Tom Seaver Fan Club

From Tom Seaver to Dwight Gooden to David Wright, A look at the New York Mets past, present and future.

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July 27, 2014

Kid Pitchers, Duda carrying team,Impact of Dice K injury, Mets Notes

by @ 8:10 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

The New York Mets just finished a 3 city road trip 5-5 and when you consider that they dropped 2 of 3 in San Diego before taking 2 of 3 from a strong Seattle Mariners team and splitting 4 in Milwaukee vs the Brewers, it has to be considered a success. On an almost nightly basis, they faced high quality starting pitching and had to scratch and claw for runs. In the last 2,3 weeks, Zach Wheeler(5-8,3.64 ERA,1.33 WHIP, One earned run and between 6 and 7 innings last 4 starts) and Jacob deGrom(5-5,2.79, 1.26, 2 earned runs over the last 4 starts) have stepped up huge and given the team a huge lift. Offensively, Lucas Duda(.259,18 home runs, 56 RBI) has never been better. He has hit 4 homers in the past 6 Games, including the game winners in both Milwaukee victories. The team goals continue to change but a .500 season is a legitimate achievement and for a team that has not had a winning record since 2009, feasible.

DICE K DOWN. TRANSLATION:BAD!!!: Do it all pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka(Elbow inflammation) has been shut down and placed on the 15 day DL after his pitching elbow acted up after his most recent relief appearance(July 24th) and he is awaiting further medical tests in NYC. This injury is a big deal. Dice K pitches in a variety of roles(ala Carlos Torres) and with several youngsters approaching innings plateaus, you need as many quality, healthy arms as possible. Underrated injury.

METS NOTES: The 8th and 9th inning tandem of Jeurys Familia(set up) and Jenrry Mejia(closer) has been unstoppable in July. Mejia has converted 7 of 8 saves with a 0.82 ERA and 13 Ks in 11 games. Familia has had a sub 2.00 ERA (and descending!!!) for 3 straight months and has allowed 1 home run all season!!!!!!!…. With Kirk Niewenhuis sent down to Triple A(WHY!!!!!!!!), Chris Young has benefited with more regular playing time and has 4 hits in his last 7 at bats. More good news, It appears that Juan Lagares will get his 500+ At Bats in Centerfield!!!!!!! He plays almost every day now…. The strong run of starts for Both Wheeler and de Grom have become timely due to the recent returns of veterans Jonathan Niese and Dillon Gee from DL stints. Both have not been bad or great but rusty would be a good word. When these two round into shape, look out MLB!

July 20, 2014

Smart and Selective at Trading Deadline, Mets Notes

by @ 6:19 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

I know fans of the Mets, who have seen 5+ losing seasons, want a quick fix and a win now philosophy in Queens. Nobody wants this team to win more than me, I watch every game, every presser, win or lose. I feel like Bobby Ojeda and Jim Duquette are my spiritual advisors-shrinks(SNY Post Game analysts). Gary, Keith and Ron are my long lost Brothers from April to October, The Mets losing kills me. But they are close to being a winner and teams that make a mistake at this point never recover and successful long term. This is what happened after 2006-2008, buy, don-t develop does not work in this sport. That is why I am saying this team needs to be smart and selective with any moves from here til Opening Day 2015. Let me explain. I think the team has 3 above average major leaguers in their everyday lineup: 2B Daniel Murphy, 3B David Wright and OF Curtis Granderson. From there, I would classify two more youngsters as potential solid MLers with tremendous upsides: C Travis d’Arnaud and CF Juan Lagares. Finally, I think you have two players who could go either way and be good players on a division winner or career platoon types: 1B Lucas Duda and SS Ruben Tejada. When you look at this list, do you see many holes? No. What you do see is a need for one Outfielder long term, ideally a corner with the ability to hit Cleanup. I am the president of the Kirk Nieuwenhuis fan club but right now, he is trending towards a 4th Outfielder-strong pinch hitter type with Eric Young Jr. in a similiar role with his speed and ability to spot Murphy at 2B as well. The key is finding that guy- this groups Donn Clendenon, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Mike Piazza, Carlos Beltran or Delgado. Moves-whether it be a trade or free agent- that turned the Mets into a winner. Historically that is how the Mets win. And I trust History and GM Sandy Alderson.

Besides the above paragraph, I also want to address the rumors about the Mets trading Bartolo Colon. First of all, the reason this is happening are many but the keys are these facts: 1- He is a proven veteran 2- He has an affordable contract thru 2015 3- He is an excellent teammate and locker room guy 4- He plays for a team with a “surplus” of pitching. The first 3 statements are undeniably true. But a flaw exists with number 4. With the return of veteran Jon Niese(Tired pitching shoulder) to the rotation, He joins Dillon Gee, Zach Wheeler, Jacob deGrom and Colon in the 5 man unit. Both Gee and Niese have had health issues throughout their careers and this season while Wheeler and deGrom are youngsters who will be monitored and more than likely limited late in the year. The Mets are blessed to have an option like Daisuke Matsuzaka on their staff, the guy can pitch today, Tuesday, Thursday and twice on Sunday. EFFECTIVELY. But my point is if you deal Colon, you are banking on health and good fortune and it is never a good idea to tempt fate. Wait until the offseason when you have a better idea where Matt Harvey is, where Jeremy Heffner is, how Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero close out 2014 in Las Vegas. Now if someone wants to give you Carlos Gonzales, Giancarlo Stanton or Troy Tulowitzki, I would carry Bartolo to Denver or Miami and die but that is not going to happen. He is an asset, use him correctly. Worked with Carlos Beltran(Wheeler), R.A. Dickey(Syndergaard) and Marlon Byrd(Vic Black). Work that magic, Sandy! But be smart!

METS NOTES:In order to clear a roster spot for Niese, veteran reliever Buddy Carlyle was DFA-ed. Dice K will move to the pen to help the relievers….. d’Arnaud has really responded well to hitting in the Five hole. He is hitting .275 with 2 homers and 8 RBI in July. Mets fans should be very excited about the future of catching in Queens with Travis and Kevin Plawecki(.310 combined in AA,AAA) tearing up the Minor Leagues…. With this roster, I love the lineup Terry Collins has penciled in: Granderson, Murphy, Wright, Duda, d’Arnaud, Niewenhuis-Young,Lagares, Tejada, Pitcher…. BTW, after an historically awful April, Granderson has been great. Check his Stats. He is on pace to hit 20 home runs with 80 RBI and 90 walks. A year after missing 90 games, changing leagues and making a major home ball park adjustment. Money well spent.

July 15, 2014

8-2 Homestand sparks Mets as the All Star Break looms, Medical updates on Wright, Niese and Harvey, Team Notes

by @ 5:52 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

The New York Mets enter the All Star Break at 45-50 but have been playing a better brand of baseball in June and July. The recent 8-2 record in the final home stand before the ASB revealed the team strengths: pitching- both in the rotation and relief corps- and depth of position players. The Mets do not have Hank Aaron but guys like Chris Young(Yes, the guy I have been killing since May), Kirk Niewenhuis(.989 OPS in 46 at bats since recall in June) , Eric Campbell(.833 OPS, Hits wherever he plays) and Eric Young Jr(25 steals in limited role, strong energy guy) have contributed when called upon. Improved at bats daily from the likes of 1B Lucas Duda(.282 Avg-.352 On Base-.480 Slugging- 14 Homers, 49 RBI) , SS Ruben Tejada(.350 On Base from a guy who hits 8th regularly in the National League is HUGE!), C Travis d’Arnaud(.263 with 2 bombs, 6 RBI and .817 OPS in July) and CF Juan Lagares(.293 average,15 doubles to go along with Gold Glove caliber D) lengthen the lineup and have been noticeable to the naked eye. Clearly the new hitting approach from Lamar Johnson has made an impact. The Pitching even minus rotation stalwarts Jon Niese(Tired throwing shoulder) and Dillon Gee(Lat muscle strain) has been great and the mix of veterans- Bartolo Colon(4-1, 2.57 ERA in June) and Daisuke Matsuzaka(Fills ANY role, 3-3,3.55 ERA in 26 games with 9 starts)- joining the Kids- Zach Wheeler(5-8,3.90 in 19 starts) is becoming more consistent from start to start, remember he is in his 2nd major league season! and the staff revelation- Jacob deGrom(3-5,3.12 in 12 starts with 10 quality starts(6 Innings or more, 3 earned runs or less) to give Mets fans hope for the 2nd half, 2015 and beyond. If you want to make Mets fans smile, mention to them this is all minus #33, the Dark Knight. They will smile.

HEALTH HELP: Post game Sunday July 13th, 3B and team captain David Wright received a planned cortisone shot in his left shoulder to aid in the healing process from the rotator cuff injury he suffered in Late June. The team sat him for 8 games without a stint on the disabled list and he has responded with hot streak: .364 average, .447 On base, 2 Homers, 4 doubles, 7 RBI in 9 games. All systems appear go for Niese to rejoin the rotation on the opening West Coast trip in San Diego and Seattle to start the 2nd half. He threw without issues Sunday July 13th and will have another session Friday before being cleared to start vs Seattle July 21st. Meanwhile, Matt Harvey(Tommy John Surgery) has started to throw on flat ground and has been told by the team to not throw from the mound until after July. Harvey has had his patience tried during this tough rehab but a recent study by his agent Scott Boras showed pitchers coming back from TJS should wait 14-16 months before pitching in a game. Harvey had his procedure October 22, 2013.

METS NOTES:Cannot emphasize enough how important it is for the Mets to do well in the opening series out on the West Coast. This team has turned the page and is playing solid ball in all areas. Winning at Citi Field has been a major issue since the team moved their in 2009. The Mets have won 12 of 18 at their spacious home. Their style of play(pitching, defense, speed) translates well to the road and they need to continue to put up W-s…. Colon’s name is coming up a lot in trade rumors and part of this is based on the Mets pitching depth— Dice K can both start and relieve and with Gee and Niese back healthy, the team has extra pitching. However, part of what has helped this team turn it around is that depth. Also anyone who watches this team consistently will tell you how big a locker room contribution both Colon and veteran Outfielder Bobby Abreu(.275 avg, .356 On base, 14 RBI in limited role) have made on this club.I would only trade Colon in a deal that helps this team win today and in 2015. No 18 year old kids, the time to win is NOW!!!!… Manager Terry Collins has announced the rotation to open the 2nd half: Colon, Gee, Wheeler then TBA(Niese) and TBA #2(Bet on deGrom). The team is guarded about young Jacob, who has a set innings limit(185) and is over 110 with his combined numbers at Triple A and with the big club. Cannot say enough about the value of Dice K. HUGE for this team…. When you look at the Mets team, they have 2 long term holes to fill- and I am beginning to come around on Tejada- Shortstop and LeftField. Mark those two spots down for any major trade and/or free agent move. Colorado Rockies Superstar SS Troy Tulowitzki would make me very happy. I am not a fan of Cubs SS Starlin Castro and often cringe when I see the Mets linked to his name. Bad attitude, stats driven guy… The Mets relief corps has really stepped up since the outing of several overmatched veterans- I will not type their names- and the team features 6- SIX- relievers with sub 3.00 ERAs entering the 2nd half. Led by Vic Black(1.69 in 23 games) and Lefty Josh Edgin(1.76 in 25), this unit has been deadly for the opposition.

July 7, 2014

Daniel Murphy Lone Mets ASG selection

by @ 11:35 am. Filed under Uncategorized

Mets 2B Daniel Murphy has been selected as a reserve for the All Star Game next week in Minnesota. “Murph” is hitting .294 with 20 doubles, 7 home runs and 35 RBI plus 11 stolen bases. He is 2nd in the National League in hits after doing the same in 2013. Murphy thanked Mets 3B Coach Tim Teufel(A 2B on the 1986 World Championship team), SS Ruben Tejada and former Met infielder Justin Turner for their help in the transition to 2nd after he played 3B and some OF previously. Very well deserved honor and now it is time for the Mets and Murphy to get together and sign an extension!

July 6, 2014

Niese DL-ed, Wright back, Trade Murphy?, Internal Improvements, Mets Notes

by @ 3:18 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

Mets ace Jon Niese(Left shoulder strain) was put on the DL Sunday July 6th in a precautionary move. Niese, staff best 2.96 ERA, has seen his velocity drop and sitting him thru the All Star break will give him extra rest and help him recharge for the 2nd half. Manager Terry Collins said post game Sunday that he is penciled in to start in San Diego when the team comes back late next week. The rotation spot will be filled by Dillon Gee(Lat strain) who will come off the DL to start Wednesday. Meanwhile, RHRP Buddy Carlyle will join the pen to give Collins and Pitching coach Dan Warthen an extra arm for the next 2 games.

WRIGHT BACK:Captain David Wright(Rotator Cuff strain) returned to the lineup Saturday and appears fine. He was supposed to return Friday but a run of bad weather did not allow him to work out in the field and the Mets wisely erred on the safe side when they held him out. He collected a hit for the 11th straight game and was his usually active self defensively.

TRADE MURPHY?: I am seeing lots of reports,rumors,etc of the Mets potentially trading 2B Daniel Murphy. My response? ARE THE METS NUTS?! This team is poor to average offensively and Daniel Murphy has from day 1 been this teams most consistent hitter. Is he the greatest defensive player? No but he works hard and 2B is not his natural position. He might be the one hitter on this team who has adjusted well to Citi Field, #28-s hitting approach fits it to a tee. Gap to gap, power alleys, doubles instead of home runs. If the Mets use the we cannot afford him excuse, the Wilpons should sell this team. This is the type of player you keep around, you developed him and he is established. Now if someone wants to trade me say Troy Tulowitzki or Giancarlo Stanton in a package with Murph, that is different. But Daniel Murphy is part of the solution, not problem. He should be the Mets representative at the ASG! The Mets should talk about EXTENDING HIM, not trade him!

INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS: To follow up my point on Murphy, one of the things the 2014 New York Mets bring to the table is hope. Hope for the future. We have seen and heard about the pitching- a Wheeler, deGrom, Montero, Syndergaard- but look at the position players. C Travis d’Arnaud has been on fire since he returned from Las Vegas and just looks like a brand new man with the bat in his hand. Hats off to Las Vegas Manager Wally Backman and his staff for working with the slumping rookie . Meanwhile, 1B Lucas Duda, SS Ruben Tejada and CF Juan Lagares all have shown they can be everyday contributors and could be huge pieces of a pennant winning Mets club. Finally, take a look at the relief corps and you will not start swearing. No more Valverde, Farnsworth and the collection of gas cans that poor Collins was handed in the season’s early Months when closer Bobby Parnell blew out his arm in the first week of the season. Jenrry Mejia(5-3,3.98 ERA, 8 of 9 save opportunities, 23 games in relief) has grabbed the closer job while Jeurys Familia(1-3,2.18,42 ) is setting him up in the 8th and Vic Black(1-2,1.50) and Josh Edgin(1-0,1.23,23) have all been amazing since Mid May. Suddenly, the Mets pen is a a weapon, not liability.

METS NOTES: Veteran Bartolo Colon(8-7,4.04) is another name that will come up in trade discussions and the Mets would be wise to keep him around. If you watch the team consistently, he is a team leader and good influence in the locker room. Also take into account the health issues a Niese, Gee,etc have dealt with and giving away a quality veteran arm who brings reliability to a staff is not a wise move… Rookie Eric Campbell struggled defensively at 3B filling in for Wright but can hit(.340, 8 doubles, home run and 9 rbi in 94 at bats). Look for Collins to try and find a role for this bat…. RHP Carlos Torres is a team MVP type. Niese left his last start(July 4th) after recording 1 out and Torres took the ball(4 and 2 thirds inning for the team ). He takes it a lot and saves the staff consistently. The swingman is 2nd to Familia in appearances with 40…. I am tired of saying this and he is nice guy but OF Chris Young(.199,.625 OPS) should not be on this team. SNY play by play man Gary Cohen almost said it on air the other night. You are playing short a man with him on the team. I do not care about his salary and what it means for the team. He cannot play. Give his ABs to Eric Young Jr, Kirk Nieuwenhuis(LOVE HIM!) and/or Campbell. This team is trying to win and Chris Young is not part of the future. He should not be part of the present either… OF Curtis Granderson ranks 2nd in the NL in walks with 52, hence his recent use in the leadoff spot.

July 1, 2014

RIP Frank Cashen, Wright Update

by @ 11:36 am. Filed under Uncategorized

Mets Fans in my age range( I am 42) took a big hit Monday when Former Met General Manager Frank Cashen passed away at the age of 88 after an illness. Cashen(Served as GM from 1980-91) took over one of the worst franchises in baseball in 1980 and turned them into a model organization and World Champion in 1986. He selected Darryl Strawberry with his 1st draft choice, he traded for Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter and promoted a little known skipper named Davey Johnson thru the minors. I could go on and on. Just to give you an idea of his impact on this team when you tune into SNY, think about these facts: He hired Gary Cohen(Play by Play voice), traded for Hernandez, Ron Darling and Bobby Ojeda!!!!!!!! Cashen favored power- pitchers and home run hitters- a style he brought from his former club, the Baltimore Orioles. Known as a player friendly GM who cared about his men away from the field, Both Ojeda and Hernandez shared stories about the man last night on air. Ojeda was going to be traded in 1990 and Cashen told him he would move him to California where he was from because he was a “good” Met. Ojeda was playing for the LA Dodgers. Cashen also promised Hernandez he would trade him away if he did not like it in NY after being shipped to Queens in mid season 1983. Keith never forgot that and signed on long term when he saw the pipeline of arms on the way. The 86 team? Everyone knows about Straw and Doc… Sid Fernandez, Darling and Ojeda all Cashen trades and helped form the strength of the Mid 80s Mets powerhouse clubs: The starting rotation. 3b Ray Knight(World Series MVP), INF Howard Johnson,2b-Current 3B Coach Tim Teufel and 1B-OF-PH Lee Mazzilli all were added via transactions and had huge roles throughout their stay in Queens. Cashen added another starting pitcher in a minor deal prior to the 1987 season, David Cone! Just an amazing executive who turned the Mets into winners. Great, great baseball mind and better man, RIP Mr. Cashen.

WRIGHT UPDATE:Mets 3B David Wright(Left shoulder) will not go on the DL but is not with the team in Atlanta. He is resting and rehabbing in NY and is out til at least Friday July 4th at the earliest. A good sign medical wise is the Captain did not require a cortisone shot. The Mets struggle with #5 in the lineup and without him the team is almost crippled. Hope and pray he is back ASAP!

June 29, 2014

Mets, Wright appear to have dodged Bullet

by @ 10:45 am. Filed under Uncategorized

The Mets 3B, Team captain and franchise face, David Wright, will miss his 3rd straight game today with a bruised rotator cuff in his left shoulder. The good news is with these off days, rest and treatment, the team and player hope to avoid a DL stint. An MRI Saturday revealed the injury and Mets assistant GM John Ricco said the team will have a better idea of how to progress after #5 is examined Monday. Rookie INF-OF Eric Campbell has been getting most of the work at 3B and Manager Terry Collins has contingency plans in place for players to move around including Daniel Murphy(his natural position) and Eric Young JR(Has played 2B and OF at all levels) shuffling spots. Wright is tough- played with a broken back for about a month 2 years ago and a bad hamstring last year before blowing it out— so when he goes to the medical staff and manager with an injury, you should be alarmed. Mets fans everywhere are keeping their fingers crossed but positive signs so far.

June 23, 2014

Pitching keeps club within range, Medical updates, Mets Notes

by @ 4:18 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

The starting rotation and young bullpen(led by Closer Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia) continue to keep the flawed NY Mets afloat in the tough NL East. Led by Jon Niese(ML high 19 straight quality start streak from 2013 to today) and Bartolo Colon(5-0, 1.66 ERA last 6 outings), the starters have been incredible,helping the team win 4 of 7 in a tough road stretch at St. Louis and Miami. The offense has seen some subtle improvements with 1B Lucas Duda and CF Curtis Granderson stepping up in particular. Meanwhile, SS Ruben Tejada continues to chip in with clutch hits and more quality at bats. Near the end of the trip, Captain David Wright really started to hit like David Wright. One more noticeable aspect of progress was more meaningful outs- advancing runners, sacrifice flies,etc- Niese even plated a run with a well timed suicide squeeze in Sunday’s win. I also think the return of Eric Young Jr. has helped the team offensively and defensively. Chris Young looks like a major free agent bust and Young Jr brings energy and spark whenever he plays. Unfortunately, the “other” Young looks to be on his last legs and the team is rumored to be considering cutting the veteran later this week.

METS MASH: Good news on the Medical front regarding the 2 key Mets injuries: SP Dillon Gee(Back) and CF Juan Lagares(Ribs). Gee will start a rehab game sometime early this week and has progressed well medically. He was fine after a recent throwing session that saw him toss 50 pitches. Lagares, arguably the Mets best player before he was injured, playing minor league games now and could rejoin the big club as early as Thursday. The health of both of these men is vital to the future of the team.

METS NOTES: C Travis d’Arnaud will be recalled sometime this week, as early as Tuesday or Wednesday according to various media outlets. The promising rookie has been lights out since being demoted to Triple A Las Vegas, hitting .444 with 6 home runs and 16 rbi in 16 games…… Manager Terry Collins has tinkered with the lineup in the past 10 days and has tried hitting the pitcher 8th with the goal getting the lineup to turn over more and get their better hitters more rbi opportunities. He has also tried Granderson in the lead off spot. Granderson hit 1st for many years in Detroit at the start of his career and knows how to reach base but he was brought to Queens to protect Wright. When Lagares returns, look for Juan in the leadoff spot… Rookie Jacob deGrom got his 1st ML win June 21st after pitching well in all 8 starts. Kid has spunk and looks like a keeper. de Grom is now 1-4 with a 3.75 ERA…OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis has played well since his mid week call up and has 3 hits in 6 plate appearances. I am and have always been a BIG fan!…SP Zack Wheeler(3-7,3.93) pitched maybe the finest game of his young ML career Thursday night in Miami. He pitched a complete game 3 hitter while K-ing 8 and walking 1. Control is the only thing holding this kid back and he continues to make steady progress in his 1st full year in the bigs.

June 15, 2014

Pitchers continue to keep Mets afloat, Crucial road trip on tap, Notes

by @ 3:37 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

The New York Mets are an amazing 31-38 and almost all the reasons why their record stands at that clip are offensive. Literally and figuratively. Outside of 2B Daniel Murphy no one on this team has supplied consistent solid at bats, David Wright has been marred in hot and cold spurts all year and is a brutal slump currently but outside of #28, Rookie CF Juan Lagares(2nd stint on DL) was the Mets best offensive weapon. The Mets pitching staff boosts the 12th best ERA in the sport(30 ML teams) and the rotation has 43 quality starts(6 or more innings pitched, 3 earned runs or less). With an average offense, this team would be in first place. However, the Mets are 23rd in runs and 29th in batting average. The club’s saving grace offensively? They are 4th in walks and that translates it their 22nd ranking in on base percentage. Some positives? SS Ruben Tejada and 1B Lucas Duda have started to hit better after tough starts and OF Curtis Granderson, a multi time All Star, has really stepped up in June, hitting .351 with 2 home runs and 7 rbi. Still, any hope for the 2014 season comes down to the Mets hitting. ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!

TOUGH TRIP:The Mets play in so many close games, taxing both the pitchers and everyday players, so any road swing is tough. But after Daisuke Matsuzaka became violently ill in his start June 15th,an overused pen had to toss 8 innings in a 3-1 victory vs San Diego at Citi Field. So going into to play the powerhouse St. Louis Cardinals for 4 games without a day off is not a recipe for success. After departing Missouri, the Mets then face team nemesis, the Miami Marlins for 4 contests in Florida. These next 2-3 weeks are crucial for GM Sandy Alderson and the rest of the Mets talented front office. They must gauge where the team is and what positions need to be addressed or which veterans-youngsters can be moved to strengthen the club heading forward. The All Star break and trade deadline are right around the corner.

Mets Notes:Cannot say enough enough about the contributions P Carlos Torres(3-4,3.43 ERA, 36 games) makes to this team daily. He takes the ball almost every game and has been a team and staff saver. Serious candidate for team MVP…. Veteran Bobby Abreu(.308, 12 rbi, .846 OPS in 78 at bats)) has also been a godsend and shows this team how to take professional at bats and work counts. Great presence on and off the field….Eric Young Jr. is set to come off the DL Monday and if the Mets are serious about 2014, they should consider cutting veteran free agent OF disappointment Chris Young(.196 with 4 homers and 15 rbi in 162 At Bats). The season is almost into July and he has been awful. The Mets have better options in the OF and cannot afford to give away at bats and outs.

June 8, 2014

Commentary: Mets= Mess, Notes

by @ 9:27 am. Filed under Uncategorized

What started out a promising road trip(4 wins in 5 days vs the rival Philadelphia Phillies) has turned into a nightmare for the New York Mets and their fans. A sweep at the hands of the worst organization in American pro sports(The Chicago Cubs) and back to back late inning losses to the powerhouse San Francisco Giants have exposed this team and what it is: a flawed collection of players who routinely make the same mistakes over and over yet fail to adjust. Do they lack talent? Yes. Ruben Tejada will not be confused with Cal Ripken Jr. anytime soon but he should know how to run when a ball hits the right field wall. His mental blunder Saturday night was a rally killer and the latest example of what we see almost nightly with this team. Runners on base and they stay where they are. Guys having horrific at bats, trying to hit 8 run homers and having no clue about how to play winning baseball. This team approach to hitting makes nuts. Terry Collins is a good- NO- GREAT baseball man but something is wrong with this club and change might be good.

When you watch this team hit– they pitch and catch fine- you lose your mind and hair all at once. Swinging at balls 3 feet wide, wasted outs, no adjustments– Listening to SNY.tv broadcasts you wish you could send a flask of something strong to poor Keith Hernandez in the booth. That man was exactly what this team isn-t… smart, efficient, clutch and always one step ahead. He might stroke out on the air if he watches another 100+ games. The other night when the pen blew a game in Chicago(June 3rd, 2-1 loss) , I started watching the movie 300 on another channel mid game. My rationale? I figured those guys died for a reason,a just cause and this group is killing me with the same damn script nightly. Men LOB, pitcher kicks ass, pen comes in with zero margin for error in a close game. And like the movie, I knew the ending of the Mets game. 5 minutes later, Cubs OF Chris Coghlan hit a Josh Edgin mistake into the LeftField stands to tie the game. The hitters leave runners on, the starting pitching keeps the team in the game and the overtaxed pen loses the game. GROUNDHOG DAY!!!!The Mets do not play blowout games-EVER- look at the stat sheet! Why? They do not score runs and do not allow many either. This is a recipe for disaster that taxes your pitching staff. It is brutal on the team and fan base and you see the wear and tear on Captain David Wright and Collins. This team does not lack talent, it lacks performance.

Is this team the ’61 Yankees offensively? No- but you can runs the bases, hit a fly ball with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs or advance a runner a base with this team. And I know OFs Juan Lagares and Eric Young Jr.-two of the better athletes on the team- are out but a major league player should be able to hit a fly ball 1 out of 10 times. A large part of this is on GM Sandy Alderson, who signed two similar low average,good defense, power-speed combo outfielders(Chris Young and Curtis Granderson) this offseason. That type of player does not translate well to cavernous Citi Field. Young has been awful while Granderson has rallied after historically brutal April. Lucas Duda is making progress, yet Travis d’Arnaud(more on him below) is as close to an automatic out as you can have in MLB. A positive? Collins seems to have found a nice working platoon with Tejada and INF Wilmer Flores at SS. Still, this group is severely substandard offensively. Veteran bats- 3B David Wright and 2B Daniel Murphy- have nice numbers but can you recall a hit in a big spot? Both good players but you begin to question if those two can lead this team out of the darkness. Or will the reinforcements come too late for both- #5 in particular.

What do I want the Mets to do? Simple: When you lack in talent, you must do little things well. In baseball, that means maximizing outs, catching the ball, being smart. All reflections on Management and coaching. Collins has tried several different lineups and recent call ups have shown life(INF Eric Campbell, OF Andrew Brown as examples). The pitching is pretty good and keeps the team afloat. But If I do not see marked improvement by the end of June, I would fire Terry Collins, a man I like and respect. This is not because he is a bad manager- he isn-t- but more of a change for change sake move. I also think the world of Mets Triple A Manager Wally Backman and know he will take a dynamite stick to this franchise immediately. This guy gets players to play or they sit on the bench. Or the stands. The Mets are better than this and this tortured fan base DESERVES a winner. This is unacceptable and cannot continue. If it does, heads should roll.

METS NOTES: The team demoted d’Arnaud(.180 with a .544 OPS in 39 games) to Triple A and hope he can regain his confidence and form that made him one of the top prospects in all of baseball.”I’ve just work to,” d’Arnaud said. “I’ve got to find my swing, just get it back.” Team Captain Wright spoke to the rookie post game and tried to be supportive saying many great players go thru this. Veteran Taylor Teagarden has been recalled to catch with Anthony Recker…. Mets relievers led the Majors with 16 losses-yet are 11th in ERA and 9th in innings- further supporting my gripes about this offense. When you do not score, sooner or later someone gives it up!!!!

June 2, 2014

Extra Burden: Long games force bullpen, roster moves including Lagares DL-ed

by @ 1:16 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

The Mets have played 39 innings in the last 3 days(2 14 inning games and Sunday’s 11 frame victory) and the game lengths have taxed the teams pitching staff in particular. In order to both protect arms and have fresh ones to throw the team has had to make several moves to be even competitive. New York has recalled veteran major leaguers RHP Buddy Carlyle(Got the win Saturday) and LHP Dana Eveland. After his most recent start(Friday May 30th), rookie RHP Rafael Montero was sent back to Triple A. Daisuke Matsuzaka, who appears able to pitch EVERYDAY!, will assume his rotation spot and get the ball Wednesday in Chicago vs the Cubs. These types of games are brutal too watch and play in yet show two important things to Mets fans. This team can catch and pitch the ball. That is the good news. The bad? On most days this team could not hit water if it fell out of a boat. And when you combine these sets off facts, you have long, drawn out games that tax both the pitching staff and position players. Nobody wants to be out in heat for 39 innings in 3 days. Lets hope we do not see any muscles pulls or strains in the next couple of days!

METS NOTES: OF Juan Lagares was placed on the DL today with a right intercostal strain, OF Matt den Dekker has been recalled to take his roster spot. This sucks for both Juan and the Mets. Lagares is a premier Outfielder and gives the team quality at bats. With this move and Eric Young Jr.(Leg) also being on the DL the team is severely depleted in the Outfield especially defensively….. Dillon Gee(Back) had a slight set back in his bullpen session Sunday and the team has decided to”back him off a little bit” The stated goal of returning to the rotation on June 5th is now in question…. Veteran OF Bobby Abreu(.314 average, .880 OPS) has really helped out the team offensively and almost always give you a quality at bat. He is not Roberto Clemente in Right but is solid in the field with good routes and proper positioning. Great, great signing by the Mets front office.. Good news regarding Mets top prospect RHP Noah Syndergaard and his recent injury scare. His elbow injury- a mild flexor-pronator strain- is fine and he is expected to rejoin the Triple A rotation June 5th…. Since Thursday, the Mets and Phillies have played 48 innings, our 5 + games in 4 days with the rare 5 game series(Game added tonight as a Weather related reschedule) concluding tonight in Philadelphia

May 27, 2014

Time for Change: Mets fire Hitting Coach Hudgens, Cut Valverde

by @ 4:59 am. Filed under Uncategorized

Anyone who reads this blog knows I believe it is winning time for the Mets. No more rebuild, lets clear the payroll, etc… It is time to compete and win more than you lose. Well, clearly New York GM Sandy Alderson agrees because he fired a good friend in hitting coach Dave Hudgens, who has served in that capacity since 2011. After a strong April, the team has been awful in May and the lack of offense is glaring. The Mets have averaged 3.7 runs per game and hit .256 as a team in the Month. The home numbers are more glaring: .222 average, 18 home runs and 86 runs in 28 games. Prior to the game Monday, the team ranks offensively: runs(23rd), average(25th), OBP(21st), and 29th(Slugging). Meanwhile Monday marked the 12th consecutive day the team has scored 5 runs or fewer. Numbers aside watching this team hit is frustrating as hell. Double plays, bad at bats, approaches and a lack of execution. Mets batters get worse with runners on and do not make productive outs. Hence the teams 28th ranking with the bases loaded. The team has promoted Veteran coach Lamar Johnson, who has served the team for 11 seasons, the last 10 as the clubs Minor League hitting instructor. Previously, he was the hitting coach for the Milwaukee Brewers(1995-1998), Kansas City Royals(1999-2002) and Seattle Mariners(2003). What effect will this move have on the field? Remember the Mets have an organizational hitting plan: take pitches, draw walks,make the pitcher work,etc. The hope is a different voice for the same message brings change. Think a new chef for the broth.

In the 2nd headline of the day, the Mets cut veteran reliever Jose Valverde 10 minutes after he blew a save and the game Monday May 26th. This move is a good sign for several reasons. First, Valverde,by all accounts a great teammate, cannot pitch anymore. He looks like a shot fighter. His innings will now go to a good young arm and someone like Vic Black(Who was added to the roster after Valverde was released) or Josh Edgin, who has a future with this team. Secondly, nothing kills a young team and pitcher more than a late inning reliever blowing a game. When you have a Rafael Montero, Zach Wheeler and Jacob deGrom pitch their ass off and some gas can blows the game, it is like losing two. Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee and Jon Niese are not on their first rodeo, they have been around the block. But a bad bullpen kills kids. Add to this the struggles of the offense outlined above and you can see why this mix was a toxic elixir. Finally, this also means Alderson likes the kids he has in the pen and while a John Lannan, Kyle Farnsworth and Valverde are gone, they did their job and bought the Mets kids valuable time to be ready for the big show. Brighter days ahead!

May 24, 2014

Position battles at SS, OF and Pen key to remainder of Season, Mets Notes

by @ 10:59 am. Filed under Uncategorized

While the stated Goal of the 2014 Mets entering the season was set at 90 wins by GM Sandy Alderson, another factor outside of wins and losses should be looked at. And I am not sure if a win total is right approach. To me, the foundation for what this team is about was set in the last 100 games of 2013.(Club went 50-50) Real on field progress and corner stone players being developed… The David Wrights, Daniel Murphys, Jon Nieses and Dillon Gees fans know— but the Zach Wheelers, Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnauds and Ruben Tejadas are either part of the solution and/or problem as this team approaches contention. How good these young guys are and how the perform will determine future moves and trades as well as how fast this team contends for postseason play. You know how I can tell this team is getting better? Fans are excited to watch games and EXPECT the team to win games. In the brutal NL East minus an ace who started the All Star Game for the National League in Matt Harvey. 90 wins or 78….. That is progress. I watch every inning of every game(Note lack of hair) and this team is competitive and coming. HARD. And like in 1984, when they do hit they will not disappear and hit for a long time. Listen to Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez and Bobby Ojeda on the SNY broadcasts and you can here it in their voices and tone. The days of the Mets being cannon fodder for the rest of MLB is coming to close and is ending. Whether they have a massive jump(Think Tampa Rays or Pittsburgh Pirates) or minor(Kansas City Royals) will be determined by the kids you see between the white lines on a daily basis.

As I mentioned above, The Mets are set at 3B(Wright) and 2B(Murphy), 1B(Lucas Duda) and C(d’Arnaud) are manned by developing young talents and have strong backups on the roster in C Anthony Recker and INF-OF Eric Campbell. This team must somehow find an internal option at SS or make a trade. This is why I love the recent recall of INF Wilmer Flores and installing him at the spot. His body type is not ideal for SS-long and tall- and he does not appear to be the most graceful fielder. But you know what? He gets it done and hits wherever you bat him. I think Tejada is a ML player but not a 145-150 start guy. Flores might be a 150 guy. Playing him helps us find out. As far as the Outfield goes, I think 2 of the 4 need to play everyday. Curtis Granderson is killing the ball in May(.310 average with 5 home runs,14 RBI and .963 OPS) and makes $15 million. Juan Lagares might be the best all around player on this team and does something almost every night to help you win. He needs to be in Center every night. I love both Chris and Eric Young Jr but neither is an ideal play 162 guy, platoon them and lets prepare to add another vet or prospect in 2015. I like- no LOVE-what this team is doing in the Pen with guys like Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia tossing big, high leverage innings with guys like Jose Valverde and Daisuke Matsuzaka filling holes. In recent years, a Jason Isringhausen or Latroy Hawkins served as veteran mentors to Bobby Parnell. Love this set up.

METS NOTES: d’Arnaud(Concussion) is passing all the medical hurdles and is close to starting a minor league rehab assignment… The team cut veteran reliever Kyle Farnsworth within the last 10 days and he was signed by the Houston Astros. The long time reliever, who has pitched for about 75 teams, was pissed when the Team cut him and publicly stated he was looking for a team that plays the Mets. Relax, fans— this man is not going to remind you of Mariano Rivera…..While neither Rafael Montero or Jacob deGrom has won in their first 2 starts in the majors, they have both pitched well and have promising futures… Campbell is a name to keep an eye on. He can hit and looks like his skills- gap,contact hitter- translate well on this team. Skipper Terry Collins keeps finding ways to get him on the field and he can really help this team with his stick.

May 14, 2014

Mejia move, Hello Montero, Mets Notes

by @ 12:32 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

As the team approaches the 40 game bench mark, GM Sandy Alderson and skipper Terry Collins continue to adjust the roster and specifically the pitching staff. Within the last week, Rafael Montero(starter) and Jacob deGrom(bullpen) have been recalled from Triple A Las Vegas with Montero(4-1,3.67 ERA, 1.15 WHIP in 8 starts with 41 Ks and 18 walks) set to make his major league debut Wednesday May 14th at Citi Field vs the Yankees in the 2nd phase of the Subway series. This move was designed to help the Mets in two spots. The organization has put an innings limit on Jenrry Mejia(Roughly 125) and Montero will take his rotation spot. Mejia has already made the transition to the pen and will potentially be an 7-8th inning setup option or closer. Jenrry has tremendous talent yet has battled arm issues in his minor league career and tends to lose it midgame when he is starting. This is a win-win for both the organization and player. The Mets bullpen could use a talent infusion and Mejia could become a dominant reliever. No less an authority than Darryl Strawberry compared him to Yankees great Mariano Rivera in Spring Training 3 years ago.

Montero is one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball and has been called Mini Pedro by scouts and team officials. PEDRO MARTINEZ. Or the guy with everyone in their prime and peak, this bloggers pick for the starting pitcher I want on the mound. Tough act to follow but this guy is legit. And a good sign for both the players and Mets fans that they are bringing up a kid in May. Why? They are close to winning and are going for it. No more reclamation projects or looking to avoid Super 2-s. With this talent about to debut, The Mets also have P Noah Syndergaard on the horizon and the pitching the team has raved about will soon be on display in Queens.

METS NOTES: The team altered their bench in the last week when they assigned INFs Josh Satin and Omar Quintanilla to Triple A Las Vegas and recalled INFs Eric Campbell and Wilmer Flores…. Collins is rolling with a closer by committee approach and game by game you could see Jeurys Familia(Odds on favorite), Mejia or Daisuke Matsuzaka earn save opportunities. Terry has done a tremendous job with this group and does not get enough credit for handling his relievers… Late Breaking Mets news: As I type, Dillon Gee has been placed on the DL with a lat strain(Bad injury) and deGrom will take spot in the rotation Thursday vs the Yankees. Updates to follow. Sad for Gee, who is having an All Star level season. Check his Stats since last May. INCREDIBLE.

May 7, 2014

Improving Outfield, Bleeping Bullpen

by @ 8:21 am. Filed under Uncategorized

The Mets are hovering around .500 in the amazingly tough NL East and two areas they attempted to focus on in the offseason are a major reason why in both a positive and negative light. NY GM Sandy Alderson signed two free agent outfielders in Chris Young and Curtis Granderson to around roughly 20 million per year combined in the fall of 2013. Young missed the early portion of April with a leg injury but has looked good and is hovering around .270 with good power and defense. Meanwhile, Granderson is starting to come around after a brutal start(sub .150 with some dreadful at bats). The success of these two is vital to the clubs postseason chances. Anyone who reads this blog knows I am the President of the Juan Lagares fan club. When these 3 are healthy and playing this group gives the Mets an elite combination of defense, power and speed. It also allows Mets skipper to use Eric Young Jr. as a bench weapon and spot starter. When you factor in a veteran stick like Bobby Abreu to get an odd day or vital late pinch hitting AB, this group can be deadly.

As much confidence as I have in the Mets outfielders, I have the exact opposite feeling regarding the additions to the relief corps. Names like Farnsworth, Valverde and Dice K(Occasionally) regularly send me to the bathroom to never return during games. I guess their are reasons why in a reliever starved era these 3 were offered minor league deals in January. LOL. Cannot say enough how damaging the injury to closer Bobby Parnell was to the Mets 2014 fortunes. And I know Bobby was not going to remind anyone of Bruce Sutter but he was a solid guy this team developed. Ask fans of teams like the Detroit Tigers how much a bad bullpen-closer can kill a team. Hold on, the Red Sox just hit another grand slam vs the Motor City Kitties relievers in the 2013 ALCS. Give this team a healthy Parnell with this group of starters and Collins and Pitching Coach Dan Warthen can figure out innings 7 and 8. Now those two must piece together 9 outs instead of 6. That is a big difference. I would do one thing immediately- put Jenrry Mejia in the pen and name Dice K(Daisuke Matsuzaka) the 5th starter. Mejia has amazing stuff but loses it FAST around 75-80 pitches. (He has blown up in the 5th his last two starts) This would help both the rotation and relief corps. And my mental health.

April 28, 2014

Mets complete Home stand 6-4, Early signs of Success, Mets Notes

by @ 5:19 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

The New York Mets ended a tough 10 game home stand vs the Atlanta Braves(1 win in 3 games), St. Louis Cardinals(3 of 4) and Miami Marlins(2-3) 6-4,winning 2 of the 3 series. The surprising Mets are now 14-11 after 25 after losing their first 3 games of the season. The Pitching- particularly the starting rotation(6th Best ERA in the NL at 3.46 thru 25 games)- has been great early and with the offense struggling to mount any kind of run support, vital to team success. The Mets team ERA is 13th out of 30 ML teams and New York is 18th in runs allowed. Meanwhile, the team is 29th in batting average yet 19th in runs. The club’s leadoff man-Eric Young Jr- is a great example of how this team works. His batting average is low (.216) yet his on base(.320) and runs(20) are high. EY makes things happen. Sundays win(4/27) broke a 20 game streak where he reached base. Terry Collins- who kicks and screams about how important having this guy in the lineup- should take a bow. For the Mets to sustain this early success and good vibe, they must hit and score more runs. Only 3 regulars- 3B David Wright, 1B Lucas Duda and 2B Daniel Murphy- are hitting .250. Unless your pitchers are Sandy Koufax, Walter Johnson, Bob Gibson and God, that is not the ideal recipe for success. I am not overly concerned for several reasons. I think guys like OFs Chris Young(2 Homers in 4 days) and Curtis Granderson are proven pros while C Travis d’Arnaud has started to show promise and put together good at bats. All 3 have hit balls hard consistently for outs recently while Young has shown power. As much as Granderson has struggled(Sub .150 BA) he had two game winning RBI during the home stand and has responded well to being moved to the #2 hole in the batting order. This team will hit. Mark my words.

METS NOTES:OF Juan Lagares(Hamstring) is starting to play in rehab games at Triple A Las Vegas and could return within the next week, he is eligible to come off the DL Wednesday April 30th… RHSP Dillon Gee is becoming scary good, since last May he has the 7th best ERA in MLB(2.75). When you factor in 2012, his ERA is 3.47. In that time period(41 starts) he has tossed a quality start(6 or more innings, 3 earned runs or less) 65% of the time…..The comeback win Friday Night 4/25 vs the Marlins in the bottom of the 9th was a thriller. The Mets pieced together 4 hits- Duda, SS Omar Quintanilla(rbi single), OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Granderson(GWRBI)- to beat Miami’s tough closer Steve Cishek, who had converted a franchise record 33 straight save opportunities before the NY rally… Two areas to focus on: Shortstop and Bullpen. If this team is going to be compete in 2014 either internal or external players must step up. Not sure if the Kyle Farnsworth’s and Dice K’s of the world can hold up over 162 in the 9th inning. I hope (and know!) Collins and his boss, Mets GM Sandy Alderson, realize this as well. SS? Play defensively is fine but this offense is not good enough to get sub .250 with no power or speed out of a position. I know Cal Ripken Jr is not coming out of the Locker Room but I would take Eric Aybar or Jed Lowrie tomorrow.I am not a Stephen Drew guy plus I like seeing Scott Boras look bad. LOL. I am willing to bet large sums of money the Mets September ShortStop is not on the current roster…. Early in his Mets tenure but I like what I have seen from veteran OF Bobby Abreu. Guy is a veteran, seen it all and looks like a pro in each at bat. This team lacks off the bench threats and he can hit the odd bomb or draw a walk late in games. Plus Terry will get him an occasional day in the field. Win, win for everyone involved.

April 22, 2014

No way Jose: Valverde removed from closer spot, Farnsworth gets the 9th, Granderson slumping but gets winner, Vet bat joins crowded OF

by @ 5:56 am. Filed under Uncategorized

Putrid performances in 3 straight outings(4 Home runs in 3 innings, 24.00 ERA) have forced Mets skipper Terry Collins to remove veteran Jose Valverde from the closer position and fellow camp invitee Kyle Farnsworth was elevated to the role. However, Farnsworth has not thrown back to back yet so on an odd day someone like Gonzalez Germen or Carlos Torres might get a save chance. This position could be influx til June or the entire season. The Mets need to bridge the gap until either they can add a veteran(Joe Hanrahan or Ryan Madson), make a trade or a pitcher in the minors steps up and is promoted to the Big club. Farnsworth earned his save as a Met Monday night April 21st at Citi Field vs the Cardinals.

METS NOTES:Collins has moved struggling outfielder Curtis Granderson(sub .150 average, tons of strikeouts, 1 homer) out of the cleanup spot and into the 2 hole. The big ticket free agent signing of the offseason had tremendous success hitting #2 while playing in the Bronx. 2B Daniel Murphy is now hitting #4 but kepe an eye on Lucas Duda. His combination of power and on base makes sense in that spot. I call him JV Giambi(Former AL MVP Jason Giambi) for a reason…… The Mets added a veteran bat off the bench in Outfielder Bobby Abreu Monday. The longtime Philadelphia Phillie can play the odd day in the field but he can draw a walk, hit a homer and still run a bit. New York lacks a stick off the bench and Abreu fits in perfectly. OF Andrew Brown was optioned out to Las Vegas to open a roster spot….Fans knew this team would catch the ball in the Outfield with 4 players who can play all 3 positions but this team has been great defensively from day 1. The biggest noticeable improvement has been Ruben Tejada and Murphy at SS and 2B. The two have combined to make some incredible double play turns and clearly worked hard to make this a team strength.

April 19, 2014

Duda Day: Mets trade Ike Davis, Lucas Duda grabs the First Base job

by @ 1:03 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

In a move that is beneficial to both the player(s) and team, the New York Mets traded Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a minor league reliever and player to be named later Friday April 18th. This trade had to happen after the Mets shopped Davis for much of the offseason and the organization liked the combination of power and on base percentage Lucas Duda brings to the position. New York brings in righty reliever Zack Thornton, a ground ball specialist, who will start at Triple A and could help the Mets pen sometime this year. The key to this transaction is the player to be named and according to credible sources ,like MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, NY will add a significant piece.

This was a tough night for the Mets players and fans like myself who liked Ike and wanted him to do well. But injuries, inconsistences and poor play forced GM Sandy Alderson’s hand. Having Duda and Davis on the 25 man roster over 162 games would not work and cost the team wins. Roster flexibility is key and a player like Josh Satin, who can play multiple positions, allows skipper Terry Collins to go to war without a hand tied behind his back. Davis was very popular within the Mets locker room and the core group of this team- David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Bobby Parnell- are roughly the same age and have been together for 4-5 years in the big leagues. It was understandable that the team looked flat Friday night. As Collins said post game, these players are people too. As a reporter, this was tough to watch. Ike Davis was viewed as a future corner stone but did not workout and was moved. Tough to take.

I want to wish Ike Davis well- he was fun to cover and on the SNY broadcasts this year, Mets broadcasters and Collins have gone out of their way to mention how popular Ike was within the locker room. When the Mets were considering to sent him down to Las Vegas two years ago, Collins had 15-20 players outside his office waiting for word. Sideline reporter Kevin Burkhardt told a story last night about how he was having a rough day pregame a couple of years ago and Davis- in midst of a terrible slump- came over and tried to cheer him up. A MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Playing in NY is not always easy and when the team is bad, very difficult. I know this was best for all parties involved but I will always root for Ike. Glad he is going to a good, young, up coming team in Pittsburgh with one of the best minds in the game in Clint Hurdle managing. Good Luck, Ike!

April 16, 2014

Mets complete West Coast Trip at 6-3 after sweep in Arizona, Lagares DL-ed, More Mets notes

by @ 7:55 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

People laughed at me when I predicted good things for this team. Listen, I love the Mets and have for over 30 years but I get paid to report not promote. This team has pitching and athletes who can make plays defensively and on the bases. They play hard and this Manager(Terry Collins) has created an environment of effort and competition in a losing environment. That is not easy to do. You ever notice how the Mets get short chained on travel-off days and why they get shipped out to the West Coast from Atlanta in April? The commissioner’s office(and our friends in the Bronx) do not respect this team and want them to fail. Thats ok. Clearly, Joe Torre has memory loss.(First Managing Job with the Mets–look it up!) You win and lose on the field. This group has character and talent. The worm has turned. No more rolling out the balls and bats and getting the W. You might beat this team but the 2014 New York Mets will make you work and earn it. The first 3 weeks have shown that. This team started 0-3 and is now 8-7 after sweeping the Struggling Diamondbacks to complete a 6-3 city road swing thru Atlanta(Won 2 of 3), Anaheim(1 win) and Arizona. The sign of a good club is depth- guys like catcher Anthony Recker, OF Eric Young, 1B Lucas Duda and recent call up Kirk Nieuwenhuis all came up big during the trip and the Mets need contributions from EVERYONE if this season is going to be successful.

Juan Gone: One of the negatives of this week was a hamstring injury to rookie CF Juan Lagares, who was really playing well. The defensive hi-light reel was hitting over .300 and carrying my fantasy team!!!!!!! He has been DL-ed but initial reports have the a minor issue and Lagares could be back by early May. Nieuwenhuis is a very good defender and Both Youngs- Eric Jr and Chris- can also play CF. Meanwhile, Chris(Quad) is back with the team and will be activate off the DL for Friday’s opener vs the Braves at Citi Field. Lets hope both Chris and Juan are ok. I really like both players and this outfield in general. Meanwhile, free agent signee Curtis Granderson missed the final 2 games off the trip after running into the wall while making a defensive play. The Mets cleanup hitter escaped serious injury but was very stiff, sore and bruised on most of the left side of his body. He should return to the lineup sometime this weekend. New York wants to be careful with Granderson, who had a tough season in 2013 with two major injuries.

Mets Notes: The John Lannan experiment has ended and he was outrighted to Triple A pre game Thursday. Daisuke Matsuzaka has been recalled after pitching great in Las Vegas(2.25 ERA in 2 games) and will help in a long relief role. However, starters Bartolo Colon(Back) and Jenrry Mejia(Blister) are both less than 100% and any rotation depth would be a great asset…. Eric Young has been great over the last 9 games, hitting .333 with 12 runs and 9 stolen bases. People laughed when Collins said if he has a .350 On base he would score 120 runs. The man is the skipper of the Mets for a reason…. Dillon Gee was great Thursday, no runs over 7+ innings and did it economically. He became the 3rd Met in franchise history to throw 7+ innings using 75 pitches…. I know Travis d’Arnaud(.182, homer but hits in 3 of last 4 starts) has not hit much but I love the tandem of d’Arnaud and Recker behind the plate. Are they Mike Piazza? No but check out the lack of catching in MLB, this is a good unit in Queens… Two areas than concern me(Because I do have two eyes): Jose Valverde and Ruben Tejada. I watched Valverde for his entire career in Detroit and when he is bad, he is BAD. Think Armando Benitez on steroids. If this guy is the Mets closer for 6 months, we will need ambulances nightly at Citi Field. Good guy, teammate, etc but man, does he give up BOMBS. I am willing to give Ruben more rope because I am using it to hang Jose but Tejada is next. He just has awful at bats at times and Bobby Ojeda talks about it all the time on the Mets SNY post game show. I am old enough to have watched Bobby O pitch and when I see him talking about a lack of adjustments(Chasing high pitches as example) it makes me want to drink. I like- no love-Omar Quintanilla as a backup but neither player hits enough to draw 140 starts. This is a huge problem for New York and the Mets will be linked to Stephen Drew until he is on a major league team.

April 6, 2014

Mets cap interesting first week 2-4 vs two strong clubs

by @ 6:53 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

The New York Mets finished the opening home stand 2-4 vs the Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field Sunday. The Nats- who seem to have New York’s number- swept 3 games while the Mets took 2 of 3 from the Reds. One constant for New York was starting pitching- in 5 of the 6 games, Mets starters posted quality starts(6 innings or more, 3 earned runs allowed). The lone game where the starter did not was Sunday’s game when Jon Niese was pulled with a pitch limit(90, still recovering from minor injuries in Spring Training) after allowing 2 runs in 5 and 2 thirds of an inning. Dillon Gee(Twice), Bartolo Colon, Jenrry Mejia and Zack Wheeler have all pitched well and kept the team in games. Meanwhile, veterans Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth have helped ease the burden of the unfortunate injury to closer Bobby Parnell and had strong outings with the new club. Mets fans need to be both guarded and optimistic after week 1, these are two of the better teams in the National League and although the Reds were minus star closer Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati is still tough. The Mets competed and did not look out of place. This team has a lot of new players and needs time to gel but they are tough and have talent. The days of people getting healthy vs the New York Mets are over.

METS NOTES: OF Chris Young was placed on the DL with a quad issue and Niese took his spot on the 25 man roster. Look for Eric Young to play left field almost exclusively in his absence with Andrew Brown(3 run homer on opening day) getting occasional work… The team announced Friday April 4th that Lucas Duda would be the starting First Baseman heading forward. Duda responded with 2 home runs. Meanwhile, Ike Davis hit an incredible walk off grand slam as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 9th Saturday to cap a 6-3 win. Honestly, the best Mets win in about 6 years. Manager Terry Collins will continue to look for ways to get Davis some work and with several games coming up on the road vs American League teams look for Davis to DH…. 2B Daniel Murphy, his wife and new born son are the 1st non story- story of the year. What #28 and his family do and are allowed under the CBA is not news. People taking shots at a guy being a good father and husband are. The Met organization supported the player and he returned to the team a day early. Some people need to report that. Daniel Murphy is a good player, works hard and did absolutely nothing wrong. END OF STORY…. While I am on my soap box let me toss out this stat- and those who read my blog know I am a BIG Curtis Granderson fan- 3 players in the history of the New York Yankees have had seasons of 40+ home runs, 100= rbi and 100+ runs back to back. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and…. CURTIS GRANDERSON. Stop with the Jason Bay, Mo Vaughn and Roberto Alomar references. Call me in July…. While the injury to Chris Young stinks for Chris, CF Juan Lagares has seized an opportunity offensively(.350, homer, 3 rbi, 5 runs, 1.117 OPS) while playing spectacular defense. I cannot say this enough- play this kid everyday, twice on Sunday. HE IS A PLAYER!!!!!!!

BREAKING METS NEWS: Bobby Parnell to have Tommy John Surgery, Out for 2014

by @ 5:48 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

The New York Mets and their beleaguered bullpen took a major hit Sunday night when it was announced closer Bobby Parnell will undergo Tommy John Surgery Tuesday and be lost for the remainder of the 2014 season. After blowing a save in the season opener, Parnell underwent an MRI on his right elbow which showed a partially-torn MCL. Originally the team was hoping to rehab the injury with rest and a throwing program. However, by having the surgery now a return for the start of the 2015 campaign is realistic. The normal recovery time for Tommy John is 12 months. Of course, Mets ace Matt Harvey had a similar procedure last October as well. New York will continue to use Jose Valverde in the 9th and could possibly groom a Triple A pitcher such as Rafael Montero or Jacob deGrom to fill the role. Street free agents such as Ryan Madson, Kevin Gregg or Joel Hanrahan are also options. I cannot say this enough- the Mets cannot and will not use this injury as an excuse. It stinks, sucks,etc for Bobby, the players, Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson,etc. But injury provides opportunity and the team that won the World Series in 2013- The Boston Red Sox-had 2 closers go down and turned to Koji Uehara, who was both dominant and historic(4-1 in 73 games, 21 for 24 in saves, 101 Ks to 9 walks, 1.09 ERA and .57 WHIP). MLB is not going to cancel the Mets season or feel sorry for them. The show most go on. This team can and will win games without Bobby Parnell.

April 2, 2014

BREAKING METS NEWS: Bobby Parnell has tear in Pitching elbow

by @ 6:04 am. Filed under Uncategorized

The Mets season fortunes took a major hit on Tuesday April 1st and unfortunately it was not a joke. Closer Bobby Parnell, who had surgery on a disc-neck problem late in 2013, was diagnosed with partial tear of the UCL in his right throwing elbow. This type of injury usually requires Tommy John Surgery(Jeremy Heffner had a similar issue in 2013) but the team is hoping a treatment plan will give Parnell the ability to return in 2014. The righty will rest for 2 weeks after receiving a plasma rich therapy injection and resume a throwing program at that date. The Mets will then make a determination medically on how to head forward. Let it be noted that Matt Harvey tried a similar approach with a different type of ligament(UCL) but still required Tommy John. Free agent signee Jose Valverde is the top option on the current roster to close games.

March 30, 2014

Mets-MLB predictions

by @ 3:32 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

On the eve of the Mets opener, I am very excited about the prospects for the 2014 team. I like this group- on the field and off it— the management team of Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins have rebuilt this roster and assembled a team that has both youth and vets. Anyone who follows the game knows what the Mets have on the horizon and where their farm system stands. The current team should be fun to watch and has kids with serious upside(C Travis d’Arnaud and CF Juan Lagares come to mind) while 2 reclamation projects(SS Ruben Tejada and 1B Ike Davis) hold the key to this team being presentable or awful. I hear from fans all the time “but If we had Matt Harvey, we could win.” I am a HUGE Matt guy— he was the top pitcher in the NL in 2013 before he got hurt. But— this team has added a solid veteran pitcher in Barolo Colon to take rotation spot, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee are proven ML starters and many view Zack Wheeler as the better pitcher long term. Do not cancel the season over that injury. And something to think about regarding Colon- AL pitcher going to NL(HUGE plus) as well as the fact that he is an extreme fly ball pitcher now playing with an elite outfield defense in a monstrous ballpark.

What worries me about this team? The division for one. The Washington Nationals are loaded and have star power. The Atlanta Braves are the Braves- with severe injuries to their pitching- but they have 3-4 core everyday players and the best closer in the game in Craig Kimbrel. The Phillies have 2 elite starting pitchers and 3 veteran stars in SS Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard who have been thru the wars. The Marlins have a ton of kids and not much else but they are almost always better than people think they will be. I think for the Mets to be successful, they need Chris Young to have a big year. I think Curtis Granderson can project to do what Marlon Byrd did- .270-280, 25-30 hrs, 90-100 rbi. And don’t buy this nonsense about Granderson being the product of the new Yankee Stadium. I watched the guy be a doubles and triples machine in Detroit for 5+ years. Comerica Park is one of the biggest parks in MLB— gigantic power alley and gaps. Young must produce- a .260-.270 yrs with 20 homers and 75-80 RBI would be HUGE. I love Daniel Murphy and David Wright. We get 300 games out of those two, we can and will contend.

SEASON PREDICTION: The Mets are due some breaks and the injuries to Braves starters have opened the door for contention in the NL East. I think the Nationals run away with the division but the Mets compete into September and set the tone for 2015. The surplus of pitching in the system gives Alderson options to fill needs(SS, OF, 1B) and he can make a move similar to what Arizona did this offseason for OF-1B Mark Trumbo. Keep that in back of your mind. Not everyone of these pitchers will make their splash in Queens. Think of the 80s Mets- for every Dwight Gooden and Ron Darling their was a Tim Leary and Walt Terrell, 2 young pitchers they moved for bats. Mets record- 88-74, 2nd place in NL East.

American League Division winners: Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Oakland(World Series Champion)

National League Division Winners: Washington(NL Champion), St. Louis, San Francisco

AL Wild Cards: Boston, Cleveland

NL Wild Cards: Milwaukee, Pittsburgh

AL Awards: Mike Trout-MVP, Justin Verlander- CY Young, Xander Bogaerts-Rookie of the Year

NL Awards:Bryce Harper-MVP, Adam Wainwright-CY Young, Billy Hamilton- Rookie of the Year

Mets roster set for opener, notes

by @ 2:45 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

The New York Mets made their final roster moves before the opener Monday March 31st, sending down 5 players including pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kyle Farnsworth to Triple A Las Vegas. The team also purchased the contract of Omar Quintanilla, adding him to the 40-man roster. Matt Harvey was transferred to the 60-day DL and LH Jon Niese on the 15 day, retroactive to March 21st, making him to be eligible for his 1st scheduled start April 6th. Here are the remaining opening day roster spots: Catchers Travis D’ Arnaud and Anthony Recker, Infielders Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Quintanilla, Ruben Tejada, Josh Satin and David Wright. In the outfield, we have Andrew Brown, Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, Chris Young and Eric Young Jr. The 4 starters are Barolo Colon, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia and Zach Wheeler. Finally, the bullpen: Jeurys Familia, Gonzalez Germen, John Lannan, Bobby Parnell, Scott Rice, Carlos Torres and Jose Valverde.

METS NOTES: As I type, no word on who will start at 1B or how the Outfield-batting order will be configured. I think Davis will be at 1B and Lagares in CF with Granderson in RF and Chris Young in LF…. Harvey and the team have come to agreement on how his rehab from Tommy John surgery will progress. When the Mets play at home, he will be with his teammates. On road trips, he will report and train at the team’s spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla… NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will throw out the 1st pitch at Citi Field Monday.. Matsuzaka was reportedly shocked at the demotion to Triple A but needs to realize this is a pitching rich team and he will get his opportunity if he continues to pitch well.

March 28, 2014

As Opener draws closer, final roster decisions loom, Mets notes

by @ 12:06 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

The New York Mets last week of spring training has them juggling some roster spots and making final preparations for the opener Monday March 31st at Citi Field. LHP John Lannan was moved to the 40-man roster and will make the club as the 2nd lefty reliever to help Scott Rice. The Outfield will feature free agent signee Curtis Granderson in RF, Chris Young splitting time all over and Juan Lagares in Center with Eric Young JR also getting regular work. Manager Terry Collins insists all 4 will get regular playing time. Young JR jump starts the offense with his wheels and energy while Lagares is special in center. If used properly this group can be a major strength, the key is all 4 can play defense and run. The 5th starter spot is down to Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jenrry Mejia. Both have impressed this Spring but Dice K’s veteran status and Mejia’s recent issues with his right foot give the free agent signee the edge. Not sure how this team translates wins wise but this is the most talented Mets team in 5+ years.

Mets Notes:RP Kyle Farnsworth was bought out and brought back on a minor league deal. The team will stash him at Triple A Las Vegas under the watch of Wally Backman and his coaching staff…. Chris Young has had a great camp(.327,7 doubles, homer and 4 RBI in 52 at bats) and if he can carry that into April, watch out! This guy has talent…. Veteran reliever Jose Valverde has also looked good in camp and will more than likely get save opportunities when closer Bobby Parnell is overworked or needs a day…. Ruben Tejada has won the shortstop job and Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Josh Satin(Lefties only) will somehow split time at 1B. The final 2 bench spots appear to be between OF Andrew Brown(Good power stick off the bench, 2 Hrs,11 Rbi in 50 spring ABs),1B-3B Eric Campbell(.313,7 XBHs and .910 OPS in 44 at bats) and INFs Omar Quintanilla and Anthony Seratelli…. Very quietly OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis has had a strong spring. .256 with 5 XBHs and a .857 OPS in 39 plate appearances. Always a favorite of Collins, he is a good bet to be an early call up if any moves are made or needed.

March 25, 2014

Dillon Gee named Opening Day starter

by @ 5:58 am. Filed under Uncategorized

The New York Mets announced Monday March 24 that Dillon Gee(12-11,3.62 in 32 starts in 2013) will start on opening day versus the Washington Nationals at Citi Field March 31st. Gee becomes the 23rd Met to start opening day and the 8th homegrown product to get the ball on day 1. The tall righty finished strong in 2013, going 10-5 with a 2.71 ERA in his final 22 outings and boasts a 3.04 ERA in 12 career starts vs. Washington.

March 23, 2014

One bloggers opinion…..

by @ 6:52 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

I have been inundated with questions about how I feel the 2014 Mets will do and if I like the direction the team is headed. In both actions and words, YES. Let me put it this way, last Sunday(March 16th) I had my 1st of 2 Fantasy Baseball drafts. I drafted 4 Mets out of 25 players. Curtis Granderson, Zach Wheeler, Bobby Parnell and Bartolo Colon. When was the last time I could say that? Heck, I wanted to grab Daniel Murphy as well but missed him by 2 or 3 picks. I like this team and the competition we have at some former spots of weakness- 1B and Outfield specifically- and we have seen the development of young players coming up thru the system. Do I love everything about this team? No- I would like them to have 2 more bats and Matt Harvey but I believe in the plan and improvements implemented by GM Sandy Alderson and skipper Terry Collins. Rome was not built in a day, it is a process yet I see a light at the end of the tunnel and better days ahead. If the Mets do not break .500 and contend for a wildcard spot this season, I will be both stunned and disappointed. Those goals are both realistic and the expectation.

March 12, 2014

Shortstop and First Base questions continue to dominate camp, More Mets notes

by @ 9:14 am. Filed under Uncategorized

The two major issues the Mets faced entering camp remain unresolved as Mid March approaches. First Base was supposed to be a the battle between Lucas Duda(Hamstring) and Ike Davis(Calf) but both have been shelved with minor leg injuries and should return to action sometime this week. Josh Satin has played well in 8 games(.263 average with homer and .391 OBP) and remains a strong bet to at least platoon with either Davis or Duda. Meanwhile, SS Ruben Tejada has struggled(.111 in 4 games with shoddy defense as well) and the team has been giving reps to super prospect Wilmer Flores at the position. I still do not believe that the Mets everyday shortstop in 2014 is currently on this team and ex Met great-SNY TV color man Keith Hernandez said as much on a broadcast this week. Keep an eye on both the Arizona Diamondbacks(Chris Owings and Didi Gregorius) and Seattle Mariners(Nick Franklin) as potential trade partners. Free agent SS Stephen Drew remains unsigned and will stay that way til his agent Scott Boras opens his eyes.

Mets Notes : CF Juan Lagares(.318 Batting average) is having a great spring and making the Mets decision on which Outfielder to feature with offseason signings Chris Young and Curtis Granderson easy. Eric Young Jr, who won the 2013 National League Stolen Base crown, is likely going to be a bench guy and play the odd day at 2B and in the outfield. However, his speed makes him a vital weapon late in close contests… With the struggles of Josh Edgin in camp, team might use John Lannan out of the pen as the 2nd lefthanded reliever. This spot in vital and needed in the lefty bat heavy NL East.

March 7, 2014

Niese OK after scare, 90 win talk

by @ 8:44 am. Filed under Uncategorized

The Mets got some welcomed good news February 27,2014 when he MRI on LHSP Jon Niese throwing shoulder came back clean after he experienced a dead arm earlier in camp. Niese is part of what should be a team strength- the starting rotation- and any serious injury to the lefty would catastrophic with ace Matt Harvey(Tommy John surgery) set to miss 2014. GM Sandy Alderson has the team in a strong position with the 4 veterans- Niese and returnees Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler as well as free agent signing Bartolo Colon- as well several camp invitees(John Lannan and Dice K the most prominent) and young promising arms with Jenrry Mejia leading the way and fortifying depth. Noah Syndergaard is also on the horizon ala Harvey and Wheeler.

Alderson- and this blogger- really like how this team looks and Manager Terry Collins appears ready to see the fruits of his labor. The Mets GM has publicly stated that 90 wins is a realistic goal and you know what? I like that! Put pressure on your team, be confident in the product you put out and believe in your players. This should be a very athletic team with 4 excellent defensive outfielders, David Wright is David Wright and Daniel Murphy has quietly become a top 10 player at 2nd Base. I like our catchers and bullpen- an underrated unit btw. If this team can figure out 1B(I think they will internally) and Shortstop(Not as confident, Nick Franklin anyone?!) 90 wins might be a low number. People forget, this team was 50-50 over the final 100 games in 2013. Look at that roster and look at the 2014 club. Who would you take?

March 2, 2014

RIP Dick Collins

by @ 1:00 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

ANDOBeen a tough week or so for me and my hometown of Andover, Massachusetts. Our legendary High School Football Coach Richard “Dick” Collins passed away February 20,2014 after a period of poor health at the age of 82. Summarizing Coach Collins takes someone with a higher pay grade than this blogger but one of my fellow Andoverrites said it best- He was the Vince Lombardi of Andover. The proud Dartmouth alum and US Marine is best known for coaching both the Andover High Football and Track Teams(1959-1996), was also an outstanding Social Studies- History teacher and headed the department for many years. If I failed to mention those facts, He would have me running hills right now(Coach Collins’ famous punishment). After his retirement he continued to champion kids while serving in our towns School Committee for 5 terms. Coach Collins was so much more than these positions and titles, he was a game and life changer who would fight for the star or guy on the bench as long as they did two things- Did their best and NEVER, EVER QUIT. The man gave me direction and goals, I would not be where I am today without his support and encouragement. Thousands of his former players and students can make the same claim. When people ask how I bring such fire and enthusiasm to a job covering a bad team, think of Coach Collins.

What made Coach Collins so great? I could write and tell stories that would make a book the size of the Bible. With all the wins, titles and championships he produced, He would be most proud of this number. ZERO. The amount of kids he cut from his program. He loved undersized players(This blogger was one of many) and featured the likes of Ryan Murphy, The DeBenedictis brothers(Tom and Andy) and Rodney Lumley who would not have played much or at all for other teams. Coach championed underdogs such as the kids from the ABC program as well as the handicapped and disabled. They became fixtures at team functions, practices and games. His letterman system with the Track and Field program allowed athletes who never competed in an event to earn a letter by being great teammates and supporting their fellow classmates. Whether it be with perfect attendance at practice or helping officials and staff at meets, He made team spirit measurable. Coach Collins demanded you respect your opponents and if you didn’t, you paid the price. After I ripped rival North Andover in the Local paper prior to the 1989 contest, he angrily kicked me off the team. For 24 hours. We won 41-0. All was forgiven. The biggest lesson he taught me -and it is something I still have a hard time with- is handling defeat. The members of the 1989 Andover High Football team learned this the hard way when we lost an opportunity to play in the SuperBowl in Foxboro when officials called an obviously short and wide left last second field goal good vs. Central Catholic in our Annual Turkey Bowl. Everyone knew the referees blew the call and cost that team a chance to win Coach Collins his 3rd Super Bowl. The defeat was devastating but Coach told us how proud he was of our effort and to be our coach and he wanted us to hold our head high. On the the FG, he said these things eventually even out over the course of the year. PUBLICLY.

Coach had a famous saying that he passed on to each and everyone of his teams and it particularly hit home with my High school class(AHS ’91). He talked about the concept of “51″ all the time- Think of a Track and Field athlete in a throwing competition. If your opponent throws 50, you will do what it takes to win regardless and toss a 51. Bottom line, find a way to get it done. Joe Iarrobino was a promising QB-DB in my class who suffered a serious shoulder injury in his Sophomore season and was forced to concentrate on baseball and basketball. Coach still found a spot for him with the team and he served as stat man and student assistant his last two seasons, Dan Ely was popular center and classmate of mine who was gravely injured in a moped accident in the 2nd half of our sophomore year. He was paralyzed and in the hospital. Coach Collins also had Dan’s Dad- Jack- as a player earlier in his Andover career and called to check in on him. Mr. Ely mentioned Dan ,as hurting as he was, would not stop saying 51 to the medical staff. Coached rushed to the hospital and would not allow Dan to fail or be forgotten. The phrase 51 became the rallying cry for our team during the 89-90 seasons and Dan, who recovered at record pace, was one of our team captains in 1990 and was walking with crutches by training camp the same year.

When you are Coached by such a great figure, you produce many memorable student-athletes. In my two years in his program I had some incredible teammates and made some lifelong friends. I played with the greatest individual leader-captain of anything I have come across- Brian Donnellan(’89 Captain). “Cap” as I nicknamed him used a phrase that sticks with me til this day- Stand for something or fall for everything. Joe Marinaro progressed more from his sophomore year to senior year than any player could hope for. Their is a reason he started for 3 years at The University of Michigan and served as captain in 1995. Scary intense. You can travel to the ends of the Earth and not find a harder worker and more self made player. Our other captain in ’89- Johnny Thompson- was quite simply the best player I have ever seen. He could do anything athletically and I spent everyday at practice trying to beat him. IN ANYTHING! He was great to me and proud that I made it thru training camp. (or surprised?!) Hunter Lochman and Pat Finn(’89) also make the list for being great teammates and welcoming me- the rookie junior- to the team. Peter Reming? Nobody got more out of less than this guy, he was my size(5’9,140ish) and started on defense for a team that posted 7 shutouts. Bad guys be on alert, he is now a cop in Andover! Things did not go as expected for me heading into my senior year off the field and many of my teammates(Under Coach Collins’ direction/Urging)- Brett Hammond, Dave Blank, Jeff Hurley, Andy Carleton, Scott Bernard, Mark Avery, Greg Dyer, Ryan Beal, Matt Perry and Stefan Fodor(’90 team)- all stepped up huge. For a guy who missed most of his Junior Year with a shoulder injury! I mention all of these people not for cause but effect. They bought into Coach’s family concept- We will all win and lose together, star or bench warmer. The spirit of 51 and NEVER, EVER Quitting in anything- on or off the field- was never more in play.

Finally, I want to talk about the 3 Men who have assumed the coaching positions Coach Collins manned previously. First, Coach Peter Comeau , who served as an assistant for football during my high school years, now runs both the Winter and Spring Track Teams. We all like to think we were Coach Collins’ favorite and he did love us all. But if you had a Mount Rushmore for his “guys” Coach Comeau would be on it. EASILY. Anyone who has meet Peter needs to be reminded of this fact- He is the greatest hurdler in the history of Andover High. What makes this more astonishing is Coach does not have ideal body type for Hurdles. He was under 5’10 and stocky, hardly Edwin Moses. Yet he won All State and All New England in the low then Intermediate Hurdles. Coach Collins would tell anyone who wanted to listen how proud he was of Peter claiming ” he had never seen a more remarkable feat in track in my entire life.” When you have someone of this intensity and work ethic, you want him Coaching. When he wasn’t yelling or kicking me in the rear end, Coach Comeau was on Coach Collins’ track staff for 9 years before taking over. Andover High could not be under better care with Coach Comeau and we are lucky to have him. Coach Collins is applauding as I type this. And Peter, the nickname you gave me still sticks— 30 years later!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As much of an impact as Coach Collins had on me, Our relationship does not even happen if I did not win the lottery when I meet Ken Maglio in 1985. Mr. Maglio, who became the AHS Football Coach in 1997 and served til 2009, was a popular Physical Education teacher at West Junior High. He was also a long time freshman football Coach for the Andover as well. His style was different than Coach Collins but like him, he looked out for kids and loved smaller guys like me. He nicknamed me Floppy and still calls me that to this day. But the biggest thing he did for me was get me focused into academics and school. Before becoming his student manager on the Baseball team for two years, I was on my way to one of the 3 things- a technical school, jail or cemetery. I avoided all 3 and Mr. Maglio was a major reason why. Coach Collins stood up and fought for this man when he was caught in a political power struggle. EJ Perry- The oldest of 4 Perry brothers to play for the Golden Warriors- has done amazing work with our Football program and won 2 Merrimack Valley Conference Titles already. I have known the Perry’s for almost 35 years and Like Peter and Mags, EJ is the right man to fill the shoes of the man. I will never forget going to his younger brother Matt’s birthday party in 2nd or 3rd grade. We had a track and field meet in the back yard! EJ likes to tell a story of how Coach Collins helped him in high school when he was struggling academically. Coach told him his history term paper would be on the Pole Vaulting.(Not coincidently EJ’s event) EJ did a great job and you now see a coach who is doing amazing things and will continue to do so.

I hope this blog has helped paint the picture of how special and amazing a man Coach Collins was. Like many of his former players and students, not a day goes by that I do not apply something he taught me- some days more than others but this is true every day. He coached an emmy award winning actor who is one the stars of the Fantastic Four Franchise(Mike Chiklis), a major rising local politician(Barry Finegold), a climbing NFL assistant coach(John Perry) a top sports writer for USA Today(Gerry Ahern ) and a high ranking New Hampshire State Trooper(Jack Dalton) . We all bring parts and pieces from his teachings everyday. Our star Lineman of the mid to late 80s Mike Marinaro said it best-”We all should have the impact on the World he did.” Mike could not be more correct and that is why I am dedicating the 2014 season of Tomseaverfan.com to Richard “Dick” Collins and his entire family. RIP, Coach. We all love and miss you! 51

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