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I intended to do a "Thank You" post on Thanksgiving. My mother always told me it's better late than never (well, about some things) so in that case, allow me to offer you a belated thank you for stopping by and visiting Metsminorleagueblog.com.

I'm thankful that this blog exists, that it gives me a place to write about baseball, Mets baseball and Mets prospects. It's extremely gratifying that others spend some time everyday here.

 

Tags: Off-Topic, Opinion, Toby Hyde
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Amidst the recent three-game road trip, let's sit back and enjoy Turkey Day with a very different look at the Devils.

Usually it's all about stats and evaluation, but today, we place members of the team as their reciprocal Thanksgiving food.

Tags: humor, New Jersey Devils, Off Topic, thanksgiving, turkey
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Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2" has come and gone, that much is sure. Whether you're someone who loved the old goal song or not, the Devils made it clear that they are looking for a new song and listening to fans, when they sent out an email asking fans to vote for a new song on Tuesday.

There are plenty of ideas for goal songs, but there are two types of songs that we've seen people suggesting. Either it's a song with a chorus that can be chanted along with, or a song that rocks out enough that hey, why not just go crazy when the Devils light the lamp.

Tags: Debate, Discuss, goal song, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Notes, Off Topic
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In a story both sad and enraging, vandals tagged the Brooklyn Cyclones' statue of Jackie Robinson sharing an embrace with Pee Wee Reese with racist and neo-Nazi graffitti.

According the Daily News, the messages included, "Hile (sic) Hitler,? ?Die N----r? and ?F--k Jackie Robinson and all N------s.?

The epithets were removed from the bronze statue, but remained on the base.

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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Admit it, you've always wanted to see Ken Daneyko rock board shorts.

Ok, ok. You probably haven't. But you have undoubtedly wanted to take an exercise class with Devils dancers, no?

Whatever your crazy dreams are, the Devils are accommodating. New Jersey is offering a team-themed cruise, sponsored by Carnival, Aug. 15 through 19.

Tags: Ken Daneyko, New Jersey Devils, Off Topic
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Not baseball, just good.

If you read anything in sports today, may I recommend this?

He begins:

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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We were silent yesterday. At first, it was a matter of scheduling. I had planned a trip to Boston for my birthday, April 15. The Red Sox were playing the Rays, who, oddly enough growing up in New York City, are my baseball flavor of choice. It was Patriots Day, an 11 a.m. game I'd always wanted to attend because, well, it seemed cool to be able to eat a hot dog and drink a beer while watching baseball at 11 a.m. It was to be a perfect day.

I couldn't wait to get to the ballpark Monday, the excitement pouring out of me like someone wringing a soaked cloth. It was damn-near 50 degrees already and it was only 9 a.m. I rarely get a chance to see my Rays in person living in the northeast. Having left ESPN last August, I rarely get to watch them at all. There's some sort of strange connection between a fan and his team, especially one that you don't get to see often. Those games you do see, be it on TV or in person, take on some larger significance. Needless to say, I was pumped.

We headed to the ballpark with seats I couldn't believe. We sat just left of the right-handed batter's box roughly seven rows off the field. The sun crept over the first-base side of Fenway Park and it felt 65 all of a sudden. It was a perfect spring day, expect for the baseball, which, well, left a bit to be desired. There were a combined eight hits in nine innings of play and the Red Sox countered the Rays' ninth-inning rally with their own, walking off on a Mike Napoli double to left-center field. Disappointing to be sure, but we bounded out of Fenway excited for rest of the day.

Tags: Off Topic, Editorial Aside
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I wrote a few angry words about the Hall of Fame balloting earlier this week. The Hall of Fame is weird - it doesn't matter as far as games on the field, and wins and losses. Rather, it matters as far as telling the story later. And the story it's telling now is nonsensical.

Jayson Stark pretty much nailed it at ESPN when he wrote repeatedly, "It happened."

Jay Jaffe's chat at Baseball Prospectus provides a solid coda on the whole thing.

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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The Baseball Writers Association of America, the BBWAA failed baseball and the Hall of Fame in voting results announced on Wednesday. In a class with maybe 12 or 13 qualified Hall of Famers, they elected no one.

If the Hall has no use for Barry Bonds, one of the three greatest hitters of all time, fans should have no use for the Hall. Same deal for Roger Clemens. Doesn't matter that those two likely did steroids they belong in the hall based on what they accomplished on the field. On the whole, I understand writers who could not bring themselves to vote for these two. I think it's hypocritical, sanctimonious and foolish, but I get where they're coming from.

Even more egregious? The omissions of Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio, none of whom have ever been linked - through drug testing or legal proceedings - to the use of performance enhancing drugs. All three on merit belong in the Hall of Fame.

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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Ted Berg has just told the world, or at least the internet, and by extension, the world, that he's leaving SNY.

I'll be sorry not to count him as one of my SNY blog-colleagues anymore, but far more lucky that I can call him a friend after some oodles of emails and hundreds of hours talking baseball and bacon on the Mostly Mets Podcast.

The other good news - there's always good news - is that Ted, and his writing will be back on the internet in relatively short order.

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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I could write something about Mets' prospects. I'm not really in the mood after spending the last day worrying about my family in the city. (If you don't know, I live in Savannah, GA, so I missed the worst of Hurricane Sandy.)

 

Anyway, if you're wondering why much of lower Manhattan is missing power, this video will help.

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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Do you ever find yourself wondering what happened to John Holdzkom? I do.

The Mets drafted Holkzkom in the 4th round in 2006 and signed him to a $210,000 bonus. The hard-throwing RHP, reached as high as Savannah in 2008, walking 45 batters in 47.1 innings. He missed a year with Tommy John surgery and then hooked up with the Reds, for whom he walked 13 in 8.2 innings in the California League this year. At 6'7", he never ever learned to throw strikes, or a breaking ball.

Oh, so the real news with Holdzkom? He did an amazing impromptu interview on comedian Chelsea Peretti's podcast. He just called in and started talking. Aaron Gleeman at Hardball Talk did the detective work.

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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Couple good reads today on the Lin-Man.

- George Vecsey does a story on Wat Misaka, the first Asian-American to play in the NBA who was a Knick in November 1947. ?Great Story. Perhaps the craziest part is this video of Misaka and his Utah team beating Kentucky in the 1947 NIT.

- In the San Jose Mercury News, Marcus Thompson does a piece on Lin's NBA disappointments, how close he was to giving up, and his sustaining faith. ?Apparently, Carmelo Anthony suggested to D'Antoni to play Lin more that fateful night in New Jersey.

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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We held each other in the ninth row of the upper deck of Candlestick Park, high above the end zone where Mario Maningham?s leaping grab had briefly put the Giants ahead in the fourth quarter.? The game was tied in overtime now. We grabbed wet handfuls of jacket and each other, to calm our nerves. The stadium by the bay, raucous for hours, was nearly quiet.

 

Our minds told us this game was over. We, the two teams on the field, and thousands of others in red and gold and blue and red, had weathered and enjoyed a classic San Francisco rainy, gray, blustery afternoon. Lawrence Tynes lined up for short field goal.? We clenched.? The Giants let the play clock expire for an inexplicable delay of game penalty.? We relaxed our grip. The teams lined up again, and again we held on. The 49ers called timeout. Again, we separated, stomped our feet perhaps against the chill.

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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I think about this a fair amount, and bring it up around these parts roughly every Martin Luther King Day. What would Dr. King say about today's America?

I don't think he'd be awfully impressed. Actually, I think he'd be talking about the same issues - racial and social justice, inequality, unjust wars - that he did when he was living. He would actually join a plurality of Americans concerned about the country today. Only 24% of Americans believe the country is on the right track, and that's the highest it's been on the Rasmussen survey since July!

Dr. King: "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."

Tags: Off-Topic, Opinion, Toby Hyde
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I am announcing that I will no longer be a regular contributor to this blog because I will be working for two San Diego Padres area scouts (Lane Decker & Jeff Stewart), as an associate scout in 2012. ?I am extremely thankful for this opportunity and will be extremely busy moving forward.

Thank you to all of you readers who have made these last 3 years covering the Mets minor league system a blast. ?I have appreciated your comments, interactions, critiques, and mostly your readership. ?Your readership has given me the drive to bring as much content and information as possible for the site. ?Thank you all.

A special thanks goes out to none other than Mr. Toby Hyde, who in my opinion is the best writer around that covers the Mets minor league system. ?Thank you Toby for allowing me to play a small role in the growth of this site. ?Thanks for giving me a platform to express my opinions and observations.

Tags: Off-Topic
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Sports is supposed to be fun, right? Seems sometimes we lose track of that. Anyway, this video has reactions from Clippers players as they learn about the Chris Paul trade.

Blake Griffin's reaction to the news: blurting out "Lob City," his enthusiasm (an unrequited chest bump) is classic, and made me laugh. Also, it makes me look forward to an endless loop of yes, lobs from Chris Paul and ridiculous dunks from Griffin.

Tags: Off-Topic, Video, Toby Hyde
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Happy Thanksgiving y'all. It's probably my favorite holiday of the year.

Thanksgiving boasts family, delicious food, my mother's pies and football. (That's her classic apple pie on the right.) No other day has all of these elements in such abundance. Also, I get to see friends on the days and nights before and after the holiday. Thanksgiving is secular and uniquely American.

Oh, and thanks for reading. I give thanks that some people stop by to share our little niche interest around here. It's remarkable.

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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Saturday, I called a Savannah State football game in the afternoon and a women's hoops game at night. ?Football lost 20-10 to South Carolina State, while the ladies cruised to a 68-35 win over poor Columbia College.

It sounded a little something like this.

11-19 FB and WBB Highlights - Mono

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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So Sunday night, instead of getting home at the nice reasonable hour of 10 pm, with plenty of time to write, US Airways stranded me, traveling without my laptop, in Charlotte for four hours.? There's nothing quite as fun as landing at 1 am.

The Economics of Carry-Ons

For years, I've packed lightly enough to avoid checking bags.? Now, everyone tries to carry on all of their bags to avoid baggage fees.? This makes sense.? However, now overhead bins are always full. The airline's response is now to have agents standing at the end of the gangway grabbing travelers' bags to check them.? It's ok in the sense that I don't have to pay to check a bag.? It's retarded?self-defeating in the sense that I then have to wait at baggage claim for my bag and from the airlines' perspective because they now have to pay for extra staffers at the end of the gangway/door of the aircraft to steal away bags.

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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In the brief moments when I haven't been thinking about work in the last day, I've been obsessed by the Carmelo Anthony Trade.? How could you not?? I grew up with the Knicks.? It took us an hour to get to Shea from my house when I was growing up.? The Garden, and Patrick Ewing and John Starks were just one express stop on the 2/3 and barely 15 minutes from my house.

Here are my favorite pieces of analysis.

The Offense will have to ChangeNBA Playbook broke down the Knicks' offense, and the offensive games of Carmelo, Stoudamire and Billups using video and advanced stats to conclude:

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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I love the idea of Carmelo Anthony playing in a Knicks jersey.

I hate the idea that Isiah Thomas was involved at all.

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Here's the full "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" (April 16, 1963).

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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In baseball there is nothing more exciting than a pennant race.? To wake up in the morning knowing that the game today has real meaning is a great feeling as a player.? A pennant race brings teams closer together, as the players have fought hard all season to get their team in this position.? Over a full season, a team has a lot of up and downs, but a pennant race brings the teams focus on a common goal; a division championship.

I remember playing in a pennant race in 1998.? The stands were buzzing; the atmosphere in the locker room was very exciting.? With a long summer behind you, those feelings of being tired and worn out seam to not matter anymore.? It becomes very easy to forget the aches and pains that you put your body through, because you have to suck it all up for the betterment of the team.? ?Every pitch, every swing, every little play seems to be magnified to the fullest.

Long grueling road trips seem much easier to deal with because the anticipation of the game.? Going on the road is usually a rough thing, but the road seems to knit the team closer together as you have that ?us? against the world mentality.

Tags: Off-Topic
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The minor league season is a grind.? Playing 140 games during hot summer weather is not the easiest thing to do.? So when a team hits mid-August, and they are out of playoff contention, it quickly becomes a major grind.? Minor leaguers are playing for pennies, and depending on the league you are in, the bus rides can be really long.? I can vividly remember the 6-7 hour bus rides to a new city.? 25 players, plus coaches, and trainers crammed up in a single charter bus for that long is not the most enjoyable thing to do, especially when you are on a team that is losing night in and night out.? You really have to motivate yourself to get up to play some nights.

So a typical road trip starts with packing weeks worth of clothes.? You play your last home game; guys get showered, and have a post game meal.? You talk to the one media guy who does the radio broadcast and writes for the team website.? You then load up your equipment on the team bus, meanwhile waiting for your 17-year old clubby to get your personal stuff washed for the trip.? The coaches are in the office calling in the game reports, and you are thinking at your locker, how did I miss that pitch in the 4th inning?? Oh the agony of thinking you should never miss that cookie the pitcher threw you.? Then you look at your .245 batting average and think, maybe that?s why you missed that pitch.?

After an hour passes, you go outside the clubhouse and find all the Cali boys hanging together, spewing out ?dude? nonstop in their conversation.? Then you see the Latinos talking to each other 100 miles per hour like they are ready to fight each other, and you think to yourself, where in the world am I?? The bonus babies are packing up their 20 pairs of batting gloves, 3 fielding gloves, and 10 bats with their name engraved on it.? As you pack your 4 bats, you start to think that your name is ?Pro-Stock? (that is what is on bats that are not personalized).

Tags: Off-Topic
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My friend, Howard Megdal is running to be the next General Manager of the New York Mets.

Of course, it's not an elected position, but lets not get bogged down in the details, ok?

He and I talk about this fact and more.

Tags: Daily Recap, Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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Unfortunately, I won't be in costume this year, so I thought I'd dip into the archives and pull from Halloween '05.? Guess - is Toby the Gorilla or the Mad Scientist?

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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Wednesday night in Lancaster, CA the Lancaster JetHawks beat the Lake Elsinore Storm 10-8, to capture the Southern Division title, the second in the team?s history. The two teams combined for 11 runs in a wild third inning that ended both starting pitchers? nights. After the Storm tied it at 8 with two runs in the top of the eighth, the JetHawks shortstop Yamaico Navarro singled home the winning run as part of a two-run rally in the bottom of the inning.

Here's the go-ahead RBI:

Navarro RBI

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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So, earlier today, I wrote about Lancaster and Lake Elsinore.? Nope, these aren't household names.? Here's the approximate route the Lancaster bus will travel Monday for game three tonight.? Yes, we're east of LA.



View Larger Map

Tags: Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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Sunday afternoon, I had the privilege to call a very entertaining minor league playoff game. The Lancaster JetHawks(Red Sox), the #1 seed in the California League?s Southern Division, entered the game down 1-0 in the best-of-five series to the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). With the first two at home, and games 3 and 4 on the road, if the upper seed had fallen behind 0-2, they?d be in big trouble.

Tags: Daily Recap, Off-Topic, Toby Hyde
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