TV Review: ESPN 30 For 30: Doc & Darryl

TV Review: ESPN 30 For 30: Doc & Darryl

ESPN continued its phenomenal 30 for 30 series the other night with “Doc & Darryl” directed by Judd Apatow.On paper, you’d think this was made for me. In execution? Eh…kinda.

When this was first announced, I was obviously interested, but skeptical at the same time. It’s one of those stories that – as a Met fan – you know all too well. You’ve heard all the scenarios, the fables, the what-ifs. I imagined that this was it was like for a hardcore comic book fan to see a new interpretation of a Spider-Man movie.

My biggest fear was put to rest in the first minute when Apatow states during his introduction of the film that, “This is not a story about 1986.” That genuinely worried me. I say it way too much, but the Mets are a franchise with very little in terms of great players and history so it becomes tiring to keep going back to 1986. Especially this year when we’ve been besieged with the 30th anniversary of that last Mets championship team. I’m kind of 86’d out.

Which, by proxy, means I’m kind of Doc and Darryl’d out too. So yes, this wasn’t a story about 1986, but it was still a tragic tale that was all too familiar to those of us who lived through the rise and fall of two of the most talented players the Mets have ever had.

Even though I saw pretty early on that I probably wouldn’t get any new information out of it, I still enjoyed it for what it was and think people with only a casual knowledge of the subjects would like it even more.

I do have a major problem, however. It has nothing to do with the movie, really, but the ease of making a “what-if” story about two young, black kids in the 80s who lost what could have been legendary careers when alcohol and cocaine ran rampant throughout all of not just the major leagues, but society in the 80s.

Yes, it’s sad that Doc blew the chance for a few more Cy Youngs and 300 wins up his nose. It’s sad that Darryl drank away 500 homers and the chance to be as revered in Queens as Reggie Jackson in the Bronx. But it’s equally as sad to see someone like Steve Howe (the 1980 NL Rookie of the Year) be suspended 7 times and die at 48 with meth in his system. Or Darrell Porter, a first round pick and multiple time All Star who was one of the first players to be open about his use die at 50 from what an autopsy revealed was “toxic effects of cocaine”.

The focus on Doc and Darryl is because it further pushes the narrative of the black community immersed in drug culture. Sure, it serves as a cautionary tale for those learning their stories, but it also scapegoats them as the posterboys for an epidemic which isn’t fair.

The movie is good enough. I’m sure there will be stories and factoids that people will be surprised to learn, but if you’re a big Mets fan or of either of these two players, there’s probably not much in here that you haven’t heard before.

I do hope that finally we can let these two be, though. Dragging them out every few years to write a new book or TV piece where they have to come up with some new scandalous story to keep things fresh is kind of tired.

If you haven’t yet caught this, “Doc & Darryl” can be caught streaming on the WatchESPN app.

Contact on Twitter: @MaximusSexPower or e-mail: ShoesOnSports@gmail.com

The Octopus! Eight Ways to Fix Baseball!

The Octopus! Eight Ways to Fix Baseball!

With the talk of reducing the current 162 game regular season schedule gaining some steam among insiders, it’s time to take a look at other possible changes and improvements. I know you definitely won’t agree with most if any of them, but I believe in them and, hopefully, you’ll at least see the reasoning behind it. So, without further ado, I give you the inaugural ShoesOnSports OCTOPUS! Eight ways to fix something that is more profitable than ever!

1. Reduce the schedule to 154 game

The most obvious. The World Series ends far too late in the year. I think everybody would agree with that. This is also not a game meant to be played while wearing four layers of clothes and a mesh mask to protect from frostbite. In a perfect world, I’d actually reduce this a bit further, but we know what a ruckus this will cause over the income being given up by the owners by reducing the amount of event dates. Cutting just over a week off the schedule makes games more meaningful, helps players better manage their personal wear and tear and ends the season sooner in the calendar year. This should happen.

2. Abolish interleague play!

It came, it was fun for a while and now it’s redundant for no reason. A lot of teams don’t have “natural” rivals and so much of this is forced beyond the fact that it takes away from the appeal of the World Series and All-Star Game. Those events had an extra layer of intrigue to them in the past because we hadn’t seen these teams or players go at it during the year. That’s lost now and it’s time to fix it. Plus, as a Mets fan who couldn’t care less about the Yankees, those games have zero extra meaning to me beyond being a game I could make money on by re-selling my tickets. Besides if we’re going to cut games off the schedule, we need to reallocate those matchups because we’re about to…

3. Abolish divisions!

Right now, we have three division leaders and two Wild Card teams that qualify for some form of postseason play in each league. We also have unbalanced schedules within divisions and interleague play which leads to an unequal strength of schedule between the teams all competing for the same playoff positions. By eliminating both interleague play and the heaviness of a predominant inter-divisional schedule, we turn to playing all teams within the NL equally with the top 5 qualifying and playing under the same postseason format. If we want the regular season to matter, we can’t continue to have teams from stronger divisions (i.e. the 2015 Pirates) get punished while division winners in weak divisions (i.e. the 2015 Mets) get a guaranteed series of play because of quirk. The best teams should be in the best positions.

5. Force hitters and pitchers to hurry up

I was watching a Mets classic game recently and was taken aback with how quick the game moved from pitch to pitch. Ron Darling was on the mound for the Mets and as soon as he received the ball back from the catcher, he was back on the rubber ready to throw his next pitch. The hitter never left the box and was prepared for it and the game moved at a brisk pace. This is important. Games take too long. I love baseball and I think games have an incredible tendency to get boring and slow. What does that say about casual fans? Where’s the incentive for them to sit and watch or attend a game? I’m constantly disheartened by how many people at games nowadays couldn’t care less about the game. They’re there for the clubs or perks or whatever else the stadium offers that means they don’t have to sit in their seat and watch the game. You’re not building newer, younger fans with a three and a half hour trudge through molasses.

6. Call the high strike

We say it all the time: the strike zone is from the knees to the letters, but hardly ever is anything above the belt called a strike. Start calling it. Make these players swing the bats and keep the game moving. We all get strategy and the benefits and taking pitches and trying to get the starter out of the game, but we’ve got other stuff to do and while we want to watch the game, we also want to get to bed at a decent time. Offense drives interest. Make players swing the bats. This isn’t even a new rule. Just call it the way it’s written.

7. Ban “God Bless America”

Keep your politics out of my baseball. This is not the national anthem and I do not have to stand and remove my hat for this. I don’t and I never will. We honor America at the beginning of each game by playing the real national anthem. That’s sufficient.

8. Day games on weekends: No excuses

No more ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. No more FOX game of the week at 7 PM on Saturdays. Give both networks an NFL-like 1Pm east coast and 4PM west coast game and that’s it. While I understand that people work weekends now more than ever, you’re not doing yourselves any favors by continually making kids leave games early because they take forever and Dad wants to beat the traffic. This also serves another purpose by making MLB destination afternoon viewing during months without other sports competition and opens fans up to seeing players and teams they’re not accustomed to. The game has become so regionalized that this would help in the marketing and exposure of superstar players. Sure, you know Mike Trout is great, but how many of you that don’t have MLB At-Bat and don’t work nights actually get to see him play. He’s just a name in a box score to most people. That has to change. This is a good way to help that along.

There you have it. Eight ways to improve the presentation and nature of the baseball season. Comments, complaints and verbal jousting welcome and expected.

Twitter: @MaximusSexPower, E-Mail: ShoesOnSports@gmail.com

 

 

Playoffs?! Are Mets Playoff Bound? Would That Even Be Enough?

Playoffs?! Are Mets Playoff Bound? Would That Even Be Enough?

I try to have realistic expectations when it comes to the Mets and, a lot of times, those come off as rather negative, but – when it comes down to it – we all want the same thing: for the Mets to win the World Series.

Coming into the 2016 season, I said how strange it felt to actually have genuine expectations for this ballclub. As Met fans, we’ve basically gotten used to being out of things before the trade deadline, but still seem to enjoy the few bright spots whether that be an overperforming fan favorite (see: Dickey, R.A, 2012) or a singular moment of awesomeness (Santana, Johan, also 2012). There are times when the team is bad, but there’s still enough to have fun while taking in the day-to-day grind of the season.

There’s been plenty of years where I’ve gone to a ton of games during lost seasons and found ways to still maximize the fun value whether that be through cheap tickets, short lines for bathrooms and concessions or not having to wait to get out of the parking lot. That kind of stuff matters to a ballpark experience.

This year was different, though. Coming off a surprise World Series appearance last year, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the same seats at the same prices anymore. I knew I’d have to wait a bit longer than usual to get a steak sandwich. More importantly, I knew I had a team on the field that wasn’t building for the future, but meant to contend right now.

To be honest, the fact that the Mets are only 6 games out in the NL East right now despite all of the injuries they’ve suffered in the lineup is an accomplishment in itself. The team has looked so inept offensively at times that you have to wonder just how much of a catastrophe this season would have been had the front office followed the original blueprint and not resigned Yoenis Cespedes.

But let’s not play the “what-if” game right now. Let’s take a genuine look at what we have as we start the second half tonight in Philadelphia. Can this team make the playoffs? Is making the playoffs enough to fulfill the preseason expectations? Can Daniel Murphy just leave us alone? Let’s examine.

IMG_2488

Is there enough pitching to hold this together?

This is the most important question and the answer isn’t as simple as it was even a month ago. Matt Harvey hasn’t been the Matt Harvey we thought we were getting and will now miss the remainder of the season due to surgery. For now, at least, he’ll be replaced in the rotation by Logan Verrett who has basically been your typical 6th starter/swingman out of the bullpen. Key thing to remember here is that while Harvey has a lot of name value, the performance that needs to be replaced wasn’t Cy Young level so Verrett should – hopefully – be able to give you what you were getting out of Harvey before the injury.

A bigger problem is the setbacks in the rehab of Zack Wheeler. Originally expected to be returning to the rotation around now, Wheeler has continually suffered what the team has classified as “minor” setbacks and hasn’t even thrown off a mound as of yet. That is not good. At this point, it’s basically unreasonable to expect any kind of significant contribution from Wheeler in 2016.

Which brings us to Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz who both have bone spurs in their elbows which doesn’t even include Thor’s recent “dead arm” issue. If one or both of them decides that the pain from the spur is just too much and decides to have surgery to remove it, this team is dead in the water as there just isn’t the depth in the system that there used to be because of promotions, trades and Rafael Montero completely forgetting how to pitch. Bartolo Colon was brought back this season to give the team a bridge in the rotation until Wheeler would come back at which point he’d move into the pen and provide depth. He’s been terrific and the Mets have needed it as their best-laid plans have caught fire.

IMG_1508

Why didn’t they re-sign Daniel Murphy?

Look, Murph was here for a long time and was a nice player, but aside from two weeks in October, he never looked like the player he has apparently become. He’s on the wrong side of 30 and the Mets desperately needed to upgrade defensively after they were absolutely exposed in the World Series against the Royals. Allowing Murph to leave gave them the chance to add a comparable offensive player in Neil Walker who was a definite improvement with the glove while also being able to add a first-round sandwich pick in the draft after giving Daniel the qualifying offer. With Dilson Herrera waiting in Las Vegas to take over 2B in Queens, the ability to use Walker as a one year stopgap and get back another compensation draft pick when he leaves as a free agent after this year was a smart tactical decision by the front office. Sure, it stings that Murphy has had a great year and has hit something like 43 homers against just the Mets so far, but sometimes these things happen. I’m not rooting against Murph. For a team that lacks positive moments in their history, Murph provided us with one of the all-time great postseason runs – not just in Mets history – but in all of baseball. We should always be grateful for that.

reyes

Is Jose Reyes the biggest addition we’ll see for this lineup?

From how it sounds…probably. But is this enough? I wasn’t enamored with the idea of signing Jose. As much as I was a fan during his first go-round in Queens, the combination of declining skills and him grabbing his wife by the throat and slamming her into a door didn’t exactly put him at the top of my list. But he’s here. He’s shown obvious signs of rust which is to be expected since he hasn’t seen major league action since last October, but, aside from that, there does appear to be something left in the tank. He’s obviously motivated to reclaim his career and – even if he isn’t as fast as he used to be – he’s still a net positive on the basepaths (as long as he can get on base with any consistency) because the Mets – as a team – may have the least footspeed of any team ever. This team is strictly station to station which limits the things you can do offensively if you can’t steal a base or go first to third on a single to right or even score from second on a base hit. This team needs to be able to generate more runs so Reyes could be valuable if he finds even some of what made him special way back when.

The lineup will still need another addition, but it’s doubtful it will come from outside the organization in another Cespedes-type acquisition like last year. Lucas Duda seems no closer to returning than he did when he first went out and the team may have to rely on Walker, Curtis Granderson to provide bigger second halves to go along with the return of Michael Conforto once he returns to the big club from a stint in Triple-A. Before going down, Conforto looked absolutely overmatched and was an automatic out. Hopefully, he comes back in a similar fashion that d’Arnaud did when he was demoted a few years back with a renewed approach and clear head.

collins

Is Terry Collins the right guy to be leading this team?

I hate Terry. It’s no secret. I can’t kill him too much this season because of all the injuries, but do I have faith that Terry Collins will be to outmaneuver anybody come crunch time? No. Not in the least. Unfortunately, barring an unforseen and atypical ballsy move by Alderson, Collins is here to stay.

Mets

Is this a playoff caliber team? Is just making the playoffs enough?

Can this team as currently constructed make the playoffs? Tough question. I’d lean toward yes, they can, but it’s far from a sure thing. The Marlins have been surprising and while the Pirates haven’t played as well as you may have expected, there’s still plenty of time for them to get hot. The Dodgers currently hold the first Wild Card spot, but if Clayton Kershaw’s back injury is anything longer-term than thought, they are in real trouble with a thin rotation.

The Mets had huge expectations coming into the year with a maturing pitching staff that was considered the best in the game and a solid lineup that Collins never figured out how to work before everybody dropped like flies anyway. I am not confident that the Mets will catch the Nationals. It wouldn’t be absurd if they did, but this is not the Nationals of last year. They’re playing with a chip on their shoulder and are taking extra enjoyment each time they can humble the Mets, especially when Murphy is the one leading the way.

The Mets will have to slide in as a Wild Card where they have as good a shot as anybody as long as they don’t lose any of the other pitchers. But would that be enough to satisfy preseason expectations?

Honestly? Yeah. To me, yes. The Mets – in their history – have only qualified for the postseason in consecutive years one time (1999-2000). That’s it. We’ve sat through such consistency of losing that our great teams are standalone years as opposed to transcendent eras of winning. This team has enough pieces in place where this can be a sustained run of competitiveness and – with the amount of teams that now qualify for the postseason – should be playing meaningful September and October baseball for the foreseeable future.

Only eight teams (the two that lose the Wild Card game really don’t count) in the majors make the playoffs. It’s an accomplishment to get there after such a long season and should be respected and appreciated as such. As a Mets fan, you’ve learned to deal with extended periods of losing baseball while keeping the optimism high that the future holds better days. Well, that future is here. This team may not be blowing teams out of the water like the 86 or 06 teams did, but they’re a far cry from being “the worst team money can buy” of the early 90s.

Yes, missed opportunity to score a run from third with less than two out is going to frustrate you, but sometimes you have to take a step back and remember, “Hey…we went to the World Series last year.” I know I do. It actually happened. I have a cap and jersey that actually say “World Series” on it. Enjoy the good times, friends. Because, as we’ve seen, they can be fleeting and then you’ll be left wishing you enjoyed them more as they were happening.

Contact: @MaximusSexPower or via e-mail: ShoesOnSports@gmail.com

 

Collins Again Inept On National Stage

Collins Again Inept On National Stage

After an abomination of tactical performance in the World Series, Terry Collins was rewarded with managing the National League All-Stars in last night’s game in San Diego.

I’ve gone into enough detail in the past on my feelings on the deficiencies of Collins. He was supposed to be the guy to just steward a ship of kids until they were ready for a real manager. He’s proven time and again that he’s not the guy to guide this team to the next level and last year’s ride into the World Series was more in spite of him than because of him.

But last night should have been too easy to screw up.

And it would have been, too…for everybody except Terry Collins.

The Mets are a franchise with very little in terms of positive history. So when there’s an opportunity to add something fun to the ledger for both the team and the fans it has to be capitalized upon.

While the defending World Series Champion Kansas City Royals were once again stealing the headlines, Clueless Collins did his best to hide his players, his team and leave his fanbase frustrated and disappointed by not inserting either of the available Mets players (Bartolo Colon and Jeurys Familia) into last night’s All-Star game.

Collins apparently had his script for if/when to use both players, but – shockingly – the game didn’t play out like the one he had written on paper and what should have been a proud moment for Familia to participate in his first and Colon in probably his last All-Star event instead ended with a lot of angry people turning off TVs in New York after being unable to cheeer for their own players.

Look, I get it: The All-Star Game is a pretty pointless exhibition and at least nobody on the Mets had an arm amputated during the 7th inning stretch. But this was supposed to be a moment for the Mets to once again take another step as one of the better franchises in the league in front of a national audience. It was supposed to be a moment for fans to be excited to cheer on THEIR All-Stars from THEIR defending National League champions.

Instead, it became a giant “fuck you” from Tone-Deaf Terry to his fanbase. Collins is a baseball lifer and this blatant exhibition of ignorance from the man is abhorrent. The reports from the Mets’ beat writers after the game had both Familia and Noah Syndergaard both unwilling to give interviews and apparently the mood amongst the players was rather dour.

It would take the Mets to fuck up such an easy opportunity to do something easy and great for the franchise and fanbase. Thanks to Terrible Terry they were able to not only do it, but do it spectacularly.

Contact: @MaximusSexPower or email: ShoesOnSports@gmail.com

Book Report: Ron Darling’s “Game 7, 1986”

Book Report: Ron Darling’s “Game 7, 1986”

I don’t read half as much as I’d like to or as much as I think I should. Books anyway. I mean, as a population, we probably do more reading now than ever before because of the internet, but we’ve also become uninterested with anything that can’t be done within a few minutes.

So, recently, I’ve kind of made more of an effort to read more actual books and started with “Game 7, 1986: Failure And Triumph In The Biggest Game Of My Life” by Ron Darling (with Daniel Paisner).

game7

It took me longer to get to this book than it really should have because the book’s target audience is essentially me, but once I finally made the decision to read this, I was able to fly through it in just a few sessions. I had read Darling’s earlier book, “The Complete Game” a few years before after winning a copy in a contest on MetsMerized and came into this book with a built-in appreciation for Darling’s thoughtfulness as he tends to dig a little deeper than normal sports cliches and give the reader (as he does his listeners on SNY and TBS during the season) a deeper and better understanding of what is happening and why.

Darling was the starting pitcher for the Mets on Monday, October 27, 1986 when the Mets last clinched a World Series title in a game that has become mostly forgotten about due to the extraordinary circumstances that surrounded the classic Game 6 of the series just two days before.

He acknowledges that fact early-on and proceeds to take you on a roller coaster ride inside the head of a young athlete getting ready to have the seminal moment of his career. From late in Game 6 where pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre tells him to head home to get a good night’s rest for the next day’s deciding game (which was subsequently postponed because of rain) you have a front row seat for the whirlwind of thoughts, preperation, worries and dreams that fill a man’s head when the success of a team and a city are all put on his right arm.

But, whereas you normally get the Disney ending with these types of stories, Darling wasn’t up to the challenge on this night and was pulled from the game early while putting his team at a three-run disadvantage.

You never get the feeling that moment was too big for him, but just that the Red Sox were well-prepared and had made adjustments as this was Darling’s third start in the series. It’s the setting every kid has dreamed about. He’s front and center during the deciding game of the World Series, but there would be no walk-off homer or 9th inning strikeout as the dream collapses around him.

I found this to be new and fresh and – to a point – almost awkward in that you’re eavesdropping on Darling’s private moment as he admits his failing and what he was going through on the mound as he realizes that things are caving in around him. It’s a game that even in victory has haunted him for 30 years as he (and everybody else back then) just assumed he would get another chance; that the Mets would be returning to the World Series every year, but that never came to pass. A combination of trades, drugs and injuries clipped the mid-80s Mets dynasty after just one glorious season and while the team that night in 1986 did come back to win, Darling was left with a giant “what if” that he was never able to properly vanquish throughout the remainder of his career.

I loved this book as it provided some incredible detail into one of the most significant games in Mets history along with a ribbon of hindsight after 30 years that will make you want to re-watch Game 7 almost immediately after completing the book. Yes, I did re-watch the game and yes, putting the context of the book with the body language and facial expressions given off by Darling until he was pulled in the 4th inning.

Recommended highly for Mets and baseball fans, but also for all sports fans who want to get a feel of what it’s like to be on the biggest stage in a profession and how one of the athletes at the center of the focus dealt with the pressures and expectations.

No Move May Be Right Move For Mets

No Move May Be Right Move For Mets

David Wright is done for at least the remainder of 2016, Lucas Duda is waiting for his back to regenerate into one piece again, Travis d’Arnaud always seems a strong gust of wind away from another extended stay on the DL, Neil Walker has battled back spasms, Michael Conforto is nursing a tender wrist, Juan Lagares has hit the DL because of a bum thumb and Wilmer Flores just took an up-and-in fastball off his hand and wrist and is day to day.

The Mets are and have been dropping like flies except flies seem to have a longer life-expectancy these days.

Following up a World Series appearance, the Mets were expected to once again compete for the National League crown and now find themselves in a state of limbo, not knowing who will flush out a lineup or in what position they’ll do it in.

While there’s always a need to have quality depth players on your bench, it is simply impossible to stock the quantity of depth needed due to the volume of injuries the team has suffered. Maybe you think Sandy Alderson and company should have had a better feel for just how affected David Wright would be by his spinal stenosis and should have had a better fallback option, but truth be told, there’s not a team in all of baseball that would have sufficient stock in the cupboard to replace all the of the names listed and not miss a beat.

Fans and media alike have clammored for the team to make a trade, but not just any trade. They want the same type of impact deal that brought Yoenis Cespedes here from the Tigers last year. The cost was a steep, but fair price of a couple of prospects headlined by Michael Fulmer who – now in the Detroit rotation – is currently turning in one of the strongest rookie campaigns in the league, but it’s hard to get upset over a trade that, essentially, got you to the World Series.

So, it’s easy then, right? Make a few calls, get a brand new superstar to Queens and get back to the World Series. Not quite.

While fans are salivating over the possibilities, the Mets are hamstrung but a combination of roster construction, contracts, availability and a thin amount of desired minor league prospects due to the dual-barrel end game of major-league promotions and trades over the last 12 months.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Mets
Kelly Johnson: the super-utility player the team hoped Wilmer Flores could be. Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Truth be told, the Mets may have to settle for another player cut from the Kelly Johnson cloth in lieu of the superstar the fans want to see. Johnson isn’t the sexy, game changer you necessarily want, he’s a solid major leaguer, familiar with the team after last season and provides flexibility of being able to play multiple positions while swinging a left-handed bat.

Let’s go over some of the options being bandied about to see which, if any, make sense for the Mets:

lucroy

Jonathan Lucroy, C Milwaukee Brewers

With Travis d’Arnaud looking more fragile every minute and Kevin Plawecki being unable to hit or throw at the big league level, the case for Lucroy has gone from “not even a thought” in March to “you know, that would be a nice upgrade” now. The problem is that Lucroy would be a huge upgrade for a lot of teams and is signed through the end of next year at a very reasonable dollar figure. The Brewers are going to want a huge return on him and it would start with the names “Syndergaard” or “Matz” and not “Wheeler” as a lot of people seem to think. The Mets are out of this before it even begins.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Longoria is the face of franchise no matter how unstable.

Evan Longoria, 3B Tampa Bay Rays

Longoria is basically the only homegrown player in Rays history that hasn’t been traded before hitting his arbitration years which makes him the all-time greatest Ray ever. After down years because of injuries and declining power numbers, Longoria has had a bit of a resurgence this year. Longoria’s quiet, confident demeanor, bat and plus glove would be a perfect replacement for recently-deceased David Wright. Except for a few things: Wright isn’t dead, Longoria has already shown signs of decline, the Rays would expect a hefty haul back and Longoria begins a contract extension next season that has him signed through 2023 at a cool $100m. With Wright sure to attempt to return next season added to the cost in players and dollars, Longoria is a certain pass.

bruce

Jay Bruce, RF Cincinnati Reds

Whereas the slugging outfielder made a lot of sense of the Mets when they were supposedly close to landing him last year, the same cannot be said for him now. Bruce has had a terrific 2016 thus far, but with Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares (now injured, but we’ll wait to see if he’ll need surgery as well) already in the fold, the Mets don’t have an obvious spot for Bruce to play. The Reds will most likely move Bruce this season and his value hasn’t been this high in a while. Another case where the cost would be prohibitive for the Mets with a thinning farm system.

reyes

Jose Reyes, SS Colorado Rockies (only in name, will be a free agent in a few days)

Look, I get it. We all used to love Jose Reyes. Remember we all did that “Jose, Jose, Jose” chant? So good. Remember when Professor Reyes taught us Spanish between innings? AZUCAR! That is not Jose Reyes anymore. As much as we would all like to think we’d be getting that fun loving, top of the order sparkplug from yesteryear back, Reyes is a slowed, flawed player at this point who probably shouldn’t be playing shortstop any longer. Oh, and there’s that whole beating up his wife thing hanging over him now too. So, no. No, no, no, no, no, no. No.

trout

Mike Trout, OF Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

We get Trout for a package of like Eric Campbell, TJ Rivera and Eric Goeddel. Who says no?

But seriously, the point of this is that the Mets are lot more likely to see a deal for a Luis Valbuena or Yangervis Solarte than they are a game changer. Even then, are those the types of players worth deal prospects for? In my opinion, we may be better off playing the cards already dealt and hoping the team can just stay close while guys work their way back.

I’ve emphasized all season about how important it is to stay close and beat the teams you’re expected to beat because of the huge discrepancy between good and bad in the NL. Last year, the Mets had a chance to pull away in a weak division and the front office went out and got Cespedes who single-handedly carried us through the remainder of the regular season and turned it into a race we won by quite a few strides.

I’m not protesting against a deal, merely stating that the costs may be prohibitive against making one. Either way, with Sandy’s history and track record, I do believe that if there is a deal out there to be made, he’ll do it. He understands the pulse and sees that the Nationals can’t just be expected to fall apart this year. Right now the team has done a pretty impressive job of keeping their heads above water despite the weak lineup they’re sending out on most nights and it’s a wonder that they ever thought they’d be able to have a chance this year without Cespedes in the middle of the order.

Hopefully, they can keep that up until Lucas Duda returns and then make a good evalution of where things stand going into the deadline. The window for the Mets to be a top-level team is open now and they need to capitalize while they can. But they shouldn’t empty out what’s left of their farm system to plug a square peg into a round hole.

 

Contact: ShoesOnSports@gmail.com, Twitter: @MaximusSexPower

Noah Syndergaard: Hero or Menace?!

Noah Syndergaard: Hero or Menace?!

What in the blue and orange fuck went on last night?

What started as a wonderful tribute to the last Mets team to win a World Series championship devolved into a sideshow of rulebook quoting, chest pounding, embarrassing baseball that will taint the great moment of seeing such an awesome 1986 team reunion beforehand and turn last night into “The Utley Game, Part 2: Electric Boogaloo”.

If you’re reading this, you know the deal. Last season, professional douchenozzle, Chase Utley, broke the leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada during the NLDS with what wasn’t so much of a slide as much as it was some kind of rolling tackle that had plenty of intent to injure and was beyond dirty.

MLB ended up changing a rule regarding the process of sliding into the bag during the offseason to help protect middle infielders largely because of the blowback of the Utley slide. The rule is even commonly known as “The Utley Rule”. For his part, Chase Utley received a suspension that was later rescinded by MLB which meant that for doing his part in deliberately injuring another player to the point that they were forced to modify a rule, Utley received zero punishment.

Fast-forward to last night where Noah Syndergaard threw behind Utley and was immediately ejected by home plate umpire, Adam Hamari which directly led to an embarrassing Mets loss by the score of 9-1 to the Dodgers on the strength of two homers (including a grand slam) from Utley, of course.

Twitter and the baseball media erupted in the immediate aftermath that featured the hottest of takes from all angles that way anybody with any blog ever (hey, boo😉 ) could pump their clicks and get in on the action as quick as possible.

Look, you can get facts and quotes from any number of bloggers and actual reporters. If you’re here, you are interested in what I have to say. Obviously, Thor is my guy. He’s my favorite current player on the team so I’m not without bias, but I have a really hard time believing that pitch “just got away” as he says. His control is far too good to just uncork a fastball that wildly.

So, figuring the pitch was purposeful, I like the fact that it was thrown behind Utley. It was away from him enough to never put him in danger, but sent a message at the same time. That’s fine. Nobody gets hurt and we move on. It certainly seemed like Utley understood (as he really always does, credit where its due) and was preparing himself for the next pitch as Thor was being ejected.

I have a problem with the ejection. As Utley’s slide was done with purpose and reckless intent to injure (nowhere near the bag and didn’t even slide so much as crouching chopblock), this pitch didn’t hit or injure. A warning would have sufficed and everybody could have been done with this. The ejection just further reinforces the small portion of people’s beliefs that the league is out to fuck the Mets (which I disagree with, but people say what they say). Ejection without warning basically just poured lighter fluid on a fire almost ready to expire.

Finally, and this needs to be said, the Mets came off completely bush league last night. Utley is a dick and always has been. Yeah, I get it. But if you were going to retaliate, why the fuck did you wait so goddamn long?

I understand not doing anything in the remainder of the NLDS. Stakes are too high. But if you wanted to do something, it should have been in LA last week where you played a four-game series and not wait until you had the coziness of a sellout crowd in your home park to try to impress the group of fiery brawlers from yesteryear who were being honored.

The 86 Mets pissed off everybody and for good reason, but the times and game have changed. Whether Collins called for this or if it was something Syndergaard did on his own, the fact is that it makes the Mets look like a group of whiners who then – poetically – got their shit pushed in by Utley anyway.

Noah Syndergaard is too talented – and too important to this team – to risk putting in a situation where someone can charge the mound seeking retribution and rip his right arm clear out of the shoulder socket. There is no reason to create an issue when the time has passed.

The Mets are a team that could and should be competing for a playoff spot and giving away games because of some misguided grudge isn’t going to do anybody any favors.

If this was on Syndergaard, then he needs to be pulled aside immediately. We love his talent, his personality and the way he’s able to project the aura of warrior one minute and fun-loving fan of life the next. But this episode makes him look less like Thor the future king and more like the petulant child who attacks Jotunheim and the Frost Giants in a fit of misplaced pride.

We can argue all day about the ejection being warranted or not, but the sad truth is that the Mets and Noah Syndergaard put themselves in a situation they didn’t need to be in and got son’d for it.

Contact: Twitter: @MaximusSexPower or via email: elshoeshatemail@msn.com