Elster's World

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Change Of Heart

YES! It's another post about baseball. Aren't you all glad the Mets made the playoffs?

After Pedro’s dreadful performance the other night, I went through all of the necessary stages - denial, anger, sadness, weeping and, after the team announcement last night that Pedro will miss the playoffs with a torn right calf, acceptance.

But along with acceptance has come something else – something great. Optimism. Who cares about pundits and naysayers. The Mets are no longer the head/shoulder favorites to win the pennant, they say. They are right back in the pack. El Duque, Glavine, Trachsel Maine don’t scare anyone the way Pedro does.

Well that may be true but there still remains a difference between the Mets and all other National League clubs – top to bottom, they have the best offensive lineup. It’s fast, powerful and hits for average. And they won’t have to face too many lefties either. When you can trot out Jose Valentin as your number eight hitter, that should scare those other teams. The Reyes, LoDuca, Beltran, Delgado, Wright combo is the best 1-5 in the NL, bar none.

And really, am I supposed to be terrified by Brad Penny, Greg Maddux and D-Lowe? Really? That’s supposed to terrify me? That’s Brad Penny right? Isn’t Orlando Hernandez one of the best post-season pitchers of the last 20 years? Isn’t Tom Glavine still Tom Glavine? Won’t the Mets thumpers make up for many mistakes?

And don’t forget, the Mets have the best bullpen in the NL as well. If the starters can make it to the 6th inning, the Mets can trot out a whole series of special arms to finish out games. They have power arms (Mota, Heilman, Roberto Hernandez) and sneaky arms (Bradford/Feliciano) and rubber arms (Oliver). They also have a closer who, after a rocky start, has settled back into his (relatively) dominant way. (And yes, I will be spending part of Shabbos Shuvah praying that the Houston Astros and their starting pitchers don’t make the post-season because they actually DO scare me)

So when the Mets open up the playoffs next Tuesday or Wednesday at Shea, I will be there, in the upper deck in right field, eating kosher hot dogs and cheering on El Duque and the rest of the team – a team I fully expect to represent the National League in the World Series. And if you don’t feel the same way, leave you negative vibes and dark energies at home.

So there pundits and naysayers.


  • "the Mets have the best bullpen in the NL ... Mota, Heilman, Roberto Hernandez ... Bradford/Feliciano ... Oliver."

    You are delusional. All six of those guys are unreliable at best and some of them absolutely suck.

    "I will be spending part of Shabbos Shuvah praying that the Houston Astros and their starting pitchers don’t make the post-season because they actually DO scare me"

    I hope you are not serious. I'm a huge Mets fan, but don't pray for something so meaningless. G-d may actually grant your prayer rather than something of much greater importance.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 10:43 AM  

  • If the staff can manage a 4.00 ERA or better in the playoffs, there may be a chance.

    It's remarkable how lousy pitching has become lately in general. Not only for the Mets.

    By Anonymous Bob Miller, at 11:19 AM  

  • Joe Joe Joe:

    1 - The Mets have the best bullpen in the NL. I'm not debating it, its a fact proven out by the numbers ad the results.

    2 - Of COURSE i'm noit serious. You think I have any time to spare in my teshuvah worrying about baseball??? I was going toi say pray for it on Yom Kippur, but I thought that was too offensive. I guess the whole joke was. my bad.

    By Blogger Elster, at 11:20 AM  

  • Bob - The problems are a) watered down talent because there are too many teams and b) pitchers are too babied. Too much emphasis on pitch counts and innings. let them go like in the olden days.

    By Blogger Elster, at 11:22 AM  

  • The Asros would scare anyone, especially in a 5 game series. Quite a comeback. Timed perfectly. The NL races have really beocome a lot of fun to follow.

    Baseball is unpredictable. Anything can happen. So why not the Mets.

    By Blogger bellanny, at 11:26 AM  

  • As stated, you are delusional.

    Right now, the Mets are slated to face LA.

    Let's look at the starters: The Dodgers have Maddux, Lowe and Penny. In the pen, they've got Saito and Bronxton and Beimel, all of whom have pitched very well. Just because you've never heard of them does not mean that they are inferior to the likes of Roberto Hernendez and Darren Oliver.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 11:30 AM  

  • Not Oliver and Hernandez but Mota and Heilman. And Wagner. I notice you oicked the 2 worst players in the pen to make your argument. And I'm delusional?

    I'm sorry, you really think Penny and maddux are unhittable at Shea? And should we be terrified of D Lowe in LA?

    By Blogger Elster, at 11:49 AM  

  • Mota sucks. He's had a few good weeks in non-pressure situations.

    Nobody is unhittable, but Penny, Maddux and Lowe are better than Hernandez, Glavine and Trachsel. I wish it were otherwise.

    The Mets have a good chance, of course, but I think the Dodgers will win.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 11:51 AM  

  • I strongly disagree. This is the EXACT SAME team that ran away with the NL - and they did most of it without Pedro martinez. All of a sudden the Dodgers are better? That makes no sense.

    By Blogger Elster, at 12:07 PM  

  • uh oh. the pedro saga continues. i heard he will be out till at least the all star break next season due to a torn rotator cuff. this off season they had better make a deal for a number 1 starting pitcher (the offense is set). this latest injury almost makes you wonder what's next.

    By Blogger bellanny, at 8:28 PM  

  • Well, this news will have no effect on the playoffs - Pedro was going to miss them all anyway. it will, however, affect next year - The Mets will probably overpay for Jason Schmidt now or Barry Zito. Though the probbaly would have done that anyway.

    I would still say pedro was worth the money.

    By Blogger Elster, at 9:41 PM  

  • " would still say pedro was worth the money."

    One year for $53 million is not worth the money. It would be one thing if the Mets were owned by Steinbrenner. The Wilpons stick to a budget, and Pedro's $14 million salary will limit Minaya's flexibility. I agree that the Mets will overpay for Zito, but will they bring back Trachsel and Glavine, or rely on Maine, Bannister, Peretz, etc., and again start the season with limited pitching depth.

    Pedro will not come back after the All Star break. Recovery time for rotator cuff surgery is typically a year. He is not likely to be more than an average pitcher even if he does come back in 2008. At his age, you don't easily come back from this type of injury. As it is, his fastball was only in the mid-to-high 80's.

    Those who criticized the signing were right, as was Theo Epstein for letting Pedro go.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 9:46 PM  

  • Yes - Epstein was right for letting pedro go - the move was very defensible for the BOSTON RED SOX - and overpaying Pedro was very defensible for the Mets.

    The Pedro signing started everything. it signalled a change in the organization's, including Wilpon's, thinking. Pedro's signing led to beltran and EVERYTHING that followed,m includng the swagger the tem has npw.

    pedro's worth the the mets can never be weighed in terms of dollars and cents - it's impossible. He meant so much more than the one year he actually gave them.

    The Mets drew 3.4 million fans this year and they have a new TV network. Wilpon will taste a championship, he will see how close they got this year without an ace - and he will give Minaya more money to play.

    AND THUS it was worth it.

    By Blogger Elster, at 9:13 PM  

  • You're ignoring the damage Pedro's salary will do to the Mets in '07 and '08. Wilpon is not Steinbrenner, he'll let Minaya sign Zito but will force him to cut elsewhere.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 9:48 AM  

  • I'm not so sure I agree. Trachsel's salary will come off the books, Glavine will probably re-sign with the Braves - that's a lot of money right there. Also, assuming they sign Schmidt or Zito and a mid level starter to replace trachsel, with Maine as the three, between Pelfrey, Williams and Perez they can surely find a 4 and 5. Will El the agreless El Duque come back? maybe.

    And let's not forget the legendary Cuban master Alay Soler.

    Plus, there TV revenues and ticket sales generated from packed houses and playoffs - theres more money to spend.

    By Blogger Elster, at 10:06 AM  

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