Saturday, March 03, 2007

Is Lastings Milledge a Tom Petty Fan?

My love for the Mets is only comparable to my admiration for the music of Tom Petty. So, imagine my excitement when I heard Lastings Milledge make a comment that indicated he might be a fellow Tom Petty fan. During an interview with WFAN's Schmuck and His Lap Dog, Lastings was asked why he chose to wear #44. Milledge made it clear it was a nod to Reggie Jackson, apparently a role model of his. Francesca joked that Reggie had as much trouble with the Fenway Green Monster as Milledge. "Don't Do Me Like That!" Milledge responded, laughing. So, is Milledge a Tom Petty fan? Well, if we hear him striding to the plate to "Running Down a Dream" we'll know for sure...

Transplanted ex-Mets News - Clem Labine

Clem Labine, an original Met, and a relief pitcher most famous for throwing a World Series shutout against the Yankees for the Dodgers in the 1950s, died yesterday at age 80.  Check out Mets Guy In Michigan for a nice personal story about Clem.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Have You Been To Lately?

If you're a transplanted Mets fan like me, one of the toughest things to adjust to after moving is the loss of a 24 hr sports station that spends a lot of time on baseball, and specifically the Mets. There is a sports station here, but they mostly talk about college hoops, with occasional Braves references. started webcasting their broadcast (except for games) last year, which is great, but I always listen to the 'FAN while in the car, and the internet just doesn't work that way, yet. At night, I can get an OK signal, so I can sometimes listen to Steve Sommers on the way home from class, but when baseball season rolls around the days get a lot longer and it's not until 8:30 or 9:00 at night before 660 comes in.

At the suggestion of Matt Cerrone, I ventured over to today to check out an interview Schmuck and His Lap Dog did with Lastings Milledge this afternoon. WFAN has done a major overhaul of their site since the last time I was there. Now, all their audioclips are available for download, instead of just streaming, and they've assigned their beat reporters to do blogs. So, there's yet another Mets blog on the Internet now, this one by Eddie Coleman.

One note: the website advertises that the audioclips are available for listening via Play (streaming), Download, or "Podcast". But, I don't know what they think podcast means. When you click on podcast it takes you to an RSS page of the audioclips that you can subscribe to in your live bookmark folder. It's a list of the same files that are linked by clicking "download." Odd. Maybe I'm the one that's confused?

Anyway WFAN was way behind on their website for a long time. It's taken them this long just to put scores and news on their homepage!

As much as I complained about WFAN when I lived in New York, it's being away from the station that makes me appreciate what I'm missing. Head on over and see what you think.

Transplanted Ex- Mets Update: Gary Matthews Jr Named in Steroids Probe

For the record, Gary Matthews Jr appeared in just 2 games for the Mets back in 2002, but he is an ex-Met nonetheless and he was one of the players named, along with Jose Canseco and Evander Holyfield, in a steroids bust made up in Albany yesterday.

Matthews, apparently a stand up guy, faced the allegations head on, with vigor, saying, "I do expect it to resolve itself here in the near future. ... Until we get more information, I just can't comment on it," he said Wednesday. You tell 'em Gary!

Mets First Spring Training Game of 2007

Can you smell it? Opening Day is just 31 days away, and we had a real live Mets baseball game played yesterday!

Some notes:

Hey Ronny Darling, I know it's Spring Training, but maybe you can brush your hair when you're appearing on television? Was it just me, or does Ron Darling look just a bit out of shape? Putting away a few too many cold ones in the Florida sun perhaps? He did provide some terrific insight though during the game. SNY really has a terrific trio with Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez... Hey look, it's HoJo!

The Mets in their regular home white uniforms took on the Detroit Tigers B-Squad, headed by Transplanted ex-Met Vance Wilson. Vance had some nice swings and looked good. Gotta be happy for the guy.

Oliver Perez made the start and looked rather lousy, actually. Darling commented that Perez needed to work on reducing walks and homers, and O'Perez walked the second batter of the game and allowed a homer to the leadoff man in the second. Way to try and win a job. OK, it's the first start of Spring. Let's not get too hysterical just yet. Still...

Alay Soler, the forgotten man in camp looked pretty decent. He threw two innings of good ball and looks like he's lost some weight. Billy Wagner followed up with one inning where he tested out a new pitch to complement his fastball which has lost some oomph. See what I did there? Anyway, he's 36 now. Who is our closer-in-waiting?

Speaking of trying to win a job, Damion Easley got the start as Jose Porn Star Mustache Man Valentin is ailing. Easley looked good in the field and had some solid swings, which iss a nice way to impress his new bosses and teammates.

Fellow old man Moises Alou gave a clue as to why he gets injured so much. The guy slides into a wall in the first, gets hit during his first turn at bat, and then bangs into a wall trying to save a homerun. Ease up a bit, man! It's early, and you don't have to worry about your job, OK? Just stay healthy!

Lastings Milledge also took a beating, getting nailed in the hand by Zach Minor in the sixth. Milledge stayed in the game and even managed a single in the 8th. It would be great if this kid could make the Opening Day squad. By all accounts, he's matured a ton since we last saw him and it would be nice to have some more youth on the big team. Plus, with all the hype around F-Mart and Carlos Gomez, it would be good for Lastings Milledge to get a leg up on those guys and prove he's big-league ready before they get called up.

A lot of discussion took place about the 2007 bullpen. The 'pen was a strength of the Mets in 2006, and they've lost Darren Oliver and Chad Bradford to free agency, two guys who ate up a lot of solid innings last year. Also, Gary Cohen reports that Duaner Sanchez "is not as far along as the Mets would like," in recovering from the shoulder injury.

The scores don't really matter in these contests, though Bobby Valentine used to say that ideally the club finishes at .500 for the Spring. This way, they get used to winning, but don't waste too much energy on games that don't matter. But, for posterity's sake I'll report that the Mets lost, 5-4.

Tom Glavine takes the hill against the Cardinals and Chris Carpenter this afternoon, when we'll also get a look at Jorge Sosa, Pedro Feliciano and Ambiorix Burgos.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

We've Survived!

Competitive Spring Training action begins today, as the Mets face Detroit at 1PM. For those of you lucky enough to get SNY, you can TiVo it this afternoon or watch the replay at 6.

Oliver Perez will make the start, probably pitch about two innings, and be followed by Alay Soler (he's still on the roster?), Billy Wagner, Aaron Heilman and Jon Adkins.

The starters for the next four games are Tom Glavine, Chan Ho Park and Mike Pelfrey. Remember, all eyes are on which five guys will start the season off in the rotation.

Rotation battle speculation update:
Dayn Perry says the 5th spot is Chan Ho Park's to lose.
Matt Cerrone concurs.

As for the bullpen, there are way too many guys to even speculate who will make the team, other than Billy Wagner, Aaron Heilman and
Scott Schoeneweis. Duaner Sanchez may or may not be ready in time. Other candidates include Pedro Feliciano, Jon Adkins, Ambiorix Burgos, Jorge Sosa, Joe Smith, Juan Padilla, Jason Vargas and Dave Williams.

The other battles are for the 4th and 5th outfield spot, and the backup infielders.

The projected 25 man roster:

C Lo Duca
C2: Ramon Castro or Sandy Alomar
1B: Carlos Delgado
2B: Jose Valentin
3B: David Wright
SS: Jose Reyes
IF: Julio Franco
IF: Damion Easley or Anderson Hernandez
RF: Shawn Green
CF: Carlos Beltran
LF: Moises Alou
OF: Endy Chavez or Ben Johnson or David Newhan or Lastings Milledge
OF: Lasting Milledge or
Endy Chavez or Ben Johnson or David Newhan
SP: Tom Glavine
SP: Orlando Hernandez
SP: ?John Maine?
SP: ?Oliver Perez?
SP: ?Chan Ho Park or Aaron Sele or Jorge Sosa or Mike Pelfrey or Philip Humber or Jason Vargas?
RP: Billy Wagner
RP: Aaron Heilman
RP: Scott Schoeneweis
RP: ?Pedro Feliciano?
RP: ?Duaner Sanchez?
RP: ?Jorge Sosa?

Of course, that's assuming the Mets go with 11 pitchers. If they are worried about the ability of their starters going deep and want to have a 12 man staff, then they'll have to go with just 4 outfielders (Can you really imagine Endy Chavez not making Willie Randolph's team?), or 5 infielders (Damion Easley, we hardly knew ye).

Let's get on with it!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Transplanted Ex-Mets Update: Art Shamsky

Hat Tip to Regis at Mets Heads for pointing out that 1969 Met Art Shamsky will serve as coach for one of six teams in the new Israeli baseball league.  fans of Everybody Loves Raymond will recall that Raymond's brother Robert (Brad Garrett) had a bulldog named Shamsky on the show.  Jon Stewart also has a pit bull named Shamsky.  Call me an anti-Semite, but I decided to name my French Bulldog Mookie

My cousin named his dog Piazza, which also works pretty well as a dog name.  Unfortunately, none of the current era of Mets have names suitable for canines, at least that I can think of.  Moises?  Milledge?  Not as befitting as the three above, and none of them have the tenure deserving of naming your dog after them anyway. 

I could see a Yankees fan naming their dog Jeter, but A-Rod might get upset if Jeter the Dog didn't sniff A-Rod's butt enough.

Transplanted Ex-Mets Update: Edgardo Alfonzo Is A Long Island Duck!

OK, now I am mad. First, Mookie Wilson leaves his post as manager of the Kingsport Mets, just a month after I move within driving distance of the team's home. Then, Tim Tueffel takes over the Savannah Sand Gnats, but the team doesn't have any games in Greensboro this upcoming season. Now, one of my favorite Mets of all time, Edgardo Alfonzo, will play for the Long Island Ducks this season, and I don't live on Long Island! Man! Somebody send me a bobblehead!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mets Spring Training Update

There are about a billion articles in the mainstream and not so mainstream press out there, though there is not much to report. Grapefruit League action kicks off on Wednesday, and Mets fans in attendance will see Oliver Perez make the start as the battle for the rotation slots begins. Here are the candidates:

Glavine (lock)
El Duque (lock)
John Maine
Oliver Perez
Chan Ho Park
Aaron Sele
Mike Pelfrey
Jason Vargas
Jorge Sosa
Phillip Humber

Not including Pedro Martinez, due sometime after the All Star Break, there's 10 pitchers for 5 slots, or really 8 pitchers for 3 slots, when you lock in Glavine and El Duque for the one and two positions. Of course, despite what Glavine says, when you have two men over 40 at the front end of the rotation it's tough to imagine them both making 35 starts each. So, this could be interesting. Over the next few weeks I'll try to keep track of the speculation of the "experts," to see who is predicting what. In the meantime, let's get on with it already!