It Was The Best Of Nights, The Worst Of Night’s At Citi Field

The photo was from Mets Merized Online and taken by Clayton Collier who also has a great write up of the Q & A the Mets Bloggers conducted with Phil Niekro, R.A. Dickey and Tim Wakefield

It was another Mets blogger-rattzi day at Citi Field yesterday and it was almost the best bloggers day ever. I say almost because there was an unfortunate incident late in the game that put a damper on the events of the day. Josh Edgin and Andres Torres with his ability to kill a rally with a signal ground ball, played the sad clowns. So instead of all of us heading home with the wonderful memory of chatting with 86er Barry Lyons, Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, R.A. Dickey and Tim Wakefield along with an outstanding performance by the 2012 winner of the Clff Floyd Light At The End Of The Tunnel Award Matt Harvey, the lasting image of the day was a Ryan Howard 2 run home run off closer of the day Edgin.

The day started with Terry Collins and his daily FEMA update on his club. Collins is the definition of a ‘fox hole guy”, as bad as this team is, as inept as they are at the basic fundamentals of baseball, as dismal as the outlook for next season appears, Collins still talks about his players being talented and how they are playing out the season to the fullest and those of us in the conference room feel our pant legs getting drenched from being pissed on but being told it’s just condensation from the air conditioning unit.

So after a few eye roles we head out to the field to watch and schmooze while our heroes stretch and take BP. After a few minutes of observing and kibitzing, the blogger group was introduced to former Mets catcher Barry Lyons.  We spent a good 20 minutes with Lyons talking about everything from his days as an 86er, to Davey Johnson to catchers calling pitchers other than the pitching coach and how the 1986 Mets would have fared in the new social media world.

Lyons spoke of the special bond he and his 1986 Mets teammates have and how winning a championship builds that special bond forever. Lyons was wearing his Mets Alumni golf shirt and mentioned how even though he played for other teams (Dodgers, Angels, and White Sox) he will always be a Met. In fact, Lyons even spoke of maybe getting back on the field as a manager in the Mets minor league system. I told Lyons that if he needed an advocate for him to take over the helm in Brooklyn I would be honored to head the campaign. Hopefully the Mets front office acknowledges that Lyons is interested in getting back to coaching to managing in the organization as gives him strong consideration for a job.   

From our session with Barry Lyons, we headed over to meet the stars of the movie KNUCKLEBALL , which I can’t stress enough is a must see for all baseball fans, Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro, our own R.A. Dickey and Tim Wakefield. We first spoke with Niekro and Wakefield, and then R.A. Dickey joined the group. It was nice to see the camaraderie between these three men who belong to a special fraternity or as Niekro said “the freaky group”. We then talked about who are the next knuckleballers on the horizon. Dickey talked about Frank Viola’s son, who Dickey worked with a bit in spring training, who was trying to learn the pitch and another young many name Steven Wright. I asked Dickey whether the Mets or any other organization seeing the success that has had with the pitch, would work with pitchers who have fallen from prospect status to just organization fillers to become an asset to the big league club. His answer was all it takes is one organization to take a chance and be bold enough to take on that initiative, to which both Niekro and Wakefield nodded in approval.

All three men stated that they would do all they could to help any pitcher who had the patience, the competiveness and the work ethic needed to master the pitch. If anyone does get to work with these gentlemen and with Charlie Hough or Tom Candiotti, they should consider themselves fortunate.  

With the pre-game Q & A’s over, we went up to the Champions Club to enjoy the ambiance and watch Matt Harvey’s 2012 Farewell Tour. After getting some food and a beverage, myself, Ed Marcus, Matt Falkenbury and Randy Medina sat down to discuss this lost season and what is on the horizon for the off season and 2013. In a room with, I’ll say roughly 100 people milling around the bar area and food stations, the four of us were the only one’s talking Mets baseball or anything remotely  close to baseball talk and even in a fine establishment like the Champions Club, you still get douchenozzels walking around in Highlanders garb.  The lack of etiquette is appalling.

Matt Harvey was on the bump as we made our way to the seats, first batter Jimmy Rollins home run just over the orange line on the right field wall. UGHHHH!!!! , but then Harvey gets the next three batters , 86 year old Juan Pierre, Life Alert spokesman Chase Utley and the ghost of Ryan Howard to end the inning on a high note. From innings 2 to 5, Harvey faced just 12 batters and was in full Ace mode. But of course the Mets being the Mets and being at Citi Field all they could muster was a run to tie the game until David Wright hit a baseball over an outfield wall for a go ahead home run. A Festivus miracle I tell you.     

So going into the 9th inning we have the Mets, at home, with a lead, Josh Edgin filling in as closer with Frank Frisco nursing a right elbow riddled with tendonitis, 2 up 2 down, open the book as we are ready to put this baby……..in…….ah…………shit…………..!

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METS MOTION SICKNESS

I’m exhausted. After sitting through last nights game, then heading home and getting to bed about four hours before I needed to get up to go to work, I’m going to need three XL Dunkin’ Dounts coffee’s to get through the work day.

My day at Citi Field started out with a great surprise. As we were walking from the car to the front of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, I had the great pleasure of meeting up with Ed Kranepool. Yes, THE Ed Kranepool, my FME (Favorite Met Ever). He was with a bunch of people and was busy distributing tickets to them when I went over to say hello. I reminded him that we met at a luncheon at Gallagher’s for the 69 Champs and that I run this blog named after him, he started laughing and said “Oh now I remember you” we just chatted for a minute or two before we shook hands and bid each other well.  That was my “Let It Be” moment as a Mets fan. Just when I wonder is all this worth it, as I get more and more aggravated with the ownership, front office and manager and question why I actually give a shit about this team, I hear that song in my head:

When I find myself in times of trouble,

Eddie Kranepool comes to me,

Speaking words of wisdom,

Let it be, let it be.

After my Kranepool encounter, we then took a stroll through the Mets Museum. This was just my third trip to Citi Field this season (now that my baseball season has come to a close with a second round ousting in the playoffs, I hope to make a few more trips this summer to Flushing) but the first time I had the time to go a look around the Hall of Fame. I must say, I was thoroughly impressed. I love the fact that the two World Series trophies are on displayed for us, the great unwashed, to look at and enjoy instead of the days at Shea when the swells in the suites and Diamond Club, the folks who have zero attachment to them, had them in plain view. I also like how the plaques are made just like the one’s in Cooperstown. The display of Mets uniforms of the past is a treat as well and the baseballs from the first and last games at the Polo Grounds and Shea Stadium scream of our history. I don’t say this too many times but bravo Mets management on putting together a great place for Mets fans to relive and learn Mets history.

A few thoughts on last night’s game:

This team is madding. How does Johan Santana go from throwing batting practice in the first inning to morphing back into an Ace from innings 2-5?    

We sat in seats last night that allowed us access to the Caesars Club, as my wife said we needed to splurge since it was my birthday. Our seats were great, section 326 between third and home, but I’m just not cut out to be among the people who frequent that area. We may have been the only ones in the section actually watching the action on the field.  I was not impressed with the surroundings of the Cesar’s Club either. The furnishings look like the came off the set of Mad Men, with the couches and coffee tables that looked just like the furniture in my living room when I celebrated my 6th birthday in 1964. One very nice feature though was the air conditioning which was welcome relief on a stifling night.

I also grew weary of telling all the “Johnny Come Lately” Mets fans that life story of Mike Hessman.

I’m sure Jerry Manuel has all sorts of facts and figures in his binder that he keeps in the dugout. I am also sure that on one of those pages there shows Pedro Feliciano gets pounded by right handed hitters to the tune of .333/.446/.405 and that Raul Valdes, even though he’s a lefty, has success versus righties  .206/.322/.284 so why was Feliciano left to face El Hombre? I can accept not walking Pujols but why not go with Valdes? It’s your nightly “Gangsta’ Jerry’s Head Scratcher of the Game”.

I have really, really REALLY had enough of Luis Castillo.

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