I keep hearing experts say that players like Jason Bay won't hit home runs in Citi Field. Doesn't the fact that visiting players hit 81 homers there last year indicate that the Mets hitters may have been more of the problem than the stadium they played in?
-- Vince B., Chester Springs, Pa.
How many people have expertise about Citi Field? I believe the Mets were spooked by the field last season. Perhaps if Carlos Delgado had remained available and hit two or three more to the bridge beyond the seats in right-center field, Citi would have been tamed a bit and not developed any mystique. The place is bigger than some parks, but it's a fair park. Sluggers hit home runs in fair parks.
Ralph Kiner, who knows a thing or two about home run-hitting and pitcher-friendly parks -- Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, where he played, was so big that the batting cage was left on the field in left-center -- doesn't consider Citi's size insurmountable. I'm sure Adam Dunn and Mark Reynolds don't either. Reynolds might hit it out of the place if he plays one more series there.
If Luis Castillo can reach the second deck, David Wright can hit 12 home runs there. I wouldn't been stunned if Wright, Bay, Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur combine for 50-55 at home.
Now that the Mets have reeled in Bay, what are the chances they will sign Ben Sheets? Even with his history of injuries he still has a lot of upside. Also I think Delgado is worth another shot because I don't think Daniel Murphy is the answer at first.
-- George L., Brooklyn, N.Y.
I'm not sure what Bay's presence will have to do with Sheets. No one ever questions Sheets' upside. But who can overlook his downside. The Mets already have too many potential starters with issues. Sheets would be one more.
Now, about Delgado. Bay would address the Mets' power shortage. I never thought the chance of the club re-signing Delgado was very good. Once Bay is officially signed, I think the chance will diminish.
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Joe Frisaro, in his Marlins Inbox, says it's a virtual certainty that the Marlins will be shopping Dan Uggla in January. Do you think he could be a fit on the Mets, as a first-base platoon with Murphy, or as someone to spell Castillo at second? He has plenty of power and could prove to be a useful player on the left side of the infield. If the Mets were interested what would they need to give up for him?
-- Pete S., Clinton Corners, N.Y.
I can't see the Mets having interest in him, certainly not on the left side of the infield. Uggla is too expensive -- he won a $5.35 million award in 2009 arbitration -- to be a part-time player, and I would think the Mets would be too wary of his defense at second to play him regularly. Moreover, they still have Castillo and probably would pursue Orlando Hudson if they could find a taker for Castillo. They don't need Uggla's power that much.
As evidenced with some chatter following Bay's acquisition, no matter who the Mets sign, they're accused of overpaying and are attacked for thinking that that player is the solution to all their problems. If they don't sign anyone, they're accused of being too passive and/or cheap. Why can't Mets fans ever realize that sometimes the club must make one move to make others, i.e., bringing Pedro Martinez or Mike Piazza to demonstrate a serious desire to win.
-- Jeff Y., Eagan, Minn.
Mets fans can be a tad difficult to understand. A saying exists, and I think it has some validity -- "No one hates the Mets as much as Mets fans." Every club attracts chronic malcontents as fans, even the Yankees and the Braves of the '90s. Hard to see what fuels their anger. Sometimes I think talk-radio callers and people who express themselves in the Internet believe it's fashionable to be critical.
An appearance in the World Series would help -- at least until the Winter Meetings. And that's only if the Mets win.
Fernando Martinez deserves a break. He had 91 at-bats in his rookie season and batted. 176, and all of a sudden people want to trade him. He's still very young, 21, and has yet to develop. I believe that if the Mets wait on him, he will blossom into an All-Star. Your thoughts?
-- Mike S., Briarcliff, N.Y.
A few weeks back, I wrote about Martinez and pointed out how few Minor League at-bats he has had compared with what Wright and Jose Reyes had before they were promoted. At the same time, he hardly distinguished himself during his introductory tenure. There's no rule prohibiting 21-year-olds from excelling. See Dwight Gooden, 19 years old in 1984. The concerns with Martinez are his tendency to break down and, to a far lesser degree, a few episodes last summer that put his judgment in question.
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As requested and promised -- the third of my five favorite games.
Any baseball fan, even those in Houston, can appreciate Game 6 of the Mets-Astros National League Championship Series in 1986. It was a magnificent struggle between a superior opponent and a team that presented an unanticipated challenge because of one pitcher. To that point, no team ever had won a postseason game after trailing by three or more runs in the ninth inning. The Mets' comeback in the ninth was remarkable. What followed in the 14th and 16th innings was fascinating.
I don't care for high-scoring games, and the Mets' 7-6 victory qualified as high-scoring, but not for 16 innings.
I do appreciate tension and watching how players respond to it. And because Mike Scott was looming on the immediate horizon and the Astros faced elimination, tension touched -- or gripped -- both teams. Terrific stories came from that game, including the one with Keith Hernandez essentially ordering Gary Carter to call for Jesse Orosco's slider on what proved to be the final pitch.
I can't say, however, that I experienced Game 6 as a reporter. I didn't write a word about it. Instead, I watched it with my wife who was due to deliver our second daughter, Lindsay, one week later. Lindsay arrived a tad late, so I missed Game 7 of the World Series, too. But babies are better than baseball any time.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.