Hearing Harvey and Wheeler Talk About Fatigue, Leaves Me Queasy

 

I turned on Mets-Tigers late yesterday, just in time to see LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison pitch batting practice to those ferocious Detroit Tigers. For a team like the Mets, the Tigers are a most unwelcome opponent they can face; with no automatic outs in that lineup our battered bullpen hasn’t a chance. In fact when it comes to playing good teams, as in a .500 record or better, the Mets are an atrocious 27-41.   

With another loss yesterday, the 4th loss in a row, the Mets are close to that slippery slope of the last five seasons, meaningless games in September. On Friday night with a 3 ring circus of events;Social Media Night, 3rd Eye Bind concert and of course the Mets-Tigers game, the vibe coming though my TV was one of indifference. Folks at the game, said via social media, that there was a big crowd for the game but it seemed a very subdued crowd at that. I mentioned it was the same way watching on TV where it was the first time in a very long time I got the sense that Gary Cohen wished he was anyplace else than the TV booth. It seems this happens ever September, Mets fan suffer losers fatigue.

IT’s not just the fans and broadcasters that suffer from this malaise, both of our young stud starting pitchers, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler have said they are running on fumes as well. If that’s the case then why are the Mets looking to run both of these solid foundation pieces out to the mound again this season. If I’m the GM and my two young studs are going public that they have hit the wall, I have to think about shutting them down so not to risk injury. My biggest fear with the two talking about fatigue is that it will alter their mechanics and if that happens, injury will follow.  I’d much rather endure starts from Chris Schwinden and Carlos Torres than risk the very valuable right arms of Harvey and Wheeler.

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Mets Luck……..Nothing But Mets Luck

 

 

 

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As much as the Mets left too many runners in scoring position (again) and especially leaving the bases loaded in the 9th, the loss yesterday was just another case of Mets luck. You know good luck, bad luck and the dreaded Mets luck.   

I actually felt sorry for Terry Collins yesterday. Most games I get quite agitated when Collins goes all Tony LaRussa/Sparky Anderson and tries to match reliever for hitter in the late innings of close games.  I always imagine hearing  Gary Cohen announce “This call to the Mets bullpen is sponsored by Acme Warehouse, the official warehouse of Wily E. Coyotte and Terry Collins”, because when Collins goes into his super manger genius mode, it usually blows up for the Mets. But yesterday it nearly worked, in fact it should have worked.

Jon Niese was fantastic especially in the 7th inning when he was running on fumes; he found a way to get out of a jam after a lead off walk and a single put him in a dangerous hole. He reached back and found a little “sumthin’ sumthin’” to strikeout Paul Janish and Jordan Schafer to finish his afternoon on an high note.

Tied at 1 after nine innings, the tenth inning was one of those innings we’ve seen too many time with this Mets team. Scott Atchison got two quick outs then he surrendered a little bullshit single to Andrelton Simmons, that was all for Atchison as Collins called for Scott Rice to face the left-handed hitting Freddie Freeman. As we all know the inning should have been over at this at bat but unfortunately it continued. After an argument that for some reason didn’t get Collins thrown out of the game, Collins made another pitching change, his third in the inning, as he called for the freshly recalled Greg Burke to face the leading hitter in the NL Chris Johnson.

At this point I was getting quite perturbed as I felt Collins was over managing again being that Burke was the 5th reliever used leaving just Pedro Feliciano and Friday nights starting pitcher Carlos Torres left in the pen. Then I thought back to Jerry Layne‘s bad call (I was standing on the first base line on the Field Level for the last three innings of the game it has a great view of the field plus there are TV’s over hanging which give you a much better replay than the big video board whose only function it seems is for kiss cam and watching little kids hit wiffleballs)  being the reason that Collins had to make the move from Rice to Burke.  

It was obvious after the Johnson home run that Collins felt the same way. By the way, it’s tough to kill Burke for giving up the 3 run, kick in the balls, home run to Johnson. As you can see here on the Pitch F/X the ball was wayyyyy out of the strike zone. Mets luck strikes again.

I digress, as soon as the ball soared over the left field wall, Collins stormed out of the dugout to go after Jerry Layne again and for some strange reason Collins wasn’t thrown out of the game until a couple of minutes into his second tirade when he threw his hat to the ground at Layne’s feet. I find it hard to believe that Collins didn’t drop one F-bomb in the two confrontations with Layne over the call but a toss of the hat was offensive enough to get bounced.

Anyway just another day of Mets luck, YUCK!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sweet Success of Opening Day

 

So far so good, the New York Mets are undefeated in 2013. Matt Harvey tries to keep the line moving tomorrow night. Here are some observations on yesterday’s opening day win:

I wasn’t in attendance at Citi Field yesterday due to my son coming back from a two week trip to Italy and Switzerland. At 17 years old he’s already been to Europe and hiked the New Mexico desert. When I was 17 I was happy to just spend time going to Coney Island and playing stick ball.

I watched all the festivities on SNY. The pre-game show started at 11:30 AM and right away the chemistry between Bobby Valentine and Bobby Ojeda was a hit. I can guarantee the spread sheet contingent of baseball fans would disagree with everything Valentine and Ojeda have to say about baseball which makes what Valentine and Ojeda say more valid.

Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez and Kevin Burkhardt were in mid-season form yesterday. Hernandez had the line of the day. After KB interviewed the stunning Emily Rossum and threw it back to the booth, Hernandez mentioned that there are times he envies Kevin and the job that he has. Welcome to the dirty old man club Keith.

I still can’t understand why SNY has a 90 minute pre-game show but still has to interrupt game action with pre-recorded interviews?

What did I tell you about Collin Cowgill? As fabulous as his Grand Slam was in the 7th I was more impressed by the hustle double he hit in the 4th that normally would have been a single to center but Cowgill was thinking double right out of the box. Love that!

The worst outfield in baseball went 4 for 12 with 2 BB 3RS and 6 RBI (4 RBI from Cowgill and 2 from Byrd)

SNY put a camera on Jon Niese after the 6th inning where Terry Collins was coming over to tell him his day was over and a let him know “Job well done” Niese was very animated in making his case to stay in the game. There was a meeting between Collins, Dan Warthen and John Buck along with Niese pleading his case to stay in for the 7th inning. It was decided to let Niese go back out to start the 7th. It seems there was caveats that as soon as Niese was to throw his 100th pitch, he was done for the day. Even though Niese got 2 quick outs, Collins brought Brandon Lyon in the game to get the last out. SNY then aimed their camera at Collins giving an explanation to Niese on why he took him out. When the lecture was over  Niese had a big smile on his face and Collins go this message across.

I’ve mention about meeting Jon Niese and finding him as dull as dish water, yesterday between seeing him interact with John Buck and with Collins and Warthen, it looks like Niese has a new and improved personality which I feel goes hand in hand with the confidence he has that now knows he is a top flight big league pitcher.

Speaking of John Buck, how great is it to see a bon fide big league catcher handling the Mets staff.  You can see that Buck is a future ML manager. SNY showed inning after inning, Buck sitting with Niese and it seemed that they were going over their game plan. After the game, Buck was praising Niese saying he would the ace of any staff he pitched for. Whether you or I believe that, you have to love Buck pumping up his teammate like that.

Got to feel for poor Ike Davis, while everyone in the lineup made a contribution, Ike took the Golden Sombrero.

Got to feel great for Scott Rice and a great gesture by Terry Collins to give the 14 year career minor leaguer the ball in his first ML opening day.

Scott Achinson looks like a guy who just competed in a fantasy camp, he’s the oldest looking 37 year old I’ve ever seen.

No Mets game today but tonight R.A. Dickey will make his Blue Jay debut. I’ll be watching that one and rooting for R.A.

 

 

 

 

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I Can’t Wait For The Day When The Mets Are Better Than Competitive

The” Ol’ Perfeser” knew how to hold a presser 

 

I’m really starting to feel sorry for Terry Collins. No matter how he tries to construct a lineup, he can’t find a 1-8 that can provide any offensive punch.  He tries to match right vs. left and vice versa, he tries to move the parts around in different slots of the lineup and still nothing works.

If I have an issue with Collins it’s in his post-game press conference after losses which are coming at a rapid pace this second half, when he talks about competing, repeating the mantra “we have to compete”. Why settle for being competitive, why not say we need to find ways to win and find players who are winning ballplayers because right now the Mets are devoid of such animal.

Collins last night spoke of finding out who is willing to give his all to winning baseball games and who is here to just get a couple of hits, throw 6 innings and be happy with personal achievement.  This is the fourth straight season I’ve heard this late season lament. The problem is the Mets are a passive bunch. The one time a player shows any kind of fight, he’s ridiculed.

Last night Jordany Valdespin batted for Scott Hairston in the 8th inning with 2 on and 2 out and the Mets down 2-1. Valdespin hitting a little roller, runs down first base and seeing it’s going to be a foot race between him and Rockies first baseman Tyler Covin, decided to dive head first into the bag, something that is not encouraged, and was out by an eyelash. Valdespin jumped up and got in umpire Adrian Johnson’s grill even though  the replay proved Johnson’ call correct, it was good to see a Mets player upset enough to go nose to nose with a man in blue.

Sure, Valdespin head first slide into first base wasn’t the smartest move but if you listened to Gary Cohen, you’d have thought it was a pre-meditated plan by Vladespin. I’m a big Cohen fan, he’s one of the best play by play men around, but his treatment of Valdespin is over the top. I understand that Valdespin is not the most like player in the Mets organization, I’ve yet to meet anyone connected with the team that has a nice thing to say about JV1 but I’ve never heard Cohen go after players who have been under performers like Jason Bay. In fact, bring Bay’s name up to anyone in the organization and they start every conversation with “what a great guy…..”  in fact I would have like to have heard Cohen take Ike Davis to task for his lousy at bat in the 8th inning where he struck out and looked badly doing so.

There is nothing better than listening to Bobby Ojeda go off on the SNY post-game show. Ojeda pulls no punches and tells the truth is not afraid to hurt some feelings of either players or coaches. SNY is missing the boat by not giving Ojeda and Ray Lucas a show on the network.

Isn’t it time to just shut Johan Santana down for the season? Let him take this MRI and then put him on the 60 day DL so you free up a spot on the 40 man for Collin McHugh.

Let’s play guess the lineup, here is the lineup I’d use for tonight’s game:

Tejada

Murphy

Wright

Davis

Hairston

Baxter

Valdespin

Shoppach

Young

 

 

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My Recap of The NY Mets All-Time Team Annoucement Show

Last night I attended the naming of the All Time Mets team at the 92nd St Y. The venue was terrific as was the host for the evening, Kevin Burkhardt  Mets voices Gary Cohen and Howie Rose who joined Burkhardt on stage to talk about voting for the team and to greet and interview the honorees who attended the event.

Although the show was announced as a sellout, there were many seats in the first three or five rows that were empty. Since this show was being recorded to be shown on SNY this Thursday night, a frantic SNY director was offering seat upgrades galore so there would not be any empty seats shown on TV. The Mets should implement this exercise at Citi Field.

For the most part the results of the voting went the way you’d expect, so let’s look at the nominees and the winners:

First Base nominees :

Ed Kranepool, Keith Hernandez, John Olerud, Dave Kingman

Of course my heart says Kranepool and Olerud was a great all around player but a short tenure as a Met and Kingman? I’d rather have seen Willie Montanez nominated. The winner of course was Keith Hernandez, who came on stage and as you might suspect, was quite engaging. His story on coming to Mets and why he stayed are classic. I won’t spoil the show for you folks so I won’t relay any of the stories but I’ll tell you this it’s a must see program.

2nd Base nominees:

Edgardo Alfonzo, Felix Milian, Doug Flynn, Wally Backman

No secret I love Howie and Gary not only because they are great announcers but they are also my contemporaries as a Mets fan.  After the nominees were announced, Howie mentioned Ron Hunt and how he was as worthy of being on that list with the other nominees. Gary then spoke about watching Milian and how he held the Mets record for hits in a season for the longest time. The winner here was no surprise, Fonzi.

Shortstop nominees:

Bud Harrelson, Raphael Santana, Rey Ordonez, Jose Reyes

Reyes is the winner but Gary told the audience how Harrelson was his favorite Mets player of all time and it took all his resolve to vote with his head and no his heart. By the way the voters were Howie and Gary along with Mike Vaccaro of the NY Post, Mike Lupica of the Daily News and Marty Noble of MLB.com

3rd base nominees:

Charley Smith, Roy Staiger, Lenny Randle, Felix Mantila

Do I really have to tell you who won this one?

Catcher nominees:

Jerry Grote, Gary Carter, Todd Hundley, Mike Piazza

This is where my middle aged head and heart becomes very stubborn.  I am a Jerry Grote fan then, now and always, so if I was on the voting committee I’d vote Grote and then leave the room. The winner was Mike Piazza who should be the next Mets player enshrined on Cooperstown. Now all of the players named to the Mets All-Time team were present at the event except for the one’s still active that sent their thanks and humble acceptance via video message, the only no show in person or on video was Piazza. I’ve not seen or heard a reason why Piazza didn’t show or at least send a video but as many of you know I am not a Mike Piazza fan and its things like this (and other’s) as to why I’m not.

Left Field nominees:

Cleon Jones, George Foster, Kevin McReynolds, Cliff Floyd

The winner was Cleon Jones. As I posted on Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Cleon this past Friday night at Citi Field so I was very happy he was named to the Mets All Time Team as the left fielder. Gary Cohen spoke of McReynolds as one of the most talented players to ever wear a Mets uni but his personality convened a guy who wished he was someplace else. Cohen was 100 % on point. The baseball cliché of the “5 Tool Player” fits McReynolds to a tee, but K-Mac had two huge flaws, he played the game like it was a job he didn’t enjoy and he hated NYC. That was a real shame as if he had a bit of passion for the game and opened his mind to what the city and region had to offer he may have been one of the best players in Mets history.

Center Field nominees:

Tommy Agee, Mookie Wilson, Lenny Dysktra, Carlos Beltran

If Beltran never signed with the Mets, this would have been a very interesting category as I bet they would have nominated Lee Mazzilli at which point I’d have gotten violently ill. Thank you Carlos. By the way, Beltran sent a video thanking the voters and fans for this great honor and he also wished he could have been healthier during his Mets career. Beltran is one of those players who won’t be recognized for his contributions until he retires . He’s kind of a Phil Simms of the Mets

Right Field nominees:

Ron Swoboda, Rusty Staub, Bobby Bonilla, Darryl Strawberry

Mets fans are not shy about showing their emotions. When Bonilla’s name was announced there was a loud grown of disgust from the crowd. It got me to think, who is the most hated Met of all time? Bonilla is right there along with Jeff Kent who was also a  world class asshole, Richie Hebner or Armando Beneitez  and I guess I’d put McReynolds on that list as well. Oh yeah Straw was the pick.

Right Handed Reliever:

Skip Lockwood, Neil Allen, Armando Benitez, Roger McDowell

I think Kevin Burkhardt was slightly embarrassed when he read Benitez’ name as I thought the crowd was going to burst into a BULLSHIT chant. Gary Cohen represented for us old guys when he spoke of how good a reliever Lockwood was but then he spoiled it by trying to justify Benitez on the list. The winner was McDowell who sent a nice video acceptance but no hot foot.

Left Handed Reliever nominees:

John Franco, Tug McGraw, Jesse Orossco, Randy Myers

When I saw the nominees I was hoping for either Tug or Jesse but I thought this was going to go to Franco. I was pleasantly surprised when it was announced that Tug McGraw was the winner. Tim McGraw sent a video of thanks and Tug’s son Mark and his brother Hank were both there to accept in Tug’s behave and Hank’s stories was outstanding.

Left Handed Starting Pitcher nominees:

Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Sid Fernandez, Al Leiter

Had to be Koos.  Matlack, El Sid and Leiter were worthy Mets but Koos was as strong and as tough as any pitcher of his era as a Met. Koos was also a guy who earned the rep as a big game pitcher

Right Handed Starting Pitcher nominees:

Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, David Cone

He was then, he is now, and he will always be THE FRANCHISE. It’s a shame they didn’t just do this as the All-Time Mets pitching rotation so Doc could have gotten the acclaim he deserves but it’s hard when you are in the same category as THE FRANCHISE! Seaver was in excellent form, as funny and animated as I’ve seen him in a long time. Seaver knows he was great and he knows he is still the greatest player in the history of this franchise and as he gets older he has taken on that role with a lot of pride. I know how much he loves taking care of his vineyard and how he loves to be home on the West Coast but I just wish he come around Citi Field more often like how Ralph Kiner is doing now. I can’t tell you how fortunate I feel knowing I watched Seaver pitch, same with Doc when both pitchers took the mound, it was a special event.

Manager nominees:

Casey Stengel, Gill Hodges, Davey Johnson, Bobby Valentine

How the hell did they get this wrong? Believe me I love Davey and I will never have a bad word to say about him but how could you not name Gil Hodges as the All-Time Mets Manager? When Seaver came out on stage his jovial mood changed when he started speaking about Hodges. Seaver was choked with emotion and said he knew he start crying once he started talking about Hodges and when he said how he wished “Gil was here with me right now” I have to say my eyes were a bit runny as well. It’s tough enough dealing with the disrespect Hodges gets from the Baseball Hall of Fame voters but to be snub like this for a Mets voting committee is even more disturbing.

 

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Hot Time in the Citi

 

Another game, another great pitching performance by out starting pitcher and as of last night the Mets, Nats and Fish are tied for first place in the NL East. Let that sink in while you drink your morning coffee.  

Last night Jon Niese kept the line moving with a 10K performance that was cut short due to Niese experiencing   a rapid heartbeat.  Niese suffered a bout of this last year and was checked to be fine and doesn’t seem to concerned about this time either. Maybe Niese should start taking a baby aspirin every morning, it works for me.

I was at Citi Field last night as it was that annual extravaganza called Gary, Keith and Ron Day Night in support for the charity Pitch In For a Good Cause. As always it was a wonderful event with all the raffles and auctions and getting to hang out and kibitz with Gary Cohen and Ron Darling. After discussing the Johan No hitter with Gary I was able to spend time talking to Darling who is a resident of Brooklyn NY (Keith Hernandez never attends this event as much as Mets fans love Keith it’s a one way street) about the good old days of growing up in the Boro of Churches in the 1970’s when it was far from the hipster paradise it is now.  If that wasn’t enough of a treat, the real star of the event were the Shake Shack cheeseburgers served buffet style and NO LINE!!!!!!

Not only was it GKR Night but it was also the night that John Franco was to be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. It was a nice ceremony complete with the Department of Sanitation Pipe Band. Edgardo Alfonzo was in attendance for the night’s festivities and I still feel that this should have been his night but I don’t want piss in the punch as Franco gave a terrific speech and everyone in attendance got a bit misty as Franco talked about his mom and dad. I understood exactly were Franco was coming from. I guess the Mets gave Franco free reign on who could be invited to his special night as his co-GM Al Leiter and David Cone, who both looked like they would rather be someplace else than sitting in Citi Field and from the reaction of the fans in the stands the feeling was mutual, were given permission from the Highlanders to travel to Flushing.  The topper of the ceremony though was when Jeff Innis and Brett Saberhagen were introduced to the crowd, that was my “Ok wrap this shit up start the game, I got work tomorrow” moment. Brett Saberhagen? Are you fucking kidding me? Oh by the way, let that be the last we see of the black jersey’s PLEASE and why did the jersey have both the regular Mets skyline logo and the 50th Anniversary logo in the sleeves with the KID 8 patch moved to the front of the jersey?    

Saw this in the team store last night I had to buy it even though it’s over priced but I’m still caught up in NO-HAN Mania.

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Was Last Night’s No Hitter The Start Of Something Bigger ?

 

This post will be all over the place, so let me apologize in advance because I still can’t get my thoughts all in one place after watching Johan Santana’s no hitter last night. What has me all verklempt is this was more than just the first no hitter in the history of the NY Metropolitan Baseball Club, it was more a display of what this little thing of ours, being a Mets fan means. If the non-believers don’t grasp the concept of Mets fandom after last night, they never will and that’s their loss.

The look of determination on the face of Santana will stay with me for a long, long time as will the image of Terry Collins who was put in the worst spot of al,l worrying about the health of his Ace and the historical place this game was headed. Later we would learn that Santana would sing his own version of The Weight as he told Collins he was not coming out of this game taking the load off the manager and putting on him.

I thought of Josh Thole, just activated after suffering a concussion guiding Santana along. After a week- ten days of working out in a back field of Pt. St. Lonesome to this electrifying moment, I was hoping his head wasn’t hurting.

I thought about Mike Baxter who went above and beyond the call of duty crashing into the left field wall to make a catch that is now another in memorable catches in Mets history. Watching him come off the field with Ray Ramirez holding his arm, I thought the worst but then this morning I read Baxter quotes where he said “I’ll be ok, it’s not about me it’s Johan’s night”. Baxter typified the all for one, one for all attitude this team has taken on.

I thought about Gary Cohen calling the game on SNY and Howie Rose calling the action on WFAN, they are not just the Mets play by play men, they are one of us. I feel even closer to them since we are all from the same generation who got into Mets Fandom on the ground floor. I’ve always wondered if our paths ever crossed way back when in the Upper Deck at Shea maybe during a Craig Swan start or cheering a Willie Montanez home run, complete with the stutter step home run trot. When the no hitter was “in the history books” as Howie noted, Ron Darling, who was extremely fired up in the late innings of this game, and Keith Hernandez, who was astonishing quiet maybe superstition took over, asked Gary if he thought the no hitter drought would ever be broken and without missing a beat Cohen said “NO” I got a bit misty in the eyes when Gary said that because I knew exactly where he was coming from.

I thought a lot about Johan Santana. I thought about all the hard work he put in to get back on a Major League mound and like Bobby Ojeda said on the post-game show pitching “on back fields in front of tumble weed and three legged dogs”. This is part of the professional athletes life that many fans either ignore or just don’t care about. The work that Santana put in after his shoulder surgery is what separates him as one of the top pitchers in MLB to the guy holding on or trying to get a roster spot. All pitchers at this level can throw a baseball, it’s the few who have the work ethic and the intelligence to make the climb to the top that stand out. When Santana went down with his shoulder injury that needed surgical repair he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. He worked his ass off in rehabilitating the shoulder and in getting himself back on his game right where he left off.  After last night’s performance all those days with the physical therapist and then on the back fields of the Mets minor league complex with the sweat dripping off him to the scrutiny of Dan Warthen and Terry Collins in spring training to the skepticism of the media and fan base, wondering which Johan Santana we would see, has paid off big time. What we’ve seen is one of the best pitchers in Mets history and a player with the heart of a lion.

Last night was not about the owner and how much money he has or doesn’t have  nor was it about whether this team is playing over their heads, no, it was about what it’s like when you sign on to become a Mets fan. There are good days and some bad days and then there are days like yesterday that wash away all the bad.  If you’ve decided not to support this team because of your disdain for the ownership, well you’re stupid. If you learned anything last night it’s not about the Skill Sets, it’s not about the Robinson Rotunda, it’s not about the outfield walls and it’s not about the Shake Shack, it’s about the 25 players and it’s about us and for all of you who have been avoiding Citi Field, you better hop back on the bandwagon and buy some tickets and come out to watch this team play because I don’t think they are done making history, the no hitter might just be the beginning of something very special.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Fired Up David Wright, What’s Not To Like ?

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So much has been made of the DJ Carrasco-Ryan Braun-Terry Collins-David Wright spectacle from last night, it taken the focus off of Dillion Gee and the second straight start that he was a very hittable pitcher. Gee has had a problem this year making fat pitches to batters, he’s throwing strikes but they are very hittable strikes as his .346 BAP will attest to.  Gee’s ground ball to fly ball rate has jumped to 2.14,much higher than any time in his three year big league career so you could say with the lack of range in the middle infield with Rony Cedeno and Daniel Murphy has hurt him in his last two starts.

When was the last time we saw David Wright get all worked up like he was last night after Terry Collins lifted him in the 7th inning ? I was happy to see that from Wright and I was glad that after he blew up, he came back to the dugout and went over to Terry Collins to explain his side of being pulled. What we are seeing is Wright not only showing leadership with this club but finally being comfortable in that role. I also like that Collins made his decision to take both Wright and Murphy (who also was pissed to be lifted) and let both guys vent and then explained why he made the move he did.

I agreed with Gary Cohen’ take on Carrasco hitting Braun , no one knows what was in his heart if he was throwing at him on purpose or if the pitch just got away from him but to think that Carrasco, a guy whose job is on shaky ground, would just  throw at player and get kicked out of a game in which he needed to show that he can pitch effectively, makes no sense. I’m sure Collins will talk to Carrasco today and let him know that if he was throwing at Braun on purpose it was a stupid move. I’m sure David Wright will let Carrasco know it as well.

So something we knew would happen was officially announced today that the NY Mets will host the 2013 All Star Game at Citi Field in 2013. I am looking forward to this event and all the festivities that surround the Game. I’ve been to one All Star game in my life, in 1977 at Highlander Stadium and I missed the 2008 one as I was on a camping trip, I’m more excited for the Fan Fest at the Javits Center and all the pomp and circumstance that will surround the city than I am for the actual game.

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THE ALDERSON TAPES

I was so pissed that I missed hearing Sandy Alderson on the SNY telecast last night. But, thanks to Chris McShane at Amazin’ Avenue who transcribed the whole interview Alderson did with Gary Cohen and Ron Darling, I’m caught up with what the Mets GM is looking to accomplish going forward with the team. What has me puzzled is the Mets fan/blogger fixation on what Alderson said about changing the dimensions and height of the Cit Field outfield wall, from reading the McShane’s transcript of the conversation, that was the least interesting feature to me.

I’m not saying reducing the height of the Great Wall of Flushing or bringing in the right/center Mo Zone is not good thing, in fact I’m all for it but Alderson’s insights on player personnel and his approach to the off season was much more newsworthy.

To me more important than wall renovations is what is the GM’s plan of attack for re-signing Jose Reyes. It seems like Alderson has a preempted strike ready to fire as he has tabbed October as Jose Reyes Month. I get the vibe that he has an offer already to be presented a figure in years and money that he won’t go over. Alderson has made it known he will not get into a bidding war over Reyes. He has been nothing but complimentary of the shortstop as has Terry Collins, who is on record as saying he can’t fathom the Mets without Reyes or David Wright for that matter which I’m sure is the company line. I’m interested in this negotiation to see if Reyes takes a little less money or years to stay with the only organization he’s ever played for or does he move on and take the best deal out there. I still think that while Alderson will make a very good offer to Reyes, he won’t be heartbroken if another team comes in and blows the Mets deal out of the water. No question he wants Reyes back but he won’t break the Skill Sets fragile bank account to sign him.

One of Alderson’s concerns was rushing pitchers to the big leagues but also doing a balancing act getting some of the minor league arms a bit of a push to move them along. Under Omar MInaya’s regime the club loved drafting collage pitchers to where a team like St. Lucie is overstocked with 24 and 25 year olds which it sounds like is very frustrating to Alderson. When you’re that age and still pitching in A ball, you’re at the shit or get off the pot stage of your career.

Alderson sounds like a Mets fan when he talks about the bullpen and how blowing late game leads, a la Bobby Parnell, takes the heart out of everyone when it’s on an almost daily basis. Safe to say, Alderson has seen enough of Parnell closing to know he needs to put finding a closer on the top of his shopping list. Also clearly stated, he will go outside the organization to find one.  Looking at guys like Greg Holland of the Royals, Mike Adams of the Rangers, Rafael Betancourt of the Rockies and Sean Marshall of the Cubs there are some interesting options for Alderson out there.

Alderson is happy with the number of innings his starters have given him but now he wants them to improve the quality of those innings. I believe that Jon Niese and Dillon Gee will and of course R.A. Dickey will give a quality start just about every time out but we still have no idea what Johan Santana will give you on the mound next year and of course there is the elephant in the room known as Mike Pelfrey. From Alderson’s comment it seems that Pelf will be back next season but in what capacity?

What we have Mets fans is one busy and interesting winter coming up ahead of us and the brain trust of our team. Right now is the lull where the team plays out the string as October on will be the most interesting time for the Mets since before the All Star break.

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IKE’S ALLRIGHT? OOOHHH VALENTINO, TRIPLE A BASEBALL ON SI?

Last night was one of those games that even the witty repartee of Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez couldn’t keep me interested.  I read the paper and trolled Twitter while waiting for my favorite pawn shop owners to come on at 9PM.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t meaningful Mets news (as opposed to meaningful games) to peruse.

Ike Davis is running, hitting and fielding, not pain free but feeling much better than he has since what is still the most ridiculous Mets injury I’ve ever seen.  Davis is trying very hard to stay away from the surgeon’s scalpel as he claims the ankle while not 100%, feels much better. Ike will stay with the team in Miami and then return with them to NY to see team doctors, at which time the decision will be made on whether surgery is needed. Again, how Davis has gone from what looked like a non-injury, to what now will be something that will affect Davis for the rest of his career is stunning.

Even with or without surgery, Davis claims his ankle will never be the same. He talked about it becoming arthritic but he feels it will not hurt his plate production. That remains to be seen. What about his defense? Davis was ready to blossom into a perennial Gold Glove first baseman who know how this affect his play around the bag, as first base is all about foot work. From what looked like an innocent trip and tumble on an infield fly has turn out to be maybe a career changer for Ike.

As much as my stomach churns watching Jason Bay’ at bats, I’m starting to really feel bad for him even with the knowledge that the team is on the hook for two more seasons and $35 mil. Bay has played a better left field than we all thought; he hustles (last night he ran out a ball that was clearly going into the first base stands foul) and from the scuttlebutt around Citi Field, he works to the point of being obsessive compulsive in finding his hitting stroke. You can see after every unproductive at bat, it is eating him up that he has not stepped up and provided the big veteran bat this team sorely needs. It would be best for both Bay and the Mets to part company but the $35 mil price tag hanging his toe makes moving to a new team almost impossible. ALMOST. Maybe I have too much faith in the power of Sandy Alderson since the trade of Frankie Rodriguez and his unsightly option that no one thought the Mets could get out from under.  Maybe there is a team out there (West Coast? SF, Seattle, Angels maybe) that sees Bay’s work ethic and thinks a change could do him good if the Mets eat half or little more of the deal? Never say never.

Welcome back to the big leagues Val Pascucci. Pascuicci’ 21 HR and 91 RBI at Buffalo earned him a promotion, perhaps for the last time, to the big leagues. Don’t think the promotion of Passcuicci will go unnoticed in the Mets clubhouse and throughout the Mets minor league system along with the call up of RHP Chris Schwinden, it shows that this front office will promote and reward players who produce. Not only that, with all the talk about the Mets money woes, all the players the Mets have added to the list of call ups have to be paid on a pro rated basis on the ML minimum. Schwinden looks like he will get to start one of the games of Thursday’s DH vs. the Braves, I bet Valentino gets a start in one of those games as well.

Mike Silva of NY Baseball Digest mentioned that the Highlanders Triple A team in Scranton/Wilkes Barre will need a place to play in 2012 as the ball park will be undergoing a big renovation project. One of the spots they are looking at is Staten Island, home of the Baby Highlanders. The move to SI makes sense as the Bronx Bastards own the stadium in St. George and the team, as well as owning the Wilkes/Barre team. The problem they will have besides getting the Mets to allow them to do this (like a scene out of Goodfella’s I can see Freddy Skill Sets and Uncle Saul listening to Randy Levine’s pitch for this project and Uncle Saul interrupting “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Fuck you pay me”) is finding a better management team to run the stadium that will have two tenants.

The SI Highlanders are very poorly run. The team has no sponsors and the majority of their tickets are sold to groups with the added attraction of all you can eat concessions. My wife bought tickets for every game SI played Brooklyn as a Fathers Day gift for me and those games draw the most fans, the majority rooting for the Cyclones. I’ve noticed that the fans that attend games on SI are there for social reasons, not many people pay attention to the game they are more involved in the all you can eat buffet and how unfair it is that they cannot grab a burger, hot dog and chicken sandwich all at the same time.  Staten Islanders are not fond of walking and taking stairs so to take just one item and then go back again is a huge crimp in their lifestyle.

There are ushers and security people employed by the team and it is a great job as you get to see a ball game, do absolutely nothing and get paid.  No one sits in his or her assigned seat. If there is a seat open behind home plate you can mosey on down and sit in it. If you see friend or neighbor at the game just go a sit in the seat next to them, no problem. “Oh wait, this is your seat? And what you wanna sit here?” “Uhh yeah” with that you get the eye roll and the nasty look.

If the SWB Highlanders were to call SI home for 2012 I would definitely  go to their games, especially when they play Buffalo but I don’t know how many Highlander fans would support the team, in fact I don’t think many Highlander fans know who the Triple A team is. If they do play here and want to draw fans just make sure you have an all you can eat plan and add delivery to your seat as an option, you’ll sell the place out every game.

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