You gotta give it up for the New Yorker and its stunning article this week capturing Fred Wilpon as the loving-but-clueless father of Everything That's Wrong With The Mets, from its lukewarm support of its own players, to the dumb stadium, to the spoiled son playing with private jets, to the mismanaged finances, to ownership's overinflated confidence in its own baseball smarts, to the tin ear for fans and good media, to the stupid patriotic hats.
Your take might differ but I've come to the conclusion there was no way the Wilpons could have been aware enough to have realized their friend Bernard Madoff was a fraud, and no way the team today could lose any of Wright, Beltran or Reyes and not look they were invited to walk by the owner himself. Another brilliant Mets PR disaster and hopefully another reason for these well-meaning but incompetant owners to move on to something less challenging.
All we can do is dance.
Hello again from sole possession of 4th place. These banged-up replace-Mets are impressing me with their drive, even while disaster forever lurks nearby.
Longtime MBTN contributor Shorty in New Jersey delivered the following awesomeness to the mailbox the other day. Check it out.
I don't know about you, but given the 2011 Mets so far, 5-5 in their next 10 sounds like a pretty good bet, after which Collins will aim for and hopefully miss badly the managerial career of Frank Howard, who in 116 games managing the Mets won only 52 of them. For Terry's crew to match that record, they'd need to stink up the joint to a record of 31-42 over their next 73.
I can't think of a better way to prevent .425 baseball this summer than to see R.A. Dickey turn things around, and soon. Whether it's his book deal and erudite interviews, his control of the knuckler, or what, he's got to be better than the guy he's pitching against for these Mets to win his games -- the offense just isn't there to take back all the leads than he's surrendered. Tonight's game at MFY Stadium is a big moment then for all of us, so Let's Go Mets.
Meantime, I got another message from a reader named Josh, who's looking for information on uni numbers for the Tidewater Tides, particularly in the Todd Hundley Era (early 1990s). If you can help Josh, feel free to write him at swishagency (at) gmail (dot) (com). Thanks in advance for the help!
I swiped the accompanying image from Mets Gazette, I think it lends an appropriate gravity to all that's going on these days.
Always a bummer when one of your key guys breaks his back, but what's Jason Bay's excuse? His failure to put the ball in play last night loomed large in a revolting 2-1 extra inning home loss to the Marlins last night that was followed by the announcement that two additional culprits -- noodle-batted reserve infielder Chin-lung Hu, and hopeless relief hack Ryota Igarashi -- would be headed to Class AAA Buffalo. I know it's impossible and counterproductive, but I'd send Bay there with them just to punish him. In a bus.
Recalled to take the places of Hu and Igarshi are Ruben Tejada and Pedro Beato, respectively. Tejada was with the Mets last season assigned No. 11; Beato will retake the No. 27 he wore earlier this year.
As for David Wright, he has a broken back requiring at least a few weeks of rest. Met officials say it's likely he'll hit the disabled list today and be replaced on the roster by perpetual tourist Nick Evans and his trusty No. 6 jersey.
Bonus for the first commenter to recognize the obscure headline reference!
In what was probably the lamest-looking Met injury since Mike Piazza ruptured a groin on an inside pitch in 2003, Ike Davis hit the disabled list today with what officials are calling an ankle sprain and bone bruise suffered while waiting for a pop fly to come down from the sky the other night. Couldn't he have have gotten hurt diving into the stands or legging out a triple like a real jock? Whatever else is wrong with the Mets these days, Ike wasn't ever part of the problem and his absence, even if it's only for a few weeks, is going to hurt whatever expectations you had for the Mets. Fernando Martinez, who isn't currently injured, was recalled to take his place and reportedly in Denver in his No. 26 jersey.
In case you didn't see it, revealing article by the incomparable Paul Lukas of ESPN today examining the tossed-off manner with which the Mets adopted the ugly black uniforms they've been wearing for 13 years now. By all means read the article but don't let me spoil the secret that it was motivated by a combination of greed and Yankee paranoia, poorly thought through, and carelessly executed. Given the fact that the man seemingly most responsible for this debacle was arrested the other day and charged with stealing from his bosses — you can't get away with that in Flushing anymore — and otherwise brought shame and disrepute to the organization given his alleged involvement in an illegal sports gambling operation, you'd think the Mets would move to distance themselves from the literal and figurative darkness the whole black jersey represents, but the Mets never learn.
My friend and frequent MBTN contributor Paul the other day suggested he was rooting for Francisco Rodriguez's option to kick in with the idea that it could represent the obligation that triggers the Wilpon's ultimate financial ruin and forces them to the selling block and poorhouse. He wasn't joking and I'm beginning to see the light myself.
Hello, got the following the other day from longtime MBTN contributor Gordon:
When the Mets came into the clubhouse after Saturday night's victory over the Dodgers, WPIX had a camera set up showing the high 5's. Greeting the victors was uniform number 60 with the name Castro. I can't find him on any of the Mets major league or minor league rosters. Any idea?
Actually, Gordon, I don't, and the photo you provided (posted above) only makes things more mysterious. A google search for "Castro 60" reveals that the man pictured should be Lilliano Castro, who was photographed along with the rest of the Mets at spring training. But that's the only clue to his identity, the google trail goes cold after several pages noting this photograph. I'd guess Mr. Castro is an organizational instructor of some kind, probably a catching instructor. But if there was a press release noting such, I missed it. A look back at our spring training rosters shows No. 60 as "vacant."
Hard to believe in this day and age of media saturation and web sites obsessively chronicling the mundane that stories like Castro's escape our attention but I guess some always will. Anyone know who this guy is? There's probably a good story here.
Sorry about the infrequent updates. Became convinced my enthusiasm at the tail end of the winning streak killed it and was scared to further mess it up. Now it seems hardly to matter. Tuesday's gutwrenching loss almost assured a humiliation on Wednesday and the loss to injury of Pedro Beato didn't help. The Mets real trouble however is the offense, with too little coming from the end of the lineup and less than that from the bench so far. It sure hasn't helped that Jason Bay's missed more time than we could afford to lose already (and it's still early). His latest absence for paternity leave forced the recall of Lucas Duda, in whom Terry Collins (and Lucas Duda for that matter) has no faith.
Taking Beato's place is lefty Mike O'Connor. I tried to look up some information on him and came across the image accompanying this post which seemed only too appropriate for the mess this franchise has become. It's not just the gut-punchy losses. It's the lifeless, charmless, two-thirds empty park they play in and the sense of doom around the finances of the owners, who'd be in financial trouble even without the looming lawsuit. It's a fragile team prone to hangovers -- and until Mike Pelfrey and RA Dickey turn it around -- unable to generate a lot of momentum of their own. Maybe things improve upon the return of Bay and Angel Pagan this weekend. Maybe not.
O'Connor: Taking over the No. 50 most recently belonging to Sean Green. His next appearance will be his first in the majors since 2008 with the Nationals, the team that drafted him out of George Washington U in 2008.
Just a note to say thanks for keeping me up-to-date while I was away, the roster changes have been noted and they sure seem to be working. At the risk of getting in the way of this little roll we've got going on here tonight's game was about as inspiring a win as I can remember for the Mets in a few years at least and even though it's very early, it's great to see they have this in them.
For the record I've got Justin Turner in No. 2; and the Jasons: Pridie in 20 and Bay in 44: not to mention Isringhausen in 45. Brad Emaus who looked for a moment like he might have been Dan Uggla but instead played like Dan Ugly, gives up No. 4, while Angel Pagan and Bobby Parnell look to heal physically.
Dan Murphy?! My god.
Super job by Dillon Gee and beleaguered manager Terry Collins on Sunday to stop an ugly losing streak. Seems like last weekend's surprise series loss to Washington was so demoralizing it seemed combat against a superior opponent in the Rockies offered no choice but to succumb, hard at first, then increasingly easily. At some point it became less about admiring the Mets for hanging in there, and started to resemble something like a bare-knuckle beating. By the time they got to Atlanta of course Wright was in the throes of a pateneted three-whiffs-a-night slump. Things had to get worse before they had a chance to get better.
I'm on my way out of town, so you'll have to enjoy this week's action without any updates but I hope you can join me in support for a battle against Lou Gehrig's Disease, which unfortunately has affected my sister Jen (that's Jen above with her husband Chris and her three kids at Shea). ALS is a progressive nuerological disorder resulting in paralysis and eventually fatality. There is no known cause and no known cure. The Packard Center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where Jen is getting treatment, is the country's leading ALS research center and is supported entirely by contributions. There is no money in fighting rare disease!
The Fiesta 5K race in Baltimore May 7 is the Packard Center's largest annual fundraising event. Some great old friends of Jen's and myself -- many comprising the Harborfields High cross country team half a lifetime ago -- are getting together to run the race that day and would like your support. Here is my fundraising page -- click "Support Jon" to make a contribution: Every little bit helps but let me know here if you've made a contribution and I'll get you a copy of the Mets by the Numbers book. What a deal! Thanks!
I was going to make a post today noting the significance of DJ Carrasco becoming not only the first starting pitcher in Mets history to take the mound wearing No. 77, but the pitcher with the highest uniform number ever to start a game for the Mets. Then I was reminded that tonight is Chuck Taylor Night, when ballplayers across the Majors gather to honor the contributions of the obscure Met hurler of 1972 by wearing his number 42.
Chuck Taylor? Not the guy the sneaker was named after but the righthander acquired from the Cardinals following the 1971 season in the Art Shamsky trade. Taylor came along with Jim Beauchamp, Harry Parker and minor league infielder Chip Coulter in exchange for Shamsky and Met minor leaguers Jim Bibby, Charlie Hudson and Rich Folkers. It was a typically terrible trade for the Mets, who within weeks would trade Nolan Ryan and a few more prospects to the Angels for Jim Fregosi. The New York Times described Taylor as the key player in the deal, noting that manager Gil Hodges was "impressed" with the 29-year-old who went 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA for St. Louis in 1971. "He will help us as a long and middle inning relief man," Hodges told the Daily News.
Other than making an impression on me as a 6-year-old -- for whatever reason, I clearly recall watching Chuck Taylor laboring on televison in a game the Mets were trailing by six runs, it's probably the earliest memory I have as a fan -- Taylor provided little help for the Mets, putting up an ugly 5.52 ERA with no decisions and two saves in 20 games before getting claimed by the Brewers on waivers that September. He'd later resurface as an effective late-inning reliever with Montreal. Bibby in the meantime had 13 years and 111 major league wins ahead of him, including a no-hitter.
So perhaps its fitting that Carrasco -- like Taylor a veteran right-handed middle reliever whose acquisition is so far curious -- takes the mound wearing 42 tonight. And Kenny Rogers' record is safe.
You might recall we celebrated Ron Hodges Day at this time last year.
Never real encouraging when Alex Cora and Washington Nationals manage to win 2 of 3 on your opening homestand. I don't want to kill Terry Collins yet, but seemed it was just common sense in a game you prepared to put away as tidily as possible to be sure the good hands people were on the field in the 8th. Instead, we saw Lucas Duda misjudge a fly ball to contribute to a rally to tie, and a worn-out bullpen eventually give it away in the 11th inning in a disheartening rubber-game loss.
We won't even have the culprits around to boo tomorrow. The conspicuous ones anyway. Duda was optioned to Buffalo after the game and Blaine Boyer, whose relief work and ginger beard have been extremely shaggy since an inspired drive to make the squad this spring, was designated for assignment. Will someone claim him? He's leading his team in saves after all. In their place are two returning relief pitchers: Ryota Igarashi and Jason Isringhausen. This arrangement will give the Mets 13 pitchers and is expected to last until Jason Bay returns.
Let's hope Bay brings some offense with him, because despite a few high-scoring games the Met offense has been largely dysfunctional and could use some more power. In the meantime it will be interesting to see whether Isringhausen arrives wearing 44 or 45. As discussed below, the former has more equity for Izzy than for Bay although it belongs to Bay. Considering his rotten luck, this looks like a great opportunity for Bay to garner some goodwill and change his luck.