Tag Archives: Mets

Video: Mets prospect Francisco Pena on singing and staying hydrated in Las Vegas

mlb_e_pena11_200Mets prospect Francisco Pena did not expect to be playing this soon for the triple-A Las Vegas 51s, but after injuries to other players and his own quick start in double-A Binghamton, he got his chance. He’s made the most of it, hitting five home runs and knocking in 18 runs in his first month at minor league baseball’s highest level. Little does he know that he’s destined for stardom now, as our previous interview subjects, Charles Brewer in the Diamondbacks system and Ben Paulsen in the Rockies system, have advanced to higher levels after speaking with us.

In the game I saw, a 4-1 win over the Salt Lake Bees June 22, Pena went 1-for-2 with an RBI hit-by-pitch (though on his one hit, he got thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple). He very kindly took a moment to speak with me after the game.

30 Stadiums in 30 Days: It Can Be Done

road_trip

It’s every baseball fan’s dream: the ultimate baseball road trip—30 Major League Baseball games in 30 days in 30 different stadiums—plus one extra minor league game we’ll squeeze in one evening in Brooklyn after we take in an afternoon Yankees game. I should be clear here that this road trip is hypothetical. It is physically possible to do, but if I actually tried to do it, I would end up divorced, broke, and unemployed. But make no mistake: It could be done, and it could be done this season.

Here’s how it breaks down: There are hypothetically four of us in a hypothetical 1999 Oldsmobile Bravada, so we can hypothetically rotate drivers and sleep in the car on the road in shifts as needed. Hypothetically. We are counting on four-hour games, and basing driving times and distances on information from Google Maps. On most nights, we’ll stay in hotels, but there are occasions when we’ll have to drive through the night, in some cases with very little margin for error. Let me be clear: WE WILL DO THIS FOR THE CAUSE.

If everything goes to plan, from August 12 to September 10, we will see one game per day (plus that one Brooklyn Cyclones game), we will drive 13,575 miles in 208 hours, and we won’t miss a single pitch. Here’s how it will go (driving distances and times to each stadium are in parentheses):

August 12 - Indians at Twins, 7:10
We start in Minneapolis, clean shaven and everyone smiling and laughing. The car does not yet smell like Tony Siragusa’s laundry hamper. Everything is good.

August 13 – Pirates at Cardinals, 7:15
(561 miles, 8:41)
We stay in a hotel and leave mid-morning to get to St. Louis in time for first pitch. Still fired up. A 30-day diet of encased meat and helmet sundaes still seems awesome.

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The Strongest Medicine is Sports

will-clarkSports of some nature have been around for centuries and where there is sports, there will always be a good-natured hatred of your team’s rival, trash talk, and overzealous bragging. We can agree we will probably never agree who the greatest basketball player is or was. We will endlessly argue about the greatest first baseman, pitcher, or catcher.

The greatest boxer of all time will surely be one of the greatest sports debates of all time. Sports will always be the argument that never gets resolved. But one thing we can certainly agree on is the power of sports to unite us. It may be the one thing that truly brings us together. Why else would two friends go to a pub, grab a beer, just to argue for hours about something, for fun? It doesn’t matter how many sports you played or play. It doesn’t matter if you were any good.

iranThe thing we all learned was the value of the team and the value of sportsmanship. Win or lose you tip your cap, give a high five, or say good game. And whether that team is your family, classmates, co-workers or country, sports teaches us that we are one. Countless times we have seen athletes from countries torn apart by years of civil war meet as equals on the soccer pitch and win or lose, leave as friends. We watch the Olympics as they give athletes a place to put their feuding government’s politics aside and give us a glimmer of what humanity can do right. We have seen a country begin to unite from one man’s decision to integrate baseball.

I remember September 12th like it was yesterday; it was the day all sports stopped. When the games finally began again, we were all fans of New York despite our lifelong hatred of the Yankees or Mets. There were no rivalries.  Boston was there to give its biggest rival a pat on the back. And while games were paused, it was when the games resumed we started to move forward again. Rivalries were a bit softer, friendships were a bit stronger. While the sports in Boston paused, they began again yesterday reminding us to move forward and New York was there to repay the debt.

yankees-redsoxThe events on Monday left much to talk about and little to understand.  In times of crisis sports has been the great unifier. The one thing I do understand is sports will be there again to remind us all how much we are united.

Our rivalries are what connect us. Those rivalries may be the strongest medicine.

 

 

Wait! Did I miss Opening Day?

For roughly 28 out of every 30 Major League Baseball fans, the season opens next week! Can you feel the buzz in the air? No? This is because for two teams the season opened while your team was still playing Spring Training games. This is also because the first games on the schedule took place in the wee hours of the morning more than 5,000 miles away from the home team’s actual home.

The Mariners and the Athletics played a two-game series this week in Tokyo—actual games that count in the actual standings (and your fantasy league)—while the rest of baseball continued with Spring Training. Then after these actual regular-season games in Japan, Seattle and Oakland will play more Spring Training games.

On April 4, a full week after the A’s and Mariners opened the season, two of the remaining 28 teams (Marlins and Cardinals) will open their seasons with a one-game series in Miami. The Red Sox, Tigers, Braves, Mets, Phillies, Pirates, Nationals, Cubs, Blue Jays, Indians, Reds, Dodgers, and Padres open their season the next day. And if you’re a fan of the White Sox, Rangers, Twins, Orioles, Yankees, Rays, Brewers, Rockies, Astros, Giants, D-backs, Royals, or Angels, your opening day is nine days after the season officially opened.

This begs the question, What the hell is going on here?

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