CONFIDENCE OR LACK THEREOFF WILL DETERMINE THIS NY METS SEASON

I know we fans of the New York Mets have a reputation of “oh woe is me” and have morphed into a village of Chicken Little’s but I would hope those of that ilk would just emerge from their fall out shelters to look around the New York sports landscape for a moment and see if they can try to see what has transpired over the three months.

Fans of the NY Football Giants were ready to scream for John Mara to blow this team up and start over from the head coach to the defensive secondary, everyone must go the fans demanded. What happened? The head coach closed ranks with his team and the players stopped listening to the fans, an extremely smart move by the way, and a Salsa dancing wide receiver and an Elite QB hooked up for a 99 yard TD pass/catch  TD against their loud mouth co-tenants, that to a man in the Giants organization say is what catapulted them to winning the Super Bowl. That play, that game gave the Giants confidence.

The NY Rangers are playing some of the best hockey Rangers fans have seen in many a year. They are led by many great players, but one player stands out on this team as he is the last line of defense, goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist. There is no goaltender on the planet that is better than the King and in every interview he gives he just oozes confidence and he never forgets to reinforce to the interviewer the confidence he has in his teammates. Right now the confidence of the NY Rangers and Rangers fans is flowing like tap water.

Here is the best example of how confidence in oneself can bring a whole team together for greater good. I don’t think there is a New Yorker breathing air that doesn’t know who Jeremy Lin is. The story of Lin is as inspiring as any we’ve seen around here in ages, Lin went to Harvard, not drafted, signed with his hometown team the Golden State Warriors who in turn waived him. He was then claimed by the Houston Rockets who also put him on waivers and then he landed with the Knicks who claimed him out of desperation of having no one to run the point. What I wonder, went through Lin’s mind after two teams released him and the third team he’d joined in a month let him sit at the end of the bench only looking to use him if something catastrophic were to occur like two of the teams superstars being out of the lineup for a length of time or the team losing and playing like they have no clue how to play team basketball or a coach in fear of getting fired figuring I have one last attempt here to save my ass and my teams season . All these scenarios occurred and Lin got his chance and we all know how that has turned out. Would you say that Lin’s confidence in himself and his ability to play basketball never waned as others refused to believe in him as he believed in himself? No one plays at the level Lin is playing at now who does not possess supreme confidence in themselves.

That brings me to the Mets and a portion of the fan base. Many fans are so focused on the financial situation of the Skill Sets and I won’t lie I’m intrigued about it to, to a point. The players are starting to migrate to Pt. St. Lonesome to begin spring training and to get ready for the 2012 season. As far as I’m concerned my worries over Fred and Uncle Saul’s money woes now take a back seat (once the court case is heard and verdict comes down I’ll worry about it) it’s time to concentrate on pitching, hitting, defense and confidence.

My hope is that what Daniel Murphy said to me last month at the Thurman Munson Dinner is true, that the negativity of the media and fan base does not permeate through the clubhouse door. I have to hope that Terry Collins, in his second year as Mets manager, has a good read on his team and can instill confidence in them.   I mentioned in a previous post, that I felt Collins knows he can’t bullshit his team, t the NL East is going to be difficult but what Collins has to do is instill the confidence in his players that (a) they are major league baseball players, just like the ones who play for the Phillies, Braves, Nationals and Marlins and (b) all the people who say you can’t win (fans and media) are clueless assholes who never had the balls to compete in anything. This is a huge test for Collins but what he has going for him is most of players in this camp know him and vice versa so he should know how to motivate them and make sure their confidence level stays high.

Again it all goes back to confidence if David Wright and Jason Bay can gain their confidence back at the plate with the help of more hitting favorable field dimensions, if Lucas Duda can become confident in his ability and accept that he belongs in the big leagues, if Jon Niese can make that leap from what can he be too he’s arrived, if Daniel Murphy shows self-confidence at second base and if Big Plef, the guy who needs a mega dose of self-assurance can finally get his talent to translate to what it was that made him a number one draft pick then the Mets could add themselves a chapter to the this great New York Sports season.

It would also help if some of the fan base adjusted their attitudes as well, so step up, those you need a pat on the ass line up to the left, ones who need a kick in the ass, to the right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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YOUR MOMENT OF ALDERSON ZEN

I think we all need to take a big deep breath. This Skill Sets Cash Call has gotten the fan base acting like a bunch of blue and orange Chicken Little’s.  The skies of Flushing may look dark and ominous but it’s not falling. This may in fact, be the best thing that could happen to the Mets.

There seems to be a misunderstanding in the fan base that thinks spending lots of money equals championships, if that’s the case, how come there are only two World Series trophy’s on display at the Mets Hall of Fame? No one was better at pissing away the Skill Sets cash than Omar Minaya but his administration had no structure or foresight  or the balls to tell Jeffey stay out the baseball operations way. The minor league system, the life blood of any organization, has been run about as well as Mayor Bloomberg’s snow removal system. The biggest indictment of the failure of the Mets system is the image still burned in my memory of Fernando Martinez in his first day as a major leaguer, failing to run out a ball hit in front of home plate. At that point, F-Mart should have been taken to La Guardia Airport and sent back to Buffalo and then the whole minor league system should have been bulldozed and built back from the ground up. It didn’t because there was no one in charge with balls or brains to fix it. Until now.

The best move in the last couple of days by the Mets (besides signing R.A. Dickey and Angel Pagan clearing the arbitration eligible list) was hearing Sandy Alderson in his straight shooter way, talk to us like intelligent adults. There was no spin or sleight of hand like we’re used to, there was a right between the eyes shot of reality (Adam Rubin’ transcript of the Alderson conference call is required reading for the Mets masses)

“First of all, I want to emphasize that the plan that we have pursued the last couple of months was limited by only one fact, and that was the level of the existing payroll. Our payroll going into the season will be somewhere between $140 million and $150 million. I think that is significantly higher than we’d like to be on an annual basis — a product of adding some additional players that we felt the roster needed as well as some existing commitments. The plan and the approach that I’ve taken over the last two months has not been affected at all by any other outside factors.

 

“From my standpoint, when I took this position, when I interviewed and took this position, I was of course aware of the pre-existing involvement of the Wilpons and the Mets with Bernie Madoff. I wasn’t privy to all of the detail, nor am I or most of us at this point privy to all that detail. And I wouldn’t expect to be. At the same time, none of that has affected what I have done over the last two months. I don’t expect that it will have any impact on what I do over the next several months, including into the 2012 offseason.”

Gone are the days of wasting money on has beens and underachievers as bench players just because they are your friends or are good at playing Hearts. Why give a 35 year old utility infielder $2mil when you can use a minor leaguer for $450K or a journeyman for a make good deal where performance equals a pay raise? We’re not used to such competence around here and I guess it takes time to understand, there is spending money and there is spending money wisely.

Alderson also showed his leadership qualities by turning negative news into a positive when asked if he was worried about having the cash resources going forward:

No. I mean, obviously there’s a certain level of ambiguity surrounding this news. But from my standpoint, the facts are as they currently exist. And to some extent the decision to find a minority partner or some other source of recapitalizing the franchise is positive news from my standpoint. If there was an initial problem before, that can only be positive from my standpoint.”

There seems to be a panic by a small group of Mets fans about the future of Jose Reyes and his tenure with the Mets. From hearing Alderson address this it will be Reyes performance and his contract demands that will dictate if he stays a Met for years to come. Ken Davidoff of Newsday has said of Pee Wee Cashman, that he is “a stone cold killer” in the way he deal s with players as we’ve seen with Derek Jeter and the Rafael Soriano signing. I would say Alderson is a more of a calculated assassin.  Alderson will do what’s best for the Mets not Reyes and for that Mets should be grateful.  Alderson is not going to make the Mets a small market team he is going to make then a more efficient organization when it comes to handing out long term deals.  Anyone have a problem with that?

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