Something to do to keep me working and not just sitting at my desk watching basketball all day:
Nuts? No. Optimistic? Probably.
I’ve liked Young since he was a stalwart for the Gary (Indiana) Templetons, my old fantasy team, in 2004. But his fastball averaged under 85 mph last year and the reports this spring have him in a similar range. He still has time to build up arm strength, but it’s hard to imagine a righty with that type of velocity and his standard 50-percent flyball rate being able to keep the ball in the park — even if it’s Citi Field — as often as Young did in his four-start stint at the end of 2010.
Still, success would not be unprecedented. Fellow righty Livan Hernandez enjoyed a decent season in 2010 while throwing an average fastballs below 84 mph. But Young has the additional hurdle in his injury history. He’s supposedly a smart pitcher and a great competitor, for whatever those are worth. (NOTE: This paragraph originally said Ted Lilly was also a soft-tossing righty. But he is a soft-tossing lefty who just got jumbled up in my head.)
Of course, speculating if Young will be the second-best pitcher on the Mets begs the question: Who will be the best pitcher on the Mets? Based on 2010, you’d have to say Dickey. But awesome though he is and with all the caveats about being relatively knew to the knuckler, Dickey only has one good season under his belt. Mike Pelfrey probably is who he is at this point: A decent but unspectacular innings-eater. Jon Niese should improve off his rookie season. To me, it’s hard to pick a clear favorite.
I have never been to In-N-Out. In fact, I have been to 40 of the 50 states, but never California. I hope to rectify both at some point this year.
That said, I’d probably say Five Guys is the best burger chain. McDonald’s is basically the definition of replacement-level: passable, inexpensive, available. White Castle I happen to love, but I know that’s a controversial stance. Plus those don’t even count as burgers to me. They’re White Castle burgers, and that’s a whole different thing.
Burger King is the worst. I recognize there’s a chance I’m biased because of a couple of particularly bad Burger Kings — most notably the atrocious one in Farmingdale, N.Y. near where my band used to practice — but every time I eat there I feel sick. Grosses me out, and I have a pretty strong stomach for these things (See: the Taco Bell tab).
There are some regional burger chains that need to be considered, though. The butter-belt staple Culver’s serves some pretty amazing burgers. And Good Times, in Colorado, is one of the best fast food places I’ve ever enjoyed.
Honestly, it’s surprisingly easy now that I feel like the team is actually being run with the goal of sustainable success in mind. And I know there’s a lot of doom-and-gloom fire-sale stuff in the papers, but I’ll believe the Mets will be forced to trade David Wright to cut payroll when I see them trade David Wright to cut payroll.
I think baseball allows most fans a healthy dose of optimism, even while remaining grounded in reality. Hell, look what happened last year: The Giants, with a lineup full of old-ass men who were never even that great to begin with, won the World Series. Yeah, they had great pitching. They also had a ton of little things fall their way. That happens sometimes.
Doesn’t mean, of course, that a team shouldn’t position itself as best it can by putting together the best possible roster. It looks like the Mets (fingers crossed) are trying to do that, hanging on to young players, managing for the near- and long-term, paying attention to the margins. On paper, are they good enough to win it all? Not really. But were the Giants last March? Were the Cardinals in 2006?
So yeah, right now I’m still holding out hope for a surprise playoff appearance. When that doesn’t happen, I’ll fall back on productive seasons from the young players that now appear to be part of the team’s next core group.
All the damn time. I’ve even spoken to a literary agent a couple of times. The biggest hold-up is I can’t come up with a suitable topic that would sustain my interest for the length of time it would require to write a book. For first-time and relatively unknown authors, publishing houses want ideas that are guaranteed to sell — the type of thing you’d get your dad on father’s day 2013. All my ideas are a bit too spacy, it seems. And I don’t want to write a book about something that doesn’t really interest me just for the sake of writing a book. I’m still thinking, though.
The other problem is I currently hunch in front of a computer all day for work. And I’ve got some pretty heavy back and neck issues. Though I’m vain as anything and I’d love to see my name on a book jacket, it’s hard to imagine coming home from work and getting right back in front of a computer for several more hours. That’s what my TV is for.
I’d put my money down on Beltran still. As frustrating as it is to follow along with the outfielder’s seemingly very slow rehab process, Santana is so far off and shoulder surgery is so very tough for pitchers to come back from. Fun fact: I’m the one who set the April 21 over-under that Matt Cerrone used for MetsBlog. It was a total guess, but it’s my total guess.