Redemption Weekend

The mantra of Terry Collins the second half of this dismal season has been “this is the time for some guys to show they belong here’ here being in the big leagues. So far the vast majority of Mets players have not measure up to that test. What should infuriate Mets fans even more is that the wild card race has become a wide open affair in the National League.

For most of the season it looked as though the Braves and Pirates would be playing in the one game knockout tournament. The Dodgers then went out and made the deal of the millennium and the Giants lost Melkey Cabrea to doping charges. It seemed like the Giants would drop out and the Dodgers would take over the NL West.  The opposite occurred with the Giants players bonding in the wake of the Cabrea suspension and the fact that the Melk Man wasn’t man enough to face his teammates to apologize for abandoning them. It seems that back turn by Cabrera has been a rallying cry for the Giants. The Dodgers on the other hand have stopped scoring runs (sound familiar?) and the Pirates returned to form losing 15 of their last 20 games, same for the Cardinals who have dropped 12 of last 20 while the Braves have tread water at 10-10. While those teams hit the skids the left for dead Phillies and Brewers have both gone on 15-5 streaks to get them back in the thick of wild card contention.  Have you noticed I’ve failed to mention our beloved NY Mets in this conversation? Why is it that some teams like the Phillies and Brewers can go into slumps but then not give up the season and fight for a spot? How is it that team’s like the Pirates, Dodgers and Cardinals are now in slumps, at the worst time of the season to do so, but are still fighting to stay in the hunt while the New York Eeyores just plod along?  

This should be the message that Terry Collins sends his players in his pre-game talk with them. Let them know that these three games with the Brewers are a test, a test to see if they have the heart and guts to compete with a team that rose from the ranks that the Mets have made permanent residence in, the also ran’s, to a team in contention.  Let them know that this is their time to have an impact on the season to help alter the course of the post season race. To me this is a real test of Collins and his players to show that they actually give a shit about winning.  If this team can’t find it in itself to show some competiveness and some pride in this series and Terry Collins comes out in the post-game and says he saw some good things and that guys tried, I’m going to sue the Mets for the price of a 55” Samsung TV because I will throw the remote control through my television if that happens.

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MORE FROM MY FRIDAY AT CITI FIELD

On Friday the Mets invited some Mets bloggers back to Citi Field to participate in Terry Collins’ pre and post game press conference and to watch the game between the Mets and Brewers from the press box.  I want to thank Danielle Parillo Director, Communication and Shannon Forde Director, Media Relations for the hospitality they’ve shown us and for the invitations to these events and the Mets management for trying and so far succeeding in changing the atmosphere around the club and bringing transparency and communication back to the fan base via the voice of the fans, the Mets bloggers.

During the evening I sat with Mike Silva of NY Baseball Digest and Mike mentioned to me a post he was writing dealing with Mike Pelfrey and how the Mets should explore making Pelf the closer for 2012. We tossed the subject around with the pros and cons and mostly if Pelf can handle the day to day pressure of closing and if he could get a strikeout when he needs it. All in all it was a subject that stirred a debate and was great conversation. That being said, I was shocked to see the lightweight Mets beat reporter for the NY Daily News write the same exact story that Silva posted on Saturday in today’s paper. I won’t link the News story but if you see someone using a Daily News to pick up after their dog in the street ask if you can have the sports section to read the ripped off story.

I still feel a bit intimidated when I go to these Mets bloggers events. Before the press conference, Danielle informed the blogggers that we could ask Terry Collins a question but she warned, he wasn’t in a very good mood. Now I had a question for the manager as I wanted to know if in the Mets minor league system, of which Collins was the Minor League coordinator, do the coaches and managers have classroom sessions, kind of like they do in other sports, where they go over video of a game and correct mistakes in base running or on defense like throwing to the wrong base or being out of position and to go over the rules of the game?  

When Collins entered the room the first thing he said to Jay Horowitz was “I’m out of here at 4:05” it was 3:55 when he said that. The media in the room that I recognized were Adam Rubin, Howie Rose, Gary Cohen, George Vesey and Ed Coleman.  The bulk of the questions were about Jose Reyes and his sore hammy. It seems Reyes was able to run on a track at a training facility in Long Island and I guess the manager wanted to see him run the bases at Citi but whatever, the look and mannerism of the manager gave me the impression the last thing he wanted to do was answer a questions from the media much less from bloggers.  

When Shannon approached me with the microphone to ask a question, something in my mind told me, “ehhhh you better pass here. It’s a pretty good question but maybe save it if you meet the manager in the off season when it’s a little calmer” So I passed my turn to the next blogger, who passed to the next blogger who passed to…..Well, I guess you see my point, none of us wanted to raise the skipper ire.

One of the pleasures of watching the Mets warm up and take BP is interacting with Jose Reyes. Reyes was taking some ground balls and playing catch with Justin Turner, then hit the cage for BP. When he was done he headed to the clubhouse and as he got close to me I asked him how he was feeling and how the hamstring was and he answered. “I’m feeling good Papi, I’ll be ready soon” This was the second time I’ve spoken to Reyes (the other was during an event in the offseason)    and both times he called me Papi and you know what, it made my day both times.

Yesterday I posted the audio from the bloggers sit down with R.A. Dickey. Before R.A. came out we were hanging out in the Mets dugout. I put my bag down and hopped up on the wall in back of the benches to sit down. As R.A. came out he sat right next to me. Luck of the Irish eh? We all introduced ourselves and of course I had to add that I’m @kranepool on Twitter to which Dickey gave me a laugh and said “ahhhh ok pleasure to meet you in person” No R.A. the pleasure was all mine.

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RAIN CAN’T WASH AWAY BAD PELF

Although I have a lot to blog about after attending the  Mets-Brewers game last night, I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to give a better detailed account of the evening.

But I guess its safe to say that Mike Pelfrey is pitching or non-effective pitching for lack of a better term is making Sandy Alderson decision clearer about DFA Big Pelf

 

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WHO’S THE CAT WHO WON’T COP OUT WHEN THERE’S DANGER ALL ABOUT…..

ALDERSON!!!!!!

RIGHT ON!!!!!!

How did he do it? How the hell did Sandy Alderson pull off this deal with the Brewers? Did the though tof crossing Sandy Alderson make Doug Melvin panic (you know that Alderson is a bad mother………shut your mouth I’m talkin’ about Alderson)

All it cost the Mets was about $6 mil to get rid of a suffocating contract and 2 PTBNL . I don’t care if Alderson got a case of Gorman Thomas rookie cards and 100 Don Money Bobbleheads plus a few cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon (for the hipster Mets fans) this is not just a great deal but a swift and accurate one as well.

Be proud Mets fans we’re back in business. Carlos Beltran is on the clock

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WHEW!!!!!!!! IT’S HOTTER THAN JOSE REYES !!!

Why can’t every game be like last night’s Mets-Brewers game? A solid 6 inning by Chris Capouano in his return to Milwaukee, and 9 up 9 down by Beato, Izzy and Frankie Rodz add in a 2 run triple for Jose Reyes and you have a Mets fans paradise.

No way will Jose Reyes be traded by the Mets, no way.  Somehow, some way the Mets will sign Reyes to a new deal. When it was first mentioned that trading Reyes was on the same level as when Tom Seaver was dealt I thought that was ridiculous but now I can see that  the departure of Reyes could be the move, that straw that breaks the fan base’ back.  Mets fans of my generation will be very angry and maybe we won’t go to as many games or maybe we won’t make watching games on SNY a nightly event but even as distasteful a thought of not seeing Reyes at short, I’ll still call myself a Mets fan. It’s too late for me to switch my baseball allegiance but I could see the 30 and under crowd turning on the organization and heading elsewhere if Jose Reyes becomes an ex-Met due to money. This is a very serious issue that the Skill Sets, Minority Einhorn and Sandy Alderson have to seriously take into account when dealing with Jose Reyes. If the Mets let Jose Reyes go, then you might as well turn Citi Field into Old Trafford.  I can’t see Reyes wearing a diferent uni ,  I just can’t .

They did play soccer last night at Citi Field and it looks as if it was a success. The only problem I see is the fans are really far away from the pitch. It was smart of whoever put this match together to pick two teams from countries that make up the biggest percentage of the boro of Queens population, Ecuador and Greece.  The Ecuadorian players however, had issues with the MO-ZONE.

By the way, I am going to my first professional soccer game on Friday as my daughter’s soccer team got tickets for the Red Bulls-Revolution game at Red Bull Arena. One more venue to add to my list.

I bought one of these t-shirts. You should too.

Ok I’m out of ideas on what to do with Jason Bay and I think Terry Collins is as well.

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METS PITCHING STAFF, ADD 2 SUBTRACT 1

The Mets announced this evening that they have signed LHP Chris Capuano and RHP Taylor Buchholz to 1 year contracts, and to make room on the 40 man roster they have released P Ryota Igarashi.

Cutting Igarashi is a surprised but adding Capuano and Buchholz, who both battle arm problems (Capuano is a two-time Tommy John surgery patient)  both fall under the low risk/high reward mantle.

Capuano will most likely compete for the 4/5 spot in the rotation. If (and it’s a big if) Capuano is of sound shoulder and body, he could be this years version of R.A. Dickey. Capuano did show some increase in velocity last season when he joined the Brewers after rehab assignment but he is not a power pitcher. His best pitch is his change and he incorporates a cutter as well.  When he’s on his game, Capuano will induce more ground balls than fly balls.

Buchholz is also a Tommy John-er with his surgery coming in 2009. Buchholz is a fly ball pitcher which fits very nicely in Citi Field.

So with the new year under way two low cost gambles by Sandy Alderson have arrived. I like the Capuano signing alot. Of course everything with Cap hinges on his arm being sound and if it is ,this move could pay off handsomely for Alderson. As for Buchholz, I’ll wait and see .

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MATINEE DAY

A couple of notes from last night:

On last night’s THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN I had a great time talking to Dave Payne and Aviv Blasbalg of the website Sox vs. Stripes as we talked about the Red Sox, Yankees and the AL East.  When I gave their site a plug of the broadcast, I gave out the wrong web address and for that I apologize to Dave and Aviv for that. Check out Sox vs Stripes for your Yankees and Red Sox information.

All of baseball is sadden by the death of Ernie Harwell. A must read today is Joe Posnanski’s reminisces of Harwell, and this video of Vin Scully talking about Harwell during the Dodgers-Brewers game last night. Scully tells a great story about Ernie and does not miss a beat of the play by play.

I’m sure Fernando Nieve can file an unfair labor grievance against Jerry Manuel, give the guy a day off J-Man.

At what point do Phillies fans stop embarrassing themselves?  For me, I hope never. I can’t believe there are people who feel that Philly cop was WRONG to Tased that little jerk off who ran on the field the other night. That video was priceless. Just to watch that little shit head, prancing around the field with his  “LOOK AT ME,  “LOOK AT ME” attitude and when he wouldn’t stop, the cop zapped him and he goes down like the sack of shit he is was outstanding. By the way the reason the guy last night wasn’t Tased is that whales are protected spices and by the way you fat fuck, Uncle Floyd called and he wants his pants back.

Game time see ya later!

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“I HEARD A RUMOR……………..”

As I was pursuing the various stories across the web I ran across this on the great site MLB TRADE RUMORS.. It seems that the Padres are sending out feelers on interest in Jake Peavey and the Brewers J J Hardy feels his is as good as gone from the Schlitz City. So if you are the GM of the Mets (a job we all want and feel we’d be outstanding at) would you call SD GM Kevin Towers and offer Jose Reyes in a deal for Peavey? Or would you deal David Wright in a package for Peavey and RHP Mike Adams? I’d do it with Reyes as the centerpiece but for Wright I’d have to think that over because it would be much tougher for me to deal Wright than Reyes. If you could get Jake Peavey for Reyes I’d have to do it and then call Doug Melvin and work out a deal for JJ Hardy.

 

J-Man better be careful with this hard line stance he’s taking with his new contract. It seems J-Man’s thinking is no matter who the Mets go after to be manager they would have to go 3yr/$3mil minimum and he’s right but when the team you are associated with just collapsed for the second year in a row and the fans and media are questioning if your team has the heart and balls to win a championship you really are not negotiating from strength here. As I said yesterday Gary Carter would be here on the red eye tomorrow morning to take the Mets managers job. Don’t over play your hand here Warlord.

 

 

 

 

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NIESE NOT SO NICE

Very inconsistent pitching by Jon Niese in his ML debut. All of his three innings were a chore as he had base runners and deep counts each of the innings. 73 pitches (39K/34B) in three innings is the definition of laboring. The first inning Niese was clearly nervous as he gave up a HR to Rickie Weeks on the second  pitch of the game. It wasn’t a total loss for Niese as he showed a real good curve ball that had a great break and he was able to change speeds as well, hitting 90 mph on the fastball and then coming in with a curve and change in the mid 70’s. 

Niese’ biggest problem on the night was location early, then fatigue from throwing so many pitches early as the Brewers just were teeing off on him in the 3rd. Hopefully Niese will have gotten over his bad case of big league-itis before his next start if there is a next start as J-Man has let it be known that this no time for auditions as we are in a pennant race.

Nelly Figs has come on and pitched well as it’s 5-5 in the top of the 6th so it will be up to the bullpen to keep the Brewskis off the board. Secure that pair of Depends folks it could be a rough night.

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TIME FOR A NEW APPROACH

What, you didn’t see it coming? Of course the Mets were going to lose that game last night just the fact that Warlord Jerry was caught a bit short in the pen. Luis Ayala was a sore hammy and Mush Schoeneweies has his period. That left him Feliciano, Smith, Sanchez, Figs, Stokes and of course Heilman.  With that group available I have an issue with the way J-Man used them.

 

Big Pelf came up big again with a very good 6 2/3 inning and I have no problem with the Feliciano and Sanchez to end the inning but why do you come back with Dirty in the 8th when your best reliever Brain Stokes is warmed up in the pen? You go Stokes and then Heilman in the 9th to close then I have no problem but to try to go further with Dirty when he flat out sucks has not gotten through a full inning of relief since 8/11 was a big mistake. This mix and matching bullshit has to stop. Stokes has been great and Ayala has been fine in the 9th even with J-Man trying to exhaust him Friday night. As it stand now the late innings should be Feliciano/Smith, Stokes, Ayala and let the chips and earned runs fall where they may.

 

You just knew that after giving up a earned walk then throwing eight intentional balls, Heilman was a dead duck. This bullpen is not hard to figure. If the Mets do not score in double figures there in trouble of losing a game. That’s sad.

 

Maybe it’s time for J-Man to take a page out of Brewer GM Doug Melvin’ and my book on pitching and start your relievers in the beginning of a game. Melvin is on record as saying if the Brewers were not in the pennant race he would like to start his closer for the first two innings and then come in with a starter. This is a tactic I used this season in Little League and it worked. I did it due to strict pitch counts in the LL rule book. My 11 yr old pitchers could not pitch more that 85 pitches and if they hit that mark they required three full days of rest AND had to skip one game. Silly and unproductive rule. Three days rest yes but an additional game is ridiculous but I digress. Since I saw a pattern that my top guys were hitting that 85 pitch mark towards the late fourth inning, early fifth inning (LL games are six innings) it set up having to bring in lesser taltent kids to close out close games. After dropping three game like this I decided to start my lesser guys and let them give me 20 pitches (this way they needed no days of rest) the worst that could happen is we’re down five runs as there is a mercy rule of no more than five runs scored in an inning and five runs in a little league game like a Mets game is no big deficit. So I would use two lesser pitchers for two innings (unless I was down more than five runs in the second then I went with my best guy) and bring one of the two best pitchers I had to get through the rest of the game. So every game I had at least one of my better pitchers available. If this worked for me why not for J-Man.

 

Look Aaron Heilman wants to be a starter in the worst way right so let him start and pitch two innings, then say Stokes for an inning then come with your starter. Now this wouldn’t work with Johan Santana or even Petey (more due to his psyche than anything else) but how about having Big Pelf pitch the last five innings of a game or even OP? What’s the worst that could happen? This bullpen save for Stokes, is a crap shoot so why not flip the order around and see if that works.   

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