Every Sunday Night at 8:00pm

Call in to the show at

(631) 888-8811

 

 

 



 

  Articles > MLB
 Mets Built for Future Success

2013 Mets first-round draft pick Dominic Smith

As the end of September comes around, the Mets find themselves playing meaningless games in the final month for the fifth straight season.  While it has been a disappointing season, there is light at the end of the tunnel for this team.  The foundation for the future of this organization is bright with lots of young talent on its way in the coming years.

Friday night, the Mets announced their 2013 Sterling Award winners at Citi Field before the game.  The Sterling Award is emblematic of the Most Valuable Player for each of the organization’s nine minor league affiliates.  Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard highlighted the winners for triple-A and double-A, respectively.  Another young Mets prospect that shined this season though is one that won’t be able to go out and get a beer to celebrate.  The Mets 2013 first round draft pick Dominic Smith is just 18 years old and he took home the Sterling Award for the Gulf Coast League Mets.

Smith got the chance to take batting practice before Friday’s game at Citi Field before the Mets fell to the Brewers 4-2 for the second straight night.  The whole experience is still hitting the 18-year-old first baseman.

“It’s surreal.  It’s like a dream come true, honestly.  It feels great.  The field is beautiful.  You’re hanging around big league guys.  You’re already getting a taste of the next level.”

The 11th overall pick in this season’s First-Year Player Draft hit .287 with three home runs, 22 RBI, and had a .384 on-base percentage for the GCL Mets.  It was a major adjustment for Smith from his days in high school just a few months ago.

“The toughest thing was playing everyday.  It’s tough, but you never really understand it until you play and being a 17-year-old kid, you hear people say all the time, oh let’s go play baseball every day.  If we offer you a contract would you sign and play everyday, you would be like hell yea!  Baseball is fun, but it’s really a job and it’s tough and plays a big toll on your body.”

While Smith had an impressive first season in the minors, he knows there’s plenty of work still ahead of him as the offseason has officially begun.

“It’s a lot of things I need to work on.  It’s a ton.  You’re never perfect.  I’m nowhere near perfect or where I feel I should be, especially after my first year.  There’s a ton to work on and I can’t wait to get to the offseason so I can work on those things and advance my game.”

The first baseman earned a late season promotion to Kingsport, where he had four doubles in six at-bats over three games.  The Los Angeles, CA native finished the season with a combined .301 (52-173) batting average, good for seventh in the organization.  The big league club could have an opening at first base soon, but Smith isn’t ready to think about that just yet.

“When I’m ready they’ll bring me up.  I just take it one day at a time.  I don’t really look at the future aspect as a couple years.  I try to play hard and advance my game and try to show them to make the next step.”

The 6-0, 180-pound West Coast kid got a little taste of what’s to come playing on the East Coast in New York.  So far, Smith likes what he sees in the city that never sleeps.

“New York is beautiful.  It’s a beautiful city.  The fans are awesome and amazing.  Best fans in baseball and arguably all of sports.  They really love their Mets and they love their players.  They know their players inside and out.  It’s really a great position I’m in.

The Mets first-round pick has shown promise and will look to take the next step in the minor leagues next season when he will get a full season under his belt.  Smith said he models his game in the field after Mark Teixeira and at the plate after Robinson Cano and Carlos Gonzalez.  That’s some big shoes to live up to, but the left-handed hitting first baseman is ready for the offseason ahead as he tries to work his way up to the New York Mets one day.

“A few months back, I was at high school with my friends and now I’m in a big league park wearing an awesome uniform and being drafted by a major league team and getting to play for them and hopefully one day get to be in this position where I can wake up everyday and come to this beautiful ballpark.”

You can hear my entire interview with Dominic Smith here:
https://soundcloud.com/jakebrownespn/interview-with-mets-1st-round

 The Time for Wheeler is Now
A big opening day win lifted the spirits of Mets fans everywhere, but reality soon came knocking with another setback for veteran pitcher Shaun Marcum. Recently scratched from a simulated game with a neck injury, this his isn’t the first injury for Marcum- who had a cortisone shot in his shoulder early in spring. He was brought here to be a veteran innings eater but he’s failed to pitch a mere ten innings of Grapefruit league play. With the less than stellar replacement arms of Aaron Laffey and Colin McHugh waiting in the wings, the need for Zack Wheeler’s electric arm is too much to ignore.

Despite his short stint in major league camp, Zack Wheeler managed to turn a lot of heads this spring. Many veteran players were outwardly against the idea of him not being on the Major League club. Sandy Alderson has pointed to the lack of triple A experience for Wheeler as to why he’s pitching for the Las Vegas 51’s and not the New York Mets, but this is nothing but a smokescreen. Under the current “Super Two” rule in Major League baseball, if the Mets elect to promote him sometime in mid June than he is awarded another year of salary arbitration. This gives the Mets control of him for longer and at a significantly lower price. This organization can no longer ignore the fact that they play in the biggest sports market in the world. While Fred and Jeff “Coupon” may love pretending they are the Minnesota Twins, the fan-base is becoming restless. They are used to this team cutting corners and skimping on player salaries, no better example is the lack of talent beyond the infield dirt.

While the payroll has been on a steady decline over the last few years the talent on the field has taken a corresponding dip. Losing the National Batting champion in 2011 to trading away last year’s Cy Young Award winner, Flushing has definitely seen brighter days. Mets fans have become accustom to the phrase “next year” or statements like: “when are young guys are ready.”   If Wheeler comes up and pitches to his ability he arguably becomes the ace of the staff. No other pitcher in the Mets organization rivals Wheeler’s “Strasburg like” arm. The fans deserve better from a management team that has put them through some of their worst seasons in recent memory. At least with a starting rotation of Wheeler and Harvey, fans will have something to look forward to at Citi Field this summer.

 Cooperstown 2013: What the Hall Happened?

Cooperstown, New York © by Dougtone

Now that it’s all over, the dust has settled and the fog has lifted from Otsego Lake, we can see the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum nestled in the little village of Cooperstown, NY – and there’s no living member being allowed to pass through its hallowed portals for 2013. What happened?!

To gain election, a player must appear on 75% of the ballots cast by the voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. This is the eighth election by the BBWAA that did not produce a Hall of Famer and the first since 1996. That year, the top three vote getters were Phil Niekro (68.3 %), Tony Perez (65.7 %) and Don Sutton (63.8 %). All were subsequently elected; Niekro in 1997, Sutton in 1998 and Perez in 2000. For 2013, the top vote-getters were Craig Biggio, who totaled 3,060 hits and was a seven-time All-Star while playing three positions (68.2 %), pitcher Jack Morris (67.7 %), first baseman Jeff Bagwell (59.6 %), catcher Mike Piazza (57.8 %) and outfielder Tim Raines (52.2 %).

I realize that the standards implemented at the Baseball Hall’s inception in 1936 for election to Cooperstown exceed those for any of the other major sport’s halls of fame. I also recognize the challenges voters are faced with in this era with the specter of steroid use looming. There were 569 ballots cast, the third-highest total in the history of the voting, still none of the 37 candidates in the 2013 vote gained mention on the required 75 percent for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The problem lies with some members of the BBWAA. Whether it’s apathy or personal protest in this age of PEDs, there is absolutely NO reason for blank ballots to have been submitted by five writers. This, along with votes wasted on players on the ballot who may have been friends or hometown favorites but who really have NO business being considered for the Hall of Fame. Players like Aaron Sele, Sandy Alomar, Jr., Shawn Green, Kenny Lofton and others – nice ballplayers but not close to being Hall of Famers. These votes plus the filling out of the blank ballots may have generated enough votes to push Biggio, Morris or Piazza over the 75 % mark and over the threshold into the HOF! Get the vote into the hands of writers who not only understand the election criteria, but take it seriously as well!

Take the vote seriously, or be forced to give up the privilege. Until the voting process tightens up and until baseball comes to terms with the “Steroid Era,“ which will take years, we may be faced with more years of wondering “what happened?” when the HOF voting results are announced annually.

 Mets Fans Stuck in Rebuilding Purgatory

Mets GM Sandy Alderson

With pitchers and catchers just days away, Mets fans are wondering if their team has a chance at contending or if the small lines at Shake Shack will be the only reason they attend Citi Field in 2013.

General Manager Sandy Alderson has given more than just burgers and fries to satisfy hungry Mets fans so far. The 65 year-old Alderson has managed to completely overhaul a relatively barren farm system leftover by Omar Minaya. Timely trades of Carlos Beltran’s balky knees and R.A. Dickey’s enigmatic pitch have landed the Mets two of the top ten prospects in all of baseball, according to MLB.com.

The pair of Travis D’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler have about 500+ minor league games between them so it’s not unrealistic to expect the future of the Metropolitans to arrive some time during the beginning of May.

Despite showing an affinity for bolstering the Mets farm system, Alderson has done little to aide his thin depth at the Major League level. Talks continue to swirl about the chances of bringing in Michael Bourn, but the speedy outfielder seems a bit too expensive for the Mets bland tastes. Bourn is represented by Scott Boras, which means a deal with such a stringent financial organization like the Mets is unlikely. Boras has made his mark in baseball with his innate ability to wrangle up a mystery team to drive up bidding wars. Just ask fans how Oliver Perez got a $36 million deal after reaching 15 wins only once in his career. In addition to Bourn’s crafty agent, the Mets may stand to lose their formally protected first-round draft pick. After the Pittsburg Pirates failed to sign their draft pick last season, the Pirates were placed as the 10th pick in the following year’s draft. This effectively bumped the Mets from their 10th spot, leaving their pick unprotected and their chances at signing a restrictive free agent slim to none. The Mets can’t afford to lose a top ten draft pick for a 30-year-old outfielder, who most likely is on the backend of his career.

The Mets braintrust seems be content with giving out a bunch of minor league deals to underperforming outfielders like Corey Patterson, Mike Wilson and former Phillies prospect Marlon Byrd. With the Nationals only getting better and the Braves forming arguably the best outfield in baseball with the Upton brothers, the Mets moves and lack of financial commitment to winning speaks volumes on how the front office views the 2013 season. It seems that the outfield the Mets will be bringing to Citi Field will be bereft of proven major league talent with the cast of Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and local product Mike Baxter.

While their outfielders are unimpressive to say the least, the bullpen may prove to be equally as inept. The Mets went from the third worst bullpen in 2011 to the second worst in 2012. This trend will only continue with the amount of question marks that continue to populate the relief corps. The unit is lead by Frank Francisco, the man that is doing a great job of continuing the long line of shaky closers for the New York Metropolitans. Many folks are banking on Bobby Parnell, but he is lacking secondary pitches.  Brandon Lyon is rumored to be close to inking a deal with the Mets, but even if that is true the Mets are still a few good pitchers away from being an even mediocre bullpen.

Young talent may prove to be quite the appetizer for the Flushing Faithful, but it cannot possibly replace the succulent-gratifying taste that accompanies a winning team. Losing 20 home runs from Scott Hairston and another 20-game winner in Dickey off of this 74-win team doesn’t help their chances either. By all accounts this will be another year that Mets fans will be trapped in the purgatory that most call “the rebuilding mode.”

 Public Shaming for A-Rod

Alex Rodriguez © by Keith Allison

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, Get out of my sport!”

If Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig cares about salvaging any bit of his league’s already scarce integrity, that must be the message sent to Alex Rodriguez after hearing of Miami News Times’s Tuesday report.

The report claims that Anthony Bosch was the orchestrator of a Miami-based performance enhancing drug syndicate that supplied HGH to some of the biggest names in sports. The list is chock-full of MLB all stars including San Francisco Giants Outfielder Melky Cabrera, Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz, Oakland A’s Heavyweight pitcher Bartolo Colon, third runner up in the National League Cy Young race Gio Gonzales and the aforementioned Yankee third basemen Alex Rodriguez.

Alex Rodriguez is no stranger to controversy regarding his dishonest plunge into the world of PED’s. Just four years ago, a despondent Alex Rodriguez was performing a teary eyed apology for his Yankee teammates about his illegal steroid use during the 2001 to the 2003 seasons. Rodriguez adamantly stated that his years in New York were clean and that his syringe-filled days as a Texas Ranger were behind him. The latest allegations would completely invalidate Rodriguez’s previous admission and once and for all seal him as nothing but A-Fraud.

Major League Baseball has only one option in dealing with Rodrguez’s repeat offenses.

Despite being a baseball purist, “three strikes and your out” is not a valid course of action when a person is found to have cheated America’s pastime.

Back in 2009, Commissioner Bud Selig stated that the damage done to Rodriguez’s image and legacy was punishment enough for steroid use earlier in the decade. The absence of finite disciplinary protocol during that time allowed Rodriguez to receive no consequences for any of his transgressions.

Alex Rodriguez must be made an example of by the commissioner. His current contract ought to be completely voided. Does Rodriguez deserve the 114 million dollars remaining after getting caught in another set of lies?

Absolutely, not.

This would set a precedent from a league that has consistently lagged behind in policing it’s own sport. Instead of letting such an ordeal make its way to the steps of Congress(on the tab of the American Tax Payer), Selig can deal some swift and hard justice by instituting a strict ban for players who repeatedly break Major League Baseball’s drug policy.

 Mets Future is Bright After Dickey Trade

The Mets decided to put the pieces together for future success rather than winning now with the trade of R.A. Dickey, and Sandy Alderson did a great job doing it.

The Mets traded the Cy Young winner along with catcher Josh Thole and backup catcher Mike Nickeas to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for top catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud, their top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, veteran catcher John Buck, and young outfield prospect Wuilmer Becerra.

D’Arnaud is one of the top prospects in baseball and is expected to be the Mets catcher of the future with a good chance at starting behind the dish this season.  In 67 games last season in AAA Las Vegas, D’Arnaud hit .333 with 16 home runs and 52 RBI.  In 2011 for AA New Hampshire, the 23-year-old catcher hit .311 with 21 home runs and 78 RBI in 114 games.  Clearly, the young backstop has a lot of potential and fills the Mets hole at catcher.  This team has lacked a good power hitting catcher since Mike Piazza left, who happens to be the player D’Arnaud admired in his youth.  While his defense has been deemed average at best, D’Arnaud is a huge acquisition that finally gives the Mets a guy who can hit behind the plate.  Getting rid of Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas actually helps the Mets rather than hurt them.  The fact that those are the only other players the Mets gave up besides Dickey makes this deal a steal.

Syndergaard was the second best Blue Jays prospect right behind D’Arnaud.  So the Mets acquired the Blue Jays top two prospects for Dickey, just as Alderson had hoped.  Syndergaard had a terrific season in Class-A Lansing going 8-5 with a 2.6 ERA, including 122 strikeouts in just 103.2 innings pitched.  He’s only just begun.  The 6′5″ power arm is just 20 years old and is already shining in the minor leagues.  In two to three years, we may see Syndergaard join a starting rotation along side Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler.

Buck gives the Mets a veteran catcher with some pop to start until D’Arnaud is ready.  Once D’Arnaud is ready to shine in the majors, Buck gives the Mets a much better second option at catcher than Thole and Nickeas.  The 32-year-old hit just .192 with the Marlins last season, but has power.  Buck had 12 home runs last season, 16 in 2011, and 20 in 2010.  Also, don’t forget about the “non-elite” prospect the Mets get in this deal, Wuilmer Becerra.  Becerra is a 6′4″ right-hand hitting outfielder and is just 18 years old. His season in the minor leagues ended after just 11 games when he was hit in the face by a pitch and broke his jaw.  Becerra has a lot of time to spend in the minors to grow, but we could be hearing his name in four to five years.

Parting with the 38-year-old knuckleballer was tough for the Mets, but his age was a big factor.  Dickey was tremendous last season going 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and 230 strikeouts.  Alderson could not work an extension out with Dickey essentially lowballing him with a 2-year, $20 million offer and Dickey was looking for $26 million.  The Blue Jays pulled the trigger and made the trade and signed him to a 2-year, $25 million extension after he makes a bargain $5 million in 2013.

The Mets are building a young team that should have fans smiling to what looks to be a bright future.  Signing David Wright to a long-term deal was the start.  The Mets are building a team to win in the future with Wright, Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada, Harvey, Wheeler, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia, and now D’Arnaud and Syndergaard.  The pieces are coming together for a team that probably won’t contend in 2013, but 2014 and beyond can be the start of the Mets rise to the top of the NL East standings.

Now that Wright is signed and Dickey has been traded, the Mets need to go out and get a couple outfielders.  That is their biggest weakness right now.  First and foremost, they need to sign or acquire a power bat in the outfield like a Justin Upton or Cody Ross.  Rumors say the Mets are interested in Grady Sizemore, but he is coming off knee surgery and won’t be ready to start the season.  Alderson needs to use the money that hasn’t been spent this offseason to bring in at least two outfielders with one of them being a guy who can hit 20+ home runs.  Terry Collins has the pieces in place, now management needs to look for some offense to put up some runs for this very solid pitching staff.

 Somewhere, Jeffrey Maier is Smiling

16 years ago, 12-year-old baseball fan Jeffrey Maier made a catch that would change the history of baseball.  Maier reached over the Yankee Stadium right field wall to snag a ball hit by Derek Jeter that was ruled a home run.  The home run tied the game in the bottom of the 8th and the Yankees would go on to win the game in 11 innings to take a 1-0 series lead in the 1996 ALCS against the Orioles.

16 years later, the Yankees will take on the Orioles in the ALDS  as the surprising Orioles look to get revenge.  Who would have predicted this matchup to actually happen in 2012?  The Orioles pitching staff consists of Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, and Joe Saunders.  That is the projected rotation to face the daunting task of getting the Yankees lineup out.  Their lineup doesn’t consist of names that jump out on you.

Buck Showalter’s team has been a remarkable story this season shocking the world with their 93 wins.  A rotation full of no-names and a rag tag lineup have put together a season that not a soul could have predicted.  The Orioles defeated the Rangers in a one game playoff to advance to the ALDS.  Baltimore gets a chance to send the team home that beat them out for an AL East title.

The Yankees send their ace, C.C. Sabathia out for game one in Baltimore to face Jason Hammel.  40-year-old Andy Pettitte will pitch game two followed by Hiroki Kuroda starting game three and Phil Hughes taking the mound for game four.  There is no question that the Yankees rotation and lineup are far superior to Baltimore’s on paper, but can the Orioles miraculous story continue?

Nobody has taken the Baltimore Orioles as a serious contender, but now they have their chance against the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees.  16 years ago, the Yankees started their World Series title run as they would win four out of five times from 1996-2000.  This October, the Yankees look to end the incredible underdog story of the Baltimore Orioles.

Somewhere, 28-year-old Jeffrey Maier is smiling Sunday as the Orioles and Yankees battle in game one at Camden Yards.

 Harvey Brings Hope to Mets Future

It has been a rough second half of the season for the New York Mets. The Mets were 45-38 and in the National League Wild Card lead the day after the 4th of July. The day after the 11th anniversary of 9/11, the Mets record is 65-78. They are 10.5 games back of an NL Wild Card spot and an astounding 24 games out of first place in the NL East.

It has been a disastrous second half once again for Terry Collins’ squad. The Mets have not made the playoffs since 2006 and have yet to finish at .500 since Citi Field opened its doors in 2009. Despite the second half struggles, Terry Collins has hope for the future. The future begins with the Mets starting rotation, which is expected to be their biggest strength next season and down the road. Collins is ready for what the future holds in the Mets rotation.

“If you’re going to build a winner, you got to start on the mound. You look at what Matt’s going to bring to the table. You still got Jon Niese and you got Wheeler coming. You got power arms in the pen. You got R.A. Dickey’s got pitching in him left. Dillon Gee will be back. There’s a bright future because our pitching is going to improve. I really think our pitching is going to be very, very dynamic here in a couple of years.”

Wednesday night at Citi Field, Matt Harvey continued to show that he is ready to be a major part of this Mets starting rotation for years to come. Harvey struck out ten batters while only allowing one run against the first place Nationals. It was Harvey’s second to last start of the season as the Mets will be shutting him down after his next start. Harvey has posted a 2.92 ERA to go with 63 strikeouts in 52.1 innings so far in his rookie season. Collins praised his young pitcher to reporters following the 2-0 Mets loss to the Nationals Wednesday night.

“This is where he belongs. This is where he wants to be and he’s out because of that tremendous makeup. He’s going to show people that he is the guy, that he does belong here, and that he does have the stuff to be the guy. As he said when he first got here, I don’t want to be just a guy, I want to be the guy. I think we’ve all witnessed he certainly has that capability.”

If the Mets want to win a division title in 2013 for the first time since 2006, it has to start with their pitching. Collins spoke about the success of division foes due to a strong rotation.

“As long as you got those core guys getting people out. We’re seeing it in Washington. We’re seeing it in Philadelphia. We’re seeing it in a lot of places where pitching is your team. I tip my hat to the people that have gone out and acquired some pitching.”

 RA-DICKEY-LOUS

R.A. Dickey was once a guy who was fighting just to get to the big leagues.  He had a good knuckleball, but it was not good enough to get him recognized like Tim Wakefield, Phil Niekro, and Charlie Hough.  On April 29, 2010, when pitching for triple-A Buffalo, the Mets realized that they may have found something in Dickey. Dickey would give up a single to the first batter that night and then get the next 27 batters out to throw a one hitter.  We would soon learn that more dominant performances were on the way.

Monday night, Dickey showed the world that he might just be one of the most dominant knuckleballers of all time and the most dominant pitcher in the league right now.  Dickey breezed through the Baltimore Orioles lineup throwing his second consecutive complete game one hitter.  The Tennessee native struck out 13 Orioles and only walked two batters.  He gave up a single in the 5th to break up the no hitter.  Dickey was coming off as dominant a performance his last start against Tampa Bay.  Dickey gave up one infield single that could have been ruled an error and the Rays lineup was baffled by the swirling knuckleball that nobody could hit.

There was a feel of magic in the air at Citi Field Monday night.  Fans could not believe the absolute brilliance that was happening right in front of them.  Just two and a half weeks ago, fans witnessed the first no hitter in Mets history by Johan Santana and once again they would get to see an equally dominant performance from Dickey.  In all honesty, Dickey’s two one hitters were as paramount or more than Santana’s one hitter.  Hitters were not even making contact with the knuckleball that were leaving major leaguers scratching their head, throwing their bats, and a lot of times breaking them.

Two one hitters and 25 strikeouts for R.A. Dickey.  Two overbearing starts against two playoff teams right now.  Dickey is now 11-1 with a microscopic 2.00 ERA.  Robert Allen has 103 strikeouts in 99 innings pitched.  He has given up just 67 hits and 21 walks in those 99 innings.  The numbers this man is putting up are Cy Young worthy, MVP worthy, and undoubtedly All Star Game starting pitcher worthy.  Dickey has come out every 5th day and essentially given the Mets a win every time.  The guy has not allowed an earned run since May 22nd.  He has only had one start this season that was not a quality one and that came on a rainy day in Atlanta.  Take that start out and Dickey has been absolutely flawless this season.

What we are seeing from R.A. Dickey is an absolute joy to watch.  He has transformed the art of the knuckleball and at age 37, with the way he keeps his body and being a knuckleballer, still has plenty of years left in him.  In knuckleball years, Dickey is in his prime and can easily pitch into his mid-40s.  It has been an incredible story from a guy who just worked his tail off to get where he is.  Dickey has been all around the league and finally has found his niche with the Mets.  Dickey has an option that can be picked up for next season and undoubtedly, the Mets will pick that option up. Mets fans as well as Dickey hope that the Mets can extend his contract and keep Dickey in orange and blue for a while. Hey, if the Mets can stay in the race and make a run for one of those two wild card spots in the National League, watch out for the dynamic duo of R.A. Dickey and Johan Sanatan right now at the top of the rotation.  It has become a front end that nobody wants to face.

 A Night To Remember at Citi Field
  Johan Santana throws first ever Mets no-hitter

It was the first of June in 2012.  It was the Mets 8,020th game in the team’s 51st season.  It was a night at Citi Field that Mets fans have been waiting their whole lives to see.  Me and the other 27,068 fans came out to see the return of Carlos Beltran to Citi Field in a Cardinals uniform.  What we ended up seeing was history.

At 9:45pm on a cool, breezy night in Flushing, David Freese swung on and missed for the 27th out.  Johan Santana had thrown the first no hitter in New York Mets history.  The Mets could not do it at the Polo Grounds for their first two years.  They could not do it at Shea Stadium for its 45 years of existence. They could not do it in the first three seasons at Citi Field.  Finally, in the celebratory year of the Mets 50th anniversary, in the team’s 51st season and third ballpark, Johan Santana had completed the first ever Mets no hitter.  I was waiting for last night to happen since I started being at fan at the age of 8.  I have been to over a season’s worth (162) Mets games in my life and the night finally came.

There were so many moments in this game that made this such a special first no hitter for the Mets.  First, in the 6th inning, the ball hit by Carlos Beltran that was fair and got called foul.  After this, it seemed the Mets caught a break, and history could be in the making.  In the 7th inning is when it seemed that it was destiny for the Mets.  Yadier Molina, the man who beat the Mets in the NLCS in 2006 at Shea Stadium with his 9th inning home run, would hit one deep to left field that looked to make it the 8,020th game that the Mets would not throw a no hitter.  The pride of Whitestone, Mike Baxter, would put his glove out, catch the ball, and bang into the left field wall and somehow hold on to the ball to make one of the biggest catches in Mets history.  Baxter would leave the game with injury, but not before getting a standing ovation from everyone in the ballpark.  Baxter had somehow saved the no hitter and Santana was just seven outs away from history.  After that catch is when I said to myself…this could happen tonight.

After the 134th pitch thrown by Johan Santana, the Mets woes of never throwing a no hitter came to an end.  Citi Field finally had the feel of home.  It was like the days at Shea as random fans all celebrated together.  High fiving and chest pumping with everyone at the ballpark was normal.  It was a night that you enjoy with the people who have been going to games for years, and a night you tell the youth to remember when they grow up.  Leaving Citi Field was hard as fans stuck around to celebrate together and realize how big of a moment this was.  It was a dream come true to be witness to such a tremendous moment in Mets history.  It happened in my last game before I begin interning Tuesday with SNY working Mets programming.  Being at the John Maine near no hitter in 2007 was incredible, but this topped them all.

 End of an Era in Queens
  Reyes signs long term deal with Marlins

Photo by r0sss

Since 2005, Mets fans have been used to seeing the same man run out to shortstop every day.  They have been used to seeing the same guy go diving into second base safely on a steal.  They have seen the same guy round second and head for third for a triple a dozen plus times a year.  They have been used to the same guy being called at the top of the lineup every day.  They have been used to the same man teach them new Spanish words every home game.  Now, yet another man will be taking his talents to south beach.

Jose Reyes will now be a member of the Miami Marlins.  Reyes signed a 6 year, $106 million deal on Sunday night.  The deal includes a $22 million option for a seventh year.  Reyes will leave the Mets for the team that looks to have a lot of promise in the future.  The Marlins have already signed closer Heath Bell.  They have been in contact with Albert Pujols and are prepared to make a huge offer.  Also, they are going to be looking for a starting pitcher, with Mark Buehrle being a definite option.  Not to mention, they have a brand new stadium next season and have changed their name from the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins.  This move obviously changes the Mets team completely as well as the National League East.  The Phillies, Braves, and Marlins are now looked at as the major contenders in the NL East while the Nationals and Mets seem to be on the outside looking in.

Mets fans saw it coming.  They knew there was no way the Mets could bring an offer higher to the table than what the Marlins brought.  The Mets just do not have the financial room to keep Reyes and then add more pieces, which they clearly need after having an extremely disappointing last couple of seasons at Citi Field.  Losing Reyes completely changes up everything in Queens.  It ends an era of one of the most exciting players we have ever seen in baseball.  Reyes was exuberant on the field and a one of a kind type player.  From his stolen bases to his triples to his flashy fielding, Reyes will be missed in every sense of the word.  Taking over for Reyes as shortstop will be 22 year old, Ruben Tejada.  Tejada got a good amount of playing time last season playing in 96 games and batting .284.  For Mets fans, it will never be the same.  Reyes is a guy that you do not see everyday.  He is a special player and a guy who changes the face of the team.  Tejada will not be that guy and still is developing as a player.  The Mets lose a leadoff hitter, a leader, and an all star and replace him with a bottom of the lineup type hitter who is solid defensively.  The Mets will learn in the coming seasons that nobody can replace what they had in Reyes and it is a tough road ahead for the Mets, who seem to be in a rebuilding mode.

For at least the next six years, Mets fans will now have to watch Reyes compete against them 18 times a year.  Fans have to see Reyes run out to shortstop nine times a year at Citi Field….in a Miami Marlins uniform.  For nine times a year, the first pitch at Citi Field will be made to Reyes.  It is going to be a bizarre feeling for Met fans.  It is a tough loss for the Mets to swallow, but it is time for the Mets to move on and try and build pieces to somehow replace one of the best shortstops of our era.

 Yankees Should Avoid C.J. Wilson
  Going after Rangers ace would be a mistake

Photo by Mike LaChance

C.J. Wilson and his agent, Bob Garber are seeking $120 million over six years. While Wilson had a great regular season with a 16-7 record, a 2.94 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.19, he showed his true colors during the playoffs. Wilson was 0-3 with a 5.71 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP during the playoffs.

When you look at pitchers who make over $20 million annually such as Cliff Lee, C.C. Sabathia, Roy Halladay, and Johan Santana, it’s hard to put C.J Wilson in that class of elite pitchers. Wilson has only pitched two full seasons as a starter and I’m not convinced that he can match his 2010 and 2011 numbers elsewhere.

The Yankees pitching staff had no problems getting the job done this season, especially in the playoffs. They were fourth in the American League during the regular season posting a 3.73 ERA and first in the MLB with a 3.27 ERA during the playoffs. If I told you at the beginning of the year that the pitching was going to be the Yankees strongest link, you would have laughed in my face.  If there was an award for the “biggest surprise of the year,” Ivan Nova would have taken it hands down. Freddy Garcia exceeded all expectations, Bartolo Colon resurrected from the dead, and C.C. was, well, C.C.

A.J. Burnett is the glaring weakness of the staff and it remains to be seen what Brian Cashman and the Yankees do with him. If the Yankees part-ways with Burnett, there are several pitchers in the free agent market that they could go after for a cheaper price than C.J. Wilson. Two proven starters that would make sense for the Yankees are Roy Oswalt and Mark Buehrle.

If Wilson does cash-in this offseason with a $120 million dollar deal, he will be overpaid by whoever signs him. For the Yankees, they are fortunate enough to have money to ‘overpay’ players, but C.J. Wilson is not worth it.

 

Footer

HOME ABOUT STAFF SCHEDULE AUDIO VIDEO ARTICLES MERCHANDISE CONTACT

(c) 2008-2013 sportsradiony.com.    All rights reserved.