It’s Matt Harvey and I’ll Cry If I Want To…………….

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I enjoy participating in the world of social media. I’m on Twitter more hours than I really should be but for the most part it’s a very informative vehicle for breaking news, links to interesting stories and taking in all different views and opinions. What sucks about social media is the segment of participants who turn into your mother, grandmother and  Aunt Sadie, you know the one’s, they tell you how you should react to news or statements that infuriate you or lure you into debate. It used to be a debate was an exchange of views, ideas and opinions that although were different, they were respected. In today’s social media world debate consists of I’m right and you’re an asshole. The news about Matt Harvey was a prime example of this new way of debate.

I saw the news about Matt Harvey’s partially torn Ulnar Collateral ligament when it hit the Twitterverse, Mets Twitter erupted, as you knew it would. How could this have happened?  Who fucked up? Whose head will role because of this? The Wilpon’s are broke,SELL THE TEAM!(that one is universal in times of Mets disaster news) Mets Twitter didn’t care, like a bunch of Third World dictators they wanted a scalp any scalp, didn’t matter.

When the tweets went out for the call of the heads of Terry Collins and Dan Warthen, the pearl clutchers, who I mentioned above, came out in full force. Some were beat writers who sit at press conference after press conference and never ask a pertinent or compelling question.  Maybe that’s the best way these days as we have seen recently with NY Daily News NY Jets beat writer Manish Mehta who has been getting killed for asking the Jets cartoon character of a head coach, Rex Ryan to name his starting quarterback for the first game of the Jets regular season, and when not getting an answer, not letting Ryan off the hook and demanding an answer.  Since when is that wrong? Dick Young must be shaking his pitch fork in hell over this reaction.

Anyway, so Mets fans wanted not just a head on a stick but answers on how or why did this happen to the Heir to The Franchise Throne? The first two heads fans wanted was Collins’ and Warthen’, doesn’t matter if neither guy was directly responsible for Harvey tearing the ligament but because the majority of Mets fans would like to see a change in manager and pitching coach anyway, this was as good as time as any to raise the rhetoric.

I’m as guilty as anyone in this. It’s not that I don’t like Collins or Warthen, its more I feel there needs to be a change not just in body but in philosophy. Collins to me is much more valuable and a better fit as a minor league coordinator than a field manager and since his contract is up after this season as a manager, I would have no problem whatsoever with the Mets reassigning him for next year, but I’d like to reassign him as a Director of Minor League Field Operations.

My beef with Warthen is that I don’t agree with his passive direction to pitching. Warthen loves his pitchers to nibble around the plate and to throw a lot of off speed and breaking balls. Mets pitchers hardly ever throw inside to establish that part of the plate is as much theirs as it is the batters. I also feel both Warthen and Collins are woeful at bullpen management. Pitchers are overused not just in game situation but in preparation to enter a game situation. Too many times relievers warm up, then sit down, the warm up again, and then sit down again. Mets relief pitchers are subject to more wear and tear on their arms warming up than they do in an actual game situation. To analyze Collins in game strategy would take another 1,000 word post.

All this spewing of anger doesn’t mean I hold Collins and Warthen responsible for Matt Harvey‘s injury.   I am confused about Sandy Alderson stating the organization knew that Harvey was complaining about soreness in his forearm but didn’t do anything preventive about that. Also Collins it seems was out of the loop on this vital piece of information as well. There seems to be a fracture in communication here that needs to be addressed.

What also needs to be addressed is the number of injuries the pitchers in the organization have suffered;  Frank Francisco, Jurys Familia, Jeremy Hefner, Jenry Mejia and now Matt Harvey, all out with elbow injuries. If I’m the GM I have to look at this pattern and think about revamping the way the organization handles the care and prevention of these types of injuries. I understand completely that you can do so much prevented care and study on pitchers, even Rick Peterson  who is at the forefront of Pre-habilitation with his use of the facilities at the American Sports Medicine Institute , claims that with all the preventive measures you can take, injuries still happen:

“It’s like driving the speed limit, wearing your seat belt, doing everything right, accidents are still going to happen”

After the initial ranting and raving over the injury to Harvey, seriously how did you expect Mets fans to react to the Harvey bad news? We were programed to thinking 2014 was the breakout season under Sandy Alderson. The only reason to be a bit optimistic was every five days being Matt Harvey Day and then watching Zack Wheeler start to understand what to do on a big league pitchers mound and the fact that enough money was coming off the books this off season for the Mets to be free agent buyers again, pointed to the end of the non-competitive seasons and back to not just respectability but to be one of the teams in baseball to be talked about as World Series contenders; all that was sabotaged by a torn Ulnar Collateral ligament, and you expect me to pause and be reflective? Are you fucking kidding?    

 

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Will Resilient Mets Help Their Manager Get A Contract Extension?

 

So did you stay up for the whole game last night? I lasted as long as Matt Harvey, after the 7th inning I went to bed since it was 12:30 AM and I had to wake up at 5AM it seemed like a good time for nap before getting ready for the day ahead.  The Met win in 16 innings ended about 90 minutes before I hit the shower to ready myself to take on the world where I heard Marc Ernay break the news to me on 1010 WINS that the Mets had won in 16 innings.  This may not be a Mets team that will contend for a post season spot but there is no doubt they are the most resilient Mets team we’ve seen in a long time and it’s that resiliency that could get Terry Collins a contract extension.

I go back and forth on Collins. I don’t think he’s a very good tactician especially late in games and he and Dan Warthen have no set bullpen assignments which makes the relievers nuts. But he has the players ear and respect in the clubhouse and he’s surprisingly good with the media and if you think that’s no big deal go speak to Mr. John Tortorella of Vancouver B.C. about his tenure as NY Rangers head coach.

What will be interesting to watch is if this Mets team does the opposite of Mets teams of the past few seasons and finishes strong in the second half is that enough to give Collins a contract extension?

Sandy Alderson has said that wins and losses will not be the determining factor in bringing Collins back in 2014, if in Alderson’s eyes the club has made progress on the field that would weigh in favor of an extension of Collins contract.  So if the team keeps playing as well as it has and keeps bouncing back from defeats that in seasons past would have had a negative effect on them for a week or two, then it would be quite difficult not to bring Collins back for at least another season.

Collins should also hope that Tony LaRussa is enjoying retirement because if he’s not and itching to get back into the game, things could get very interesting around here comes the off season.

About last night’s game, it seems that Matt Harvey may be experiencing  the same lofty fan expectations that Dwight Gooden had to endure, every start has to be a near no hitter with a dozen or so strikeouts and zero base on balls and of course a complete game shutout. Gooden talks about this in his book how he would hold a team to five hits or so with a couple of walks and five or six strikeouts in seven innings and have fans and media feel let down. Are we approaching that train of thought with Matt Harvey?

Harvey threw 40 % of his total pitches (121) in the first two innings of this game, dividing his 50 pitches in half each inning. His K/BB break down in the first two innings was 33/17. He made one bad pitch, leaving a fastball up to Buster Posey on a 3-1 count that Posey turned on and deposited into the left field stands for a two run home run and just one walk, to Andres Torres in the 2nd where ball four was a strike as home plate ump Adam Hamari was inconsistent in his calls all night. What more can you expect from your Ace?

And let’s not go after Collins for letting Harvey start the 7th inning, he was still throwing his fastball in the mid to upper 90’s and he was throwing strikes and showed no sign of fatigue. After pitching in the heat and humidity in his last few starts, the cool San Francisco evening air looked to rejuvenate Harvey if anything.

My only concern with Harvey is his off the field rise of stardom. I don’t begrudge Harvey of any of the fruits of his fame; I just worry about too much, too fast. On the mound Harvey is in control and takes care of business so well that he’s not just a Mets phenom but a baseball one as well. I just worry about the off field Harvey interfering with the on field Harvey. I hope my worry is much ado about nothing.

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Captain Obvious-Who Doesn’t Know David Wright Is The Leader Of The Mets?

 
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I don’t get all the hub-bub over naming David Wright the Captain of the New York Mets. Who amongst players, fans and media hasn’t grasped that Wright is the Face of the Franchise? Is there anyone who follows the Mets not know who the go to guy is on this club?

In hockey and football the naming of captains are for the sole purpose of having a designated player act as a liaison  between the bench and the officials, this is especially true in hockey where only the captain or one the assistant captains are the players a referee or linesman go to with an explanation  or a warning. That’s why the hockey captains wear the “C” and the assistant captains were the “A”. In football there is a captain for offense, defense and special teams for basically the same reason they have them in hockey. The referee will consult with the captain on acceptance of penalties or a question on spotting the ball at line of scrimmage or to relay a message from the sideline by the head coach, so again the designation of wearing the “C” on the uniform is needed. But when it comes to baseball, wearing a captains “C” is just plain tacky.

When a baseball umpire needs to give an explanation on a rule or a call, he summons the team’s manager to the field for consultation. Now a player of stature like Wright, may get more leeway with an umpire that and average player but majority of the time when something needs to be explained the umpire is going right to the man in charge, the manager.

I have no problems with the Mets naming Wright the Captain of the team, it seems with so many young players ready to join the big league squad there is a bit of collegiate feel around the club so having that veteran designated to be their sounding board or the guy to show them the right way to handle big league life, there is no better man for the job than David Wright.

Wright is the perfect example of the rah-rah cheerleader type of leader is vastly overrated. Wright surely leads by example with the way he handles himself on and off the field. Wright has always been one of the first to report to spring training and the last to leave the St. Lonesome complex. He is always available to the media win or lose and no one in the history of the New York Mets has represented the organization as at more charity and fan events with class and dignity like Wright has.

So if Terry Collins wants to name Wright the Captain of the team go right ahead but it’s just a mere formality everyone knows who is the team leader now and for the next 8 seasons at least, it’s David Wright. Just don’t put that tacky “C” on his jersey

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Is Terry Collins On A Short Leash ?

 

 

So let me start out by welcoming everyone back to the newly redesigned Eddie Kranepool Society and to wish you all a very happy and healthy 2013 and to give a big thanks to Joe McDonald for this fantastic new layout of the blog. I haven’t posted here in a few days as the holidays were very hectic in a good way by spending a lot of time with family and friends, so it was good to step away from the keyboard for a while.  

I didn’t step away from reading all the sports news though, even while we were getting set to head out for some New Year’s Eve revelry in the Pocono Mountains (it’s as far from the madding crowds of Time Square as you can get. I still don’t understand why people love to stand in the freezing cold to watch that ball drop, in fact I don’t know any native New Yorker who has ever ventured out there, but I digress) as my iPad was burning up with stories of 7 NFL coaches given their pink slips.  Some like Andy Reid in Philly and Lovie Smith in Chicago were very successful but they’re message was growing stale and it was time in the eyes of ownership to get a new voice and a new way of doing business in to run their teams.

Just a week before the Brooklyn Nets fired their head coach Avery Johnson, who just came off winning Coach of the Month honors. As puzzling as that is, how about Mike Brown of the Lakers getting the boot after 5 games this season? WHOA! Some owners mean business. Here is what Prokhorov had to say when he canned Johnson:  

“I think we have very talented players but they are capable of much more than what we have seen in the recent weeks,” Prokhorov said. “I respect Avery and really I wish him well, but sometimes chemistry just isn’t right. It happens.

“I think the main question is why we were unable to bounce back and to play like champions.”

I bring all these coaching changes up because as I sat in the sauna over the weekend (some sight eh?) I thought about Terry Collins and wondered just how long does he have to keep his job as Mets manager in 2013?

Oh I know what your muttering to yourself about my sanity and what an asshole I am (for some that was even before reading this post) I totally understand that the talent level of the Mets entering the 2013 season is not pennant race quality but before you flame away on me ask yourself this, “Has Terry Collins made a positive impact on this team” Sadly I say NO!

I have been a proponent of Collins from the day he was hired. I felt then and still do that Collins is an outstanding baseball instructor and he would make the Mets better fundamentally and more professional. I still think he is a top notch instructor but I feel he’s failed on the other two skill sets I felt he was bringing to the job. Not only that, it seems to me the Mets clubhouse is lacking in discipline as we have seen the last two seasons under Collins leadership the team has folded it’s tent after the All Star break.  The 2009 and 2010 version of the NY Mets gave up in the second halves of the seasons as well, and Jerry Manuel was run out of town, justifiably so. So what’s the difference between Terry Collins and Jerry Manuel?

Collins came to the Mets manager’s job with a soiled reputation as a non-communicator in his past three managerial jobs.  The stories out of Anaheim were about player revolt and in Houston; Collins Astros teams were involved in a civil war between hitters and pitchers. There have been rumblings about the Mets relievers feeling a disconnect between the manager, pitching coach and themselves.  

Collins lost me the night of September 20 th of last season when the Mets were destroyed by the Phillies at Citi Field by a score of 16-1 and visibly upset Collins sat for his post-game presser ready to explode, and when asked by Kevin Burkhardt if the team had quit, Collins deservedly threw them under the bus by telling Burkhart to go ask them. Word was many players were upset with the manager for hinting that the team had packed it in and instead of Collins challenging his detractors, he apologized. I took that as a sign of insecurity by the Mets skipper and he should have stuck to his guns as the team did respond to being called out by actually playing its best baseball of the second half in winning 7 of the next 8 games.

With every second half sleep walk defeat by the Mets, Collins would go into Rick Kotite mode in his post-game pow-wow to the point that it was offensive to me as a Mets fan. I was so tired of hearing that the team played hard and that Collins had seen some positives, all he did was make me think he still had Anaheim on his mind and was afraid to speak out and show anger thinking that media and fans would say he was melting down again.  

Collins enters 2013 without a contract extension and quite frankly I feel he’s only back for this coming season because the Skill Sets don’t want to pay two guys for the same job. When the season ended in 2012, I thought there was a chance that Collins would be re-assigned to either a front office position or back to where his strength is, working with minor leaguers, but Sandy Alderson has kept him on board for the coming season but for how much of the season?  Personnel aside, if the Mets start off badly and show the same listless way of playing baseball as they did in the last couple of second halves of the season, many Mets fans will get their wish of seeing Wally Backman manger the Mets . As Prokhorov said, “sometimes the chemistry just isn’t right, it happens”

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CONFIDENCE OR LACK THEREOFF WILL DETERMINE THIS NY METS SEASON

I know we fans of the New York Mets have a reputation of “oh woe is me” and have morphed into a village of Chicken Little’s but I would hope those of that ilk would just emerge from their fall out shelters to look around the New York sports landscape for a moment and see if they can try to see what has transpired over the three months.

Fans of the NY Football Giants were ready to scream for John Mara to blow this team up and start over from the head coach to the defensive secondary, everyone must go the fans demanded. What happened? The head coach closed ranks with his team and the players stopped listening to the fans, an extremely smart move by the way, and a Salsa dancing wide receiver and an Elite QB hooked up for a 99 yard TD pass/catch  TD against their loud mouth co-tenants, that to a man in the Giants organization say is what catapulted them to winning the Super Bowl. That play, that game gave the Giants confidence.

The NY Rangers are playing some of the best hockey Rangers fans have seen in many a year. They are led by many great players, but one player stands out on this team as he is the last line of defense, goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist. There is no goaltender on the planet that is better than the King and in every interview he gives he just oozes confidence and he never forgets to reinforce to the interviewer the confidence he has in his teammates. Right now the confidence of the NY Rangers and Rangers fans is flowing like tap water.

Here is the best example of how confidence in oneself can bring a whole team together for greater good. I don’t think there is a New Yorker breathing air that doesn’t know who Jeremy Lin is. The story of Lin is as inspiring as any we’ve seen around here in ages, Lin went to Harvard, not drafted, signed with his hometown team the Golden State Warriors who in turn waived him. He was then claimed by the Houston Rockets who also put him on waivers and then he landed with the Knicks who claimed him out of desperation of having no one to run the point. What I wonder, went through Lin’s mind after two teams released him and the third team he’d joined in a month let him sit at the end of the bench only looking to use him if something catastrophic were to occur like two of the teams superstars being out of the lineup for a length of time or the team losing and playing like they have no clue how to play team basketball or a coach in fear of getting fired figuring I have one last attempt here to save my ass and my teams season . All these scenarios occurred and Lin got his chance and we all know how that has turned out. Would you say that Lin’s confidence in himself and his ability to play basketball never waned as others refused to believe in him as he believed in himself? No one plays at the level Lin is playing at now who does not possess supreme confidence in themselves.

That brings me to the Mets and a portion of the fan base. Many fans are so focused on the financial situation of the Skill Sets and I won’t lie I’m intrigued about it to, to a point. The players are starting to migrate to Pt. St. Lonesome to begin spring training and to get ready for the 2012 season. As far as I’m concerned my worries over Fred and Uncle Saul’s money woes now take a back seat (once the court case is heard and verdict comes down I’ll worry about it) it’s time to concentrate on pitching, hitting, defense and confidence.

My hope is that what Daniel Murphy said to me last month at the Thurman Munson Dinner is true, that the negativity of the media and fan base does not permeate through the clubhouse door. I have to hope that Terry Collins, in his second year as Mets manager, has a good read on his team and can instill confidence in them.   I mentioned in a previous post, that I felt Collins knows he can’t bullshit his team, t the NL East is going to be difficult but what Collins has to do is instill the confidence in his players that (a) they are major league baseball players, just like the ones who play for the Phillies, Braves, Nationals and Marlins and (b) all the people who say you can’t win (fans and media) are clueless assholes who never had the balls to compete in anything. This is a huge test for Collins but what he has going for him is most of players in this camp know him and vice versa so he should know how to motivate them and make sure their confidence level stays high.

Again it all goes back to confidence if David Wright and Jason Bay can gain their confidence back at the plate with the help of more hitting favorable field dimensions, if Lucas Duda can become confident in his ability and accept that he belongs in the big leagues, if Jon Niese can make that leap from what can he be too he’s arrived, if Daniel Murphy shows self-confidence at second base and if Big Plef, the guy who needs a mega dose of self-assurance can finally get his talent to translate to what it was that made him a number one draft pick then the Mets could add themselves a chapter to the this great New York Sports season.

It would also help if some of the fan base adjusted their attitudes as well, so step up, those you need a pat on the ass line up to the left, ones who need a kick in the ass, to the right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GOTTA GO TO MO’S TO GET A NFC CHAMPS HAT AND T SHIRT

 

Sorry for the lack of posting at the site the last couple of days. I spent my weekend at Camp No-Be-Bosco just outside of Blairstown, NJ on a camping trip that had everything you’d want in winter camp out, snow, cold and a 2AM run to the latrine, ahhhh……… yes the great outdoors. The camping trip and the New York Football Giants incredible post season (not to mention the best New York Rangers regular season in many an year and trying to come to grips that the great run of the Big 3 of the Boston Celtics looks over) run has greatly distracted me from the comings and goings of the New York Mets .

Again Eli Manning has proven you can be tough, fearless and a leader without being a rah-rah screamer.

I guess Tom Coughlin can make that big purchase he’s been putting off as he is the Giants head coach until he deiced he doesn’t want to be Giants head coach anymore. Who knows what move TC will make if the G-Men win the Super Bowl?

I’ll admit it, I never thought the Giants would go on this roll especially after the loss to the Redskins on December 18th  but thanks to the Jets and the 99 yard Victor Cruuuuuuuuuzzzz TD, which TC said was the turning point, I started  with the “what if’s” in my mind. But of course that dominant Mets fan gene that I possess always makes me brace for the worse.

With all the analysis that goes on about the NFL to the point you’re numb by game time, last night’s game broke it down to the games simplest form. If you turn the ball over multiple times and can’t convert 3rd downs on offence, good chance you’re going to lose. If you are plus in the takeaway column and convert those takeaways into points, chances are you’ll win the game.  

Like a baseball team that is strong defensively up the middle is most successful, in the NFL you’re only as strong as your offensive and defensive lines. The Giants offensive line has been very good for the most part in keeping Eli Manning upright, but last night they allowed him to take a beating. Plus this OL has a tough time getting the running game going, albeit Brandon Jacobs could do better than he does. What has been the big push in this playoff run is the DL especially a star is born, Jason Pierre-Paul.  Without that DL playing at the level it has, which has taken the pressure off an injury riddled secondary, has led to a defensive resurgence that Giants love and cherish.

Saturday night the NY Chapter of the BBWAA held their annual dinner and Gary Carter was the recipient of the “You Got To Have Heart” Award which was accepted on his behalf by his children. Thinking of you Kid.

Lots of chatter about what cap Mike Piazza will wear on his Hall of Fame plaque. Piazza himself has said he wants to enshrined as a Met. Since he played more games as a Met (972) than a Dodger (726) it’s only right he wears a Mets cap on his plaque. I’m sure with Freddy Skill Sets being Uncle Bud’s favorite nephew the word will get to those in Cooperstown to etch that Mets cap on Piazza’ head.

As for the writers not voting Piazza into the Hall on the first ballot, I think they know if they don’t vote Piazza, they will end up like Murray Chass, just a broken down old bitter blogger grazing on a farm.

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HEY SAN FRANCISCO, YOU GOT THE GIANTS

Dress the way you please and put your mind at ease
It’s a city known for its freedom
Cycles shining bright break the silence of the night
Inhibitions, no, you don’t need them, no,no,no

 

After watching last night’s Giants victory over the Packers, I sat in stunned silence to the point my son was looking for a mirror to shove under my nose. I cannot believe this amazing run that Big Blue is on because at the beginning of December all of us Giants fans were ready to clean house from the head coach to the defensive coordinator to the entire defensive secondary, we all felt it was time to move in a new direction, so what happened? First came the Green Bay Packers into Giants Stadium with a pristine 11-0 record and left with a win and with the Giants in their head, the 2 wins over the Cowboys, both must wins to win NFC East and the win against the blowhard Jets that wasn’t business but personal.

Along with the front four of the defense getting healthy and coming together and making life miserable for opposing QB’s which in turn took pressure of the DB’s add in Eli Manning and his potent offense and the circle the wagons mantra of Coach Coughlin, who has done a marvelous job of keeping this team together and focused, you get a team that none of the other 3 teams left standing want to play.

Some observations on yesterday’s game:

As usual the officiating in this game was beyond suck and blows to embarrassing and corrupt. The best thing is I can call the Bill Leavy and his crew all the nasty names I want and Roger Goodell can’t fine me. HA! HA! Fuck you Commissioner

The roughing the passer call on Osi Umenyiora was of course ridiculous but what was worse were the three or four times Eli Manning was hit after throwing a pass and never got a late hit call.

Its games like yesterdays that makes it easier for me to not attend an NFL game in person.  It’s bad enough that after every possession there are three minutes of commercials and again when a player goes down with injury but the worst of all is the length of time it take the NFL to conduct a replay of a challenge call.  If it takes you more than a minute to decide if the call on the field was correct or not then just go with the official call on the field. Replay was wrong on the Greg Jennings fumble and was ignored when spotting a run by Ahmad Bradshaw that could have given the Giants a first down and can we stop with reviewing EVERY touchdown call already? The NFL should take a page from the NHL and have replay officials in a room with monitors and have them make the calls swiftly and correctly.

There are two Eli Manning’s. One is the Huck Finn “aw shucks” guy in interviews and the other is hardcore assassin on the football field. Eli Manning is everything I wished David Wright would be.

Brandon Jacobs better have the game of his life next week because other than the TD he scored when the Packers gave up, he did jack shit in this game.

On the other hand Ahmad Bradshaw proved again to be one of the unsung heroes as he dashed across the field to get out of bounds before the half, setting up the Eli to Hakeem Hicks Hail Mary TD. I bet that bone in his foot is still broken as well.

All the praise the defensive front four has gotten is well deserved but how about sending some praise Michael Boley’s way as well for his calling the D schemes and getting the D in synch.

John Mara is loyal as his old man was (which at times cost the Giants back in the Allie Sherman days) so win or lose, Tom Coughlin’s job security was not an issue and now with this run, it’s safe to say TC will coach the G-Men as long as he wants. My prediction is TC will stay on 2 more seasons then Sean Payton will be Giants HC.

CAN’T WAIT UNTIL SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

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OKAY BACK TO WORK!

For most people the holiday season is over but for baseball fans we are anticipating our holiday season, the day pitchers and catchers start stretching out hammys and arms in what is really (no offense to those who like to use rodents as weather prognosticators) the first sign that daylight will be longer and temperatures higher, spring training.  As Mets fans we are entering a new era in the history of the franchise with Team Alderson running the Baseball Ops and I don’t know about you but I’m still trying to figure out the direction in which we’re headed.

Alderson has a lot of Clint Eastwood movie role qualities, he seems to never get rattled or sweat. In fact I bet if Alderson were advising Mayor MoneyBags during the worst snow removal operation, we would not have had the disaster, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the late 1970’s when John Lindsay forgot that Queens was not part of Nassau County. The problem we have here though, the Mets fan base is the exact opposite of the front office.

The NY Jets fan base has bought in to Rex Ryan’ bravado and bluster. Knicks fans are starting to boast about having a top 10 NBA team. NY Rangers fans are looking with admiration of their team as it has become a real blue collar bunch that works it’s ass off. Even NY Giants fans are still believers in their head coach (some, not all I know. Even though I’m not a big Coughlin fan I agree with John Mara bringing him back next season. I bet he gets a one year extension and then retires)   I just wonder if Mets fans will ever take on the persona of Sandy Alderson ?

Most of us Mets fans are feeling very antsy about the pitching staff, there are two starting spots open along with at least three spots in the bullpen, and just a few shekel’s available in the Skill Sets budget to fill the spots.  There are also six bench spots that have to be filled as well and all I keep thinking is “How is Sandy going to do this”? Not only how but how and make this team competitive?

Adam Rubin did a whole roster breakdown and of the starting eight, only second base is an open competition. The outfield is set with Bay, Beltran, Pagan so the only question here is who will play centerfield and who will be in right? Talking to Carlos Beltran, he feels fine and looks fit but the biggest obstacle I see is that big bulky brace he will have to wear for as long as he plays baseball.  I got the impression from Terry Collins, that Beltran will be given every chance to win the CF job but if he and his staff feels he’s not up to it, he’ll be the RF’er with Pagan taking over CF. What choice does Beltran have if this move is made? None.

The second base quagmire is most compelling. If Luis Castillo can’t beat out the competition he’ll be given his release. The feeling I get is Alderson hopes he craps out so he can release him. Castillo fits on this team about as well as a eunuch in whorehouse.  I’m very interested in seeing Brad Emaus play as I think he’s the guy the front office wants to win the second base job. Dan Murphy will get reps at second as well but he looks to be more a utility guy and lefty bat off the bench. Same with Nick Evans as his righty counterpart who can spell both David Wright and Ike Davis and maybe play a corner spot in the outfield as well.

That still leaves about four spots to fill the bench. One player who won’t be a benchmark is Lucas Duda and that’s a good thing. Duda needs to play every day and that can only happen in Buffalo. It’s a win-win for the Mets, if Duda hits like last year, he’s prime trade bait or he is the first call up if the any of the three starting OF’ers go down injured.  How about signing Andruw Jones as a fourth outfielder? Maybe the longer he’s unemployed, the easier he could be to sign for an incentive laden contract.

The storyline that will be most prominent in 2011 will be what becomes of Jose Reyes beyond this season. I’d say it’s a given that no matter how well he plays, this is Carlos Beltran’ last season as a Met, in fact we could be talking months as Alderson will have to decide if it’s worth trading Beltran for prospects or taking the draft pick? With Reyes it’s a lot more difficult decision. What Jose Reyes will we see in 2011? If it’s the Reyes of the last two seasons, where injury and production limit his playing time, then no way you go long term, in fact if 2011 is a carbon copy of 2010, then Reyes will be an ex-Met but if he bounces back and has a 2008 type season, then Sandy Alderson will have a real tough decision to make. Let’s hope Reyes has a 2008 type season as that would mean not only seeing how Alderson handles a tough decision but I’m sure the Mets will have  better season than most fans think they’ll have.

The Francisco Rodriguez saga will be compelling as well. What happens if Rodriguez is closing in on the magic 55 games finished and the Mets are out of contention? Do the Mets hold him back and damn the consequences of a grievance? What if everything starts to fall into place and this team is still in post season hunt?  It’s the $17.5 mil dollar question.

I’m getting mighty itchy for some positive Mets news. This front office is keeping its plans very close to the vest and all the leaks in the organization seemed to have been plugged so we sit here waiting for a moves to be made so we can analyze and try to track how this team will go forward.  Please Sandy, throws us a bone!

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IN THE VILLAGE OF PESSIMISM, THEY CALL ME KING!

One of the Mets sites I check on a regular basis is Mack’s Mets. I checked out his latest post today and I was relived to see I’m not the only one who feels helpless every day trying to write something about the Mets.

To tell you the truth, I pretty much sick and tired about reading about Matt Holiday, Roy Halladay , John Lackey and most of all Orlando Hudson. Let me say this if you think O-Hudson is the answer as an up grade at second base on as a so called leader in the words of Mike Francesa “Yer Lawst”

The more reports I read the more pessimistic I get about the 2010 season and it all comes back to the ownership/management of this team.  As Mets fans I feel we must get it through our heads that the Mets will not contend for a post season berth in 2010. You hear people in sports say that teams take on the persona of its manager or head coach, well the Mets have taken on the persona of its ownership, weak, clueless and a lack of guts.

You all know my distain for Jeffey Wilpon and after reading “The Road to Hockeytown” by Jimmy Devellano, my disgust about the ownership of the Mets has increased.

For those of you are not hockey fans, Jimmy D is one of the best scouts/ front office men in NHL history. He started out as an unpaid scout for the then expansion St Louis Blues and worked his way to head scout of the NY Islanders and worked with Bill Torrey to build the Islander dynasty and then went on to become the GM of the Detroit Red Wings and lead them back into NHL Stanley Cup Champions. In his career Jimmy D was responsible for the personnel of 7 Stanley Cup Winners.

The one place where Devellano felt was a lost opportunity to win was in St. Louis. The Blues at the time were managed by Lynn Partick  and Scotty Bowman, two hockey legends  but the reason why in Jimmy D’s view the Blues didn’t win the Cup was due to Sid Solomon III, the son of the Blues owner Sid Solomon. Here is Devellano’ view of life with a son who knows nothing about a sports team he inherited:

{When I first got to St. Louis in 1967 there were two pretty good hockey people already there, by the names of Lynn Patrick and Scotty Bowman.

That St. Louis Blues team might have one day become a great organization and the Blues might have eventually won Stanley Cups after starting with two fine hockey people like that. Who knows, they could have had a dynasty there after the great start they had in their first three seasons.

But unfortunately, the owners son, Sid Solomon III, while a very nice guy, was awfully involved with the hockey club and was an awful meddler. We couldn’t keep mangers and coaches like Scotty Bowman because of his constant meddling. Sid was a good but he wasn’t a hockey person. He just didn’t know hockey. How could he have? He made his money in the insurance business, not the hockey business. He didn’t have a feel for the game.

His interference caused a lot of turmoil in St. Louis. They couldn’t retain good people they had in place, like Bowman an (Al) Arbour and it cost them dearly. The Solomons eventually lost their team through bankruptcy and that didn’t need to happen}

Is that not the Mets? Is Jeffey not Sid the IV? It’s not just Jeffey, I am totally sick and tired of David Howard, who really needs a heaping plate full of Shut the Fuck Up.

The Skill Sets have been very successful in the real estate world that’s what they are good at but when it comes to running a baseball team they are an out and out disaster. They have no clue on how to build a team and they have absolutely no people skills (I should call them the Non-Skill Sets) in other words they are not the Mets but the Mess.

This Mets team has a ton of holes. Starting pitching is the biggest followed by a strong defensive catcher, a big corner bat and a solid second baseman. The injuries of last season are a smoke screen to what this team needs to get back to being a contender. Even with a healthy Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana and a rejuvenated David Wright, this team still has no grasp of the fundamentals of baseball and a lack of physical and metal toughness. If you were a major league free agent why would you want to play for the Mets?

Maybe the best move the Mets could make this winter is to put up a for sale sign.

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JERRY’S HEAD GAMES

I’m starting to realize that I am more of a fan of Jerry Manuel the person than I am of Jerry Manuel the manager. Most nights win or lose Manuel is usually a cool cat at his press conference as he never gets rattled by questions and he takes his time giving an answer to the tough inquiries. In that, Manuel reminds me of St Joseph of Torre in his handling of the media and that is a major challenge for any manager or head coach in this town.  But some of the tactical moves that Manuel has made on this road trip and in the recent weeks have be befuddled.

Take last night. When Jeremy Reed was obtained in the Putz deal this past winter we were told he was as good as Endy Chavez at bat and in the field. So if Reed is such a good outfielder why was he playing first base last night while the defensively challenged Daniel Murphy  was put in left field. I swear I was in a daze for the first inning trying to figure the logic here and sure enough the first batter for the Hollywood Bums, Juan Pierre hits a ball to left that Murphy botched. Just stunning.

Why not just leave Murphy at first base and tell him it’s all yours until Delgado gets back maybe it would relive a bit of pressure off this kid because this is not the same Daniel Murphy we fell in love with. The Murphy kid I saw last year and early this year does not get picked off first base like an inept little leaguer. How many times have we heard Keith Hernandez say that “someone taught Murphy the right way to play baseball”?

Same with second base. If Ramon Martinez is the best we have to play back up infielder then we’re in trouble. I know that Castillo has sucked at the plate lately so if you’re going to give him the night off the let the Latin Joe McEwing (Fernando Tatis) play second he can’t do any worse than Martinez.

 

   

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