Losing My Religion: Minor League Baseball, Travis d’Arnaud, Juan Lagares, Jason Kendall, and Tony Gywnn

Like you, dear reader, I love baseball.

And like many of you, it’s been a long relationship. I’m 53, attended my first game in ’68, been a steady Mets fan ever since. Big deal. Or to quote Derrick Coleman, “Whoop-dee-damn-do.”

But I have to confess, this team organization has been sucking the life out of me. You see what I did there? I typed “team” first, but that’s not really accurate. There’s so much on this team that I truly enjoy. It’s the Wilpon mess that’s so grim, so deflating. The length of the games. The pointlessness of the outcomes. It’s worn on me.

So last night I drove out to “The Joe” with my oldest son to catch a minor league baseball game. And you know, it did the trick.

We walked up on a gorgeous night, purchased $12 tickets seven rows behind the first-base dugout (strangely, at Joe Bruno Stadium, that’s the home side).

Joe 1

Normally I’d study the program, figure out the draft picks, the prospects, the guys to whom I should pay special attention. But not last night. I just sat back and absorbed the atmosphere, the nuances of the game. In the bottom of the 8th, the home side broke open a 2-2 tie with back-to-back homers.

Win, lose, it didn’t really matter to me. But, sure, it’s always nice when the home boys come out on top.

Joe 3

Anyway, it was nice to renew that connection to the game. The simple pleasures. And most of all, I guess, stepping away from thoughts of owners and management and focusing, instead, on the game on the field. Just look at that photograph. The bags are drunk. The whole scene a thing of beauty. America.

Meanwhile, back to the Mets:

* Travis d’Arnaud has been fixed, all hail Las Vegas, he’s back. Or, well, there’s this from Metsblog a few days back:

If D’Arnaud is promoted after June 27 (20 days after he was demoted) he will be out of minor league options, i.e., able to be sent to the minors without having to first pass through waivers. If he’s promoted before June 27, he will retain the option, meaning he can be sent down again.

So, it makes all the sense in the world to bring him back now, though TC doesn’t seem to comprehend any of it.

Here’s my idea: Bat him 5th. Bat him 6th. Bat him 2nd. Put him in the order somewhere with the hope that this show of confidence, support, and logic will help make a difference in his results and in the opportunities he gets. Hell, Chris Young has batted 5th all season. Is it so crazy for the club to give d’Arnaud the same shot? One guy is a washed up rental, the other is a key to the club’s future.

Unfortunately, Terry’s longstanding pattern is to screw over the prospects. Lagares, Flores, d’Arnaud, etc. Because, you know, the big emphasis in Flushing is about winning. No time for development!

There’s a lot of talk in baseball about “protection” in the lineup. Having a threat behind you. But just as important, I think, and maybe even moreso, is the guys who are up ahead of you. When there are runners on, pitchers have to attack the strike zone. It creates opportunities for hitters.

I think it behooves the Mets to do what it can to help Travis d’Arnaud succeed. Batting him eighth, or seventh (now that TC has gotten so-very-clever with the pitcher’s spot), does not help. Again, they wouldn’t be doing this for Travis. It’s not a gift, but in the club’s own self-interest for him to succeed.

Or, I don’t know, did Travis hit 8th in Vegas?

* One more quick Tony Gwynn note, one I dug up myself: Nolan Ryan led all pitchers by striking out Gwynn 9 times. Tied for second with 6 — our very own Ron Darling. However, in 62 PAs against Darling, Gwynn did manage to slash this: .441/.452/.593. Clearly, Tony didn’t walk enough. Too much contact.

* This is the next baseball book I’m going to read:

9781250031839_p0_v1_s260x420

* Since Lagares has been on the DL, I’ve really missed the simple pleasure of watching him track an easy fly in CF. The games are not as beautiful without him.

* I don’t care if he’s playing better, if he works counts, if he’s steady in his mediocrity. It’s depressing to watch another game with Tejada at SS . . . and Flores on the bench. Not that I believe in Flores, per say, but that I believe the Mets organization has made it nearly impossible for Flores to succeed. And for what? The pointlessness of Ruben Tejada’s second-division play. Sigh.

* Oh, about the minor league game I saw? Good news. On the way out, I caught sight of this. Just hang in there, Mets fans. Help is on the way!

Joe 2

 

 

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17 comments

  1. Eraff says:

    The Pitching=78-83 wins.

    I ACHE for a Management Team that would execute the Team Making Moves to shape this team for the next three to five years. They need a piece of two that is NOW ready to step in to a meaningful role…Probably at SS, maybe LF.

    They should be turning the page on the Rent/Patch phase… the arms are in place, and they don;t all need to be “Cy’s” to make it work. There needs to be more than 2-4 guys in the Lineup/Positional who are carry forward, “Investable” players.

    The team needs it—the Fans need it…it doesn’t need to be a Go for 2014 move, but they need to do a “skin in the game” move that puts a Time Stamp on this team…. a move that says, OK—We Are NOW in a different place.

    Murphy/Montero for Pederson—that type of thing

  2. IB says:

    The division is wide open. The organization needs to roll the dice. I don’t know why I think this, but I’m betting they will – it’s at a critical tipping point and they know it. Stay close to .500 and make some moves already!!

  3. wkkortas says:

    So if you go to a game at The Joe, do you get a subpoena with your ticket stub?

    • Joe Bruno is such an old-school politician. A little dirty, for sure, but he got the damn thing built. What’s the baseball expression? Effectively wild.

      • wkkortas says:

        Even though he’s a Republican, Joe is a worthy heir of Albany political tradition. There’s something oddly compelling about a town that could muster 102% turnout for a Democratic Party primary.

  4. Michael Geus says:

    I went to see Brooklyn last year, and plan to do so more than once this year. It’s a great place to watch a game, and when you get down to it, that is the fun of it all…pick a side and root.

    Harrelson created a very successful enterprise with the Ducks, they make money and people do not go to those leagues to scout prospects, the players are either finished or never quite made it. But it’s solid baseball at a fair cost and that has value.

    Hey, I’m going to Citi Field tonight and fully expect to have a good time. The game of baseball is great, and whether I’m watching on TV or in person it’s fun entertainment.

    When in doubt focus on the field.

  5. Michael Geus says:

    You brought up the length, which is such a big problem for me. Last night the game moved, and I have to say that a big positive with Bartolo is he does not fool around out there.

    That is a big advantage right now when you go to a minor league game, it is not a three and a half to four hour commitment.

  6. When we discussed the Colon signing in the past, I asked: “If he pitches great, is it a good signing?” and we agreed that, sure, it would be. And I think Mike added, “He better moving on that soon.” Well, he sure has pitched wonderfully of late.

    Based on the results so far, it’s looking like a good signing to me.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Agreed. It was also important that he was good in the first half of the season. He would have to blow up completely for that not to be true.

  7. Eraff says:

    Your “Four Hour Game Length” is someone elses 4 hours of Programming. The National Game that starts at 830 EST gets pretty substantial viewership across those 4 hours…gaining some west coast and losing some east coast as the game moves along. The Hard Core NUTS (Me and You!) will suffer it…. the rst of the audience will watch a share of it and move on.

    There’s always a conflict between Business and Baseball, but adjusting batting gloves, stepping out of the box, Fiddle Hitcher Pitchers, endless trips tom the mound, leaving the duggout to discuss a call as you’re reviewing video—These are all Revenue Drivers…as much or more than Home Runs!!!—heck, the Homers are already PART of the game—this stuff is the Added Revenue!

    • Short-sighted, IMO. The TV interests are not concerned with the long-term health of the game, just short-term profits. The Lords of Baseball need to worry about the game moving forward. And the length has become a significant problem.

      • I should add, also, consider actually attending the games in person, maybe with a child. Basketball games are two hours. Soccer, two hours. Football is played once a week.

        • Eraff says:

          Jimmy—they bring their Dogs to Games!!!! 4 hours with a Dog—and that’s just counting First and Last pitches!!! The entire concept of GOING TO A BALLGAME is very different than my own—maybe for you as well.

          It’s now a Mall—an event–The Game?

          • Michael Geus says:

            It is more of a Mall now, that is true. But in general, people still would prefer to see the end of a game, even if they don’t have the attention span to sit in their seats for nine innings.

            And during the week that is a big issue, as people have to get up the next day and go to work. This in an American economy which prides itself in “Productivity” which means working everyone more hours than previous generations for a living wage.

            I really do think it is a problem, but by the time it fully manifests itself I expect to be dead.

            In the meantime I will deal with it and bitch about it from time-to-time, and try not to be too annoying.

            No promises.

    • Michael Geus says:

      I agree with you, TV has plenty to do with this. TV money also creates more revenue for the teams than Stadium money. But the length is damaging the in person experience. How do you watch some of it and move on when you are there?

      But you are right, it helps short-term revenue since TV is the number one revenue driver. So nothing will change.

  8. Michael Geus says:

    I’ve heard that 53 is considered “the sweet spot” for being a Mets fan. You are old enough to remember when the team was good and young enough to have a mathematical chance of seeing it again.

    Congratulations!

    All based on a healthy lifestyle, of course, but I know you take care of yourself.

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