We did it. A full year of blogging on a near-daily basis. It’s been fun, and best of all, Mike and I are still friends. Most of our hopes have been realized, since we simply wanted a place to go with our Mets-related thoughts, and to (hopefully) build a small community of readers.
We also dreamed that, over time, we’d enjoy a small, intelligent, respectful comments section. So thank you to the readers who have commented. Now we’ve got “small” and “respectful” covered. Next year we’re shooting for “intelligent!”
We also have a history, we’ve been here before, a year ago. It’s fun to look back on old posts, smile at some funny lines, cringe when we were wildly wrong, and feel reasonably good when it turns out we were correct (see: nuts, blind squirrels).
We figured it might be entertaining (read: easy) to dredge up over some old passages, drag them back into the light, to see what we’ve learned. Thus the debut of our “Then & Now” series!
I wrote, on 12/31 (while evidently high on Zima):
Aaron Laffey can’t throw, by the way. I mean, I understand the nature of these marginal signings, but have you looked at this guy’s career? He has no control and can’t strike anybody out. When you get dumped by the Indians and the Mariners, well, that’s a sign from God on High: He’s holding a placard that reads, “Give it up, dirtbag!” Or, no, perhaps that was just a Met fan of the Future. Anyway, a benevolent Lord would probably just suggest a different occupation — a trade school, perhaps.
Of course, as fate would have it, Laffey made the starting rotation, but it wasn’t long before the anguished wails reached Sandy’s ears and he moved on to other options.
Wait, you think we are friends? Okay.
From day one you had no use for Laffey, and you were right, he was bad in every possible way. When it came to Laffey you would sound angry, and a lot of that had to do with Zack Wheeler. You knew Wheeler was better than Laffey and that Zack was being held back for non-baseball reasons. That is frustrating, and left Laffey, just another crappy career roster filler guy, as a human example of a flawed policy.
As we now head toward 2014 I can see this ugly situation developing again if Montero is held back and we use a “Laffey type.” I’m already bracing myself for your reaction if Rafael is sent down to Vegas and the team does not have a true major league pitcher to use in his place.
I wasn’t angry, Mike; I was inebriated. But, yes, Laffey felt like a middle finger extended in our direction. A “screw you” from the organization. Games in April count, too.
New Year’s Eve was a big day for us, Mike. You made your first prediction and it was right on the money:
You know, Jimmy, this may be the Zima talking (new blog name — 2 Guys Under the Influence of Zima?) but I’m feeling a breakout season from Parnell. He has that power arm, and for over a year now there has been so many glimpses of what he can be. He has the stuff to be a big time arm in the pen for a few years and so here is my first 2013 prediction. A big year from Bobby Parnell.
I still like that new name. It helps our readers understand how we come to many of our conclusions.
I’ll drink to that! It’s weird how the mild neck injury has become . . . Peyton Manning II. I’m a little worried, I mean, despite the Mets awesome history handling these types of problems. You know, how things have never, ever gone wrong in the past.
The neck thing went from “he had a bad night of sleep” to very major surgery. Baseball is a non-contact sport and it’s not Bobby’s arm, but if you are not even a little worried about this you might be under the influence of something.
For the past 30 years, students of the game — ahem! — have debated over the importance of the closer, with various arguments holding sway. There’s been the side that says, “It’s three outs. Big deal.” The side that says, “It’s a rare skill.” The side the contends, “The guy only throws 60 innings a year, that’s not nearly as important as the pitcher who gives you 200.” And so on. We hear about high-leverage situations, the inflated “save” statistic, and so forth.
Lately I’m seeing that a quality closer anchors a bullpen, helps define it, holds it together, reduces stress. It’s an essential role. At the same time, a great closer on a crummy team is like having an awesome wide receiver paired with a lousy quarterback. (Yes, Larry Fitzgerald, I’ve been watching your career.) The Mets needed help in so many areas, a great closer seems like a cherry on top of a cow pie.
Baseball is not a sport where a few dominant players make you successful, regardless of position. The Mets had incredible back-to-back years from two different starting pitchers, R.A. Dickey and Matt Harvey, in 2012 and 2013. The team still stunk, both years. You need a mass of quality players, and you need them all over the field. In the modern game, with almost no complete games, I would not consider a closer a cherry on top any more than any other spot on the field.
We’ll be back with this “Then & Now” feature on another day — and don’t worry, we’ll be sure to include some of our lamest thoughts. We’ve got plenty in the archives!