Lineup for Opening Day 2015

Here’s the lineup for today’s opening day game against the Washington Nationals:

3 Curtis Granderson RF
5 David Wright 3B
21 Lucas Duda 1B
23 Michael Cuddyer LF
28 Daniel Murphy CF
12 Juan Lagares CF
15 Travis d’Arnaud C
4 Wilmer Flores SS
40 Bartolo Colon P

Is it just me or is this a very odd lineup?

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The ARod Apology Letter

Much was made out of Alex Rodriguez‘s handwritten apology letter to Yankees fans earlier this week. Everything I read about it was negative. Many called for ARod to have done an apology press conference instead of a letter. But while a press conference would have been better do you really think it would have turned out much differently?

Picture this: ARod comes to press conference, reads prepared statement and leaves without answering any questions. How would that have gone over with the critics?

Or this: ARod comes to press conference, reads prepared statement and answers questions evasively. How about that?

No matter what ARod did here it would have been the wrong thing. Would I have liked to have seen him talk to the media? Yes. Would I have liked to have seen him fess up to what he did? Yes. But we all know that he never would have done this. Considering there would be backlash regardless of what he did or said I don’t blame ARod for taking the easy way out.

But let’s get to the reality here. In sports all that matters is on field performance. If ARod gets it done on the field this season then all those Yankees fans who have been upset with him for the last couple of years will become his biggest supporters. Some may even become his biggest defenders. All will be forgiven and (mostly) forgotten. Of course it goes the other way too. If he doesn’t get it done on the field then he’s in for a very long year.

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More Fun

I wrote a post last season when the Mets played the Yankees last year abut how baseball was fun again for at least a couple of nights. That’s how I feel about the two game set the two teams just completed at Yankee Stadium. Curtis Granderson returned to Yankee Stadium and belted a home run in each game and the Mets scored a total of 21 runs in both games. Just plain fun for Mets fans. With the Subway Series continuing with 2 games at CitiField starting tonight I fear we’ll be going back to our regularly scheduled Mets heartache so enjoy it while you can.

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Can’t Criticize Murph

Daniel Murphy missed the first 2 games of the season to witness the birth of his first child and spend a couple of days on paternity leave. Yesterday he took a beating from Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton and Mike Francesa for doing it. All of them basically saying “you’re a professional so go do you job”. I don’t blame them for their opinions but strongly disagree with them.

In Esiason’s sport, football, it’s much easier for an expectant father to schedule around a game. Although teams practice all week there’s only one game a week. Sure missing a day of practice is not a good thing but it’s not as bad as missing a game. (I won’t discuss Carton because, honestly, I don’t listen enough to know where he’s coming from.)

And don’t get me started on Francesa, whose ideas about almost everything are archaic and often times contradictory. I still can’t understand how a guy like that has managed to stay on the air this long but that’s a different discussion.

Regardless of these points we live in times where this is how paternity is done. Most companies have policies that allow new fathers some time off upon the birth or, at some companies, the adoption of a child. This is a common thing. If I would expect to take some time off for a child how could I criticize Murphy for doing the same thing? Why is his team any different than the team I work with? We both work with teams trying to get a job done. Finances aside (as Murphy is obviously being paid much more than I am) why is his team any different than mine?

Esiason, Carton and Francesa are off base here. The only thing appalling is that Murphy needs to defend himself in the face of this sad criticism. As annoyed as I may have been that Murphy wasn’t available for the games he missed (simply because you don’t want to be down a player) I don’t blame Murphy a bit for taking the time off.

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Mets Are 2 for 2 On DL Stints

The Mets may be 0-2 in the standings but they’ve had success at one thing: injuries. The Mets lead the league in putting people on the disabled list during the regular season after they put a second player there in as many days.

Just one day after announcing that Bobby Parnell has an elbow injury that may require Tommy John surgery the Mets placed outfielder Chris Young on the DL with right quad strain. Young had suffered the injury while the team was in Montreal last weekend and sat out opening day as a precaution. But when he chased after a foul ball in the first inning of last night’s game against the Washington Nationals the injury was aggravated. After the chase he walked gingerly back to position but was taken out of the game at the end of the inning.

I’m not a doctor or an expert in sports medicine so there’s no way I can tell the extent of the injury before last night’s game and if the team should have kept him out of it to begin with. But as a fan this is very disconcerting. The Mets bad history with injuries continues to be a sore point but it’s getting harder to tell who’s to blame. Sometimes a player will withhold that he’s got an injury keeping him from being treated properly. Other times he discloses the injury but the extent is either misdiagnosed or ignored. Other times the player is just not in playing shape. These are just a few scenarios and I’m sure I’m missing many more.

One thing I can say with certainty is that this does not bode well as a team begins a new season. Bad news has a way of spiraling through a clubhouse and bringing it down. I’m not saying that this will happen in this situation but this is a subpar team to start with that may not be able to afford the loss of production and possible distractions that come with multiple injuries early on.

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Parnell On The Shelf

Meet the new season. Same as the old season.

Bobby Parnell had an MRI after complaining of tightness in his forearm after yesterday’s game. The MRI revealed a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right arm. This is the same type of injury that lead to Tommy John surgery for Matt Harvey. Parnell will rest for 2 weeks before being re-evaluated but it’s certainly possible he will suffer the same fate as Harvey.

The fact that he is injured should come as no surprise to anyone who has been watching him the last couple of weeks. His velocity is down and he’s been inconsistent. One must question why the Mets didn’t do a more thorough examination during spring training. I used to blame injuries like this on the Omar Minaya regime but so many years later that’s no longer a viable excuse.

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Lineup for Opening Day 2014

Here’s the lineup for today’s opening day game against the Washington Nationals:

22 Eric Young 2B
12 Juan Lagares CF
5 David Wright 3B
3 Curtis Granderson RF
30 Andrew Brown LF
29 Ike Davis 1B
15 Travis d’Arnaud C
11 Ruben Tejada SS
35 Dillon Gee P

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Davis Hiding Injury Irksome

I root for Ike Davis. Like any other member of the Mets I want him to succeed. But then the New York Post breaks a story about how Davis hid an injury and it upsets me.

The injury, to his oblique, occurred while he was struggling early last season and was on the verge of being demoted to AAA. Davis said he hid the injury because he didn’t want people to think he was using it as an excuse for his struggles. This excuse upsets me more than the act of hiding the injury.

Baseball is a team sport. When a player is hurt he owes it to his team, whether he is struggling or not, to be as honest as possible to the team medical staff, manager and front office about the injury. Even if the injury is not how his struggles started he owes it to all these people to make sure he is healthy because an injury will inhibit his efforts to get out of his funk and damage the teams chances of winning.

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Good Night, Ralph

Ralph Kiner played a major role in my teen years. He and Tim McCarver were the signature television game calling partnership in the 1980s and, together with Bob Murphy on the radio, were a very big influence on my development as a baseball fan.

Part of the fun of Kiner was waiting for him to say something incorrectly. We used to make a bit of a game out of telling each other the most atrocious Kiner-ism we could remember. But under that was a great story teller. The tangents he and McCarver would go off on during games were wonderful to me and taught me a lot about the game and it’s history as did his post game Kiner’s Korner segements.

In the last few years, since he suffered a stroke, his appearances on air have been few and far between. Each one a treasure. And though he obviously enjoyed those appearances I always felt sad that they paraded him out there despite his obvious issues. But each appearance was another chance to enter the wonderful mind and experience the great personality that was Ralph Kiner.

Rest in peace.

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How Replay Will Work in 2014

Let’s see if we understand the new MLB instant replay rules.

There are 13 type of plays that are reviewable:

  1. Home run
  2. Ground-rule double
  3. Fan interference
  4. Stadium boundary calls (e.g., fielder into stands, ball into stands triggering dead ball)
  5. Force play (except the fielder’s touching of second base on a double play)
  6. Tag play (including steals and pickoffs)
  7. Fair/foul in outfield only
  8. Trap play in outfield only
  9. Batter hit by pitch
  10. Timing play (whether a runner scores before a third out)
  11. Touching a base (requires appeal)
  12. Passing runners
  13. Record keeping (Ball-strike count to a batter, outs, score, and substitutions)

Managers may initiate a replay challenge by requesting one from the umpiring crew chief. If the manager wins the challenge he may call for one more review. If the manager loses the challenge he also loses the ability to call a second challenge that game. Each team’s manager may call no more than 2 reviews.

In addition to manager initiated challenges the umpiring crew chief may initiate a review from the seventh inning until the game’s conclusion. At this point of the game a manager that has exausted his challanges for the game may request a review but the umpiring crew chief has full discretion over if the review will take place. Home run calls are also at the discretion of the umpiring crew chief.

The actual review will take place at MLB headquarters in New York. The umpiring crew will have a place near home plate where he can communicate with the replay umpire who will have access to video from ballpark cameras. The replay umpire will overturn the call if he observes that there is “clear and convincing evidence” in the footage available for review. The replay umpire will also decide issues related to an overturned call such as runner placement, etc. The field umpires have no control over a call under review, will not have a monitor to watch along with with the replay umpire and must abide by the replay umpires call.

Teams may have personel in the clubhouse monitoring video and calling into the dugout with suggested plays to review. Home teams must supply visiting teams with the same clubhouse video technology that exists in the home clubhouse.

So are we clear now?

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