This isn’t MurphyPlus, but….

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… he is a top ten Second Baseman.

Murphy had a career year in all fields, including defense, and even though he is a Nat now, I still want to stand by him. He never cracks the top 10 while no-names make the list.

OK, you can watch the video below, and I will think of something else to bicker about.

The Return of Cespedes

Another good Mets blog (on MLB.com), Metsin Around, reacted to the Yoenis Cespedes signing. Give them a few pageviews by reading their posts.

Metsin' Around

Cespedes for the rest of us… again.

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The Mets (Alderson) waited, stuck to their guns and got their man on their terms. Cespedes made it clear he wanted to be here when he left a $100 million offer sitting on the table from the Nationals. If he was just about that money he would have jumped at that offer and been playing second fiddle in D.C. to Bryce, if he can stay on the field for a 2nd straight season.

Essentially the Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes at 1 year for $27.5 million. Don’t be fooled by the 3 year $75 million contract because, unless disaster strikes, there is no way Yo isn’t opting out at the end of the 2016 season, and I am 100% okay knowing that. Aside from the opt out clause after year 1, the biggest selling point had to be the full no trade clause included…

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David Voigt’s History of Baseball, Part 10

For the readers that want to go back to the 1969 World Championship, MetsPlus recommends the latest post from MLB Historian John Thorn’s blog, Our Game.

Our Game

1969 WS Program 1969 WS Program

This is the tenth installment of David Voigt’s history, as fine a brief telling of the tale as I know. This series commenced at: http://goo.gl/E4adJX.

Campaigns of the ’70s: AL, 1969-1980

Upstaged by the NL in the first two expansion moves, the AL was forced to take drastic measures to gain parity with the NL in attendance and offensive performances. To this end such measures as new park construction and franchise shifts contributed, but most decisive were two bold unilateral moves whereby the AL adopted the designated hitter rule in 1973 and undertook its mini-expansion in 1977. By these strokes the AL ensured its perennial domination, both at bat and at the turnstiles.

But if AL leaders expected the new divisional format of the 1969 expansion move to produce competitive balance, they were disillusioned.

Indeed, throughout this era pennant monopoly was the rule in both AL divisions…

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Mets “new” uniforms for Spring Training 2016

Camo is out for 2016. Once that was announced, I really didn’t think anything bad could happen.

Until this:

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Ok. That’s not that bad. I mean, it’s the same as last year, only with that Florida Road-sign on the left side. Which is ugly. I don’t have to be a fashion critique to tell you that. That is an ugly cap. Yet it gets worse:

Ok, that’s not too bad, right? Wrong. Take a look at the #34 on the back side. Look really close, you will start to notice little words in the number. See them? They are little words and catchphrases hidden inside the number and last name. Here’s a closer look:

This is ultimately a cash-grab. I’m ok with having a few unique features with the Spring Training uniform, but this is taking it way too far. I really hope that there is a upcoming era where we return to simpler times when it comes to uniforms. And I hope that it’ll happen sooner rather than later.

Mike Piazza’s #31 to be retired in “Mike Piazza Weekend”

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Anyone get tickets to the retirement game before the announcement was made? You are lucky if you did, because tickets are now averaging in the $400 range. Really.

The Mets announced that they will retire Mike Piazza’s #31 on Saturday night, July 30 at 6:30 p.m. before the Mets host the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field, and it’s already sold out. StubHub only now, and trust me, they are only going to get more expensive.

Plus, the retirement of #31 will necessitate a whole weekend worth of celebration. Here is a rundown of the events for what will be a very special time in Queens:

  • Friday, July 29 – 7:10 p.m. – Replica Jersey Giveaway
    All fans in attendance will receive a Mike Piazza replica jersey
  • Saturday, July 30 – 6:30 p.m. – #31 Pre-Game On-Field Retirement Ceremony
  • Sunday, July 31 – 1:10 p.m. – Bobblehead
    The first 15,000 fans in attendance will receive a Mike Piazza Bobblehead

Does Mike Piazza connect to Transcendentalism? I didn’t think so either…

Last month, in my school, we were tasked with connecting a real-world example to transcendentalism. My teacher recommended that I attempt to connect it to Mike Piazza, which I thought would be an interesting spin. I chose Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”, and as I soon figured out, there are various links between the text and #31. While my essay isn’t very blog-ish, and I’ve never posted something outside of the blog on MetsPlus, I thought that it might be interesting to share.

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Mike Piazza was recently inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. He made it in with 83% of the vote, on his fourth ballot. However, the legendary career of one of Baseball’s best hitting catchers did not come without hardship. Combine a low draft pick with a man accused of using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s) in one of the most hitter dominant era’s in the history of the game, and hall of fame level success would seem impossible. However, Piazza used fortitude and his own instincts and practices to block out the consistent negative opinions coming from former players, analysts, and other media members in order to persevere.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is arguably one of the most famous American Transcendentalists that has written a lot of esteemed works that connect vital Transcendental themes. One of them, Self-Reliance, revolves around the idea of rejecting conformity, and individual authority, or “picking your own path”. Mike Piazza is someone completely different. He was an athlete that played in the Major Leagues for fifteen years and always walked to the beat of a different drum. Throughout his career, there are various themes involving the infamous career of Mike Piazza that have links to Transcendentalism, and, more importantly, Self-Reliance.   Emerson’s Self-Reliance is based on the principle of using  one’s own beliefs to find success, and to avoid compliance with what the people above you believe is the correct course of action. And that is exactly what Mike Piazza has done in his career.

 

Some of the best baseball players were never discovered because they, unfortunately, slipped through the cracks of the MLB drafting system, which, like everything in life, is prone to errors. However, baseball almost lost one of the greatest hitting catchers of all time. Mike Piazza, famous for his time with the Dodgers and the Mets, was a twelve time All-Star, who once hit 40 home runs in 124 runs batted in during a single season. These statistics are unthinkable for a catcher. Mike Piazza was a 62nd round draft pick, who, was only drafted thanks to Tommy Lasorda (a Dodger great) taking “a flyer” on Piazza, after Piazza’s father, a family friend of Lasorda, asked him to draft him as a favor. While most players would either not accept the draft pick, as a low-draft pick is usually unlikely to crack the top levels of the minors let alone the majors, and pass on a education, Piazza had the fortitude to neglect what the general consensus of his family and friends (with the obvious exception of his dad) and accept the challenge, as that is what he thought was the best course of action. Neglecting the opinion of the majority is something that Emerson expressed in Self-Reliance: Rejecting conformity, or the general consensus, and picking your own path. This is communicated to the reader when Emerson says, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail” (Emerson 10).

 

Mike Piazza didn’t find an abandoned road and leave a “trail.”He left a glowing pathway full of records, successes, and prosperity. Dubbed one of the best hitting catcher of all time from various credible publications like Sporting News and USA Today, Mike Piazza hit 396 home runs in his career, batted to a .308 average, and drove in 1335 runners. These unprecedented numbers had never been accomplished for a player playing the same position (catcher). Mike Piazza’s 396 home runs were 45 more than the man with the next highest total, Red Sox great Carlton Fisk (MLB International Archives). Piazza hit more homeruns than baseball immortals like Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra. Gary Carter and Roy Campanella. Yet none of this would have been possible if Piazza hadn’t accepted the opinions of what most teams believed he was. He didn’t let the lack of being drafted phase him, and against what the majority would do, he risked his career to pursue his own passion, and that is the definition of going through a pathless trail if one ever existed.

 

Despite these amazing statistics, great pitcher and catcher relationships, and a overall great knowledge of the game, it was very clear that the era that Piazza played in was going to prevent him, or at least attempt to prevent him receiving the recognition he deserves. Piazza happened to play in one of the darkest periods of the game, known as the “steroid era.” While not unique to Baseball, PED’s were becoming more and more common as the game evolved. The methods to evade testing moved quicker than the methods to catch and prevent illegal use of PED’s. All-Star careers of Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were ruined due to PED use, and their once celebrated careers were immediately discredited. Additionally, when Mike Piazza started to put up hall of fame-esque numbers, the media tried to figure out if Piazza had used any specific illegal substances, and, throughout his career, he was accused three times (based on suspicion) of using performance enhancing drugs. However, embodying a similar theme to Emerson’s words of “nothing has authority over the self” (Emerson 8), Piazza never let the talks phase or overwhelm him, and his statistics never faltered. He continued to show that he had 100% control of himself. He finished his career with his dignity intact, and no evidence that he used PED’s (which is the only way one’s reputation should be affected) was ever revealed.

 

Personal opinions sometimes overrule the facts, and what should happen doesn’t always come to surface. Simply put, Mike Piazza put up hall-of-fame numbers. He was a leader in the clubhouse, a friend to the community, and very relatable to the media. However, Piazza’s career had its fair share of doubts. In his first ballot, he received only 57.8 percent (MLBNetwork.com Videos) of the vote, which means that almost half of Major League Baseball’s professional and acclaimed writers were either suspicious of his use of PED’s, or believed that the best hitting catcher of all time based on various sabermetrics wasn’t hall of fame worthy. And, as most people will tell you, the reason he didn’t get into the hall of fame wasn’t the latter of the two. Looking back at the all time catcher list for home runs, all but one of the top seven hitting catchers hasn’t been inducted into the hall of fame besides Piazza. And that’s Ivan Rodriguez, who doesn’t make it on to the ballot until 2017, so in essence he doesn’t even count yet. So, why should Piazza get the short end of the stick? He was misunderstood, but was that bad? Is a misunderstood ballplayer with tons of question marks over his head automatically a bad representative of the game? Not to Emerson. One of the most famous quotes in Self-Reliance is “Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.” (Emerson, 6). And after three long years on the ballot, eight years post-retirement, the misunderstood was finally understood.

Thanks again to my teacher for suggesting Piazza in the first place, and congratulations to Mike Piazza for making it into the Hall of Fame. While I can’t be a biased Mets fanatic in the formal essay, I definitely can be in italics below two dashes. 

Queens Baseball Convention 2016 Cancelled, refunds to be issued

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This is a real shame: The Queens Baseball Convention, entering it’s third year, was cancelled due to the snow storm that is set to come in this weekend.

Obviously, no one wanted this to happen, but safety is a priority in everyone’s mind, and unfortunately, this priority had to force the cancellation of QBC16.

According to the organizers twitter page, refunds will be issued via the event host, Host Committee, and that the refunds should begin the processing phase as soon as tomorrow.

For additional information on the event, you should check metspolice.com for any up-to-the-minute changes. Also, you can email the organizers here for any additional services.

Hopefully a make-up date can be reached, but obviously that would require a lot of additional planning, so that could take some time.

 

The7Line Army Opening Day Tickets go on sale January 28th

After the successful sale of their “Season Tickets”, The7Line Army will be releasing the remaining 360 seats for Opening Day. Mets fans that manage to claim tickets, will receive a pre-game tailgate brunch courtesy of “Pig Guy NYC”, a special event shirt (that should be similar to the jerseys that are given out to the Season Ticket holders in t-shirt form), and the infamous army thundersticks.

Generally, these tickets go in minutes, so be sure to check in to the7line.com on the 28th for additional details during the day.

The game is a 1:10 pm game, so a seat in the Big Apple Reserved should be nice and sunny for April if the weather co-operates. While the ticket price is most definitely hefty, I think it’s worth it. Sitting with the army gives any fan a great time. The energy is second to none.

Make sure you’re on their website at 7:50 for the 8:00 release.

What value does David Wright bring to the Mets?

Ok, I’m not even going to pretend to build up suspense for this one. The answer is lot. David Wright is quintessential to the Mets, and will be for the foreseeable future.

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David Wright made his Mets debut on my fifth birthday. July 21st, 2004. A day in Mets history that few fans remember. Ever since then David Wright has been the Mets. When you think of the Yankees, you thought of Derek Jeter, and when you think of the Mets you think of David Wright.

He’s a face of a franchise.

But is he a number three hitter that should play third base?

This is where it gets challenging. Mets Merized Online posted an article discussing moving David to first base.

His issues went unnoticed during most of the regular season because the Mets were winning. But in the World Series, mainly in Game 1 and Game 5, it became more noticeable. In Game 1 Wright committed an error in the 14th inning that led the way to the winning run scored for the Royals. In Game 5, his slow throw to first base in the ninth inning was a big factor to Eric Hosmer‘s decision to run to home plate which he did score as the tying run.

What has affected Wright most defensively, was his throws. His arm now consistently loops throws across the diamond. It just shows how serious and significant Wright’s spinal stenosis injury was.

– David Hong, MetsMerized

What David is saying is extremely true. Wright has effect the Mets defensively more than anything. His throws are becoming “banana-like” similar to what we saw with Nats First Baseman (former third baseman) Ryan Zimmerman when he had similar injuries. Ultimately, if and when Duda doesn’t re-sign, it makes sense to transition David over to first base, it will probably give him a few more good years, and with the spinal problems still an issue, the less stressful work, the better.

 

 

2015 MLB.com/blogs Top 100

Obviously it’s an honor to be in the top of this list again. I hope that more people check out MLB.com/Blogs throughout the offseason to catch up on other exciting blog posts from other MLB.com Bloggers.

MLB.com Blogs

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Spring Training is just around the corner with the first pitchers and catchers set to report on Feb. 17, and everyone has big goals for 2016 in Major League Baseball. Here’s something you might want to set as a goal for yourself: making the annual MLB.com/blogs Top 100 list. Here are the blogs that had what it took to do that in 2015, by category. Congratulations to the MLB.com/blogs Top 100, based on Unique Visits measured by Major League Baseball Advanced Media from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2015. If you made the list, make sure you add your Top 100 badge to your sidebar, with the link to this post. That goes for everyone: active players, front offices, groundskeepers, fans, photogs and broadcasters!

FANS
1. The Baseball Collector
2. Universo Béisbol
3. The Brewer Nation
4. Around the Horn Talk
5. Cook & Sons’ Baseball Adventures

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