Friday, September 22, 2006

The Importance Of Being Pedro

Never has a team loaded with superstars depended so much on one right arm.

One toe.

One hip.

One calf.

One Pedro Martinez.

Thursday night, Petey seemed to have put last Friday's meltdown behind him for four innings, not allowing a hit in the process before getting singled to death in the fifth. But Pedro wasn't really pumping the fastball much higher than the mid 80's, and as dutifully noted by Orel Hershiser, he struggled from the stretch. If his missteps tonight bother you remember this: this is spring training for Petey...a second spring if you will. In spring training, you're not going to let loose and give opponents more things to spot in game film. So with the Mets having clinched, and in the enviable position of being able to set up their rotation for the playoffs two weeks in advance, why would Pedro bring out the full arsenal? Why wouldn't he put the cutter on the shelf as he did tonight?

If you have learned nothing else from Pedro over the years, you should have learned that by now you can call him Petey Possum. He played Jose Guillen like a flute earlier in the season. You saw it with the "call the Yankees my daddy" comment. Did you really believe that?

Pedro will be there mentally when it counts. For that, I'm not worried. The only question becomes whether he'll be there physically. And the way I see it...he has no choice.

***

For all of you Norfolk Tides fans, it's official. The Tides are no longer the AAA farm club for the Mets, ending a relationship that stretched back to 1969. Next season, get ready for the Mets to send down players to New Orleans...as the Zephyrs, who have recently been the AAA affiliate of the Nationals and the Astros, become the new farm club for the Mets.

Certainly, it will be a weird feeling not to have the Tides one step below the Mets, whether they be Norfolk, or for us who are a little bit older, Tidewater. For those in the Virginia area (you know who you are), it will probably be strangest of all. With much of New Orleans' residence gone in the wake of last year's hurricane, it will definitely be hard for the Zephyrs to create the widespread culture of Met fans in New Orleans as they did in Norfolk (David Wright, Virginia resident, grew up a Mets/Tides fan).

Speaking as someone who has never been to Harbor Park, but has actually been to a Zephyrs game recently, here are a few things to look for:
  • First off, the strangest thing will be a Mets farm club playing in the Pacific Coast League, with a lot of southern and western teams with high humidity and high altitudes. Hitters numbers will be a bit more inflated.
  • Also, players will travel more...which in this era of coddling and protecting the best prospects will probably mean that the trend towards filling the AAA team with retreads and veterans hanging on hoping for one last shot at the big leagues will continue and probably grow, with the best prospects making Binghamton their last stop before Shea.
  • Ron Swoboda is a native of New Orleans, and is the Zephyrs color analyst. Swoboda participated in the bat race during my 2005 visit there. If you're lucky, you can catch a glimpse as well.
  • Zephyr Field is a quaint field outside of New Orleans in Metairie (that's a good omen to play in Met-airie, no?) which is a 20 minute cab ride from the french quarter. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Zephyr Field was used as a makeshift military hospital. The field suffered minimal damage in the wake of the hurricane.
  • If you go to a game and need a cab back to the quarter, the Zephyr front office will gladly call you a cab as they did for me. Check out their trophies in the waiting area.
  • Former Zephyrs who were also former Mets include Melvin Mora, Ryan Thompson, Derek Bell, Dave Mlicki, C.J. Nitkowski, Mike Fitzgerald, Richard Hidalgo, Donne Wall, Mike Venafro, and Sid Fernandez.

And remember, New Orleans is only a Jet Blue direct flight from JFK away.

20 comments:

Jaap said...

Just curious, why do you have to take 20 cabs from the French Quarter to get to this new Mets Triple AAA home? :)

Metstradamus said...

Because I'm an idiot and that should read "20 minute cab ride".

See what happens when you clinch and I get sloppy? Duh!

Jesse said...

Having been to a Zephyrs game once, back when they were an Astros affiliate (and having seen such future major league luminaries as Julio Lugo, Adam Everett, and Chris Truby), the only real piece of advice I can give is - if you buy the cheap seats in the levee out in centerfield, for God's sake, bring mosquito spray. Or better yet, netting. I nearly got eaten alive out there.

Metstradamus said...

Oh yeah the bugs...the bugs are still there. I think they finally got themselves better seats now.

jabair said...

new orleans is further away, the call ups are gonna take longer to arrive..

just curious.. how does the money in these minor league affiliates move around??

jabair said...

never mind.. wikipedia rocks

Ed in Westchester said...

I agree on Pedro. I think he is playing possum. I look at this as spring training for him.
Once the playoffs come, I expect the Pedro we all know and love.

mrmet82 said...

It could be a good thing for the players in they will get use to the travel.

Toasty Joe said...

I never understood what happens when a minor league team changes its major league affiliation. What happens to all the current Zephyrs? Do they all get traded to another organization?

Metstradamus said...

Toasty,

Yes. The current Zephyrs, under contract to the Nationals, will play with their new AAA affiliation, which is the Columbus Clippers.

Metstradamus said...

Jabair, it's further away, but they won't necessarily take longer to arrive since there are more direct flights available from N.O.

If the Zephyrs are on the road that's another story.

Anonymous said...

There must be something in the water as the Baltimore O's are also ending a relationship with their AAA affliate in Ottawa Canada. In addition, the Wilmington Delaware Blue Rocks are going back to KC instead of the Boston Red Sox's.
Mestradamus - after the ticker tape parade down the cannon of heors for the boys from Flushing - can you look into these switches?

Anonymous said...

FYI: The Orioles, appear to be the front-runner to align with Norfolk. The Yankees announced an agreement with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.), and the Nationals took the Yankees' place in Columbus, Ohio. Are you following all of this?

Metstradamus said...

And also, the Mets have also lost Hagerstown to the Nationals. The Nationals A affiliate in that league is the Savannah Sand Gnats.

The O's and Nats are positioning themselves to have as many of their affiliates close to them as possible.

Also, expect the Nats new affiliation with the Columbus Clippers to be short, as the Clips' are angling behind the scenes, and very discreetly, to be an Indians farm team after two seasons.

Roy Oswalt said...

Another interesting tidbit about the Scranton situation. The Mets and Yankees competed for the AAA site. Word had it that Mets executives were touring the town in a Trolley blaring the "Meet the Mets" theme song (true story). The Yankees executives also visited and they won (again). Now the Mets AAA get stuck miles away in a disaster zone. Getting shipped to New Orleans versus the local Scranton is not a positive no matter how you spin it.

As far as Pedro goes, I don't believe he is playing possum at all. He almost came to tears after his ineffective start last week and has limited confidence. Do you think he can just turn it on? At his age and with the injuries? I buy into Orels argument that there is plenty to be concerned about....especially velocity and working from the stretch. And about Pedro and the "who's your daddy?". He hasn't proven anyone wrong with that! He's sucked against the Yankees...even in Game 7 of the 2004 clincher at the Stadium, he was still getting hit when the game was a joke. He was also beat in Game 2 of that series and of course the infamous Game 7 the year prior.

I want to read this blog in two weeks when the Mets are 1-1 after Glavine and Pedro (or worse 0-2) and everyone panicking about El Duque or Wacksel saving your season. You'll be thinking plenty about the trading deadline then and why Omar didn't go for winning now.

We'll see.

Jeterboy said...

This is an interesting Mets-Yankees view from cnnsi. Some of which is a little bitter....some a bias viewpoint....and some truth. You can argue certain points and its just one man's opinion...an entertaining read nonetheless.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/pete_mcentegart/09/22/ten.spot/index.html

Anonymous said...

Its Pete McEntegert's 10 Spot on Cnn SI for Friday the 22nd.

Metstradamus said...

Oswalt,

The Yankees had Scranton in their hip pocket all along. The Mets push was a late push and they weren't getting Scranton anyway so I don't know why they did it.

And Pedro got beat in game 2 because the Red Sox didn't hit for him, not because "Yankee Stadium scares him". So please spare me that one. And if you're the Yankee fan I suspect you to be, then I wouldn't brag about anything regarding the '04 ALCS.

And please come back in two weeks. I'm looking forward to it.

Jeterboy,

Thanks for reminding me...I read that earlier and meant to include that tonight. I will go back and add it.

Anonymous said...

And one more thing for Oswalt ...

Pedro pitched 7 shutout innings against the Yankees this year. And last year in 2 games against them he went 7 innings, 1 run at Shea and 8 innings, 2 runs in the Bronx. Get some facts on your side before you do a little rant.

JP said...

The Mets-New Orleans affiliation will most-likely be a two-year affair.

The Rochester Red Wings (NY state) were the Orioles AAA team for decades, before the Wings dumped the O's and went with the Twins.

The Mets will most likely be gunning to get them as an affiliate for 2009 and beyond.

Rochester (where I grew up) has a decent Mets fan base and Mets games on TV. I picked the Mets as my team back in the early 80s because they were on cable all the time on WWOR, Sportschannel then FSNY, and MSG, etc.

FCC rules prevent cable companies from carrying out-of-market "over the air" affiliates (IE, Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, WB, UPN). But Rochester designated a channel that ran infomercials 21 hours a day AND switched to the WB11 feed for Mets games. That went on for a few years.

direct flights from ROC to NYC are easy. The International League is a hell of a lot easier to get players to NY than the PCL, so it's a perfect match in 2009.

-JP
http://mets.forumup.us