Thursday, January 28, 2010

Show Us Your Tatis! Fernando Re-Signs For 2010

According to Mike Puma's blog for the New York Post, Fernando Tatis has re-signed with the Mets for the 2010 season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is believed to be less than the $1.7 million he earned during the 2009 season, although incentives could allow him to come close to that figure.

In 340 at-bats with the Mets last season, Tatis hit .282, with 21 doubles, eight HR and 48 RBI. In two years with the Mets, Tatis has accumulated about a full season's worth of at-bats (613). In those 613 at-bats, the utility man has hit .289, with 37 doubles, 19 HR and 95 RBI.

The signing of Tatis will likely end the Mets' pursuit of Carlos Delgado. The brittle first baseman has been doing his best to hide a limp while playing winter ball in his native Puerto Rico, but just like Takeru Kobayashi at a fasting convention, he's failing miserably.

Tatis can now be used in a first base platoon with Daniel Murphy. He can also fill in at every other infield position when needed and can give Sgt. Bay of The Yukon and Jeff Francoeur a rest whenever Jerry Manuel decides to give either outfielder a day off.

Fernando Tatis has been an important part of the Mets bench since 2008. He has performed well when called upon in a pinch-hitting role and filled in nicely as an everyday player when David Wright succumbed to Matt Cain's head-seeking missile last August.

Welcome back, Fernando! Studious Metsimus thanks you for re-signing with the Mets so that you can "Show Us Your Tatis" once again in 2010!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hey, Wilpons! Where's The Beef?

Watching the Mets go after free agent pitchers is like watching a game of musical chairs, except the Mets are the ones who are left without a chair when the music stops.

First came the announcement that free agent pitcher Ben Sheets had signed a one-year, $10 million (plus performance bonuses) contract with the Oakland Athletics. Now comes word from Corey Brock of that Jon Garland has signed a one-year, $5.3 million deal to pitch for the San Diego Padres. The deal also pays Garland $6.75 million in 2011 if the Padres choose not to buy him out for $600,000.

After the John Lackey signing with the Red Sox, many of the remaining free agent pitchers on the Mets' radar have signed reasonable contracts FOR OTHER TEAMS! None of these contracts has been for the amount of money the team wasted on Oliver Perez to retain his impeccable ability to throw ball four.

Here are some of the deals given to players who were supposedly on the Mets' radar, but chose to sign somewhere else. The players are listed in alphabetical order to appease the fans who like organization amongst all the disorganization:

Doug Davis

Surprisingly leaves Arizona to sign a one-year deal with Milwaukee for $5.25 million.

Jon Garland

Takes his laundry from LA down the coast to SD for the next year and $5.3 million.

Rich Harden

Yawns his way out of the north side of Chicago to sign a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the Texas Rangers.

Jason Marquis

Gets off his Rocky Mountain High to sign a two-year deal with the Washington Nationals worth $15 million (with an option for a prosthetic right leg).

Joel Piñeiro

After a career year in St. Louis, he looks to the heavens and finds the Angels and their two-year, $16 million deal to his liking.

Ben Sheets

Celebrates his year off from baseball by signing a one-year, $10 million contract with the Oakland Athletics.

Randy Wolf

Takes the force with him from Los Angeles to Milwaukee for three years and $29.75 million.

Usually players sign with other teams for big money, for the security of a long-term deal or to play for a contender. Every player listed above signed for less money than Oliver Perez did in 2009. Other than Wolf, none of the players signed for more than two years. And other than Harden and Piñeiro, the rest of the players decided to sign with teams who finished the 2009 season with a losing record (Brewers, Padres, Nationals, Athletics).

So are you telling me the Mets couldn't afford these pitchers? Did they find the length of their contracts to be too much? To the Wilpons, I have one thing to say. Come close to the screen so you can see it clearly.


Are you aware that the fans are not going to accept a repeat fourth-place performance by the Mets in 2010? Do you think you can place a small patty inside a bun and hope that it satisfies your paying customers to come back for seconds? Surely you can't believe we're idiots!

But hey. Who am I? I'm just one of those paying customers who keeps coming back for that small patty inside that oversized (and overpriced) bun. The free agent pitchers who have chosen to sign with other teams are probably on to something that I've failed to notice.

As Mets fans continue to sit around hopelessly watching the latest free agent pitcher sign with another non-blue and orange team, I'd rather look on the bright side. At least Omar Minaya hasn't decided to re-sign Jose Lima (yet).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Diff'rent Year, Diff'rent Gary?

By now, you're probably aware that the Mets acquired Gary Matthews, Jr. from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim yesterday for reliever Brian Stokes. Are you also aware that the Angels will be paying $21.5 million of the remaining $24 million left on Matthews' contract? The Mets will only be responsible for $2.5 million of Gary's salary.

Does this sound familiar to you? It should if you remember what the Mets did with another Gary before the 2009 season.

Just days before the curtain rose on the 2009 season, the Mets acquired Gary Sheffield from the Detroit Tigers, who had released him just three days earlier. The Tigers still owed him $14 million so the Mets were able to sign him for $400,000.

As a 39-year old with Detroit in 2008, Sheffield hit a career-low .225 in 418 at-bats. Despite being able to sign him for next to nothing, many so-called experts criticized the move, saying Sheffield was washed up and would be a cancer in the clubhouse.

Instead, due to various injuries suffered by 66.6% of the team (but I don't think that number has anything to do with it), Sheffield saw extended playing time. He raised his average from .225 in 2008 to .276. In only 268 at-bats (roughly half a season worth of ABs), he hit 10 HR (including his 500th career home run; see photo right) and collected 43 RBI. How's that for only 400,000 semolians?

So now we have another Gary on the team. The former Angel is expected to compete with the current Angel (Mr. Pagan) for the center field job while Carlos Beltran is recovering from his well-known top secret arthroscopic knee surgery.

Have you ever heard about those nameless executives and talent evaluators who always have something negative to say about players when asked for their opinions? Well, according to Buster Olney, one of them had this to say:

"Matthews is a player to be avoided. Slow bat. Declining range. And above all else, a player who wants to be a regular and will be an unhappy distraction in your clubhouse when he's not in the lineup every day."

That's funny. If you substitute Sheffield's name for Matthews, wasn't that the same thing being said about the O.G. (Original Gary) last April?

For the Studious Metsimus readers who aren't feeling this trade, all I am saying is give Matthews a chance. Carlos Beltran should only miss a few weeks of the season. The Mets also have Angel Pagan who can play center field. A slump by Matthews will not destroy the team's chances to finish in fourth place (until the Mets get some starting pitching help, Studious Metsimus should not be confused with Optimist Metsimus).

The Mets' annual pre-season Gary of The Year acquisition hasn't hurt them yet. For the money the Mets are paying Gary Matthews, Jr., I don't feel the need to trash this trade (but I reserve the right to do so later). Now if the Mets were to announce the acquisition of Gary Coleman before the beginning of the 2011 season, it'll be time for all Mets fans to say "What you talkin' 'bout, Wilpon?"

Thursday, January 21, 2010

If The Mets Don't Sign Ben Sheets, Studious Metsimus Knows Why

On Tuesday, free-agent pitcher Ben Sheets showcased himself for a number of teams, including the Mets, who are interested in his services for the 2010 season. In his workout session, Sheets threw 20 fastballs to show his potential suitors that his velocity had returned. His fastest pitch was timed at 91 MPH.

Although Sheets missed the entire 2009 season because of elbow surgery, he has shown that he is a top-notch pitcher when healthy.

Since his breakout season for the Brewers in 2004, Sheets has compiled a 53-44 record, with a stellar 3.24 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.

In 2009, Mets pitchers were at or near the bottom of the league in walks allowed. Since 2004, Sheets has walked only 152 batters in 128 starts, an average of barely over one walk per start. He has also struck out 785 batter over the same time period, giving him a strikeout to walk ratio of better than 5:1.

When healthy, Sheets has been a top of the rotation pitcher. However, his health concerns made pitchers like John Lackey, Jason Marquis and Joel Piñeiro the top names on the Mets free-agent radar. Now with Lackey in Boston, Marquis in Washington and Piñeiro in Anaheim, the Mets have turned their attention to the oft-injured Sheets.

Omar Minaya has messed things up before. I think he's about to mess things up again. Why do I think that? It's all because of Ben Sheets' son, Seaver.

It has come to the attention of Studious Metsimus that Ben Sheets has a son named Seaver. Of course, our resident GM will just assume that he was named after The Franchise, Tom Seaver, and will use that to coerce Sheets into signing with the Mets.

How does Omar know that Ben Sheets wasn't a big fan of the show "Growing Pains" when he was a little Sheet? Perhaps he laughed until he cried whenever he watched the Seaver Family from "Growing Pains".

Maybe he related to the youngest son, Ben Seaver. After all, they were both named Ben. It's also quite possible that he wanted to pay tribute to young Ben but his wife didn't want another Ben in the house to avoid confusion. Therefore, he paid tribute to his fav'rit sitcom character by naming his son after TV Ben's last name. Hence, Seaver Sheets.

I can imagine Ben Sheets being so offended that Omar Minaya just assumed Seaver Sheets was named after Tom Terrific that he ends up giving another team a blank contract (a la Andre Dawson in 1987 with the Cubs). He'll end up playing for millions less than the Mets would have offered him just to spite Omar.

Omar Minaya better not mess this up the way he botched the Lackey, Marquis and Piñeiro situations. If so, Studious Metsimus will have to feature a blog on how Omar's fav'rit show as a twenty-something was also "Growing Pains". However, it'll be obvious who his fav'rit character on the show must have been (see photo below).

Mr. Minaya, I beg you. Please don't be a Boner. Don't let Ben Sheets get away. Most of all, don't offend the man!

The Mets need pitching help badly. Johan Santana and four straight rainouts are not going to happen every week. The offense was helped with the signing of Sgt. Bay of The Yukon. Now it's time to get Seaver's Dad (No, not Alan Thicke) on the team. If the Mets let another free agent pitcher sign with another team for reasonable dollars, Omar Minaya will forever be a Boner in the eyes of Studious Metsimus.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WWJD: What Would Joey Do?

It's been quite some time since I was allowed to write a blog for Studious Metsimus. Why do you suppose that's the case? I have no idea! My colleague has been writing about Sgt. Bay of The Yukon, the Flying Molina Brothers and I've stayed quiet waiting for my turn to blog.

I even volunteered to become a roving reporter. I would've gone to the Dominican Republic to interview former Met Jose Offerman about his "swing and a miss" with the face of umpire Daniel Rayburn. My colleague said Studious Metsimus couldn't afford the extra passport.

I asked if I could go to the Yukon to interview Sgt. Bay on his home tundra. That was okay with my colleague but he failed to tell me that Sgt. Bay wasn't going to be home. Imagine my embarrassment when I showed up on his doorstep and found nothing. (see photo below)

It appears I'm being pushed aside to satisfy the ginormous ego of my Studious Metsimus colleague. Fine. If he wants to play, I'll play. I can't think of a better topic for this installment of "What Would Joey Do?" Today we'll be talking about grievances.

In 2007, the Mets were trying to sign free-agent catcher Yorvit Torrealba to a multi-year deal. The deal was set and Yorvit the Frog had pen in hand, ready to leave his John Hancock on the contract. Surprise, surprise! The Mets backed out of the agreement, traded for Brian Schneider and left Torrealba to sign with Colorado.

Soon after, Torrealba filed a grievance against the Mets because of their about-face on the potential three-year deal.

Last week, Carlos Beltran decided to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery, apparently without the permission of the team. The Mets have now taken the first step towards a potential grievance case against Beltran's agent, $­������­cott Bora$ and the union, claiming Beltran violated his contract.

So what does this have to do with me? It's simple, really. I'd like to announce that I am filing a grievance against my Studious Metsimus colleague. Because of his actions, I have not been able to blog on the Mets. This has prevented me from advancing my blogging career and picking up sponsors, particularly the ones that would give me free food for plugging their product.

Grievances are not cool. They might cost the Mets extra money if they end up signing Yorvit the Frog to be their catcher now that Funky Cold Molina has re-signed with the San Francisco Giants. They might also damage relationships, such as the one between Carlos Beltran and the team.

I'm willing to take that chance. I know I have my fans. Just look at my Facebook fan page. Also, look how many times I'm mentioned on My Summer Family (which in my opinion would be a much better blog to write for if I want to make a name for myself).

Even Mets Merized Online was kind enough to put my picture in this blog and this other blog.

Perhaps this grievance can be settled out of court and Studious Metsimus can continue to be a site where Mets fans and Mets bloggers can all get along. For now, I'm putting my bear foot down and standing up for what's right. I'd like to thank my fellow Mets fans who support my decision. For those who don't, I'd advise you to stay out of my way. I'm going where no Joey has gone before. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Flying Molina Brothers Stick It To The Mets Again!

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane!'s those dang Flying Molina Brothers! Apparently, they've stuck it to the Mets once again. This time, it's Bengie's turn. The Giants' catcher chose to re-sign with San Francisco rather than come to the Mets.

After much speculation that Funky Cold Molina was going to be the Mets catcher in 2010, he chose to sign a one-year deal to remain in San Francisco with Kung Fu Panda and the Band. The deal is believed to be for $4.5 million, even though the Mets had offered more money and a second year option.

This is not the first time those Meddling Molina Boys have taken a hot poker and shoved it into the hearts of Mets fans.

If you recall, the youngest of the Flying Molina Brothers (Yadier) hit the go-ahead home run against Aaron F. Heilman in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, while middle brother Jose took his expert skills in backup catching and translated it into a World Series ring for the Yankees in 2009.

So why do Los Hermanos Molina always like to stick it to the Mets? Studious Metsimus has a theory about it.

Bengie, Jose and Yadier Molina are all catchers. They're all considered to be good to exceptional defensive catchers with above-average throwing arms. That's six arms to make enemies of opposing players.

Long-time Spider-Man villain Dr. Octopus has six arms (two human arms and four mechanical appendages that resemble arms). Who played Dr. Octopus in the recent Spider-Man 2 movie? None other than acclaimed actor Alfred Molina. You heard me right. The six-armed villain was named MOLINA!

Is it possible that the Flying Molina Brothers have a mentor/father figure in Alfred Molina? After all, Peter Parker/Spider-Man is from Queens and so are the Mets.

Are Bengie, Jose and Yadier Molina trying to stick it to the Mets in some twisted homage to the British actor? Are they even aware that Alfred Molina is British?

Bengie Molina will not be a New York Met in 2010. Yadier Molina will forever be around to remind Mets fans as to why they will always despise Aaron F. Heilman. Jose Molina will be able to shine his 2009 World Series ring in the Yankee dugout during those 100+ games that he sits on the bench.

The Flying Molina Brothers. As long as they are in opposing uniforms, they will always try to find a way to ruin the days and nights for Mets fans. It's time to take them down. Who's with me? Excelsior!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jose Offerman Punches Ump; Where Was This Fire When He Was A Met?

In 2005, Jose Offerman was a Met for about 15 minutes. In 72 at-bats for the Mets, he hit .250, with one HR and 10 RBI. Since his cup of coffee with the Mets, the 41-year old Offerman has been fighting to get back into the major leagues. Unfortunately, he has taken the fighting part a little too literally.

Last night, during a Dominican League playoff game, Offerman came out of the dugout to argue a call with umpire Daniel Rayburn. A typical heated discussion ensued. Perhaps Rayburn used an ill-timed "yo mama's so fat" joke. Perhaps he had garlic in his pre-game meal. Nevertheless, he must have said something offensive to Offerman because he got a right cross to the face from the former Met (see video below):

This shocking behavior is not the first time we saw an episode of "Offerman Gone Wild" on the field. As a member of the Long Island Ducks in 2007, he charged the mound with his bat after he was hit by a pitch by Bridgeport Bluefish pitcher Matt Beech. The catcher of the Bluefish, John Nathans, was struck in the head with the bat and suffered a concussion, effectively ending his playing career. (see video below):

Offerman was arrested by the Bridgeport police for going batty on the field and was charged with two counts of second degree assault. In October 2007, he was given two years probation for his crime. Since then, John Nathans has filed a $4.8 million civil suit against Offerman, claiming that he still suffers from post-concussion syndrome and that Offerman's bat caused his playing career to end. That suit has not yet been resolved.

For all the Mets fans who say that the Mets lack fire on the field, be careful what you wish for. You might end up with Jose Offerman on your team.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Angel Pagan Could Help The Mets In More Ways Than One

Last year was Angel Pagan's breakout season with the Mets. In approximately half a season as an everyday player, Pagan hit .306, with 22 doubles, 11 triples, six home runs and 14 stolen bases. He also scored 54 runs and drove in 32.

The Mets' membership in the Injury of The Week Club forced Pagan into everyday duty in 2009. Now with the recent news about Carlos Beltran's arthroscopic knee surgery, Pagan will be forced into action again.

Assuming that the Mets don't acquire an interim centerfielder, Pagan will most likely play the position for about a month. Another good performance by Pagan could help the Mets now and in the long term.

When Beltran returns from his injury, he will take over in center field again, relegating Pagan to the bench. Therefore, with the recent acquisition of Jason Bay and with Jeff Francoeur playing every day in right field, Pagan will get few opportunities to play in the outfield. Because of the offensive prowess of the three outfielders, Jerry Manuel would probably not take any of them out of the game in the late innings unless if the game was a blowout.

Also, Sgt. Bay of the Yukon is under contract for at least four years, Beltran's contract doesn't expire until after the 2011 season and Francoeur is also under team control until 2011 when he becomes eligible for free agency. That would leave Pagan on the bench for two seasons.

If Pagan has a strong start for the Mets when he fills in for Beltran at the beginning of the 2010 season, the Mets might be inclined to trade him at maximum value. Once he moves to the bench, his value will certainly go down. Of course, he'd be the first player to take over in the outfield should Bay, Beltran or Francoeur go down with an injury, but we can't expect every season to be like 2009, right?

The Mets could package Pagan and a prospect for the pitching help they desperately need. Anytime a team can add to their pitching staff without trading away an everyday player, it must be looked into.

I enjoyed watching Angel Pagan play in 2009. He was exciting, aggressive (sometimes overly aggressive) and went all out to help the team win. He also allowed the Mets to plug in a player in the outfield without trading away their entire farm system to get another outfielder when they were still relatively close to a playoff spot in July.

However, he may not get many at-bats in 2010 after Carlos Beltran is deemed ready to play by his doctors or the Mets team doctors. (who knows where the final say will come from these days?)

A good start by our Angel in the outfield will certainly help the Mets in April. But more importantly for the long term success of the team, a good start might end up helping the Mets at the trading deadline.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reason #17 To Retire Keith Hernandez's Number

Keith Hernandez was the heart and soul of the 1980s Mets teams that went from languishing at the bottom of the National League East to winning two division titles and a World Series championship. The former first baseman was a leader both on and off the field, and was given the captain's "C" to honor his leadership on the team. However, despite numerous pleas by Mets fans to retire his number 17, the Mets have not yet honored their former captain by doing so.

Let's compare Keith's career with the Mets to that of another first baseman who played on the West Coast for another expansion team from the 1960s. Perhaps if the people from the Coalition To Decide New Reasons To Put Off Retiring Keith's Number read the following, they might have to rethink things.

Keith Hernandez was a member of the Mets from 1983-1989. Over his 6½ years with the team, he batted over .300 four times, scored over 80 runs four times and drove in over 80 runs four times (including two 90-RBI seasons). He won six Gold Gloves while with the Mets, made the All-Star team three times, finished in the top ten in the MVP voting three times (including two top five finishes) and won a Silver Slugger Award in 1984.

During his first four full seasons with the Mets (1984-1987), an average season for Keith Hernandez looked like this: .305 batting average, .396 OBP, .836 OPS, 32 doubles, 14 HR, 89 RBI and 88 runs scored. More importantly, he was an instrumental player in the Mets' march to the 1986 World Series championship.

So which of his contemporaries am I comparing him to? Let's peruse over the numbers of a certain Steve Garvey, especially after he joined the San Diego Padres.

Steve Garvey joined the Padres as a free agent before the 1983 season (the same year Hernandez was traded to the Mets). He played four full seasons as San Diego's first baseman and part of a fifth in 1987, playing in only 27 games during his final season in the big leagues. During his tenure in San Diego, Garvey did not win any Gold Gloves (Mr. Hernandez was winning all of those), made the All-Star team twice and never finished higher than 20th in the MVP voting. He also did not win any Silver Slugger Awards. Furthermore, he never batted over .300 in any of those four seasons, never scored more than 80 runs and drove in over 80 runs three times (but no 90-RBI seasons).

During those four full seasons in San Diego (1983-1986), these were the numbers for an average Steve Garvey season: .278 batting average, .311 OBP, .725 OPS, 26 doubles, 15 HR, 77 RBI and 72 runs scored. He helped lead the Padres to one National League pennant in 1984, but did not win the World Series that year.

Clearly, Hernandez's numbers and awards with the Mets were superior to Garvey's numbers and lack of awards with the Padres. However, Garvey can claim one thing that Keith Hernandez can't.


Apparently, the Padres cared enough to acknowledge the fact that Garvey was instrumental in bringing the team back from being also-rans prior to 1983 to pennant winners in 1984. The Mets were cellar dwellers prior to 1983 as well. Then Keith Hernandez came aboard and things started to change, eventually leading to the World Championship that Garvey wasn't able to bring to San Diego.

How can the Mets not retire Keith Hernandez's number when the Padres have bestowed that honor to Steve Garvey? Instead, they continue to hand out the number to Fernando Tatis and various pitchers like Jose Lima, Graeme Lloyd and Dae-Sung Koo. At least Gary Carter's number hasn't been worn by a Met since Matt Galante wore it as a coach in 2002.

It's time for the Mets to retire the #17 in honor of their former captain and team leader, Keith Hernandez. The left field wall at Citi Field is high enough for more retired numbers. Let's end this oversight once and for all by raising the #17 for all Mets fans to see. Say it loud. Say it proud. Retire #17!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Carlos Beltran To Miss 12 Weeks After Knee Procedure

The injury problems that plagued the Mets in 2009 have carried over into the new decade now that it has been announced that Carlos Beltran will miss a minimum of 12 weeks due to arthroscopic knee surgery.

Beltran might appear shocked in the photo above, but what's even more shocking to hear is that the procedure was done without the Mets' permission.

In a press release from earlier tonight, the Mets made the following announcement:

"Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran had worsening of osteoarthritis of the right knee during the offseason. He had not been experiencing pain following the conclusion of the season and into his early offseason conditioning. The symptoms returned to the point where pre-spring training conditioning became too painful.

He elected to undergo arthroscopic clean out of the arthritic area of his knee by Beltran's personal physician Dr. Richard Steadman today in Colorado. He is anticipated to return to baseball activities in 12 weeks."

The Mets will be playing their first week of regular season games in 12 weeks. Clearly, after Beltran resumes baseball activities, he will need to take part in an extended spring training program to test his knee. This would push his return back to May.

It appears that the Mets will be relying on Angel Pagan to repeat his breakthrough season from 2009 for at least the first month of the upcoming season.

On a happier note, Jason Bay was relieved to hear that his new outfield mate Beltran would be able to resume baseball activities in 12 weeks. After all, with the metric system in Bay's native Canada, had the injury occurred there, Beltran would have been out for 16 weeks. Then again, if last year repeats itself in 2010, 16 weeks might be a conservative number.

Get well soon, Carlos! We hope to see you in good health when you take the field for the Mets in 2010!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mark McGwire Should've Listened To Mr. T

So as many of you probably know by now, Mark McGwire decided to come out of the closet today. No, not the closet that Tom Cruise is in. McGwire decided to come clean, so to speak, about his use of steroids during his baseball career, ending many years of speculation.

In 15 years in the major leagues, McGwire was one of the best power hitters of his generation, finishing his career with 583 HR, including a then-record 70 HR in 1998.

However, that season and numerous other seasons in the '90s must now be discounted because McGwire admitted to using steroids during most of that decade.

If you recall, McGwire hit 49 HR as a rookie in 1987 (he hit three HR during a brief callup in September 1986). At the time, the Bash Brother looked like this:

McGwire admitted that he began using steroids during the winter between the 1989 and 1990 baseball seasons and continued to use them throughout the 1990s, including his record-setting 1998 campaign. He hit 245 HR in the four-year period between 1996 and 1999.

During that four-year stretch, McGwire looked like this:

If McGwire was going for the He-Man look, he should have just said "By The Power of Grayskull" and his transformation would have been instantaneous and would not have generated controversy. No steroids would have been needed in this case.

However, he decided to have his Wheaties with some juice and now he's paying the price. Studious Metsimus believes he will NEVER be voted into the Hall of Fame now. Admission of guilt will just cause the voters to consider his numbers that were not fueled by steroids (i.e. the numbers that are not sponsored by the letters "H" and "R").

Consider this. McGwire finished his career with 583 HR. However, he only picked up 1,626 hits and scored 1,167 runs in his 15 years in the big leagues. That means, he barely had over 1,000 hits that were not home runs and only scored 584 runs when he didn't drive himself in. Also, as hard as it is to believe, McGwire never hit more than 28 doubles in a single season.

Compare that to Fred McGriff's stats. McGriff collected 2,490 career hits, of which 493 left the yard. He was only three hits short of picking up 2,000 hits that were not home runs. He also scored 1,349 runs, meaning he scored 856 times when he didn't drive himself in. McGriff hit .284 over his career, as opposed to Big Mac's .263 lifetime average.

So why am I bringing up Fred McGriff? Because in his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility, the Crime Dog received 116 votes, or 21.5%. McGwire "earned" 12 more votes than McGriff did (128 votes; 23.7%), although McGriff clearly was a more complete player than McGwire was. More importantly, there is no cloud of steroids hanging over McGriff while there has been a decade-long thunderstorm over Mt. McGwire.

So what does all this have to do with Mr. T? After all, he is mentioned in the title of this blog. Well, from 1983-1986, during the height of Mr. T's popularity, he was the star of his own Saturday morning cartoon.

Each show ended with some random bad guy being caught and a lesson being learned. Basically, everything was either "stay in school" or "don't do drugs". Unfortunately, the show went off the air before Mark McGwire came up to the big leagues.

Had the show been on the air for one more season, perhaps McGwire would have known that taking steroids does nothing but inflate your head, not your production. Sure, he hit a few extra homers, but his reputation took a hit as well, one that might never be fully repaired, even with his return to baseball as the Cardinals' hitting coach.

Mark McGwire cheated himself and baseball fans when he took steroids in an attempt to "heal faster". Even with his admission, it will take more than steroids to heal this wound.

The power of Grayskull tempted him, but he should have known that we'd pity any fool who felt the need to take drugs.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Much Better Blog On The Citi Field Tour

Last month, I posted a blog on my Citi Field tour with Coop. (Click here for that blog.) The pictures I took were okay, even if my Studious Metsimus colleague decided to pop into most of them.

However, for a much better blog on the tour, please read this post from our friends at My Summer Family. Tell MSF that Joey sent you!

Now if you'll excuse me, my colleague has to test the microphone in the Citi Field press conference room, just in case Omar Minaya decides to use it again over the next few days.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Covering The BAY-ses With The Mets' New Leftfielder

With today's press conference, Jason Bay has now been introduced to the New York media and to Citi Field. So who is this man who's supposed to be the big offensive addition to the New York Mets?

Jason Raymond Bay (Jay-Ray-Bay, eh?) was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2000 amateur draft by the Montreal Expos. He was traded by then-Expos GM Omar Minaya to the Mets in 2002, although he didn't last a full season in the Mets' minor-league system. Bay was then traded during the 2002 season to the San Diego Padres, the team for which he made his major league debut in 2003.

Unfortunately, his major league career in San Diego lasted all of eight at-bats, where he collected two hits in those eight at-bats (a double and a home run). He was then traded to Pittsburgh during the 2003 season, where he picked up another 79 at-bats and continued to rack up extra-base hits (six doubles, one triple, three home runs).

The Pirates gave Bay an everyday job in 2004 and he rewarded their faith in him by putting up spectacular numbers. In only 120 games, Bay hit .282 with 26 HR and 82 RBI. His tremendous first full season in the majors earned him the National League Rookie of The Year Award.

He followed up his ROY campaign with an even better season. In 2005, Bay played in all 162 games, finishing with MVP-caliber numbers (.306 average, 44 doubles, six triples, 32 HR, 101 RBI, 110 runs scored, 21 SB).

Other than a fluke 2007 season in which Bay hit .247 with only 21 HR and 84 RBI, he has hit at least 30 HR and scored and driven in at least 100 runs in every season since 2005. He has also reached double digits in stolen bases in every season since 2005 except for the aforementioned 2007 season.

Although his strikeout total may be high (at least 129 strikeouts in each of his six full seasons in the majors), he makes up for it by drawing many walks. Other than the 2007 season, Bay has averaged 93 walks per season since 2005, including 94 bases on balls last season with the Red Sox.

Jason Bay gives the Mets their best leftfielder since the days of Kevin McReynolds. He plays every day and puts up solid numbers year after year. For the stat-freaks, here are some juicy numbers for you.

  • Over his career, Jason Bay is a .343 hitter with a runner on third and less than two outs (62-for-181).
  • With a runner on third and exactly two outs, Bay is a .283 career hitter (45-for-159). In 2009, the Mets as a team hit .186 (55-for-296) in such situations.
  • Bay is extremely clutch when there are multiple men on base. With at least two men on base (first and second, first and third, second and third, bases loaded), Bay is a career .316 hitter (161-for-509).
  • Bay will probably hit fifth in the Mets lineup (assuming the Mets' top four hitters are Reyes, Castillo, Beltran and Wright). In the five-hole, Bay has accumulated 596 at-bats in his career, or the equivalent of a full season. In those 596 at-bats, Bay has hit .307, with 32 HR and 120 RBI, numbers very similar to Robin Ventura's stats in 1999 when he helped lead the Mets to the playoffs (588 at-bats, .301, 32 HR, 120 RBI).

Jason Bay will be the Mets leftfielder for at least four years. For all the naysayers who wish to question his defense, please note that Bay did not make a single error in 2009 and collected 15 outfield assists. His experience playing in front of the Green Monster at Fenway Park should help him play the high left field wall at Citi Field.

Bay is a player who takes the field every day, hits in the clutch and plays better defense than you think. The Mets felt that they had 66 million reasons to bring him to Citi Field. The fans hope that will be enough to spark some life into the Mets offense. Welcome to New York, Jason Bay!