Mar 14

Niese Mishandles Twitter Issue

There are many conflicts Jon Niese will face in his Mets’ career, ranging from hitters, to injuries, to the weather and considerably more. Trying to take on reporters doing their jobs using Twitter is one he’ll have difficulty winning.

That is, if he even has a chance.

In the wake of pitching coach Dan Warthen’s apology for a supposed racial slur, an angry Niese told reporters to stop Tweeting from the clubhouse. I understand his angst, but as in most issues steeped in emotion, it is an uphill climb and one handled poorly by all sides.

Reporters are allowed by Major League Baseball to tweet and post blogs from the clubhouse, and in fact, I was one of the first Mets’ reporters to post blogs from the clubhouse when I started the beat in 2006.

Major League Baseball wants the information out there. That creates interest, which leads to ticket sales and television-radio ratings. It’s about money, so as much as Niese wants it, he’s fighting the bottom line.

That’s also why many of Niese’s teammates, including Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, have Twitter handles.

So, who is at fault for this flap?

It starts with Warthen, who apologized to Daisuke Matsuzaka’s interpreter, Jeff Cutler, for his comment, but unfortunately did so in front of a reporter he might not have known well, if at all.

Apologies, warranted or not, should be done in private, especially if there’s not a working knowledge of the reporter, who reportedly is from San Francisco and not on the Mets’ beat.

Also at blame is the reporter, who, according to reports either overheard the apology and/or wasn’t part of the conversation.  I don’t know the reporter, who is Chinese and offended by the comment. That’s his issue, but his sensitivities sparked this fire and now it’s a political correctness issue.

One person is upset and now the world revolves around those feelings.

Seemingly, the apology was an off-the-record comment, and therefore the reporter violated a basic tenet of the reporter-athlete relationship, which made it harder for all reporters to do their jobs.

Finally, Niese must take responsibility for how this unravels. When you’re in a crowded clubhouse, you don’t tell a group of reporters: “Stop Tweeting about our clubhouse. That —-’s got to stop.’’

How could he not think it wasn’t going to escalate from there? There are ways to deal with the press, either by talking to reporters privately or through the media relations department.

This could have been handled better by everyone.

 

Mar 04

Mets Game Thread #2: Black Struggles

Vic Black is 25, throws a wicked fastball, and will open the season as the closer if Bobby Parnell isn’t ready. Of course, he must do better with his control.

Black blew away Astros first baseman Jesus Guzman on three pitches to close the Houston sixth, but struggled with his command as he walked the bases loaded in the seventh. Black worked one inning and threw 34 pitches. In contrast, Zack Wheeler threw 40 pitches.

The Mets’ outfield of Eric and Chris Young, and Curtis Granderson is out of the game.

Outfielder Brandon Nimmo hit a run-scoring single in the sixth, and the Mets lead, 5-2, in the seventh.

Mar 04

Mets Game Thread: Good Start Keyed By Wheeler And Granderson

It’s been a good start for the New York Mets today with three strong innings from Zack Wheeler and two ripped home runs by Curtis Granderson.

Wheeler certainly has the physical stuff to win 20 games, but it goes further than just being able to throw the ball hard. The Mets were impressed with Wheeler’s poise last season, but that was 17 starts. Let’s see 34, and staying healthy for the whole time.

Wheeler was supposed to pitch two innings, but went out for the third because his pitch count was less than 30.

As for Granderson, wrist injuries sapped his strength last year with the Yankees, but he whipped the bat through the hitting zone twice. There was no question about either.

All in all, so far it has been a good start for the Mets.

 

Mar 04

March 4, Mets-Astros Lineups

Eric Young, who hasn’t played this spring for the New York Mets because of tightness in a side muscle, is in the lineup in left field and leading off this afternoon against Houston in Port St. Lucie.

However, first basemen Ike Davis (calves) and Lucas Duda (legs), and infielders Ruben Tejada and Wilfredo Tovar (hamstring), remain sidelined and listed day-to-day.

Zack Wheeler will make his first appearance of the spring and is to go two innings or 30 pitches.

Here’s today’s lineups for the Mets and Astros:

METS

Eric Young, lf

Chris Young, cf

Curtis Granderson, rf

Brandon Allen, 1b

Josh Satin, 3b

Travis d’Arnaud, c

Taylor Teagarden, dh

Anthony Seratelli, ss

Omar Quintanilla, 2b

 

Zack Wheeler, rhp

HOUSTON

Dexter Fowler, cf

Jose Altuve, 2b

Marc Krauss, rf

Chris Carter, dh

Jesus Guzman, 1b

Carlos Corporan, c

L.J. Hoes, lf

Jonathan Villar, ss

Cesar Izturis, 3b

 

Rudy Owens, lhp

Mar 04

Mets Today: Zack Wheeler Gets The Ball; Injury Updates

After Jonathon Niese was scratched from today’s start, the New York Mets moved up Zack Wheeler against the Houston Astros.

Wheeler was shut down last summer by a combination of a tight shoulder and innings count. All reports have him throwing well this spring.

With Matt Harvey out for the season, Wheeler will draw the bulk of the focus when it comes to the Mets’ pitching. However, Wheeler grabbed his fair of attention last summer, going 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 17 starts that spanned 100 innings.

Wheeler cited improved fundamentals as his 2014 goal, saying earlier this spring: “Just being more consistent, throwing more strikes and stuff.’’

In addition:

* Kyle Farnsworth, John Church, Vic Black, Adam Kolarek, Scott Rice and Cory Mazzoni are also scheduled to pitch.

* Ike Davis, who was scratched from yesterday’s game, is expected to play. Also expected to play is shortstop Ruben Tejada (tight left hamstring) and Eric Young (tightness in his side).

* Today’s game will be telecast by SNY.