Like A Knife

Man, I know Daryl Strawberry had the potential to be one of the best ever, and certainly blew it, but to see his name just in the middle of a list of busted, wasted #1 draft picks?  (Paragraph is about halfway down the page in that link).  Ouch.  Clubhouse issues aside, he was a big part of the ’86 championship season.  Not to mention that he’s got three other rings, two of which he actually also contributed to.  Oh well.

But not helping the case, it appears that he really wimped out on Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice, basically begging off the show.

College

Some rain today on a split-squad day for the Mets, but they did defeat (luckily) the University of Michigan, 8-1.  It’s got to be pretty amazing to play against big-leaguers as an NCAA-er – even if some of these guys were probably approached by major league scouts, or possibly even drafted, when they were 17 or 18.  Definitely think it’s pretty cool that a lot of clubs do this.

Yesterday saw Ike Davis getting back into his early Spring Training form, cranking another home run in a loss to the Cardinals.  Pitching continues to be pretty shaky.  John Maine only gave up 4 hits, but his control seemed to be pretty off.  Definitely worrisome, and Maine is kind of running out of time to grow into the pitcher that some think he could have been.  He’s looking like a middle or end-of-rotation kind of guy rather than a dependable #2 or #3.  I’ve always been a big backer of his, and still will be, but I don’t think he’s going to shore up the staff like I hoped he might be able to.  I’m hoping Pelfrey doesn’t go this route too – he’s still a guy that has the overpowering kind of stuff to be a solid #2, I think.  Yep, the eternal optimist!

The Bad Ollie

True to form, the bad Oliver Perez showed up last night in Florida, giving up six hits and a walk in four innings.  Although, this wasn’t completely the bad Perez – he only gave up two runs, which isn’t too bad.  But then again, he let up three singles in the first inning.  A sight all too familiar for Perez observers.  Or Pelfrey observers, for that matter.  Nothing worse than settling in to your seat with your hot dog and beer, ready for a nice night at the park (or on the couch), and it blows up in your face, immediately.

Speaking of ballpark food, time for a little Friday poll: what’s your favorite?  Those Shake Shack burgers are pretty damn good (worth missing three innings or so?  depends on the game, I think), and they have some mean nachos at Citi, but I personally like to stick with the old standby that I mentioned before.

No More Tomfoolery

The Mets have an evening Spring Training game tonight, which I hope to catch some of later on.  Most of the games, I think, have been in the daytime so far, so I haven’t gotten to catch any on the weekdays.  We’ve got Ollie going tonight, which, if yesterday’s post is correct, should get shelled.  We’ll see.

This post’s title is a very oblique reference to a video I came across on Twitter today, from The Paris Review’s feed, in honor of late founder and editor George Plimpton’s birthday.  It’s Plimpton with the authors John Updike and Garrison Keillor, discussing baseball on Charlie Rose’s show in 2001.  Pretty awesome.  I don’t think I can embed it, so click here to watch.

Possible ‘Pen Solution: Calero?

The Daily News reports today that Kiko Calero could step in to replace Kelvim Escobar as Francisco Rodriguez’s setup man. It’s a decent idea, for sure – I remember eyeing Calero on fantasy baseball waiver wires several times last year based on strong numbers – but also raises a few questions.  For one, Calero is yet another righty relief arm in a very long line of them.  For another, we are already talking about replacing a guy, Escobar, that we paid $1.25 million for this offseason.  Before he’s pitched a game.  I understand very well that Escobar has enormous upside, but come on.  It just really gets old with the injury stuff, the risk/reward stuff, the balky knees, shoulders, ankles, on and on.  Calero himself is no sure thing, with an iffy right shoulder.  We’ve got Jason Bay and his knees (or are those Carlos Beltran’s knees?).  Even Jose Reyes is now, it could be argued, a full-fledged health risk (though it’s take a lot more for me to ever condone getting rid of him).  Yes, there’s potential; yes, you try to fill in gaps in your team – but you can’t have every single person be this unreliable.  This is where a guy like John Lackey would have been nice.  Sure, probably overvalued in this free agent market – but you’re still filling a need, and you can still be quite reasonably confident that you know what you’re getting, at least more so than some of these other guys.  I like Calero fine, but I like Escobar more.  The upside isn’t in his talent, which has always been upper-tier, it’s his health, so I am really, really hoping to see him out there sooner rather than later.

Hey Buddy

I once again ran into my one Mets friend from work by the elevators today.  I love how we can cover another month’s worth of frustration in abut 45 seconds.  We covered the loss of Reyes (both of us expressing the fear, dread, and also belief that he would be out for the full 8 weeks), and how that kind of bashed our remaining confidence into the ground.  With the fantasyland of the offseason behind us and Spring Training in full swing, we had to touch on how crappy the rotation really is.  The unspoken consensus between us was that it was a complete bonehead move to not go after any starting pitching this winter.  What we did say was how lousy the rotation was – and how they’ll continue the refrain of the past few seasons, giving you a good game here or there, then coming out next time and completely blowing it.  That’s you, Perez.  That’s you, Pelfrey.  Johnny Maine, we haven’t seen you in a while, but…we remember.  As the elevator drew to the 8th floor, I talked real quick about how I dropped my 15-game plan for this season at least.  No argument or surprise there.  And on his way out, he asked how a mutual friend of ours was; a Yankees fan.  I said “fine,” and he said Yankees Guy attempted to stop him on his way out the other day to give him shit, but he had to run and make a train.  Fantastic, can’t wait until Y.G. becomes emboldened enough to start in with this stuff again.

The Experiment

The Ruben Tejada Experiment, that is, which, for today at least, showed some potential for success.  Sort of.  Tejada knocked in a run on 1-for-4 hitting, but also committed an error in the field while starting at shortstop.  Spring training fields are not kept up as well as major league ballparks are, so you get a lot more funky bounces, which could have been the case here.  This club needs defense, though, and any type of miscue can’t be good for Tejada.  Not good for the middle infield, either, with Luis Castillo on the other side of 2nd base.  I didn’t see the play so I can’t say, but I’m hoping that Tejada has got a better glove than this indicates.

Completely unrelated, the internet was down at work this morning (always seems to happen when we have “major network upgrades” over the weekend; the IT department here has about as much accountability as Omar Minaya) so luckily I had already downloaded that Amazin’ Avenue Annual that I mentioned yesterday, so I was able to spend some more in-depth time with it after a few stolen cursory glances.  It really is fantastic all around – some great analysis combined with entertaining writing.  There’s plenty for the statheads and more old-guard fans alike, and I don’t think you can possibly get reporting this deep from any one source anywhere else.  It’s worth one more plug – read it!