The Mets are 10-3 and off to their best start since 2006. Attendance is soaring and reaching figures the franchise hasn’t seen since Citi Field’s inaugural season in 2009. Take a look at the back cover of any local newspaper and the Mets will be featured on it. Listen to WFAN or ESPN radio (if you must) and odds are the Mets will be the topic of discussion for the majority of any given program. Matt Harvey has become the toast of the town. Simply put, the Mets are well on their way to taking the city back.
By all means things appear to be going just as planned, if not better, for the Mets in 2015. Yet they have already overcome an immense amount of adversity just 13 games into the season.
- Zack Wheeler was diagnosed with a torn UCL in mid-March and has since undergone Tommy John surgery. He is expected back in 12-16 months.
- Vic Black underwent an MRI late in spring training that revealed a herniated disc in his right shoulder. There was hope Black would return as early as this week until another MRI revealed only little improvement. He will rest another week before being reevaluated once again. A reasonable return date is unknown at this point.
- Jenrry Mejia suffered stiffness in his right elbow on opening day and was placed on the 15-day disabled list following the game. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Just a week later he was suspended 80-games for PED use. Changes in the CBA ban Mejia from pitching in the postseason, should the Mets qualify.
- David Wright was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 15th with strained hamstring. Wright has begun some rehab activities and Sandy Alderson expects the captain back when he is eligible to return on April 30. I hate to be negative about this positive news but hamstring issues are notoriously nagging injuries.
- Travis d’Arnaud fractured his right pinkie finger and will be in a splint for three weeks. Rehab time still has to be taken into consideration on top of that. A realistic timetable for his return might be the end of May.
- Jeremy Blevins fractured his forearm after being hit by a line drive and will remain in a splint for six weeks. He will then be reevaluated at that time and resume throwing when healed.
When you think about what those players mean to this roster you’re talking about a front line starter, three prominent arms in the bullpen (closer, setup man and lefty specialist), an emerging catcher and the linchpin of this offense who is also the team captain.
The motto so far seems to be next man up. Nobody feels bad for you in professional sports. There is no pity for you when a player goes down. For opposing teams it can be seen as an opportunity to take advantage of your vulnerability. But as of now the Mets have been able to not only “hang in there” but succeed even with those gleaming voids.
Looking at that list reminds me of the 2009 season when it felt as if the entire roster suffered from injury at some point throughout that year. The difference in this team has been their resilience. Sure the Mets have gotten off to other strong starts in recent seasons – but this one feels different. It’s hard to explain. Similar to how you try to quantify how some people have that “it” factor. I can’t quite put words on it but I have a sense this team will be able to keep it together. I won’t go as far as to crown them World Series Champions, yet alone NL East Champions, just yet – but I do believe this team is well on its way to playing a meaningful 2015 season in its entirety.
I’m not sure how Suzyn Waldman treated last nights pregame ceremony, but Roger Clemens was in the building folks. Clemens was joined by Andy Pettitte and members of the Astros ownership group to present Derek Jeter with his first farewell present. What did they decide to give the Captain? How about a custom pair of cowboys boots. I’d say there is roughly a 0% chance you will ever see Jeter wear these things. Continue reading
Mets ace Matt Harvey was cleared today by his medical team to begin throwing a baseball. Harvey is only four months removed from Tommy John surgery, but this news marks the first step in his goal of returning to the mound. This is great news for both Harvey and the Mets, now we have to be patient with our 24-year-old.
“Since it is four months out, the process is going to be slow. I have to not push things.” Harvey said, regarding his discussion with his doctor “He just wanted to make sure I knew that and I was clear with that. Obviously we’re not going to push things early. But, for me, being able to wear my glove and pick up a ball again is a good sign.”
Harvey has publicly stated his desire to do his rehab work in NY, most rehabbing players spend their time in Port St. Lucie, but he would like to be closer to his home. This would also allow him to be with the team during home stands, where he could bond with his younger teammates and continue to learn the league from the bench. Everything about that sounds great, but will this ultimately turn into a distraction?
In only a short amount of time, Harvey has taken this city by storm. When he emerged late in the 2012 season, he quickly caught the eye of Mets fans and the rest of baseball. But it was his 2013 campaign really put him on the map as a star in the making. He was featured in a Jimmy Fallon show skit, could be seen on celebrity row for countless Rangers games, did a tabloid grabbing interview for GQ Magazine, dated Super-Model Anne V and oh yeah, was the starting pitcher for the All-Star Game at Citi Field. Harvey became one of the hottest athletes in NYC, everyone wanted a piece of him.
Personally, I don’t care what Harvey does off the field, as long as it doesn’t affect his performance on the mound. I only raise this questions because I know there will be certain media outlets and reporters who will make it their mission to question his work ethic this season. Last season was different, you could find him on the mound every 5th day, no matter what else he did that week. Now, he won’t be throwing off the mound in Citi Field, and many will be ready to jump at the opportunity to question his lifestyle during his rehab process.
Harvey does seem to be very mature for his age, just watch one interview and you will be shocked by his poise at such a young age. But every once in a while he surprises me with his actions, for example his GQ interview last season. Whether he was misquoted or thought he was speaking off the record, you have to be smarter than that. These guys are not your friend, they are using you to make a name for themselves. Or more recently, when WFAN’s Joe Benigo expressed his concerns for Harvey’s off the field headlines on air, Harvey became defensive and attacked these remarks via twitter while on vacation in Thailand. The only reason this story gathered any buzz was because of Harvey’s response. If something like that can trigger him while he is on vacation, imagine what it will be like when he is dealing with these questions in New York.
No one should question Harvey’s desire and determination to get back on the mound to help the Mets win. He has already thrown around the idea of trying to pitch down the stretch this season. Although this doesn’t sound to be a plausible plan, it’s that kind of attitude that has won over the fans. If I’m the Mets, I would be playing up his rehab throughout the season. Maybe have a crew monitoring his workouts and make it a feature on Mets Weekly. When the team is on road trips, I would throw him in the study and let him give insight on the games. Things like this will help keep him both in the spotlight and mentally focused on his return.
“I’d always love to pitch and get back out there, but I don’t make those decisions,” Harvey said regarding a return in 2014. “I can only stay with the doctors and prepare to the best of my ability. If things can work out quicker than normal, then we’ll see. But I can’t make that call. … I haven’t really talked to them in-depth about that. I know they don’t want me to push, and I’m definitely not going to force things to happen earlier. If they happen to come quicker, then that’s where we’re going to go.”
As Jerry Seinfeld recently stated, the Mets finally have a “cool guy”. Harvey has all the intangibles to be a star both on and off the field, he just has to remain committed to what got him there in the first place. I don’t foresee Harvey doing anything personally to make his rehab a distraction, I worry more about his reaction to the media that will be out to get him. If he is able to go about his business and keep reporters out of his mind, Harvey should be just fine.
But please, stop teasing us with these pitching in 2014 remarks. You’re surgery broke our hearts enough, don’t tease us like that.
Months before the 2014 baseball season starts The Mets, along with their new radio broadcast partners 710 WOR, have already found a way to stir up the fan base. It appears decisions have not yet been made on one of the few things this franchise has going for them, their broadcasting teams. Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Kevin Burkhardt are arguably the best team in television, but the Radio booth of Howie Rose, Josh Lewin and Ed Coleman is held in the same high regard among the fan base.
In a shocking development, there were initial reports stating that WOR may look to replace the entire team and go with a fresh start. That would mean letting go of Howie Rose! Thank god the Mets stepped in on that matter and assured Rose would be part of the radio booth team, though no contract has been finalized yet. I mean could you imagine if HOWIE ROSE was replaced??? A move like that could have quickly turned an entire fan base against the station. Now it appears the question is, who will be joining him?
Josh Lewin is the man who has caused the most headlines during this whole ordeal. There has been plenty of speculation that Lewin is the man who could potentially be replaced. Lewin joined Rose in the booth two years ago, when he took over for the all too forgettable Wayne Haggin. I was hesitant to take in Lewin at first, but I quickly grew to love this combination during games. It’s as though you were hearing any two Mets fans having a conversation during a game, making it a very friendly and welcoming broadcast to listen to.
Unlike TV, you cannot let the game speak for itself, there is no room for awkward silence. It’s hard to force chemistry between two people, either you have it or you don’t, and Howie and Josh have it. The two of them grew up Mets fans, albeit different generations, but having that connection with listeners of knowing these two have been through the same ups and downs with you for all those years makes you feel a connection. Lewin excels in the play-by-play role, Howie gives us his analysis and historical perspective, simply put, it works. He adds a bit of humor to the booth when it is needed, which is has been in his two years, and he is able to relate with the younger fan base. It would be a shame to see him leave so soon.
I understand Coleman’s situation is a little bit different. He is a full-time employee of WFAN and does more than just Mets baseball with the station. It will be hard to initially accept, but it seems all but a foregone conclusion that he will not be making the move with the team over to WOR. Although he won’t be apart of the games broadcast anymore, he will still having a meaningful presence covering this team on the radio. WFAN is the most powerful sports radio station in NY, Coleman will surely stay on as the stations team correspondent and spend much of his time giving us updates as a guest across all of their programs.
The easiest comparison to make, for anyone who is an addicted WFAN listener like myself, is that Eddie Coleman will essentially become what Sweeny Murti has been for the last several years. The only thing that will really change with our relation to Coleman will be his absence on the pre and post game show. Truth be told, he is better off staying put. That way he will still be able to host an occasional show and keep his presence on a more meaningful sports station.
The two names that have been tossed around most often are former Mets Darryl Hamilton and Cliff Floyd. I have watched both recently in their roles as analysis on TV, granted it’s a small sample size, but they seem pretty good at their jobs. I’m not underestimating their abilities to be great broadcasters, my biggest argument is why fix something that isn’t broken? We have a tremendous team already in place, I can’t think of any reason why they should be split up for someone who is unproven in this type of role.
I understand both Rose and Lewin have other obligations besides the Mets. Rose calls Islander games and Lewin does San Diego Chargers games, causing them both to miss a few Mets games throughout the course of the season. Part of the thing that makes this team so great is that when one game is absent, the other takes control of the play-by-play call alongside a fill in, most often that was Ed Coleman. If you are going to bring in one of these guys to do pre/post game show duties, while occasionally filling in the radio booth, that’s great. However, I’m not sure if either of them would leave their TV studio gigs for that sort of opportunity.
Whoever it is that possesses the power to make these decisions needs to comes to their senses and lock up both Howie Rose and Josh Lewin. I would love nothing more than to see Ed Coleman make the leap as well, but I’ve come to accept his inevitable departure. Losing one of these guys is enough, don’t make the mistake in losing another.
Mark Teixeira is quickly reminding Yankee fans why Lyle Overbay belongs on the bench. For the past few weeks I have read articles and heard numerous callers on WFAN say Overbay should continue to play first base when Teixeira returned from the DL. Just another classic example of fans being caught up in the moment and asking the “What have you done for me lately?” question.
In his first seven games back, Teixeira has hit 3 home runs and drove in 8 runs. He is batting just .227 but that is bound to rise quickly as he settles in. Teixeira has gotten off to poor starts the last several seasons and it was crucial for him to get off to a good start with the early season success from his replacement, Lyle Overbay. He is hitting .251 with 8 home runs and 29 RBI. Which was far more than anyone could have expected out of Overbay.
With that being said, there is no comparison between the two players. Overbay is a nice player and has filled in admirably, but he has never produced at this level for an entire season. Teixeira’s 162 game average numbers are 37 home runs and 119 RBI compared to Overbay’s 17 home runs and 72 RBI. It’s shouldn’t even have crossed fans minds, Teixeira deserved to be slotted right back into his starting role and he has wasted no time in proving that.
I do think it was an interesting move for the Yankees to try Overbay in right field. He has produced at a high enough level that his bat is a plus in the line up. With the lack of production coming out of Ichiro and Vernon Wells recent decline, Overbay could provide left-handed power in the outfield at times. It will be interesting going forward to see just how much Joe Girardi puts him out there. I would play him in smaller ballparks where he wouldn’t have to cover as much ground as he is just learning the position.
The biggest benefactor from Teixeira returning to the line up is going to be Robinson Cano. He is the best hitter in this line up and Teixeira will provide some much-needed protection for the MVP candidate, although I don’t expect anyone to beat out Miguel Cabrera for that award. Not to mention the tremendous defense the 5-time gold glove winner brings to this infield. Defense at first base is often overlooked, but when you have someone of Teixeira’s caliber over there it is a real game changer. He puts the rest of the infield at ease knowing how good he is around the bag and takes stress off of feeling throws have to be perfect every time.
I don’t expect to be hearing many more callers on the radio wanting Overbay to start over Teixeira as the weeks by.