Posted in Baseball, New York Mets, Trenton Thunder

Talking about two ex-Mets who fell short in the Hall of Fame vote

The Baseball Hall of Fame will welcome Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman this summer.

Jones is the best third baseman I’ve ever watched play (I hope he thanks the New York Mets for helping him get elected¬†ūüėú) Thome was one of the most productive hitters of his era. Guerrero could do unbelievable things with pitches that were nowhere near the strikezone. Hoffman pitched effectively as a closer for a really long time. All four men are deserving of the honor, though some are more worthy than others.

Former Mets closer Billy Wagner will not be headed to Cooperstown anytime soon, though — he received just 47 votes, 290 fewer than Hoffman.

And that is interesting.

  • Player A finished a 16-year career with a¬†2.31 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 11.9 K/9 innings, 6.0 H/9 innings and 3.99 SO/W.
  • Player B finished an 18-year career with a 2.87 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 9.4 K/9 innings, 7.0 H/9 innings and 3.69 SO/W.

Player A was a six-time All-Star, received MVP votes twice and Cy Young Award votes twice.  Player B was a seven-time All-Star, received MVP votes four times and Cy Young Award votes four times (once finishing as high as second.)

Based on those career numbers, you’d figure both players would garner a similar amount of support for Cooperstown, with Player B maybe having a slight edge based on previous awards voting.

Player A is Wagner, Player B is Hoffman and it seems like a lot of voters must have been swayed by one mostly useless stat that I left out: saves. Hoffman has 601, while Wagner only has 422.

Bright side, Wagner got enough votes to stay on the ballot and maybe voters will take another look at him next year.

Johan Santana was not as fortunate, receiving just 10 votes. He fell short of the five percent minimum to remain on the ballot, so his fate will be left to the Veterans’ Committee.

Does Santana belong in the Hall? That’s a question that’s worthy of discussion. But for a five-year period, he was the best pitcher in baseball. Between 2004 and 2008, Santana won two Cy Young Awards, finished third twice and finished fifth once. During the two Cy Young campaigns, Santana also finished in the top 10 in MVP voting. That sure seems like too good a career to be off the ballot after one year….

Odds and ends…

  • The Mets have reached an agreement with Jose Reyes on a one year contract to bring him back as a utility infielder. Leaving aside off-field issues of character, this is not a bad move… provided Reyes doesn’t get handed the starting second base job through front office inertia.
  • The Trenton Thunder will play as the Trenton Pork Roll on Fridays this year, which seems like a fun marketing idea until you go look at the uniforms they will be wearing. No. Just no. So very much no.

I remember 1992 and 1993 too well to believe that a big payroll guarantees a winning season, but Fred, Jeff and Saul need to understand that money is going to be a sore spot for fans until the Mets are winning.

Posted in Baseball, Odds & ends, Trenton Thunder

Random baseball photos from 2017

My friend Bart is the last person I know who’s sticking pretty firmly with 20th Century technology. He has no interest in using computers or owning a mobile phone, and he’s still using a 35mm film camera to take photos.

Bart recently sent me prints of some of the photos he took during the baseball season. They’re kinda neat, so I’m sharing some of them here.

The Cuban National Team played a number of games against opponents from the Can-Am League this season. I can’t remember if Bart saw them when they were playing the New Jersey Jackals or the Sussex County Miners, and he didn’t remember who the players are in the photos, but they are still pretty cool.

Cuba Bus 1.jpg

Continue reading “Random baseball photos from 2017”

Posted in Baseball, Trenton Thunder

More netting

The Trenton Thunder are the latest area baseball team to add netting to protect more fans from being hit by foul balls and broken bats.

I think I went to around a dozen games this year where I sat in field level seats. I remember three occasions where I wasn’t sitting behind netting: a game in York, Pa., a game in Kissimmee, Fla., and a game in Trenton.

I’ve gotten used to the nets… I tend to not notice them when I’m watching the game, but they do make it much harder to take photos of game action. For the most part, I know I can leave my camera home these days.

The nets also limit the spots where you can try for autographs before a game… less of a big deal in at MLB facilities where the odds were already against you. We’ll see how it impacts things in minor league facilities. My guess? It won’t have that much of an effect.

In exchange for those inconveniences, we’re safer as we watch the game. Sure, you’ve got people that argue that if you just pay attention, you’ll be able to get out of the way of foul balls.

Watch where professional baseball players have their family members sit at games – they will almost always be behind the net. There’s a reason for that – those line drive foul balls come in¬†really fast.

I’d guess it’s just a matter of time before expanded netting becomes universal at professional ballparks…. and eventually we’ll wonder why it wasn’t there all along.

Posted in Baseball

Trenton Thunder plan "Welcome North" open house event for April 5th

Welcome North DSCN3174The Trenton Thunder will hold their annual “Welcome North” open house event on Tuesday afternoon, April 5th. The event offers fans their first chance to meet the 2016 team before the Eastern League season opens on Thursday.

The Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, will offer tours of the ballpark from 3-5 p.m. and there will be a player autograph session from approximately 5:30-6:30 p.m.

The concession stands will be open, offering free hot dogs and sodas through the event.

For additional information, visit the Trenton Thunder team website.

Source: team press release

Posted in Uncategorized

Trenton Thunder announce 2016 promo schedule

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Some Trenton Thunder players watch a game from the dugout in this file photo (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The Trenton Thunder released some information about their 2016 promotional schedule today. Yankees fans will be looking forward to Luis Severino, Aaron Judge and Greg Bird bobblehead giveaways this season.

I’m not positive, but it looks like the annual baseball card team set giveaway might not be happening this year. Instead, there’s a Hometown Heroes card set giveaway scheduled for June 30th.

There’s a Star Wars Night on May 25th… and that’s really about it for things that might get me to make a special effort to go to a particular Trenton Thunder game this year.

For more information, check out the Trenton Thunder website.

Posted in Baseball

Yankees name Trenton Thunder manager & coaches

Former Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins outfielder Bobby Mitchell will manage the Trenton Thunder in 2016, the team announced today.

Mitchell, 60, has previous minor league managerial experience with the Single-A¬†Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and Triple-A¬†Salt Lake Bees in the Angels’ organization and has been an¬† Outfield, Base Running & Bunting Coordinator for several organizations, including the Boston Red Sox.

“I am honored to be a member of the most prestigious and successful organization in professional sports,” Mitchell in a team-issued press release. “I grew up a huge Yankee fan, so it is truly a dream come true for me. I enjoyed my visits to Trenton as a coordinator when they were an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and look forward to a successful season as the Trenton Thunder Manager.”

Hitting coach P.J. Pilittere and pitching coach¬†Jose Rosado¬†will both return for their second seasons with Trenton.¬† Justin Tordi will join the Thunder as their defensive coach after serving in that same role for the Yankees’¬†Triple-A¬†affiliate last season.

Former Colorado Rockies catcher JD Closser joins Trenton as the bullpen coach from the coaching staff of the Single-A Tampa Yankees.

Source: Trenton Thunder website

Posted in Autographs, Baseball

Featured autograph: Aaron Judge

Signed Aaron Judge 2014 Bowman baseball card from my collection
Signed Aaron Judge 2014 Bowman baseball card from my collection

The day after Christmas, I received this signed baseball card from New York Yankees prospect Aaron Judge. I expected to see Judge play in Trenton this season, but wasn’t sure if I’d have a chance to ask for his autograph in person so I wrote to him during spring training.

Continue reading “Featured autograph: Aaron Judge”