MLBRT 8/13… NY Mets and Tigers, oh my!

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How good are these young NY Mets? Better than 1969?

How thankless is it being a GM… ask the Tigers owner?

Ballpark food?  Is there anywhere that serves anything that’s even close to being edible? 

These are all questions, as well as other topics, that the MLBRT crew tackles this week in the Round Table…

1) With a staff essentially led by 26-year-old Matt Harvey, 27-year-old Jacob deGrom, 22-year-old rookie Noah Syndergaard, 24-year-old rookie Steven Matz (about ready to come off the DL), 25-year-old Zack Wheeler (recovering from TJ surgery), the Mets boast of having one of the youngest, if not the youngest starting rotations around (once you forget that Bartolo Colon is on their starting staff).

Thinking back to when the 1969 World Series winning Mets once had a starting rotation that had 24-year-old Tom Seaver, 26-year-old Jerry Koosman, 24-year-old Gary Gentry, 25-year-old Jim McAndrew, and 22-year-old Nolan Ryan, how do you see the present Mets starters compared to that group of starters?

Archie1-300x277Archie: Let’s remember here that two of those ’69 Mets became HOF inductees.

I don’t see that in any of the current Mets’ Starters………..yet.

Jacob deGrom is off probably to the best of them all, he is still a long way from accomplishing anything on the level of Seaver or Ryan. I do like his stuff though. So far, he has been nasty, but, then, so was The Freak his first few years as well. 

HOFers Tom Seaver &Nolan Ryan plus Jerry Koosman & Gary Gentry.
HOFers Tom Seaver &Nolan Ryan plus Jerry Koosman & Gary Gentry.

Dan: Well, to me it’s kind of hard to compare present day back to a rotation that featured a young Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver in the rotation, but, I do think, the Mets have a very solid rotation with a lot of potential. They’ve been doing a great job this season leading the Mets to first place in the NL East and I think they will continue to lead the division for most of the rest of the season.

To me, I think the 1969 rotation was better but this rotation does compare nicely to them. I just don’t see 2015 beating 1969 lead by Seaver & Ryan.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: The Mets rotation is one with a lot of potential.

Now, I can’t compare it to a Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan 1969 Mets rotation, and, that rotation would easily beat this 2015 rotation, but, let’s ask this question in a couple of seasons.

If, all of the Mets young guns progress according to plan, then the Mets should be in the serious contender category real soon.

meJoe: The Mets present day starting pitchers are loaded with talent… as were the 1969 pitchers were.

However, we have the perspective of knowing that two members of the 1969 staff… Seaver and Ryan… went on to become Hall members while the 2015 Mets’ starters have yet to prove themselves over the long hall. We only have, at the most, maybe two or three years of some MLB experince to judge them upon, and, in fact, two of the 2015 pitchers are just in their rookie seasons.

I believe the potential for the 2015 staff to exceed the fulfillment of the 1969 staff is there… the problem is translating that potential and promise into the reality of wins.

Although…understand this, Seaver was the only one to really amount to more than a hill of beans from that 1969 staff… that is as a Met… Ryan’s most productive years, and what got him into the Hall was what he accomplished with other teams (California Angels, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers).

While Koosman, Gentry and McAndrew all were intergral parts of that 1969 championship team… only Koosman went on to have anything resembling a decent (hall of the good) career (19 years; 222-209 W/L; 3.36 ERA). Gentry was out of the game within 7 years (by 1975) with a sub-500 win/loss record and McAndrew  preceded Gentry by a year (1974) after also posting a 7-year-career with a  sub-500 record.

Lets revisit this discussion in say 5 to 7 years and see where any of the 2015 starters are in their MLB careers and then we can better compare the two staffs.

Dillon Gee, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom
Dillon Gee, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom

But, in my opinion, I think, the potential for the group on the 2015 team is there to surpass the group for 1969 team.  Maybe not in terms of eventual Hall electees, but, I think they will, at the least, surpass the 1969 team’s starters in having better overall numbers.

Steve-01-288x300Steve: Let’s be realistic here, the 1969 Mets have 2 future Hall of Famers in their rotation.

I don’t see any of the Mets pitchers of today’s game having that kind of talent. They are great, don’t get me wrong, but to compare them to one of the best pitching rotations in the history of baseball is insane.

So, to answer the question, there is no comparison.

2)   After four straight AL Central titles through 2011-2014, the Detroit Tigers seemingly have thrown in the towel for the 2015 season by trading off David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria for a passel of prospects. Dombrwoski 2

The Tigers’ owner, Mike Illitch, has also pulled the plug on the architect of those trades by releasing general manager Dave Dombrowski from his contract after 13 years, and, just a few months before his contract was due to end.

The rule of thumb is… MLB owners can’t fire the players as easily as making a team official a sacrificial goat…

In your opinion did Dombrowski deserve his fate?

Archie1-300x277Archie: I really don’t get into the hierarchy “fate” rally as much as the next guy might, but, my initial gut feeling here is no, he did not.

Like stated , the Tigers have been the cream of the crop of the Central Division now for several years and since they came up short here this year, I don’t see where he is to blame, unless of course, it all stems back to this past offseason. I do think he shares much of the responsibility for the lack of keeping Max Scherzer unless of course ownership would not cut the funds loose to sway him into staying.

Dan: No, I don’t think Dombrowski deserved to get fired.Dombrowski

I understand letting him go, but, his contract was a few months up. You could have waited and just let his contract expire. I don’t think he deserved the treatment he got in terms of when his reign as general manager ended.

But, if, they felt that he deserved to be gone, then, so be it. I hope Doug Melvin joins him on the open market.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: No. Dave Dombrowski does not deserve this fate.

Mike Ilitch, the Tigers owner, is 86 years old and desperate to see the Tigers win the World Series. So, despite getting close in years past, the Tigers taking a step back this season is a disapointment. However, I wouldn’t have fired Dombrowski for what could have been one off season, but, that is the tactic that Ilitch has taken.

Hopefully for his sake, changing directions works out, but, I have a feeling the Tigers will only regress even further.

meJoe: Hell, no, he wasn’t deserving of his fate.

Ilitch (L) and Dombrowski
Ilitch (L) and Dombrowski

And, personally,  I think, it was kind of insulting for Ilitch to fire his butt in the middle of the season right after he made some key trades at the trade deadline.

Steve-01-288x300Steve:  I don’t think so.

I mean, I think that while it was time for the Tigers to start to rebuild their team. Four straight division titles, and one American League pennant gets you fired? Where are we, Cleveland? (Im talking about when they fired Hargrove after making the playoffs all those years).

You have to give Dombrowski a chance to work with the trades that he made to see if he could again develop them into a contender for the American League and a World Series. If, it does not pan out, then let him go, but, at least, give the guy a chance to see what he can do.

3) Every season the debate comes up about teams stealing another team’s signs… some say “it’s unethical”, and, some say “do a better job of hiding your signs.”  

As long as no electronic, or other artificial, means are used to “steal” signs, which side of the argument do you stand on… “Unethical” or “Do a better job”?  

Archie1-300x277Archie: Do a better job damn it.

Getting lazy and not making the extra effort to keep your signs hidden/secret is just that; laziness.Stealing

IF, you know the defense is going to blitz in football don’t you adjust? IF, you know a 3 point shooter is running to his spot to setup don’t you try to cover him? What is the unethical part here? IF, I know what’s coming whose fault is that?

Dan: I think it’s a “do a better job” side of the table.

Everybody is going to get an advantage any way they can. It’s not “unethical” because it’s an advantage. If, a team can take your signs and use them to their advantage than you’re doing something wrong and you need to fix it.

Hide your signs better, make more difficult signs, switch up signs more often, etc…. A lot of various ways to change and improve your method of sign calling while avoiding other teams from stealing them.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: Do better.

Look, let us be honest: people are going to look for an advantage somewhere. Even if that means “cheating”. It’s a “it is what it is” scenario. However, if opposing teams do a better job of protecting their signals then they won’t get figured out by the opposing team.

meJoe: I have always thought, when anyone ever bitched about the other team stealing their team’s signs… “What a crock of bullcrap.”unwritten codes

Grow up and quit the bitching and just do whatever is necessary to fix your ineffective ability to hide your signs from the other team.

Steve-01-288x300Steve: I think it is more paranoia than anything.

I was watching a game on Sunday with the Cubs and Giants. Kris Bryant was on second base and Giants catcher Buster Posey walked out to the mound and was eyeing Bryant as if he was stealing signs. Okay, if there is an issue with it, then have a strategy in place to mix up the signs so you are not tipping pitches. It is part of the game, deal with it and do a better job.

4) Dining at any MLB ball park is an experience in and of itself… and also tends to be expensive… expense notwithstanding…

What is the worst, and what is the best, ball park dining experiences you have ever had? Chop House

Archie1-300x277Archie: Atlanta Fulton county Stadium once served me a hotdog that was so dry you could have used it to wipe sweat off of the pitchers hand.

Turner Field, however, served me a Pork Sandwich that was to die for.

Rangers'  Boomstick: Hot dog covered with chili, cheese, grilled onions & jalapeños
Rangers’ Boomstick: Hot dog covered with chili, cheese, grilled onions & jalapeños

Dan: I’ve been to a lot of ballparks across the country but no park beats the Brewers’ hot dogs/brats for worst dining experience. Their buns are wrapped so tight around the hot dog it doesn’t taste like a normal hot dog w/ bun. It’s just plain and blah even though the Brewers are supposed to be known for their hot dogs with Klements sausage in Milwaukee. I mean, they do have 5 racing sausages that race during the 7th inning stretch.CheeseFries

The best experience I’ve had was probably a tie between the Texas Rangers’ jumbo hot dog and the Cleveland Indians’ cheese fries. I do want to try the Boston Red Sox jumbo dogs. I’ve heard they’re the best in all MLB.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: Honestly? Other than a beer or two, I don’t buy ballpark concessions.

Why? It is pretty damn expensive.

Particularly here in New York. When I do go to a ball game, I find it’s a hell of a lot cheaper just to meet up at a bar somewhere close by, knock back a couple of beers and then go catch the game.

meJoe: Up front the only ballpark food I have ever had were the basics.. stuff like hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, peanuts, etc…

Having established that…

Just about a week or so ago I went to Yankee Stadium… got a hotdog, fries and a water… that makes the game offcial for me when I get at least a dog and a drink. However… that Yankee dog may have made me rethink my longstanding tradition, at least when  I revisit the Stadium any way… it was over cooked, rubbery, tasteless and was placed into a stale hard bun… I couldn’t even finish it. The fries were plentiful but they were a tad on the greasy side.  Not a decent dining experience at all and considering the price… a tad under a Jackson… ugh!

Milwauke brat
Milwauke brat

One of the better dining experiences was at the old Milwaukee County Stadium when I went to see the Brewers play as part of one of my own baseball stadium tours (Chicago Cubs & White Sox, Brewers and the Minnesota Twins)… I had me a bratwurst on a roll.. .and it opened my eyes to something entirly new and very tasty.

I do admit, that the next day, before I was to leave Milwaukee to drive over to Minny to see the Twins, I got me another brat on a roll at some small stand that was cheaper and exceedingly better.

And… I gotta say…while not inside the Braves ballpark but literally across the street from the ball park was a stand that served pulled  pork Sanwiches and fries… one of the top five I ever ate.

Steve-01-288x300Steve: For me, it has to be Milwaukee’s Miller Park. I am and will always be a stadium guy. I am not going to spend a fortune on prime food at a stadium, it is way too expensive. Miller Park, to me, has the best Hot Dogs, the best Nachos, and the best beer for a reasonably (stadium wise) price. I think the last time I was at Miller Park, I spent about 15 dollars on a couple beers, a hot dog, and Nachos. Really not too bad considering what you can spend.fried-nacho-sticks-hit-miller-park-

As for the worst experience? I would probably say when I went to Montreal in 1997. This was a Tuesday day game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, we ended up spending $2 American money on tickets, and ended up sitting right behind home plate. The attendance for this prime game was a staggering 1350′ ish. You could literally hear the sounds on the field, and the players talking to each other. As for the food? I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved out of Montreal because of the food. Horrible, Stale chips, luke warm hot dogs, and even the beer was bitter. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised with a $8 dollar price tag for everything. (American cash)
 

5) As of right now which division battle for first place… aka “the pennant”… do you see as being the one that you will most likely follow the closest and why?  

KC vs STL in WS?
KC vs STL in WS?

Archie1-300x277Archie: You will have to excuse my lack of enthusiasm this year but my Beloved Braves new CEO pretty much told us he was tanking this season and he did not lie. And, to go with that, no one else in the NL East strikes me as having a dominating team to watch.

I really don’t care for any of the West Coast teams so I am not following any of those.

I guess it comes down to wondering, “Are we destined to see two teams from the heart of the Country pitted against each other in the WS? KC vs STL? That is about the only interesting headline left; IMO.

Dan: I think the closest division battle heading into the final weeks of the regular season, and, that will come down to the wire, is the American League East with the Blue Jays and Yankees fighting it out for the top.

The Blue Jays just made some big moves to try to make a run for the title and the Yankees sat quiet during the trade deadline period. I think the Blue Jays will end up taking the division with the Yankees taking the Wild Card but it will come down to the final games and don’t be surprised if they have a tie-breaker game to decide the AL East champions.

Jays in AL East?
Jays in AL East?

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: If you read this roundtable on a regular basis than you know I’m going to say the AL East. How about them Blue Jays! They’ve won 11 in a row since acquiring Tulowitzki (and Price) and now are only a game and a half out of the AL East.

You know, the same AL East that some people thought the Yankees were going to walk away with. Not me, though. Nope. I’ve been saying for weeks now that the East can be had and here we are.

How about them Blue Jays!!

meJoe: AL East…

As I write this the Jays are a half game out of first place.  I expect a dogfight between these two teams as they vie for 1st place down the stretch.

The Yanks visit the Jays this coming weekend for a crucial three game series and then the Jays come into the Stadium for another  three games in the second week of September and then they both go back to Toronto for what may be the deciding sereis between the teams just about a week later.

Steve-01-288x300Steve: There are three divisions that I will closely watch.

The American League East, to see if the Blue Jays can finally overcome their post season drought and win their first division and first playoff berth since 1992. They closed in on  8 game lead by the Yankees, and after a sweep, they are only 1 1/2 behind New York, and in a comfortable spot in the Wild Card race.

Can Cubs get a wild card?
Can Cubs get a wild card?

I am also intrigued by the AL West to see if the Astros can hold off the heavily powered Angels. The Astros made some big moves at the deadline, picking up Kazmir and Carlos Gomez. This should come down to the wire and will be fun to watch.

Finally, the National League East. I picked the Washington Nationals to win the World Series this year with their amazing pitching. It appears that the Mets have their number and this may come down to the final week of the season.

I am also interested to see if the Cubbies can hold on to the wild card spot and make the playoffs for the first time since 2008, as I think they would consider themselves slightly ahead of schedule.
 

Extra Innings…

 
jacques-barzun

 

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1 Comment

  1. The strategy of Mike Illich in all his dealings with organizations he has control over is the same. He hires the best people he can find, he expects them to deliver exceptional results, and they are fired if they do not. This is clearly not appropriate for most people, but Dombrowski knew the score from the get-go and so I don’t think that he feels Illich has been unfair to him. He has many good years to offer MLB and I am only sorry that it will not be as a Tiger.

    Signs are not covered in the rule book as far as I know, so there is no rule to guide their use or non-use. If “ethics” mean that there is an understanding across all the teams that participate in an activity, then the practice of “stealing” signs says that it is indeed ethical even if all the players seem to agree verbally that it is not. More than once charges of stealing signs have been made against one team or another, only to result in no action after it is pointed out that the accuser’s team has also been guilty of this practice. As long as signs are flashed, there will be attempts to steal them.

    Barzun’s quote is famous, and true if you can accept it as an overstatement. To know the heard and mind of America, one needs to know baseball, but one also needs to know other things too. And baseball does not only characterize America. It characterizes many other New World cultures and many other Southeastern Asia cultures as well.

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