Monthly Archives: February 2012

Some Things I Read Today

Happy February 29, everyone!

Terrence Long, according to a Baseball-Reference search, is the only Mets player to have a birthday on February 29, being born on that day in 1976. Long, a speedy outfielder, was drafted #20 overall by the Mets out of high school in Albama with one of the Mets’ three first round in the 1994 draft. (The Mets took Paul Wilson [#1] and Jay Payton [#29] with the other two picks.) Playing for the Capitol City Bombers in 1996 — the Mets’ Single-A affiliate at that time in the South Atlantic League — Long hit .288 and stole 32 bases, and Baseball America rated Long as the #63 prospect in baseball going into the next season.

Long’s stock fell a bit the next two seasons, and he ended up playing just three games for the Mets. He made his debut on April 14 of 1999, pinch hitting in the seventh inning. He struck out. He pinch hit in the sixth inning the next day and struck out again. Pinch hitting again on May 11, Long’s third and final plate appearance as a Met, he grounded into a double play.

The Mets then traded Long, along with minor league pitcher Leo Vasquez, to the Oakland Athletics for starting pitcher Kenny Rogers in July. Long became the starting center fielder for the Moneyball A’s in the early part of the 2000s, and received a handful of mentions in Michael Lewis’ book, including the following paragraph:

In the Oakland fourth, center fielder Terrence Long hits a grounder back to the pitcher, and runs hard down the first-base line. This is new. Heretofore, when Terrence Long has grounded out, he has trotted down the line with supreme indifference to public opinion. Too young to know that you are what you pretend to be, Terrence Long has nearly perfected the art of seeming not to care. As it happens, a few days ago, Terrence walked out into the players’ parking lot and discovered that someone had egged his car. Hearing of the incident, Billy [Beane] stopped by Terence’s locker and told him that he’d had an e-mail from the culprit, an A’s fan, who said he was furious that he’d paid money to watch Terrence Long jog the bases. The effect on Terrence Long was immediate. He went from jogging to first on a routine ground out to running as fast as he can until the first moment he can stop without pissing off Billy Beane. As he sprints down the line, Billy says that Terrence’s real problem is “his own self-doubt, exacerbated by the media. That’s one of the mistakes that young players make — they actually read the papers.”

- Michael Lewis, Moneyball

Long left the A’s after 2003. He played a season for the Padres, the Royals, and ended his career back in New York, playing 12 games for the Yankees in 2006.

And thus ends our Feb. 29 Mets-related coverage.

Speaking . . . er, writing of Moneyball, ESPN the Magazine has an interesting piece on A’s pitcher and amateur sabermagician, Brandon McCarthy:

During his injury-plagued seasons, McCarthy stumbled upon a humor blog run by some Harvard kids who used sabermetrics to lampoon traditional baseball thinking. The site was called FireJoeMorgan.com, a reference to the Hall of Fame second baseman and then-ESPN analyst who famously denounced advanced metrics. The website’s message immediately struck a chord. “To this day,” says McCarthy, “I still think it’s the greatest thing that’s ever been put on the Internet.”

- Eddie Matz, “Saviormetrics”
ESPN

That’s right, apparently Fire Joe Morgan saved Brandon McCarthy’s career. McCarthy found FJM, started studying up on sabermetrics, and reinvented himself as a home-run-limiting, groundball machine who just led the American League in FIP last season. Cool piece from The Magazine. (Do people actually call “ESPN the Magazine” that?)

One last link, to one of my favorite pieces each spring. Faith and Fear in Flushing‘s goodbye blurbs to all the Mets who have left us this past year:

Luis Castillo? Until Friday night, not the Mets’ biggest problem. But he’s bearing the brunt now. Luis Castillo did not help the Mets win a very big ballgame. In fact, he lost it for them not because he isn’t good enough but because he didn’t play well enough. There’s a difference. If you’re not helping us win baseball games, you’re hurting us. If you’re hurting us, you shouldn’t be here. I don’t know why anyone would run a baseball team any other way.

- Faith and Fear in Flushing, “The Artists Formerly Known as Mets

I’d say this, Toby Hyde’s prospect countdown, and Amazin’ Avenue’s Make-the-Mets-o-meter mark springtime for me. Those things, and the start of actual Spring Training. Enjoy your extra day of the year.

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About Those Shirts

Here is a picture of the shirts Terry Collins distributed to the Mets. The “U” stands for underachiev . . . underdogs. It stands for underdogs. Via Metsblog.

Here is a picture of the same shirt right next to the logo of a certain Staten Island rap group.

I’m not the only person seeing this, right?

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Email Question: Ruben Tejada and Terry Collins?


I haven’t listened to all of the podcasts in their entirety, so maybe this is an issue that you’ve talked about already, but what’s up with all of this Tejada hate out there about his show up date? My understanding is that it’s been affected to some degree by a visa issue, but I had to stop after reading about 5 comments on Metsblog on the post about his projected arrival today. People are already branding him as acting entitled to the SS position and questioning his devotion and drive, simply because he will show up to spring training on time or perhaps a day late due in some part to a work visa issue.

- Evan, via electronic mail

We did briefly address this topic — Ruben Tejada’s on-time arrival to Mets camp — on the Mostly Mets podcast. Ted Berg addressed it last week as well, so I’d recommend that post.

But I do want to address the principal players, Ruben Tejada and Terry Collins, with regards to their roles in this non-story story a little bit further. Continue reading

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Mostly Mets Podcast, 2/23/2012 Edition

The Newest Mostly Mets Podcast. Toby, Ted and I discuss the beginning of Spring Training, answer some email and voicemail questions, Terry Collins’ early Spring affinity for saying crazy things, and Toby explains why he likes Mets prospect Juan Lagares so much. Also, Michael Jong of Fishstripes and Baseball Prospectus joins us to preview the Miami Marlins and wrap up our NL East preview.

The iTunes link for rating, subscribing and other general iTunes stuff, is here. If you like, send us questions for the show by email (MostlyMetsPodcast at gmail), voicemail (347-915-METS), or by twitter (@PatrickJFlood, @tobyhyde, @OGTedBerg). Thanks y’all.

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I’ll Take Mets Trivia for $200, Alex

Around these parts, we like to think that we’re fond of Jeopardy and relatively fond of the Mets. If a Mets’ broadcast begins in a rain delay, my house will usually change over to Jeopardy until the game begins. The Mets come first, but Jeopardy is a close second.

But, apparently, certain other Mets bloggers are way, way more into Jeopardy, because Rob Castellano just blew us out of the water with his labor of love over at Amazin’ Avenue. Mr. Castellano collected all of the Mets-related Jeopardy questions into one giant chart. All of them. Do you have 20 minutes to burn reading Mets’ trivia questions to yourself in an Alex Trebek voice? You do? Good. Check it out.

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Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects

Since this has been a topic of discussion this week . . . Baseball America released their list of the top 100 prospects in Baseball, with two Mets making the list. Zack Wheeler checks in at #35 and Matt Harvey comes in at #54. For those of you keeping score at home:

Zack Wheeler    Matt Harvey
Baseball America #35 #54
Baseball Prospectus    #30 #25
Keith Law #27 #38
MLB.com #28 #38

 

So there appears to be more of a consensus on Wheeler (#27-35) than there is on Harvey (#25-54); if you’re wondering about Jeurys Familia, he was ranked #89 by Baseball Prospectus and #90 by MLB.com, but was left off both Keith Law’s and Baseball America’s lists. No other Mets appear on any top prospect lists this season.

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Niese’s New Nose, Courtesy of Carlos

*Head explodes*

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