Many Mets fans believe that the Mets have some glaring flaws in the roster, maybe even fatal ones, and I agree with that notion. But there’s something exhilarating about that day when pitchers and catchers start working out at Tradition Field, and all over Florida and Arizona. There’s hope for the Mets having a great season and a championship run for the first time in 24 years. There’s also something, for me, about the impending change of seasons from the typically rotten Northeast U.S. winter to spring and summer soon to follow.
The Mets pitchers and catchers need to be in Port St. Lucie by Thursday February 18. Already, many players have been arriving and working out. The best early coverage that I’ve seen is Adam Rubin’s blog at the Daily News.
There are some major problems with the roster: Carlos Beltran is out until May, the Mets don’t have a legitimate first baseman or catcher, and they didn’t improve a questionable starting rotation. And to everyone’s chagrin, Luis Castillo is still a Met. Even with all of those perceived problems, there’s still something exciting about the players reporting to work outs. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.
The middle of February is about the time each year that I’ve about had it with the Connecticut winter. The weather is awful and it’s great to start thinking about warm weather and sunshine. There really is nothing better than the beginning of spring training. Those roster flaws that I mentioned haven’t gotten me down yet, although they likely will soon enough. For this week, it’s thrilling to be a baseball fan. That’s all I’m thinking about until I start to see the Mets full-time lineup shake out later in the spring.
A few of the Mets are in Port St. Lucie for a few days before pitchers and catchers have to report. By far, the best coverage that I’ve seen is from Adam Rubin at the Daily News. He’s got this thing covered like a blanket.
It’s good to see that Johan Santana and Oliver Perez are there. The word is that Perez has been working out in Arizona and his knee is in good shape.
You really don’t know what you have at this point but it’s good to see some of the guys there making an effort. And if you read Jerry Manuel’s comments, it’s all about making a fast start to the season. I’m not sure if that’s more about having a good season or saving his job. Either way, I’ll take it.
Pitchers and catchers have to be at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, FL on February 18. The rest of the position players are required to be there by February 23. And the first workouts are scheduled for February 25.
If you’re planning a trip to Port St. Lucie, the spring training schedule of games begins on Tuesday March 2 against Atlanta.
In my mind, the biggest question mark coming into spring training is “What kind of shape will Oliver Perez be in when he arrives?”. I’m sure there will be some new faces that haven’t signed with the Mets yet too, like Bengie Molina and possible another first baseman, maybe even Mike Lowell.
Things are finally starting to heat up this offseason for the Mets. Jason Bay is in the house and due to be introduced tomorrow at a press conference. But that’s not the only action going on after a slow start for the Mets.
- NY Post– Bay passed his physical in spite of past knee and shoulder problems
- Mets.com– Former Met and current SNY broadcaster Darryl Strawberry will be in this year’s cast of “Celebrity Apprentice”
- Amazin’ Avenue– A tweet from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN has the Mets and Red Sox talking about a Luis Castillo for Mike Lowell trade
- Remembering Shea– A great picture of sunny, warm Tradition Field to get you fired up for spring training
Talk back in the comments below about the Castillo for Lowell trade. I like it. Although I think that I’d like any trade that moves Castillo at this point. Lowell could be a nice platoon at first base and we know he’s a solid citizen in the clubhouse who has overcome a lot in his life.
In the middle of the worst U.S. economy since the Great Depression, the Mets felt the effects more than any other team in the Florida Grapefruit League this spring according to a report in the NY Post. Tradition Field suffered a year over year loss of 16.3% in ticket sales this year. That’s an average of almost 1,000 fewer fans per game over their 16 game home schedule. Compare that to the Yankees loss of just 1.6% over last year’s spring ticket sales.
The Arizona Catcus League losses were even worse. From the NY Post:
Teams in the Cactus League in Arizona suffered far worse drops, however. The Padres’ attendance fell a whopping 30.8 percent, while Texas dropped 26.2 percent and the Angels 25.1 percent.
In my mind, this goes to show that the Mets organization severely underestimated the effect that the current economy would have on spring attendance. They should have adjusted ticket prices and promotions to compensate for the environmental factors that they were up against.
The Mets didn’t bring in any “big splash” free agents that would draw fans to Tradition Field. Francisco Rodriuguez doesn’t really qualify in the same way that CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira did for the Yankees. Hopefully, the Mets learned a lesson the hard way and will apply what they learned to the high-end ticket prices this season at Citi Field.
If you’re in the Port St. Lucie, FL area tonight you should head over to Tradition Field to check out the Vero Beach Rays vs. St. Lucie Mets game. You won’t see a much better game than this one. The Rays top pick in last year’s draft David Price is pitching against Pedro Martinez.
There aren’t many Class A games with pitching matchup’s like that. I wish I was there for this game. It’s the old (Pedro) against the new highly touted prospect (Price).
Pedro has already told the Mets that he feels ready to pitch at the Major League level. But tonight will be a good test for him. I’d like to see him have some level of success tonight before making a start next week in San Francisco.