Posted in Baseball, New York Mets

Snowed out

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Only one playin today is this dude!

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The New York Mets were indeed snowed out on Monday, so the New York debut of Gabe Kapler’s Bullpen Follies has to wait until tonight.

Instead, I watched the Houston Astros beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-1 in their home opener. Before the game, the Astros unveiled their 2017 World Series Championship banner (with the help of a leafblower.)

I found it interesting that while the Astros have won seven division championships and three wild card berths, it looked like they only have two banners on display – their 2005 National League pennant and the 2017 World Series one. I think I like the “keeping to essentials” approach.

The Astros are a fun team to watch. Charlie Morton may be the best number five starter in baseball, but as good as their pitching is their hitters are better. At this stage, everyone knows about Jose Altuve… but George Springer is every bit as exciting. Alex Bregman impressed me with his hitting and defense and Marwin Gonzalez impressed with his versatility.

I could easily see the Astros successfully defending their World Series title.

Other odds & ends:

Posted in Baseball

Enjoy baseball marathon memories while you can…

On the second day of the 2018 baseball season, I got to watch the last couple of innings of the New York Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays and just enough of the San Francisco Giants’ 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers to see Chris Taylor end Johnny Cueto’s perfect game bid.

That’s probably a lot more baseball than I will find time to watch today, but it’s a lot less than fans who were attending the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves (11 innings), the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-10 win over the Detroit Tigers (13 innings) or the Miami Marlins’ 2-1 win against the Chicago Cubs (17 innings.)

In the not-too-distant future, games like those will probably be unimaginable. Minor League Baseball is already testing a rule change that puts a runner on second base at the start of each extra inning.

Friday’s marathons are sparking more discussion about making a rule change at the Major League level. It’s coming and I hate it.

One of my favorite baseball memories is a game that didn’t want to end between the Miami Marlins and New York Mets. On June 7, 2013, young stars-to-be Jose Fernandez and Matt Harvey matched up and left with a 1-1 tie. By inning 13, journeymen Kevin Slowey and Shaun Marcum were pitching for the two clubs, respectively. They’d been scheduled to start a game that had been rained out the night before, and they took the game to the 20th. It was awesome – the only part I would’ve changed was the end result (the Mets lost.) If tinkering with the rules brought the game to an end in 11 or 12 innings, I guarantee you I wouldn’t remember it five years later.

Sports reporters and baseball managers hate extra innings, because it makes it more difficult for them to do their jobs. I think most fans like them – sure, there’s a point where you have to leave the game or turn off the tv. But that could happen anyway – the deciding game of last year’s World Series lasted over five hours and only took nine innings to play. But if you get to stay for a marathon, you get to see something special and I hate to see that get tossed away in some misguided pace-of-play initiative.

So here’s my compromise proposal: save the extra runners for the All-Star Game, and start inning 10 with the bases loaded. Regular season games that remain tied after 12 innings go in the books as a tie. Playoff games are played to their conclusion without any gimmickry.

It still sucks & fundamentally changes the way baseball is played, but it does so in a way that I can live with.

Other odds & ends:

Daily Roundup, Jan. 3, 2017

Posted in Autographs, Baseball

Featured autograph: Tim Stauffer

2004 Bowman’s Best Autographed Tim Stauffer baseball card from my collection

Tim Stauffer appeared in five games for the Mets last September, after injuries and innings limits left the team’s relief corps short-handed. The 33-year-old right-hander was not especially effective and was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for infielder Matt Reynolds following Ruben Tejada‘s injury in the NLDS.

This spring, Stauffer will be pitching for a spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen – he signed a minor league contract in December.

Once upon a time, Stauffer was an elite prospect – the San Diego Padres selected him out of the University of Richmond with the fourth overall pick in the 2003 amateur draft. He was chosen ahead of Nick Markakis, John Danks, Aaron Hill and Adam Jones, among others. Stauffer had shoulder issues from the time he signed with San Diego and never quite lived up to the promise the team saw in him.

Prior to joining the Mets organization last summer, Stauffer appeared in three games for the Atlantic League’s Suger Land Skeeters.

With Stauffer unlikely to ever appear on a baseball card as a New York Met, he will be represented in my collection by this 2004 Bowman’s Best card from his prospect days. It cost $1.38.

Posted in Baseball

Odds & ends

As we get closer to the start of spring training, teams are looking to fill those last few holes and players are trying to make sure they have some place to report.

The Mets signed former Washington Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina to a minor league contract on Monday and invited him to major league spring training. With four starting outfielders for three spots, plus Alejandro de Aza earning $5.75 million as the team’s fifth outfielder, the Mets seem unlikely to need Bernadina — at least to start the season. But this is a decent depth signing that gives the Las Vegas 51s a more experienced team and gives the Mets an option with major league experience should they need another outfielder.

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