Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jusssst a bit outside: the New York Mets preview

Duty calls to preview the MLB season with 30 things somewhat about each of the 30 teams. At bat: the New York Mets.
  1. Kicking them while they're down: The Mets play in the world's media capital and its its former financial capital. That built-in economic advantage has given them is a lousy four World Series appearances in almost 50 seasons.

    The perpetually cash-poor Oakland Athletics have won six pennants in the same stretch.

  2. All part of the plan: Tom Seaver won two of his three Cy Young Awards on 82-win Mets teams in the 1970s. The idea must be to make the National League's best left-hander, Johan Santana, really earn it.

  3. Over-under on wins: 80½

  4. Take the ... Under, on general principle.

  5. Wright can't stay wrong: Every projection has third baseman David Wright finding his old form after a nightmarish 2009.

  6. In a sentence: The main question coming into the season is whether GM Omar Minaya or field manager Jerry Manuel gets fired first. It's that grim.

  7. Santana spelled with a K: The difference between Johan Santana being his old Cy Young self and a JAGOV (Just Another Guy of Value) is his strikeout rate, which has been 7.9 the past two seasons after six years in a row of 9-plus.

  8. One cool part about the Mets: Left-hander Hisanori Takahaski throws six pitches since he came over from Japan, where having only 12 major-league teams means pitchers need a deeper catalog. Just to spoil it for us, the Mets likely will make him a reliever, so he won't be able to run through his full repertoire in one- or two-inning relief stints. Why can't mediocre teams just make moves in the interest of obsessive fans?

  9. Worth repeating without commentary: From The New York Times last week: "Minaya said the Mets should slug better this season after signing Jason Bay. He also said Bay would help the defense in left field, and Daniel Murphy would improve at first base." It's long been known the key to winning is always fielding and that two spots on the low end of the defensive spectrum.

  10. You can freak out a Mets fan just saying "injuries": Their run production will rise on fall of how quick leadoff man José Reyes and centrefielder Carlos Beltrán, whose awesomeness is masking by park factors, make it back into the lineup.

  11. Kept at Bay: Citi Field surrendered the fifth-fewest homers in the majors, which raises the question why Jason Bay (pictured) and his bad knees signed up for 81 games a season there in a league with no DH.

  12. Isn't that the definition of irony: GM Omar Minaya's big off-season move was to sign Bay, who he traded away several years ago when he mortgaging the Expos/Nationals' future to make himself look good for a new job.

  13. This was Lee Mazzilli's number. And Dave Magadan's.

  14. The next ones: Credit where credit is due, outfielder Fernando Martinez, shortstop Wilmer Flores, first baseman Ike Davis and righty starter Jenrry Mejia are in the pipeline for a franchise which isn't exactly famous for homegrown talent. Some want Mejia in the majors now since hey, the 20-year-old's career well-being pales next to fans' impulsiveness.

    Why should the Mets worry about the future when theirs is so murky and uncertain?

  15. Kid, because you love: You would think the Mets would get a sympathetic treatment, on account of their owner getting ripped off by Bernie Madoff and, on a bajillion-times-smaller scale, this site riffing on Gary Carter several times.

  16. When in doubt: Blame the Mets' decline on former assistant GM Tony Bernazard, the big brain who was behind developing a lineup of push hitters, which is basically what he was during a pretty ennnnh career.

  17. Better know a prospect: They wouldn't do something stupid and trade away one of their young hopes such as Mejia or Flores?

  18. That's why there's a paywall: Competing headlines on the same day from The Times and Newsday, which charges for content: Reyes Feels Ready to Play, but Mets Are in No Rush (Times) and Reyes' target is Opening Day, but Mets won't rush him (Newsday).

  19. This almost makes up for missing the playoffs on the last day of the season ... twice: The iconic home run apple has been moved to a more prominent position, outside of Citi Field.

  20. No Mets preview is complete without ... digging up Steve Rushin's poem about Mets third basemen:
    Sandy Alomar
    Made like Alydar
    And sired a couple of studs
    But he was more awful
    Than day-old falafel
    Before long the job was Joel Youngblood's.
  21. Auspicious debut: Never forget that the first batter in the first game at Citi Field, Jody Gerut, hit a home run. Bring that up every time you're lashing out at this franchise, just because.

  22. The Ex-Jay Factor: Frank Catalanotto earning a roster spot would make for a trio of ex-Torontonians, along with catcher Rod Barajas and injured pitcher Kelvim Escobar. Let's be totally axiomatic and say having three former Jays will prevent any serious run. It wouldn't have anything to do with having Fernando Tatis batting in the middle of the order.

  23. Amazingly true stat: Tatis actually played two games at shortstop last season, a position he hadn't played in the majors in 11 years.

  24. Fun bet: Pretty please with sugar on top, may Jeff Francoeur join the exclusive "more home runs than walks" club? He almost did it last year (10 homers, 11 bases on balls).

  25. The original Hot Tub Time Machine: Their 2009 home run totals -- hitting just 95, with Daniel Murphy leading the team with 12 -- were straight out of 1986.

    That's what happens when you deprive players of their pregame uppers. Thanks a lot, Bud Selig.

  26. Future Hall of Very Gooder: Erstwhile first baseman Carlos Delgado, 27 homers short of the once-magic 500, wasn't retained by the Mets. His biggest comp during his last three seasons with the Mets was another former Blue Jays first baseman, Fred McGriff, who also has a very long road to Cooperstown.

  27. A PhD thesis to be named later: Some pop culture nerd could write about American sitcom characters' baseball allegiances, positing that the best ones gravitate toward the Yankees and recoil from the Mets.

    Seinfeld was filled with Mets references in its critically acclaimed but less watched early seasons, but aligned itself with the 1990s Yankees as the series progressed. The episode where the gang gets kicked out of Yankee Stadium after Elaine refuses to take off her Orioles cap even predated the Keith Hernandez "second spitter" episode.

    How I Met Your Mother
    has worked in the Yankees at myriad times through the years, but the series' only Mets reference ever was a portent of doom. In the show's fourth season, it becomes clear Ted Mosby's latest relationship was doomed when it's pointed out, "Stella's a Mets fan."

    King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond professed a clear Mets rooting interest, but both of those shows sucked.

  28. Yep, they're radioactive: Keith Olbermann said once, "Revoke the Mets franchise before it achieves nuclear capability."

  29. PECOTA says: 78-84, fourth NL East, 743 runs scored, 781 against.

  30. In English, please: Paraphrasing Mexism No. 224, it's going to "HORRIBLY exciting."


Rob Pettapiece said...

8. The number of pitches a Japanese player has that have never been seen by MLB hitters is always zero, no matter how often people think Daisuke throws a gyroball.

23. Cannot be true.

27. Back, and to the left.

sager said...

23. Three games at shortstop in 1998, two in 2009. You could look it up.

27. "That is one magic loogie."