Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stick A Knife In Reyes! He's Done!

It looks like Professor Reyes won't be conducting any seminars at Citi Field any time soon. According to numerous sources, including and MetsBlog, Jose Reyes has now torn his right hamstring, as revealed by an MRI on Wednesday, one day after Reyes felt discomfort after completing one of his running drills at the Long Island facility where he was training.

Since being placed on the disabled list in May with a torn hamstring tendon behind his right knee, Reyes has fought off getting surgery in a misguided attempt to play again in 2009. Now it looks like his next game might be for the Hospital For Special Surgery celebrity softball team.

Despite only being 26, this is already the third season in which Reyes has missed significant time due to a leg injury. Even Mr. Bill wasn't so brittle. Sure he might have occasionally been burnt to a crisp or run over by a speeding bus, but Mr. Bill never missed so much time so MANY times.

Next year, the Mets will have some thinking to do about the future of Jose Reyes. He will be entering the final year of his contract, although the club does hold an option for 2011. If he continues to fall apart like a papier-mache tent atop Mount Washington, the Mets might need to consider other options.

For now, their main concern should be getting Reyes' surgery performed as soon as possible. As Jose Reyes goes, so do the Mets and right now, they're not going anywhere.

Get well soon, Jose. We hope to see class in session at Reyes University for the spring semester!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Jerseys For New York

In Bart Hubbuch's New York Post blog, it is being reported that the Mets are considering some significant changes to their uniforms for the 2010 season.

Gone will be the pinstripes, a staple of all Mets home jerseys since their inaugural season in 1962. In will be the cream-colored jerseys worn back in August, similar to the ones worn by David Wright when he went coocoo for Cocoa Puffs.

It is not yet known whether the blue NY will replace the script Mets logo that has been a part of the team's home uniforms since 1962. If it does replace it, it will be the most significant change to the Mets logo since 1993. In that memorable season, the Mets made a change to their font and added Felix Millan's mustache underneath the word "Mets".

The change in uniform clearly helped fan-favorite Anthony Young. He entered the record book with his 27 consecutive losses while wearing said jersey.

Studious Metsimus is all for change. We would like to see change in the front office, change in the trainer's room and change in Oliver Perez's address. However, we do NOT want to see the pinstripes go. If the Wilpons need more money, they can sell Oliver Perez on eBay. They can even throw in Felix Millan's mustache to sweeten the deal.

Pinstripes are the Mets. It was what they wore when they celebrated their 1969 World Series championship and what they wore in 1986 when Jesse Orosco sent his glove on a one-way ticket to the Heavens.

(By the way, for the SMFs who are trivia nuts, Bud Harrelson was the one who picked up the glove after Orosco flung it into the air. Watch your 1986 World Series DVD. When the team rushed the mound, Harrelson went around the pile of players on the left, is seen to bend over before going off camera, then returns with a glove in his hand that he did not have when he rushed the field. You learn something new every day!)

New York is getting New Jerseys. If the front office would put this much effort into getting New Results with New Players, perhaps the fans would have a New Reason to come out to New Shea.

Sigh. Felix Millan would be spinning in his grave if he wasn't still alive.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Joey's Soapbox: I Still Miss Shea

It's going to be a little difficult getting up on my soapbox today. I'm feeling a lump in my throat as I write this. My home, my place of birth, Shea Stadium hosted its last game one year ago today on September 28, 2008. My colleague at Studious Metsimus posted a blog on MetsMerizedOnline ( <---click on it for the blog) sharing his thoughts on the game. Since we went together, I have my own memories to share with you.

I was born right behind home plate at Shea Stadium on June 20, 2004. It was Father's Day and the Mets were celebrating Mike Piazza breaking the home run record by catchers two nights earlier. The Mets won that interleague matchup with the Detroit Tigers behind the pitching of Steve Trachsel and home runs by Richard Hidalgo and fittingly, Mike Piazza. The final score was 6-1.

The score was secondary to me that day. It was my first Mets game. I've been to hundreds of games since then. But it was special to me because it was my home. It was Shea Stadium.

I went to many games at Shea. I've cheered during playoff games and miraculous comebacks. I've cried during late season collapses and when I dropped a cookie that one time. I've also wondered why Shea never served cake.

A boy should always have a catch or go to a game with his dad and I did just that when I went to Shea's final game with my biological father, Bear (see photo above right).

We left early to take some final pictures of Shea, hoping that the Mets would erase the bitter memories of the epic collapse of 2007 by beating the Marlins and hoping the Brewers would lose to give the Mets the wild card berth.

We even brought my grandma along. Her name is Güela (that's how I pronounce the word "abuela", which is the Spanish word for grandma. Abuela has too many syllables which would slow down my ability to sample ballpark cuisine.) She also came in the hopes the Mets would clinch a playoff spot. I think she really came for the Dunkin' Donuts coffee (see photo below).

Oliver Perez held the Marlins scoreless through the first five innings. However, the Mets had not scored either. Florida was able to put two runs on the board in the top of the sixth inning and visions of 2007 danced in my head.

However, before the 56,059 humans and handful of bears could collectively say "here we go again", Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer into the picnic area that I never got a chance to sit in (no thanks to my Studious Metsimus colleague) and the game was tied 2-2. Because of Beltran Baby, I was beginning to think that there would be no repeat of 2007 and that this would not be my last game at my home. Unfortunately, I was mistaken.

Scott Bloweneweis (that's the clean version of the name I gave him) came into the game to face Mike Jacobs in the eighth inning. However, Wes Helms (a righty) came in to pinch-hit for Jacobs (a lefty) against Bloweneweis (a loser). Helms proceeded to hit a go-ahead home run to give the Marlins a 3-2 lead. Luis Ayala then came into the game and channeled his inner Aaron Heilman when he gave up a homer to the following batter, Dan Uggla.

The score was now 4-2 Marlins and the end was near. The Mets still made us get out of our seats a few times. First, Carlos Delgado hit a long drive to left-center with two men on and two men out in the bottom of the eighth inning. Instead of finding the picnic area seats (the same seats that my Studious Metsimus colleague never took me to. I'm not letting him forget it!), the ball found Josh Willingham's glove.

Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Damion Easley drew a two-out walk from Matt Lindstrom bringing up Ryan Church as either the tying run or Shea Stadium's final batter. With my prayers being directed at Church, Ryan hit a long fly ball to center field...

(Unwelcome interlude time: In the 2000 World Series, Mike Piazza (the man who was honored on my date of birth) came up to bat in Game 5 as the tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The season was on the line for the Mets. The score was also 4-2, there was also a man on first and Piazza hit a long fly ball to center field...)

...and my prayers weren't answered. Church's fly ball settled into the glove of Cameron Maybin and the season was over. No more games at Shea...not then, not the next day...never again.

The events that took place after that are still a blur to me. I've been told that there was an on-field celebration featuring the greatest players who had donned a Mets jersey. I was told there were fireworks after the game. I had no clue. My Shea, my home, was being taken from me and that was all that was on my mind...

Since then, I've grown to like Citi Field. There's still no cake there, but it's a nice place to eat and watch a ballgame. Unfortunately, the team on the field still hasn't given me any great memories. That's probably why memories of Shea are still vivid in my mind.

Have you ever heard of the saying "you can't go home again"? It's true that I will never go home to Shea Stadium again, but all I have to do is close my eyes, open my mind and I will be home. I love you, Shea Stadium. You will always be home to me...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Separated At Birth: Studious Metsimus Style

The 2009 baseball season will soon be coming to an end. That will leave Studious Metsimus with no on-field Mets news to talk about. What is a fledgling blogger to do?

Well, I figured since I've analyzed so many games over the 2009 season, watched endless game films and inhaled all the pop-culture a person can legally subject himself to, I'd do a "Separated At Birth" blog. I've seen enough players on the Mets and other teams to notice some similarities between them and various other personalities. Let's see what you think:


Tim Redding and Rob Halford:

Tim Redding started off poorly, went to bullpen in early July, returned as a starter in late August and has been rolling ever since.

Rob Halford started out beautifully, left Judas Priest in 1992, returned to the band in 2003 and has been rocking ever since.


Felix Millan and John Oates:

Felix Millan played second base on some good and bad Mets teams in the 1970s.

John Oates played second fiddle to Daryl Hall on some good and bad Hall & Oates songs in the 1980s.


John Rocker and Gene Simmons:

John Rocker played baseball for the Atlanta Braves and is a shameless self-demoter.

Gene Simmons plays bass for the band KISS and is a shameless self-promoter.


Shane Victorino and John Travolta:

One is among the best actors of his time and played Vinnie Barbarino.

The other one likes cheese with his "whine" and is Shane Victorino.


Cole Hamels and A Smiling Ass:

One of these is good looking, dependable, does what's expected of him and keeps his mouth shut at the right times.

The other one is Cole Hamels.


Well, those are the similarities I found. If any of the SMFs can come up with any other athletes on the Mets or on other teams, please leave a comment with those who were separated at birth. I'll gladly give you credit in the next episode of Separated At Birth.

Time to prepare for a little Saturday Night Fever of my own (the doppelganger of Shane Victorino will NOT be a part of the festivities) by watching the Mets game. SMFs, I wish you all a great weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Quest For A 71-91 Record

Well, I'll be Van Dammed! The Mets actually have a chance to make something positive come out of this otherwise dreadful season. Apparently, good things seem to happen to teams that finish with a 71-91 record. Studious Metsimus has searched far and wide to prove this fact. After extensive research (and a brief DL stint for a paper cut) we produced the following results.

The Mets have finished 71-91 three times in franchise history (1974, 1996, 2004). In each circumstance, they finished with a winning record the following season (82-80 in 1975, 88-74 in 1997, 83-79 in 2005).

In fact, since 1983, there have been thirteen other 71-91 seasons in the major leagues. In all but one instance, the team that finished 20 games under .500 in the first year improved their record the following season. The only exception was the 1993-1994 California Angels, who finished 71-91 in 1993 and 47-68 in the strike season of 1994.

Here are the thirteen teams and their records in each year:

1983 Chicago Cubs (71-91), 1984 Cubs (96-65)
1986 Minnesota Twins (71-91), 1987 Twins (85-77)
1991 New York Yankees (71-91), 1992 Yankees (76-86)
1993 California Angels (71-91), 1994 Angels (47-68)
1993 Minnesota Twins (71-91), 1994 Twins (53-60)
2000 Texas Rangers (71-91), 2001 Rangers (73-89)
2003 Baltimore Orioles (71-91), 2004 Orioles (78-84)
2003 Texas Rangers (71-91), 2004 Rangers (89-73)
2005 Detroit Tigers (71-91), 2006 Tigers (95-67)
2005 Los Angeles Dodgers (71-91), 2006 Dodgers (88-74)
2006 Washington Nationals (71-91), 2007 Nationals (73-89)
2007 Florida Marlins (71-91), 2008 Marlins (84-77)
2007 San Francisco Giants (71-91), 2008 Giants (72-90)

Please note that the 1993 Twins had a .438 winning percentage and the 1994 Twins had a .469 winning percentage in the strike-shortened season.

Four of the teams listed above qualified for the playoffs the year after their 71-91 season.

In 2006, the Dodgers won the National League wild card berth before losing to the Mets in the NLDS.

In 1984, the Cubs were National League East division champions before bowing to the Padres in the NLCS.

Also in 2006, the Tigers built upon their 71-91 season and took it all the way to World Series before losing to the Cardinals.

Finally, in 1987, the most amazing turnaround took the Twins from being 20 games under .500 to winning the World Series.

There you have it. In addition to the Mets, 13 teams since 1983 have finished with a 71-91 record. Twelve of them improved the following season. Half of those dozen teams ending up with winning records in the second season. Four of those got a taste of the playoffs. Two of them made it to the World Series and one of them won it all.

The Mets haven't done much right in 2009, but if they can somehow finish with a 71-91 record, perhaps 2010 will give the fans more reasons to be optimistic.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Wait Is Over! Mets Clinch Fourth!

September 20, 2009 is a day Mets fans will always remember. After a season filled with four thousand injuries, three Fernandos, two chicken nachos and a partridge in a pear tree, the Mets finally got to celebrate something today.

Their season-long goal (and by season-long, I mean their goal for the past two days) of finishing in fourth place has been reached. Fans, take Jesse Orosco's lead and throw your glove up in the air and shoot silly string like you just don't care.

The Mets needed two wins this weekend against the pesky Nats to bury them in last place and they did just that. It wasn't easy. Early on in the season, Washington appeared to be on pace to set the all-time record for losses in a season, also held by the Mets. Not wanting to have the legendary 1962 team removed from the record books, the Mets allowed the Nats to take two out of three against them in late July. After it looked obvious that Washington was not going to lose the 120 games the Mets lost in their inaugural season, the quest for fourth place began in earnest.

This year, there would be no choke. The Mets put the Nationals on their knees and spanked them into oblivion. Now that they've clinched, they have a new goal in sight. They want to finish 71-91. Why that record? Allow me to 'splain with a brightly colored example.

  • 1974: Mets finish 71-91; 1975: Mets improve to 82-80.
  • 1996: Mets finish 71-91; 1997: Mets improve to 88-74.
  • 2004: Mets finish 71-91; 2005: Mets improve to 83-79.

In their first 47 seasons of existence, the Mets finished with a 71-91 record three times. All three times, they finished with a winning record the following season. Therefore, since history always repeats itself whenever Studious Metsimus talks about it, a 71-91 record in 2009 bodes well for the 2010 season.

Clinchers. They're always a special moment for any baseball team. Studious Metsimus has been fortunate to have representatives at the 2006 NL East division clincher and the 2009 fourth place clincher.

Please note that in 2006, upper deck seats for the clincher cost $9.00 per ticket. Three years later for the 2009 clincher, similar seats in Citi Field's Promenade Level were $25.00 per ticket. Then again, look how aesthetically pleasing this year's tickets are compared to the drab 2006 tickets.

We hope to be at the 2010 clincher as well. Maybe it can be a third-place clincher (with a winning record, of course). Then we can all pop open the wine coolers in celebration!


Special Edition of Joey's Soapbox:

After celebrating the clincher at Citi Field today with a Mets cannoli (mmm, blue and orange sprinkles), I did some research on wine coolers in the event the Mets need them for a possible third-place finish in 2010. Here's what I discovered:

The official wine cooler of Major League Baseball is Bartles & Jaymes. You may remember the ads from the late 80s and early 90s featuring two elderly gentlemen pitching their product. One of them spoke and the other one didn't. (Jay & Silent Bob and Penn & Teller owe EVERYTHING to them!) The catchphrase at the end of each commercial was "thank you for your support". Now do you remember? Well, just say that you do so I can move on!

Anyway, teams that clinch third place spray Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers on each other in the clubhouse after the last out of the clinching game. It has come to my attention that Bartles & Jaymes has followed the current trend of shortening its name to initials. This trend is what led Kentucky Fried Chicken to shorten its name to KFC, Gatorade to shrink its name to G and is also rumored to be the reason for the Film Actor's Guild's decision to shorten their name in the Team America movie.

As seen by the picture to the right, Bartles & Jaymes has decided to jump on the name-shortening bandwagon by referring to themselves as B & J. They have also changed some of the flavors. Some players have complained about both the name change and the lack of manly flavors. They refuse to use these new wine coolers in their third place celebrations.

Studious Metsimus was able to use our media credentials to acquire some of these bottles. We wanted to give B & J a chance. After removing the protective cover, we put our lips around the rim and took a little of it in. Then we had too much, some of it spilled and it ended up being very messy.

The bottom line after going ahead with B & J...IT SUCKS! For some reason, that seems quite appropriate to me, but I don't know why. After all, I'm only five years old. I don't know everything yet!

Time to get off my soapbox before my mouth gets washed out with soap!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Clinching Is At Hand; Can Mets Go "Fourth"?

Sunday, September 20, 2009. Mark it on your calendars. It could be the day the Mets finally clinch fourth place in the National League East for the first time since 2004.

In 2004, Art Howe led his ragtag band of misfits to a 71-91 record. It was a struggle to fend off the upstart Montreal Expos, but the Mets managed to hold on to fourth place by a four-game margin over Les Expos.

Prior to 2004, the Mets' last fourth place finish was in 1996. That year produced similar results to 2004. The Mets finished 71-91 and held off the last place Phillies by four games.

This year, the Mets have run away with fourth place in the division, as they have a commanding 12½-game lead over Washington. Will the Mets be taking part in a celebratory silly string party after the last out is recorded on Sunday?

Silly string celebrations have been the precursors for better seasons in the past. In 1996, the Mets finished in fourth place with a 71-91 record. The following two seasons they finished 88-74. Those winning seasons were followed by the only back-to-back playoff appearances in franchise history.

In 2004, following their fourth place finish, the Mets went on to an 83-79 record in 2005. After that, they finished with the best record in the National League in 2006.

In today's baseball, a fourth place finish in the National League East means that the team finished in next-to-last place. Back in 1968, there were no divisions. There were only two ten-team leagues. Finishing in next-to-last place back then meant ninth place. That's exactly where the Mets finished in 1968. I think we all know what happened to them in 1969.

Do not despair, Mets fans. The history of the franchise suggests that fourth place (or next-to-last) finishes are only the beginning of amazing turnarounds. All they have to do is beat the Nationals on Sunday and the future will become much brighter much sooner. Get your silly string ready. The clinching is at hand!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

17 Games Left: Can The Mets Hold Off The Nats?

We have reached the most critical stretch of games for the Mets this season. The Mets now have 17 games left in the season after tonight's loss to the Braves. Even a casual Mets fan knows the significance of that number. The Mets held their biggest divisional leads in 2007 and 2008 after their 145th games of each season. They had a 7-game lead with 17 games left in 2007 and a 3½-game lead in 2008 at the same point. In 2007 and 2008, the Mets finished 5-12 and 7-10, respectively. Those poor finishes kept the Mets from crashing the playoff party each year.

Now, we're in 2009 and the Mets have a 12½-game lead over the Washington Nationals with 17 games to play. That might seem like a big lead but remember, the Nats still have six head-to-head games left with the Mets. Those games could erase almost half of the lead should the Mets lose them all. The pressure is now on. Can they hold on to their lead or will they blow it again this year and fail to hold on to their stranglehold on fourth-place?

Studious Metsimus was able to locate some of the most famous 17s in franchise history for their opinions on the topic. The results were quite varied, to say to the least.

Jose Lima
"The Mets wouldn't have choked in '07 and '08 had I been there. Remember '06, when they let me go? What happened then? Did they make the World Series? The Red Sox had the Curse of the Bambino and the Cubs have the Curse of the Billy Goat. I gave the Mets the Curse of Lima Time! Also, had I still been there, we would have had more Merengue Nights! Buy my CD, dropping next Tuesday!"

Mr. Koo
"Why do you call me Mr. Koo? My name is Dae Sung. I have no opinion about the Mets and the Nats. I'm still hurt from when I slid into the bat against the Yankees."

Graeme Lloyd
"I wore #17 for the Mets? I don't even remember being on the Mets! Everything is a blur since I was in that fight against the Orioles when I was a Yankee. I hope you don't show the picture of me missing with a right hook."

Felix Millan
"As a member of teams that did well (1973 pennant-winning Mets) and teams that didn't do so great (1977 Midnight Massacre Mets), I think the Mets will hold off the Nats and at the same time, they will not hold off the Nats. By the way, I'm now bipolar and have identity problems. For some reason, when I go out, people think of I'm some guy named Keith Hernandez. Who's this Keith Hernandez guy? I'm Felix Millan!"

Keith Hernandez
"I'm Keith Hernandez."

There you have it, SMFs. It looks like no one knows where the Mets will finish this year. The magic number to clinch fourth place is now down to 6. If the Mets can split their remaining six games against Washington, they can go back to their losing ways that they've become so fond of.

I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. If I did that, I might start looking like Brainy Smurf before they clinch (if they clinch?) fourth place. The Mets have teased us too many times before. I won't rest easy until that magic number is down to zero. Then and only then will I pop the cork!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pedro Hammers The Final Nail In; Mets Lose 1-0

In 2007, the Phillies took the division from the Mets on the last day of the season after the Mets held a 7-game lead with 17 games to play. Pedro Martinez faced the Phillies once in those last 17 games and the Mets lost that game.

In 2008, the Mets held a 3½ game lead over the Phillies with 17 games to play. Pedro Martinez faced the Phillies once in September and the Mets lost that game.

In 2009, Pedro Martinez is now on the other side of the rivalry. The Phillies are now the team with 17 games left on their schedule. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Pedro Martinez pitched tonight in a Mets-Phillies game and the Mets lost.

Pedro Martinez 091309

Martinez was brilliant tonight as he pitched eight strong innings and threw 130 pitches in the Phillies’ 1-0 victory over the Mets. The loss officially eliminated the Mets from playoff contention and also guaranteed that their streak of four consecutive seasons with a winning record would not be extended.

There aren’t too many highlights to report in this recap. There certainly was one huge lowlight. Oh, Mr. Murphy, would you care to explain why you tried to take third base when the ball trickled away from the catcher with two outs in the eighth inning? Have you been hanging out with Angel Pagan again? This has happened way too many times this season and if Keith Hernandez was watching, he would immediately be calling for the proper “fundies” from the Mets. With one out, you take that chance, but not with two. Murphy’s baserunning faux pas (that’s French for “faux pas”) took the Mets out of their last good scoring opportunity.

Not everything went badly for the Mets in the game. After giving up a run in the first inning, Tim Redding matched Pedro Martinez pitch-for-pitch. Redding was brilliant in his six innings of work, allowing one run on only three hits, while walking two and striking out three. He did not allow the Phillies to lengthen their lead and at one point, he retired 14 consecutive batters. Unfortunately, just like John Maine lost Game 1 of the day-night doubleheader despite allowing only one run, Redding pitched even more effectively before ultimately suffering the same fate. He was surely a hard-luck loser tonight.

But alas, this was Pedro Martinez’s night to shine. This was the Pedro the Mets hoped to see on the day he signed his four-year deal back in 2005, when he thought he was going to take the Mets to the promised land. Now he has a chance to take the Phillies there, while the Mets watch them playing in October. Again. Somewhere in the distance I can hear Alanis Morissette asking “Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?”

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Maine's Return Not Enough As Mets Drop Game 1

John Maine made his return to the Mets after a three month absence from the team following the world’s longest rehab stint. Although he was limited to a pitch count of 60 pitches, he took the loss when the bullpen failed to keep the Phillies in the park. The efforts (or lack thereof) of Tobi Stoner and Lance Broadway prevented the Mets from pulling off another late-inning comeback, although they did try valiantly to do so. Nevertheless, the comeback was all for naught as Brad Lidge gave up as much of the lead as he could without blowing the save in the 5-4 Phillies victory in game one of Sunday’s day-night doubleheader.

Maine came into the game with a 5-0 career record against the Phillies and only gave up one run and two hits in his three innings of work. However, since the demolition team of Stoner and Broadway gave up four runs on eight hits in their five innings, the late rally by the Mets was not enough, even with Armando Benitez-in-training Brad Lidge pitching the ninth inning.

Perhaps if Lance Broadway hadn’t given up an insurance run to the Phillies in the eighth inning, we’d be talking about another great Mets comeback, but alas, that run ended up being the difference of the game.

Maine did pitch well. Although he still has to work on keeping his pitch count low (he averaged 19 pitches per inning today), he threw strikes (only one walk) and did not appear to feel any discomfort. It’s unfortunate that he had to pick up the loss in today’s game, considering he pitched the best of the three pitchers the Mets trotted out to the mound. Alas, the rules of major league baseball say that he has to get the loss and so he shall.

Other highlights for the Mets included the shocking two-run HR to center field by light-hitting second baseman Anderson Hernandez in the eighth inning, although that ball probably would have been a pop-up in the vicinity of second base at Citi Field. You know how crazy Citizen’s Bank Park plays! Even the Cryin’ Hawaiian himself, Shane Victorino, could not believe Hernandez could hit a ball that far to that part of the ballpark. As the photo to the right suggests, Victorino remained frozen at the top of the fence, perhaps in disbelief, that the ball carried out. Fortunately for him, Mr. Shades was standing behind the wall and helped pry Victorino off the fence.

If Jeff Francoeur continues to hit like this, he might always want to play with an injured thumb. He picked up three more hits for his third three-hit game in the last four days. He now has 10 hits in his last 17 at-bats, raising his batting average to a season-high .275. Since his trade to the Mets, he is hitting .311 (68 for 219).

Last but not least, how can we forget Josh Thole? By going 4 for 4, he continued his hot start in the majors, raising his average to .444. If Brian Schneider was already saying that he’s preparing to be playing elsewhere in 2010, today’s performance by Thole did nothing to make him want to retract his statement. Thole just missed his first major league home run in the ninth inning when he hit a long single off the top of the right field wall.

It won’t take long for the Mets to try to take the finale from the Phillies, as Game 2 of the day-nighter will begin at 8:05 PM. Pedro Martinez will face Tim Redding in the nightcap. As a reminder to you, the game will be televised on ESPN so please do your best to increase WFAN’s ratings. After all, Jerry Manuel already said in the SNY post-game show that Carlos Beltran will be starting the second game. We don’t need to hear Jon Miller call him Bel-TRON throughout the game, do we? The mute button. Best. Invention. Ever.

Useless stat of the day (but I’m telling you anyway): With today’s win in Game 1, the Phillies have now defeated the Mets 11 times this season. All of the wins have been credited to different pitchers (Jack Taschner, Chan Ho Park, Scott Eyre, Rodrigo Lopez, Rip Van Winkle (Jamie Moyer), Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ, Pedro Martinez, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick). We don’t need to see a 12th name tonight…

Useless stat of the day (because one useless stat just isn’t enough): If the Mets lose tonight’s second game, they will be mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, as they would have lost 81 games while the division-leading Phillies would have 82 wins. That is the same amount of wins the wild card-leading Rockies have entering today’s games. On a positive note, the Mets magic number to eliminate the Washington Nationals from fourth-place contention is now down to 7.

Note: Studious Metsimus ripped this recap off from MetsMerizedOnline. Why am I not worried? Because I wrote it for MMO. Therefore, I'm plagiarizing myself. Is there no journalistic integrity left in this world?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

David Wright's Power Outage May Become Historic

It has been well-documented that David Wright is going through a power outage this season. The home run dropoff cannot be solely attributed to the move from Shea Stadium to Citi Field. Out of the ten home runs hit by Wright, five have come at Citi Field and five have been hit on the road.

Last year, Wright hit 33 HR in 626 plate appearances. That home run total has dwindled by 23 this season, as Wright has accumulated a mere ten home runs in 466 plate appearances. That includes the two-homer barrage Saturday against the Phillies.

If Wright does not finish the season with more than his current home run total and reaches the 500 plate appearance plateau (which he should), he stands to make some history.

Studious Metsimus has done extensive research and found ten players who compiled seasons in which their home run totals dropped by more than 23 from one season to the next. In both of the seasons in question, each hitter registered at least 500 plate appearances. The players are listed in order by the difference in home runs from the first season to the second.

Brady Anderson: 50 HR (1996), 18 HR (1997), difference of 32 HR
Luis Gonzalez: 57 HR (2001), 28 HR (2002), difference of 29 HR
Adrian Beltre: 48 HR (2004), 19 HR (2005), difference of 29 HR
Roger Maris: 61 HR (1961), 33 HR (1962), difference of 28 HR
Davey Johnson: 43 HR (1973), 15 HR (1974), difference of 28 HR
Barry Bonds: 73 HR (2001), 46 HR (2002), difference of 27 HR
Larry Walker: 49 HR (1997), 23 HR (1998), difference of 26 HR
Hank Greenberg: 58 HR (1938), 33 HR (1939), difference of 25 HR
Andre Dawson: 49 HR (1987), 24 HR (1988), difference of 25 HR
Richard Hidalgo: 44 HR (2000), 19 HR (2001), difference of 25 HR

Out of all these players, every one of them hit at least 15 HR in both of the seasons. In my research, I could not find any player who had as many as 33 HR (like Wright had last year) in one season and then followed that up with fewer than a dozen home runs in the next season, given the 500 plate appearance minimum in both seasons.

In fact, I only found three players in major league history with at least 400 plate appearances in consecutive years who hit at least 30 HR in the first season and single digit home runs in the following season. Those players are:

Gabby Hartnett: 37 HR (1930, 578 PA), 8 HR (1931, 438 PA)
Rocky Colavito: 30 HR (1966, 614 PA), 8 HR (1967, 436 PA)
Howard Johnson: 38 HR (1991, 658 PA), 7 HR (1992, 410 PA)

The last name on that list should be familiar to Mets fans. David Wright considers Howard Johnson to be his "baseball father". If David's power outage this season continues, it may be a case of "like father, like son".

HoJo's inability to hit home runs in 1992 was not due to an injury, as is typical in those situations. However, it might be explained by his change in positions. He played his customary third base position for most of the 1991 season until he was moved to right field for the last month of the campaign. In 1992, he became the Mets' full-time centerfielder and did not perform well in the field.

Johnson did eventually suffer a season-ending wrist injury in late July, but not before he played in 100 of the first 103 games, collecting his measly total of seven home runs.

The closest comparison I could find to David Wright's 2009 season was Vinny Castilla's 2005 season. Castilla also accumulated over 500 plate appearances in 2005 after a 2004 season in which he hit 35 HR for the Colorado Rockies. Like Wright, he changed ballparks from one year to the next, moving from Coors Field in Denver to RFK Stadium in Washington. His power suffered as he went down from 35 HR in 2004 for the Rockies to 12 HR in 2005 for the Nationals. However, Castilla still managed to get to the dozen home run total that Wright has not reached.

If I did my research correctly, David Wright could become the first player to hit as many as 33 HR in one season, only to follow it up with a season of fewer than 12 HR. No player with at least 500 plate appearances in both seasons has suffered such a power outage in major league history.

David Wright will probably finish his Mets career with many of the franchise's hitting records. However, he may end up with a major league record that I'm sure he'd rather not have. Let's hope for one quick power surge before the end of the 2009 season so that he won't hold this dubious distinction.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Congrats To All-Time Hits Leader...Ed Kranepool

Derek Jeter broke the all-time hits record for the Yankees when he collected his 2,722nd hit in the third inning of Friday night's game against the Orioles. In honor of his great achievement, Studious Metsimus would like to congratulate Ed Kranepool for being the all-time hits leader for the Mets. (You didn't think we were going to talk about the Yankees here, did you? After all, this is a METS site.)

Ed Kranepool spent his entire career playing for the New York Mets. After being signed out of James Monroe HS in the Bronx in 1962, Kranepool spent no time at all getting to the majors, notching six at-bats for the original 1962 Mets. Steady Eddie went on to play all or parts of 18 seasons in Flushing. His tenure with the Mets is the longest for any player in franchise history, followed by the 15 years spent by John Franco in blue and orange.

In his time with the Mets, the first baseman collected a franchise-record 1,418 hits. 225 of those hits were doubles, which also ranks as #1 in Mets history.

Derek Jeter might have gotten lots of clutch hits in the postseason for the Yankees, but he's had plenty more chances to do so. Kranepool only appeared in the playoffs twice. He hit a home run in Game 3 of the 1969 World Series (a game won by the Mets) and delivered a two-run single in the first inning of Game 5 of the 1973 NLCS. That hit got the Mets started on their way to winning the pennant in that deciding fifth game.

A member of the 1965 All-Star team, Kranepool celebrated the silver anniversary of that All-Star selection by being inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1990.

Let's hear it for the all-time hits leader - Ed Kranepool. He will always be a Studious Metsimus favorite, not just for his dubious record, but because he's a fellow Ed from the Bronx!

Remembering 9/11 With A Special Prayer

Studious Metsimus would like to wish the families of all the victims of the 9/11 attacks our prayers to comfort them and to let them know that they will never be forgotten.

In lieu of a Mets blog, we'd like our readers to share any thoughts they may have on what this day means to them and what they do to to honor the victims.

Here is a special poem that we have written for and dedicated to the families of the fallen. If any of those family members are reading this, know that you are always in our thoughts and prayers.

Stars above in the heavens
As we watch them from below
The innocent ones who left us
Before their time to go

Their lights will always shine bright
In the hearts and minds of us all
We will never give up fighting
We will rise up when we fall

In Pennsylvania and Washington
and New York, my hometown
We suffered a great tragedy
That threatened to keep us down

But we live in America
The greatest country of all
Where freedom is the reason
Our heads can stand up tall

We're proud for what we believe in
We'll stand up for our rights
For the police officers, the firefighters
The passengers on the flights

They left us far too early
But in the torch they passed
We'll carry it on for America
So our freedom will always last.

God bless the families of the heroes of 9/11. May their sacrifices never be forgotten. God bless America. May our flag always fly freely.

Fellow Mets fans, please put away your blue and orange for today and replace them with red, white and blue to honor our beloved country and all those who put their lives on the line to protect our colors.

Also, please remember to say a prayer for the fallen not only on 9/11 but every day. As Americans, it is our duty never to forget them. By remembering them, their light will always shine bright...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Joey's Soapbox: I Hate Renyel Pinto

This is Joey and yes, that is a picture of me pooping on Marlins' relief pitcher Renyel Pinto. I'm overdue for a Joey's Soapbox blog, so this piece will be entirely devoted to my newfound hatred for Pinto.

The Studious Metsimus staff arrived early at Citi Field on Wednesday night in the hopes of getting an exclusive interview with...well...anyone.

The Marlins were taking batting practice at the time and we settled in near the left field foul pole with our pencils and index cards ready for the interview. (Note: We would have used 21st century technological advances for the interview but our budget was limited in order to get chicken nachos.)

We spotted a crowd of Marlins players standing near the left field line, including the aforementioned Pinto and Leo Nuñez. Nuñez was more than willing to be interviewed and was going to come over for an interview (see photo, right), but Pinto called him back as a fly ball was approaching them. Nuñez never came back for the interview.

Later on, another Marlin hit a deep fly ball off the left field wall. (We're not sure who the player was, but we're sure he'll be traded before he's eligible for free agency.) The ball rolled near the foul line where we were standing. It seemed like the perfect time to get an interview AND a baseball.

I called out to Pinto to give us the ball and an interview and even did an embarrassing dance to get his attention. Pinto acknowledged us by attempting to do the same dance while facing in our direction. Truth be told, it looked less like a retaliatory dance and more like the Truffle Shuffle.

No. Not the Teufel Shuffle (although it is nice to see Tim Teufel show up in a Studious Metsimus blog). I said Truffle Shuffle. You know, Goonies...Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Joey Pants, Mouth, one-eyed Willy, Sloth, CHUNK! Oh, just click here and you'll see what I mean. I bet Bill Webb doesn't have to go through this with his behind the scenes crew!

Back to the story. Renyel Pinto did his foolish dance and appeared to be coming over to give us the ball and the interview. Then he threw the ball in our direction. It fell short by about five feet. He then picked it up and threw it again. Short. One more try. Even shorter. By this time, Pinto was laughing and it was clear he was doing this to mock me. This was made more evident when he picked up the ball and handed it to a young Mets fan sitting two sections over from where we were.

As you can see by the photo to the right of this paragraph, I was confused by Pinto's cowardice to grant an interview to a bear. Did he think I was going to bite him? Do you see any teeth in the picture?

I was about to start an "OFF THE FIELD" chant similar to the one Mets fans used last year when the Mets where preparing the Shea Goodbye ceremonies after the last game of the season and the Marlins refused to leave the field in a timely manner, showing their audacity by scooping up some of the dirt at Shea!

Instead, I decided on a better form of revenge. I used up the entire Studious Metsimus budget and went up to our fav'rit chicken nacho stand. I asked for extra beans and cheese so that the picture seen at the top of this blog would have a little extra kick for Mr. Pinto.

Pinto seemed unaffected by my flatulent follies as he relieved starter Ricky Nolasco with one out in the seventh inning and proceeded to retire the two batters he faced. Then again, Pinto was named after a car that also did not care about the foul odor that was always emanating from it (see photo below), so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

The Marlins defeated the Mets Wednesday night by the final score of 6-3, but that wasn't the main story. The main story as far as I'm concerned was the lack of respect shown by Renyel Pinto towards me. By making fun of me, he also insulted the Mets and Mets bloggers as well.

It's okay. I'll get over it. There will be other interviews to conduct and I will bring home a baseball one day. For now, I'll just spread the word that Renyel Pinto is hated by this blogger and perhaps we can all come together when the Marlins visit Citi Field in 2010 with signs depicting a run-down Ford Pinto, assuming Renyel is still with the team.

Time to get off my soapbox. I've got some more chicken nachos to get through!