200 Miles From the Citi

May 16, 2010 7:15 AM

Sunday Paper (Year 2, Volume XX)


You may have heard that the Mets are having trouble finding the strike zone.

I know I've beaten this drum all season, but I'll stop writing about it when the Mets stop walking every friggin' batter they face.

John Maine opened Saturday night by throwing 12 straight balls to three straight batters.

23 of his first 29 pitches were balls, he walked Dan Uggla with the bases loaded (after Uggla helped out Maine by swinging at at least two balls and fouling them off), and of course he was tagged with the eventual Mets loss.

This is an absolute epidemic.  Actually, it's worse.

It's a disgrace.

The Mets entered Saturday night leading the majors in walks allowed.  They did themselves no favors in that department after just one inning Saturday.  (5 walks in 5 innings for Maine, none for the bullpen.)

They just can't keep this up.  Winning teams do not walk this many hitters.

And despite the other categories that the Mets' pitchers are doing well in (among the top teams in ERA), you'd have to think Dan Warthen's job is on thin ice.  And if it's not, it should be.

This has to stop.

It's not Warthen's fault that the majority of the Mets' pitching staff are headcases.  But it's his job to figure out how to get them to stop being headcases long enough to not walk anyone.  He needs to start getting them to throw strikes.

*The Mets took one approach to making the walks stop after Friday's game by pulling Oliver Perez from the starting rotation.  No word yet on who will replace him, but smart money is on Hisanori Takahashi.  And with the way Takahashi has been pitching, he could be very good in the rotation.

*Jose Reyes was back in the leadoff spot on Saturday night, with Angel Pagan taking over the three slot in the lineup.  Reyes' reactions to the move:  "I feel like I'm going home to see my family."  And asked if he was happy about being back in the leadoff spot, Reyes responded, "Yes. Yes. Yes."  OK.  Does it seem to you like maybe he should have been consulted a little more about hitting in the three hole?  Because it doesn't sound like he enjoyed it much.  How about a little communication, Jerry Manuel?

*I have had the Marlins broadcasts most of the weekend.  Man, they bother me.

*I have to admit, I don't know much about the story other than the headlines, but I know it's controversial because security at ballparks have been Tasering people running onto the field.  It happened a couple of times the past week.  I have no opinion on the Tasering, because I'm still uninformed at this point.  But I'm leaning more towards if you trespass on the field, you deserve what you get, whether you're decked by an outfielder or get a bone broken by tackling security guards.

But my main point is that I thought it was interesting that FOX stayed with the fan who ran on the field during the ninth inning of Saturday's Mariners-Rays game.  For about the past 15 years it's been taboo for TV stations to show the people running on the field - a sort of 'if you don't show them, other people won't do it' mentality.  I bet other stations now start following FOX's lead because 1) I guess there's an element that it will actually discourage people from doing it because they might see how roughly security treats these people, but more likely, 2) what they capture on camera could be a really good story for them to have video of if there is a Tasering controversy or really rough handling by security or it might just turn out to be entertaining to show on TV.

*The Jets are reportedly re-negotiating the rookie contracts of Darrelle Revis and Nick Mangold - or at least are in talks to do so.  Seems to me like 1) a smart move, and 2) an act of good faith, since it's not really something they have to do.  Rumors abound, too, that Shaun Ellis is either in his last year with the team, as he has not had extension talks, or he might even be traded before the season.  We'll keep an eye on Ellis.

*I just saw on Saturday night that former NFL-er Norman Hand died on Friday.  37 years old.  That's pretty tragic.  It says he just collapsed at home.  That's going to spur another round of head-heart investigations into NFL players.  And that's not a bad thing, if it ends up saving more lives.

*This Ken Griffey, Junior allegedly sleeping in the clubhouse story has become out of control.  First of all, it paints Mike Sweeney, who I always kind of liked even though he couldn't ever stay healthy with Kansas City, as kind of a jerk.  Sure, he's a stand-up guy to his teammates, unless you say something that he doesn't like.  (He challenged the unnamed sources to step forward, and then fight him.  No one did.)  But he's also the guy leading the charge against the newspaper that published the story.  Seems to me like the writer (who is kind of backtracking now, though I don't think he has to) did nothing wrong, writing a story based on what players told him.  Unless he's lying, he's just doing his job.

So Sweeney is really defensive about clubhouse secrets being made public.  Makes me wonder if there's a skeleton in his closet that might have led to all those injuries in the mid-to-late 1990's.  See, Mike, now that's irresponsible journalism...I wouldn't blame you if you or your teammates didn't speak to me.  But lay off the guy in your local media.

*Finally, I mentioned earlier this week that I'm back on Twitter, and I've been following Nick Mangold.  He's entertaining.  Doesn't seem to take himself too seriously.  He has a regular feature called "Sh*t Meat Says", in which meat is the Jets' guard Brandon Moore.  The other day they went golfing together and Mangold just kept quoting Moore.  The quotes are OK, but the idea that Mangold is so amused by Moore is almost the funniest part of it all.

And if you're interested in following me (I've mostly been lurking lately, rather than tweeting...we'll see how long my Twitter phase lasts), I can be found at johnnymets.  I also have 200 Miles From The Citi on Facebook, if you want to become a fan there.

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