Author Archives: Patrick Flood

About Patrick Flood

Human being.

The Misadventures of a Baseball Blogger

I wrote a piece for Narratively about my time as a Mets blogger. You can read it here. If you are either indecisive or a particularly discerning clicker, here’s a short preview that may sway you:

I wrote a blog about the New York Mets from the end of the 2009 season through the 2012 season. The Mets won 230 games and lost 256 over that span, finishing second-to-last in the division each season, with attendance falling each year despite a new stadium. For those three years, the Mets were bad, if not remarkably so.

Over those three years I spent thousands of hours watching that unremarkably bad baseball team fall down and drop fly balls and strike out. I spent thousands more hours blogging about that team. What possesses someone to spend that much time writing a blog about a bad baseball team? Why was it important for me to tell the world it would be funny to elect Brad Emaus to the All-Star team after an aborted 14-game Mets career, and that fading pitcher John Maine was somehow admirable for trying to overpower hitters even when pitching with a ruined shoulder? Why spend time this way?

If you don’t want to read what I wrote, you should at least look at the illustrations. They are fantastic. I’ve always wanted to know what a cartoon version of me directing Mr. Mets’ eyes to my crotch might look like, and now I do.

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Awakening

Long time, internet. After a brief hibernation and a handful of life changes, we’re back. Two things you should know:

1. My writing about the Mets is on Amazin’ Avenue now. Eric Simon and Co. were kind enough to take me on. Here is what I wrote today, and here I what I wrote two weeks ago. I’m shooting for a post a week, probably on Thursday or Friday.

2. Apologies to anyone who left comments since the redesign. I wasn’t checking, and it looked like the spam filter on the comments is hyper aggressive. To answer all your six-month old questions, here I am.

3. I lied, there’s a third thing. I don’t know what I’m going to do with PatrickFloodBlog.com, but for now I’ll definitely post links to whatever I write anywhere else. I may use this space for non-Mets posts too, which is something I’ve always wanted to try. Basketball and not-sports, most likely * website suddenly devolves into Bruce Springsteen fanpage *

Okay. Hugs and kisses all.

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New look, obviously

So as you probably noticed — unless you only read this blog in your RSS reader, as I suspect many of you do and as I do for most blogs — the layout for this particular blog has changed. And it will probably change again, very soon, as I play around with things.

Anyway, PatrickFloodBlog is my own little thing again. Well, it’s always been my own little thing. But it’s even more my own thing now. I’m not entirely sure what it’s going to look like* and how it’s going to be used. But it’s going to be different than it’s been for the last two years when it was an SNY blog. I’ll still be writing about the Mets, sometimes here and sometimes over on MetsBlog. And I’ll still be saying things on the Mostly Mets Podcast once a week. So, you know, that.

*I hope it looks more aesthetically pleasing than it does now. No guarantees. I have no idea what I’m doing.

Anyway, that’s a heads up . . . which I would have posted sooner, but my internet went out for a day pretty much RIGHT after the theme on PatrickFloodBlog switched. But now we’re all up to speed.

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Today in nitpicking

The Mets have scored 10 runs in their last seven home games, and — surprise — they’ve lost all seven of those games. They also lost two of three to the Brewers on the road somewhere in the middle, putting the Mets at 1-9 over their last 10 games. Also with a 66-81 record, the Mets are guaranteed their fourth consecutive losing season with one more loss. We can go on — have you seen David Wright’s second half numbers? — but enough is enough at some point.

Anyway, the one remaining good thing in this season is that the Mets resemble a competitive baseball when R.A. Dickey pitches. Or, at least, they should. Here’s the lineup the Mets ran out last night against Cliff Lee:

SS — Ruben Tejada
2B — Daniel Murphy
3B — David Wright
RF — Scott Hairston
1B — Lucas Duda
LF — Jason Bay
CF — Andres Torres
C — Mike Nickeas
P — R.A. Dickey

Terry Collins’ lineup starts out well enough. Ruben Tejada is the Mets’ best shortstop, Daniel Murphy their best second baseman, Wright their best third baseman, Hairston their best outfielder against left-handed pitching . . . and then things get weird. I generally like Terry Collins, but the idea of him setting lineups for important October baseball games make me quiver in my boots. This is, if I were wearing boots that were a little loose.

Let’s start here: Lucas Duda played first base, while Ike Davis sat. If you ignore defense, you can sort of see why Terry Collins might have done this. Duda has a career .672 OPS against lefties, while Davis has a .633 OPS. Duda was 4-for-12 against Lee with a home run, Davis was 1-for-11 — after the game, Collins said he set his lineup based on career matchup numbers against Lee. Neither’s a great hitter against a tough lefty like Cliff Lee, but all the numbers, no matter how reliable, point towards Duda as the better option of the two platoon-split sluggers.

Only you can’t ignore defense. And while Duda looked surprisingly sure-handed at first, Davis is a superior defender at first base. This may or may not make up the 40-point game in OPS, but it certainly narrows it. But it’s not like Duda can only play first — he’s a not-unbearably terrible left fielder. If the goal is to win the game and the Mets lack good right-handed options, I think Davis is the better option at first base and Duda should be out in left field. Only left field was occupied last night by . . .

Jason Bay, who owns a .492 OPS against left-handed pitchers this season (not the thing Collins was looking at) and a 4-14 career mark against Lee (probably the thing Collins was looking at), with a home run against Lee earlier this season. Do Bay’s decent-ish numbers over Lee make up for his terrible numbers against left-handed pitching this season, and for his dramatic decline in general?* He’s also a better defender than Duda, but the gap may be similar to that between Duda and Davis at first.

*No.

So the question for Terry Collins wasn’t Duda vs. Davis, it was really Davis-and-Duda vs. Duda-and-Bay, and which pair gave the Mets the best chance to win Monday with R.A. Dickey on the mound. I’m not sure Duda-and-Bay was the right answer. Though Bay did make a nice catch on a ball in left that Duda probably doesn’t catch. So what do I know.

This brings us to Torres, who is probably the best option in center against a left-handed pitcher. Torres has an .807 OPS against lefties this season and a .754 mark for his career. He’s the best defensive option, etc. Torres should play against left-handed pitchers the rest of the way. Cool? Cool.

And then we get to the catcher’s spot. Mike Nickeas has a .490 career OPS and a .511 OPS against lefties. Kelly Shoppach has a .739 career OPS and a .878 OPS against lefties. Nickeas started against Lee. I don’t see this one, so let’s try to think like Terry Collins: Nickeas was 0-for-3 against Lee . . . Shoppach was 0-for-9 . . . Jimmy Leyland. Nope, that didn’t work either. Nickeas would have to be not just a little bit better defensively, but WAY WAY better defensively for this to make sense. As in, Nickeas would have to be a seven-foot-tall robot knuckleball-grabbing vacuum cleaner to justify playing him over the better-hitting Shoppach. At least in a game the Mets are trying to win for Dickey.

Anyway, Bay and Nickeas went 1-for-5 combined — Nickeas did score the Mets only run and dropped down a surprise bunt single — while Shoppach and Davis went 1-for-2 as pinch-hitters. The Mets scored one run against Lee and Jonathan Papelbon and lost 3-1.

These are all minor points. But when the Mets are losing just about every game, that’s really all we have left: Minor points like rooting for R.A. Dickey to get more wins, a stat I don’t put much value in, so that maybe he’ll have a better shot at an award. But it’d be nice if Terry Collins ran out the Mets’ best lineups on the days R.A. Dickey is pitching. At the very least so the Mets could win a game now and then.

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Mostly Podcast, Mets?

Hugs and kisses. Here’s a link for those of you who’d want to subscribe via the iTunes.

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So many links!

Let’s start over on Grantland, with Rany Jazayerli:

Major League Baseball before the turn of the century was like a highway with a speed limit of 80 mph. Baseball today has a speed limit of 55 mph, seat belts are mandated, and air bags are standard. What the Nationals are doing is lowering the speed limit to 40 mph and arguing that it will reduce car accidents further.

I don’t know enough about any of this to feel strongly one way or the other, but just to advocate for Satan . . . Isn’t it possible the Nationals do indeed know what they’re doing with Stephen Strasburg? (Note: I don’t actually believe this to be true. But it’s possible, right?)

It’s difficult to make compelling arguments either way about protecting pitchers because disabled list and injury data and pitch counts haven’t been tracked as closely as the regular ol’ baseball statistics. So while we can say with confidence that a pitcher with a low strikeout rate and a good ERA is likely to see his ERA rise — because we’ve seen so many pitchers over the years follow that pattern and we’ve got the numbers to prove it — we just don’t have the same amount of info about pitcher injuries.

At least, we, people of the internet, do not that much info. My guess is that if you had the time to dig through newspaper archives for a couple of weeks, months, you could make a decent historical injury database and learn a lot about what really correlates with busted arms. If you had the time and resources. And while I don’t, who’s to say teams like the Nationals aren’t having a couple of interns and a statistician dig through the archives and tape, and they come up with something a bit more conclusive?

Or they have no idea what they’re doing. That’s probably just as good a theory.

How about some critique of MLB’s TV policies?

So this sets up a strange mismatch between what MLB customers want, and what their revenues tell them to do. MLB fans want to watch their favorite team on whatever device they prefer. But MLB’s revenue stream is depending more and more on their customers NOT being able to watch their team over the internet, forcing them to watch on TV.

This all sounds logical, but I don’t actually know enough about how . . . buziness? Am I getting that right? Biz-nas? How money-for-stuff-on-a-big-scale works to comment. But it’s an interesting read about the internet and how it changes business models.

And finally this:

Oh, uh and . . . Mets. How about those Mets? Yeah, I know. I don’t know either.

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Payroll and wins

Given what the A’s, Orioles, and Rays have done this year — and perhaps more strikingly, what the Red Sox, Phillies, and Marlins have not done — I figured the 2012 numbers would follow a similar path. I was wrong; 2012 has pushed the league back to a parity level not seen in 25 years.

Dave Cameron over at Fangraphs examines this year’s relationship between dollars and wins for baseball teams. And as it turns out, this season it’s pretty much the cheapo Astros losing a bunch of games and then a lot of randomness.

Basically the Mets need better players, regardless how much/how little they cost.

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