Sep 22

New Chat Room; Niese tries to regain form.

Game #152 at Marlins

To access the New Chat Room, click onto the Mets Chat icon to your left.

At one time we were considering Jon Niese one of the bright spots to this season. That’s when  he was 6-2. He’s now 9-9 after losing four of this last five decisions.

Lack of run support has only been a part of it. Niese has shown a propensity lately to give up the big hit to let an inning get away from him. He’s still young and learning, but minimizing the damage is something he must improve on.

As of now, Niese will enter spring training with Mike Pelfrey and RA Dickey in the rotation, with the other two spots to be filled.

Sep 22

It’s over, finally.

The inevitable became official last night when the Florida Marlins eliminated the Mets from playoff contention for the third time in four years. The Marlins might have administered the killing blow, but last night, as in the other two years, the Mets killed themselves.

Last night was a microcosm of this season in many ways, beginning with an offense that squandered numerous opportunities to eventually waste a strong starting performance, this time from Mike Pelfrey. The Mets’ inability t0 produce, much less in the clutch, has been a critical weakness all summer.

We’ve been over this before, but most of the starting position players will return next season so the Mets don’t figure to add a big bat. They need to hope for healthy players and improvement. Hoping makes for a very bad plan.

For his part, Pelfrey continues to pitch well enough to win most games, but last night was betrayed by his defense and later the bullpen.

After Pedro Feliciano retired the first two batters in the eighth, Jerry Manuel went to Elmer Dessens, who gave up four straight hits, including a mammoth three-run homer to Gaby Sanchez. Why Feliciano wasn’t allowed to continue is beyond me. He’s certainly more reliable than Dessens.

Another poor bullpen decision, but there have been so many I’ve lost track.

It’s easy to blame injuries, and for the Mets they could wonder what might have been had they not lost significant time from Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes and Johan Santana. Still, the Mets’ losses weren’t as severe as those of the Phillies, but they managed to overcome and have won 21 of their last 25, the kind of hot streak Manuel kept waiting for, but never came.

Championship caliber teams must find a way to overcome from injuries and the Mets did not. There were simply too many times this season when they beat themselves, whether it be an error in the field, giving away an at-bat, or throwing a lazy pitch.

You are what your record says you are, and for the Mets they are a losing team for the second straight season, and out of the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

On an interesting note, Manuel responded to Joe Torre’s comments about being curious about the Mets’ job, and Torre responded by apologizing to Manuel and saying he was closing the door on managing the Mets. Torre should have danced around the question better and apologized for violating an unwritten protocol.

Still, people change their minds so I wouldn’t write off the Mets and Torre talking after the season. It’s not as if Torre backing off now will save Manuel’s job. The Mets have not been shy in the past for going after media outlets for stories they didn’t like, or weren’t correct. The Mets have not told one media outlet to back off on Manuel, nor have they made any comment about his returning.

They have left Manuel alone to twist in the wind because they know he’s not returning. They are studying their options. Speaking of which, they appear to have lost out on Kevin Towers, who appears to be headed for Arizona. He would have been intriguing.

So, it is officially over, but we’ve known for awhile now that it wasn’t going to happen for the Mets. For me, I thought the series just prior to the break when they lost to Atlanta was a determining moment. From there, came the disastrous West Coast slide that coincided with the return of Carlos Beltran.

From there, the rest of the season was a formality.

Sep 21

New Chat Room; Pelfrey tonight.

To access the New Chat Room, click onto the Mets Chat icon to your left.

Game #151 at Marlins

Some Mets are playing for personal numbers now, and Mike Pelfrey will get two more starts after tonight and has a shot at 17 victories, which would be outstanding considering he was MIA for nearly six weeks. Collectively, the Mets still have a chance at .500, but they’ve played lousy on the road all year and these next six games will be difficult.

Also, third place looks better than fourth.

The Jerry Manuel Era slowly winds down with Game #151 tonight at Florida.

Sep 21

Bay’s Future in Doubt?

No one can say for certain if Boston poisoned Bay’s water before he ended up in a Mets’ uniform, but the once big-time slugger has experienced a falling off of monumental proportions this season. That’s not to say that some hasn’t been injury-induced; and any transplant from an AL lineup gets a season of doubt’s benefit. But in plain English, Bay simply didn’t pan out like the Mets had hoped.

Now it seems that the young ballplayer’s future may be hanging in the balance altogether after a July 22 concussion that Jason’s seemingly not recovering from.

Bay had left a game earlier this year due to leg problems, had taken a few off like a baby Manny for minor ailments and, after smacking into the wall at Dodger Stadium in late July, was eventually diagnosed with a “mild” concussion.

The Mets originally placed Bay on the 15-day DL due to his concussion, but now have moved that to 60 days. It’s an obvious move to give Bay time to heal properly in a season that went nowhere fast, but the interesting part in this is that Bay was also said to have been suffering from physical exertion.

On its surface, Bay’s odds of coming back at a full strength—and hopefully a lot more effective—next season are solid – a good 5:3. However, in light of recent scientific advancements on brain injuries and their link to long-term diseases, the odds that Bay will be “okay” in his later years are another story – maybe 20:1.

Sadly, you’ll find better odds playing online slots, and that’s tragic for Bay and every other player to suffer concussions and then not heal properly. It’s bad news, and there’s no getting around it.

Thanks to Chris Nowinski, his partners, and many volunteered brains of former athletes, the first major cause of—the ironically named in Bay’s or any other MLB player’s case—Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS, has been found.

In every brain submitted to Chris from an ALS patient, one factor was present – the brain displayed symptoms of concussions that did not heal properly and thus sent protein deposits into the spinal cord. After years of buildup, these young athletes contracted ALS.

The odds of suffering concussions and contracting ALS are slim on their own, about 1000:1 – better than you’d find on any online blackjack games to be sure. But concussions that don’t heal properly, and those with other complications, are another story. These are the concussions that produce the proteins, and these proteins can produce ALS.

In an investigation into Lou Gehrig’s personal history, HBO’s Real Sports’ host Bernie Goldberg found that Gehrig had suffered multiple concussions during his time on the field, some severe enough to leave him unconscious. And let’s not forget that Gehrig was Cal Ripken decades before there was a Cal Ripken – he was the Iron Horse, never missing a game.

Hopefully, Bay will heal just fine and won’t suffer the fate of the dreaded protein deposits from this concussion. And the Mets’ kid gloves approach really bodes well for his future. But knowing what we know now about the horrible disease and its cause, it truly makes you take a harder look at athletes and question how they’re “really” recovering from injuries.

Sep 21

Have to consider Torre.

TORRE: Must explore this.

Joe Torre has left the door open to managing again and would be interested in talking with the Wilpons.

“I am curious,” Torre said yesterday.  “When the season is over, I hope the phone will be ringing… I don’t really anticipate managing again, but I think it would be unfair not to listen just out of curiosity to see if something excites me.”

In this case, one plus one must equal two.

I am a Torre advocate, and believe he would immediately change the culture around this stagnant organization. Future Hall of Fame managers aren’t readily available and if this one is interested the Mets would be doing themselves and their frustrated fan base a disservice if they don’t explore the possibility.

The man has four World Series rings on his resume as a manager, which I believe is four more than Wally Backman and Bobby Valentine. He knows how to win and knows the pressure that comes in winning in New York.

For all the talk about building with youth, Torre knows how that’s done as it is how the Yankee dynasty under him was built. One cornerstone at a time: Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.

And, nobody commands respect like Torre. If there’s a crisis, I’d rather have a guy who has known he can handle it over a guy who has never managed on this level. You also won’t catch him sitting in the dugout with glasses and a fake moustache.

And please, let’s not talk about his laid back personality. He has his players’ attention. I’ve said it before, his is an iron fist in a velvet glove.

Torre would immediately bring respectability to the Mets, give them a credibility they have long lacked.

Let’s also not talk about him being 70 years old. He keeps himself in great shape and the Mets would provide a challenge to keep him interested. The Mets are a .500 team, that with a little tweaking, adding and luck, could improve on that next season. The aura of what Torre would bring to the table would automatically improve the Mets.

Torre would change the atmosphere in his first year, and in his second, after the books have been cleared of Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez – and possibly Francisco Rodriguez – his reputation would undoubtedly attract free agents who previously might have shunned the Mets.

Don Mattingly will manage the Dodgers next year after working under Torre. If the Mets are indeed grooming Backman, wouldn’t it be better for him to learn under Torre than to throw him to the wolves now?

David Wright spoke the other day about changing the attitude, the culture of the Mets and Torre would do that unquestionably. He brings the dimension of winning to the table that few other candidates can provide.

Torre would not come cheaply, but if the Mets are serious about change, then you must pay for it.