Category: Dailies

Josh Thole’s New Routine!

Much is expected this season from New York Mets catcher Josh Thole. I really enjoyed reading the article where I saw the quote below.

“He’s going to come to the field at a certain time at the start of the series to do his preparation from the video,” Geren begins. “Then, at a certain time, he’s going to meet with the pitching coach to go over it. He’s going to be heavily involved in the pitchers’ meeting, passing on what he’s observed. He’ll talk to the pitchers in between innings about how that inning went and who’s coming up next. That’s just the beginning.” Geren says when other players are playing cards on team flights, he expects to see Thole with his iPad, watching video of the next opponent. Not only does Geren want to see Thole putting in extra time, he wants the pitchers to see it. (online source)

The “Geren” mentioned above is bench coach and former Oakland A’s manager Bob Geren.

It’s hard to believe that a major league player wouldn’t have a consistent pre-game ritual but this is the Mets so anything is possible I guess.

It’s also hard to believe that a major league catcher wouldn’t be doing all of the things that Geren is now requiring of Thole but at least this is a good sign that the coaches are trying to correct the glaring problems that they see.

What’s even harder to believe is that no one caught this last year. Perhaps had someone done so Thole’s year wouldn’t have been as difficult for him not to mention difficult for us all to watch.

I must admit I’m not a big Josh Thole fan but I am a fan of hard work and if this routine makes Josh Thole a better defensive catcher and a more confident game caller then I for one am all for it.

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My Best Friend, The Radio and Ernie

Last night I watched my first live Mets game of the season. Johan Santana pitched three good innings and the boys in Orange and Blue seemed to have their collective acts together and even Jason Bay got his first hit of the season. I was pretty thrilled to see the game live via internet stream but my preference, at least when I can’t attend the games in person, is to listen to it on the radio.

I know that sounds like a foreign concept for those of you who haven’t lived in an era where all 162 games of your favorite team are televised.

It’s ok to laugh if you don’t remember how we did it back in the day but please allow me and those of us who still remember falling asleep with our little transistor radios hidden beneath our pillows a chance to stroll down memory lane.

Thanks!

Ah, baseball on the radio.

Baseball was made for the radio and baseball became America’s pastime because of the radio.

Visit just about any neighborhood during the summertime and chances are you’d hear the crackling sounds of the various radios listened to by die hard baseball fans trying to keep up with the day to day exploits of their favorite teams.

There was also a very good chance you’d see make shift antennas made out of all sorts of contraptions designed specifically to make that sound just a little bit clearer.

And of course there would be the groups of people surrounding those radios leaning in as close as they could to hear men like Vin Scully or Ernie Harwell or Red Barber or Russ Hodges describe the game in such a way that it felt like they were in the park watching the game with their own two eyeballs.

Sometimes you could even hear the the shouts “hey you, you’re blocking the reception” whenever some unfortunate soul was standing in front of the antenna. That was life as we knew it back in the day.

For me growing up listening to Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson was an absolute treat and whenever I felt like punishing myself Phil Rizzuto could be entertaining but the best announcer I ever heard, and probably ever will, was the legendary Detroit Tigers play by play man, the late great Ernie Harwell.

My Grandpa introduced me to Ernie Harwell when I was a wee lad while spending time with him at his summer home in Mid- Michigan. Grandpa trusted Ernie and because I trusted Grandpa I also trusted Ernie.

Up at the cabin in the boondocks my Grandpa had a little black transistor radio. You remember, right? Those were the ones where the antenna collapsed inside the radio and if you pushed down too hard you bent the antenna. On a clear night in Mid- Michigan that little baby could pick up all kinds of stuff. To say I was impressed was an understatement.

Our summer days were always planned around Ernie, the little black transistor radio and the Tigers (and Grandma’s fried chicken). I couldn’t think of a better way to spend time in the boondocks then with my best friend, the radio, Ernie and the Tigers.

Ernie had so many one liners but my favorite line of his was “he stood there like the house by the side of the road”. I loved that line so much it’s part of the opening to my sports show.

I still remember the day when my Grandpa died. I was just 15 years old and obviously was pretty distraught. No one could console me except for Ernie and fortunately for me the Tigers were playing a Grapefruit League game in Lakeland and Ernie was on the air.

Ernie sounded a little sad that day….I wonder if he knew?

Pretty soon it will be the 32nd anniversary of my best friend’s death and last night, while watching the Mets on a contraption my Grandfather wouldn’t have believed could ever possibly exist, I thought about Ernie, the radio and of course my best friend. I wondered what they would think about me watching a Mets game from Greece and I longed for the good old days….with my best friend, the radio and Ernie.

At least no one blocked my reception!

Daniel Murphy is the Mets Second Baseman….at Least For Now

I’ll be honest here. I’m a BIG fan of Daniel Murphy. I like his work ethic and I especially like watching him swing that big left handed bat of his but I’m not a big fan of his being the everyday second baseman for the 2012 New York Mets.

After reading this article here I’m still not a big fan of this idea but it is what it is and as a fan I must accept that, at least for now, and for the unforeseeable future, Daniel Murphy will be the starting second baseman.

I agree with Mets manager Terry Collins when he rightly states the Mets need his bat in the everyday lineup.

I think Collins also knows that second base is less than an ideal fit for Murphy but what can Collins do?

In a perfect world Murphy would be patrolling either first or third base but as long as Ike Davis and David Wright are in Mets uniforms those two options are out the window.

In a less than perfect world Murphy could play left field but unfortunately for him, and probably the Mets as well, Jason Bay is the man for now.

That leaves Collins no other option but to play Murphy at second base.

I know you all know this stuff as do I but it’s so darn hard to accept that Murphy will be playing at a position where his season has prematurely ended not one but the last TWO seasons only because his bat is needed but is butt is in the wrong place.

Let’s hope for Murphy’s sake his butt winds up in the right place so the Mets don’t lose his bat!

New York Mets Unveil New “Underdog” T-Shirts

Yesterday the New York Mets received these beautiful orange “Underdog” t-shirts compliments Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. I think they look pretty cool….don’t you?

I for one was a big fan of Underdog….and if you are too young to know who Underdog was you can visit here.

The Mets will be sporting their new complimentary duds during spring training and I hope they wear them all year long.

It’s OK to like them even if some folks don’t.

I swear some folks wouldn’t be happy if they were hung with a new rope.

 

 

David Wright: I’ll Let Mets Come to Me

I was making my usual daily visit to Mets Blog and saw something that caught my eye. It appears that David Wright has decided to let the Mets front office come to him in regards to a new contract. Here’s what Mets Blog says he said;

This afternoon at Digital Domain Park, David Wright spoke with reporters and, according to MetsBlog.com’s Michael Baron, said he will not approach the Mets about a contract extension – rather, he will let them come to him.

Wright said he has not discussed a new contract with his agents yet, and conjectured whether or not the team needs to work through their financial struggles before engaging in contract talks.

I think Wright is absolutely right…

Let’s be honest for a moment. If you were Sandy Alderson would you give Wright a contract extension prior to this season?

Ok, I know what Omar Minaya would do but I’m asking you if you would sign David Wright to a contract extension today.

I know he’s the face of the Mets and probably one of the only ones on this year’s team worth watching but would you sign him right now?

I know 2011 was a tough year for Wright. He played through the pain of a broken back that landed him on the DL for a couple of months and when he returned he did pretty well.

Unfortunately this is 2012 and he’ll need to be more than just the loyal face of the Mets. He’ll need to return to the form he showed in 2010 if he hopes to remain a New York Met for life as he’s always wished that he could be.

Wright will need to explode from day one and never look back. If he does that than Sandy Alderson will do exactly as Wright wishes…he will come to him and give him what he wants.

I hope Wright is able to return to his past success and get to be a Met for life. If he doesn’t then the Mets should make the decision by the trading deadline to deal him to the highest bidder.

Wright is absolutely right. The Mets need to come to him and they will. It’s up to Wright whether Alderson comes to him with a contract extension or whether it’s to shake his hand, wish him well and thank him for his loyalty and years of service.

I hope it’s a contract extension….don’t you?

David Wright says “We have to do the little things right”

It’s now down to four days to the official date when New York Mets pitchers and catchers are supposed to report to Port St. Lucie for that annual rite of passage known as spring training. I’ve been scouring the internet looking for stories regarding my beloved Mets and came across this piece that I would like to interact with a bit.

Forget all the lamenting about who isn’t around any longer but what I liked most about this article is what Mets third sacker David Wright said;

“It’s going to be a huge challenge,” Wright said. “And I think we understand that everyone in our division got better. We have to do the little things right. We’re not going to be able to outslug teams or outpitch these teams with a lot of number one starters. … A lot of these teams, we’re not going to be able to match them pitching-wise or run-for-run, but I think we can outwork or out-prepare them.”

David is exactly right. It will be a “huge challenge” as it is for the other 29 teams who are supposed to be competing to see who holds up the Commissioners Trophy at the end of the season.

Unfortunately for the Mets their challenge is a bit different then their NL East counterparts.

Doing the little things right is something the Mets haven’t done a very good job of these last few seasons.

One of those little things the Mets could use some work on would be picking up the ball…. In 2011 the Mets were one of the worst defensive teams in all of baseball and with the question marks surrounding the pitching staff defense would and should be a little thing the Mets spend a TON of time working on this spring.

Another little thing the Mets could use some work on would be stolen bases. In 2011 the Mets had 133 stolen bases with Angel Pagan and Jose Reyes accounting for over half of them. Now that Pagan and Reyes are no longer on the club the responsibility falls on newly acquired center fielder Andres Torres.

Why are stolen bases a “little thing” the Mets could use some work on? For starters the Mets led the National League in fly balls. They also finished near the bottom of the National League in grounded into double plays. Getting runners in scoring position will be crucial if the Mets are to succeed in 2012.

Those are just a couple of little things I think the Mets should be working on and if they do clean up these areas then that ‘huge challenge” doesn’t seem so huge.

Are the New York Mets Really Waving the White Flag?

I absolutely love this time of year. The annual rite of passage known as Spring Training is nearer then Greece’s economic collapse and I’m excited about the upcoming baseball season and nothing gets me more fired up than when a reporter like Jon Paul Morosi claims the New York Mets are waving the white flag. You can read his article here if you would like.

Why even bother heading down to Port Saint Lucie, boys. Stay home and rest up until the Mets are able to spend the type of money that would keep Greece afloat for another month or two.

Is Morosi kidding or what?

I like what Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson had to say….

 

“It’s a perception,” Alderson acknowledged Sunday. “But I don’t think anybody in the division could add any more talent to their roster than we can. We’re talking about adding Johan Santana. We’re talking about adding Ike DavisDaniel Murphy was the fifth-leading hitter in the league when he went out with his injury. David Wrightmissed two months. [All are expected to be full participants in spring training.] We’ve substantially improved our bullpen.

“So, did we add talent? I think we did, the fact that we didn’t sign someone for $100 million notwithstanding. … It’s an uphill battle getting that message across.”

I have to believe that Sandy is correct here.

Ike Davis was seemingly headed towards an All-Star type season prior to spending the majority of the 2011 on the disabled list. From everything I’ve heard Davis is chomping at the bit to prove his rookie season wasn’t a fluke and hopefully 2012 will be a healthy and productive one.

Johan Santana missed the entire 2011 season and while I’m the first to admit he may never return to the form that made Santana an extremely feared and respected ace of the staff but he probably could be counted on to still win 12-15 games just on sheer nerve alone. Hopefully he’ll be healthy enough to be on the hill on opening day.

In 2011 Daniel Murphy had the type of season we Mets fans have been waiting for. It’s too darn bad an injury shortened his 2011 campaign and to be perfectly honest with you if this guy could ever stay healthy he may one day win a batting crown.

When you consider the guy was playing hurt prior to a 2 month stint that would have left most folks lying in their beds yelling for someone to bring them some soup David Wright had a very good 2011 and with the left field porch moved in 12 feet look for a great 2012 from Wright.

Frank Francisco had a decent season for a .500 team in Toronto and is definitely an upgrade over last year.

So tell me who in the National League East added this type of quality to their line-ups?

The answer is no one.

Did the Mets really get worse as Morosi claims? Are the Mets really waving the white flag and throwing in the towel on the 2012 season.

I suppose that’s why they play the games, right?