NY Mets Notes for 4-1-13

A few Opening Day notes form the NY Mets:

Last Met to hit a leadoff home run on opening day was Kaz Matsui on 4-6-04 at Turner Field

In the history of MLB the NY Mets have the best opening day winning percentage of all time at .647 (33-18)

David Wright has had at least one hit in every opening day game he’s played in for the Mets since his debut in 2005

There has been only one Mets Grand Slam hit on opening day and that was by Todd Hundley in Colorado on 4-26-1995

Happy Birthday to Daniel Murphy (#Imwith28 who turns 28) and Rusty Staub (Le Grand Orange) who turns 69 years old and will throw out the first pitch of today’s game.

The Mets will honor the first responders who did outstanding work during Hurricane Sandy.

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YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO TAKE A STAND

If it weren’t for the idiocy of Major League Baseball, all the talk last night and this morning would have been about the emotional and beautifully choreographed pre-game ceremony at Citi Field to honor the memory of the attack of September 11th and the first responders that gave their lives and the others who risked theirs to help others.

I was brought to tears seeing Mike Piazza lead a parade of heroes from the right field side of Citi Field and John Franco doing the same on the left field side.  Then having the ball park lights dim for a moment of silence followed by a spine tingling rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Marc Anthony. Franco and Piazza then took center stage in their snow white Mets uni tops with the words “9-11-01 we will never forget” embroidered on the sleeve just like it was 10 years ago, to deliver the first pitch of the game. In an eerie silence, Franco, a “Noo Yawk” guy through and through tossed a perfect strike to Piazza, the man who made the Mets relevant again. In fact  what struck me about last night was how sad it was for two reasons, the first was what the commemoration of the evening was for of course, the other, it reminded me when the last time the Mets were a big deal in this town, that choked me up as well.

The Mets wore the same snow whites that they had on 9-21-11, the first sports event in NYC since the demise of the Twin Towers, but on their heads that night were the caps of the FDNY, NYPD, and PAPD the three groups the club had become very close to due to their working side by side during the awful aftermath of the attack. At the time MLB said the Mets couldn’t wear those caps during a major league game and the Mets in turn led by Bobby Valentine told MLB to kiss their New York City ass, we’re wearing them.  What did MLB do? Nothing, just like every other bully that is stood up to. The Mets wore the first responder caps and celebrated in those caps when Mike Piazza, he of the NYPD batting helmet as well, hit his home run that put a smile on faces that thought they’d never smile again. It was not just a classic NY moment or one the best moments in Mets history it showed that baseball, just like during all of the countries dark times, came through once again, it always does, its what makes baseball the great pastime it is.

The Mets of 2011 asked MLB if they could have permission to wear the hats of the first responders again as they did 10 years ago. MLB said no, just like they did 10 years ago. This time though the Mets rolled over, scared to take a stand. There was no Valentine, or Franco, or Ventura, or Zeile on the team to tell MLB to take their no cap memo and shove it up their tight ass’s. The players thought about ignoring the order but claimed the organization would have been severely punished if they did. If the Mets banded together and wore the caps, what was MLB going to do? Absolutely nothing.  Again to beat the bully you need to stand up to the bully.

I don’t know if I’ve told this story here but if I did I apologize but I think it should be told here.  As I’ve mention on numerous occasions, I manage a 14-15 year old Babe Ruth Team on Staten Island.  During the heat wave of the summer, a day that was 97 degrees, I had scheduled a practice. We try to have at least one practice a week during the season to work on some deficiencies and to go over the pitching rotation for the upcoming games. We also take a round of infield/outfield drills and batting practice, in all it runs about two hours. The place we like to practice is Miller Field in the New Dorp section as it was a one time air base during WWII and has plenty of fields to choose from. Now because of the heat I was ready to cancel practice and let the boys enjoy their pools or whatever they were doing to stay cool. Every kid that I called said, “ah coach it ain’t that hot we can practice” my son told me he was getting texts from some players asking him to convince me to hold practice. What could I do? They want to play, fine let’s go practice. So with the equipment and a case of water, off to Miller Field we go. We were the only people in the park. Acres of land at our disposal. As we were half way through batting practice a federal parks department employee pulls up to the field asking “who is in charge here”? “ Well, that would be me”, “do you have a permit to play here” Ms. Fed asks. “A permit? For what? To play baseball”? “Yes” she said, “Ah no” I say “Well, she says then you will have to leave”.

After I stopped laughing I ask here to clear her cart from the pitcher’s mound so we could continue to play. Again she ask me if this was an organized team and where was our permit and on and on really annoying the living shit out of me. I told her the organization we played for and that we had permits to play games here but being a programed bureaucrat all she knew was I didn’t have permit for the field and I had to leave. At this point I asked her what her title was and she rattled off some administrative rank, I then told her to call someone with authority to make me leave, like the Federal Park Police, and while I wait for the police to come, we will continue to play baseball.

Well, instead of calling the police, she called her supervisor who in turn called the league president who had to come down to the park to make me leave the park.  So while I’m being screamed at with threats, I told my assistant coach, to continue with the practice this way I’ll go argue with these women long enough for all the players get their batting practice swings.   For a good half hour, we argued back in forth about the lack of common sense being applied here, which was enough time for the team to finish practice. When the coach told me practice was over, I thanked the ladies and said “yeah you know what, your right we don’t belong here, we’ll leave”.

I didn’t give a shit about the two Federal Flunkies but the woman who ran the league was so mad at me she stopped talking to me. It didn’t bother me in the least, you know why? She couldn’t do anything to me, what could she do, tell me I can’t manage the team anymore? No. Luckily I had all the parents of the kids behind me 100 %. That’s why I took the stand. I knew there was nothing anyone was going to do to me to make me regret my decision.

As I told the Feds, this will make a great story in the Staten Island Advance “Youth Coach and kids Thrown out of Park For Playing Ball” or maybe one of the local TV stations would love to expose the story, I had me some bullets in my gun.  Sometimes you have to take a stand.

That is what has me pissed off at the Mets, especially David Wright. If Wright led the way and wore the NYPD cap he wore in the dugout on the field what was MLB going to do? NOTHING! If the whole Mets team would have worn the caps on the field what was MLB going to do? NOTHING!

The bad publicity from this should be a huge embarrassment to MLB and I can’t believe no one in the P.R. department didn’t beg Bud Selig or Clueless Joe Torre, who by the way showed is true colors as a big time phony,  to let the Mets wear the caps.

You know what in the long run maybe MLB was right did it really matter if the Mets wore the first responder caps? No one was watching anyway, especially with the Jets-Cowboys game on NBC.

Enjoy those single digit post season ratings in the post season Bud, you douchebag.

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MR. SKILL SETS, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL!!!!!!!

Took a day off from blogging and social media to celebrate my son’s birthday by spending the day in the city and taking in a performance of Spider Man Turn Off The Dark. The show itself was entertaining it’s no Guys and Dolls but hey what is! I was disappointed in the music since Bono and The Edge wrote the score and the only song I really enjoyed was when Patrick Page, who really saves this show as his role as Green Goblin was the highlight of the performance, sings A Freak Like Me Needs Company to open a second act that salvaged the show for me. The high flying Spider Man and Green Goblin scenes are spectacular as is the make up job doen on Page as the Green Goblin .  Just the fact that Spidey made it this far on Broadway is an accomplishment.

On to the Mets, in no particular order:

The news that John Franco and Mike Piazza will be the participants in the first pitch of the game on September 11th and the Mets will wear caps of the first responders of that tragic day, will help bring some joy to Mets fans on what should be proclaimed a National Day of Mourning. It’s still hard to believe that it will be 10 years since the attack, of all the scenes of carnage and despair of that day, the vision of seeing the smoke smoldering from the wreckage of the Towers, from my bedroom window still haunts me.

When I first heard about Howard Johnson playing for the Rockland Boulders this weekend so he could join his son Glen I thought it was a silly stunt but then I thought it’s an Independent League so really who cares?

Jason Bay to center field? Flanked by #ImWith28 and The Dude? Better find some pitchers with a high GB/FB ratio.

Safe to say something will happen with the dimensions of the Great Wall of Flushing, like cutting the wall in half to 8 ft. I’ve stood on the warning track under that Great Wall and that is some rarified air up there. Bringing in the fences is not needed but an 8 ft left field wall will make a big improvement and hopefully help the stigma that David Wright and Jason Bay seem to have with the wall.

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DAY OF REMEMBRANCE

On any other day, I’d be writing about the latest in a string of calamities to hit the Mets with Johan Santana going from having a sore chest muscle to getting ready to have his shoulder operated on.  Or Jenry Mejia proving that any thought of either Jerry Manuel or Omar Minaya keeping their job is preposterous  as both are accountable for wasting this young man’s season and pushing his development back due to their own selfishness. But today is not any other day, it’s September 11th 2010, the ninth anniversary on the worst day ever in American history.

What makes this day even tougher, is nine years ago in the wake of the attack, the country came together, we were not Christians, Jews, Muslim, Republican, Democrat, Liberal or Conservative, we were AMERICANS!  We came together because OUR country was attacked, WE were attacked, the core of what we stand for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was attacked and we were not going to stand for it. We were truly the UNITED States of America. So what why is it nine years later we as Americans are so divided?

How did we lose our way? How did we let Wall St nearly ruin us? Why have we pledge our allegiance to political parties instead of to the good of the American people. These days Republicans and Democrats are more concerned of who is charge of the Senate than they are about getting people back to work and taking care of the very people we will honor today, the first responders at Ground Zero .  Think about it, why isn’t there the outrage about Congress not passing a bill that would take care of all medical expenses of the first responders at the World Trade Center attack like there is for the Park51 project? How can you be more angry about a community center with a pray room in it than you are about someone who was digging in rubble to try to save another human being and in the process sucked in asbestos and other carcinogens ?

I will never forget September 11th 2001 for as long as I live. It was a day just like today sunny, clear and a feel of autumnl was on the way as I write this 8:46AM is when the world changed. I missed being in the middle of it by an hour as I was enroute from lower Manhattan to Queens where my office was. Since then I was transfer to Lower Manhattan and now I’m just five blocks away from where all hell broke loose, so I’m reminded  of it everyday.

So what will I do today? I’ll spend the day with my family and be grateful for them, and I’ll take pride that I am a born and raised New Yorker and most importantly I will show how proud I am to be an AMERICAN. God bless the souls killed on 9-11-01 and their friends and families. God Bless the fallen heroes of the FDNY, NYPD, PAPD who ran towards the attack when others were running away. God bless the people of NYC who on 9-12-01 picked up the pieces and proved to the world that nothing stops us from going to work and providing for our families and most of all God Bless The United States of America.

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“OUR SECOND COLLECTION TODAY WILL FOR THE DESTITUE WILPON FAMILY”

Maybe I’m just a cynical prick, but this whole “Bernie Madoff stole my fortune” just doesn’t movemy sympathy needle one iota. It’s not like Freddy and Uncle Saul will be moving back to a one bedroom apartment above an Asian fish market in Bensonhurst any time soon, sure Bernie Madoff fucked the Skill Sets over and what makes it worse Madoff was a long time pal of Freddy Skill Sets but I’m sure  Freddy, Jeffy, Uncle Saul and the whole Skill Set clan will not be getting WIC cards sent to there Gold Coast homes any time soon, so save your tears for the men and women of the U.S. Military who are protecting you and for the first responders in your area who are on the scene when needed in emergency situation who are woefully underpaid for the services they provide us. Remember as well Manny is not a Mets not because of Madoff but because of the Used Car Salesman.

 

The Skill Sets worship at the altar of Selig and do what ever he commands them to do. It’s the baseball version of Jonestown. The Mets are not going over budget because Selig doesn’t want them going over the salary cap. What salary cap? The best salary cap in all of sports that’s what. The NFL, NBA, and NHL all have hard caps but the difference between those three and baseball‘ is they have a minimum payroll you have to adhere to, in baseball that is not an issue you can havea $20 mil payroll like the Marlins and never get a new stadium but they still make money playing on a football field in front of a lot of folded up chairs because once the get their cut from MLB (all inclusive with  national TV/radio, MLB.com etc. they’ve made payroll before they even sell a ticket) or a $190 mil payroll like the Highlanders and throw some coin in the pot for the oppressed small market kids that it seems the Skill Sets aspire to become if not for the fact that so many damn people keep showing up at the ballpark and watch and listen on TV and radio even they would feel shamed in acting in that manner.

 

As bizarre as this may sound I actually like Freddy Skill Sets (his kid is another story) because we are both from around the same neighborhood in Brooklyn and he is a very charitable guy and really my only beef with him and the rest of the Skill Sets in command of the organization is the way they allow themselves to walk lock step with Emperor Selig.

 

It’s like a game of Simon Says with the Mets when it comes to commissioner’s office more like a Selig Says. “Selig says, do not go over the luxury tax”.  “Selig says, make sure you use the slotting system in the free agent draft”. “Selig says, build a new ball park but figure out a way to get some tax payer dough to do it” 

 

If the Skill Sets would just come out say they have had enough of the oppression put on them by Selig and Co. and acted like they should, the flagship team of the National League, playing in the biggest and greatest city in the world before some of the most passionate fans in sports, I would never utter the name Skill Set in vain again in fact I would reach out to some of my “Brooklyn friends” to see what could be done about this Madoff guy. Anything for you Freddy, I’d even sit down and have a Dr. Browns with Jeffey to burrythe hatchet if that’s what it would take to get you to regain focus.

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