Checkout The Sports Media Watchdog Podcast from 2-17-13

 
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On the latest Sports Media Watchdog Podcast Mike Silva and I discuss Michale Jordan at 50, The NBA All Star Game, the legacy of LeBron James, Fred Wilpon and his new found cash, and the NY Highlanders dropping StubHub as they try to strong arm the secondary ticket market

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Mets-cetra

 

As the equipment truck heads down I-95 towards St. Lonesome there is a few pieces of Mets information in the news today, so let’s take a look-see shall we?

According to the NY Post, Fred Wilpon and Uncle Saul Katz would like to build a casino on the soon to be re-developed Iron Triangle. Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.  The one think the Mets have going for them in this new scheme business venture is that Governor Cuomo is a proponent of having casinos in New York State but mostly he wants them upstate New York and not in the NYC limits. This reminds me of the time years ago the urban legend around Brooklyn was that Frank Sinatra was buying up a whole bunch of real estate because casino gambling was coming to Coney Island. Of course that never happened. Neither will Willets Point Casino. The part of the story that made me choke on my bagel was that the city has “handed” the Wilpon’s 23 acres of NYC real estate back in 2011 that they have turned into park spaces. Nice of the Bloomberg administration to be giving away land maybe folks in Staten Island, Rockaways and Breezy Point can get a nice gift like that.

Are the decision makers in the MLB Commissioners office on vacation or just asleep?   Can someone give a ruling on whether the Mets can have their 11th pick in the Entry Level draft protected or not so the club can get down to business and sign Michael Bourn. The Pirates are being reward for not doing their due diligence on Mark Appel  taking the RHP with the 8th pick in the last year draft and having the pitcher turn down $3.8 mil to go back for his senior season at Stanford.  It’s not just the draft pick that concerns the Mets it’s the slotting money that the club would lose that has them in the conundrum they’re in concerning Bourn.  Not an easy decision for Sandy Alderson.

I really, really, really like Johan Santana but can he stop with the” I want play in the WBC” proclamations?  How about getting in shape and being ready for opening day for the team that PAYS you?  I get all this Nationalism and stuff but Santana finished the season on the disabled list so the Mets are within their rights under the CBA to tell Santana no way and I would bet that Sandy Alderson will stick to that. This is Santana’s last year (months?) as a Met so what’s he gonna do? Besides the Mets need for Santana to show some positive starts so he can be used as trade bait in July.

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If Fred Wilpon Was Thinking Of Addressing The Crowd On Opening Day, He Better Think Again

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Hat tip to Jeff Pearlman for this link

 

You would think the owner of a team that hasn’t won anything in ages and knows that he presides over a hostile fans base would think twice about taking to the microphone to address a sold out crowd on what was supposed be a night of celebration and have it turn into a fiasco.  No this is not about Freddy or Jeffy Skill Sets as even as clueless as they both are they know and the Mets P.R. staff is savvy enough to know that the club owners are not very popular with the fan base, so you wonder what was the P.R. staff of the Golden State Warriors thinking by letting team owner Joe Lacob speak during Chris Mullin Night in Oakland.

The Warriors fans it seems hates ownership and it may be unfair to Lacob who is the new owner and is trying to fix what previous owner Chris Cohan broke, like firing the iconic Mullin as the teams GM but Lacob, as the video shows, looks totally shocked at the response he received from the fans and was totally unprepared on how to deal with the hostile crowd. Instead of just sticking to the script and getting on with the unveiling of Mullin’s retired jersey in the rafters, Lacob looks like he’s ready to piss his pants, if it weren’t for the great job that Mullin and Rick Barry do in supporting Lacob, I’m sure there would have been a puddle at center court.

After watching that video I wondered if Mets fans would do the same to the Skill Sets. They wouldn’t because I doubt we would get the chance. The Skill Sets know they are personas non grata with the Mets fans and as inept as we all think they are they’re not that out of touch that they don’t understand the shit storm of a reaction they would get if they tried to make a speech at Citi Field.

It’s a shame that Mullin’s night was marred by this display of fan revolt but there is also something refreshing about a fan base that sells out an arena game after game letting an owner have it for not putting a winning team on the court.

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OK Freddy Now Show Us Why We Should Care?

Why is Freddy smiling? Well, he just beat the rap! picture credit to John Marshall Mantle of the NY Times

I care about Fred Wilpon’s finances as much as he cares about mine which is nil.  Yesterday was a win for Fred and Uncle Saul but was it a win for Mets fans? That remains to be seen.

My concern in this whole clusterfuck of finance is how and when do the Mets get back to being championship contenders and that Jeffy Wilpon is kept away from the big boys running the baseball operations. It doesn’t matter if the Skill Sets discover gold, oil and a poppy field in Mo’Zone, as long as Sandy Alderson and his staff are allowed to do the baseball work, things have a good chance of working out for Mets but if they go back to business as usual then yesterday could be looked at as a dark day for Mets fans.

I have no problem with the Skill Sets owning the Mets what bothers me is when they get themselves involved in things they have no business in like obtaining players either by free agency, trading or drafting. Right now you have very competent people employed to run that end of the business like you did in the mid 60’s when Whitey Herzog ran the farm system and in the 80’s when Frank Cashen ran the organization, both times the Mets had their best success. I believe if Wilpon leaves Sandy Alderson alone this could be a renaissance of Mets baseball and if Fred was smart he’d understand this.

The Skill Sets are still faced with massive debt on the team, ball park and SNY so all yesterday really did was drop one of their 99 problems now that Irv Picard ain’t one. One of those 99 problems for the Mets is how to get ass’s in the seats of Citi Field, of course winning would help solve that but in order to get the fan base revved up the ownership had to show there is a commitment to winning. By commitment I don’t mean spending stupid money like in the past but showing the fan base that they really want to improve this team. As it stands today the club is deficient in starting pitching and bench depth as well as not having a bona fide veteran catcher to go along with a crippling contract of Jason Bay who doesn’t look like he’s going to have a turnaround season. You want to win back your fan base, allow Alderson to deal Bay with the team that will take half of the $35 mil that owed to Bay ($16 mil this season and next with a $3mil buyout in ’14) and the Skill Sets take the other half then I’ll say there is a commitment to making the Mets better and the fan base will know it and maybe that will get folks back to attending games at Citi Field. But again with the massive debt still on the Wilpon’s shoulders I doubt we’ll see this. You know maybe if they just started telling Mets fan the truth about the financial commitment they are making towards the team would be a good start to mend fences with the fan base.

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WHICH ORGANIZATION HAS THE BEST UPSIDE? NY METS OR NY JETS?

 

I had a thought this morning while I was reading two interesting sports stories the fish wraps , which organization was in worse shape, the NY Mets or the NY Jets? In my estimation, it’s the Jets.

I put the question out there in Twitter-land and no one in my time line agreed with me, in fact I got a lot of “The Islanders are worst of all” which may be true (see DiPietro, Rick franchise wrecking contract) but with the stories today that the Jets players feel that QB Mark Sanchez is a lazy piece of shit and has a sense of entitlement and the Wilpon’s look to be getting a cash infusion of $100mil with the sale of minority shares in the club, it made we wonder which team is worse shape?

The responses I received all dealt with money, Woody Johnson’s got it and Fred Wilpon doesn’t, I can’t argue with that.  While the Jets are definitely the more monetarily rich team the Mets are wealthier organizationally.

As much as Mets fans focus (obsess?) over the financial failures of the Skill Sets, the situation would be much worse if the Mets had a Mike Tannenbaum/Rex Ryan first line of management than the stronger Sandy Alderson/Terry Collins front line.

How Mike Tannenbaum escapes the Jets fans wrath is beyond me. Tannenbaum’ highlight in his resume is that he is a capologist , which means he’s an expert on the NFL salary cap as a GM in charge of putting a team together he’s not a good mixoligist, and please spare me the two AFC Championship games the Jets have gone to, let’s look at the big picture, after this season as a Jets fan can you truly feel your team is headed in the right direction? I didn’t think so.

We Mets fans know this sale of minority shares is just a blip on the Skill Set financial failure radar. If anything, it buys them some time to pay off some loans that are due or past due such as the loan from MLB with a little leftover capital to bring in a pitcher or two. If you are going to have a payroll that keeps dropping like the temperature on a February night, you would want to have a guy running your team that not only has the experience with this kind of situation but has been successful at it like Sandy Alderson.

See the Jets were the team with the high expectations and the head coach who spends more time bloviating than getting a handle on the pulse of his locker room. Terry Collins learned from his past failures as a field boss and last season did as good a job with a team that was hit by injury and without strong reinforcement from the minor league system than anyone could have hoped for. Ryan could take a lesson from Collins on how to reign in a clubhouse.  Ryan has always been looked at as the ultimate players coach but what he truly is, is a coach who doesn’t know how to instill discipline or to be the adult in the room.

Woody Johnson seems to be suffering from the same malaise that the Skill Sets suffered from during the Madoff halcyon days when the cash flowed like water; he and his Jets brain trust have no clue on how to spend it. Just as the Mets were awful at building their organization the right way, through player development, the Jets operate the same way, when you bring in guys like Santonio Holmes for big money that you can’t get rid of and Plaxico Burress another bad attitude and team wrecker as we Giants fans saw  when he refused to work with Eli Manning during the off season at OTA’s and is not a franchise receiver, you find yourself in a deep hole just like the Mets used be in when they would reward players with big money for long terms for performances they achieved with other teams.

That’s why the Skill Sets not having money to spend may turn out to be a blessing for the Mets organization as the philosophy of the team has gone back to what had made the Mets good in the 60’s and 80’s, player development. I know many Mets fans don’t have the patience for a rebuilding program but quite frankly it’s been overdue.

 

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OH FREDDIE SKILL SETS, THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE

 

When it comes to the Skill Sets financial situation it seems we Mets fans are better off ignoring what they say and instead focus on what they do. From the outstanding reporting of Eno Sarris of Amazin’ Avenue,  we discovered that the Skill Sets have hired  CRG Partners , a firm that works with businesses swimming in red ink and tries to either help them turnaround their business or it they are too far gone, file for bankruptcy. From reading the story, it looks like the Skill Sets are ready to be made comfortable for the inevitable, their loss of the Mets.

Sure, as Mets fans we should be rejoicing that the end of the Wilpon/Katz reign of ownership is closer to a conclusion than ownership as led on, and that has been the primary problem with the Skill Sets, their inability to be truthful with their fan base. If there is one thing indisputable about the Mets fans base, it is loyal and forgiving but it you take their kindness for weakness, you will feel their wrath. I truly believe if Fred Wilpon came to Mets fans with honesty over  the  grave financial situation that has alter severely the way the Mets have done business, instead of the “keep moving nothing to see here, we’re doing great ” deny, deny, deny spin, he would have had the backing of the fan base in trying to keep the team in his and his families stewardship, instead the constant false reports of selling minority shares, or tickets selling like “hot cakes” , or reports of a payroll north of $100 mil with money left for taking on a big contract for a pennant run which in realty is a payroll struggling to reach $90m and the only players signing are non-descript bush leaguers grateful for employment. No one ever learns, the cover up is always worse than the crime.

So due to the disrespect of the Mets fans intelligence, we have a mob with pitch forks and torches at the ready to run the Skill Sets out of Queens. One silver lining in all this though is the emergence of the of writers like Sarris and Howard Megdal, who dig and do the dirty work to bring Mets fans the truth behind the shell game being run at Citi Field. 

I wonder if the news that Bank of America has put notice on small businesses they lend money to that they are calling in the loans on those businesses they feel is a bad risk.  Mets have just taken out a $40 mil note from BOA, what would happen if that loan was recalled?

As much as we all want the Skill Sets out of the way and a new owner with deep pockets to take over our beloved Mets, how can we as a fan base be happy with all this financial bullshit that has had a negative effect on our beloved baseball team? My wanting the Wilpon’s out of the owner’s box at Citi Field is not due to personal malice, it’s due to the destruction of the core of my favorite baseball team. I don’t want to care about the Wilpon’s financial straights but I have to as it has an adverse effect on something I love, The New York Mets. That pisses me off to no end.

 

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FRED WILPON, THE EDITH BEALE OF BASEBALL

While other teams add players and their fans converse in real baseball talk, we Mets fans are stuck in a Mets minutia malaise. Such as the club sending R.A. Dickey a cease and desist letter about his climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro for charity.  There is no doubt in my mind that Dickey’s reason for doing this is true and from the heart as he is raising money and awareness to teen sex slave trade in third world countries. The problem the Mets have is they have to cover their ass and asset by informing Dickey that if he injures himself and cannot perform is pitching duties; the Mets will void his contract as they have every right to do. It’s always easy to rip the Mets organization but in this case they are just doing this as protection. I am sure they wish Dickey waited until he was retired to climb Kilimanjaro and R.A. knows the consequences he will suffer if he’s injured or worse on this trip but he feels that the conviction of doing what’s right and that the plight of young people used as sex slaves against their will is worth the risk.   

I just hope all’s well that ends well with this venture, Dickey scales the mountain and his goal is met and that he returns home in one piece and ready to report to Pt. St. Lonesome on time.

It’s just a matter of time that Citi Field turns into MLB’s version of Grey Gardens. Bloomberg reports that Standard and Poor’s has dropped their rating of bonds issued for the building of Citi Field to negative.  I have visions of walking the concourse of Citi Field next season and seeing Freddy Skill Sets and Uncle Saul in tattered blue blazers, shirts with frayed collars and power ties with soup stains on them stammering like Elmer Fudd saying “I’m Fred Wilpon I own a baseball team and a yacht”

Hopefully by next week we can get back to analyzing bargain basement players signing with the Mets and try to convince ourselves that 2012 will be a really good season for the Mets.

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“WILPON’S FOLLY” A MUST READ FOR METS FANS

 

 

Lots of Mets news today to look at and I want get to it quick so I can read Howard Megdal’s new book “Wilpon’s Folly. Megdal has done what no other journalist s has attempted, he has conducted a full investigation into Wilpon’s involvement with Bernie Madoff and how December 11, 2008, the day Madoff was shown to be a world class thief and the worst day of Fred Wilpon’s life could rival the June 15, 1977 as the worst day in NY Mets history. After I finish reading “Wilpon’s Folly” I’ll have more on the book but if you are a Mets fan and want to know the TRUTH about Madoff and what the Wilpon’s knew and when they knew it and where all this will leave our beloved Mets, you really need to get this book.

Sandy Alderson has been named to International Talent Committee that was formed to study if MLB should institute a draft of International players. Just one step closer to the Commissioner’s office for Alderson

What’s this? The Mets are looking at dealing for Gio Gonzalez? It would be a feather in Alderson’s cap to pull this one off and if he feels parting with Jon Niese, Ike Davis and a minor leaguer or two is worth it, it still may not be enough to land Gonzalez.

Wayne Hagin, we hardly knew ye. Looks like Hagin’s days as Mets radio man are over. Hagin never clicked with the fan base because we Mets fans are very provincial when it comes to announcers.  I’ve met Hagin a few times on the 7 train going back to the city after a Mets game and found him not only a gentleman but a great storyteller as well, but all that just didn’t translate into the radio booth during games. A great hire to join Howie Rose in the radio booth would be Boog Sciambi.

I’m a little late with this and I apologize as you need to check out Ed Marcus and Kerel Cooper’s video’s of Tuesdays Mets Christmas Party and the Q & A’s with Sandy Alderson, Justin Turner, Daniel Murphy and Jon Niese. Yes that’s me asking Alderson about the catching situation.

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IT COULD BE WORSE, WE COULD BE RED SOX FANS

First thing I read this morning pissed me off to the point I had to fire off an angry Tweet to the author, Rob Parker of ESPNNY.com. See when you lack the creativity gene, you end up writing shit like this. What the Mets have to do with the current mess on Yawkey Way is more than puzzling, in fact even with all the happy horseshit going on in Flushing, the Mets are in much better shape than the Old Town Team.

Speaking of that piece in the Boston Globe yesterday, the worst part of the story wasn’t that the team disintegrated down the stretch to where the majority of the players flat out quit, the worst part was the ownership taking personal pot shots at Terry Francona and the admitting that they had no idea how bad the situation was with the club. The attacks on Francona were as vile as could be bringing up his marital problems and use of pain killers for his destroyed knees, but to bring up the fact that Francona was concerned about his son and son in law, stationed in Afghanistan as a reason he wasn’t focused on his job, just showed the lack of class that trio possesses.

As angry as I was this morning, when I clicked on Metstradamus to check on todays, Hall of Hate matchup between the #1 seed The Wilpons vs. play in winner Matt Cain, I was greeted by one of the great paragraph’s I’ve seen on any Mets blog in a long, long time:

Oh, come on. I really gotta explain it to you? If I have to explain to you why you should hate Mets owner Fred Wilpon and his son Kim Kardashian, then this is obviously your first visit to any Mets blog, ever. This is the Wilpons’ first appearance on the hate list vote and they debut as a one seed. Honestly, the Wilpons can hang out in the clubhouse eating chicken, drinking beer, and playing MLB The Show on Playstation, and win this vote by a hefty margin.

O-o-o-o-o MY GOD!!!!!! Fred Wilpon and his son Kim Kardashian,O-o-o-o My God!!!!!! My side still hurts from that one,

Great news today on Gary Carter’s health Keep Fighting Kid.

The Cleveland Indians are trying to figure out what to do with centerfielder Grady Sizemore and RHP Fausto Carmona as both have expensive option up coming. Sizemore has been racked with injuries the last three seasons and last week underwent knee surgery, has a club option for $9mil that will not be picked up but the $500K buyout most likely will. I would take a flyer on Sizemore if I were the Mets and sign him to an incentive laden deal along with signing David DeJesus to patrol centerfield for the club. As for Carmona, he’s a Mike Pelfrey clone so that would be a NO!

The Pirates are in the same boat with LHP Paul Maholm who the Bucs owe $9.75M but have $750K buyout. Maholm would look nice in a Mets uni but is the price prohibitive?

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DON’T WE ALL WORK FOR A FRED WILPON?

After digesting all the fallout from What Said Fred, I was struck by the obvious, Freddy Skill Sets is just like every other suit in high management of a corporation, he’s an ingrate and has no appreciation for his workers. Just like your boss and my boss.

When was the last time someone in the upper management of your job came to you and said “you know your productivity is just amazing? Without a worker like you this company would never be as prosperous as it is, whatever we’re paying you is not enough, so please accept this raise and an additional week of paid vacation”   Ha! Like never.

Management is never appreciative of its workers,” How many orders did you process today, a 1,000? I’m sure you could have done better that if you didn’t need so many bathroom breaks and an hour lunch? ““Are you guys sure that’s how you fix a water main, I mean just cutting the pipe and fusing a new one in, is that the best way to do it, who me? I’ve never fixed a water main in my life, yes, I know you’ve been doing this for 25 years and are the go to guy for these types of jobs, but………OH GOD, I GOT MUD ON MY BROOKS BROTHER SUIT………Arrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhh.

See Freddy can’t help the way he feels about his team, it comes with the title of Ungrateful Chief Executive Officer. Every company has one. Welcome to the workforce David, Jose and Carlos.

What more can you say about last night’s game, the defense treated the ball like it was “shitty” (that “shitty  quote will live on forever, just like Steve Philips “Skill Sets” and Art “He lights up a room “ Howe) The guy you have to have empathy for is Terry Collins, just when he gets the team playing well and has a bump in the road losing 2 of 3 in the Bronx, I bet he figured this was a good time to go on the road to bond a bit as club and all that good rah-rah stuff and then Freddy goes all crazy old man on him, making his job a little tougher.  It was like the Mets were sending a message to Freddy, “You want shitty, we’ll show you shitty”

Speaking of schmucks (?) I was listening to Boomer and Carton this morning as they took phone calls from Highlander fans that bailed out of last night’s game with the Bronx Bastards down 4-1 in the 7th.   All the callers expressed their love for the Bombers and said they were long time fans but still they had no faith in their team that they couldn’t come back from a 3 run deficit at home in a park with a right field wall a mere 314 ft away? You call yourselves “die hards” what you are is an embarrassment to baseball fans everywhere. And yes I watch the Mets-Cubs game in its entirety.  I may be a schmuck but at least I’m a loyal schmuck.

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