Archive for SHaMs

Let’s Go Mets Go

It’s not a question of how

It’s just a matter, (Do it!)  it’s just a matter of (Do it!), it’s just a matter of when

The best part of any Met game has become what Daniel Vogelbach does with it, now that the outcome has seemingly become less of a point. That’s what 4 of 5 from the Braves followed by 3 easy wins over the Reds has done. Together it’s all part of a 15-4 run since SHaMs opening day, and 15-2 since losing the first two games since the All-Star Break. That streak started the very same day Vogelbach joined the SHaMs, July 24. You could look it up.

They have swept three series (Marlins, Yankees and now Reds) since then. They are now 34 games over .500. They have a better record and winning percentage than anyone except the Dodgers (a ridiculous 44 games over .500 or an even .700 vs. the Mets’ .652). That’s brought the 2022 Mets into the stratosphere. Since they became the SHaMs and I was worried, they’ve surpassed the Yankees and the Astros for baseball’s best overall record.

That brings me to “bach” to Vogelbach, and a thing I told my son yesterday as he and I took in the Camp-Day/Businessman’s Special on a scorching afternoon from the right field corner.

I came with the dumb hat but left with a new mug; new Taijuan Walker shirsey for him

That the Mets would beat the Reds on a getaway day was never in doubt, it was only a matter of how, and at the moment, it was seeing Vogelbach pile up the total bases, two at a time. That’s something to see. I tried several times to engage new arrival Tyler Naquin on whether the home run he hit was the longest of his career–I think he heard it but didn’t respond, because it meant he would have to turn his attention to the 800 little kids also crying for his attention. Finally the Reds were defeated before they arrived going down on 6 pitches in the first and only few more in the 9th, for a while we were seeing how long it would take anyone to exceed 4 pitches, then 5, then 6 when Albert Almora Jr. walked in the 4th. Then we lost interest in the Reds’ lost interest ourselves.

We managed neighborly baseball-and-other-stuff conversation with a multigenerational family of cousins and moms and uncles and fathers and nephews occupying two rows next to us, and the only drawback I knew going in–“between the bases” at a price we could afford– meant sitting near a camp group which we didn’t want. Also I know that not being between the bases at CitiField usually means some kind of compromise.

In Section 105, it’s temporary ignorance of there being two “main” scoreboards and coming very close to a point where the line of vision to the batter is compromised by the equipment securing the foul-ball netting. Other than that it was a few “grown men” in section 106 amusing themselves and no one else by chanting “Let’s Go Brandon” during Nimmo’s turns at-bat, but only a few pitches into it, further demonstrating their ignorance. Nimmo by the way has a new walk-up song, “I Feel Like A Woman” but some country star, I think Shania Twain.

The only other thing that went bad was the concessions. I was in search of a good beer with no alcohol–if you know about beer that’s one thing the craft beer guys have run with as innovation–and found one (shout out to my friend Michael who knew where to look first). Only the lady at the Coors Light stand brings me the wrong thing, cracks it open before I can see it and charges me for a 16-ounce craft beer which I’d paid for since its all self-service before I take it from her and realize I was charged for a 16-ounce real beer not a 12-ounce pretend beer which I asked for by name. I also tried to joke when she carded me, so I said non-alcoholic beer twice–once when I ordered it and again when she carded me unnecessarily. So she owes me $5.50 and caused a little aggravation. I didn’t stick around to see if the guy behind me got that beer for cheap.

It was a hot sunny afternoon and after about 4 innings of it we agreed to get up into the shade and get something cool to drink. Milkshakes! Only we didn’t expect to miss two innings on the wrong line at Shake Shack. That has to be faster.

I shelled out for field level seats, bought the boy a Taijuan Walker shirsey since he’d long grown out of all his previous ones — Wright, Nieuwenhuis and Syndergaard if I recall. The combination of Walker’s turn in the rotation and what he agreed was a cool number, 99, sealed the decision and helped me to suggest his inclination of a Megill 38 shirsey was kind of cool but only if he remembers to wear it again in 10 or 15 years.

I in the meantime replaced a banged-up Mr. Met mug that has been my No. 1 morning coffee companion ever since receiving it as a David Wright Era father’s day gift. The new one is pictured here.

All of this to say we had a great time, the Mets are better than ever, but there’s still room to improve the experience so as to meet the level of a team executing this well.

Do it, do it, do it.

 

 

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Sucker Punched

Nothing to be alarmed about, but now I have a different reason for temporary spotty availability. But while I’ve got the chance to say it I was shocked the Mets didn’t do any more at the trade deadline and underwhelmed with what they did but that it appears to be working so well shows how little I knew, and not for the first time. The takeaway as I see is Billy Eppler and Steve Cohen’s hedge-funded baseball geniuses might know more than me and I should trust them now, or we’ll find out I was right along but now I don’t want to right now.

I never thought Contreras, even as he fit one need rather nicely, being a catcher who could hit, was quite the right solution (catchers are hard to break in the best of circumstances and with Alvarez en route, foolish to put those kinds of expectation on him in the moment). It also tells us the Mets had seen enough of the each of nearly every opening-day best-case-scenario options at DH (Robbie Cano, Dom Smith and JD Davis), have all three failed given the shots they had; but also they saw none of the temp-depth guys (Inciarte, Jankowski, Blankenhorn, Lee, Plummer) belong here at least now.

Plus Tyler Naquin was the last of the three Reds I might have taken soonest (Luis Castillo and Tommy Pham were available too, no surprise).

And that they had a lot more faith in me of the following:

We’d see Jacob deGrom ever again.

That Trevor May would ever resurface. Maybe even Tylor Megill.

That the problem with Drew Smith wasn’t, as I’d suspected, part of the bad luck all around the night Max Scherzer called for the trainer and walked off the mound, when it appeared all Smith could do to resist an inappropriate thing on on a baseball field with 30,000 watching with one of the three Sports Illustrated swimsuit models throwing out a ceremonial first pitch right there between home plate the pitcher’s mound (she seemed to be considering it is all I’d say as a body language interpreter in the Promenade that night). Instead it was some kind of injury, only the kind of injury that makes you give up way too many home runs.

So that’s also why we have Mychal Givens in the bullpen, along with May, and deGrom is in the rotation but I missed most of the game. Givens is a guy whom I know Buck trusted, so you have to think he asked for it too and though so and I’m beginning to definitely trust in Buck. Like Megill, Givens’ first name seems spelled wrong too.

Quick wrapup for these Mets who are unpredictable in all the right ways and went sneaky-smart at the deadline when balls-out was the seeming call to action.

Naquin is hitting the crap out of the ball in 25. Givens is No. 60. Darin Ruf (who seems to spell his first AND last names improperly) was assigned 28 and platooning with Babe Ruth Vogelbach at 32. That Davis-Ruf trade was also a straight-up Uni-Swap and I think the Mets paid more for him and for Vogelbach as I liked Holderman and Davis but I’m not arguing with results.

That was a magical win over Atlanta last night, in a magical year, and they did it while the Braves did seemingly did so much more to prepare. I watched the game last night and wanted nothing more that to be there. That was something, and I was at the Wednesday night Yankees game.

Someday I’ll tell that story.

 

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The Stroman-Walker Effect

It’s been a good Mets season by nearly any measure, but the last game of the first half didn’t go well, and neither did the first game of the second half, or what I call Opening Night for the SHaMs (Second HAlf Mets).

At least we’re not waking up like Red Sox are this morning. Go watch the highlights.

If you saw the SHaMs last night, you’d have also seen a new beginning of sorts for Travis Blankenhorn, who was called up from AAA for the first time this year, and given a dignified number at last–27. He was 73 last year, but I had to look that up. I kind of remembered him in 72 and got briefly excited because I realized had that been the case, it would have represented a Reverse Carlton Fisk (I was aware too at that moment, that the Sox were down by like 25 runs in the 6th inning) so I thought it was like a signal of … something.

If you’re old, you’ll recall Carlton Fisk was the famous Red Sox catcher who was so damaged by a procedural contractural screwup by Boston that made him a Free Agent after 1980. The Red Sox tendered a contract too late for the deadline despite having agreed to terms, so when Fisk signed, he signed with the White Sox and not the Red Sox, and to stick it to them, he flipped his digits from 27 in Boston to 72 in Chicago, which was really unusual in 1981, not just the number, but any player disrupting tradition because he had the power to do so and be meaningful.

One way to show how unusual it was, when another player, with arguably more more juice and meaning to his squad, due to a similar procedural screwup that also landed him on the White Sox, four years after Carlton Fisk donned first that powerfully brutalist SOX uniform, put on his for the first time, but it didn’t have No. 14 on the back. Tom Seaver had other reasons of course, but the point is, here was a guy, with a history of being bruised by the team and a reputation of something of a maverick, and who possessed a fastball frightening enough to have given the Mets the brushback pitch they probably deserved, and that may not even have entered his mind in 1985.

And it’s just not like that today. Players with juice are more Fisk-like generally, and also, don’t have to be Hall of Fame-bound guys who write an unforgettable chapter in baseball history. They also needn’t be pissed off about anything to use their juice to disrupt convention anymore. Juice seems more plentiful, because players have all the juice. So in a sense juice is cheaper, and therefore, player-led disruption is easier, if juice is the fuel of disruption.

There’s a lot of Mets fans walking around today thinking No. 7 is sacred and destined to be retired for Jose Reyes, not because of Reyes necessarily, but because, in 2019, Marcus Stroman decided it was. That was only after having pitched half-a-season wearing No. 7, an ironic act that itself was disruptive, because there had never been a pitcher before him to have ever worn No. 7, in the history of the club.

And for some reason the Mets have actually absorbed this too, since they haven’t issued No. 7 since Marcus Stroman essentially told them not to, and fans seemed to be on his side. The Mets in the meantime have begun retroactively retiring numbers, almost pretending that disruption that rarely existed back then, did, and making people like me want to applaud that they are at least thinking of history while also, wondering what happens when they finally get around to 7 and it’s either Ed Kranepool or Jose Reyes? I personally found this outrageous at first, and I’m still not sure I’m behind this, because to me, retiring numbers ought to be the ultimate thing, but players, and fans, and now clubs, think today maybe, they’ve actually been too thoughtless or even disrespectful. For me personally, I wish the the message was “the Mets actually have had a great and fascinating history, just one not good if you judge ‘great and fascinating’ primarily by the volume of numbers on the wall.” But for the Mets at least, something else is also happening, and that’s the goalposts have moved. Retired numbers are cheaper, because there’s more of them. But actually, statues in front of the ballpark are the new retired number, the retired number is now the Mets Hall of Fame, and the Mets Hall of Fame is now what you pass on the your way to the concession shop, or a waiting room for the outfield wall, depending on which side of the retire-the-number debate you happen to be on, if everything else is to remain truly in perspective.

This was pointed out elsewhere, but when Marcus Stroman (who as we recall, chose 0 as his next act of disruption) and Taijuan Walker (a pitcher who not only wears No. 99 but who has never worn a “normal” uniform number in in his career) opposed one another as starting pitchers at Wrigley Field, it represented an unbreakable record for the widest distance between opposing starters’ uni numbers possible. Also, that Adam Ottavino (0) relieved Walker in that game, amplifying the idea that two pitchers with outrageous uniform numbers from a 1981 perspective, is really just a normal thing now.

That this happened two weeks ago, and a 23-year-old blog allegedly dedicated to chronicling what happens with Mets uniform numbers is the last to report this, also represents a player-led disruptive change that makes me confront uncomfortable things I’ve also long known, and am learning more about elsewhere in my life. So obsessing about numbers is more plentiful, so that too is also cheaper, and it all has something to do with how baseball players have, over time, gained the upper hand over clubs, and fans. Let’s call this the Stroman-Walker Effect.

And it’s not just star players driving the change. It’s the effect of what happens with all the scrubeenies whom the clubs still rule. I want to argue that the Mets are just lazy when they hustle some meatbag up from the minors wearing No. 86, which might have been necessary in spring training to distinguish him from the all the other guys every club has when spring training begins. That’s why Travis Blankenhorn looked like an idiot out there last year wearing 73. I also want to say I am just lazy when I fail to update the blog and alert the world. But it’s possible also the Stroman-Walker Effect has penetrated baseball culture to a point where a 1981 perspective on what was “appropriate” to wear when you’re in the act of being a Major League Baseball player is just irrelevant anymore. And a 1999 perspective on the fans’ need to know who wore what when also might make this site less useful and gather more dust every day. I’ve known this for a long time, but feel like I should I acknowledge that publicly somehow.

If this feels like a “retirement speech,” it’s not, it’s just that Travis Blankenhorn appearing somewhat unexpectedly in the Mets’ starting lineup last night, somehow knocked something loose for me, and now it’s splattered like blood on the page. And it was a little reassuring, yet also made me think enough to write the first substantial post in a long time here, that Travis Blankenhorn came out wearing No. 27 last night.

Back to baseball for a moment, and I should mention that Travis Blankenhorn’s tenure, as the 30th player in club history to have worn No. 27 for the Mets and the first since Juerys Familia, was over almost before it started. Because shortly before last night’s game, the Mets shipped relief pitcher Colin Holderman to the Pittsburgh Pirates, for Daniel Vogelbach. I just want a second to say I liked Holderman, and his departure is as sure as a sign as any more deals are to come for the SHaMs.

Vogelbach, who doesn’t appear to have been issued a number yet–but I might gamble is 27 despite Blankenhorn’s right to it as long as he’s on the 40-man roster, because of the Stroman-Walker Effect on clubs– will also make Mets uniform history soon but not for the number: It’s possible they just won’t have a uniform in his size. I don’t know if you’ve seen this guy, but he’s a low-average punisher of right-handed pitching generously described as an “infielder” but like, even his hair is fat. And his nickname is “The Babe.” I don’t know if the Mets have ever had a player quite this size. Heath Bell was a hefty guy. Mickey Lolich was kind of walrus-like. Vogelbach is something else, and for the moment, he’s the Man, for the SHaMs.

Oh and just in: In a separate deal, just reported non Twitter as I was writing, the Mets also paid cash to the Pirates for some guy called Michael Perez, a left-handed hitting catcher with a career .155/.204/.305 slash line in 193 games over five years with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh. This must related to Tomas Nido‘s injury yesterday, but talk about your SHaM Poo.

 

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The Sisco Kid

So what’s up with Chance Sisco? During his stay on the 40 man in Syracuse, he was assigned #15, as befits his kinda sorta veteran status. Then he finally makes it back to the majors, and they give him #77? Maybe as a sign of respect to Mazeika?

That’s a great question (from Jim, in the below post) to which I don’t know the answer. But maybe it has something to do with debuting on a West Coast road trip, and also, something to do with the fact that the team simply has too many guys to keep track of anymore. Sisco is the 61st Met of the year and the 40th guy to have joined the organization for the 1st time this year. With the veteran reliever Heath Hembree also on the way, this team is threatening to surpass the all-time mark for debut Mets set all the way back in the team’s debut, 1962 when every Met–45 of them–was a first-time Met by definition.

It’s Tuesday, so we’ll be out at CitiField tonight. Hopefully we see what number they offer Hembree, but we’ll rooting against an appearance, given the recent trajectory of the career that landed him here. Of greater interest is the anticipated paring of Lindor and Baez in the middle infield for the first time. If there’s any kind of catalyst for this club–and it may well be too late, given the Braves have been even hotter than the Mets have been cold–this is it.

There are 38 games to go. The Mets probably need to win 27 or 28 of them.

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The Mazeik Is Back (Not)

Just as we feared, the Mets’ failure to capitalize on the graciousness of struggling divisional opponents early this season is turning the second half into a complete disaster.

Yeah there’s been key injuries but there’s plenty more blame to go around, including a passive posture at the trade deadline that’s already blown up in their faces, a teamwide hitting approach that simply looks awful, and a return to black uniforms that at some level, speaks to misplaced priorities and a poor sense of taste.

I’m not against mixing up things up sartorially, and acknowledge the sense of excitement and nostalgia that accompanies the black era, but to me this is another manifestation of a poor approach leading to missed opportunity. The problem with the black jerseys wasn’t that they were black, necessarily, but they were poorly designed. Try something different already: Hit against the shift. Take a strike down by a run in the 9th. Get a fashion expert to take another look at incorporating black without a clashy, busy, and depressing expression.

I’m cranky because I stayed up last night to watch these palookas finally do enough offensively to win (with some missed opportunity) only to see the bullpen cough up any chance. The team is infected somehow and begun to resemble Luis Rojas’s 2020 squad, which missed the playoffs in the easiest year ever to make the playoffs. This might be the second.

There’s now been a club record 60 guys on the roster this year. Sidearmer Jake Reed (who?) is the latest, wearing No. 52 (Nick Tropeano, we hardly knew ye). Reed came to us from the … (looks it up) Rays, who released him and was previously with the … Dodgers … and Angels … and Twins orgs.

Trevor Williams, collected in the ill-fated deadline day giveaway with the Cubs, in the meantime has been up and back and now back again, wearing 29 and reminding me of another Cubs-bred Met starter, Steve Trachsel and adding to our league-leading collection of Trevors. Travis Blankenorn (73) is back. Geoff Hartlieb (40) has been up and back. Patrick Mazeika (76) is even back (Tomas Nido is injured, because). What difference does it make?

Just last night, Billy McKinney homered off Anthony Banda.

 

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Hot or Not

Hi again and thanks for your patience and updates while I was traveling (across Iowa, by bike). Fun trip, very hot out there.

The Mets aren’t so hot. Lots of things are continuing to go wrong for them and as fortunate as they are to be where they are, they absolutely need to be better, not just to have a shot in the playoffs but to make them at all. There’s no way they make the playoffs any other way than winning the division.

Kumar Rocker isn’t getting signed. Bad break for the Mets but a crazy comment from the owner revealing how exploitative the draft is. Jacob deGrom is more hurt than we knew. Conforto is going as bad as he ever has since that demotion a few years back. You wonder if the “Trachsel Cure” could help but why risk it when guys like McNeil and Nimmo can barely run up the line with balky hamstrings. Kevin Pillar looks finished. Dom Smith is a singles hitter.

The Javier Baez trade hasn’t been much of a catalyst and I’m disappointed they couldn’t or wouldn’t do more. I was always a little suspicious of Baez, tremendous swings but makes a ton of outs and would seem to require a motivated teammate like Lindor at his side. Lindor’s injury is sorta like being without Cano; it wasn’t ideal when he was there but the lineup still misses him when he’s gone. At least Alonso is hitting bombs again.

Here’s the new (and old) assignments:

Akeem Bostic 71 (since reassigned to AAA)

Jay Baez 23 (I don’t think this is a middle infielder number at all, despite growing up with Ted Martinez and Doug Flynn. 7 would have been appropriate. I’m also not against adding another nine choices by starting with 0. 09 would have been great.

Baez means that IL’ed lefty David Peterson is switching, to the dreaded 46, according to the Mets roster. I missed the discussion on how or why this all went down.

Carlos Carrasco finally arrived in 59. I also have pitching coach Jeremy Accardo in 59, not sure how or even if that is working out.

Rich Hill, despite the speculation below, alighted in 21. I like pitchers who wear 21.

 

 

 

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Banda Gypsies

Do you remember when the Mets were terrible and forced Sandy Alderson to weakly step aside without actually firing him and packed it in July, trading guys like Asdrubal Cabrera and Juerys Familia?

I barely can either, but was reminded of it this week when its reverberations played out over this ridiculous road trip. Familia went to Oakland for an infielder called Will Toffey, whom the Mets employed as a minor leaguer for years until flipping him a few weeks back for Anthony Banda, a lefthanded reliever who became a kind-of star in Monday’s crazy win in Cincinnati.

Banda wore 77, becoming the first Met to get that number since David Peterson wore it last year. Also arriving for the first time this week was Geoff Hartlieb (who?) a former Pirate waived away from their org and scooped up by the body-hungry, first-place, beaten-up Mets, given No. 40 (already issued once this year to since-released gascan Jacob Barnes), and thrown out there. (Tuesday not Monday)

And speaking of trade deadlines of the recent past, Steven Nogosek is back again! Nogosek, whom I think has been on and off the 40 about a million times is the only remaining detritus of the Addison Reed Trade. Nogosek first appeared wearing 72 in 2019, then resurfaced a year ago with 85 on his back. Just spitballing here but of guys who have worn two numbers for the Mets, I’d guess Nogosek’s sum of 157 is the highest ever. Also, he’s got a fresh mustache now.

The Mets will likely in be in this waiver claim-DFA-IL cycle all year: Guys strive to get up, then go right back down and/or get waived when they work (Jerad Eickhoff, Nick Tropeano), or get hurt (Corey Oswalt, Robert Stock, Sean Reid-Foley, David Peterson, Jacob deGrom, Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Yamamoto, Thomas Szapucki, Jose Peraza, Francisco Lindor) and cycled out or picked away by the first group. We can’t help but wind up losing some we might do better keeping this way (Billy McKinney, who did a nice job, was just flipped to the Dodgers in his DFA limbo, and we just DFA’ed the speedy and spirited Johneshwy Fargas). About a third of the roster this year is in a state of constant and unstoppable churn.

We also just grabbed a reliever from the Cardinals called Roel Ramirez whose career ERA is 81.00 (1 IP, 1 9 ER). He’s been assigned to Syracuse but we will probably see him this weekend. With Fargas on the way out, it’d be a shame if he didn’t wind up wearing 81.

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Not Half Bad

The Mets reached the All-Star Break still leading the East and having endured dreadful starts by some guys (uh, Lindor) and injuries to many others but only hit the magic 10-games-over-.500 mark once, and retreated from that pretty rapidly, and still with questions as to who’s going to pitch twice a week, which reliever is going to be most reliable, and who’s going to be traded where and for whom as they address the challenge of improving.

Because as good as things broke for the First-Half Mets, the SHaMs will have to be considerably better.

There’s been signs of life from Lindor in recent weeks and reuniting the lineup with Nimmo and Conforto (will someone remind him there’s a massive contract to still play for?) are encouraging trends. That said we’re also too frequently running out palookas like Robert Stock (the club’s first-ever No. 89) and waiver-wire roster-riders like Geoff Hartlieb (assigned Jacob Barnes’ since-surrendered 40) and Nick Tropeano (52) who won’t likely be positives for a pennant-winner over the long haul, so I’m expecting something of a massive trade or two in the days and weeks ahead.

There are 75 games to go. The Mets realistically need to shoot for winning 45 of them. Go SHaMs!

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Opting Out of Reality

I haven’t completely “opted out” this year, but between the weird games, the dumb rules, the danger, the fake crowd noise, the home games away, and so on, there’s a fraudulence embedded into this season that at some level, I’ve been reluctant to want to legitimize.

Take Juan Lagares as one example. As we know, the erstwhile Met, until not long ago the most tenured figure on the club, was issued the humiliating No. 87 and appeared as a pinch runner. His 12? That belongs to Eduardo Nunez, whom I’ve forgotten was/is a Met, just another disabled one for the moment. They tried to right this injustice a day later by issuing Lagares the freed-up 15 most recently belonging to released Brian Dozier and his .133 batting average, only to release Lagares once Andres Gimenez and Michael Wacha and David Peterson and Jake Marisnick returned.

Guys are coming and going every day: third- and fourth-string catchers like Ali Sanchez and Patrick Mazeika, resplendent in Nos. 70 and 76– along with 87, a first-ever issue for an active Met. Walker Lockett up and back. Drew Smith. Corey Oswalt. It’s all a big free-for-all. Joining soon, maybe today, perhaps tomorrow, is the Cuban outfielder Guillermo Heredia, picked up from Pittsburgh. The Mets list his assignment (temporarily, I hope) as 00. Heredia bats right and throws left, a perfect sort of oddball for this whacky year.

Above all, it’s hard to tell what the heck is going on with the team in general. The lineup can hit but can’t score, the bullpen is full of good arms that are unreliable and nobody knows who’s starting. Gsellman and Lugo both are in the rotation. Matz is in the bullpen, or something like it. McNeil’s head is up his ass. Alonso looks horrible except when he doesn’t. Dom Smith is an MVP candidate. Opponents you expect to be formidable, like the Red Sox and Yankees and Nationals, aren’t, and it’s still a monumental struggle. The Marlins outhustle you. You’re just a couple game out of first and would make the playoffs if they began today but have played most of the year like shit.

The new manager loses almost all his video-replay challenges, his coaches are working remotely and on the disabled list, the general manager gets caught ripping the commissioner when he meant to rip the owners; they get back at him by issuing statements misspelling his name while blessedly prepping again to sell the club, probably for a hundreds of millions less than they agreed to a eight months ago.

Let’s Go Mets! Thanks for your support!

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Better Jed Than Dead

Sorry for the dearth of updates! Was traveling for 2 weeks and lucky to have missed the Atlanta and Chicago series–not to mention the awful Player’s Weekend uniforms.

This Mets team is really driving you nuts, isn’t it? There’s a disease in the bullpen, the team itself is prone to sudden periodic shutdowns, so they are never safe from embarrassing themselves but at the same time the 2019 Mets are as accomplished as any group they’ve run out there for years. I suppose this is an indictment of their manager but it’s more than just that. And with Cano and Nimmo back … and now Jed Lowrie even (!!) they’re arguably better now than they’ve ever been, so I’m not ready to give up, even though I have twice already: Once back on July 24 after they’d slept-walked though a home loss to San Diego, falling to 46-55; and again the other night when Mickey, Sewald & Diaz teamed up to deliver that joke of a 9th inning.

Anyway, the Mets won 14 of 15 after my first surrender and they’re undefeated since the second.

You guys know this by now but Sam Haggerty is wearing 19. Haggerty came over in the Kevin Plawecki trade from Cleveland’s minor leagues. He’s a fleet switch hitter and the first 19 since Jay Bruce. Lowrie took over No. 4 from Wilmer Flores.

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