4 Reasons the 2014 Mets Will Be Better Than the 2013 Mets

Mets fans are frustrated, beaten, exhausted, disillusioned, and mostly, pessimistic about 2014.  And I get it.  In the past seven years the organization has mostly gone backwards.  2007 ended poorly, and we’ve just gotten worse from there.

But I’m here today with a plea for optimism as we get ready for the 2014 season.  I’m not here to predict a championship, or even solvency.  I know we wish the payroll was double what it is, and that we had more all-stars around the diamond.  Do I wish we had tried to sign Tanaka or Cano or Peralta? Absolutely.  But if you feel like you’ve suffered through 2012 and 2013, I think you may actually be able to enjoy 2014.

Look at it this way: Unlike the past few years, when the Mets dumped then-presently-good players (Reyes, Beltran, Dickey) in favor of lesser-skilled players while waiting for potentially-future-better players, this offseason the Mets front office actually tried to get better.   You can’t look at the signings of Granderson and Colon and not conclude they weren’t trying to get better.

So, here is why I am optimistic that the Mets will be better in 2014:

  1. Pitching.  Yes, we won’t have Matt Harvey in 2014.  However, Matt Harvey only won 9 games in 2013, so from a win-loss perspective, he is replaceable.  Bartolo Colon helps, as does a full season of Wheeler and a midseason call up of Thor and his hook from hell.  Niese, Gee and either Lannan or Dice-K round out a rotation that is decidedly not embarrassing.
  2. Infield.  We truly cannot get worse production at Shortstop and First Base than we did in 2013.  Ike or Tejada will get better or they will be replaced.
  3. Outfield.  There are better outfields in baseball than Granderson, Chris Young, Lagares and Eric Young Jr.,  however this outfield is inarguably better than the 2013 Opening Day outfield of Cowgill, Byrd and Duda.
  4. The Mets tried to get better this offseason.  The fact that the Mets added better players in the winter gives me optimism that they will continue to do so going forward.  So, unlike the past few years when we were sellers at the deadline or stood pat, I believe we are trying.  And that, to me, is meaningful.

Follow me on twitter @verceman and let me know what you think.

photo credit: Michael Vercelletto
photo credit: Michael Vercelletto

The Case Against Lowercase Uniform Lettering

The Mets decision to invest in lowercase technology for the uniforms of Travis d’Arnaud, Matt den Dekker , and pitching prospect Jacob deGrom, has been met with mostly praise from the media.  Shannon was among those in social media who mocked the Mets use of an upside-down capital “P” in the past.

photo by Adam Rubin
photo by Adam Rubin

An article in the Wall Street Journal explained that Mets equipment manager Kevin Kierst, is the man responsible for the change.:

Kierst, irritated by the controversial upside-down “P” technique, set out to find a solution to the Mets’ orthographical dilemma. Since Major League Baseball’s uniform supplier, Majestic Athletic, didn’t produce lowercase letters, he designed a set himself in the hope of having them approved for use.

Now, with some help from Majestic, the approval of the league and a large amount of work by Kierst this winter, the Mets have an entire new alphabet at their disposal.

“It’s all about being consistent,” said Kierst, who has an artistic background—he used to paint signs on the outfield walls of minor-league ballparks. “If this is the way they spell their name, then this is the way it should appear on their uniform.”

I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Kierst and Mr. Shark.  I feel like I will be the lone voice here, but I think the new uniforms look silly and are improper.  So, I will take this opportunity to make  my case against lowercase lettering on uniforms.

ALL CAPS is ALL CAPS.  Daryl Strawberry’s uniform read “STRAWBERRY,” not “Strawberry.”  Why is a lowercase letter important just because the proper spelling has it in the beginning of the name?  

If the Mets want to leverage lowercase technology for Travis d’Arnaud’s uniform, it is silly to use “d’ARNAUD”.  Shouldn’t it say “d’Arnaud” if we are going to go that route?  I contend the best use of lettering is to be consistent, and stick with “D’ARNAUD”. 

As an example, look at this book about the famous painter Vincent van Gogh.  Notice the cover reads “VAN GOGH,” not “van GOGH.”



I think the efforts to correctly spell athletes names is an honorable endeavor, and I agree that using an upside-down “P” was goofy, but this just does not sit right with me.

Whether you’re with me or against me, let me know on twitter or in the comments section.  Follow me @verceman and CC: @metspolice I believe there are more ALL CAPS purists out there than we realize!

Raissman: Eddie Coleman won’t be making jump to WOR

According to the Daily News, we’ll still hear Eddie “Grey Goose” Coleman next season, but only as WFAN’s Mets beat reporter, and not on WOR in any capacity. Bob Raissman still believes Josh Lewin will ultimately still be in the 2014 Mets WOR booth, but WOR won’t make a long-term commitment:

Ed Coleman will be back covering the Mets, but won’t be hosting the pre- and postgame shows, or doing play-by-play, on WOR-AM.

He will be serving strictly as WFAN’s Mets beat reporter. WOR suits did not look for continuity in their first broadcast season. A radio source said they wanted to shake things up and even were reluctant to bring Howie Rose back.

Mets brass stuck its beak into that situation, but apparently didn’t go to the mat for either Coleman or Josh Lewin, who likely will be back but not under a long term deal.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/raissman-peyton-find-tv-spot-worthy-talents-article-1.1583955#ixzz2qrro4dWU

Hat Tip to @robpatterson83 of Effing Mets on twitter for the link. http://t.co/w4wXsRIffj


Shannon here (thanks Mike for grabbing)

WHAT????????? Reluctant to have Howie back????

Fred pick up the gosh darn phone and smack the suits back into understanding BRAND. Putting on Fuzzy & The Bean in the booth to “cool” up the games isn’t going to work. Fish where the fish are and THE FISH LIKE HOWIE AND JOSH.

Grrrrr. Can’t I even be Mets-happy for 24 hours?

Why Can’t Bobby Valentine Be This Interesting on Twitter?

I was a big fan of Bobby Valentine as manager of the Mets, and think he’s great as a commentator. He also can be pretty much a dick sometimes. The thing is, his most shocking comments, the ones that cause controversy and outrage, he is usually right about. After all, Derek Jeter WAS out of position when he made “the flip,” and the Mets were more visible than the Yankees in the first few weeks after 9/11. Anyway, those who love him, love him at least in part because of the “shocking” things he says.

You can follow Bobby Valentine on twitter, but on twitter, shockingly, @BobbyValentine is really really boring. Who could have predicted that? Great job, Sacred Heart, blah blah blah.

Anyway, Bobby Valentine was on WFAN with Joe Beningo and Evan Roberts on Thursday. As you would hope from Bobby Valentine, he made some interesting comments. The part that might make the most headlines is what he said about Ruben Sierra. He claims he noticed Sierra put on a ton of weight over one offseason, and wasn’t known as a weightlifter. Bobby inquired about it, and was told by people that he should stay out of it. Evan pushed him on who was trying to hush him, but Bobby acted as if he couldn’t remember because it was a long time ago, but clearly he remembered getting the message to look the other way.

Bobby was asked about Mike Piazza and the Hall Of Fame. Bobby said Mike was unquestionably the best hitting

Bobby Valentime Tweeting
Bobby Valentine Tweeting

catcher of his generation, and maybe in the history of the game and he deserves to be in the Hall. He said he never even had a hint that Mike might be using PEDs, but admitted who was using what wasn’t something that anybody cared about at that time.

Bobby then made an excellent point about the BBWAA that I hadn’t ever considered until now.

“The [writers] who voted for Mike to be the MVP… probably aren’t voting for him now to go to the Hall of Fame”

Mike Piazza never actually won an MVP award, though he finished second in 1996 and 1997, and finished in the top 10 seven times.  However, when you consider Barry Bonds’ case, Bobby Valentine’s point is made clear:

The exact same writers who won’t put Barry Bonds in the Hall of Fame (less than 35% of writers voted for him this year), voted for Barry Bonds to be Most Valuable Player SEVEN times, including EVERY year from 2001 to 2004, when he got 91 percent of first place votes and even people who thought O.J. was innocent knew that Bonds was juicing.

The HOF voting group is larger than the MVP group, but still – how ‘revisionist history’ can a group get?

For a long time I thought it was justified keeping Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens out of the Hall, because in my mind these guys were obvious cheaters. These guys were so stubborn about their denials of blatant ‘roid use, I thought they deserved what they got. But lately I’ve been coming around. Barry Bonds was unquestionably the dominant player of his era. He absolutely deserves to be in the Hall, whatever he was using to inflate his biceps and cranium.

When Piazza eventually gets into the Hall of Fame, I will take my son to the induction ceremony. (He’s six now, hopefully he won’t have to drive me to Cooperstown.) I think Barry Bonds should have a plaque too.

Hope to meet you guys at the QBC – I’ll be wearing a UVA “V” baseball cap. If you see me, say hello!


Mixed Feelings About Mike Piazza’s Hall Of Fame Candidacy in 2014

Piazza at Shea stadium April 18 2003

Last year most Mets fans felt Mike Piazza was flat-out robbed by the BBWAA when he failed to receive enough votes to make him a first-ballot hall of famer. This same bunch spoke of Mike as a no-doubt Hall Of Fame candidate during his playing days, but five years later he was lumped with Clemens and Bonds as suspected cheaters, despite any evidence. Piazza only received 57.8% of the vote.

Piazza at Shea stadium April 18 2003

Now, a year later, writers seem to have come around. Ken Davidoff admits he made a mistake last year, and apparently many other writers have reconsidered as well. If you follow Darren Viola (@RRepoz) on twitter, you’ll see Mike Piazza currently is named on about 74 percent of the known ballots. He’s right around the needed 75 percent mark. Great, right?

Except for one thing. Greg Maddux is on 100 percent of ballots, in line to be the first unanimous inductee, and Tom Glavine is on almost every ballot as well. Mike Piazza, if inducted, would be sharing the dais with two of the most reviled Braves this side of Chipper Jones, one of whom is also one of the most reviled Mets this side of Bobby Bonilla.

So, how do we feel, Mets fans? Do we want Mike to get his just due in 2014, or wait another year, and share the stage with Pedro Martinez?