Frank Franc’s Back

August 3, 2012 by

I like chickens.

I don’t really have any mind blowing insight on this development.

Just wanted to be hospitable.

If I was forced to write something about the return of F Squared I would say it’s probably a good thing for Bobby Parnell.  Clearly Bobby P. isn’t a closer.  His plateau has been reached as a setup man, which ain’t half bad compared to a lot of pitchers in the league.

Midwestropolitan West Coast Viewing Strategy

August 2, 2012 by

West Coast trips suck.  Although some would argue they are better than home stands.  Especially recently.

This current excursion has lead me to a reality.  I’m old.  I can’t stay up to watch these games.  Shit, I can’t even stay up to see the first pitch.

So what to do?  I’m not a cry in my beer type of guy, so I altered my approach.  For the last couple of days I have avoided any sport related media when I wake up.  I get to work and dig in to whatever tasks I have to do, fire up my MLB.Com subscription, and “watch” the game as my schedule allows.

I know what you’re thinking.  Must be nice to have a job where you can watch baseball for 3 or 4 hours.  It’s not quite that easy my friends.

Watching games in this manner consists of listening to Gary and Keith mostly. It is nice to pull up the video during a critical at bat. When I have to leave my office, I pause the game and come back.

Some may feel this means I’m not a “real” fan.  I respectfully disagree.  In my eyes, it makes me a more efficient fan.  I can fast forward through all of Jason Bay’s at bats.

Harvey vs Pelfrey

July 27, 2012 by

Earlier this morning I shared the following thought on our Facebook Page:

“I’m most impressed with the jams he pitched out of. Terry Collins used the word “composure”. Hopefully, that is a permanent Harvey trait.”

I was particularly talking about the 3rd inning here.  Yesterday, I talked about confidence.  If the 3rd inning is indicative of what we will see with Harvey I think he is going to be A-Okay.

During the 3rd, Harvey got into a bit of a pickle and had to face Josh Kubel, a left-handed hitter leading the league in RBIs.  He promptly sat him down and then got to a full count against Paul Goldschmidt, with the tying runs in scoring position.  Impressively he has the nerve to throw a curveball, followed by an up and in fastball that was fouled off, finally getting the backwards K with a filthy 97 mph fastball on the outside corner.

At the beginning of the game, Gary Cohen brought up the fact that Mike Pelfrey was the last Mets 1st round pick to make his major league debut as a starting pitcher.  The Mets won that game 17-1.  A word of caution perhaps from big Gar.

After the first start there is one glaring difference between Pelfrey and Harvey.  No, not the fact that Pelfrey licks his hands uncomfortably often.   Harvey’s velocity combined with his breaking pitches gives him the opportunity to get hitters out in critical situations.  Clearly documented above.

Obviously, it is way too early to anoint #33 as the next Tom Seaver.  My guess is that he might struggle a bit early with high pitch counts because he will try to pitch to the strikeout rather than contact.

Regardless, I liked what I saw last night.

Harvey’s Mental Game

July 26, 2012 by

Over the last few weeks there has been much debate about whether or not Matt Harvey is ready for the big leagues.  Tonight we get to find out.

I have to admit I’m concerned.  In my mind I had Harvey and Wheeler starting off the 2013 season in the rotation, having all of 2012 in the minors to fine tune their game.  I’m not going to flat-out say it is the wrong decision to hand Harvey the ball tonight.  Let’s face it, something’s got to change and maybe he’ll give this squad a boost.

In many ways, baseball is a numbers game.  My problem is I am way too lazy to analyze stats to come up with an opinion about a player’s readiness.  Particularly in the pitching area.

Instead, I focus on their confidence because on many occasions it is very easy to decipher.  All you have to do is look at a guy’s face or pay attention to his body language.

Read the following names of Mets’ pitchers and picture the look on their face when they were on the mound only.  Forget everything you know about them.  Forget about how many games they have won, their career ERA, how fast they throw, how tall they are, or how nasty their breaking pitches are.  Focus on only how they carry themselves.

Mike Pelfrey, Aaron Heilman, Frank Francisco, Manny Acosta, Armando Benitez, Jeremy Heffner, Chris Schwinden, Bobby Parnell

This group doesn’t exactly ooze machismo does it?

Now try the same exercise with the following list.

Tom Seaver, Billy Wagner, Dwight Gooden (first few years before the coke completely took over), R.A. Dickey, Johan Santana, David Cone, John Franco

You feel a little more confident in their ability to get a guy out don’t you?  Or better yet, their ability to pitch out of a jam.

Can a pitcher’s outward confidence change?  Sure.  But I argue it’s rare.

Tonight, pay attention to how Harvey reacts when someone drills one of his pitches, or when he doesn’t get a call.  It’s all about the mental game.  Right now, I’m not sure even his own catcher knows. Check out this quote from Rob Johnson

“I think mentally he’s strong enough to be there. It’s just going to be a matter of if he can compose his emotions.”

Maybe I’m being nit picky here but isn’t composing your emotions part of being mentally strong?  In my book it’s the most important thing.

The cool thing about all of this is we’ll start to figure it out with Matt Harvey tonight.

Happy Father’s Day, Coach

June 17, 2012 by
Originally published on Father’s Day, June 20, 2010 You can bet I will be re-publishing every year as a tribute to my Pop.

I wanted to take a minute or two and write about my Pop.  Based on the fact this is a blog about baseball, I think you’ll find it is appropriate content for Midwestropolitan.

Last week he came down to visit so he could watch my son play in an all-day baseball tournament.  Like my dad before me, I coach my son’s team.

It was fun to watch my dad in the bleachers and listen to everything he would say to my son and his teammates.

You see, my dad can’t just watch a little league game.  The coach in him is way too difficult to suppress.  I think he only made it an inning or two until he couldn’t contain himself from sharing helpful hints to all of our players.

Watching him made me thankful.  He was a big influence in my life in terms of instilling in me the love for the game of baseball.  A gift that I will have with me for my entire life.

Watching him also started me thinking about all of the things he did for me as my coach.

My dad started as my coach when I was eight years old.  We didn’t have your typical season.

Back in April, I shared a post on, Average Adam:  Thoughts of Your Every Day Average Guy,  the improbable completion to my first little league season.  We lost every one of our regular season games, but wound up winning the league tournament.

Read Little League Legacy to catch up on all of the details.

Needless to say, my dad helped me learn quickly that baseball, like life, is filled with triumphs and trials.

Now that I am a coach myself, I marvel at his patience.  He never yelled at umpires, players, coaches, or parents.  He never got too caught up in the competition, never made it about him over the kids.  He just coached.

He coached me, my brothers, our neighbors, our friends, and anyone placed on one of his teams.  There were no favorites.  Everyone was coached.

It may not sound like much to some of you.  If it doesn’t, go out to your local little league field and watch some of the coaches.  You will realize how rare the traits I listed above truly are.

As I grew older, I developed into a decent ball player.  There were plenty of regular season and all-star games.  He never missed any of them.

Inevitably little league ended and I moved on to high school baseball.  My dad didn’t stop coaching me.  He never over stepped his boundary as a parent with my high school coaches.

When I would find myself in a slump, he would take me to the batting cage and simply suggest I alter small things with my hands or my stance.  Even though the adjustments were slight, they almost always worked.

During my games I became pretty adept at ignoring all of the noise and chatter from the stands.  There is one exception.  I could always hear my dad very distinctly.  It could be a huge at bat with dozens of people yelling something.  It didn’t matter.  The only person I could hear was my dad.

“Relax in there number 10.  Find your natural rhythm.  Now you see him Jason.  Watch the ball.  You can do it.”

I came to rely on it.  He was always my coach.

At 33 years old, I am only reaching the tip of the ice berg in terms of understanding this crazy game of life.  One thing I do know, I appreciate all of the sacrifices my dad made for me.

Thanks Coach.

Happy Father’s Day.

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Electronic Pat On The Back

June 14, 2012 by

Do you think Dickey is saying “Thanks” fellas?

I fancy myself as a level-headed, realistic Met Fan.  Much of this is my personality, some of it is based on the fact that I grew up in the Middle, where we are a tad bit more laid back than my east coast brethren who have a tendency to be high-strung.

Having said that, I have to congratulate you easily excitable east coasters.  After last night’s game, I expected you to be all over David Wright for “blowing” R.A. Dickey’s no-hitter as well as Nickeas for the two past balls that ruined his shutout.  After reading over the comments left on the bithcin’ internet I was surprised that this was not the fact.

Accept this post as an electronic pat on the back, atta boy, job well done etc.

The debate I stumbled across that had the most volume was whether or not the Mets should appeal the ruling of Wright’s bare-handed attempt in the first inning.  This question seemed to bring out the touchiness I have become accustomed to reading.

For the record, it was the right call for the Mets to appeal the call.  Not because it was a clear hit, simply because they should to show support for their 10-1 knuckleballer who is mowing down the opposition.

Also for the record, it was a hit.

  1. Upton had more than a good chance of beating that out even if Wright fielded the ball cleanly.
  2. The ball hit the lip of the infield “grass” on the last bounce placing it in the ole’ “tough hop, bad bounce” hit category.

One more thing before I let you go.  I am becoming leery of David’s fielding of late.  He is starting to revert back to his 2011 form of sailing his throws which were pleasantly absent at the beginning of this season.

Acostad

May 28, 2012 by

Let me preface this post by stating that I am satisfied with where the Mets are at this point. They’ve been a lot of fun to watch and are certainly a team that is easy to root for.

Let’s be frank, they are over achieving and if anyone tells you they knew they would be five games over .500 and only a handful of games out of first at this point you would be well within your right to call them a big fat liar.

Now on to one of the few players on the roster I could do with out.  Manny Acosta needs to go.  His 11.86 ERA speaks for itself.

For some reason, Terry Collins has made repeated attempts to give him a chance to show us that he can be relied on in somewhat critical points in ballgames.  Enough is enough TC.  The guy has never looked comfortable on the mound this year for whatever reason.  In fact, he looks downright scared at times.  You can see it all over his face.

Maybe the Mets are reluctant to give someone else a shot until Pedro Beato is ready.  Fine, I’m not ready to second guess Mr. Alderson at this point.  Mainly because I have always believed that selecting members to fill your bullpen is a lot like playing Russian Roulette.

But I’m practically begging you TC, please don’t give Manny the ball in a one run ballgame anymore.  I’m tired of getting Acostad.

Wright’s Wrun Down

May 9, 2012 by

What’s up with the doubting of David Wright’s intentions this morning? I’ve read multiple authors doubting Terry Collins and David Wright’s statements that his run down in the seventh was a heady play.

If you missed the game last night #5 roped a single to right with runners on first and third and two out in the top of the seventh inning.  Andres Torres scored bringing the Mets within one run of the lead.  Kirk Nieuwenhuis went to third as the right fielder had to a run a bit to cut the ball down.  David Wright never really stopped and headed to second as the throw went to the catcher who promptly threw it to second hanging up Wright. The Phillies executed the run down poorly ending the debacle with an errant throw trying to pick off Nieuwenhuis going back to third which allowed him to score the tying run.

That’s wordy as hell so I suggest you watch the video here:

http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=21265781&c_id=nym.

If WordPress were cooler or I wasn’t such a cheap skate, I would be able to embed the video so you wouldn’t have to leave the page.  Such is life.

There are thousands of little league teams that try the very same play on a regular basis.

I’m not sure it was the best idea in the world due to the fact it hardly ever works against MLB players, but it is believable that he did it on purpose. Whether Kirk Nieuwenhuis had touched 3rd base before Wright left for 2nd base is irrelevant on that play.

Me thinks those in the media that don’t believe that D. Wright may have done this on purpose have never picked up a bat or participated in a run down before.

Be Careful What You Wish For

May 5, 2012 by

On Wednesday I went on record to say that Chris Schwinden is not the answer in replacing the injured Mike Pelfrey.  I know, pretty ballsy call on my part.

I really didn’t have a preference in terms of who would get the shot.  I guess if you put a gun to my head I would have liked to see Jeremy Heffner get a nod.  This was based solely on the fact that he seemed to be effective in the handful of innings he worked a few games back.  Not much to base an opinion on so I’m not too broken up that he isn’t getting the call.

Miguel Batista is a logical choice based on the fact he has always been pegged as the spot start, long relief guy.  However, now that D.J. Carrasco is on his way back I really don’t feel too comfortable knowing that Batista, Manny Acosta, and D.J. Carrasco are all available to pitch.  The percentages show that we are going to have to see at least one of them much more frequently.

Chris Capuano’s 4-0, 18 2/3 scoreless inning streak, and 2.21 ERA looks pretty good right now.

Shit.

And Now Deep Game 2 Thoughts

April 7, 2012 by

Some random observations that crossed the pea sized object inside my skull during game 2:

  • Too bad I missed D. Wright’s bomb, but my chicken parm was worth it.  Besides, there will be more (optimistic font).
  • Thole is swingin’ it.
  • Dude.
  • Pradio’s homer doesn’t exactly make Warthen look like a genius.  Nice visit.
  • I don’t want to mow my lawn.
  • Ike needs to chill the f$%# out.  As annoying as the outside corner strike has been, it has been called all game.  Bitching out the ump will only hurt his cause.  Especially if he gets a reputation as being a whiner.  We all know he is bad ass, but unfortunately the rest of the league and especially the umps still need some more proof before he gets that call.
  • Bobby’s strikeout pitch to Michael Bourn was filthy.  Man I hope he has this figured out for the long haul.
  • A beer sounds nice about now.
  • Dude squared.
  • Keith calling out Juan Francisco for wearing his hat “half cock-eyed” was hilarious.

“Come on, look like a ballplayer.” -Keith Hernandez

  • Jon Rauch is tall.  Shouldn’t he be throwing the ball 137mph?  I hope he doesn’t read this.
  • Two saves in a row, Mr. Francisco.  Nice.
  • It sure feels nice to start the season off with a series win against the Braves.
  • Sweep?

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