One of the items asked for by readers from our September customer survey was to have things in addition to our regular articles. One of the suggestions was to have interviews with non-team personnel. Below is an email correspondence with Matt Netter. Matt gave his last reply a little while ago, which explains why his last answer seems dated. But it showed an opinion so I left it in. On to the interview!
How old are you? Under 25, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55+
Do you live within an hour’s drive of Citi Field?
I wish. I grew up a half hour from Shea but now, living across two rivers and a big city in New Jersey it’s harder to get to Citi Field. l now go to about 3 games per year instead of 10.
What are the memories of first Mets game you saw in person, whether Polo Grounds, Shea Stadium or Citi Field?
Shea Stadium. I remember my brother bringing a fishing net thinking he’d get a foul ball.
How did you get involved with Mets360?
Brian found me through the comments. It’s a great community of knowledgeable and passionate Mets fans.
Who was your favorite Mets player as a kid?
Favorite Mets moment?
Game six, 1986 World Series. I was only 14 but it’s my favorite sports moment of my life.
You seem to focus a lot on pitching in your articles and your comments. Do you have a pitching background? Is there anyone on the Mets that you’d like to tinker with their mechanics or their repertoire?
I was a varsity pitcher but never threw hard enough to go further than that. Can’t really teach velocity. Did a lot of youth coaching, too. Tylor Megill’s mechanics make me nervous. I predicted he’d get injured back in spring training. He finishes across his body rather than properly following through. This puts too much strain on the arm rather than using the upper back. Reminds me a lot of Jake Peavy who spent a lot of time on the IL.
Given your pitching background, what’s your take on the Mets’ catching situation? Are you okay with defensive players in McCann or Nido or are you ready for the Francisco Alvarez era to start on Opening Day 2023?
There is no Mike Piazza right now. JT Realmuto is considered the best catcher by default. From how they work with the staff, frame, prevent too many pass balls and control the running game, I’m very pleased with our catching duo. I’d like to see Alvarez develop more on the defensive side, but if his bat is truly MLB ready than maybe he can split time as a DH.
Where do you stand on intangibles/clubhouse chemistry? Has this always been your stance or did 2022 impact things for you? Finally, are there any implications moving forward given what we saw happen in September/October?
I think chemistry is important and it’s part of why I always liked Dom Smith. You need guys that bring positive energy to the dugout and lift up their teammates. Fierce leadership and setting an example of hard work oozes from Max Scherzer. You can have a few quiet Mark Canha types, but you can’t have a whole team of them. You need guys who get mad when you lose. Buck Showalter was a great skipper this year who really had the team’s respect.
I think what happened at the end of the season is that our two Ferraris were running, but not at 100%. Yes, the offense disappeared a few times but the high paid Cy Young winners are supposed to shut teams down in those big games.
Which of the Mets’ free agents are you most eager for the club to re-sign? Which one will you not shed a tear if he leaves?
Diaz must come back. Shut down closers are in short supply and he is irreplaceable. I love the player Brandon Nimmo has become, but his loss can be handled without too much upheaval. I’m concerned that between Boras as his agent and a dearth of quality 2-way CFs, Nimmo will earn a long term deal that will wind up a bad investment. Marte can bat leadoff and play CF at least for a year. McNeil can play OF with a 2b/3b rotation of Escobar/Baty/Guillorme.
deGrom is a tough call. 80+ mm for two pitchers who aren’t likely to give us 60+ starts is a big and risky outlay.
Your 2022 World Series winner?
I’m rooting for Cleveland since it’s been 74 years for that fan base and they have some former Mets. Astros deserve to never win again. The Yankees have won enough. Screw the Padres. And I wouldn’t root for the Phillies unless they were playing ISIS. Given how this postseason has gone, I wouldn’t dream of laying down a bet, but if I have to pick, I guess the Astros.