NY Sports Dog: 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Jeff Pearlman's Awakening

Sportswriter Jeff Pearlman is the author of the classic, "The Bad Guys Won".  It's one of my favorite baseball books.  He also writes for Sports Illustrated and has several other books out.

Like most baseball writers, Pearlman got wind of the Mets Walter Reed visit and heard about the three Mets that didn't make the trip.  His perspective on their non-visit resulted in what I consider an unfortunate piece for Sports Illustrated.

I called Jeff Pearlman on the piece, writing on his blog:  

Jeff:  I just wanted to thank you, in advance, for your upcoming visit to Walter Reed. I know all of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Marines there will enjoy the personally autographed books you’ll be bringing them.

E-mail me if you want me to go with you…really.


This morning I saw this from Pearlman: "Sometimes You're Simply Wrong..."
In it he says:
Started thinking about it this afternoon, while doing my regular Friday segment on Hardly Workin’ With Greg Burton, an ESPN Radio show in Richmond. Greg asked about the column, and as I began to dump on the players it hit me: How many times have I visited Walter Reed? How many cards have I sent the troops? How many meals have I cooked? How much money have I donated?
In other words, why am I expecting more of three ballplayers than I am of myself? And why do they have a greater obligation to charitable deeds than I do?
Answer: They don’t. If they were wrong not attending, I’m wrong for doing jack shit.
Jeff Pearlman came up with a solution--do something.  He actually took the time to contact Walter Reed and offer up his time, his books, and the opportunity to sit and chat with the wounded to talk baseball, sports, books, etc.

A very good thing, by a good man.....very good indeed.
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

From a 21-Year Military Veteran: Leave Them Alone

I am a 21-year veteran of the Armed Forces, and a disabled vet as well.  I am absolutely appalled by the Press coverage that Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez are getting for not going to Walter Reed.

Why?  It is not big deal that they didn't go.

Carlos Beltran said he visited a VA hospital this off-season and had meetings to attend about his charity on the day of the Walter Reed visit.

Luis Castillo said he is not comfortable around amputees and those with other disfigurements.

Oliver Perez refuses comment, which is his right.

The fact of the matter is that this wasn't a visit to the zoo, it wasn't some mandatory fun, it was a visit to Walter Reed to pay tribute to fighting men.  Why on Earth should someone be forced to do it?  If it was voluntary, then why make a fuss over anyone who didn't attend?

Oliver Perez is from Mexico.  Does that mean if an American works in Mexico he needs to go visit a Mexican veteran's home?  Should they wear a Viva Zapata! shirt while doing so?

If Luis Castillo doesn't want to see disfigured people, do you force him to go and deal with the trauma?  Do you make the soldiers uncomfortable by forcing a guy on them who refuses to look, or possibly gets physically ill in their presence?

Do you force Carlos Beltran to delay the meetings for his $10M charity, and his lifelong dream, so that one more baseball player goes to Walter Reed?

Here's something you may or may not care about--those guys at Walter Reed get visits all the time.  It's not like this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet their hero.

I am staggered by the reporting here, and I guarantee you that if you speak with any Walter Reed Soldier, Airman, or Marine, they would tell you to leave those three guys alone. 
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm Not Going to Joke About K-Rod

Nope, not gonna do it.

  • I won't say that he pointed to the sky after hitting his father-in-law.
  • I won't compare Frankie's Golden Gloves to David Wright's Golden Sombrero.
  • I won't say the Mets finally found their slugger.
  • Not gonna tell you that the Mets have decided to cancel Family Day
  • I won't sit here and wonder why Frankie got arrested after hitting his father-in-law on one occasion while Luis Castillo has been slapping things all year.
  • I won't compare Frankie's hitting to Francoeur's...too easy, and as one fan on Twitter said, "If Francoeur swung at his father-in-law, he'd miss."
  • Finally, I will not tell you that K-Rod doubled his team's hit total on the night.
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Time for a Change

No, I'm not talking about Peter Brady's voice cracking saga, I am talking about Jerry Manuel's fan cracking saga.  It's really just way, way, way past time for Jerry Manuel's dismissal.

We've been through the litany of his bad moves and ineffectiveness all season, in fact, there is a list I kept somewhere back that I could dig out, but it's really just not necessary right now.

Just look at the simple fact that the team cannot win more than one game in a row.  Or the fact that the team is devoid of any spark whatsoever.

But what really got to me last night was the fact that one day after proclaiming Hisanori Takahashi his "8th inning guy", Jerry pulls him after giving up a walk and a single after he got the first two outs....and went to Manny Acosta.

This is not a manager that has a strategy, much less a winning strategy.

This is not a manager that understands leverage.

This is not a man who understands advanced statistics, trends, and match-ups.

This is not a manager that will fight with every dying breath, and at all costs, to win.

A manager has four basic functions:  Keep the players motivated to play their best and win, put out the best starting lineup, manage the bullpen, and make the tactical in-game moves that maximize the team's chances to win.

In my opinion Jerry fails on all four counts, and his most egregious failures occur  with his bullpen moves and in-game tactics, like bunting a man over in the first or second inning of a game.

Not putting in Frankie Rodriguez with 2 outs in the 8th in a 2-1 ballgame was just mind-boggling.  Not staying with his anointed "8th inning guy" becuae he was in the slightest bit of trouble was bad.  And going to Manny Acosta as the choice was just one more example of what an awful in-game manager Jerry Manuel is.

Time for a change......way past time.
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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hey Jerry, Excuse Me, Got a Sec?

Jerry, yeah you.  Come here a sec...let me make a recommendation for you:


That is your fucking lineup every goddamn day except the catcher.

Set it, and leave it the fuck alone.

I thank you for your time.

Friday, July 9, 2010

LeBron James Will Not be a Met

Despite a full court press by Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman, Alex Cora and Chico Escuela, Lebron James has decided to remain in the NBA and join the Miami Heat vice taking a run at a baseball career with the Mets.

"The Mets made me a very attractive offer--very attractive--but at the end of the day, staying true to myself and humble was my only option, so I decided to leave my hometown and join the Heat," said LeBron.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel had grandiose plans for James and was visibly upset with the announcement, "I thought pairing him with The Animal would pay huge dividends, and lord knows we need some bullpen help. I just hope Carlos Beltran can make up for this a bit when he returns."

The Mets can now return their focus on the first-place Atlanta Braves, who come to Citi Field tonight for a key three game series leading into the All-Star break. With a sweep the Mets can tie the Braves.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Good Morning Mets Fans!

The Mets licked their wounds on Monday after back to back losses and came out firing on all cylinders.

Led by the top of the order, specifically Angel Pagan, the Mets erupted for 14 runs and beat one of the American league's top pitchers.

Angel Pagan is playing at a very high level and now has his average up to .304 on the year after stroking 4 hits in 6 at-bats in last night's contest.  He scored three times and drove in 4 as well.
"Angel's playing extremely well," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "He's been big."
Pagan is thoroughly enjoying his baseball renaissance, but he also knows that some of his playing time is likely to diminish when Carlos Beltran returns.  I personally envision a 4-man rotation in the outfield with Bay, Beltran and Pagan playing about 80% of the time, and Francoeur playing 60%.
"What's in my mind is to help the team as much as I can and to protect Carlos' spot; that's a big responsibility," said Pagan.
David Wright reached base 5 times on two singles, an RBI double, a sacrifice fly and two walks.  He is looking more and more relaxed at the plate, staying far steadier in the box, and his bat looks quick.

Jose Reyes continues his penchant for multiple hit games.  In fact, he has had a multiple hit game in 9 of the Mets last 13 games.

Big Ike Davis and Jason Bay also got into the act--Ike had 3 hits and 3 RBIs, and Bay had 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 RBIs.

When the game began it looked liked Jonathan Niese had absolutely terrific stuff.  After not allowing a hit over the first three frames, a 90 minute rain delay, plus another near 30 minute "delay" of the Mets batting around, cost him his rhythm and control.  I was actually surprised Jerry Manuel let him go back out there after the long delay, but the skipper thought he could coax Niese through 5 to get him the win.
"We had a very, very long inning. It probably cost him," said Manuel.
After exiting in the 5th just one out away from a win, Niese looked more embarrassed then anything else.  Fortunately Fernando Nieve came on and pitched extremely well for 2 1/3 and picked up the win.  Bobby Parnell came on and pitched a scoreless 8th with 2 Ks, lighting up the gun at 97 and 98 mph.  Ryota Igarashi pitched a scoreless 9th to seal the win.

All in all a great win for the Mets, who come back tonight with RA Dickey on the hill.

Enjoy your coffee!

Detroit (38-31)000240000680
N.Y. Mets (40-30) «20810300x14160
Player of the Game
New York
A. Pagan AB 6
R 3
H 4
HR 0

Saturday, June 19, 2010

2009 vs 2010 Mets

Let's compare some basic stats between the 2009 and 2010 Mets.

Fielding %:
2009:  19th
2010: 7th

2009: 20th
2010: 6th

2009: 25th
2010: 20th

Starter ERA:
2009: 25th
2010: 6th


2009:  20th
2010: 9th

2009: 30th
2010: 19th

Stolen Bases:
2009: 6th
2010: 2nd

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Friday, June 18, 2010

National League Position Player Rookie Crop Impresses

The NL has one of the better rookie crops in recent years.

Besides Jason Heyward, there are a dozen offensive players making their marks, many of them on potential playoff teams.

Ike Davis, the Mets cleanup hitting first baseman, continues to drive in runs and hit HRs in big spots. 

In perhaps his biggest contribution, Ike has settled down the Mets infield defense with his steady play, big glove, and imposing target.

Here are the top 10 NL rookies sorted by at-bats.

Rookie Batting
1Jason HeywardATL22938611231144443961.266.383.489.872
2Gaby SanchezFLA2273264141728202640.282.359.445.804
3Alcides EscobarMIL218265465218411529.248.299.349.648
4Ian DesmondWAS2132457123433411040.268.304.408.712
5David FreeseSTL2112767121433111948.318.380.441.821
6Ike DavisNYM1923351130825102451.266.349.458.807
7Tommy ManzellaHOU175123750116011051.
8Starlin CastroCHC133123631216111118.271.322.353.675
9Roger BernadinaWAS128143562419521128.273.343.445.788
10Tyler ColvinCHC104193291717101034.308.362.615.977

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good Morning Mets Fans!

How sweet it is!  The Mets are playing inspired baseball, they have won 10 of their last 11 games and they are a remarkable 17-5 since the 21st of May.

Yesterday Jon Niese kept the streak alive with 7 solid innings and the offense took care of the rest as the Mets beat the Indians 8-4.

Niese won his third start in a row in his hometown (or close to it) and has proven to everyone that he has the stuff to be a solid middle of the rotation starter.  In the month of June, Niese is Niese is 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA
"This is what we anticipated," manager Jerry Manuel said after the Mets tied a season high with seven doubles, two by Ike Davis. "We're built on pitching and defense. If we stay hot with the bats, we'll be a really, really good team."
The offense was solid throughout, and each starter had at least one hit.  The only down news was Jason Bay leaving the game with a thigh bruise that he received after another hustle hit.  The hustle hits have been a staple of Bay's game all year long, but this one is likely to cost him at least one game.
"It knotted up on me," Bay said. "My left leg hit his butt. We'll see how I feel tomorrow."
David Wright hit a key double to plate two.  He now leads the National League in RBIs with 52.

David Wright
1. David Wright, NYM52
2. Troy Glaus, ATL51
3. Albert Pujols, STL49
4. Jonny Gomes, CIN48
5. Corey Hart, MIL47

Angel Pagan finished the game with 3 hits and 3 RBIs--he looks like he's out of the mini-slump.  When Pagan and Reyes are both hitting at the top of the order the Mets score runs in bunches--yesterday they did just that.

And finally, another tip of the cap to Elmer Dessens for pitching two innings to close out the win.

This is Mets baseball, this is your team, and this is why we endure...it's a magical run.

Enjoy your coffee!

N.Y. Mets (37-28) «0050030008140
Cleveland (25-39)000210010490
Player of the Game
New York
A. Pagan AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 0
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

VIDEO: Fernando Martinez Walkoff Grand Slam

What a blast!

Mets are 17-8 Since Wilpon Flew to Atlanta

Coincidence, or little did Jeff get his message across?

2nd Spot in the Order Still a Puzzle

I applauded Jerry Manuel's move of Angel Pagan to the 2 hole, but thus far, the results have been less than stellar.

With the small sample size for Pagan (39 at bats), it's likely that he was moved just as he went into his first slump of the season, and I'm still hopeful that he retains his place there as that is where his skills are most useful.

On the season, the Mets have received astonishingly poor production from what is a key position in the order.  This isn't surprising given that Luis Castillo and Alex Cora have manned it for the majority of the season.

With the Mets surging, it's tantalizing to think just how good this lineup can be with a hot Jose Reyes and Pagan as the table setters.

I have a very strong feeling that we're going to see this offense take off when the two of them get hot at the same time, which will hopefully begin tonight in Cleveland.

Below are the Mets totals for the season by lineup position:

Batting 1st 296 271 37 76 11 7 5 31 13 3 18 32 .280 .330 .428 .758 4 .301 113
Batting 2nd 287 241 22 54 8 3 0 28 10 2 34 20 .224 .318 .282 .600 8 .240 67
Batting 3rd 282 245 37 63 15 2 7 30 16 2 34 55 .257 .352 .420 .773 7 .306 94
Batting 4th 275 245 35 59 14 2 4 28 5 0 25 70 .241 .316 .363 .680 4 .318 68
Batting 5th 269 235 41 67 17 2 11 40 6 3 28 61 .285 .353 .515 .868 8 .331 114
Batting 6th 259 223 33 59 13 1 7 25 4 1 31 53 .265 .359 .426 .785 3 .315 109
Batting 7th 252 235 29 59 10 0 11 40 5 0 8 43 .251 .280 .434 .714 4 .259 96
Batting 8th 248 220 32 63 13 0 9 32 3 2 18 39 .286 .347 .468 .815 4 .305 133
Batting 9th 241 211 17 42 6 0 1 15 2 0 12 61 .199 .242 .242 .484 1 .275 70
Bat1-2,non-P 583 512 59 130 19 10 5 59 23 5 52 52 .254 .324 .359 .683 12 .271 90
Bat3-6,non-P 1085 948 146 248 59 7 29 123 31 6 118 239 .262 .345 .430 .775 22 .317 96
Bat7-9,non-P 605 551 72 144 26 0 21 81 10 2 32 107 .261 .307 .423 .730 9 .285 108
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/15/2010.
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Friday, June 11, 2010

Jerry Manuel has a Doppelganger

Jerry Manuel has a Doppelganger, though he likely would not be flattered by the comparison.  

From Wiki:  Dr. Hassan 'Abd Allah al-Turabi (الدكتور حسن عبد الله الترابي al-Duktūr Ḥassan 'Abd Allah at-Turābī in Arabic), commonly called Hassan al-Turabi (sometimes transliterated Hassan al-Tourabi) (حسن الترابي) (born c.1932), is a religious and Islamist political leader in Sudan, who may have been instrumental in institutionalizing sharia in the northern part of the country. He has been called a "longtime hard-line ideological leader."

The two men could swap places and it might benefit both organizations.

Jerry could bring his calm personality to a fiery situation, and Al-Turabi could bring his ideology to the Mets, where it would be summarily ignored so these guys could keep playing baseball.

If nothing else we would never see a sacrifice bunt again.

Strange and Wonderful Days at Citi Field

Yesterday was both a strange and wonderful day at Citi Field.

The Mets split a doubleheader with the Padres--in game 1 the Ace, Johan santana struggled.  In game 2, Jonathan Niese was one swing away from a perfect game.

There was also a triple play, a finger by some cretin named Lady Gaga, 4 strikeouts by David Wright, 4 hits on his birthday from Jose Reyes, a Henry Blanco homerun, and a whipped cream pie to the face of Niese from Angel Pagan.

Niese (3-2) struck out six and walked none. He was sheer brilliance and only needed 108 pitches for the complete game, 1-hit, shutout.
"Ever since I came off the DL, I haven't felt anything," said Niese. "Before that, I felt some lingering soreness. When I went on the DL, I got some rest and it's paid off."
Ollie who?

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Simple Fix for Jason Bay?

Like many of you, I'vebeen watching Jason Bay very closely this season, and there seems to be one very obvious thing wrong with his approach:

He is standing too far off the plate.

His timing is off, and he is positively lunging for balls that are only a few inches outside.  His plate coverage is terrible.

Here are two photos of him from his time with the Red Sox. 

I ask you this--does he look closer to the plate in these photos than he does now?  I would say yes.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Angel Pagan is a Star

With all of the uncertainty surrounding the Mets early this year, its been unheralded Angel Pagan that has provided the spark, the hits, the range in centerfield, the intelligent baserunning and the consistency that has kept the team in the hunt as they attempt to chase down a spot in first place.

How good has Pagan been?

Since May 1st, he's hit .315 with a .371 OBP and slugged at a .477 clip.  He has gotten a hit in 26 of the 33 games played over that span.  Since May 1st he has 41 hits, 8 doubles, 9 stolen bases and has scored 21 runs. 

That equates to over 200 hits, 100 runs scored, 44 stolen bases and 40 doubles over a full season.

That, my friends, is a star.

If we combine his 2009 and 2010 seasons you get an idea of how valuable he's been over a full slate of games:

Angel Pagan Batting Stats for Years 2009 to 2010


2009-2010 NYM 144 603 547 86 165 31 15 10 57 25 10 45 87 .302 .352 .468 .820 118

The best part of it is that Pagan continues to get better.

His eye at the plate is better, he is hitting to the gaps, playing smart defense, and running the bases with intelligence and hustle to maximize his speed.

He may not be very well known outside of New York, but what we know is that Angel Pagan has morphed into one of the most important players on the Mets, and he has become a complete player.

Here are his 2010 numbers and his projections:

2010 Season Stats
Last 7 days5212621022320.286.348.476.824
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