Wilmer Flores

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

Parnell Finds Out His Arm Hurts

After a number of bad outings, the Mets decided it was time to make a changeLogan Verrett is going to take Bobby Parnell‘s place in the bullpen. 

It was decided that Parnell would go on the DL with arm fatigue. This is a good move because Parnell had been effective earlier in the year, and he probably just needed some time off. It’s good the Mets didn’t DFA him because you don’t throw away a potential asset.

What this also signals to me is how the Mets have mismanaged the innings limits of their young pitchers. Look at how easy that was. Just throw a guy on the DL. No real excuse needed. If they did this at some other time, like when Matt Harvey had some rough outings, we wouldn’t be talking about reintroducing the six man rotation in September. 

Instead, we would be talking about what to do with Bartolo Colon. We would be talking about whether Steven Matz should go to the bullpen. No, we are instead talking about who’s going to be the seventh inning reliever. It’s too late in the season to leave this unanswered. 

It’s also the result of uninspired thinking. The Mets never truly pivoted from the failures of Vic Black and the suspensions of Jenrry Mejia

Hopefully, Verrett, a player the Mets were alright subjecting to the Rule 5 draft, will be the seventh inning answer. I would like the Mets to consider Matz. I wouldn’t rule out Parnell once he decides his arm no longer hurts. 

What Have We Done to Youth Sports?

Hearing about the recent Little League scandal, I went back to my days in Little League. I made me question when did this win at all costs approach start?  

The sad, ugly truth is that it’s always been there. We ignore that until we get to this point. I remember what happened my second year of Little League. I was on a team that was almost half boys-half girls. This was in the days before softball. If you remember those days, the girls on your team were mostly an automatic out. There were some good female players, but for the most part, they weren’t very good. 

Well, we surprisingly made it to the playoffs. Shockingly, we made it to the 3rd place game. The coaches wanted to win. They wanted the players to get that trophy (this was in the days before the participation trophy). Then something truly awful happened. The coaches didn’t tell the worst players, including the girls, about the time and location of the 3rd place game. 

We won resoundingly. However, what sticks with me most was not the victory, but how upset my teammates were at missing out on the game. Some skipped the year end awards celebration. Others cried when they were given their trophies. At what cost did we get those trophies?  

It should be said out coach was a good man. He was a very involved dad. He was a Little a League coach, a scout master, and a volunteer fireman.  All season he never got down on anyone for making a mistake. He gave everyone time each game to play their favorite IF position. He allowed the less talented players to have some time batting at the top of the lineup. He made the best players play the OF. All of this doesn’t change the fact that he made a mistake. A bad mistake. However, I refuse to let that mistake define him.  

I’m not going to pass judgment on one Little League coach for one ugly moment. I don’t know him as a person. I suspect he thought he was helping his team. I know good men and good coaches can make mistakes. It doesn’t change his egregious error in judgment. 

This is why when my son is old enough I want to coach his baseball team. First and foremost, I’ll coach them to win the right way. You win by always playing hard and always wanting to beat the best. You win by giving everyone on your team a chance to succeed. If you do your best, everyone hustles and plays the right way, and everyone improves, you’re a winner.

You’re a winner even if you lose the game. However, if they lose, I don’t think the players should deserve a trophy just for showing up. 

Wilmer Flores

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

Rules of Starting the Wave

Diehard fans hate the wave. Casual fans love it. Remember Mets fans, if you want the Mets to take back New York, we’re going to have to deal with the casual fan.

Personally, the wave is annoying. I like to keep score, and I always have a soda. I have to drop everything to do the wave. With that said, the reason I participate is for little kids. Since the wave is annoying, but I see its merit, I think there should be some groundrules. 

RULE 1: The Wave is Always Acceptable on Camp Days

You see, little kids love the wave. They watch for it to come. They clap and cheer for it to make it. When the wave reaches its destination, everyone cheers. When it doesn’t get there, everyone boos. You won’t admit this, but at times, even the wave can be fun. 

Keep that in mind for those few 12:00 day games in the weekday in the summer. Those games are for the kids. If they want to do the wave, let them do it.  The idea is to let kids have fun and want them to want to come back to more games. Let them have their wave. 

By extension, also allow the wave on Family Sunday or any game with a kids giveaway. However, these two days, unlike the camp games, are subject to Rules 8 & 9. 

Rule 2: If There is a Kid Near You at Least Fake It

If there’s a kid near you at any game, please give the minimal effort. It doesn’t hurt you to stay in your seat and throw your hands up. At least you won’t be the jerk who killed the wave and let a kid cry.  A corollary to this is if you helped kill the wave, and there is an upset kid near you, you can’t complain about the kid. You helped create the situation. 

Rule 3: You Are Never Obligated to Help Start a Wave

Personally, I do not think this conflicts with the second rule. There, I only ask for minimal effort. To start the wave, you actually have to stand up and get loud. You’re not disappointing a child because the wave didn’t exist yet. If a child is upset at that, their parent either needs to try to start one, or if they are trying themself, they need to do a better job. 

Rule 4: You Only Get Three Chances to Start the Wave

When you do a wave, you’re irritating a lot of people. The most annoyed people are the ones in your section. They constantly hear some idiot screaming to the top of their lungs “1! 2! 3!  Ahhhh!”  If it fizzles, let it die. It was never meant to be. 

My suggestion is if you really want to do the wave politely go around the section and try to spread the word BETWEEN INNINGS. Tell them you’re doing it for your kid. I’m sure most people would oblige.  If you try that and the wave still isn’t going, move on. These people aren’t doing it. Don’t annoy them and waste your time. Just sit back and enjoy the game. 

Rule 5: You Must Be Sober When You Start the Wave

First, you have to be coherent if you want people to listen to you. Two, you don’t want to be belligerent when people don’t acquiesce. Three, if you fail and if you’re annoying people, don’t give them an excuse to get security to remove you. If you’re a jerk trying to get a wave started, security may talk to you. If security hears you’re drunk and screaming, they’ll remove you from the game. Be smart here. 

Rule 6: You Must Be in LF or RF to Start the Wave

This isn’t a Choose Your Own Adventure book. The wave must only head in one direction and one direction only. 

Rule 7: There Must Be a Sellout

Lets face it you’re not going to sit in the far wings of the Upper a Deck by yourself  if you are, there’s no way the wave gets started. You and five friends can all stand up and hoot and holler, but the people 10 sections over won’t hear you or care. 

As a corollary to this rule, you need to start the wave in the Upper Deck.  I know it’s the Primenade now, but it’ll always be the Upper a Deck to me. The reason for the corollary is the Field Level costs way too much, so they’re doing what they want.  The other tiers are partially obstructed views and don’t have the same effect. Keep in mind if you do your job well enough, they may join in anyway. 

Rule 8: No Waves in Close Games

We’re all there to have fun, but mostly we’re there to enjoy a baseball game. If there’s a close game, chances are it’s a good one. When you stand up, it should be to cheer; not do the wave. 

By extension, the earlier in the game the better . . . like the first three innings. In fact, if done properly the wave can bring some energy into the stadium. Surprisingly, the wave then might actually be a benefit by getting the crowd pumped and building some electricity for the team to feed upon. 

Rule 9: No Waves in October

Ultimately, you’re there to enjoy the games. Your time to bring your kids for fun was the Spring and Summer. That’s also the time for the casual fan. October (and really September) is for the die hards. If you bring your kid to the game (I know I will), explain there is a time and place, and this is not the time and place for booing. 

The die hard Mets fan has been waiting for this day for 10 years now. They’ve been desperately waiting for a Workd Series for 30 years. They’re dying for this moment.  The casual fan, who so happened to get a ticket,and wants to start a wave doesn’t get a right to ruin anything for the diehard fan. 

Rule 10: If Someone Ignores These Rules, You May Boo Them

Someone won’t do the wave when kids are around, boo them. Someone won’t stop trying to set up the wave, boo them. Someone tries to do a wave in October, boo them until you crush their soul. 

Keep in mind, I’m only advocating booing. Never resort to insults, profanity, or name calling. Like Rule 5, don’t give someone an excuse to get you removed from a game. 

Overall, let’s make it a fun environment for everyone. I know I personally treat it like life and death, but it’s only a game. It’s supposed to be fun. The next time a way comes around just go with it. Maybe letting go a little will make you feel more relaxed and enjoy the game more. 

Mets Are Full of Bull

As we saw this past weekend, the main difference between the Pirates and the Mets is their bullpens. All three games went down to the bullpens, and the Mets lost all three games.   

Bobby Parnell had a rough weekend. It wasn’t his first implosion. It won’t be his last. His time for high leverage innings has passed for the time being. The Mets need some solutions because if they’re going to do things this year, they’ll need a better bullpen. At least we know Terry Collins is concerned

Unfortunately, I don’t think the front office is concerned.  For staters, they never made a move for Joba Chamberlain. Like Parnell, he hasn’t had a great year. However, what did the Mets have to lose by signing him and putting him in AAA and seeing if Frank Viola could get him straight. All it would’ve cost the Mets was the prorated Major League minimum. The Kansas City Royals, who have an amazing bullpen, had this foresight. 

Next, they have Logan Verrette in the AAA rotation in the hopes of possibly using him for a future spot start. Why?  I don’t know because there is no innings limit problem. Also, if he’s going to help this team, it’s in the bullpen. There is no chance he’s on the postseason roster as a starter. 

Also, there is the Steven Matz issue. Similar to Verrette, the Mets want him for spot starts, rather than in the bullpen. Like Verrette, Matz can only help the postseason roster in the bullpen. 

Furthermore, Rafael Montero isn’t a real option. He’s been on the DL with a shoulder injury. Initially, it wasn’t thought to be serious. That turned into a stay in the 60 day DL. Team doctors still have not found the source of the injury complaints. He can only throw three innings at a time. He’s far away. He’s not an option. 

This means that right now the Mets are putting all of their eggs in the Erik Goeddel basket. Goeddel has been pretty good thus far, but the Mets need more than just him . . . especially given his injury history. I’m sure there are other options in the minor leagues. Here’s the problem: are any of them the 2002 K-Rod?  The answer is no. 

If that reliever exists than why is the team’s bullpen constructed the way it is?  Hansel Robles is nice, but he’s not a reason to keep a stud reliever in the minor leagues. That’s why the Mets need to get Verrette and Matz on track as bullpen options.

Regardless of the route the Mets decide to pursue, I’m alright with them waiting until September 1st. Matz and Goeddel are in the middle of rehab stints. Parnell may be going through a rough stint, but with two off days this week, he will get some rest.  Maybe that rest will let him set himself straight. 

Parnell has great stuff. He’s coming off of Tommy John surgery. He may still be their best option. If the Mets don’t get serious about the bullpen, he will be. Personally, I’d rather see Matz and Verrette. Unfortunately, the Mets seem to disagree. 

Wilmer Flores

It’s an off day, so let’s get those Wilmer Flores cheers down pat:

The Conforto Debate

Last week, I wrote about how I thought with Michael Cuddyer coming off the DL, the Mets should’ve sent Michael Conforto down to AAA

My belief was that a Kelly Johnson/Juan Lagares platoon would be more effective than Comforto is right now. However, with some intensive work in AAA and some adjustments, Conforto would be a terrific option in September and beyond. Overall, however, my conclusion is if Cuddyer’s healthy, he should play everyday. 

I never framed my opinion as a referendum between Conforto and Eric Campbell. The first reason is my argument focused around letting Conforto play everyday. He’s not going to get better on the bench. Campbell isn’t keeping Conforto in the bench; Terry Collins is.  I understand why people saw it this way because the choice was between sending down Conforto or Campbell. 

My issue was what would benefit Conforto the most. I’ve had some interesting conversations since the post. I’ve found many have misstated Conforto’s stats and impact. I’ve found many who are alright with disregarding his development for the sake of 2015. Interestingly, I’ve found at least one Mets fan that believed Conforto being in New York was better for his development: 

On Wednesday, I think we saw there was  merit to the argument.  Metstradamus made a superb point about Kevin Long, and it does seem Conforto is learning something. I mention Metstradamus here because he deserves due credit for giving an original, well thought out response as to why Conforto should stay in the majors. 

However, I’ll be honest; I am still convinced I was right in calling for Conforto to be called down. I think two weeks in the minors would’ve done a great deal of good for Conforto and the Mets in September and October. Through all of this, I still maintain Conforto needs to be on the postseason roster. 

The reason I think I’m still correct is Conforto barely played last week. Here is his past week:

8/11: DNP

8/12: 0-1 (PH appearance)

8/13: 2-3 with a walk and a double

8/14: 0-1 (PH appearance)

8/15: 1-4 with a homerun 

8/16: DNP

8/17: off day 

In a one week span, he only got 10 plate appearances, and two of those were PH opportunities. It looks like he will play Tuesday and Wednesday against the Orioles. They’re off on Thursday, and then they go to Colorado, who has three LHP in their rotation. It looks like next week could be more of the same. 

Overall, I’m not shying away from my opinion even if there is a possibility I could be wrong. The funny thing is we may never know if I was wrong or right. I don’t care as much in being right as I am in Conforto’s development. He looks like a star, and I want him to be given every opportunity to become that star. 

In the future, I invite everyone to debate me whether it be in the comments, on Twitter, or anywhere else. Thank you again for taking the time to read. 

Elmo is a Monster

My son loves Sesame Street. He knows all the characters by name. I justify it to myself because he’s learning his letters and he is able to count to three. I’m learning that he’s everywhere. 

My YouTube account is full of Sesame Street clips along with my subscription to the Sesame Street channel. My Netflix only suggests Sesame Street episodes now. It’s Sesame Street everything. 

I had one respite away from Sesame Street . . . Mets games. Not anymore. As my son is dozing off watching the Mets game with me, the inning ends, and it cuts to commercial. Sure enough, it’s a Sesame Place commercial. The sleepy little boy (my wife says he’s still a baby), jumps up and screams “ELMO!  COOKIE! GROVER!”  Yup, he’s not falling asleep. 

I never thought I would ask for more Cialis and beer ads during games. Speaking of which, why is it beer ads are the only ones you can’t skip on YouTube?  And by the way, kudos for them and YouTube for playing before Sesame Street clips. 

Anyway, I digress. For you parents out there, you’re not escaping Elmo, especially now that Elmo is moving to HBO. Why Sesame Street and not Fraggle Rock, the first ever series on HBO, I’ll never know. Maybe it’s because Elmo is getting edgier (0:37 mark):

All kidding aside, I wish the Mets could incorporate Elmo and Sesame Street to a team promotion. I’m sure my son and every kid out there would love a Mets Elmo hat or t-shirt or bobblehead. Let’s make it happen. 

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the second baseman, WILMER FLORES!