Posted in Baseball, New York Mets

Bittersweet baseball

There’s been a variety of news since the end of baseball season. The Mets have a new manager and coaching staff, and will soon have a new and expanded training staff.

They’ve retained a couple of players and let some others go.

And I really haven’t had a lot to say about it.

I’d never heard of Mickey Callaway until news broke that the Mets had chosen him as their next manager – I hope he does a good job. Likewise, I’m not sure how much of a role coaches really play in the success of a Major League Baseball team or how good the guys the Mets hired are at doing their jobs, but I wish them well.

But I did want to mention a couple of news items I saw tonight.

David Wright DSCN8318
David Wright (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Mets captain David Wright will be inducted into the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame tomorrow night in a pregame ceremony in Scottsdale, Ariz. Wright played for the Peoria Saguaros in 2003 just months before making his big league debut.

I’m sure there will be another pregame Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Wright sometime within the next few years, as the Mets honor one of the best players in team history.

Before injuries cost Wright the last three years and will likely make 2014 the last full season of his career, it seemed like we’d be talking about his chances of being enshrined in Cooperstown one day. Now the only talk is about whether Wright can return to a Major League Baseball field or if he should retire.

It’s a bittersweet honor, to be sure.

Carlos Beltran (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Speaking of Mets greats who inspire bittersweet memories, Carlos Beltran announced his retirement this week after finally winning a World Series ring with the Houston Astros. But apparently he’s not ready to walk away from the game just yet — he’d like to manage somewhere down the road.

Hey, if Callaway doesn’t work out, maybe Beltran can have another chance to win a ring with the Mets.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Tick-tock, MLB experiments with adding a clock

file8601272057817Major League Baseball seems serious about cutting back game times that seem to get longer each year. Today, the league announced a series of experimental measures aimed at reducing the amount of wasted time at the ballpark.

In this year’s Arizona Fall League games, “no-pitch” intentional walks will be implemented, batters will be required to stay in the batter’s box (unless time is granted or some other permitted circumstance occurs), pitchers will be on a clock, and teams will be limited to three “time outs” to conference at the pitcher’s mound.

A couple of those ideas are pretty similar to rules adopted by the independent Atlantic League this year.

Continue reading “Tick-tock, MLB experiments with adding a clock”

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Arizona Fall League is underway

Since the end of the season last Wednesday, Mets fans were left with the unsatisfactory options of rooting against the Yankees or rooting for the various Mets alumni who are on playoff teams this year.

Darrell Ceciliani, seen here playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2010, is part of the New York Mets’ 2012 Arizona Fall League contingent (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Today, we’ve got a third unsatisfactory option: we can root from a distance for potential future Mets playing in the Arizona Fall League.

Each year, all 30 major league teams select a half-dozen minor league prospects and send them out to Arizona where they play for one of six teams. Some teams send their best prospects – Bryce Harper made his professional debut in the Arizona Fall League. Other teams send players who could benefit from additional playing time for one reason or other.

The Mets are contributing players to the Surprise Saguaros, and I recognize two names: outfielders Darrell Ceciliani and Cesar Puello. I saw Ceciliani play for the Cyclones a couple of seasons ago. This year, injuries limited him to just 23 games with the St. Lucie Mets. Puello is currently on the Mets’ 40-man roster, but has yet to play above the Single-A level. Plate discipline is a concern: in his second year with St. Lucie, Puello struck out in 23 percent of his plate appearances and walked just seven times.

The Mets also sent four pitchers: Ryan Fraser, Chase HuchingsonAdam Kolarek and Greg Peavey.

In the Saguaros 5-3 loss to the Peoria Javelinas this afternoon, Ceciliani went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. None of the other Mets prospects played.

I also recognize one other name in the box score, Boston Red Sox outfielder Bryce Brentz. He does have a tie to the Mets organization. With the Mets well out of the race in August 2009, Omar Minaya traded Billy Wagner to the Boston Red Sox for Chris Carter and a minor leaguer. The move was essentially a salary dump. Boston allowed Wagner to leave via free agency at the end of the season and received the Atlanta Braves’ first round pick in 2010 and a supplemental selection at the end of the first round. They used that pick, the 36th overall, to take Brentz.

Brentz spent most of the 2012 season with the Portland Sea Dogs in the Double-A Eastern League. He hit .296 with  17 home runs, 76 RBI, and an .833 OPS. He’s two years younger than Matt Den Dekker, who hit .274 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI and a .779 OPS with Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Buffalo this year.

If I was out in the right part of Arizona and could make the Arizona Fall League start times fit in with my work schedule, I bet I’d be really into it. Since I’m not, I’ll check on the Mets prospects from time to time and go back to rooting for Davey Johnson to earn another World Series ring.

Posted in Baseball, Baseball Scorekeeping, Uncategorized

The last baseball game of the year

For many people, baseball season ended when the St. Louis Cardinals celebrated their second World Series title in the past six years. For fans in certain Arizona communities, baseball season extends into November thanks to the Arizona Fall League.

Since it debuted three years ago, the MLB Network has let the rest of the country share in the fun by televising the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game and the Arizona Fall League Championship Game. When the Salt River Rafters closed out their 9-3 victory over the Surprise Saguaros, that marked the end of professional baseball in the United States for 2011.

At The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Bryan has a recap of how the Mets’ prospects fared in the Arizona Fall League this year.

My scorecard from Saturday’s championship game is beneath the jump.

Continue reading “The last baseball game of the year”

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Saturday night’s celebrity boxing bust & Arizona Fall League Rising Stars

Lenny Dykstra's 1994 Post Cereal card (from my collection)

I hope that no one bought last night’s pay-per-view celebrity boxing event to see the Lenny Dykstra vs. Jose Canseco bout, because it never happened. According to writer Dan Gross, Dykstra either pulled out of the fight at the last minute or was never really scheduled to take part in the first place. So we have yet another bizarre story…

Instead of worrying about boxing matches involving former baseball players, I watched the Arizona Fall League’s Rising Stars Game on MLB Network. It was my first look at 2010 #1 draft pick Bryce Harper and 2011 #1 draft pick Gerrit Cole. Neither impressed.

Cole started the game for the AFL East team and got rocked. He gave up two long home runs among four hits and a walk. He didn’t make it out of the first inning, allowing five runs to take the loss. Harper didn’t fare much better. He played the whole game as the designated hitter for the AFL East team. He went 0-for-2, striking out twice, with a walk and a sacrifice fly in his other two plate appearances. Continue reading “Saturday night’s celebrity boxing bust & Arizona Fall League Rising Stars”