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!

When Will Reyes Make His Move?

I can and have gone on and on ad nauseum about the Mets bringing back Jose Reyes. I promise this entry isn’t that. 

Everyone concludes, including myself, that Reyes is not coming back. We know he didn’t want to leave. We know the Mets still haven’t found a SS. We know he hasn’t sold his home. Now, he’s playing in Colorado. I’m sure he misses his family, and we all know Colorado has excellent schools, right Mike Hampton?  

This isn’t the move I’m referring to in the title.  only joking. I would never pretend to tell someone else how to raise their family. Fatherhood is difficult enough while trying to raise someone else’s kids. 

I’m not even referring to another team who may trade for him. Rather, I’m referring to Reyes making a move towards the Hall of Fame. I believe if he is going to make it, he’s probably going to need 3,000 hits. 

Reyes’ 162 game average is 198 hits per season. Going into this year, he’s only averaged 120 games a year, and he’s averaged 148 hits per year. That may seem low, but he has missed time due to injuries. Entering this season, he had 1,772 hits. He now sits at 1,866. He’s currently 1,134 short of 3,000.  

There are 47 games left in the Rockies season.   If we assume Reyes will continue to play 74% of his team’s games, he has approximately 35 games left in the season. At a rate of 1.2 hits per game, he will get an additional 42 hits. This would leave him with about 1,908 hits or 1,092 short of 3,000. 

If he continues to average 148 hits, he’ll need about eight more years to reach 3,000. That’s a lot to ask considering you’re asking him to play everyday into his age 42 season. 

I know he wants to come back to New York, but maybe going to Colorado was a blessing in disguise.  Now we know, players hit 17% better at Coors Field. I doubt the Rockies will pick up his $22 million option in 2018. That means, barring a trade, he will only have two full years in Coors Field. 

As noted above, Reyes averages 148 hits per season. In his career, Reyes gets 51% of his base hits at home. That means in a typical season, Reyes can expect to get 75 hits at home and 73 on the road. If we apply the 17% Coors Field factor, Reyes average home hits would increase to 88 hits. This would increase his hits total from 148 to 161. 

Accordingly, two years in Coors Field would put him at approximately 2,232 hits or 768 hits short entering his age 35 season. At 161 hits per year, he’d need approximately 5 more years to reach 3,000. If Reyes is healthier getting off the turf and plays 150 games per year, his hit totals could increase by an additional 40 hits per year, or 80 total. This would put him at 2,312 or 688 short. 

Now when he’s a free agent, he will have to decide if: 1) he wants to make the push towards 3,000; 2) he wants to win; or 3) hopefully both. 

If he goes for option #1 or #3, maybe he could be inducted in the Hall of Fame. Quite possibly, he would then be the Mets first position player from their farm system to do so. Maybe the Mets would then retire his number 7. I’d love to be there for both ceremonies. 

It’s a long shot right now. If that’s going to change, Reyes needs to embrace playing in Coors Field and make his move. 

Collins Not in October Form

The beginning of this game recap has to start with the “Throwing Out of Baserunners” in the top of the ninth with the score tied 3-3. That Yoenis Cespedes throw was incredible. Against another player, Sean Rodriguez is standing on third as the winning run. Since there are no words to describe the play, here’s the play:

As for the rest of the game, it was a second straight extra inning game with both teams playing with intensity reminiscent of October baseball. This could prove to be a real good test for this Mets team. Tonight, we would see the person who needs the most improvement is Terry Collins. 

This includes Jon Niese. With his recent run, we forgot he was prone to mistakes after errors or bad calls. Balking Bob Davidson was doing Balking Bob Davidson things:

So yeah, bad call on a 3-2 count. Sure enough, next AB, Gregory Polanco hits a two run homer. Mets start the game down 2-0. Add a third inning dinger and the Mets offense reverting to June form against Charlie Morton, who was really channeling Roy Halladay, and all hope seemed lost. 

Then Juan Uribe leads off the seventh with a homerun to CF. Later in the inning, Michael Conforto pulled a homerun to RF tying the score at three. Seriously, this is why I say send him down or play him everyday. He’s got the potential to be a special player. 

Last night, I noted the difference in the game was the bullpens. The Pirates bullpen was very good again.  Luckily, the Mets other bullpen pieces were up to the task. Carlos Torres pitched a scoreless seventh. Hansel Robles then had three scoreless frames (10th, 11th, and 12th).  Sean Gilmartin would finally crack in the 14th, taking the loss due to questionable managing and defense. 

Specifically, Lucas Duda made a PH appearance in the 12th. He drew a two out walk. Of course, he didn’t appear earlier in the game, and the Mets burned Juan Lagares as a pinch hitter in the sixth . . . because you want him for his bat and not his late inning defense. Keep in mind Duda can’t play in the field right now. When Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] didn’t deliver, the Mets were down to Anthony Recker, some good hitting pitcher, and no double switch options. 

This turned out to be the key decision in the game. If Lagares was available to go in the game in the late innings, Francisco Cervelli‘s double becomes a single because Lagares would’ve been in CF and Cespedes would’ve been in LF. That changed the inning; not Daniel Murphy‘s misplay. Cervelli, the go-ahead run, would’ve been safe at third. I know it helped lead to an insurance run. My argument is tbst throw isn’t made because Cervelli wouldn’t have been on second. 

Sure enough, the last man on the bench, Recker would make the last out. The Mets lost 5-3. Who knows how it turns out if Collins managed it properly?  

50 Years Ago Today, Sgt. Pepper Taught the Band to Play

In a sport that has Yankee Stadium, Tiger Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Ebbetts Field, for one night, Shea Stadium was the most famous stadium in the world. The Beatles were playing there. 

It is still regarded as one of the greatest concerts of all time. For four more years, it most likely was the Mets’ fans favorite moment in the Big Shea. That would be until Davey Johnson’s fly ball fell harmlessly into Cleon Jones’ glove. 

The Beatles were a phenomenon on their way to becoming the greatest Rock & Roll group ever. They rocked the house: 

I was lucky enough to be able to attend Billy Joel’s Last Play at Shea over 40 years later. It was awesome. Aside from Billy Joel’s typical brilliance, he brought superstar guests onto the stage: Steven Tyler, Garth Brooks, and Roger Daltrey. Then, a miracle happened of the same ilk as a little dribbler up the first base line:

That’s right. McCartney would play in the two greatest concerts in Shea Stadium. We would later find out everyone moved heaven and hell to get him there. Much like the police escort the Beatles needed in 1965 just to get to the stage, McCartney needed one just to get to Shea on time. 

Then Billy Joel did the classiest thing I’ve ever seen: he ceded his stage to Paul McCartney to close out his concert:

I remember my then girlfriend, now wife, and I calling our families so they could hear it. Like Billy Joel, we wanted to share this experience with everyone. This was a moment I’ll never forget. 

As a native son, this was Billy Joel’s moment in his hometown. The Mets were letting him close down a stadium the Beatles opened. Instead, Billy Joel let the man who opened Shea close it down. 

Fifty years later, Citi Field has a post game concert starring NeYo. He’s got some massive shoes to fill. 

Murphy is Clutch

It may be hard to believe this, but this is the second time, Daniel Murphy is in a pennant chase. The first time was in 2008, when the Mets desperately needed another bat (sound familiar?). 

In 2008, the Mets had various injury issues (sound familiar?), and they rushed Murphy to the majors (sound familiar?). If you remember, this wasn’t a fun season. They were coming off a historic collapse, fired Willie Randolph after flying out to California, and they hired the man who back stabbed him to get the job. Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, there were the press conferences (that the Mets couldn’t stop hyping):

One of the few bright spots of that season was Murphy. As we now know, he was a terrific hitter. In 2008, he hit .313/.397/.473. With this he got his foot in the door, and he was named the starting LF the next year. We know how that worked out. 

However, we also know he’s a good hitter. Ironically, with him presumably having one foot out the door, he’s finally in a pennant race again. Again, he’s producing. In the second half he’s hit .292/.330/.448 (as compared to .277/.331/.405 in the first half). He’s also answered the call to play all over the infield due to injuries to different players or platoon splits. 

Ultimately, Murphy is going out the way he came in . . . by doing everything he can to get the Mets into the playoffs. I hope he succeeds this time.