Sunday, June 04, 2006

News & Notes, Heroes & Goats, Commentary & Quotes- Just Another Manic Sunday!!

~Welcome to this week's Sunday "catch-all" of news and notes (and links!)

~In taking 1 of 2 games from the Giants in yesterday's double-header, the Mets were guilty of blowing yet another opportunity to get a win for one of their top 2 pitchers, Mr. Tom Glavine. Glavine's record held at 8-2 and his ERA at exactly 2.59, both exactly what they were before he started yesterday's second game. We need to get wins for Glavine & Martinez when they pitch gems like they have, especially in light of how O-Hern & Soler are getting rocked. These games should be "gimmes" and instead we are sweating it out when we needn't be. I know that this is the "curse" of being a Mets' fan, but it's time to change this already! (After all- I've been watching for nearly 38 years- don't I deserve a bit less heartburn??!! And I'm only 42!)

~Speaking of Glavine, T.J. Quinn of the NY Daily News wrote an excellent article about Glavine and the troubles he's had with his teeth after his unfortunate taxi-cab incident in 2004. You can read the article here
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~In an article about the Yanks, the NY Post's Joel Sherman also discusses the chances of the A's Barry Zito & the Marlins Dontrelle Willis being traded. Of the Marlins, Sherman notes: Marlins are prioritizing high-level catching and center-field prospects. Another AL GM said, "[Marlins GM] Larry [Beinfest] is one of the most underrated GMs in the game and he's in the perfect position; he doesn't have to do a damn thing [because Willis is still years from free agency]. He'll trade him if he gets the perfect deal." Well, if that's the case, perhaps the Mets DO have what it takes to get a deal done- something along the lines of Carlos Gomez & Jesus Flores??? Gomez we know, and Flores is starting to turn on the power while already possessing good defensive skills. Could there be a match? Also in Sherman's article, regarding Billy Beane's asking price from the Mets for Zito: his (Beane's) request to the Mets for Zito was Aaron Heilman and Lastings Milledge, which shows how difficult it is going to be to land a pitcher of this caliber. That's not going to happen. To read Sherman's article, click here.

~What was the real reason why the Mets did not sign Pedro Beato, their draft & follow pick from last year? In the same article by Sherman, he offers the following:

More interesting is the case of Pedro Beato. The Mets took the Queens native in the 17th round out of Xaverian (Brooklyn) last year, but as Beato moved further from his April 2004 Tommy John surgery, his fastball and stuff improved so much at junior college that Baseball America listed him as the draft's 13th-best pitching prospect. It is just that he was not expected to reach the draft because the Mets owned his rights until last week. But the sides failed to agree. The Mets offered about $750,000, seeing Beato more as a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds, and Beato was seeking around $1.5 million, mid-first-round money. Word spread in scouting circles that the Mets were pressured by the Commissioner's Office not to pay Beato above his value. GM Omar Minaya admitted, "We asked for advice [from the Commissioner's Office] and they gave us advice, but we made this decision. The Mets decided to make this offer and the player decided he did not want it."

It seems like Omar might have received even more pressure then he is alluding to, in order to keep salaries under control. We all know that's never worked, and it would be terrible if Beato becomes a solid major league pitcher and is signed for somewhere in the range of 1.1 - 1.4 mil!

~One more note about the Kazmir trade- how come you don't hear much about how the Cubs traded Dontrelle Willis?? Or how the Giants restocked the Twins pitching staff when they traded super reliever Joe Nathan, future great Francisco Loriano and current starter Boof Bosner for catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who is now with the White Sox (right, Mr. Barrett?) Or the A's getting fleeced for Tim Hudson? Let's give the Mets a break and stop discussing this horrible trade as we move on- upward and onward!


~Also in today's NY Post, Kevin Kernan has a great article on the Negro Leagues, and Buck O'Neil in particular, here. O'Neil, on the greatest player he has ever seen:

"Willie Mays was the greatest major-league ballplayer I've ever seen," O'Neil said. "The greatest ballplayer I've ever seen was Oscar Charleston, center fielder for the Indianapolis ABCs. Oscar Charleston, man, could hit you 50 home runs, steal you a hundred bases. The old-timers say the closest thing to Oscar Charleston was Willie Mays."
This is something my dad has told me ever since I was little, and it's sad that we will never get the chance to see what someone like Charleston could have done in the majors. If you get the chance, go to the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas. Their website can be reached here.

~Man does this guy write! In another article in today's Post, Joel Sherman discusses Mets's prospect Lastings Milledge and Yanks prospect Melky Cabrera. Sherman quotes Mets' hitting coach Rick Down, who used to be with the Yanks:

Overall, Down remains encouraged, emphasizing Milledge's ability to rise "to big occasions." When the pitching was best in the minors or in spring training, Down says, so was Milledge.

Sure enough, Milledge had a very important hit in Sunday's game vs. the Giants (2-out, 2-run double), after scoring the winning run Saturday night in the nightcap. If Milledge gets hot in the next few days, it will be that much harder to send him back to AAA. A link to this article is here.


~In yet another article in today's Post, Steve Serby posts his weekly Q&A with Mets SS Jose Reyes. Here is a link. Some highlights:

Q: Why do you smile so much?
A: Some teacher told me in school, "When you smile, you never get old." And I enjoy everything I do, man, that's why.

Q: What is it like playing in New York?
A: Amazing. A lot of people say it's tough to play here - no. I enjoy playing here because, like at home, there are a lot of Latin people around. Once you do the job, the more love you're gonna get.

Q: What did you learn about stealing bases in spring training from Rickey Henderson?
A: The most important thing he taught me was, "You have to try to read the pitcher. If he does something wrong, with your speed, it's gonna be more easy."

Q: It's helped you?
A: Oh, yeah. Last year I ran on the first pitch. Now I see if I get something from the pitcher.

Q: Funniest Met?
A: Ramon Castro. He makes everybody laugh in the clubhouse. He's got a lot of jokes.

Q: Most embarrassing moment?
A: In 2004 when I injured myself in spring training, and I came back in June and got hurt again. A lot of people said, "I don't know if this kid is gonna play a full season in the major leagues."

You've got to love that kid!!! Another great Q&A from Serby!

~From the "It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This" Department: Last night, in game 2 of their doubleheader, Billy Wagner faced Barry Bonds, who came in as a pinch-hitter, in the top of the 10th inning, tied 2-2. What did Mr. Wagner do? In the pitch of the night, and, to me, the pitch of the season (so far), Wagner threw a 99 mph heater right by Bonds, who swung and missed! Wagner got Bonds to ground out afterwards, and this is one of the many differences between the Mets' of 2005 versus the Mets' of 2006. Last year, Braden Looper would surely have given up a homer to Bonds, if he even pitched to him at all. This year, although he's blown a few games, Wagner is still dominating and that's the reason we signed him in the off-season. Of course, Bonds is not the same hitter he was, but there's no way we want him anywhere near the plate when the game might be on the line. {Editor's Note: Sure enough, Bonds knocked a run in on Sunday, making it 3-2 Mets just as I was writing this. Ugh!}

~Willie- WHY pitch Sanchez in 2 games in a row, again, when you have 3 games in LA the next 3 days? Can't you spread it around a bit more? And Chad Bradford does NOT belong on this team!

~Regarding the trade market, Newsday's Jon Heyman notes:
The Mets like Zito, with his connection to pitching coach Rick Peterson, and might have the youngsters to make a trade (Aaron Heilman, Brian Bannister?). However, the Mets are interested only if they first can sign Zito long-term. The Mets are eyeing Hernandez and Vidro and still are talking to the Devil Rays about Julio Lugo, a New York City product who'd fit at second base. But the D-Rays have wanted Heilman -- a no-go.

Heyman also says that the Mets won't trade for Soriano, because Nats' GM Jim Bowden wants Milledge in return; the Cards might listen to trade offers for Mark Mulder, a free agent at the end of the year; the Yanks are keeping watch over Ken Griffey Jr, & Adam Dunn, of the Reds, and the Diamondbacks might have the prospects to best match up with the Marlins, should they want to trade Willis. You can read Heyman's column here.

~I attended Stonybrook University, in Long Island, for 2 years. That's why I was shocked to find out that the Mets had signed Stonybrook's closer, Nick Abel, from Wantagh, who brings it at 93 mph. Shocked, because Stonybrook has not exactly been known for their athletic talent over the years. Let's hope Abel is able! (Ouch-sorry!)

~Carlos Beltran did play on Sunday. That's always a relief.

~David Wright!!!! David Wright!!!! 2 Home Runs on Sunday!!! Man is he amazing or what??!! I don't care how many times I hear it or read it, unless you have sat through the revolving door of third basemen for all of these years, you have NO IDEA how amazing it is not only to have Wright in the lineup, but that he plays third!! In the last issue of Sports Illustrated, there was a great article about Wright, calling him the "prince of the city". He's now surely the Sultan of Shea!!! I will have a link to the article up some time in the next day or so. A great read, and an even better player!!

~We know it's an "old story" already, but we can't help but remain excited to see the Mets play in their new stadium in a few short years. Here's a pic just to keep the appetite "whetted".

~Milledge, who will be roaming the outfield in the stadium above for many years, made an excellent catch in foul territory in Sunday's game. It will be amazingly hard to see this kid go back to AAA, if indeed it does happen.

~In his always excellent blog, Daily News Mets' Beat Writer (and namesake) Adam Rubin writes about Mets (injured) minor league reliever, Henry Owens. It seems Owens was the intellectual in the family, having 2 baseball-crazed sisters who are both playing ball (one in college, one in semi-pro). Another great blog entry by Rubin, author of the excellent book, Pedro, Carlos & Omar. Please visit his blog, Surfing The Mets, by visiting here.

~The Diamondbacks swept the Braves- I have rarely liked the D-Backs as much as I do today!

~Last night marked the Mets' 9th walk-off win of the season -- tops in the majors -- and their 10th extra-inning game! And you WONDER why we have heartburn and nightmares???

~Finally, ESPN.com's Buster Olney thinks the Giants should trade Bonds to the Tigers, allowing him to be a DH and continue his quest to catch and pass Hank Aaron as the all-time home run king. Why couldn't they do this BEFORE the Giants came to Shea???

~Have a great Sunday!!!

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