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Friday, February 27, 2004

TGIF This & That 

Kazuo Matsui: Reverse Engineering? Apparently Kazuo Matsui is an avid Shea Hot Corner reader and read yesterday's entry about Glavine's ineffective inside fast ball. In MLB.com's Matsui Heats Up In Batting Practice we learn that in his first time taking live batting practice, Matsui turned on an inside fast ball from Glavine, ripping it into the gap and to the outfield fence. The Post gives us a little more detail, explaining that Matsui was batting from the right side and hit this laser to deep left center into a strong wind. Obviously Mets fans should not look too deeply into this one batting practice session from either a negative perspective regarding Glavine or a positive perspective regarding Matsui. However, one thing that was very nice to hear from Matsui was that he apparently fully recognizes that his 30+ HR numbers from Japan will not translate to MLB: "Since Shea Stadium is such a large outfield I think my doubles and triples are going to increase . . . I want to hit the ball into the gaps." At the same time, Matsui indicated that while he may intend to change his approach at the plate, he said "I want to keep my own swing." Will Matsui be able to adjust his approach at the plate to become the effective lead off hitter he once was before he was dropped in the batting order for the Seibu Lions and asked to hit for more power? Dayton Spade writing for Amazinz.com tells us that the last year Matsui batted lead off for the Seibu Lions was in 1999, where he hit .330, had a .389 OBP, only struck out 75 times and swiped 32 bases. Matsui was able to adjust his approach at the plate to hit for more power from 2000-2003 so we'll have to see if he can reverse engineer his approach to become the prolific lead off hitter for the Mets that he was in Japan.

Smile! You're On Kazmir Camera: A few weeks ago I was critical of NYFansites' Ed Tsunoda's article that claimed ESPN's Peter Gammons was racially insensitive (or a flat out racist) when he called Shea Stadium a rice paddy (see Rice Paddy Ruckus from Tuesday, February 10th). However, if I'm going to call the guy out when I think he slips, I should also praise him when he doesn't. And in his most recent article featuring Mets phenom Scott Kazmir, Tsunoda has got his spikes on and doesn't slip one bit. Check it out here.

Mets on ESPN: First, ESPN's Baseball Tonight was on last night and Peter Gammons gave us his list of the 10 most significant off season moves. Number 10 was none other than the Mets' acquisition of Kazuo Matsui. Gammons actually spoke highly of Jim Duquette and the Mets new direction of focusing on pitching and defense. Harold Reynolds, who I think generally does a good job on the show, brain farted and said that he was surprised the Mets did not trade Jose Reyes for pitching once Matsui was acquired. Gammons shot back saying "I would never trade Jose Reyes." You and me both Gammons. Second, as just sort of an FYI - set your Tivo, VCR or whatever to catch a one hour special on the 1969 World Series on ESPN Classic next week. I believe the first showing will be on Tuesday March 2nd from 2:00-3:00 p.m. and will be re-aired a few times thereafter. Here is the listing. Lastly, and I'm sure everyone knows this already, but don't miss the Mets first spring training game against the Dodgers, which will be aired on ESPN on Wednesday March 3rd at 1:00 p.m.

Some Good Stuff: Some of the other Mets blogs have some really good recent additions. Shea Daily breaks down and adds a cliche in the subject line then breaks down Jae Weong Seo (and thanks for the kind words Shea Daily). Jeremy Heit points us to a great new feature on MLB.com where Mets third base prospect David Wright will be keeping a minor league on-line journal. Avkash at The Raindrops and Steve over at The Eddie Kranepool Society informs us that the Mets have dropped Italian Night from the International Week schedule. How could my paisanos John Franco and Mike Piazza let this happen? Very disturbing. Eric at SaberMets bitch slaps John Heyman. The guys over at East Coast Agony are setting up the Glavine opening day bomb, while Adam at Ducks on the Pond informs us that Grant Roberts will be playing a bigger role on the team than expected. Over at Betty's NGCCSPH, we see that all the screaming that Reyes' ceiling will never match Soriano's might just be a misconception. Also, if you want to read about some of the reasons why a Soriano for Reyes deal is all wrong for the Mets, check out Yankees, Mets and the Rest's entry on Tuesday called Letters, We Get Your Letters... All great stuff.
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