Let Us Escape

It’s Wednesday, and it has already been a hard week. On Monday, people’s 401(k) took a hit with the stock market plunge. Today, there was the brutal on-air murder of a reporter and her cameraman. People go to sports to get away from things like this. 

If the sports media doesn’t get it, take their suggestion and don’t follow them. Don’t read them. They don’t want your opinions or your feedback. They don’t respect you. Don’t read them. 

I’m not wasting my energy with people like that today. Today’s not a day for scoring points. Today’s not the day to be the smart or funny person in the room. You’re angry and want a debate then go ahead, have it. However, if you really want to show everyone how smart and/or angry you are, do it in more than 140 characters. If Fox Sports doesn’t publish it, it’s probably because you’re a sports writer on a sports site. 

You want to have the debate?  Have it with your congressman or Senator. I say that for both sides of the gun control debate. You accomplish nothing by spouting off on Twitter other than trying to get people to tell you that you’re right. Instead of trying to get people to tell you how right you are, pray for the families. 

That’s what I’m going to do. I’m also going to keep my opinions to myself because this is a sports site. You come here for sports, specifically the Mets. You’re not here for political theatre, and I’m not going to set the stage. 

So enjoy tonight’s game. Take a couple of hours to get away from everything. It’ll be there after the game. 

Need Fallguy League

I’m getting tired of the NFL. I get more sick of it as a parent. Here are some fun story lines from the past year:

  1. Ray Rice punches out his fiancĂ©e in an elevator;
  2. Greg Hardy beats his girlfriend, allegedly pays her off so she doesn’t testify, signs a free agent contract, and he appeals his suspension; and
  3. Adrian Peterson beat his son with a switch. 

These are just some of the lowlights. The NFL’s advice on how to deal with this and other crimes? Get a “fall guy!”

Notice who else is in the video?  Cris Carter in his Hall of Fame jacket. Now, Cris Carter has some former drug problems and has had I problems giving unsolicited advice on the topic. Now, I’m not suggesting his past history precludes him from giving advice. Rather, it’s his past history that makes him uniquely qualified to give out advice. I just can’t believe his advice is to get a “fall guy.”

The other person in the video was Warren Sapp. Like Rice, Hardy, and Peterson, he would also face domestic violence charges. This should have come as no shock because he’s been previously charged with domestic battery. Those charges were dropped. Subsequently, he became an NFL Network analyst and advisor to rookies on how to handle yourself in the NFL. 

Now, I love the Giants. The past three Super Bowls were some of my favorite sports memories. However, how can I sit there and support this product when they’re constantly in the news cycle for the wrong reasons?  How can I support them when their advice to players is to get a “fall guy.”  The NFL supported this message as it was on their website until the public outcry. 

This is disturbing. However, I’ll admit that I’m going to watch this season, but I’m also dangerously close to checking out.  I may not let my son watch.  I want to wait until he’s much older to explain why some people beat women and children. I’m not looking to shelter him from the world. Rather, I’m waiting until it’s a more age appropriate conversation. 

The NFL talks about protecting the shield. I think they need to start protecting women and children instead of looking for scapegoats. 

Hahn & Humpty

As I’ve said before, I’m a fan of Hahn & Humpty. I’m thrilled they’re replacing the miscast political activist Mike Lupica. 

Hahn & Humpty are smart, and they talk about all sports . . . including hockey. Hahn is an old Newsday reporter, who worked the Islander and Knicks beats. He’s well connected, and he uses this to keep his listeners informed.  Rick DiPietro is the former Islanders goalie, who used to drive me nuts because he seemed to only play well against the Rangers. 

Together, they have good chemistry. I’ve found them to be both funny and informative. They’ll get into it with their listeners on the air and over Twitter. They understand what it means to have a radio show in 2015.  They can create real competition for WFAN and Joe & Evan. 

If you’re like me, you hate commercials . . . especially the Kars 4 Kids jingle. I also am diving for the dial when Joe Benigno has another Sabermetrics or Billy Beane rant. As I’ve said before, I don’t understand why Sabermetrics bothers people. You don’t like it? Great don’t bring it up on the show. It’s your show, and by extension, I’m presuming you have control over content. 

Now, Hahn & Humpty is behind the eight ball everyday. First, they follow six straight non-New York, non-baseball sports talk. Joe & Evan enjoy the lead-in from Boomer & Carton, who are number one in their time slot. Joe & Evan already have a strong following and are number one in their time slot. 

They also have to fend off hack attacks from hacks like Bob Raissman. Seriously, where does he come off?  He has the gaul to attack they’re credibility due to Hahn’s relationship with MSG, but he fails to mention both he and Lupica work for the New York Daily News. Also, Raissman is no stranger to conflicts of interest. He appears on Daily News Live on SNY. I must’ve missed his articles criticizing this show. 

I really hope ESPN Radio gives Hahn & Humpty a chance. It’s going to take a while to make a dent, but they’re certainly capable. I encourage everyone to listen for a few days. I know I will. If you’re interested, they go on the air five minutes after this post. 

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the second baseman, Wilmer Flores! 

Bowa is Crazy

As I said last night, what Hansel Robles did last night was bush league because he threw the ball with the batter’s head down. Travis d’Arnaud tried to slow him down. Robles went ahead. 

Technically, Robles wasn’t wrong. The batter was in the box. The home plate umpire never called time. Instead, he called time AFTER the pitch was thrown. The pitch should’ve been called a strike. The home plate umpire lost control of the AB and then the game. 

Jeff Francoeur came out of the dugout looking to defend his teammate. Larry Bowa also came out of the dugout to . . . challenge Daniel Murphy?  Yup, he had a problem with Murphy’s bat flip from the PRIOR game. Finally, the umpire threw Bowa out of the game. I’m glad because the man was unhinged. People who have followed the game since his playing days are not surprised. 

I get the unwritten rules of the game. They exist to prevent hot heads like Larry Bowa and the obnoxious Larry Anderson from having pitchers throw at players heads. However, the problem is people like Bowa and Anderson use it as an excuse to throw at people’s heads. 

There is a right way and wrong way to play the game. Part of playing the right way is to address problems from a particular game within that game. After the supposed egregious bat flip, Murphy batted one more time in the ninth inning in a 16-7 game. That’s the time to drill him. 

The Phillies didn’t do it. They issue then became moot. Next time Bowa has a problem, he should direct his players to address it during the game. When he doesn’t, or if he’s overruled by the manager, he needs to shut up about it. He needs to respect the game. 

You do that by handling in game beefs within that game. I’m pretty sure there’s something about that in the unwritten rule book. 

Thor Forgets His Hammer

Everyone can talk about the home-road splits with Noah Syndergaard. However, if you think of yourself as a future ace, you don’t have games like Thor had tonight. 

He was handed a 3-0 lead by another “Feat of Strength” by Yoenis Cespedes and Thor’s own RBI single. He gave it back and couldn’t make it past the fifth inning. This was important because the Mets have a really short bullpen. Normally, you’d ask your starter to get some extra innings with a short bullpen. The smarts couldn’t do that because of the phantom innings limit issue. 

What we have instead was another day with a Mets reliever going multiple innings.  Today, it was Hansel Robles‘ turn (more on him later).  He pitched well only allowing one of the inherited runners from Eric O’Flaherty to score. I’m assuming the Mets will not have him and Sean Gilmartin available. Plus Logan Verrett will only be available for one inning. This is not the situation you want to be in with Bartolo Colon on the mound tomorrow, reagardless of his health

Thor was bailed out in the top of the sixth when Travis d’Arnaud, who was inexplicably batting eighth, received an RBI from a bases loaded walk to tie the game. Michael Cuddyer then pinch hit for Thor and hit a two run single to put the Mets up 6-4. This is the latest example showing Cuddyer may still have something to contribute

Tyler Clippard had a rough eighth inning. He left 1st and 2nd with two outs for Jeurys Familia, who came on for the four out save. He induced a groundballs to David Wright to get out of the jam unscathed. He then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the 6-5 win. Now with Familia going four outs for a save, we now have to question his availability for tomorrow. 
Back to Robles. What he did was bush league. It was bush league not because he quick pitched. It was bush league because Cody Asche‘s head was down when he threw the ball. The Phillies dugout was rightfully upset. Normally, I’d argue that Jeff Francoeur should’ve been ejected, but he was protecting his teammate. The dugouts emptied, but neither team really crossed the lines. 

My overall issue is with the home plate umpire. You either instruct the batter to get in the box or have your hands up the whole time to let Robles know he can’t throw a pitch. The umpire needs to be aware Robles likes to quick pitch, and he needs to umpire the game accordingly. 

It should also be noted that Wright’s second game back wasn’t as successful as his first. He didn’t look as good at the plate. He swung at a lot of balls off the plate and out of the strike zone. Overall, he went 0-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. On the bright side, he was better in the field. Regardless, like last night, this was just one game, and I still have faith in him

Ironically, despite the predicament Thor left the Mets in, he notched his first career road win. The Mets have problems to deal with tomorrow with an even shorter bullpen and no Wright tomorrow. At least they took care of business tonight and still lead the divisio by 5.5 games. Let’s enjoy tonight and worry about tomorrow. 

C is for Championship

Before last night’s game, David Wright handed out cookies sparking the team’s offensive explosion. I know the Cookie Monster would’ve been proud

In all seriousness, baseball is supposed to be fun. What Wright did yesterday was fun. It loosened the team up on a big night. Did it lead to the victory?  Probably not. However, these are the fun things that keeps a fun season going. 

What I also know that anytime there’s a chance for baseball to intersect with Sesame Street, it’s a good thing. I think we need to have the Cookie Monster at Citi Field with cookies to fuel a championship run. If we can get the Baha Men to perform “Who Let the Dogs Out?” we can get Cookie Monster to Citi Field. In fact, it’s a better option. It’ll be more fun. 

We all know “C is for Cookie.”  Maybe with fun things like Wright handing out cookies, C can also be for Championship. 

Everyday Granderson?

Sometimes it’s hard to get a read on what Terry Collins is doing with the lineup. Even with all the moves, Collins has stuck by Curtis Granderson. He’s been the leadoff hitter for a majority of the season. Only recently, he has moved him down in the lineup against lefties. In those scenarios, he’s gone with his preference of leading off Juan Lagares and batting Granderson second. 

There’s a lot of merit to moving Granderson lower in the lineup. For his career, he has a triple slash of .223/.293/.397. That’s terrible especially when compared to his triple slash line against righties of .270/.356/.505. These splits are even more pronounced this season with .159/.202/.253 against lefties and .286/.388/.524 against righties. In sum, he’s great against righties and terrible against lefties. 

Now, Michael Cuddyer has had a rough first year with the Mets similar to Granderson, Carlos Beltran, and seemingly every free agent signing the Mets have ever made. Regardless of the rough year, he’s has  a triple slash of .240/.293/.623 against lefties. Surprisingly, these numbers are worse than his numbers against righties. For his career, Cuddyer hits lefties to the tune of .288/.376/.494. 

The only other option would be Michael Conforto, but the Mets don’t seem inclined to permit him to play against lefties. 

Now here’s where Sabermetrics come into conflict with the need for a player to have the faith of his manager and the clubhouse. For the season, Granderson is hitting .257/.348/.459. It’s much higher than what he’s hitting against lefties, but it’s also considerably lower than what he’s hitting off of righties. What we don’t know is what his numbers would be if he only batted against righties. 

We don’t know if playing everyday keeps him sharp. We don’t know if having the faith of his manager and team helps propel his terrific numbers against righties. Fact is, there’s a lot we don’t know about managing and running a team. It’s easy for me to say Granderson must sit against lefties, but I don’t know the full impact of that decision. 

What I do know is that Granderson is having a good year, and the Mets shouldn’t do anything to mess this up. If Granderson needs to play everyday, let him play everyday. 

Mets Fans Are Obnoxious?!?!?

When I think of Philly fans, I think of the “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” episode where the Phillies won the World Series. 

In this episode, the gang plans on starting fights in the stands, running out onto the field, and wanting to be present for the riots. Hyperbole?  Not so much. If you go to the SportsPickle, you get some highlights of Philly fans behavior:

  1. The need to put a jail and judge in the Vet to deal with unruly fans;
  2. Fans boo and pelt Santa Claus with snowballs;
  3. Phillies fans throw batteries at J.D. Drew because he didn’t sign with the Phillies;
  4. Phillies fans throw batteries at their only black player, Dick Allen; and 
  5. Philly fans booed Michael Irvin as he laid motionless on the ground. 

By the way, the SportsPickle is a humor site. D.J. Gallo didn’t even need to come up with anything. Instead, he just presented the facts and let the readers laugh at the absurdity of Philly fans behavior. 

The aforementioned events reminded me of my 30th birthday. The Mets were playing the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. I had never been there before and Johan Santana was pitching. From prior visits to the Vet, I knew about Philly fans, so I dressed neutrally. 

Well on that day, Santana was flirting with a no-hitter. I was getting excited, but I remained polite and quiet. This wasn’t my ballpark, and the Philly fans have their well earned reputation.  The moment finally was starting to become too big for me. I broke down and clapped after a nice play. I swear that all I did was clap. This grandfather, with his grandkids there, turned around and unleashed a series of expletives generally calling me “disrespectful” for cheering for the Mets. 

He then high-fived other people in the section for putting a Mets fan in his place. Needless to say, this is what I thought of when Larry Anderson called Mets fans “obnoxious.”  You would think with their history, Philly fans would sit there and not pass judgment. 

Overall, Larry Anderson’s comment was just noise. The specific noise?  That would be the noise it makes when the glass house shatters. 

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the second baseman, Wilmer Flores!