Sep 06

Mets Finally See Scott Kazmir Pitch

It is September 6, do you know where your New York Mets are?

They are in Cleveland, Ohio, not on a traffic layover, but for the start of a three-game series against the playoff-minded Indians. The Mets long ago lost those aspirations.

KAZMIR: In the day.

KAZMIR: In the day.

This is nothing against Cleveland, where I spent many afternoons in that monstrous stadium watching the Indians flail into mediocrity and freeze during Browns’ games in December.

Of course, that’s when they were the real Browns, not the fake Browns who were thrashed by Denver last night. Fake Browns II will be playing Sunday.

But, that’s another issue in the tales of: “What’s Wrong With Sports?’’

This could be my last chance of the year to rail against interleague play, which I will never grasp. I loved it in spring training where at a time it was unique, but hated it with the first pitch – I don’t care if Dave Mlicki did throw a shutout against the Yankees that day – and continue to loathe it to this moment.

I’ll watch because it is the Mets, and because I don’t get to see the Indians that much anymore, but the sporting essence of the concept is wrong.

The essence of baseball is the regular season, one in which every team used to run the same race from April until October. There was no variation to the schedule, totally balanced. With interleague play and the unbalanced schedule, schedules can be measured by degree of difficulty, much like college basketball and football, the latter being the only high-end sport without a legitimate championship process.

That’s another issue.

I understand Bud Selig’s economic reasoning, but Major League Baseball is a multi-billion-dollar industry and would still be without interleague play. If interleague play had a purpose, it is gone.

Tonight the Red Sox are in the Bronx in a match-up with teeth. The only other series this weekend with a real playoff sizzle is the Pirates and Cardinals.

The other match-ups have the playoff implications of the manufactured wild-card, but save those two series the schedule is barren of playoff race games. As if the National Football League didn’t have it easy enough in its opening weekend, there’s little playoff tension for a distraction.

And, about your Mets, Scott Kazmir is the opposing attraction against Zack Wheeler. A former “pitcher of the future,’’ against a current “pitcher of the future.’’

Kazmir was dealt at the trade deadline for Victor Zambrano, in at the time was considered a controversial, then horrendous trade, from a Mets’ perspective. But, as these fade over time, the feelings softened as Kazmir’s career was derailed by injuries.

However, in a two-year span of 2007 and 2008, when the Mets’ collapsed down the stretch and were nosed from the playoffs on the season’s final day, Kazmir was winning 13 and 12 games, respectively, for Tampa Bay.

Those were the only times where it really was, “what could have been.’’

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Feb 24

Don’t appearances count for something?

I admit, it’s not my money so the Mets can do whatever they want with theirs. Even so, to pay upwards of $3,000 an hour to charter a helicopter to watch the Knicks last night was in poor form.

This is a team in financial distress and they splurge like that? The statement was the funds didn’t come from the team, so Wilpon must have foot the bill. I don’t see Terry Collins or Sandy Alderson paying for it.

Either way, it just looks bad considering their position.

If you want to take a helicopter, fine. But, don’t land it on the field and be so blatant. They could have taken off from a different location. It just looks cheesy when your team is in such a financial mess and did little in the offseason to get better.

Like going to the unemployment office in a Mercedes.

By the way, the judge’s ruling about making a trial decision regarding the Ponzi scandal means little in the grand scheme of things. Whatever happens, there will be further filings and appeals. This won’t end in March with a full resolution. This will drag on and the Mets will have to get by on what they already have beyond this year.

Or get by on that plus Scott Kazmir. Their former prospect will throw for them today in camp. The Mets are one of six teams interested. If not him, then somebody else because there’s no guarantees on Johan Santana despite his slow progress.

Feb 23

Injuries to the forefront today.

Injury-related news is in the forefront for today in Port St. Lucie, with eyes on Jenrry Mejia, Johan Santana and Ike Davis.

Mejia is scheduled to throw today for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last May. Kid gloves will be the treatment, Mejia making 15 tosses off the slope of the mound and the catcher stationed well in front of the plate.

Mejia, obviously, is a long way from being ready with no timetable for his return.  Patience must be the key with Mejia, something the Mets have not displayed with him in the past.

The Mets clearly did Mejia a disservice by bringing him up two years ago to work out of the bullpen. That decision was made by Jerry Manuel, who was thinking about his then shaky job security first. Also to blame was GM Omar Minaya, who gave in to Manuel despite the best interests for Mejia was to work in the minor leagues.

Regarding Santana, manager Terry Collins said he expects Santana to be ready for Opening Day.  Maybe he was overcome by the Florida sun, but it’s pointless to make such projections. Santana has already experienced setbacks.

As it is, he’s on his own rehab program for a shoulder injury that traditionally has been difficult to rehab. The Mets have always been poor when it comes to announcing return dates for injured players, with a list that includes Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Duaner Sanchez, Pedro Martinez, Ryan Church any others.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, anything out of Santana is a bonus. It’s best not to expect anything. (That’s why Scott Kazmir will work out for the team tomorrow).

Davis returned to New York for additional testing after an abnormality was found in his physical. Collins said it wasn’t related to his ankle injury and Davis should be in camp today.  I never like the sound of that. The last time I remember a player being summoned for additional tests, Reyes was diagnosed with his thyroid ailment.

 

Oct 22

What if?

Kazmir: What if the Mets won that trade?

Kazmir: What if the Mets won that trade?

It goes without saying the Scott Kazmir trade was disastrous for the Mets. But, imagine for a moment, the trade worked and Rick Peterson was able to fix the very damaged Victor Zambrano.

Let’s say the Mets turned it around in 2004 and made a run at the playoffs. They were four games under .500 at the time of the trade and finished the season 20 games under. That brought the end of Jim Duquette as general manager and ushered in Omar Minaya.

Would Minaya have come if the Mets finished that season as a competitive team? With Minaya came Pedro Martinez, then Carlos Beltran, then Carlos Delgado. It’s interesting to wonder what might have happened had Zambrano panned out.

We all know what happened with Kazmir.

Oct 19

Gooood morning: On tap for today.

Goood Morning: What's on your mind today?

Goood Morning: What's on your mind today?

It has to be a good morning somewhere. Boston, perhaps? Gotta think they didn’t get much sleep in Tampa last night. If you’re the Rays you have to be a little concerned. The Red Sox have come back before.

Twice they’ve been down 3-to-1 (including 3-0 to the Yankees in 2004) and rallied. This is a team with a backbone. And, with Jon Lester pitching tonight, you have to like their chances. The decision to go to the bullpen instead of giving Scott Kazmir a shot to work out of trouble could be the turning point to the series.

Of course, I’ll blog the game with you tonight. I’ll also have a post up at 1 p.m., for those watching football.

Should be a fun day.