Browsing Archive September, 2011

Blog Roundup: Walls of Citi Edition

The blogosphere is abuzz about a single sentence uttered by Sandy Alderson on Tuesday night’s SNY broadcast.  “If we make changes, they’re not likely to be subtle,” Alderson said about changing the outfield wall dimensions.

And the Blogs can’t contain themselves (or hold back on the Ronald Reagan references):

  • TedQuarters wonders how new dimensions would change the team’s strategy.
  • Real Dirty Mets looks at how new dimensions would affect the pitching staff as well as the lineup.
  • Metszilla is opposed to tearing down that wall.
  • Metsmerized is more concerned with building a pitching staff than a new outfield wall.
  • Rising Apple illustrates that there is more to Lucas Duda than just raw power.
  • Amazin’ Stories talks about the persistence of Jason Bay.

Keep checking out Mets Today for more talk about walls (and the Mets).


Alderson: 2012 Closer Not A Met Yet

In case you missed it, Sandy Alderson appeared with Ron and Gary during the top of the third inning in last night’s Mets-Cardinals game. The Mets cooperated, scoring three runs, giving Alderson the time to respond from some frank questioning from Cohen.

Alderson admitted that the 2012 closer may not yet be in the organization and that the team will not use next Spring Training to decide on who gets the role. He blamed the recent dreadful homestand on the numerous blown save opportunities by the bullpen. Alderson also dwelled on the concept that this as-yet-undetermined closer may currently be a minor league pitcher on the verge of a breakthrough.

Alderson spoke highly of both Ruben Tejada and Dan Murphy, noting the Mets slide from contention began when Murphy was lost for the year. He praised Jason Bay‘s determination to work himself back to past performance and indicated that the starting rotation, plus Johan Santana will be much the same as this year. He also said that his staff will recommend changes to the dimension of Citi Field.


Mets Game 154: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 11 Mets 6

If this were 1960, the season would now be over. Unfortunately for Mets fans suffering through a meaningless September, there are still 8 more games to go.

This was really MUCH closer than the final score indicates. And I know I’ve typewritten these exact words several times this year, but trust me — it was really and truly a close game, for most of the contest.


Welcome Back Wally Backman

It seems like a minor thing — and I’ve yet to read anything, anywhere previewing the occurrence — but tonight, Wally Backman suits up for a Major League game for the first time since May 14, 1993.

Sure, he’s been around during spring training, but that doesn’t count. The last time Wally was in uniform for a MLB game was in ’93, in Oakland, as a member of the Seattle Mariners, pinch-hitting for Mike Blowers with men on first and second and two outs against A’s righthander Joe “The Saver” Boever. Backman flied out to centerfield to end the 10th inning of a game eventually won in the 11th by the Athletics; Wally was playing third base when the final run scored.

Backman was released by the Mariners three days later; he was 33 years old and hitting .138. He had appeared in all of 10 games — starting in 8 of them at second base. Originally, Backman had signed with the Braves over the previous winter, but didn’t make the team out of spring training and he signed on April 5 with the Mariners, who at the time weren’t sure whether the free-swinging, not-yet-artificially-enhanced Bret Boone was the answer at second base. But Backman was clearly at the end of his string, Boone had returned from AAA and was showing some pop, and 31-year-old rookie Rich Amaral was more versatile and providing surprising offense. Wally’s weak showing in his 10-game audition made him the odd man out when DH Edgar Martinez returned from the disabled list, and so he was sent packing. A few weeks later, the M’s drafted a high school shortstop named Alex Rodriguez — just to give you some perspective.

A few years after leaving Seattle, Backman began his road back to the big leagues, managing a team in the old independent Northeast League (the same league that Ken Oberkfell began his managing career). It’s been a rollercoaster ever since, one that seemed to reach a dead end until Backman was hired to manage the Brooklyn Cyclones last year.

It doesn’t matter what your feeling is on Backman the person or Backman the manager. The story is that after almost 20 years, through challenging obstacles (both self-inflicted and external), and against nearly impossible odds, Wally has returned to a MLB clubhouse, wearing a MLB uniform. Will he ever make it to the next step — one that will see him sitting in the dugout, perhaps as a coach? Time will tell.