Tuesday, February 27, 2007


A quick update on what I think are some of the more interesting off-season moves, not only of players going from team-to-team, but movement within teams.

FROM RELIEF TO ROTATION - these are 3 pitchers making the switch from the bullpen to the starters role this season.

The Jonathan Papelbon move has been well-documented. I wonder whether pitching every fifth day helps his arm, rather than working almost everyday, or if he's hurt by the number of pitches per start he'll be throwing. I think he'll be fine - it's the Red Sox' closer position I'd be worried about if I was a Red Sox fan. Papelbon was soooo good in that role last year. He struck fear in other teams - something that's been missing from that position at Fenway in the past.

This one should be interesting - everyone's favorite former Mets closer, Braden Looper, is part of an experiment in St. Louis, most likely titled, "How to Destroy A Championship Team". Looper is being moved into the rotation - I can't imagine, if he couldn't fool teams coming into games late, how he's going to do against teams facing batters more than once per game.

Then there's Adam Wainwright, who did such a spectacular job closing out games for the Cardinals during the post-season, but is no longer needed as a closer because of Jason Isringhausen's return. Wainwright is also expected to get a shot at starting...if I'm a Cardinals fan, I'd rather see Wainwright in there than Isringhausen at the end of games, based on Isringhausen's performance and the way he's looked on the mound in the past couple of years.


I've mentioned this before, but I'll continue to root for Mike Piazza as long as he's playing. This year, Piazza finally finds himself on an American League team - the Oakland A's - meaning he's going to be a DH for the majority of the year. (There is a possibility he'll get some time behind the plate - possibly even some time at first base!) It will be interesting to see how his bat responds to the new role, even if it is at cavernous McAfee Coliseum.

I'll bring this up again when I make my picks, but the Texas Rangers have become a chic pick to be good this season (perhaps it's because Buck Showalter is no longer with them, and every team Showalter has left has won a championship the year following his departure). I don't think the Rangers will win the West, but I will be keeping an eye on the once-dominant, now-very-fragile, Eric Gagne, and whether or not he can return to form. Or, at the very least, stay healthy.

When Juan Pierre is your number two hitter, you have a good lineup. Such is the case for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will have Pierre hitting behind Rafael Furcal. The Dodgers improved their team this off-season, I can't say much more than that. Pierre and Furcal at the top of the lineup could mean a lot of early leads for Los Angeles this season.

COMMENT COMMENTS: The Southern Bureau left a note detailing a few of Oliver Perez's other, not-so-successful starts. I didn't bring up the horrid numbers, because I figured the ERA spoke for itself regarding how bad those starts were. My point remains - I'm not sure he's too much worse than Trachsel in the rotation - there were times when Trachsel hurt the team and taxed the bullpen. Bottom Line: I hope Dave in Brighton's unfailing confidence in Oliver Perez prevails over the Southern Bureau's negative experiences.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


I didn't expect to write tonight, but I'm working on the theory here that another blog entry will take my mind off of going back to school tomorrow.

I have it in my head that Oliver Perez is no worse in the Mets' rotation than Steve Trachsel. I'm thinking that, had he pitched for a better team in 2006, Perez's record would not have been 3-13 (2-10 in 15 starts with Pittsburgh). Of course, Steve Trachsel gave up a lot of runs in 2006 as well, but finished with a 15-8 record. Here's how the two compare overall in the 2006 season:

I had to throw in the post-season, because Steve Trachsel failed the Mets horribly in that department, while Perez stepped up big-time. But I digress.

I'm not going to break down each of Perez's 15 starts with Pittsburgh, but I will highlight five:
1) Opening Day, in a 5-2 loss at Milwaukee, Perez gave up one run (earned) in 5-and-a-third innings. He ended up with a no-decision.
2) and 3) In back-to-back starts in May, at Arizona and at home against Houston, Perez got two no-decisions in two very good performances. At Arizona, Perez gave up 0 runs in 6 innings of work, and vs. Houston he gave up 2 runs (both earned) in 8 innings. Pittsburgh lost both games (4-3 and 5-4), and Perez didn't factor in those decisions, as I mentioned.
4) In June, Perez and the Pirates lost to St. Louis 2-1, after a 7-inning, 2-run performance by Perez.
5) In his next start, Perez went 7-and-two-thirds innings against Minnesota, giving up 4 runs, but only 1 was earned, in an 8-2 loss.

Now, it's generous, given the final score of that Minnesota game, but again, we're talking pitching well enough to win on a good team. If you take these five starts, and reverse the outcome, factoring in pitching on a better team, Perez is suddenly 7-8. It doesn't change his awful ERA (6.63 in those Pirates starts), but it shows that having Oliver Perez in your rotation is not a bad thing.

Also consider the fact that with the Pirates, Perez was the number one guy, and often was matched up against the opponents' number one starter. With the Mets this year, he'll get the chance to start anew, and in the back end of the rotation. If he gets off to a good start, and builds up his confidence....maybe that's what he's needed to recapture the flashes he showed early in his career (spotlight on 2004 with Pittsburgh: 12-10 with a 2.99 ERA in 30 starts).

As for Trachsel, I didn't break down his starts like I did Perez's, but having watched nearly all of his starts last year, I KNOW that there are quite a few that could have gone the other way, leaving him with a lot less than 15 wins if he was with a lesser team. (Hello, Baltimore and American League hitters!)

Bottom line - I'm excited to see how Oliver Perez fares this year. If a couple of the Mets' potential starters do as well as they are capable of (Perez, Glavine, maybe one of the young guys like Pelfrey or Humber, or even John Maine), the rotation may not be the problem people are making it out to be.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Seeing as how I'm not sure when the next time I'll be able to update will be (keep checking back - you never know when it'll be - it'll be a fun surprise!), a couple of the more time-sensitive issues that I've been meaning to get around to:

-From winter ball, some good news. Anderson Hernandez discovered his stroke. After hitting .246 in the minors last season, and .152 with the Mets, the second base prospect hit at a .287 clip during the winter ball season. He also hit .310 in 6 games of what I think is the equivalent of the winter ball post-season. We'll watch to see if he carries that type of hitting into spring training. I think that would be important because I'd much rather see Anderson Hernandez and his glove at second than Jose Valentin, who I don't feel so good about as the Mets' regular second baseman this year.

-The Mets did not tender a contract to Victor Zambrano back in December, making him a free agent. There were rumors the Mets would re-sign Zambrano at a later date, but he ended up signing with Toronto. That officially makes the Scott Kazmir trade a disaster (as though there were any doubt), and if Zambrano comes back strong from Tommy John surgery with the Blue Jays, look for lots more criticism headed Rick Peterson's way. I feel Peterson could be doing a better job for the Mets...at least, the Zambrano thing was a huge failure on his part.

-On the subject of Peterson, he was one of seven coaches the Mets locked up under contract this off-season. Peterson got a three-year deal, third base coach Sandy Alomar, bullpen coach Guy Conti, hitting coach Rick Down, and bench coach Jerry Manuel all got two-year extensions, and newcomers Howard Johnson (first base coach) and Tom Nieto (catching instructor) got one-and-two-year deals, respectively.

HoJo beat out Gary Carter (among others) for the first base coaching job. Remember, Manny Acta has left the staff to be the Nationals' manager.

-Finally, another Blue Jays connection: John Thomson also signed with the Blue Jays, after receiving overtures from the Mets as another possible arm for the pitching staff. And after he turned down the Mets because he didn't want to pitch to Paul LoDuca or for a team with Cliff Floyd in the outfield. Wow. Talk about taking shots. I don't remember LoDuca having a response to that, a little surprising, since he can be a hothead.

Floyd, though, shot back, saying from Cubs camp last week, "From what I've seen, he's not one of the greatest pitchers in the game. It didn't really affect me in terms of my pride....People who talk a lot seem to always be on the short end of the stick. I wish him the best of luck. Hopefully, his luck can change in Toronto because it didn't change in the National League." Nice job, Cliff. Well said.

Thomson did make 9 starts for the Mets, incidentally, in 2002, going 2-6 with a 4.31 ERA.

FLASHBACK: I've mentioned many times how my mom is cleaning out lots of my old stuff as my parents renovate their house. Recently, I got a bunch of stuff, and I just went through some of it today. Among the books were a few years' worth of the old Topps Sticker Yearbooks. I remember my brother and I competing over stickers to fill every page. Fun stuff. Surprisingly, the price was just 35 cents. And I was going through the 1987 edition, and came across the 1986 World Series page. Thought it was a good excuse to use the new scanner at the House sponsored by DirecTV. So here it is:

Friday, February 23, 2007


El Duque has arthritis. Let the age jokes begin.

Tom Glavine forgets things.

Moises Alou hates when he misses the early-bird special.

Julio Franco is incontinent.

I guess El Duque's injury isn't a threat to him during the regular season, but it is a reminder of how fragile the Mets' pitching situation is. These guys are old (relatively speaking), and the injuries can pile up fast in that case.

This was actually the subject of one of the ESPN blogs today (thanks, Southern Bureau), and how difficult it would be for the Mets to get a front-line starter should Tom Glavine get injured, or even El Duque.

There is bound to be an injury to the Mets' pitching staff this year, but I don't think it will cripple the team. I think we need to remember that the Mets were in a similar situation last year, and it didn't affect them at all. (13 starters over the course of the season, and they still ran away with the division.) And let's remember that things got even worse in the post-season, and Steve Trachsel notwithstanding, pitching was the Mets' strength in the playoffs.

The other thing to remember is that as poor in pitching as the Mets are this year, other teams are worse off. Pitching is tough to come by these days, and the Mets have a good stockpile of arms. The problem, for you pessimists out there, is that the teams that are better off in the pitching department reside in the National League East...the Marlins and the Phillies. We'll just have to see if the Mets can outhit all of their opponents if the pitching proves to be a worst-case scenario.

Sadly, my February vacation is coming to a close. I still have many things to write about, but less time to do so. I want to touch on: the Mets coaches, the off-season deals, and my pre-season picks, among other things. Please keep checking back, although my postings will be inconsistent. Thanks.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


The big news out of spring training on Wednesday and Thursday was Jimmy Rollins' proclamation that the Phillies are the team to beat in the National League East, and the Mets' reaction to that claim. The Mets did just what a Mets fan would hope they would do - they laughed off the comment, and said the matter would be decided on the field, implying that the Mets are the defending division champs, and the Phillies would have to prove it to them.

I do think the Phillies are better this year, but I don't necessarily think they are better than the Mets. (In past years I felt very strongly that the Phillies don't scare me - but this year I may change that tune....but, again, they'd have to show me something on the field, which is what their problem has been in past years. Good on paper, not good in actuality.) As I wrote a couple of days ago - the difference this year is that the Mets won't be running away with the division - there will be some competition.

So Jimmy Rollins spoke out, David Wright put him in his place - just for kicks, here's a breakdown of the two players involved in this war of words (please click on the picture so you can actually read the darn thing):

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Manny Ramirez is reporting late to camp due to a family issue...that can only mean it's time for me to be reading my baseball preview.

I picked up the Street & Smith's Baseball Preview the other day, and I'm really flying through it this year. Usually it's torturous, because I go from team to team, and make notes for fantasy baseball as I read. This year, it's only reading, no writing, so I'm really flipping through the magazine.

#1. So the first step is to figure out which baseball preview to get. The only one that was out when I was at the store was Street & Smith's, so that's what I got. I went to my bookshelf (for some reason I keep the old magazines), and I had been on a long streak of "The Sporting News" baseball previews until last year...last year, for some reason, I didn't get a baseball preview. So usually it's The Sporting News for baseball, Street & Smith for football. This year I bucked that trend.

#2. Before I dive into the team previews, I like to read the articles, just to get a sense of what to look out for this year. Sometimes there are players highlighted, sometimes milestones within reach...this year, there was a feature on Daisuke Matsuzaka, as well as a story on pitchers over 40 (that hit close to home for the Mets). So I read a couple of those.

#3. Then the team previews. This is a multi-faceted process. The first thing, before the team previews, there is usually a division preview. So I read that for the division I'm about to take on. Then I read the breakdowns, team-by-team, within that division. In past years I have read all of the division previews first, then skip around from team to team until I've read all 30. Not this year.
-What I am doing this year is this - I read all of the American League: East, Central West. But for the National League, I start with the West, then go to the Central, then I save the East for last, so I have something to look forward to. Because if I read about the Mets first, I lose interest in the rest of the teams fast.
(In case you haven't already come to this conclusion, I have strange habits.)

#3a) So I don't just read the team previews - there's a strategy to this as well. I read all of the little sidebars first. I start with the prospects report (Street & Smith's has a really good one this year - the top 10 prospects in each organization). Then I go to the scout's view on a player. Then I read the actual preview article. Then I read the small little stat boxes they give you....then I read the opposing scout's view of the team as a whole.

#3b) Now, here's the weirdest part, but for me, one of the most fun - the last thing I do before I turn the page on a team is look at the players' birthdays. The main thing I look for is 7/7, my birthday, then 8/11, The Wife's. Now, I also keep an eye out for 10/2, The Baby's birthday. Whenever I see 4/8, it also catches my eye, because that's Gary Carter's birthday (and it also happens to be Dave in Brighton's birthday).

So that's how I read a baseball preview magazine. I realized as I was reading today that I read it strangely. My question for you, and I invite your comments, is, how do you read your baseball previews? (My obsessive-compulsiveness, I think, is what has led me to develop this system, because I feel an urge to read every word on the page - even the little stats.)

NOW THE INTERESTING STUFF: If you glazed through most of the above, I ask you to read that last paragraph, just above, so at least you can comment on how you read baseball previews. But here are a couple of things I've gleaned from this year's baseball preview:

-I'm not going to get into my picks yet, but Street & Smith's picks the Phillies to win the NL East, with the Mets getting the NL Wild Card.
-They also pick the Red Sox over the Dodgers in the World Series. Again, my picks will come as the season gets closer.
-Here's a real interesting thing...for some reason, one of the little sidebars in the magazine is each organization's "Best-Ever Shortstops", and they rank the top 3. I was really struck by the Red Sox' page:
#1: Joe Cronin (fine, Hall of Famer, retired number)
#2: Rico Petrocelli (OK, fan favorite, fine)
#3: Rick Burleson

What? Where's Nomar? For that matter, what about Johnny Pesky? He's still with the organization for crying out loud. The Pesky thing doesn't bother me nearly as much as the omission of Nomar, though - that's just horrible. He's their best shortstop ever. Period. OK, actually, I just looked up Cronin's numbers. Wow. He is indeed their best-ever shortstop. But Nomar has to come next. I don't care about longevity. He's better than Petrocelli and Burleson combined...and keep in mind, I don't even care for Nomar all that much.

AND FINALLY...: Usually, I have a west coast team that I root for, so that with the baseball package, after the Mets game is over, I can switch over and watch my west coast team into the early morning hours. In past years, I have found the Angels to be a fun team to watch (although their broadcasters bother me), so it's been the Angels that I prefer. This year, though, despite a boring brand of baseball, I might be tuning in the Oakland A's as often as I can. I just enjoy rooting for Mike Piazza that much - I am very excited for him to be getting a chance to DH this year. I think he'll have a good year, and I want to watch as many of his at-bats as I can. The other interesting thing about Piazza this year is that the A's want to rest Jason Kendall more...so maybe Piazza gets back behind the plate? There's also a chance Piazza will get some time at first base - the A's have a bit of a question mark there. But he's going to primarily be a DH - and I want him to do well.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I'm going to spend a bit of time today writing about how I spent part of my off-season:

Last year at about this time, New York Daily News Mets beat writer Adam Rubin put out a book (seen at the right) called "Pedro, Carlos, and Omar". The book is about the Mets' pursuit of, and free agent signings of, Pedro Martinez* and Carlos Beltran*. It also recapped the 2005 season. I did not read this book last year. But I was in Barnes & Noble about a month ago, and saw an updated version of the book, and bought it. And read it. It was OK.

The version of the book I have is called, "Pedro, Carlos & Carlos! and Omar", and it adds the addition of Carlos Delgado in 2006, after the Mets' failed negotiations with him the previous year. It also recaps some of the 2006 season, mainly the highlights.

I'm going to try not to be too critical, because I have never written a book like this, so I don't know how one goes about doing this. But I found this book to be awfully repetitive. Events were repeated over and over from chapter to chapter. Part of me wonders if it is because parts of the book were excerpted and printed in the Daily News, so Rubin repeated himself at times so the excerpts would make sense, but that strikes me as an odd way to approach a book. Another problem I had with the book was that there was a factual error in it, and anytime I see one factual error, it leads me to believe there are others which I may not have caught. In this case, it wasn't a baseball error, but it was in reference to the Patriots winning the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I can't find the error as I do my fact-checking, but it was supposed to be Philadelphia Eagles, not the Steelers. I can't remember the context even...but that's carelessness. I have plenty of mistakes on my blog...but a blog isn't a book. Maybe I'm critical because I'm jealous that this guy put out a book on something I could have put out a book on. But if I put out the book, I know I wouldn't have two AFC teams facing each other in the Super Bowl.

The last complaint I have is that too many times Rubin refers to himself. "I asked him after the game...", "He told me.....". That bothers me. Don't throw yourself into a story. I don't care that you were talking to him, I just care what he said.

Other than those errors, the book let me re-visit what was a pretty entertaining 2005 season. The pain of Braden Looper, though, was a constant in the book. That was not fun. Pedro* got robbed so many times that year because of Looper - right from the very start - Opening Day. And my ill-fated VCR plan. (Not in the book.)

The final thing I will say about the book is that I remember it being billed as the pursuit of free agents Martinez* and Beltran*. One or two chapters talk about that...then it's a recap of the season.

Bottom line - save yourself some money, go through the Daily News archives, and you'll be getting the same information. (Or better yet, go through the 2005 johnnymets.blogspot.com entries!)

E-MAIL: Our first e-mail of the 2007 season comes from a true-blue (though mostly negative) Mets fan, Steve from Queens:

"Johnnymets -

I am glad that you are back to writing about the Mets. Hopefully this will be a fun filled season from start, but more importantly, to FINISH.

Just wondering your thoughts on the other team in NY. What do you make of the A-Rod and Jeter, no longer best friends, thing? I personally think A-Rod is crazy for saying the things he said to the media. "That he and Jeter don't go out to eat 4 or 5 times a week anymore". or that he doens't sleep over Jeter's home anymore. What is going on here. A-Rod has 25 million new friends a year and he is waisting people's time talking about how he and Jeter aren't what they used to be? I just don't get it. Please share your thoughts with us.

By the way, I love that the press on the Yankees is about those two, while the press on the Mets is about how players on the team thinks they can win the World Series this year and on Beltran trying to steal more bases.

See ya

Steve from Queens."

Yeah, good stuff from the Mets on Monday - Beltran* spoke about how he wants to try to run more, and Willie Randolph said he thinks Beltran* could give THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, a run for his money in the steals department. The Mets are talking baseball, the Yankees are talking "Best Friends Forever".

It is just strange that this is what A-Rod talks about to the media -the relationship between him and Jeter. There must have been some kind of fight over a girl or something somewhere along the line that caused these two to have some sort of rift, and A-Rod is still sore about it, and felt the need to take a dig by mentioning this to the media on Monday. Weird. I no longer live in New York, but I follow the sports pages there pretty closely, and I didn't think the Jeter/A-Rod friendship was on many people's minds this week. I could be wrong.

And then why would you mention sleeping over each other's houses? That's an unnecessary part of the whole equation that we could do without knowing. What are you, 11-year-old girls? Or professional ballplayers?

RESPONSE TO COMMENT FROM THE SOUTHERN BUREAU: I think the Southern Bureau mis-read my NASCAR bit...or I mis-wrote it. I wrote that before the scoring was out, so I anticipated being in the middle of the pack, based on my Daytona 500 drivers versus everyone else's. I think the Southern Bureau thought I meant I was comparing my drivers over the course of the season. This is because I am actually in last place after the Daytona 500...a shocking and unexpected development. Thanks for your concern, Southern Bureau, but I am well aware of the rules. And I will make my move next week.

Monday, February 19, 2007


When we last left the Mets, Pedro Martinez* was hurt, El Duque was out, and John Maine and Oliver Perez were forced to make starts in some of the biggest Mets games in history. Not much has changed.

At least El Duque is healthy now. The Mets rotation is one of the battles to watch this spring. Here's the sure thing - Tom Glavine begins the year as the Mets' number one guy. El Duque will be behind him (the Mets re-signed Hernandez to a 2-year deal, despite his 42 years of age, over the off-season). The Mets actually had El Duque under contract before Glavine - finally re-signing Glavine after originally declining his option. So the top of the rotation is the bottom of the age chart. Then it's likely that Maine and Perez take the 3-4 spots. That leaves quite a battle for the number 5 spot.

The candidates are Philip Humber, Mike Pelfrey (my two favorites, or at least who I'm rooting the hardest for), Jorge Sosa, Aaron Sele, and Chan Ho Park. Among others. (Jason Vargas's name comes up every now and again, and there's also Dave Williams, but he's having an injury right now.)

There are positive and negative ways to look at this pitching situation. The negative is that the Mets' two best pitchers are on the wrong side of 40, and no one is really great. But as far as I can see, that's the only negative.

The positives include:
  • The Mets have depth at pitcher, something that served them well last year when they came within a pitch of the World Series. Last year the Mets started 13 different pitchers - that's a rare thing when you consider teams on the other end of the rare spectrum, suffering no injuries, would just start 5. This year, look for something in the middle - there will be injuries, but the Mets have the manpower to get through them.
  • There's no Steve Trachsel. I've been down on Trachsel for years - he's had flashes of good pitching, but never showed he could do it on the big stage. When he finally got the big stage last year, he couldn't perform. So now he's in Baltimore. And the Mets have a guy like Oliver Perez in his place, who could pitch just as well (or perhaps as poorly) as Trachsel, maybe even better, and rely less on run support, and turn his career around. (Or recapture some of his early flashes of success.)
  • As much as Glavine and Hernandez represent the "old", there's the potential for plenty of "new" for the Mets in the rotation as well. John Maine and Oliver Perez are 26. Philip Humber is 25. Mike Pelfrey is just 23. So there are some kids on the staff who could be the core of the Mets' rotation for years, to go along with the great left side of the infield. As a matter of fact, I think that's the biggest positive - Pelfrey and Humber could be the Mets' future 1-2. Before he hurt his elbow, the Mets considered Humber to be a future star. And Pelfery has shown what he can do at the major league level. It's exciting to watch these guys grow, and give the Mets a nice home-grown core, without the hype that can damage some youngsters.
  • My final point is that come late July or August, the Mets will get a brand-spanking new Pedro Martinez*. It'll work like a trading deadline deal, and Pedro* will re-join the staff, and rejuvenate the team. At least that's the way I like to think of it. He will have had plenty of time to rehab, unlike last year, when he came back and was ineffective. It will have been a year and a couple of months since teams saw the real Pedro*. He will give the Mets a big boost heading into the playoffs, and then to look forward to '08, he will be fresher in what might be the final year of his career.

As negative as I was in my last posting, I do feel like the Mets can succeed this year. And the points about the rotation that I've laid out above are a big reason why. Another big part is the offense, which I touched on in that last posting. But for the regular season, at least, the Mets' pitching should be good enough to get by. The Mets will again win many games with their bats this year.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Here we go, the 2007 baseball season - one that would be a disappointment if the Mets are not the World Series champions at the end. I have to start with something that may surprise you - I am not as confident in the Mets this year as I have been in past seasons.

It's not that I expect the Mets to do poorly...it's just that I wouldn't be surprised if they did. Part of the reason for this is the fact that the Mets are considered favorites to do well this year - I'm not at a point where I handle that role very well - it's better when they are underdogs. So there's that mentality.

Then there's the fact that the Mets' pitching is a mess. The lineup is great (although I have my reservations about Moises Alou - more on that later). But the pitching is a question mark, at the very least. The optimistic view is that no one has great pitching, so the Mets' hitters should again be able to bash the opponents, getting the Mets into the playoffs. The pessimistic view is that the team with the best pitching is a team the Mets will face all year long - the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phillies need to earn my respect (they don't scare me, remember), but I do feel this is their best chance to win anything - I think they have a better team this year than they have in years past. But the Mets are also pretty darn good. I do think the two teams from the NL East make the playoffs....but that's getting way ahead of myself. Just know that I think the Mets will face some tougher competition this year (remember, the Marlins give them trouble, too), and it won't be a runaway division title like in 2006.

I'd love to be wrong about Moises Alou - he's not getting an asterisk at this early stage of spring training, but he'll probably have one by the regular season. He needs to prove to me that he's capable. A lot of experts are saying the Mets added the right-handed bat they've needed...I'm not so sure. Better players, in my opinion, have failed under the bright lights of NYC - Alou will need to show me he can succeed at Shea.

**This has been in my head all off-season. I don't know why I didn't write this last year. I thought about it every game of the NLCS - Yadier Molina scared the crap out of me every time he came to bat. He was the only St. Louis hitter who was consistently getting to the Mets' pitchers. And he was the guy who beat them in Game 7. When he hit the homer off Aaron Heilman, it didn't surprise me. Just had to say that. I still think, with his .348 average in the series, and the way he handled the St. Louis pitchers, that he should have been the NLCS MVP. But I guess Jeff Suppan did his part.

EXCITING STADIUM NEWS: Took a quick overnight trip to Queens last weekend with The Wife and The Baby, and saw the construction going on beyond Shea Stadium. Citi Field is really taking shape. The columns that will form the entranceway (I think) are already up. It looks neat. My dad has said that they showed aerials of it, and it's taking shape that way too. I meant to take a picture on the way back to Massachusetts, but forgot. I always overestimate the amount of space needed to build a baseball field. I always think it will take more space than it does. But these ballparks fit into small spots.

FANTASY SPORTS: So in order to bridge the gap from football to baseball, my friends and I are playing fantasy NASCAR. As a result, I sat through my first NASCAR race today, the Daytona 500. And here's the shocker - I actually enjoyed it. It helped that I had certain people to root for during the race, but it was fun to watch. This will do nicely to help me get to baseball - and as I told my friends, there's a chance it may compete with some early-season baseball games on Sunday afternoons. Or at least merit switching over. As for the fantasy team, I anticipate being in the middle of the pack after comparing my drivers with the rest of the league.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


This is a weird time of year for me. I can't really put the way I feel into words. It's the doldrums of the sports year, and it's a real downer. However, there's also the "kid at Christmas" feeling of spring training being right around the corner.

There are certain things that get me from one week to the next at this time of year. My interest in pro basketball is non-existent, and my interest in the NHL is waning. But there is college hockey, and with Boston University being consistent, that keeps me going. It helps that the first two Mondays in February are the Beanpot tournament - that helps two weeks go by. Then there's college basketball, and the NCAA tournament, but that borders on more of a sick obsession than an enjoyment for me lately, and I end up by the end of that tournament feeling like I just completed a couple of weeks of work rather than watched a sporting event that I enjoyed.

This is on my mind because suddenly there are just 4 days until pitchers and catchers report for the Mets, and that really snuck up on me. Of course, things are busier this year at the House sponsored by DirecTV than they have ever been (thanks to The Baby), and my focus has been more on next week, when I have a week off to be with her, rather than baseball season. That either makes me a bad fan or a good dad...I'm not sure.

And I guess I decided to write this as a preview to the baseball season preview I'll be writing soon. February vacation is really when I start to step up the writing, so that will be happening in a week or so. I'm also writing because I can't believe the whole off-season has gone by and I only posted a couple of off-season updates.

I have a bunch of notes that I keep to remind myself of what I want to write, so that I don't sit in front of the computer and suddenly forget. Well, the danger of that is I write the note instead of the actual posting, and I end up never writing the posting. I was ambitious enough to write right away when Barry Zito signed with San Francisco, but you will probably not read my opinion of why Derek Jeter got screwed when he was not voted the 2006 American League Most Valuable Player. Luckily, most of my notes are still relevant, and there will be postings on:

So come on back, and check the site for updates. Remember you can always e-mail at johnnymetsmail@yahoo.com, and we can post those as well. I'll be back next week as we kick off what will hopefully be a championship season...until then, I'll be rooting for a snow day and waiting for vacation.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I love the Super Bowl. I really do. I love Super Bowl history, I love that they use roman numerals, I love the commercials. I love these America's Games that the NFL Network has been running, which let you relive some great Super Bowls, and the seasons leading up to them, also including some stuff I've never seen before.

I can't imagine what it will be like when the Jets make it back to the game someday (maybe next year?), a game which has come a long way since the Jets' last appearance in III.

But I'll tell you what I don't like. I don't like two weeks of hype. I don't like rematches (which I'm sure you all know). Two Bills-Cowboys....two Redskins-Dolphins...two 49ers-Bengals...three! Steelers-Cowboys. What wastes.

Anyway, this year it's the Colts-Bears. This is a weird game, because I have no idea what is going to happen (well, that's not the weird thing - I never know what's going to happen). The weird thing is, nothing is sure - it's all wishy-washy.

I feel like there's an equal chance of:
1) Peyton Manning having the greatest game of his life, or being a total failure.
2) Rex Grossman being great or awful.
3) The Colts defense being great or awful.
4) The Colts being able to score on the Bears or being shut down.
5) The Bears putting up 0 points or 20+ points.

And many more.

But I'm going with the Colts to win something like 34-24. That means they'll hit the over on the 48.5. One other thing I like about the Super Bowl is all the prop bets - how many touchdowns will this team score, etc. I love the over/under ones. I selected a few off one of the internet sites that I will watch for this Sunday:

1) Team to score last in the game - Indianapolis
2) 2.5 total interceptions by both teams - OVER (Rex Grossman might do this by himself)
3) 131.5 rushing yards by Chicago - UNDER (A hunch on my part)

Enjoy the game, and look for consistent updates soon on johnnymets.blogspot.com.