Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Mets at the halfway mark

This 2012 Panini Prime Cuts Kirk Nieuwenhuis baseball card is a recent addition to my collection.
This 2012 Panini Prime Cuts Kirk Nieuwenhuis baseball card is a recent addition to my collection.

The New York Mets wrapped up the first half of the 2015 baseball season with a 5-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon. Kirk Nieuwenhuis became the 10th player in Mets history to hit three home runs in one game, and he’s the first to do it in the Mets’ home ballpark.

Back during spring training, I think we’d all have agreed that a 47-42 record at the All-Star Break (just two games behind the Washington Nationals in the N.L. East and one game behind the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card) would be a successful start to the season.

The 2015 Mets have problems. It’s not clear when (or if) we will see David Wright or Travis d’Arnaud on the field again this year. The team ranks dead last in the National League in runs scored, hits, total bases, and batting average. They’re 14th in on-base percentage and 10th in home runs.

But their starting pitching is good enough to give the Mets a shot to win almost every night and Jeurys Familia has been the team’s MVP after inheriting the closer’s job when Jenrry Mejia was suspended.

It’s painful to watch the Mets waste great pitching performances because they can’t score runs, but it’s fun to watch those great pitching performances.

This may not be the year for the Mets to go all-in at the trade deadline, but the team they have has shown enough promise (and enough problems) that they have to do something to upgrade before the July 31 trade deadline if they expect anyone to believe that the front office cares about winning.

It’s probably asking to much to expect an upgrade over Ruben Tejada at shortstop in the next couple of weeks, but doing something to strengthen the outfield seems like a legitimate goal. Michael Cuddyer‘s been disappointing this year, but for his career he’s been better against lefties. Curtis Granderson is having a great season – against righties. Against lefties, he’s hitting .119. Seems like you’d gain if you could platoon the two veterans and find another left fielder. You’d also be improving a bench that’s been less productive than the Mets starting pitchers at the plate. And that seems like the kind of move you could make with second-tier prospects that don’t fit an immediate need and wouldn’t jeopardize the team’s long-term plans.

If Sandy Alderson stands pat, it’s going to be very demoralizing for the fans… but probably also for the players and manager Terry Collins. July is too early to say “wait until next year” this time.

Posted in Uncategorized

Thoughts on the New York Mets at Memorial Day, 2015

Members of the New York City Police Department unfurl a giant American flag across the outfield at Citi Field during the Mets' 2015 home opener in April (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Members of the New York City Police Department unfurl a giant American flag across the outfield at Citi Field before the Mets’ 2015 home opener in April (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Memorial Day is often thought of as the time that it makes sense to start looking at the MLB standings. More than a quarter of the schedule has been played, and we think we’re getting a handle on which teams are good, which teams could be “good enough,” and which teams need to wait until next year.

This Memorial Day certainly went better for the New York Mets than last year’s. No one got fired and they managed to win their game.

But all the hope and optimism generated by April’s 11-game winning streak are gone. Despite today’s victory, the Mets are just four games over the .500 mark and are mathematically closer to the third-place Atlanta Braves than the first place Washington Nationals.

Over the last seven days, the Mets are 2-5 and have been outscored 43-17. A lineup that had several question marks on Opening Day is now a serious cause for concern thanks to disappointing performances and injuries.

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Posted in Autographs, Uncategorized

February autograph additions

Signed Curtis Granderson photocard from my collection
Signed Curtis Granderson photocard from my collection

February is off to a good start for my Mets autograph collection.

Today I got a 4″ x 6″ photo-card from Curtis Granderson. The three-time All-Star used to sign baseball cards that people sent to him when he played for the Detroit Tigers, but he started to use photo-cards to respond to autograph requests when he was with the New York Yankees. I’d always thought that these photo-cards featured facsimile signatures printed on them, but I wrote to Granderson last year in hopes of getting one for my Mets’ oddball items collection anyway.

The photo-card I got back today was definitely signed by a person – the autograph does not show the same dot pattern as the printed image, and it’s slightly different from another example that someone scanned and posted at SportsCollectors.Net. So that was a nice surprise on a day where my neighborhood has been without water service since this morning, presumably because of weather-related  issues.

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First baseball cards of 2015

It took a little longer for this year’s baseball cards to reach retailers near me, but I finally found them today and splurged to by a “value box” of 2015 Topps Series 1 from Target.

Daniel-Murphy Daniel-Murphy-b

I really like this year’s design. The colorful borders help the 2015 cards to stand out from Topps’ recent efforts, and really, they don’t look much like anything else in the company’s 60+ years of flagship sets. The card fronts are mercifully foil free except for the Topps logo in most cases, and the backs have large, easy-to-read card numbers.

Or maybe I’m just happy that I found some Mets in my 10 packs of cards. Daniel Murphy was the top card on the first regular pack of 2015 baseball cards I opened. (He could have been my first card of the year, except I wanted to see what was in the bonus pack before I got started.)

And the Mets kept coming.

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Mets baseball card of the day: 2014 Topps Heritage Curtis Granderson

Curtis-Granderson Curtis-Granderson-b

2014 Topps Heritage card #497 is the first time that outfielder Curtis Granderson appeared on a baseball card as a member of the New York Mets.

If I’d gotten it in March or April, I’d have found it a little bit more exciting than I do now… but it is one less card I have to find for my 2014 Topps Heritage Mets team set. I certainly got a good deal – I won the card for 510 credits on Listia, which almost amounts to getting it for free.

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