Tag Archives: New York Mets

PARITY BE DAMNED – MLB HAS IT RIGHT

Parity is something discussed incessessantly in professional sports. How can you make things “even” between competing teams. This discussion explains from the quintessential baseball movie “Moneyball”

imageIn 2012, Major League Baseball expanded it’s number of teams making the playoffs from 8 to 10. This resulted in each of the thirty teams having a one in three chance of securing a spot in the postseason.

At the same time, the National Football league allows 12 of its 32 teams in the playoffs. This results in 37.5% of the teams making the cut, or three out of every eight teams. More teams get in than in baseball, but not nearly as many as in the parity driven NBA……

If you play in the National Basketball Assosciation, your team has an astounding one out of two chances to be in the postseason and maybe that explains why they drag on for two months.image

 

Baseball has it about right and any further moves to add more teams into the mix will only serve to water the playoffs down further by creating superficial fan interest in teams that are simply not very good to begin with.

In other words, don’t fix something that ain’t broke………..and besides……this format is thriving……

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The Ups And Downs Of A Basebal Season

In the half century I’ve been following baseball, I’ve never ceased to be amazed by the ups and downs of a l-o-n- g baseball season. Through 81 games in the NBA, 16 in the NFL, nothing compares to the stretch of 162 games played over six months.

Some would say that’s exactly why I don’t follow baseball – the season is too long and the games are even longer. Well to each his own I guess, but let the naysayers be reminded that when you sit down for a 1:00 game in the NFL – that game takes longer to play than the average (under 3 hours now) ballgame.

And don’t even talk to me about about the last two minutes of a NBA game!

But we’re not talking about that. imageWe’re talking about the ups and downs of a baseball season and how that lends itself to continued fan interest over a season. Open a NFL season at 0-5 and you’re done – prepare for the draft and for ESPN solemnly admitting that it made a mistake in scheduling you for the 12th game of the season on Sunday night.

So what are these ups and downs we’ve witnessed so far at the halfway point in the 2016 season and what might be coming in the second half as baseball accelerates to the playoffs and an eventual World Series title……

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HAVING FUN IS BACK IN BASEBALL…….

Managers talk about it all the time. They’ll say things like, “The whole team is pressing right now”.  Or on the flip side, “This team is really loose and the guys are having fun”.image Usually, the former is said about a team in the midst of a losing streak where no one can seem to remember how to hit, pitch, or catch…….and where if anything can go wrong – it will.

These things are usually temporary and just a part of a long baseball season. And they are always wrapped up in this thing we call the mental side of baseball (see previous post). In any event, these are the times when a manager earns his money and a team captain needs to step up. Because yes you’re still getting that big paycheck and yes you’re guaranteed to make even more money next year…….but something is missing.

imageWhat’s missing is that intangible…….having fun. Do you think the Royals who are mired in a month long slump are looking forward to coming to the ballpark to play their next game …..or the disappointing Astros? How about Matt Cain of the Giants (0-6 to begin the season)…..bet he can’t wait for his next start…..not likely.

But it’s not only about the fact that they are currently failing. Instead, maybe it’s tied more to this question…..are they not having fun because they are losing……or are they losing because they are not having fun?

Is that the proverbial  chicken or the egg question? I’m not convinced it is and here’s why……

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“MATT THE BRAT” AGAIN!

Along with me, you may be getting a bit annoyed with the episodic relapses  stemming from Matt Harvey’simage diva personality and his ensuing behavior. 

In his latest rant, he is refusing to speak with the media since last Wednesday because he didn’t like how  he was portrayed in local newspapers following a health scare he had related to a issue with his bladder.

Never mind that anyone living in the New York City area and with any intelligence at all knows that there are clear ways to distinguish  the New York Post and the Daily News from the New York Times, and that both papers use attention getting headlines to attract readers, and that some (actually many) of their headlines fall way short of being imageflattering to the subject of their story.

And never mind that Harvey brought this illness on himself by continuing to regularly “hold it in” instead of relieving the pressure on his bladder. But then again, this is what we expect little boys to do.

Harvey is not a kid. He’s 28 years old and it would be hard to imageimagine that the Mets front office as well as his teammates aren’t getting weary of making excuses for his propensity to whine every time adversity arises in his life.

Matt Harvey wants to be Joe Namath? No problem. Just know that there are consequences for going in that direction ……. because in this town you ain’t seen nothin’ yet……..

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LOOKING THROUGH THE CRYSTAL BALL……

It’s always fun to be present at this time of the year as we approach the renewal of a baseball season when all things are bright and Spring Training becomes a memory that is soon lost in the posting of standingsimage      that actually count as the long season begins.

Because at this time of the year, all thirty teams have hope that is not only the breadth of spring in the air, but also the promise that yesterday is no more and this is a brand new season that holds mystery and intrigue that could imagelead to places yet unknown……..

But rather than joining the ever expanding list of “predictors “, I thought it might be a better conversation to ask some questions that are relevant and designed to provoke some thought…….

Answers are free. Correct answers cost five bucks each………

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DAVID WRIGHT’S STRUGGLE TO DEFY THE ODDS…….

I like David Wright. In fact, I like him a lot mostly because he personifies what my generation of Baby Boomers imagewant to see in someone who has the privilege of playing a boys game for big money at a high level with genuine modesty and appreciation for “the game”.

And I know that just yesterday I wrote a piece about the need for fans of my generation to Make Room For The Millennials  like Bryce Harper and Matt Harvey and to adjust to how imagethe game is being played today. There is no reason to take any of it back. And actually, the more I think about it the more I realize that I’m pretty late in coming around to what is pretty much a done deal anyway.

Still, there’s also something to be said for what is playing out in the training camp of the New York Mets, and in particular the struggles of David Wright to take a live swing in a live game this Spring…………..a full month since he reported early with the hope that this year would be different. But so far, it’s not shaping up that way for him…..

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CONTRIBUTIONS NEEDED – THE METS SEARCH FOR $1 BILLION BEGINS NOW…….

Arguably, the New York Mets could have one of the best (or even the best) starting pitching staff ever assembled by a team in the Majors. Along with that (and with no argument), they also have one of the images-1cheapest staffs in the big leagues  – with a payroll coming in at the midway point of the thirty teams at $130 million (The Dodgers and Yankees lead with well over $200 million each).

But, the questions for the Mets are this……..how long is the party going to last and what will their staff look like when it’s over……… And how much success will they enjoy in the interim while the partying is cheap?

And where are the Mets going to find a billion dollars over the next two to four years to retain their premium staff………..because that’s what they’re going to need………

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AN OPEN LETTER TO YEONIS CESPEDES……..

Dear Yeonis,

I read with great interest what you said when you signed a front loaded contract to bring your talents to the city imageof New York and a Mets team that came oh so close to winning a World Championship.

As I recall, you spoke enthusiastically about coming back to a team and a clubhouse that welcomed you with open arms last August………. And how excited you were about the 2016 season when you (along with your teammates) would continue to build on the comraderie you built last year.

So tell me, imagewhat is all this stuff I see in the local sports pages about where I see you driving one outrageous and expensive vehicle after another to the spring training complex……..posing for pictures…….drawing attention to yourself every single day……what’s up with that?

Okay, it was cute and funny when you showed up with that three wheeler and everyone had a laugh…..but guess what………nobody cares! You are a professional baseball imageplayer who is being paid the handsome sun of $25 million for your “services” this year.

So put your toys away and get on the field and start to prepare yourself (as your teammates are trying to do) for a long and hopefully fruitful winning season.

Regards,

Steve

WHEN TALENT JUST ISN’T ENOUGH……..

As a workplace, a baseball clubhouse is anything but typical. Save for the manager, there are no offices. Your privacy extends only to the five or so feet between the teammates on either side of you. “Outsiders” in the form of media are a daily and continuing presence both before and after games. You liveimage the six months of a season in a bubble separated from your family half of the time. You have good days and bad days on the field. Your team wins some and they lose some. There are some guys you like and others you despise. You get up every morning knowing that but for the grace of god, a career ending injury could be on the horizon tonight. You have a lot of acquaintances but very few friends. If you are a position player, you fail seven out of every time you come to bat.  You have agents and handlers telling you what you should be doing with your money. You are a big league ballplayer……..but you are also human…………

And because they are human, some ball players can handle it and some cannot………..

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PREDICTIONS……DON’T EVEN BOTHER….

I’m bored already with the endless cascade of so called “predictions ” about the 2016 season even before Spring Training officially begins. Two days ago, for instance, the USA Today crowned the Nationals, Giants, and Boston among others as Division winners. The New York Mets don’t even make the cut for the playoffs.

All of what they predict may turn out to be true, but if we step back and remember that 162 games remain to be played , it does get kind of ridiculous…..no?

What is the use, for example, of predicting anything when injuries play as much a role in a team’s success as home runs and batting averages? And yet, we can expect a continuing barrage of these procrastinations from media who need to fill print and talk radio space…

But here are the questions they should  be asking…… And not answering…..

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