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
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

Mets baseball card of the week: Carlos Beltran 2011 All-Star Game Relic

Carlos-Beltran-ASG

A while ago, Twitchy sent me some really neat Mets baseball cards… and I still haven’t shown any of them off. So let’s fix that.

I love All-Star Game relic cards, despite not being a particularly big fan of relic cards or the All-Star Game. Go figure. I think it’s because it’s fun to see players in uniforms that they don’t normally wear.

In 2011, Carlos Beltran was in his final year as a Met. It seems like a lifetime ago, but it hasn’t even been five years since he represented the Mets in the National League’s 5-1 victory in the All-Star Game at Chase Field. Beltran went 1-for-2, scoring on Prince Fielder‘s home run off of C.J. Wilson. A few weeks later, he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Zack Wheeler.

In a few hours, Beltran will be trotting out to right field at Yankee Stadium as New York’s other team tries again to get their 2016 season started. On the plus side, it’s not raining today…but it’s not exactly baseball weather – fans might need to worry about frostbite.

It’s too easy for Mets fans to remember Beltran’s career for one playoff at-bat in 2006, but he really was one of the greatest players in team history. Hopefully after he retires, the Mets will honor him with a plaque in the team’s Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, the Mets will try again this afternoon to get that first win under their belts. Friday’s home opener will be more fun if they aren’t starting the season with an 0-2 record.

Posted in Uncategorized

Collecting some All-Stars, 7 years later

Major League Baseball provided the first update on 2014 American League and National League All-Star voting this week. David Wright trails Colorado’s Nolan Arenado and Milwaukee’s Aramis Ramirez at third base, but he’s the only Met who’s in the top five at his position.

Carlos Beltran's 2007 Topps All-Star insert card
Carlos Beltran’s 2007 Topps All-Star insert card

In 2006, circumstances were very different – the Mets had six representatives on the All-Star team, including three members of the starting lineup. So baseball cards commemorating that All-Star Game have much greater potential to be interesting to a Mets fan than any for this year’s contest.

Topps produced a series of 12 All-Star insert cards that were included in 22-card Series One rack packs in 2007. Some of these packs recently resurfaced at select WalMart stores for the discounted price of 98 cents. Night Owl was kind enough to send me seven of the All-Star cards, including Carlos Beltran, one of two Mets players on the checklist.

I don’t remember seeing these cards before, but it has been seven years. Then again, I’m sure I would have made some kind of effort to collect the set. The bright, cartoon background reminds me of the spirit of the early 1990s oddball cards that I still love. Continue reading “Collecting some All-Stars, 7 years later”

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Morning reading: Carlos Beltran in cheetah makeup, K-Rod vs. a cactus, and more

Carlos Beltran has found one way of making it difficult to recognize him in public, and he sure looks like he’s having fun in this video he posted to Instagram earlier this week. (found via NJ.com)

Continue reading “Morning reading: Carlos Beltran in cheetah makeup, K-Rod vs. a cactus, and more”

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Beltran says Mets’ treatment made him a stronger person

Embed from Getty Images

Carlos Beltran, one of the best hitters in New York Mets history, did not have a happy exit from the team. He still displeased that team executives said that he went for knee surgery in 2010 without their blessing, but Beltran told New York Post columnist Joel Sherman that he’s “turned the page.”

“I don’t know what they gained from what they did to me,” Beltran told Sherman. “But I know what I gained. It made me a stronger person. Look, if you are a bad guy, you are a bad guy everywhere and the people in the game know it. The people who have played with me know that is not true.”

You can follow Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook or Google+, see my photos on Flickr and Instagram, and follow @Paul_Hadsall on Twitter, where I talk about about a variety of things in addition to baseball.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Christmas comes early: the Mets get their man

Curtis Granderson signed 2008 Allen & Ginter baseball card from my collection
Curtis Granderson signed 2008 Allen & Ginter baseball card from my collection

The New York Mets reportedly reached an agreement with free agent outfielder Curtis Granderson on a 4-year, $60 million contract on Friday.

I have to admit that I didn’t think it was really going to happen – after all, we’ve had some front office fake outs and  it’s been nearly four years since the Mets have added a star free agent. (I really hope Granderson works out better than Jason Bay.)

Granderson brings some excitement to our hot stove season, and gives Sandy Alderson a bit more flexibility to make trades at the winter meetings next week. (At least one of Eric Young Jr., Juan Lagares, or Daniel Murphy won’t be in the Opening Day lineup, in all likelihood. Hopefully Alderson can package one of his limited, but useful players with Ike Davis or Lucas Duda to obtain a starting pitcher or shortstop.)

But before we get too excited, let’s remember that Granderson is basically replacing Marlon Byrd. We can expect a little more power from him than we got from Byrd this year, but we’ll also get more strikeouts and a notably lower batting average.

And I would guess that the Mets are done looking at the free agent market except for some January bargain shopping. Chris Young and Granderson probably account for most of the money that Alderson had to allocate to new player acquisitions.

The success of the 2014 Mets lineup is going to hinge on Travis d’Arnaud, and whoever plays first base and shortstop as much as Alderson’s outfield upgrades.

Granderson wasn’t the most notable player who reportedly agreed to contract terms in Friday’s free agent frenzy. That would be Robinson Cano, who will be playing for the Seattle Mariners through his 40th birthday, earning $240 million.

Not to be outdone, the New York Yankees have reportedly agreed to terms with Carlos Beltran on a three-year deal worth $45 million that will keep him in pinstripes through his 39th birthday.

Even the Boston Red Sox made a small splash, reportedly reaching a two-year, $32 million contract agreement to retain Mike Napoli.

First-RuleIf you think Major League Baseball free agent contracts are getting a bit out of hand, MLB Trade Rumors has some numbers that back up that idea. With just 55 players signed to date, MLB teams have already handed out contract commitments totaling $1.238 billion. To put that in perspective, last off-season, teams committed $1.393 billion to 112 free agents.

It’s a brave new world… let’s hope the Mets can afford to play in it and that the made the right choice with Granderson.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Random Thoughts: Jim Leyland, the World Series & Yankees ticket prices

Jim Leyland announced Monday that he would not return as the Detroit Tigers’ manager in 2014. At age 68, he might be ready to retire from the game… or maybe he’ll find the “fire” and turn up in a dugout somewhere in a few years. I kind of hope that he does – Major League Baseball is just a little bit poorer without Leyland in uniform.

I hope that in some alternate universe, Leyland is getting his Detroit Tigers team ready to take on one of his old teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates. I wish I could watch that World Series, because the Boston Red Sox vs. the St. Louis Cardinals does nothing for me.

Carlos Beltran plays against the Mets in 2012 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Carlos Beltran plays against the Mets in 2012 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

I know a segment of Mets fans is rooting for the Cardinals so Carlos Beltran can finally get a World Series ring. Beltran is a great player, one of the best hitters in Mets history. But I can appreciate his skill without being willing to root for his team – still the home of 2006 nemeses Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright.

I’m nominally rooting for the Boston Red Sox, because it would make my friend happy if they won. But rooting for the Red Sox since 2007 kind of feels like rooting for the Yankees North.

Meanwhile, the actual New York Yankees are demonstrating some common sense. The team announced Monday that they will cut ticket prices in some sections for 2014, and 96 percent of the ballpark will have ticket prices that either stayed the same or went down from this year’s costs. Maybe that will help slow the ticket sale declines…

Mets ticket prices are so complicated, I have no idea if they are going up or down next year. Both teams need to worry about putting a better product on the field.