and look what happened to them. True enough, and while the offensive potential of this team is greater than the 1969 team, that unit had potential based on its superior pitching. Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman gave Gil Hodges reason to believe the 1969 team would be competitive and exceed expectations.

We’re a week away from the start of spring training and over the coming days I’ll look at some of the questions and issues surrounding the Mets.

I’m anxious for another season to begin, as I am every spring and I hope you’ll share it with me.

Thanks. JD

 

Feb 11

Was F-Mart The LH Bat We Needed?

Soon after the Nationals snatched up left-handed hitting outfielder Rick Ankiel, the Mets pulled the plug on their quest to land a left-handed bat for the team.

Ankiel had been high on their list and some reports even circulated that Sandy Alderson may have offered the one-time pitching phenom a minor league deal. Anyway, that was then and this now, and it’s looking more and more that either Mike Baxter (.213 MLB, .277 minors) or Adam Loewen (.176 MLB, .267 minors) will be the Mets 5th outfielder.

It certainly gives one pause to think about Fernando Martinez one last time…

I can’t deny that Martinez is looking like a bust at this point, but wouldn’t it be a better idea to roll the dice on a young, cost-controlled player who at least has some potential instead of spending more money on an older player who could easily post the same poor numbers?

I think the Mets should have given Martinez at least one more season.  There is the slight chance that something finally clicks for Martinez and he ends up being a contributor. In the Miracle Mets world you might have a Nelson Cruz-type.  Not necessarily the same level of production, but similar in that Fernandez could emerge as a late-bloomer and become worthy of a starting role.  He certainly has the raw talent.  In a worst-case scenario, Martinez continues to under perform as a part-time player.  So what?  What do the Mets have to lose in 2012?  Or even 2013 for that matter?  ~  Craig Williams, Rant Sports

I really cant argue with that logic. Fair or Foul?

Feb 10

No problems with Alderson on social media.

Sandy Alderson came here as a caretaker with commissioner Bud Selig’s blessing. He knew he was inheriting a mess and was brought in to clean it up. In his introductory press conference, Alderson promised a new culture and a better connection with the fans.

Social media is a part of that.

ALDERSON: Trying to connect.

Alderson’s comment about holding a fund raiser for gas money was funny and taking a shot at the Mets’ finances was self-disparaging humor at its best. Better have Alderson make a crack than have the fans posting for days about the team having no money. It’s something Casey Stengel would have said.

Alderson is trying to relate to the fan base in way the organization hasn’t for years. Social media is that outlet.

The Mets send emails to their season-ticket holder, but Twitter is the way to say something to the masses spontaneously. I don’t expect Alderson to go on Twitter telling of contract negotiations and trade talks, but it doesn’t hurt when the man occasionally comes out from behind the curtain.

 

 

 

Feb 09

I wish the Mets would do that.

Maybe the Mets are thinking along these lines, and if so, it slipped by me. In doing some research on the Mets’ 50th anniversary, I came across all the non-baseball events at Shea Stadium, including the Rolling Stones, Beatles, boxing and the Pope.

Yankee Stadium is hosting Madonna and Pink Floyd this summer while the Yankees are on the road. Why don’t the Mets, who are hurting for money, open the doors of Citi Field this summer when the boys are on the road?

I’m not suggesting a monster truck rally that would tear up the field, but how about rock concerts, boxing and wrestling? If nothing else, how about the world’s largest flea market?

I’m hoping Citi Field will apply to host the NHL January 1 outdoors game. Maybe not the Rangers this time, but there’s the Devils and Islanders.

It really doesn’t matter what the event, but as long as people are coming to Citi Field, the Mets will get something and that’s what is important.

Feb 08

The two Mets I am most curious about this season.

No doubt there are a myriad of questions and curiosities about the 2012 Mets, but two I am wondering about most are Lucas Duda and Mike Pelfrey.

DUDA: Can he be the real deal?

I’m skipping the obvious choices, David Wright, Johan Santana and Jason Bay. With Wright, either they’ll trade him or they won’t. With Santana, he’s either healthy or he’s not. And Bay? Based on his first two years with the Mets, I have no expectations.

Duda and Pelfrey are different to me because their performances can dictate a lot about the future.

Duda combines loads of power potential with limited defensive capabilities. He’ll be in right field, a position where power is a necessity. We can’t project Duda for 30 homers because he’s never done it. For that matter, he hasn’t hit more than 10, and that was last season in a short window.

That short window production is what has us salivating. There’s no doubting his strength, and the shorter fences should help, but there are other factors. How will he adjust to National League pitchers and how will they adjust to him? Will he produce over the long haul and with the pressures of starting?

Duda is still a babe in the woods, but that potential has me thinking that if he can handle right field, this could be a player with a bright future.

We’ve been saying “bright future” about Pelfrey for years. He seemingly had a breakthrough 2010, but regressed greatly last season. Well, which is it? Pelfrey is still young enough where he can have a good career. He’s also not commanding the big dollars.

However, he’s an enigma and what he does this season could determine whether the Mets cut ties with him or make a commitment. Pelfrey’s performance could also dictate the future of pitching coach Dan Warthen.

If Pelfrey pitches as he did in 2010 and several of the other Mets’ questions are answered in the positive, the Mets could be competitive and entertaining this summer. If not, the projected long summer will be upon us.