On Vacation Which Means More Baseball To Watch

 

Greetings from Cape Cod where I will be vacationing for the next week. Before heading to the Cape last we went to the Brooklyn Cyclones Aberdeen Ironbirds game a Cyclones 6-2 win that was capped off by Brando Nimmo’s Grand Slam to break up a 2-2 tie.

When I got to the hotel I got a couple of text from friends altering me that David Wright had made the All Star team but will not start as he lost the vote to Pablo Sandoval. I can understand the outrage but for me I’ll save my ranting and raving for the end of the season when Wright gets robbed of the NL MVP.

I’m happy for Wright as it’s a well deserved berth to the All Star team but the two Mets I’m ecstatic over making the team are R.A. Dickey and Terry Collins both men have re-invented themselves and now get their just reward.

Time to unpack and hit the pool before dinner, Cape Cod speaks fluent baseball, so I know where ever we go for dinner there will be a TV with Mets-Dodgers  plus I have to chart the week to see what Cape Cod League games I want to see and how many baseball scouts I can talk to. Busy week ahead. Let’s Go Mets!

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SECOND WILD CARD? WHY NOT US?

There is a very interesting post on NY Baseball Digest today by Joseph Del Grippo on Johan Santana and his comeback from shoulder surgery. I find myself becoming obsessed with Santana’s comeback for many reasons, his impact on the Mets winning baseball games by anchoring the starting pitching staff, coming back from a surgery that takes a much longer time to rehab from and one that other pitchers have failed to comeback from and how does he prevent his arm/shoulder from being injured again.

DelGrippo touches on Santana’s mechanics and how from watching video he sees no change in the way Santana delivers a pitch, thus his feeling is Santana’s injury problem comes from the way he delivers the ball and if he doesn’t tweak that he will hurt himself again .  Mechanics are the bedrock of pitching or I should say the ability to be consistent with repeating ones mechanic.     

What conflicts me with this is, the way Santana delivers the ball has made him a huge success and even though DelGrippo may be right that by altering his pitching motion, Santana could stay in good health but would he be effective plus at this stage of his career it may not be the easiest task for Johan to alter his delivery style.

Looks like MLB will add a second Wild Card team starting this coming season, something I have no problem with especially since it gives the Mets a little more of a chance for a post season berth. For 2012, it will still be a bit unfair as the inter-league schedule and unbalanced schedule tilts the scales in favor of some teams over others but it does validate and makes winning the division much more important and rewarding. With the Houston Astros going to the AL West next season it would make sense that a balance schedule will be implemented as with 15 teams in each league there will be an inter-league game every day.  As much as I’m not of fan of inter-league play, I’ll live with it for an extra playoff spot.

Howard Megdal touches on the Mets catching situation and his hope that the Mets would bring back Ramon Castro with the extra fins that Freddy Skill Sets has in his shallow pockets. I always like Shriek when he was here and he would be an improvement over Mike Nickeas, who it seems Mets fans are trying hard to convince themselves can contribute as Josh Thole’ backup, but the truth of the matter is Sandy Alderson doesn’t have much faith in Thole/Nickeas or any backstop in the Mets system. That’s why names like Castro and Pudge keep coming up.

I’m starting to lose faith in Reese Havens

October 4th 2012 Cincinnati Reds @ NY Mets in the Wild Card Knock Out Game at Citi Field!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who’s with me?     

 

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WHAT A GAME THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN

I couldn’t find a picture of THE home run but who could forget the home run off the clock in St. Louis by Straw on October 1, 1995. I thought about that home run after watching last night’s come from behind win. Ahhh what we once had……  

 

Most of the Mets news this morning is of the off the field variety, with some mention of yesterday’s big 9th inning rally. After last night’s game all I could think of if the Mets were in a chase for a post season berth this game would have been labeled one of the all-time great game in Mets history, instead all it gets is an “atta boy”. Sad.

All the Madoff-Skill Sets-Piccard bullshit baffles me as Freddy and Uncle Saul keep going with the “Hey, we were duped too” defense. I find it very hard to believe the story that Freddy and Saul were these two neophyte investors who were blindside by Bernie Madoff. The point that Freddy and Saul say the never even asked what Madoff what he was investing their money in is the “are you fucking kidding me”? moment for me. Am I to believe that at no point in this whole scheme and big returns on their investment, Freddy and Uncle Saul didn’t ask, “Uhmmm Bernie, just where are you investing our money”? Pharmaceuticals? Precious metals? Trafficking of children for sex slaves? I know I hold the Skill Sets in low esteem but even I don’t think they were that stupid not know where their money was going.

The Daily Snooze says today the Mets will look at exercising Terry Collins 2013 contract option at the end of the season, as I believe they should. There will also be a discussion on the status of coaching staff and it seems that even with Collins coming out saying he would love to have the whole staff back, Chip Hale may migrate to Oakland to join Bob Melvin and Old School Dan Warthen could be done as pitching coach. It would be a loss to lose Hale, as he’s a very good 3rd base coach and a hard worker but losing Warthen seems like no great shakes, in fact it’s time for Warthen to go and get a new voice for the pitching staff that ranks last in just about every statistical pitching category.

How about the last minute desperation from the Red Sox as they tried to get Chris Capuano in a deal? Seems the Sox didn’t make enough of a tribute to Sandy Alderson to make this deal or it could be Alderson has plans to bring Cap back as either a spot starter/long man role in the Darren Oliver mold for the Mets next season. It could also be that the deal breaker was Alderson’ insistence that Theo Epstein had to take Ryota Igarashi on the deal

Last home stand of the season starts today, I’m going to Wednesday’s game, the season finale because it’s the last game of the year and as bad as the season is ending, comes November and December when it’s cold, snowy and downright miserable, you’ll be wishing you were at the ball park instead of the business end of a snow shovel.

 

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TO DEAL OR NOT TO DEAL, THAT IS THE QUESTION……

I guess it doesn’t matter who runs the Mets, injuries are still more complicated than high school trigonometry. Jose Reyes is set to hit the DL except Terry Collins is worried about not having Jose for the Phillies series after the All-Star break. I guess TC feels the Mets still have a shot at winning the division and as great as it would be to win that series, it’s more important to get Reyes healthy and to not play shorthanded. The Mets under Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya were raked over the coals for doing this and it seems this way of doing baseball business has spread to the new regime as well. Reyes hasn’t played in five days and hasn’t felt any improvement in his tight hammy. Now he and his agent have decided to get a second opinion, fine. The original diagnosis was a Grade 1 strain of the hamstring, which is supposedly the least severe but because no one on the Mets is a fast healer, this Grade 1 may be worse than first thought, hence the second opinion.

Meanwhile Nick Evans is sitting in an airport in Buffalo waiting to board a plane to LA to join the big club. What’s interesting with Evans becoming a Triple A star, this could be the break he needs. If he does take Reyes place on the Mets when Reyes comes back, the roster move made will be an interesting one. Evans has cleared waivers twice this season, if he can translate his hitting from Buffalo to the big club, it’s doubtful he’ll pass thorough waivers again.  Good for Nick bad for the Mets.

I was happy to see Sandy Alderson agree with my premise that the Mets are relevant again if not contenders. Still, Alderson is trying to balance relevancy and being in the hunt for a post season berth with the need to deal off some parts to build a better future for the Mets and keep the fan base interested enough to keep buying tickets and watching on TV. That’s a tough task.

To deal off Frankie Rodriguez (if Alderson can pull this off he is the GM I thought he’d be) Izzy and Tim Brydak that wouldn’t be a detriment to the team at all, as you have cheaper and just as efficient if not better replacements in Bobby Parnell, Pedro Beato and Mike O’Connor. The other trade chip will be easier to deal but could take the heart and soul out of this team.

No matter if you’re a Beltran fan or foe, you cannot deny Carlos is having the most fun he ever had as a Met. Not only is he more than productive but when you see him giving “The Claw” to his teammates and then have them give him a hard time when he forgets to give the signal to the bench, a happy Beltran is a productive Beltran, it’s hard not feel good for him. It kills the anti-Beltran faction of the fan base because they can’t find any negatives about Carlos this season. Willie Harris has proclaimed him the leader of the team. His teammates see him pull on his knee brace and play every day and never complain about the pain that you know he has in that knee. With no Wright or Ike in the lineup, he has taken it on himself to stay out there every day.

With all that, Alderson should trade Beltran for the good of the future of the club and for the good of Beltran. The rest of baseball is watching Beltran closely and there will be no shortage of suitors for Alderson to make a deal with. It will hurt in the short run but dealing Carlos Beltran may be the best for the long term for the Mets.

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BEAUTY OF .500 IS IN THE EYE OF THE METS FAN

 

You can look at the Mets reaching the .500 mark as nothing to celebrate, as .500 means you’ve reached a level of mediocrity. But if you look at the overall standings of the National League, that .500 mark is much more impressive, especially in the light of injuries and starting pitching rotation led by two neophytes, a philosopher, a reclamation project and a schizophrenic.  

Taking the Phuck Phaces out of the equation, and their NL and MLB leading 43-26 record, the Mets are a mere 5 games back of the SF Giants (39-29) for the second best record in the league. For those who feel it’s never too early to follow the NL Wild Card standings, the Mets are 3.5 games behind the Cardinals for the NL Wild Card spot.

All this without the two corner infielders who provide power, the Ace of the starting rotation and the Left Fielder (although 2 hits and an SB for Jason Bay maybe just maybe it’s the start of his renaissance) an emotional baseball mess, it’s quite impressive that the Mets are in the race for a post season berth. If anything comes as a positive so far this season is the culture of failure has been eradicated on the field and in the clubhouse. Maybe it will move to the owners level as well but that would take a giving the blind sight kind of miracle that doesn’t happen too often.   Like Rome, Flushing was built in a day.

Scott Kazmir has been released by the Angels, he can be picked up for the major league minimum. I don’t think a Mets reunion will happen but I could see the Highlanders signing him and assigning him to Scranton/Wilkes Barre because they are DES-PER-ATE for starting pitching.   

I wish the Mets would announce that the next time Johan Santana will pitch for the team in February 2012 in St. Lonesome.

Last night I had the honor of being a guest on the Seamheads Podcasting Network’s Fantasy Baseball Show on Blog Talk Radio it was a fast paced hour of great baseball talk a very worthy listen. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/seamheads/2011/06/16/highlight-reelseamheads-fantasy-baseball-show

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JOHN NIESE AND HIS YELLOW HAMMER

Another solid start by Jon Niese  and his ever improving curve ball led the Mets to a series win over the Brewski’s . The same Brewski’s who have the best home record in baseball were a late inning Mets collapse away from being swept at home.

These Mets are perplexing to say the least. As much as the rash of late inning collapses infuriate us, this is not the same old Mets. Lose a four run lead and lose a game you should have won? No problem, come back the next day, forget yesterday and win the next game.  A post season berth this season is pie in the sky I know but the renovation of the mind set of this organization is progressing very nicely. The culture of the “woe is me attitude” had been eradicated, replaced with “keep plugging along”. It’s very refreshing.

Jason Bay seems to be a very nice guy who is working his ass off to get his bat back to where it should be. He knows what’s at stake and he has been a team guy when Terry Collins has approached him to either drop him in the order or to put him on the bench. His team first attitude is great. But this is big league baseball where winning and losing are paramount to what is to be accomplished and if Bay has to sit or be platooned or relegated to rehab in St Lonesome with a “wink-wink” DL stint, then so be it. Sandy Alderson said during the off season that salary will not determine who plays and we’ve seen that with the moves he’s made so far this season. Now comes word that Lucas Duda will be called up from Buffalo and Nick Evans will be DFA. Duda is not here to ride the pine; he will play some LF and 1B. Not sure if TC will go strict platoon with Bay/Duda or give Justin Turner and Ruben Tejada some days off and move Murph to 3rd with Duda playing 1st but what bringing up Duda does is give TC more flexibility and some much needed production from a corner position.

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ROBBIE, WE HARDLY KNEW YE

Roberto Alomar had one of the more bizarre tenures as a NY Met. How did a now Hall of Fame player, go from hitting .336/.415/.541 with 30 stolen bases and 100 RBI along with 113 runs scored topped off with 66 xbh along with an All Star appearance, Gold Glove Award and a fourth place finish in the MVP vote in 2001, become a underachieving malingering  pariah as a NY Met in 2002?

Talk about your unsolved mysteries. Alomar just could not find comfort in Queens. He never fit in with the Mets. Maybe it was going from a first place Indians team to a losing situation with the Mets? Maybe all the baggage that Alomar checked in with at Shea Stadium, the Hrishbeck spitting saga which weighed on him considerably and the constant meddling of fans and media about his sexual preference led to his down fall with the Mets, I don’t know but I do know that he was one of the most hated Mets of all time.

When the deal was made though, we Mets fans were a giddy bunch even praising Smarmy Steve Phillips for obtaining a talent of Alomar’s caliber but we didn’t get the 2001 Roberto Alomar, instead we received a cheap knock off. It sure was a bad time to come to Mets as a “savior” or a difference maker and not produce and also come off as a malcontent. The club came off a great 2000 by winning the NL Penannt but losing to the Highlanders in the World Series. In 2001 the Mets got off to an awful start but rebounded in the second half of the season with a 44-29 recorded but the club faltered down the stretch and most folks didn’t care at that point as we all dealt with the attack on September 11th.  So on December 11th of 2001 when it was announced that the Mets had made a deal with the Indians for Alomar, it brought hope to Mets fans that this move would get the team back into a post season berth. No need for revisionist history of the failure all around the organization during this time but Roberto Alomar was the guy who took the bulk of the beating from Mets fans, venting their frustration with boos and cat calls until he was mercifully dealt to the Chicago White Sox in 2003.

In a story in the NY Times the day after he was dealt to the White Sox, some evidence of Alomar’s unhappiness came out:

Exactly why Alomar was not himself in 222 games with the Mets will seemingly remain a mystery. Alomar said in a conference call with reporters yesterday that he liked New York, and he made sure to add that he had great teammates.

He did not sound as if he could cope with the malaise that came from losing, and the Mets lost 20 more games than they won while he was here.

”The team, maybe, I didn’t really feel comfortable with the situation,” said Alomar, who batted .265 with the Mets, far below his career average of .302. ”Sometimes, teams don’t work for you. I think the New York Mets weren’t the right team for me.”    

When Alomar went to the South Side of Chicago, guess who greeted him as skipper of the Pale Hose, the Gangsta’ himself:

There was not much doubt even at the start of the regular season that Alomar would be the Mets’ second baseman, but the team began to founder, and Alomar became a target of the fans, who thought he was not playing hard enough.

 ”I’ve seen a lot of players have a tough time in New York,” Jerry Manuel, the manager of the White Sox, said in Chicago last night before his team beat Minnesota. ”New York is a tough place to play.”

Tough place to play, tough place to be a manager too.

I’ll say this for Alomar with all the scandal that has followed him since leaving New York; his induction speech should be riveting.

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DAY ONE AWAY FROM CONCRETE

SO far so good up in the woods.  I took a portable radio with me and and being such a clear night I was able to listen to WFAN before going to sleep. It’s good to see Johan Santana stepping up and Ike  Davis as well (the 20/20 updork said the Ike HR went 440 ft. WOW!) and as bad as the last homestand was, the MEts are still in the thick of things as far as far as gaining a post season berth.

With Carlos Beltran coming back Thursday and Frency moving to the bench as Angel Pagan (who by the way is just as charming as Francouer but he can hit too) the stagnant offense should get a good jolt of energy.

The internet connection up here blows. Plus the computers are relics so posting will sporatic most of the week.

There is a guy in the next camp over from us who thought is was a good idea to being a vuvuleza to the woods and blow into it during the night.  A few of the leaders from our camp paid him a vist this morning to let him know if he keeps up his vuvuzela playing he’ll have to pass gas to make it work and the horn will be shoved up his ass.

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“CLOWNS TO THE LEFT OF ME, JOKERS TO THE RIGHT, HERE I AM, STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU “

22 days until pitchers and catchers

As a Mets fan, I’m starting to feel like a weary traveler standing at the airport luggage carrousel waiting for my bags, and my bags have gotten lost.

Pitchers have gone around the free agent carrousel and the Mets just stand there waiting and waiting and waiting to the point where they are the lone team standing around with nothing to show.

Ben Sheets for $10 mil is a very steep price to pay but give the A’s and Billy Beane credit for taking a chance with Sheets. Beane is taking a shot that of the three things that can happen with Sheets, if  two of the scenarios work in the A’s favor, Beane and the A’s come out a winner.  He can stay healthy and become the Ace of a very young and potentially strong starting rotation and the A’s can be big time contenders in the NL West, or he can stay healthy and the rest of the team not play up to expectation and fall out the race where by Beane can flip Sheets for a couple of top prospects, or the worst case scenario, Sheets breaks down like a ’76 Pinto and the A’s are stuck with an expensive invalid.

But then again, Beane and the A’s management are competent and have watched Sheets throw and checked his medical reports and have given him a full medical by doctors who have cleared Sheets good to go, so with the odds in his favor Beane decides to spend Lew Wolf’s money and go for a post season berth.

Jeffey Skill Sets on the other hand, will take the money saved on buying much cheaper baseball labor to build an extension of his Hamptons mansion.

At some point one of our fine beat reporters in this town should really try to get through the Wall of Horowitz and get a sit down interview with Jeffey Skill Sets to get answers on how he feels that the baseball team he runs is the laughingstock of the industry.  The Mets have gone from an organization where every player agent made sure that the Mets were involved with their client during free agency to an organization that has become Plan Z (welcome Jason Bay) The Mets wanted John Lackey but John Lackey wanted no part of the Mets.  A pitcher coming from the American League refused to even talk to a team in the NL, that plays in a pitchers ball park, in the greatest city in the world, for a team with a big income. Stunning.

Jason Marquis begged the Mets to sign him but the Mets treated him like he had cooties. Bengi Molina? He’s a Met the MSM told us, it’s just a matter of finding a pen with ink in it. Molina is back with the Giants.  Randy Wolf? Never called Flushing.  “Mr. Minaya, Joel Piniero on line 1” WHO? Responds Omar. Jon Garland? No! Chone Figgins? No! Orlando Hudson? No! Aroldis Chapman? No! If he were 45 years old then YES! Russell Branyan? No! and on and on and on…………………………

This perception of the Mets is not a figment of Mets fans imaginations, it’s real, the baseball world shakes its head and says “How the fuck?” We can rant all day and night about Omar Minaya and Fire Omar, and Omar this and Omar that. Get over your Omar hate, this is beyond Omar. Omar Minaya is a bit player in the Mets moves these days.  If Omar were the baseball boss, Molina and Piniero would be Mets and Carlos Delgado would have a 5 year deal. But nothing gets done until Jeffey Poo says it’s done. That’s why we’re fucked.

I give Johan Santana a ton of credit not just for showing up at the mini camp but for coming on WFAN with Joe Bada Bing and Tinkerbell and being positive and optimistic about this team. The right man in charge could play this “the whole world thinks you guys suck” as a rallying cry but the guy that would play that angle perfectly has to prove himself on Coney Island this summer, while Cool Breeze Jerry works on his lounge act in Flushing.

I swear to Henry Chadwick that I hope I’m wrong that Wright and Reyes explode with career years and Daniel Murphy hits like I believe he can and that Bay and Frenchy  prove to be “corner-stones”, and Beltran comes back like a track star that hits 30 HR’s  and Big Pelf pounds that strikezone like a blacksmith and this team is not just competitive but contends for the NL East crown.

As negative as I’ve been all winter and I’m sure other Mets fans will say the same thing, none of us wants to go through another summer like last year.  As I look down the line on the big decision makers though in this organization though, it is very hard to get enthused.  Jeffey is clueless and Omar is ball-less, and the manager couldn’t care less.

All I have is my ace pitcher preaching to me like Bob Marley, I hope he’s right. It’s hard to find Three Little Birds when it’s so damn cold outside

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