Category Archives: The Mets

Bobby Valentine is the Right Guy

As you should have heard by now, Bobby V will be introduced as the new manager for the Red Sox this evening. His name came up late in the discussion, but it was pretty clear as soon as it did, that he was gonna be the guy. Analysts seem to agree that Valentine is the best option for the Sox, especially since Dale Sveum went and signed with the Cubs. There does seem to be a lot of concern that Bobby is too “mean” or “harsh” or “tough” for the Red Sox dugout, which was famously lax towards the end of this season.

But really, why is that a problem? It’s his job to manage the team, and if the players are so spoiled by the media and the fans that Bobby could get in trouble for laying down the law, then Boston really needs to reevaluate its priorities. They certainly have the pieces to be a great team. Boston, as a franchise and as a city, needs to ask itself: “are we trying to create a winning baseball team, or a zoo of talented media darlings?”

I think that hiring Valentine is absolutely the right move for Boston, and iron fist or no, Bobby is a charming man, and will handle the Boston media and potentially grouchy players with that particular brand of Bobby Valentine insanity that Major League Baseball has been missing since he left the Mets in 2002.

Let’s take a look at the two major events in the history of “Bobby Valentine is Crazy”:

  • We’ve all heard about Bobby Valentine and the fake moustache. As a matter of fact, it was one of the first ‘baseball stories’ I heard from my boyfriend when I was first getting into the game. This is the quintessential Bobby V story, highlighting the goofy, foolhardy side of his nature that makes him so fun to watch, and listen to. My commentary on the moustache incident is: Did he have a fake mustache waiting for him in the locker room, just in case he needed it sometime? I mean, look at this guy:

That is a nice fake mustache. That is a fake mustache that has been waiting around for its day in the sun. It’s not just some random shavings slapped together at the last second. And that is what makes it so great: Bobby Valentine had this disguise prepared, just waiting for a chance to try it out. Awesome.

  • Second, is the Wrap Incident. Basically, the story is that Bobby Valentine claims to have invented the wrap sandwich. In an interview with the Food Network, he claimed to be the first person to serve sandwich elements in a tortilla, at his restaurant in Connecticut.  Which is awesome and ridiculous, since, as my boyfriend so eloquently said, “I don’t know if anyone alive can stake a valid claim to that, given its similarities to the gyro and burrito. But that makes it even better.”

I don't care who invented it, it's still delicious

In conclusion, Bobby Valentine has managed winning teams, here and abroad. He knows what he wants from his players, and how to get that out of them. Which is what the Red Sox need right now. They are going to be a better team next year, if only because they will be eating healthy wraps instead of fried chicken in the dugout.

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Filed under Baseball, Red Sox, The Mets

In Which I Attempt to Score A Baseball Game

I love keeping track of minutia. I used to have complicated spreadsheets of everything I ate, not for health or weight-loss reasons, but just because I like to do that kind of thing. So, obviously, baseball is right up my alley, and probably psychologically healthier for me than charting the number of potato chips versus carrot sticks I’ve eaten this month.

Those of you who do not obsessively follow the New York Mets, or their SNY broadcasting team, may not know that Keith Hernandez, of first baseSeinfeld, and Just For Men fame, is just about as statistically obsessed as I am. He keeps a infamously complicated scorecard, and is basically my hero when it comes to the analytical aspect of baseball fandom.

I was a bit intimidated to do a scorecard live, cause it seems like there’s a lot to do, even if you don’t keep track of each player’s batting stance and preferred dugout sports drink, so I decided to score an old game available in the archives of my MLB.tv subscription. I happened to have a Rockies scorecard that I picked up in the Denver airport, so I picked a Mets-Rockies game from May, and had at it.

(click through for enormous full size)

As you can (maybe) see, I didn’t finish the game, I got distracted, and this had already taken nearly three hours. The Mets lost, anyways. The funny pink bits in the lineup are pieces of gaffe tape that I put over the lineups, because I originally forgot to skip boxes when filling it out. I couldn’t find any whiteout, and of course I did all this in pen.

I don’t want to go through the game play-by-play, but rather to look at the notation require to do one of these things. The basic plays, like a fly-out to center field (F8), or a walk (BB) are pretty universal, but beyond that, there is a lot of room for interpretation. I took some time to look at this website, and of course, the advice of Keith Hernandez, and his scorecards in the back of the Pure Baseball book I mentioned earlier.

I decided to keep track of all the pitches in each at bat, numbering them in the balls/strikes columns by the number of said pitch in the at bat. By that I mean, if the count is 1-2 after the first three pitches, and the batter fouls off the next two pitches, the following ball is noted as “6” in the ball column, rather than “4,” to indicate that two pitches were thrown between the third and sixth “counting” pitches. And I put a little dot down to note each 2-strike foul ball. You can see this in CarGo’s at-bat in the first inning (page 2, 3rd box in the 1st column), there is no “4,” because the 4th pitch was a two-strike foul ball.

That is super-nerdy, and requires paying a lot of attention. I have not tried this out during a live game, and I am a little nervous to do so, especially since I tend to watch baseball socially. Otherwise, you can see some variation in my scoring notations, as I try to figure out what I like. I decided that I like drawing the little line (see Ike Davis in the 4th and 6th innings) that shows where the ball was hit. But, with those two singles, you can also see the difference as I decide where to write the “1B” on the diamond. It makes sense to write it outside, if you fill in the entire diamond when a player eventually scores a run, but I feel that wastes valuable note-making space.

There’s still a lot more work to do in order to make this easy for myself while I do it, and easy to put together after the fact. I like the idea of different colored highlighters for different pitchers, or to annotate other aspects of the game that the traditional scoring glosses over.

I’m gonna keep working on this, and maybe I’ll show you some of my work. But, as always, it’s not about showing off, or trying to teach or preach. It’s about me loving baseball, and wanting to be as involved as my neurotic, obsessive-compulsive personality can be. And feelings, and tampons and other lady-things.

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Filed under Baseball, Math, Rockies, The Mets

News and Requests

Hello, and have I got some things to tell you!

First of all, I have started a twitter account to be linked with this blog, for me to post short baseball thoughts, without having to develop them into full posts. Also so that the little twitter feed on the side doesn’t get clogged with non-baseball tweets like “I want some chinese food! #lol” So, as of RIGHT NOW you can start following @Lady_Baseball and receive up-to-the-minute live Lady Baseball Opinions (r) on your feed! You’re also welcome to continue following my personal account, @fiiidget, but remember what I said earlier about tweets regarding chinese food.

Secondly, do you remember when I went to the Mets-Cardinals game on my birthday and I got an Ike Davis Bobblehead? Well, I want to know if you went to that same game, too! (July 19, 2011, 7:10 PM) Did you get an Ike Davis Bobblehead? Do you know someone who did? Did you buy one on eBay afterwards and make a shrine to it in your linen closet? I’d love to know about it!

You can now email me at ladybaseballopinions@gmail.com! Send me a photo of your Ike Davis Bobblehead, along with any personal information you’d like to divulge, and I will feature it on this here blog! Exciting!

That’s about all the big news that I have. I’ve got a few things I’m working on for future posts, including another epic math-baseball-breakdown, and my adventures in scorecards. What can I say, I like stats.

See you punks soon!

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Filed under Baseball, Lady Stuff, The Mets, Uncategorized

3 Parks in 7 Days/NE Ballpark Tour ’11

This past week has been an excellent one, in terms of me+baseball. For my birthday on the 19th, I saw a Mets-Cardinals game; also for my birthday I went to Boston over the weekend and saw a Red Sox-Mariners game, my first time at Fenway, and just last night, on a whim I went to see the Yankees-Mariners game! So that’s three different parks in less than a week, and 5 different teams! My team only won once (The Mets!), but I did get to see Terry Francona’s 1000th win, and the Mariner’s 14th and 16th consecutive losses! So a record-setting tour, for sure!

I also have begun to teach myself to score games, watching old games on MLB.tv, so that I can pause and rewind to double check my notations. But that is content for another post.  For this post, I think I shall review the 3 ballparks I have recently visited–the only three major league parks I’ve seen games in, in fact. (I did visit Shea–I gave tours of it, and I saw a Salem Avalanche game years and years ago).

Let’s start with the hometown team:

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Filed under Ballparks, Baseball, The Mets

It’s Shopping Time!

UPDATE: It’s my birthday!! And, being a selfish child, I insisted on opening a present first thing upon waking this morning. It was this book:

Now I can geek out even, even, even more about this excellent game! I wanted to write a much longer post about all the different cool things about baseball, but my thumb hurts, so I just tweaked this post some! I’m going to the Mets game tonight to get my Ike Davis bobblehead. Don’t worry, you will hear ALL. ABOUT. IT.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled post:

We ladies sure know a lot about shopping! Am I right? Totally, shoes and stuff! Yeah!
Nah, what I am really talking about is the trade deadline, and teams shopping around to gain or lose players and money! The trade deadline is at the end of this month, and marks the date that teams must stop swapping around their players, except for waivers, which is a concept that I do not completely understand. I imagine the “waiver wire” to be something like the decoder ring scene in A Christmas Story.

The Mets...offer...Beltran...

But we haven’t reached that point yet, it’s still the nice straightforward part of the season where teams do their trading out in the open! So let’s discuss what’s up for grabs:

  • The Mets really are a big story in all this! Even though I live in NYC and would hear all about their every move anyways. They’ve already dealt their problematic closer, and have two big exciting players that everyone wants! Sandy Alderson has already expressed strong interest in keeping Reyes around, and rumors swirl about Beltran going to the Giants, which makes sense. Brian Wilson said it, and who are we, as mere mortals, to argue with him?
  • The Braves continue to hold a strong 2nd place in the NL East, and Wild Card lead. Plus they’ve a nice batch of young players. So, the talk of Derek Lowe going to Detroit is unsurprising and the Braves pitching is deep enough to handle it. Plus, Lowe is a Michigan boy, and hometown heroes are a big thing these days.
  • The Yankees are inquiring about Ubaldo Jimenez, because exactly what they need is another super-hyped pitcher who fails to live up to expectations. There are several teams who could stand to add another starting pitcher, but Ubaldo is a risky choice. No doubt he was an ace last season, and there are those commercials with him and his funny name, but he has Really Struggled this season. Which means that a team like the Reds or the Yankees could end up paying for the Ubaldo who no-hit the Braves in April, and went 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA in 2010, and end up getting the Ubaldo of 2011 who didn’t win a game until May 17.

But the most exciting part of all of this is that player who are traded get to go out and buy some new shoes to match their new uniforms! Yay shopping!

If Beltran goes to the Giants, he gets a pair of these!

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Filed under Baseball, Lady Stuff, The Mets, Trades

All-Star Game News Update

I know that it’s not my job to break the big baseball news stories. There are plenty of other guys who are willing to whip up an article at 11pm, people who did not DVR the All-Star Game, start it at 9:30 and then just drank through the whole thing anyways. So it should come as no surprise to you that the National League won 5-1, and that the Mets announced that closer Francisco Rodriguez was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers for Players-To-Be-Named immediately after the game.

No, my role in all of this is to provide some Opinions. And my opinion on both items is: Well done!

Obviously, the National League is the team to root for in the All-Star Game, because a) The Mets are in the NL b) The Yankees are in the AL and c) The NL doesn’t have the designated hitter. Plus, the lineups were so shuffled around by the time the game actually got started that Andrew McCutchen did make it! And, even though Derek Jeter was replaced by Asdrubal Cabrera, who I like, Jeter was extremely rude and didn’t even show up to Arizona. Even though they have a pool!

And there might be babes in it!

No, the NL is the way to go, for sure. And they won. So yay! Speaking of the pool at Chase Field, did you manage to catch the interview with Justin Timberlake, who was standing around with said pool, and babes? Because he was wonderful. And by wonderful I mean “drunk.”

Mark Grace: It’s a pretty good spot. Now you wanted ballpark food. Peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs, which one’s your favorite?

Justin Timberlake:My favorite? Just beer.

Mark Grace: Really? Beer! It’s kind of the perfect food.

Justin Timberlake: It goes with the hot dog, it goes with nachos, it goes with peanuts. Beer’s perfect. Beer never got mad at me because I didn’t call beer back.

Thanks to Mets blog Amazin Avenue for the transcript.

Alright, on to Part Two: The K-Rod Deal

I am glad, it is a good move. There is much speculation that the deal was done without Frankie’s consent, and that he is upset about it. But that is what you get when you are a man who throws a temper tantrum, hurts yourself, and then has an enormous vesting option that your team cannot really afford to pay.  I like K-Rod, don’t get me wrong; I especially liked his first-ever Major League at-bat this season. He was cute.

Couldn't find a picture of the at-bat, but it was a lot like this.

But scared puppy or no, K-Rod needed to be traded. And the Brewers, I think, will be a good match for him, whether he thinks so right now or not. They are a happy, fun-loving team, with a real chance to win and some great personalities, which will hopefully help with his anger issues some. Plus, the Brewers’ manager, Ron Roenicke, has worked with Frankie while he was with the Angels. There is the small issue of Jon Axford, who is, and will clearly remain, the Brewers’ closer, but I’m hoping some humble pie will do K-Rod some good. And if he can’t stand being the set-up man, he can leave at the end of the season.

And it’s good for the Mets, because they paid off the $5 million they owe him, and that $17.5 mil becomes the Brewers’ problem. And the Mets get a chance to develop the rest of their bullpen, and focus on their options for the rest of this season. So, I say, “Well Done.”

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Filed under All-Star Game, Baseball, The Mets, Trades

All-Star Roster Opinions

I am not going to go through and spout off opinions about every single player included on/snubbed from the All-Star Roster this year. I have lots of other things I have to do with my time, like read this book, or watch this documentary. There are just a few major issues I would like to express my opinion on in regards to the Midsummer Classic this year.

Derek Jeter

Ugh, Derek Jeter. I am well aware that my knowledge of baseball history has some significant gaps in it. I’ve seen the first four episodes of Ken Burns’ Baseball, and I remember Mark McGwire’s Got Milk? ads from the 90s.

Besides that, my knowledge of baseball’s major figures and events starts right around September 2008. So Jeter doesn’t mean that much to me. I’ve seen him in his decline, almost exclusively. I understand that All-Star voting is a popularity contest, and that people vote for players they know. I also understand that no one is better known, in a positive light, in baseball today than Derek Jeter. I stil don’t think he should have made the starting lineup. Put him on the bench, even though his playing doesn’t deserve it, as a fond farewell to one of the greats. Give Asdrubal Cabrera the chance to parallel what A-Rod did in 2001 with Cal Ripken Jr. I’m just sayin’: he’s not that good anymore, guys. I mean, Jeter makes it and Ichiro doesnt? Hmph.

Jose Reyes

Here is a dude I am glad made the starting lineup! Jose is the most talented, most enthusiastic and exciting player in the game today. And I might even think so if he wasn’t a New York Met. His numbers speak to his talent, and his ability to come back from injury. We were all so worried about him coming into the season. I’ll admit, I suggested, probably more than once, that the Mets try to get rid of him before he proved himself a flop. I was wrong (I was also wrong about Carlos Beltran, I suggested they do the same with him).

But what makes Jose so immensely deserving, even over Tulo, who is very good, is the shear JOY with which he plays the game. I love nothing more than to see Reyes slide into third, and pop up, immediately ready to clap and cheer, or to argue with the ump, big goofy smile on his face either way.

The Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates are FOUR games over .500, the latest into a season they’ve had a winning record since, like, 1665, or something. They are also only 1.5 games back behind the St. Louis Cardinals, who, even without Mr. Pujols, are a very very good team. And Joel Hanrahan is the only Pirate in the All-Star game. I know he’s not the only guy who’s winning these games for them. Hanrahan is an excellent closer, saving 25 games already this year, but there are a few other guys who have made things happen for the Bucs.

Guys like, say, oh, Andrew McCutchen? Who not only is not on the All-Star Roster, is not even one of the final vote-in options? What the hell? I don’t violently disagree with any of the NL outfield selections, but surely there is room out there for this guy.

Kay, that’s about all for now. Nothing earth-shattering, but there you go.

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Filed under All-Star Game, Baseball, The Mets