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Poll

What Number Should They Issue to 'Fartinez'?
6
12%
8
18%
12
6%
16
6%
18
6%
22
12%
24
6%
26
0%
27
0%
28
0%
29
0%
30
0%
38
0%
39
0%
43
0%
44
12%
47
0%
49
0%
58
12%
Other?
12%
Total votes: 17

 

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Mets by the Numbers

The Mets Website That Counts

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Bat Boys Bat Boys Whatcha Gonna Do

A few quick notes before I head out of town to spend some time at the home of the band whose song is referenced in the title of today's post:

 

1) Several readers including David reminded me that I (and the mets.com roster I ripped off) left Jenrry Meija (I had to have spelled that name wrong) off the spring training roster where he should be noted to be wearing No. 76.  

 

2) I neglected to mention this website recently passed its 11th birthday on Feb. 22. That's in part because I made such a wreck of the 10th birthday bash, neglecting to make it all the way down the 'top 10' countdown as promised. Shameful. But I haven't stopped doing this. Shortly after I return next week, the website will be freshly updated with a new look & feel I'd been working on for the last month with the crack team at Crooked Number. The changes -- necessitated mainly by an upgrade of the operating system that would make the current look go kablooey -- may look plain at first, but is much more powerful beneath the hood and is only a start. 

 

3) I first got this question a few years ago, and didn't know what to say then or now: What will the Bat Boys be wearing in 2010? As I recall the history, Met bat boys went numberless until 1986 (maybe 85?) and have in most years worn the figure of the year -- except in 1999 when they skipped ahead to 00 so as not to mess with Turk Wendell's mojo. Despite the second-straight curious spring training issue to Andy Green, it seems as if No. 10 will be available this year, but I'm thinking maybe 00 might be better. I've never been a fan of the 'BB' designation some teams use and I'd hate to see it here. Thoughts?

 

4) I'm again happy to have been asked to contribute an article for the 2010 Maple Street Press Mets Annual, which is arriving on area newsstands now. My contribution -- a look at 2009's injuries and their place in team history, got a terrific boost from longtime MBTN contributor Jason E., whose comprehensive history of the Mets disabled list made it all work. Did you know who the all-time leader for separate trips to the disabled list is? What body part has been injured most often? Who was the first Met ever to go on the DL? Then pick this thing up now. Also, there's good articles. 

 

5) We're scheduling another Amazin' Tuesday March 23 at Two Boots Tavern on the Lower East Side. Deets to come.

 

See you in a week! 

All You Zombies Show Your Faces

Quick note to inform everyone we're still here, wearing our Phillie Phanatic Underoos and puzzling over the perceived lack of conviction among Met fans for rooting interests this World Series. We had some computer issues, busy work schedules and sickness, but will have new Met related stuff up soon.

 

Hey Met fans: Root for the Phillies. The way I see it, the Phils beat the Mets, they may as well beat everyone. And they're the only team this postseason -- certainly the first to face the Yankees -- that hasn't gone around playing the kind of embarrassing baseball we've already seen too much of this year. So if you're still on the fence, don't let rhe media trick you into buying Mets-Phillies as an overwrought drama in the vein of Red Sox-Yankees: Support your league, take what consolation you can in acknowledging the Mets fell to a terrific team, and hope the Phillies get their Phil this time around (if ever) and subsequently begin the the kind of sad death-spiral that all multichampionship teams eventually encounter.

Around the Horn

Keith Olbermann appears to have received our information on near-Met Wilbur Huckle. In his latest post, Keith quotes the article we posted and reveals that the roster obtained by his photographer friend includes Huckle's name written in pencil and identified as wearing No. 24 -- a jersey that would have been available in September of 1963. He also follows up with details of the New Breed's push for Huckle's presidential candidacy in 1964. A shout-out for MBTN and Jason? Nope.

Reader Edward in the meantime reminds us that Darryl Strawberry and a pitcher -- he cannot recall who -- were similarly invited to spend time with the 1982 Mets at season's end.

* * * * * *

Keith's blog has been added to the "Good at Baseball" links to the left. To the Mets links, I've added those of beat writers Adam Rubin of the Daily News and David Lennon of Newsday -- two guys who work incredibly hard so that other bloggers have links to aggregate every day. The print press is getting killed and the Internet is a great thing but to me there's nothing like getting my hands all inky with the Snooze every morning. At 50 cents a day it's an ideal commute killer and a bargain too. Read the papers.

* * * * * *

Helmet... from hellThe Mets appear to have shut down their online survey on their uniforms -- hopefully not before you, like me, submitted a few dozen responses. Don't think I've come across anyone who's a big fan of the black anymore but I sense the hatred among the prototypes in the survey was strongest for the vest which, I'm just gonna say, I don't think is so bad provided you're resigned to the inevitability of an alternate, which I am.

But you know what I really hate and they didn't even ask about? Those two-tone helmets. My, they're awful.

Anyway, I'd give a week's pay to be the guy to summarize the survey findings for Jeff.

 

* * * * * *

We weren't even finished with the press events around the Mets by the Numbers book last spring when my co-writer Matt Silverman was at work on two new projects. One was Cubs by the Numbers (I know, right?) done with the same editor at Skyhorse and with Kasey Ignarski who'd been tracking Cubs numbers for at least as long as I'd been doing Mets numbers here (also Al Yellon, at the Bleed Cubbie Blue blog). If you happen to have a friend who's a Cubs fan, consider buying them this as a gift.

The other project was a daring diary style book with none other than Keith Hernandez which Matthew was doing via phone interviews and transcribed notes all summer long, never knowing how the narrative would turn out. It became Shea Goodbye, recently published by Triumph.

 * * * * * *

I've added Ramon Martinez to the list of Mets who've worn three numbers as published on the Jeff McKnight page. Now can we get rid of the guy already?

 

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

After Oliver Perez stunk up the joint again and his teammates responded with play every bit as lazy and uninspired, the Mets made reliever Casey Fossum pay. The lefty, whose work week included three mop-up jobs -- two for Perez -- was designated for assigment Sunday with Buffalo lefty Ken Takahashi recalled to take his place.

Takahashi makes an interesting choice. He's a high-kicking, curve-throwing 40-year-old lefthander from Japan's Hiroshima club who reportedly drew free agent interest from several teams this winter (including the Mets) but signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, only to be released as spring training broke and scooped up by the Mets.Though trained as a starter, he's been doing effective short and long relief for the Bisons, and so might come in handy if he's not too worn out by the time Perez' turn in the rotation comes around again. But I dunno. He looks awful slow in the the video here.

No word yet on Takahashi's uniform with the Mets. He's been wearing 33 with Buffalo which belongs here to John Maine and wore 22 with Hiroshima (currently JJ Putz' number). If like me you sense a pattern here, 11 is out (Ramon Castro); 44 is theoretically waiting for Tim Redding, and 55 is on the back of coach Randy Niemann (thanks for the updates below). 66? Doubtful. Maybe he'll turn up in 30 or 36.

Buffalo by the way eventually re-signed Nelson Figueroa, no doubt humbled by the waters he tested.

Takahashi, should he appear, would be the 859th Met of all-time (thanks to MBTN reader Gordon for the below update):

 

We left off 2008 with 848 - Bobby Parnell
849 would have been Al Reyes but he did not play
2009: 849 - Sean Green 4/6
850 - JJ Putz 4/6
851 - Jeremy Reed 4/6
852 - Francisco Rodriguez 4/6
853 - Alex Cora 4/9
854 - Darren O'Day 4/9
855 - Garry Sheffield 4/9
856 - Livan Hernandez 4/11
857 - Omir Santos 4/17
858 - Casey Fossum 4/21

 

Left in, Left Out

Although recent roster cuts bled the organization of lefties including veterans Ron Villone and Valerio de los Santos, the team hasn't stopped searching for Portside depth. On Monday, word came they signed Japanaese veteran Ken Takahashi to a minor league contract. Takahashi, who was recently released after an unsuccesful audition with the Blue Jays, is expected to report to Class AAA Buffalo. YouTube video out there shows him pitching for his former Hiroshima team wearing No. 22, now on the back of JJ Putz.

Elsewhere, looks like Rule 5 sidewinder Darren O'Day may sweat out the final bullpen slot, with Elmer Dessens and Fernando Nieve his competitors.

Very busy with travel recently, but I plan to resume with the Top 10 countdown after we get through Opening Day: We'll try to have the new rosters set, new player pages added, etc., later this week.

Read All About It

Available this week at area newsstands is the Maple Street Press Mets Annual, to which I contributed a couple of articles including a bio of skipper Jerry Manuel that was a lot of fun to research and write. I had to attack this peice without knowing whether I'd get any help from the Mets in terms of an interview, and that uncertainty forced me to get off my butt and actually commit some journalism, for which I'm thankful. Among the people I spoke to was Jerry's high-school baseball coach, Guy Anderson, who if you can believe this, is still coaching at Rancho Cordova High in Sacramento and couldn't have been any more accommodating. I also got some valuable insight from the editor of the White Sox Interactive web site, who didn't pull any punches when it came to the fan's take on what went wrong during "The Tinkerererer's" tenure there.

In the end the Mets were able to come through with some responses to my questions via email but the background work, as it often turns out to be, provided the best insights, were the most fun to pursue and ultimately make up the vast majority of the story.

Anyhow, please don't pick this book up just for that: There's quite a bit more good stuff in there including stats and analysis, a look at the minor leagues and draft, a look at the past (1969 and my favorite year, 1984) and the future at the new ballyard. Really, it's a nice way to start looking forward to the season.

* * * * *

You may have seen the list of links to the left has been reorganized recently, and I'd like to call attention to a few of the new arrivals. I stumbled onto Centerfield Maz one afternoon recently and felt right at home reading a blog that discusses the drama of Cesar Cedeno and the first album from KISS in addition to Mets history.

Alex G., who in addition to starting a flattering Facebook Group that I'm declaring to be the official Facebook home of Mets by the Numbers, has also launched a new Mets blog, Bleeding Orange and Blue. Busting the other links into categories has also allowed me to add good stuff like Ron Kaplan's Baseball Books and Mark Weinstein's Bluenatic that didn't really fit into the old architecture.Yeah, this is a minor innovation but I like it.

I think if I knew when I started this site that it would be the among the longest surviving in Metdom I mighta turned it into a Cerronesque cash cow if only I'd been less discerning about linking out (and maybe a little less lazy). On the other hand there has to be value in leading you not into bad writing. It's all approved for your reading pleasure.

 

I'd Love to Change the World

Yes, so happy birthday to Mets by the Numbers. It officially turned 10 last Sunday but wanted to kick things off once I had this alternacommemerative logo, thanks to Superba Graphics. It goes without saying they ought to be doing the same for the Mets. While 10 years ain't much, it's a lifetime on the Internet and as Mets sites go, I'm pretty sure there are only a few survivors any more ancient than this old bat. The Ultimate Mets Database debuted at around the same time as this site did, since I recall coming across it only while finishing up the back half of the site (it wasn't around while I initially researched and wrote the 10s and 20s or that would have gone faster).Mets Online continues in a somewhat altereted fashion -- the owner/editor and url are different -- but was definitely here before this one.

This site has changed some too. It used to be charmingly free of design and functionality but I have to say it was a bear to manage and led to way too many mistakes, and so a few years back I decided I had to kill it so it could live again. The new architecture isn't perfect yet but it works, and there's no limit to what can be bolted onto it. And while you may not see it everyday there's a little bit being added all the time (photos, player bios, etc), and it's reassuring from this end to know there's never going to be a time where there's absolutely nothing to add.

I'm not much for birthdays but to celebrate this anniversary, I thought I'd present some of the revived content in list form and count down 10 Top Tens, starting with the Top Ten 10s, on Sunday. Stay tuned for that. And thanks!

 

He Knows His Place

An interesting note from our nation's capital: When the Nationals signed Adam Dunn, they gave him his customary uni No. 44. To make room, selfless ex-Met Lastings Milledge has volunteered to switch ... to No. 85. It's his birth year.

Elsewhere in X-Met land, Aaron Heilman is wearing No. 47 with the Cubs and Joe Smith is  38 in Cleveland. Endy Chavez remains in No. 10 in Seattle and Scott Schoeneweis is still wearing No. 60, only in Arizona.I'd update you on Damian Easley but the poor guy hasn't found work yet. And Matt Wise has retired.

* * *

Elsewhere, reader Charlie let me in on the fact that the revamped database had neglected to include the small handful of Mets who appeared on the roster but not in a game (Jerry Moses, Mac Suzuki, et al) but they're baked in there now. He also threw out a name I hadn't known was a Met before, Steve Simpson who according to Charlie appeared on the September active roster with the 1974 Mets but didn't appear in a game. Can anyone out there confirm this or offer more info?

 

True Stories

Back in college I knew a girl who thought the John Fogarty song "centerfield" was about airline travel.

"Put me in coach," right?

Right. And thanks to MBTN reader David, we can officially put in the coaches for the 2009 Mets, at least their assigned numbers:

Luis Alicea, 51

Razor Shines, 52

Randy Niemann, 55

David also provided news the Mets would suit Tony Armas in No. 91.

Niemann: 6 uni numbers & countingFor Niemann, 55 marks his sixth different Met uni number: He wore Nos. 46 and 40 over parts of two seasons as a player and 45, 48, and 52 previously as a coach. Alicea, whom I've already mentally confused with Luis Aguayo, and Shines are new to the Mets this year.

* * *

A different David, this one the MBTN technical guy, in the meantime has been working behind the scenes to arrange the data by year, a first for MBTN. You may see above, alongside arrangements listing players alphabetically and by number, the Rosters by Year link takes you to a page from which you can call up a list of all the players who served during a particular season. The numerical proceeding looks a little goofy but hopefully we can solve that eventually.

Consider this innovation the first little bit of the site's 10th anniversary celebration. MBTN went live for the first time, Feb. 22, 1999, 10 years ago Sunday.

 

Leave Arod Alone

Normally, I'm pretty happy with events that serve to embarrass the Yankees and in the sense this latest fiasco with Alex Rodriguez is likely to pay off with season after season of awkward distractions, managerial firings and general dysfunction, I couldn't be more pleased. It's exactly what they deserve, after all.

But anyone with a sense of justice can't be comfortable with how the entire steroid era in baseball has became nothing more than a bold-name witch hunt and fodder for some of the worst journalism ever committed, to say nothing of the shameful violations of privacy that ensnared Rodriguez.

Since I've long since given up on seeing any writer of influence to make the following point, please indulge me. As a baseball fan I could care less who did steroids four or five years ago. It's obvious that many of them did, and they did it because the guys who were gunning for their jobs did it, and the pitchers trying to get them out did it, and their peers who made the most money did it (which incidentally is why so many high-profile users wound up with the Yankees).

Condemning those unlucky enough to get caught while holding up those who weren't as victims seems a brilliant waste of energy. The message we ought to have by now is that everyone was a suspect then: That's what an epidemic is. And now that a culture of awareness has developed and testing and penalties are in place, we can go after the bad guys with righteous fury. These calls to go back in time and erase stats or threats to withhold future Hall of Fame voting (Bill Madden's favorite hammer) practically beg for some perspective. I like Joe Sheehan's suggestion that writers making Hall of Fame proclamations for steroid tainted players who failed to even investigate the issue until it exploded in their faces ought to be banned from voting.

I'm certain the Questionable Training Methods Era should stand along the Segregation Era or the Dead Ball Era as points in baseball history we'll need to mentally adjust for to truly understand. And move on.

In the meantime, I think my Daily News today, amid 12 pages of A-Roid coverage, mentioned something about Met pitchers and catchers arriving this week. I'm off for a short break for a few days but will be back to kick off MBTN's 10th Anniversary Spectacular, probably around the time position players arrive.

Uh, sorry for the rant. Feel free to tee off.
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