JOKERS WILD IN THE METS CLUBHOUSE AND THE OWNERS BOX

On the heels of Freddy Skill Sets “I’ve been duped “speech last week comes another leak of information from Irving Piccard via his media mouth piece the NY Times in which we’re told that Sterling Equities was the clearing house for all transactions and recruitment of new investors for Madoff Madness. In this article the only guy who it seems had half a brain when it came to this shady operation was Larry King’s accountant David Blouin. Blouin wanted to know a few things about the investment that King made with Madoff, like the small incidental of what exactly are you investing in?

That’s one of the questions that the MSM forgot to ask Freddy and Jeffey last week, did anyone ever think that Madoff was investing in any illegal activity? Madoff investments were always showing profits nearly double what other legitimate investment banks were doing and when asked how or what he was investing in Madoff gave everyone the brush off. No one thought that maybe some faction of organized crime was involved here?  Was Freddy and Uncle Saul so caught up in the greed is good of Madoff that they didn’t care where this money was going as long as the profits kept rolling in? I guess we won’t find out until this case is settled but you’d think by now the Skill Sets would smarten up and work out an out of court settlement before more of their dirty laundry is revealed in the Paper of Record.

So I guess as someone who is a Luis Castillo basher I should apologize as we learn that Looie didn’t come to camp early due to his brother having surgery.  Well I would if only Castillo was adult enough to let the club know what was going on. I have no personal dislike for Castillo as I’ve never met him ,my dislike is for his deteriorating baseball skills and the fact he has one more year on his contract. Again, Castillo and Oliver Perez are the faces of failure that are still around from the last front office regime. The Alderson Group has rid itself of minor league execs, coaches, instructors and the strength and conditioning staff has been overhauled as well so it puzzles me, why not drop these two players and show the fan base you really are for change. The Mets might sell a few extra tickets if they showed this commitment to cleansing the losers.

I don’t feel this cut off point of clubhouse card games comes solely from the manager. It’s no secret that the Mets clubhouse the last few years has become the equivalent of a NYC Public School classroom when a substitute teacher is in charge, utter chaos. The lack of accountability from its inhabitant’s causes what some would say, is a silly and insulting rule. By laying it out now, Collins did the right thing letting the players know that there will be a cutoff point on the leisure part of their day. It also helps as we get to hear who squawks the most over this.

The one thing that worries me is, if Collins has a bunch of rules. Remember when Willie Randolph took over and brought his Highlander mentality to the Mets? No long hair, no facial hair, no loud music in the clubhouse all of these were rescinded as the year went on because if you want to be stick up your ass dolt then stay in the Bronx. I also remember the Dark Days of Jeff Torborg who tried to ban beer on the team plane. Torbog had an aversion to alcohol due to alcoholism in his family to which David Cone told the skipper,“well, just make sure your family takes another flight” as he and Eddie Murray loaded several cases of Heineken onto the team charter.

Is there a Mets fan who doesn’t  like Mookie Wilson? I seriously doubt it.

The Johnies are back in the Top 25 the bandwagon will fill up rather quickly in the next month or so better reserve your seat now!!!!!!

Very disappointed in the Broadway Blueshirts yesterday in their loss to the Flyers at MSG. The Rangers in the first half of the season were a hard working bunch that even in defeat could say they gave all they had. The second half of the season so far the opposite is true but in the rare exceptions of a few (Callahan, Dubinsky, Staahl, Girardi, and the dynamic duo of Ryan McDonagh  and Michael Sauer) the fight is just not there with this team. Add in the lack of a snipper and the woeful PP what was once thought of hockey in April as inevitable at MSG is now on the brink of collapse.  The turnaround will have to come from within as Slats Sather should not go crazy at the trade deadline as there is not one player who the Rangers could acquire that will propel them to Stanley Cup contenders. This team is young and very talented but it needs time to blossom.

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LISTEN UP!!!!! D-WRIGHT IS GONNA FLEX HIS VOCAL CORDS

The NY Times has a couple of interesting items pertaining to the Wilponzi’s and Citi Field. The cost of a trial between Madoff victim trustee Irving Piccard and the Skill Sets could put the Freddy and Uncle Saul into financial ruin but so could an out of court settlement. Either way the Skill Sets are fucked it’s just a matter of which way will be less painful.

The Citi Field story is hilarious as the author thinks this would be a good time to drop the Citi name and the millions that come with it, and rename it Shea Stadium. A real nice thought but with the Skill sets hurtin’ for dough it will never ever happen. In fact don’t be surprised the Champions Club is not renamed the Medellin Club.

Back in December when I attended the Mets Holiday Party, I got to speak to David Wright. As I wrote back then, it seemed that Wright was happy for the change in leadership in the front office and the manager’s office.  He didn’t come out and say it but from the conversation you could tell there was no accountability in the clubhouse amongst the players and the manager, knowing he was out of a job mailed it in that last two months of the season. Wright even said that so far in his Mets career “I only have one NL East Championship and that is not enough” No one can question Wright’s work ethic on and off the field for the Mets and it seems like he is ready to be an ally to Terry Collins and sell his style and message. From reading stories today, Wright also seems to be ready to throw his veteran weight around in the clubhouse. Why not, the understated way of doing things hasn’t worked so with managerial backing, Wright may be ready to step up as the team’s vocal leader. That doesn’t mean being a “rah-rah “ guy it means getting guys to work harder and also take responsibility in the wins and losses and getting his teammates to sharpen their focus.  

Ed Marcus (a/k/a Rusty Jr) continues his series of the Top 50 Mets of All Time with Number 29 David Cone. The Cone for Ed Hern deal is one of the all-time steals in baseball history. Cone was a lighting rod on and off the field for the Mets as Ed points out in his piece.

The Mets have hired 48 year old Brad Andress as their new strength and conditioning coach. In reading Andress’ bio, it’s interesting to see that he assisted Clint Hurdle when he was with the Rockies in travel scheduling and administrative duties. I’d bet that Andress will do the same with the Mets since that was part of Charlie “Make Me An Offer” Samuels tasks when he wasn’t  pilfering the Mets clubhouse.   

I could definitely live with Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg of the Canarsie Sternberg’s buying the Mets. This is so good it will never happen. My biggest fear is that M. Donald Grant has some grandchildren running around from a love child he had with Joan Payson with a robust trust fund and ends up buying the Mets. (Tip of the Mets cap to Metsblog for the link to Cork Gaines story)

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IF THE SKILL SETS NEED TO EMBRACE THE FAN BASE, MAKE US YOUR PARTNER

As a guy who has trouble balancing a check book, all this financial talk of the Skill Sets and the financial stability of the franchise has my head aching. What The Skill Sets knew and when they knew it about the Madoff Ponzi scheme is still not known and if an out of court settlement comes about, we may never know but what we do know is the brand of the New York Mets has been tainted.

Maybe this is why the organization has embraced the Mets blogging community, why not go to the folks whose love for the team is undying and let them be involved in events that we never dreamed we’d be a part of. I am very much appreciative of the organization for the opportunity they have given me with access to Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins and various players but the folks the organization really needs to reach out to you guys who read this site and other Mets blogs and buy the tickets and watch SNY and buy team merchandise because you are the life blood of the franchise.

The news of the Skill Sets cash call could not come at a worse time. Season ticket sales are down and there doesn’t seem to be a big demand for single game tickets either, those go on sale in March. The biggest argument and it is a very fair criticism, is that the ticket prices are way to high. Now add in the news that the Skill Sets are strapped for cash most fans will feel that by buying a ticket to a Mets game will be paying for the Skill Sets Defense Fund. I’m not saying it is but that’s the perception.

A couple of pluses could come out of this firestorm. Yesterday I attended SABR DAY at Foleys Bar in Manhattan an event that was put together by SABR and Baseball Prospectus. It was a great afternoon of baseball talk with baseball fans and writers. Two of the panelists were Mets play by play man, Gary Cohen and Newsday baseball writer, Ken Davidoff. When the Q & A session began the Skill Sets money woes came up. Cohen didn’t have much to say on the topic and with good reason I guess, but Davidoff claimed that as far as the baseball operation goes it may be good for the team. It seems this had been brewing for some time and Davidoff confirmed what I’ve been told for years and what I’ve written about here, that Jeffey Skill Sets is a big part of the problem. Between Jeffey and Omar they wanted to be friends with everyone from players to front office people and anytime a tough decision had to be made neither man could pull the trigger. The Tony Bernazzard firing is a prime example, the team had to be humiliated by the media before they’d let Bernazard go as he was friends with both Jeffey and Omar. Davidoff stated this will not happen under Sandy Alderson as he will not tolerate it. The panel consensus was by putting Alderson in charge it takes Jeffey out of the baseball ops decision making except on money issues. So if there is a plus out of this fiasco it’s muzzling Jeffey. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard folks who cover the team say “Now there is an adult in charge” well, you’d be looking at a 25 % owner of the Mets.

The Mets will have to really work hard on marketing this team for 2011 and beyond. The best way to start is by ripping out those club seats behind home plate and replace them with seats that honest to goodness baseball fans can purchase. Not only would be good business but it go a long away to getting some positive baseball atmosphere in Citi Field. Every time you tune into a Mets game on TV, those seats are empty because the ticket holders for those seats couldn’t care less about the game going on as long as the free booze and food are flowing in the Delta Club. The organization lowered some ticket prices but they are still ridiculous. The Skill Sets have taken a massive hit on their credibility, if they want to win the fans back they have a lot of wooing to do. This is year three of Citi Field and the place still has no identity. Is it a playground for the well to do? Is it a food court with a ball park attached? How games have you sat in your seats watching a game a looked out toward centerfield marveling at the line of people who stand on line waiting to buy a hamburger? When people would rather wait on a line for a half hour to forty-five minutes for a burger than watch your team, you have a problem.

It’s time Mets ownership comes to the realization that in order to make this franchise great again it has to embrace the working stiff Mets fan. One thing you know about us working stiffs, we are loyal to the team and we show up and support the club in good times and in bad. Not like some rich thieving scumbag who but a knife in the Skill Sets back.  You want to sell 25 % of the club? Just make the real true blue and orange Mets fan feel like you actually care about them and make the Citi Field experience that wants fans to  come back rather than say good riddance and I guarantee you’ll see so much success that this cash call will be just a bad dream.

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