Monday, February 19, 2007

40/40/40/40 Club?

Is 40 the "New 20?" - Maybe for the starlets in Hollywood - Julia Roberts, Cindy Margolis, etc...but for baseball players? Well, Maybe. I know the Mets think so.

El Duque (as alluded before in this blog, I believe he saw 40 awhile ago)
Mosies Alou
Julio Franco
Ruben Sierra
and, now, Sandy Alomar Junior -- all have blown out 40+ candles on their recent birthday cakes.

With the way ball players are taking care of themselves these days, it is good to see players being productive at this stage of their career.

Now, I hope the Mets aren't looking at these players figuring they will be as good as they were in 1988, but you never know. I personally hope they all do well and make the team. Longevity (AND being good) is key to this game and many players fade before you know it (David Clyde, Joe Charboneau, etc).

The ironic thing, is that many of these players will be admitted into the ballpark a few years from now with a senior citizen discount. (All they have to do is show their current employee ID and then they'll get past the guards and get on the field.

I have a sneaking suspicion that in a few years, we will have a team of old Minnie Minosos ...but that guy drubbed out a hit at the age of 50 and swung the bat twice at age 54.

Sandy, welcome aboard...Let's see you make the roster.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Validation for the Love of the Game of Baseball

For this vast audience which extends probably two - and I'm pushing - three towns

(interlude: Hey O.H. I don't know if I consider "C" a town !),

I saw something today, albeit a day late, on the that really shows how much people love the game of baseball. I'd like to share it with you, and then give you my short, elevator assessment of why this scribe loves the game:

Expressions of love for baseball:

Good, huh? Nice cross section of folk.

I can tell you this, I love baseball as long as I can remember...4 years old, first glove, watching the Mets and (CHOKE - do I say) Yankees with my late Uncle "T McP" - Keep in mind here, the age of 5 is considered the age of reason, so I had no idea what I was doing watching the pinstripers (more like Candy Stripers then). In any sense, the thrill of opening up baseball cards with the chalky gum. The thrill of getting a Met in the pack - didn't care if he sucked or was a star - IT WAS A MET! Smelling the grass of a cut fresh field...seeing my idols play from a far seat away...MEETING some real live ball players at baseball camp at the age of 8...getting autographs...having Gene Michael teaching me how to swing a bat - WHO CARED if he was a .220 hitter...talking baseball with friends...talking MORE baseball with friends and doing more and more of the latter and former...crunching stats...saying this player was better than that player (he was)...watching the instant replays...he was, well, hmmm....second look, he looked was clearly out....listening to the sound of the bat hitting the ball...listening to the thud of the ball hit the catchers mitt...arguing managers and umpires ejecting them...only a few games out of first place...IN first place...STAYING in first place...

Now, synthesize all these things into one - there's a small fraction of what baseball is.

I have one blog. This. It's about baseball. While I do other things in life, the gift of 3 hour games every day from April to October is what I enjoy. And, as I ranted before, Spring Training has NOW started...

I Love it. Mets.

Across in the Bronx...I never write about the Yankees, but something caught my eye in the newspaper on the commute home. Mariano Rivera is cackling about his salary and being respected - kind of creating the image that he's the only one that can do what he's doing. Time to stop and get humbled by the following quote which a reporter used: "The cemetery is full of men who are irreplaceable."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Book Me on The Next Flight To Florida....

We are about to get hit with a cold spell - snow, they say, and all that keeps ringing in my ears is the phrase ".........Days 'Til Pitchers and Catchers Report......."

That is one of THE nicest chain of words (well, aside from the things people say on Valentines Day to each other - let me qualify that by those who LIKE each other)...that I can hear all winter.

And, with the warming of weather, comes the change - not only in temperature, but in rosters.

Today, I learned the Baltimore Orioles signed Steve Trachsel . Now, a good friend of mine, "MAC" who has contributed to this blog is a BIG fan of Steve. MAC, I will only refer to him as "Steve Trash Can" one time outta respect. I still, to this day can't see what the Mets saw in him. Not to take anything away from his ability as a ball player (in 2005, he made upwards of 6 million...I made upwards of 6 bucks) but he was marginal at best - YEAH. Go ahead and berate me with the 15 wins from 2006 -but when you add up his record with the Mets since 2001, it is only 66-59. Steve was one of those pitchers like Mike Hampton who came in with high expectations and just - well, didn't dazzle.

I know our pitching situation for 07 is influx. Glavine is 41. El Duque probably WAS 41 (at one time) and Pedro along with Dave Williams will be placing their derrierre's on wood for several months while their wings heal. Darren Oliver, speaking of wings, flew to the Angels, Chad Bradford sidled (get it? he s a side armer) outta here - so, our main concern will be getting the right guy on the mound at the right time - (Footnote to Omar - Remember the Maine: both John and the battleship:
Pelfrey can be good and we have to see what else is in store.

That's why we have Feb 15. It's the second most important day behind Valentine's day and grounhog day. I look forward to seeing my shadow - that will mean baseball season can't get here too soon.

I do ask my fellow fans to be patient until the bugs are worked out of the rotation.

Now the countdown begins - I can't believe I am saying this but after a drought of no MLB since late October, I can really get into a Mets-Devil Rays spring training game.

Yeah, I'm addicted to baseball and I won't give it up. I'll sit in the last row of a crowded delayed plane, middle seat between two fat guys (who each bring their own baloney & liverwurst sandwiches) just to see some early ball.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Vintage Wine...Vintage Clothes...Vintage Sluggers????

So, I am driving home from work and naturally, have the sports radio channel on (I ain't gonna say which one, but flip a coin, WFAN or WEPN, and I hear the Mets just signed Ruben Sierra...WHOA - back up a moment...Ruben Sierra??? Geeees.

He's vintage. I know people pay a lot for vintage clothes and vintage wines...but vintage ball players???

This would have been a no brainer back in '87 when Rubie kept crushing those 5 oz balls made in Haiti over high fences. But this is today and he is full of question marks based on his stats.

I do give the man (both he and Omar) credit. At an age when most ball players (save for the other vintage, Julio Franco) are retired, Ruben keeps bouncing back. And who can't resist admiring, questioning and even trying to practice that swing, kicking the leg out, pausing and bringing the bat around to hit the sssssshhhhhh - imaginary ball. Omar Minaya must see something in him too. It's rare that he has a bust as a player.

For all the Mets fans out there, this isn't the first time OLD R.S. has been getting a W-2 from the Metropolitans. Back in '98 he signed a free agent contract, but didn't appear in any games for the Mets. As a matter of fact, he sat out '99 returning the following year.

If you want to see a man who must own a few suitcases, click the link for Roob's stats and scroll down. Seems like he boomerangs to the Rangers every few years.

I am hoping Sierra will become a Treasure Sierra and lead the Mets to some W's...Wins, will be modern and vintage. Can't take them away.

Psssssssssssssssssst....Winter is officially over. It's Feb and this is the month that catchers and pitchers report.

Bring it on.