Keep It Coming Mets, Keep It Coming Mets, Don’t Stop It Now, Don’t Stop It No….

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Let’s Go Mets!!! Keep the wins coming!!! Laugh all you want but the 1970′s were FANTASTIC!!!!!!!! 

With the four day celebration of the life and career of Derek Jeter finally ending, we can now get back to the unofficial second half of the baseball season, but before we do a couple of things about the All Star Game:

I don’t think Jeter was comfortable at all with all the hoopla regaled on him at the All-Star Game. In fact he turned down a request by FOX to wear a microphone during the game and when he was removed from the game it looked as though he was motioning to the home plate umpire to move the game along.

It’s was more MLB and FOX that decided to ram the this Jeter celebration down our throats not understanding that while the majority of baseball fans are not Yankee fans, there is respect for the way Jeter has played throughout his career but to lay on the schmaltz as thick as FOX/MLB did during the game brought out the Yankee hater in all of us.

If that wasn’t bad enough there was that awful exchange between Erin Andrews and Adam Wainright. I don’t get how Erin Andrews has become the go to on field reporter for FOX. I mean I get the whole blonde and perky, which is a FOX staple but is there anyone in the corporate suite watching or listening to her when she conducts interviews?  Why have Andrews talk to Wainright about the “pitch down pipe” comment when you have Ken Rosenthal on the broadcast?

Of all the places in the world he could be at, the last place Joe Buck wanted to be was in Minneapolis at the All Star Game, at least that’s what it felt like to me. Maybe it was his booth mates who were making Buck weary because Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci had me hitting the mute button. Both Reynolds and Verducci are out of their element on game broadcasts.

So with all that out of the way, baseball is back tonight, more specifically Mets baseball is back tonight and we all hope that the momentum of the final home stand before the break continues in San Diego this weekend.

Hopefully Terry Collins is true to his word when he says “at this level we are here to win not develop talent”, if that’s the cast the Collins needs to go with a set lineup just about every game and set his relief pitchers up with specific roles.

The everyday line should look like this:

Granderson RF

Murphy 2B

Wright 3B

Duda 1B

d’Arnaud C

Nieuwenhuis LF

Largares CF

Tejada SS

On days when there is a left handed starting pitcher you switch Eric Campbell for Kirk or move Eric Young Jr to left and Campbell spell Duda. Personally I’d like to see Duda against lefties just to see if he’s the real deal as the everyday first baseman going forward.

The Mets bench is short a bat since the club is carrying 12 pitchers. When Dillion Gee comes back then a pitcher will go back to Vegas but the bench could use another lefty bat to go with Bobby Abreu. Chris Young is an albatross that needs to be removed from the Mets neck, not only for non-production but his right-handed bat is clogging up the works.

The bullpen has been the best we’ve seen in the Alderson Era, back end guys are strong in Vic Black, Jureys Famila and Jenry Mejia. Carlos Torres has been outstanding and can pitch anywhere from 3 innings of relief to closing out a game.  The lefties a very effective Josh Edgin and Dana Eveland and get the Mets out of trouble in the middle of games and you still have Vegas’ own Buddy Carlyle out there as well.

The biggest question with the bullpen is the management of it by Terry Collins. Collins acts surprised when his relievers show signs of fatigue and wonders why?  Collins has been a bit better at letting his starting pitchers go longer in games (I would believe it was whispered in his ear to do so by Sandy Alderson) which have helped cut down the 4-5 relievers a game that Collins seemed to employ at lot early in the season.

I know we all have a lot of apprehension as the season resumes as we’ve seen collapse after collapse from the Mets in the second half of season the last few years but I’m hoping there is no collapse, I’m hoping this team picks up where it left off at the break. I’m rooting hard for them to win as I’m so sick of losing baseball. I’m tired of all the negativity that surrounds the team and organization. For the rest of the season I don’t care about the Wilpon’s or payroll or who goes to Citi Field and who doesn’t, all I want to do is root for this team to make a solid run at a playoff spot.

We have all winter to bitch and moan, it summer, it’s time to root, root, root for the home team.

 

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Why Not Us ?

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Here’s a look at good ol’ Shea back when the Mets hosted the All-Star Game in 1964.  

Christ, I’m getting old. Not only do I remember when the MLB All-Star Game was a big deal, I remember when it was played in the daytime. Really! Both leagues took this game seriously and the NL would dominate the AL back in the 1960’s and ‘70’s, mostly due to the NL having so many exciting and talented African-American and Latin players. The NL brand of baseball was so superior back then it forced MLB to implement the Designated Hitter rule for the American League so as to spike attendance at AL games.

The DH sucked then and it still sucks today, but baseball may be going back to those days when speed, pitching and defense made the game great, in fact it’s those features that have led to the Mets resurgence.

Watching the Mets come back to life the last 10 games  and doing it the old fashion way with strong starting pitching and a reliable back end of the bullpen, has rejuvenated the fan base. This recent stretch of winning baseball has even had Terry Collins doing his best work as Mets manager. His call for a suicide squeeze with Ruben Tejada at the plate and All-Pro linebacker Kirk Nieuwenhuis rumbling down the 3rd base line was brilliant. If Collins would start implementing the hit and run I may start a campaign to extend his contract.

It’s hard to pinpoint what has propelled this turnaround and believe me I’m trying hard to not get too crazy here, but you have to admit, winning baseball is the tits. What I like even more is this bunch is starting to get a bit of a chip on its shoulder.  Seems the Braves and Marlins were a bit put off by Jenry Mejia’ post save celebration. Although he claims he wasn’t looking into the Marlins dugout after the Mets win/Mejia save on Sunday, it sure seems as if Travis d’Araund was telling someone to go fuck themselves.  Mejia himself said if anyone had a problem with his celebration then beat me.  Mejia has embraced the closer role for sure

Who knows if this run is the start of something memorable, that’s the beauty of the baseball season we can speculate what we think will happen but the best part is sitting back and watching it unfold. Why can’t the Mets make a run at the division? It would behoove the management if this run continues , to make a deal for a big bat, not an easy task I understand, not just to show the fans they are committed to winning but to the players as well. I’m sure the talk in the clubhouse is about how this Mets team is playing as good as any team in the league right now and the players are looking at the baseball ops and the owner for a sign that all the talk about putting a winning team on the field is not the bullshit we’ve all been hearing for the past few years.

Ownership has spouted off about the how if the fans support the team then they would have the resources to make some moves.  The fans came out this past weekend at Citi Field as the 3 game series with the Marlins drew 89,384 Mets fans. On Saturday I was in New Jersey, we went for lunch and the young man who waited on us saw my Mets cap and told me he was at the game the night before.  We talked about the home runs by Duda and Wright and how exciting it is that the team is playing so well. I asked him where he was from, he said Freehold. I said, “That’s quite a hike from Freehold to Citi Field” He said he went with three other friends and took advantage of the “2 tickets for $28 Daniel Murphy All-Star Special” so it was worth the ride.

So an affordable ticket + an exciting baseball team =more fans at the game. That’s a common core math equation even Jeffy Wilpon can understand.

I Tweeted this last Saturday, seems that weasel Joel Sherman wrote about this today. Told you folks Sherman trolls the blogs and social media for story idea. Now that his Yankees suck , he’ll be all over the Mets blogs and Mets Twitters for story lines.

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Kult of Mets Personalities Podcast 7-13-14

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On the latest episode of the Kult of Mets Personalities Podcast we are joined by Rich Mancuso of New York Sports Examiner as we look at the first half of the New York Mets season and look at what’s in store for the ‘Amazins after the All-Star break.

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I Still Hate You Jimmy Qualls

Tom Seaver is probably siting in a nice quiet spot in his Northern California vineyard, rehashing the events of July 9th 1969 in Flushing, NY  

 

Another hot and humid New York City summer day on July 9th 1969, I’m up early just like every day in the summer time. Eat some cereal, lace up the Chuck Taylors, grab my stickball bat and Spaldeen and head for the P.S. 105 school yard. Meet up with the rest of the fellas’ to begin our day. Stickball from 8AM to 10AM, then basketball inside the 105 gym (as broke as the city was back in those days they still had summer programs. We played basketball for the P.S. 105 over 5’2” team in the District 20 league) after that lunch at the corner deli and then to the Dust Bowl for baseball until dinner time.

During our lunch of ham and cheese heroes and Nedicks orange sodas, I grab a NY Post (the city’s afternoon paper) to check out the pitching lines for tonight’s MLB games.   “Hey guys, Seaver ‘ pitching tonight against Kenny Holtzman” I yell out, the response from the Mets fans in the group was “yeah fuckin’ Seaver he’s gonna kick the Cubs ass tonight”.  A few Yankee fans in the gang asked “whose goin’ for the Yankees tonight”? in unison the young Mets fans reply “Who gives a fuck about the Yankees”? Hahahahahahahaha!

The night before Jerry Koosman beat Ferguson Jenkins to cut the Cubs lead over the Mets in the brand new NL East 4 ½ games. This was all new to Mets fans as it was July and the Mets were in a pennant (division?) race.

“Yeah I gotta watch this one tonight” I say. The game as always was on WOR Ch9. One of the constants of life back then was WOR was the home of the Mets, Knicks and Rangers (plus the Million Dollar Movie and The Joe Franklin Show) and in the summer every night was watching the Mets with the narration by Lindsay Nelson, Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner. They were the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.

I don’t remember all of the particulars of this game.  What I remember is it was unbearably hot and humid that night.  We had an air conditioner in the living room but the wiring in the 3 story walk up we lived in was so bad that my dad kept a box of fuses next to the table that held his most important possessions, a pack of Marlboros, lighter, ash tray and a cold Rheingold.

The Mets did their damage in the first two innings (thank you Retrosheet) scoring a run in the first and two more in the second to run Hotlzman out of the game for Ted Abernathy.

The game went by quickly after that. At the 7th inning the Cubs went down 1-2-3, you could hear a lot of talking outside on our block.  You could just feel it, this was not just any hot summer night, this had the feel of an historic summer night.

In the 8th inning Gill Hodges makes some defensive changes, Bobby Pfeil goes to 3rd base Ed Charles comes out of the game, Wayne Garrett comes in to play 2nd and Rod Gaspar replaces Ron Swoboda in RF.

As the Mets bat in the 8th, I can see my father is getting anxious about this game. A NY Giants fan from the time he arrived in NYC from County Sligo Ireland in 1931, was lighting up another Marlboro, he looked over to me and said “Buddy, Seaver is the best I’ve seen pitch since Hubble, did I ever tell you about Carl Hubble” Yeah pop about 1,000 times. King Carl Hubble was one of my dad’s favorite Giants along with Mel Ott, JoJo Moore, Willie Mays and of course Bobby Thompson .  As the Cubs come to bat in the 9th my head is spinning. There is so much commotion outside on the street with everyone watching this game with windows open, screaming to neighbors on every pitch. Lindsay Nelson and the 50,000 fans at Shea ratcheting up the anticipation of what looks to be the greatest game in 8 year history of the New York Mets.

The bottom of the Cubs order is due up, Randy Hundley, some tomato can name Qualls and the pitchers spot.  Seaver gets Hundley on a comebacker for out 1. Just two outs away from a perfect game. Srcubeanie Qualls and a pinch hitter just standing in Tom Terrific’s way.

I’m at the edge of my seat; I’m tempted to ask the old man for a Marlboro that’s how nervous I was. “Com’on Tom 2 more baby, 2 more” It’s like a circus now outside my window most of the block has there TV’s set to Ch.9 everyone waiting for what should a wild celebration. Lindsay Nelson sets it up, “Seaver checks the sign from Grote, he winds and deals.. the pitch………….a base it to left field………………….

Jimmy “Fucking” Qualls. I hated you on July 9th 1969 and I still hate you today.

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Frank Cashen: The Man Who Saved The NY Mets

 

To appreciate what Frank Cashen meant to the New York Mets, you had to be around here in the late 1970’s. You think it’s bad now? Not even close to 1978 and 1979. That was rock bottom for the Mets and Mets fans. Back in those days I had season tickets to the NY Rangers, one night I wore my Mets cap to a Rangers game, first guy from my row I see greets with “what the fuck you doin’ wearin’ that stupid cap”? It was rock bottom.

Little by little the Amazin’ Mets started to crumble. We lost out heart and soul, our general Gil Hodges right before opening day in 1972. Then in 1975 our beloved Joan Whitney Payson left us and that’s when things really went downhill.

Mrs. Payson daughter Lorinda de Roulet took over the team after her mother’s death and was assisted in running the club by M. Donald Grant. To best describe Grant was he had the look and demeanor of an undertaker but without the sense of humor.  As bad as we feel about the ownership of our beloved Mets are today they are nowhere near to me as hated as M. Donald Grant. He was Satan in a Brooks Brother suit.

After the trade of Tom Seaver, the franchise was on the brink of disaster. Joe Frazier, who may be the most underrated of all Mets managers, was replaced by Brooklyn’s own Joe Torre. Back then Torre was best known for being a solid 3rd baseman for the Braves and Cardinals and for finally after years of the subject of trade rumors a Met, in fact Torre was the Mets Player/Manager in 1977. Even the allure of Torre and matinee idol Lee Mazzilli couldn’t help this bunch of awful Mets.

After what I would say is the worst season in the history of the franchise, 1979, the team went 63-99 but more importantly drew less than 800,000 fans to dilapidated Shea Stadium, Ms. de Roulet and her father Charles Payson knew it was time to get out of the baseball business. The team was sold to Doubleday & Company along with some other investors including one Mr. Fred Wilpon. Wilpon took over as President of the NY Mets right after the sale was approved.

Look for advice on how to revive this floundering franchise, Doubleday and Wilpon reached out to Jerry Hoffberger owner of the Baltimore Orioles who led them to Frank Cashen. Under Cashen things started to change in Flushing. There was hope at last.

Little by little the Mets fans started to comeback to Shea. The 1984 season was when the Mets renaissance really began. Frank Cashen was putting together a team we could get excited about. Keith Hernandez came over in ’83, Ron Darling and Walt Terrell were sent here from Texas for Lee Mazzilli. At the time Maz was as big as any Met, Mazzilli was the face of the franchise but Cashen could not have cared less and by trading Maz he not only received a great pitcher in Ron Darling but he then flipped Walt Terrell to the Tigers for Howard Johnson. That is some great general managing.

Frank Cashen will always be remembered by me and many Mets fans as the man who brought us back from the dead. He gave the Mets organization and Mets fans back their self-esteem. No longer would anyone ask me why I was wearing that “stupid fucking hat”.

Frank Cashen gave us 1984, the year Mets knew something great was about to happen and of course 1986. The walk up crowds at Shea on game day to buy tickets were just waves of Mets fan humanity.  Games where Dwight Gooden pitched were must be at games.   We weren’t there to eat overpriced food or drink some bullshit fancy boy beer, we were there for baseball, we cheered for  a bunch of “we don’t give a flyin’ fuck about anyone” baseball team that was built by a man whose personality and demeanor and brilliance was the complete opposite of the team he constructed. That was the genius of Frank Cashen.

Rest in Peace Frank and thank you for one of the greatest rides a baseball fan could ever have.

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Kult of Mets Personalities Podcast 6-28-14

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Discover Baseball Internet Radio with WBAR NYC on BlogTalkRadio

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It’s free form sports talk radio at its best

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…And So It Goes…And So It Goes…

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It gets tougher and tougher to write about my favorite baseball team. After a solid start to the season, finishing April with a 15-10 record, The Mets have gone 22-34 since. Not exactly awe inspiring baseball.

The team gets a solid pitching performance nearly every game and the bullpen that was a liability has been solid even as it’s been over worked but the inability to score runs and worse putting together a big inning has hurt this team immensely.

The Mets are playing below what their Pythagorean Record of 41-41 indicates. The Mets have given up 3.9 runs a game and have scored 3.9 runs per game but their record is 37-44 and a season high 7 games out of first place in the NL East.

The Mets have a losing record against every division in the NL, with their best showing against the NL East at 15-16. They have a losing record at home and of course on the road. When they play teams at .500 or better they are 19-28 against teams with less than a .500 record they are barely ahead of them going 18-17. One of the barometers on how good or bad a team is; is how they fare in close games. The Mets are 10-19 in one run games. Awful. The club loses more than the win when the game goes to extra innings (5-7) and when a right handed pitcher starts against them (29-37)

We watch the games; we know driving in runs for this team is a chore. We know that the way this roster is put together is laughable with 7 outfielders for just 3 spots and no real infield backup/utility player to spell Luis Aparicio Ruben Tejada.

Speaking of Tejada, seems the broadcast booths both TV and radio are falling in love with Ruben. This is the same Ruben Tejada that Sandy Alderson told WFAN’s Mike Francesa that he was not considered a core player and it was “like pulling teeth” to get him to do extra work. For all the love Tejada is getting the past couple of weeks, the truth is he still isn’t a league average offensive player. To his credit, he has played better than I ever thought with a very good walk rate (13.6 %) which has inflated his OBP of .354. His defense has been good as well at least getting to balls hit to him and occasionally making a voice raising play  but this team would still be better off with the bat of Wilmer Flores everyday than Tejada’s since Flores has more pop in his bat and would be an asset batting with runners on base .

Can someone explain to me how it makes sense to bat Travis d’Arnaud 8th and Tejada 2nd ? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

So that this isn’t a total gloom and doom post, credit Sandy Alderson with making the right choice at first base by going all in with Lucas Duda.

Here would be the lineup I would use on and every game or close to every game level

Granderson  7

D’Arnaud 2

Murphy 4

Wright 5

Duda 3

Lagares 8

Nieuwenhuis/Campbell 9

Tejada 6

Pitcher

You could give EYJ a couple of starts in LF and move Grandy to RF or move Campbell to 1st base v. LHP and stick C Young in RF but on most nights I feel this would be a better and more productive lineup than the revolving batting order Terry Collins love to employ.

 

 

 

 

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A Special Kult of Mets Podcast w/Mets P.R. Czar Jay Horwitz

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NY Mets VP of Media Relations Jay Horwitz joined the cast of Kult of Mets Personalities for a Q & A session. Horwitz doesn’t do many interviews so a big hat tip to our leader Nik Kolidas for setting this interview up.

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Keane on Sports Podcast 6-25-14

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On this episode of Keane on Sports Podcast my guests were Ed Valentine of the NY Giants website Big Blue View as we discussed the recent OTA’s the Giants just held and thoughts on the upcoming season.

In the second half of the podcast I was joined by John Mack Ade of Macks Mets to discuss the State of the NY Mets on the major and minor league level.

 

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I Hate When The Mets Do This To Me

Let’s stay a bit positive today shall we. Our Meties have taken 3 of 4 games from the Fish are just 5 games away from the top spot in the NL East. Are the Mets a contender? That’s hard to say as no one in the division is a world beater and when you get the kind of starting pitching the Mets have received the past week it’s hard to dismiss them.  The Nationals and Braves are at the top of the division and have better bats than the Mets but as far as pitching goes it’s pretty even.

The bullpen is so much better than it was the beginning of the season with Carlos Torres leading the pen men along with call ups Vic Black, Josh Edgin and Dana Eveland joining Juerys Familia, Gonzalez German and closer Jenry Mejia in a changed on the fly bullpen. I gave Sandy Alderson hell for putting together a lousy pen in the beginning of the season so I have to tip my Mets cap to him for fixing it as he did in mid-stream.

The tide on offense looks to be turning as well. I think even the most ardent Ike Davis supporters would admit that Alderson made the right move in dealing Ike and keeping Lucas Duda. Duda has looked very comfortable at the plate (maybe not so cozy at 1B but good enough) hitting with power and driving in runs and upping is OPS to .805. David Wright is finding his stroke as well and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that with Curtis Granderson and his hot bat along with Daniel Murphy batting 1-2 in front of Wright and Duda and days the Bobby Abreu hit behind him that have opposing pitchers having to pitch to Wright.

What has me bugged with the shortstop situation is the justification of playing Ruben Tejada over Wilmer Flores. Andy Boy Martino of the NY Daily News (can you believe that the price of that paper went to a buck and a quarter today? A BUCK and a QUARTER and that’s without the Night Owl Edition at Night and the Bulldog in the morning. A BUCK and a QUARTER !!!!) can count me as one of those fans infatuated with Flores and my glassy gaze is due to Flores hitting with power and driving in runs in the minors and Tejada never showing much of a bat at all. Is Flores the answer at shortstop? no and he seems to be another Mets prospect without a position but how much do you really lose defensively playing Flores over Tejada? Not much and you get a potentially potent bat in the lineup with Flores.

As for the catchers when Travis d’Arnaud comes back maybe today, the question is which catcher goes, Taylor Teagarden or Anthony Recker. How about DFA Teagarden, assign Recker to LV and call up both TDA and Juan Centeno?

I can’t remember the last time the Mets were on the road came home for two games then go back on the road.

Yeah this team is sucking me back in, can’t help it too many years a Mets fan will do that to a guy.

 

 
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