All We Have Is Hope

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My pessimism for the upcoming season of my beloved Mets intensified a bit because one of our cats woke me up before I wanted to rise and shine for a bit of breakfast.  So after filling the bowls with leftover grilled chicken breast, I went to the living room with the intent of browsing Netflix for a movie. But first I took a tour of the 1763 channels on my FiOS system and lo and behold I stumble on to The Last Play at Shea on The Movie Channel.  I was going to turn the channel quick so as not get involved in this film but then the face of an old friend, the late Dana Brand came on my screen and that made me sit up straight with a touch of sadness. Then another blogger buddy was present on the TV, Greg Prince sitting in a seat at the our old house, Shea Stadium talking about all the great times we had at that place and more sadness fell over me. I started to think out loud and staring at Mittens our cat and shouting to him “Where did we go wrong”???? Mittens looked up for a second and went back to cleaning himself off after his satisfying breakfast.

Where did we go wrong? When did this organization make the turn from Ya Gotta Believe Boulevard to Embarrassment Lane?   I’m watching the film and seeing the Mets of the 80’s I just stared and drifted off into the Way Back Machine of my mind. Everyone hated us back then.  As a Met fan of that era we all had a “Do you know who the fuck we are” attitude that rubbed off on the fan base from our beloved team.  Keith Hernandez was that guy who rolled the cigarette pack in his sleeve, Darryl Strawberry was a physical specimen who hit baseballs liked they owed him money,  Ray Knight would smack the shit out you because he could,  Gary Carter was the definition of don’t mistake kindness for weakness.  Dwight Gooden had guys coming down with the flu on days he took the mound and they were led by the chip on his shoulder skipper Davey Johnson. The New York Mets were MLB’s Bad Ass’s

Today the Mets are the kick ass’s as in they have been on the receiving end of the ass kicking they use to hand out. Not to mention a team that plays in a tidy baseball McMansion, Citi Field as the old Mets with bad attitudes played in a tenement called William Shea Housing Project.  As much as I try to accept Citi as the new home of the Mets and try hard to let the past of Shea go, when I see movies like Last Play at Shea, I wonder if we are cursed. Is there a Curse of Shea Stadium?

Think about it the Mets haven’t been the same since the move to Citi. The owners were taken in by a flim flam man named Madoff, real fans have been moved out to outfield stands while the areas around 1st base, 3rd base and home plate have been surrounded by cement and security guards stationed to make sure no real fans try to sneak into the plethora of empty padded seats vacated by the swells who would rather sit in air conditioned luxury of a club while drinking expensive wine and eating gourmet foods.  Back at Shea the food sucked but the baseball was good, I’ll take winning baseball with an over cooked hot dog, half thawed pretzel washed down with watered down Bud any day.

There is hope, hope that the tide is turning. Where the everyday eight are not much to look at, the pitching staff has some talent and charisma. Matt Harvey looks like he could have anchored a staff in the 70’s or 80’s. Zack Wheeler and Travis d”Arnud should make a solid contribution once they are freed from Super Two purgatory.  Other than that and few wet behind the ears minor leaguers, there is much to be optimistic about with this 2013 edition of the NY Mets.

I hope I’m wrong.  I hope Lucas Duda visits the Wizzard of Baseball Oz to  get some baseball confidence. I hope I’m right about Colin Cowgill that he is the surprise of the season. I hope Ike Davis has the breakout season he and Mets fans have been waiting for. I hope David Wright finds some support in the lineup, I hope Freddy Skill Sets is not pissing on our legs and does have money to allow Sandy Alderson to bring in a big league bat with power. I hope the bullpen doesn’t suck like last year. I hope Citi Field is full of METS FANS in September making noise and rooting for a team that plays hard and wins baseball games. I hope I’m not setting myself up for disappointment.

 

 

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Darryl Strawberry and John Franco Will Be At Bryant Park Today For The Mets Citi Tickets Pre-Sale

 

If you are in the area by Bryant Park (42 St bet.  5th and 6th Ave) today between 12PM and 1PM who can meet former Mets stars Darryl Strawberry and John Franco who will be on hand for the kickoff of the Citi card holders pre-sale for 2013 Mets tickets.

The three day exclusive presale will begin on Monday, February 25 and run until Wednesday, February 27 at 11:59 PM. Citi customers will have special access to purchase single home game tickets online at http://mets.com/Citipresale, Citi Field or any Mets Clubhouse Shop.

The Citi exclusive presale is the first opportunity for fans to purchase Opening Day, as well as Subway Series tickets. Fans must use their Citi credit or debit card to take advantage of this special offer.

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Hope Shines For Shannon Fund Raiser

As most of you know Shannon Forde of the Mets Media Department is battling Stage IV breast cancer and fund raiser has set up to help her and her family with the expenses that have come up during her fight.  There will be a dinner and Greet and Meet on Thursday November 1st from 7PM to 11PM at the Westmount Country Club which is located in Woodland Park NJ. Ron Darling will emcee the evening’s proceedings which will include an open bar, cocktail hour and dinner.  There will also be a silent and live auction for memorabilia from all the teams in the New York area and other teams from MLB as well. Tickets for this event are $100.

There will also be a special Meet and Greet at the same time and same venue as the dinner. Tickets for this are $250 and includes meeting and receiving autographs form  Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, John Franco, Bobby Ojeda, Edgardo Alfonzo, Ed Charles, Ed Kranepool, Matt Harvey, Daniel Murphy, Willie Randolph and Joe McEwing.

Along with the dinner/Meet and Greet there is an ongoing online auction that includes some truly once in a lifetime experiences that you can bid on like personnel pitching lessons for R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana, hitting lessons from David Wright, meeting Kelly Rippa and Michael Strahan and touring their studio, visit ESPN headquarters in Bristol CT and get a behind the scenes look at Baseball Tonight set with a guided tour and how about this one? You can bid on being a New York Highlanders P.R. Department employee for the day!

As you’ve read and heard (excellent job by WFAN and Mike Francesa who have made mention of the charity every day during the drive time show) Shannon is revered by everyone who has had the great fortune to be around her, especially the group of Mets bloggers that she and Danielle Parillo have graciously taken under their wings and provided us with access we never thought we’d ever have to cover and be around the team we’ve loved our whole lives.

If you cannot attend the dinner/meet and greet you can still make a donation to this great cause, you can send you generous donation via check made out to Hope Shines for Shannon and send it C/O DTRF P.O. Box 3145 Point Pleasant, NJ 08742.

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Critics Are Way Off Base On The Strawberry-Seaver Exchange at All Time Mets Presentation

I was at the taping of the All Time Mets team at the 92nd St Y on Sunday but the show ran kind of long and with work the next day (a 5AM wake up) and a ferry to catch on the other side of Manhattan, I left as soon as the All Time team was announced so I missed the Q and A portion of the program.

I finally got a chance to watch it and I’m still trying to figure out all the hubbub over the exchange between Darryl Strawberry and Tom Seaver. It seems a lot of folks, Mets fans included are taking Seaver to task for his comment to Straw. Strawberry was asked the question “who would win in a game where it was Seaver vs. Gooden, a tough, tough question to answer. Darryl tried to be diplomatic and praised both pitchers then like a good politician he side stepped the question and jokingly bantered with Seaver on how he would have loved to bat against him to which Seaver responded “do you have handcuffs on”. It’s that comment that has some folks up in arms and I feel it’s a real over reaction.

I took the comment and I’d bet Strawberry took it as well, as Seaver saying “are you handcuffed? No ? The grab a bat and let’s go”. Some folks are saying the Seaver made an insensitive comment since Strawberry has had many run- ins with the law and has been arrested a few times in his tumultuous life. That is really a reach. Watching that video at no time did it seem that Seaver was being malicious or nasty to Straw in fact as I’ve said a few time since attending the show live, I have never seen Seaver so engaging and jovial in a long, long time. Don’t make this something it isn’t and please stop trying to make Seaver into a villain because that is just ridiculous.

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Checkout These Upcoming Events Featuring Former NY Mets

 

 

 

On Tuesday June 19th The Glider, Ed Charles and Art Shamsky will doing a meet and greet with Mets fans at the Citi Bank branch at 78-09 Metropolitan Ave, in Middle Village, Queens. Here are the particulars:

WHAT:           CITIBANK BRANCH APPEARANCE AND AUTOGRAPH SIGNING

WHO:             METS GREATS ED CHARLES AND ART SHAMSKY

WHEN:          TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2012 FROM 12:00-1:30 PM

 

WHERE:        CITIBANK BRANCH – 78-09 METROPOLITAN AVENUE IN MIDDLE VILLAGE, NY

 

 

If you’re still trying to figure out your plans for Father’s Day you may want to check out this event at Empire City at Yonkers Raceway:

Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway in Westchester County, New York will celebrate a “diamond-studded” Father’s Day on Sunday, June 17, with a special Empire City Baseball Giveaway, and all-day Autograph and Question & Answer Sessions by notable New York stars as Mets and Yankees World Champions Darryl Strawberry, Ron Darling, Ron Swoboda, Ed Kranepool and Roy White, and the legendary Brooklyn Dodger hurler Ralph Branca.

YES Network’s Yankees analyst Jack Curry will serve as the host.

The first 5,000 male Empire Club members to visit the Promotions kiosk in the Gotham Palace on Father’s Day will receive a free Empire City baseball. And here is the full lineup of baseball greats who will be on hand to make Father’s Day a special one for dad:

11:30 AM-1:00 PM: Ralph Branca, Brooklyn Dodgers All-Star pitcher

1:00-2:30 PM: Ron Swoboda and Ed Kranepool, 1969 NY Mets World Series champions

2:30-4:30 PM: Darryl Strawberry, three-time NY Yankees World Series champion, and NY Mets 1986 World Series champion

4:30-5:30 PM: Roy White, NY Yankees World Series champion

5:30-7:30 PM: Ron Darling, 1986 NY Mets World Series champion, SNY Mets analyst

 

Host: Jack Curry, YES Network Yankees reporter and analyst

 

 

In addition, a Father’s Day Buffet will be held in Good Time Room from 11:00 AM-10:00 PM. The prices are:  Empire Club Members $24.95 per person, Non-Members $29.95 per person.

 

 

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Observations From Opening Day at Citi Field

Observations from opening day at Citi Field:

I’ve been going to Mets games for 48 years, I was 6 years old in 1964 when I went to see Bob Gibson beat the Mets  on May 9 th, and as excited as I was back then I was just as excited yesterday to be at Citi Field for opening day.

Outside the ball park before the game there was a great positive energy that non-Mets fans just do not understand. I stood near the SNY broadcast area where Bobby Ojeda, Chris Carlin and the iconic Ralph Kiner conducted the pre-game show. There is a segment of younger generation Mets fans who really don’t appreciate Kiner and what he means to charter member Mets fans like me. Ralph, Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson were a constant summer time companion on TV and radio. Nelson left in 1978 and that was shocking, but we still had Ralph and Murph. Murph left in 2003 and that was sad but through it all Ralph Kiner remained, albeit on a limited basis but Ralph always knew when to show up when you needed that boost of Mets elixir because when you’re a middle aged Mets fan the sight and sound of Ralph Kiner brings back memories of a simpler and great time of your life.

Lots and lots of CARTER 8 jersey’s and t-shirts on display yesterday along with signs and banners praising Carter and mourning the loss of Gary Carter. The Mets held a wonderful pre-game ceremony starting with the players, coaches and manager all wearing their warm up jerseys with CARTER 8 on the back and having Carter’ jersey hanging  up in the dugout.  It was also touching to see Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Bobby Ojeda and Mookie Wilson catch the first pitch from Carter’s wife and children along with the unveiling of the KID 8 patch on the outfield wall and video of Carters Mets career that would make even the most cynical Mets fan dab their eyes.

Seems the only people who are obsessed by the Mets attendance are the Mets Media Haters and Highlander fans.  The Mets Media Haters harp on this due to their lack of talent and originality, I mean how much talent does it take to answer a telephone for five hours a day while reading a newspaper and sucking down soda after soda or sit at a laptop staring lovingly at your Derek Jeter gift baskets while writing what a great GM Pee Wee Cashman is because he is so brilliant in having a $200 mil payroll to cover up his fuck ups. The Highlander fan knows that the first time the Mets show any success the Highlander reign of attention in this city will be over.

Citi Field was jammed packed yesterday, the line at the Shake Shack was a couple a hundred deep, the fans lined the Shea Bridge soaking up the sunshine which could explain for some of the empty seats you’ve seen. The crowd responded well to the player introductions, sure some folks felt it was a good time to boo Mike Pelfrey and Jason Bay but for most part the Mets faithful was happy to see their beloved team back in action.

I didn’t see any of the usual Highlander fan jerk offs who come to Citi Field wearing their Jeter jerseys and caps which is encouraging.

The Mets have made an upgrade on the main scoreboard to where it’s  setup like Gameday on MLB.com a virtual scorecard showing not only what the player has done in previous at bats but also showing you the location of balls put in play in those AB’s. The pitchers line as well as pitch count, pitch selection and pitch count are there as well as both lineups, the player at bat’s season stats and career numbers as well.

I have never bitched and moaned about the prices at the concession stands but $6.80 for a Nathans Hot Dog is ridiculous. Compare that to $11.50 for a turkey with mozzarella and gravy on a semolina hero at Mama’s of Corona, why would you go for the hot dog?

Nothing better than watching Johan Santana work. Frist two innings he had a bit of a command issue, which is to be expected as I’m sure his adrenaline was flowing like Niagara Falls but it was the 5th inning that really sent the message as to what a competitor he is and why Santana is one the best starting pitchers in baseball. He wanted badly to get 5 innings in today as his pitch count was limited to 80-85 so he knew this was his last frame of the day. Getting Freddy Freeman out on strikes to start the inning was big because Santana killer Matt Diaz doubled to left and you could see the finish line of this start was near.

After getting Jason Heyward to fly out to Bay, all Santana needed was one more out but he struggled against Tyler Pastornicky and Tommy Hanson walking both of them to load the bases for leadoff hitter Michael Bourn.  This was the at bat of the game. Santana fell behind Bourn 2-0 giving the crowd of Mets fans an uneasy feeling since it was September of 2010 when we last witnessed Santana pitch we forgot how much heart this man has on the mound. He got Bourn to hit a comebacker to him and with what adrenaline was left nearly threw the ball over Ike Davis head but Ike caught it stepped on first inning over with no Braves crossing home plate. Welcome back Johan.

Andres Torres pulled up lame in the 7th on Pastornick’s triple and while I hate to see anyone get hurt, I hope Torres takes all the time he needs to get that calf 100 % so we can get a good look at Kirk Nieuwenhuis as the everyday center fielder. Hopefully when Torres comes back it will be as the 4th outfielder,

Daniel Murphy 2 for 4 yup #ImWith28

 

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WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER

About last night:

So how many folks suffered a sprain or broken leg jumping back on the Johan Santana bandwagon?  I guess he’s back to being the Ace of the staff eh?

Funny I’m hearing any of the Carlos Beltran’ range is shot talk either ?

And how about Angel Pagan playing a mean right field? Let me help you with those bags Mr. Francoeur!

Even though Jerry Manuel was tossed from the game in the second inning, we still were treated to some “Jerry Ball” in the 8th inning. With the Mets up 2-1, Jose Reyes leads off with a walk off Vicente (Jimmy “Super Fly” Snuka look a like) Padillia. Reyes procedes to steal 2nd base. Luis Castillo then walks as well, so maybe the Mets are getting set for that elusive big inning we al have been waiting for. But hold on there you Earl Waever devotees, J-Man will have none of that big inning stuff, no way. From the bowels of Dodger Stadium, the Gansta’ sends word to Dave Jauss the pretend manager, to have Angel Pagan sacrifice the runners over. Pagan by the way has a .940 OPS with runners on base and an even more impressive 1.072 OPS with runners in scoring position. Some where in a retirement home in Florida, Earl Weaver lit up a Raleigh and muttered, “what a fuckin’ moron”

Not to be outdone, St Joseph of Torre decided to go reliever for batter in the inning helping the Mets and the struggling Jason Bay break the game open via Bay’s three run double. My eyes were bleeding after that inning.

Darryl Strawberry wants this current Mets team to turn back the clock and play like the 86ers. It’s a nice thought but it’ll never happen. This group is too fragile psychologically. When the going is good, they are all smiles and back slaps, but as soon as adversity rears it’s ugly head, they dive under the bed instead of meeting it head on. Part of it is the makeup of the team and part of it is the manager who plays not to lose (as we saw in last nights 8th inning) Players are too cautious especially the relievers as the slightest slip could cost you a job. The front office takes a big brunt of this as well by telling the world that the team is solvent but still won’t pay off  or trade off non productive players. A big move for this organization is to DFA Fernando Nieve and bring up Manny Acosta. Then when Nieve clears waivers, they will resign him and send him to Buffalo and bring him back up sometime in August. So predictable.  The team mirrors it’s owner, it talks a good fight but lacks the balls to back it up.

Let’s hope Big Pelf fixed whatever was broken and pitches a gem today in LA LA Land

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TICK, TICK, TICK TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR JERRY MANUEL TICK, TICK , TICK

Even if the Mets take the next three from the Phuck Phaces as the series starts tonight at $iti Field, it looks like Jerry Manuel could still be out as manager of the Mets. There are some serious cracks in the foundation.

First there was the confrontation between Frankie Rodriguez and Randy Neimann the bullpen Sunday night. At first glance, I chalked this to shit happens in the heat of battle but upon closer inspection it seems Rodriguez is getting annoyed by the way Maunel is using him and made it known when the call came in to get up and get warm. It’s not really known what was said but I could guess that Rodriguez made it known that he’s getting tired of the way he’s being used, getting up, sitting down, being told you won’t be used then having to get ready and come in and get a 5 out save as it seems he’s not just saving games but saving the managers job.

The second incident has to do with a couple of “prominent Mets” upset that Darryl Strawberry has been in the clubhouse trying to help players relax and focus on winning. I mean we can speculate on who’s “wittle feelings” were hurt that big bad Straw. It’s not like Straw said anything critical of inflammatory:

  “He was saying you’re better than last place. He told them it was ‘rough’ watching them play, but you’re better than what you showed,” a Mets insider said. “Some of the guys who don’t know Darryl that well, don’t know he still bleeds Mets blue might have thought it (his advice) was too tough.”

 

“If they don’t know Darryl they might have wondered why he was coming on so strong,” the spy said. “He is sincere. He still cares. That’s why.”

 

 

WOW if they think that was too tough they’d cry like a baby reading what I write. I don’t think it’s Wright or Reyes doing the complaining as they’ve been around and know what Strawberry and all the 86’ers mean to the organization and the fan base but it would be leader-like for Wright and Reyes to step up and defend Darryl and his fellow World Champs and tell those who are complaining to shut the fuck up. If I ever find out who the players are who are crying about Strawberry in the clubhouse, I promise to expose these frauds for the fucking losers that they are.

It’s these little outbursts that show whether the manager is losing his team or not and add this in with the Maine blowout and the total misuse of his bullpen and the fact that David Wright was benched and Jeff Francoeur gets his name in the lineup every day and produces nothing but failure tells you it’s time to let Jerry Manuel go.

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THE DAILY LINE TALKS TO DARRYL STRAWBERRY

The Daily Line (seen on VERSUS) sat down with Darryl Strawberry to talk about among other topics,  playing baseball in the 80’s, drug use back then and the sad saga of Lawrence Taylor. Check out the video right here

Check out The Daily Line tonight at 11PM ET right after Canadians-Penguins Game 7 on VERSUS

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TONIGHT ON VERSUS’ THE DAILY LINE :AN INTERVIEW WITH DARRYL STRAWBERRY

Tonight on VERSUS following coverage of the NHL Playoffs (around 10:30PM or so) Darryl Strawberry will be a guest on THE DAILY LINE.

Join Liam McHugh, Jenn Sterger, Reese Waters and Rob De Angellis along with Darryl Strawberry tonight on THE DAILY LINE on VERSUS.

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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.

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.