Posted in Baseball, Binghamton Mets, Trenton Thunder

Trenton Thunder Catch #TebowMania

It’s being widely reported that former NFL quarterback and 30-year-old Mets prospect Tim Tebow will open the 2018 baseball season with the Double-A Binghamton Mets Rumble Ponies.

The Trenton Thunder wasted no time trying to capitalize on the college football star’s two visits this June:

For those who might need a little more motivation:

  • Friday, June 8th is a Kevin Youklis bobblehead giveaway (Trenton used to be a Boston Red Sox affiliate before the Evil Empire took over)
  • Saturday, June 9th is a fireworks night
  • Sunday, June 10th is a day game and a Greg Bird youth jersey giveaway
  • Tuesday, June 19th is a “kids eat free” and dollar hot dog game
  • Wednesday, June 20th is “Wine Wednesday,” whatever that entails
  • Thursday, June 21st is another fireworks game and a “Hometown Hereos” card set giveaway

And hey, if you’re more excited about seeing whichever Yankee prospects land in Double-A this year, your first chance to meet them is Trenton’s Welcome North Open House on April 3rd.

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Posted in Baseball, New York Mets, Trenton Thunder

Talking about two ex-Mets who fell short in the Hall of Fame vote

The Baseball Hall of Fame will welcome Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman this summer.

Jones is the best third baseman I’ve ever watched play (I hope he thanks the New York Mets for helping him get elected 😜) Thome was one of the most productive hitters of his era. Guerrero could do unbelievable things with pitches that were nowhere near the strikezone. Hoffman pitched effectively as a closer for a really long time. All four men are deserving of the honor, though some are more worthy than others.

Former Mets closer Billy Wagner will not be headed to Cooperstown anytime soon, though — he received just 47 votes, 290 fewer than Hoffman.

And that is interesting.

  • Player A finished a 16-year career with a 2.31 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 11.9 K/9 innings, 6.0 H/9 innings and 3.99 SO/W.
  • Player B finished an 18-year career with a 2.87 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 9.4 K/9 innings, 7.0 H/9 innings and 3.69 SO/W.

Player A was a six-time All-Star, received MVP votes twice and Cy Young Award votes twice.  Player B was a seven-time All-Star, received MVP votes four times and Cy Young Award votes four times (once finishing as high as second.)

Based on those career numbers, you’d figure both players would garner a similar amount of support for Cooperstown, with Player B maybe having a slight edge based on previous awards voting.

Player A is Wagner, Player B is Hoffman and it seems like a lot of voters must have been swayed by one mostly useless stat that I left out: saves. Hoffman has 601, while Wagner only has 422.

Bright side, Wagner got enough votes to stay on the ballot and maybe voters will take another look at him next year.

Johan Santana was not as fortunate, receiving just 10 votes. He fell short of the five percent minimum to remain on the ballot, so his fate will be left to the Veterans’ Committee.

Does Santana belong in the Hall? That’s a question that’s worthy of discussion. But for a five-year period, he was the best pitcher in baseball. Between 2004 and 2008, Santana won two Cy Young Awards, finished third twice and finished fifth once. During the two Cy Young campaigns, Santana also finished in the top 10 in MVP voting. That sure seems like too good a career to be off the ballot after one year….

Odds and ends…

  • The Mets have reached an agreement with Jose Reyes on a one year contract to bring him back as a utility infielder. Leaving aside off-field issues of character, this is not a bad move… provided Reyes doesn’t get handed the starting second base job through front office inertia.
  • The Trenton Thunder will play as the Trenton Pork Roll on Fridays this year, which seems like a fun marketing idea until you go look at the uniforms they will be wearing. No. Just no. So very much no.

I remember 1992 and 1993 too well to believe that a big payroll guarantees a winning season, but Fred, Jeff and Saul need to understand that money is going to be a sore spot for fans until the Mets are winning.

Posted in Baseball, Odds & ends, Trenton Thunder

Random baseball photos from 2017

My friend Bart is the last person I know who’s sticking pretty firmly with 20th Century technology. He has no interest in using computers or owning a mobile phone, and he’s still using a 35mm film camera to take photos.

Bart recently sent me prints of some of the photos he took during the baseball season. They’re kinda neat, so I’m sharing some of them here.

The Cuban National Team played a number of games against opponents from the Can-Am League this season. I can’t remember if Bart saw them when they were playing the New Jersey Jackals or the Sussex County Miners, and he didn’t remember who the players are in the photos, but they are still pretty cool.

Cuba Bus 1.jpg

Continue reading “Random baseball photos from 2017”

Posted in Baseball, Trenton Thunder

More netting

The Trenton Thunder are the latest area baseball team to add netting to protect more fans from being hit by foul balls and broken bats.

I think I went to around a dozen games this year where I sat in field level seats. I remember three occasions where I wasn’t sitting behind netting: a game in York, Pa., a game in Kissimmee, Fla., and a game in Trenton.

I’ve gotten used to the nets… I tend to not notice them when I’m watching the game, but they do make it much harder to take photos of game action. For the most part, I know I can leave my camera home these days.

The nets also limit the spots where you can try for autographs before a game… less of a big deal in at MLB facilities where the odds were already against you. We’ll see how it impacts things in minor league facilities. My guess? It won’t have that much of an effect.

In exchange for those inconveniences, we’re safer as we watch the game. Sure, you’ve got people that argue that if you just pay attention, you’ll be able to get out of the way of foul balls.

Watch where professional baseball players have their family members sit at games – they will almost always be behind the net. There’s a reason for that – those line drive foul balls come in really fast.

I’d guess it’s just a matter of time before expanded netting becomes universal at professional ballparks…. and eventually we’ll wonder why it wasn’t there all along.

Posted in Baseball, Trenton Thunder

Looking ahead to an All-Star Summer

I just remembered to flip my calendar to August today – can you believe how fast the year is flying by?

The Trenton Thunder are already looking ahead to 2018, when they will host the Eastern League All-Star Game. The event is split into two days of festivities: a home run derby on Tuesday, July 10th and the All-Star Game itself on Wednesday, July 11th.

The Binghamton Rumble Ponies (New York Mets) will make two trips to Trenton in 2018, June 8-10 and June 19-21, which are the only other dates I’m going to bother making note of now… you can get more information via the Thunder website.

The Atlantic League All-Star Game will be in the tri-state area next summer again as well, hosted by the Long Island Ducks. No date has yet been announced.

Assuming the dates don’t conflict (and they probably will), I’d love to go to both. Here’s hoping I can at least get to see one.

Posted in Camden Riversharks, Newark Bears, Trenton Thunder

Trenton Thunder want you to trade in your old Riversharks gear for tix

The Trenton Thunder are hoping to take advantage of the demise of the Camden Riversharks to recruit new fans.

If you’ve got hats, shirts, jerseys, pants, shorts, socks or shoes of the Camden Riversharks, (or the Atlantic City Surf or Newark Bears), you may exchange your items at the Thunder ticket office and receive a $13 ticket to a 2016 Thunder game (based upon availability), a food voucher, and 20% off at the Thunder company store. There’s a limit of one item of clothing per person per transaction.

“We’re proud to put together a program of this nature,” said Thunder GM/COO Jeff Hurley in a team-issued press release. “The Thunder play the highest level of professional baseball in the state of New Jersey and we are here to stay!”

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not planning to trade in my Bears or Riversharks caps for Thunder tix. But then again, I’ve still got a NJ Cardinals cap too.

Posted in Baseball, Brooklyn Cyclones, Camden Riversharks, New York Mets, Somerset Patriots, Staten Island Yankees, Trenton Thunder, Uncategorized

Final record

I saw 35 36 regular season and one playoff baseball games this year, something that’s probably only of interest to me. I’d like to thank my friends Greg, Vinny, Kristi, Fred, Bart and everyone else that made it possible for me to see so much baseball this year.

Of the home teams I saw more than once, the Somerset Patriots are the only one that had a winning record in the games I attended. (I was surprised at how well the Mets did when I went back to check my scorecards – I remembered the losses better than the wins, I think.)

New York Mets (7-7)

  • Citi Field, seen from the last row of Section 527 on Opening Day 2014 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
    Citi Field, seen from the last row of Section 527 on Opening Day 2014 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

    March 31 at Citi Field: Washington Nationals 9, New York Mets 7

  • April 5 at Citi Field: New York Mets 6, Cincinnati Reds 3
  • April 19 at Citi Field: Atlanta Braves 7, New York Mets 5
  • May 13 at Yankee Stadium: New York Mets 12, New York Yankees 7
  • May 14 at Citi Field: New York Yankees 4, New York Mets 0
  • May 25 at Citi Field: Arizona Diamondbacks 2, New York Mets 1; New York Mets 4, Arizona Diamondbacks 2
  • June 13 at Citi Field: New York Mets 6, San Diego Padres 2
  • June 14 at Citi Field: San Diego Padres 5, New York Mets 0
  • July 11 at Citi Field: New York Mets 7, Miami Marlins 1
  • Aug. 10 at Citizens Bank Park: Philadelphia Phillies 7, New York Mets 6
  • Aug. 11 at Citizens Bank Park: New York Mets 5, Philadelphia Phillies 3
  • Sept. 15 at Citi Field: Miami Marlins 6, New York Mets 5
  • Sept. 28 at Citi Field: New York Mets 8, Houston Astros 3

Continue reading “Final record”