Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Fathers Day

First off, I'd like to say happy Fathers Day to all the great dads out there. Don't forget to tell your dads how much you love him, cause you never know the last Fathers Day you'll spend with him. My last Fathers Day celebration was 5 years ago.

The reason I made this blog was to write about baseball, and to get my name out there as an aspiring journalist. I don't have many talents, but the one skill I'd like to believe I have is the ability to write, and to do it well. To captivate minds, draw people in, make them appreciate the fact they took time out of their lives to read the words I put out there. This post won't be about baseball, and I hope everyone who reads this absorbs this message and remember it well.

Sure, everyone knows I'm a baseball fanatic. I could tell you David Wrights records, but I could also tell you about a loving father. I could tell you who gave up the historic record breaking home run to Barry Bonds, but I could tell you what it's like growing up without a father to guide you. I could tell you top prospects and how good they might be, but I could let you know what it's like living in a broken family, one torn apart at the seams from one moment of absolute despair. But I am blessed. You may think I'm crazy, but I'm blessed. Blessed to have known such a brave and loving man. Blessed to have learned so much from him, even though he left me when I was so young. Blessed to know that to this day my dads looking down on me right now. I'm not the best person, I'll be the first to admit it. I can make a list of all of my flaws, and it would be a long one. I just hope he's proud of me. That's all I want, to make him proud that I'm his son. He was a pain in the ass at times, and I'm sure I wasn't the most pleasant person to be around sometimes too. But I miss him every day and I can't wait to see him again. I'll never forget all he did for me.

Hug your dads a little bit tighter today. You've heard the saying, and it's true. You don't know what you've got until it's gone. Be thankful for every thing your father does for you. I'm hoping that sharing this makes everyone appreciate today just a little more. Happy Fathers Day dad.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Thoughts on Johan Santana injury/Mets legacy/Farewell

First off, let me start by saying when I post here I attempt to be as professional as possible. This will not be the case here, this post will be downright emotional and probably not the kind you would see in a newspaper, yet it seems necessary so here we go.

Today I have read the news that my favorite pitcher of all time Johan Santana has torn his anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder yet again. This will most likely result in season ending surgery, and thus spell the end of Johan's tenure as a New York Met and possibly his entire career. Emotions pulling away at me from the insides regarding others opinions about Santana has pushed me to write this. Many people are saying that he should just give up, the Mets were wrong to sign him, he is a bust, etc etc etc you know the drill. The fact of the matter is, they are all wrong. Their opinion on Santana is far from reality from numerous aspects, so let us begin.

As I recall following my 8th grade graduation ceremony, my family and I head to the Carmel Diner to celebrate. Me as a young kid, barely into baseball, wanted to catch a Mets game and hope they would win for me. Boy, was I wrong. As I sat there eating my cheeseburger and fries, I had the privilege of watching Minnesota Twins pitcher Johan Santana carve up the Mets lineup like a Thanksgiving turkey and throw a complete game shutout. His circle changeup had me in awe from the beginning and I thought to myself "Man, this guy is incredible" Shortly thereafter I followed his career more and more. I always wanted him on the Mets, but I thought the Twins would never be stupid enough to let such a talent go.....

I woke up during the winter of 07-08 early as I always did in anticipation of the "MLB hot stove" where teams sign free agents and make blockbuster trades hoping for a move to push the Mets over the top. Day after day went by and I saw the Twins were shopping Johan Santana. I thought: "Why the hell would they consider trading him?" Yet when the Mets pulled the trigger, I didn't question it. The Mets have traded for my favorite pitcher and signed him to an extension. My dream has come true.

Fast forward to game 161 of the 2008 season with the Mets needing a win against the Marlins to keep the season alive. Johan Santana took the mound on short rest, coming off a career high pitch count, and pitching with a torn meniscus. Johan Santana fried the fish with a complete game shutout giving the Mets a chance to head back to postseason baseball. Thanks to Oliver Perez, that postseason appearance Johan worked so hard for never came to fruition, but I never forgot the bulldog mentality he brought to the mound. Johan never gave up and he would not quit.

"He struck him out! It has happened! In their 51st season Johan Santana has thrown the first no hitter in New York Mets history!" Indeed he did, truly a moment I will never forget. Johan Santana has etched his name in New York Mets history for eternity. He has broken the curse. The Mets have their no hitter. For a franchise known for terrific pitchers like Doc Gooden, Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, David Cone, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, the list goes on and on but my point is the Mets have never had a no hitter, until now. That memory will always stick with me. Sitting in the same position on my couch from the 5th inning on not moving a muscle. If I needed a drink, I would call my brother to get it for me. My rear end was not leaving that seat even if my house was on fire. Coming off anterior capsule surgery that many thought would ruin Santana's career, he threw a career high 134 pitches and tossed a no hitter. There is that bulldog mentality I admire so much. The man everyone said couldn't do it, did. He defied odds, he believed in himself, and he pretty much made everyone eat their words. But not me. Oh no, I believed in Johan from day one. I've never said a bad word about him, and he made 6/1/12 one of the happiest day of my life.

I would love to go on talking about how great Johan is, but that would simply take way too much time. All I have to say is it was worth it. All of it. Santana has earned his contract and then some. Although I've never met Johan, I know this isn't the end. I know him. He will not quit. He doesn't have an ounce of quit in his body. He'll be back. By God, come hell or high water he will be back. Whether it's with the Mets is another question for another day. If not, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart Johan, you've made a 20 year old feel like a giddy kid again and as I tear up writing this, thank you for the memories. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. God bless you, Johan Santana.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why Michael Bourn makes sense for the Mets

The big story of the past week is the New York Mets pursuit of free agent center fielder Michael Bourn. This comes as a surprise to everybody considering the fact that at the start of the offseason, Michael Bourn and the Mets together were only a pipe dream of fans with a chance of slim to none of ever happening. At this point in the offseason though, there's not only a chance Bourn ends up patrolling center in Citi Field, but the Mets are considered the front runners to make a deal.

This comes as no surprise, but the Mets are currently sporting one of the worst outfields in Major League Baseball. Other teams that were interested in Bourn, have already upgraded at the center field position. the Nationals made a trade for Denard Span, the Braves have united the Upton brothers, the Phillies traded for Ben Revere, and the Rangers who were expected to make a run at Bourn stated they are done for the offseason, leaving the Mets as the favorites to sign him along with the Mariners and Indians who have had interest, but have not seriously pursued him. Although Bourn won't instantly turn the Mets into contenders, keep in mind that they are only a year or two away from seriously competing and Bourn will be a great asset to build around. The 2014 free agent class also boasts some attractive outfielders that Sandy Alderson and company can go after to solidify the outfield. The top outfield free agent in 2014 should be Jacoby Ellsbury, yet his injury concerns are a bit troubling. Focusing on 2013, Bourn brings the ability to steal plenty of bases, something the Mets have a desperate need for. His defense, arguably tops in the NL, will play out well in cavernous Citi Field and should take some pressure off lumbering left fielder Lucas Duda and allow him to focus on hitting. The only thing holding the Mets back is the possibility they lose their 11th overall pick. The Mets would have had a protected top 10 pick, but the Pittsburgh Pirates failure to sign first rounder Mark Appel in last years draft puts them in the 9 overall spot, unfortunately pushing the Mets out of the top 10. The Mets will consult with the baseball union to rectify this and allow them to give up a 2nd round pick, not the first. Although this may seem like a lost cause because of the new CBA, Jim Bowden of ESPN stated that should the Mets sign Bourn, he believes the Mets along with the union will likely get the pick protected. Another issue is Bourns age. He's 30 years old and analysis over at Fangraphs shows that players that rely on their speed don't age particularly well, yet some of the players mentioned weren't playing everyday, I don't expect a serious decline for Bourn within the next 3 years. It may come with a few bumps in the road, but if a deal gets done Michael Bourn can be a serious asset for the New York Mets.

So far no signs point to the Michael Bourn saga of the offseason coming to an end anytime soon, as Sandy Alderson and Scott Boras continue to negotiate a possible deal for the fleet footed center fielder. It seems as though the Mets will reluctantly offer a 4 year deal, yet nowhere near the 5 year 75 million dollar deal Bourn was seeking at the start of the offseason. In conclusion, Michael Bourn brings a lot to the table and can only help the Mets as they continue to build a team with potential to compete for years to come. Mets fans can only hope for a compromise that nets them Bourn, but for now they'll have to wait patiently and see if Alderson can work his magic.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Mets outfield and short term solutions.

        I hate to be blunt, but the Mets outfield in 2012 was God awful. Andres Torres proved to be an incompetent center fielder offensively, Lucas Duda struggled to keep his job in right field and was eventually demoted, and don't get me started on Jason Bay and his albatross of a contract. Kirk Nieuwenhuis came up and started off well, but soon looked loss at the plate with an alarming amount of strikeouts. This turned the outfield into a spot where platoon players such as Mike Baxter, Scott Hairston and Jordany Valdespin regularly patrolled. The Mets outfield is by far their most glaring weakness and there are numerous short term options that should be considered.

        As we all know the Mets have little money to spend on players not named David Wright, R.A Dickey and possibly Kelly Shoppach, so Sandy Alderson needs to pick up cost efficient players that can produce at a decent level. This means guys like Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn,  Melky Cabrera, BJ Upton, Nick Swisher, and Shane Victorino will not don the orange and blue come next year. The Mets need a right handed bat with speed and power to play center field well. Upton fits the position, but again, he will command more money than the Mets can dish out. I would have liked the Mets to trade for Diamondbacks center Fielder Chris Young who also fits this need, but Billy Beane of the A's already pulled the trigger and picked up Young for Oakland. Some names who I feel can fit short term for the Mets are Cody Ross, a trade for Shin Soo Choo, or taking a chance with the oft injured center fielder Grady Sizemore. Barring a trade, Nieuwenhuis will most likely start for the Mets in center field, Lucas Duda in right field, and a big fat question mark in left, and don't say Jason Bay, he's run his course in Flushing.

        For the Mets, outfield options are far and few between, and unless Sandy Alderson can shell a little bit of money or trade for a competent outfielder, the outfield will remain a glaring problem that will only hurt the Mets chances of being a contender. This vulnerability must be addressed in some way, and yet again it falls on Sandy Alderson to make a smart decision for the franchise to bring some respectability back to this "Snake bitten" franchise.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The pros and cons of trading R.A Dickey.

        Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson faces a tough decision in the upcoming offseason: Whether to keep R.A Dickey for the future, or simply trading him away for prospects to help the team down the road.

        Let's start off with the pros. First off, Dickey is coming off a 20 win, Cy Young Award caliber season. His value couldn't be any higher and plenty of contending teams will take notice. The Mets don't seem to be able to seriously contend in 2013 so trading Dickey while his value is so high seems like a reasonable idea to entertain. Dickey also has an option for next year for only 5 million, which gives the Mets an opportunity to attain players of better value if they do decide to trade him since the option is a bargain for a team. If Alderson decides to trade Dickey, he will be asking for top prospects or Major League ready talent which teams who are serious in acquiring Dickey will surely be able to part with. This gives the Mets future impact players who will be built around, and also gives them financial flexibility to attend to the largest priority the Mets have this offseason, signing David Wright to a long term deal.

        Now let's go over the cons. R.A Dickey is a fan favorite, and if he gets dealt to another team, the fans will obviously be very upset by the deal and can hurt attendance numbers at Citi Field and the confidence level of the fan base. Mets fans have been told to wait patiently for a contending team, and with a playoff drought of 6 years, accompanied with trading Dickey will send the fans a message to wait longer, and plain and simple, the fans are tired of waiting. Also, the Mets starting rotation is their largest strength, with Dickey, Jon Niese, Johan Santana, Dillon Gee, rookie sensation Matt Harvey, and top prospect Zack Wheeler waiting in the wings. Many fans feel this rotation can make the Mets competitive and dealing Dickey will hurt their chances of making a 2013 run at the Wild Card, and less likely the NL East division. Dickey being traded also hurts the extension talks with David Wright. Wright wants to remain a Met, but he also wants to win. Trading Dickey could send Wright the message that the Mets aren't in a position to win in the foreseeable future and hurt the chances That Wright is extended, which would be a catastrophe for the franchise. Mets fans would love to extend Dickey to a long term deal, and the possibility of trading him is not something fans would like to hear.

        All in all, this upcoming decision will play a large role in establishing which direction the Mets are heading. Whether they will focus on the future, or prepared to contend is yet to be seen. The R.A Dickey situation will play a huge factor for the Mets franchise, and Sandy Alderson needs to make a decision.