Archive: March 27th, 2008

Not Stoked

We don’t know for certain whether Steven Register was put on waivers, though there have been enough “inside sources” reporting it for us to believe it’s true (or not). We do know that Brian Stokes was stretched out for 65-pitches and four innings in a minor-league contest — presumably to test his mettle as a long reliever.

Excuse me for not understanding the fascination with Stokes, who had a 7.07 ERA last year, an ERA approaching double digits this spring, and doesn’t have particularly electric stuff. Believe me, I’m all for the underdog, but there were several more deserving underdogs in camp this year — i.e., Register, Nelson Figueroa, and Ricardo Rincon.

From what we’ve seen of El Duque thus far, it’s clear he won’t be starting the season with the big club. Likewise with Mike Pelfrey. That said, Jorge Sosa is the most logical candidate to temporarily fill the #5 spot in the rotation — which in turn opens up the long relief role for someone such as Figueroa. Figueroa, after all, has put up good numbers and looked good as far as command and changing speeds goes.

Similarly, Steven Register has outpitched Joe Smith and Stokes yet appears to be the odd man out. Another illogical move, if the waiver rumors are true — and I’m a huge fan of Smith. Why did the Mets bother to take him in the Rule 5 draft if they weren’t going to give him a legitimate shot at a bullpen spot? What did he have to do to win a job? Strike out two batters per inning? Throw 105 MPH? If he hasn’t been waived, or if he has, and clears, and the Mets work out a deal with the Rockies to keep him, then I’ll get off the Mets’ back on this issue.

Finally, there is Ricardo Rincon, whose numbers aren’t as sparkling as those of Scott Schoeneweis, but who has shown better stuff. I’m hoping against hope that the Mets are able to keep Rincon stashed in AAA for that moment they realize The Show’s straight-as-arrow, 85 MPH, chest-high fastball is not going to fool MLB hitters forever. Rincon’s ability to change speeds, hit spots all over the strike zone, and make his fastball sink are far superior to The Show’s limited arsenal. Yes, over eight or nine innings in March, Show has the numerical edge, but over the course of a 50-70-inning season, Rincon’s stuff projects to be better. A last-minute trade seems unlikely, so, again, hopefully the Mets can somehow retain Rincon.

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I Sing the Body Electric

The American FlagI’ve been waiting three years to use that headline.

You may have read or seen the news that people were lining up outside the SNY studios as early as 3am yesterday to audition for a chance to sing the national anthem at Shea Stadium. In fact, I feel bad for not announcing this golden opportunity to MetsToday readers — I hope you forgive me.

Personally, I think it’s a great idea; who knows, maybe the process will uncover someone truly worthy who has needed something like this to make the big time. I do, however, have one issue.

Why in the world would one sing anything other than The Star-Spangled Banner in the audition?

Last night on SNY, the showed snippets of some of the people who auditioned. Some sounded good, others … well, not so good to my ears. Whatever. But the strange thing was that there were a number of people who were singing songs other than the national anthem. Why? Why in the world would you sing any song other than the one you would be singing at Shea Stadium?

My nameless wife (OK, it’s about time already we identify her by her name, Amy) had this hypothesis:

“Perhaps those people didn’t know the words to the Star-Spangled Banner, and figure that they’ll learn the words (or someone will teach them) if they make it to the second round.”

Frighteningly enough, it makes sense.

Would you audition for the singing of the national anthem if you didn’t know the words? FYI, I’m pretty sure they don’t set up a karaoke screen behind home plate to help out.

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Another Bad Commercial

A few days ago I asked what was the point or joke of the Jose Reyes / 2K8 commercial. FYI, I’m still waiting for someone to ‘splain.

Now there’s another commercial on SNY that is extremely bothersome to me, for a different reason: the Slingbox / police officer ad.

If you haven’t seen it, let me explain. Slingbox is a product that allows you to access your PC from anywhere in the world to watch TV. So, if you have a digital TV card on your PC at home, and you’re in, say, Paris, and you have an internet connection, you can use Slingbox to get to your PC and watch your home TV stations. Or something like that.

The commercial depicts two police officers in a squad car, with a laptop hooked up to Slingbox in the front seat of the car. The two cops are watching TV over the Slingbox while they are driving and in the process of pulling someone over. OK, am I the only one finding something incredibly WRONG with this picture? Isn’t it bad enough that there are idiots on the road who TEXT while driving? Now we have to worry about people watching television on their laptops while traversing major highways at 70+ MPH?

I know, I know … kind of off our central topic of the Mets … but I just had to get it out there.

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A Pirate Pitcher

During the first week of February, I suggested that the Mets give Sean Burnett a flyer, considering that they had plenty of room on the 40-man roster, he was a low-risk, high-reward guy, and would come cheap. At the time, I had this crazy notion that the Mets might need an extra starter — just in case one of El Duque’s body parts acted up and/or something else unexpected occurred.

Once a promising young starter for the Pirates, Burnett suffered a serious elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery and knocked him out for the better part of two seasons. ARight before spring training, the Bucs DFA’d him, but he cleared waivers and stayed on with Pittsburgh.

Burnett put up a strong performance in winter ball, did well in the Pirates’ minicamp, and has had a stellar spring. However, he is fighting for the Bucs’ last bullpen spot and there’s a good chance he won’t make the cut.

So here we are, the Mets DO need another starter, and they may have a second chance to acquire Burnett for next to nothing. He may not be a better option than Nelson Figueroa or Jorge Sosa right now, but take a look at the lack of depth waiting in AAA and you tell me whether it makes sense to stockpile some arms like his.

Who knows, maybe the Bucs will add Xavier Nady to the trade as a throw-in.

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