Posted in Baseball Cards

National Baseball Card Day

I hope you’re having a great weekend.

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.

Do you collect baseball cards?

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Posted in Baseball, New York Mets

Hoping the Mets emerge from hibernation

We’re about six weeks away from the start of MLB spring training, and most of the best free agents are still looking for jobs. So there’s still time and opportunity for the Mets to make some moves to improve their club for the 2018 season.

And that’s a good thing, because so far all they’ve done is lock up reliever Anthony Swarzak for the next two years. It could just be a negotiating position, but so far GM Sandy Alderson looks like he’s planning to go into 2018 with substantially the same roster that he had at the end of last season – a year where the Mets lost 92 games and scored just 735 runs while allowing 863.

If the Mets can avoid key injuries — no guarantee for any organization, especially this one — they will be better than they were last year. But still, it’s hard to believe that the current team is likely to have a record much better than the .500 mark.

John Harper is the latest columnist to call on the Mets to loosen the purse strings to compete before the window that opened with the 2015 playoff run closes completely. There’s a fan movement to boycott until Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz sell the team.

I understand where that fan anger is coming from, but I don’t think this is a battle I want to fight.

I’ll savor the experience of being at the ballpark on the one or two occasions I go to Citi Field this summer. I’ll put games on as background noise when I’m home. I’ll enjoy the great performances we get from players like Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes and Amed Rosario.

And if the Mets stop being fun at all, I will stop paying attention to them.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that.

Posted in Baseball

There IS tying in baseball

For the first time since the Kansas City Royals defeated the Mets on November 1st last year, I was able to watch them play a baseball game today.

Sure, the stakes were much lower…today’s contest was just an exhibition, which was allowed to end as a 4-4 tie. And some of the players on the field at the end of today’s game will finish their professional careers with the same number of major league at bats as me.

But it was baseball, and especially for a few moments while we watched Dilson Herrera turn a wind-blown fly ball into an inside-the-park home run, it was magical.

Today wasn’t all fun and games in Mets-land. (Terry Collins says that “fun time” is over, anyway, though better bloggers than me disagree.)

Jacob deGrom refused to sign an autograph on his 2016 contract.Though he will still make more money this year than most Mets fans, deGrom rightly feels that the Mets’ $607,000 doesn’t reflect his value to the team. He’s hardly the first pre-arbitration player to go down this road, and definitely won’t be the last.

And even before today’s Mets game was over, the story was largely forgotten… thanks to an interview Jenrry Mejia gave to the New York Times.

The-Truth-Is-Out-ThereWe all wanted to know how Mejia could get suspended not once, not twice, but three times in less than a year for failing drug tests for steroids.Well, Mejia gave us an answer today… though it sounds like something for Agents Mulder and Scully to investigate.

Mejia said that baseball officials told him that if he appealed the punishment for the second doping offense, “they will find a way to find a third positive,” Mejia, who is from the Dominican Republic, said through an interpreter. “I felt there was a conspiracy against me. I feel that they were trying to find something to bring me down in my career.”

Maybe those who didn’t think A-Rod‘s case was handled fairly, or those who still believe Ryan Braun‘s original claims of innocence can find a shred of credibility in Mejia’s allegations.

The best I can do is ask: Wouldn’t Mejia be smart enough to come up with something better if he was just going to make up a story? (Of course, we’re talking about somebody who is barred from practicing his chosen profession for failing three separate drug tests…)

But really, even if you do believe Major League Baseball had an axe to grind against A-Rod…how is a player on Mejia’s level even worth planning a conspiracy against? Outside of the New York area, how many people had even heard of him prior to his “lifetime” ban?

For the record, a spokesperson for Major League Baseball denied Mejia’s allegations. However, the former pitcher has retained a labor lawyer and appears to be keeping his options open. It would be interesting to find out if Mejia has any evidence to support his assertions.

But enough of the ugly side of baseball. Spring training is well underway, Opening Day is less than a month away and a new season lies ahead of us. Let’s try to enjoy it.

 

World Serious

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I really love the back page of the New York Post today.

Today was the first official day of spring training for the Mets, but that means even less than usual when most of the Mets players have been working out in Port St. Lucie for days already. Still, any sign that baseball season is on the way is welcome…Let’s go Mets!

Posted in Autographs, New York Mets

Spring Fever

David Wright's 2015 Topps Spring Fever baseball card
David Wright’s 2015 Topps Spring Fever baseball card

Topps released checklist information for this year’s Spring Fever promotion today. It’s a way to help participating retailers move more Series One baseball cards – if you spend $20 between February 10th and February 21st, you’ll get a redemption card for a free five-card pack of Spring Fever cards, which can be redeemed between February 22 and February 29.

This will be the first time players like Zack Greinke, David Price and Todd Frazier are pictured with their new teams.

Continue reading “Spring Fever”

Posted in Uncategorized

Mets announce player-focused promos

This week, the Mets sent out an email highlighting various player-focused promotions they have planned for the 2016 season.

On August 27th, they will be giving away Matt Harvey bobbleheads. On April 30, it’s Noah Syndergaard-en gnomes. Here’s hoping I can make it to at least one of those games.

On September 17th, it’s Jacob deGrom hair hats… which sounds a bit off-the-wall, but could actually be kinda fun, especially if it works out for deGrom to pitch that day.

Continue reading “Mets announce player-focused promos”

Posted in Baseball

One Day More

Tomorrow night will be the 167th game of the New York Mets’ 2015 season, potentially the final one.

I haven’t written about the Division Series games… when they finish at or after midnight, it’s tough to find the time before the next day’s news cycle makes any further thoughts about them seem stale or redundant.

And after Saturday night’s game, I was just too angry. I’m willing to let Chase Utley‘s slide go at this point – he was just playing the game the way he has for his entire career… he’s not going to change now. I’m still angry that Chris Guccione is a Major League Baseball umpire even though he either doesn’t understand the rules of his sport or else he just does’t have the guts to enforce them properly. And I can’t believe that Joe Torre would bother to suspend Utley and then Major League Baseball would decide to wait until after the Division Series is over to hear his appeal.

But I didn’t log in today to rehash something we’re all tired of talking about.

Whatever happens in Los Angeles Thursday, I’m proud of the New York Mets. When we heard Sandy Alderson‘s projection of 90 wins for this team in spring training, most of us laughed. I know I did – another Stand Up Sandy joke at the expense of Mets fans, I thought.

The Mets proved us wrong. They got amazing pitching pretty much all year. They had that phenomenal early season winning streak based on that pitching and timely hitting. They overcame injuries and suspensions to stay in the thick of the race until the trade deadline, and they convinced Alderson to make some moves to give them enough pieces to take the next step. And once they got Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, Michael Conforto and Tyler Clippard, they made us all believe.

We got to watch the Mets win their first division title in nine years and we got at least five games of playoff baseball. Our team outlasted both the Pittsburgh Pirates (98-64, lost the Wild Card Game to the Chicago Cubs) and the St. Louis Cardinals (100-62, lost the NLDS to the Cubs in four games.) And if Jacob deGrom has a better night than Zack Greinke, we’ll get to watch our Mets have their own crack at the Cubs. Wouldn’t it be something to revisit the ghosts of 1969 and quell all of the Back to the Future II “prophecy” talk?

And if Greinke has the better night? I’ll tip my cap… as much as I want the 2015 season to go on for the Mets, a loss tomorrow night takes nothing away from what they’ve already accomplished.

And I’m proud of us. I couldn’t be at Citi Field for the first playoff game in the ballpark’s history, but the electric atmosphere came through the television broadcast and people’s Periscope feeds from the ballpark. Clayton Kershaw gave Mets fans less to cheer about last night, but when they had opportunities, the fans responded. Citi Field will never be Shea Stadium, but at some point it stopped being the Brooklyn Dodger monument we never wanted and just became the Mets’ home.

Thank you.

Let’s go Mets!