Before I got sick this weekend, I spend some time trying to make a little headway organizing the baseball cards that I’ve acquired over the past few months.
I had overlooked the Jonathon Niese card pictured above when I originally opened my package from last season’s Tribecards baseball card giveaway. Upper Deck’s A Piece of History set never seemed all that exciting to me and I didn’t notice the gold foil serial numbering on the front. I haven’t been obsessed with chasing after parallels since they were the new, exciting thing in the early 1990s…but it is still kind of cool to have a card that there were only 49 other copies of were created.
Back in 2009, it seemed funny for Niese (or almost any rookie, really) to be included in a set called “A Piece of History.” But in 2014, Niese really is a piece of history. He, along with David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Bobby Parnell are the last current Mets who played at Shea Stadium – which only closed six years ago.
Depending on how things go this winter, it’s possible that Wright will be the only Shea Stadium Met who’s still with the team on Opening Day. I don’t know about anyone else, but that makes me feel a little bit sad.
While Niese said that “it’s not really that scary,” he’s due for another round of medical testing so that doctors can make sure. According to MLB.com reporter Anthony DiComo, Niese was originally scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure to correct a problem with his heart in 2012, but doctors told him it was unnecessary and he cancelled it.
I hope that Niese is right, that his elevated heart rate isn’t a cause for major concern. But I’ll disagree with him on one point – any time we’re talking about heart issues, it’s scary. I know that I’ll be keeping him in my prayers.
A one-of-a-kind ticket to the 1867 meeting where the decision was made to exclude African-American players from the National Association of Base-Ball Players is going up for auction tomorrow. (via Sports Collectors Daily)
Jon Niese is scheduled to have his second MRI exam of the spring today, and with Opening Day two weeks away it’s doubtful he’ll make his scheduled start.
Niese got a late start this spring because of shoulder soreness. He pitched two inning in a Grapefruit League game on March 11th and didn’t appear sharp. His fastball topped out at 89 mph, but manager Terry Collins didn’t seem too worried.
Sunday, Niese lasted two innings against the St. Louis Cardinals before leaving with a sore left elbow. In a total of four innings this spring, he has allowed six runs on nine hits and three walks while striking out just one batter.
While both Niese and the Mets have downplayed the severity of the injury, it’s hard not to be concerned. He missed seven weeks last season with a partial tear of his rotator cuff, and Niese has only come close to the 200 inning mark once in his professional career.
This is just another reminder of the fragility of pitchers. This weekend, the Arizona Diamondbacks learned that they’d probably be without ace starter Patrick Corbin this season. The Atlanta Braves should find out today if Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachywill need season-ending Tommy John surgery. And of course the only reason that Niese was in line for the Opening Day assignment this year was that Matt Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery last October.
As excited as we can get about a pitching rotation with Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard in it sometime in 2015, a lot of things can keep it from happening.
The New York Mets will play a televised baseball game this afternoon for the first time since September 29th, 2013. As long as I’m in New Jersey and they’re in Florida, that’s the best birthday present that they can give me.
It’s already been a busy week in Port St. Lucie.
Jonathon Niese had an MRI on his left shoulder yesterday after experiencing pain, but he has been pronounced “fine” and can resume his throwing program to get ready for his second career Opening Day start. When was the last time the Mets got good news when they sent a player back to New York for an MRI?
Sandy Alderson and David Wright are expressing the optimistic view that the Mets can win 90 games this season. Las Vegas oddsmakers are setting the bar a bit lower, with a line of 73.5 wins. (On the bright side, Vegas does like the Mets better than the Miami Marlins.) Splitting the difference, a .500 season seems plausible… at least on the last day of February.
Noah Syndergaard caught some eyes during an intrasquad game yesterday, striking out five batters over two innings. Maybe he’ll be able to contribute to the Mets’ rotation before the year is out, though 2015 is probably a more realistic timetable.
Wilmer Flores is drawing comparisons to Edgardo Alfonzo. Unfortunately, Alfonzo wasn’t really a shortstop in the major leagues either, playing only 34 games there during his 12-year career. But if Daniel Murphy ends up pricing himself out of the Mets’ long-term plans, maybe Flores has a future at second base.
So here’s hoping for a Mets victory today, and some fun games throughout the rest of the spring and during the regular season. Baseball is back.