Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Support for R.A. Dickey

I've read a lot the last couple of days about the Mets asking R.A. Dickey not to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. I understand the business point of view the Mets have to take - they don't want one of their starting pitchers to get hurt. However, as a Met fan I fully support Dickey's decision to continue on with his charitable journey, as he is climbing to raise money for the Bombay Teen Challenge and raise awareness about sex trafficing. Is there a chance he could get injured? Of course, but doesn't that chance exist with everything anyone does? Will it hurt the team if he can't play? Of course it will. However, as far as I have heard and read he has properly trained for this climb and understands what it takes to make the trek. I think it will be an even more powerful statement if he continues in the face of the Mets requests to not go. I think it shows that baseball and sports in general is not the most important thing in the world. In this country especially professional athletes are worshipped for their scoring average, home run total, or passing yards. Then at times their off the field work is appreciated. But here is an athlete that we know loves and respects the game as much as anyone else saying he wants to be more than a baseball player - he wants to make a difference even if it could impact his baseball career. I think the Mets should be supportive. I'm sure if making the trek up the mountain has an impact on his contract Dickey has been properly advised about it. The Mets have made their feelings known. Now if he says I understand and wants to continue the Mets should applaud his efforts and wish him the best. It's the right thing to do. They should be so lucky to have such a man represent their team.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No Rush to Judgment on Braun

Ryan Braun is the quintessential good guy in sports. It also doesn't hurt that he is a good looking guy too. People seem to like him and as far as his character has been displayed on and off the field he has always been thought of to be a class act. So when news broke last weekend that Braun had failed MLB's drug test, the whole baseball community was in shock. When it happened to A-Rod I think people believed he did it, but didn't want to. Manny Rameriz faced a similar reaction. People just wanted them to be clean for the sake of the game. However, I think the reaction afforded Braun is less judgmental and leaning towards the idea that this must be a mistake. I think the public and even the often news hungry, quick to crucify media have all stood back in the days after the news broke to press pause and wait for Braun's side of the story to come out through the appeals process. This is how stories like this should be handled, but often it isn't. Our society is usually quick to judge, but for some reason Braun gets some room to say listen first. Perhaps it's his accolades that make us respect his position more - he is the reigning NL MVP. Or perhaps its the way he handles himself on and off the field that makes the public and media' pause. He handled Jose Reyes' bunt and exit to win the NL batting title like a true professional when everyone else complained. As for off the field, it has been said that is does a lot for the community. Looking at both these reasons, it seems as if the latter reason would be the prevailing reason the public and media are giving Braun some time to be heard. A-Rod and Ramirez were both stellar baseball players, but their attitudes and even some of their actions were not looked upon favorably.

Time will tell though as the appeal process goes on as to whether Braun failed the drug test. Although, even a failed test isn't indicative of any intentional wrong doing. Perhaps he took something with a banned substance in it without knowing. Unfortunately, this isn't a defense unless what he took happens to the be on the very specific list of items deemed to be safe by MLB for players to use. It's unfortunate whatever the result is, for Braun will always have to answer questions for the rest of his playing career about this matter. Also, it's unfortunate for this team because they may lose the superstar they just invested a lot of money in for 50 games. And it's unfortunate for the sport deemed to be America's Past Time because it yet again takes a hit concerning cleaning up the game and its end product - talent and competition.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reyes Watch is Over

It is being reported now that the Miami Marlins and Jose Reyes have reached an agreement for 6 years and $106 million. Sandy Alderson, Mets GM, has acknowledged this evening that they could not compete with the Marlins latest offer. He also stated that they were not contemplating trading David Wright. With that said, Wright now becomes the longest tenured Met. It appears the by stating this Alderson is hoping to keep fan interest by retaining one of the two superstars on the team. However, there has been no talk of offering Wright an extension this off-season other than ideas posed by Met writers/bloggers.

It will be interesting to see what the Mets decide to do now as far as free agents are concerned. They are clearly in the market for a closer and it was even mentioned earlier that they may have reached out to Francisco Rodriquez's (K-Rod) people. Also it is thought that they will seek other arms for the bullpen. As the starting rotation goes it seems pretty set with Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, John Niese, RA Dickey, and Dillion Gee. However, with Pelfrey having a less than par year and the question of how Santana will be bounce back from injury there is also an option to seek another started for the rotation. It's unfortunate that Chris Capuano just signed a two year deal with the Dodgers. Perhaps the Mets could have retained them with the money they were reserving for Reyes. The other big question seems to be second base. It has been thought for awhile that if Reyes were to leave Ruben Tejada would take over at shortstop and Daniel Murphy would be the primary second baseman with Justin Turner filling in at time. However, there are a couple of problems with this lineup. Murphy has already had his knees injured twice while playing second base. Also, they have to have someone on the team that can back up shortstop which would mean that would be caring two middle infielders on the bench because Turner probably can't back up shortstop except occasionally. Also, Alderson has already said that Murphy was available for trade decisions so it will be interesting to see who opens up next spring at second base.

With Reyes departure it appears that the Mets organization got one of their many off-season questions answered, but definitely not the answer they wanted. But there are still many more questions that remain and hopefully with the biggest issue now closed the organization can move ahead with other matters.

Say It Ain't So Jose ...

ESPN Deportes is reporting that the Miami Marlins have offered Jose Reyes a 6 year deal worth $111 million. If this report is true it appears that Reyes will not be returning to the Mets. It was around this time last year that I woke up early in the morning to see that Cliff Lee had signed with the Phillies - horrible news. But tomorrow if I wake to see Reyes will be taking the field next year in the horrendous uniforms with Miami across his chest it will probably be the worst sports news I have ever received. Growing up a college sports fan players generally leave on good terms - or at least the players that mattered. DeJuan Wheat wore out his eligibility. Fransisco Garcia was given Rick Pitino's blessing to leave early - he was ready and he needed to take of his family. The list could go on and on. And sure I missed them when the left, but it was expected. Professional sports though is a different game altogether. I have been an Eagles fan since college, but even when Donovan McNabb was traded I wasn't sad. I was hoping that Michael Vick would ultimately take over the quarterback role, even though Kevin Kolb was slated to (and eventually Vick did). I claimed to be a 76ers fan, but really I was just an Allen Iverson fan. When Iverson left I lost interest. But the Mets - I love the Mets. And since I've only been watching for about four years to me I can't imagine a Mets team without Jose Reyes. Reyes was by far the most exciting player on the team and without his presence I can't imagine what the team will be like. It has often been said that if David Wright is the face of the franchise, Reyes is the heart and soul. It will be hard to sit at Citifield and never see number 7 lead-off the bottom of the first inning. It will be hard to see Ruben Tejada take the field every day at short stop. But it will probably be the hardest to see him at Citifield sitting in the visitor's dugout. I understand professional sports is a business, but its hard not to love certain players. I was sad when Carlos Beltran left, but I knew it was coming. Reyes is different though. He has the longest tenure as a Met. His name is all over the record book. He is a special player - it would just be nice if he continued to shine under the bright lights of New York. But I guess there is still room for a little hope. He hasn't signed anywhere yet, but even I - the most optimistic Met fan - am thinking that the Jose Reyes Saga is about to come to end and it's not going to be a happy one for me and the rest of the Mets fans.