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!

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Who are you rooting for in the NLDS?

The National League teams get into action today, though thanks to a television rights deal that relegates the games to FOX Sports 1, I suspect I will see more of the American League games this weekend. While the National League teams are more familiar to me, it was harder to decide who to root for.

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Justin Turner poses for a photo with me during a Mets Social Media Day event in 2012.
Justin Turner poses for a photo with me during a Mets Social Media Day event in 2012.

Asking a Mets fan to root for the St. Louis Cardinals is a tough sell. Fans of a certain age recall the late 1980s rivalry between the two teams. Newer fans still have bitter memories of Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright. On the other hand, if you mention the names Mike Scioscia, Orel Hershiser and Kirk Gibson to a Mets fan old enough to remember 1988 and you won’t be likely to get a positive reaction.

The ex-Met factor is enough to sway my decision in favor of the Dodgers. After the Mets unceremoniously dumped him to save a few dollars, Los Angeles picked up Justin Turner. He had a really good year in a part-time role: .340 / .404 / .493 with 7 home runs, 43 RBI and 6 stolen bases.

San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals

The Nationals might be the best team in the National League, but as long as Bryce Harper plays for them I will find it difficult to root for Washington. Harper has the brash rock-star personality, but his on-field achievements haven’t quite matched that star status yet. Add in some stories I’ve heard about people who sought his autograph at the ballpark… no, I won’t be rooting for the Nationals in the playoffs this year.

San Francisco has to be my choice, even though one of my favorite Giants had season-ending back surgery last week and another may be left off of the postseason roster. I wish I could be more enthusiastic about them.

Assuming that your team didn’t make it, who are you rooting for in the playoffs this year?

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Who I’m rooting for in the NLDS

The National League playoff series start today. First up, we have the Diamondbacks and Brewers at 2 p.m.

Francisco Rodriguez, seen here in a photo from earlier this year when he was still a New York Met, will try to win a World Series ring with the Milwaukee Brewers. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

I don’t see Arizona or Milwaukee often enough during the year to have strong feelings about either team. The D-Backs have ex-Mets J.J. Putz and Henry Blanco, but they’re managed by 1988 Los Angeles Dodger Kirk Gibson. The Brewers have ex-Mets Carlos Gomez and Francisco Rodriguez, but should K-Rod really count as a point in their favor? I think I’ll pick Milwaukee, since Prince Fielder entertains me more than any of Arizona’s players.

The Cardinals and Phillies get underway at 5 p.m. I really wish both teams could lose. The Phillies were a thorn in the Mets’ side for a couple of years, until the talent gap got too big for them to really compete. That doesn’t stop Jimmy Rollins from making digs. I still haven’t forgiven the Cardinals for 2006, and I probably won’t as long as Yadier Molina is still around. And Tony LaRussa deserves “credit” for the way that managers use their bullpens now – does anybody really enjoy innings where it takes three pitchers to get three outs? But the Cardinals are the lesser evil, I suppose.

Ex-Mets with St. Louis include Octavio Dotel and coach Jose Oquendo. The Phillies have Brian Schneider and Wilson Valdez, plus coaches Sam Perlazzo and Juan Samuel.

Which teams are you rooting for in the NLDS?