GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR FRED

There was outrage yesterday from Mets fans as clips of the team executives and manger Terry Collins boarded a helicopter to take them to Miami to catch the Knicks-Heat game.  It was the equivalent of seeing your neighbor who you know is collecting SSI disability, drive a brand new Mercedes-Benz into their drvieway.

I’m not so much outraged that the Mets rented the helicopter for their hoops junket; I’m annoyed that they had the vessel land on one of the complex practice fields. Couldn’t they have gone to an air/heliport to do this?   

Our day as Mets fans would not be complete without some more legal mumbo-jumbo on the Skill Sets court case. Am I the only one worn out about all this court talk? Doesn’t it seem that Judge Rakoff is looking for his 15 minutes of fame, or his own court room TV show?

Johan Santana threw another bullpen session and so far so good on his comeback as he has felt fine the day after each of these sessions. I’m still not ready to say I’m optimistic of his being on the mound opening day because I’m a Mets fan, the glass is always half-empty.

Last night Mets stats man Ben Baumer, lost in the championship round of MLB Networks Baseball IQ trivia game show to Shane Demmitt of the LA Angles. Baumer did a great job in this competition as he won $35,000 for the Welcome Back Veterans charity.  I was really looking forward to this show when it was first announced, but after watching a couple of episodes I lost interest. The set was so dark and dreary looking and the contestants had the personality of Wonder Bread. The host was Matt Vasgersian who loved belittling the Mets every time Baumer was a contestant and is one of these doofus’s you run into in life who think their hip, cool and funny when in reality they’re just asshats. 

The Mets and Citi are teaming up to hold tickets pre-sale this Monday and Tuesday February 27 and 28 for Citi credit and debit card holders. In addition newly inducted Mets Hall of Famer John Franco will be appearing at two CitiBank branches in Manhattan and at the Mets Clubhouse store. Here is a release from the Mets with all the info:

As part of a series of events with the Mets Alumni Association Presented by Citi, Mets all-time saves leader John Franco will make several appearances in New York City February 27 to promote the presale and meet with fans.  Franco, who will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame June 3, will be joined by Mr. Met.  They will visit the following locations:

 

·         10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. – Citibank flagship branch in Union Square (52 East 14th Street)

·         12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Citibank branch on 42nd Street and Madison (330 Madison Avenue)

·         2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – New York Mets Clubhouse Shop (11 West 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues)

 Additionally, all Citi customers who use their credit or debit card will receive a special 10% discount on all merchandise, excluding tickets, at the Mets Clubhouse Shop on 11 West 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues only, for the duration of the two-day promotion.

“We congratulate John Franco on his upcoming induction into the Mets Hall of Fame and are excited that he and Mr. Met will be joining us to kick-off this wonderful promotion for Mets fans and Citi customers,” Brown said.

A limited number of tickets for Opening Day (April 5 against the Atlanta Braves) and Subway Series games (June 22–24) will be available in this presale.  Each Citi cardholder is limited to a maximum of eight tickets per game, subject to availability.

Tickets are available online only, but fans with any questions regarding the presale can call the Mets Ticket Services team at (718) 507-TIXX for assistance. Single game tickets go on sale to the general public Monday, March 5 at 10:00 a.m. online at Mets.com and by phone at (718) 507-TIXX. For complete ticketing information, visit Mets.com.

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

METS HAVE A SPRING IN THEIR STEP, BUT WILL IT BE THERE IN JULY?

Today pitchers and catchers will report to St. Lonseome and by Wednesday the Mets position players will start arriving as well and training camp 2012 will get under way. So what am I looking for this spring from our beloved Mets? I’m glad you asked:

Ownership

Please Freddy, Uncle Saul and Jeffey I’m begging you guys, please stay away from camp. Can we please take the focus off your upcoming court case and your financial problems and let this camp be about baseball, baseball and more baseball. Can you give your manager, coaches and players a chance to get ready for this season and to prove the naysayers wrong about how non-competitive this club will be? Your team is in good hands with Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson and their staffs, so stay up here in New York and work with your attorneys to get your game plan ready for the March 19th trail. I’m sure Sandy Koufax will understand.

Manager

Got to love the work ethic of Terry Collins and the transformation he has made as a big league manager. Collins has been in camp with Johan Santana, working with the Ace and forming a bond with him like he did with Carlos Beltran.  Just as TC earned the trust and respect of Beltran, he is working towards having the same relationship with Santana. There is more to managing a team than knowing when to double switch and Collins has realized that and has  proven he is the right man to manage the Mets.

Ike Davis asked the question last week, “why does everyone think  we’re going to suck” and this is the rallying cry the manager needs to use to his and the teams advantage. When he addresses the team he should make it known that the majority of media and fans do think the Mets suck and the only ones who believe the team is any good, are the guys right he in this clubhouse. If each and every player on this team doesn’t have the back of their teammates, they’ll fail as no one else will stick up for them.   

With a year on the job, Collins knows who needs motivation and who is self-motivated and that’s a big plus. TC as well, has to push fundamentals this spring to the point that the players get angry. He needs to push the point that it’s not always the most talented team that wins but the most prepared team that is always right there. If the Mets continue with their poor execution on the field, it will be a long season.

Starting Pitching

The only starting pitcher I have any confidence in right now is R.A. Dickey. Everyone else has a ton of questions by their name. So many if’s with this group and the biggest problem is there isn’t much competition in camp for jobs in the rotation.  Sure Chris Schwinden or Miguel Batista could swipe the 5th spot from Dillon Gee or Matt Harvey could just blow everyone away this spring to force his way into the rotation but that’s a long shot.

As far as Santana is concerned try to put his starting the season on the big league roster out of your mind. Even if he pitches well this spring there a couple of things that will hasten his return early in the season, The cold weather is one, especially the dumb move by MLB to pay April games in the East at night, and the other is the limited innings/pitch count that Santana will be under. No way Santana, even if he shows he’s ready to come back, pitches more than 80-85 pitches or 5 innings, those pitching restriction will put a lot of pressure on the Mets bullpen early in the season and with the unknown of the rest of this staff besides Dickey, the Mets and Terry Collins can’t risk burning the bullpen by Memorial Day. Best case scenario is Santana stays in extended spring training and makes a few minor league starts for St. Lucie and makes back to the big leagues by end of May early June and that’s being real optimistic.    

As much as Mets fans are hanging on every Santana bullpen session the guys we really need to watch are Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese as it will be the performance of these two pitchers that will determine if this a season of surprise or of transition.  For Pelfrey if he can’t be effective it will get very ugly for him this season with the fan base and with the front office. As for Niese, it’s time to put the big boy baseball pants on a prove that he has the makeup, conditioning and ability to be a  solid major league pitcher. Niese doesn’t have to be an Ace but he has to show some stamina and guile to get to the 6th and 7th innings of starts.

Bullpen

It’s been revamped and the back end (Frank Francisco, Ramon Ramirez and Jon Rauch) is a huge improvement over last year’s relievers, but if Manny Acosta, Bobby Parnell or D.J. Carrasco (or someone playing the role of Carrasco) starts making frequent appearances, it will be a long season. The effectiveness of the Mets bullpen will depend on the Mets starting pitchers who again (I know I’m belaboring this point) have to step up.

Defense

Last season the Mets were one of the worst defensive teams in baseball, so for 2012 there is no place else to go but up hopefully. All the talk about David Wright has been about his regaining his offensive punch which missed the real story with Wright and that’s the steady decline of his defense. I know the defensive metrics are not the be all end all but according to Bill James Online and their defensive plus/minus rankings Wright has been an atrocious third baseman the last three seasons :

2009 -11

2010 -10

2011 -5

 

Not only has Wright cost the Mets runs at 3rd base but he has had trouble with balls hit to his right and his throws have been less than accurate to first base, again defensive metrics have their flaws but so does Wright at the hot corner.

The catching situation stinks as well. Josh Thole still has not mastered the art of catching especially blocking balls in the dirt and getting better footwork in attempting to throw out would be base stealers. Word is new bench coach Bob Geren will be working all spring with Thole on these aspects of catching. Mike Nickeas will be the Sunday (and presumably R.A. Dickeys personal backstop) catcher and should bat 9th in the order when he does play. Catching in the Mets organization is a disaster that Sandy Alderson is not only aware of put has tried hard to rectify, that was one of the reasons Jon Niese’ name was mentioned in trade talks this off season as the Mets were hoping a team with a solid young catching prospect (like the Blue Jays and their prize catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud) would take the bait

The middle infield will be securitized a lot this season as Ruben Tejada takes over the everyday shortstop job and Daniel Murphy will try again to master the second sack. Tejada should be stellar at short as he has very good baseball instincts and makes plays he should make. The question will be, as it seems to be every spring for the last three years, will Daniel Murphy play at least a respectable 2nd base. As long as he makes the routine play and is somewhat capable of turning the pivot at 2nd without getting maimed, his season will be a success.

Ike Davis is solid at 1st base, so no worries there.

The outfield should be markedly better with Andres Torres playing center field and a bit underrated Jason Bay in left. The question is will Lucas Duda play a serviceable right field.  I’m trying very hard not to over use the word serviceable when talking about the Mets defenders but that’s how bad this team’s defense is when serviceable play would be an upgrade at 3rd base, 2nd base, right field and catcher.

Breakout star of the spring

I would love to see Kirk Nieuwenhuis have such a fabulous spring that he forces management hand to bring him North.  Many scouting reports have Capt Kirk as a corner outfielder but I’m sure once or twice a week you could play him in centerfield. If Jason Bay continues to be awful against right handed pitching, the lefty swinging Nieuwenhuis would make a great platoon partner for Bay.

Of course the new BIG 3 of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Familia will be watched closely and who knows, if Harvey pitches lights out, he could take the 5th spot in the rotation from Dillion Gee but he’d have to be spectacular in order for the Mets to force the issue early in the season. Wheeler will not be in the big league camp by the way but over at the kids table for minor leaguers but as we’ve seen in years past sometimes the minor leaguers get a invite to join the big boys especially when there are spilt squad games so keep an eye out for that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

DO THE SKILL SETS HAVE ANY SHAME?

I don’t know maybe I think a little differently than some folks. If me and my family were embroiled in a fight to save everything we’ve worked for and the embarrassment we’ve faced due to either stupidity, nativity or out right lying and I owned a baseball team in the biggest media market in the world, I’d kind of lay low for a while and not want to have to answer questions about an on going court case that I really can’t answer or baseball questions that I don’t know how to answer. I’d stay out of the public eye. Unfortunately Jeffey Skill Sets doesn’t think like that.  Here was Jeffey in all his glory and bad hair cut meeting the media at St. Lonesome.

Wouldn’t it be in the best interest of the organization to not have a side show on the day pitchers and catchers report? Especially when you are having a tough time selling tickets? Wouldn’t be in the best interest of the organization to just let Sandy Alderson do the talking this spring and season as well?

Just when I’m getting stoked for Mets baseball and decided to purchase a flex pack ticket plan, I see this video and think hummmmmmmmmm is buying a ticket plan a wise choice? I’m sure I’m not they only one who is thinking this way as well.

Besides Jeffey being there do I have to hear about our domestic violence abuser having his Lamborghini shipped down on a flat bed truck to spring training?  Then hear how great it was that he spoke to the media and a couple of day time yackers on radio? Why is it the guys I want to hear from the least I hear from the most?

The beat guy at the Daily Lupica likes to break Mets fans balls with some stupid Tweets. During last season I guess I tweeted him to many times telling him what a hack he was and how he seemed upset he wasn’t covering the Phillies anymore so he blocked me from his Twitter account which is no big deal to me but I would think it would be a big deal to his bosses at the Daily Lupica since I stopped buying the paper and I never link a story from their site. From the tweets I’ve read today it seems this beat guy has taken to calling Jose Reyes (Michael our resident Highlander fan, you better sit down for this one) a “future Yankee”. Mets tweeters have been outraged and have started a campaign on Twitter to unfollow him. That’s great but take it a step further, don’t link any stories of his or anything in the Daily Lupica on your sites or on Twitter. I ‘m sure Daily Lupica Sports Editor Teri Thompson will not be happy about that.

Ed Marcus/Rusty Jr. has number 21 in his list of the Top 50 Mets of All Time and this one is a bit of a controversial choice as he didn’t spend many years with the Mets and the years he did while showing flashes of brilliance from time to time didn’t exactly make a great contribution. But when he left he was legendary.

I had a great time conversing with Joe Demayo of  PSL to Flushing on the THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN podcast today. Check it out here or on iTunes

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

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.

Visit BangTheBook.Com for daily free MLB Mets Picks and gameday previews, also join the baseball handicapping discussion in the forum or track your plays in our sports monitor.