DON’T CRY OVER HURT ARMS

The injury bug has bitten the Mets again, and the fan base is ready to go off the deep end. Message to my fellow Mets fans, every team gets injuries; the good ones overcome the losers’ sit and lament. Take a look down I-95 at the Phuck Phaces, those are key injuries and still they have the best record in baseball, oh I’m sorry Mets fans did I hurt your feelings?  I don’t think any fan base in sports cry’s more than Mets fans do when a player gets hurt and unfortunately the manager is starting to fall into the make excuse mode as it pertains to David Wright , if Terry Collins feels that the back and neck problems Wright is experiencing has led to his piss poor plate production, then sit him down, otherwise keep your feelings to yourself.

Very hard to criticize Sandy Alderson for signing Chris Young, it was a gamble that didn’t work out. Same as taking Brad Emaus as a Rule 5 pick. Eamus didn’t work out and he was cut, Young couldn’t stay healthy now he’s gone as well. Pedro Beato was a Rule 5 that works and so far Chris Capuano  a wounded pitcher, who so far is healthy and working out fine.  Shit happens and you deal with it, that’s the Alderson way.

We can’t be shocked about Young, disappointed yes, but not shocked. He had bicep problems earlier and a history of shoulder trouble so every pitch could have been his last.

If Willie Harris is not an ex-Met by lunch time I will be very disappointed. I can’t believe this is the same player who struck fear in Mets fans hearts but he has still kept his reputation as a Mets Killer, but this time as a member of the Mets. The fact that terry Collins said that Harris ran on his own, there by throwing him under the bus, tells you the manager as had enough, let’s see if the GM agrees.

You can add Chin-lung Hu to the cut him list to he may be the worst player the Mets have had since Mike Glavine.

I thought Keith Hernandez was going to jump out of the booth last night after  Josh Thole took a 3-1 pitch and then walked in the 6th with second and third 2 outs and the pitchers spot on deck.  Mex wigged out that Thole “had two Rib Eye’s “ in scoring position and the pitcher up next would settle for a walk and not battle to drive those Rib-Eyes home.  I’m with Keith here, 3 and 1 with two runners in scoring position and you take the pitch? I’ll give you the rookie mistake and hopefully young Josh learns from that.

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RATS IN THE CELLAR

New York City blues
East side, west side blues
Throw me in the slam
A catch me if you can
Believe
That you’re wearing
Tearing me apart

Another day another dismal loss added on with poor play and some questionable managerial moves and non-moves. Welcome to Mets baseball 2011.

Two weeks into the season and the day after postmortems are getting tougher and tougher to write. Maybe those of us who saw blue and orange sugar plums this winter time to take a reality check here and admit this is not a very good baseball team and instead of patching the roof and the cracks in the foundation, maybe management should just tear the house down and rebuild it. The land underneath is much more valuable than the shack that sits on it.

Now it’s easy for me to sit here and say rebuild it because I’m not going anywhere, baseball fan wise that is. The best part of this swirly of a season is tickets for Mets home games are at Polo Grounds prices on the secondary market. Last night before I left work, I checked Stub Hub and you could get a ticket in the Promenade for 2 bucks an XL Dunkin Donuts coffee cost you more. Last night on THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN, Mike Steffanos and I talked about this and how going to Citi Field this summer could be like it was back in the mid and late 70’s, get a free ticket, go to the game, put you feet up on the seat in front of you, and extend both arms out to the seats on to your left and right. Talk about luxury seating?

So Brad Emaus was fired after 40 odd appearances at the plate to be replaced by Ginger Turner who looked as shaky as the Skill Sets finances at 2nd base last night. It looks like Turner and Daniel Murphy will form a platoon at 2nd base and hopefully Murphy has removed his head from his ass and has gotten the message that players play and managers manage. To me, Emaus while not at all impressive, got a raw deal here. That is a very small sample to give a guy who you anointed just a month ago as your 2nd baseman, to really know his truth worth. If you dump Emaus for his poor play this early then how do you justify keeping the dreadful Scott Hairston on this team. I thought Hairston would be a good 5th outfielder but right now he’s just a lazy over the hill stumble bum who needs to go like yesterday!

I can see where there is angst among some in the fan base not happy that Terry Collins didn’t rip 2nd base ump Doug Eddings a new asshole after his awful call against José Reyes. Some feel the manager needed to go out there and take his frustration out on the clueless ump as it would make them feel good to see someone act like a lunatic like them selves. Quite frankly I don’t think this group would have cared. I’m not saying they don’t care about winning and losing no I don’t think that at all but Collins acting a fool on the field is not going to turn Bobby Parnell into Goose Gossage or Mike Pelfrey into Dave Stewart or Ginger Turner into Jeff Kent. As we witnessed in the Rockies series when Troy Tulowitzki dug his spikes into the batters box and Mets pitchers were polite enough to let him get comfortable, this is a very nice group of young men who are a bit shy when it comes to confrontation.

Bobby Parnell has numbness in his middle finger, Mike Pelfrey has numbness in his skull and collectively Mets fans have become comfortably numb.

If I were Terry Collins I’d have thrown the whole righty/lefty thing out the window in 7th when he had Chin-lung Hu bat for Pedro Beato.  With 1st and 2nd 2 outs how do you let the weak hitting Hu pinch hit? I’d have gone with Murphy or Willie Harris in that spot. Both players have a better chance of getting a hit with the bat hanging out of their ass than Hu does with it in his hands.

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TUESDAY METS MINUTIA

BRING BACK BANNER DAY!!!!!!!!

Even with a day off yesterday, there is still no shortage of negative Mets stories in the daily fish wraps.

The NY Times just discovered that no one is buying Mets tickets and the fans that are, are going through the secondary ticket market at huge discounts instead of buying directly from the team. I guess the next investigative report will be that the LIRR and Metro North rarely run on time. Duh!

I really hope the team is not rushing Jason Bay back into action as that oblique rib thingy he has could be tricky. The plan was to have J-Bay play in Buffalo but with the snow (yes, SNOW) and cold, the brain trust felt it’s better to go back to St. Lonesome for two more games. What I don’t get is, why fly him up from Florida, evaluate him to the point where he is just about ready to play but fly him back down to Florida for two days and then fly back to NYC to play on Thursday. Unless Bay is getting those frequent flyer miles, I can’t see him be too happy with the back and forth back and forth plane rides. If the doctors feel Bay is A-OK  and it’s just a matter for getting at bats and rounding into baseball shape, why not just leave him here and take batting practice on the field and then in the cage and shag fly balls all in the vast valley of Citi Field? Two games in St Lonesome is going to make that much difference?      

Out of ideas, Bill Madden decides to write about the Mets farm system, saved for a couple of pitchers, is barren of talent. Either Madden thinks the Minor League system consists of only Buffalo and Binghamton or he failed to renew his subscription to Baseball America.

So far Brad Emaus has been playing like, well……a Rule V player, but I side here with Eric Seidman about leaving Emaus in the lineup for at least 300 PA and if he still is as stagnant at bat and in the field then give him a seat cushion and a spot on the bench handing out bubble gum and sunflower seeds.  Not every Rule V pans out but after 42 PA I’m not ready to pull the plug either.

There are certain things that separate the Mets for other sports team in this town.  Even when the team was bad back in the day a day at Shea was always fun. Jane Jarvis and her Thomas Organ always entertained unlike the moronic shell game/ 3 card Monty ball under the Mets cap video between innings or pass the pizza box to win a pizza that contains no mozzarella (Cassarino’s is the absolute worst concession at Citi Field a slice of pizza the size of a” horses doovers” with no cheese for $6 bucks? Fuck that!) but the one event that was pure Mets was banner day and over at Faith and Fear in Flushing Greg Prince makes the point that a return to banner day  in 2012 as an old fashion double header should be brought back. I am on board with this 1,000 %. Back in the day a bed sheet s with rally cries for the Mets used to hang in the upper deck just about every home game. Those that weren’t hanging we’re paraded through the field level with regularity. When it came to imagination and humorous prose on a bed sheet, no one matched the Mets fans. It wasn’t just at the ballpark either.

When the Mets went to their first post season in 1969, I took a white bed sheet and with a can of blue and a can of orange spray paint went into the alley way of the apartment building we lived in and sprayed in alternate blue and orange LET’S GO METS KRANEPOOL  7 SEAVER 41. I left it to dry and then brought it upstairs and hung it across our fire escape. Mine was just one of the hundreds of banners draped on fire escapes in Boro Park Brooklyn. It was truly an AMAZIN’ sight.

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THE SANDY ALDERSON/METS BLOGGERS CONFERENCE CALL

I was fortunate to be invited to a conference call last night with Sandy Alderson and my fellow Mets bloggers. This is the second cc Alderson has done with bloggers and he seems genuinely happy to talk to us and values our input about the team. As great as it was talking to the Mets GM, the biggest kick for me was reading all the Tweets from other baseball bloggers who were soooooooooooooo jealous that we were granted access to Alderson and reading how they wish the head of the team they root for would give the same courtesy. Imagine that, the same wise ass’ who like to joke and make sarcastic remarks about the Mets, are envious of Mets bloggers.

I’m slowly getting used to the frank and honest way Alderson does business, whereas in the past, I’ve always felt you had to read between the lines to find the truth out of anything coming out of Flushing , but now it seems we’re getting the straight skinny from the Mets GM.

On the release of Castillo and Perez, Alderson said that to some extent fan sentiment was a factor in releasing both players, more so in Castillo’s case as the front office had hoped that Perez could make some kind of contribution. Alderson felt it was only fair that the new regime look at both players first hand instead of relying on hearsay.  

With Emaus winning the 2nd base job, it’s clear his Rule 5 status helped him in winning the job over Justin Turner who had options. Alderson said that Emaus would only make the team as a starting baseman and not a bench player.  Alderson said he was happy that Emaus has come around with the bat and has shown signs of being effective turning the DP.

My question to Alderson was about the fight for the last spot in the bullpen, but first I added a bit of editorializing:

“Between the offseason and spring, it seems that there’s a minority in the fan base and a majority of the mainstream media that likes to dwell on the negative things that go on with the organization. They seem not to want to talk about that the team offensively has been terrific this spring, it seems that batters have been taking to Dave Hudgens’s way of hitting, a lot of walks, a lot of doubles, and the defense has been pretty good, too, maybe very good this spring, but the big thing is the pitching. The pitching has been outstanding this spring and hopefully it will carry over to the season. Now you spoke about the bullpen, and you do have decisions to make. How close is it in that seventh spot? It seems that we kind of figured the first six guys are in that pen, and that last spot, that seventh spot, seems to be the one that’s up in the air. How are you going back and forth on that decision?”

Here is Alderson’ reply:

“That’s a very good question. If you look at the guys who are competing for the last two or three spots. You’ve got a young kid, a Rule 5 pick who is untested, who has improved, we think, greatly since the beginning of camp, at least mechanically, has shown a lot of command, has shown good velocity, and we think has real upside. As compared to somebody like Jason Isringhausen, who is a veteran presence and not only because of what he can do on the mound but how he might influence the rest of that bullpen, is an attraction for us. Then you’ve got a couple of guys, [Blaine] Boyer, Manny Acosta, who are very, very close in terms of overall results, but they get there in different ways. Boyer is basically a ground ball pitcher. Acosta has the livelier fastball and is more of a strikeout guy, maybe a little more command, but occasionally gives up a three-run homer as he did yesterday. So not only is it a close competition, but interestingly, each of those guys represents a very different choice beyond how they perform, and that’s what we’re trying to balance right now is the desire to win, the feel-good story of somebody like Jason Isringhausen, who has also performed well, against the potential of somebody like Pedro Beato, and then the two guys that we brought in. And we haven’t resolve those yet. We just had a meeting today with some of the front office people here with the coaches and Terry Collins and we resolved a few things but the bullpen is still unresolved.”

The problem is Boyer ,who has had a great spring, has an out clause in his contract to become a free agent if he doesn’t make the OD 25 man roster. In a perfect world I believe Alderson would take Izzy north and hope Boyer doesn’t get a ML contract from another team and he signs him to a minor league deal. The odds of that are slim.

There were great  questions  from all who participated and to read the entire transcript check out the post Eric Simon of Amazin’ Avenue   put together in detail of the conference call.

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“CASTILLO, HUH YEAH, WHAT IS HE GOOD FOR? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, SAY IT AGAIN NOW……”

It seems that the second base position for the Mets has become the black hole 3rd base had once been. None of the four competitors for the job have stepped up to make it clear he is worthy of the job. Brad Emaus has yet to hit this spring but has shown a pretty good glove. Justin Turner seems to be the odd man out due to his two minor league options in his pocket  (I don’t see Turner’s name on either travel list for today) and Daniel Murphy has hit and shown some decent footwork at 2nd base but turning the double play has been what Terry Collins wants to see before he anoints Murph the opening day Mets second sacker.  That leaves the incumbent at the spot, Luis Castillo and from reading John Harper’s piece in the Daily News today, I sure if it were up to Terry Collins he would love to rid himself of Slappy :

Furthermore, Castillo, the incumbent of sorts, has annoyed Terry Collins by moping around in apparent protest of being forced to compete for the job, to the point where the manager called him into his office a couple of days ago to tell him he better start working harder if he wanted any shot at all.

Castillo didn’t even take pregame ground balls one day last week when he was in the lineup as the DH, as Collins has had to juggle playing time to get looks at all four second-base candidates. And that didn’t sit well with the new manager, who is not going to tolerate the laissez-faire attitude that permeated the clubhouse in recent years.

Since meeting with Collins, who promised to try to get him more playing time, Castillo seems to have raised his energy level, and he had a solid game Wednesday with two walks, a bloop single to left, and a nice play going toward the hole on a ball that went off Ike Davis’ glove.

This is the Castillo M.O. when things don’t go his way or the way he wants it to, he mopes, in fact is there a bigger mope than Castillo? His attitude has sucked for a couple of years now and unless he is the starting 2nd baseman Luis will mope and be an all-out fucking malcontent.  Why keep him around? Like Oliver Perez, he’s more trouble than he’s worth.

Just by looking at the starting lineups for today’s spilt squad games you can see the manager wants no part of this slap hitting, diminished range, piss poor attitude has been. Castillo will start today in Viera against the Nats but as the DH. Murphy will start at 2nd base. Over in Jupiter, Brad Emaus will start against the Fish and with Luis Hernandez on the roster in Jupiter he will most likely spell Emaus at 2nd as Hernandez has made himself a dark horse candidate in the this position race.

Meanwhile over in the minor league backfields of St. Lonesome , Reese Havens works out and hopes he can stay healthy because if he does he will be the Mets 2nd baseman by Memorial Day.   

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AHHHHHHHHHHH BASEBALL

Observations from the first game of spring training and how nice it is to talk about on the field issues:

The best part of the game for me were the pitchers who worked yesterday. Collectively, the six pitchers used struck out 9 and walked 3. Of the three walks Jenry Meija walked 1 and Manny Acosta walked 2. In fact , Acosta  was the only pitcher used who had trouble throwing strikes (8/7 BB/K)

Meija  was not only effective with his breaking ball but he looked happy and relaxed.  It’s just one appearance and maybe it’s just my giddiness over seeing baseball for the first time this year but my fear that the past administration may have ruined Mejia has been somewhat relieved.

I had and still have no idea who John Lujan is.

Fernando  Martinez had a throwing error and ran into a railing in foul territory chasing a fly ball and looked like he banged his knee and was limping a bit. All I could think of is, will he ever make it in the big leagues and if in order to keep Pedro Beato or Brad Emaus in the organization is via trade then hopefully the Orioles or Blue Jays would take F-Mart. Then Martinez goes and cracks a two run home run to tie the game with the replay showing just a beautiful swing and I totally change my mind about him. This is what is so frustrating about F-Mart. I hope this kid stays healthy all year and gets 450-500 AB’s in Buffalo so we can finally find out if he’s  worth keeping or if he becomes a very valuable trading chip.

It’s spring training for the Mets announcers as well. It was wonderful to turn on the TV at 1PM yesterday and see Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez  and “SNY Celeb” Kevin Burkhardt but Cohen made the first faux pau of the season as he referred to Sandy Alderson as “Sandy Martinez” . Hernandez picked up where he left off last season with his marvelous comments, yesterday’s Mex-isim was calling  Braves catcher Brian McCann “portly.  Can’t wait until he gets a gander at Bartolo Colon.

Mets Twitterverse lit up when Willie Harris belted a 2 run HR to tie the game in the bottom of the 10th inning but the most impressive part of Harris day was when in the middle of being interviewed by Kevin Burkhardt , Harris just stopped as F-Mart hit his home run and started cheering and then went to congratulated him then he went back to the interview.

Nick Evans is not going down without a fight.

Scott Hairston is going to be a guy we talk about this season in a very positive way. Harriston is going to win a few game for the Mets this year. Hairston has pop in his bat and will be a very useful 4th outfielder.

I’ve been killing Evan Roberts of WFAN all week for his non-stop NJ Nets talk and going ga-ga over the Deron Williams deal (I would say the NJ Nets have the smallest fan base of any team in the NY metro area. The NY Red Bulls of the MLS have a bigger fan base than the Nets) but today I have to give him mad props for his interview with Sandy Alderson yesterday.

It was good to see Jason Bay get a base hit in his second and last at bat as he looked awful on his time up in the first inning. After the game he did say he felt rusty but he feels great.

Let’s hope like last year with the Dickey jokes that Mets fans get the Hu Who? Jokes out of their system by the end of spring training. Chen lu Hu looks like the best defensive player on the team. No joke.

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SQUARE PEGS

I have to say as much as I was looking forward to the start of spring training, I’ve got a bad case of “workout fatigue” from all the reporting going on from St. Lonesome.  There is only so much I can read about players having catch and throwing batting practice or bullpen sessions. I can only look at so many pictures of players stretching where it starts to become as annoying as when you’re cornered by a co-worker and forced you to look at pictures of the latest birthday party they had for their 3 year old.

It’s gotten to the point I sit at the keyboard and try to figure out what the hell can I come up with that’s new and fresh. I’m still staring. I can’t wait until Saturday when I can at least see players in game action. It’s nice to read about pitchers throwing outstanding bullpens and hitters ripping the cover off a batting practice fastball but when it’s put in real live action then we’ll find out just what we have with this Mets team.

And no I’m not jealous of everyone down in Florida in their shorts and t-shirts enjoying the warm sun, I’d much rather be here in NYC with four layers of clothes and being stuffed into a subway car like a sardine.

When I look over how the makeup of the Mets roster could be constructed I cannot fathom how either Oliver Perez or Luis Castillo makes this team (ok I admit I’m a bit obsessed with these two faces of failure and I see what Sandy Alderson is doing by keeping them as long as can until he either trades them or releases them)

For Castillo it’s either start or bust, he is no use to the team off the bench. From many indications, both Daniel Murphy and Brad Emaus will make the team, most likely as a platoon at second base unless one guy break out big at the start of the season.  Between Murph and Emaus you have a shot at 60+ xbh  from second base. It would take Castillo three season to do that.

Ollie Perez has become the Mets square peg on the round hole. What a misfit. Looking at pitching staff it looks like a 12 man staff of five starters and seven relievers. From the early results, Chris Capuano and Chris Young should fill out the bottom two fifths of the rotation. From listening to Terry Collins, the men in the pen who will have locker space in Queens are Frankie Rodriguez, Bobby Parnell, D.J. Carrasco. Pedro Beato has made a big impression on Collins and with his Rule 5 label attached to him he’d have to get hit from stem to stern to not make the team.  Now it gets a bit complicated. Jason Issringhausen has surprised everyone by showing up in Mets camp and looking impressive in his workouts. Izzy does just bring back some nostalgic memories, he also brings an impressive closers resume as well.  That leaves two spots and one has to be filled by a LOOGY, so Tim Byrdak and Taylor Tankersley will fight for that spot or would they both make the team? What about Pat Misch? Another lefty who could be LOOGY-ish or Darren Oliver-ish as a long man.  I haven’t even mentioned Mike O’Connor or two righties, Manny Acosta and Manny Alvarez who could make the final bullpen decision difficult for Alderson and Collins.

Am I missing anyone? I don’t think so, hummmm let me see…………ahhh yeah, Mr. Square Peg. Sorry Ollie you don’t fit here anymore.

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DON’T HATE ME BECAUSE I’M EXCITED ABOUT THE RULE V DRAFT

I had the pleasure of appearing on Mike Silva’s NY Baseball Talk show last night on Blog Talk Radio where we discussed the disconnect that some Mets have with reality.

The fact that I know who Boof Bonser is has impressed my friends.  Hey, we can’t neglect our Bisons now, can we?

The Mets selected 2B Brad Emaus from the Toronto Blue Jays (JP must know something here) and RHP Pedro Beato (FINALLY A MET!!!!) from the Baltimore Orioles in the Rule V draft. Emaus has some power and is built like Dan Uggla, so I guess throw Emaus name in the 2B competition this spring. Beato was drafted by the Mets in 2007 as a draft and follow and tried to sign him for $1mil in 2008 but the Commissioner’s office advised against spending that money on a 15th round pick. Beato went back into the draft was taken by the O’s and given the same $1mil the Mets were willing to give out. Oh well, Beato born in the DR was is a Brooklyn boy as he excelled at Xaverian H.S. in beautiful Bay Ridge Brooklyn.

Looks like Ken Oberkfell will be rewarded with the position as Terry Collins consigliere, good to have Obie on board.

Word on the street is Johan Santana won’t be ready to pitch for the Mets until June. No problem. What I’m curious about is how the manager and GM handle the everyday questions about Santana. I’m hoping they address it in spring and inform the MSM that the next time you hear about Johan is when he’s ready to join the big league. Let’s concentrate on the living.

So the Highlanders look ready to shit their pants and offer Cliff Lee a 7 year deal. The kicker will be if the Rangers make a play of 6yrs and sweeten the dough, what will Lee do? Now that Carl Crawford will be grazing in the left field of Fenway Park , the Red Sox have to be favored to win the AL East with that potent lineup and terrific pitching, Lee has the Boss’s Boys by the balls. Yes, I fuckin’ love it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    

We will now have a moment of silence to mourn the death of #Frenchtober

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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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