Elster's World

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Do's and Don'ts of the Last Few Weeks

Welcome back to anyone still checking this blog. The last month has been a whirlwind for me. I quit my job (worked hard during the 2 week notice period - no time for blogging), took two weeks off (where I went off the grid completely) and am now settling in at my new place (i.e. confident enough to blog during the day). A lot has transpired in my absence and there's no way to blog it all without a gimmick. SO without further ado, some do's and don'ts we have learned:

Don't - start the baseball season with a pitching staff that average 67 years old and then get surprised when half of them end up on the Dl when it gets cold outside. I mean, duh.

Do - expect Greg Oden to declare for the draft.

Don't - be shocked if Durant goes first though.

Don't - worry about Wright's power. It will return. So will Carlos Delgado's.

Don't expect to go too far in the playoffs without a legitimate big man Nets fans (and that's no knock on Mikki Moore). Not to mention the fact that Moore is the starting five's most reliable outside shooter. bad sign.

Do - worry about the Jets starting the season against the Pats (home) and Ravens (in Baltimore). Not a great way to begin to build on last year's success.

Don't - lose faith in Mangenious, however.

Do - look for the Jets to take a corner in round one.

Don't - slam me for falling back in love with the Rangers. There's a perfectly good explanation for this. As the decimated Knicks started falling apart, i found myself watching a surging Ranger team more and more. And hey, how can you not love guys like Girardi and Callahan? Do you realize that if Messier was still around, these kids would be in the minor league while the team tried to figure out why it failed to make the playoffs despite having Jagr, Shannahan, Kovalchuk and Sidney Crosby?

Don't be surprised the Rangers won their first round series (I was actually planning to write an article predicting this) but you can be a little surprised it went 4 games.

Don't kill Joe too much for these statements:

"Despite the availability of several decent free agents, the Mets brought back Jose Valentin as their starting second baseman." Meanwhile, he's hitting .277 in the 8th hole and playing GOLD GLOVE defense. Yep, we definitely should have over payed for some second rate second baseman instead of trusting the guy who stepped in so well last year.

"Minaya correctly declined to overpay for Barry Zito, but he failed to sign or trade for any of the other available starters. Instead, he gave Orlando Hernandez a surprisingly generous two-year contract, decided to rely on John Maine and Oliver Perez as the third and fourth starters, and brought in retreads like Chan Ho Park, Aaron Sele and Jorge Sosa, while letting Steve Trachsel and Victor Zambrano go, trading Brian Bannister and refusing to move Aaron Heilman into the starting rotation." In the meantime Maine has been brilliant so far, Oliver Perez has had a good start and a bad one, El Duque has been solid (one bad start) and Sele has stepped into the Darren Oliver role quite nicely. And Joe, you still want Heilman and his bad elbow (and his 2 pitches and his penchant for the longball) in your starting rotation? I don't even want him bridging for Wagner.

But here comes his biggest doosey:

"The Mets' biggest offseason failure was with their bullpen, which is now worse than at the end of '06. Chad Bradford, Darren Oliver and Roberto Hernandez all left as free agents, with Bradford's loss the most significant. Heath Bell and Royce Ring were traded to the Padres for Ben Johnson and Jon Atkins, both of whom were disappointing in spring training. Guillermo Mota, his 50 game suspension for steroid use aside, was given a large contract. So was free agent Scott Schoeneweis. Mota and Schoeneweis were both released during the 2006 season. " Sele is making Oliver's loss moot. Smith and Shoenweis have been terrific - neither has given up a run yet. Bell and Ring both had good stuff but for whatever reason it wasn't translating in the majors (though Ring never got a fair shake). Besides, Feliciano is the left specialist so there's no real need for Ring. And before it's all said and done, the Mets are going to need Mota's arm.

Could the entire bullpen melt down like Three Mile Island? Sure, but as of today, Joe's dire predictions seem to be off. So maybe the Mets future wasn't THAT bleak after all. And just three months till Pedro returns to boot.

Do - be pleasantly surprised with how well Isaiah's draft picks have worked out. even Mardy Collins seems to be a player. Do also, however, slam your head against the wall repeatedly as the Bulls grab a top 10 pick the Knicks really could have used.

And finally: DO keep checking back here. I fully plan on writing more regularly again.

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