Saturday, December 19, 2015

Joey's Letter To Sandy Claus (2015)

Is this where I deliver mail to Sandy Claus?

Dear Sandy Claus,

This is Joey Beartran once again, writing my fifth letter to you in as many holiday seasons.  I see other teams have written asking for stocking stuffers already.  I'm glad some of them got lumps of coal in their stockings, like the Giants, who got Jeff Samardzija as their main gift, even though he led the league last year by giving up more hits, home runs and earned runs than any other pitcher.  It serves them right after their fans invade Citi Field year after year, making it uncomfortable for Mets fans to enjoy any games against San Francisco.

Sometimes people just ask for things at the holidays, not once considering that it truly is better to give than it is to receive.  But I'm going to do a little of both, hoping that you'll appreciate that I'm not like all those other people, especially those who have 27 rings, ask you every year for a 28th, and then when you don't bring it to them, they constantly remind you about those 27 rings they already do have.  (I won't say who they are, but they really do yank my chain.)

So I hope you have a little bit of time on your hands, Mr. Claus, because as you already know from my previous letters to you, my missives are never just a few words long.  Sit back, have some cookies and milk, and get ready for a letter that's all nice and never naughty - kind of like me!

The beginning of a masterpiece.

I'd like a center fielder who can split time with Juan Lagares, especially if Lagares's arm is still kaput.  It would also help if this center fielder could find a way to get on base with a little more regularity.  I mean, Lagares's career OBP is .297, which is just barely higher than Denard Span's .287 lifetime batting average.  (Span also has a .352 OBP in eight big league seasons.)  Now I'm not saying you should put Span in the Mets' stocking.  Ah, who am I kidding?  Of course I want Span on the team.  And I'm not just saying that because he gets on base and steals bases (he swiped 31 bags in 2014 and has had three other seasons with 20+ steals).  I'm also not saying it because he bats left-handed which would allow him to be part of a righty-lefty platoon with Lagares.  I'm saying it because he absolutely KILLS THE METS!!  Did you know he's a lifetime .311 hitter vs. New York?  Did you also know that for a guy with little power, he has five home runs against the Mets, even though he's never hit more than three homers against any other team?  You better know that, because Sandy Claus is supposed to know everything!  Get me Span for the holidays and I'll be a happy bear.

I'd also like some better defense by the middle infield.  Last year, Daniel Murphy and Wilmer Flores got most of the playing time at second and short, respectively.  I know they combined for 60 doubles and 30 homers last season, but they only produced a 2.2 WAR between them, mainly because their defense left a lot to be desired.  The new double play combo in Flushing (Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera) almost doubled that with their respective teams last season, as Walker and Cabrera combined for a 4.1 WAR in 2015.  They're not going to win Gold Gloves out there, but they also won't make bone-headed plays.  Of course, just because they were serviceable last year doesn't guarantee anything this year.  Both Walker and Cabrera are in their 30s, so be sure to give them proper rest by having 26-year-old Ruben Tejada play for them every once in a while.

Once thing I definitely want is for Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler to be the second coming of Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, Bobby Ojeda and David Cone.  The 1969 and 1973 teams both had Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman, with the '69 team adding Gary Gentry and the '73 squad having Jon Matlack, but neither team had a fourth starter who gave them 25+ starts.  Meanwhile, the 1986 team didn't have David Cone yet and used Rick Aguilera as a fifth starter.  Aguilera was wild in the strike zone and allowed too many hits and home runs.  Only the 1988 team with Doc, Ronnie, El Sid, Bobby O and Coney had no weaknesses in the starting rotation, which was exemplified by the team's league-leading 2.91 ERA and 1,100 strikeouts.  Once Wheeler returns to the rotation in June, the 2016 pitching staff could rival the '88 staff as the franchise's all-time best when you consider all five starters.  I'm counting on you, Sandy Claus, to make sure none of our pitchers gets traded.  We need to keep our stars.

Speaking of stars, I'd like some Star Wars toys under my tree.  Not because I want to play with them, but because I want to keep them in the box in pristine condition.  That way, I can sell them next October when the Mets return to the postseason and the money I make from those sales can help me buy playoff tickets.  Did you see what World Series tickets cost a few months ago?  It was certainly more than an arm, a leg and a paw, that's for sure!

$225 for a World Series ticket.  Secondary market was much higher.  I almost had to skip a few meals so I could afford it.

While I'm on the topic of collectibles, I'd like it if you could use your powers as the almighty Sandy Claus to get the team to offer more than 15,000 gnomes, bobbleheads, beach towels, etc. when they have a popular promotion.  If Free Shirt Friday can have 40,000+ shirts, why can't we have at least half that amount for the other giveaways?  There were many times when I arrived a full hour before first pitch only to find that all the items had already been given away.  For the Jesse Orosco 1986 World Series bobblehead, I stood under the hot sun for over an hour before the gates at the Jackie Robinson Rotunda even opened just to make sure I got mine.  I'd appreciate it if I didn't have to arrive at the ballpark more than three hours before first pitch just to get an item that 25,000 or so people are going to wish they had.  Not all of us have short distances to travel to get to Citi Field and we'd rather not have to leave home before the sun rises just to get a free giveaway prior to a 4:10pm start.

Let's continue talking about start times for games, particularly ESPN Sunday night games.  I know the Mets can't control which games are moved to Sunday night, but surely they can be a little more vocal about it.  Just last season, a Sunday game against the Nationals was moved from 1:10pm to 8:08pm.  And as is par for the course, because it was a Sunday game, kids were allowed to run around the bases in the Mr. Met Dash shortly after the conclusion of the game.  Think about that for a moment.  It was after 11pm.  And kids were running the bases at that time.  Do you really think their parents wanted to stick around for an extra hour or so just so that their kids can spend 30 seconds running in their sleep?  Everyone is tired and just wants to go home!  And with the Mets now becoming one of the better teams in the league, Sunday night games are going to become more prevalent.  This isn't a laughing matter!  Do something about this, Sandy Claus!

I don't think Sandy's little elf should be laughing about Sunday night games, either.

Enough about what I want in my stocking.  Now I'd like to thank you, Sandy Claus.  I'd like to show you my appreciation for doing what it took to give Mets fans an unexpected thrill ride during the season's final two months and in October.  We all know the story.  The Mets struggled to stay above .500 all season.  Wilmer Flores cried.  Then he homered against the Nationals.  Yoenis Cespedes came, saw and conquered National League pitching.  The team swept Washington.  Then they swept them again.  Finally, they celebrated in Cincinnati, Los Angeles and Chicago all the way to the World Series.  Our dreams became reality.  And we couldn't have done it without you, Sandy.

I've also heard that your doppelganger and namesake, Sandy Alderson, has been undergoing cancer treatment.  Little Jeffy Wilpon might be laughing at other things, but I'm sure he's not laughing at this diagnosis.  Unlike the Phillies, Braves and Jonathan Papelbon, cancer is no joke.  It crushes dreams and rips families apart.  Sandy Alderson has made Mets fans dreams come true and in doing so, he helped us all become one big pennant-winning family.  I'd like to wish him all the best so that he makes a full recovery and can continue to be the baseball maverick that he's become.

Well, I guess that's it, Sandy Claus!  You see?  I didn't just ask to receive things.  I also gave my sincerest thanks where it was deserved.  And I also asked for other people to receive things, like good health.  Surely, this will keep me off the naughty list this year, right?  Thanks so much for listening and I hope you have a safe a merry holiday season!

Love and best wishes for the 2016 season and beyond,
Joey Beartran

Citi Field's gates were closed so I had to put this in a mailbox.  Ya gotta work on that for 2016, Sandy Claus.

No comments: