I Guess The Mets Plan Is Lose The Battle and Win The War

It was a rough weekend for the NY Mets. The bats and pitching arms have gone stale, the petulant utility player affectionately known by Mets fans as JV1, who it seems the front office, manager and players have run out of patience with while waiting for him to act like a big boy, reached out to the Pittsburgh Pirates for help in the form of a baseball thrown at him in anger over his “look at me, I’m El Hombre” slow dance after hitting a home run with the Mets down 7 runs. Then there was Banner Day in which only 99 banners were on display.

The Mets front office has a plan and contending in 2013 for the NL is not part of it. But we knew that coming into the season, right? So why is everyone up in arms about the abysmal play of this Mets team? Many Mets fans had the Mets pegged for a 90+ loss team and that is what they are right now. So why is everyone so upset about the recent awful play of this team?

We knew the outfield wasn’t Major League quality, we knew that back end of the rotation was weak. What we didn’t know was that Ike Davis would be this bad and Lucas Duda would morph into a little leaguer at the plate taking the walk is as good as a hit advice to new heights and that Daniel Murphy would be better with a glove than a bat.  We did know one thing, Sandy Alderson has a plan, what we didn’t know was part of the plan was do nothing in 2013.

Part of the problem is there is no worry on any offensive player on this team that there is someone within the organization to take their place. Last year when Ike Davis was slumping so bad it was a miracle he wasn’t shunned to Buffalo.  The reason Ike wasn’t sent away to Triple A wasn’t that the team wanted to show confidence in Davis it was a someone in the Mets front office told me “what’s the alternative” ? This season Ike is being Ike, looking awful at the plate, and again the question is “what do you about a problem named Ike Davis”? There is none that is if you feel Lucas Duda should be moved to first base and Jordany Valdespin goes to left field is a solid solution and either send Davis to Vegas (ooh that rhymes) or trade him. A trip to Triple A could happened this time as that scenario I laid out is a real option, as for trading him, quite frankly what team would want him?

The point is as much as Sandy Alderson is sticking to his plan it would behoove the GM to do something of a personnel move dealing with the offense just to send the fan base a signal that he is still interested in running this team and that he is as fed up with the suckitude of play as the fan base is.   

Right now there are four players who should be untouchable in any trade talks, D-Wright, Matt Harvey, Bobby Parnell and John Buck. Anyone else should be put on the market and moved for the right price. But again what kind of return would you get for an Ike, Duda, Murphy or even Tejada? At least with a broken down car you can strip it for parts, not so for broken down baseball players.

On the Jordany Valdespin hit by pitch on Saturday I’ve heard or read everyone from Terry Collins to Mets players to Jay Horwitz , well maybe not Jay, chastised for allowing Valdespin to get plunked and not rushing to his aid. The one guy who hasn’t been called on out on this and is the number one culprit in all this muck and mire is Jordany Valdespin. JV1 as the kids like to call him, has been spoken too, punished, had his clothing ripped to shreds and been call out by teammates mangers coaches and front office folks as a first class horse’s ass to no avail. People associated with the Mets that I’ve talked to who have a good word for everyone associated with the team make that face like a stink bomb went off when you ask about Jordany Valdespin.  So if you want to blame Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson or the Mets players about leaving Valdespin out to dry, you’re blame and anger is misdirected.

Here’s the problem with having Banner Day in 2013, no one cares. Banner Day in 1964 was great because the team still had the new team smell to it, as the Mets were Casey’s Amazin’ Mets our lovable losers. In 2014 there is no such thing as a loveable loser in fact even after you win the next question you get after handed the trophy is, “Can you repeat”? The fan mindset is totally different than in the past. Fans don’t care how hard you try, how much your hurt, or if you’re going through some kind of personal problem all fans care about is entertain me and goddamnit WIN!

This past week while at a Mets blogger event at Citi Field I brought up the 1973 Pennant winners and how this is the 40th anniversary of the Mets team that went on a tear and had to pass five teams just to win the division and then go on to beat one the iconic teams in baseball history in The Big Red Machine, so would there be a day at Citi Field to honor them?   The answer I received on why there will not be day for the team is that the cost to run that event is prohibited and who would show up for it? After my blood pressure subsided and we discussed the pros and cons of the Mets having a day for the ’73 NL Champs, it made sense to me. The 55 year old Mets fan would love to see George Theodore , Ron Hodges and Harry Parker , the 30 year old Mets fan doesn’t care. So why go to all the time and expense to throw a party and have no one come.  

I didn’t go to Banner Day.  I don’t think it’s a crime. I spent the day watching my daughter play soccer and returning a bunch of tuxedos for my son and his friends that they dropped off after their high school prom while they took off to a day of amusement park fun with their girlfriends. Then I dropped my daughter off at the mall with her friends because teen age girls love to shop. Then I was able to spend a great afternoon just me and my wife because now that our kids are older and don’t need to be with mommy and daddy, mommy and daddy can go off and do what they want to do, like eat at restaurant with cloth napkins and no coloring books at the table and catch a movie that isn’t animated. Life is good. So I’m sorry I wasn’t there to carry a banner professing my love for the NY Mets but even so, I know how much I love the Mets and the Mets know how much I love the team, so as I said Life is good.

 

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Same Old Mets ? I Don’t Thnk So !

 

WHEW!!!!!  Yesterday’s Mets-Rockies game is like trying to eat a Carnegie Deli sandwich, where do you begin?

I’ll start with Johan Santana who has topped everyone’s expectations so far this season.  Santana relied on fastball/change up combo and I hate using this word, battled. If you want to take Johan to task (I don’t know why you would) his walk rate 4.13 BB/9IP is high but as he progress through the season that should drop.  The main thing that separates Santana from Mark Prior and Chen Ming Wang, the two pitchers who have had the same surgery as Santana, is he is a superior pitcher than either two. Prior was more a thrower than a pitcher and Wang is a back of the rotation guy, Santana is an anchor. Since his 1.1 IP performance in Atlanta on April 17 th, his last two starts have been outstanding, having  pitched 12.2 innings and given up 1 earned run dropping  his season ERA from 3.97 to 2.25. See how easy life is with a solid #1 pitcher.

Well somewhat easy I guess. I have no problem with Terry Collins pulling Santana after 6 innings in a start where Johan had thrown 105 pitches in his last start with an extra day rest.  So far the program the Mets have put together for Santana has been working so why get greedy, besides with the exception of Frank Frisco, the back end of the bullpen has been good. Now would I have gone with Miguel Batista in the 7th inning? No, I’d have gone with Bobby Parnell, but when I thought about why TC would go with Batista in that spot, I thought it would be to show confidence in Batista after that awful start last Monday, putting him a spot to succeed. Collins is the anti-Joe Girardi, he’s more a feel and from the gut kind of manager, he knows when a player needs a confidence boost and when a guy needs a day of reflection from the bench. Binders? Terry Collins doesn’t need no stinkin’ binders. Batista pitched a fine 7th inning and things were moving along nicely until………………

We could scream and yell about home plate ump Paul Emmel squeezing the strike zone on Jon Rauch especially on the Michael Cuddyer at bat (as per pitch f/x, Rauch only hit the strike zone with a pitch once but look at the 4th and 5th pitch of the AB, can we have some consistency please !)But the Carlos Gonzalez at bat was the at bat to look at. Rauch’ first pitch was a strike that was called a ball after that Rauch lost all control of the strike zone. Getting Cargo there would have left Fowler on first with 2 out but instead it’s 1 out runners on first and second with Troy Tulowitzki up. Rauch starts off with two straight strikes and then gets Tulo to hit the next pitch back to him for a 1-3 put out and it looked like Rauch was getting out of this jam until of course the Cuddyer base on balls and out goes an irate Jon Rauch and in comes Tim Byrdak to face Todd Helton with the bases loaded.

Just like that, a slider that was middle in took away a stellar start by Santana, a breakout game for Ike Davis, the continued wonderment of Kirk Nieuwhenhuis, the continued rejuvenation of David Wright and of course a 4 run lead, went for naught as the ball of Helton’s climbed to the upper reaches of right field for a Grand Salami. Heads of Mets fans were hung, obscenities were screamed, scapegoats were being named, jobs had to be terminated, but this Mets team laughs at your lack of faith, you think they packed all those cowboy clothes to wear to Houston for a loss, HELL NO!!! This Mets team does not go quietly.

I guess it’s due to the Mets having had some bad managers the last few years from Art Howe, the Admiral James Stockdale of baseball managers (Who am I ? Why am I here?) The insecure and overmatched Willie Randolph and the “is it payday”?  skipper Jerry Manuel , we are still getting used to the passion of Terry Collins.

TC has learned a hard lesson in baseball, his last three managerial stints ended very badly and he had to go back to baseball purgatory as a minor league coordinator to rebuild his resume. Give the man credit, he could have left baseball, gone to a 9 to 5 job and just be another working stiff, instead he went back to the bushes and rebuilt his reputation as baseball man and worked on what were his short comings.  If it weren’t for the financial fallout from the Madoff mess, Collins wouldn’t have gotten this shot. He got the job because he came cheap and this cheap investment is paying dividends.

Collins holds players accountable, you know Ike Davis was mad to be pinch hit for and I’m sure he was livid to be out the lineup but he wasn’t producing and as TC said I have faith in my players but it’s about the team and it’s about winning. Since that time of his benching and with some work with hitting coach Dave Hudgins, Ike has picked up his hands and maybe using his anger as a positive, has started to look like the Ike we love. Give tons of credit to Ike for his two run single in the top of the 11th that proved to be the game winner but don’t forget the manager for instilling a mindset into this team that they are a good baseball team and to the other 24 players who refuse to give up.

 

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I’LL BE HOSTING TWO SHOWS TONIGHT ON BLOG TALK RADIO

A busy night of baseball talk in on tap for tonight as I will be hosting two shows on Blog Talk Radio.

At 9PM ET on THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN my guest will be Aaron Skirboll, author of the book” THE PITTSBURGH COCAINE SEVEN, How a Rag Tag Group of Fans Took The Fall for Major League Baseball”

Then at 10PM ET I’ll be hosting the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, Baseball Talk. My guest will be Dr. Tom Hanson of Baseball Confidence.com will talk about the mental side of baseball. In the second segment of the program the Subway Squawkers, Lisa Swan and Jon Lewin will join me as we look at the Mets, Yankees and all the happenings at the Winter Meetings.

I hope you can join us live but if you can’t make sure to visit the THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN show page and BASEBALL BLOGGERS ALLIANCE BASEBALL TALK show page on BLOG TALK RADIO   

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SMOOTH OPERATORS

No need to ask he’s a smooth operator

There was something different about the Mets last night, not just the great pitching performance by Jon Neise or the bombs away hitting of Daivd Wright, Rod Barajas or Frenchy there was a confidence displayed by the team that has been missing for awhile. When you look at Jason Bay the guy never seems to get rattled.  Ike Davis is the same way it feels like Davis has been here for a couple of years instead of a couple of weeks. The players all said during spring training that they knew they had a good team and that they’ll prove once the season starts, I for one didn’t believe it. I’m not going over board just yet although beating the Phillies like they did and shutting up the louts that inhabit Citizen’s Bank Park has we ready to go overboard.

It’s easy to go crazy during this hot streak and hopeful Big Pelf works his magic to day against Roy Haliday but the test of the makeup of this team to me will be how they react when they hit a bump in the road. They’ve already hi one early in the year and have shown for guts than last years team ever did but at some point the pitching is going to struggle and the bats will slump a bit and how the team reacts to that adversity will be the test .

I don’t want to dwell on that now though I just want to see the Mets kick Roy Halliday and the Phillies ass this afternoon.

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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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