January 31, 2011 2 Comments
Mack: Morning everybody. We’re talking with Michael G. Baron, Mets photographer extraordinaire and Matt Cerrone’s right hand guy on http://www.metsblog.com . Good morning Michael. Are you in camp yet?
Baron: Not quite yet, but we’re just over two weeks away, and I hope to be there on February 15 or 16 at this point
Mack: Michael, it will be nice to get back to talking about baseball rather than minority ownership. Do you think this mess will be a major distraction to Terry Collins and the team come “picture day”?
Baron: One can say it’s an early test for both Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson, and their ability to separate the business side of things and what goes on in between the lines. Ultimately, their job is to win, and I believe this group will have no problem creating a separation.
Mack: Okay… let’s talk Mets. Obviously, David Wright is untouchable, both to the fans and the “administration”. If you were the GM, would there be anyone else that you would etch in stone?
Baron: It’s hard to say anyone in the organization is untouchable, given the right circumstances. I do believe someone such as David Wright would not be dealt, but you never really know what is going to happen.
As much as I want David Wright and Jose Reyes to be on this team for the rest of their careers, at the end of the day, this organization has struggled to win consistently as of late, and any and all possibilities to improve the team have to be exhausted, including the possibility of dealing core players. I think there are ways to build around both of those players, and I feel both can be part of any winning solution, but if Sandy Alderson feels the team can be better both in the short and long term of the franchise by dealing one or both, I have to believe in that – what choice as a fan would I have?
I would think that for now, Wright along with Jenrry Mejia, Ike Davis, Wilmer Flores, and Jeurys Familia are untouchable. But again, things change, and opportunities change, and so nothing would surprise me at this point.
Mack: Talked with Jeurys today… he’s ready. Regarding Ike Davis, I love the guy, but he does have a way to go. I remember the first 100 at-bats for Mike Jacobs as a Met and he hit a .600 slugging percentage. Does Davis have to produce at the Carlos Delgado level to keep his job or will the Mets be happy with a 25-HR/80-RBI/.275 batting average?
Baron: I think it all depends. First base is in fact a power position, but Davis does have amazing power. I would think any team would like to see a higher RBI total out of their first baseman, but he’s also an above average defensive player as well which adds a ton of value. Unless they can dramatically improve via trade or in the free agent market over the next few years, having a player under control like Davis, who will come at a relative discount until the middle part of the decade is not exactly a bad option.
Mack: The Mets made a bunch of mid-level additions this year. Last year’s bonus was R.A. Dickey. Any thoughts on who might turn some heads in Flushing this season?
Baron: I think Chris Young is a key to their success, but if he’s healthy, I think he’ll be a pleasant surprise and a welcome addition to the rotation.
Mack: Michael, you’ve got one of the greatest jobs in the world. You get to walk around and take pictures of the New York Mets!!! How did that come to be?
Baron: I started taking pictures at Met games in 2002. I didn’t own a camera at the time but I had borrowed my friend’s Olympus point and shoot camera to take on a trip to Las Vegas, and still had possession of the camera for an extra day so I decided to take it to Shea Stadium and shoot a game between the Mets and Phillies. From then on, I was hooked, went out to get my own point and shoot, and I’ve been taking pictures at games ever since.
In Spring Training of 2009, I sent Matt some live photos from Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, but at the time I didn’t intend for them to reach MetsBlog – I was there, at Spring Training, and I figured he might be interested in the photos, and the next thing I knew, he posted them to MetsBlog and they were an instant hit.
Around Opening Day that same year, Matt and I met at Citi Field and we once again talked about me writing for MetsBlog. Again, simply wanted to provide the pictures for the site, but he wanted me to write and act as a backup to him when he would be unavailable. I decided to give it a shot, although I was uncertain how it would go because I’m not a writer, but here we are, almost two years into writing regularly for MetsBlog, and I love it, and don’t regret a minute of it.
As you said, being able to follow the Mets as closely as I do now is truly great. But most people don’t realize it’s not a full time job for me. As a matter of fact, I don’t get paid at all for what I do with the Mets. I genuinely enjoy writing, and spending the time writing, and going to games and photographing. It’s not easy to manage at times, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world.
Mack: Michael, I’m a big fan of your Flicka site… (here comes the shameless plug…)
Could you fill everyone in on how they can both view and purchase some of your great shots…
Baron: I upload all of my photos to flickr, and they can be viewed at anytime by visiting the following site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelgbaron . In addition, those galleries are fed into www.MichaelGBaron.com at http://www.michaelgbaron.com/pictures , which will serve as the new MetsPhotos.com, and that gives me a platform to blog not just about my experience with the Mets, but all teams from all sports.
Mack: Michael, thanks for spending a few moments with us.. .last question… any prediction for the Mets in 2011?
Baron: I think this team will be better coached, and in turn they will have better execution on a more consistent basis. I think it’s possible they could contend for a Wild Card, and if things go right, I expect them to contend. However, I think a more realistic target for this group of Mets is 82-86 wins.