NY Sports Dog: March 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Celebrity Met Fans

Isn't it interesting how many celebrities are Mets fans? It seems as if each game we see someone unexpected at the game in a Mets hat and say "he's a Mets fan?"

While this list is far from complete, it's pretty good, and all of the credit goes to "Fonzy1324" from the great site Mets Refugees for taking the time to put it together and share it with me.


Robert DeNiro
Jerry Seinfeld
Ben Stiller
Chris Rock
Jimmy Kimmel
Jon Stewart
Ray Romano
Matthew Broderick
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Viggo Mortensen
Tim Robbins
Susan Sarandon
Jason Alexander
Glenn Close
Kevin James
Jim Breuer
Charles Grodin
Julia Stiles
Matt Dillon
Kevin Dillon
Hilary Swank
John Leguizamo
Jerry Orbach (RIP)
George Carlin (RIP)
Nell Carter
Ed Burns
Michael Vartan (Alias, One Hour Photo)
Stephen Collins (7th Heaven)
Bradley Whitford (West Wing, Billy Madison)
Hank Azaria
Ellen Barkin
Kamal Ahmed (Jerky Boys)


Julian Casablancas (The Strokes)
Lars Ullrich (Metallica)
Luther Vandross (RIP)
Twisted Sister
Chuck D
DJ Clue
Adam Horowitz (Beastie Boys)
George Thorogood
Cyndi Lauper
JoJo Hermann (Widespread Panic)
Robert Randolph
Pearl Bailey (late jazz singer)
Yo La Tengo

TV/Radio Personalities:

Bill O'Reilly
Kelly Ripa
John Oliver (Daily Show)
Howard Stern/Robin Quivers/Gary Dell'Abate
Linda Cohn
Steve Somers
Joe Benigno
Sid Rosenberg
Mike Breen
Gary Cohen
Howie Rose
Richard Neer
Ian Eagle
Gene Shalit


Harper Lee
Paul Auster
P.G. Wodehouse


Richard Nixon
David Paterson
Chief Justice Earl Warren
Joe Klein
Carol Bellamy
Anthony Weiner

Sports World (claimed to root for the Mets in their formative years):

David Wright
Paul LoDuca
Willie Randolph
Al Leiter
John Franco
Doug Mientkiewicz
Alex Rodriguez
Gary Sheffield
JC Romero
Lee Mazzilli
Bobby Bonilla
Bobby Valentine
Steve Karsay
Rich Aurilia
Jon Daniels (Texas Rangers GM)
Stuart Sternberg (Rays principal owner)
Jeff Van Gundy
Chris Mullin
Tom Gugliotta
Tim Thomas
Ron Artest
Boomer Esiason
Dwight Freeney
Dallas Clark
Keith Bulluck
Gary Bettman (NHL commish)
John McEnroe
James Blake
Sarah Hughes (figure skater)
Mick Foley (WWE)

And then there is Spiderman--yes, Spiderman is a Mets fan:

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mets Stars Assuming Their Roles

As we inch closer to Opening Day, the Mets stars are building toward what everyone hopes will be a championship season.

Yesterday two of the biggest names put on a pitching display that is likely a foreshadowing of things to come this season.

Johan Santana pitched a 7-inning gem, needing only 75 pitches to shut down the Nationals . He struck out 6, walked 1, and gave up 1 run.

For those worried about his health, Santana answered everyone with a loud, "I'm fine!", though it was his arm that did most of the talking.

"I felt pretty good and had everything working," Santana said. "I was able to throw strikes and get ahead in the count. You're going to put yourself in a good position to throw quick innings."

The Mets closer, KRod, didn't pitch quite as well as the Mets Ace, but he got the job done.

Entering the game in the 8th inning, KRod allowed runners to reach first and third with no outs--and then he brought the magic, striking out the next two batters and inducing a ground out to end the inning.

As the first day of the season nears, the Mets team is taking shape...all-stars all over the diamond, the best pitcher in baseball fronting the starting rotation, and a record-setting closer.

Are there still questions? Of course there are. But the simple fact is that this team is built to win now, and yesterday showed us all why.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

2009 Mets Annual

Just finished my copy of the 2009 Maple Street Press Mets Annual, and I want to let you know what a terrific read it is.

The editors, Matt Silverman and Greg Spira, are both well-known to Mets fans. They did a masterful job writing and editing what really is the standard by which all other individual team compilations should be measured.

Matt's website, MetSilverman, is one of my daily stops. His thoughtful writing combines intellect, an analysts eye for detail, a great sense of humor, and a vast knowledge of Mets history.

In the Annual itself you'll find pieces by a bunch of our favorites, to include my good friend Ted Berg, Jon Springer, Howard Megdal (an extremely talented sports author), Andy Esposito and many more.

The annual itself is a great value, contains about 30 articles, has every number a stat-head could want, and has some really nice features on history, the new stadium, the 1969 team, a wonderful piece featuring Keith Hernandez, discussion of draft needs, a section on our best prospects, and some other terrific bennies like the schedule, stat breakdowns and much more.

So if you're looking for a quality product to sink your teeth into as we near opening day, this comes with my highest recommendation.

The book is carried at many newsstands and bookstores in the New York metropolitan areas, and you can always order it directly from Maple Street Press.Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Laying in the Reeds

This is actually a Ravi piece, but he asked me to post it for him as he is a man on the move of late! Enjoy!

Xavier Nady

John Maine

Oliver Perez

Jeremy Reed

What do all the above players have in common? I’ll get to that in a minute.

Jeremy Reed was drafted in the 2nd round by the Chicago White Sox, with the 59th overall pick in 2002. A year later, he was the Minor League Player of the Year.

He began the year at Single A, and after producing a line of .333/.437/.477, yielding an OPS of .914 over 222 at bats, he was promoted to Double-A, where he found his power stroke, and hit .409/.472/.591, with an OPS of 1.063.

He was promoted to AAA the following year, which included a mid-season trade to Seattle, and played a bit better in the hitter friendly PCL. He earned top prospect status, and a call-up after hitting .305/.367/.455, with an .822 OPS for Tacoma.

Reed began his MLB career on fire, batting .397/.470/.466 for Seattle, with an OPS+ of 149 (100 is average), at the ripe age of 24. 2005 wasn’t as kind to him, as he batted .254/.322/.352, with an OPS + of 84. While not on par with his debut the previous season, his production in 2005 was not terrible for a rookie, especially one who led all center fielders in range factor.

Based on his minor league numbers, Reed was supposed to be a guy who would hit for average, and get on base at a very nice clip, while showing modest power. Then the injuries came.

2006 was tough for Reed, as he sustained some significant injuries, as he hurt his right wrist making a play in spring training, and in July, broke his thumb trying to make a diving catch in extra innings. Reed spent most of 2007 in the minors, this time conquering Triple-A, putting together a ling of .300/.354/.452, with an .806 OPS in 564 AB’s. He only had 13 AB’s at the major league level that year, and never got into a grove. He began 2008 back in Triple-A, and once again showed that the league was no match for him, as he batted .349/.413/.557 with a .970 OPS in 149 at bats. When recalled to the majors in May, he responded by going .269/.314/.360, with an 82 OPS+ on a very weak hitting team while not getting consistent playing time.

This brings me to the question I asked at the top of this post. The thing that the four players have in common is that they attracted the eye of Omar Minaya.

As he did with Nady, Maine, Perez (and Church, some may argue), Omar found a talented player, who had issues with the injury bug, suffered from inconsistent playing time, who proved he was ready, but never had the opportunity to blossom.

Like Maine and Perez, Reed was seemingly a second thought – a body to help offset a much larger deal. However, we have come to learn that these were not just any throw in players, but were in fact targeted by Minaya. Certainly Omar has had some misses, but there is no doubt about his eye for talent, that eye was rewarded by the accomplishments of Nady, Maine and Perez.

This spring, Reed is making his case to join that group, as he is batting .426 over 26 games, while also hitting for power. Though it evokes shades of Butch Huskey, Reed has a pedigree that Butch, though a successful minor leaguer himself, never had. This isn’t to say that Reed will be an all-star, but it will be very interesting to see whether or not a guy, seemingly brought in for his glove, will also be able to get it done with his bat.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

When Players Get it Wright

I'm a military man--21 years, a lot of time away from home, and a 60% disability.

I wouldn't trade those years for anything--people talk about sacrifice, but to the men and women of the armed forces, it is anything but--it is an honor and a privilege.

You hear the guys in the WBC brag about a few weeks of wearing "USA" on their baseball uniform, and how good it makes them feel--and it should...but the men and women of the military do it one better...they get to wear USA on their uniform every day...it means a lot.

I read about Sgt Felix Perez the other day...he is a baseball fan, and he went to the WBC to see his countrymen play for a nation's honor.

Sgt Perez brought a flag to the game--it was given to him by his unit, the famed 82nd Airborne.

Sgt Perez can no longer walk because of injuries suffered in the war, but Sgt Perez can wave a flag.

When the United States beat Puerto Rico in the thrilling come from behind victory, Sgt Perez was waving his flag.

As the players piled into the clubhouse Sgt Perez was allowed in by a patriotic guard.

The players rejoiced with him, supported him, and signed the flag--all the players...then they chatted and chatted and chatted...finally Sgt Perez had to leave.

David Wright found out Sgt Perez was a Mets fan...he also found a way to say thank you to Sgt Perez...with a plane ticket to Los Angeles and tickets to tonight's game.

I hope he brings the flag.

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Where Will It End With Arod? Now It's "Escorts"

And the saga continues...

For those that haven't seen it, today's NY Daily News has another tabloid story about Alex Rodriguez, only now it's hookers and not steroids.

(See bottom of this post for his apology)

A former Manhattan madam who supplied Eliot Spitzer with hookers also counted Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez as a customer - and found him so charming she dated him herself for free, former employees of the call-girl agency tell the Daily News.

A-Rod wooed ex-madam Kristin Davis with flowers, jewelry, persistence and heated e-mails, according to the sources.

"Throughout the years, there were a number of clients that I befriended and it was not uncommon for them to want the women they can't have whether it be the phone bookers or the madam," Davis said.

"In regard to Alex, all I can say is our paths have definitely crossed personally and professionally."

Davis met Rodriguez in June of 2006 in a gym in Philadelphia, shortly after she opened a branch of her call-girl service in the City of Brotherly Love, sources said.

Davis told a friend the then-married Rodriguez asked her, "What are you doing tonight?"

The shapely madam didn't know who A-Rod was but found him "hot as hell," she told the friend. "I said, 'I'm having dinner with my boyfriend. But if you're looking for someone to hang out with, here's a number.' I gave him my agency's card."

That night, Davis told a friend, Rodriguez booked a two-hour "date" with one of her girls, who met him at the Four Seasons on Rittenhouse Square.

"He gave his real name," Davis told the friend. "The next day we found out who Alex Rodriguez was. The girl we sent freaked out. Her father (works for) another Major League Baseball team."

Rodriguez soon became a repeat customer of one of Davis' three Manhattan agencies, two former employees said.

In an e-mail exchange provided to The News by a former booker for Davis' Wicked Models, Rodriguez purportedly told Davis on Nov. 17, 2006: "Thanks for setting me up with Samantha. She was gorgeous. But she is not you. When can I see you you are gorgeous . . ."

The exchange goes on:

Davis: "Hi Alex. You don't want to see me. I'm no fun. lol. Just because your (sic) so sweet, here are some pics of me and I appreciate the compliments. Your (sic) a doll. Thanks, Kristin"

Rodriguez: "You have been playing hard to get for a year now, your (sic) killing me."

Davis: "It's not playing I am hard to get. Maybe you should try harder."

Rodriguez: "Kristin, I definitely will and I love the pics. I put the one on my cell so I can look at you all the time. Alex."

Davis: "You are too sweet. I'll let you know when I get someone you like."

Two former agency workers said A-Rod hired prostitutes more than a half-dozen times, often meeting them at the Four Seasons hotel on W. 57th St.

Here's a hint of what his apology on Oprah will look like.

Scene: A teary-eyed Alex sits across from Oprah, who is looking motherly, yet with a hint of tenderness behind the scorn...

Oprah: Alex, you are handsome, talented, rich as all get out chile', but why the hookers?

Alex: I was young, I was stupid, I made a mistake, the other guys in the clubhouse had female friends too.

Oprah: And what were you thinking when you were doing all this stuff with your "friends"?

Alex: I was young, I was stupid, I made a mistake, the other guys in the clubhouse had female friends too.

Oprah: And what's next for you? How do you get past this?

Alex: I was young, I was stupid, I made a mistake, the other guys in the clubhouse had female friends too.
And I just hope Yankee fans will see it in their hearts to forgive me, for I want nothing more than to be a true Yankee.

(40 second pause...ARod turns to his 2 teammates in attendance, neither of whom speak much English but were told to be there, and says with weepy eyes)

Alex: Thank you.
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Team USA has a Fighting Chance

Despite being decimated by injury, Team USA, which includes Mets stars David Wright and JJ Putz, is 2 games and 2 days away from winning the World Baseball Classic.

Though American fans have yet to turn out in large numbers, my sneaking suspicion is that tonight's semi-final game against Japan will draw a large TV audience. Should Team USA advance to the final against Korea, the numbers will get even better.

Tonight the American's will face a familiar face in Red Sox righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka.

As Newsday reports, Derek Jeter is ready:

"We face him all the time," Jeter said of Dice-K, who joined the Red Sox in 2007.

"Playing Boston 20 games a year, we see him all the time, so I'm familiar with what he throws. I think at this point in the season, pitching is usually a little ahead of the hitters. So it's going to be a challenge for us."
Thus far the Classic has been up and down--for every upset victory of the Dominican Republic, you get a 5 error Venezuelan fiasco. That said, there have been moments of brilliance, including David Wright's walkoff hit that propelled Team USA past Puerto Rico.
"I don't think I've ever had so many phone calls and messages after a game," Wright said.

"That's something, no matter what team you play for or who your favorite team is in the big leagues, you're talking about representing your country and putting this uniform on and going out there and being able to do that. That would be a memory that lasts a lifetime."
So yes my loyal readers, I will be watching tonight. Thought I am opposed to the WBC from an injury standpoint, the prospects of meaningful baseball on a March Sunday night is just too big a draw.

U-S-A! U-S-A!
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Training Musings

As we close in on Opening Day, things are pretty much falling into place with the Mets roster.  Livan seems to be separating himself from the other 5th starter candidates, while Johan's elbow and Pelfrey's calf seem to be fine.  At this point, all that is left to be decided is the 25th man on the roster.

For as long as I recall, the Mets have gone with  12 man pitching staff, and a 5 man bench. However, with Nick Evans showing life in his bat of late, some are wondering if he should have a spot on the big league team.  At the moment, the bench is comprised of Alex Cora, Ramon Castro, Fernando Tatis, Marlon Anderson, and Jeremy Reed/Cory Sullivan.  Its a fairly traditional line up, with a middle infield glove, outfield glove, RH power bat, LH bat, and backup catcher.  At the same time, Castro will see limited action as the backup catcher, so it is effectively a 4 man bench. 

In the bullpen, we've got the solid combo of Putz and K-Rod, plus recent stalwart Feliciano, and newly acquired Sean Green as locks.  Parnell has been picking up steam lately, as has Darren O'Day.  In those 6 players, you've got a closer, 8th inning guy, as well as a right handed and left handed specialist.  Of course we've seen that the specialists (Feliciano, O'Day) have good track records against opposite handed hitters, and therefore have a little bit more versatility.  The only thing lacking is a true long reliever, but Parnell is a guy who, as a converted starter can give multiple innings.  For me, the interesting battle here is O'Day vs. Stokes.  Odds are that whichever pitcher doesn't make it, may leave the organization (O'Day is a Rule V guy, and Stokes would have to pass through waivers).  Personally, I favor Stokes, because he is a better bet as a cross-over guy, while the novelty of O'Day as a sidearmer is diluted be the presence of Green and Feliciano, who have similar arm slots.  The wild card in all this is Tim Redding, but I think he will replace whomever is struggling the most, be it Livan, Parnell, or O'Day/Stokes.

The question is, who makes the team better - Evans, or O'Day/Stokes?  Now as the 25th man, their impact is minimal compared to others, but as we know, every win counts.  I believe that Evans will have the opportunity to contribute more, because Stokes/O'Day are buried in the bullpen depth chart, and will really only see time in blowouts, extra inning games, or whenever our starter makes an early exit.  Evans, however, is a nice compliment to a lefty heavy starting lineup.  He is a guy that can give a breather to Church as well as Delgado, particularly against very tough lefties. Plus, he becomes a third bat that Manuel can call upon off the bench.  Playing in the NL, that type of depth can come in handy.  I realize that I haven't gotten into the whole discussion of whether Evans will get enough AB's, but that is not something that is easy to project at this point.

Meanwhile, another debate du jour is the usage of K-Rod in the WBC...particularly the 4 out save.  While I am not quite thrilled about it, this is not the biggest deal.  The fact is that in both of those outings, he threw no more than 22 pitches.  For a guy who has a fairly high whip, (1.29 last year), this is very close to an innings worth of pitches...in fact, last season, K-Rod averaged 17 pitches/inning.  In his 4 out saves, he threw 20 and 22 pitches respectively.  For me, that isn't too much of a concern.  

16 days to go!

Pedro Owes Us a Year

Let me preface the following by saying I love Pedro Martinez...yes, I have a man-crush on the guy and would like to go shoot pool with him, or have a man-date that involved the two of us taunting Yankee fans and then going all Zimmer on them.

That said, I think he owes us a year--a cheap year.

Pedro made $41M with the Mets and produced a 32-23 record over 4 years with injuries that caused an incredible amount of drama, tremendous pitching rotation shuffling, stressed the bullpen to its limits, and allowed starts by AAA pitchers and major league has-beens or never-weres that had no business on the mound for a team hunting after a championship.

As of now we have Livan Hernandez as the front-runner for the 5th starter position. This is the same Livan Hernandez that went 13-11 with a 6.05 ERA last year and hasn't had an ERA+ over 100 since 2005.

Pedro--if you are listening, the Mets need you--we need you to come back and right a wrong.

Come back on the cheap--take a deal with $1.5M to $2M guaranteed money and another $2.5M in incentives.

Come back and help the Mets win a championship and have your name remembered forever--as a man among men who did the right thing and kept his promise of bringing a championship to NY.

Come back and give the clubhouse your joy, the young pitchers your intellect, the vets your presence and positive influence.

Come back and pitch wherever and whenever you're needed.

I think you owe that to the Mets....you owe us a year.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Case for Evans

With the Mets set at almost every position, the fight for the bench spots this spring has been outstanding.

One of the players making a stong case is Nick Evans, a talented young hitter who enjoyed some success last year with the big club.

As Mets.com reports, he has been challenged by Jerry to expand his useability by taking some reps in rightfield:

Now Evans is to play an unfamiliar position in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where the winds terrorize experienced outfielders. And Evans says "It'll be exciting" in an exclusively positive sense.

No matter the wind or the assignment, no down side exists for Evans in the scenario Manuel has created. Evans is being afforded another opportunity to hit because he can hit. He has hit so well -- he leads the team in RBIs (13) and home runs (three) -- Manuel is rethinking his earlier plans for him.

Chances are, nothing will change in the grander scheme. There still appears to be no place for Evans on the big league roster once the team must add a 12th pitcher in the second week of April.

"But I'll do anything they ask," Evans said. "And I'll play as well as I can."

Even if he were to become proficient in the two corner positions in the outfield and infield, Evans would merely be duplicating what Fernando Tatis already provides. Tatis plays only those positions, and like Evans, he bats right-handed. With Manuel having decided to play Daniel Murphy regularly in left, Tatis is now the all-purpose understudy.

After his 3-for-5 afternoon against the Astros on Thursday -- including two doubles and a home run -- Evans was batting .308. Among his teammates with at least 40 at-bats in exhibition games, only Murphy (.375) and Luis Castillo (.312) have higher averages. Evans' slugging percentage is .615, higher than any of those who have played regularly in this Classic-affected spring.

Evans' swing has been so torrid of late, he and Murphy have reversed roles. Murphy now is answering reporters' questions about Evans.

Evans and Murphy, roommates in Double-A and in the big leagues last year, locker next to each other in the clubhouse. Third-base coach Razor Shines passed by after the Mets' 12-1 victory against the Astros on Thursday and paused.

"The hit corner," Shines said.

"I'll take it," Evans said. "It's a nice place to live."

In an article back in January I asked the question: Is Nervous Nick Evans the Key?

With the Mets lefthanded cadre of returning players and new additions, and the increasing amount of lefthanded starters and relievers in the NL, every righthanded bat is a commodity.

For the unaware (and there aren't many of you since we know how savvy Mets fans are), Nick Evans scorched lefty's for much of last year.

How good was he?

2008 Batting Splits
vs. Left7215238025611500.319.380.514.894
vs. Right3735200410900.

That is a pretty good sample size, and the results are there.

It's also no coincidence that when the Mets played their best baseball of the season in July and August (18-8 and 18-11), that Nick was putting up back to back months of .300+ BA with a few timely hits thrown in for good measure.

His minor league stats show a guy quite capable of hitting for average with a little power thrown in, and he is improving...the real question is what is his ceiling?

Regardless of whether or not he starts the year with the big club, odds are that Nick Evans will play a big role in the success of the 2009 Mets.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

David's All Wright

Mets fans that watched the USA vs Puerto Rico elimination game last night were treated to a spectacular display by Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, David Wright, JJ Putz, Nelson Figueroa and Pedro Feliciano.

In the end it was DW and Team USA that got the upper hand.

After a tense 8 1/2 innings of baseball, Puerto Rico held a two run lead over the Americans, who were three outs from elimination.

After some great at-bats by his teammates including (gasp!) Jimmy Rollins and Kevin Youkalis, the stage was set for Wright to play hero, and he obliged with a focused at-bat that left no doubt to why this young man is widely regarded as one of the very best hitters in the game.

With the bases loaded and one out, the Mets superstar lashed a drive to rightfield to plate two runs as Team USA defeated Team Puerto Rico 6-5. The ensuing celebration was unreal, and the entire team piled on Wright--it was a great moment.

All told, Wright was 3-for-4 at the plate, including a stolen base and one of his patented "fly around" slides that enabled him to beat a great throw to the plate earlier in the game.

J.J. Putz, who surely looks like the pickup of the year, pitched a scoreless inning, striking out two.

Team Puerto Rico, to their credit, played great baseball and went down fighting.

Carlos Beltran had a highlight film catch that robbed Brian McCann of a home run--he floated back with ease and timed his leap perfectly, reaching up at the yellow homerun stripe to snare the ball and protect his team's lead.

Carlos Delgado hit a monstrous two-run homer to tie the game at 3-3 in the fourth. Delgado had a great WBC, and looks ready to start off 2009 where he left off in 2008.

In another great "WBC story", Nelson Figueroa looked sharp. His breaking pitches still have that nice bite, and his fastball was sharp and thrown in the correct situations and to the correct locations. All told, he and Pedro Feliciano combined for three scoreless innings.

So while I am "anti-WBC" in general (due to injury risk), last night was a treat for this Mets fan and proud American.

It was nice to see our guys play so well for both teams, and in the end, Team USA and David Wright left us with a walkoff thrill.

And of course I am excited to get a few more of our guys back in Spring Training...a win-win-win night!
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Welcome Back Ollie!

Whew! Another Met returns from the World Baseball Classic free from injury.

Mexico was eliminated from the WBC by Cuba, allowing Ollie to come home to la familia--his real family.

His "Classic" was anything but. All told he allowed 7 earned runs and 5 homeruns in 6 2/3rds innings of work.

I did a blow by blow scouting report of his final outing here, and Ollie was not impressive at all.

There were three main things I noticed about Ollie while following him in the WBC.

1. His off-speed and breaking pitches were all over the place
2. His motion is more inconsistent than ever, with varying release points and none of the step back rocking motion that he used with success in the second half of 2008
3. He competed hard--for all his faults, Ollie is a battler
My thoughts on Ollie's return are simple--once he is back in the fold, working with the Mets staff, he'll regain the consistency that will enable him to win a good chunk of games in 2009 and beyond.

He had no trouble reaching the low 90s with his fastball--his issues were all about control.
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

WBC In-Game Scouting Report: Ollie Perez

I am watching tonight's Mexico vs Korea game specifically to see how Ollie looks.

There is a HUGE crowd in attendance. It's not surprising, given Southern California's large Mexican and Korean populations...Orange County California has the most Korean residents of anyplace in the States--the DC area is second.

It's actually great to see, especially after there looked like 5,000 fans turned out to see the USA team play on our home turf. The Koreans have the war drums out, and the Mexican fans are painted up and wearing masks...vive le differance!

1st Inning

Ollie's control is off early. He walked the leadoff hitter for Korea and seems off-balance--well, more off-balance than usual.

After inducing a short flyout, the #3 hitter took a fastball up the opposite way for a hit. Men on first and second, one out, and the cleanup hitter, Tae-Kyun Kim, is up.

Ollie looks serious--he is bearing down.

Double play! Ollie gets out of it--to be honest, the Korean hit a bad pitch...he seemed amped up.

Good job Ollie.

2nd Inning

OK, his teammates staked Ollie to a 2-0 lead. FYI, this game is moving at a glacial pace as the Korean starter takes forever between pitches. I hope to make it thru three!

One out in the inning...Ollie has yet to top 90 mph (he just hit 89), and he is up to 25 pitches already. Just as I type that Ollie throws a 90 mph fastball and....homerun Korea! Some guy named Bing Bong or something just took a fastball that was right over the heart of the plate and crushed it.

Now Ollie has amped it up...92 mph fastball....and another hit, this time a linedrive slashed the other way over the shortstop's head.

Ollie is all over the place now. Curve two feet outside, fastball down the pipe, slider in the dirt, lots of throws to first.

Struck him out! After 4 throws to first Ollie came back inside with his best pitch of the night. 93 mph fastball right at the inside corner...swing and a miss. Two outs now.

His fastball is the only pitch working for him tonight, and it's hit or miss. The off-speed and breaking stuff is just not close enough to induce many swings.

Korea just stole second...full count now....Ollie at 24 pitches for the inning thus far.

Wow--tie game...Ollie induced a grounder, and Edgar Gonzalez at second threw it away...run scored, and they get the runner trying to make it to second on a nice play by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez hustling after the ball and making a nice throw.

Ollie over 40 pitches after two, and he got lucky they nailed the runner at second. His fastball is OK, but his secondary pitches look terrible. OK, I'm gonna do one more inning, maybe two....game has been on an hour and we just completed two. Yikes!

Editorial Note: Big leagues or WBC, it just doesn't matter to Cowboy Joe West. His floating tiny strike zone sucks no matter what type of game he's calling. His maddening inconsistency is the most consistent part of his mediocrity.

3rd Inning

It's 12:22 and we're starting the bottom of the third...one pitch, one out for Ollie!

Ollie is not happy with Joe West...he just threw two fastballs that missed low (allegedly) by two inches. Now he gets the soft flyball out. Great job so far...two quick outs on 4 pitches.

Wow, Ollie just got a strikeout...first of the game.

An 8 pitch inning, 6 fastballs, and he looked terrific. 49 pitches now.

4th Inning

Very fast third inning, so I am sticking around for one more....lucky you.

Ollie is primarily throwing fastballs at this point, though he just tried a curve...now another fastball...damn...homerun by some guy named Bean Pod. Crushed, launched, tattooed...Ollied!

3-2 Korea....really, that was just a meatball...high fastball right where the guy could extend his arms.

Now the count is 3-1...Ollie has lost the zone a bit...still not getting the curve over at all. The Korean just swung at ball four...full count. Now he just "excuse me" swung at ball four for the second time and struck out on a curve that bounced on the plate. Ollie got help there.

Another full count....Ollie must be over 60 pitches....got the out...threw a "get over" slow fastball and got the ground out. Sometimes less is more with Ollie, and that pitch, in this situation, worked.

Ollie again only throwing fastballs....and the Korean take the pitch right up the middle for a line drive single. This pitch would have been hit out by a quality big leaguer...the guy that got the hit is seriously 130 pounds (he is their base stealer).

Ollie gets out of it with a ground out...again, just throwing fastballs now.


I'll wrap this up with: it was vintage "medium Ollie"...his fastball was off early, he got it going, but the breaking/off-speed pitches were never there. He needed about 70 pitches for four innings, and that includes the 8-pitch third.

His first WBC outing was bad, and this one, at least to this point is about a "C", so he's making progress.

Obviously I cannot wait to get him back in camp with the Mets, but it's nice to see him working against decent competition and focusing as hard as he is without overthrowing....for all his faults tonight he stayed within himself and focused on what was working.

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Giving and Receiving Mets Tickets

I came upon a website that purports to give away free Mets tickets, and I believe in its veracity.

Here's the scoop--the site owner has season tickets and asks readers to tell him why they want to go to a game and their circumstances.

Additionally, there is a way for other folks to either donate tickets or money to help send Mets fans to a game through a sponsorhsip of someone who has posted a story on why they need some assistance.

I like the idea a lot, though I think his method needs better execution and more info on the basic interrogatories of who, what, where, when and why.

So here is what I am going to do: donate one pair of weekend tickets, in a good section, for a game later in the year.

I'm debating on giving them away here on NY Sports Dog, or sponsoring someone on the website linked above.

I would appreciate some feedback.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

How Bad was the Redding Signing?

As Adam Rubin of the Daily News reports:

Omar Minaya said Tim Redding will start the season on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue.

Redding has a guaranteed contract for $2.25 million, and was headed for the long-relief role. The GM said the 31-year-old righthander is not experiencing pain and does not need an MRI exam, since images were taken before he signed Jan. 12.

"He just doesn't feel strength in the shoulder area," Minaya said. "The fact that he doesn't have strength in the shoulder area, we are going to pretty much shut him down now for a little while. He'll be rehabbing before he gets on the mound again."

Loyal readers know that I was against this move from the start. Here is my most "positive" piece on Redding:
Reasons to love him:
Reasons to hate him:
So all in all we have a few more reasons to love Tim Redding than to hate him.

Sure he's no Pedro, he's not really good, he's never had a plus pitch, or pitched in the postseason, but he's a Met....sort of.

So let's bottom line this thing:

The Mets are not winning a championship trotting Tim Redding out there every 5th day. We have a pretty big sample size out of him in 7 big league seasons, and the vast majority of his career, including the second half of 2008, has been marginal to awful (and I'm being kind), but he could help...at least Omar thinks so.

My hope? That he loses the 5th starter spot, but still helps the team...Omar Minaya has stated that he plans on having 7-8 candidates for the 5 starting spots and he wants it to be a competition.

Given that Redding pretty much has a roster spot guaranteed at that money, he could surprise us as the long man/spot starter....that's the hope anyway.

Don't you wish you had your jersey retired from Monroe Community College?

I need coffee....Tim Redding is a Met....holy crap......Love, Hate.....
The worst part is we really need him right now, especially with the uncertainty surrounding the 5th starter role.

What this does do is open a roster spot for either Stokes, Parnell, or O'Day, though it also muddies the situation down the road.

Does this move to the disabled list in any way jeopardize the Mets season? No, of course not. But it also adds fuel to what has thus far been a disastrous fight for the 5th starter position.

Many of us have been saying it all along, and at the risk of "piling on" I will say it again--one year of Pedro is worth whatever risk is involved--physical, financial, whatever...bring him in.
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Fun Player Facts and Questions for 2009

Will Jose Reyes get his 1,000th hit on or before his 26th birthday?

Jose Reyes, at age 25, needs 81 hits to 1,000. There are 60 more games until he turns 26 on June 11th. Some quick math tells us that if he averages the same number of at-bats per game this year as last year, 4.33, and he plays in all 60 of those games, that he will get his 1,000th hit on or before his 26th birthday if he is hitting .312 or better.

Has Carlos Beltran been here this long already?

Carlos is currently 10th all-time in Met RBIs. With 120 this year he'll pass Edgaro Alfonzo, who is currently 5th. Of course, David Wright is ahead of him and has a chance to move into 4th all-time this year.


1. D Strawberry

.520 .263

2. M Piazza
972 3478 532 1028 193 2 220 655 1885 424 546 7 9 .373 .542 .296

3. H Johnson
1154 3968 627 997 214 18 192 629 1823 556 827 202 63 .341 .459 .251

4. E Kranepool
1853 5436 536 1418 225 25 118 614 2047 454 581 15 27 .316 .377 .261

5. E Alfonzo*
1086 3897 614 1136 212 14 120 538 1736 458 498 45 14 .367 .445 .292

6. C Jones
1201 4223 563 1188 182 33 93 521 1715 355 697 91 48 .340 .406 .281

7. D Wright*
703 2650 464 819 183 10 130 489 1412 340 499 92 22 .389 .533 .309

8. K Hernandez
880 3164 455 939 159 10 80 468 1358 471 459 17 17 .387 .429 .297

9. K McReynolds
787 2910 405 791 153 14 122 456 1338 263 341 67 16 .331 .460 .272

10. C Beltran*
596 2252 419 620 145 11 117 418 1138 312 402 83 14 .362 .505 .275

Speaking of David Wright...

He needs 42 doubles to tie Ed Kranepool for first on the Mets all-time list. He has had exactly 42 doubles in 3 of his last 4 seasons, and topped 40 or more in each of those years.

David Wright is a doubles machine.
Career: Batting
2004 NYM 69 263 41 77 17 1 14 40 14 40 6 0 .293 .332 .525 .857
2005 NYM 160 575 99 176 42 1 27 102 72 113 17 7 .306 .388 .523 .911
2006 NYM 154 582 96 181 40 5 26 116 66 113 20 5 .311 .381 .531 .912
2007 NYM 160 604 113 196 42 1 30 107 94 115 34 5 .325 .416 .546 .962
2008 NYM 160 626 115 189 42 2 33 124 94 118 15 5 .302 .390 .534 .924
Total -- 703 2650 464 819 183 10 130 489 340 499 92 22 .309 .389 .533 .922

Carlos Delgado is about to pass some Hall of Fame Milestones:

Carlos needs 24 doubles and 31 homeruns for 500 in each category. He is also currently 50th all-time in RBIs and only 11 away from 1,500.

If he drives in 111 RBIs this year he moves up to 30th all-time.

Is he a Hall of Famer? Yes, I think so for sure.

Historical Facts from the "Did You Know" file?

Bob Gibson currently hold the record for best "Batting Average Against" by any pitcher in Mets history.

Yes, Bob Gibson held opponents to zero hits in his one inning of work for the Mets after coming over from the Brewers in 1987.

Wait, you didn't think I meant that Bob Gibson?

And now the historical trivia question:

Which player has grounded into the most double plays while wearing a Met uniform?

So there ya go...a few fun facts and questions for a Saturday Spring Training morning.

Let me know if you enjoy this, and I'll write one of these up every few weeks or so.Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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