baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Time to root for the Braves to win the NL East

Last week, I cancelled my DVR recordings of Met games. This week, I am officially rooting for the Braves to beat the Phillies, since obviously the Mets have no chance. I am also hoping against hope that Omar Minaya starts turning some veterans into prospects, otherwise known as "selling."

If he is afraid to sell players because ownership wants to sell tickets, he does not have a good read on the emotional state of Met fans. Most fans, including me, would rather see some hungry, young players brought in to finish the season, instead of watching this collection of broken-down, and/or broken-spirited guys.

It is time to start planning for the future, or at least the part of the future that is 2010. Anyone that is not part of the long-term plan needs to go, especially those guys that have some value to someone else. The Mets should be willing to eat most of their salaries, in order to maximize the return on players such as Gary Sheffield, Livan Hernandez, Brian Schneider, Elmer Dessens, and Luis Castillo. If Carlos Delgado returns this year, I would also include him in the list. It's probably too late to trade Jose Reyes this year, but I would shop him in the off-season.

Castillo, under the most intense fan dislike that one can experience, has actually been the Mets' most consistent offensive contributor this year. If they can entice another team to give up something useful, now is the time, before he gets hurt again, or starts to play like it was 2008.

Baseball is a young man's game, and Omar Minaya is obviously an old man's GM. He needs to adjust or get fired, simple as that. If I were the Wilpons, I would get rid of Minaya, Tony Bernazard, and any other front office guys that are causing division in management. It is time to hire player development experts and fill the organization with great teachers, especially at the lowest levels.

One great move would be to fire Dan Warthen, and hire Greg Maddux to be the pitching coach. The Braves have always had a better GM, a better manager, and usually a better pitching coach than the Mets. It's time to steal one of their great minds and start training pitchers in the Braves' way.

Caroms Off the Wall

You know your team is in trouble when an injury to Fernando Nieve is the final nail in the coffin.

© Judy Kamilhor 2009

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pretty vs. Gritty part two

I ran into an old friend (a Yankee fan) yesterday, and he said he'd read the Mets were grittier than they used to be. He thought that they'd be in great shape when the parade of injured stars comes back in the next few weeks. I agreed that the Mets would certainly be adding more talent than any other team over the next few weeks, even if only half their guys actually make it back. But what happens when you add pretty to gritty? Does the grit rub off on the stars, and make the whole team tougher, or does the pretty rub off on the gritty role-players, and everyone goes back to the way the Mets have played the past two Septembers: full of stars and no toughness at all?

Then the Mets go out and play a crappy game against the Phillies, losing to a guy who hasn't pitched in the major leagues since 2007. Okay, so the team used to be about a 3 on the grit scale of 1-100, and then they went up to about a 22. Much grittier, but in the scheme of things still way behind the Phillies (were a 90, now maybe a 55?) and the Marlins (always at least an 80, even though they kick the ball around a lot). Even the Braves have a good chance to end up ahead of the Mets this year, since they have always beaten the Mets in the player development and player acquisition departments.

When teams get in the mode of waiting for stars to return, they often slump once the guys get back in the lineup, because the guys who have been carrying the load subconsciously ease up. The returning stars haven't gotten their timing and confidence back yet, and suddenly the whole team is spiralling down again.

The key players for the Mets over the next few weeks will be Johan Santana, David Wright, Francisco Rodriguez, and Ryan Church. The current leaders will need to step up and keep it up while the team transitions back into the star-studded, underachieving team of the recent past.

Most importantly, they need Santana to get back to his dominant self that we haven't seen in many weeks. I just think he has to be injured for his slump to go on this long. He doesn't look right at all, his velocity has been down, his strikeouts down, walks up, and his temper has been flaring up an awful lot. The team rarely plays well behind him (true since he joined the team), and it seems to be getting to him.

Fair or not, he has the team on his back, and he needs to do some heavy lifting, with help from Wright, Church, and Rodriguez. If the team expects Reyes, Beltran, Delgado, Maine, Perez, Putz, and Wagner to dramatically improve the results right away, they will be sorely disappointed.

Caroms Off the Wall

About the red hats: give each team a choice of a red, white, or blue hat with the red/white/blue logo, if you absolutely must have these stupid patriotic hats for Memorial Day, July 4th, and whatever else the marketing gurus come up with.

The Mets looked like Phillies or Soviets or Red Chinese. Bad!

© Judy Kamilhor 2009