We linked that Mets “fan letter” or “loyalty oath” or whatever that thing was yesterday. And, as we said yesterday, it may be a bit weird as far as these things go — teams don’t often pen open letters to their fans like that — but it’s really no different than any other sort of fan outreach, marketing or what have you. The Red Sox have convinced their fans they’re part of a Great Nation. The Yankees have crafted this grand fiction of a “Yankees Universe” in which class and history and nobility exist in the Bronx unlike they exist anyplace else. If you examine the stuff that led to those now-accepted tropes, they’d look kinda silly too.
But the Mets’ effort has sparked a pretty big backlash. The biggest I’ve seen comes from Mike Vaccaro in the Post who calls it “clueless” and “insulting” and calls the Mets “dense” for even bothering. He says it’s an “affront” to real fans. It’s quite a screed.
It just feels like a Mets pile-on to me. For years the Mets have done dumb things and that has led to a lot of “Dumb Mets!” or, in the parlance of Twitter “LOLMETS!” commentary. But it’s gotten to the point where people autopilot to that without, I think, actually trying to figure out if the thing they’re mocking is really all that mockworthy.
I don’t think this letter is. I don’t think it’s some masterstroke in public relations, but it’s no worse than what a lot of other teams do. Why it is creating such a furor among some I have no idea.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.