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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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 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.

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 marketing director at the University with the largest football stadium in America(Lochman) 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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