Eliminate 2020 Home Run Trots

During a Mets intrasquad game, Yoenis Cespedes launched a homer off of Seth Lugo, and he promptly went back to his seat.

There are a number of reasons why Cespedes did this. It could’ve been this was just an intrasquad game. It could be part of his working his way back. It could just be part of the eccentricities that make Cespedes Cespedes.

Whatever the case, Cespedes is onto something here. During the 2020 season, there’s no need to have home run trots. In fact, it should be eliminated all together.

Even though MLB is coming back to play, there is still a pandemic which necessitates social distancing when possible. Yes, a batter, catcher, and home plate umpire are well within six feet of one another, but they are not on top of every player on the field.

When a player homers, he doesn’t necessarily need to get within six feet of all four infielders, three umpires. and the catcher and home plate umpire again. Instead, he can head back to the bench and minimize contact with other players.

Admittedly, this is absolutely overkill, and trotting past those people will very likely no cause a threat of infection. To even contemplate the risk of infection from this simple act could be ludicrous.

And yet, there’s still a pandemic which threatens to shut baseball down at some point in the season. To the extent you can eliminate any threats of infection, you have to do it.

It’s why stands are being utilized for players to promote distancing efforts. There’s a new ball for every pitch and play (even if multiple people touch the ball anyway). It’s why players are not allowed to stand in CF away from everyone and spit.

In the end, eliminating home run trots may not help the distancing, but then again, it might.

Remember, there are players who watch these trots to try to adjudge the respectfulness of the trot to the game, opposing team, and the pitcher. At times, this starts a war of words with players rushing towards each each screaming with some light pushing. This is the absolute last thing we need to see with this pandemic.

We cannot allow the hot heads and self appointed arbitrators of the sport potentially put everyone at the risk of infection. The best way to avoid that is to eliminate the home run trots. That’s at least until we have moved to a point where we can safely commingle again.

So yes, this is an extreme measure many can argue will have zero impact on reducing the threat of the spread of COVID19. Then again, it could, and in the end, that’s why MLB should contemplate eliminating the home run trot this season.

Buster Posey Made Right Decision To Sit Out 2020 Season

Giants catcher and future Hall of Famer Buster Posey announced he was sitting out the 2020 season. This led to some dumb speculation on what impact it would have on his legacy. When you peel it back, his legacy doesn’t matter one iota here.

This is about the safety and health of Posey’s family. His family has adopted Twin girls who were born premature. To help keep them safe, he’s sitting out the season. The extra benefit here is going to be the time he otherwise would not get to bond with his children.

Yes, Posey’s decision was made easier because he’s made over $146 million in his career, and he’s going to be paid over $44 million over the rest of his contract. However, that shouldn’t take away from the fact he unequivocally did the right thing.

Consider that none of that $186 million could ever replace those children. It can’t replace his health which could be forever impacted. That’s been the case with Freddie Freeman. Freeman’s battle with COVID19 led Nick Markakis to sit out the season.

In the ensuing days and weeks, we’re going to see other players make the same decision Posey made. At the moment, we know Mike Trout and Zack Wheeler are wrestling with the same decisions to protect their pregnant wives and unborn children. If Trout or Wheeler make the same decision, they should be commended.

In the end, nothing is more important than your family. Posey understood that, and he made the right decision. Everyone should congratulate him on adopting twin girls and already doing all he can do to protect them.

Trivia Friday: Every MLB Team’s Best CF

Continuing this series, can you name the best CF for each MLB franchise? Good luck!

Mike Trout Cesar Cedeno Al Simmons Vernon Wells Andruw Jones Robin Yount Jim Edmonds Jimmy Ryan Steve Finley Duke Snider Willie Mays Tris Speaker Ken Griffey Jr.Christian Yelich Carlos Beltran Andre Dawson Paul Blair Will Venable Richie Ashburn Max Carey Josh Hamilton Melvin Upton Jr. Tris Speaker Vida Pinson Charlie Blackmon Amos Otis Ty Cobb Sam Rice Fielder Jones Mickey Mantle

Skepticism Wilpons Are Selling The Mets

The alarm rings, and you hear Sonny & Cher singing “I Got You, Babe.” That’s essentially the Mets ownership situation.

The Wilpons nearly low everything in a Ponzi scheme? Alarm rings, and they still operate the Mets franchise.

The Mets are at, near, or over MLB debt limits? Alarm rings, and the Wilpons still own the Mets franchise.

Jeff Wilpon fires an unwed pregnant woman? Fred Wilpon trashes his players in the press? Team effectively fires a man battling cancer? Alarm rings.

David Einhorn purchased share with path to majority ownership? Steve Cohen purchases 80% of the franchise? The Wilpons have seen the diminution of the value of the franchise? Alarm rings.

Every single time we think the Wilpons are finally gone, Fred and Jeff are singing, “They say our love won’t pay the rent.” Next thing you know, the sale falls apart, and the Wilpons retain majority control.

So, yes, there are very credible reports the Wilpons need to sell. There’s reports about them hemorrhaging money, family infighting and distrust of Jeff Wilpon’s ability to run the team, and them attempting to stall payments due. All of these are signs the Wilpons need to sell.

The thing is these signs have been present for over a deacade now. Despite that, MLB continues to prop up the Wilpons as owners. Day-in and day-out, the Wilpons remain the owners, and that’s even after they agree to sell the team.

To that end, it’s hard to believe the Wilpons are pushing so hard to sell the team. Even if there’s an agreed upon deal, it’s still fair to remain skeptical and that’s already happened at least twice. No, no one should believe this team has sold until the new owners have their press conference introducing themselves as owners. Short of that, we know the Wilpons have backed out of deals.

Ultimately, we have to hope the endgame is upon us, and the Wilpons will soon be gone. But be wary as we’ve been fooled previously.

Citi Bracket: (2) Jacob deGrom vs. (11) Pete Alonso

(2) Jacob deGrom – 2014 Rookie of the Year winner. Two time All-Star who would’ve been three had he not stepped aside for Bartolo Colon in 2016. Struck out three batters on 10 pitches in 2015 All-Star Game. Had phenomenal postseason start in Game 1 of 2015 NLDS. Followed that up with gutsy win in Game 5. Was 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA in the 2015 postseason helping the Mets win the pennant. First ever Mets pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Young awards. Only pitcher in MLB history to win the Rookie of the Year and back-to-back Cy Youngs. Joins Tom Seaver and Justin Verlander as the only pitchers in MLB history to have a Rookie of the Year and two Cy Youngs. Arguably the second best starter in Mets history.

(11) Pete Alonso – Had rookie season so great people are already envisioning him as the next captain of the Mets. Near unanimous NL Rookie of the Year. Set Mets and MLB rookie record for homers. Also set Mets single-season record for total bases and extra base hits. Won the 2019 Home Run Derby and provided portion of winnings to charity. When MLB once again denied the Mets request to wear the first resopnders’ caps, he took it upon himself to get cleats honoring the first responders.

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Mets Should Have Drive-In Theaters For Home Games

The 2020 season will mark the first time since 1983 I have not attended a Mets game. It’ll also be the first time I haven’t attended at least one game with my father. It’s sad and depressing.

This year will also mark the first time I won’t bring my sons to a game. Both attended a game before their first birthday. The worst part is my oldest is at the age where he truly gets it, and he’s a big fan in his own right.

This isn’t an adjustment for me. It’s that way for all Mets fans. It’s also the same for players who will have to play games in huge stadiums and ballparks without fans.

Maybe it doesn’t have to be this way.

Across the country, there are pop-up drive-in movie theaters. Some are doing the old school double feature. Jim Gaffigan had a comedy special he humorously called a drive thru special. If we can see a movie or a comedy show, why not a Mets game?

Citi Field has a large lot abutting the stadium in addition to other lots in the general area. Why couldn’t the Mets set up a drive-in theatre in those lots to allow fans to “attend the game” with other fans from the safety of their cars?

The MLB teams saying they’re losing money by playing can get a revenue stream. The fans who miss going to games could get some part of the community feel of attending games. If the fans are loud enough, who knows? Maybe the crowd noise could carry into the stadium a bit and provide the players with some energy (not very likely, but then again who knows?).

Sure, there is a lot to figure out before going forward with such a plan. There are distancing and security measures. There is probably some red tape from the TV contracts which need to be figured out before proceeding. There bounds to be bathroom logistics. There’s also the State and City of New York who may not be so eager to do it.

That said, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. Fans would very likely come to the games, and teams would at least get some revenue stream. For those laid off or not re-employed due to the COVID19 shutdown, it creates some jobs for people in terms of security, traffic flow, handling the set up, and maybe even concessions. (h/t @jquadddddd)

Mostly, it would all help us feel just a little bit more normal. As for me, it would help me keep my nearly four decade streak of going to Mets games alive.

More than that, it’s a game experience no one will ever forget. That’s exactly what every team strives to create. They can do that now by allowing fans to congregate (six feet apart) in their parking lot to come together and watch a Mets game.

Jarred Kelenic Will Make Mets Pay Sooner Rather Than Later

As part of the COVID19 measures, Major League teams have a player pool of 60 players. Those are the players a team can call up and utilize over the course of the 2020 season. One of the players in the Seattle Mariners’ pool is Jarred Kelenic.

This isn’t too surprising as many teams are carrying top prospects. This will help them develop their top guys instead of those players losing a full year of development. However, with Kelenic, we were reminded again today he could make an impact this year.

Last year, in his first full pro season, Kelenic made it all the way to Double-A. This was someone who graduated high school in 2018, and now, he’s on the cusp of making it to the Majors.

That should be contrasted against the ever changing narrative behind trading him. First, it was the Mets had to keep Edwin Diaz away from the Phillies.

When Diaz faltered, and Robinson Cano looked every bit the 36 year old coming off a PED suspension, the narrative was that Kelenic wasn’t going to help anyone for five years, and the Mets are a win-now team.

With Kelenic bursting through to Double-A and the Mets not actually winning now, Brodie Van Wagenen now wants to sell he felt comfortable making the deal (and other deals) because he had his super aggressive draft strategy in mind. Honestly, that seems far more post hoc justification with Van Wagenen trying to lean into the one aspect of the GM job he’s ultimately done well.

Fact is, Van Wagenen knew his former client Cano wanted to come back to New York. His first act as the Mets GM was to try to make that happen.

As inexcusable that conflict of interest was, that’s not the worst part of this deal. Remember, Van Wagenen was an agent trying to get Cano to New York and get an extension or trade for Jacob deGrom. He wasn’t out there scouting and watching Appalachian and Gulf Coast League games.

That’s right. A novice GM with zero front office experience traded a once in a lifetime prospect in exchange for a former client. He traded one of the best regarded prospects in the game despite never actually taking the time to scout him. It’s beyond absurd.

In the end, the Mets better win soon with Cano and Diaz because the Mets are running out of justifications for this trade, and it’s very likely they will all be gone when Kelenic is in the majors.

Judging from last year and his place in the 60 man pool, that day is coming much sooner rather than later. Certainly, it’s going to be much sooner than the bogus five year selling point.

But to be fair to Van Wagenen, how could he have possibly known? After all, he would’ve actually had to scout and watch Kelenic in action.

Citi Bracket: (1) David Wright vs. (13) Wilmer Flores

(1) David Wright – The franchise leader in nearly every offensive category and is widely considered to be the best position player in franchise history. Only homegrown Met to be named team captain. Dubbed Captain America for his exploits in the World Baseball Classic. Once named by Bill James as the perfect baseball player. Seven time All-Star, two time Gold Glove winner, and two time Silver Slugger. Hit the first Mets homer in Citi Field, and he hit the first ever World Series homer in Citi Field. Had perhaps the most emotional good-bye game we have ever seen a player in sports history ever have. A lifetime Met who had a hand in helping ensure Jacob deGrom does the same.

(13) Wilmer Flores – Player who loved being a Mets player so much, he cried on the field when he thought he was being traded. Came back to hit a walk-off homer to beat the Nationals. That was one of many walk-off hits, and he would become the Mets all-time leader in that category. Handled shortstop well defensively after Chase Utley tackled and broke Ruben Tejada‘s leg. Joined Edgardo Alfonzo as the only Mets players to go 6-for-6 in a game. Played all four infield positions in effort to do whatever team asked of him to help them win.

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Wilpons Want $2 Billion For Mets After Blowing Up Steve Cohen Deal

December 2019 was great. You didn’t need a mask to leave your home. In fact, you were actually allowed to leave your home and go wherever you wanted. Better yet, the Wilpons sold an 80% stake in the Mets to Steve Cohen for $2.1 billion ($2.6 billion valuation).

It was a sweetheart deal for the Wilpons, and the Wilpons blew up that deal like the financial masterminds they are.

Going back to the deal, there was going to be a five year transition period where majority ownership would shift incrementally to Cohen. The Wilpons would keep an ownership share, and they would be on the payroll for those five years. More importantly, the Wilpons would get to keep SNY.

From there, a he-said, he-said broke out. As it turns out, the Wilpons really wanted to keep control of the team over those five years. That meant not only running the team with Cohen’s money, but also being the delegated and appointed decision makers for MLB purposes.

Between that and the Wilpons pushing for lucrative salaries, Cohen backed out of the deal. Like every Mets fan for the past decade plus, he had enough of the Wilpons.

That left the owners who actually needed to sell due to their continual financial malfeasance looking for another deal. Of course, there’s no better deal out there. COVID19 or not, there was never going to be a better offer.

According to reports, so far, the first round of bidding has not yielded a $2 billion offer. That’s even with bidders attempting to incorporate SNY into the purchase. It is expected the Wilpons will reject those offers as they will not sell the team for less than $2 billion.

In essence, the Wilpons are going to have to include SNY in a deal to get LESS in return than what Cohen originally agreed to pay them in December. Seeing all this transpire, you become less and less surprised this was a group of people who nearly lost everything in a Ponzi Scheme.

If the Wilpons really wanted $2 billion, they should’ve done everything they could’ve done to ensure the deal with Cohen was finalized. Instead, they wanted control of the team, and likely, one real shot at a World Series title to show us all what they could do if they could spend money. Of course, they could’ve had they not lost all that money in a Ponzi Scheme.

In the end, the Wilpons will get their $2 billion because someone will pay it. When they get it, they’ll have to realize their own hubris cost them SNY and any chance they could’ve gone out winners. The only people who are surprised by that development are the Wilpons.

So, congratulations to the Wilpons for the eventual $2 billion. While you didn’t earn it, you’ve certainly earned the ridicule which will come when everyone laughs at the Wilpons final act as owners being losing money in a botched financial decision by the team.

The jokes will be hilarious, and the future of the team will be even better than that.

Mojo Rising Bracket: (2) Edgardo Alfonzo vs. (3) Al Leiter

(2) Edgardo Alfonzo – Best second baseman in Mets history in addition to being one of the best third baseman. Part of the best defensive infield in history. First Mets player to ever go 6-for-6. Homered in the first inning of the Mets first ever NLDS game, and he hit a grand slam off Bobby Chouinard in that game to give the Mets the victory. All-Star in 2000. Hit .444/.565/.611 in the 2000 NLCS. Last Mets player to ever record a World Series base hit in Shea Stadium. Led the 2019 Brooklyn Cyclones to their first ever outright New York-Penn League title.

(3) Al Leiter – Was a 1 or 1A during most of his Mets tenure, and he gave his all battling tough when the Mets needed him most. Had arguably the single greatest pitching performance in team history with his two hit shut out of the Reds in the Wild Card play-in game. Won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2000. Became the first ever pitcher to beat all 30 teams. Wore the caps for each and every first reponder agency during his complete game on the one-year anniversary of 9/11. Trails only Tom Seaver and Jacob deGrom in ERA+ among Mets pitchers with at least 1,000 innings arguably making him the best left-handed pitcher in team history.

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