Mets Should Not Re-Issue Beltran’s 15

Since the Mets traded Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants for Zack Wheeler much has changed for both the Mets and Beltran.  With respect to the Mets, they kicked off a rebuilding effort that year which culminated in a 2015 pennant.  As for Beltran, he would play with the Cardinals, Yankees, Rangers, and Astros winning a World Series and solidifying his spot as a future Hall of Famer.

The latter part is important because with the Hall of Fame rules, Beltran really has three options as to which cap he will don on his Hall of Fame plaque – Royals, Mets, or blank.

The decision should prove to be a difficult one for Beltran for a few reasons.  First and foremost, Beltran grew up in the Royals organization.  He was drafted as a 20 year old out of Puerto Rico, found himself making his Major League debut with the team the following season, and he would win the 1999 Rookie of the Year Award.  In total, he spent eight years with the Royals organization, which is more time than he spent with any other team.

That includes an Astros team where he became a superstar with an epic 2004 postseason.  He would return to the team 13 years later, and he would get that elusive World Series ring with the team before retiring.

That also includes the Yankees who were a team Beltran longed to play for all of his life.  It was with the Yankees Beltran made his last All Star team.  It’s the same Yankees team Beltran has inquired about returning to now that his playing days are over.

It also includes a Cardinals team who took somewhat of a flyer on Beltran after he had knee issues in the later stages of his tenure with the Mets.  With the Cardinals, Beltran really cemented his case as a Hall of Fame player by pushing his WAR to a Hall of Fame caliber 67.7 and by having the third great postseason run of his career in 2012.  Also, in 2013, Beltran would finally get to play in the World Series.

When you bring up Beltran and the Mets, that’s the first thing that is brought up by someone.  We don’t hear about his four All Star teams, three Gold Gloves, 149 homers, or really anything else.  The focus is on his Game 7 strikeout against Adam Wainwright.  Even the Mets owner, Fred Wilpon, discussed it in a wide ranging interview with The New Yorker.

Fact is, this is just part of the tension between Mets ownership and Beltran.

The breaking point came on the eve of the 2010 season when Beltran opted to follow the advice of his own doctor instead of the advice of team physicians.  As a result of the surgery, Beltran would miss over 100 games, anger the Mets organization, and would ultimately save his career.

It turned out to be a Hall of Fame career.  What is interesting about that is Beltran has had the most success with the Mets, and he played more games with the Mets than with any other team.  As noted, he’s not entirely beloved by the team with whom he is most closely identified.

This creates an opportunity where the Mets can heal some wounds and put on a full court press to try to resolve whatever issues remain between the teams.  Certainly, Omar Minaya’s return to the organization will help on that front.

Another thing that will help is by not issuing Beltran’s #15 again.  What is surprising is that since Beltran’s departure, four Mets have worn his number including Val Pascucci, who was assigned the number shortly after Beltran was traded to the Giants.

Now, with Matt Reynolds gone, no one wears the number 15.  If the Mets were smart, no one else would ever wear it again, and hopefully, in the not too distant future, we will all see that number high above Citi Field next to Mike Piazza‘s 31 and Tom Seaver‘s 41 after he joins them in wearing a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.

Trivia Friday: 2015 Mets Remaining

As pitchers and catchers officially reported to Spring Training, new Mets manager Mickey Callaway is seeking to bring the Mets back to the World Series.  In some ways, 2015 is another lifetime ago.  Still, it really was only three years ago.

In total, there would be 49 players who appeared in a game for the Mets. Of that 49, there are only 13 who will be on the Mets Opening Day roster this season.  Can you name them?  Good luck!

Travis d’Arnaud Kevin Plawecki Wilmer Flores David Wright Juan Lagares Yoenis Cespedes Michael Conforto Jacob deGrom Matt Harvey Noah Syndergaard Steven Matz Hansel Robles Jenrry Mejia Rafael Montero Jerry Blevins

Mets Blogger Round Table: Our Favorite Hometown Mets

With the Mets signing Todd Frazier, the organization has yet again went out and brought home a local boy to play for the hometown team.  It is something we have seen from the organization throughout their history starting with Ed Kranepool, and it is a new focus we have seen with this organization with them drafting Long Islanders Steven Matz, Justin Dunn, and Anthony Kay.

With the Mets illustrious, and in the case of Bobby Bonilla, infamous hometown players coming home to play for the Mets, in a new feature on Mets Daddy, Mets bloggers have come together to answer the question about who is their favorite hometown Mets players:

Michael Baron (

I’ve actually come to really admire T.J. Rivera. He’s a guy who has had to work very hard every minute of every day to be relevant, and his journey to-date has really been inspiring. He has a positive, workman-like attitude from which a lot of people can learn from in any realm of business and society. He is fearless and likable; that combined with his New York roots make him easy to root for.

There is a village in Michigan named Brooklyn. I know this because the Michigan International Speedway is there, even though the 2010 census claimed the population of Brooklyn, Mich. was 1,206. I’m from the Brooklyn in New York though. It feels like 25 percent of all professional athletes are from Brooklyn (the one in New York), yet I had to make a brief stop at Google (Mountain View, Calif.) to remember Johnny Franco. Of course. I met him at Gil Hodges Lanes once when I was a youth. There is a picture of us that I am pretty sure I lost over the years because I am an awful person. I did bring it once with me to show some friends in high school. One person thought Franco was my father. I thought it was weird she would think I would just walk into school, as a teenager, to show people a picture of me and my father, and she thought it was weird I would bring in an old picture of me with some baseball player, and we were both right to think these things. (But I was more right.)

Past: Tim Teufel

Present T.J. Rivera

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

Lee Mazzilli hands down. When I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn, Maz made his debut in 1976. I was 8 years old. My last name might be Irish, but my mom’s Italian, and so were many of my cousins, so it was pretty cool to have a guy who looked like me (well, sorta) wearing a Mets uniform. I copied his batting stance, wore my sweatbands on my forearms and basically fought every kid who wanted to be Lee Mazzilli when we played wiffle ball.

When he was traded, I was devastated, but when he came back and became a key player for the 1986 Mets, it was a dream come true.

Michael Mayer (MMO & MMN)

Being from Maine, my favorite hometown Met would be Mike Bordick. He played his High School ball and College baseball in Maine before signing with the Oakland A’s in 1986. Few players with Maine ties end up in the big leagues so at the time I was excited that the Mets traded for him in 2000. My dad, brother and I drove down to New York for his first game with the Mets. We got to see him hit a home run in his first at-bat as a Met. Unfortunately, Bordick struggled offensively for the Mets including a bat postseason in the Mets run to the World Series loss to the Yankees. Just a few years after that I met Mike’s dad who was a local umpire and got to know him as player and coach.

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

Ed Glynn, because he sold hot dogs at Shea Stadium as a kid.

Based on localness, I’d have to go with Brooklyn’s own Lee Mazzilli, who I don’t think would have thrived anywhere else.  Connecticut HS star Rico Brogna and Al Leiter from NJ round out the tri-state circle for me.

Shoutout to Frank Viola of nearby East Meadow for bringing the LI accent.

And tip of the cap to Ed Kranepool, who showed us the Bronx long before Bobby Bo.

James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)

It’s an interesting question, because we’ve got lots of players right now who could qualify as favorites, who have deeply ingrained ties to the Mets besides where they were born. We’ve got lots of players who are not hometown but are home-grown — deGrom, Conforto, Familia, Flores, Reyes (kind of). Travis d’Arnaud has been with a million different teams and was born in California, but he did idolize Mike Piazza growing up. And of course, David Wright grew up a Mets fan because his hometown team was the Norfolk Tides. But much as we all love those guys, they’re not hometown players. There are four hometown guys on our 40-man roster: Matz, Harvey, Frazier, and T.J. Rivera. Frazier hasn’t played a game as a Met yet, and T.J. Rivera, while he’s had his great moments, isn’t a favorite yet. So, it comes down to Matz and Harvey. Matz gets bonus points right away for being from Long Island. If you come from the spiritual home of Mets fandom, and pitch into the eighth inning in your debut while going 3/3 with four RBIs, it’s hard not to become a fan favorite. But nevertheless, I’m going with Matt Harvey. It’s no secret that the Dark Knight hasn’t been a star lately. But his first three seasons in the bigs are enough to make him my clear choice. When Harvey debuted in the summer of 2012, I was away at camp; we were seniors, so we had a TV in our cabin, but we weren’t watching the game. I followed the ESPN Bottom Line that entire night and shouted results to the one other Mets fan in the group each time they came up: “seven strikeouts in three innings…eight through four…ten through five!” I saw those results come in, and literally right in that moment, I felt myself fill with hope, for the first time in a long time, that one day we would be good again. Then, of course, there was 2013 Harvey, who is still the best pitcher I’ve ever seen. I wore my Harvey shirt every day he took the mound that year, and every game, I was convinced, until proven otherwise, that he would throw a perfect game. He got out hopes up a few times, too, even though he could never quite finish it. I was at the game, the night after we’d all learned that Harvey would need Tommy John surgery. “Why does this always happen to us?” the ticket taker asked me. He was genuinely distressed, even angry. “I just don’t get it.” I didn’t have an answer, and I didn’t know then that Harvey would never again pitch as well as we all hoped to see every time out, so I just said “I don’t know,” then I went to my seat and watched us lose 2-1 to the Phillies, which somehow seemed fitting.

Mets Daddy

Ultimately, the answer for me comes down to Harvey or Leiter as I will remember both of them for their respective Game 5 performances which ultimately fell short.  In the end, you knew each was a competitor ready, willing, and able to give whatever they had when they stepped on the mound.

While I believe Leiter should be in the Mets Hall of Fame, and I will always appreciate his 1999 play-in game complete game two hit shut-out, my favorite local Met is Harvey.  When he stepped on the mound in 2013, he not only gave the Mets a bona fide ace, he gave us Mets fans hope.  He then delivered on that hope by helping pitch that 2015 Mets team to a pennant.  If not for Terry Collins, that would have been a World Series title.

Before signing off, I do want to mention Brogna (first autograph) and Bud Anderson (Little League) even if Anderson doesn’t quite count as he was a minor leaguer for the Mets.

Overall, I want to thank the various writers for coming onto the site to participate in what I hope will become a weekly round table.  Please return the favor by visiting their sites (link is in the parenthesis next to their name).

Mets Internal LOOGY Options

With pitchers and catchers reporting, the Mets are reportedly still looking for a second left-handed reliever to compliment Jerry Blevins in the bullpen. The Mets search is not surprising considering Blevins and Steven Matz are the only two left-handed relievers on the entire 40 man roster.

While Sandy Alderson and the front office continues their search, there is an opportunity for a pitcher to show the team they should crack the Opening Day roster.

P.J. Conlon

2017 Team: Binghamton (AA)
2017 Stats: 8-9, 3.3.8 ERA, 28 G, 22 GS, 3 CG, 3 SHO, SV, 136.0 IP, 108 K, 1.235 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 7.1 K/9

For the second straight season, Conlon has been invited to Major League camp with an opportunity to make the Opening Day roster as the second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen. The Mets interest in looking at him as a LOOGY is understandable for a few reasons.

First and foremost, Conlon gets left-handed batters out. Last year, he limited left-handed batters to a .252/.273/.358 batting line, and in 2016, he was even stingier limiting them to a .216/.267/.288 batting line. One of the reasons he is so successful is because Conlon locates the ball exceptionally well, and as a result, he limits his walks.

The other reason the Mets want to look at him in the bullpen is there is some doubt about his viability in the rotation at the Major League level. Conlon lives in the 80s with his fastball and change-up. We have seen this type of repertoire succeed in the majors with Jamie Moyer, and Mets fans have seen Bartolo Colon be a successful pitcher featuring a fastball that did not top 90 MPH. However, the margin of error is small for these types of pitchers.

Overall, this should not obfuscate the fact Conlon knows how to pitch, and he knows how to get left-handed batters out. With a good Spring and no other moves, he may get a chance to prove that at the Major League level.

Matt Purke

2017 Level: International League (AAA)
2017 Stats: 4-5, 3.84 ERA, 48 G, 65.2 IP, 80 K, 1.355 WHIP, 3.8 BB/9, 11.0 K/9

Like Josh Smoker, Purke is a former Nationals draft pick who had questions surrounding his shoulder, did not succeed as a starter, and he now finds himself as a reliever in the Mets organization. In 2015, he signed a deal with the Chicago White Sox, and he had a brief 12 game cup of coffee with the team in 2016.

Last year, Purke spent the entire season in Triple-A where he dominated left-handed batters. Overall, left-handed batters hit just .192/.314/.212 off of him with just two extra-base hits. Purke has strikeout stuff with a low 90s fastball, good slider, and split that acts like a change-up. However, Purke has difficulty keeping the strike zone, which is evident in left-handed batters maintaining a .314 OBP off of him despite their inability to square up against him.

Overall, Purke has talent, but he has yet to fully harness his stuff. Certainly, when working with Purke, that is an areas of focus for Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland this Spring.

Hansel Robles

2017 MLB Stats: 7-5, 4.92 ERA, 46 G, 56.2 IP, 60 K, 1.341 WHIP, 4.6 BB/9, 9.5 K/9

At this point, Mets fans are tired of Robles’ inconsistency and his pointing to the sky. However, like Rafael Montero, he is still here, and he is poised to make the Opening Day roster. With that in mind, the Mets need to find the best way to use him.

Now, one of the reasons why Callaway was an enticing managerial candidate was because he thinks outside the box. We have already seen that with him stating he wants to use Jeurys Familia like Andrew Miller in that he wants Familia to pitch in the highest leverage situations and not just save situations. If Callaway is really looking to maximize everyone’s skill-set, then Robles should be used as a right-handed LOOGY.

In his career, Robles has limited left-handed batters to a .178/.281/.335 batting line. As a point of reference, Blevins, an excellent LOOGY, has yielded a .211/.264/.304 batting line to left-handed batters. More impressively, the best left-handed NL East batters, Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, and Freddie Freeman are a combined 2-10 with a double, walk, and four strikeouts.

Given his track record, are you going to trust Robles to get one of the best left-handed batters in the game out in a pressure filled seventh or eight inning spot? No, you’re not, but the Mets aren’t going to do that with hypothetical second left-handed reliever they obtained before the start of the season.

And if you plan to utilize Robles to get left-handed batters out, you open the door for the Mets to give another reliever a chance to make the roster. Certainly, this would open the door for a Jamie Callahan or Jacob Rhame to make the team with a good Spring.

Overall, the Mets internal options are limited because the team has only invited two non-roster left handed pitchers to Spring Training. Unless they are willing to really think outside of the box, the team is going to have to add one more arm this Spring.

Thank You Matt Reynolds

With the Mets needing room on the 40 man roster, they first designated Matt Reynolds for assignment, and then they traded him to the Washington Nationals for cash.  With that, we have seen the end of a short and extremely interesting tenure for the former Mets 2012 second round pick.

After a breakout 2014 season in the minors, Reynolds had put himself in position to capitalize on an unsure shortstop situation.  With the team having moved on from Ruben Tejada as the everyday shortstop, and with them giving the defensively challenged Wilmer Flores a shot, it seemed like Reynolds would be a part of a team who had a shot at the postseason.

As luck would have it, Reynolds would be a part of the Mets 2015 pennant winning team, just not in the way he imagined.  Reynolds “chance” came because Chase Utley tackled (not slid) Tejada breaking his leg.  With Reynolds being the only real shortstop left on the 40 man roster, and arguably the best defensive one, he would get the call up.  In effect, Reynolds got the best seat in the house.  His postseason experience was taking infield, batting practice, appearing for player introductions, and sitting in the dugout.

Like all of us, he sat on the edge of his seat helpless as the Mets squandered away their chances of winning a World Series.  Unlike the rest of us, he would get a chance to prove himself against the Royals.

In arguably his career highlight as a Met, Reynolds was a surprise starter in left field in a day game against the Royals.  In the bottom of the sixth, Reynolds would hit his first career homer breaking a 3-3 tie.  The run would hold, and the Mets would get the win.

From there, Reynolds would have moments of glory and stretches where he struggled.  In reality, this is the life of a player who his shuttled (or in the Mets case flow) between Triple-A and the majors.  In September, he was promised more playing time to permit the Mets a chance to get a better read as to how he fit into the Mets future plans.  The chance never truly materialized.  In that sense, the writing was on the wall.

Now, Reynolds is a member of the Washington Nationals, and it appears he is going to get a better chance to be a Major League contributor than he ever did with the Mets.  As fans, we can only hope he doesn’t replicate his performance against the Royals.  Aside from that Reynolds was a Met, and he was one during one of the more fun rides in Mets history, and for that we should all wish him well.

Mets Pitchers Report Today, Are Better Than Advertised

It is quite fitting that today is unseasonably warm because we have the first sign of Spring with the Mets pitchers and catchers officially reporting to Spring Training.  No matter what your opinion on the Mets offseason, this time of year always brings a bit of hope for the fanbase because seeing the Mets players in uniform, you can begin to dream the players can put it all together and win the World Series.

For the Mets, like it has since 2015, the entire hope surrounds the starting pitching.

Now, there are people who are claiming there isn’t enough.  They still want the Mets to go out and sign Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, or any number of a group of free agent starters who didn’t compile 200 innings, were coming off injuries themselves, or really just couldn’t even sniff this Mets rotation when healthy.  In fact, you could argue with their recent injury histories and peripherals, Lynn and Cobb are just more of the same. Actually, what the Mets have is just better.

That’s part of the reason why the narrative the Mets did nothing to address their franchise worst pitching needs to end right now.

The first move the Mets had made this offseason to address the pitching was to go out and hire Mickey Callaway.  If you are going to be a pitching staff built on pitching, Callaway was the inspired choice.  Joining him on his pitching staff is Dave Eiland, who is renown for his ability to work with pitchers.  One of his keys to success is how he helps pitchers with their mechanics, which in turn, helps reduce injury.

Speaking of injuries, gone is favorite punching bag Ray Ramirez.  In his place is Jim Cavallini, who will oversee everything related to player care and conditioning.  This includes nutrition, sleep science, injury prevention, and rehabilitation.  Apparently, after all these years of injuries, the Mets are finally interested in getting players to eat better, sleep better, and take better care of themselves.

And yes, we know even with that Zack Wheeler needed osteoarthritis injections this offseason.  Matt Harvey has not been able to stay healthy since that magical 2013 season.  Steven Matz has continued to suffer one injury after another.  Technically speaking, Seth Lugo is pitching with a torn UCL much like the Yankees have seen with Masahiro Tanaka.

Yes, these injuries and injury histories exist, but as noted, the Mets finally have the people in place to not only help prevent those injuries from happening again, but also to get Harvey, Wheeler, and Matz back to form.  If they are, watch out because this is a pitching staff that can once again lead the Mets to the World Series.

If not?  Well, there’s real pitching depth in the Mets organization.  As noted above, there’s Lugo.  The team also have Robert Gsellman and Chris Flexen.  Yes, they both struggled last season, but they have an opportunity to learn from those struggles.  They also have the support system with Eiland, Callaway, and Mickey Abbott in Las Vegas.

Behind them are some intriguing prospects in Triple-A.  Corey Oswalt was the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year.  P.J. Conlon continues to defy the odds with his under 90 MPH stuff to pitch to a minor league career 2.35 ERA.  Marcos Molina is healthy after Tommy John, and he looks to build off a strong season.  Mickey Jannis is a late blooming knucke ball pitcher much in the same vein as R.A. Dickey.  And if you want to get deeper, Ricky Knapp rejuvenated himself after struggling in Vegas by pitching completely lights out as he helped pitch the Rumble Ponies to the Eastern League playoffs.

And if you are masochistic, this could finally be the year for Rafael Montero.

Point is, unlike last year, the Mets have actual starting pitching depth to start the season.  If one goes down, there’s two or three behind them to pick up the slack.  The team has a manager and pitching coach better suited to getting these pitchers to reaching their full potential.

Sure, it would be nice to see the Mets add a pitcher or two on a minor league deal to serve as a swing man, but even if the Mets don’t make that move, they have the depth they need in the organization.  Today is the day that group gets in peak physical shape and realizes their full potential.

And if you have a hard time believing me, sit down, take a deep breath, and remember the first two games of the season will have Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard starting for the Mets.  If you can’t get excited about that, nothing will.

Rangers Trying To Prove You Can Rebuild In New York

I’m not sure where the axiom ever arose, but somewhere, sometime people made the decision teams could not possibly rebuild in New York.  I always found this statement odd because on the one hand, New York fans are credited as smart a fanbase as there is in sports, but by the same token, many believe we are too ignorant to accept a team rebuilding.

This notion has created MANY mistakes by our professional teams.  Rather than admit defeat, we have seen the Mets constantly try to hold on tightly as their short lived runs slip away.  With respect to the Mets, we have seen it time and again – Eddie Murray, Roberto Alomar, Jason Bay, etc.  Bad contracts and trades resulting in even more disappointing seasons.  Worse yet, it was all part of a mismanagement of assets which delayed rebuilds and made the cupboards even barer when the time came to finally strip it all down.

As bad as the Mets history is, the Knicks history is worse – so much worse.  Just a series of Eddie Currys and Antoio McDyesses and Stephen Marburys.  It’s ridiculous, and it’s why after Ewing left, this organization has been a mess.

However, when it comes to postseason droughts and an outright refusal to rebuild, I think back to the Rangers.  In the pre-salary cap NHL, the Rangers just outright refused to commit to a rebuild.  What ensued was trades for big names and getting the top free agent available – LaFontaine, Lindros, Fleury, Dunham, Holik, Jagr, Kovalev, and the return of Messier.

It makes you question, what if a New York team actually acknowledged they hit the end of the line with their roster, and they were going to make the hard choice and rebuild.  Well, with the New York Rangers, we are about to find out:

If you are a Rangers fan, you knew the team didn’t have it this season.  However, as an organization, you could talk yourself into this being just about the injuries with Kreider and Shattenkirk going down.  Maybe it’s true, and maybe it isn’t.

It doesn’t matter because the overriding point is the Rangers knew they weren’t going to sniff the Cup this year, so why continue down this road?  The team smartly accepted the end of this run, and presumably, they look at the trade deadline as an opportunity to jump start their rebuild.  With any luck, you can get the assets to make this a retooling.  Largely, that will depend on which assets the Rangers opt to trade.

Overall, as a fan, I’d rather my organization be as up front with me as the Rangers just were.  This is a unique step for a New York organization, and it is one that should be lauded.  Hopefully, this will prove to be a positive step forward for an organization which looks to win its first Cup since 1994.

I know it is something I wish the Mets were more honest about in years past and with this roster.  Last year, hard choices were eschewed, and instead of cleaning house, the Mets got a collection of right-handed relievers, none of which are supposed make the Opening Day roster, and continued to play the likes of Jose Reyes over younger kids who could’ve used the development time.

Maybe after seeing how the Rangers chose to conduct their business, other New York sports teams will follow.  Maybe then people will say New York is the best place to rebuild.

Harrelson’s Alzheimer’s Hits Home

Like many a Mets fan, I was saddened to read Bob Klapisch’s New York Post article about how Buddy Harrelson, the first ever player inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame, and the only person on the field for both World Series titles, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

For me, it was not just a heart breaking story because of the difficult road that lies ahead of both him and his family, but also because of my own personal experiences with it.

In my life, I have lost two people near and dear to me.  With my grandfather dying when I was just five, and with my other grandfather having been dead long before I was born, there were two men who stepped up and became a grandfather of sorts to my brother and I.

The first was our neighbor, Al.  Al was about as eccentric and joyful a person you would ever meet.  A lover of music, he would play the organ all hours of the night.  As a way to sneak ice cream past his disapproving wife, he would keep a carton of ice cream in the freezer that was just for my brother and I.  He just so happened to make a cone for himself.

He was a larger than life individual who spun tale after tale regaling all of the neighborhood kids.  If you were truly lucky, he would make you a rickety old box scooter.

That was until the eccentric man became the absent minded man.  The thing that always stuck with me was how he’d drive his car to the grocery store, leave the car running, and he’d walk home.  He did this on numerous occasions.

Finally, push came to shove one day when I was playing with my friends in the street.  In a blind rage, he came out calling me by his eldest son’s name.  He grabbed me by the arm, and tried to drag me back into the house to punish me.  Not too long thereafter, Al got the nursing care he needed before eventually being moved a home.  When I learned of his death as an adult, I was devastated.

I was also devastated when my Uncle Pat was diagnosed not too long thereafter.

Having the experiences with Al, I know I purposefully disregarded the signs – the inability to pronounce certain words, the lack of memory, but mostly just that look when you know they were lost.  It was haunting.

The larger than life man we all knew, loved, feared, and respected was troubled.  Instead of him chiding my mom about not letting me play football, as was his dream for me, he would tell old stories.  He would retell the same stories about all the famous people he worked with during his life.  His favorite stories were always the Frankie Valli ones.  As time wore on, he even told those stories with less and less vigor.

Eventually, he was diagnosed, and he didn’t last long after his diagnosis.  In the succeeding years, I always question whether that was a good or bad thing.  Like with Al, I wanted the opportunity to have one last real conversation.  Really, I wanted a chance to say goodbye to someone who knew I was saying goodbye.

Alzheimer’s is a soul crushing disease, not just for the patient, but for everyone who loves and holds that person dear.  My sincerest sympathies go out to Buddy and his family.  At this point, all I can offer them is empty platitudes, so I offer them in the hopes it helps.

Trivia Friday: Most Homers By A Mets Third Baseman

With the Mets signing Todd Frazier, the team has added a third baseman who has averaged 30 homers since the 2013 season.  In their history, the Mets have seen third baseman who could hit for that type of power.  However, there have not been that many who have been able to do so.

Are you able to name the third baseman in Mets history who have hit the most homers?  Good luck!

(NOTE: to qualify, it is players who have played at third more than any other position.  As a result, Edgardo Alfonzo and Bobby Bonilla do not qualify)

David Wright Howard Johnson Robin Ventura Wayne Garrett Charley Smith

Mets Signing Tim Tebow Better Decision Than Yankees Trading For Russell Wilson

With his football career over, and with him still being a young man, Tim Tebow shocked everyone when he decided he wanted to become a professional baseball player.  To a certain degree, you could say Tebow’s first season as a professional was a disaster.  In 126 games played, he would hit .226/.309/.347 with 24 doubles, two triples, eight homers, and 52 RBI.  Now, you can argue there were glimpses like his hitting .260/.370/.390 in June, but most would likely dismiss that as one hot streak.

Despite Tebow’s struggles, his being a Mets minor leaguer last year should be seen as a success.  First and foremost, everywhere he went set attendance records.  As noted by ESPN, even before he played one game, his jersey sales were through the roof.  Say what you will, but this is a business, and if any team ever needed the money, it was the Mets.

But more than that, Tebow was there to leave an impression on the young Mets prospects.  That’s clearly a benefit as this is a person who has been able to conduct himself as a professional, has no off the field issues, and is someone willing to serve as a mentor to younger players.  This has value in the minors when you are teammates with players not too far removed from high school or college.

Fireflies teammate Bradon Brosher said of Tebow, “He does everything the right way.  He’s definitely one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen. And I really respect what he’s doing.”  (New York Daily News).

Another teammate, Michael Paez said, “He’s the first one to pick us up and let us know we have so much to look forward to in the game and even in life.  He’s a great influence to have in there.”

Whether a direct result of Tebow or not, Paez certainly took off last season earning an All Star nod in the South Atlantic League.  At the time he was promoted to St. Lucie, Paez was the league leader in doubles.

In sum, we see the positives of Tebow at play, and yet, when the Mets do something like invite Tebow to Spring Training, the Mets are routinely mocked.

You know who doesn’t get mocked for stuff like this?  The Yankees, and they’re really much worse than the Mets when it comes to this stuff.

Years ago, they let a 60 year old Billy Crystal play in a Spring Training game, and now they have traded for Rangers “second base prospect” and Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. For his part, Brian Cashman justified the PR by basically saying the team looks forward to picking the brain of a Super Bowl champion.  (ESPN).

Fact is, Cashman is as right about the decision as the Mets were about Tebow.  Sure, both faced their fair share of jokes over it, but with the Mets being the Mets, and Tebow being Tebow, the jokes directed towards them will last longer than what we’ll see with Wilson and the Yankees.

But you know what?  There’s more virtue with Tebow and the Mets.  Tebow’s there for the grind, the hard part, and not just for a fantasy camp experience.  The Mets have brought in more than a yearly scheduled motivational speaker; they have a mentor.

We can all mock Tebow and the Mets all we want, but fact is, this is proving to be a mutually beneficial relationship, and it will prove to be better than any other publicity stunt any other organization can concoct.