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Around Citi: 2 Years Later

The last time I logged onto Around Citi, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes were still Mets. I was still a high school senior with the uncertainty of, well, a high school senior. I thought that Logan Morrison replying to me on Twitter was one of the coolest things that happened and would help my credibility as a blogger (It DID net me my biggest audience of ever, a staggering 67 views), but beyond that, I was clueless about how to create and efficiently run a blog.

Since 2011 I’ve been part of many different projects. I joined Mets Fever and my first post, which was a speculative hypothesis, was featured on Metsblog. I spent over a year on Mets Fever and couldn’t say better things about the people that I worked with. Ed Ryan, Rob Patterson (Now of Metsmerized), Kieran, and Seth were all fun people to work with. Since then, I’ve began writing for the Daily Stache. All while being a Ruby Tuesday food runner and full-time college student majoring in journalism.

Out of pure speculation I decided to look into re-opening Around Citi for several reasons. It has always been a dream of mine to write about the Mets (or baseball) and be successful at it. How one defines success is completely independent of any other person’s definition, but my definition of success is when one feels accomplished in the work that they’re doing. I came to the conclusion that abandoning the blog that I started on was something that I didn’t want to do, but felt was necessary at the time. It’s very difficult to operate your own blog when so many other sites already dominate the blogosphere. Metsblog is owned by SNY and naturally has the largest audience. Metsmerized and Rising Apple both have extremely talented writers and nice followings. The Daily Stache is a wonderful place to write, and sites like The 7 Line, On The Black, and The Apple all have their followings.

The question has continued to plague me: Originally I believed plugging that a 17-year old writing a blog was something noteworthy. It was a gimmick that, while true, wasn’t one that would necessarily bring the masses in to read. Therefore, I looked to join an already established website.

As I’ve rediscovered Around Citi, I plan on working to make innovations to the site to help create a niche separate from the blog. I view baseball in a very objective manner (except for when I’m unrealistically optimistic, which usually comes when I’m at the ballpark) and therefore prefer to examine Sabermetrics over traditional statistics. In addition, I believe that media can be very useful in helping to create a following and therefore I intend on creating several new mediums to help bolster the site. It’s not going to be a process that will grow overnight, but my hope is that this redevelopment will be able to take baby steps to eventually become a legitimate site.

I’m not going to ever claim to have sources inside the organization or baseball, but through analysis, research, and opinions based on more than just a whim, I’m planning on trying to give a unique perspective on the Mets and their minor league affiliates as well as the grander picture of Major League Baseball.

One of the first aspects that I’m working to develop is the creation of a weekly audio show. I’ll be heading down to spring training this year from March 9th-March 17th and will look to bring exclusive pictures and hopefully land an interview or two, however brief they may be. I’m currently in the process of looking for a co-host for the audio show, so if you’re interested in the position please feel free to contact me at MetsLegacy@Gmail.com

The website will also be undergoing several aesthetic changes over the next few weeks. Please bear with me as I look to improve the design of the website and get graphics created.

All the best,
-Josh Chapdelaine

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The Future?

Ollie and Pelfrey

Ollie and Pelf are among the pitchers practicing drills at home plate, and Ollie is looking much better in practice from a physical sense than we’ve seen.

Luis Castillo fielding grounders

From NY TO PSL: Tuesday

I’m extremely excited to announce that I’ll be taking my talents to South Be–,well, not quite. But I will be in Port St. Lucie, Florida from Tuesday through Saturday. Stay tuned for more information.

Jimmy Rollins and Karma

The year was 2006–and New York City had become a Mets town once again. A team chock-full of All-Stars, they made it within one game of their fifth World Series appearance. Fast forward to the end of 2007 and there was serious reason for concern. The Mets fell one game short of the playoffs while managing to complete one of the worst collapses in baseball history. As the future success of the franchise seemed in doubt, Carlos Beltran made the infamous statement that the Mets were going to be the team to beat in 2008.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia reached the playoffs for the first time since 1993 and confidence in the Philly was so high that shortstop Jimmy Rollins proclaimed the Phillies the best team in the National League. Unfortunately for Mets fan, Rollins turned out to be correct. The Phillies went on to make their second consecutive playoff appearance, this time becoming World Champions. They haven’t looked back since, and the Mets have been looking up ever since.

The Philadelphia Phillies are, on paper, the best team in the National League. Boasting a pitching staff of four pitchers who could be aces on most teams, the Phillies also have a tremendous offense. Even with the departure of the All-Star Jayson Werth, the Phillies seem to have a suitable replacement in Dominic Brown, who will likely be the Phillies opening day right fielder.

Much like the New York Yankees though, the Phillies aren’t prone to inevitability. So much like the New York Mets were seemingly the team to beat heading into 2009, the Phillies are on the same path. They can boast the best pitching staff in baseball, but they can also boast a 1-3 that are a combined age of 98 years old.

Yep, if there’s one hope for the rest of the NL East to claim the title of division champions, it’s age. With the exception of Dominic Brown, not one position player will be under the age of 30 come opening day. In fact, assuming the opening day projections remain the same, the only time you’ll find a game when there are two players under 30 on the field is when Cole Hamels starts. So that’s why when Rollins made his annual prediction today,one could be more skeptical than in years past.The prediction? Rollins believes that the Phillies will win 100 games, and if all goes right they’ll be able to chase the Seattle Mariners 2001 season.

On the other side of the spectrum,  the New York Mets will boast an infield that features all talent under 30 assuming that Murphy wins the starting job. 1B Ike Davis(24), 2b Daniel Murphy(25), SS Jose Reyes(27), 3B David Wright(28) and C Josh Thole(24) will all have to play huge parts in a successful team in 2011. While the outfield is older than the infield, the veteran Carlos Beltran(33) will likely be sent a one way ticket to the American League next year. Angel Pagan(29) is poised to be a staple of the Mets outfield for years to come,  and the Mets are committed to three more years of Jason Bay(32). While Bay’s contract is still up for debate, it’s a much more calming mix than having Carlos Delgado and elder replacements/hopefuls getting starting opportunities.

Jimmy Rollins likes to run his mouth, and it’s safe to say that he has earned the right to. Things change quickly in this game, though,  and the sooner Rollins learns that making these predictions will one day come back to bite him and the Phillies, the better. There’s nothing better than competitive spirit, but sooner or later Rollins and the Phillies will learn that mother nature has no favorites. Karma is a…well, you know it.

Fashionably Late?

The New York Mets Twitter-verse is abuzz today discussing a groundbreaking story involving a roster member.

An injury? Nope.

Big trade? Try again.

Sandy Alderson signed Julio Franco? Wrong again.

In news that’s hardly surprising, the 35 year old soon-to-be free agent Luis Castillo has yet to arrive in Port St. Lucie to begin workouts with the club, reports Newsday’s David Lennon.(Picture here) Castillo’s presence in camp, however, isn’t mandatory until tomorrow. The largely unpopular second baseman of the Mets is looking at more competition than in years past with Daniel Murphy and Brad Emaus working hard at earning the starting job. Perhaps disillusioned by the franchise after being sat for the majority of the final months of 2010, Castillo doesn’t appear motivated. To his credit, even Oliver Perez managed to show up at camp several days ago.

Castillo’s tenure with the team isn’t one that will be looked upon fondly in years to come. While having an impressive conclusion to the end of the 2007 season, the reaction was negative from the outset when former GM Omar Minaya inked Castillo to a 4 year deal. At an age when most second basemen begin their decline, Minaya saw the Houston Astros as a potential threat to come in and swoop up Castillo. In reality, it appears that while the Astros may have had interest in acquiring the second baseman, Minaya appeared to be bidding against himself.

After having a poor season in 2008 in which he only appeared in 81 games, Castillo played for the majority of the 2009 season. Regardless of his bounce back year offensively, though, Castillo’s 2009 will forever be remembered for that one fateful night at Yankee Stadium in which K-Rod’s perfect season ended prematurely. Needless to say, Castillo hit over .300, but also almost injured himself walking down the dugout steps. However you balance it, he has become a punchline much like Ollie.

As Luis Castillo’s locker sits untouched on February 18th 2011, his future of with the club is also highly in question. If he’s trying to make good impressions or win the starting job, Daniel Murphy and Brad Emaus already have a significant lead, with Emaus probably headed for a bench role. The two aspiring second baseman have already been in PSL for several weeks, and with youth and energy on their side it’s hard seeing Castillo cracking the opening day roster period. Castillo will need an absolute blow away performance, because at this stage of the game the Mets are headed in the opposite direction. In fact, if Castillo fails to make the team the infield will be under 30 years old(Thole, Davis, Murphy/Emaus, Reyes and Wright). While it’s certainly a step in the right direction, someone forgot to tell Castillo that arriving fashionably late only works if you’re a proven star that has shown consistency. For someone who has been mistreated by the organization, and, in turn, played poorly, he should have every reason to be fashionably early.