Monday, April 06, 2009

Batter up: New York Mets

It's that mystical, wonderful time of year where you commit to a team who you know fully well won't win. This season, in honour of an popular Internet meme, we'll present 25 things tangentially about each Major League Baseball team. At bat: The Nye Mets.
  1. Carlos Delgado will hit his 500th career homer on Sept. 25 in Florida. That's not a guess. That's what's going to happen.

  2. Left-hander Johan Santana, in his second go-round in the league, seems like a decent pick to win the Cy Young Award. Pedro Martínez and Randy Johnson each won in their second season after changing leagues, so ...

  3. The estimable Allen Barra is positing that it's The Year of José Reyes. The leadoff man has been Tall Poppy Syndromed. Slow starts in 2006 and '08 didn't help hus cause. Reyes hit .356/.442/.596 in the first month of the '07 season and this is an odd-numbered season ...

  4. There's been good debate all winter whether Citi Field will be a death valley park, even more so than Shea Stadium, which had exceptionally poor visibility.

  5. Their starting pitching probably just has to be good enough. There are no big names, but right-hander Mike Pelfrey allowed only six home runs last season. Oliver Pérez is always going to be NYC tabloid fodder all season, but he was good over the final three months last season. John Maine is good except he's made of glass. Please keep in mind it's better for the old media if everyone just accepts the Mets have no starting pitching outside Santana.

  6. Santana is being played up as a clubhouse leader. Championships are won in the clubhouse (even Bill James says so — probably), so it's possible the Mets felt the older Santana and Pedro Martinez together would not work.

  7. David Wright, Delgado, centrefielder Carlos Beltrán and rightfielder Ryan Church are a decent meat of the order, at least for the National League.

  8. Random announcer babble: "Daniel Murphy sees a lot of pitches." Drink!

    The 24-year-old is pencilled in as the No. 2 hitter. The Mets had a cast of thousands in the 2-hole last season.

  9. Can Beltrán ever get any attention in MVP voting? No Met has ever won MVP.

  10. No Mets pitcher has ever thrown a no-hitter, either.

  11. You've heard it ad nauseam that the Phillies are attempting to become the first National League team to repeat as World Series champions since the '75-76 Reds. It might be hard to do it as second-place team behind the Metropolitans.

  12. Picking up Gary Sheffield (obvious joke: Will he hit his 500th before Delgado, who's only 30 behind him?) is no-fuss, no-muss, for the most part. What's the worst that can happen with signing a 40-year-old tainted by the Mitchell Report, who cannot be stashed at the DH spot?

    Sheffield could give the Mets 350 good plate appearances.

  13. A theory that can be ignored is that since David Wright had a big game-winning hit in Team USA's comeback win over Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, he'll carry the Mets all season.

  14. Give a good team enough chances and they'll be bound to win sooner or later. That held for the Phillies in 2008, so ipso facto, the Mets should make the playoffs are losing on the last day of the season two years in a row.

  15. It would be a shame if Pedro Martínez doesn't sign soon.

  16. Their Triple-A team, the Buffalo Bisons, is giving free tickets to the unemployed. That's not going to fly in Western New York. (The Jays having their top farm team there would have been nice, but it's not Buffalo's fault it didn't happen.)

  17. The Mets don't do the whole farm-system thing much at all. It's cute that their Double-A team in Binghamton, N.Y., is called the B-Mets, and the logo includes a bee. Ralph Wiggum would approve.

  18. One reason to be sentimental about the Mets: Starting catcher Brian Schneider is a former Expo. He gets the job done, although when a team's missed the playoffs a

  19. There wasn't a lot of news coverage about it, but they added two closers from the AL West, JJ Putz in a three-way trade involving the Mariners and Frankie Rodriguez from the Angels. It could have been three, but Huston Street had a bad year and no one could figure out who was closing for Texas, including the Rangers (C.J. Wilson, 22 saves, but a 6-something ERA).

  20. The 20th anniversary of Darryl Strawberry punching Keith Hernandez during a team photo session passed rather quietly last month. The joke at the time was, "It was the first time Strawberry hit the cutoff man all year."

  21. It was easy to get sucked into being a Marxist about the new stadium bearing the name of a major recipient of the U.S. federal government bailout. Few bothered to point out that Shea Stadium's namesake, Bill Shea, was a heavy-hitter lawyer who lobbied the U.S. Congress to pressure the National League into putting a team in New York City — and then helped get a stadium built at, wait for it, the taxpayers' expense. Putting Citi Group's name on the new place is actually true to history.

  22. Great trivia answer: They won a World Series before winning an Opening Day game (thank you, Real Clear Sports). The Mets lost their first eight openers before the Miracle in 1969.

  23. Opening Day in Cincinnati might be snowed out. You can question the wisdom of scheduling a game in Ohio on April 5, but baseball season always starts in Cincy, except when there's a game the night before.

  24. Former Met Gary Carter is managing the Atlantic League's Long Island Ducks, which the Good Lord willing, will provide further comic fodder.
  25. "Unfortunately, the immutable laws of physics contradict the entire premise of your account ..."

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