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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YOUR MOMENT OF ALDERSON ZEN

I think we all need to take a big deep breath. This Skill Sets Cash Call has gotten the fan base acting like a bunch of blue and orange Chicken Little’s.  The skies of Flushing may look dark and ominous but it’s not falling. This may in fact, be the best thing that could happen to the Mets.

There seems to be a misunderstanding in the fan base that thinks spending lots of money equals championships, if that’s the case, how come there are only two World Series trophy’s on display at the Mets Hall of Fame? No one was better at pissing away the Skill Sets cash than Omar Minaya but his administration had no structure or foresight  or the balls to tell Jeffey stay out the baseball operations way. The minor league system, the life blood of any organization, has been run about as well as Mayor Bloomberg’s snow removal system. The biggest indictment of the failure of the Mets system is the image still burned in my memory of Fernando Martinez in his first day as a major leaguer, failing to run out a ball hit in front of home plate. At that point, F-Mart should have been taken to La Guardia Airport and sent back to Buffalo and then the whole minor league system should have been bulldozed and built back from the ground up. It didn’t because there was no one in charge with balls or brains to fix it. Until now.

The best move in the last couple of days by the Mets (besides signing R.A. Dickey and Angel Pagan clearing the arbitration eligible list) was hearing Sandy Alderson in his straight shooter way, talk to us like intelligent adults. There was no spin or sleight of hand like we’re used to, there was a right between the eyes shot of reality (Adam Rubin’ transcript of the Alderson conference call is required reading for the Mets masses)

“First of all, I want to emphasize that the plan that we have pursued the last couple of months was limited by only one fact, and that was the level of the existing payroll. Our payroll going into the season will be somewhere between $140 million and $150 million. I think that is significantly higher than we’d like to be on an annual basis — a product of adding some additional players that we felt the roster needed as well as some existing commitments. The plan and the approach that I’ve taken over the last two months has not been affected at all by any other outside factors.

 

“From my standpoint, when I took this position, when I interviewed and took this position, I was of course aware of the pre-existing involvement of the Wilpons and the Mets with Bernie Madoff. I wasn’t privy to all of the detail, nor am I or most of us at this point privy to all that detail. And I wouldn’t expect to be. At the same time, none of that has affected what I have done over the last two months. I don’t expect that it will have any impact on what I do over the next several months, including into the 2012 offseason.”

Gone are the days of wasting money on has beens and underachievers as bench players just because they are your friends or are good at playing Hearts. Why give a 35 year old utility infielder $2mil when you can use a minor leaguer for $450K or a journeyman for a make good deal where performance equals a pay raise? We’re not used to such competence around here and I guess it takes time to understand, there is spending money and there is spending money wisely.

Alderson also showed his leadership qualities by turning negative news into a positive when asked if he was worried about having the cash resources going forward:

No. I mean, obviously there’s a certain level of ambiguity surrounding this news. But from my standpoint, the facts are as they currently exist. And to some extent the decision to find a minority partner or some other source of recapitalizing the franchise is positive news from my standpoint. If there was an initial problem before, that can only be positive from my standpoint.”

There seems to be a panic by a small group of Mets fans about the future of Jose Reyes and his tenure with the Mets. From hearing Alderson address this it will be Reyes performance and his contract demands that will dictate if he stays a Met for years to come. Ken Davidoff of Newsday has said of Pee Wee Cashman, that he is “a stone cold killer” in the way he deal s with players as we’ve seen with Derek Jeter and the Rafael Soriano signing. I would say Alderson is a more of a calculated assassin.  Alderson will do what’s best for the Mets not Reyes and for that Mets should be grateful.  Alderson is not going to make the Mets a small market team he is going to make then a more efficient organization when it comes to handing out long term deals.  Anyone have a problem with that?

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MY TEAM WENT TO PUETRO RICO, AND ALL THEY BROUGHT BACK WAS LOUSY BASEBALL

Is it over yet? Last night’s game will not be in the rotation of Mets Classics on SNY, between the rain delay, Big Pelf’s throwing batting practice, Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan forced out of the lineup with injuries, and Gary Cohen admitting in public he was a fan the Mama’s and the Papas, the only reason to keep watching the game telecast was to see if Keith Hernandez’ head would explode.

I can’t wait for Saturday’s Mets-Nationals game with the most bizarre pitching match up I ‘ve ever seen. R.A. Dickey for the Mets vs. The Sensational Strasburg. Just think, you could add up the velocity of three of Dickey’s pitches and that total is still lower than one Strasburg fastball. The only drawback to the game is it’s on FOX, so I’m guessing we get stuck with Doofus Joe and Tim McFullofshit UGH!!!!!

Sam Page has a great post on Amazin’ Avenue on what is a fair trade for Cliff Lee. When you look it over the Mets do have the chips to pull this off without giving up Jenry Mejia. I would hate to lose Reese Havens in a deal as well but if a package of Fernando Martinez, Josh Thole, Nick Evans and Eric Niessen brings Cliff Lee to the Mets, it’s a steal, even if Lee leaves after the season as a free agent. Ike, Niese, Mejia and Wilmer Flores would be untouchables, Mark Cohoon too, so anyone else is fair game to get dealt for a pitcher of Lee’s pedigree.

Leonard Davis of the Syracuse Chiefs was the prick who took out Daniel Murphy at second base to break up a double play that put Murph out of action for the season with a knee injury. The play was a scumbag move by Davis. Tues day night the Bison met the Chiefs and Dillon Gee was on the mound and had a 4-0 lead when Davis came up to bat. Gee proceeded to drill Davis in the back with a pitch as payback for the take out of Murphy. I hope Dillon Gee is a Met forever!

The Phuck Phaces are getting hit hard by injuries. HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

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HEY LET’S PLAY TWO

Day/Nighter today and I was sooooo ready to cut work and head to Flushing to watch Santana do his magic, but my desk is piled as high with cases as thick as Fernando Martinez’ medical folder,  So I’ll pass on going to the game to spend the afternoon with Howie, Wayne and my un-fucking-believable case load. So while you wait for Game 1 some great links to peruse:

Ed Ryan at Mets Fever feels the time is right to bring back Bobby Parnell and his high heat to bolster the bullpen. I agree as it my be time to send Ryota Igarhashi down and when John Maine comes back, stick him in the pen as well. To make room for Maine, the Mets can put Fernando Nieve on the DL saying he is suffering from exhaustion. No one will dispute that.

Nice gesture by the Mets to draft John Franco’s son JJ in the first year draft even though he is headed off to Brown University. I watched JJ play at Staten Island Little League when I was managing a team and John would come to the complex whenever the Mets were off and his son played. Another young man from Staten Island Little League, Bobby Lanigan has been very impressive pitching for the Ft. Myers Miracle of the FSL.

Ike Davis is a rare species of Met 

When David Wright can slap Big Pelf in the mush with his batting gloves and live to tell about it, then you know all is right in Metsland.

I swear the guys over at Amazin’ Avenue get up with the roosters (or they just stay up all night) and I for one am glad they do as their Daily Mets Farm Report is a must read for me every morning.

Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for ending their 49 year drought by winning the Stanley Cup last night on one of the strangest goals in hockey history. Patrick Kane scored in OT but it wasn’t until the video review verified it. Kane and his teammates were celebrating but the Flyers and their fans just stood around like “now what” even the great Doc Emrick was a bit flustered. Anyway it’s nice to see an Original Six team win the cup. 

Memo to David Stern: Your thieving bastard refs are ruining the NBA Finals. When they are not gambling and throwing games or trading first class airline tickets for coach seats and pocketing the difference, they all but destroy the flow of the game and are so inconsistent with their calls that I don’t know what is and isn’t a foul anymore. And to you Mike Breen, your lucky I’m not working with you as I’d have punched you in the head by now you referee toady suck up.

Here’s your lineup for game 1:

            Reyes SS

•           Pagan CF

•           Bay LF

•           Davis 1B

•           Wright 3B

•           Francoeur RF

•           Cora 2B

•           Blanco C

•           Santana P

Will there be a Jesus sighting in game 2 ? How about the Animal?

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BACK BY POPULAR DEAMND, ITS’ “ROSTER MON”

Less than three weeks to go before opening day and we can only hope the baseball gods gives weather like today. How does 70 degrees sound ? So today seemed like a good day to take a look at what the 25 man roster for the Mets could look like on April 5th.

1st base

Daniel Murphy is making Omar’ job very difficult by having a lousy spring, while Ike Davis has done everything short of healing Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran of their woes. With both those bats out of the lineup to start the year, it will be very interesting to see if the club is bold enough to give Davis the opening day start.  If Davis does make the big club does Murphy stay as a lefty bat off the bench over Mike Jacobs?

2nd base

For all the shit I give Luis Castillo he is producing offensively, Alex Cora will be his understudy

3rd base

D-Wright. ‘Nuff said

Shortstop

Just give the damn job to Ruben Tejada already. Let him play as much as possible at the position to be ready for opening day. Alex Cora is what he is a backup. Between Tejada and Castillo, Cora will get enough playing time to be effective.

Catcher

Barajas/Blanco.

LF

Jason Bay

CF

Here is where it get interesting again. As great as Fernando Martinez has played this spring and by the way, if there is any positives coming out of St. Lonesome it’s we have discovers life on the farm. The death of the Mets minor league system has been greatly exaggerated. Maybe this is F-Marts coming out party but with his history of injury as much as the Mets would love to give him the CF job until Carlos B comes back, it may be better for him to go to Buffalo and get 400 AB’s. It’s also easier to send Martinez down as both Angel Pagan and Gary Mathews Jr are producing this spring. 

RF

For all the positive influence stories about Frenchie so far this spring has anyone noticed he’s been awful at the plate? Good thing he has endeared himself with Wright and HOJO otherwise the discussion would be keeping F-Mart over Frenchie in right.

Tomorrow I’ll look at the pitching and bench. Busy day today.

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MORE IMPURE THOUGHTS

Daniel Shoptaw, the Prime Minister of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the operator of the Cardinals blog C70 At The Bat, does a series on his site, Playing Pepper where he interviews bloggers from other teams sites to get the lowdown on their season. Now up on C70 At The Bat are the New York Mets and yours truly is a contributor.

Where did this Albert Puljos trade to the Phillies for Ryan Howard come from? Ruben Armaro is calling bullshit and I’m sure Cards GM John Mozeliak said the same thing because it really makes no sense. But I did learn something from this rumor, if you really need page views just pull something ridiculous out of your ass like Buster Olney did by reporting this.

First camp cuts are out and Josh Thole will be sent to minor league camp. No surprise there.

Okay Rielle Hunter thanks for the dirt now go away and take your pictures with you, you’re extremely unattractive.

I see the point that Alex Cora is a smart player and is looked up to in the Mets clubhouse and I appreciate that but as long as he plays no more than two games a week, his short comings will come through. Just let Ruben Tejda play everyday until Jose Reyes comes back.

Maybe Fernando Martinez has turned the corner from prospect/suspect to solid major leaguer but he hasn’t played or stayed healthy enough to be the everyday CF’er until Carlos Beltran comes back. I could be persuaded though is Angle Pagan continues with his brain farts on the field.

The voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame has nothing on the shit heads who vote for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here are some of the names who are NOT in the Rock and Roll HOF:

Joe Cocker (did they send him a Letter?)

Alice Cooper (unconscionable)

Deep Purple (ever hear of Richie Blackmore ? )

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (I nearly cried over this one come here Joanie I’ll give ya a hug)

King Crimson (Robert Fripp? Adrian Belew? Hello?)

Mott The Hoople (something against Young Dudes ?)

Motorhead (It’s Lemmy for God sake)

New York Dolls (THIS IS A NATIONAL FUCKING DISGRACE!!!!)

Warren Zevon (no wonder the HOF is Cleveland bunch of losers!!!)

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METS BULLPEN TURNS INTO DAY LABORERS CAMP

It looks like the Mets front office feels the bullpen situation is bit dicey, with Kelvin Escobar hurting and the lack of a second lefty to take the pressure of Perpetual Pedro, they have signed RHP Kiko Calero and are courting LHP Joe Biemel.

Calero has a history of arm/shoulder injury but his biggest asset is he works cheap, a minor league deal that turns into a major league deal for $850K When Calero is on he is quite effective with his slider and he also a fly ball pitcher who could thrive at $iti Field National Park . Biemel is doing a song and dance about how much he wants, I guess he hasn’t figured out that the Mets have started throwing nickels around like they are manhole covers, but the Mets have the calendar on their side as they saw with Calero who wasn’t happy to be out of work so long but took what he could get.  

We all love Ike Davis and we all hope he becomes the 30+ HR 100+ RBI guy we have been dreaming of and his Granny yesterday in St. Lonesome was baseball Viagra no doubt about it but let’s not get premature about pushing him North as the every day first baseman for opening day. Let’s have Ike get about 100 or so AB’s as a Bison and if he’s producing, by all means bring him up. Between Davis, Jenry Mejias, Fernando Martinez and Josh Thole its clear the Mets fan wants a homegrown star to root for maybe this one time the bad fortune of the organization turns and these four kids turn out to be the real deal.

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HEY I LIKE 20 YEAR OLD LATIN GUYS….UH WAIT…..THAT DIDN’T COME OUT RIGHT……….BASEBALL PLAYERS THAT IS……….

  13 days until pitchers and catchers

Last night’s hour long PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL show, went by in a flash thanks our own Yankee-Doodle, Michael calling in and Matt Silverman coming on to talk about the ’69 Mets. Some of the topics I wanted to get to in the opening of the show got pushed back as I went on a bit of a Fernando Martinez rant, so I guess I’ll touch on those here.

By the way I got to see F-Mart’s AB last night with the bases loaded and two out in the Dominican Republic v. Venezuela Caribbean World Series game. Martinez did not get a hit in the AB but it was an impressive turn at the plate that lasted 10 pitches until he hit a foul pop that was caught by the Venezuelan right fielder.

I’m not anti-Fernando in any way; I just want the kid to stop acing like he’s a 27 year old journeyman who has never gotten a chance and be the 20 year old who plays so well this spring that he beats out Angel Pagan to be Carlos Beltran’s understudy.

Looks like me and Orlando Hudson have something in common; we both will never play second base for the Mets. So after all the debate about second base for the Mets what’s done is done, Luis Castillo is the Mets second baseman for better or worse till death due us part (or until Reese Havens can prove he can play at the big league level) for 2010.

What is the under/over on how many times Gary Cohen or Howie Rose say “Just out of the reach of Castillo, for a base hit” this season? Let’s set the number at 75.

The last place in the world I thought I’d ever see the name Municipal Credit Union would be on a ball park marquee.  I wonder if those of us with accounts at MCU will get a discount on Cyclones tickets.

I’m very happy for Nelly Figs and his great performance the other day for DR in the Caribbean Series but it wasn’t like he was pitching against the Phillies or Highlanders, it was against Mexico and 45 year old  270 lb Vinny Castila, The Big Fajita!

Maybe things are not as bleak for the Mets as we think. FOX has the Amazin’s scheduled for broadcast 8 times this coming season and one of the games is a prime timer versus the Bronx Bastards.

Maple Street Press is coming out with it’s Mets Annual in a few weeks and there will be a section on the Mets Blogosphere, that will include yours truly.

Matt Silverman is putting out a revised paperback version of his book “100 Things Mets Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die” 

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WALK LIKE A MAN/TALK LIKE A MAN………..

Every story you read about Fernando Martinez focuses on his potential. Since he signed with the Mets at the age of 16, we heard about the great potential that this young man has. He has the potential to hit for power, run like the wind, hit for average, tons and tons of potential. Well you know what potential means? It means you haven’t done a damn thing yet. You could do some great things or you may be another in a long  line of Mets prospects on the junk heap.

Ina story on MLB.com, Jesse Sanchez talks to F-Mart about his play so far the winter, where he is currently playing for the Dominican Republic rep Escogido where after  a slow start, Martinez has played well.  I thought that this quote though was a little too cocky for a guy who still has a lot to prove:

“I know I’m a big league player, and I can perform at a high level,” Martinez said. “It’s in my hands, so I have to keep working hard and maybe earn a spot. Maybe I make it to the big leagues with the Mets or maybe another team, but I know I can do it. I just have to keep working and waiting for my opportunity.”

I want to like this kid and I would love to see him finally live up to the hype and come back to the Mets and make a big contribution to the team’s future. But the bottom line is, this season is make or break for him, a young man of 20 years old just cannot keep breaking down the way he does. At first I thought that he was so young and the strain on his body of playing professional baseball and the natural progression of his physical growth were colliding and causing his injuries but I am starting to think it may be more a lack of dedication to the craft that has caused him not to be a hard worker or take the time to train and be physically fit.

Martinez claims he is a big leaguer and he knows he needs to work hard to get back to major leagues but as we’ve seen with the four years he has been in the organization, talk is cheap.

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HO-HO-HO MERRY CHRISTMAS METS FANS

 

 

Before I get on with this quick post on the Christmas Eve let me first wish one and all a happy and healthy Christmas. This will be it around here for today and tomorrow but before we break for Christmas a few quickies:

 

Please Theo Epstein do us Mets fans a favor and sign Jason Bay. Theo, you are a bright young GM and you played this perfectly as the only suitor for Bay is this broken down NL team with no direction home. Bravo Theo, bravo.  

 

Fernando Martinez can you be a has been even though you’ve never been? I wish MLB Network would do a show like E Entertainment does on Hollywood stars who fall to shit about ball players or future phenoms who never make it as F- Mart’s story would be epic. Who knows, now that Martinez has fallen off the major league wagon he can go back to being a minor leaguer learning to play baseball.

 

Couples split all the time but I was so sorry to hear about Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins breaking up. Now Sarandon is a great actress and I can’t pass by a display of lemons at the supermarket without think of her in the film Atlantic City but it’s Robbins, who is more than just a great actor, he is a great sports fan that made pause to feel upset of this breakup. I have met Tim Robbins twice in my life both at sporting events. Once at Shea as he is a big Mets fan and another time at Madison Square Garden as he is also a huge Rangers fan and a hockey player. I never knew how tall Robbins was until I met him in person, I’m 6ft and he is about a head taller than me. When I saw him at MSG, he was hanging out near the ice watching warm-ups like us other Rangers fans and when I recognized him I said that I had met him at Shea and in fact it was after the 2007 season or as we call it the Great Collapse of ’07, and we commiserated while watching the Blueshirts skate in warm ups He could not have been more gracious and being that we are the same age we not shared love of Mets and Rangers but rock music as well. I hope to run into again sometime this winter at MSG or at $iti Field in the spring.

 

Speaking of MSG, I can not believe it’s been 30 years since the Boston Bruins-Mike Milburry, Peter McNab, Terry O’Reily-stormed the stands at the Garden, right in front of me. My friends and I had season tickets in Blue Seats and when there were two minutes left in every home game we used to “make the move” downstairs to watch the end of the game, hear the 3 stars of the game and then head into the Manhattan night. There was tension in the building most of the night as there were with most Ranger-Bruin games. But when Milburry hopped over the glass followed by his teammates all hell broke lose. The funniest part of that night was when I got home and my mom and dad sitting in the living room by the phone. They were watching the 11 O’clock news and saw the riot, they both swore my friends and I were involved. Ah, good times.

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Tickets

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