MLB Has A Pace Of Spring Training Problem

Can we stick a fork in Spring Training and start the goddamn MLB season already? I came out of the gate extremely excited for Spring Training as I always do, but my excitement turned to impatience almost immediately. The last month has been filled with nothing but non-stories, fabricated headlines, and Tim Tebow BS every other day. I can’t take it anymore.

Rob Manfred never shuts up about pace of play, but how about we cut down the freaking length of the pre-season? Two months of Spring Training BS is completely ridiculous and unnecessary.

The only thing that’s been saving me this year is the World Baseball Classic. Obviously the risk of injury to major league players in the tournament is real and for many fans that taints the entire experience. But let’s be honest, this WBC tournament has been absolutely incredible. Top notch entertainment.

If you’ve watched these WBC games and you can’t acknowledge how entertaining the games have been then you must be a grumpy old baseball purist who hates fun. Every game that I’ve watched in the later rounds has had a playoff caliber atmosphere.

And for all the fans out there against the WBC due to the injury risks, it’s not like these guys are magically protected from harm during Grapefruit League games. The Mets were probably screwed whether they had guys in the tourney or not.

It’s been written about to death but the major reason the tournament is so fun is that the players let loose and play with raw emotion. They temporarily abandon the uptight regular season style of ball and instead the guys are flipping bats, dancing in the field, leaping out of the dugout. It’s so damn refreshing. Just look at this pimp job from last night.

One of the reasons the NFL and NBA are so popular is that the players are encouraged to display raw emotion on the field. Post sack celebrations and electric slam dunks are some of the most entertaining elements of football and basketball respectively. The WBC has shown how fun baseball can be with that element of raw emotion and pageantry incorporated into the games, and we really need to see more of it during the regular season.

As far as Spring Training news goes, every time I try to write a blog, the “story” I wanted to write about turns out to be a non-story. Here’s the latest crap:

Tebow Fake News: The Tim Tebow news cycle this spring has made me want to vomit. He’s a total embarrassment. But look at how ridiculous the Tebow Fake News cycle was last week. The guy went from great game to media gag order to gag order lifted to banished from camp to starting the next day. Total joke #FakeNews.

Nimmo Out Forever With Hammy Strain: Brandon Nimmo demonstrated an absolute classic Mets injury news cycle last week. It was laugh out loud hilarious. He hurt his hammy in the World Baseball Classic (screw the tournament, I take everything I said back) and then went from out for weeks to totally fine to out forever. He’s dunzo. I keep forgetting that his major flaw is he can’t stay on the field. Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares are going to form the most injury prone platoon in the league next season in center field.

Be Patient Flo: Wilmer Flores this week indicated to the media that he’s not happy about a part time role this season. Ummm hey Wilmer how about you be a little patient. David Wright is finished. You’re already in line to snag regular at-bats at third base. Just wait for Duda’s back to start barking and you’ll be playing everyday at first base. I guess Wilmer forgot how injuries work on this team.

Dead Beat Reyes:

Just a friendly reminder that Jose Reyes is a scumbag husband and a deadbeat parent. Don’t normalize his behavior because he’s a professional athlete. If you found out your neighbor didn’t pay his child support, had a second family, and was arrested for beating his wife you probably wouldn’t even make eye contact with the guy when you took out your trash.

Harvey Still Swinging:

Harvey’s fastball velocity may be lacking, but he hasn’t lost his touch with the ladies.

The return of Matt Harvey is one of the few meaningful spring storylines for the Mets. I was going to write a “sky is falling” blog last week when Harvey had a crappy appearance and lacked velocity. But in yesterday’s outing he was hitting 96 MPH. Now I don’t know what to believe. Everything I read about the thoracic outlet surgery tells me that his recovery is not guaranteed. There’s a chance he may never be the same. There’s a chance he may take this entire season to regain his velocity and command. But let’s just let this rehab process play out and pray. Harvey’s condition really is important though. A dominant Harvey could be the difference between an NL East title and just missing the second wild card.

Thor, Yo, and deGrom: I’ll close this post with the only news that matters: The health and performance of Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob deGrom. If these three guys are healthy and performing at an elite level this season I truly believe the Mets will have a successful year. Obviously overall roster health is vitally important, but we learned last year that Yo and Thor can carry this club even when the rest of the roster is banged up. And so far this spring Yo is mashing and Thor/deGrom look healthy and nasty. Pray for them.

Cold Stove Update: Mets Ask Santa For Cash

If you’re looking for an update on the Mets’ offseason since they paid Yoenis Cespedes, don’t get too excited. In fact, don’t get excited at all. Nothing has happened. Sandy Alderson basically went to the Winter Meetings last week, ate the hotel continental breakfast for a few days, and then flew right back to New York. Sandy said the Mets can’t make any moves until they find a team willing to take the 13 million dollar Jay Bruce salary off our hands. Clearly the days of worrying about our mid-market payroll are behind us.

Cold Stove Quick Hits:

Christmas Party: The Mets held their annual Christmas Party this week and decided to anoint Noah Syndergaard as the next cursed Santa Claus. Sandy Alderson was seen at the event trying to dump Jay Bruce in a Toys for Tots bin.

Pray and Wish: At the Mets Christmas Party, Thor said all he wants for Christmas is a World Series. It’s a good thing that he’s motivated because Sandy and Co. are clearly showing that their strategy for 2017 is to pray that all of our young pitchers will be healthy. In other words, rather than actually improving the team this offseason, the Mets are asking Jesus and Santa Claus for help.

MLB Anti-Hazing Policy: This week, MLB unveiled a new policy banning “offensive” hazing practices specifically those that involve dressing teammates as women. No word from Donald Trump yet on the decision but expect to see tweets about “soft Manfred” and “the failing MLB” any day now.

David Wright’s Road To Retirement: David Wright is reportedly simulating baseball activities but has not swung a bat yet. He’s been “getting in a crouch” and “moving laterally”. Basically he gingerly slides from one end of the couch to the other and occasionally bends over to pick up a chip if he drops one on the floor. I’d like to think that if David Wright retired tomorrow the Mets would spend his salary on roster upgrades. But who am I kidding. The Wilpons are already banking on spending the Wright insurance money on Yo’s salary.

World Baseball Classic: Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto are reportedly on the preliminary roster for Team Italy, Asdrubal Cabrera is planning to play for Venezuela and Jeurys Familia wants to pitch for the Dominican Republic. You’ve got to love the idea of Ol’ Bum Knee Cabrera playing extremely competitive games in March when he limped through a third of the regular season last year. Conforto better hope Jay Bruce doesn’t have an Italian Great Grandfather otherwise he might wind up benched for the World Baseball Classic too.

Juanny Bum Shoulder: Juan Lagares strained his shoulder diving for a ball in the Dominican Winter League. Apparently he’s fine. Juanny better have a big 2017. He hasn’t done a damn thing since his breakout year in 2014 other than hurt his elbow and his thumb and now his shoulder. If he has another injury filled season, that extension we gave him will wind up looking horrible.

Nationals Striking Out Non-Stop: Other than the Mets signing Yo, the best news of the offseason has been that the Nationals have failed in almost every single one of their attempts to land players. They failed to land Cespedes, Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon. The list goes on and on.

Mr. Tingles: Matt Harvey said his arm is no longer tingling and he’s feeling strong as he recovers from his surgery. If Matt Harvey wins comeback player of the year and Noah Syndergaard continues to be a pitching machine then the 2017 Mets really will be in great shape. Pray.

Charges Dropped: The domestic violence charges against Jeurys Familia were officially dropped because as I’ve said many times on this site, the charges always get dropped or settled out of court. If you want to know what will happen next, just check out my post that I wrote the day this story broke. It’s the same exact cycle every single time. Familia will get a slap on the wrist suspension for allegedly assaulting his wife. Meanwhile Jenrry Mejia is locked up in a cell in the dungeons at MLB headquarters for taking a little testosterone.