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Sunday, March 28, 2004

Panel Discussion of the 2004 NY Mets: Part One, The Professionals Weigh In 

The New York Mets’ house is in disarray. After going from first to worst in what seems like a blink of an eye, the team is at a crossroads: to rebuild or not to rebuild? But you know what they say; “You can’t rebuild in New York.” Mets’ General Manager Jim Duquette’s moves so far have proven that old adage at least partially true, even when staring at a team begging to be gutted. Duquette has embarked upon a stealthy reconstruction project by walking a fine line between not wanting to be perceived as “rebuilding,” while at the same time, well . . ., rebuilding.

On the “we’re not totally rebuilding” wing of chateau de blue and orange, aging, declining, expensive, and injury prone “stars” still have jobs in Flushing. The Mets were even active on the free agent market this off-season. On the rebuilding wing of the Mets’ house, Duquette has trimmed away quite a bit of the rotten exterior in dumping several bloated, under performing contracts and replenishing the farm system with young, cheap talent. Duquette has refused to make any deal that requires him to give up future draft picks and has fought the temptation to give in to the NY media’s loud and constant plight for the Mets to trade top young players and prospects like Jose Reyes and Scott Kazmir for more established players.

While the current state of the Mets’ house might be in a bit of disarray, this is a necessary present evil of implementing “the plan” of pouring a solid foundation for the future. The product of Duquette’s partially implemented plan will take the field in a few short weeks. The 2004 version of the Mets will be a potpourri of veterans and youngsters, which most commentators agree will stink. But if this team stays healthy and if the players produce to their abilities, the 2004 Mets might surprise some people. That’s a lot of “ifs” and one too many “mights.” I was planning on writing an article addressing some of these questions but quite frankly, that’s a lot of work. So I called in back-up. I have asked an All Star panel of journalists, analysts and commentators to provide their insight into some of these “ifs” and “mights.” They are:

Pete Abraham. Pete is a writer for The Journal News and is the “Official Friend of the NY Baseball Blogger” after writing his article A Growing Sports Voice, detailing a little of the history and current state of the NY baseball blogging community. Pete’s daily Mets coverage is a refreshing departure from the form over substance pieces riddling the sports pages of many NY newspapers.

Bryan Hoch. Bryan jumped on the Mets scene when he created Metsonline.net as a high school freshmen, which was the hot spot to learn about the Mets on the Internet from 1996 to 2002. Bryan parlayed that into a journalism career as a freelance baseball writer. He maintains the Always Amazin' Weblog on NJ.com and is a contributing writer to New York Mets Inside Pitch, The Wave of Long Island and FOXSports.com.

Tim Marchman. Tim is the fiction critic of the New York Sun, for which he also writes regularly on baseball. Tim’s work has appeared in local and national publications including the Weekly Standard, National Review, and the New York Press. Tim is also the Senior Editor for the New Partisan, an urban-based web journal of politics, culture, the arts, and sports. Alex Belth of Bronx Banter has called Tim “one of the brightest young baseball writers in the country.”

Doug Pappas. Doug is the Chairman of The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Business of Baseball Committee and writes regularly for Baseball Prospectus. Doug also maintains the Business of Baseball Pages and he has recently created his own weblog; Doug’s Business of Baseball Weblog. While Doug usually comments on what is going on off the field, as you’ll see he doesn’t hesitate to give his two cents on things a little closer to the field of play, especially when it concerns the Mets.

Ed Tsunoda. Ed is the creator and administrator of NYFansites.com, one of the largest and most popular fan websites for any baseball team on the Internet. Ed’s got his thumb on the pulse of the Mets organization, particularly the goings on in Port St. Lucie. Ed is also the best source available for information on Mets minor league prospects. If you want the minor league stats and a bevy of photos of Scott Kazmir or David Wright, you go to Ed.

Before I go any further I would like to thank Pete, Bryan, Tim, Doug and Ed for taking the time to stop by my little back-alley corner of the blogoshphere for a chat. In addition to these professionals, I also enlisted the services of some of the most knowledgeable and passionate Mets fans around; my fellow Mets bloggers, who I also want to thank for their quick and thoughtful responses. In today’s Part I of this panel discussion you will get a steady diet of responses to questions from Pete, Bryan, Tim, Doug and Ed and a sprinkling of Mets blogger responses as well. And what the hell, since this is my blog I might chime in every so often too. I will post Part II in a few days, which will be an all Mets blogger bonanza. Okay, I’ll quit babbling so we can dive into the questions and answers.

Enjoy,
-Norm @ The Shea Hot Corner

_________________________________________________________________
What do Jim Duquette and Fred Wilpon mean when they say that their goal, which they expect to meet, is for the Mets to be playing "meaningful games in September"? If you can figure out what this means, do you agree that the Mets will indeed be playing these mysterious meaningful September games?

Abraham
Duquette is a realist and knows that only a handful of 90-loss teams in baseball history have made the playoffs a year later. He has sold the front office on the idea that it will be enough for the Mets to simply be playing for something in September. That could be .500 or to stay mathematically alive into the final week of the season. After two years of being in dead last, the Mets want their late-season games to mean something. I'm not sure if I agree that will be the case. If Reyes is healthy, I think every game is meaningful because you can watch a special player.

Hoch
The goal, and I think it's a very good one, is to not have Shea Stadium resembling a graveyard for those late September series. Nobody's expecting the Mets to seriously compete this year for a pennant, but it'd be nice to see some excitement in the ballpark -- maybe they'll be shooting for .500, or disrupting a wild card race in some way. They've got series with the Braves and the Phillies that month, so things could actually be interesting out there.

Marchman
Assuming Piazza and Floyd can hold up, I think they'll be playing meaningful games well into September. I'd guess they take "meaningful" as something along the lines of "within 5 games of the wild card leader," but your guess is as good as mine.

Pappas
I assume they mean that the Mets will contend for the division or the wild card into September. I don't think they will. I believe their realistic upside for 2004 is a .500 record.

Tsunoda
You'd have to ask them what they mean. :) I've also heard them say that the playoffs aren't "realistic". I think it's intentionally oblique. I think it's broad meaning is they won't be mathematically eliminated before September. In which case, yeah, it's feasible they could put off elimination until the 5th or 10th of September.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
The Duke and Freddy Skill Sets are hoping the teams is in contention for either a Wild Card berth or (PLEASE GOD) a division title. The Duke wants this to show he can turn the franchise around with his "plan" and Freddy just doesn't want to sell $5.00 upper deck tickets for the second year in a row. That may be a bit harsh, I think Freddy really wants to win desperately but is a bit confused on how to do it. After the Phillies, Cubs, and Astros what teams in the NL are really that much better than the Mets?


Which Mike Piazza can we expect in 2004: the Piazza who was hitting .333 in 2003 before he went down with a groin injury or the Piazza that came back later that year but did not hit a HR in the final month of the season?

Abraham
Piazza was still hurt when he came back last season. Now healthy, he is raking in spring training. His first home run on March 23 was a laser beam. If he is healthy and if he gets an extra 50-100 at-bats by playing first base a few times, he is capable of .315-35-110.

Hoch
Mike has looked great this spring; last night in Viera (Mar. 23) he hit two homers and had five RBI beating up on the Expos. He hasn't been exactly fluid around first base, but I see no problems with his swing; he looks strong and lean, and I think you'll see that first Piazza.

Marchman
The latter. He's a 35-year old catcher.

Pappas
Piazza's healthier, but also a year older. Look for 90% of the early-2003 Piazza.

Tsunoda
I don't think either is a reasonable expectation. We're going to see one of the greatest hitters of our time in the twilight of his career. I don't think he'll still be great, nor do I think his post-injury performance is reflective of what we should expect this year. It's probably reasonable to expect on going injuries. Something along the lines of .280/.350/.500 maybe 20+ HRs and 85+ RBI? Hopefully 400-500 ABs.

Alan from Mets Analyst
Of course, Mike Piazza will not hit .333, but he will hit some home runs, so the answer is neither. I think .290 with 35 homers is a realistic hope for Piazza, probably somewhat on the optimistic side. He could, however, do better or worse. That's the beauty of the game. I would advise any Mets fan watching Piazza, though, to remember they are watching the greatest player who has ever spent part of his prime as a Met, a man who carried the team on his shoulders through several winning seasons, and the greatest hitting catcher of all time. He still hits the ball incredibly hard -- his hits really look different. So enjoy and appreciate him.

Norm from The Shea Hot Corner
Since Piazza is one of my favorite Mets, I just thought I’d jump in here and point out that an aging Piazza in his decline is still more valuable offensively than just about any other catcher in baseball. Piazza’s last full season relatively injury free was 2002, one of Piazza’s worst seasons, where he played catcher just about every day, had absolutely no protection in the line-up, and played half his games in one of the most severe pitchers’ parks in baseball. He still hit 33 HRs with a .286/.377/.483 line. Not too shabby.


Offensively, will Kazuo Matsui be closer to Rey Ordonez or Ricky Henderson?

Abraham
Rey Ordonez? That's an insult. It may take Kaz a month or two to adjust but he can handle the bat and he's a great base-runner. He also has better pop than you would expect. He has left-handed power.

Hoch
Can I write in Edgar Renteria? You won't see much power from Matsui, but you'll see speed and extra-base slashes into the gaps, so I guess I'd say Henderson. He might strike out like Ordonez, though, if he tries to swing for the fences as they say he did his last couple of years in Japan.

Marchman
Closer to Rickey, though that's a pretty tough standard. I think he'll be a league-average hitter with good speed and defense; that's plenty valuable. Plus, he's got style, which the homely Mets could certainly use.

Pappas
That's an awfully broad range: from cancer on the offense to first ballot Hall of Famer. Henderson without the walks and with fewer stolen bases.

Tsunoda
Well, not Rickey Henderson. Apparently the "you don't walk off the island" saying applies to the Pacific Rim as well. He's an exciting player. He'll hit some, He'll run like the wind. He'll make amazing stops. He's a pretty smart player. Jimmy Rollins or Christan Guzman is a better compare.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Something in the middle is more likely. I think The Roto Times' projected stats for him are all slightly higher than what should be expected. With apologies to all the Buddy Harrelson and Kevin Elster fans out there, it won't be too difficult for Matsui to become the best-hitting Mets shortstop of all time. And that's exactly what I expect him to do.


Are Mets fans justified in being optimistic about the future with the likes of Scott Kazmir and David Wright coming through the pipeline?

Abraham
David Wright is the real deal in my opinion. Hits, runs, fields, the whole package. Too good to be true as a kid as well. Kazmir is impossible to tell at this point because he is so young. They really baby him and I suspect that is because he potential elbow issues. My gut feeling on him is that he will not be as good as hoped. I think he's too frail physically.

Hoch
Yes. You'd be hard-pressed to find any scout, GM or talent evaluator who doesn't rave about these two. If they stay healthy, they will play a major part in the future of this team.

Marchman
Sure. Those two are fantastic prospects, and the Mets have some depth behind them. I'd be a lot more excited about Wright, though, until Kazmir proves he's a starter.

Pappas
Yes. The Mets have several impact players in the pipeline, and have been smart enough not to trade them away for more short-term fixes.

Tsunoda
Hell yeah. Those kids make me jump up and down with my fists thrust in the air like a 10 year old at a World Series game, just watching them in BP. A lot of Met fans are disenchanted with the minor leagues because of Generation K. A lot of hype and not a lot of production. But if you're even 25-30 years old and you remember what it was like when Mookie, Lenny, Wally, El Sid, Darling, Darryl, and Doc were the core of the team...how could you not want to rebuild around these kids? They are the goods.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
Absolutely. A couple years ago the farm system was a disaster. Now we're graded as a solid B or B+ by most the scouting services and publications. That's a huge upgrade. Kazmir has been dominant in his pro career, and might have the highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in the game. Wright draws comps to Scott Rolen every day. Aaron Baldiris has been phenomenal. Victor Diaz has been a monster with the bat. Matt Peterson has progressed, and could be in AAA by the end of the season. The list goes on. There's a lot of talent in the system, and with some good management, we could good for a very long time.


Will Cliff Floyd accumulate at least 500 at bats in a season ever again?

Abraham
I hope so. Cliff is a really good guy and cares about performing well. I'd like to see what he could do spending an entire season healthy and with some lineup protection.

Hoch
Injuries are so unpredictable, and you know Cliff's track record. He deserves it; let's see if he can do stay healthy.

Marchman
I don't think he should. The best way to use him is to accept his fragility and spot him. A lot of clubs have got a lot out of Ellis Burks adhering to the simple principle that it's better to work with a man's limitations than to pretend they don't exist.

Pappas
Probably not, but 130 games of Floyd will still be the best-hitting OF the Mets have. Cameron's a better overall player, though, because he's a defensive god.

Tsunoda
I hope so. I think he will. He's a gamer. They should've shut him down last June and given him more time to come back. It bugs me that he limped into August last year pointlessly, and now he's still a little tender this spring.

Mike from East Coast Agony
I doubt it. Cornelius is a very skilled player, but the Mets need to rest him and accept that he will miss some time. Thankfully, we’ve planned accordingly and assembled a great bench. Shit.


How unlikely is the following trade proposal and regardless of its likelihood, would it make sense? The Mets deal Kazuo Matsui to the Rangers for Alfonso Soriano, sign him to a longer term deal, and move Reyes and his brittle legs back to SS.

Abraham
Matsui has a no-trade. He's also here for marketing reasons as well as baseball reasons Beyond that, I think Soriano is a disaster waiting to happen. Teams have found his holes and he doesn't work hard enough to compensate.

Hoch
Extremely unlikely. I think Mets fans will be very happy with what they'll get from Kaz, and Soriano will soon be forgotten by Mets fans (as soon as the papers stop beating the drum for that trade).

Marchman
About as likely as Matsui being traded for me, and would make about as much sense. The thing to do is to swap out Reyes and Matsui at some point.

Pappas
Very unlikely, and not a good move. Soriano's value has peaked, and unless
he learns plate discipline it could be an ugly slide.

Tsunoda
It's not possible and it wouldn't make sense. I was never a big proponent of moving Reyes. But the kid needs stability. They shouldn't move him again. Soriano isn't the right guy for the Mets, anyway.

Norm from The Shea Hot Corner
Matsui for Soriano - who the hell is asking these crazy questions? Moving Reyes to second base was dumb, risky, and extremely short sighted. Just about any move that would put Reyes back at short would make me happy. You move a player of Reyes’ ability and potential from short to second for an elite shortstop; an A-Rod or Nomar. You don’t move him for Kazuo Matsui. I think Tim hit the nail on the head – Matsui should be at second not Reyes.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Completely unlikely, not happening. Does it make sense? How much is Soriano's deal worth? Matsui is getting about 7 a year, but Soriano might eclipse ten. He has immense value at second base and we can help Reyes a little but moving him back to short. The defense will be hurt by this move, but Soriano offensive value could probably cancel that out. This would be a risky move by the Mets (Soriano's lack of discipline, shaky defense and flyball tendencies) and one I would not be in favor of, but it could make some sense.


Is Tom Glavine done?

Abraham
Nah, Glavine was victimized by a bad team and a worse defense in 2003. Peterson will be good for him. He'll go 15-11, something like that. If Senator Al wasn't done last year, neither is Glavine.

Hoch
No. I wouldn't guarantee he'll be better than 9-14, but I can't guarantee he'll be worse. Having Mike Cameron running into the gaps will help both his ERA and his ego.

Marchman
No. He's not a Cy Young candidate anymore, but he can still help a team. Why is everyone ready to send him out to the glue factory just because he's not posting 3.00 ERAs anymore?

Pappas
No. He's got to be ecstatic about the newly upgraded defense, too...

Tsunoda
I don't know if I'd say done, but he's certainly got people looking in the oven to see if the pop-up bird watcher has popped yet. Glavine never had "stuff". If they give him the pitch which isn't a strike, he can still pitch. If not, he can't. I think it hurt him last year that the Mets were weak defensively at first and in right field. Against those weaknesses a smart hitter would wait for something on the outer half he could take the other way. Glavine lives out there. It's a bad mix. That will probably repeat as a problem this year.

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
Opening Day should go a long way toward letting us know, but I'm not convinced. I still hold out some hope that he can learn to pitch both at pitcher-friendly Shea Stadium and against a depleted Atlanta lineup.


Who do you see starting in right field for the Mets in 2005?

Abraham
You'd like to say it would be Carlos Beltran or Magglio Ordonez but if Garcia is reasonably good I think they'll keep him because he is cheap and use their money on pitching. Jeff Duncan has gotten a lot stronger and has a lot of game. I could see the Mets moving Cliff to right and using Duncan in left perhaps. I'd like to see them try Victor Diaz as an outfielder, too. But if I had to guess I'd say Garcia.

Hoch
Not Karim Garcia or Shane Spencer.

Marchman
Mike Cameron.

Pappas
Someone not currently in the system. How about prying loose one of Minnesota's dozen or so young OFs?

Tsunoda
I would like them trade a veteran guy (e.g., Trachsel, Weathers) in a package deal for a guy like Cuddyer or Restovich from the Twins, or Gabe Gross from the Blue Jays, or Terrmel Sledge from the Expos, or Franklin Gutierrez from the Dodgers. A young kid who can grow with the Reyes/Wright/Kazmir grouping. If they're not going to trade a veteran for a real prospect, I'd like to see them take a flier on a guy like Pittsburgh's JJ Davis or the Reds' Wily Mo Pena who might have to clear waivers towards the end of spring, but are young and have some upside.

Kaley from Flushing Local
Right now I'd have to guess Victor Diaz. I think it's the most likely of the current realistic possibilities. If it's not Diaz, it will have to be someone who is not currently in the organization. And if Duquette isn't willing to trade our pitching gems, they'll have to sign a free agent. I'd love to see the Mets go after Carlos Beltran in the off season, but I think they'd have a hard time convincing him to move to RF. Magglio Ordonez will also be a free agent, but he's too old to be worth investing a lot of money in. So, given that, I'm guessing Diaz.


Is Braden Looper the right man for the Mets closer job?

Abraham
Yeah, for now he is. He's cheap, has upside (especially with Peterson around) and he could easily convert to set-up if Yates, Moreno or Ring becomes a closer.

Hoch
Looper hasn't really impressed me this spring, and I wonder if he's got what it takes to handle the pressure of New York. Here's a guy who cracked because Jack McKeon said that he wasn't as tough a competitor as Armando Benitez. The reviews on him haven't been splendid, but I believe he can be effective in New York.

Marchman
Yes. He's a generic decent reliever; as long as clubs are going to use conventional bullpen patterns I'd prefer to see guys like Looper soaking up easy saves while better pitchers labor in the 7th and 8th innings of close games.

Pappas
Not for the money he's being paid. "Closer" as a job is greatly overrated, especially for a team that's not likely to contend.

Tsunoda
He's no Armando Benitez. That applies whether you see Benitez as a guy who blew big games, or as one of the best closers in baseball the last 4 years. He's got a good arm. We'll see how he plays out. I think he'll get tagged with his share of blown saves. We'll see how the fans accept him.

Avkash from The Raindrops
No, but really, is anyone the right man for the Mets closer job? Should a last place team in the midst of rebuilding even have a closing job? Of course not, but instead of using the roster spot to evaluate players already in the system, and possibly even inflate the trade value of a dime a dozen pitcher, the Mets have taken the more expensive and short sighted option. But hey, it makes Art Howe and the assistant GMs feel warm and fuzzy, and when trying to build a contender, that's what really matters. Has it been long enough that we can look at Armando Benitez's Mets career objectively? How long before we realize the best Mets relief pitcher in recent memory is no longer among us, and that we were happy to see him go because of the necessary evils of a role defined by a meaningless stat, instead of his actual performance. Remember the chances of Cedeno winning a gold glove? It's about as likely as Looper outperforming Benitez in 2004.


Who is the current leader in the Mets fifth starter race? Who should get the job?

Abraham
I think Roberts is the leader and should get the job. Heilman needs to toughen up physically and mentally and Erickson has lost his velocity.

Hoch
Grant Roberts has been pitching really well this spring, and he's guaranteed to make the team since he's out of options. Aaron Heilman could use some more work at Triple-A, especially on mechanics, and neither Scott Erickson or James Baldwin have been especially impressive.

Marchman
Heilman will and should get every chance to grab the role.

Pappas
No idea who IS. I'd give the job to Roberts and let Heilman start the year in AAA.

Tsunoda
I think Heilman and Roberts have both earned it, but Roberts will probably get it. Heilman will probably be sent to Norfolk so he can pitch every fifth day. Roberts being out of options and experienced with a bullpen role makes him the savvy pick because the Mets only have 9 starts penciled for the fifth starter through June 6th. If it was me, I'd trade Trachsel for the aforementioned outfielder, and keep both Heilman and Roberts in the rotation, with Erickson and Baldwin in reserve and Yates back in AAA. I don't think the Mets will do that, but that's what I would do.

Norm from The Shea Hot Corner
From the outside looking in, it seems like it’s Scott Erickson’s job to lose, which is unfortunate. When Erickson was signed to a no risk minor league deal and invited to camp to “push the kids,” I was all for it. Now that it seems the Mets are seriously considering giving him the job over home grown Major League ready kids, I think it was a big mistake. My pick? Tyler Yates. Why? One word: heat.


What is the single, best decision Jim Duquette has made in his short tenure as Mets GM? What is the single, worst decision Duquette has made thus far?

Abraham
Best decision was clearly trading Burnitz to the Dodgers for J. Diaz, V. Diaz and K. Strayhorn. That is followed closely getting Peterson as pitching coach. Worst decision? I think moving Reyes was a big mistake. He has a once-in-a-decade arm and unreal lateral quickness. I think Matsui could have been landed anyway and told to play second but the Mets panicked and gave him everything he wanted. Matsui is a fine shortstop but playing Reyes at second is like using a Jag to go around the block.

Hoch
I think it's too early to call yet. The trades for young prospects last season were a step in the right direction, but the jury's still out, especially with guys like Royce Ring having injury problems.

Marchman
The best thing the Mets have done since Duquette took the baton was hiring Rick Peterson. He hasn't made any really bad moves as far as I'm concerned - I understand why people fret over the bench or right field, but these are marginal moves that no one should care about right now. I'm not sure how much power Duquette had over last year's draft but picking Lastings Milledge was pretty goofy, all things told.

Pappas
Best: Not trading prospects for veterans. Worst: The festering sore in right field.

Tsunoda
Hard to tell 150 days into his tenure, but: Best decision: Doing all his team building without losing a draft pick or a top prospect. Worst decision: Building his bench by resigning McEwing, Timo, and Zeile and subsequently leaving the Mets with obvious holes on the bench. No power, one lefty stick, no backup shortstop, etc. Resigning Franco was a close second.

Eric from SaberMets
I don’t know whether it was his decision or not, but bringing Rick Peterson in as pitching coach from Oakland will stand to be one of the five best acquisitions in the history of this franchise. Allowing Marco Scutaro to get scooped up by Oakland was a pretty bad move. Not taking Adrian Gonzalez from Florida for Armando Benitez last season and opting for Jason Anderson, etc. was also pretty bad.


Doug, a quick follow-up to the "wort decision" question. The last two years the Mets finished last in their division while playing in a huge market, with large revenue, and with payrolls among MLB's highest. How much of their poor record the last two years do you chalk up to poor management and how much do you attribute to just plain old bad luck?

Pappas
Mostly poor management. The Mets kept signing old, expensive free agents who
cost them draft picks and tied up payroll for years to come. Now they're at least
holding onto their best prospects -- a promising sign for the future.


Congratulations, you made it to the lightning round. I'm going to say a name or phrase and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind:

Art Howe

Abraham
"We battled."

Hoch
Nice guy. Not a great interview, but very warm.

Marchman
What a nice man. I don't mean that in a condescending way; he's just really nice.

Tsunoda
“We battled.”

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
His presence allowed the Mets to get Rick Peterson, so there's something to be said for that.


Shea Stadium's 2004 gold ticket package

Abraham
Poorly timed but inevitable

Hoch
Confusing.

Marchman
You should get tickets to a strip bar with that.

Tsunoda
Doesn't bother me. I look at is as being cheaper for games against bad teams, as opposed to costing more against good teams, so I like it.

Mike from East Coast Agony
Shea Stadium is not the Chocolate Factory, to Mo’s chagrin


Jeff Wilpon (Mets owner’s son)

Abraham
Thanks, Dad

Hoch
Hard worker. Really committed to this idea of family ownership.

Marchman
Hmm, so Duquette's an old school kind of guy, and Fred is a rich old guy who pals around with Bud Selig. Just who is the one getting Peterson out of his contract and giving him all the power he wants, hiring a statistical analyst, etc.? Mrs. Wilpon? Mr. Met?

Tsunoda
I think people have decided they don't like him for no apparent reason. I like him. I think he cares. I think he's a baseball fan. I think he's good at his job. I've seen him walk around the complex talking to minor leaguers calling them all by name without a roster in his hand. How many owners can do that?

Avkash from The Raindrops
John Franco's kids will always have employment.


Mr. Met

Abraham
Scary

Hoch
Scares young children.

Marchman
I love Mr. Mets unreservedly because he has brought joy and happiness to me since I was a small child. My wife, a lifelong Cubs fan, finds this disturbing.

Tsunoda
I think the obvious head swelling is an indication of his relationship with BALCO. Do they drug test mascots? They're huge now. They used to be little speedy guys like the chicken. Look at them now. Where's Congress on this one, eh? Where are they?!?!?

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
Was there no one better to raise the pennant flag from 2000?


Grade B maple syrup, distilled apple vinegar, cayenne pepper, flax seed and water (what Mike Piazza’s personal “yogi” has him drinking)

Abraham
OK, so wouldn't Gade A maple syrup make it even better? That's all I'm saying.

Hoch
Ingredients to a genius marketing idea, if someone out there mass-produces Piazza's Potion and sells it outside Shea.

Marchman
Good Lord. Where do ballplayers find these people?

Tsunoda
You figure Mike would spring for the grade A maple syrup.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Ammonium A D


Karim Garcia

Abraham
Not as bad a guy as it looks.

Hoch
Big Apple Pizza.

Marchman
Garcia needs to stop beating people up and urinating in public. He's not really a very good player, and all things told people prefer their scrubs deferential and modest.

Tsunoda
How often do you see a team bring in a guy who is defending himself on an assault charge as a "character guy"?

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Piss-gate


Lisa Guerrero (Scott Erickson’s wife and Monday Night Football diva)

Abraham
She's no Bonnie Bernstein.

Hoch
The best part about Scott Erickson potentially making the 25-man roster.

Marchman
I still have no idea why she's famous, but I Googled her. Good Lord.

Tsunoda
I know this is supposed to be a funny one liner. But seriously, she sits in the rain to watch Erickson pitch in a minor league camp game. She endures every male loser walking up to her to make conversation with grace and politeness. She's been perfectly pleasant to everyone, and she reads smart books when Erickson's not pitching. It's mind boggling to me that Erickson would want any part of six months on the road.

Kaley from Flushing Local
What conditioner does she use?
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