Oct 01

Mets’ Quest For Power Might Be Misguided

We saw baseball in all its beauty last night, Dramatic and building tension; rallies; questionable decisions; and mistakes made by the athletes. And, pure athleticism.

We also saw the continuation of the long debate of power vs. speed, with speed winning. Six stolen bases trumping two home runs.

We all saw why baseball is still the greatest game, and for those in authority clamoring about the length of the games, could you please just shut up, go away and appreciate what you have and understand most of that tinkering is a waste. Tell me every minute wasn’t compelling.

And, for those saying all the Mets need is more power, I hope you were taking notes. The Mets hit 30 more homers than Kansas City, which hit a major league low 95 – the only team with fewer than 100. However, even with that deficit, the Royals generated 22 more runs, or roughly three more a month.

And, the Royals played in the league with the designated hitter.

Where Kansas City had it way over the Mets offensively was in a higher slugging percentage – which incorporates doubles – a higher batting average, a slightly higher on-base percentage, and struck out a whopping 279 fewer times.

That’s roughly six fewer a game, or two more innings on not touching the ball and subsequently making a productive out by moving a runner into scoring position. The Mets also left more runners on base.

This isn’t to say power isn’t important, just that it isn’t as vital of playing small ball, of using speed to manufacture runs. Hustling for runs usually puts more pressure on the defense than mashing.

The Royals rallied twice Tuesday night in the late innings to advance in the playoffs while playing in a smaller park. Meanwhile, the Mets are sitting home again figuring how much closer they should bring in the fences.

Citi Field was built with the idea of having a team concentrate on pitching, speed and defense. Actually, speed and defense win in all sports.

The Mets would be wise to get back to that line of thinking.

 

Jul 10

Thought On All-Star Home Run Derby

Another year, another Home Run Derby. The only thing with edge last night was Kansas City booing Robinson Cano for bypassing the local hero. Of course, it didn’t have the from-the-heart venom of NBA fans booing the Miami Heat.

Initially, I watched the Derby with interest, if not fascination, the way I did the NBA slam dunk. But, there’s no real challenge if the pitch is lobbed over the play, so it became boring. Then, after the steroid issue, you knew what fueled all those upper deck shots.

So, I’m not a big fan of the Derby. I’d rather watch Criminal MInds reruns.

But, the paying public in the host city still loves it. I heard on talk radio yesterday saying how it Derby should be tweaked, ranging from celebrities (PLEASE, NO) to retired sluggers (not a bad idea).

I don’t care for the Derby because it is staged and not real competition – even though in a million swings I could never clear the wall – but as long as they are selling out the stadium, just leave it alone.

Jul 09

La Russa Snubs Dickey For All-Star Start

Tony La Russa has always been noted for over thinking, and his reasoning for not starting the Mets’ R. A. Dickey probably falls into that category, too.

Word out of Kansas City is Matt Cain will go against Justin Verlander in tomorrow’s All-Star Game. All along the reports are an apprehension for using the knuckleballer with Buster Posey.

“Look, I want to start the game. Of course I do,” Dickey said Sunday. “I think any competitor would like to.”

La Russa’s thinking is faulty if he’s concerned about passed balls and wild pitches. They are potentially far more costly later in the game when your offense has less time to make up a run.

Cain and Posey are teammates, so that makes sense. If Dickey follows a power pitcher such as Cain to throw off the AL hitters, that also makes sense. But, if La Russa’s reasoning in fear, that makes no sense.

The official announcement is expected at a 1:30 p.m. ET news conference.
Jun 23

Mets Matters: Daniel Murphy Expected To Start Today

* After sitting last night against Andy Pettitte, Daniel Murphy is expected to start today against the Yankees’ Ivan Nova tonight. Depending how he does will determine if he’ll start tomorrow against CC Sabathia. Murphy has been in a tailspin for weeks, especially against left-handers. For awhile, Terry Collins stuck with him, but the Mets have been getting mileage from their bench. Last night Justin Turner delivered a two-run single off Pettitte in the first.

MURPHY: Should start tonight.

* Speaking of Turner, he’s been adept at delivering with two outs. He’s more than a serviceable player. What I’d like to see from him is to drop the tired act of a whipped cream pie to the face of a player being interviewed. Like the Gatorade bath, it has run its course. The who thing was designed as a way to haze rookies, but to smear RA Dickey after a one-hitter is ridiculous. It’s a Little League stunt.

* National League All-Star manager Tony La Russa said Dickey is in line to start the All-Star Game in Kansas City. One of the interesting things to look forward to at the Game will be the response to Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran, who began his career with the Royals. He was welcomed last night and had good things to say about his career in Kansas City.

* The Mets had some fun with Frank Francisco regarding his Yankees’ “chickens” comments. A lot of it was sophomoric, but it does show a good and tight chemistry in that clubhouse. For a long time it has been a divided room, but that’s not the case this year.

* Chris Young, who is recovering from the same type of shoulder surgery as Johan Santana, will start tonight against Nova. Young has pitched well since returning to the rotation in what was Mike Pelfrey’s spot. If he just keeps giving the Mets five or six innings until he’s fully recovered they should be in good shape.

* Another strong inning for Bobby Parnell last night. He’s been consistent in his bridge role. Not to rush things, because we’ve been here before, but if he continues like this the closer role might eventually become his.

* Word is Jason Bay is making progress in his recovery from another concussion. There’s no need to rush him with the bench playing so well.

* Jon Niese pitched out of trouble in both the first and second innings last night, which was a key to the victory. So many times with the Mets – even after being staked to a lead- we’ve seen Niese and others give it right back to the Yankees.

Nov 27

Why revenue sharing and the luxury tax aren’t doing what they are supposed to.

You can get dizzy trying to figure out the various formulas for revenue sharing and the luxury tax, but some things are givens. There will always be some teams willing to spend because the objective is to win.

There will also be some teams not willing to spend and find comfort in using their small market status to free load off the big spenders because they are still making money. Pittsburgh and Kansas City have been notorious for using their revenue sharing income not to reinvest in players but to pay their electric bill.

I’m tired of hearing about small market – which should really read small revenue market teams – not fielding competitive teams because of the market they play in. It is inexcusable for a team such as the Pirates to have 20 straight losing seasons. How can the Orioles have 14 losing years playing in a gem of a ballpark like Camden Yards? Seems incomprehensible.

How Bud Selig can allow this is beyond reason. Also crazy is penalizing teams that go over the limit to take away draft choices. It stands to reason that a team having fewer draft picks will compensate with more spending in trying to build.

I’ve never been for revenue sharing because it promotes free loading, but the system is not likely to go away. If they are insistent on such a system, the receiving teams should be required to spend a designated percentage on player salaries. And, while we’re at it, there should be a minimum amount a team MUST spend on payroll.