John Tavares Ruined His Own Legacy

Prior to announcing his decision to sign a seven-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, John Tavares was most remembered by Islanders fans for his performance in Game Six in the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, scoring the tying goal with less than a minute left in regulation and the winning goal in double-overtime, securing the Islanders’ first playoff series victory in 23 years. Now, when Islanders fans think of Tavares, they will likely first remember Tavares breaking multiple promises he made to stay with the Islanders and leaving the team for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs over his playoff heroics.

John Tavares posing with his new jersey from his new team. Credit: Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images.

Tavares shouldn’t get all the blame for him leaving the Islanders. Former longtime general manager Garth Snow failed to successfully build around Tavares for the long term and didn’t try hard enough to sign him to an extension prior to last season or near the trade deadline, when Tavares told him he wanted to remain with the organization for the long-term. Owner Scott Malkin was slow in unseating Snow from the general manager position.

The Islanders appeared to have spent most of the off-season setting pieces up to better ensure Tavares would stay. Lou Lamoriello was brought in by ownership to run the team. He took the general manager role himself, finally ending Garth Snow’s dreadful tenure, and brought in Stanley Cup winning head coach Barry Trotz to replace Doug Weight. These moves brought hope to a long-suffering fanbase that things would finally be changing for the better.

Islanders fans have treated Tavares the same way Cavs fans treated LeBron James after he left Cleveland for the Miami Heat. Some fans have set fire to their Tavares jerseys while others have removed his name from their 91 jerseys. Some fans are petitioning for the team to retire Islanders great Butch Goring’s number 91 on the same day Tavares and the Leafs come to the Barclays Center.

Much of the anger from Islanders fans towards Tavares stems not solely from the fact he left, but that he left having put the Islanders in a very difficult position. The team could have traded Tavares at the deadline last season, but he went out of his way to ask the general manager not trade him. Had they traded him, they likely would’ve landed a haul of players, prospects and/or draft picks to help the team in the future. Additionally, Tavares didn’t notify the Islanders he wouldn’t be re-signing with them only a few hours before free agency occurred, thus putting the team in a bad spot since many of the bigger free agents had already been in deep discussions with other teams.

John Tavares’ “letter” to Islanders fans. Credit: John Tavares,

Tavares also didn’t help himself in the eyes of the public. When Kyle Okposo left the Islanders in free agency he wrote an entire article on the Players’ Tribune thanking the Islanders and their fans. Tavares wrote a two-paragraph note on Twitter just before posting a picture of himself as a child sleeping in a bed with Toronto Maple Leafs sheets. Additionally, during his introductory press conference with the Maple Leafs, Tavares referred to Islanders young stud Mat Barzal as “The kid who won the Calder,” referring to the trophy he won for being named the NHL’s best rookie last season.

John Tavares’ letter to the Islanders. Credit: John Tavares,

John Tavares arguably couldn’t have handled his free agency and the year leading up to it much more poorly. He left the team he played nine seasons for in a difficult situations due to his actions (or lack thereof). He could’ve found his name being included with greats like Mike Bossy, Billy Smith, Bryan Trottier, Denis Potvin and Bob Nystrom. Instead Islanders fans may think of him like they do Alexei Yashin: an ungrateful bum.

The Mets’ Fall Results From Their own Incompetence

By Ethan Marshall


Last off-season the Mets could’ve corrected their glaring weaknesses through free agent signings. The bullpen and offense had been a disaster in 2017 and the team had a chance to fix it. They signed reliever Anthony Swarzak, starting pitcher Jason Vargas, third baseman Todd Frazier and brought back outfielder Jay Bruce. They passed on adding further bullpen depth or signing better starting pitchers who were still available and had their asking prices reduce significantly late in the off-season.

Even as last season’s trade deadline approached and the Mets were selling off many assets who were pending free agents, they wasted an opportunity to significantly improve their barren farm system. The Mets weren’t willing to take on any portion of the salaries of the players they were willing to trade. As a result they didn’t get better prospects than they could have.

Between the trades in 2017 and the bargain-barrel off-season shopping, the obvious yet constant problem with the Mets is an unwillingness to spend to go to the next level. They decided Swarzak was enough to stabilize a bullpen that was disastrous in 2017, with the second-worst ERA in the majors at 4.82, even though reliable relievers like Addison Reed and Tony Watson were available and undervalued. They decided to sign Jason Vargas to round out their rotation when better options were available, including an extremely undervalued Jake Arrieta. They decided to claim an aging Adrian Gonzalez and pay him the MLB-minimum instead of working on further developing Dominic Smith. They designated reliever Chasen Bradford for assignment despite pitching well and showing improvement at the major-league level, posting a 3.74 ERA in 2017.

The fundamental problem with the team is an unwillingness to spend. This likely comes from the Wilpons, who don’t seem to understand the concept that a willingness to spend on talented players often equates to success, especially in a big market like New York City.

Illustration of the Wilpons. Credit: Getty Images, Good Fundies.

Instead of signing big free agents or even good complementary pieces, the Mets are content with covering their obvious flaws with bandages. This isn’t even a new issue for the Mets. Ownership has built quite the track record in meddling with what the front office can and can’t do, as well as the players. While most Mets fans would love for the Wilpons to sell the team, it’s unlikely that they do this anytime soon.

The team’s future may be dependent on how their 2018-19 off-season plays out. Among the vast amount of notable free agents that will be available are Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Machado could be a perfect fit for the Mets to change their lineup from one of the worst in the majors to one of the most-feared. There is no doubt that the price on him will be very high. They also need to reinforce their abysmal bullpen. Among the upcoming notable free agent relievers are Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Craig Kimbrel, Cody Allen and Andrew Miller. Getting at least two reliable relievers could go a long way in fixing the bullpen. If there was ever a time for the Wilpons to finally open their checkbooks, the 2018-19 off-season would be the time. They need Machado and they need dependable relievers.


Fred Wilpon is Scrooging the Mets and Their Fans Over

By Ethan Marshall


Fred Wilpon may very well be responsible for turning a talented Mets team that’s a few pieces away from being World Series contenders into a franchise in no-mans land.

Despite a high amount of ticket sales in 2017, including at the minor league level (thanks to Tim Tebow), the Mets expect to have a much lower payroll in 2018, down from $155 million to around $130-135 million.  This announcement came after the team traded away most of their pending free agents around the deadline for basically nothing.  Rather than taking on at least a portion of the remaining salary from players like Jay Bruce and Neil Walker in exchange for better prospects to replenish a dried up farm system, the Mets took no-names and long-shots while their trade partners took on the remaining salaries.

Why, then, are the Mets lowering their payroll at a time where they’re doing well financially and have a great opportunity to be contenders?  The blame can be placed on owner Fred Wilpon, who, unlike Derek Jeter, refuses to face his critics or even explain his actions to the New York media.  According to a New York Post story, Fred Wilpon gets upset whenever the Yankees make a big move, like their acquisition of 2017 N.L. MVP Giancarlo Stanton.  While this alone frustrates Mets fans to no end, as the team has done nothing but sign reliever Anthony Swarzak, Wilpon managed to make himself look worse.  Wilpon apparently believes the Yankees’ willingness to spend money in excess in order to compete almost every year is not a good long-term formula for financial success.  The Yankees have been doing this for the last 20-30 years, and show no sign of slowing down.  They are the definition of success.  Wilpon’s logic makes zero sense!

If this is Wilpon’s best argument for refusing to allow general manager Sandy Alderson to even know how much money he has to spend this off-season, then he shouldn’t be the owner of a major league baseball team at all, let alone one in the big market of New York City.


Mets owners (from left to right): Jeff Wilpon, Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon.   Photo credit: Mets Merized Online.

The Mets should be pursuing free agents like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer.  While they’ve been attached to free agents like Jay Bruce and Addison Reed, who could both be very useful, they’ve shown a reluctance to spend big on these candidates, to the point they haven’t even made any offers.  Instead, the player the Mets have been most closely attached to at this stage of the off-season has been Adrian Gonzalez, who will be 36 next season and is coming off a season in which he suffered major back injuries, because he’d only need to be paid the major-league minimum.  Additionally, the Mets may have wasted their opportunity to acquire second baseman Jason Kipnis from the Indians, who are now more reluctant to trade him than during the winter meetings.  Negotiations stalled when the Mets were reluctant to take on most, if not all, of the $30.5 million on Kipnis’ remaining contract through 2020.

There is still plenty of time left this off-season for the Mets to fill the holes needed to be corrected, but with only $10 million believed to be left to spend, this wouldn’t be enough to inspire much optimism for a big signing any time soon.  There has been no reason given as to why the Mets are cutting their payroll, which was just the 12th-highest last season, by $20 million.  The Mets window of competing won’t last much longer.  If the reason behind this is because Fred Wilpon doesn’t think the starting rotation can live up to expectations or stay healthy, this is not a good excuse.  Regardless of how the rest of the rotation performs, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom can be one of the best one-two starters in the MLB.

Several Mets fans, upset at ownership’s lack of confidence and financial investment in the team, are considering boycotting the team if nothing is done this off-season to inspire confidence.  These fans are talking about cancelling their season-ticket orders and not tuning into Mets games on TV or the radio.  While the Wilpons have never been liked by Mets fans, they are facing hostility from their team’s fanbase not seen since the fallout from the Madoff scandal, which left the owners in financial ruin.  With the Wilpons acting as though they are in financial trouble, fans have again called for them to sell the team, so that both sides may benefit.

There is no reason a New York baseball team that was in the World Series just two years ago should be run like a small-market team.  There is no reason the Mets shouldn’t be in the market for players like Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas.  There is no reason for money to get in the way from signing Jay Bruce and Addison Reed, with the former providing a solution at both first base and right field and the latter being perhaps the final piece to a potentially strong bullpen that would also consist of Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, Jerry Blevins and Anthony Swarzak.  There is no reason small-market teams like the Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals, and rebuilding teams like the Philadelphia Phillies, should be out-spending the Mets.

Mets fans are under the impression that most of the money coming towards the team is just ending up in the Wilpons’ bank vault, where there is enough money for them to dive into and swim in, similar to Scrooge McDuck.  If the Mets’ needs aren’t addressed this off-season, there is a good chance that this time, the fans will fight back by not spending on a team whose owners refuse to spend on.  Fred Wilpon needs to stop questioning the Yankees’ model for success, and start following it.

Are Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario the Next Wright and Reyes?

By Ethan Marshall


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David Wright and Jose Reyes celebrating the Mets division title in 2006.  Photo credit: Ron Antonelli.

The left side of the Mets infield played a big role in making them playoff contenders from 2005 to 2008.  Jose Reyes, nicknamed “Mr. Excitement,” presented a threat to opposing pitchers and catchers every time he got on base.  He provided life at the top of the lineup. So often would he start the first inning with a single and a stolen base or a triple before scoring, that the term “Reyes run” was used to refer to this.  Over this four-year period, Reyes stole a combined 258 bases, leading the league in that category in all but one year, including a franchise-record 78 stolen bases in 2007.  He had no fewer than 190 hits in any of these seasons.  In 2008, he posted a league-best 204 hits.  Reyes also combined for 65 triples, leading the league in that category in three of the four years.

While Reyes provided the speed, Wright provided the power.  He hit 116 home runs and drove in 449 runs over that span.  He finished fourth in MVP-voting in 2007, when he had a 30-30 year, batted .325, slugged .546 and had an OBP of .416.  It became a familiar sight for Mets fans to see David Wright driving in Jose Reyes.  Not since Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry in the 1980s had there been such a talented and admired duo of Mets. The young dynamic duo seemed destined for Hall of Fame careers, but injuries kept sidelining them, likely ruining their chances.

While the two have been reunited as teammates on the Mets, Wright has yet to take the field since Reyes was signed to replace his injured buddy.  Injuries have kept the captain sidelined for over a year, but he recently took a big step forward when he was cleared to resume baseball activities.  Reyes has been vocal of how much he misses Wright, and is optimistic that the captain will play this season.

While Strawberry and Gooden were terrific athletes in their Mets careers, they didn’t get along as well as many people actually believed.  Throughout their baseball careers, David Wright and Jose Reyes have been known to be very close friends.  Reyes often described their bond as similar to that of brothers.

Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario hanging out together during Spring Training.  Photo credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images.

Now, 13 years after Wright and Reyes shared the left side of the infield for the first time, a new young duo has appeared in Queens.  Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith, the Mets top two prospects, have now made their MLB debuts.  Their relationship in the minors was very similar to that of Wright’s and Reyes’.  After the game in which Smith made his MLB debut and Rosario hit his first career homer, both players spoke highly of each other and described the bond they shared as akin to that of brothers, just as Wright and Reyes have described their relationship.

Many Mets fans have already expressed that the new duo reminds them in both skills and personalities of those of Wright and Reyes.  Like Reyes at his age, Rosario is a speedy shortstop with strong defensive skills and the potential to be a great hitter.  Reyes has even become a mentor to Rosario since Spring Training, texting him almost every day.  Since Rosario’s promotion to the Mets, he and Reyes are often spotted fooling around and having fun together.  They both have a youthful and bubbly personality, making them likable in the clubhouse.

While Dominic Smith doesn’t play the same position as Wright, he has shown the same defensive ability as a young Wright.  Perhaps the biggest similarity between the two is their ability to use the whole field effectively.  Smith has shown strong opposite-field power in AAA Vegas this season, something Wright made a career doing (until Citi Field opened, designed basically against him with a deep rightfield).  Both Smith and Wright showed a strong maturity despite their young ages.  Perhaps Wright can become a mentor to Smith in the same way Reyes has for Rosario.

Whether or not Rosario and Smith can be as successful as Wright and Reyes, while also avoiding the constant injuries that slowed down the latter two, has yet to be seen.  They haven’t played a month in the big leagues, but the hype surrounding them is very similar to when Reyes and Wright were top prospects.  Time will tell whether or not they live up to the expectations presented to them.


The Bruce is Loose

By Ethan Marshall


The Mets’ trade of Jay Bruce to the Indians speaks a lot about the state of the organization right now.  Ownership appears to be focused more on saving money than getting valuable prospects in return.  While the trades of Lucas Duda to the Rays and Addison Reed to the Red Sox allowed for the Mets to save money too, the prospects received in return may prove valuable pieces of the Mets bullpen in the near future.  All of the young arms the Mets acquired in these trades are described as throwing in the mid-to-upper-90s by scouts.  All three of the pitchers acquired for Reed are hard-throwing 22-year-olds.  However, some of the pitchers are further along in their development than others.

The pitcher the Mets received for Jay Bruce, Ryder Ryan, wasn’t even a ranked prospect in the Indians’ system.  A 30th round pick, Ryan has posted a 4.50 ERA in two minor league seasons.  Considering how solid Bruce has been this season, this trade is mind-boggling.  According to Ken Rosenthal, the Mets were focused more on getting a team to pick up the $5 million remaining on Bruce’s contract than to receive decent prospects in return.  This is further shown by the fact that the Yankees were willing to give the Mets multiple prospects who were much better than Ryan in exchange for Bruce if the Mets were willing to take on 4/5 of his salary.

For several years, Mets fans have complained about the Wilpons preferring to pad their own wallets rather than improving the team they own.  This trade has only added more fuel to this notion.  As far as MLB contracts are concerned, $5 million isn’t that much money.  If the goal is to save money for free agent signings in the upcoming offseason, the Mets could’ve (and should’ve) taken the Yankees offer, which allowed them to save some money while also gain valuable prospects in return.  By trading Bruce for what likely amounts to a player who will never see the MLB, the Mets wasted one of their most valuable trade chips.  They likely would’ve received a better return by keeping Bruce and giving him a qualifying offer at the end of the season.


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Drew Smith pitching for the Rays’ Advanced A Charlotte Stone Crabs.  Photo Credit: Dilip Sridhar.

Drew Smith was Tampa Bay’s 30th ranked prospect when he was traded, with a fastball that could reach 98 m.p.h.  He has pitched well at each level in the minors, posting a career 1.74 ERA with 141 strikeouts in 129 innings.  While he was assigned by the Mets to AA Binghamton, Smith could play a valuable role for the team in 2018.

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Stephen Nogosek pitching for the Oregon Ducks college baseball team.  Photo credit: Mark Humphrey.

Stephen Nogosek may be the furthest from being major-league ready among the young arms the Mets received from Boston.  However, he was also the highest-rated among the three pitchers acquired for Reed, at number 18.  He was assigned to High-A St. Lucie upon his acquisition.  He’s posted a 3.27 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 85.1 innings pitched in the minors.  The main point of concern for Nogosek right now is that he has control problems, with a career 3.5 walks per nine innings.  While he clocks in as reaching 96 miles per hour, his fastball has no movement whatsoever.

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Jamie Callahan pitching for the Red Sox low-A affiliate Lowell Spinners.  Photo credit: Jonathan Raymond.

Jamie Callahan may debut for the Mets as early as September.  He’s currently pitching for AAA Las Vegas.  In 376 career minor league innings, Callahan has posted a 4.79 ERA with 365 strikeouts.  His velocity typically sits in the mid-90s.  He was ranked as the 23rd-best prospect in the Red Sox system.  Since being moved from a starter to a reliever, his velocity has increased from the low-90s to the mid-to-upper-90s.  He has a great splitter that has become his out-pitch.  However, like Nogosek, Callahan has very little movement on his four-seamer and has control issues, with 4 walks per nine innings in 28 innings pitched this season.

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Gerson Bautista pitching for the Red Sox organization.  Photo credit: Kelly O’Connor.


Gerson Bautista has a 2.73 ERA with 167 strikeouts in 198 innings in his minor league career thus far.  He was ranked as the 28th-best prospect in the Red Sox farm system upon being traded.  Along with Nogosek, Bautista was assigned to High-A St. Lucie.  He’s shown the ability to reach 100 miles per hour at times, but also has control problems, with 4.1 walks per nine innings in his career.  While he does have a slider that sits in the high 80s, he hasn’t mastered the pitch yet.  The slider can prove to be very effective if he can get better control and movement from it.  Another issue is that he was suspended in 2013 for testing positive for PED use.

The trade of Bruce may also signify the Mets may not be that interested in attempting to re-sign him in the offseason.  While the Mets recently said they believe Michael Conforto could play centerfield in the long term, this trade may mean they will be pursuing a centerfielder in the offseason and move Conforto to rightfield.  As a result, the Mets may be more focused on pursuing Lorenzo Cain than Jay Bruce this winter.

The Mets basically traded Bruce for money.  Players who are usually traded for cash are usually minor leaguers who may have had cups of coffee in the majors, not star players. The one positive thing to come out of this trade is that, unlike the Rangers with Ernesto Frieri, the Mets didn’t trade Bruce for $1.

Feature on PEDs

By Ethan Marshall


*Editor’s note: While David Ortiz and Ivan Rodriguez were suspected of PED-use, they were not named in the Mitchell Report.  This article has been updated to correct this factual error.


For almost two decades, Major League Baseball turned its head away from players using performance-enhancing drugs.  While steroids were put on MLB’s banned substance list in 1991, players weren’t tested until 2003.  Even after testing began, many players continued to use the banned substance.

The poster boys of baseball’s steroid era included Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez.  While each of these players compiled career numbers that would’ve made them worthy of being inducted into Cooperstown, their use of the banned substance gave them an unfair advantage, thus inflating their numbers.   Each of these players, excluding A-Rod, were among the 89 names mentioned in the 2007 Mitchell Report.

The Mitchell Report resulted from an investigation into steroid and human growth hormone use in MLB by US Senator George Mitchell over a span of 20 months.  The report discussed the ineffectiveness of the MLB Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program of stopping or reducing PED-use in the game.  It also provided recommendations for MLB to use as punishments for players who failed their drug tests.

Despite the fact that all the big names on the Mitchell Report have since retired, the controversy surrounding these players’ legacies is very relevant today.  Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Palmeiro and Sosa have all appeared on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.  McGwire fell off the ballot after 2015, never reaching even 25% of the vote.  Palmeiro didn’t receive enough votes to stay on the ballot for the 10-year eligibility.  While Sosa’s name is still on the ballot, he received less than 10% of the votes in the most recent ballot.

What separates Bonds, Clemens and A-Rod from McGwire, Sosa and Palmeiro is the view by many sportswriters that these three players were already Cooperstown-worthy before they began taking PEDs.  Some sportswriters believe these players belong in the Hall, but their plaques should have an asterisk and say these players took PEDs.

George Vecsey, a longtime sportswriter for The New York Times, has his own opinions on whether or not players who took PEDs belong in the Hall.  “If there’s real evidence on them, I would have trouble voting for them,” Vecsey said.  “I would have trouble voting for anybody that I’m convinced was caught.  I wouldn’t vote for [Bonds and Clemens].  As long as the vote is a subjective vote of writers having to define Hall of Fame eligibility and the degree of usage, I wouldn’t vote for them.”

As for his opinion on A-Rod, Vecsey is adamantly against him being voted in.  A-Rod was found to have taken PEDs twice since stricter drug testing was introduced to the league.  “He was quite manipulative, he cheated and he lied,” Vecsey said.

Vecsey believes any player who has ever tested positive for PEDs doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.  He says that players who took PEDs essentially sold their souls to the devil.  They put their morals aside for the sake of becoming a star ballplayer.

Vecsey also emphasizes that evidence should be provided if a player was accused of taking PEDs.  “Proof is important,” Vecsey said.  He pointed to Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell as examples.  While both were accused of PED-use, they never failed a drug test and little to no evidence has been provided to support these claims.  As a result, he feels they belong in the Hall of Fame.  “I’d vote for Piazza and Bagwell.”

Vecsey is a bit skeptical of some of the names listed on the Mitchell Report.  “I think the Mitchell Report was a little bit dicey,” Vecsey said.

Vecsey doesn’t believe some of the players accused or linked to PED-use, like David Ortiz or Ivan Rodriguez actually took PEDs.  According to Vecsey, there isn’t much evidence to prove players like them took PEDs.  “The fact that [Ortiz] was mentioned in the Mitchell Report, that’s not enough for me.”  However, Ortiz was not named named in the Mitchell Report, though he was one of the players who tested positive in a screening process in 2003, on the condition of anonymity.  Rodriguez was accused of being injected with steroids by Jose Canseco in his book Juiced, but he also has many other recollections throughout the book that have been proven to be historically false.

Vecsey compared PED-use to amphetamine-use during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.  While he believes players who took amphetamines should be considered for the Hall of Fame, he doesn’t share that feeling for PED-users.  Amphetamines weren’t exactly performance-enhancers.  They were more similar to pep pills than steroids.  Vecsey knew many players who used to take amphetamines before ball games, including the great Willie Mays and Pete Rose.  “A teammate of Rose once told me that the funniest thing he ever saw in baseball was Pete Rose’s ‘greenies’ kicking in during a rain delay,” Vecsey said.  “The guy was bouncing off the walls in the clubhouse.”

Amphetamines were particularly popular in the 60s.  “People tell me anecdotally that the best players in baseball in the 1960s took amphetamines,” Vecsey said.  “It was in the culture.  It wasn’t the right or wrong issue, it was the health issue.  Nobody wanted to know, including me.  I didn’t care for a long time.”  Some players even referred to amphetamines as “a major league cup of coffee.”

In the hypothetical scenario in which a player already in the Hall of Fame is later found to have taken PEDs throughout their career, Vecsey believes the player shouldn’t be booted from Cooperstown.  “It’s what you know at the time,” Vecsey said.  “I think I’d have trouble with going backwards.”

Vecsey believes that when the older writers who vote on the Hall of Fame are gone, it is likely that Bonds, Clemens and A-Rod will eventually get voted into Cooperstown.  New writers will arise that won’t have the experience of the previous generation of covering the PED era and its aftermath.  “They don’t have the memory of being assigned to report on this stuff, and being lied to and ridiculed for asking questions,” Vecsey said.  While he doesn’t like it, he feels it’s almost inevitable.

Juliet Macur, another sportswriter for The New York Times, shares similar beliefs to those of Vecsey.  “I personally don’t feel [PED users] belong in the Hall of Fame,” Macur said.  “I don’t think it’s fair for someone who broke the rules to belong in the Hall of Fame.  They’re breaking the rules of the game.  They took a look at the rules, they knew it was illegal and they went ahead and did it anyway.”

Macur feels that if a player already in the Hall of Fame is later found to have taken PEDs, there should be an asterisk put on their plaque to identify them as PED-users.  “I don’t think they should be kicked out because it would be too much of a circus,” Macur said.  “Once you’re voted in, you should stay in, but if there is evidence that’s shown a player has broken the rules, the Hall of Fame should mention that.”

Macur is happy with MLB’s current drug testing program.  The fact that one failed test would cost a player almost one-third of the season shows MLB takes these tests very seriously.  A three-time offender gets a lifetime ban from playing in the MLB.  “They have a very rigorous drug test,” Macur said.

As far as amphetamines are concerned, Macur doesn’t believe they’re as bad as other PEDs.  Macur doesn’t feel they have as much of an overall impact as other drugs, such as steroids.  “When it comes to athletic performance and what drugs should be banned, amphetamines are pretty low on the list for me,” Macur said.  “Steroids and human-growth-hormones are probably way up there for me.”

While she isn’t happy about it, Macur believes that Bonds, Clemens and A-Rod will eventually get into the Hall Of Fame.  She is especially against Rodriguez getting in.  “I quite personally can’t believe Alex Rodriguez would ever get into the Hall of Fame because he lied several times about his drug use,” Macur said.  “Several times he said he never used drugs before admitting to it twice.  He’s a complete liar who made a joke out of drug testing and the sport and everything about athletes having any integrity.  But he’s a really good play-by-play announcer.”

Macur thinks it won’t be long before Bonds and Clemens are voted into Cooperstown.  “I think in another five or ten years, maybe even earlier, with younger people on the panel who have forgotten what it really was like to have guys break records without using steroids at the time, will care less and less about performance-enhancing drug use in sports and vote them in,” Macur said.

Macur thinks if and when Bonds, Clemens and Rodriguez are elected to the Hall of Fame, there should be an asterisk on their plaque as well as a line saying something like “His career was clouded by drug use” or “His career was clouded by suspicions of drug use.”  “I think it needs to be acknowledged,” Macur said.  “If it’s acknowledged on the plaque, I think that says a lot.  I feel if [Cooperstown] did that, the public will feel a little bit better.”

Last year’s Baseball Hall of Fame voting results seemed to show a shift in thought towards players who took PEDs.  This may be due to the fact that the number of voters were reduced prior to the 2016 voting.  Additionally, as each year goes by, more of the older sportswriters who previously voted had either retired or passed away.

Ivan Rodriguez, who was suspected of PED-use, was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot.  Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, each on their fifth year on the ballot, saw their vote-percentage rise nearly 10%.  Clemens went from 45.2% of the vote in 2016 to 54.1% in 2017.  Bonds went from 44.3% to 53.8%.  With five more years left on the ballot for these two, it appears likely that they will eventually get in within that period of time.  While these two players cheated their way into the record books, the voters appear willing to accept them for their careers before taking PEDs.  It could very well be that Alex Rodriguez gets similar treatment when he appears on the ballot.




Mets’ Offensive and Pitching Comparisons to National League Average Since 2011

By Ethan Marshall

The Mets’ 2017 season has been nothing short of a disaster thus far.  Until recently, the team was getting solid pitching every day, but little to no run-support.  Now, while the team has been scoring runs, the pitching has faltered.

It’s commonly believed for a baseball team to be successful, they  need a combination of good hitting and solid pitching.  Before the Mets were a playoff team each of the last two seasons, they were a bottom-of-the-barrel team in the National League for quite awhile.  The charts below examine the Mets’ team batting averages (BA) and earned-run averages (ERA) since 2011 to those of the league averages in that same time frame.

The data below suggests a team built like the Mets can be successful with slightly below-average hitting as long as the pitching is superb.  The data shown confirms the saying: “Good pitching beats good hitting.”


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