Metscellaneous

 

Before I get started with some Mets-cellaneous items, a moment of silence please to remember both Earl Weaver and Stan Musial two baseball titans who passed away this past Saturday.

 

 

I would like to congratulate David Wright on the announcement of his engagement to his long time squeeze Molly Beers. I’ll be checking the mail for my wedding invitation

The Bitter Bill got to meet R.A. Dickey last Saturday night at the New York Baseball Writers dinner and found out what everyone who has had the pleasure of meeting and talking to R.A. discovered, he’s not only a gentleman but one of the most interesting people you’ll ever run into in your life.  

It took me awhile to wrangle this but I am proud to announce I was able to purchase the sponsorship of Ed Kranepool’s player page on Baseball-Reference.  The other pages I sponsor are, Ken Boswell, Duffy Dyer, Jay Hook, 1947 NY Giants, and 1977 NY Mets. It’s the least I can do for all the info I pluck from the Baseball-Reference site.

So Sandy Alderson made a funny at the baseball writer’s dinner:

There’s been a lot of talk about our outfield. And I want you to know that I’m in serious discussions with several outfielders I met on the Internet. There’s one I really like. He says he played at Stanford.’’

 and some folks are upset that he made a joke about the Mets outfield situation. Really? Seriously? Lighten up!

The San Francisco Giants honored their New York roots this past weekend by bringing not only the 2012 World Series trophy to town but the great Willie Mays as well.  By the way, with all the debate over retiring numbers that we Mets fans seem to love argue about, how a dialog about retiring #24 to honor the greatest player in baseball history?

You should also read this column by George Vecsey on the Giants World Series trophy tour of NY.  I let out a big “SIGH” when I was done reading.

Oh the Cubs had a FanFest over the weekend. Tip O’ the Mets cap to Mets Police for the linkage and for putting me in a more pissed off mood about the baseball team I love.

Hey look whose back, Perpetual Pedro all recovered from shoulder problems and full of Highlander bucks has come home albeit with a minor league deal. Feliciano will join Robert Carson, Josh Edgin, Darin Gorski, Aaron Laffey, and post-op Tim Brydak as the Mets attempt to form the first all left handed bullpen in history of baseball.

My podcast mate on Mets Kult of Personalities Tayrn Cooper, has penned a guest column on Jeff Pearlman’s website, taking up the cause for Mike Piazza’ enshrinement into the Hall of Fame and calling out the voters for short sightedness in not voting Piazza in his first year of eligibility. Pearlman will also be guest on Coops Gall For All Seasons Podcast this week as well.

 

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MY HATRED FOR BILL CONLIN GOES BACK A WAYS

I’m sure many of you have read the stories concerning former Philadelphia Inquirer baseball writer Bill Conlin and the sickening accusation that he sexually abused children, some who were his niece and nephew, over 40 years ago. It’s so sad that these people have had to carry this burden around with them for all these years and now due to the statute of limitations, Conlin cannot be arrested and prosecuted for the alleged crime he committed which is a shame.    

I bring up Conlin here because I got an e mail to moderate a comment on this sight from a poster named Edgy DC who found a post I wrote here back in November 2007 about a feud I had with Conlin back then via e mail.  Check out the post from November 23, 2007 where I discussed with Conlin that a Phillies blogger wrote about how he felt David Wright was more deserving of the NL MVP award than Jimmy Rollins. The back and forth I have with Conlin is pretty comical but with the severity of the allegation against Conlin now, I feel bad I didn’t wait for outside Shea Stadium and beat the living shit out of him.    

Big thank you to Edgy DC for finding this post and linking it back

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OLD MAN CHASS ON BOBBY VALENTINE

Murray Chass The Jack Ass-curotsy of pitchershiteighith.com

I received a link today of a post that Murray Chass (the big dumb ass) wrote about Bobby Valentine and how he can’t stand BV and BV couldn’t stand him either. Chass it seems felt it was his duty to call Larry Lucchino the Red Sox CEO, to find out how the Sox managerial search was going. I guess after screaming at his grand kids and staring out the window for hours making sure no one parked their car in front of his house, Chass decided he needed to know if Bobby Valentine was THE GUY the Sox were ready to hire as their field boss.

From reading the post it’s clear Chass has an agenda, in fact since Chass was canned by the NY Times he’s had a hard on for lot of people and he’s in denial that he has gone from being the National baseball writer for the Old Grey Lady to a blogger . Chass will never identify himself as a blogger but that’s all in the denial side of his old ass life. Anyway, Chass has gone and dug up gossip and innuendo from Valentine’s days as Mets manager using the one player that Valentine really had no use for, Todd Hundley to make his case but back to Chass calling Lucchino. The Sox CEO told Chass that Valentine had a great interview and then wanted to know what Chass thought of BV, I’ll let Chass tell you in his own words his feelings on Bobby V:

I would rather not have people I am interviewing ask me questions. In this instance what I thought about Valentine or any other candidate shouldn’t matter. I am not the one hiring and paying the new manager.

On the other hand, Lucchino asked a reasonable question, and the primary problem I had with it was whether I should offer some vague, non-committal comment or answer honestly. Of course, I chose honesty because I expect honest answers from the people I question.

“I have found him to be the most disliked man in baseball,” I said. And I added, “He doesn’t like me and I don’t like him.”

I didn’t offer any details, but if Lucchino wants to know why I made those statements, I will enlighten him here, which is a more appropriate place for a reporter or columnist than the telephone.

One thing we know about Valentine is there is no middle ground when it pertains to how people feel about him. I admit to be being a big fan of his but I can see how his personality could grate on one’s nerves if you had to deal with him on an everyday basis but what I take issue with Chass is his view of Valentine is personal not business.  No place in his column does Chass give Valentine credit for being an outstanding bench manager.  You can hate the guys guts but you lose credibility when he don’t acknowledge that Valentine gets more out of what he’s given than anyone in baseball.   

Chass really embarrasses himself when he critiques Valentine’s managerial record by harping on the fact his teams never had a first place finish:

Valentine undoubtedly talks a good game; that’s why ESPN hired him. But ESPN doesn’t have to worry about a won-lost record. While it’s a fact that Valentine managed the Mets to two consecutive wild-card berths in 1999 and 2000 and the World Series in 2000, it’s also a fact that in 14 years with the Rangers and the Mets he never managed a team that finished in first place.

 

Presumably, the Red Sox, who have not participated in post-season games the last two years, have studied Valentine’s history (and not just tested his knowledge of Jamesian sabermetrics) and know that he ranks third in history among managers who have managed the most games without finishing in first place.

 

Valentine took over a Mets team in 1996 that had stopped to listening to Dallas Green whose method of motivation was to scream at his players “to look in the mirror” and man up. Valentine’s main strength was getting the most out of his 25 man roster but he had to deal with a few clubhouse lawyers who became very comfortable living the high life in the Shea Stadium clubhouse one in particular was Todd Hundley. I’ll get to Hundley in a minute, Chass just kind of glosses over the fact the Valentine won a pennant with the Mets and if not for the shit the bed performance by Kenny Rogers would have had back to back pennants under his belt. Someday Chass should let us know what he thinks of Bobby Cox whose teams finished in first place 14 times but has one World Series flag to fly? What about the greatest manager to ever put a pen to a lineup card Tony LaRussa, winning a World Series with a wild card team?  What Chass doesn’t get is all you have to do is get in the tournament, who cares how you got there? I’m sure there isn’t a Cardinals fan out there complaining how their favorite team got to post season as they are reveling in their successful post season tour.

Back to Todd Hundley, it was no secret back then that Valentine wasn’t a fan of Hundley and Hundley felt the same about BV.  Hundley talks about his relationship with Valentine:

 In Hundley’s view, the problem with Valentine began when the manager appeared to be jealous of the player’s standing with the fans. ”He comes into a whole new situation and goes right after I guess the most popular guy,” Hundley said. ”It’s not my fault I’m the most popular guy.”

Hundley was especially upset at the timing of Valentine’s comments on his sleep habits because his mother was being treated for cancer and his wife was pregnant.

”I’m talking to my mom while she’s going through chemotherapy,” Hundley said, ”and I’m helping my wife with taking care of our two kids and he’s saying I’m out and about.”   

 

It’s true that Valentine gave a”wink-wink, nod-nod” statement about Hundley not getting enough sleep which was Valentine speak for Hundley being a hard partying guy. I have no proof that he was or wasn’t but I’m sure it was the manager sending a message to a player and the player reacted negatively. If it’s true that Hundley wasn’t getting sleep due to worrying about his mom and wife then Valentine was dead wrong to bring that up but what we saw with Hundley was he was not a true team player. When Mike Piazza was brought over from the Marlins it was Hundley who was affected the most and it hurt Hundley to no end that Piazza was coming to the Mets and was the new starting catcher. Hundley felt he was the most popular Met (I think Bernard Gilkey, Lance Johnson and of course Edgardo Alfonso were right there as popular Mets) but now with a super star like Piazza on the team he had to take a back seat in fact he had to find a whole new place to play, as Hundley was exiled to left field.  That’s when Hundley ceased being a Met. His play on the outfield was one of indifference; you knew his Mets days were over. Was Valentine the reason? Maybe part of it but the mostly it was the acquisition of Piazza that was Hundley’s problem.

Without a doubt Valentine is a very polarizing person, but he has a track record of turning teams around when he occupies the mangers office. I’m not sure that Valentine is the guy to run the Red Sox bench as I feel their problems run a lot deeper in that clubhouse but you know the Red Sox will be prepared and they will be interesting.  Valentine vs. the Boston Media will a show all by itself.

 

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IF THE SKILL SETS NEED TO EMBRACE THE FAN BASE, MAKE US YOUR PARTNER

As a guy who has trouble balancing a check book, all this financial talk of the Skill Sets and the financial stability of the franchise has my head aching. What The Skill Sets knew and when they knew it about the Madoff Ponzi scheme is still not known and if an out of court settlement comes about, we may never know but what we do know is the brand of the New York Mets has been tainted.

Maybe this is why the organization has embraced the Mets blogging community, why not go to the folks whose love for the team is undying and let them be involved in events that we never dreamed we’d be a part of. I am very much appreciative of the organization for the opportunity they have given me with access to Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins and various players but the folks the organization really needs to reach out to you guys who read this site and other Mets blogs and buy the tickets and watch SNY and buy team merchandise because you are the life blood of the franchise.

The news of the Skill Sets cash call could not come at a worse time. Season ticket sales are down and there doesn’t seem to be a big demand for single game tickets either, those go on sale in March. The biggest argument and it is a very fair criticism, is that the ticket prices are way to high. Now add in the news that the Skill Sets are strapped for cash most fans will feel that by buying a ticket to a Mets game will be paying for the Skill Sets Defense Fund. I’m not saying it is but that’s the perception.

A couple of pluses could come out of this firestorm. Yesterday I attended SABR DAY at Foleys Bar in Manhattan an event that was put together by SABR and Baseball Prospectus. It was a great afternoon of baseball talk with baseball fans and writers. Two of the panelists were Mets play by play man, Gary Cohen and Newsday baseball writer, Ken Davidoff. When the Q & A session began the Skill Sets money woes came up. Cohen didn’t have much to say on the topic and with good reason I guess, but Davidoff claimed that as far as the baseball operation goes it may be good for the team. It seems this had been brewing for some time and Davidoff confirmed what I’ve been told for years and what I’ve written about here, that Jeffey Skill Sets is a big part of the problem. Between Jeffey and Omar they wanted to be friends with everyone from players to front office people and anytime a tough decision had to be made neither man could pull the trigger. The Tony Bernazzard firing is a prime example, the team had to be humiliated by the media before they’d let Bernazard go as he was friends with both Jeffey and Omar. Davidoff stated this will not happen under Sandy Alderson as he will not tolerate it. The panel consensus was by putting Alderson in charge it takes Jeffey out of the baseball ops decision making except on money issues. So if there is a plus out of this fiasco it’s muzzling Jeffey. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard folks who cover the team say “Now there is an adult in charge” well, you’d be looking at a 25 % owner of the Mets.

The Mets will have to really work hard on marketing this team for 2011 and beyond. The best way to start is by ripping out those club seats behind home plate and replace them with seats that honest to goodness baseball fans can purchase. Not only would be good business but it go a long away to getting some positive baseball atmosphere in Citi Field. Every time you tune into a Mets game on TV, those seats are empty because the ticket holders for those seats couldn’t care less about the game going on as long as the free booze and food are flowing in the Delta Club. The organization lowered some ticket prices but they are still ridiculous. The Skill Sets have taken a massive hit on their credibility, if they want to win the fans back they have a lot of wooing to do. This is year three of Citi Field and the place still has no identity. Is it a playground for the well to do? Is it a food court with a ball park attached? How games have you sat in your seats watching a game a looked out toward centerfield marveling at the line of people who stand on line waiting to buy a hamburger? When people would rather wait on a line for a half hour to forty-five minutes for a burger than watch your team, you have a problem.

It’s time Mets ownership comes to the realization that in order to make this franchise great again it has to embrace the working stiff Mets fan. One thing you know about us working stiffs, we are loyal to the team and we show up and support the club in good times and in bad. Not like some rich thieving scumbag who but a knife in the Skill Sets back.  You want to sell 25 % of the club? Just make the real true blue and orange Mets fan feel like you actually care about them and make the Citi Field experience that wants fans to  come back rather than say good riddance and I guarantee you’ll see so much success that this cash call will be just a bad dream.

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DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HIS-TORY, DON’T KNOW MUCH BI-OLOGY…..

The less said about yesterday’s game the better. Do I think Johan Santana is of sound body? HELL NO! Santana was asked if his problems of late are physical and he said no.  When asked a second time he said no, by the fourth or fifth time he finally broke down that he had an issue with his back that Bobby Ojeda said could have forced him to alter his delivery. Then there is the issue of his decrease in velocity and the question of whether Santana has a tired arm or (gulp!!!!!!) the dread DEAD ARM!!!.

Santana can claim he is fit to fight all he wants but why do I have a feeling he might accompany Gary Sheffield to New York Hospital for a special 2 for1 on MRI’s?    

 

 

This Date in Mets History, in 1969, Donn Clenedenon after turning down a trade from the expansion Montreal Expos to the Houston Astros, agreed to be traded to the New York Mets. Clink went on to be the 1969 World Series MVP

This Date in Mets History in 1983, The St. Louis Cardinals sent Keith Hernandez to the New York Mets after Mgr. Whitey Herzog had had enough of Hernandez and to teach him a lesson he was sent to the woebegon Mets. Hernandez who at first was miserable to be sent to NYC became the Captain of the Mets and lead the team to World Series Championship in 1986 and has become one of the most popular Mets of all time.

 

 

On This Date in Mets History in 1977 it was the Day The Music Died as The Franchise George Thomas Seaver, still the greatest player to ever wear a Mets uniform was sent to the Cincinnati Reds run out of town by to of the biggest scumbags to ever walk the earth in M. Donald Grant and Daily News baseball writer Dick Young. Seaver was and still is considered THE FRANCHISE and should have a staute of his famous pitching delivery outside of Ebbits$iti Field. Today Seaver, is a successful wine producer and Grant and Young are still burning in hell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Bill Wags rehabing from Tommy John surgery, Ollie Perez in la la land and with sore knee, John Maine with dead arm and now questions about Johan Santana’s health do you think Rick Peterson is getting a good laugh and maybe some vindication?

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THE NY SPORTS MEDIA FIDDLES, WHILE FLUSHING BURNS

 

 

 

 

As far as Mets beat writers go I’ve always been fond of Adam Rubin in the Daily News but today reading his blog I have to say Rubin is as totally lost as the team he covers.

 

Rubin takes Mets fans to task for having the balls to boo David Wright after his woeful performance yesterday. As I’ve stated numerous times I’m not a boo-er as venting and cursing on the internet is my choice of expression but when the focus of yesterdays game and all of this lousy month of baseball is the fan reaction then more than the Mets organization is totally lost.

 

I’ ve said it time and time again where o’ where are the reporters who chase a story and give us, the fans what we want to know. The story so far this season is not the fans expressing their displeasure with not just Wright but with everyone not named Johan Santana. Why is it the fans know that this is just not in response to a lousy month of baseball but an under achieving two years and a month of baseball.

 

For some reason the press in this town is as soft as the Mets players they cover. Where is the baseball writer  with the balls of Larry Brooks of the NY Post who stood toe to toe with Rangers coach John Tortorella to get him to explain his melt down in DC in Game 5? Instead of Rubin chastising the Mets fans for booing how about chastising Omar Minaya and Jeffey Skill Sets for not have the cajones to sign both Manny Ramirez and Orlando Hudson. The Mets franchise is worth close to a billion dollars yet its run like a Job-Lot. Yeah yeah I know the Skill Sets are not cheap they have the second highest payroll in baseball yada, yada, yada but its misspent money. If there ever was a sure thing in baseball it’s Manny hitting and being a lighting rod and not giving a fuck about what people say about him. Ahhhhh what the fuck I’ve beat this issued to death, let’s just do like Rubin wants, give all the little Metsies a pat on the head and have Jerry Manuel give out orange slices to the boys in the 5th inning and have Jay Horowitz stand on the top step of the dugout yelling “YOU”RE ALL WINNERS”!!!!!!!!!! UGH!!!!

 

 

As much as I  hate the way J- Man has been managing this team lately especially the Santos for Shrek embarrassment yesterday, I have to give him credit on one count, he is setting up a showdown between him and Omar over personnel on this team. It’s about time someone challenged management around here. Manuel was no fan of Gimp Castillo’s but Omar couldn’t move Castillo any place so Manuel was stuck with him. But now that Santos has been better than both Shrek and Brain Schnieder, Manuel is flexing his muscle a bit and looks to be forcing Minaya to either deal Shrek or release him. This will be fun to watch.

 

So neither Carlos Delgado or Gimp were available to pinch hit yesterday so the Mets played with a depleated bench (which made the Santos pinch hitting adventure even more curious) and of course both players will be day to day for the next week until they go on the DL, oh and you know both will play a game so it will negate the retro active date.

 

If you want to here a grown man scream and yell then tune in to Pro Baseball Central tonight at 9PM EDST on Blog Talk Radio. Our guest tonight will be Bill Bear of the Phillies site Crash Burn Alley and we will preview the Mets-Phillies series this weekend. If you can’t listen live then check out the podcast by clicking on the link on the upper right of this page.

 

     

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