IV

Oh Baby!

Let’s face facts – Jon Niese should not have started this game. His wife was in labor, and he must’ve been distracted. We all know he gets easily distracted and frustrated when things don’t go his way. When there’s a missed call or error, you know a big inning is coming. 

I don’t blame Niese for being distracted this time. Every Dad becomes apprehensive when their wife goes into labor. I couldn’t imagine being a 10 hour drive away when my wife went into labor. I’m genuinely happy he was able to watch the birth via Facetime. I even forgive his three inning, six run performance. 

However, I don’t let the Mets off the hook because they eliminated whatever advantage they had as Zach missing the start to attend the birth of his baby boy. The Mets should’ve planned ahead and had Logan Verrette with the club. Once Niese’s wife went into labor, Niese could’ve been put on the paternity list and Verrette could’ve started the game. If they did not want to go that route, Carlos Torres should’ve started the game and went as far as he could go. 

Overall, i applaud the MLB and the MLBPA for the paternity leave policy. I think Dads should be able to attend their child’s birth. It is one of the few events you don’t get back. Even in the best case scenarios, the mothers need help; especially from the Dad. 

I think fans forget that players aren’t around as often to see their kids grow up. Yes, they make ungodly amounts of money, but they’re also human. We shouldn’t take these first few days away from them. 

Personally, I remember soon after my son was born, I had to go out of state on business It was hard for me to leave, and it was even harder in my wife (even though my mom was over to help).  I know I should’ve left the day before, but I didn’t. I know I should’ve stayed overnight, but I didn’t. I had a 23 hour day where I drove in the snow both ways. Why?  I couldn’t stand to be away from the two of them. Now how am I going to get on a ball player who feels the same and just wants or needs a day or two?

Oh by the way, Michael Conforto became the Mets’ 1,000 player and went 0-3 with an RBI. He looks like he belongs. 

Anyway, congratulations are in order to the Niese and Greinke family. I hope the Mets new additions of Conforto, Uribe, and Johnson bring Mets fans 1/10 of the happiness those families feel today. 

Thank You Pedro

This weekend, Pedro Martinez will be the 13th former Mets player to be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame (joining his former Mets teammate Tom Glavine). As of today, The Franchise, George Thomas Seaver, is the only player inducted as a Met into the Hall of Fame.

We were all lucky to see Pedro pitch. He was a combination of dominant power pitcher and crafty veteran while on the mound. As I stated in this blog before, Pedro’s 1999 All Star Game start was one of the most memorable All Star Game moments ever. However, that 1999 All Star Game appearance is just a minor footnote to Pedro’s 1999 season where he went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and a 0.923 WHIP. Naturally, he won the MVP and finished second in the MVP voting (he was robbed). How do you top that? With his 2000 Cy Young season where Pedro went 18-6 with a 1.74 ERA and a 0.737 WHIP. These are insane numbers that compare with the all-time greats.

My Dad always tells me about Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, and Bob Gibson. He waxes poetic that if Seaver played for good team his entire career, he would have won 30 games per year (he’s not wrong). He tells me about the year Steve Carlton won 27 games on a Phillies’ team that only won 59 games. He told me about Bob Gibson’s 1968 season when he went 22-9 with a 1.12 ERA. For my money Pedro was better in 1999 and 2000 than Bob Gibson was in 1968. The reason is Pedro did it in the steroids era while Gibson did it in the Year of the Pitcher.  People talk about Sandy Koufax’s stretch with the Dodgers?  Pedro was better.

Luckily, Pedro became a Met after already cementing his status as a Hall of Famer. Before joining the Mets, he was a three time Cy Young Award winner with six All Star appearances and a 182-84 record and a 2.81 ERA. In 2005, he came to the Mets.  His arrival brought energy and legitimacy to a franchise that was on the decline since the 2000 World Series. I remember when the Mets schedule came out, I looked for what would be his first start at Shea. I remember getting seats in the first row of the upper deck so my brother and I could hang Ks for every Pedro strikeout. I still remember he had seven that day. I still have my Vote for Pedro Mets t-shirt.

It was the first time the Mets had an ace since they traded David Cone to the Blue Jays 13 years before. There is always a different atmosphere in the ballpark when an ace is on the mound. From the first to the last pitch, you are on the edge of the seat. Pedro was that pitcher in 2005. Every fifth day, you felt the Mets had a chance to win. He was electric. Back in a time when this really mattered to Mets fans, he came ever so close to getting a no-hitter. He finished with a 15-8 record with a 2.82 ERA. He led the league with a 0.949 WHIP, and he was an All Star.  As we know Pedro’s last great season was in 2005, and we now know why. He still did have his moments because remember Pedro was a great pitcher and a proud man. He made the All Star team in 2006 and he had one last great start in the 2009 World Series.

Overall, what I admired most about Pedro was that he got the best out of his ability and he kept fighting to be the best. And you know what? For a stretch, he was the best pitcher on the planet. That’s impressive because he pitched at the same time as all-time greats like Randy Johnson (who is also being inducted this weekend) and Greg Maddux. So for all of that, I want to say “Thank you Pedro Martinez.” You were a joy to watch as a baseball player, and you gave it your all when you were with the Mets. When my son is older and he asks me about players I saw play, I will mention you in the same vein as my father told me about Seaver, Carlton and Gibson. That is the best tribute I can give to you. Enjoy your well-deserved honor this weekend. You earned it.

Mets in Same Position as 10 Years Ago

Did you ever hear of the saying, the more things change the more they stay the same? The saying drives me absolutely nuts. Inherently, something that is static cannot also be idle at the same time. However, for the first time I am starting to understand this saying.

I believe this season is starting to resemble 2005. Sure there was some optimism before that season with the signings of Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez. This was also going to be the first full season David Wright and Jose Reyes were going to play together. That team also had some holes: Doug Mientkiewicz had a great glove but not the bat to play 1B, Kaz Matsui was being shifted to play 2B after he showed he couldn’t play SS the prior year, and let’s not forget the closer was Braden Looper in a largely ineffective bullpen. However, I don’t know of anyone that expected the Mets to realistically make the playoffs that year.

At that point, the Mets fans were suffering. In 2001, the Mets rallied around the city, but they fell short of making the playoffs in an otherwise disappointing season. In 2002, we watched Steve Phillips attempt to recreate the team as an offensive juggernaut with the likes of Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, Jeromy Burnitz, and Roger Cedeno. This lead to three years of just bad baseball. Now, the Mets fans were clamoring for a move to be made. We wanted to see Piazza go out on his last year with the Mets with a winner. At the Trading Deadline, the Mets found themselves only 4 games out of the Wild Card.

However, Omar Minaya stayed the course. The Mets made no trades. He kept his bullets for the offseason. If you recall, that was a magical offseason with the additions of Paul LoDuca, Carlos Delgado, Jose Valentin, Xavier Nady, Endy Chavez, Julio Franco, Pedro Feliciano, Duaner Sanchez, John Maine, Jorge Julio (was was then traded in season for El Duque), Darren Oliver, and Billy Wagner. Omar showing restraint permitted the Mets to build that great 2006 team the fans loved.

Now, Mets fans have been suffering longer than they were in 2005, and they are begging for just one bat (which I don’t think will do the trick). While Mets fans were disappointed in 2005, I don’t remember them being a distraught as they are now. I think the difference is trust. We trusted that ownership and Omar would spend the money to get the players that were needed. In fact, they just come off of a spending spree that netted Pedro and Beltran. Now, fans don’t trust that ownership will spend the money. I believe this is the trust gap that is the biggest sense of frustration with this team.

It’s a shame too because I remember 2005 being a fun season. So far, I think 2015 has been gut-wrenching with all the tight, low-scoring games. My only hope is that if the Mets don’t make a move now, they have a plan for what can be realistically accomplished this summer. There will be LF available who can really help the team in the short term, but the market is scarce on middle infielders. My fingers are crossed.  I want to be able to go to a playoff game with my father and son.

I Love Mr. Met

Mr. Mets is awesome. He is one of the best parts of the entire Mets organization. He was the first ever mascot to step onto the field, and he has been a legend ever since. Forbes magazine has named him the best mascot in all of sports.  Similar to our beloved Tom Seaver, Mr. Met is also a Hall of Famer.  He even has his own money!

The story of Mr. Met has been a story many have sought to tell. Paul Lucas has done phenomenal work trying to uncover who is the creator of the famous mascot. ESPN has dedicated one of its awarding winning 30 for 30s to find out who is the man inside the mascot. He was even the subject of a feature in Rolling Stone. Needless to say, Mr. Met has not only captivated the hearts and mind of Mets fans, but also the entire world.

That is why the best thing the Mets organization has done in recent years is to make him eminently available to Mets fans young and old. In fact, if you want to see him at Citi Field, the Mets have provided a schedule of his appearances:

12:10 Game 1:10 Game 4:10 Game 7:10 Game 8:05 Game
10:45 a.m.* 11:45 a.m.* 2:45 p.m.* 5:45 p.m.* 6:40 p.m.*
11:20 a.m. 12:20 p.m. 3:20 p.m. 6:20 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
2nd Inning 2nd Inning 2nd Inning 2nd Inning 2nd Inning

Mr. Met is always there rooting along with us Mets fans. Win or lose, he always has a smile on his face (of course he does, he gets to go to all the Mets home games). His smile greets Mets fans as they come to Citi Field, and it is there when we make our way home. I also find Mr. Met is always at his best around young Mets fans.

I know this is true because my son loves Mr. Met. When we have been to Citi Field, Mr. Met has given my son his autograph, a high five, and has taken a picture with him. Thanks to Mr. Met, we have memories of the Mets games we have spent together

I look forward to more memories like this with my son, and God willing, future generations of Mets fans. Thank you Mr. Met.

Day Game or Night Game?

Sometime before the season, the Mets polled fans to see if they prefer Saturday games to be in the day (1:00 start) or the night (7:10 start). I think my feelings on the subject have changed.

In my opinion, I prefer day games. You can get to the game early and have lunch while taking in batting practice.  After the game, you leave and still be home in time for dinner.  However, when I’m home watching, which is most of the time, I prefer a night game.

If the game is on during the day, I just can’t watch it. I’d rather play with my son or take him out somewhere fun. As most parents will tell you, the weekends go from relaxing to always being on the go. If I’m lucky, I can listen to the game on the radio with all the craziness.

If the game is at night, I can wind down from the day and watch the beginning of the game with my son as he falls asleep. It wasn’t until last night that it occurred to me that it could be the Mets offense and not tiredness that puts him to sleep. But I digress, I prefer night games now, and I’m sure I’ll change my mind a million Times as he grows up.

Introduction

Welcome to Mets Daddy. Rather than regurgitate what is in the About section of this blog, I wanted to introduce myself, and why I am writing this blog. I have always been a Mets fan. My father dutifully saw that I would become one. Upon his learning that I loved strawberries and strawberry ice cream, he told me that the Mets had a player named Strawberry, and he took me to my first game when Strawberry was called up in ’83. I grew up loving the Mets, as I still do this day.

Now, I want to share these experiences not just with my Dad and brother, but also with my son. Every night, I sit down with him to watch a Mets game as he falls asleep. When I ask him who plays first base for the Mets, he says, “Duda!” We’re still working on the rest of the players on the 25 man roster. When he sees Mets caps, he points and either says “Mets” or “Daddy” (as you can imagine, I usually wear a Mets cap when I’m not working). These are experiences I treasure and hope not to forget. My hope is that this blog will help with that.

But that’s not all I want to do. I also hope to share with Mets fans the experiences of being a “Mets Daddy.” How much fun it is to play baseball, have a catch, or watch a game. How great it is going to a game at Citi Field. How challenging it can be to raise a Mets fan when seemingly being surrounded everywhere with Yankees fans. Overall, how being a Mets fan has bridged generations from my Dad to my son. My Dad’s favorite Met was Tom Seaver; mine is probably Mike Piazza. Who knows what player will become my son’s favorite? That’s part of the fun.

I thank you for reading, and I look forward to sharing more in the future.