Some Showed Class Some Showed Crass

Well now that Chipper Jones has bid adieu to Flushing, it leaves Mets fans with not much to discuss until the off season. I have to admit, I watched maybe 5 minutes of yesterday’s game as the first Sunday of NFL action had me mesmerized for most of the day( NFL Red Zone on FiOs GREATEST….THING….EVER). It was encourage seeing that the majority of Mets fans in attendance at Citi Field showed how classy Mets fans can be by giving Jones a standing ovation. I know a few of the backwards cap wearing, beer swilling, longtime fans since 1999, and feel that the fans who acknowledge Jones for his fine Hall of Fame career should have their Mets fan card revoked but all that does is display their lack of Mets and New York baseball education.  Stan Musial’ “The Man” nickname came from Brooklyn Dodgers fans. Willie Stargell killed the Mets a la Jones but whenever the Pirates came to town Stargell was always given a warm reception as his talents as a player and team leader were respectfully acknowledged.    

As much as I admire Jones, I’m glad he’s gone off into the sunset so some of us can concentrate on watching Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familila  Jenrry Mejia and tonight’s starter Collin McHugh pitch to determine if they are part of the solution to get the Mets back to contending for a NL Pennant, the rest can get back to figuring out how many empty beer cups they can balance on their heads.

The Brooklyn Cyclones dropped game 2 of the NY-Penn League playoff series against the Hudson Valley Renegades to even the best of 3 series to 1 game apiece and the deciding game tonight in Wappinger’s Falls.  I have a lot of faith in tonight’s Brooklyn starter Luis Cesa as I saw his last start against Lowell where he went 8.2 innings for the win at Coney Island.     

 Last night I joined Mike Silva on his show at WGBB to talk about the relationship of late between reporters covering teams and how it has changed over the years and we also discussed the Chipper Jones farewell at Citi Field.

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The Bronx Sure Ain’t Burning With Highlander Fever

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Listen to internet radio with Mike Silva Media on Blog Talk Radio

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Check out last nights Sports Media Watchdogs Podcast where Mike Silva and I talk about my day  at Highlander Stadium, Mike’s bet with Michale Kay, The Giants season preview and a look at the NHL Lockout.

I haven’t had much time to post this weekend as the last holiday of the summer has been a whirlwind between having a big barbeque at my house, the up early to get to Highlander Stadium (more on the in a minute) and now today off to Coney Island to see and root for the Brooklyn Cyclones as they try to get the NY-Penn League Wild Card spot.

Yesterday I was at Highlander Stadium for an event where the NY Highlanders were honoring young men who had achieved the status of Eagle Scout in the past year. So with my son and nephew achieving this we were all invited to the game between the Highlander and Orioles.

All the Scouts were brought on to the field for a pre-game ceremony and they too a group shot that was shown on the giant TV screen in centerfield but no player joined them to take a picture or shake their hands, oh well. We were given seats in the terrace section of left field which is just below the upper deck. Problem with that section is you can’t’ see left field or left/center field, so I missed Mark Reynolds two home runs which made my delayed cheering a bit awkward, oh yeah I was rooting for Buck’s Birds yesterday for sure.

The stadium is massive, so big that to see everything there is from food and stores would take you all game to see. If you sit up in the upper reaches of the stadium and would like to go all the way to the field level where they have a food court, you’re going to miss at least two innings getting down there another inning getting food and another couple of innings getting back upstairs.  Not really worth it.

The seats, especially the bleachers are so far back from the action that even when fans make noise they’re not a factor in making a difference. I’ve heard louder fan noise at Shea/Citi Field after a 2 hour rain delay when maybe 1,500-2,000 fans were still in the park. It could be the weekend crowd in the Bronx is different than the weeknight crowd as the upstate contingent of Highlander fans show up regularly on the weekend for day games (leaving the parking lot it’s funny to see the Major Deegan northbound bumper to bumper and the southbound entrance to the FDR south a breeze) but the stadium was monastery quiet most of the game and for a game that was crucial to the Highlanders it was a bit of a shock to me.

Ok time to watch Collin McHugh take on the Cards for a few innings then head to Coney Island

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My Day In The South Bronx

The new Highlander Stadium pale’s in comparison to the original 

 

As much as another bullpen meltdown set me off after yesterday’s Mets game , what added to my anger was where I spent the early part of my afternoon, Highlander Stadium.

Yup, I went to see the NY Highlanders take on the Los Angeles Angels Who Reside in Anaheim Orange County California at Highlander Stadium.  I had a whole day to myself as my son and his friends high tailed it to Great Adventure and my wife and daughter went with friends to see Ghost, leaving dear ol’ dad home alone, so I had to find something to do besides do some work around the house. Our beloved Mets were in Atlanta and the Brooklyn Cyclones were on the road, even the Staten Island Highlanders were traveling, damn not a baseball game to be had around here, except for the Bronx Bastards. I go on Stub Hub and buy a ticket in the upper deck for $30 bucks and off to the SI Ferry and 4 train I go.  Of course I am incognito and I’m happy to report I did not see one patron wearing Mets gear at this game unlike the dickheads who wear Highlander paraphernalia at a Mets-Astros game at Citi Field.

As I walked through the mall main concourse the first thing I think of is this has got to be the highest concentration of Caucasians in the boro of the Bronx since the old Swede himself, Joanas Bronck landed there in 1600’s, seriously I didn’t know if I was at a baseball game or a George Strait  concert in Branson, MO . There were a lot of tourists and tons of the upstate/NJ/CT crowd as well. It’s a much different clientele on a weekend as it on a week night but I think you can say the same for Citi Field as well. The suburbanites seem to make a big deal out of these trips to the outter boros by carrying in as much food from home as they are allowed to get past the security guards.  They also have a tough time in figuring out where their ticket says they should sit, most of the fans at the game yesterday looked at their tickets like a contestant on Survivor does at a puzzle challenge. It’s not that hard folks Section, Row, Seat all clearly marked on the ticket and throughout the stadium. Then when they finally figure out where to sit, they lack common courtesy:

Ticket Holder: Excuse me is this Section 422 Row 13?

Me: Yes

TH: oh great we have seats 5 & 6

Me: OK but this is seat 28

TH: OK so can we get through?

Me: you want to walk all across this whole row to get to your seat? Why don’t you just go back down and come up the other side of the section so you don’t disturb the whole row of people?

I may as well had been talking in Pig Latin this schmuck had no idea what I was talking about so finally I said fuck it, go ahead at least the rest of the row knew what I was talking about and gave this guy and his gal pal (both of course with cocktails in their hand) dirty looks.

I love listening to Highlander fans, there were three guys in back of me complaining after Robinson Cano hit a 3 run HR because Joe Girardi whom they refer to as “Super Genius” refuses to play small ball to get ready for the post season. The Highlanders lead all of baseball in Home Runs and these dolts want them to play “small ball”?

The most disturbing sight for me was after a Highlander home run on the side video boards they put up a picture of Michael Kay and his Alien sized dome with his mouth moving up and down and the words “See Ya” next to it. EEEEEWWWWWW!!!!!!!!! It gives me the chills just thinking of it.

So as for the game itself what pissed me off about the Mets loss yesterday was how the Highlanders beat the Angels. Freddy Garcia labored through five innings but not to worry because that’s all the Highlanders needed from Garcia as Cody Eppley pitched two solid innings in relief and David Robertson and Rafael Soriano took care of the eighth and ninth, ball game over, the beauty of having an effective bullpen.

By the time I got home from the South Bronx I caught the last three innings of Mets-Braves.  First off, why would you try to get a five out save out of Bobby Parnell? That’s not putting your player in a spot to succeed and shows you why Bob Geren was axed in Oakland. Here it is that Bobby Parnell has pitched very effectively lately as the ninth inning closer coming in to start an inning and Geren tries to destroy all the confidence building Dan Warthen and Terry Collins have worked at with Parnell. And what the hell was up taking Ruben Tejada out with a double switch for Rony Cedeno ? I don’t care if the pitchers spot was coming out Cedeno for Tejeda ? Bullshit.

Sometimes as Mets fans we forget that the core of this team is very young and still learning the big league way of playing baseball. Kirk Nieuwenhuis is really struggling as is Lucas Duda and you have to expect this. I’d  say the for Josh Thole as well plus he should not be the starting catcher (nor should Mike Nickeas) if reports are true that the Mets are looking at Kelly Shopach then please Sandy Alderson bring him in.

What has Mets fan in a tizzy is, we see there is no great team in the NL and we have the memory of past second half collapses burned in our memory.  I hope this second half the club can put up at least a 39-35 record that would give the Mets 85 wins and a shot at a Wild Card spot.

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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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PHIL EVANS NYPL DEBUT, PARNELL’S GROWING PAINS AND THE ONLY BOOK ON 50 YEARS OF METS BASEBALL YOU NEED

 

I got to see 2011 15th round pick Phil Evans make his Brooklyn Cyclones debut last night and came away very much impressed by the soon to be 19 year old.  Evans went 1 for 5 at the plate but even his outs were well hit with two of them “hang with em’s” as they were great defensive plays on soild hit balls. In the field Evans and 2nd baseman Ismael Tijeina had a bit of communication breakdown as to who was to cover 2nd base if the runner on first was to attempt a steal, but in the 9th inning Evans made two great leaping plays for the 2nd and 3rd outs of the inning to end the game.

I watched the end of the Mets-Nats game this morning and while I agree with Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez on questioning walking Roger Bernadina to pitch to Ryan Zimmerman I feel if this were a game that really mattered Bobby Parmell would have been pulled as Bernadina came to the plate but Collins wants Parnell to show him why he should be the Mets closer in 2012. So far Parnell has been ineffective and I hate to say it, looks scared in these pressure spots. His inability to command his slider has been his biggest downfall. He falls behind in counts and has to come in with his fastball that is all but telegraphed to the batter.

Josh Satin makes his Major League debut today at 1st base

I see that the Daily Lupica has put out a 50th Anniversay Mets book with their Phillies Beat Writer as a contributor. No way in hell will that book be a part of my library. If you want a book that details the history of the Mets in detail and with outstanding pictures you need to purchase  New York Mets 50 Amazin’ Seasons by a true Mets fan and historian, Matthew Silverman.

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TAKE A DEEP BREATH METS FANS

The way some Mets fans are acting toward the hiring of Terry Collins, you’d think he was taking over a contending team. Do you people realize that the NY Mets as constituted today are barely a .500 team?  I guess I have to be the myth buster around here, the Mets will not make the post season in 2011. Sorry for the smack in the face but some Mets fans need a dose of reality.

As I’ve written before there are times the Mets fan base just amazes me, Terry Collins hasn’t even put pen to contract yet and fans are ready to fire him. Can we wait at least one week into the regular season before we make up the Twitter account @FireTerryCollins?  

Am I 100% happy with the Collins hire? No not really, but I’m not screaming about it as a disaster waiting to happen either.  I look at the positives here, that Alderson and not Jeffey Skill  Sets  is making the baseball decisions. Collins was the minor league coordinator so he has knowledge of what’s worth keeping and what’s not in the Mets farm system. I watched Collins at a pre-season workout for the Brooklyn Cyclones this summer and he and Mookie Wilson were running from station to station working with players and conferring with Wally Backman, Benny DiStefano (hitting coach) and Rick Tomlin (pitching coach) so energy and instruction are definitely  Collins strong suit.     

Collins intensity can make some players uncomfortable, but isn’t that what has been sorely lacking in the Mets clubhouse? Haven’t the bunch of underachievers that reside in that room been living the high life for too long? Isn’t it about time somebody with authority dealt with these “woe is me” players and get them to man up and stop shitting in their snow white pants when the Phillies or Braves come up on the schedule?  Mets fans have been crying for a tough guy right? So here you are. Maybe for the first time in years, the players will be held accountable.

The biggest reservation I have with Collins is he quit as manager twice, with the Angels and in Japan. That scares me it’s as if the going gets tough; it seems Collins gets going, out the door. Of course Sandy Alderson brought this up during the interview session I’m sure and he was satisfied with the answer he got so I guess I should be too.  Collins has not run a team in ten years and that raises a red flag with me as well.

The Collins hire is not outrageous enough for to be well.. outraged. Sure it would have been nice to see BACKMAN 6 strutting to the plate on opening day with his first lineup card as a big league manager but that’s the Mets fan in me talking. The guy who is now in charge feels that Terry Collins gives him all that he’s looking for in a manager with an edge in personality. At this point in the Alderson Era who am I or you to question the move?   

What it tells me also is the Mets are going to get younger and there is a big premium going to be placed on home grown talent. Sandy Alderson on day one said the farm system he has inherited is in the middle of the pack and for a team like the Mets with its resources, that’s unacceptable. That’s what should be the focus of Mets fans, not who will be the manager for the next two seasons. Cliff Lee at 32 years of age with back trouble? Let the Highlanders over pay in years and money for him. Jayson Werth? Let the Tigers spend all that awful pizza money on him. If the Mets eat the Perez/Castillo dough then the off season is a success and you know now there is no way in hell either of those two slugs are coming back.

 Rejoice Mets fans that we  have guys with a clue and a plan running the baseball operations for our beloved Mets. I know it’s hard to optimistic with the all the horseshit we’ve endured the last few years but I think the new regime will get us out this mess and back on the road to winning.

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HEY METS FANS, SANDY DOESN’T CARE WHAT YOU WANT AND THAT’S A GOOD THING

Sandy Alderson could not care less what you think.  He knows if it were up to Mets fans, not only would Wally Backman be the manger of the team but everyone associated with the 1986 Mets, with the exception of Tim McCarver and Steve Zabriskie, would have some kind of meaningful job in the organization. Alderson knows how much we all worship our last conquering heroes and he couldn’t give a rats ass. That’s what I like about Sandy Alderson and it’s clear he’s the right man to run the Mets.

There is no other fan base in this town that is as sentimental about their past than Mets fan.  We savor and love to reminisce about seasons past, not just the good but the bad as well. As the years go by, the great seasons become immortalized and the bad seasons start to have redeeming qualities, it’s just how we are; we can’t help it, we’re an emotional bunch. That’s why we are in no position to say who the next manager of the Mets should be.

It looks as though Wally Backman will not be considered for the Mets manager’s job. There will be outrage about this in the Land of Orange and Blue as how dare Sandy Alderson not give us the man we want.  Make no mistake I love Wally as much as you and that’s the problem.

Last year going to Brooklyn Cyclones game was better than any of the previous seasons going to the ball park on Coney Island because I was so pumped up about Backman being the manager. I bored my son to tears with stories about Wally and how he and Lenny Dykstra were the one-two punch at the top of the order that set up a kick ass middle of the lineup of Hernandez-Carter-Strawberry and how Backman never had a clean uniform and would anything on the field to win. It’s this kind fanboy admiration that makes me recues myself on picking the next Mets manager.  Of course my heart says Wally Backman but my head says let a guy with no ties to the organization and a guy who has succeed in this job before pick the manager that he sees will fit to carry out his plan.

There are some in the younger demographics of Mets fans who are anti-Backman and who are tired of hearing about the 86’ers. I can see their point. It’s similar to my late mother who one day when friends of hers and my father had come to visit and part of the conversation swung to the “good old days”. Nothing got my mother’ ire up when the “old biddies” pined for the ‘good old days” when bread was three cents and milk was a nickel.  My mother would tell them “yeah and when you got the flu it killed you” which was followed with an eye roll and then a lecture later that those biddies were horse’s arse’s.  But  while the those Mets teams of the mid 80’s should have won more than they did, I can’t forget that going to Shea Stadium back in the day was like celebrating New Years Eve, Spring Break and Madi Grais every night , it was THE place to be. Maybe $iti Field will be that way someday instead of being the catering hall/shopping mall it is now. But I digress……

Whoever Sandy Alderson and his All Star Band of front office folks pick to manage the Mets there will be outrage by this passionate of all passionate fan bases.  If it were up to the fans, Backman would be manager, Doc Gooden the pitching coach, Darryl Strawberry the hitting coach and Lenny Dykstra the 3rd base coach and Mazz as Wally’s bench coach. That’s thinking with your heart and with unbridled emotion. Alderson is thinking with his head and is taking his time to make his decision because (a) it doesn’t look like any other manager hires are in the works (if you want to count the Pirates job fine) and (b) the manager right now is not important because the Mets will not be signing any big ticket free agents  this off season.

All I can say is let’s put some faith in Alderson, a man with a winning track record that he’ll make the right choice of manager . Of course the first time the Mets go on a five game losing streak all bets are off.

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MANAGERIAL ROULETTE

Now that the GM is in place, the next move to be made for field manager. Besides bombarding Sandy Alderson with inquires about his A’s team and PED usage, the next big discussion by the MSM will be who and how Alderson will pick a manager. There seems to be no shortage of candidates. Let’s look over a few of the candidates:

Wally Backman- The fans choice to be manager is Backman. But is this a wise choice? Fans love the fact that Backman has a Mets championship ring and has a Billy Martin feel to him. Fans love Backman so much that they disregard the baggage he brings with him. His stewardship of the Brooklyn Cyclones was a positive for Wally and when asked about the Mets job he made it clear that he would work with the GM and carry out the organizations plan. Backman doesn’t just pine to be a big league manger he wants to be the Mets manager. He will definitely get an interview but I’m not sure he’ll get the job.

Chip Hale-Very well regarded in baseball and was a bright spot on the 2010 coaching staff. An organization favorite, Hale comes from a strong fundamentals background with the Twins. I don’t know how much Alderson knows of Hale but the Skill Sets like him

Ken Oberkfell-A loyal organization man. Has success in the Mets system and in the Winter Leagues. The thing is I don’t know if Alderson wants to go with an organizational guy or bring in his own man.

Terry Collins-Well regarded as a coach and met with Alderson when he worked in the Mets Dominican Academy and has managerial experience. If not manager, Collins could find himself as Mets bench coach.

Lee Mazzilli- This one I don’t get at all. Supporters say he got a raw deal in Baltimore under the Angelos reign of terror. Still I don’t get this one at all.

Clint Hurdle- Had a nice little run in Denver and he seems to be media friendly and now that he’s on the Texas staff he has some exposure.

Bob Melvin-Uhhhhhhh NO!

Now you have to figure Alderson has a list of candidates from his days in the A’s and Padres front office and the big relief I have is the confidence that Alderson will make the right choice who ever he chooses. When was the last time we could say that about a Mets GM?

I’m a Backman supporter as I saw him in action this summer in Brooklyn and his teams were very aggressive offensively kind of like what we’ve seen from the Texas Rangers this post season. Backman had the rep of protecting his players which in turn garners respect of his players giving him a good handle on the clubhouse. The bigger issue with Backman would be how he handles the media. For all the fun and games of Jerry Manuel’ pre and post game pressers he really told us nothing. But he had a nice smile and made people happy just like Jeff Francoeur another Flushing failure.

If Oberfell got the job I’d be on board with that as well. Talk about paying your dues, Obie has done that with the Mets and he shouldn’t be overlooked for the job. Same for Chip Hale. I love the fact that Hale has a Minnesota pedigree and I’d have to believe he would be a manager that would stress the fundi’s big time and also play an aggressive brand of ball.

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GO GET THE SYM-PHONY THEY’RE PLAYING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP IN BROOKLYN

I’m about fried with this Walter Reed no show debate but it just shows how badly the Mets need a PR firm to come in and do a much needed makeover on how this organization does things and how to get a POSITIVE message not turn into a negative one . When an event like a trip to meet with injured soldier’s turns into a frenzy of negativity something is definitely wrong and it’s time refocus and reinvent how your franchise is viewed by your fans and throughout baseball.

One way would to bottle or just promote the folks running the Brooklyn Cyclones who do a great job on Coney Island year after year with game day promotions and making the overall atmosphere at MCU Park very enjoyable. It doesn’t hurt to put a talented, hustling team on the field either.

The Cyclones took game 3 of the NY-PENN League Semi-Finals and will now move on to meet the Tri-City Valley Cats, a Houston Astros farm team, in the Championship best of 3 series. Darrell Ceciliani has bounced back from knee injury to get back to his hitting ways and C Blake Forsythe (who has not impressed me at all at bat and most definitely behind the plate) had a big 2run HR over the center field wall that is 412 ft from home plate and has not been cleared too often.     

Who’s on second for the Mets in 2011? My guess? Daniel Murphy and a defensive infielder (Joaquin Arias or Luis Hernandez) start the season. Reese Havens if we can stay healthy, gets about 200 AB’s in the minors, and takes over the position, moving Murph to a super sub role.   

I’ll watch Mets-Phillies tonight because Jenry Mejia is getting another start in a match up with Roy Halladay but come 9PM I’m switching over to what has become must see TV, the NL West pennant race. The Rockies are on a roll with 7 straight in the win column and then at 10PM it’s Giants-Padres from Petco Pk. The only way this night gets screwed up is if the game is not on CSN Bay Area and I don’t get to here my second favorite announcers Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow. The way the Mets are going, I’m starting to sway back to my roots with the Giants since I have the MLB Extra Innings, I’ve enjoyed these late night romps with Kruk & Kuip .

 Check out my NFL WEEK 1 picks at NY Football Blog and don’t forget I will be joining Frankie Maniscalco on NY Football Blog LIVE on Blog Tak Radio Sunday Night at 9PM ET to talk Giants-Jets and the Buffalo Bills football  

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ANOTHER UNINSPIRING POST

The dog days of summer look to be going out with a bang in NYC as we will be in the grips of another heat wave just to top off one of the hottest summers in NYC history and for Mets fans, it’s just more month of uninspiring baseball before we get to see what changes will be made in Flushing.

Seeing that Johan Santana spots an 8.03 ERA in the first inning of his starts, maybe on his days to pitch, the strategy should be reversed, have the closer pitch the first inning then let Santana work innings 2-8.

R.I.P. Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish

Congratulations to Wally Backman (future manager of the NY Mets) and his Brooklyn Cyclones on clinching the McNamara Division of the NY-PENN League.

Why do I have a feeling my football season is going to suck as bad as my baseball season.

Go get em Rapid Robert, at 91 Bob Feller is still tough as nails get well soon

That’s about it, Mets blogging ain’t as much fun as it used to be

For your listening pleasure, The Soft Parade

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Tickets

The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

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