Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Perhaps I mis-titled this segment yesterday. I don't really think these are bold predictions - they're more random predictions. So I'll continue in this new vein to tell you:

The Best Player on the Texas Rangers in 2009 will be Chris Davis.

The reason this is so random is because I was all set to declare Davis the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year. But then I realized, to the best of my knowledge, that he qualified as a rookie last year (and received no votes for ROY). But I thought he put up some impressive numbers -

In just 80 games (295 at-bats), Davis hit .285 with 17 homers and 55 RBI. Project that out to a full season, and I think he gets 35 homers and 100+ RBI - pretty good for someone you haven't really heard of.

And if you have heard of him, I'm sorry that I missed the boat. Those numbers just caught my eye.

Now excuse me while I add Davis to my fantasy team.

Monday, March 30, 2009


OK. Let's cut the charade. If I picked the divisions again this year, you know who I'd end up picking to win everything. So I'm going outside the box this year with some bold predictions. And I'll stay away from most things involving the Mets.

Also, I'm running out of time to go on the record with any kind of picks...season starts in less than a week, and I can't believe I'm finally writing that.

So, without further ado - my first Bold Prediction for 2009 is: Neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees will win the 2009 World Series.

I am aware of the tremendous social risk I take in writing that. Sad as it is, 80% of my readers are Red Sox or Yankees fans (God bless you, Steve in Queens, for knocking down that percentage). But I'm not making the pick to spite you all, or because I hold any sort of grudge that in the 23 seasons since the Mets last won a World Series you all have celebrated 6 world championships and a couple of other league championships, as well as plenty of playoff appearances.

In fact, one of those teams, and quite possibly both, will probably make the playoffs. It will in all probability be the Yankees. But I don't think either team wins the World Series this year. Or even gets there.

It's wrong to base assumptions on the World Baseball Classic, but I think part of the WBC was a harbinger of things to come for the Red Sox. Lots of little tweaks from Kevin Youkilis to Dustin Pedroia...and I feel like it's going to be that type of year in Boston. I feel like someone will be suffering from some kind of nick or bruise most of the year, and they'll never really get to the point where they are as good as they've been the past couple of years. Which means they'll still be good, but not championship-level good.

As for the Yankees, I feel like they have the potential to be this year's version of last year's Tigers. They could be a huge disappointment. Of course, they could get everything to go right and be the best team ever...but these types of spending sprees never seem to go that way, do they?

So I think the age on some of the Yankees will catch up to them (Jeter, Damon, Pettitte, Posada), and that will be a little too much for the new guns to make up for.

I'm not sure who exactly will win the World Series, but I'm feeling pretty confident the AL champ will not come from Boston or New York.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


As far as pictures taken from the car go, this is not one of our finer efforts, but the last time we were down in New York, about two weeks ago, we snapped this picture of Shea-less Citi Field on our way back:
It was weird seeing just one stadium in that spot...even though for my whole life there was ever only one stadium in that spot.

But there it is. The new view from the Whitestone Expressway. And The Wife is celebrating because she'll never have to take another picture from the car there again.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


This thought occurred to me the other day, so I want to make sure I broadcast it before anyone else does.
I don't think there's a better way to open up Citi Field on April 13th than by having Billy Joel sing the national anthem. He was the 'Last Play at Shea', he should be the 'First Play at Citi'. I checked his touring schedule - it doesn't seem like he's doing anything for the month of April. Maybe he's keeping himself free for just this type of occasion. I hope the Mets get him. And for good measure, I'll say keep that symmetrical theme going...Tom Seaver threw out the last first pitch at Shea...he should also open the new stadium.

Incidentally, it bothers me a little bit that the first game at Citi Field will be a St. John's game...this weekend, I think. I understand the need to have some run-throughs before the stadium opens to fans for good, but aren't next weekend's exhibition games against the Red Sox enough? Other than the disaster that was Frank Viola's years with the Mets, and John Franco's tightrope act, there's never been a St. John's-Mets connection - it's a historic game that will make no sense in the history books.

I'm sort of glad the Red Sox are the team playing the Mets next weekend, too - I'll be able to see the games on NESN here, and get a sneak peek at Citi Field. By the way - the Mets sent my dad tickets to a practice at the new stadium the morning of one of those Red Sox games - concessions will be open. Another test-run...another reason the St. John's game doesn't need to happen first.


Reasons To Look Forward to MLB 2009

I am not a great fantasy baseball player. I go with my heart too often rather than my head. But the first step to recovery is admitting there is a problem...and slowly but surely I'm improving at fantasy baseball.

So this year my first pick in 'East Coast Bias' (the fantasy baseball league I pay the most attention to, featuring only the AL and NL East players, trophy pictured at left) was Ryan Howard. Last year I drafted Chipper Jones, for example (on-base percentage is a huge factor). I am using my head...not letting my hatred of those teams get in the way.

Now, none of this has paid off yet. My best showing in East Coast Bias was tying the Southern Bureau for first place two seasons ago (after blowing a season-long lead). But it will this year. I feel like I have a very good team (which is my typical late-March feeling).

This year, I'm also involved in another league which uses all MLB players. And instead of a random draft, which we've done in past years, we did a live draft. And that was fun - and I feel I have a great team there, as well. Headlined by none other than Ryan Howard.

So I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to fantasy baseball this year. Also games like 'Beat the Streak' on mlb.com, and my 'New Baseball Pool'...all little extras that will help move the season along.

And at the very least, if I've put the kibosh on Ryan Howard by putting him on my fantasy teams....the Mets will benefit from that.

This idea was going to originally be "Reasons to Look Forward to the Mets in 2009", but I realized there are probably going to be some general baseball reasons as well as Mets reasons. So I've expanded it. Most will have to do with the Mets. Also, I'm counting up, rather than down, as we head towards the baseball season, because I'm just not sure how many items there will be in this feature. We'll go until we hit Opening Day.

Friday, March 27, 2009


My bracket's nearly busted. The temperature nearly hit 70 today. Many other years, this weekend is the start of the baseball season.

But I'm glad it's not...because I just don't feel ready.

I mean, I have my fantasy rosters drafted and the starting lineups are just about set. I have the notebook for the 'New Baseball Pool' set up, just waiting for Week 1 picks to be entered. I'm looking forward to the newspaper and Sports Illustrated baseball previews in the next week. So logistically I'm all set. It's mentally, I think, that I'm not.

And I think I know why.

It's this late start. For months, I've known that it was nearly a full week into April before the Mets would take the field (when it counts). And almost halfway through the month when they opened up the new stadium (I guess it could be worse - the Yankees' new stadium doesn't open until the 16th). So I guess I adjusted my mental state to account for all that.

Now, let's not confuse 'not ready' for 'not excited'. It's weird, though, this year - I really am more excited about the place than the event. I can't wait for Opening Day at Citi Field to see the stadium, and to go back all summer long, rather than to see the Mets play. Maybe that will change when I see the team in uniform for the first time (it probably will), but right now I'm excited for different reasons than I usually am.

I haven't even made season picks this year...which is too bad, because I'm in a non-homer mental state, and I might nail the picks.

Maybe I'll get around to that since it's still a while before we see any action that counts.

TWEET: So, I'm on Twitter. I have to credit The Wife - she thought it might be a good way to draw some traffic to the site. So since I want to get back into the everyday blogging life I've abandoned recently, I'll try whatever it takes to get some people to read. So if you're on Twitter, follow me. It's johnnymets. Not quite sure how it works, but I'll even follow you, too. When the season starts, I might be able to 'Tweet' more often than blog...so that might be a nice little add-on feature. We'll see what develops.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Gosh...I'm really sorry it's been so long. I figure there's no time to get back into the blog, though, like March Madness time - and I think I'll welcome you back with an annual tradition...my obsessiveness over the NCAA Tournament bracket.

If you've read before, you know I'm a little....different....when it comes to my bracket. And this year, I'm realizing there are some common feelings that come over me at the same time every year. Here's a rundown:

1) Unbridled Enthusiasm: There are few times during the sports year I get as excited as I do between Monday and Wednesday of Tournament Week, when I start filling out my bracket. Wednesday night (like tonight), my heart starts beating a little faster. It's like a kid on Christmas Eve. I put the final touches on my brackets (well, not really - I don't change any picks once I write them down - more like I make sure I've entered them into whatever websites they need to be entered on), like putting out the cookies for Santa. I feel tired, but know that I won't really sleep well - there will be at least one dream of forgetting to submit a bracket. And I'll just want sleep to come so that morning will come faster. Then I have to get through the workday...

2) Hope: Every Thursday around noon comes the realization that my bracket could very well be perfect. It's the last moment that my picks are perfect. I like to savor that feeling for a bit.

3) False Hope: If I escape Thursday and Friday with any semblance of a "good" start, I raise my hopes. Any first round where I post less than 10 losses qualifies as a "good" start for me...depending on repeat losers.

4) Dejection: Inevitably, by Saturday night, I've lost an important game. It tears me apart.

5) Regret: I go back through my picks, wishing I could have a new blank bracket to fill out, and that I had gone with different instincts when I originally made my picks.

6) Second Wind: After Sunday I'll reassess the situation, and figure that if my bracket is busted, so must everyone else's be. And I'll figure out a new method to win the pool.

7) Repeat until the field gets too small, and I give up all hope. And then turn my attention to baseball.

EVERYONE'S IN THE POOL: OK, not quite in the pool, but I'm proud to say my 2-year-old filled out her first bracket tonight. She likes Pittsburgh to win it all. She also likes Cleveland State....which is why I didn't put it in the pool. But she's starting her picks at age 2. That's better than winning any pool in my book. I already can't wait until next year when I can add to her record.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


This is just a note to say that the blog isn't meeting its end or anything. I still care about it. And I still care about the Mets, despite their efforts to crush me at the end of every season.

It's just that situations like this whole Johan Santana ordeal right now are hard for me to handle. When it first happened, Santana said that he didn't think he'd miss Opening Day...and then it turned into a story about how he was going to most likely miss Opening Day.

This is a manufactured story. It's one I didn't want to write about because each time I would have written something, it would have changed and I would have had to write something again. It's certainly a serious situation - if Johan Santana is hurt, the Mets' season is finished. And if that happened right now, it would be over before it even began.

But I won't believe Johan Santana will miss Opening Day until I see the Mets play on Opening Day without him. And that's still a month away. This is nothing more than a media needing something to write about from camp, with all of the other star players playing in the World Baseball Classic. Nothing more. Talk to me again in a month.

SPEAKING OF THE WBC: It was nice to see David Wright in prime late-season form, popping out in a clutch spot (with the bases loaded in the seventh) against Canada on Saturday. And J.J. Putz will fit right in with his new teammates, walking a tightrope and turning a two-run lead into a one-run win-and-almost-loss in the 9th inning. It's like he was born to be in the Mets bullpen.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I immediately regret this decision

There is a great scene in Anchorman where Ron Burgandy - while trying to save the lovely Veronica Corningstone - jumps into the bear pit attempting to be the hero. His bravery turns to fear rather quickly as he declares, "I immediately regret this decision."

Great movie, but a scary parallel this morning - sounds a lot like the Mets. The Citi Field'ers went with what they thought was a great idea, only to regret it just a short time later.

This offseason, the Mets decided not to sign Derek Lowe, he instead went to the Braves, and the Mets said their pitching staff was good enough the way it was and elected not to make a move for another starter.

Obviously that was a bit of a gamble, but with Johan Santana anchoring the pitching staff things still had a solid chance to work out.

Now - Santana is hurting. Early reports have him questionable for Opening Day with elbow problems. And with the Mets having not signed another top pitcher, they're stuck with what they got.

Think the Mets - like Ron Burgandy - regret that decision?

Maybe Santana will only miss opening day, but the words "pitcher" and "elbow problems" don't usually go well together. What if he misses more? What if he's out a few weeks? A month? two months?

If he's out - safe to say - the Mets are done.

A look at the depth chart - without Santana - does not paint a pretty picture for the Mets. A rotation of Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, John Maine, Freddy Garcia, and Tim Redding will not win the NL East. That rotation might struggle to finish 500.

So why didn't the Mets address their starting rotation this offseason? All the attention was focused on the bullpen woes, but maybe Omar Manaya slept on their true big need.