Inside Mr. Met's Head

March 31, 2011 12:32 PM

Oh! The Places You'll Go This Opening Day

Today is Opening Day.
You're off to Great Ballparks!
You're off and away!

You have players on your team.
You have long socks in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU have the manager who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down Yawkey. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "GO SAWX" with unashamed flair
With your head full of Bud Light and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to not read your 30,000 page spreadsheet.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll run your star player out of town.

It's opener there
in the thin Coors Stadium air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to teams as skilled
and as well predicted as you.

And then the games actually start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
Maybe your team will start winning too.


Your team is on the way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
To the top of the division high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because your centerfielder has the speed.
You'll pass the Orioles and Jays and you'll soon take the lead.
Whoever you play, you'll beat the best of the rest.
You will tell them all, for one day, my team is the best.

Except when you don't.
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
that collapses
and disappointments
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
on the Pepsi Perch.
But your team will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from that Perch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that your team might be in a Slump.

And when you're in that Slump,
baseball is never all that much fun.
Un-slumping your team
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where your players are marked.
Shake Shack is lighted. But mostly it's darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare you give money to the Wilpons? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you stand to lose? Do you think your team could ever win?

And IF you go in, in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda left or right...
or head into the Mets Hall of Fame? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
That the VORPiest of FIPS could never survive with his kind.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down those windy concourses at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
National League East, Last Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for the firesale to go
or prospect to come, or starter to go
or Alderson to come, or the Minaya to go
or bullpen to ring, or the closer to blow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for the playoffs, to know.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the batter to bite
or waiting for that ball to take flight
or waiting around for Opening night
or waiting, perhaps, to knock down the Jake
or a base to steal, the speedy to break
or a superstar infielder, dirtying another pair of pants
or a bat with pine tar, or simply, just another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying
You'll find the bright places
where a $200 million payroll team is playing.

With World Series banners flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you finish under .500 again you just might die!

Oh, the places you'll go! There are games to be done!
There are dingers to be hit. There are games to be won.
And the magical things a pitcher can do with that ball
will make your favorite team the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't
Because, sometimes they won't.

I'm afraid that some times
you'll some day be the Pirates too.
Games you can't win
'cause the Luxury Tax doesn't really help you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Last Place will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're in the cellar, there's a very good chance
you'll meet some bad players who scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though the Yankees may prowl.
On you will go
though the WFAN callers may howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and Tommy John is right round the door.

On and on you will hurl,
And I know you'll hit far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with the Puntos and the Bloomquists as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right baller with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(the extra 2 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Halladay, Hamels or Lee
or even a man like Robert Alan Dickey,
You're off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your championship is waiting.
So...get on your way!
March 27, 2011 12:59 PM

Scouting Preview: RA Dickey

ra.jpgEasily one of the most improbable redemption stories of the past couple of years has been the tale of a certain bearded, CS Lewis reading, funny pitchface making, UCL-less 36-year old journeyman knuckleballer named Robert Alan Dickey. Last year's journey, from free agent scrap heap pick up, to Buffalo, to bullpen relief, to his complete game one hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies in August was the stuff of Metropolitan legend. The contract he signed this offseason assures that RA Dickey will be in the Mets uniform until 2012 (option '13).

From a complete unknown to New York folk hero -- what's the deal with Dickey?

As I mentioned in this earlier article, much of Dickey's success has come from his abandoning of awful secondary pitches and sticking solely to a plus knuckleball and fastball. His scouting report is highly intriguing: he sports a mid-70s "fast" knuckleball that has a surprising amount of horizontal movement and little vertical movement, the exact inverse of earlier in his career when he rarely threw it. Dickey mixes up his fast knuckler with a Bugs Bunny knuckleball that drops in at around 58 miles per hour. An extremely rare pitch, the eephus knuckler is thrown only a handful of times a game as a change of pace pitch. His final pitch is a low 80s fastball, thrown usually when behind in the count or if Dickey needs a strike. Earlier in the spring, Dickey stated that he was adding a cutter, which he has thrown this spring predominantly to right handers.

The most interesting thing about Dickey is that fast knuckleball. Traditionally knucklers sit in the mid 60s but Dickey's is about ten miles per hour faster. Part of his success last season was due to the fact that he kept the ball in the ballpark, surrendering 0.67 HR/9, thanks to his extremely low fly ball rate, which was at 28%. His FIP was about a point higher than his ERA, but not a substantial difference. Considering the extreme pitcher-friendliness of CitiField, I don't believe that a Dickey regression will be that great, unless he cannot keep it in the ballpark which appears somewhat unlikely as a) knuckleballers traditionally outperfom their peripherals and b) his peripherals don't point solely to luck as the cause of his success. There is definitely something else going on.

Dickey has been an interesting study so far and has been the subject of a lot of debate in concerns to his low fly ball rate. My theory on this is that due to the speed of his knuckler and the fact that no one really has ever thrown a knuckleball this fast in the past, is either that a fast knuckleball is more difficult to get under or that players will eventually adjust to the difference and begin to modify their approach.

Dickey is an easy guy to root for and all signs point to more success in the future for him.
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March 18, 2011 6:50 PM

Luis Castillo and the Non-Existent Racism

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  RY 24:  Lui...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Luis Castillo is finally off the Mets roster. Perhaps this move spells some sort of moving on from the disastrous previous brain trust or that the current organizational thinkers understand the meaning of "sunk cost." I do, however, feel somewhat badly for Castillo as he was unfairly labeled as a lazy and bad player. Sure, his range was about as lengthy as a seventy year old and hit the ball as far as a little leaguer but the man was still slightly above replacement. The issue with Castillo in my mind was his contract, and I have a very hard time blaming the player for a move that his superiors made. If my boss came to me and offered me a contract much higher than I'm worth I'm not going to go up to him and go "Hey man, I think you made a mistake I'm not worth this much you idiot."

Now, the twitterblogosphere has exploded in response to an asinine piece by Daily News writer Andy Martino. He wrote a piece the other day about how the celebration over Castillo's release may have more to do with race instead of his mediocre play on the field.

No, I'm not making this up.

Martino's ignorant, race-baiting article -- full of unsourced speculation and strawmen -- is an insult to everyone who cares about the Mets. He cites Castillo's ability to play while injured as something to be lauded when in the real world, if a player plays hurt and hurts his team (like Castillo arguably did a handful of times over the past couple of seasons), it's ridiculous to praise. Toughness doesn't replace stupidity, which is exactly what a player is if he runs the risk of injuring himself further or making a team worse by playing.

To assume race as a factor for why Castillo is disliked by Mets fans is simply insulting. I find it ironic that a man who chides the Mets faithful for calling out Castillo for being lazy writes such an unbelievably lazy sports article, one which I expect to see on Bleacher Report rather than the New York Daily News. It makes me long for the days of Mike Lupica, which says a lot about the quality of Martino's commentary.

What's lost in subtext is the fact that the Mets cut an overpriced veteran who, although hit over .300, had an excellent on-base percentage, had a disgustingly low slugging percentage, an unsustainable ground ball rate, and a hilariously low swing percentage. Castillo's peripherals predict an enormous regression but I am certain that level of thinking is substantially higher than where Martino is. Castillo did get a bad deal from Mets fans. Again, a slightly above replacement level player for his years with the Mets, Castillo will be remembered more for the plays that he didn't make (like the horrific pop fly against the Yankees) than for his decent on-base skills. Race, however, had nothing to do with it.

More importantly, Martino misses an obvious point in order to build a non-existent story. The average sports fan doesn't understand the game. They go "oh hey Castillo didn't hit any dingers or stole any bases he sucks boooo" instead of looking deeper. But no, it's not that -- Occam's Razor this Martino -- it's blatant racism from Mets fans, the same Mets fans who live, work, and play in the largest melting pot in the history of modern man.

It's not that Turner, Emmaus, and Murphy are better players going forward than Castillo is currently, it's that everyone who dislikes Castillo has a grudge against Latinos.

If it's a troll -- and I wouldn't be surprised -- it's an awful one and not even worth responding to. I personally hope that no one is so ignorant as to accuse an entire fanbase (that isn't the Red Sox or Cubs --- I kid, I kid) of flagrant racism.

It's amazing how considering how bad the Mets ownership is, their beat writers are even worse.
March 6, 2011 5:32 PM

New York Mets: Closing Sale Everything Must Go

wilpon_idiot.jpgIn what is arguably the worst news Mets fans have heard since "Hey, Tom Seaver got traded!", Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that in order for the Wilpons to remain owners of the New York Mets, they may fire sale under the guise of salary control. Now, their financial disaster has been well documented (and the Wilpons flagrantly lied to the public about their financial state) but turning the Mets into the Royals is such a disgusting proposition I cannot even begin to vent my frustration toward these inept and dangerously incompetent human beings.

Who would go you ask? Wright most certainly. His under market value contract would be highly desirable and would receive a decent return. Reyes and Beltran would both go during the trading deadline. Bay would be dumped for pennies on the dollar unless he proves that 2010 was a fluke. In order to keep the team and return a hefty profit, the Wilpons will sell the soul of the Mets.

I suppose everyone saw this coming after all the news came out but I am shocked by the lack of fan anger in regards to this news. Mets fans, although arguably suffering from some sort of clinical depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, are so shell shocked that nothing phases them anymore. Perhaps lost in all of this is that the Mets potential dynasty is gone. 2006 appears more and more to be a fever dream than actual reality. Due to poor planning, owner cheapness, incompetent management, and injuries the Mets allowed the Phillies to walk all over them for years now and let the Mets turn from upstart powerhouse into laughingstock.

The one fact that most definitely bothers me is the following: the New York Mets were, as of 2009, the second or third most valuable franchise in baseball (depending on who you ask). How can Bud Selig allow the Wilpons to continue their disastrous reign of terror? How can MLB sit by and allow the second most valuable franchise to cut and cut and cut in the name of the financial insecurity that they themselves created in their own negligence and stupidity?

There will be dark days upcoming at CitiField. It's going to be a very tough couple of months.  
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February 7, 2011 11:39 PM

Emails with a Sabermagician

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 29:  (L - R) Saul Katz, CEO...

I was checking my email a few days and I noticed some very strange spam messages. I hope you all can help me decipher them.

To: Andrew Tworischuk

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am pleased to get across to you for a very urgent and profitable baseball club, though I don't know you neither have I seen you before but my confidence was reposed on you when Fred and Jeff Wilpon, father and son owners of the New York Metropolitans handed me your contact for a confidential business.

I am the General Manager of the New York Metropolitians, Sandy Alderson. The intended business is thus; we have a baseball team, a team located in Queens, NY, who finished in fourth place in 2010. Despite the success of one "RA" Dickey, the team was not very good. However, the New York Metropolitians have a payroll the sum of US$133.14 Million (One Hundred Thirty Three million, one hundred fourty thousand U.S Dollars). Unfortunately, the ownership spent all their money in a Ponzi scheme until today non-of his friends or business partners have come forward to claim this baseball club.

Having noticed this, I in collaboration with two other top Officials of the franchise, JP Riccardi and new manager Terry Collins covered up the team all this while. Now we want you (being a forum) to be fronted as one of the potential investors into buying a 25% stake into the Metropolitans Baseball Club and forward all the necessary information to be advised to you by us to attest to the Club.

We will use our positions to get all internal documentation to back up the claims. We currently own the following superstar player: David Wright. We also possess one slightly used Angel Pagan. We would offer you a Jason Bay as well but we are not sure if he is alive or not. We believe that this franchise will be successful this year due to the low-risk investment of the General Manager and the removal of one "Jeff Francoeur". You will also receive one slightly used CitiField.

The whole procedure will last only until opening day to get the franchise sold successfully without trace even in future. Your response is only what we are waiting for as we have put all our hopes and dreams on the shoulders on one RA Dickey and his knuckleball will be instrumental to the success of the franchise in motion.

As soon as this message comes to you kindly get back to me indicating your interest, then I will furnish you with the whole Metropolitians franchise to ensure that the deal is successfully Concluded. For your assistance, we have agreed in principle to offer you 25% of the total franchise at the end of the transaction as well as fourth place in the National League East

It is risk free and a big mega fortune. All correspondences towards this transaction will be through SNY and ESPN. I await your earliest response.


Yours Sincerely,


Normally, I ignore emails like this but for some reason it seemed like a very decent and fair deal. So I responded back. The next day, I got this:

To: Andrew Tworischuk

Dear Freind,

This is General Manager of the New York Metropolitians baseball club Sandy Alderson. We have spoken previously about  about your purchase of a 25% share of a well reputable professional baseball franchise with its Stadium located in Queens, NY. Our new manager, Terry Collins assures me and our ownership that the New York Metropolitians will be slightly improved this season.

As mentioned before, the New York Metropitians Baseball Club possess a payroll in excess of US$133M, which I
seek your Partnership in accommodating for me. You will be rewarded with 25% of The total sum for your partnership. Can you be my partner on this?

As a personal consultant to the owners, Fred and Jeff Wilpon, the authority was handed over to me recently in the potential transfer of money from one SAUL KATZ.

The New York Metropolitians are composed of the following professional athletes:

Catcher: Josh Thole. A young catcher with little to no power who will get on base. He will never be a super player but he will be a serviceable Professional Baseball Player for the foreseeable future. He cannot hit left handers so the Metropolitians will probably platoon him with Ronnie Paulino, a recent signing from the Florida Tunas or some other irrelevant franchise from South Florida.

First Baseymans: Ike Davis. He came up last season and did okay but not great, understandable considering that he's a 23 year old. He was probably rushed by the General Manager and Manager before us. He can hit the ball a very long distance but cannot hit "curve ball" and struggles with his streaky nature. He will hopefully develop into a decent player if he figures out his issues. He hit a really long home run once. Also he kind of looks like Bruce Springsteen but I think I'm the only one who sees this.

Second Baseymans: No one really knows who will be playing second base for the New York Metropoliticans. Luis Castillio is making half the GDP of Nigeria and literally cannot hit a baseball, succeeding simply because he rarely swings his bat. Another option is Daniel Murphy, the former great white hope of the franchise who sucked in the outfield and was much better defensively at 1B. He, like Davis, is streaky and is also decent defensively but he broke his leg in AAA and now who knows. Ruben Tejada is apparently third on the depth chart but he cannot hit major league pitching and is all glove. He will not be the starting second baseyman this year

Short Stops: Jose Reyes. He is a little jumping bean that gets Phillies fans really angry because he points to the sky or some shit. He's fast, has been suffering from bad injury history so Mr. Reyes is kind of a lottery ticket. Racist Metropolitcians fans will claim that he is lazy (because he looks black) but he is a very good base ball player. Hopefully he can take a walk again. If he is not patient he will be very bad.

Third Basey Man: David Wright. A super planet. A great player. Possibly the second homosexual Mets baseball player. He gets a lot of crap from idiots who say that he strikes out a lot but they have no idea what they're talking about and death to WFAN callers and metsblog. His power is hurt a bit by CitiField and he too is somewhat streaky but he's probably one of the best third baseymans in the game. Will be involved in a lot of stupid trade rumors that will either make you laugh or make you very very angered.

Left Fielder: Jason Bay. We have no idea if this man is alive or dead, he ran face first into the wall against the Dodgers and then the medical staff put him on a plane and then we never heard about him again. His head may explode at a moment's notice. He's a very good player even though he was terrible last year and will hopefully have a huge rebound. I'm optimistic about his recovery and I think he'll be good, but probably won't ever come close to the numbers he put up with Boston and Pittsburgh.

Center/Right Fieldersmans: this is where things get kind of "funky>". Angel Pagan should probably be starting in center over WFAN certified overrated Carlos Beltran. Pagan is good but has some past injury issues and I don't trust his value because I'm extremely paranoid and keep a slice of tin foil hidden underneath my Mets hat. Carlos Beltran gets some awful press from Mets fans and he doesn't deserve it. It's a contract year and we all know what happened in his last contrat year.

Already the team have sound the shore of Florida to an Spring Training private facility where the
final roster is expected to be created. While I was on the process, My Boss got arrested for his Involvement with a "Mr. Ponzi", which is where you come in.

All I need from you is to stand as the beneficiary of the Above quoted team and I will re-profile the pitching staff at a later date, which will enable the Metros to improve to maybe third place in the National League East.

I have decided to ask you again for 25% of the overall value of the New York Metropolitians. The transaction has to be Concluded In 2 weeks before spring training begins. As Soon as I confirm your readiness to conclude the transaction with me, I Will provide you with more details, including the pitching staff..


Thank you very much



I was almost sold on the deal but I just wasn't sold yet. So I did a little research and it turns out that there has been a lot of literate written about scammers like this. But I believe this to be real in my heart of hearts. I replied back asking for the final information.

Today I received this:

To: Andrew Tworischuk

Dear Sir or Madam,

It is my great pleasure writing you this final letter on behalf of my colleagues and myself. FRED and JEFF WILPON, JP RICCARDI, and TERRY COLLINS are very pleased to hear of your potential final interest in the New York Metropolitians baseball club. Once again, we have decided to seek a confidential co-operation with you in the execution of the deal described hereunder for the benefit of all of New York City (because who no one actually wants to root for the Yankees) and hope you will keep it as a top secret because of the nature of this business and the bad publicity that the Metropolitans have all ready recieve.

Within the New York Metropolitians where I work as a General Manager and with the co-operation of other top nerds who spend all days in the deepest corners of CitiField, we have in our possession as overdue payment bills totaling $133 million which we want to transfer into the payroll with assistance and co-operation of a forum to receive the said fund and then send monthly cheques to BUD SELIG and the Payroll Department of STERLING METS LLC.

Obviously, the amount represented some percentage of the total contract value will eventually be yours. Though the actual contract cost have been lost because of Mr. Ponzi that ownership may have been involved in, your investment into the Metropolitians will assure years and years of success and not a single moment of futility or frustration.

Since the WILPONS are sadly determined to pay every cent of the Metropolitians payroll no matter how little they deserve it, the following are a list of pitchers currently on the depth chart.


Johan Santana's left arm was sold in a Cash4Gold scam. They are forging a new one and he will be available hopefully around the all star break.

Mike Pelfrey is a bit of a headcase who gained a bit of notoriety a few years ago for tipping his pitches by yelling them out loud at the baseyball. I wish I was kidding. It looks like he may have figured out his pitching problems. I'm excited to see if he'll be able to repeat his form last year and at least stay somewhat consistent.

Jonathon Niese cannot spell his first name. He was one of the few prospects in the Mets system and perhaps even rarer one that may pan out. He's a decent, if not borderline good pitcher who thrives on control. He's a 2 WAR pitcher and is only going to be 25 this year so he may actually be an exciting part of the rotation.

RA Dickey is the greatest pitcher to ever play the game of baseball. He doesn't have a ligament in his arm and therefore he is immortal. Before 2010, he throw four pitches but now he only throws the knuckleball and the fastball. Dickey will probably not be as good as last year but I think he'll still be extremely effective.

The Fifth starter is unknown but will be one of Dillon Gee, Chris Young, or Chris Capuano. Dillon Gee is marginally okay and was a part of the disastrous 2007 Draft. Chris Capuano and Chris Young are centerpieces of "THE NEW MONEYBALL!!!" which is giving low risk signings to dudes coming off of severe surgeries. At the very least they'll hopefully be replacement level but rest assured Mets fans will find a way to overrate the both of them to the point of absurdity.

The bullpen looks like this: K-Rod is an overrated piece of trash who suffers from fits of epilepsy and speaks in tongues when he closes out a game. The rest of the bullpen is trash and will cause Mets fans extreme amounts of pain this year. I'm not kidding. Manny Acosta is in the bullpen. So is Pat Misch and Oliver Perez. It is going to be a disaster.

Anyway, back to business. I have the authority of my partners involved to propose that, should you be willing to assist us in this transaction, your share of the sum will be 25% of the New York Mets Baseball team.

The business itself is 100% safe and is not a scam at all, provided you treat it with utmost secrecy and confidentiality. Also your area of specialization is not a hinderance to the successful execution of this transaction as the departure of OMAR MINAYA and JERRY MANUEL has allowed the nerds to come out of their basements and get some sun.

I have reposed my confidence in you and hope that you will not disappoint me, like the Mets almost assuredly will.

Thanks for your anticipated co-operation.

Yours Faithfully,

I just liquidated all my assets. Fame and fortune here I come.
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January 28, 2011 3:31 PM

We Were Right All Along!

9212495-standard.jpgIn quite possibly the least surprising news, well, ever, the Wilpons announced this afternoon that they are having financial issues and will be looking to selling a minority share of the New York Mets. The rumors and insinuations that have surrounded their financial status since the Bernie Madoff scandal have finally come to fruition and Mets fans all around can pat themselves on the back for being right. As the only family that can screw up continually and never learn a single thing, the Wilpons have admitted that they are liars as well as morons.

The Wilpons have attempted to cover up their financial mistakes by blatantly lying to their team's supporters and yet still have the audacity to complain about lack of ticket sales. Why should we, the fans, support this team? During the Omar Minaya era, we suffered through the incompetent managing of both Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel. We dealt with the albatross of Oliver Perez's contract. We've come to terms with a medical staff that couldn't stop a nosebleed.  Admittedly, the Mets took some steps in the right direction. Sandy Alderson's triumphant return to baseball and the front office staff is a huge upgrade. This would be great if they weren't hamstringed by the Wilpons.

I was always skeptical about Omar Minaya being at fault for the failure of the Mets to win a championship despite coming so close in 2006. I always had this feeling that he was held back by the Wilpons or that Jeff truly was meddling behind the scenes. This announcement today shows that the Wilpons are the only reason why this team has been a disaster; the reason why they are, have been, and always will be a laughing stock.

Honestly, who in their right minds would want to be minority owners in this team? The beautiful CitiField is empty because of the Wilpons. They're basically begging for money; attempting to save their investment in the Mets by having someone else bail them out. I wouldn't really expect anything less from them. Nothing will change with a minority owner, they've even admitted as such today. It's never easy being a Mets fan and this is just another example why. Anyone who gives a cent to the Wilpons gets exactly what they deserve.

The Wilpons need to sell this franchise before they ruin it. A minority owner won't change the people way up top and neither will an intelligent front office. Sure, perhaps we're not as bad off as the Dodgers but it's still a completely awful situation. It's time for them to go. 
January 23, 2011 2:40 PM

In Response to Jeff Pearlman (Mr. Mets Head Returns!)

ap-ra-dickeyjpg-c37d4b9cb6edd0ed_large.jpgOn Friday, Jeff Pearlman, writer for Sports Illustrated and, posted an article entitled "Tracking Down my Online Haters". In it, he wrote about two people, Matt and Andy, who responded negatively toward an article of his where he outlined why Jeff Bagwell should not be a Hall of Famer. The "Andy" in the article is indeed me, as a couple of people have asked me. I've had a couple of days to digest my new found internet first name super stardom and I'd like to take an opportunity to not only defend myself but also explain my actions.

Basically, I read his Bagwell article and thought it was really dumb. I mean, it was just absolutely ridiculous and I felt that it was just a poor attempt to rile up people. So I'm watching Billy Madison one night and I make some stupid, admittedly unfunny joke on twitter about Billy Madison and Jeff Pearlman being f-ing retards. Just something in passing. I wasn't commenting directly on his article or directly attacking him, it was just a random observation that I made late at night. The next day I log into twitter and I see that he responded to me, saying something like "is that the best you can do?" and I was taken aback that he literally name searched himself on twitter. So, like anyone who's being challenged, I called him a whiny baby who is so starved for attention that he searches for himself on twitter. I don't think anything about it afterwords.

A couple of days later, I'm at my girlfriend's place in Philadelphia and my mom texts me something like "call me -- very important." I call her up and she goes "Who's Jeff Pearlman? He wants to talk to you about fan anger or something" and my jaw drops -- this dude literally called my mom's house. I told her that he was some dude from SI who I called a retard online. She was confused but thought it was hilarious too. She leaves me his number and I call him back but get voice mail. I'm pretty weirded out so I leave a simple message, "Hey Jeff it's Andy, the jerk from twitter. Call me back." 

That night he calls me back and we had an awkward but civil conversation. I was apologetic for insulting him like that and to be fair I did feel badly about it. I explained to him that twitter's 140 character limit hampers intelligent discourse and that I really wasn't expecting anything to come out of it.  A lot of what I said was tongue-in-cheek (and not used, we had a fairly long conversation). After reading the article, I was most disappointed that he didn't use my answer when he asked me why I was angry ("years of Jesuit education"). After the phone call ended, I emailed him, thanking him for letting me explain my side of the issue and jokingly said "please don't eviscerate me too badly." He was a friendly guy and I was glad that he gave me the chance to at least defend myself. 

During the conversation I had a feeling that he absolutely wanted to bury me. He was pissed off that some random guy on the internet was insulting him. One thing that I attempted to explain to him was that I'm trying to "make it" in this industry. My Howard Beale-esque opinions about the mass media are well documented if you know me or read my twitter feed. It's hard to get noticed in this industry, especially when there are people out there who are admittedly better than you. Amazing Avenue does the sabermetric angle better than I could ever hope to. Matt Cerrone does the mets news... and really awful opinions in bad grammar about the Mets better than anyone. Both are substantially more read than me for good reasons, because they're the best in the biz. Sometimes, when you're just starting out, in order to get noticed, you have to be controversial. There's a lot of white noise out there and there's only so many different ways of standing out in the crowd. Being juvenile and hitting the low hanging fruit of calling someone a retard isn't necessarily the best way of doing it but yet again, I never expected this to play out like it did. 

A few weeks later, the article comes out. It's not bad (and not as nasty as I expected) but it's of course not exactly a full portrayal of what happened. First of all, both me and Matt's twitter names are our full names. I have an extremely uncommon last name so all he had to do was plug it into yellow pages. It wasn't hardcore undercover detective work like he made it out to be. Secondly, the article makes it sound like I was harassing him. I said something dumb in passing and when challenged didn't back down. It wasn't like I was inundating him with hate mail.

A lot of people are making a bigger deal out of this entire situation than it really is. To be quite honest, I'm not that bothered by it. I mean, how many people can legitimately tell their kids one day that they were featured in an article on CNN? Yeah, it was kind of weird to get a phone call from someone more famous than you asking why you're such a jerk but I just think the whole situation is absurdly hilarious. Plus, the people commenting have been great as well. I've been compared to a wife beater, called a [sic] d**h**d, and numerous other things. I'm chuffed.

A couple things have bothered me though. A bunch of bloggers have been critical of my apologizing. Honestly, how would you react if someone literally calls you out of the blue and demands answers for something you said? I apologized for not being civil, not for disagreeing with him, which has been lost in the white noise of a bunch of sportswriters who are falling over themselves to write about how they don't care about the opinions of their readers and how they ignore it. In my conversation with Mr. Pearlman, I ranted a bit about how sportswriters have no integrity and that many opinion pieces are written simply to get people angry, then they get upset when people rightfully call them out for doing it. Guys like SI's Jon Heyman do it all the time. Just look at Hall of Fame voting time and him waxing poetically about Jack Morris, poking at the hornets nest of Bert Blyleven supporters, simply for the attention.

Is Heyman an idiot? No, he's really an excellent reporter.  Is Jeff Pearlman a retard? No, he's a best selling author. But here's the bottom line to all writers -- don't write dumb, unsubstantiated things and people won't call you names or attack your opinions.  Fairly simple, is it not? Don't get offended if people mock you when the articles or tweets that you are writing insult your reader's intelligence.     

The one thing, though, that really got to me was his comment about talking to my mother. While I'd love to get out of the house and get my life going, I can't right now. The economy blows Jeff. Yes, I live at home like millions of other recent college graduates who are up to their necks in student loans and other expenses and therefore have to live with their parents because they don't have any other options. If you take joy in that, then you're a substantially worse person than I am for calling you a retard.   

For the record though, I don't live in my parents' basement. I live on the second floor. Take that, you jerks.    

Oh, and my mom's response to this whole situation? "I'd always knew you'd make CNN but I figured it would be for breaking the law or something."

The picture of R.A. Dickey is completely unrelated to this article. 
October 3, 2010 8:59 PM

Requiem for the 2010 Mets

mets1962.jpgThe 2010 Mets season ended like it began, with a whimper. They were mystifying and a disaster, two common adjectives used to describe this franchise since their one year of success in 2006. Both Jerry and Omar are both probably (almost definitely) gone and there will be some sort of shuffling within the organization to perhaps right this ship.

To break down those two moves: I rather apathetic about Jerry getting canned. He was disliked and awful. He did nothing for the team other than make stupid decisions and make an ass out of himself in front of the media. Perhaps his legacy is the damage done: both Jenrry Mejia and Johan Santana will miss significant time due to Jerry's horrible management. To that, I say, good riddance.

Omar's departure is slightly more bittersweet. His arrival as general manager marked a substantial increase in the value of the Mets name. After that horrible downturn post-Subway Series and the disastrous tenures of both Steve Phillips and Jim Duquette, Minaya was a slight little bit of hope in the otherwise bleak Mets existence.

Perhaps most depressing of all is that we all viewed Minaya as our savior. For all intents and purposes he was, signing Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez and significantly overhauling the roster to the point where they were once again competitive. But the savior failed the Mets and here we are, right back at square one, perhaps worse off than we ever were back in the dark ages of Steve Trachsel and Kris Benson.

We all know what's coming. The Wilpons will make a terrible choice for both manager and general manager, puppets for their stupid ideas and piss poor management and decision making. While I'd love to have someone like Kim Ng, Paul DePodesta, or some other half intelligent person in the GM spot, I know it isn't going to happen.

I worry about the Mets some times because I really do care about the team. CitiField is a lovely stadium and it doesn't deserve the ownership that runs her,  the team that plays on it, and even some of the fans that fill her seats. CitiField deserves so much more and it will be years, if not decades, if that ever changes.

Baseball is a strange and fickle game and we really don't know what's going to happen next. Perhaps the Mets will make some intelligent moves this offseason but yet again, perhaps monkeys will fly out of my butt.

September 19, 2010 3:14 PM

Torre a Bad Choice

Mets-JoeTorre_crop_340x234.jpgThe Dodgers announced this week that at the end of the season, Joe Torre will be stepping down as manager and Don Mattingly will take over. Torre obviously has a connection to New York, both as a player and manager. With Jerry Manuel basically accepting his fate as a lame duck manager at this point of the season, a lot of people are questioning if he's going to end up managing Mets or not next season. Despite the fact that there are a lot of managerial openings this offseason, it appears that the only team Torre will manage is the Mets.

This is a pretty terrible development. A couple of months ago, I jokingly included Torre in a list of potential managerial candidates for the Mets last season, back when information was coming out that there would be a "stunning" managerial change this offseason. For the average fan, I suppose that yes, Torre would be stunning. To those who know better, though, Torre would be a huge mistake.

The difference between a good manager and a bad manager is that they don't get in the way. What I'm saying is the reason why managers like Jerry Manuel are awful is because they play guys like Luis Hernandez on a consistent basis instead of Justin Turner. They give guys like Elmer Dessens chances in high leverage situations. You know a bad manager because they influence the play on the field poorly. The effects of a horrible manager can be mitigated by a great team, which is exactly what Torre had with the Yankees from 1996 until he left after the 2008 season.

Torre is not a good manager. He distrusts younger players and gives too much playing time to terrible veterans. He's severely hampered the development of Matt Kemp and has continued to misuse prospects just about forever. He makes bizarre lineup decisions, like benching Orlando Hudson for Ronnie Belliard or giving way too much playing time to Juan Pierre.

Torre also abuses his pitchers. He relies too much on non-existent matchups and puts too much of an emphasis on individual relievers. If you want to see the perfect example of this, look at poor old Scott Proctor. Proctor was not a bad reliever but Torre used him so much it bordered on absurd. Imagine a Torre run Mets team next season and him putting in Bobby Parnell every single game. It's a joke.

With Santana out until at least 2012, the Mets do not need a manager like Joe Torre in there. I don't even think Mets fans will even really embrace him anyway. It would be his second round managing the Mets and he was a disaster the first time and probably will be a disaster again. If the Mets are going to do something drastic with their managers, go after someone that's actually good. Don't go after Torre.
September 12, 2010 11:00 AM

For the Mets, News Gets Worse and Worse

alg_santana.jpgIt's been a whirlwind week in Mets land. Rarely is that ever a good thing, especially for them. The Mets started the week by throwing three players under the bus because they didn't show up to an optional meet and greet and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The week ended with the announcement that their best pitcher, Johan Santana, will miss the rest of this season due to an injury to his shoulder.

I'm not going to get on Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo, and Oliver Perez for not attending the event at Walter Reed. It was not a mandatory event. I'm unsure about the others, but Carlos Beltran is well known for his charitable contributions. Not showing up for one event and getting murdered for it is absolutely ridiculous, even for the New York Sports Media. Sure, Castillo's "I get creeped out by injured soldiers" and Ollie's "I don't talk about my private life" excuses were lame but it's well within their right to deny attending.

Don't doubt that the Wilpons had nothing to do with this. In their minds, the Beltran, Castillo, and Perez contracts were huge albatrosses (and to be fair, two of them are) and any chance to smear them publicly they will instantly take. I hope that there's nothing else going on in this story and it's not some sort of anti-Latin sentiment, although some rumors that have been floating around suggest a big divide in the Mets clubhouse.

Perhaps more ridiculous than the Walter Reed fiasco is this article by Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Abraham, the former Yankees writer, believes that the Red Sox and Yankees not trading for Santana was "the best decision they ever made."

"Imagine how happy [the Yankees and Red Sox] are now. [Johan Santana] needs shoulder surgery and nobody is sure when he will be back. The lefty, whose velocity has been in decline, may never be the same again and the Mets still owe him $77.5 million over three years...For the Mets, who specialize in disasters, this is a doozy. Meanwhile, Lester and Hughes became All-Stars at a small percentage of the cost...Epstein and Cashman are good friends and you have to wonder if sometime in the last 24 hours they exchanged text messages or e-mails celebrating the best deal they never made."

I'm not really sure why people are making such a big deal about Santana's injury. Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus quoted a doctor saying "full velocity in 9-10 months" which would put him at full strength by either the start of the season or June at the latest.  Sure, Santana's velocity has dropped over the past couple of years but the drop is not overly concerning, maybe a couple of MPH since 2007. Perhaps most importantly, it's not even like Santana has been bad with the Mets. He's consistently outpitched his peripherals, but that's not a concern as he's done that his entire career (seriously, look it up, it's actually pretty surprising). 

Yes, the Yankees and Red Sox should be celebrating that they didn't trade Lester or Hughes for Santana. The Mets should not feel bad, however, that they ended up with the best pitcher in baseball at that time and gave up nothing to get him. The difference between the Mets and the Yankees/Red Sox was that the Twins were asking for major prospects from the AL teams and ended up with absolutely nothing of value from the Mets. Only Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey, and Phil Humber have found the major leagues and none of them have been any good. In fact, none of them are even on the Twins anymore.

It's far from a "doozy." This isn't some sort of career ending injury. Santana will be fine and return and show all those who doubt him how good of a pitcher he really is.

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