11 days until pitchers and catchers

Yesterday I hopped over to Mid-Town Manhattan (where miraculously  there was no snow on the ground when I left about four inches of the white stuff on my walkway in Staten Island) to attend a meeting of the Casey Stengel Chapter of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR). It was there that I met up with Dana Brand who was one of the guest speakers at the event.

As I greeted Dana I asked him “So are you ready for pitchers and catchers” ? He gave me that look you give the dentist when he says “would you like Novocain or gas”?  Dana was not the only Mets fan in attendance that had that same queasy feeling bout the 2010 Mets season.

I never thought it could happen but the Wilpon’s have now displaced the Dolan’s of MSG as the worst owners of a NYC franchise.  I thought I despised Jeffey Skill Sets more than most but after talking to the Mets fans yesterday, I see I have competition.

By this time in the winter, as a baseball fan ,Super Bowl Sunday signals the home stretch of winter and knowing that spring training is around the corner. Usually for Mets fans we start to think of April and opening day, and opening day is usually cold. But we never cared about the cold. We wore Mets sweatshirts under our Mets jackets and figured our Mets gloves and the knit Mets hat we got last season on Fan Apprecitaion Day would shied us from the elements. We were just happy to have a ticket and a seat to root for our favorite baseball team. But from what I’ve read and heard from Mets fans this winter,  I have a feeling opening day at $iti Field will not be a hot ticket, in fact I figure the longer you hold out the better your chance to get a prime seat for below cost.

Where and when did this all go wrong? I’m starting to think the demolition of Shea Stadium will become our Curse of the Bambino, or Billy Goat.

When a team opens a new ballpark, the fan base is usually fired up about the new home and the great amenities so you’d think as Mets fans we’d be happy about all there is at $iti Field. But the more I talk to Mets fans and the more I think about it, maybe we should have stayed at Shea. Shea was a pitchers park and no one screamed to pull in it’s fences. But after one season at $tit, the cry is, “the outfield fence is too high” “the ball doesn’t carry” “the fences need to come in” what we’re really saying is “this place sucks, we want our Shea Stadium back”. Face it Mets fans we hate change and we hate $iti Field.

Now I ‘d say it’s mostly us old timey Mets fans that hate change and I know I’m of that crowd, it surprises me that I’m like that with the Mets as I embrace progress with everything else in my world. I guess I need one small part of the old world to stay with me. I still want pinstripe unis with no name on the back and blue caps with and orange NY. I want organ music instead of ear splitting pop shit, and this from a guy who still listens to Black Sabbath albums with the volume on 10 but at a baseball game I want to here the Mexican Hat dance played on a Thomas organ. I don’t want to be told to “Clap my hands” I’m not a idiot I know when to clap and when to cheer and when to say “AH SHIT!!”. I want my teams National League heritage to be displayed and educate fans of where we came from how our lineage evolved from the days of John McGraw and Mel Ott and Carl Hubble to Bobby Thomson and Willie Mays along with Zack Wheat and Joe Medwick and Dolph Camli and Jackie Ribinson and Duke Synder. NYC was always an NL town until now that the Wilpon’s let that distinction slip away and for that they should be ashamed of themselves.

Jeff Wilpon has not only surpassed Jim Dolan as the most spoil son of a rich man in NY sports but he is close to reaching M. Donald Grant status as a franchise killer. But we shouldn’t put the blame all on young Jeffey, I put  90% of the fiasco that is now the NY Mets on Fred Wilpon. Freddy has the power to tell sonny boy, “I’m sorry but you are in way over your head here my boy, it’s time for me to find a real baseball man to run this franchise and bring it back to respectability and to being a championship baseball team”. If Fred Wilpon does not step up and do what is right for the NY Mets franchise, he will become as hated here as much as Walter O’Malley. The only difference is Mets fans might be wishing he move himself and team someplace else.

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  1. “NYC was always an NL town until now that the Wilpon’s let that distinction slip away and for that they should be ashamed of themselves.”

    Steve, the last decade the Shake Shackers outdrew THE WORLD CHAMPIONS (27) was the 1970’s. A whole generation of National League fans are dead at the present time. (Casey)

    This ain’t a National League town anymore.

  2. @Michael

    I’m not sure who “Casey” is, but for the record, the Mets seriously outdrew the Yankees in the 1980s. The Yankees may have consistently outdrawn the Mets since 1996, but the Mets have still drawn extremely well. I agree that NY is not an NL town anymore, but that was inevitable 50 years after the two NL teams left. Both the Mets and the Yankees have strong fan bases.

    It was great to see you at the SABR event, Steve. I am, however, going to work very hard over the next couple of months to get hopeful.

  3. ha we are of the same mind look at my column today . yeah it is a shame that this twit has the reigns of our favorite team – at least dolan can play a decent guitar. ! btw ozzy sabbath dio sabbath or tony martin sabbath lol

  4. @Dana Brand

    1- Casey was of course, Casey Stengel, who offered “most of my friends are dead at the present time”.

    2- The Yankees did outdraw the Mets in the 1980’s 22,077,255 to 20,712,308. My source:

    The reason for that was the Mets were a weak team at the beginning of the decade.

    In total fairness if the Mets were in existence for the entire 1960’s they would have drawn more the Yankees. Back then, this was an NL town.

  5. NL town or not, there are more than enough fannies in the Dodg…ooops, Mets’ ballparks (Shea or Taxpayer). The fact of the matter is that the only ones that do not see that Mets’ fans want to see pinstripes & blue are the bean counters…and the head bean, Fred.And I am not sure that the folks that bought the Dodger unis, would not have spent their money anyway. The problem is that ownership (are you listening, Wilpon family) does not give a crap what we want, and think that they have a captive audience. When they average, in real attendance, (not tickets sold) 15,000 a game, and are embarrassed that no one is in their park buying tacos, only then will they do something. They are not even smart enough to say, we did not want to spend all of our money this year, because we want to create salary space for next year’s free agents which are outstanding. Sadly, even if there was no Jason Bay, would the Mets have been smart enough or willing enough to outbid the Yankees to sign Carl Crawford (nor would they be if they figured out a way to trade Beltran). This team is clueless, Krane, and naturally the only ones that do not know this are the Wilpons.

    The only optimism surrounding this team, and that is hard to imagine, with NY team, is that the start of Spring Training, means that the F***ING cold is almost over for eight months. And no matter what they show in Port St. Lucie, I will have an, “I’m from Missouri…show me attitude. This spring, I want to Gee, Holt, Havens, Thole, and what should be a renewed F-Mart after this C-WS. I want to see the stuff that Mejia, has, I want Niese, and I want Ike (full disclose, I am an ASU grad like Ike). Every time, I see Coste (I will think Phillies and want to puke. Every time I see Blanco & Matthews Jr, and Escobar, Tatis & the rest of George Allen’s Washington Redskins (over the hill gang, only without skill) I am going to be pissy. I want to Reyes actually run the bases, not running in a straight line like on SNY last week. I want to see Pelf, throwing strikes, and not worrying about contact, and I want to see Perez, with a bus ticket in his hand on his way out the door. I will settle for just seeing Maine & Santana throw off of a mound with fluidity.

    I want to see Ray Knight as attitude coach, because I bet he can still deck players. Jeff Wilpon to fire Dave Howard and say I will never be anywhere near the baseball offices again except to sign the checks. Hire a baseball guy and let him REALLY run the team.

    Lastly, I want the crap to end, retire 17 & 31…and the return of The Curly Shuffle.

  6. I always liked Tavares. In the dark days, he was exciting with his SBs and speed. He also could make the eye-popping play, and then flub one hit right at him. I’m pumped for opening day regardless. I love baseball and I’ll have my Game Day package and watch every day for 180 days. Of course, I will not miss a pitch of the Mets, but it’s great to put on a west coast game after the Mets (and the lame press conference) are over. I agree that Super Sunday is great, because it means baseball has arrived. In the end, the game we love will be back, even though our beloved team will have us pulling our hair out.

    To Michael, this is and always has been and always will be an NL town. I saw some poll a few years back, that confirmed that there are more Mets than Yankee fans. It also did a profile of both fans, and found that Mets fans are more likely to be “white collar”. Anyway, why are you, Michael, so obsessed with the Mets, spending so much time here/ Why did George (I should be in jail) Steinbrenner always hate the Mets so much, more than his rivals? It is because no team in any sport owns NYC like the Mets when they are doing well. You know it, I know it, we all know it. Yankee fans hate that their team has to do so much more to achieve the same level of interest.

    Say whatever you want, NL, NL, NL. You are living proof.

  7. @Rich – im 38 and i remember the lean years of the late ’70’s I was first taken to a Mets game during the ’73 w.s but my original memories were of a losing franchise – but i know i wished and hoped the team would get better – and it did . now im more cynical but i am still wishing and hoping but there is a point when reality creeps in – i believe the mets will compete for third place this year – too many things have to go right for us to even get the wild card

  8. kranepool says:

    my point exactly Michael

  9. kranepool says:

    Rusty, there is only one front man for Sabbath and that’s my idol, Ozzy! If I ever met Ronnie James Dio in person I’d punch him in the face

  10. Rusty, which column is yours? Where can it be found? Steve, you used the word “album”. To anyone under 35, “33” means absolutely nothing! But thanks, it is nice to see that word in print referring to a piece of music.

  11. No Yankee team captured NYC like the 86 team…….NONE or the 69 Mets……….NONE….They dont call teh American league the junior circuit for nothing…..And just to square it all up. Baseball is played with 9 players not a DH…And heck how many World Series you going to win by grabbing a Sox player……

  12. I see that you’re right, Michael. I never would have guessed that the Yankees outdrew the Mets overall in the ’80s because of the lead they had built up during the Mets’ first four bad years in that decade. But the fact remains that the Mets outdrew the Yankees every year from 1984 to 1993, and by substantial amounts in all but the first and last years of that reign. So your point about the Mets not outdrawing the Yankees since the ’70s could be a little misleading. New York, as you say, is not a National League town. And the Yankees are undoubtedly more popular now. But the Mets still have a very large and loyal fanbase, and a better and more vibrant blogosphere. Now if they could only have a winning team and an ownership with an imaginative and sympathetic understanding of its fans, you would see how popular they could be. That being said, I don’t think that New York will ever be a National League or an American League town again.

  13. @Dana Brand

    Well stated Dana. Even as a Yankee Fan (27) I agree there is a captive base of fans in this town (and elsewhere) ready to root either for the Mets or strictly against the Yankees. The current Met’s ownership doesn’t quite see it that way.

    Great marketing opportunities are out there to be exploited, Fred.

  14. Dan Gurney says:

    I get stoked up for “pitchers and catchers” by going to Islanders games. That was a real stinker last night. Reminded me of the Joe Torre Mets days of Pat Zachry, Steve Henderson and Skip Lockwood. Throw Wang in the mix with the Wilpons and Dolans (although they do have a terrible lease. But he isn’t smart enough to bribe politicians to let him build his Lifesaver project).

    I say the New York area is a Yankee town because the Highlanders are worth more according to Forbes and they do have a substantial fan base in NJ, upstate New York and Connecticut. Winning does that for you. But Mets fans are far more numerous than White Sox and Angels fans in their cities. But one thing that convicted liar from Cleveland knows if to fear your rivals (Mets, Red Sox) and to always try to outdo them. The Wilpons/Payson-deRoulet never grasped this.

  15. I’m a Huge fan of the Who. But that was the music recorded in the 60s. Enough of this Geezer Rock. Please take them all behind the barn and put us all out of our misery. Time for the SB to use whatever noise the young people listen to.

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