The Bronx Sure Ain’t Burning With Highlander Fever

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Check out last nights Sports Media Watchdogs Podcast where Mike Silva and I talk about my day  at Highlander Stadium, Mike’s bet with Michale Kay, The Giants season preview and a look at the NHL Lockout.

I haven’t had much time to post this weekend as the last holiday of the summer has been a whirlwind between having a big barbeque at my house, the up early to get to Highlander Stadium (more on the in a minute) and now today off to Coney Island to see and root for the Brooklyn Cyclones as they try to get the NY-Penn League Wild Card spot.

Yesterday I was at Highlander Stadium for an event where the NY Highlanders were honoring young men who had achieved the status of Eagle Scout in the past year. So with my son and nephew achieving this we were all invited to the game between the Highlander and Orioles.

All the Scouts were brought on to the field for a pre-game ceremony and they too a group shot that was shown on the giant TV screen in centerfield but no player joined them to take a picture or shake their hands, oh well. We were given seats in the terrace section of left field which is just below the upper deck. Problem with that section is you can’t’ see left field or left/center field, so I missed Mark Reynolds two home runs which made my delayed cheering a bit awkward, oh yeah I was rooting for Buck’s Birds yesterday for sure.

The stadium is massive, so big that to see everything there is from food and stores would take you all game to see. If you sit up in the upper reaches of the stadium and would like to go all the way to the field level where they have a food court, you’re going to miss at least two innings getting down there another inning getting food and another couple of innings getting back upstairs.  Not really worth it.

The seats, especially the bleachers are so far back from the action that even when fans make noise they’re not a factor in making a difference. I’ve heard louder fan noise at Shea/Citi Field after a 2 hour rain delay when maybe 1,500-2,000 fans were still in the park. It could be the weekend crowd in the Bronx is different than the weeknight crowd as the upstate contingent of Highlander fans show up regularly on the weekend for day games (leaving the parking lot it’s funny to see the Major Deegan northbound bumper to bumper and the southbound entrance to the FDR south a breeze) but the stadium was monastery quiet most of the game and for a game that was crucial to the Highlanders it was a bit of a shock to me.

Ok time to watch Collin McHugh take on the Cards for a few innings then head to Coney Island

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My Day In The South Bronx

The new Highlander Stadium pale’s in comparison to the original 

 

As much as another bullpen meltdown set me off after yesterday’s Mets game , what added to my anger was where I spent the early part of my afternoon, Highlander Stadium.

Yup, I went to see the NY Highlanders take on the Los Angeles Angels Who Reside in Anaheim Orange County California at Highlander Stadium.  I had a whole day to myself as my son and his friends high tailed it to Great Adventure and my wife and daughter went with friends to see Ghost, leaving dear ol’ dad home alone, so I had to find something to do besides do some work around the house. Our beloved Mets were in Atlanta and the Brooklyn Cyclones were on the road, even the Staten Island Highlanders were traveling, damn not a baseball game to be had around here, except for the Bronx Bastards. I go on Stub Hub and buy a ticket in the upper deck for $30 bucks and off to the SI Ferry and 4 train I go.  Of course I am incognito and I’m happy to report I did not see one patron wearing Mets gear at this game unlike the dickheads who wear Highlander paraphernalia at a Mets-Astros game at Citi Field.

As I walked through the mall main concourse the first thing I think of is this has got to be the highest concentration of Caucasians in the boro of the Bronx since the old Swede himself, Joanas Bronck landed there in 1600’s, seriously I didn’t know if I was at a baseball game or a George Strait  concert in Branson, MO . There were a lot of tourists and tons of the upstate/NJ/CT crowd as well. It’s a much different clientele on a weekend as it on a week night but I think you can say the same for Citi Field as well. The suburbanites seem to make a big deal out of these trips to the outter boros by carrying in as much food from home as they are allowed to get past the security guards.  They also have a tough time in figuring out where their ticket says they should sit, most of the fans at the game yesterday looked at their tickets like a contestant on Survivor does at a puzzle challenge. It’s not that hard folks Section, Row, Seat all clearly marked on the ticket and throughout the stadium. Then when they finally figure out where to sit, they lack common courtesy:

Ticket Holder: Excuse me is this Section 422 Row 13?

Me: Yes

TH: oh great we have seats 5 & 6

Me: OK but this is seat 28

TH: OK so can we get through?

Me: you want to walk all across this whole row to get to your seat? Why don’t you just go back down and come up the other side of the section so you don’t disturb the whole row of people?

I may as well had been talking in Pig Latin this schmuck had no idea what I was talking about so finally I said fuck it, go ahead at least the rest of the row knew what I was talking about and gave this guy and his gal pal (both of course with cocktails in their hand) dirty looks.

I love listening to Highlander fans, there were three guys in back of me complaining after Robinson Cano hit a 3 run HR because Joe Girardi whom they refer to as “Super Genius” refuses to play small ball to get ready for the post season. The Highlanders lead all of baseball in Home Runs and these dolts want them to play “small ball”?

The most disturbing sight for me was after a Highlander home run on the side video boards they put up a picture of Michael Kay and his Alien sized dome with his mouth moving up and down and the words “See Ya” next to it. EEEEEWWWWWW!!!!!!!!! It gives me the chills just thinking of it.

So as for the game itself what pissed me off about the Mets loss yesterday was how the Highlanders beat the Angels. Freddy Garcia labored through five innings but not to worry because that’s all the Highlanders needed from Garcia as Cody Eppley pitched two solid innings in relief and David Robertson and Rafael Soriano took care of the eighth and ninth, ball game over, the beauty of having an effective bullpen.

By the time I got home from the South Bronx I caught the last three innings of Mets-Braves.  First off, why would you try to get a five out save out of Bobby Parnell? That’s not putting your player in a spot to succeed and shows you why Bob Geren was axed in Oakland. Here it is that Bobby Parnell has pitched very effectively lately as the ninth inning closer coming in to start an inning and Geren tries to destroy all the confidence building Dan Warthen and Terry Collins have worked at with Parnell. And what the hell was up taking Ruben Tejada out with a double switch for Rony Cedeno ? I don’t care if the pitchers spot was coming out Cedeno for Tejeda ? Bullshit.

Sometimes as Mets fans we forget that the core of this team is very young and still learning the big league way of playing baseball. Kirk Nieuwenhuis is really struggling as is Lucas Duda and you have to expect this. I’d  say the for Josh Thole as well plus he should not be the starting catcher (nor should Mike Nickeas) if reports are true that the Mets are looking at Kelly Shopach then please Sandy Alderson bring him in.

What has Mets fan in a tizzy is, we see there is no great team in the NL and we have the memory of past second half collapses burned in our memory.  I hope this second half the club can put up at least a 39-35 record that would give the Mets 85 wins and a shot at a Wild Card spot.

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My Day At Highlander Stadium with Terry Collins, Joe Girardi and Dunkin Donuts !

This isn’t the best commercial acting I’ve ever seen but you have to admit, it beats the hell out the SUBWAY ads with Joe Torre and Willie “But it’s toasted Joe “Randolph

Yesterday I was invited to an event at Highlander Stadium by Dunkin Donuts that featured an appearance by Highlander skipper Joe Girardi and our own Terry Collins. This was a much different experience than I’ve had at Citi Field when myself and other Mets bloggers have been invited to participate in the pre and post-game activities that the main stream sports media attend daily.

Before I get to the access I had to the managers, a little about how they do things media wise in the South Bronx. When I arrived at the stadium I headed for Gate 4, the press gate, as I entered there are two x-ray machines just like what you see at the airport. I had to put my knapsack on the conveyor belt so it could be scanned, I didn’t know if this was a routine for everyone or just anyone affiliated with the Mets that had to be screened in such a way, maybe my 50th Anniversary pin set off a red flag. From there I checked in and was told to wait for a member of the Highlander security force who would then escort me to the Audi Club.

As the Highlander constable along with a rep from Dunkin Donuts walked me to the club, the DD rep asked me if I was impressed with the way the suite numbers were named after Highlander players who wore that corresponding number, I just looked at her and said, “I’m here as a Mets blogger so I couldn’t care less” to which she started staring at the carpet like she lost a quarter and the Highlander constable started talking in his wrist. Still the long journey continued until finally we hit Yonkers where I believe the Audi club is located.

There I was surrounded by Dunkin Donuts coffees, both hot and cold and so many donuts that I thought of dialing 911 to alert Mayor Bloomberg of the felonious assault by calorie in progress at the Audi club. I grabbed an iced coffee and headed to the area where the presser was to be held. To my surprise, this wasn’t a bloggers/writers event; it was more of an owner/operator of a Dunkin Donuts event.

As Terry Collins and Joe Girardi are introduced, I see Girardi is wearing his Highlander home jersey, just the jersey not full uni and Collins is wearing his “business casual” sport coat slacks and open collar shirt as he said he knew that a Mets jersey is not a welcome site around here. That kind of pissed me off, I would have loved for him to come in in full uni or at least his Mets warm up and cap just to make a statement and stop giving in to the Mets are the step child bullshit that’s allowed to go unchallenged. It got my blood boiling enough to go on a bit of rant that I thought may have gotten myself an early exit from the event.

There weren’t any main stream media at this unveiling of Collins and Giraridi as spokesmen for Dunkin Donuts ice coffee it seems Girardi reps the iced caramel and Collins the ice moca, and the fact that the team that wins the Subway Series that manager will received a $25,000 donation to their favorite charity. When it was brought up that the teams could split the series 3-3, the DD execs looked confused and a bit embarrassed and gave the” we’ll come up with something” answer. How about giving both managers $25k a piece? For what they charge for a dozen donuts I’m sure it’s doable.

So after a lot of playful banter between the managers, the floor was open to questions. Myself and the few other bloggers (I didn’t see anyone I’ve met before but there was one other Mets blogger there or at least one other person asking Terry Collins questions besides me) were off to each side of Collins and Girardi but we had to fight for Q & A time with the fans in attendance so it was time to get aggressive.

I’ve mentioned a few times here that of all the people I’ve met and had a chance to talk to at Citi Field, Terry Collins is the only one who intimidates me, well after yesterday I think I’m over that. I think it was the location Highlander Stadium and the fact just about everyone in the room was a Highlander supporter, that I started to assert my Mets blogger self.  While most of the questioners were raising their hands to ask questions I had enough and just called out to Collins and have him look my way so I can get some queries in.  I ask about Jason Bay and his availability for last night’s game and Collins told me he’s be in the lineup he wouldn’t tell me where in the lineup as I guess he didn’t spring it on Bay that he was batting 8th  , at 11 Am,  I followed up with where will he play LF or DH and was told LF. I then continued my bogarting of the event by asking about Omar Quintanilla’ fractured  finger and my new obsession, when Ruben Tejada will return as the everyday shortstop. Collins gave a look of “yo ixnay on the injuries-ay” and the rest of the attendees were like yeah enough with the Mets questions. Well too damn bad ! I don’t care about David Robinson or Brent Gardner on the DL or how many home runs Curtis Granderson will hit (Girardi is a baseball manger folks not a goddamn fortune teller) so have some fucking manners, let me get my Mets questions in and then you can go back to your inane Highlander inquires about the style of underwear Derek Jeter wears.

I asked Collins about David Wright and how it seems that now that he is the most tenured Mets player he has taken his leadership in the clubhouse up a notch. Collins agreed saying that his treatment of the young players is fantastic and when other players see his work ethic and preparation they follow suit. I then inquired about Ike Davis and if there was anything he has seen in his last few games that would lead him to believe that Davis is ready to break out of this horrendous start. Collins gave a politicians answer going on how Ike’s teammates are behind him and how he’s working so hard to get back to where the club feels he should be but nothing on if Collins thinks he’s ready to bust out. After watching Ike last night it’s going to be a very hard sell by the front office to keep him on the big league roster. Whatever it is, losing most of the last season to injury or the bout of Valley Fever, Ike’s not right and has become an almost automatic out at the plate.

The last question of the session came from a Highlander blogger I believe (I’m kicking myself in the ass for not asking his name and who what site he wrote for) who asked Joe Girardi if he could do something to help the Highlander Bloggers  get access to the team. Girardi had no idea what he was talking about he told the blogger he has no control over who what or where when it comes to media access. At that point I had to give the Mets props and tell the audience that the Mets have been very gracious in letting me and other bloggers have access to Collins and his players and how fortunate we are that they give us the opportunity. Up yours NY Highlanders brass!!!

When the Q & A broke up, the Highlander blogger came over to me and said how he wished the Highlander’s would follow the Mets line of working with the bloggers. I said to him “The Highlanders are run by a bunch stuffed shirt tight asses who have no use for social media” I guess I said that a bit too loud as the Highlander constable started to walk towards me, I just put up my hand and said “it’s fine, I’ll show myself out” with that I grabbed another free iced coffee and head for the downtown 4 train. My work there was done.

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HIGHLANDER STADIUM, A NICE PLACE TO VISIT BUT I WOULDN’T WANT TO CALL IT HOME

As I mentioned yesterday, I took a trip to the South Bronx to watch the Highlanders-Indians game which was my first visit to the new Highlander Stadium, so I’d figure I’d give you  some of my observations of the ball park.

It’s big, very big much bigger than Citi Field and because of that you are much further away from the field than at Citi.

As soon as you head down the stairs of the 4 train you know you’re at HIGHLANDER STADIUM because the Highlander brand just suffocates you. Maybe suffocates is too strong or maybe as a Mets fan I wish Citi Field was as Mets-centric as Highlander Stadium. Hell, even the hot dog stand is named Highlander hot dogs. Every single inch of the place is decorated in Highlander colors and there is no mention of the old Baltimore Orioles , who became the Highlanders and then the Yankees. No its’ Yankees, Yankees and more Yankees.

They sell t-shirts for just about every member of the team and of course all the retired stars. I was very, very tempted to buy a MARTIN 1 t-shirt as I always admired Bill Martin and his style of managing. His off the field way left a lot to be desired for sure but as a manager Martin was as good if not better than anyone who ever ran a baseball team.

For me to get to Highlander Stadium is a breeze. I took the 10:30 AM ferry out of Staten Island, then walked up to Bowling Green to get the 4 train and I was in front of the ball park by 11:45. It takes me that long to get from my house to the Gowanus /BQE merge going to Citi Field.

There are no ushers at Highlander Stadium. There are security people and the Highlanders post a number you can text to report a problem in your section. I sat in Section 420B yesterday and while everything was fine there was this one young lady who kept getting up looking for friends of hers and blocked the view of some fans. One of the blocked fans must have texted the number given as a security guard with ear piece came to the section and went right to the row where this gal was and asked if everything was ok here. Pretty impressive.

The Stadium itself (it’s not a ballpark it’s a STADIUM) has no charm. As you walk in the concourse level is just like entering a high end shopping mall. There are many, many workers who hold up signs “How May I Help You” and whatever you’re looking for at the Stadium they can tell you where it is. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen at Citi Field.     

The food choices were ok I guess, there wasn’t a concession that I said I have to have that. The garlic fires looked enticing but the smell of the garlic was so overpowering I passed. There was a Boar’s Head deli which I guess is very good but I can have a Boar’s Head deli sandwich any time I want. Johnny Rocket’s? There’s one in the SI Mall. Brother Jimmy’s BBQ? I have that before NY Rangers games. Hard Rock Café? If there was ever an organization that was the antithesis of Rock n Roll it’s the Highlanders   So I settled for my favorite sausage and peppers hero.

As for the fans, I guess because it was a Sunday there were a lot of families mostly from NJ, Rockland and Orange County and beyond. Listening to some of the conversations, many were of the casual fan variety but the fan of the day had to be the woman in back of me decked out in here Rivera jersey, cap who cheered and cheered for Jeter and A-Rod who upon seeing a man walking down from the upper rows of the section with a Highlander jersey with the number 5 on it asked her the guy who was with her, “Who’s number 5” to make it worse the guy who was with her didn’t know. My son who was with me just stared ahead watching the action, shaking his head back and forth. That was the best part of the day.

Citi Field has a lot of warts, most of them brought on by ownership but the atmosphere at Citi is much better and more of a festive block party, hanging out in the back yard BALLPARK whereas Highlander STADIUM is a massive high rise apartment building  where no one knows your name and they like it that way.

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“HEY KEEP IT DOWN, WE’RE TRYING TO ENJOY A QUIET EVENING AT THE BALL PARK ”

For those of you who are still interested, Mets single game tickets go on sale today at 10AM. When you click on the link you’ll see that opening day is still available. It wasn’t long ago that opening day was one of the toughest tickets of the season to obtain. You either had to be a season ticket holder, of a partial plan holder to get a first game ticket and regular price. I remember some seasons paying a premium price on the secondary market to make sure I was in the ball park for the season opener. This year I bought my opening day ticket on a special pre-sale but not to worry if you haven’t purchased yours yet there should be plenty for sale.They’ll be plenty of concourse space to stroll around the ballpark on April 8. Sad.  

Mets management has come up with a very good move in making sections 338 and 339 the Mr. Mets Landing. Ticket for kids under 12 years old are 10 bucks and for adults $20. That’s well worth it. Now if the organization would just understand they are not in a real strong position to have price tiering and how it is an absolute turn off to fans and the fact they really need to stop catering to the fat cats who could care less if the Mets win or lose as long as the Chablis and brie is flowing and price their tickets to a more middle class fan friendly level, it would be better for business. I see all these ads with the catchy slogans but I guess I missed the one that said all tickets 50 % off.

It’s very rare that I link to Phil Muschnick on this site but today(Thanks to Eagle for the link) he had a column that sums up what Citi Field, Highlander Stadium on eventually Madison Square Garden have become, a mall with sporting events going on.

No need to rehash my assessment of Citi Field as a food court with a baseball diamond but all the new stadiums in the area have become just that. There is no home field advantage anymore for any of the NYC teams, they play in gentrified playgrounds where the emphasis is on the cuisine and drink rather than the home run, touchdown or power play goal.

Another must read today is Larry Brooks column on the NY Rangers having no home ice advantage anymore at MSG. You need not be a hockey fan to read this article as it pertains to all the sports teams here in NYC. Back in the late 70’s and through the decade of the 1980’s if you were a visiting hockey team coming into MSG, you were intimidated by who was in stands more than who was on the ice.  I sat in the late lamented Section 432 of the Blue Seats back then and every game night at the Garden was intense. When the Islanders came in the building during the National Anthem all you could here were screams of POTVIN SUCKS and banners were unfurled from the seats in the obstructed section of the Blues proclaiming Mike Bossy’ enjoyment of anal sex. (thanks to Blutto for that correction how could I forget “Bossy takes it up the ass doo dah doo dah”) Today if you yell too loud in MSG you’re looked at as someone strange.

Shea was the same way. Ask the Cubs of 1969, the Astros and Red Sox of 1986. How many games did the Mets play at Shea that were either rain delayed or into extra innings or they were down double digits runs and all you could hear were the die hards screaming LET’S GO METS, LET’S GO METS. How many LET’S GO METS chants have you heard at Citi Field? Not many, Have you ever been to a game at Citi where  Johan  Santana, Big Pelf or Frankie Rodriguez had a two strike count  and two outs and you got up from your seat the clap and encourage that third strike because as fans that’s what we do, and be told to please sit down? I know you’re nodding your head because if it happened to me I know it has happened to you.

The Skill Sets made a deal with the devil catering to those they thought were kind of folks with deep pockets who would pay any price to sit in a suite or club seat at Citi Field but all they got was a pitch fork stuck in their ass.

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I FOUND IT! MY 1965 JOE CHRISTOPHER BASEBALL CARD!

Tomorrow my daughter will celebrate her eleventh birthday so when I asked what would be the best present she could get on this eventful day her answer was “FOR YOU TO GET THOSE STUPID BASEBALL CARDS OUT OF MY CLOSET DADDY”.  Ah…. that disposition, she is surely daddy’s little girl. See, before she was born her bedroom was my little man cave. I had sports pictures on the walls, a desk, a tv all the essentials that a man like me needs to sustain life. Then came the day I was handed a couple of quarts of Benjamin Moore pink paint and a brush and told take down Tom Seaver’s picture and that huge team picture of the 1994 Stanley Cup Champion NY Rangers and those plaques of the ’69 and ’86 Mets and that poster of Lawrence Taylor and move it down to the basement (it wasn’t until I was banished underground that I started blogging so I guess I fit the stereotype of bloggers in the basement except I own the basement and I wear pants most days) and turn this room into Eloise’s suite at the Plaza.

So today I will be going through boxes and boxes of baseball cards and copies of old Street and Smith Baseball Yearbooks, Who’s Who in Baseball books and about forty years worth of Baseball Digests and not to mention the long ago “Baseball Stars of the 1960’s” books I bought a the book fairs every year while attending P.S. 105. There is also a  CB Radio in that closet along with a collection of baseball caps, jerseys, roller skates, hockey sticks and I think a pair of boxing gloves.  I know for a fact there is a storage bin in the back of this closet that holds such treasures as a copy of the NY Daily News from the first moon landing and the 1969 World Series edition.  If you are old enough to remember, the Daily News even ran a color front page in 1969 which was revolutionary technology back then, not for the moon landing but to honor the Mets.   I also think I will discover some Bat Day bats from Highlander Stadium and I mean the original seat behind a steel pillar, 76,000 seat, Fred Talbot pitching to Jake Gibbs, ride the Sea Beach to DeKalb Ave to catch the Brighton Line to Highlander Stadium, Bat Day bats.

Now all that memorabilia, a very poor man’s Barry Halper collection, will be relegated to my underground lair, replaced by three pairs of Ugg’s and clothing from Justice (a preteen girls Model’s if you will) and about 20 pairs of shoes, flip flops and sandals.

It will take me hours to complete this mission and I know there will be stern words directed to me as I will go over every card, every score card reliving the games they came from, and wondering what I could get for a Steve Whitaker Bat Day bat on eBay?

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WHO KNEW? METS REALLY ARE “GANGSTA’S”

Are the Mets married to the mob? A story in today’s NY Post links a bunch of companies that were hired by the Skill Sets to work on $iti Field that have unsavory connections. He can try all he wants, but Jeffey Wilpon will never be a “made man”.

Speaking of my buddy Jeffey, it looks like he is pushing hard to get the NHL Winter Classic for $iti Field next January. I am so on board with this idea that I am willing to burry the hatchet, (not in your back Jeffey, don’t worry) to promote this event at $iti Field any way I can. For the game to have any cache, it must have the NY Rangers in it of course, but who should be the Blueshirts opponent?  Forget about the Islanders or Devils being in it, although a three team playing each other over the Christmas/ New Years break with matinee games should be something the NHL looks to do but if you could over look the fact that I bleed Ranger Blue, no one cares enough about the Isles or Devils for them to make an attractive opponent for hockey fans outside the NYC limits. The other five of the Original 6 teams have already played in the classic and it seems the NHL kept the Rangers out if this series so they could host the NYC event so I’m looking at Rangers-Capitals in $iti Field on 1-1-11. The Great 8 vs. The Terrific 10. By the way, Highlander Stadium seems to be out of the running for this event as their management has decided to host a College Football Bowl game during the time it would take to build a rink in the ball park. Unless they are getting Notre Dame to play in that game, folks around here won’t give a rat’s ass about the game. Everyone will be in Flushing at the Winter Classic. Me and Jeffey doing our Blades of Glory routine YAAAA-HOOOO !!!!!!!!!!!!

So while most Mets fans await the Jason Bay coronation sometime this week , please wake me up when a pitcher of some major league magnitude shows up in Flushing.

Don’t forget I will be on with Frankie The Sports guy tonight on AM 1240 WGBB on Long Island and also on Blog Talk Radio. I’m scheduled to be on at 10:25 PM

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JERRY MANUEL YOU JUST KEEP ME HANGING ON

Sorry for the late posting today especially after one of the most biziare loss the Mets had suffered in awhile.

Someday the main streamers in the press and talk radio will give fans the credit they are due for knowing their team better than they ever could. Why is everyone in the media so shocked that Jerry Manuel has no use for Ryan Church? We knew this since late February when J-Man made it known that Church would platoon with Fernando Tatis in RF. Back then Daniel Murphy was the fair haired boy but now he is closing in on Church status.

Just viewing the video of J-Man giving Church his ass to kiss after Church missed 3rd base. I have no doubt that Church missed that base in fact Church deserves to grab some pine after that but Manuel HAS TO go out and argue that call no matter what. Let’s face facts, Manuel is no Earl Weaver when it comes to moves and counter moves from the bench his strength is holding his clubhouse together but after last night there could be a crack in that clubhouse. Manuel not going out to argue was reminiscent of Willie Randolph not fighting for the home run taken away from Carlos Delgado in Highlander Stadium last year.

Carlos Beltran is 100 % right that Angel Pagan (the new Jerry Manuel flavor of the month) should have backed off when he called for that ball. The center fielder is the ruler of the outfield roost, but throwing Pagan under the bus in the press is not what a leader does. Flame his ass in private Carlos.

With D-Wright stepping up big time with his bat (after taking Omar’s “this team has no edge” remark personally) now with Delgado on the shelf for 2 months minimum Wright needs to grab that clubhouse but the balls and get his teams attention. After that embarrassing loss last night maybe a gathering of teammates only is in order before tonight s game.

Lost in the slop of last night was the stellar effort by Tim Redding and the bullpen’s strong outing as well.

Can we please just put Daniel Murphy at 1st base everyday and see what he can do? Go with Tatis in RF if you want and Sheffield in LF. I don’t know what the hell Murphy sis to J-Man but it’s time to forgive and forget if you’re J-Man. I swear Manuel is part Irish the way he holds a grudge.

When the manager is more upset about losing Alex Cora than Reyes then we know we’re in for a turbulent summer .

I have a 5PM game today and you know making sure you touch all the bases willbe brought up in my pre game talk

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THE FRANCHISE II

 

 

 

Was last night THE GAME? Most seasons there is THE GAME, THE GAME you look back on when the season turned around, (or GULP went down the drain) THE GAME they do documentaries about, THE GAME that books are written about, Yeah THAT GAME.

 

For all the problems with empty seats, obstructive views and figuring out whether to eat at the Shake Shack, Mama’s or the Taqueria, last night was the first REAL Mets game of the $iti Field era. Yesterday on his bloviating radio show, Mike Francesa railed against the New Highlander Stadium that there was “no juice in the building” and the overpriced seats in the front row are unoccupado, well, Mets fans hold your heads high as the same can not be said about you at $iti Field last night.

 

Now I wasn’t there but on SNY it came through my TV like the crowd was totally into the game and why not, in the fine tradition of Seaver, and Gooden we now have the newest must see, can’t miss a start, starting pitcher in Johan Santana. If the Skill Sets are thinking of erecting a statue of the The Franchise outside $iti, they better save some bronze for The Franchise II, Santana.  

 

Why did J-Man take Santana out after 7 innings? I know his spot came up in the order with Sheffield on 1st and 2 outs but the Putz was not available and Santana had only threw 101 pitches, in the 7th he threw just 9 pitches (6 K’s) and the Mets took the lead and he was on extra rest, the adrenaline rush from the crowd would have put him over the top. God forbid he would be allowed to pitch a complete game and shut out our most hated rival. I don’t know about you but when I saw Feliciano come in to pitch the 8th  I started think about the puke bucket.

 

I think the reason Jason Werth Mackey Sasser-ed the ball in right that arrived there due to Pedro Feliz error in the 7th was he couldn’t tell if Delgado was running or standing still.

 

Enjoy your trip to purgatory Ollie.

 

Mike Vaccaro is my hero. It’s all about the FUNDIES. The most frustrating aspect of coaching is showing a player something and the player not able to execute it. I have kids with great arms that pitch for me but trying to explain the mechanic of pitching they just can’t grasp it. I’ve simplified it by just asking that they land on the ball of their front foot and bend they knee. When the do that they throw a low strike and look back at me in amazement. But on the next pitch, they go right back to the bad habit of landing on their heel and the ball flys right out of the strike zone. UGGH!

 

Nice to see Jon Niese get the start over Ken Takahashi. Niese’ record is nothing to get excited over (0-2  6.55 ERA in 5 starts) but it could be a factor of pitching for a very bad Buffalo Bisons team. One encouraging number for Niese is his 25/8 K/BB so maybe moving up with the big club will help him.

 

Not only does Denis POTVIN SUCK but he’s out of work as well. Hey Fishstick fans your boy is more associated with the Florida Panthers than he is if the soon to be KC Scouts LOL. 

 

    

 

 

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SCRATCH ONE OFF THE BUCKET LIST. THE EDDIE KRANEPOOL SOCIETY MEETS EDDIE KRANEPOOL!

My bucket list isn’t very long just few things I’d like to do before my ass burns in hell:

 

Capture Osama Bin Laden and put him on display at Astroland there by saving Coney Island.

 

Land a jetliner in the Hudson River (yeah I know that Sully guy did it already but it looked so cool on the video I’d just like to try it once)

 

Watch baseball highlights in a heart shaped bath tub with Hazel Mae

 

Go clothes shopping with Don Cherry 

 

Hit Mega-Millions and use the money to reopen CBGB and wear spandex and boa everyday and hang out with David Johansen.

 

Meet my favorite Mets player of all time Ed Kranepool

 

Well, scratch that last one of the list as yesterday my 44 year journey was complete as I finally met my Mr. Met, steady Eddie Kranepool. Oh I’ve come close a few other times. Once at a bank opening on 18th Ave in Brooklyn, Kranepool and Mets bullpen coach Joe Pignatano were at the grand opening signing autographed 8 X 10’s. When I arrived at the bank, Ed had already left but “Piggy” was there and not only gave me and my kids autographed pics but also found a few that Eddie had signed to give out later so needless to say the are prominently displayed at the World Headquarters of The Eddie Kranepool Society (a/k/a my basement) next to my Mr. Met bubble bath and my Ron Swoboda 12 oz tumbler from Sunoco.

 

A second time was at Keyspan Park when Ed was doing color commentary on a Brooklyn Cyclones game and I tried very hard to conceal my fanboy admiration so I could infiltrate up to the press box (this is how I get around Highlander Stadium like a Special Opps agent I go in watch the game and get out and none of the Highlander faithful know there is a spy amongst them) so when I received an e mail about yesterdays event I was as happy as Navin R Johnson (Steve Martin’s character in The Jerk) when he got his new phone book. I called right away and reserved my seat.

 

So now here I am bopping into Gallagher’s Restaurant yesterday and the first thing that I notice was the plethora of fat, bald middle aged guys in attendance (as opposed to moi as I may be bald and middle aged but I’m svelte <sticks out tongue>) and I thought here we are on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the 1969 World Champion team and the vast majority of the attendees were teenagers back then and for the next couple of hours we are all teenagers again. As I look around the bar I see Ron Swoboda holding court with a small group of businessmen (by the way I didn’t know what the dress code was for this event so I decided to gussie myself up real nice and wear a collar shirt over my orange Mets t-shirt that I got for filling out my 485th Bank of America Master Card application at Shea. That’s why I have more blankets than the Red Cross) I saw Emerson Boozer and shook his hand (which still has an ice pack on it from his grip) I acknowledged Art Shamsky (I’m sure you all read the NY Post this morning and I wish I hung around longer as I would have ran inference for Art when the ex came after him) and then as I made my around the bar there he was, Steady Eddie.

 

At first I felt a little intimidated to speak to him. When I told him I’m the guy who named his blog after him I didn’t know if he’d take it as the compliment I set it out to be or if he start screaming “You? YOU”RE THE GUY”? but thankfully it was the former. Krane seemed to get a kick out it and said he heard about it and asked me if I had a card with the website on it which of course I did, and then Ed gave me HIS BUSSINESS CARD!!!!.

 

I don’t know if it was fear of him being mad about the blog or just the anticipation of meeting him that my childhood was flashing before my eyes (visions of Ebingers Bakery, egg creams, The Sea Beach Line, The Worlds Fair, The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, my Mr. Met megaphone that I just ate popcorn out of, and cans of Rheingold the Orange and Blue aluminum shingles of early Shea, all set to the sound track of Jane Jarvis and her Thomas Organ) but I was nervous talking to Ed and he was just the opposite calm and relaxed, Steady Eddie. He got a laugh as I told him that he was and still is my favorite Mets player of all time because I was a left hand and played first base and not fleet of foot and went by the nickname “Kranepool” and how I had a Mets uniform with 7 on it and how I wish the Mets would retire that number since he still holds or is in the top ten in most Mets lifetime hitting categories. I tried not to ramble but I’m sure I did but he seemed to enjoy my carrying on.

 

One of the dangers in meeting someone who you grew up being a huge fan of is when you do get to meet them the experience is not what you had hoped, but I would like to thank Ed Kranepool for not disappointing me by being so gracious and making yesterday even better than I had hoped it would.

 

Now back to that bucket list. I wonder what Gretchen Mol is doing Saturday night?

 

 

   

 

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