So we all knew Mets did a poor job of keeping the fact they would have a few new uniform looks in 2013 a secret but all the same was anyone as shocked as me by how softly they revealed them today given the potential for the new look to spark a retail renaissance and maybe sell a few tickets? Couldn't they have asked Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum to come along for a big runway show instead of unceremoniously Tweeting the news that these new looks are available?
Come on Mets, you don't need geeks like me to tell you there are thousands of fans who eat this kind of stuff up. I mean, new unis is something the Yankees never get to do, why the sudden soft sell? And why do you suppose when they showed this rather handsome new road-blue jersey they showed it with ... Ronny Cedeno's number? (never mind, I get that now. Sheesh).
Those curious asides aside, I think we've got a handsome jersey, particularly the return of the silvery letters that last appeared on the Mets' jerseys the last time they were blue. I'm not necessarily sold on the piping but at the same time welcome the orange back to the color scheme. My other critique, such as it is, is that the shade of blue is much darker than it was 30 years ago, as though someone dumped half a bottle of purple into the royal shade of yesteryear. I guess black dies hard.
Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those Howie Rose types who bemoans every moment the Mets aren't outfitted in baggy wool pinstripes: I like that things can change from time to time and I believe the Mets could easily and successfully get away with going further in this change: How about an alternate hat with a Mr. Met logo? As I mentioned above it's something the Mets have on the Yankees, at least when they do it right. Here I think they have a good looking alternate, and it's weird that they're keeping it to themselves.
So long, Jason Bay, and sorry it didn't work out. I'm not so certain the agreement to tear up Bay's contract and all its associated evils will necessarily garner the team any more flexibility with regards to the payroll -- he shouldn't settle for a nickel less than his moronic bosses agreed to pay him -- but in the sense it means Someone Else will play left field for the Mets next year, I'm delighted.
And so ends yet another Omar Minaya Free Agent debacle, guys who signed back when the Wilpons were awash in free money and absolutely convinced of the wisdom of paying full retail for Brand-Name Stars. I will always associate Bay with Johan Santana, Francisco Rodriguez, and a lesser extent with Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez, as foreseeable wastes of good money who played their way off the team despite money on the table. (Yeah, Santana earned some of his and still belongs to the organization, but I'm convinced if Sandy Alderson only could, he'd have sent him packing already).
We pointed out numerous times that Bay was a poor fit in the No. 44 jersey, not only because the number itself tends to be a poor one on Mets, but because the whole assignment reeked of forced equity from the start. Bay was not a 44: He was just a guy. We should have paid and treated him like one.
Yes, guys, I know, it's my first post in months, and I apologize for the lengthy funk. Part of the delay had to do with my struggling with a redesign of the site, which remains in need of some engine and bodywork, and part was my running out of ways to make the end of another disappointing season fun and interesting. During the time off I made some progress toward a solution which hopefully will make the site better looking, easier to read (and from my perspective, manage) but it may take some time to get together so be patient. I will endeavor to update when I can and as always am happy to engage in the comments section or via email. I also twitter sometimes at @springer66 but that too tends to come in bursts.
Hope everyone survived the storm, by the way. MBTN Headquarters stayed dry and with power/Internet almost throughout although I know lots of friends and neighbors who didn't.
I'm no more panicy or distressed today than I was weeks ago over this team, just a little disappointed now that it looks like they're headed for another last place finish when 3rd place once looked so attainable. Some insist this demands the end of the Terry Collins Era; I'm of the feeling that Terry would be around until the team is ready to be passed along to the next guy, but it's getting harder to imagine when that day is coming. This team needs a lot of help. So does Terry.
He presided over another bad loss yesterday, as the bullpen, poor defense and a punchless offense wasted a fine debut effort from Collin McHugh, the new No. 36. You might have noticed Robert Carson was back for a spell too.
And you might also have seen this article the other day by hardworking blogger Brian Joura, reviewing the failures of the Mets and Collins as they idiotically pursue "a second lefty" the same way Jerry Manuel wasted so much time and energy on the "8th inning guy" while the rest of the team grew increasingly tight and unable to give the bullpen much of anything to work with in the first place. Why, Joura asked, should a team value narrow platoon advantages over versatility? Where have you gone, Bob Myrick?
As it turned out, Bob Myrick died yesterday of a heart attack at age 59. Myrick, who wore No. 44 for the late-70s Mets, was a lefty who could start or relieve. His splits were radical only in the sense that they basically didn't exist: Joe Torre never once needed to tie his roster in knots in order to shoehorn him into a game. He more or less was an average reliever who happened to throw with his left arm, an almost unheard-of concept today.
Myrick's obituary mentioned first not that he was a former Mets pitcher, but that he was general manager of a family-run building supply business in Hattiesburg, Miss. — his hometown, and also Robert Carson's hometown. It's entirely possible Robert Carson grew up in a home built with lumber Bob Myrick provided.
In the event you didn't see it before, my biography of Lee Mazzilli was recently published at SABR's Biography Project. I thought Mazzilli made an interesting topic if I may say so myself!
Not mentioned there (but always mentioned here), Mazzilli wore 3 different numbers as a Met. He debuted wearing No. 12 in 1976, but switched assignments with fellow youngster John Stearns in 1977. It's not clear exactly why this happened, but the accompany photo of Stearns here in his Colorado Buffalos gear presents a compelling suggestion. Mazzilli's No. 16, which he wore through his glory years and the Mets' worst years, was issued to Dwight Gooden when the Mets miraculously reacquired Maz in 1986. Mazzilli wore No. 13 thereafter.
We'll know in a matter of hours what number they put on newly acquired catcher Kelly Shoppach, whose customary No. 10 is worn by manager Terry Collins (in honor of his mentor Jim Leyland in case you didn't know). Popular speculation includes 20 and/or 22, but it might be fun to see him wearing No. 6. Then he can take 10 in the event Terry gets whacked for overseeing a sonambulent second-half yet again, though I don't think that'll happen). But seeing as someone should take the blame for this rotten second half I wouldn't be shopping for a home in the area were I Dan Warthen. I think Terry serves until the Mets are truly ready to contend then step aside for the post-turnaround leadership.
Not that I don't want him to succeed, but Josh Thole to me has looked in deperate need of a lengthy break since well before the All-Star Break, and increasingly appears as though his best role will be as a backup. We gave him a shot anyway. This Shoppach move gives us a look-see at a guy who can be a free agent after the season, at the cost of a player-to-be-named.
UPDATE: Sure enough he's a 6. Yeah!
Garrett Olson was assigned No. 38 during Spring Training and with those digits still unassigned, its a good bet that's the number the Mets call on when they need to retire a lefthanded hitter this week. Olson is expected to join the Mets Tuesday after the club revealed the shoulder injury to Tim Byrdak was more serious than they expected. Like, Johan Santana serious.
This is not official but it is expected the corresponding move will be to demote Elvin Ramirez again. Byrdak went onto the disabled list over the weekend whgen closer Frank Francisco returned from the DL. Also back now from injury is Mike Baxter, with Kirk Niuewenhuis mercifully returned to Buffalo.
That's not quite the flurry of moves many expected this year at the trading deadline but after stewing for a bit over the seeming pointlessness of retaining Byrdak, Scott Hairston and Jon Rauch, I came around the Sandy Alderson's so-many-words point that there might be some value in finishing third rather than last for a change. We Mets way too often go hell-bent for one or the other.
I didn't have the courage to stay up past the seventh inning of last night's game in Arizona but gathered from the box score that it turned out alright if you can forgive the shakiness of the 8th and 9th and while overlooking that Mets managed only two baserunners against the entire Diamondback bullpen amid David Wright's growing slump.
I'd be more optimistic today if I knew there were an offensive version of Matt Harvey down there at AAA ready to make the next step, but I don't see one. And looking realistically at the organization, you'd figure there's a need to replace as many as three outfielders; get a catcher who can hit; and probably, a better second baseman before they're ready to adequately support guys like Harvey, Wheeler and whatever else the more developed pitching pipeline produces. What I'm saying is, maybe the club will make a trade or two before the clock strikes midnight Tuesday. And if so, let's hope they produce hitters that can help tomorrow and not relief pitchers for tonight.
Have we seen the last of Lucas Duda? The big lefty looked promising for a while, but hasn't hit with enough power this year to forgive his poor glove and this week was banished to AAA Buffalo. If the Mets think Ike Davis has put his nightmares behind him and is the better bet at first base, Duda could go in one of the trades. Anyway, he's down, Manny Acosta is back up, Mike Nickeas is down, Rob Johnson is back up, Pedro Beato is down, and Matt Harvey looks awfully good in No. 33.
I can understand the Mets being patient and trying to manage expectations with regards to pitching prospect Matt Harvey, who appears to be making his first major league start later this week in Arizona. But geez, did they have to go Miguel Batista one more time? His ouster in Saturday's debacle with Los Angeles was about the least surprising of the many bad things to have happened to the Mets since the All-Star break. That performance got Batista designated for assignment. Combined with Johan Santana's deserved trip to the disabled list, it paves the way for Harvey's ascendancy ready or not.
Recent trends notwithstanding, I can't see the Mets continuing to climb the ladder for pitcher numbers and issue Harvey something in the 60s or 70s. I'd expect something like 36, although 33 and 22 are available as well.
In other news, Elvin Ramirez, wearing 62, is back again.
The Mets look like a team nearly wiped out from a lack of confidence that's swept like a virus, infecting the bullpen first and now spreading throughout the lineup. I'm not putting it past the Mets to get healthy again but the offense in general requires more fixes than just that, and sadly, there's few Matt Harveys waiting in Buffalo for their chance to hit their way onto this team.
What uni do you think Harvey shows up in?
There's no doubt new equipment manager Kevin Kierst is wild about the high numbers, his reign as equipment manager also saw 60s assignments to Jon Rauch (60), Jack Egbert (61), Elvin Ramirez (62) and Josh Stinson (64); and a 73 issued this year to Robert Carson. These jerseys at one time were almost exclusively a spring-training thing, with the only exceptions being brief debut appearances of 61 (Jesse Orosco, Mario Ramirez) and 62 (Hubie Brooks) in 1979 and 1980.
The Mets then went more than 20 years without issuing a 60s jersey until Jeff Duncan came along in 2003. Chan-Ho Park and Livan Hernandez both later wore 61, but came to the Mets having worn that number elsewhere. Scott Schoeneweis broke 60's cherry in 2007 but was also continuing a tradition. So perhaps then the spritual grandfather of today's common Met-relief-pitcher-in-the-60s is good old Elmer Dessens, who debuted 64 in 2009.
We have yet to see a 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, or 72, but there's still time.
By now you probably know all about Dillon Gee's blood-clot surgery and the probability he won't be back for awhile. While off-days and the lengthy All-Star Break assure we wouldn't necessarily need a fifth starter for another week or so already there's much speculation this means the impending promotion of Matt Harvey or even Zack Wheeler amid fears that instead it'll be Miguel Batista or Jeremy Hefner. And no matter what, it slathers an extra helping of intrigue over the possibility the Mets make a trade in the coming weeks: the deadline is less than 3 weeks away.
In the immediate future there's a the matter of what number Josh Edgin will wear. You might recall this beefy lefthanded relief prospect from Spring Training, when a surprisingly strong performance had him elevated from the longshotty No. 87 to the respectable No. 54 before a late cut relegated him to the minors. The issue since then is that bullpen catcher Dave Racianello has been wearing 54 (despite what its says on the Mets official roster), so it looks as though Edgin will need another number: 20, 22, 32, 38, and 64 are still available.