Month: May 2021

Jarred Kelenic May Become the Mets’ Next Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi Nightmare Trade

by Scott Mandel

The Seattle Mariners won a baseball game last night over the Cleveland Indians. Who cares, right? Well, if it turns out that this game was a precursor for what baseball fans may be looking at for the next decade or more, New York Mets fans may end up caring more than they would like.

When they see how the Mariners won, with several contributions from former Mets prospects, Mets fans can only hope it will not bring on a terrible case of a disease specific to longtime fans of the Mets called FPTSD (Fregosi Post Traumatic Stress Disease).

Seattle received excellent starting pitching from one Chris Flexen, a 26-year old former Mets pitcher who mostly was unable to pitch past the second innings of games he started as a Met because of underwhelming velocity and poor command of his pitches, a deadly equation for a major league pitcher. Last night, Flexen pitched into the 6th inning allowing only five hits and one run. He improved his record as a reliable Mariner starting pitcher to 4-1, lowering his earned run average to 3.46 in seven starts for the Mariners. His stat line as a Met included a record of 3-11 and an earned run average of 8.07 in 27 games. In 68 innings pitched for the Mets, he allowed 91 hits. The light appears to have turned on for Flexen since leaving the Mets. Or, maybe it’s the coaching/confidence building Seattle offers that the Mets could not?

The game was saved by Rafael Montero, the former Met fireballer who was going to be the next Pedro Martinez, except he never developed confidence in his ability at the major league level, as a Met. Coincidence he has discovered it, elsewhere?

Sam Haggerty, Another highly rated Mets minor leaguer, has turned himself into a useful utility player in the majors who can play several positions. Haggerty went 2 for 3 last night, doubled, scored two runs, while playing right field.

Last but not least, the most frustrating event of all for Mets fans was the performance of outfielder, Jarred Kelenic, the 21-year old former Mets #1 draft choice in 2019 who was traded along with lefthanded starting pitcher Justin Dunn in exchange for the steroid-suspended Robinson Cano and erratic closer, Eduardo Diaz.

Kelenic started the second game of his big league career, going 3 for 4, with two doubles and a home run, driving in three runs, while leading off and playing left field. The precocious 21-year old is ranked as the second best prospect in the entire sport by Baseball America, the respected rating/scouting service, so his performance and projection of future performances of similar results are not a surprise. The kid is a five-tool player who can hit, hit for power, run, field, and throw at the highest levels. No surprise of his ability. What may be the bigger surprise is when the Mets decided they could acquire Cano, who was being paid $30 million dollars per year and Diaz ($10 million) for two very young and talented players, who also happened to be making the major league mininum salaries of $600,000 each.

The Mets’ loss may turn into baseball’s gain as the sport may be looking at its next superstar in Kelenic but that is little consolation for poor Mets fans. The previous Mets mgmt. team, led by Fred Wilpon, his son, and Brodie Van Waggenen, were not known for being the savviest of wheeler dealers. But these recent transactions, trading young players with potential stardom in front of them for a decade or more is going to lead to nightmares among their fan base.

Rafael Montero Wins Job In Mets Bullpen | Metsmerized Online
Montero was once viewed as the best pitching prospect in Mets organization that included deGrom, Matz, Syndergaard

Trading young Nolan Ryan for the over-the-hill Jim Fregosi in 1971, 50 years ago, left deep scars in the collective psyche of the Mets fan base. Those scars have been passed down generations. Mets fans certainly may not wish anything bad on young Jarred Kelenic but they also hope he doesn’t turn into the kind of Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan turned into. Deep down, though, Mets fans expect this kid to be baseball’s next big thing and have their noses rubbed in it with every great season the kid has. It’s just the way things are, around the Mets. They’re used to this.

Mandel’s Musings: What’s This Got to Do With Sports But…..Bill Maher’s Real Time on HBO Needs Help

by Scott Mandel

Bill Maher had interesting and intelligent guests last night on his once popular show, Real Time with Bill Maher. Joining him on his panel were Rick Wilson, the co-founder of the Lincoln Project and, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, the democrat from Michigan. Before the panel segment of the show, his one-on-one interview was with the engaging and brilliant John McWhorter, the Columbia University professor.

A solid show that reached 25% of the audience Real Time used to deliver for HBO, the cable network which carries the program. Six years ago, Maher’s show was consistently viewed on Friday nights by more than four million people. It now delivers a tad over one million viewers. By any measurement or explanation, it’s not trending the way HBO would prefer.

What Maher needs to figure out is how to have a guest like democratic congresswoman Slotkin on the same panel as a republican member of Congress, like Liz Cheney, or Mitt Romney, or perhaps, the new Republican liar from New York, Elise Stefanik, who is angling for Cheney’s job in the Republican party leadership. Then, Bill’s show would be able to make some news, as hard as the guests may try not to.

Either way, it becomes must-watch tv, and ratings (yeah, those pesky measurements companies like television networks care about) will increase and Maher can stay on the air. We are not suggesting HBO is considering taking Maher off the air but, you can bet your bottom dollar the powers that be are trying to figure out how to boost his audience because they have to account for the rationale of paying Maher the many millions of dollars he earns from his show, reported to be in the $15 million dollar range, about as much as the network television late night hosts like Jimmy Fallon and Kimmel, who work five days per week, not one.

It wouldn’t hurt if HBO promoted his show during the week leading up to it. I’ve never seen an advertising spot in the run-up days for Maher’s Friday night show. Maybe print ads on the op-ed pages of every major newspaper would be a good placement to reach “woke” political types, but that’s just my old media planning background coming out, as a former media strategist for consumer packaged goods companies. (HBO – call me)

Mets Can Only Dream of What Could Have Been As Matt Harvey Wins Third in a Row Today – for Baltimore while Stephen Matz is 4-0 – for Toronto. Wheeler and Montero Ripping It for Braves and Mariners

by Scott Mandel

Matt Harvey, the once and future ace of the New York Mets pitching staff in 2013, won his third game in a row today, for the lowly Baltimore Orioles, beating Oakland on the road.

Stephen Matz, the once and future fireballing lefthanded local boy from Long Island, New York is currently 4-0 and pitching lights out – for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Zack Wheeler, the tall righthander with the 99 mph fastball, pitched today for the Atlanta Braves. Against the Mets.

Rafael Montero, who was going to become the next Pedro Martinez as a 21-year old reed-thin righthander with a 97 mph fastball and perfect control, is now the closer for Seattle. That’s in the state of Washington, out that way somewhere. Montero is throwing BBs and getting saves.

They, along with Noah Syndergaard, who hasn’t pitched in more than a year since Tommy John surgery, and a guy named Jacob deGrom were going to win 10 world championships in a row (at least) for the Mets. A starting pitching staff consisting of xix top of the rotation aces, in their mid-20s. All throwing 95-99 mph, on the black, dominating National League hitters.

Amazing how “stuff” happens.