January 2018

Here’s the Mets 2018 Spring Training Collection

Just like that first fifty degree day or the first time the Mets tweet an image of some random player suiting up in Port St. Lucie, the Spring Training uniform release is just another sign that we are one day closer to Opening Day in Queens.

Well today, we got our first look at those uniforms, and, while they are nearly identical to last year’s, there are some details that are rather noteworthy.

The cap is made of the new breathable Prolight material (which apparently costs $40). While I had high hopes for this material, I’ve had to go up a size, and it feels more like a rain coat than a nice cap.

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It’s safe to say this is not my favorite cap, and I’ll be sticking with the AC Polyester material.

The patch, on the other hand, is quite nice. Unlike the “roadsigns” theme from years past, they now have a “home plate” theme, with that beautiful Florida Teal Blue, fantastic!

The uniforms will retain that annoying white name pattern from last year, which didn’t look good on-field, and I was secretly hoping they’d ditch them, but apparently it sells well, and that’s what most important, right?

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As you can see, the patch will be a physically embroidered patch this year, like the Mets skyline logo, which is nice, even though I don’t mind chrome during Spring Training (but this would be nice in the Postseason).

So, nothing is really new, but in the uniform world, small and subtle is still interesting to discuss, and that sums up these designs perfectly.

 

Reyes is Back, Here’s My Thoughts

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On Thursday, it was reported that infielder Jose Reyes, who made his major league debut with the Mets back in 2003, will return for the 2018 season, in a strictly utility role.

Reyes will make $2 million, with further incentives should he take more plate appearances, up to $500,000 dollars. Jose resigned with the Mets in 2016 after spending portions of the 2012-2015 seasons with the Miami Marlins, Colorado Rockies and the Toronto Blue Jays.

To make room for Jose on the 40 man roster, Josh Smoker, the Mets second lefty in the bullpen, has been designated for assignment. Smoker had a had a 5.11 ERA and 4.92 FIP during the 2017 season, and is unlikely to remain with the ballclub, unless he remains un-claimed through waivers.

At the end of the day, taking on Reyes should only benefit the team. The Mets have a very real chance of building a formidable infield around Amed Rosario, who showed a lot of praise in the month and a half of play last year.

Rosario has always shown a lot of admiration for Reyes; and even as a mentor who plays a few games here and there to plug some gaps, Reyes is worth the $2 million dollars.

Additionally, while statistics are more paramount compared to camaraderie in the eyes of executives, Reyes has always had a tight connection to the Mets and the fanbase, and it’s safe to say most fans want to see him on board.

The sore part of this transaction is the pending loss of Smoker who was supposed to be a lock for the Mets second lefty, something that the Mets will need to look into, now that Blevins is in the pool of pitchers that could be a closer on any given day, and considering the Mets no longer have Josh Edgin.

Am I happy that we signed Reyes? Yes.

Would I have “traded” Reyes for Smoker? Probably not.

And that’s essentially what happened here. Reyes is a Met, Smoker won’t be, so my mixed emotions are warranted.

 

 

 

#MetsPlus360: Thor is in with Topps

Ahh Baseball Cards. In my room, I have old math binders filled with hundreds of cards per season from 2005 to 2014. The fun of heading down to the convenience store and getting a eight pack of Topps cards,  only to rip the pack open and add it to the sacred collection (and trade them the following day in school) was some of the best fun I had in my childhood. Trading baseball cards was like the stock market for kids, only the reward wasn’t money, it was having a good time.

Nothing was better however that getting specialty cards. When I was young, getting a “Topps Attax” card to play with on the computer, or a postseason patch card was the a total thrill. The limited nature and secrecy of these cards made them very worthwhile, and a collectors item among my grade school trading friends.

Nowadays, I still get the team packs, but the unknown nature of what cards have been released has diminished, thanks to internet forums and social media. which adds a new component to Topps trading, but diminishes the fun of getting a surprise.

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Luckily, the folks at Topps introduced Topps NOW, which I talked about last year on the blog. For those that don’t know, Topps NOW is a feature where collector’s get that chance to purchase a Baseball card featuring a highlight from the previous day’s action. However, there is a caveat, which is where the “limited edition” nature gets rediscovered. The card is only available for 24 hours from release, and then it’s no longer available for purchase. Just imagining how much trading power my inner-kid (and, current, teenager, to a certain extent) would have had with Topps NOW cards made me really excited for the new development that Topps announced yesterday.

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Noah Syndergaard is becoming the first Topps NOW Intern,  where he will guide and contribute to the decision making process of the professionals that make Topps NOW a reality.

To commemorate this, a pregame presser was announced and held before yesterday’s game, one that I had the pleasure of attending. Noah was enthusiastically wearing a huge Topps NOW t-shirt, and with his dry sense of humor, explained the duties of the Topps internship. I asked Syndergaard what it felt like when he saw his first Topps NOW card last year, and Syndergaard immediately talked about the Los Angeles two home-run game, and how awesome it was to see the card printed almost instantaneously. Frankly, I think Syndergaard is completely right. With most tangible items commemorating an event, like a cap or a t-shirt, one would have to wait at least one week to go through the process of development, at which point the moment is no longer relevant. With Topps Now, one can purchase the card within hours of the moments’ occurrence, which is fantastic.

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After a while, the interview got sidetracked into questions about Syndergaard’s blister, but the show stopper was Bartolo Colon, in all his glory, coming in to present his San Diego home-run card.

While this was a super memorable moment, it also displays how Topps NOW represents history, a card that will forever represent that night in May. In the future, Topps NOW cards will not only be fun to collect, but to reflect on.

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Overall, I’m very excited for the future of Topps NOW. The world is turning more digital day after day, but Baseball cards are perfect in their classic, printed form. Topps NOW brings that tangible magic with the limited edition twist, which is a perfect combination. To purchase your Topps NOW card, go to their website here, and follow the Topps Company on their social media platforms.

Below is the press conference in it’s entirety:


Special thanks to The Topps Company for their invitation, I look forward to collect these new Topps NOW cards, which should hopefully be mostly Mets, right?

David Wright: “I Don’t Want to Have Regrets”

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“I don’t want to have regrets,” said a noticeably different Wright in an interview with MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo on Friday afternoon, during his annual Vegas Night to benefit the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Virginia.

“It really hurts to say this, but I obviously can’t be relied on to go out there and do what I’ve done throughout my career,” “That is a tough thing to say.”

Wright, who appeared noticeably slimmer and more cautious with every comment, explained how recovering from spinal stenosis has been a pure guessing game. “You don’t know how you’re going to feel a month from now. You don’t know how you’re going to feel a couple weeks from now. You’re hoping that it continues to get better, but you just don’t know.”

Read the entire story by MLB.com’s Mets Beat Writer Anthony DiComo here

WATCH: Mike Piazza full 2016 HoF Speech

First Bruce, and now Adrian Gonzalez???

Anyone else confused?

A few days ago, the news broke that the Mets have signed outfielder Jay Bruce to a three year $39 million dollar deal. A very affordable deal for a reliable old toy.

What was Jay’s role going to be?

He was going to be the right fielder at least until Conforto came back, and he could play all three outfield spots as well as some first base is the situation warrants it. Some people questioned it considering first base and the outfield is not a position of need for the Mets (like third base), but, considering how Bruce is a reliable guy that brings clubhouse leadership, and usually puts up 25 homeruns and 80 RBI’s by year’s end, the deal was met with praise.

Great, the Mets are off to the races, now let’s get a closer and a third baseman!

Then this happens…..

In the twenty minutes since the news has broken, it has been met with criticism, some of which is warranted, and some not.

This does send a message that the Mets have little to no faith in Dominic Smith, who underperformed in his’ cup of coffee in 2017. Additionally, this probably means Dominic Smith will start the year in Triple-A Las Vegas, so he can get four at bats on a regular basis, something I can’t see him doing if everyone is healthy to start the year.

On the singing itself, it’s certainly a little strange; Gonzalez was  one of the best players in baseball a few years ago, but he’s fallen off a cliff the last two years statistics wise, and it’s ultimately a cheap Michael Cuddyer type move.

Does this excite me? Somewhat. It’ll be surreal to see Adrian Gonzalez in the orange and blue, but after the initial shock, I don’t think the Mets will see extraordinary productivity from him.

That being said, this whole post is remarkably similar to what I said when Colon signed in 2014, and I was dead wrong, so I will withhold judgement.

Do I still have hope for David Wright in 2018?

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While the Mets haven’t done much outside of significantly improving the coaching staff this offseason, there has been some traction recently when it comes to the free agent market.

Specifically, General Manager Sandy Alderson has expressed interest in re-signing Jay Bruce, Addison Reed, and signing long-time Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas or maybe Todd Frazier.

Now, these rumors are, just rumors, but this is the first time in my time as a Mets fan (now 12 years) that I’ve seen the team try to acquire a legitimate third baseman. And the reason that has been the case for the past decade and a half is that David Wright has been the Mets hot corner.

Three years ago, it would be insulting to even consider going after a journeyman third baseman, but that’s all changed, since David has only played a couple dozen games in those three lost seasons for him.

While the majority of the Mets fans perception of David is still really, really, high, and his t-shirt still sells very well at the Modell’s and at the Team Store, it’s no secret that injuries have totally de-railed his career, and every time he builds up strength and gets back out there, something else sidelines him. Through all of these injuries I have been and will continue to be supportive and hopeful that we’ll see him in a uniform again on the field, and I don’t blame him at all for trying to do his job, which is play baseball. He has a family to support, and might have kids and grandkids that he’d like to help out as well. Sure, he makes good money, why not collect the salary from the Wilpons and the insurance?

So, I’ll still root for Wright for right now. I hear all the calls that he should retire, some of them are probably warranted, but he’s earned the right through his time here to call it quits when he wants to, and it looks like he has no intention of stopping now.

 

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WATCH: Top Mets Moments in 2017

It’s easy to forget the good moments that took place in 2017 with the Orange & Blue, but there were a few.

Relax and enjoy this clip, it might warm you up a little bit, and get you somewhat excited for Spring Training.

Last Call for the Queens Baseball Convention

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Two weeks from now, and three blocks from my home, Mets fans will gather in Astoria, NY, specifically Katch Pub & Grill (located on Newton Ave and 31st street) to see former Mets, current Mets and even some familiar faces far and wide that are usually only seen at the ballpark in the summer and on social media.

I’ve gone to all of the QBC’s that were not cancelled by a blizzard so far, and I can truly say they are a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, my work constraints will prohibit me from going this year; which is a shame. So, instead of writing about why you should feel pity for me (which you shouldn’t, I genuinely enjoy my weekend job) I will spend this blog post soliciting for the remaining tickets that are still on sale.

As of this writing, the only ticket still available is the Admission + Two Autographs level for $65. Previously, tickets were available at the door, but that seems unlikely given how fast these tickets have gone.

Grab yours here, and see the full schedule and info on the official website here.

(P.S. Someone please record the Uni Talk panel so I can watch it at home).

 

My Mets New Year’s Resolutions

 

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A new year means a new season, filled will new trials and new tribulations, and, like last year, I have some wishes that I hope for our team heading into the 2018 season.

As a Mets fan for 13 years, I’m fairly positive none of these wishes will come true, but, there isn’t any harm in asking for them, so here we go:

1. There is a stretch of 5 days with our aces pitching

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Since June of 2015, when Steven Matz made his Major League debut with the Mets, we’ve had Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard under our control, but there hasn’t been one stretch of five games, where those five pitchers have started.

In other words, someone is always hurt, and this handicaps the team significantly. Obviously, injuries are a part of the game, and they can happen wether you take every precaution against injury or not. The being said, a rotation with Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, Matz, Gsellman and Lugo should not have started pitchers like Tommy Milone, Rafael Montero, Adam Wilk, Tyler Pill and Chris Flexen on a regular basis.

Ray Ramirez was fired at the end of the season in 2017, and the new coaching staff should usher in a new culture when it comes to getting ready and preparing for games.

2. The Mets cut ties with Barwis

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Speaking about injuries, one person that people love to point their fingers at is the Mets strength and conditioning coordinator, who has a home base down in Port St. Lucie, Mike Barwis.

Brawls, who has prided himself in “conditioning” David Wright for the past half-decade, has yielded a lot of criticism from Mets fans, and while I can’t blame him for a player getting injured while making a fantastic catch, the captain does have to fall with his ship, and the Mets health performance has been abysmal since the he’s come in.

3. The Mets bring back the Black, just for one game.

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2018 is the 20 year anniversary of the debut of the Mets black elements, including the alternate uniforms, hybrid caps, and drop shadows that we love to hate.

Personally, I believe the current Mets uniform set is one of the best that there is hands down. That being said, there is a lot of history with the Mets black uniforms, and I do hope that they will bring them back eventually as a quick nod to the past.

That being said, black is still not and will never be a Mets color, and we should stick to Orange and Blue when it comes to our regular uniforms.