Archive for Site News

Count Me In

Oh hi.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to take a whole season off, it’s just that the whole process of moving 14 years of stuff to a new configuration took a while.

15I sort of got stuck halfway.  As I mentioned before, the architecture supporting the MBTN database (that is, the gears generating the who-wore-what-when lists; and how they were set up to display) was in such need of renovation I felt the best thing to do was outsource its placement: So a year ago I donated all of my uni-number data to the Ultimate Mets Database and I have been updating the information there as it comes as always. I think it looks and works great. My friend at the UMDB helped set that up and all I do anymore is plug in the data, which given my level of tech expertise, is the perfect task for me.

Moving the remainder of the content to a more appropriate format was the next hurdle, but the sheer volume of it was intimidating and had the effect of chilling investment in the “old” site: Why contribute to a site that you know is doomed for eventual destruction?

At the same time I was also struggling a bit with defining the purpose of a web site about uni numbers when the “news” aspect of it has been slaughtered by the 24-hour news cycle and the data resides elsewhere. When I started doing this 15 years ago, there wasn’t a reliable source for this kind of information. Today, anyone who needs to know what number the latest Met is wearing knows it hours before I can update, and the context — who was the last guy to have worn this number for the Mets etc etc — is picked clean by Twitterers with gigantic followings, almost always without credit. I’m not mad about this so much: Just feeling a bit less relevant in the grand scheme.

Add to that the Mets’ own irrelevancy, demands of being a dad and having a job, and well, before you knew it I’d missed a whole season. I’m sorry about that, and I’m especially sorry if the abrupt lack of activity led anyone to worry about me or my family: We’re totally OK other than the fact we’re still Mets fans. Thanks for your concern!

So now what? Well, I’d begun having the urge to write about the Mets again and with a few days off around Thanksgiving began the process of transferring old posts to a WordPress format. I did all this manually, which took forever, and I tried to preserve all the comments since that’s where so much action took place. I re-imagined the tags and categories. There’s still some work to be done. It doesn’t look great all the time and some of the links you’ll find no doubt are dodgy, but I left the spam behind and you’re welcome to add to the conversation again.

How’d you guys like 2013? I’m sad that the injuries piled up and served to undo so much of the progress we otherwise made; and disappointed of course that our team’s two biggest problems (first base and shortstop) were things we hadn’t anticipated. That’s baseball.

More to come…

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Big Announcement!

Here’s one offseason move you may have missed: Mets by the Numbers is donating its data to be hosted at the Ultimate Mets Database in a combination of two of the longest-running Mets reference sites on the Internet. Beginning today, you can find all player uniform numbers as well as an all-time numerical roster at the Ultimate Mets Database.

Over the coming weeks, I will redirect the links to player profiles, uni numbers and rosters here to their counterparts at the UMDB, then commence a relaunch of this site only without the bolted-on database. What will stay are years of site updates, essays and the discussion of Mets past and present that have been a part of this site from the beginning. Only the roster and player records are moving — and I’ll still be maintaining that data, only there, not here.

Why now? For one thing, this site was long overdue for a re-engineering (it’s built on a long-outmoded version of the useful but complex and ever-changing CMS Drupal — but I don’t have the time or skill to devote to keeping it up to date. But the best argument for it is that uni number data has always been a natural fit for the UMDB, which until now included just about everything except uni numbers. Moving the info to the UMDB and integrating it with all the other cool data there also allows for new features like scorecards with numbers and truly awesome running tallies of uni-number leaders and stats-by-uni-number — features that I’d only been able to scratch at here. All these links should be functional right now; if you encounter any bugs just let me know.

MBTN and the Ultimate Mets Database go back a long way. Shortly after launching this site, I went to check on some facts when I came across it for the first time. As it turns out, our sites launched within weeks of one another in February of 1999 (that’s more than 14 years ago!!) and we’ve since collaborated on projects through fellow Mets fans at the Crane Pool Forum including the Schaefer Mets Player of the Year project, which recreates the sponsored recap of Met broadcasters of the 1970s. You too should participate in these projects. Trust me when I say this stuff is in good hands over there.

You can still add to the discussion and contact me here; in the meantime look for a re-launch of this site soon. Oh, and opening day in 2 weeks. Let’s Go Mets!!

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A Very Boswell Birthday

Here’s Ken Boswell’s 1971 Topps baseball card. That’s the Cardinals’ Vic Davalillo arriving too late to break up the double play as Boswell works the pivot between shortstop Al Weis and first baseman Art Shamsky. The card — which must be one of the only Mets cards that includes a view of the Whitestone — was shot on May 28, 1970, in the 6th inning of a game that Mets were losing 6-0 to the Cards. Boswell, however, was having a good afternoon. He’d go 3-for-3 in this game with a double, a sac fly, and both Met RBIs in what became a 9-2 loss. Against Bob Gibson, not bad.

Boswell wore No. 12, which is apropos in that this month marks the 12th anniversary of Mets by the Numbers, which I’ve determined “went live” for the the first time on Feb. 22, 1999. This makes MBTN one of the real dinosaurs of the Metosphere; the Ultimate Mets Database, whose awesome powers I use to determine things like what happened to the Mets on May 28, 1970, debuted at around the same time. A site called Mets Online, founded by the current Yankees beat writer for MLB.com (!) and whose offspring today operates as NY Sportsday, was around then too, but not sure of many others. No. 12 was then in a dark period following Jorge Fabregas’s departure and the coming of the Shawon Dunston Era later that year.

Boswell was a Met for eight seasons and possessed a pretty good left-handed bat for a second baseman, especially for his era. A few injuries interrupted his early progress, and he’d eventually be displaced as the regular second baseman by Felix Millan, but he remained a useful player who batted 1.000 in the 1973 Word Series (3-for-3, all pinch hits) and clubbed home runs in consecutive games in the 1969 NLCS rout of the Braves. When Willie Randolph namechecked Ken Boswell while taking the No. 12 jersey, it might have been his finest moment as Mets manager.

12The No. 12 jersey has been an interesting one in Mets history. The all-time No. 12 was probably John “Bad Dude” Stearns, a four-time All-Star and all-time tough guy. Twelve was also the best of Ron Darling’s three numbers as a Met: He went 68-38 with a 3.38 ERA wearing 12 — and 31-32, 3.73 wearing other numbers (44 and 15, respectively).  Darling’s the only Mets pitcher to ever have worn 12.

Twelve belonged to Tommy Davis during his outstanding (and only) Mets season in 1967; and to maddening chatty hacker Jeff Francoeur in 2009 and 2010. It currently belongs to Scott Hairston, who’s likely to be a pinch-hitter and hopefully not a full-time player for the 2011 squad. One day, we may remember 12 as the number belonging to two Hall of Famers who endured difficult stays in Metville: Jeff Kent (who probably deserves in) and Roberto Alomar (who’ll be enshrined this summer).

Who’s your favorite 12?

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Happy Birthday

Today would have been my Dad’s 80th birthday. Frank Springer was a freelance cartoonist whose work appeared in comic books and strips, magazines including Playboy, Sports Illustrated for Kids and National Lampoon, and newspapers including the long-defunct Suffolk Sun, which employed him to draw sports cartoons in 1969. After retiring from the commerecial art world in the 1990s he took up oil painting and was doing some terrific work, including the above, until he passed away this April. Born in Queens and raised there and in Lynbook, he grew up a Dodgers fan and then, an original Mets fan. He raised five blue-and-orange kids including at least one obsessive one, and had seven grandchildren who are Met fans too.

The short video here shows many of his baseball works, plus other stuff. Happy birthday Dad!

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I’d Love to Change the World

Yes, so happy birthday to Mets by the Numbers. It officially turned 10 last Sunday but wanted to kick things off once I had this alternacommemerative logo, thanks to Superba Graphics. It goes without saying they ought to be doing the same for the Mets. While 10 years ain’t much, it’s a lifetime on the Internet and as Mets sites go, I’m pretty sure there are only a few survivors any more ancient than this old bat. The Ultimate Mets Database debuted at around the same time as this site did, since I recall coming across it only while finishing up the back half of the site (it wasn’t around while I initially researched and wrote the 10s and 20s or that would have gone faster).Mets Online continues in a somewhat altereted fashion — the owner/editor and url are different — but was definitely here before this one.

This site has changed some too. It used to be charmingly free of design and functionality but I have to say it was a bear to manage and led to way too many mistakes, and so a few years back I decided I had to kill it so it could live again. The new architecture isn’t perfect yet but it works, and there’s no limit to what can be bolted onto it. And while you may not see it everyday there’s a little bit being added all the time (photos, player bios, etc), and it’s reassuring from this end to know there’s never going to be a time where there’s absolutely nothing to add.

I’m not much for birthdays but to celebrate this anniversary, I thought I’d present some of the revived content in list form and count down 10 Top Tens, starting with the Top Ten 10s, on Sunday. Stay tuned for that. And thanks!

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