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Mets baseball card of the week: Jonathon Niese 2009 Upper Deck: A Piece of History gold 46/50

Jonathon Niese's 2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History baseball card (gold version)
Jonathon Niese’s 2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History baseball card (gold version)

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.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Early endings

Jon Niese (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Jon Niese (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

There are just two games left to play after Friday’s Mets loss to the Houston Astros, but the game last night provided a strong reminder that there are more important things than baseball.

Jonathon Niese exited in the sixth inning with an elevated heart rate, the third time in his career that the issue has come up during a game.

“It’s certainly something that you can’t mess with at the time,” Terry Collins said after the game. “He said it was really racing fast, so we took him out.”

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 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.

Continue reading “Early endings”

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Morning reading: Niese could still make Opening Day start

Jon Niese (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Jon Niese (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

You can follow Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook or Google+, see my photos on Flickr and Instagram, and follow @Paul_Hadsall on Twitter, where I talk about about a variety of things in addition to baseball.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Niese’s “spring training from hell” creates uncertainty in Mets’ rotation

Jonathon Niese walks off the field after being taken out of a game in 2012. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Jonathon Niese walks off the field after being taken out of a game in 2012. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

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.

See my New York Mets’ starting rotation preview article at Hot Stove Baseball.

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 Beachy will 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.

Continue reading “Niese’s “spring training from hell” creates uncertainty in Mets’ rotation”

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Welcome back, Mets baseball

Mr. Met (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Mr. Met (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

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.

You can follow Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook or Google+, see my photos on Flickr and Instagram, and follow @Paul_Hadsall on Twitter, where I talk about about a variety of things in addition to baseball.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Mets win and lose…


Good news: The Mets beat the Braves 4-3 and became the first visiting team to win a series at the House of Horrors Turner Field this season.

Bad news: Jonathon Niese left the game in the fourth inning with “left shoulder discomfort.”

Silver lining: We can probably stop talking about which pitcher should be dropped from the Mets’ starting rotation now.

Bedtime reading: Mets Today‘s Joe Janish on why we should be worried about Jon Niese’s shoulder tendinitis  (from June 3rd)



Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Saturday in the park: another wacky Mets loss

It was a nice day for a baseball game on Saturday, and my friend had tickets for the Cubs vs. Mets game. It seemed like a fun way to spend an afternoon. And it was fun to hang out with my friend.

The baseball game, on the other hand, could best be described as slow torture.

The Mets took three hours and 32 minutes to lose a game in which a total of seven runs were scored.

Scott Feldman (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Scott Feldman (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Cubs pitcher Scott Feldman demonstrated the recipe for success to the Mets’ starters: drive in more runs than you give up.

The Mets managed just two hits off of Feldman in the first seven innings, and even the four they got off of the bullpen only brought the total to six for the day. They did well to score two runs.

The defense further sabotaged the team’s chances of success, “highlighted” by a bizarre first inning error that happened when Jordany Valdespin threw the ball over Jonathon Niese‘s head when returning it to him after Cody Ransom singled. It proved harmless, but set the tone for the day.

Niese turned in another poor showing, though he did battle to keep things from getting worse. Still, Opening Day pitchers are not supposed to walk four batters and give up six hits in under six innings. And why is it that none of the Mets pitchers can really get in sync with Anthony Recker?

Then in the ninth inning, umpire Lance Barrett gave us another example of why baseball needs instant replay in the ninth inning. He botched the call on Darwin Barney‘s line drive that was apparently caught by Juan Lagares, ruling instead that Lagares trapped it. The Mets compounded the weirdness and blew a chance at a triple play when Justin Turner touched second to force Nate Schierholtz before the team could try to record outs at home and third.

The end result was another Mets’ loss, their 39th of the season. After the game, the Mets made a change in their bullpen… but Greg Burke really hasn’t been a problem lately. If the team is going to improve, they need more major league caliber hitters in the lineup. Hopefully some of the guys already here are able to step up their games… because there doesn’t seem to be any outside help on the way in the immediate future.

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Even more photos on Flickr