Bourn To Be A Met?

 

So it seems Sandy Alderson and John Ricco took a trip to Houston to have a bite with Michael Bourn and Scott Boras over the weekend. I’m sure Alderson let Bourn and Agent Orange know that, yes I’m interested in making you a Met. No I do not want to lose my spot in line to pick the Next Great Baseball Prospect but if I were to give that pick up I want you on my team at my price and my terms.

Sherman of the Post claims that the Mets could work a deal with BournBoras on multiyear deal with an out clause after one year. Interesting concept and imaginative as well but why would BourneBoras take the risk? Is it because the market for Bourn is more of a gas station mini mart with the Mets and Mariners the only teams mentioned in the running for Bourn’s services rather than the big box store teams like the Highlanders, Red Sox , Cubs or the new and biggest high end store the Rodeo Drive Dodgers?

I’m trying to see where BournBoras have any leverage, we are a mere two weeks from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training and here’s Michael Bourn still on the free agent ho’ stroll.  It seems the only hold up in the Mets making an offer and signing Bourn is the elusive 11th pick in the entry draft. MLB it seems will not help the Metropolitans out with a favorable ruling of allowing the Mets to receive the 10th and protected pick in the draft over the Pittsburgh Pirates who are being rewarded for their incompetent handling of Stanford RHP Mark Appel in last year’s draft.  

I go back and forth on the value of the 11th pick over signing a better than average CF’er. Seems Alderson feels the same way. The shame of it is Bourn and the Mets are a perfect fit both need each other in the worst way but the obstacles in front of them may derail this match made in baseball heaven.

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METS HAVE A SPRING IN THEIR STEP, BUT WILL IT BE THERE IN JULY?

Today pitchers and catchers will report to St. Lonseome and by Wednesday the Mets position players will start arriving as well and training camp 2012 will get under way. So what am I looking for this spring from our beloved Mets? I’m glad you asked:

Ownership

Please Freddy, Uncle Saul and Jeffey I’m begging you guys, please stay away from camp. Can we please take the focus off your upcoming court case and your financial problems and let this camp be about baseball, baseball and more baseball. Can you give your manager, coaches and players a chance to get ready for this season and to prove the naysayers wrong about how non-competitive this club will be? Your team is in good hands with Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson and their staffs, so stay up here in New York and work with your attorneys to get your game plan ready for the March 19th trail. I’m sure Sandy Koufax will understand.

Manager

Got to love the work ethic of Terry Collins and the transformation he has made as a big league manager. Collins has been in camp with Johan Santana, working with the Ace and forming a bond with him like he did with Carlos Beltran.  Just as TC earned the trust and respect of Beltran, he is working towards having the same relationship with Santana. There is more to managing a team than knowing when to double switch and Collins has realized that and has  proven he is the right man to manage the Mets.

Ike Davis asked the question last week, “why does everyone think  we’re going to suck” and this is the rallying cry the manager needs to use to his and the teams advantage. When he addresses the team he should make it known that the majority of media and fans do think the Mets suck and the only ones who believe the team is any good, are the guys right he in this clubhouse. If each and every player on this team doesn’t have the back of their teammates, they’ll fail as no one else will stick up for them.   

With a year on the job, Collins knows who needs motivation and who is self-motivated and that’s a big plus. TC as well, has to push fundamentals this spring to the point that the players get angry. He needs to push the point that it’s not always the most talented team that wins but the most prepared team that is always right there. If the Mets continue with their poor execution on the field, it will be a long season.

Starting Pitching

The only starting pitcher I have any confidence in right now is R.A. Dickey. Everyone else has a ton of questions by their name. So many if’s with this group and the biggest problem is there isn’t much competition in camp for jobs in the rotation.  Sure Chris Schwinden or Miguel Batista could swipe the 5th spot from Dillon Gee or Matt Harvey could just blow everyone away this spring to force his way into the rotation but that’s a long shot.

As far as Santana is concerned try to put his starting the season on the big league roster out of your mind. Even if he pitches well this spring there a couple of things that will hasten his return early in the season, The cold weather is one, especially the dumb move by MLB to pay April games in the East at night, and the other is the limited innings/pitch count that Santana will be under. No way Santana, even if he shows he’s ready to come back, pitches more than 80-85 pitches or 5 innings, those pitching restriction will put a lot of pressure on the Mets bullpen early in the season and with the unknown of the rest of this staff besides Dickey, the Mets and Terry Collins can’t risk burning the bullpen by Memorial Day. Best case scenario is Santana stays in extended spring training and makes a few minor league starts for St. Lucie and makes back to the big leagues by end of May early June and that’s being real optimistic.    

As much as Mets fans are hanging on every Santana bullpen session the guys we really need to watch are Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese as it will be the performance of these two pitchers that will determine if this a season of surprise or of transition.  For Pelfrey if he can’t be effective it will get very ugly for him this season with the fan base and with the front office. As for Niese, it’s time to put the big boy baseball pants on a prove that he has the makeup, conditioning and ability to be a  solid major league pitcher. Niese doesn’t have to be an Ace but he has to show some stamina and guile to get to the 6th and 7th innings of starts.

Bullpen

It’s been revamped and the back end (Frank Francisco, Ramon Ramirez and Jon Rauch) is a huge improvement over last year’s relievers, but if Manny Acosta, Bobby Parnell or D.J. Carrasco (or someone playing the role of Carrasco) starts making frequent appearances, it will be a long season. The effectiveness of the Mets bullpen will depend on the Mets starting pitchers who again (I know I’m belaboring this point) have to step up.

Defense

Last season the Mets were one of the worst defensive teams in baseball, so for 2012 there is no place else to go but up hopefully. All the talk about David Wright has been about his regaining his offensive punch which missed the real story with Wright and that’s the steady decline of his defense. I know the defensive metrics are not the be all end all but according to Bill James Online and their defensive plus/minus rankings Wright has been an atrocious third baseman the last three seasons :

2009 -11

2010 -10

2011 -5

 

Not only has Wright cost the Mets runs at 3rd base but he has had trouble with balls hit to his right and his throws have been less than accurate to first base, again defensive metrics have their flaws but so does Wright at the hot corner.

The catching situation stinks as well. Josh Thole still has not mastered the art of catching especially blocking balls in the dirt and getting better footwork in attempting to throw out would be base stealers. Word is new bench coach Bob Geren will be working all spring with Thole on these aspects of catching. Mike Nickeas will be the Sunday (and presumably R.A. Dickeys personal backstop) catcher and should bat 9th in the order when he does play. Catching in the Mets organization is a disaster that Sandy Alderson is not only aware of put has tried hard to rectify, that was one of the reasons Jon Niese’ name was mentioned in trade talks this off season as the Mets were hoping a team with a solid young catching prospect (like the Blue Jays and their prize catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud) would take the bait

The middle infield will be securitized a lot this season as Ruben Tejada takes over the everyday shortstop job and Daniel Murphy will try again to master the second sack. Tejada should be stellar at short as he has very good baseball instincts and makes plays he should make. The question will be, as it seems to be every spring for the last three years, will Daniel Murphy play at least a respectable 2nd base. As long as he makes the routine play and is somewhat capable of turning the pivot at 2nd without getting maimed, his season will be a success.

Ike Davis is solid at 1st base, so no worries there.

The outfield should be markedly better with Andres Torres playing center field and a bit underrated Jason Bay in left. The question is will Lucas Duda play a serviceable right field.  I’m trying very hard not to over use the word serviceable when talking about the Mets defenders but that’s how bad this team’s defense is when serviceable play would be an upgrade at 3rd base, 2nd base, right field and catcher.

Breakout star of the spring

I would love to see Kirk Nieuwenhuis have such a fabulous spring that he forces management hand to bring him North.  Many scouting reports have Capt Kirk as a corner outfielder but I’m sure once or twice a week you could play him in centerfield. If Jason Bay continues to be awful against right handed pitching, the lefty swinging Nieuwenhuis would make a great platoon partner for Bay.

Of course the new BIG 3 of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Familia will be watched closely and who knows, if Harvey pitches lights out, he could take the 5th spot in the rotation from Dillion Gee but he’d have to be spectacular in order for the Mets to force the issue early in the season. Wheeler will not be in the big league camp by the way but over at the kids table for minor leaguers but as we’ve seen in years past sometimes the minor leaguers get a invite to join the big boys especially when there are spilt squad games so keep an eye out for that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CURBING MY JOHAN ENTHUSIASM

 

 

 

With the Mets closing their training camp for the weekend as they get ready for Monday’s reporting day for pitchers and catchers, they won’t be much news coming from St. Lonesome today. It would be nice though, to get some sort of report on Johan Santana and how he feels after yesterday’s bullpen session.

So far it seems Santana is feeling good, in fact he says he’s not rehabbing the shoulder but getting it strong for the season which is great to hear but I would hope that he and the Mets take the slow lane in his comeback.

If Santana can make it back to the mound on Tuesday for another pitching session, it will be a huge step in his comeback but I just hope the team and the fan base don’t get overly optimistic on what Santana will bring to the Mets this season. Anything the team gets from him will be a plus and I still don’t think we will see Santana until late May at the earliest, pitching in a real game for the Mets.

Today is another 50 degree and sunny day in NYC and the winter has been unbelievably uneventful as far as the weather is concerned. So you know what that means? It will snow on opening day

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DO THE SKILL SETS HAVE ANY SHAME?

I don’t know maybe I think a little differently than some folks. If me and my family were embroiled in a fight to save everything we’ve worked for and the embarrassment we’ve faced due to either stupidity, nativity or out right lying and I owned a baseball team in the biggest media market in the world, I’d kind of lay low for a while and not want to have to answer questions about an on going court case that I really can’t answer or baseball questions that I don’t know how to answer. I’d stay out of the public eye. Unfortunately Jeffey Skill Sets doesn’t think like that.  Here was Jeffey in all his glory and bad hair cut meeting the media at St. Lonesome.

Wouldn’t it be in the best interest of the organization to not have a side show on the day pitchers and catchers report? Especially when you are having a tough time selling tickets? Wouldn’t be in the best interest of the organization to just let Sandy Alderson do the talking this spring and season as well?

Just when I’m getting stoked for Mets baseball and decided to purchase a flex pack ticket plan, I see this video and think hummmmmmmmmm is buying a ticket plan a wise choice? I’m sure I’m not they only one who is thinking this way as well.

Besides Jeffey being there do I have to hear about our domestic violence abuser having his Lamborghini shipped down on a flat bed truck to spring training?  Then hear how great it was that he spoke to the media and a couple of day time yackers on radio? Why is it the guys I want to hear from the least I hear from the most?

The beat guy at the Daily Lupica likes to break Mets fans balls with some stupid Tweets. During last season I guess I tweeted him to many times telling him what a hack he was and how he seemed upset he wasn’t covering the Phillies anymore so he blocked me from his Twitter account which is no big deal to me but I would think it would be a big deal to his bosses at the Daily Lupica since I stopped buying the paper and I never link a story from their site. From the tweets I’ve read today it seems this beat guy has taken to calling Jose Reyes (Michael our resident Highlander fan, you better sit down for this one) a “future Yankee”. Mets tweeters have been outraged and have started a campaign on Twitter to unfollow him. That’s great but take it a step further, don’t link any stories of his or anything in the Daily Lupica on your sites or on Twitter. I ‘m sure Daily Lupica Sports Editor Teri Thompson will not be happy about that.

Ed Marcus/Rusty Jr. has number 21 in his list of the Top 50 Mets of All Time and this one is a bit of a controversial choice as he didn’t spend many years with the Mets and the years he did while showing flashes of brilliance from time to time didn’t exactly make a great contribution. But when he left he was legendary.

I had a great time conversing with Joe Demayo of  PSL to Flushing on the THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN podcast today. Check it out here or on iTunes

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HOW ABOUT A RAT-A-TAT-TAT RACE ?

Over at Metsblog, Matthew Cerone asks the question Should the Mets add a character race like the Brewers Sausage race or the National President Race?  Now to me, all these racing games at the ball park reek of the bush leagues but if the Mets were to have one at $iti Field why not use rats ?

First, this city is known for it’s rat population (4 legged and two legged) so finding rats to work cheap wouldn’t be a problem. There are also plenty of cats on 126th St who frequent the shop shops and sometimes meander over to the ball park so you could have a cat chasing the rats just to speed up the festivities.

Have one rat per boro.

The Manhattan Rat could have on a Brooks Brothers suit to represent Wall St

The Brooklyn Rat could be a hipster type who has just discovered Williamsburg and Greenpernt (also known as GreenPOINT)

The Queens Rat could be Hiram Monserate

The Bronx Rat could be decked out in a Highlander uni

And last but not lease the Staten Island Rat would have tons of hair gel and a humongous crucifix around his neck .

I’m sure Shelly Silver could find a way to have para-mutual betting on these contests.

5 days until pitchers and catchers

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SNOW IN FEBRUARY? WHAT’S NEXT ? A HEAT WAVE IN AUGUST ?

  9 days until pitchers and catchers

I’ve had it uptohere with everyone panicking over the impending snow storm heading to NYC by tonight. Yes it is going to snow and snow a lot, about a foot and yes all the assholes will attack the local supermarket to buy 10 gallons of milk and 15 loaves of bread because we all know a snowstorm in NYC is worse than an earthquake in Port A Prince. 

Its fucking incredible how people shit themselves when they here of a snow storm coming. It snows, you shovel, it piles up and guess what? IT GOES AWAY!!!!!!! In the fifty-one years I’ve been breathing and living in NYC THIS HAPPENS EVERY WINTER. DDDDDDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL WWIIIIIITTTTHHHHH IIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT !

Now that I got that out of system, The Mets will now slice the center field wall in half to a new height of 8 ft. Also the player’s moms will be responsible on a rotating basis to provide orange slice for each home game.

Marcus Thames (as pointed out by our resident Highlander fan Michael) has signed a minor league deal with the Bronx Bastards. I called Omar Minaya for to ask about the Mets having any interested in Thames or any other free agent still on the market. Here is a transcript of our conversation:

EKS: Omar, with the team not making many moves this off season and basically going with the same starting pitching staff that was dreadful last season, is there any interest in a pitcher like Jarrod Washburn?

Omar Minaya: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

EKS: Marcus Thames signed a minor league deal with the team in the Bronx. A pretty good righty bat who can play outfield and first base, did you have any interested in bringing Thames into the Mets fold?

Minaya: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

EKS:  Thanks for your time Omar.

Sorry I got to go now and head to Shop Rite before all the olive loaf and liverwurst is gone. I don’t know if you heard but a BIG FUCKING SNOW STORM IS COMING!!!!!!!

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J.J. PUTZ WAS HURTIN’ FOR CERTAIN WHEN HE JOINED THE METS

You’re a Mets fan, and even with the underwhelming personnel moves this off season the  front office has made and the anger you have about this bunch of underachievers, you looked at the calendar today as see February 1 and you know that in17 days, pitchers and catchers will report to Port St. Lonesome.

You try to look beyond the fact the team has holes on the defensive end and the pitching staff can with either be solid or shit but you’re a Mets fan, you know that miracles can happen. But then, you read a story like this where J.J. Putz, the former Mets reliever now bullpen fodder for the Chicago White Sox, tells about his season with the Mets. A disclaimer Mets fans the following excerpts are graphic and may not be suitable for all readers. If you suffer from high blood pressure, night sweats and have heard voices in your head, proceed with caution.

Putz claims he was damaged goods when he arrived in NY via Seattle but (this is where it gets upsetting) he was never given a physical exam by the Mets. Here is what went down as per Putz:

  When the trade went down last year, I never really had a physical with the Mets,” said Putz. “I had the bone spur (in the right elbow). It was discovered the previous year in Seattle, and it never got checked out by any other doctors until I got to spring training, and the spring training physical is kind of a formality. It was bugging me all through April, and in May I got an injection. It just got to the point where I couldn’t pitch. I couldn’t throw strikes, my velocity was way down.”

 

So the Mariners sent a player not fit to pitch to the Mets probably realizing that the inept Mets front office would never notice. Do you get the impression that the rest of MLB thinks, the whole Mets front office fell off a turnip truck?

Now, as bad as that declaration by Putz was, it gets even worse as we see here in a statement that will be dissected and maybe, just maybe be what’s needed to be a   cleansing of the Mets front office of incompetence and give this organization the high colonic it needs. This is Exhibit A that the New York Mets organization is run by a bunch of fucking liars:

 Being hurt is never fun, especially when you go to a team like New York, where the expectation level is so high, and you’re not able to do what you know you can do. (The Mets) gave up a lot to get me, so it was disappointing and frustrating.”

 

Especially when the Mets told Putz not to talk about being hurt with the media.

 

“I knew that I wasn’t right. I wasn’t healthy. The toughest part was having to face the media and tell them that you feel fine, even though you know there’s something wrong and they don’t want you telling them that you’re banged up.”

 

There you have it. You can’t believe anything you hear out of Mets managment. What little shred of credibility the Mets front office had is gone now. Now you know why Carlos Beltran went outside the organization to get his knee fixed and you know why no free agents want to come to Flushing. $iti Field might as well be in Chernobyl, it’s that toxic.

What’s the over/under when Jason Bay’s knee blows out? 40 games?

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“CLOWNS TO THE LEFT OF ME, JOKERS TO THE RIGHT, HERE I AM, STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU “

22 days until pitchers and catchers

As a Mets fan, I’m starting to feel like a weary traveler standing at the airport luggage carrousel waiting for my bags, and my bags have gotten lost.

Pitchers have gone around the free agent carrousel and the Mets just stand there waiting and waiting and waiting to the point where they are the lone team standing around with nothing to show.

Ben Sheets for $10 mil is a very steep price to pay but give the A’s and Billy Beane credit for taking a chance with Sheets. Beane is taking a shot that of the three things that can happen with Sheets, if  two of the scenarios work in the A’s favor, Beane and the A’s come out a winner.  He can stay healthy and become the Ace of a very young and potentially strong starting rotation and the A’s can be big time contenders in the NL West, or he can stay healthy and the rest of the team not play up to expectation and fall out the race where by Beane can flip Sheets for a couple of top prospects, or the worst case scenario, Sheets breaks down like a ’76 Pinto and the A’s are stuck with an expensive invalid.

But then again, Beane and the A’s management are competent and have watched Sheets throw and checked his medical reports and have given him a full medical by doctors who have cleared Sheets good to go, so with the odds in his favor Beane decides to spend Lew Wolf’s money and go for a post season berth.

Jeffey Skill Sets on the other hand, will take the money saved on buying much cheaper baseball labor to build an extension of his Hamptons mansion.

At some point one of our fine beat reporters in this town should really try to get through the Wall of Horowitz and get a sit down interview with Jeffey Skill Sets to get answers on how he feels that the baseball team he runs is the laughingstock of the industry.  The Mets have gone from an organization where every player agent made sure that the Mets were involved with their client during free agency to an organization that has become Plan Z (welcome Jason Bay) The Mets wanted John Lackey but John Lackey wanted no part of the Mets.  A pitcher coming from the American League refused to even talk to a team in the NL, that plays in a pitchers ball park, in the greatest city in the world, for a team with a big income. Stunning.

Jason Marquis begged the Mets to sign him but the Mets treated him like he had cooties. Bengi Molina? He’s a Met the MSM told us, it’s just a matter of finding a pen with ink in it. Molina is back with the Giants.  Randy Wolf? Never called Flushing.  “Mr. Minaya, Joel Piniero on line 1” WHO? Responds Omar. Jon Garland? No! Chone Figgins? No! Orlando Hudson? No! Aroldis Chapman? No! If he were 45 years old then YES! Russell Branyan? No! and on and on and on…………………………

This perception of the Mets is not a figment of Mets fans imaginations, it’s real, the baseball world shakes its head and says “How the fuck?” We can rant all day and night about Omar Minaya and Fire Omar, and Omar this and Omar that. Get over your Omar hate, this is beyond Omar. Omar Minaya is a bit player in the Mets moves these days.  If Omar were the baseball boss, Molina and Piniero would be Mets and Carlos Delgado would have a 5 year deal. But nothing gets done until Jeffey Poo says it’s done. That’s why we’re fucked.

I give Johan Santana a ton of credit not just for showing up at the mini camp but for coming on WFAN with Joe Bada Bing and Tinkerbell and being positive and optimistic about this team. The right man in charge could play this “the whole world thinks you guys suck” as a rallying cry but the guy that would play that angle perfectly has to prove himself on Coney Island this summer, while Cool Breeze Jerry works on his lounge act in Flushing.

I swear to Henry Chadwick that I hope I’m wrong that Wright and Reyes explode with career years and Daniel Murphy hits like I believe he can and that Bay and Frenchy  prove to be “corner-stones”, and Beltran comes back like a track star that hits 30 HR’s  and Big Pelf pounds that strikezone like a blacksmith and this team is not just competitive but contends for the NL East crown.

As negative as I’ve been all winter and I’m sure other Mets fans will say the same thing, none of us wants to go through another summer like last year.  As I look down the line on the big decision makers though in this organization though, it is very hard to get enthused.  Jeffey is clueless and Omar is ball-less, and the manager couldn’t care less.

All I have is my ace pitcher preaching to me like Bob Marley, I hope he’s right. It’s hard to find Three Little Birds when it’s so damn cold outside

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METS ARE THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND

Only 23 days until pitchers and catchers

So the Oakland A’s have made a competitive offer to Ben Sheets and want and answer not later than tomorrow. Okay, what is a competitive offer and how many competitors are in this race? From all the innuendo we’ve heard on Sheets, the Mets, A’s and Texas Rangers are in the loop. Rumor is Sheets’ management is looking for an $8 mil base plus incentives for this year and an option for 2011. Now as much as I would love to have Ben Sheets on the Mets, but $8mil for a pitcher who could be a either a stud or a cripple is a tough decision to make. But then again the Mets did give Alex Cora $2mil bucks to be a leader on the bench.

I can not see any way that the A’s would give Sheets $8 mil even the Rangers, as they go through a transition of ownership, would have a hard time paying that kind of coin.

If I’m the Mets I call Sheets’ agent and offer $6mil guarantee with incentives that could go to $10mil if reached (post season starts include in that) and a mutual option for 2011. Then take the other $2 mil and give that to John Smoltz.

If they can do that, not only solidifies the pitching staff but I’ll get off managements back for a while and maybe even praise them for a job well done.

So far the Mets Mini-Camp has proved that OP is great shape and that Johan Santana will again try to help Ollie as much as he can both with his pitching and with his psyche. Jon Niese took the mound for the first time since he ripped his hammy and felt pretty good. Daniel Murphy is a camp and is doing what most fans wish all the players would do, work hard and try to get better but he still catches hell. Wait until he gets traded and becomes a solid ML’er, I will be insufferable or more insufferable than I already am, if that’s possible. 

Kevin Kernan seconds my position that the injury excuse from last year was a smoke screen to how badly last years team executed all facets of the game.   Time for Jerry Manuel to Man Up this spring and prove that he can manage and teach and to prove that he is just not waiting to get canned so he can go back to Sacramento and collect a check sitting on his porch.

I still baffles me how the Skill Sets don’t get upset or try to change the perception of their organization after time and time again being told they run one of the worst organizations in baseball. At some point you need to show some spine and fight back. Everyone from media to fans to bloggers keep kicking the organization in the ass waiting for them to fight back. It’s at the point now where I feel like a bully for calling out the Skill Sets as often as I do, they just take all these kicks in the ass and ask for more. It’s more sad than strange. Com’on Jeffey show some fucking fight will ya!!!!!!

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MARK YOUR CALENDERS FEBRUARY 18 PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT TO PORT ST. LONESOME

As per Brain Costa of the Star-Ledger via Twitter:

Mark your calendars: Mets announce that pitchers and catchers will report to Port St. Lucie on Feb. 18.

thank you to Jessica Burciaga, Playboy’s Miss February 2009 for posing for that pic for this post.

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Tickets

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