Sunday, February 28, 2010

Studious Metsimus Survey: New Food Stand Suggestions For Citi Field

Last year, Mets fans raved about all the new food items served at Citi Field. It might have been the only thing worth celebrating at Citi Field in 2009 (other than the reunion of the 1969 World Championship team on August 22). From Shake Shack to Box Frites to Blue Smoke to the various chicken nacho stands (a Studious Metsimus favorite), Citi Field's food choices were a huge upgrade from the fare at Shea Stadium.

However, just like with other things at Citi Field, there is very little mention of Mets history when it comes to food. Baltimore's Camden Yards has Boog's BBQ (named after former Orioles' great Boog Powell). Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park has numerous references to Phillies' legends, such as Bull's BBQ (after Greg "The Bull" Luzinski) and Harry The K's Broadcast Bar and Grille (after the late Harry Kalas).

What do the Mets have? Nothing. Not even a mention of Mets great and restaurateur Rusty Staub or a Tom Seaver winery. Staub would make the most sense to have an eatery named after him at Citi Field. How can the Mets not have a Rusty's Ribs at the ballpark, especially when similar establishments have popped up in Baltimore and Philly?

Therefore, Studious Metsimus would like to conduct a survey. Which eateries should the Mets open up at Citi Field? Be creative and be demonstrative when letting your feelings known. There's got to be a boyfriend of a third cousin's aunt's stepdaughter of a Mets employee reading this. Maybe word will get out and we'll be heard. Or maybe we'll just make ourselves hungry and order some takeout. Have fun with it!

(Here are some suggestions by the Studious Metsimus staff, followed by explanations):

Santana's Smoothies (because 'Han the Man is just soooo smooth)

Angel Food Cake (for Angel Pagan...this could be the main item in the Cake Shack that Studious Metsimus co-blogger Joey wants established.)

Castillo's Quesadillas (and they have to be big enough so that they have to be eaten with TWO HANDS!)

Bobby O's Chicken Fingers (in honor of the infamous hedge clipping accident where Bobby Ojeda severed the tip of his middle finger, fans would be served four and a half chicken fingers per serving.)

Strawberry's Daiquiris (for the lovely ladies in the hizzouse)

Anthony Young's 27 Wonderful Flavors (27 flavors of ice cream to commemorate AY's record-setting 27 consecutive losses)

Turk Wendell's Butcher Shop (with Mr. Wendell himself providing the meat!)

Sid And Benny's Hawaiian Pizza (for the two most famous #50s in Mets history...sorry, Sean Green.)

Koosman's Pub (where 36 beers are on tap, all served with their own Koos-ie)

Ed Charles' Burgers (home of the soon-to-be world-famous Glider's Sliders)

Mazzilli's Fusilli (for the pasta lovers in all of us)

Studious Metsimus can come up with at least one thousand nine hundred and eighty six more suggestions, but we'd like to turn it over to the fans now. Which food/beverage stands would you like to see at Citi Field? (Please, no Brooklyn Dodger references in your suggestions. We already have enough of those.) Enjoy!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Maine

Since becoming a Met in 2006, John Maine has shown signs of greatness, such as his near no-hitter on Sept 29, 2007. However, he has never been able to maintain the consistent level of pitching that a pitcher of his talent needs to be a top of the rotation starter.

Never was this more apparent than during his 2009 season. In fact, you might say Maine's home-road splits last season suggest a case of the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome.

After losing his first start at Citi Field in 2009 to the San Diego Padres on April 16, John Maine took the mound at his home park six more times. These are the lines for those six starts:
  • Apr. 27 vs. FLA: 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 3 BB, 4 K
  • May 9 vs. PIT: 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K
  • May 25 vs. WAS: 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K
  • May 31 vs. FLA: 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K
  • Sept. 20 vs. WAS: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Oct. 2 vs. HOU: 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 K
Maine's totals over those six starts were outstanding. In 36 innings pitched, he gave up only three earned runs for a microscopic 0.75 ERA. He also allowed 18 hits and walked 11 batters, giving him a 0.81 WHIP.

Even if you include his performance in his April 16 loss to the Padres, Maine's overall numbers at Citi Field remained eye-popping. For the season, Maine was 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP at home.

Although Mets pitchers allowed 81 HR to opposing batters in 81 home games, Maine barely contributed to that number. In his seven starts at Citi Field, Maine gave up one measly home run.

Clearly, John Maine performed at his Dr. Jekyll-like best when toeing the rubber at Citi Field. However, all it took was a change in venue for Maine to make his Mr. Hyde-like transformation.

In eight starts away from Citi Field, John Maine went 1-6, with a bloated 6.92 ERA and an embarrassing 1.64 WHIP. He gave up seven home runs on the road even though he pitched fewer innings in his road grays than he did in his home whites (41.0 IP at Citi Field, 40.1 IP on the road).

Even his sole road victory in 2009 wasn't particularly impressive. On May 4 at Turner Field in Atlanta, Maine defeated the Braves. However, in his six innings of work, he gave up three runs, while allowing three hits and walking a whopping six batters. Fortunately, the Mets' offense showed up in the 6-4 victory.

Three runs in six innings is acceptable, but those three runs matched the TOTAL number of runs given up by Maine in his last six starts at Citi Field.

So which Maine will show up for the Mets in 2010? John claims to be fully recovered from his injury-shortened 2009 season. Will he regain his 15-victory form that he exhibited during the 2007 season, the year that featured his near no-hitter against the Marlins? Or will he continue to take one step forward and two steps back, all coinciding with his starts at home and on the road?

If he wants to escape from the Four Rainouts part of Johan Santana and The Four Rainouts, he'll need to be Dr. Jekyll for 30-plus starts. Then the only transformation Maine will make is the one where he becomes an All-Star.

David Wright Would Like A PB & J With Extra Power, Hold The Ks

When David Wright signed his six-year, $55 million contract during the 2006 season, he could afford to have the finest filet mignon for every meal and still have millions coming out of his hoo-hah.

So what does he choose to eat whenever hunger strikes? How about a nice peanut butter, honey and jelly sandwich?

According to an article by David Waldstein in the New York Times, that's exactly what the Mets' third baseman eats...constantly.

It appears that when David Wright watched Sesame Street as a child (particularly the episodes sponsored by the number "5" and the letter "K"), he took special interest to the segments featuring the magic of The Amazing Mumford. As a young Mets fan watching Sesame Street during the heyday of the Amazin' 80s teams, he enjoyed that there was a Sesame Street character with "Amazing" in his name and automatically gravitated towards Mumford. Whenever Mumford performed a magic trick, he'd say the magic words "A La Peanut Butter Sandwich". Unfortunately, something would usually go wrong with the trick, making Mumford as amazing as the '93 Mets.

In watching Mumford's tricks go haywire, his catch phrase seeped into David Wright's mind and he began to crave peanut butter sandwiches. As he got older, jelly was added to the mix (perhaps to use in a trade with classmates for other sandwiches) and then honey was added as the final ingredient.

His friend and teammate, Jeff Francoeur, has noticed that David tends to eat his sandwich of choice quite often (by Wright's own admission, he consumes at least one of these sandwiches approximately 75 to 80% of all days. For non-math geeks, that's between five and six days a week) and offered this tidbit about his observation:

"He eats them non-stop, sometimes even for dinner."

David Wright has said that he spent the off-season lifting weights and developing better eating habits. These eating habits seem to include items from the peanut butter, jelly, honey and bread food groups.

In light of this observation about David Wright's fav'rit sandwich, perhaps this will create an opportunity for a deli or another fine eatery to create the David Wright sandwich, which would be filled with the ingredients originally inspired by The Amazing Mumford.

It did wonders for Mo Vaughn's Met career when the Carnegie Deli named the Mo-Licious sandwich after the rotund former first baseman. Vaughn went on to collect 29 HR and 87 RBI after being honored with his own sandwich at the world-famous deli. Of course, those numbers were collected over his two-year Met career, but who's counting?

I can see the ad campaign right now. A smiling David Wright taking a big bite out of his PB, H & J sandwich, uttering the catch phrase that will go down in history:

"Peanut butter sandwiches filled with other goodies. It's not just for Elvis anymore."

Studious Metsimus is hoping that David Wright can increase his power numbers from his abysmal 2009 levels to the levels we once expected of him. Peanut butter sandwiches or not, he's too good of a talent to continue hitting only ten home runs per season.

Slap on a little extra power and hold the Ks and David Wright can help the Mets go from a pretender to a contender. Then again, any sandwich artist could tell you that.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

We're Off To Flee The Blizzard (To Port St. Lucie We Will Go!)

The weather outside may be frightful, but come tomorrow, it'll be sooooo delightful. While everyone in the northeast is digging their way out of the snow, I will be a special guest of The Coop in Port St. Lucie. That's right, SMFs. I'm on my way to Spring Training!

We'll be checking out the Mets players to see if they're learning their fundamentals. We'll be checking out the Mets trainers to make sure they're not the same ones as last year. We'll be checking out Duffy's for their fine adult beverage selection. (Remind me to bring my "special" ID.)

Maybe we'll take some exclusive photos with players. Perhaps I'll get a Studious Metsimus interview with Sgt. Bay of The Yukon over a plate of cheese fries with gravy. If he chooses to have poutine instead, that's his choice.

One thing we'll definitely have is FUN, FUN, FUN! When we return Sunday night, I will write my happy recap with all the details of our Port St. Lucie trip. I'm sure my colleague will write a blog or two while I'm gone, assuming he doesn't spend his entire weekend shoveling snow.

Actually, I could use that shovel to dig myself out of the Florida sand. What's that? There's no sand in Port St. Lucie? No worries. I'm hangin' with Miss Cooper! (And the Mets!) It doesn't get any better than this! See you when I get back (if I get back...)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wilpon Monarchy To Continue; So Will Wilpon Malarkey

Mets fans think the only way the Mets can compete with the Phillies in the NL East is for Fred Wilpon to sell the team. However, according to a report by Adam Rubin in the Daily News, the man forever known to Studious Metsimus as "Stupid Is" not only has no plans to sell the team, he wants the Wilpon Monarchy to continue for generations to come.

While taking a break from counting the money he claims he doesn't have, Wilpon offered this tidbit about the family's involvement with the Mets:

"I've always said, if it's up to me, my family will be involved for the next generations. That's all I can tell you. I can't say that about any other asset we own."

That's good to know, Papa Smurf. But what about your feelings regarding the on-field results produced by your "asset" last season? Let's see if you notice a common theme in his various responses.

"Jeff (Wilpon) really dug into this area of what could we do to improve, to prevent injuries. Injuries are going to any sport they're going to occur. But what could we do to prevent injuries? I challenge you to tell me one team of any sport that could lose 10 or 12 of their key people and succeed. You can't. And I'm not using that as an excuse. I'm just saying you can't."
"Look, you've heard the theme that we have to stay healthy. I'm very optimistic that they will...I think that if they stay healthy, (that) translate(s) into a great team, and that's what my optimism is about, and what my hope is about."

So basically, Daddy No-Bucks is saying that if the Mets can avoid injuries this year, they'll be a competitive team. At least that's what I see when I read his excuse...oh, wait a minute. He said he's not using last year's injuries as an excuse. My bad.

Did it ever occur to him that even when the players were healthy, they weren't producing as well as they could have? David K. Wright hit his usual .300 and stole his customary 20+ bases, but he still only managed 10 HR and 72 RBI. Did injuries also cause him to whiff at an alarming rate?

What about Angel Pagan? Did injuries cause him to make all those baserunning mistakes that ended possible Met rallies?

On the pitching side, which injury was it that caused the Mets to be at or near the league lead in most walks allowed for the majority of the season?

There are many more "injuries" I could discuss, but the main injury I see here is the one causing Flushing Freddy to open his mouth and speak freely when he clearly doesn't know how an owner should run the show.

Instead of spending his popcorn money on a middle reliever here, a 30-something year-old there and a career minor leaguer or two, maybe he could have allocated some funds towards getting what the club desperately needed, a starting pitcher. There were numerous to choose from, but all we're left with is Johan Santana and The Four Rainouts.

The Jason Bay acquisition was a great pickup. He will surely help the offense. But when the team's most glaring hole (starting pitching) is left unaddressed, it makes me wonder if Wilpon really thinks that a healthy team is all that's needed for the team to compete for the division title or the wild card.

Johan Santana is coming off an injury that sidelined him for the last six weeks of the season. Had the Mets signed a dependable starting pitcher, they'd be in better hands if 'Han the Man gets injured again (please recall that Santana was pitching with a hidden injury at the end of the 2008 season as well).

Oliver Perez and John Maine are also coming off injury-plagued seasons. Even when they're supposedly healthy, they have difficulty keeping their pitch counts to a minimum, taxing their bullpen. Signing an innings-eater could have helped them should one or both pitchers continue to rack up five inning starts.

What about Mike Pelfrey? He was actually the healthy one of the staff, yet he couldn't keep his ERA under 5.00. Does Wilpon really think the Mets can compete if the #2 pitcher in the rotation has a similar season?
The Mets have many question marks entering the 2010 season. Fred (Stupid Is) Wilpon and his boy wonder, Jeff (Stupid Does) Wilpon think the Mets have what it takes to compete in the National League East. But as the picture above suggests, the captain of the ship has no clue that his ship will sink as it currently stands.

Just think, Mets fans. Fred Wilpon wants the Mets to remain under his family's ownership for generations to come. In 2010, the Mets' slogan might be "We Believe In Comebacks", but I think after hearing the words coming out of our fearless leader's mouth, the slogan should be "Stupid Is, Stupid Does and Stupid Will Always Be."

Have a nice day!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mets Sign A Rod; Too Bad It's Barajas

Sorry about the title (and for the photo to the left), Mets fans. The Mets did sign "a Rod" over the weekend, but it happened to be Rod Barajas, who should take over as the #1 catcher for the Mets this season.

After failing to sign other potential #1 catchers, most notably Funky Cold Molina, the Mets were able to sign Barajas to a one-year deal for a very reasonable dollar amount ($1 million, plus $1 million in incentives). This will allow Josh Thole to play another season in the minor leagues in the hopes that he can be major league ready in 2011.

So what are the pros and cons of the Rod Barajas signing? Let's start with the pros.

Since the Texas Rangers signed him as a free agent prior to the 2004 season, Barajas has become a good source for extra-base hits, especially from the catchers' position. He was the #1 catcher for Texas from 2004-2006 and Toronto from 2008-2009 (he had an injury-plagued season for the Phillies in 2007 and only played 48 games for our hated rivals). In the five seasons Barajas was an everyday player, he hit 77 HR (with a career high of 21 HR in 2005), 112 doubles (consistently hitting between 19 and 26 doubles in each of the five seasons) and collected 279 RBI (with a career high of 71 RBI in 2009). An average season for Barajas over those five years meant 22 doubles, 15 HR and 56 RBI. By comparison, the combination of Brian Schneider and Omir Santos hit 25 doubles, 10 HR and collected 64 RBI for the Mets in 2009. The combined total for those two catchers were nearly identical to the numbers produced by Barajas in an average season.

Defensively, Barajas has been consistently good at throwing out would-be base stealers. Over his career, he has nailed 34% of those who have attempted to swipe a base against him. That same percentage was registered by Barajas over each of the past two seasons. Over those same two seasons, which coincide with Brian Schneider's two years in New York, Schneider also threw out 34% of opposing base stealers. Omir Santos nabbed 30% of the would-be base stealers against him in his one big league season.

Now what is there not to like about Barajas? How about a career .238 batting average and a frighteningly low .284 career OBP? The numbers were even worse last year (.226 batting average, .258 OBP). He has never walked more than 26 times in a single season and has only collected 100 hits in a season once (104 hits in 2005). He also tends to pick up his share of errors. In the five seasons Barajas has been a #1 catcher, he has commited 38 errors (an average of nearly eight errors per season). In those same five seasons, Brian Schneider commited half that total (19 errors). Also, Omir Santos only committed three errors in his one season with the Mets.

Before I end this, I do need to point out that Barajas has fared well against the three teams that finished ahead of the Mets in the NL East last year (Phillies, Marlins, Braves). In 187 career at-bats against those three teams, Barajas has hit .316, with 18 doubles, 13 HR and 35 RBI. Considering he will be seeing those teams more than teams in the NL Central and NL West, those numbers cannot be ignored.

So now that you have the pros and cons, what do you think of the signing, my fellow SMFs? Is this an upgrade over whatever combination of catchers the Mets would have employed? Do you think Barajas will end up helping the team more with his bat or with his defense? Will Barajas be the #1 catcher for the entire 2010 season? The floor is yours, Mets fans! Talk amongst yourselves!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pitchers And Catchers And Bears, Oh My!

Welcome to the latest Joey blog for Studious Metsimus. This blog will pertain to those three words everyone can't wait to hear. No, those words aren't "FREE CHICKEN NACHOS", although those wouldn't be bad right now. The words bring warmth on a cold winter's day. They evoke childhood memories of playing catch with your dad.

Those three beautiful words that all baseball fans love to hear are...


That's right, SMFs! Today the Mets' pitchers and catchers reported to Port St. Lucie to begin their six-week stay in the hopes of getting their groove back. After a dismal 2009 season in which the Mets decided to hibernate months before October, there is hope that the team can bounce back to respectability and perhaps even more than that.

Other than Carlos Beltran, the team has canceled their membership to the Injury of The Week Club. 2010 should be the year the Mets show us if the poor record of 2009 was based on the players losing so many games due to injuries or if it was because the team just isn't as good as they were from 2006-2008, when they averaged 91 victories per season.

The Mets added Sgt. Bay of The Yukon to patrol the vast expanses of the Northwest Territories at Citi Field. But other than that, all they seemed to do was add a boatload of backstops. They did not change any members of Johan Santana and The Four Rainouts. They did not upgrade at first base. They did not get rid of Stupid Is (Fred Wilpon, the Brooklyn Dodger fan formerly known as Mutt) and Stupid Does (Jeff Wilpon, the Daddy's boy formerly known as Jeff), not that they would have fired themselves.

With the Phillies, Marlins, Braves and Nationals all filling in numerous holes on their respective teams, can the Mets seriously expect to be contenders by adding Jason Bay, no starting pitchers and every catcher except Crash Davis and Jake Taylor?

No one knows for sure how the Mets will do in 2010. That's the beauty of spring training. Everyone comes in with equal expectations and everyone comes in tied for first, except the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are already a dozen games out of first place in the NL Central.

If the catchers can settle The Four Rainouts down and get them to pitch effectively, the team might be able to contend for more than just the first two months of the season.

However, there are still too many question marks on this team to consider. Will Jose Reyes be the speed demon he used to be? Will David K. Wright regain his power stroke? Will the Mets stop ending games by dropping infield pop-ups and hitting into unassisted triple plays? Those questions will be answered as the season progresses.

For now, I'm packing up my ball and glove and heading out to Port St. Lucie. That's right, SMFs. Joey's going to spring training! I'll be there with Coop from My Summer Family next weekend, hoping to get exclusive photos of Mets players while they're still uninjured.

When I return, I hope to post another blog about my adventures in the PSL. Maybe I'll interview a player or two. Maybe I'll get Coop to buy me an adult beverage.

Those are too many maybes, but there is one thing I'm DEFINITELY sure about. I LOVE PITCHERS AND CATCHERS! Be sure to come back to Studious Metsimus next week to read my recap on the Port St. Lucie trip...assuming I decide to come back from sunny Florida, of course!

Nah, who am I kidding? After all, I have to be the first in line at Citi Field on Opening Day when the chicken nacho stand opens for business!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tom Glavine Officially Retires; Mets Fans Aren't Devastated

According to Mark Bowman at, Tom Glavine has retired from baseball after 22 years in the major leagues. He will reportedly return to the Braves as a special assistant to team president John Schuerholz and will participate in Braves' radio and television broadcasts.

To baseball fans, Glavine was one of the best pitchers of his generation. He won 305 games over his career, including five 20-win seasons. He finished in the top three in Cy Young Award balloting six times, winning the award twice (1991, 1998).

Mets fans might remember him for something different. Some will remember Glavine for picking up his 300th career victory in 2007 as a member of the Mets. Others will remember his outstanding 2006 campaign; a year in which he finished with a 15-7 record in the regular season and followed that up with two more victories in the postseason, which included a sparkling 1.59 ERA.

Some of us (myself included) will only remember Glavine for his final appearance in a Mets uniform. On September 30, 2007, just one day after John Maine pitched his near no-hitter against the Marlins to help the Mets tie the Phillies in the standings going into the regular season finale, Glavine was only able to record one out against Florida. Sandwiched around that out were seven runs by the Marlins. Coupled with the Phillies' victory over the Washington Nationals, the Mets failed to repeat as division champions in 2007.

If his poor performance against the Marlins wasn't enough to enrage Mets fans, his post-game comments surely managed to do the trick. After the season-ending loss, Glavine offered this tidbit to reporters.

“I’m not devastated. I’m disappointed, but devastation is for much greater things in life. I’m disappointed, obviously, in the way I wanted to pitch. I can’t say there is much more I would have done differently.”

As a baseball fan, I appreciate what Tom Glavine did on the baseball field. He will be a first ballot Hall of Famer (and since he threw his last pitch in the majors in 2008, he is eligible to be enshrined with former Braves teammate Greg Maddux in 2014). He was a quality postseason pitcher. He was not a cancer in the clubhouse. He also taught us (with the help of the aforementioned Maddux) that "chicks dig the longball".

Chicks might dig the long ball, but Mets fans dig season-ending victories.

However, as a Mets fan, every time I think of the final 17 games of the 2007 season, instead of the frequent losses to the Nationals and Marlins, I think of Tom Glavine. Mets fans suffered a great deal as they watched their team lose the division title to the Phillies. We could not fathom that the Mets were part of an historic collapse. So when Tom Glavine did not echo the sentiments of Mets fans by saying he wasn't devastated by his performance and the outcome of the game, it came as no surprise that Mets fans had had enough of Glavine.

Congratulations on your retirement, Mr. Glavine. I'm happy that you had a successful and lengthy career in the major leagues. Based on your career achievements, you deserve to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. I'm just not devastated to see you go.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Omir, Oh My! How Will Omir Santos Do In 2010?

As the countdown towards Late Winter Training continues, it is becoming more and more likely that the Mets are going with Omir Santos as their #1 catcher, with Henry Blanco and Chris Coste vying for the backup spot.

The Mets spent their winter break signing tenth-string catchers Coste and Blanco and let a more competent catcher like Funky Cold Molina re-sign with the Giants. As a result, Santos will now be expected to handle the pitching staff of Johan Santana and The Four Rainouts as well as performing a few Omir-acles of his own at the plate.

Can he be counted on to repeat his unexpected 2009 performance this year now that more is expected from him? Let's take a look inside the Studious Metsimus Stat Box and pick out some juicy numbers.

In 2008, Omir Santos was called up to the major leagues by the Baltimore Orioles for some coffee and donuts. Since they used peppermint in his coffee (trust me when I say it's a bad combination), he bid adieu to Baltimore and said hello to the Mets. It was in New York that he got his huge break when Brian Schneider got injured, forcing the Mets to call him up to be a part of the Not Ready For Prime Time (Baseball) Players.

However, something happened on the way to the 7 train. On a team full of fragile players and David K. Wright (the K stands for "why the fudge did you strike out so much in 2009?"), Omir blossomed into a pretty decent (and clutch) hitter.

On May 23, Santos hit the most dramatic home run of the 2009 season (some might say the only dramatic home run of the 2009 season, but my name isn't "some") when he hit a two-out, two-run HR in the ninth inning off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead. The umpires originally called the shot a double off the Green Monster, but video replay showed that the ball went over the wall and bounced back onto the field of play. To be honest with you, I thought the ball was called a double at first because the umpires couldn't believe it was Omir Santos who hit the home run and not a genuine power threat like...



Okay, let's be honest with ourselves. The umpires couldn't believe a Met hit a home run off ANYONE. Jonathan Papelbon was so upset that he gave up a home run to a Met that he immediately punched himself in the crotch. (see photo below)

Santos continued his success after Papelbon's "Crotch Heard 'Round The World" by finishing the 2009 season with a .260 batting average, seven HR and 40 RBI in 291 at-bats. Will that translate into a better season in 2010 if he gets the 400 at-bats usually reserved for a #1 catcher?

Unfortunately, looking at his minor league stats, the answer might be no. In 2,229 career at-bats for various minor league teams, Santos could only manage a .258 average, with 32 HR and 260 RBI. He hit .260 for the Mets after not being able to do that against MINOR LEAGUE PITCHING in his eight-plus years toiling in Buttsburg, Wyoming and Fartsville, Wisconsin (although the cheese being cut in Fartsville by the Wisconsin cheeseheads is quite aromatic).

Can the Mets expect more Omir-acles from Santos in 2010? Probably not. They don't play the Red Sox this season and due to the lack of catching depth on the team, there's very little chance he'll get sent back to Wisconsin to play for Count Flatula. If Santos repeats his seven HR, 40 RBI performance in 400 at-bats, that should be considered a success for him. But I'm not counting on it.

The Mets would be better off signing a more experienced catcher who can do well with a pitching staff that can be quite erratic at times. (see Maine, J. and Perez, O.) Given 400 at-bats, any catcher can hit seven HR and drive in 40 runs. But with the problems the Mets could have with their starting pitchers, it may be more important to go with a catcher who can help the Mets more with his handling of pitchers than with his handling of the bat. If the Mets give that much playing time to Omir Santos, they'd better hope he can handle the Four Rainouts portion of Johan Santana and The Four Rainouts. If he can't, the band might not get another gig at Citi Field.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Run, Jose, Run!

I may be a day late and a two-year, $10 million contract short, but Jose Reyes did some running on Monday and felt no pain. As reported by Kevin Kernan and blogged about by some of Studious Metsimus' fav'rit bloggers, Reyes pronounced himself to be 100% pain free and ready to go for the 2010 season. Mets fans and fellow runners everywhere rejoiced at the news.

If you recall, Jose missed most of the 2009 season (who didn't?) and eventually underwent surgery to repair a torn hamstring tendon in his right leg. Listening to Reyes now, he appears ready to start the season today instead of April 5th.

“I feel great. Last year I came back too quickly. Everything is in the past. I don’t want to think about it. Now there is no pain. That’s the key. There is nothing to worry about. Everything’s perfect. I’ll be ready in 2010. Be there, it’s going to be a show.”

In addition to his running exercises, Reyes fielded ground balls hit to his left and right to test his mobility He also did some weightlifting and some hitting.

After each test, Jose flashed his trademark smile that had not been seen since Shea Stadium was still alive. In fact, the picture to the right might be the only photo known to man of Reyes smiling at Citi Field.

Mets' executive VP David Howard was at Monday's session and lame duck (with the accent on lame) general manager Omar Minaya watched Reyes work out last week. Both were pleased with the shortstop's progress. No one seemed to care where the Wilpons (Mutt and Jeff) were during Reyes' training session.

Stupid is as stupid does.

The 2009 season marked the third time Reyes had missed extensive playing time due to injuries. After missing large chunks of the 2003 and 2004 seasons, Reyes played his first healthy season in 2005.

From 2005-2008 (all seasons in which Reyes did not get hurt), Jose's fleet feet helped him score an average of 113 runs per season. The other "speed stats" were phenomenal as well, as Reyes hit a total of 65 triples and pilfered 258 bases, both tops in the major leagues over that four-year period.

Despite the fact that Reyes was pulled from the game during Jerry Manuel's first game as Mets manager in 2008 because of injury concerns, the skipper has professed admiration for his leadoff hitter and knows how crucial Reyes is to setting the table for the sluggers behind him. With a healthy Reyes at the top of the order, the Mets should improve on their 12th place finish in runs scored in the National League.

I'm not a smart man, but I do know what a laugh is.

In 1994, we all screamed "Run, Forrest, Run" at the movie screen. (Some of us screamed it too loudly and were ejected from the movie theater faster than Bobby Cox at an umpire's convention.) Sixteen years later, after Jose Reyes proclaimed himself 100% healthy and ready to give Mets fans a show, it's time to scream "Run, Jose, Run!"

I'm willing to bet a shrimpin' boat full of Dr. Pepper that as long as Jose Reyes keeps on running for the duration of the long 162-game season, all other chips will fall into place.

With a healthy Jose Reyes, the Mets should improve upon their buttocks-ugly 70-92 record from last year. Now if Reyes could only pitch...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's Groundhog Day! Will Injuries Keep Repeating Themselves?

Today is February 2, also known as Groundhog Day, the day made famous by Punxsutawney Phil and Bill Murray. For Mets fans who remember a time when their beloved team was still competitive, February 2 is significant for another reason.

It was on this day only two short years ago that Johan Santana was traded by the Minnesota Twins to the Mets for Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Kelvin Mulvey, Deolis Guerra, two turntables and a microphone.

Of course, at the end of his first season in New York, 'Han the Man was pitching with a torn meniscus in his left knee. He was also forced to miss the final six weeks of the 2009 season after having bone chips removed from his left elbow.

Last season, the Mets were not able to cancel their subscription to the Injury of The Week. Will the same thing happen again this year? After all, the aforementioned Bill Murray was forced to repeat the events of February 2 in the "Groundhog Day" movie. With Carlos Beltran already out for at least the first month of the 2010 season, it looks like history may indeed be repeating itself for the Mets.

If the Mets do continue to succumb to injuries, it'll be up to the Wilpons to come up with the cash for less fragile players, better trainers and/or an exorcist for Citi Field. Punxsutawney Phil might have seen his shadow today, giving us six more weeks of winter, but Flushing Freddy can't do the same.

Mets fans cannot be subjected to six months of baseball winter at Citi Field. Otherwise, another Bill Murray movie might become more appropriate to describe what Citi Field will be like.

For the astute Studious Metsimus readers who know which movie I'm referring to, you might recall that our beloved Mr. Murray suffered an injury of his own near the end of his cameo appearance in that film.

Let's Go Mets. Just don't hurt yourselves while doing it.

Shameless plug: Go buy Zombieland, out on DVD today. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Joey's Soapbox: Why The Frick Did Jon Miller Get The Award Gary Cohen Deserved?

For years, Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen sat in Shea Stadium's Upper Deck seats like the one I'm sitting in to the left. He was just a Mets fan like you and me, voicing his pleasure (and occasional displeasure) at the goings-on about 130 feet beneath his seat on the Shea Stadium grass.

In 1989, Gary Cohen was fortunate to get one of those seat upgrades I've always wanted. However, instead of moving from the Upper Deck to the Field Level (and getting shown on DiamondVision), he was upgraded to the radio booth when he began broadcasting Mets games for WFAN, joining the voice of summer, Bob Murphy.

Had it not been for Gary's debut in the broadcast booth, 1989 would only have been remembered for the Father's Day trade that sent 1986 World Series heroes Lenny Dykstra, Roger McDowell and a hotfoot to be named later to the Philadelphia Phillies for Juan Samuel and his Soul Glo.

Gary Cohen continued to work in the radio booth until he was selected to become part of the SNY broadcast team when the network broke into the majors in 2006. He joined two other members of the 1986 World Champion Mets (Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez), neither of whom was traded for a hair care product like Lenny and Roger (although rumor has it Keith would have gladly taken that trade rather than playing for the Cleveland Indians in 1990).

Over the past twenty-one seasons (nearly half of the Mets' existence), Gary Cohen has been at the mike for some memorable games. From the joy of the Grand Slam Single to the agony of the 2007 and 2008 season finales, Gary has called it all for the Mets and their fans. His professionalism is second-to-none and his passion for the Mets shines through every time he utters his trademark "outta here" home run call.

Recently, Studious Metsimus wrote a piece encouraging our readers to vote for Gary Cohen to receive the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence. (See link here, o beloved SMFs) Unfortunately, our grand guru Gary did not receive the award. (Sufferin' succotash!) That honor went to Jon Miller.

That's right, SMFs. Jon Miller is the recipient of the 2010 Ford C. Frick Award. To those of you unaware of the fact, Jon Miller is NOT a friend of Studious Metsimus or my colleague. In fact, the first blog my colleague ever wrote on the Mets was a post on Mets Merized Online called "When Jon Miller And Joe Morgan Speak, Mets Fans DON'T Listen".

In it, he described the sentiment felt by a number of Mets fans about their distaste for Miller and his broadcasting team. I personally listen to the Mets game on WFAN whenever the team is playing on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball telecast.

Miller does have an extensive broadcasting résumé, beginning his career doing radio play-by-play for the Oakland Athletics in 1974, the year after the A's defeated the "Ya Gotta Believe" Mets in the World Series. He has also worked for the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants. He is most known to a national baseball audience through his work for ESPN and their Sunday Night Baseball game of the week.

Yes, his body of work is impressive, yada, yada, yada. But we're Mets fans. We don't like it when a broadcaster who's supposedly good enough to win the prestigious Ford C. Frick Award is constantly annoying Mets fans in a way that only Doug Sisk and Armando Benitez could (and perhaps Mel Rojas, especially after facing Paul O'Neill).

All I have to say are two words: Carlos Bel-TRON.

Mets fans immediately cringe when they hear those words because they know I'm talking about the way Miller mangles Don Carlos' name in a feeble attempt to pronounce it properly.

Gary Cohen knows his Mets but he also knows baseball extensively. His analysis of game situations is unmatched and his colorful commentary keeps fans entertained long after Mark Reynolds hits another 450-foot home run into the second deck at Citi Field, a place where no Castillo has gone before. (or maybe he did...)

Why the Frick is Jon Miller going to Cooperstown in late July instead of Gary Cohen? Beats me. Maybe the 2009 season cursed anyone related to the Mets, including Gary Cohen with the voting for the Ford C. Frick Award.

I'd rather look on the bright side. The ceremony takes place on a weekend. That means Jon Miller will probably not be broadcasting the Sunday Night Baseball game for ESPN that weekend. I might be able to watch that game for a change.