Posted in Baseball

More on Mejia

Jenrry Mejia (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Jenrry Mejia (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

When Major League Baseball permanently banned Jenrry Mejia for failing a third drug test in less than a year, I thought I was done writing about him.

Turns out, I was wrong. Mejia has retained a lawyer and held a press conference last week alleging that Major League Baseball framed him because he did not provide testimony against an unnamed player.

“Mr. Mejia was told by league representatives that if he did not provide testimony on a particular player they wanted to investigate they would go out of their way to find him positive a third time,” attorney Vincent White said. “My client believes he has no choice now but to fight.”

Considering the tactics Major League Baseball allegedly used when they were investigating Alex Rodriguez, it’s certainly possible to imagine that Mejia is telling the truth.

(It should be noted that Major League Baseball representatives have denied that there is any truth in Mejia’s allegations.)

“Sadly, the comments made by Mr. Mejia and his representatives today continue a pattern of athletes hiring aggressive lawyers and making wild, unsupported allegations about the conduct of others in an effort to clear their names,” MLB said in a statement.

At some point, I guess we will find out if Mejia can back up his claims.

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.

 

Posted in Baseball

Mejia suspension leaves us wondering "why?"

Jenrry Mejia (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Jenrry Mejia’s baseball career is likely over following a third positive drug test. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Jenrry Mejia has a fascinating story to share. He grew up in Santo Domingo and earned money shining shoes for about $8 a day, not taking up baseball until he turned 15.

“I didn’t like baseball,” Mejia told Star-Ledger reporter Brian Costa in 2010. “I just wanted to make money.”

Continue reading “Mejia suspension leaves us wondering "why?"”

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Tom Verducci on how today’s bullpens have changed the way baseball is played

Jenrry Mejia (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Jenrry Mejia will return next month from his suspension – but will he provide enough of a boost to turn the Mets’ bullpen into a team strength? (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Tom Verducci has an interesting take on how bullpens are changing the way Major League Baseball is played.

The in-game race in baseball no longer is to take pitches, grind out at-bats to wear down the starting pitcher to drive him from the game and get into the opposing bullpen. The race is to get an early lead. Getting into a bullpen—where the ERA drops by more than half a run and the batting average drops by almost 20 points—is not preferable.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson doesn’t subscribe to this belief – he wants to build his team around a rotation of power starting pitchers, with hitters who walk a lot and “hunt strikes.” His bullpen is an afterthought.

I wonder if the Mets might be better served this year by trying to upgrade that bullpen (beyond the boost they should get when Jenrry Mejia returns from his suspension next month) than trying to force a trade for a hitter that might not be there.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Opening Day, Interrupted

Bartolo Colon pitches against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field on June 13, 2014 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Bartolo Colon (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

My Opening Day experience consisted of catching pieces of the third and eighth inning of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 6-1 victory over the New York Yankees, and parts of the eighth and ninth innings of the Mets’ 3-1 victory over the Washington Nationals.

The most memorable moment was hearing the fans at Yankee Stadium embrace Alex Rodriguez with a loud ovation during his first MLB plate appearance since 2013. (He walked, so that wasn’t especially exciting… but at least he had a better day that most of his teammates – A-Rod had one of three Yankee hits against Drew Hutchinson.)

Masahiro Tanaka had a terrible pitching line, allowing four earned runs in just four innings. I didn’t get to see him at all, but it doesn’t seem as though his new pitching style is nearly as effective as the old one that led to damage in his left ulnar collateral ligament. It’s a shame – I enjoyed watching the 2014 Tanaka.

Bartolo Colon proved that he was up to handling the Opening Day assignment for the Mets, even though fans wanted to see Matt Harvey. Jeurys Familia looked dominant – and that’s good, because he might become the closer for the immediate future. And at least this year, Terry Collins sent healthy pitchers to the mound to defend a ninth inning lead, although having Buddy Carlyle earn his first career save wasn’t in anyone’s Opening Day plans.

Let’s hope that today’s MRI doesn’t reveal any serious problems with Jenrry Mejia‘s arm.

Today, when I could actually sit down & watch a baseball game, neither the Mets nor the Blue Jays are playing.

New York Yankees catching prospect Gary Sanchez (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
New York Yankees catching prospect Gary Sanchez (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

But that’s ok – I’ll get my baseball fix at the Trenton Thunder’s “Welcome North” event at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton this afternoon. The 3-6:30 p.m. event offers fans a chance to meet the 2015 Trenton Thunder team and get autographs, eat free hot dogs and take a tour of the ballpark.

Trenton’s roster this year includes four of the top five prospects in the Yankees’ farm system as judged by Baseball America: pitcher Luis Severino (#1), outfielder Aaron Judge (#2), first baseman Greg Bird (#4) and catcher Gary Sanchez (#5).

Maybe I’ll see some of you there.

Posted in Uncategorized

We gotta believe

2015-02-17-13.50.42

This was the view outside my window this afternoon… it hardly seems possible, but baseball season really isn’t that far away.

In addition to our usual off-season silliness – articles about how the Mets should retire Mike Piazza‘s #31 to “steal the Yankees’ thunder,” Las Vegas oddsmakers’ predictions about how many games your favorite team will win, and Jerry Seinfeld still trying to get Bobby Ojeda‘s SNY job back – there were actual glimmers of baseball news from Port St. Lucie.

While Bobby Parnell won’t address the media until tomorrow, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin says that the Mets’ once and future closer is only likely to spend the first two to three weeks of the season on the disabled list after having Tommy John surgery on April 8, 2014.

And while that’s definitely good news, I’m not all that concerned about Parnell’s absence even if it lasts longer. I’m confident that Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Vic Black can handle the job. Parnell will just give Terry Collins another option. (If anything, I’m concerned about whether Terry can effectively balance the bullpen workload or if he will overuse “favorites” while failing to get enough regular work for others.)

I certainly like the attitudes of our bullpen guys.

“I think this is the year,” Familia told NJ.com’s Mike Vorkunov.

When asked about Matt Harvey‘s talk about the Mets winning a World Series championship, Mejia told Vorkunov. “I think that’s good because we gotta believe,” he says. “If we don’t believe about our team, we’re gonna lose.”

On February 17th with icicles outside my window, I agree with Mejia. We gotta believe that we’re gonna see baseball weather, that the Mets are gonna be good, and this really could be the year.