Q and A: – Radar Guns, Matt Cerrone, Brant Rustich, Jay Horowitz, Terry Collins

Conrad Youngren asked:

Mack, I have a technical question that’s been bugging me. Maybe you know the answer or can find out. (I’d prefer that to a guess 🙂 ) The Velo number that appears in the upper right of the SNY screen after every pitch–what EXACTLY is that? Is if an instantaneous velocity? If so where (at the mound, at the plate, in between–they will be different) or some average velocity over the 66 feet? A cop I know says his gun is “peak reading,” that is it captures the highest speed and holds it even though still training on a decelerating target. If THAT’s the case, the speed shown would, I think, be the pitcher’s hand, not the ball at all. In any case is the velocity measured the same way year to year and park to park? Thanks.

Good question…
I thought I’d reach out to some of my Mets friends and see what they thought the correct answer to this is:

Matt Cerrone/MetsBlog:  –  “I have no idea. Never even thought to ask… Also, I was always taught (by scouts) not to care about the number, but to care about the relative range and consistency and variance between each type of pitch on that given day by that pitcher… because guns, distances, etc., vary so much.”

Brant Rustich/NY Mets: – “The radar guns lock on the peak velocity which is right when the ball (object) leaves the pitchers hand.The stalker guns can be read unlocked like if a police officer wanted to read cars and what not. I’m not entirely sure what the exact drop of velocity is of the ball when it gets to home plate, but its about 9% I believe or so. I suppose I could look up an old physics equation and figure it out. Like 100mph out of the hand turns to 91-92 or something at 60 feet because of resistance.”

Jay Horowitz/NY Mets: – Mack: I am not a technical wiz, but it is measured from hand and each park is different.


Jose asked:

Hey Mack, you seem to go both ways when it comes to the Mets. Do you believe in this team, or not?


You’re not the first one to accuse me of that… and, sometimes it’s about the baseball team too!
First of all, I decided a few years ago that, if I was going to be a good Mets writer, I had to stop being a fan. You have to approach this objectively, though I did decide that the primary theme would be positive things, especially about the kids.

I believe in this team, and I especially believe in Mr. Alderson and Co., but I am not a big fan the current ownership. I was the first three Omar years, but not now.
Look, investments have risks and the recession wiped out a lot of us. I write sports because I no longer own radio stations. I lost most of what I had in the 80s and threw away the rest ten years ago in high risk investments. Shit happens. I can live with it because I did it to myself.
The Wilpon family intertwined their personal investments with their ownership of the team, and the fans will now suffer because of it. In the past, they just fielded teams that didn’t have enough to go all the way. Now, they don’t have the money to compete in the division, no less the league.

I try to write realistically. I have predicted the Mets to not make the playoffs for the past three seasons. So far, I’m batting 1.000.
Enjoy this year. It’s for grins.


Joseph Polini asked:

Do you think Terry Collins was the best choice for the Mets job at this time? It does seem to me from what I’ve heard that the players seem real upbeat about him so far….



I think Terry Collins is the perfect manager for the 2011 Mets.
In my opinion, he was a better choice than Wally Backman. Collins brings the same personality without the hand grenades.

Was he the best choice? No. Joe Torre would have been better, but he wasn’t available.
Many feel that Collins is the perfect “interim” manager during these difficult times when the owners are broke, the team is handcuffed with contracts, and three new VPs have to be paid.
I expect TC to be the manager for 2011 and 2012. Beyond that will be determined on his W-L record.


Luis Castillo, Adam Rubin, Terry Collins, and Source Material


There was a report yesterday that went across the internet that ESPN’s Adam Rubin reported that New York Mets manager Terry Collins wanted 2B Luis Castillo released from the team.

First, let me tell you about Rubin. Adam would never break a story like this unless he was more than confident that the information was correct. He also would have multiple sources.

Source material is tricky. There’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t umbrella that hangs over information like this.

I haven’t had a bunch of juicy info over the years I’ve been doing this, but three cases can easily show you the different outcomes you can have. However, all source information does one thing when it is printed. It divides Mets ownership and management both from the players as well as the reporters that cover the team. The initial reaction of any manager would be to not trust anyone around them that they shared confidential information with.

I had the scoop on the re-signing of Oliver Perez three days before it was announced. This information did not come from anyone employed by the team, but it still caused some internal concern (as I was told later), but, in this case, the concern was how did I know something no one in the Mets organization knew.

I next had exclusive information on seven ball players that had received a mid-season promotion from one of the Mets minor league teams to another. My sources were confirmed, so I printed the names (which were correct), which created a devide from the management of that team, to me, and to the players involved. As it turned out, none of the players had told me, nor did any of them confirm it…  I was smart enough not to involve them… but they still were considered the source of this material by management.

And lastly, I reported about the triple-VP system the Mets were going to have this year, but I had one of the names wrong. I should have spent another day triple checking my sources and I was castrated by the Mets internet community for being incorrect with the names (though I was given no credit for having the 3-VP thing correct).

The point I’m trying to make is a reporter, or a sports writer, or a columnist, or whatever the hell some of us are… is pulled in multiple directions when it comes to exclusive information received… and confirmed.  You break the story, the team gets pissed at you and loses trust in everyone around them. You hold the story and you’re not doing the job you’re suppose to.

I’m currently holding an exclusive on a medical clusterfuk that happened during the past ten years, that I’m not going to write about until the player (who is still playing organized baseball) retires from this game.

Someone wrote, when I had the 3-VP thing blow up in my face, something like “heck, why would a guy living in Savannah be privy to information like this?”. That’s understandable narrow thinking, when, in fact, it really doesn’t matter where you live anymore (btw… I’ve never lived in Savannah).

You have a story if two people talk, write, tweet, or facebook each other with information.

You write that information gained from that conversation on a sticky and it place it on the top of your computer.

Then, you need to find someone else to back up what you were told by the first person.

Then, you have exclusive information from “multiple sources”.

The next move is yours…

Stock: – Terry Collins, Jordany Valdespin, Jenrry Mejia, Ruben Tejada, Scott Hairston, Castillo, Beato, Oliver Perez, Carlos Beltran

Up: – Mets Manager Terry Collins – word from the camp is that the players are really signing off on TC. This is a big change from the quiet calm of Willie Randolph, followed by the “let’s keep our distance” Jerry Manual. Collins has that fiery infectious Napoleonic personality that seems to be part of every man who stands waste high to the Chris Young’s of the world. Lots of positive energy so far, which also means guys like this can turn things loud an ugly real quick. I love it.

Up: – 2B/SS Jordany Valdespin – word from camp is that Valdespin turned heads during his infield workout along with other Mets vying for a Queens job. He simply was faster than the rest of the guys, both in getting to the ball and also getting back into position for the next ground. He has been known to get lazy on routine balls, but not so far this spring.

Up: – SP Jenrry Mejia – I talked with one of the beat guys down in Port St. Lucie and he told me that there are a lot of pitchers that look good right now, but everyone is talking about Mejia. Other Met ballplayers were literally stopping what they were doing and walking over to watch Mejia throw on the back field mounds. My contact said he was easily sitting at 94-95.

Up: – SS/2B Ruben Tejada – you always have to appreciate a ballplayer that takes the off-season serious, and Ruben has. No one has ever questioned his defensive skills, but his first shot at playing in Queens caused comparisons to Anderson Hernandez. So, Tejada went home and concentrated on bulking up and perfecting his swing. Word is he will never win the home run crown; however, everyone is impressed with his new dedication to improve his offensive statistics.

Up: OF Scott Hairston – Hairston is one of many that is trying to win a utility slot on the 25-man, which means you have to do two things well… not make errors and hot it over the wall. Well, you can’t have a better start that last Friday’s intra-squad game where Hairston hit two home runs. I’d say he’s leading after one.

Up: 2B Luis Castillo – Mets fans down in Port St. Lucie were taken to second base school by Luis Castillo on Saturday. He was the first to get a hit and later turned a double play that would never have happened if Daniel Murphy was playing there. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Mets do about this.

Up: RP Pedro Beato – It wasn’t that Beato did anything special in his first Met outing on Saturday, but the word around camp is everyone is thrilled with what he has brought to the team. It looks like the original Mets draft pick is going to make it to Queens after all. Good for him!

Down: P Oliver Perez – I can’t believe I’m still writing about this guy as a current Met. This is so embarrassing. The funny part is his ST ERA (18.00) is exactly what I said it would be on the day he is finally cut. Come on, Sandy… get it done.

Up: RF Carlos Beltran – with Beltran’s decision, the Mets just acquired one of the top right fielders in baseball. This is a good move for everybody. Centerfield can be left to a healthy Angel Pagan and Carlos can concentrate on healing and hitting. Good move

I May Be Wrong, But… Jenrry Mejia, Wally Backman,Terry Collins, Alex Silver, Adam Rubin, Daniel Murphy, John Maine


photo by Michael G. Baron

1. I see that the Mets were shut out in the MLB Top 50 prospect list that aired on TV opposite the State of the Union Address by President Obama (by the way, how come no one pays this guy the respect to put the word “President” in front of his last name?). I had predicted Mets fans only needed to turn on during the last 15 minutes figuring Jenrry Mejia would sneak in near the end. This makes one remember one important thing when we are discussing Mets prospects… other teams get to sign players also.

2. Having Daryl Strawberry predict that Wally Backman will be the next Mets manager is like having Lenny Dykstra pick the next stock you’re going to buy. How would you like to be Terry Collins and you wake up and find out one of your roving coaches is already predicting your demise? Nice timing, Straw. Maybe you should stick to the restaurant business and the big Yankee reunion you’re having at the end of this month.

3. I was thrilled to hear Terry Collins say there would be  less players in camp this year. The first thing this tells me is that most, if not all, of the players that are currently projected not to make one of the four full-year minor league teams, won’t report until near the end of ST. This gives the players fighting for jobs more innings to pitch and more grounders to catch. Secondly, it screams of a major league clubhouse of only 40-man members and newbies that have recently been signed. I like that idea to. Don’t put thoughts unachievable in the heads of young prospects. Let them mature at the levels they are supposed to play in.

4. My prayers go out to Texas freshman third baseman Alex Silver, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He’s scheduled to only miss the first couple of months of the 2011 season. For the full story:  http://texas.247sports.com/Article/Silver-ready-to-fight-disease-12807

5. Adam Rubin had a nice interview with Daniel Murphy on Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida. I loved the line about, when Murphy arrived in camp one day, someone asked him “what position he played?”. He answered with “hitter number three”. I have big money on Murph going into this spring training and I don’t understand why the Mets keep signing more guys to compete with someone who has already proved he should be in the starting lineup. Who cares that he never has played second base. No one hits the ball over there, anyway.

 6. I visited one of my favorite sites this morning, http://baseballdraftreport.com/, and I learned that the author was off work today due to “thundersnow”. Now, I’ve been around for a while, and I’ve watched a lot of weather channels, but this was a new one on me. Thundershow?  Was this the name of a new rock band?  I went to Wikipedia and found out there are four different forms of thundersnow. Great. Now there’s four things I didn’t know squat about.

7. John Maine is working out for teams as a relief pitcher. Wasn’t this what a bunch of us said he should have been doing last year? I’m told that all pitchers lie to their pitching coach about their aches and pains, but I’m also told that Maine took the book when it came to telling no one about nothing. Anybody that covered the start of spring training last year could observe that John’s velo was gone, yet Omar and Co. still turned a blind eye and slotted him into the rotation. However, let’s remember he basically was a throw-in in the Jorge Julio for Kris Benson trade on 1-22-06.