This was my eighth season writing this site, and hearing from people who enjoy it is what sustains me. Despite the team’s struggles the last few seasons, I continue to take pride in being a Mets fan because of our collective loyalty and passion for this team – and to have a similar passion and loyalty directed toward this website is overwhelming and always appreciated more than you’ll ever know.
In addition, I’d like to thank my contributing writers: Michael Baron, Vinny Cartiglia, Brian Erni and Mike Nichols. Their hard work and focus is this site’s engine, and I couldn’t keep it running without them.
Also, I’d like to thank my friends at SNY (Ted Berg, Jeff Goldman, Jason Potere, Adam Rotter, Fred Harner, Jaime Goldman and Gil Santana), as well as John Keegan from PressHarbor.com and Joe Pizzuro from Creative Take Web, all of whom help keep MetsBlog ticking, entertaining, colorful and capable of a level of content that would be impossible to produce any place else.
The regular season may be over, but the Hot Stove season is just beginning – and I hope you keep reading as we work together to chronicle what’s next.
Last night might have been the best single night of baseball that I’ve ever watched, from a league point of view. I’d have been content only watching Ryan Braun to see if he could overtake Jose Reyes for the National League batting title (which he did not), but to also have four games on (two of which went to extra innings), all roughly starting at the same time, all with playoff implications, as two teams worked to avoid simultaneous epic collapses, was beyond compelling and exciting.
Here are some random thoughts I jotted down after the action:
That was fascinating. It reminded me of March Madness, with all the flipping back and forth and checking scores. I wish this could be replicated in other ways for baseball going forward, I just have no idea how they re-capture it.
For me as a Mats fan, the silver lining here is that (because of how exciting and legendary the night was, and because of the math and percentages associated with Boston’s and Atlanta’s demise) the Mets clearly no longer have the worst collapse in league history. Not. Even. Close.
I hate the Braves. I’m glad they didn’t get in to the post-season. However, I can’t help but think a Bobby Cox-led team would have played as poorly as these guys did in September, when they went 8-18. His teams were always so consistent.
There are people who LOVE to cite ‘integrity,’ and ‘history,’ and ‘class’ when discussing sports. I wonder if those same people (some of whom host talk shows in New York) will accuse Joe Girardi of not being true to competition, since he basically treated his series against the Rays as a three-day bullpen session – as though it was Spring Training – all while his competition fought for a playoff spot?
I wonder what was going through Boston’s mind as they sat idle in the clubhouse, unable to help themselves, during a rain delay, while watching the Rays charge back from down 7-0. Sox fans must have been crawling the walls. Also, if Boston decides to blow up their team, including parting ways David Ortiz, I wonder if Carlos Beltran will be their DH next season? Lastly, I wonder how Red Sox fans feel about their team’s $250 million spending spree from nine months ago?
I’m rooting for the Rangers and Rays to win the World Series. Obviously, I hope the Yankees and Phillies get swept and never score a run.
According to the Associated Press, the Mets will be forced to pay no more than $386 million in damages in the clawback lawsuit in the Bernie Madoff lawsuit.
US District Judge Jed Rakoff issued the order yesterday and it consists of about $83 million in profits and $300 million in principal, and Rakoff said Irving Picard, the trustee appointed by the court to recoup damages, can only recover that principal if he can prove Wilpon-Katz knew of the fraud.
Picard had accused Wilpon-Katz of knowing or that they should have known they were operating within a fraudulent investment scheme, but lawyers for Wilpon-Katz have repeatedly said they never knew they were investing in a fraud.
Jose Reyes has won the 2011 National League Batting Title with a .337 average.
In a statement issued by the team, Reyes said the following:
“I just want to say I’m humbled and honored to win the batting title. It means so much to my family and my country, the Dominican Republic. I have been through a lot over the past few years so this really means a lot to me. It’s also very special to be the first Mets player to win a batting title. There have been so many great players throughout our history. I want to thank Terry Collins, my coaches and all my teammates and of course all the Mets fans who have always supported me and been behind me 100 percent.”
As Reyes said, he is the first player in Mets history to win a batting title.
Ryan Braun needed to go 3-for-4 or 4-for-6 in his game against the Pirates at Miller Park last night. He went 0-for-4 to lower his average to .332 for the season.
Michael Baron: The whole argument over how Reyes left the game after getting a hit in his first at bat is silly. Rather, I didn’t get to see him play more in what could potentially be for the last time in a Mets uniform. I think it’s more constructive to direct the concern at the 85 losses, poor fundamentals, and bad pitching. If those weren’t issues and the Mets were playing a meaningful game today, he would have stayed in the game. Besides, there have been plenty of players throughout baseball history who have done the exact same thing when chasing a batting title.
And so, congratulations, Jose, on an awesome achievement and a spectacular season.
Matthew Cerrone: I agree. As I said in the previous post, I don’t care how Reyes goes about winning the batting title. I am not a fan of debating these ‘integrity of the game’ arguments, because they are relative, they’re subjective and they all hit a dead end in the steroid era anyway. Instead, I’m disappointed I didn’t get to see Reyes play more, knowing full well this could be his last game on the team. Mostly, I feel bad for fans you paid good money to be there and see him play his last game. I expect him to want to give the fans more than that despite ALL he has given them over the last seven years. We love José and we love to see him play, and that is the point: we love to see him play! And I hate knowing his possible last game will be remembered this way… I hope his most loyal fans, like me, can be happy for him and the team, knowing he’s happy and satisfied by his accomplishment, and leave it at that.
WFAN’s Mike Francesa has been broadcasting from Citi Field today, and says ALL fences in the outfield will be 8 feet tall next year.
He says both foul poles will remain exactly where they are, however the walls in center and by the Mo Zone in right field will be brought in to around 390 feet.
In addition, from what he’s heard, Sandy Alderson’s off-season budget will be less than what was initially expected (ranging between $80 and $110 million).
“I’m hearing rumblings the team’s payroll could be under $100 million,” Francesa said. He says he’s heard the front office has a plan for each level, be it over $100 million or below.
Matthew Cerrone: The Citi Field news sounds about right, though I’m surprised to hear they’re actually bringing the walls in at points. I think this is great. In the end, I think having actual players who can hit the ball over the fence makes more of a difference than where the fences are located. But, I do agree with Alderson than the ballpark should be ‘fair,’ and this should help that.
As for payroll, the team has roughly $80 million in commitments for 2012, according to previous reports. I had been hearing since March that next year’s budget would around $120 million. Alderson has indicated to reporters that the team’s payroll next season could be in the neighborhood of $110 million. So, all of this seems to indicate they can spend around $20 million or so, though if what Francesa is hearing is accurate it could mean spending significantly less. This is why I have to think signing Reyes will either happen early or not happen at all… because, this front office is meticulous, they plan and execute and I can’t see them waiting around knowing one guy can hold up so much of their budget.
I entered today thinking there was a very good chance the Mets and Reyes eventually reach an agreement. But, after being here today, talking to people, seeing this report and thinking about the market and how this negotiation will go, I’m not nearly as confident as I was just a few hours ago.
In tears, and very emotional, Terry Collins told reporters after today’s game that he is proud of how his team played this season.
Matthew Cerrone: Terry started crying during his explanation of why Reyes left the game after one at bat. He continued to be emotional throughout his subsequent answers. In the room, you could totally feel how much he cares about his players, this team and its fans, and how honored he is to be associated with players like he has, but yet totally disappointed with how things ended.
He says Jose Reyes asked before the game to be taken out if he got a hit, and so Collins met that request, because ‘he deserves that respect. However, Collins says he felt terrible about the move, knowing fans paid good money to see him play.
“I respect the game enough to know people came here to see Jose Reyes,” Collins explained. According to Collins, he felt he earned the respect of his players this summer, and to not repay that respect by ignoring Jose’s request could jeopardize ‘what was built.’
He ended his press conference by saying, “Thank you all for a fun summer.”
Miguel Batista threw a complete game shutout, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out five.
Mike Baxter hit a two-run shot in the sixth to give NY a 3-0 lead.
Jose Reyes collected a bunt single in his first at-bat, and was promptly pulled from the game upon reaching first base
Matthew Cerrone: The Mets and Reds played baseball today, but I can’t shake that moment in the first inning when Terry Collins pulled Jose Reyes (after Jose reached base on a bunt single). The reaction from fans on Twitter, Facebook, this site’s comments sections and from people I talked to at the ballpark did not seem good. And I agree.
I mean, if you blinked, you would have missed what might have been Jose’s final moment in a Mets uniform. It all felt very anticlimactic.
Interestingly, I asked a handful of fans at the game which they old prefer: Reyes exit after one at bat and win a batting title or get to watch him a full nine innings, but he misses the batting title and each told me they’d rather watch him play. I think I agree, but that’s hard to say without actually experiencing it. Who knows?
At any rate, I always hate this final day of the year. The ballpark was so quiet today, and March seems like so long ago, as well as so far from now. It leaves me melancholy. And, though I look forward to the break, I know it will not be long before I get antsy for St. Lucie so we can do this all again…