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).
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.
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:
* 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!