Wednesday, December 30, 2009
It all began so well for the Mets in 2009. Then the Star-Spangled Banner was sung on Opening Day and everything fell apart. Injury after injury turned into loss after loss and the Mets could only manage a 70-92 record, good for fourth place in the NL East.
To make matters worse, Mets fans were subjected to the Doomsday World Series between the Yankees and the Phillies. Some major retooling had to be done after the World Series was completed and the Mets almost waited for 2009 to end before they made any noise in the free agent market, finally acquiring Jason Bay before the calendar changed to 2010.
The 2009 season saw the premiere of Citi Field with the Citi Kitty cursing the Mets on Opening Night. It also saw dropped popups, the Tony Bernazard Strongman Competition (probably seen on ESPN 2 sometime after 3 AM), the rise and fall of the Three Fernandos, David Wright's head-seeking missile and too many other moments that made this a forgettable season.
Fortunately, Studious Metsimus has something to be thankful for. To our readers such as Señor Solly, Satish, Jason, Efrain, Tracy and Anonymous (thank you to Anonymous for leaving the most comments), we'd like to thank you for your readership. You helped us surpass our goal of having two readers in 2009. Your comments were always appreciated and made us want to write more quality stories to hide the fact that the Mets really sucked this year.
To Kelly, thank you so much for designing the Studious Metsimus logo. It gave the site credibility that our excuse for writing would not have been able to get on its own. The writing got better once we said to ourselves, "Oh, crap! We look like a professional Mets blog. We'd better made the writing match the beautiful logo!"
To Denise, thank you for convincing us that we had some talent. Without your encouragement (and Kelly's as well), we wouldn't have started blogging on the Mets, first on Mets Merized Online, then expanding to Studious Metsimus.
To Joe D, thank you for giving us our first break. Without the opportunity you gave us, we never would have grown the cojones to start Studious Metsimus. We're waving our David Wright Pom Poms that we borrowed from Bayonne Mets Fan to show our appreciation for everything you've done for us.
To Jon and Lisa, thank you for teaching the two-member Studious Metsimus staff that sometimes squawking is the way to go to attract attention to our blog. Don't give up hope, Jon. We'll always have 1986. And Lisa, you may be the only Yankee fan who's cool in the eyes of Studious Metsimus. Even Joey thinks so!
Last, but certainly not least, we must give a shout out to Coop. For inspiring a number of blogs, for taking the Studious Metsimus staff on a tour of Citi Field, for being you...thank you. Hopefully, Joey will be able to persuade you to join the Studious Metsimus staff in 2010. You're a legend in the blogosphere and we'd love to have you!
From Joey and I, we'd like to wish you all the best for a happy and healthy 2010. Thank you for supporting Studious Metsimus and as always, LET'S GO METS !!
Once Reyes left the Mets lineup in 2009 due to his injury, Professor Reyes also waved goodbye. So who will teach the fans a foreign language in 2010? How about native Canadian Jason Bay?
If you've ever had a conversation with a Canadian, you've probably noticed that certain words don't sound the same to our American ears. All you have to do is listen to the songs of Anne Murray or Celine Dion to know that Canadian crap sounds different than American crap.
Studious Metsimus has decided to administer the oath to Jason Bay so that he can teach you the proper way to speak like a Canadian. Once he finishes taking his oath to be our new professor, he'll be ready to begin class. My Studious Metsimus colleague, Joey, will be Professeur Bay's first student.
Greetings, class! I'm Professeur Bay. Our first word today will be "about". Please repeat the following sentence.
"When I report to Citi Field, I will be the first person to be out and about on the playing field."
When I report to Citi Field, I will be the first person to be oot and aboot on the playing field.
Um, no. Let's move on to the next word. The next word is "sorry".
"I'm sorry that the Mets organization had so many injuries that kept them out of contention."
I'm sawry that the Mets organ-eye-zation had so many injuries that kept them oot of contention.
Now it sounds like you're making fun of me. Please don't take advantage of the fact that Canadians are painfully polite. It's very rude. Anyway, before we continue, I have a question for you. Do you like Popeye, the cartoon character?
Of course! Who doesn't like Popeye? But my favorite character is Wimpy. He's always eating burgers. I wish I could eat burgers all the time!
Oh, you like Wimpy. Okay. Do you remember what Wimpy would always say when he wanted burgers and was about to pay for them?
Of course I remember. But I get the feeling you're going to tell me anyway.
Give that bear a high five! Okay, here's your last word. I'll use it in that sentence Wimpy would say. Ready?
The word is "Tuesday".
"I'll gladly pay you a loony next Tuesday for a burger today."
What's a loony?
Sigh. It's what we call a dollar.
So why didn't you just call it that? And can I get some fries with that burger? Maybe add a little cheese and gravy on those fries?
You mean poutine?
POUTINE!! That's what we call those fries you're looking for.
You know what? You're not supposed to eat in class anyway. Just say the sentence, eh?
I'll gladly pay you a loony next Tooz-dee for a burger today. But I'm not saying poo-tin, eh? Especially when all I want are fries with gravy and cheese.
Forget this gig! I'm leaving! Class dismissed!
Was it something I said? Should I have asked for Kraft Dinner instead?
This concludes our first and final installment of Ask Professeur Bay. If this got under Jason's skin, imagine what the New York media will do to him.
Oh, well. We can always persuade Jose Reyes back into the professor's chair. He's supposed to be healthy enough to teach, right? Well? Is he? Ay, caramba!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Although originally signed by Canada's first major league baseball team, the Montreal Expos, Jason Bay bounced around from team to team in the minor leagues. He exchanged his XXL Property of Montreal Expos T-shirt for a Mets shirt, which in turn became a San Diego Padres shirt, which in turn became a Pittsburgh Pirates shirt. It was in Pittsburgh that Bay became a household name in a household not run by the Bay Family.
After hitting at least 20 HR in five consecutive seasons for the Pirates, Bay had his best season for the Red Sox in 2009, when he hit 36 HR and collected 119 RBI. Now that he has re-acquired his Property of New York Mets T-shirt (Thanks, eBay for helping your cousin Jason Bay out), Madison Avenue will be knock-knock-knockin' on Jason's door.
Apparently, Canada's answer to Dunkin' Donuts (Tim Horton's) is jumping into the Bay fray, eh. In addition to making some excellent coffee, Tim Horton's is known for their delicious donuts and Timbits (see photo at the top of this blog). It has become the largest restaurant chain in Canada and has now expanded into eleven states south of the Canadian border, including New York.
Left field was where legends played at Shea Stadium. From Benny Agbayani to Tsuyoshi Shinjo, there was no shortage of talent in left field for the Mets. It's no secret that it's because of Shinjo that David Wright chose to wore #5 to honor the great Mets leftfielder.
To honor those greats who patrolled the vast left field expanse at Shea Stadium, the Mets and Dunkin' Donuts erected a large iced coffee cup to stand beyond the left field wall near the foul line.
Unfortunately, thanks to the photo below by Erik Goldstein, when Shea Stadium was torn down, the tribute to the leftfielders wasn't brought along to Citi Field. (Dang you, Wilpons for failing to notice that this was an important piece of Mets history!)
Tim Horton's is now trying to right a wrong. They are trying to bring a taste of Shea Stadium back to Citi Field. At the same time, they wanted to honor their fellow Canadian.
It is with great Canadian pride that Studious Metsimus announces that through a joint venture by the Mets and Tim Horton's, a large box of Timbits will be placed in the left field corner at Citi Field.
Since Section 133 was complaining that they were one of the few sections at Citi Field that didn't have any unobstructed views of the field, the box will be placed there so that no Mets fan will miss out on that classic Citi Field obstructed view.
Construction is set to begin once the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum is completed. Now that's what I'm talkin' aboot!
With a four-year, $66 million offer, the left field problem has now been solved and the Mets can move on to filling their other holes now that the Baywatch is no longer on the air.
Reactions from fans to the Bay signing has been mostly positive. Here are samples from some of them:
Joey B. from the Bronx: It's about time the Mets fixed their leak in left field. I'll be sitting in Section 138 next year and look forward to seeing Jason Bay up close and personal. I just hope he doesn't do anything special while I'm standing on line at Shake Shack for three innings or so.
Jerry S. from Long Island: Did you ever notice that Omar Minaya waits for holidays to acquire big names? Johan Santana was signed on Groundhog Day in 2008 and Pedro Martinez was acquired after Thanksgiving in 2004. Does that mean we should expect Bengie Molina on New Year's Day and another starting pitcher will be a Met on Martin Luther King Day? It looks like I'll be having a Happy Festivus indeed!
Tim R. from Hollywood: I'm glad the Mets made this acquisition. It takes the sting away from my breakup with my long-term partner, Sue. Did you know that we were together since 1986, the last year the Mets won the World Series? By the way, I heard the Mets are also looking for a pitcher and a catcher. My buddy, Crash, and I might be what you're looking for. You bloggers have some pull with the team, right?
Jay and S. Bob from Leonardo, NJ: My hetero-lifemate and I once smoked a fatty with Jason Bay before he came to the states from Canada. We were standing outside a Tim Horton's, he came by and bickety-bam. Before you know it, he was making waves in the majors, Berserker-style. Snoogans. Dude still owes me an Egg-A-Mooby Muffin, though.
David H. from the Betty Ford Clinic: Why is everyone making such a big deal about this? Is he big in Germany? No. I am! All this talk about Baywatch being canceled is making me sick. Now get me another burger and a beer! Hiccup!
There you have it, my friends. To recap, Jason Bay is a Met. Fans from Section 138 to some guy who asks too many questions to a few stoners who made a Quick Stop to talk to Studious Metsimus even though they weren't supposed to be here to a drunkard who claims to have been big in Germany all have their opinions on the signing. At least we finally have something to talk about!
Now excuse me while I calm down that David H. guy. Apparently, he's saying something about some Pamela A. chick and her beach volleyballs. At least, that's what I think he's saying.
Friday, December 25, 2009
We hope you got all the toys you asked Santa for. If you asked for a dependable starting pitcher, Santa accidentally dropped those over Philadelphia and Boston while he was on the way to New York.
If you asked for Jason Bay, Santa left him behind at his workshop. His elves have texted him and he will be making a return trip to the North Pole to put Bay in his sack. However, his flight pattern is taking him over Boston again, so you never know if he'll "accidentally" drop him over Beantown again.
Something tells me Santa's been hitting the egg nog a little too much. I hope Omar sobers him up in time for him to make a Christmas delivery to Citi Field before it's too late!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
After a few mediocre seasons, the Mets appeared to be headed down that same path in 1973. Then the man known to all as Tug fired up the team and its fans when he reminded everyone that the season was not yet over. "Ya Gotta Believe" became the mantra for the underdog Mets as they went from last place in August to winning the division title the day after the regular season ended.
The magic continued in the playoffs as the Mets eliminated heavily favored Cincinnati in the National League Championship Series and took the defending champion Athletics to the seventh game of the World Series before ultimately succumbing to Oakland.
When Tug McGraw was traded from the Mets to the Philadelphia Phillies after the 1974 season, he was the franchise leader in saves and games pitched, a mark which is now held by another lefty who wore #45, John Franco.
McGraw helped the Phillies win their first ever World Series in 1980, recording the final out of the sixth and deciding game against another team seeking their first championship, the Kansas City Royals. He pitched four more seasons in Philadelphia, retiring after the 1984 season.
Fast forward to 2003. It was on March 12 that McGraw received the shocking news that he had a malignant, inoperable brain tumor. Although he was only given weeks to live, he managed to live throughout 2003 before finally passing away on January 5, 2004.
Before his death, the Tug McGraw Foundation was established. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life for children and adults with brain tumors and to raise awareness and money for brain tumor research. (Recently, the Foundation was expanded to include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.)
In 2003, just months before he passed away, Tug McGraw was in attendance at Shea Stadium. He was signing autographs along with former Met second baseman Felix Millan at the Fan Fest that was held prior to weekend games at Shea. I was in attendance that day, but noticed McGraw and Millan after they had signed their last autographs. I was disappointed, feeling that I had missed my chance to meet McGraw, a man who pitched before my time but was very much a part of what made me into the Mets fan I am today.
As he was leaving, the Tugger picked up a T-shirt that was being given away that day and flung it out to the crowd. (Although he was a southpaw, I'll never forget that he tossed it into the crowd with his right hand.) Guess who caught that shirt?
No, it wasn't Joey who caught the shirt. He hadn't even been born yet! He just likes doing his Vanna White impersonation whenever there's a photo op. The shirt above is the one Tug McGraw threw into the crowd that I was fortunate enough to catch. To this day, I have never worn the shirt since his fingerprints are still on it.
Note the "Believe" logo (after Tug's famous phrase) on the shirt, directly over the depiction of a Mets Master Card. If you have a Mets Master Card (or any credit card), perhaps you'd like to make a donation to the Tug McGraw Foundation.
Sharon Chapman, a friend of the Studious Metsimus staff, will be running in the 2010 ING New York City Marathon to raise money for the Tug McGraw Foundation. Her goal is to raise $3,000 for brain tumor research. Please help Sharon reach her goal by clicking here and making a donation to Team McGraw.
Tug McGraw was a hero to many Mets fans during his tenure with the team. Almost six years after his passing, he is still a hero to many people who are benefiting from the progress being made in brain tumor research due to the Tug McGraw Foundation.
In 1973, Tug McGraw brazenly proclaimed "Ya Gotta Believe" to all the world. With your help, ya gotta believe that the quality of life will improve for people with brain tumors. From all of us at Studious Metsimus, we'd like to thank you for helping Sharon reach her goal and for your support of the Tug McGraw Foundation. We believe. So should you!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
At Studious Metsimus, we'd like to reflect on the Hot Stove season. Rumor has it that it's better to give than to receive, so we'd like to give Omar Minaya a special song that we hope he receives.
It's a song parody of the classic Christmas song by the Chipmunks. You may know it by its given name, "The Chipmunk Song". Hopefully, between signing every member of the Phi Catcha Catcha fraternity and singing his favorite "once we get our guys back" ditty (Thanks, Joe D), Omar Minaya will realize that Mets fans don't give a sh*t about the opening of the Catchers' Warehouse unless they open an annex next to it that specializes in Hollidays and Bays. Enjoy the song!
All right, you SMFs! Ready to sing your song?
I'll say we are!
Let's sing it now!
Okay, George Theodore?
Okay, Taryn? Taryn?
Christmas, Christmas time is here.
Time to sign Bay for five years.
We're not good, but we're not last.
Hurry, Omar, sign Bay fast.
No more throwing us for a loop
Or else the next GM'll be Coop.
We can't stand you having us wait.
Please sign Bay, don't be late!
No more treating fans like poop.
Don't incur the wrath of Coop.
Omar, hope we set you straight.
Please sign Bay, don't be late!
Move your ass or accept your fate.
Please sign Bay, don't be late!
Don't give us that look, Omar! You brought this upon yourself. You felt the need to sign Chris Coste and Henry Blanco while the Red Sox were pouncing on John Lackey and the Phillies were scooping up Roy Halladay.
The song above is not as much a parody as it is a statement echoed by Mets fans everywhere. We must not have a repeat of the 2009 season. You must do whatever it takes to improve this team.
If Mets fans don't get a power hitter like Jason Bay in their Christmas stockings, you will be forever known as the Bay/Omar Butcher. I'm sure you know what will happen to you if the team doesn't improve dramatically next season. It'll be far worse than just incurring the wrath of Coop.
On that note, I can't think of a better time to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas! The Studious Metsimus staff want you to be safe this holiday season so you can come back in one piece for the 2010 season. Wish we could say the same about Omar Minaya...
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL, LET'S GO METS !!!!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
On paper, it looks as if the Phillies improved themselves drastically by adding arguably the best American League pitcher of the past few years. However, while I was focusing on the Phillies/Blue Jays part of the Halladay trade, my one-track, fourth-place mind failed to realize that to make this deal, the Phillies had to deal Cliff Lee to Seattle. Lee is a younger lefty who not only had playoff experience (unlike Halladay) but excelled in the postseason (4-0, 1.56 ERA in the 2009 playoffs). In addition to losing Lee, the Phillies also parted ways with Kyle Drabek, who was supposed to be a major part of their future.
I’m trying to envision the Phillies’ rotation for the 2010 season and I see Roy Halladay leading the staff, followed by the following pitchers:
Hamels has question marks after last season’s inconsistent performance. He has been overworked at a young age due to extended postseasons.
Blanton gave up more hits than innings pitched last year and was one of only four pitchers who gave up at least 30 HR in 2009. However, every other pitcher who gave up 30 HR made at least 33 starts. Blanton only made 31.
Happ is a good young pitcher, but faltered down the stretch and in the postseason. After his last start in August, he made five more starts. In those starts, his ERA was 4.84 and opposing batters hit .344 against him. In the playoffs, his ERA was 5.68 and his WHIP was 2.21. There are clearly some durability issues here.
The man is so old, he got misty eyed when the Phillies played the Yankees in the World Series because it brought back childhood memories of the 1950 Phils-Yanks World Series matchup. His 2009 ERA was just south of 5.00 and his 25 starts were his fewest since 1996, when Todd Hundley was setting catcher home run records for the Mets.
The Phillies can also turn to Kyle Kendrick and that Bastardo named Antonio, who are ready to step in whenever Moyer needs to take a nap or change his adult diaper.
The Phillies’ rotation doesn’t look too different from the staff the Mets currently employ. We have a bonafide #1 starter in Johan Santana, followed by Question Mark (Mike Pelfrey), Question Mark (John Maine) and Off The Mark (Oliver Perez).
The glaring difference between the Mets and the Phillies is very clear. It’s all about each team’s offense. The Phillies slugged their way to the World Series by hitting a league-leading 224 home runs in 2009, including more home runs with men on base (96) than the Mets had home runs (95).
Fine, so the Mets didn’t get an ace pitcher who could complement Santana in the rotation. But their rotation is still comparable to the Phillies’ starters, even more so if they can add Jason Marquis or Joel Piñeiro. If they want to have a chance in the National League East, they’ll need to sign a big bat or two and hope for a return to form by the injured hitters.
Sadly, there may not be enough big bats left out there other than Matt Holliday and Jason Bay and both of them play the same position. If Daniel Murphy leads the Mets in home runs again, it won’t matter what our pitching staff looks like. It’ll be another postseason where we root for certain teams to lose instead of rooting for the Mets to win.
Monday, December 14, 2009
In related news, the Mets have announced the signing of Jack Squat. Squat hasn't done much in the past and might go unnoticed in the Mets clubhouse, but that is due to the fact that no one ever knows he's there. Since he wasn't a Type A or Type B free agent, the Mets pounced on Squat since they knew he would sign for next to nothing.
I have to joke about this because if I didn't, I'd be crying. The Mets are just twiddling their thumbs watching players they should have acquired not only sign with other teams, but get traded to teams that will have a great impact on where the Mets will finish in 2010 and beyond.
Not only are the top pitchers being signed and/or traded to other teams, but now the Mets might have to overpay for pitchers such as Jason Marquis and Joel Piñeiro so that they don’t sign with other teams. I have nothing against either pitcher, but what if Santana gets hurt again like he did at the end of the 2009 season? Neither Marquis nor Piñeiro is good enough to be the ace of a staff the way Halladay and Lackey were with the Blue Jays and Angels, respectively.
The 2010 Mets with a staff of Santana, Marquis/Piñeiro, Pelfrey, Maine and some $36 million pitcher looks a lot like the 2009 staff, meaning mediocre at best. Of course, on the bright side, the Red Sox might not be able to afford Jason Bay now that Lackey will be getting a couple of bucks from them. Unfortunately, Jason Bay can’t pitch and now that Halladay and Lackey appear to be off the radar, there is a dearth of ace-type starters for the Mets to consider.
The Citi Field press conference room is resembling a ghost town.
Let’s just put it this way. The way the Mets have gone about this offseason, it looks like they’re taking the “let’s take our time and see how this all plays out” approach. What might have worked in the past is not working this time around. Omar Minaya can’t let other teams, especially his main rivals, scoop up player after player while he waits intently in the Citi Field press conference room for the player introduction that’s not going to happen.
While teams like the Phillies and Red Sox are giving their fans awesome stocking stuffers, Mets fans are just getting lumps of coal in their stockings. At least we’ll be able to use that coal to heat up our stoves because it sure looks like the Mets’ hot stove isn’t using it.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
My Studious Metsimus colleague, Joey, was excited to get his first all-access tour of Citi Field. Too bad he missed the first few minutes because he was stuck in this tree.
This is in the production booth. This screen controls what goes up on the scoreboard. From kiss cam to birthday greetings to the tenth call to the bullpen, this is the place where it's all put on the scoreboard and CitiVision.
This is where Gary, Keith and Ron give us great joy during Mets telecasts, since the events taking place on the field surely don't give us any kind of joy.
This is the view from the media room. Non-bloggers get to sit here behind clear glass (bet you couldn't tell there was glass in front of the camera where this picture was taken) and watch the game in a beautiful air-conditioned environment. Where do bloggers get to sit?
We get to sit right here in the bloggers' room. Not the best view of Citi Field, but at least the floor tiles are lovely.
This is a room I had no idea existed. Although my colleague mistook it for a coffee break room, it's really an auditorium located just above the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.
We finally did what the majority of the people came to do. We got onto the field without being tackled by security! The warning track area is a very hard surface. I can't imagine making a diving catch on it without receiving many cuts and bruises. Then again, that's what the 15-day DL is for, even if it was overused this past season.
These are seats we'll never be able to afford on our Studious Metsimus salary. Then again, we can't even afford Shake Shack burgers on our Studious Metsimus salary. Someone has to talk to the boss about that one. What? I am the boss? Sometimes it sucks to work for the man.
It's Coop from My Summer Family sharing a tender moment with my colleague in the Mets dugout. I guess this is My Winter Family.
My colleague is waiting patiently for his turn at-bat. I hope David Wright's oversized helmet isn't the one they give him.
These are the indoor batting cages near the Mets clubhouse. This may teach them how to hit 95-MPH fastballs and biting curveballs, but can it teach them how to hit with less than two outs and a runner on third?
Here we have the Mets clubhouse. It needed expanding because of all the minor league players called up to replace the disabled regulars. After sitting in those couches, I can see myself being placed on the 15-day DL just so I can sit here during games. They're oh so comfy!
This is the game room directly across the hall from the clubhouse and training room. (Insert joke about Mets trainers here.) The tour guide told us that Nelson Figueroa introduced the team to Rock Band (see the drums near the big plasma TV). He also said that Figgy is the team's resident IT guy. If you need a computer fixed, Nelly Figs is the man. Studious Metsimus could not get a straight answer from the tour guide when asked about Figueroa's pool expertise. Perhaps this is something worth following up.
If you're wondering why the Joey half of the Studious Metsimus duo was the only one photographed, the answer is simple. Three words: Mickey Mouse Ears. You will never know what I mean by that, but if you did, you'd know why none of my photos from the Citi Field tour will ever see the light of day.
Greetings, SMFs! While my colleague is away, I decided to add a little something to his blog. It came to my attention that he was not going to share any of his pictures from the Citi Field tour with you. Shame on him for hiding them from you, our beloved readers.
Well, it so happens that I have found the main picture that caused him to become Ebenezer Scrooge. So Bah humbug to him! I'm going to share the infamous Mickey Mouse Ears picture that he wants no one to see.
Thanks to everyone for reading this blog and we hope to see you next year at Citi Field. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and send cake. (NOT fruit cake! BIG difference!) Enjoy the Mickey Mouse Ears picture of my colleague!