Random thoughts inspired by 9 Mets baseball cards

Geof surprised me with a couple of envelopes filled with Mets baseball cards this week. Here are a few of my favorites and some that just caught my eye.

2002 Upper Deck Heroes of Baseball Tom Seaver insert card

2002 Upper Deck Heroes of Baseball Tom Seaver insert card

I had just gotten back into baseball card collecting in 2002, so I really don’t remember whether “Heroes of Baseball” was a full set released by Upper Deck that year or just the name of this insert series. This card, #HTS3, commemorates the April 22, 1970 game when he struck out the last 10 batters en route to a 19-strikeout performance.

Mets fans of a certain age undoubtedly remember that game. Younger fans might remember hearing about it during a Mets broadcast – particularly during the era that Seaver was a TV analyst for the Mets, it seemed to come up quite often.

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Ticket from Bartolo Colon’s 200th career win

With Bartolo Colon set to try for career victory #201 later today, I thought it was a good time to show off the ticket from his milestone 200th victory that my friend Fred sent me last week.

Colon has been one of my favorite players on the Mets this year (except when he’s been driving me crazy.)

I love that a 41-year-old man who has never really looked like anyone’s idea of a professional athlete can successfully compete in Major League Baseball. (Except on those rare days where Colon looks like he showed up to pitch for Home Run Derby.)

Colon’s at-bats are some of the most entertaining television on SNY (except when there are runners on base and he doesn’t even come close to getting a bunt down.)

Even so, I wouldn’t object if Sandy Alderson decided to trade Colon to a contender this week.

WSJ offers update on an empty ballpark & a team that is no more

Riverfront Stadium in 2012 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Riverfront Stadium (File Photo – credit: Paul Hadsall)

Curious about what’s going on with one of the Newark Bears’ last owners and Riverfront Stadium in Newark? The Wall Street Journal has an update for you.

Doug Spiel says he has finally found someone to buy the Newark Bears’ team bus. Now he can motor ahead to the next chapter of his life, which also includes baseball, but at a much smaller price.

Newark and Essex County share more than $2 million in annual debt obligations on the park until 2029, so they can’t afford to let the place sit. They need to attract a team, and management, with drawing and staying power.

Check out the article for details.

How real is the Mets’ reported interest in free agent Cuban shortstop Roberto Carlos?

The Boston Red Sox are working hard to sign free agent Cuban outfielder/second baseman Rusney Castillo, with the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners also reportedly in the mix.

The Mets have never been seriously linked to Castillo, though they did scout him. He’s expected to get a multi-year contract in the $50-$60 million range, and that almost certainly keeps Castillo from fitting in the Mets’ budget.

If-you-believe-it-they-beliGeneral manager Sandy Alderson was understandably vague in his explanation of the Mets’ lack of interest in Castillo, though he told New York Post reporter Mike Puma that money was not a factor.

“I think it’s a matter of there might be some scouting differences of opinion, and kind of where we are and what we’re going to do in the immediate future, so there are lots of issues involved,” Alderson said.

In other words, we’re being asked to believe that a 27-year-old player is of interest to potential playoff teams and teams with playoff aspirations in 2015, but the Mets are staying away for some reason other than money.

Right.

Meanwhile, the Post reports that the Mets are looking at another Cuban player. Shortstop Roberto Carlos, 28, left the Cuban National Team at the end of 2012 and may have “slipped through the baseball cracks” because he didn’t get an agent after leaving Cuba, according to the paper.

I wonder: is this another case of Alderson “window shopping” to distract us, or are the Mets really hoping to sign Carlos cheaply to a low-risk deal?

If Carlos turns out to be a solid major league shortstop, that would solve one big lineup problem that’s been present since Jose Reyes‘ departure.

And if Carlos makes people think of Rey Ordonez‘s last years in New York fondly, Alderson would have new ammunition to respond when asked why the Mets were avoiding future expensive Cuban free agents.

Or maybe I’m just being paranoid.

Ugly baseball in Staten Island

facepalm-captain-picardI watched the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees play one of the worst games of professional baseball that I have ever seen last night.

The two teams combined for 10 errors, and the Cyclones gave up 14 runs (though only three were counted as earned runs.)

As unlikely as it seemed last night, the two teams are battling for a playoff spot in the New York-Penn League. Here’s hoping the ugly game was an aberration for Brooklyn.

On the bright side, I got five players to sign their cards in my Brooklyn Cyclones team set including prospects Amed Rosario and Jhoan Urena.

The Cyclones will be giving out a sheet of retro baseball cards featuring the team’s All-Stars on Sunday, sponsored by the Daily News. I’m thinking about going to get them and try to get more of my team set signed.

For a full rundown of what’s going on at MCU Park this weekend, check out Brooklyn Baseball Banter.