Next Saturday, August 11th, will be the third annual Topps National Baseball Card Day, when you can get free packs of baseball cards if you jump through a few hoops… like finding a participating hobby shop and making a qualifying purchase. It might help boost sales for certain retailers, but it’s not doing a thing to bring new collectors into the hobby or promote baseball.
The cool part of the promotion is starting earlier — each Major League Baseball team will distribute packs of baseball cards as a stadium giveaway for one of their home games in August. The Mets are doing this today. And this is the part of the promotion that I like because it’s getting baseball cards into the hands of folks that like baseball, but who aren’t necessarily card collectors. And maybe a few of them will decide that baseball cards are something fun and they’ll ask for (or buy) a few packs the next time they’re in Target or WalMart.
I’m not at the Mets’ game today, but I did go last year and got my pack of four cards (from a nine-card stadium giveaway set.) I also got the tenth card from the hobby shop promotion. The player selection made me feel a bit nostalgic when I got them – David Wright is one of the greatest players in team history, but we’ll probably never see him on the field again. It’s even more so now.
Forget about the snow that’s falling as I write this. Spring training officially got underway this week. Mickey Callaway is excited about his new team, which is good because you know you’re in trouble if your first-year manager isn’t excited about his team in February.
Zack Wheeler may not be happy, but Vargas makes the Mets a better team. Now Wheeler gets to compete with Matt Harvey, Stephen Matz, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Chris Flexen and Rafael Montero for two starting spots and three or four bullpen spots. And when the inevitable injuries occur, the Mets should have better options to turn to than they did last year.
Since it looks like the Mets might only carry four outfielders to start the season, they’re talking about giving Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores some reps in the outfield this spring. Now let me go on record to say that Wilmer Flores, outfielder, is a terrible idea. Jose Reyes is probably not going to be a good outfielder at this stage of his career either. But if the Mets are determined to stick them there at some point this season, I hope they get the ‘experiment’ started this spring.
Let’s find out whether Reyes or Flores can play out there in meaningless exhibition games, and give them enough experience to let them be at least somewhat comfortable before that day game after a night game comes along when Juan Lagares is banged up and Yoenis Cespedes doesn’t feel up to playing. (Hey. at least the Mets brought back Matt den Dekker on a minor league deal so there’s somebody that can play centerfield in Triple-A.)
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.
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.
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.
We’re less than 24 hours away from the start of the 2017 baseball season… for some reason, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays get the honor of playing the very first game at 1:10 p.m. The marquee match-up of the day pits the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs against their St. Louis rivals at 8:35 p.m. (I doubt I will manage to stay up to watch the end of it.)
The game I’ve been looking forward to since Madison Bumgarner shut out the Mets last October 5th will happen on Monday as the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets kick off their 2017 campaigns. The Braves will be better as they begin their first year in a new stadium (let’s hope they’re still using it by the time the local taxpayers finish footing the bill.)
I know I’m late to the party, but I just got my 2017 Topps Series 1 Mets team set in the mail this week.
Player selection is pretty good, considering Topps has to save some recognizable names for Series 2 in a few months. I haven’t double-checked the 40-man roster lately, but I think everyone pictured is still part of the Mets’ organization. (I’m puzzled by the decision to include Matt Reynolds over printing a T.J. Rivera rookie card, but I can easily overlook it since it’s the biggest head-scratcher.)