Bernie Williams bobblehead, Star Wars night highlight newly-announced Trenton Thunder promotions

Arm & Hammer Park, home of the Trenton Thunder (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Arm & Hammer Park, home of the Trenton Thunder (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The Trenton Thunder announced several additional promotional dates this week. Highlights include:

  • Star Wars night is scheduled for Monday, May the Fourth, with costumed characters from a long time ago in a galaxy far away visiting Arm & Hammer Park. Star Wars themed t-shirts and jerseys will be available for purchase at the Thunder Company Store. (I wish I was going to be able to go to this one – I love Star Wars promos at baseball games.)
  • On Friday, September 4th, Trenton will give out Bernie Williams bobbleheads to the first 2,000 fans through the gates. Now we’ll ignore the little detail that Williams’ only played five games for the Thunder in 2003 as part of a rehab assignment… this is the best of the three bobblehead giveaways on Trenton’s schedule in 2015. CC Sabathia (July 24) only made one rehab appearance with Trenton last year, and while Dellin Betances (Aug. 5) was a real member of the Thunder in 2011 & 2012, he needs to build upon his rookie season before he truly becomes a star.

You can check out the Trenton Thunder promotion schedule at

Two former Mets turn the page on MLB careers

Two former New York Mets players retired this week, bringing an end to solid, if only occasionally spectacular, careers.

Signed Heath Bell baseball card from my collection

Signed Heath Bell baseball card from my collection

Heath Bell, 37, was in camp with the Washington Nationals this spring. He walked five and gave up seven hits while allowing four earned runs in 6.1 innings in Grapefruit League competition, and was not expected to earn a spot in the Nationals’ bullpen.

For the three-year period between 2009 and 2011, Bell was an All-Star closer for the San Diego Padres. He led the National League with 42 saves in 2009.

I’ll remember Bell for two things: first, his entrance to the 2011 All-Star Game.

Second, for signing autographs for fans at nearly every Mets game I went to at Shea Stadium in 2005. Continue reading

First MLB-licensed version of Out of the Park baseball sim is out today

DruckOut of the Park Baseball 16 is available online (and through Steam) today. For the first time, the game is licensed by Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball. It includes official league logos, team logos and jerseys for all 30 MLB teams, over 150 MiLB league and team logos, and historical MLB logos.

Out of the Park Developments has provided me with a free copy of the game, and I hope to have a review for you later this next week if I am able to resolve issues with my internet connection that are keeping me from downloading the game.

Continue reading

Spring training autographs, part 4

This will be short & sweet, because I only got one envelope back since my “Part 3″ post.

2015-03-17 10.09.06

RHP Vic Black, 26, was originally drafted by the New York Mets with a late-round pick in 2006 but did not sign. The Pittsburgh Pirates used a supplemental pick at the end of the first round of the 2009 draft to select him, and he began his pro career with the State College Spikes in the New York-Penn League that season.

The Mets acquired Black in August 2009 along with 2B Dilson Herrera for OF Marlon Byrd and C John Buck, one of the best trades Sandy Alderson has made as the Mets’ general manager.

Continue reading

Never believe the spin

Zack Wheeler (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Zack Wheeler (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

I think we all recognized the need for concern when Zack Wheeler was scratched from his scheduled spring training start last weekend and sent for an MRI on his elbow, no matter how much the Mets tried to downplay its significance.

And today, we got the news we were dreading:

For the short term, I guess this moves Dillon Gee back into the rotation. Some fans would rather see Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz get the opportunity, but there’s no way Sandy Alderson is going to put either of them on the Opening Day roster and lose a year of control when he could bring them along at the end of April and delay their free agency by a year.

There will be more opportunities. Bartolo Colon turns 42 in May – what are the odds he stays in the rotation all year? Gee and Jonathon Niese don’t have the best track records for staying off the DL, either. And nobody really knows what to expect from Matt Harvey in his first year back from Tommy John surgery.

I’m more interested in how Alderson the loss of Wheeler and Josh Edgin impact the bullpen. Going into the spring, six of the seven spots seemed to be set with Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Vic Black, Edgin, Carlos Torres and Gee. With Edgin gone for the year and Gee likely back in the rotation, there are suddenly three openings for a group of relievers who haven’t done a lot to impress this spring.

I’m not worried about the Mets’ rotation, even with the loss of Wheeler. But the relief corps is another story. Bobby Parnell will be back eventually, and maybe someone else steps up to join the four reliable relievers out there. Let’s hope for the best.