All We Have Is Hope

<>
 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

We Still Miss Ya Kid!

<

 

 

 

We will never forget Gary Carter

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Observations From Opening Day at Citi Field

Observations from opening day at Citi Field:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel Murphy 2 for 4 yup #ImWith28

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

R.A. Dickey Profile In Courage

Of all the things that have happened to me since I started blogging about my beloved NY Mets, the club reaching out to myself and fellow bloggers, granting us access to the team and front office folks has to be the best and most rewarding part of covering the team. If you’ve read my posts from the times I’ve been out to Citi or to any other baseball event where I’ve had the honor of speaking to R.A. Dickey, you know my respect and awe for the man, well if the excerpts of his new book “Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball are any indication how the rest of the book will read, my admiration for Dickey will be off the charts.

It takes a certain kind of courage to come out and bare your soul to the masses as Dickey has done in the excerpts he read yesterday.  If a positive comes out of Dickey’s revelation of sexual abuse as a child and thoughts of suicide as an adult, is the Mets follow through with the promise they made last year of coming out with a PSA on bullying and teen aged suicides. No team in sports has a better spokesperson than R.A. Dickey, the organization shouldn’t pass up this great opportunity to educate the masses.

The blogger-ratzi was invited to Citi Field this past Monday night for a noshing on the newest food offerings at the ball park this season ( I was invited but had to decline the invite since this nasty head cold I have has now made its way to my chest making me more miserable than a normal day, a trip to the doctor is on tap for this afternoon) you can read the reviews from Faith and Fear in Flushing, Mets Police, On The Black, Optimistic Mets Fan  and top Mets foodie Ted Berg .

Great news by the Mets that the family of Gary Carter will be throwing out the first pitch next Thursday at opening day. Shannon of Mets Police has an interesting thought on a surprise that could happen on Thursday.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

CAMP FIRE

That is the patch the Mets will wear this season in remembrance of Gary Carter. I’d still like to see all uniform personnel wear CARTER 8 uni tops for a game and auction them off for charity


You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be a Mets fan who feels Terry Collins is being a hard ass to Ruben Tejada for not getting to camp early and then complain that the team isn’t very good.

Collins is stressing to his team that they have to work harder than anyone else and be  focused better than anyone else if they are to succeed this season. You can see from the early interviews of TC down in St. Lonesome that he wants his team to stick it up all the naysayer’s asses and show that the Mets are a winning baseball team.

The maturation of Matt Harvey continues to be an early training camp story line. As Josh Thole has raved about Harvey’s pitch repertoire, the manager and coaches, especially Wally Backman, have raved about his willingness to get their advice on what he needs to do to reach the big league level. Sandy Alderson is on the record as saying Harvey will not break camp with the Mets but Harvey is determined to make that a difficult decision, it’s hard to get giddy over Matt Harvey.

Same for Jeurys Familia who along with Harvey was profiled in the NY Daily News today as two guys who are competing for a job in the big leagues but have grown close as teammates and hope to join the big league club together at some point this season.

It’s so early in spring training but from reading stories about the mood of the camp and camaraderie  of the players, the Mets are staring to give me a feeling that they could be baseball version of the New York Rangers.

If Jason Bay struggles against right handed pitching as he did last season, the more reason to root for Kirk Nieuwenhuis to make the team as a platoon partner for Bay in LF. No one in the front office will say it but I bet the leash on Bay is short this season especially if he struggles against rhp.

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

ON OPENING DAY, LET ‘EM WEAR 8

 

The Montreal Canadians conducted a beautiful tribute to Gary Carter complete with a moving, emotional video tribute and an appearance by Youpi

The Mets have not yet announced what they will do to honor Kid, so if I may, let me make a suggestion. How about on opening day, every member of the Mets uniform personnel wear CARTER 8 on their brand new 50th Anniversary uniform jerseys.  Then after the game, each Met autographs the jersey he wore and auction it off for charity with the money going Carter’s Foundation.

I feel this would be perfect tribute to not only a great Mets player but as we’ve seen that last few days a man who touched so many lives.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

GARY CARTER INTERVIEW W/KULT OF METS PERSONALITIES

I remembered that the good folks at Kiners Korner did an interview with Gary Carter sometime last year their Blog Talk Radio podcast and lo and behold I get an e-mail for Nik Kolidas with a link to the interview and a note saying he thought I’d enjoy hearing it again. Not only did I enjoy it, I felt I had to share with you folks as well.

This seems to be the last live interview that Carter participated in

A big tip of my Mets cap to Nik, Matthew Fazelpoor, Taryn Cooper, Gene Anthony and Rob Z. on a job well done.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

REMEMBERING GARY CARTER

What a great touch last night by SNY to show Gary Carter’s first game as a Met ( a game I attended), opening day 1985. That game brought back a flood of memories about the era in Mets history and Carter’s legacy as a NY Met.

I was at Madison Square Garden on the night of December 10th , 1984 watching the NY Rangers play the LA Kings,  between periods I strolled down to the concourse to grab a beer (my drinking days) and call Sports Phone  (once upon a time this great new service came out called SportsPhone known by its great jingle  “get all the sports scores in-stan-leeee dial 976-1313) to get some out of town NHL and NBA scores (this was also my gambling days, oh and along with the beer in my hand and the phone receiver to my ear there was a cigarette dangling from the corner of my mouth, yes I’d indulged in all sorts of vice back in the day, that why I loved the 1970’s and 80’s) came a voice on the other end of the line telling me that the New York Mets have acquired Gary Carter from the Montreal Expos for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans. HOLLLLLLYYYYY SHIT!

As I made my way back up to Section 432, it seemed all the other degenerates checking scores and their bets, heard the Mets news as well as the Garden was buzzing. There was great debate amongst myself and my friends over this deal. At the time it looked like Frank Cashen gave up a King’s ransom for Carter. Brooks was coming off a nice season with 16HR and 73 RBI, Fitzgerald, Wininngham and Youmans were top prospects in what was at the time a fruitful Mets farm system, but hey we got Gary Carter, add him to Keith Hernandez and the two kids, Gooden and Strawberry and god damn, the Mets are going to kick some serious ass in 1984, and they did, going from 68-94 in 1983 to 90-72 in 1984 finishing 6 ½ games back of the division champion Chicago Cubs (somewhere in my basement is my florescent yellow CUBS BUSTERS t-shirt that had the bear cub in a circle with a red line through it, yeah baby THE MAGIC WAS BACK AT SHEA)

So many on the field memories, pop into my head when thinking of Gary Carter but so do many off the field ones as well.

I got married in 1986 (same year I dropped two bad habits, gambling and smoking, drinking would come ten years later) the last of four kids to leave the nice secure nest my parent had made for us. Most weeknights, I’d come from work have dinner with my parents (dinner always on the table when I got home, told you it tough leaving my happy habitat) and afterwards, head to the living room with my dad to watch Mets baseball.  My mother, a woman surrounded by sons, nephews and cousins who were sports fanatics, a woman who washed more uniforms than any clubhouse person, never cared for sports, that is until I move out of the house. The sight of my old man sitting with no one to talk about the games with, she decided it was time to take up watching sports particularly Mets baseball.  Not only did she start watching Mets games, she now wanted to go to Mets games, WHAT? “Ma, you want to go to Shea”  “Oh yes, I want to go see Gary Carter” So we took her to see “her guy” Gary Carter.

I thought about that all the way on my commute home last night, then I listened to all the tributes for Carter and I really felt overwhelmed, Gary Carter was much more than a baseball player, he was as inspirational as anyone who has ever hit this city. To hear Keith Hernandez weep when talking about Carter was heartbreaking. Listening to Ron Darling speak of Carter you could tell he held him in such high regard. Then I heard Doc Gooden, who told the story of how Carter would come to the Smithers Institute where he was residing to combat his drug and alcohol addiction, on Sunday’s after home games to make sure Gooden was okay. Strawberry may have given Carter the best compliment anyone can give to another human being when he said that Carter “lived his life the way I wish I could have”.

Carter was at times mocked for his goody-goody ways, which some felt were phony but as they got to know him they found out his love of family, baseball and God was genuine. I found it stunning that those four players who played hard and partied even harder in their youth and would ridicule Carter for his clean living ways back then, now in their middle age wish they could have had the life that Gary Carter had. Don’t you wish we all could be remembered that way?

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

THE KID IS GONE

Just got the news that Gary Carter has passed away. Carter wasn’t just a great baseball player, from reading the posts by his daughter Kimmie, you can tell he was a great father and man.

So, so sad to hear this news, R.I.P. Kid

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

SAD NEWS ON THE KID

We are all saddened by the news that Gary Carter’s health has taken a bad turn and of course we all have The Kid in our thoughts as well as his family

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Tickets

The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

Visit BangTheBook.Com for daily free MLB Mets Picks and gameday previews, also join the baseball handicapping discussion in the forum or track your plays in our sports monitor.