The New Party City Deck at Citi Field

I was invited out to Citi Field today by the Mets to get a tour of the new Party City Deck in Left Field and also to get a gander at the new outfield dimensions and the beautiful BLUE walls. I was impressed by all three.

The ball park looks great as the black outfield walls are now Mets blue. As I walked into the Part City Deck I was totally amazed how bringing in the left field fence by 12 ft could make such a difference in my perception of the distance from the outfield to home plate. I’ve stood on the warning track at Citi Field before the alterations and felt home plate was located in Jackson Heights, same thing with the height of the outfield wall, which have been chopped in half from 16 ft. to 8 ft. Looking up from the left field warning track I felt like a Chilean miner.

The Party City Deck looks like a great spot to see a game, the section can accommodate groups of 25 to 102. The seating is a combination of padded stadium seats along with barstool with a ledge where you can sit and enjoy classic ball park food (hot dogs, burger, chicken tenders, popcorn, peanuts and homemade potato chips) and soft drinks, water and beer, starting two hours before first pitch. After the second hour of the game, cookies will be served right up to the ninth inning. All of the food and drink are brought right to your seat waiters and waitresses, so there is no standing in line and missing the action on the field.

The price of a ticket to The Party City Deck ranges from $100-$200, depending on the opponent. The area is for group sales but for the final five games of the opening home stand (April 7-11) individual tickets will be on sale.

It’s good to see the Mets  realize that the dimensions of the outfield were a problem and made the alteration along with ditching the black wall along with the overwhelming  use of black (or soot as I believe is the official name of the color so predominate throughout the ball park)  throughout the park. It was the first time I walked into Citi Field and felt it was the home of the NY Mets. Amazing what a little paint can do eh?

Can’t wait for Thursday. Let’s Go Mets!!!

 

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DOES CITI FIELD HAVE IN IT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE ?

 

 

 

As cold and nasty as it is outside today, what would give to be at Citi Field tonight for Game 6 of the World Series?

While watching this World Series and seeing the fans in St. Louis and Arlington, revved up and waving their rally towels (don’t laugh I still have my Mets K Hanky from 1988) and living and enjoying the moment instead of what we as Mets fans are doing now, reminiscing about the past and waiting to see what our future looks like.

I also wonder about what Citi Field will be like when we have our first great Mets moment there. So far my great Citi Field moment is attending the last game of this past season and not having a long line at the Shake Shack.  Will the atmosphere at Citi match that of Shea in the exhilarating days of yore?

I’ve been in Shea when the stands were physically shaking, as the field level was on rollers and you see and feel the whole lower moving up and down.  I’ve been in the Upper Deck where fans stood and cheered (how many times have you heard Mets fans clap with two strikes on a batter? Sad isn’t it) and the sound of 55,000 loyalists was overwhelming. There is no other fan mantra like “Let’s Go Mets” (Let’s Go Rang-ers at MSG comes close as does DEE-FENSE at a Knicks game but they are not Let’s Go Mets) and you get that kind of atmosphere when there are no clubs to hide in or team stores to shop in during a game or dunk tanks or hamburger stands to stand in line in. That was the beauty of Shea, it was baseball’s dive bar, it had beer and hot dogs and peanuts what else do you need at a ball game. Sure the bathrooms were a mess and the concourse ceilings leaked and yes I bitched and moaned about it but after a few years at the McMansion of baseball parks, maybe leaky roofs and sewer water wasn’t so bad.

I guess I shouldn’t knock Citi Field for not having a Mets Moment yet as it’s not up to the building to provide that for me, it’s up to the team and my fellow Mets fans to do that. I just hope that when this team does become a contender, that there will be fans in the stands to not just cheer the team on but intimidate the opponent.  I fear that Citi Field will never rock n roll like Shea not because I don’t think the team will ever contend for a World Series again but that the fans closest to the action will be inside nice and warm watching on a big screen TV.

With the cancelation of last night’s game 6 and the fact that this is the 25th Anniversary of the last Mets World Series win, I’ve been watching the DVD of Game 6 and 7 and what stands out is the volume of noise coming from the stands. Just looking at Calvin Schiraldi’s face as the Mets began their 2 out rally in Game 6, tells you that the comeback and the crowd was becoming overwhelming for him. In fact, the atmosphere at Shea could be counted as a contributor to the victory as roar and foot stomping just kept building and got more intense with each base hit, reaching a crescendo on the wild pitch to tie the game and just exploding on the Buckner Bungle to win it.

Check out the fan shots from Game 6 or Game 7, how great is seeing Mets fans happy, loud and rowdy? I just hope Citi Field is not to prim and proper not to let its hair down when it’s needed.

 

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HEY, HOT DOG HERE!!!!! HEY, BEER HERE!!!!!!

 

A staple at a baseball game is a hot dog and a beer, in some stadiums it can break your budget in others the combo is quite affordable as we see in this beautifully put together chart by the folks at webstaurant.com. I knew that the Cincinnati Reds sold hot dogs for a buck but who knew the Rays had the highest priced wieners in all of MLB? Maybe that’s what keeping the fans away in St. Pete?

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ANGEL PAGAN GOES EL KABONG

It was quite a night at Citi Field last night. The SNY crew set up shop in the Pepsi Porch and I don’t know who enjoyed it more, Gary, Keith and Ron or us fans watching on TV. Between Ron wearing a glove like a Little Leaguer hoping to catch a ball or Keith buying hot dogs for him and his mates, it was one of the more enjoyable Mets games I’ve watched in awhile.   

There was a little bit of everything last night. R.A. Dickey showing all those of little faith that he is a legit big league pitcher and one I hope is around here for some time. After falling behind 4-0, Dickey got himself back on track and as much as I love to watch a pitcher dominant a lineup, when you see a guy start out shaky but refuse to panic and think out what pitches are working and which one isn’t and then have the ability to make adjustments on the fly is just as great to watch. If Mike Pelfrey could just have a sliver of R.A. Dickey’s guile and pitching smarts we would be talking about locking him up to a multi year deal instead of hoping he gets non-tendered in the off season.

Angel (El Kabong) Pagan has not been very good this season in the field and at bat. Pagan is another player that I’m sure will be part of a big discussion in the Mets front office meetings as to whether he’s worth bringing back next season or not. Pagan, like the rest of this team is an easy guy to root for. He’s worked his way back from oblivion of the bushes to be a bonafide big leaguer. In Pagan’s defense he is not a leadoff hitter and is not comfortable in the 1 or 2 spot of the lineup. This season his best offensive production as come when he is slotted in the 5 or hole. So last night was the right spot for Pagan in the bottom of the 10th when he drilled his walk off home run. Good for Angel and good for the Mets. This is a day to reflect on the goodness of Pagan, we’ll have all winter to debate is fate as a Met going forward.

The stories today are all about Carlos Beltran and what is most likely his farewell game at home as a Met. If anything last night was his going away party. The crowd seemed to feel the same way. I was hoping that after Beltran launched his 2 run homer in the 5th to tie the game that the fans at Citi Field would prolong their enthusiasm to the point that Carlos would come out for a curtain call. When was the last time a Mets player came out for bow after a home run? With today being a day game and the temperature climbing toward 100 degrees I wonder how many folks will show up for the game today (besides the day camp kids for whom the 12 noon start was scheduled for) but it would be nice if the fans gave Beltran a standing O in his first at bat to the point where he steps out of the box and doffs his helmet. We’re going to miss him.

Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Josh Thole on the birth of their son Cameron and how about Daddy Josh hitting RBI single in the 8th to tie the game at 5. I hope someone saved the ball to give to Thole as it would be a great conversation piece between him and his son when he gets older to relive the night after his birth daddy got a big clutch hit for the Mets.

Jason Pridie will start in LF for the Mets today for Jason Bay who is nursing a sore hammy. Bay claims his hip and leg have been bothering him for a few days and this doesn’t seem too serious. I know we’d all love to see Bay take a seat on the bench but we shouldn’t revel in an injury that puts him there. Mike Francesa had one of the few good points he makes every now and then about calling the Pirates about taking Jason Bay off the Mets hands for 50 cents on the dollar. Bay is owed $35 mil over the next three seasons so if the Mets offer Bay to the Pirates along with $17-$18 mil they would save $17-$18 mil. I doubt the Bucs would do this but Bay did have a great six years in Pittsburgh so maybe he Bucs need a love re-connection. Can’t hurt to ask.

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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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METS TEAM WITH THE NFCA AND R.O.C.K. LONG ISLAND TO HOST CELIAC DISEASE AWARENESS NIGHT THIS FRIDAY AT CITI FIELD

I recived this press release from the Mets and I’m very happy to pass it on to you guys:

 

FLUSHING, N.Y., May 25, 2011 – The New York Mets,
the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) and Raising Our Celiac Kids
(R.O.C.K.) Long Island have teamed to host Celiac Disease Awareness Night this Friday,
May 27 at Citi Field when the Mets take on the Philadelphia Phillies at 7:10 p.m.

Fans will be treated
to pre-game activities in the Left Field Landing designed to raise awareness of
celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by the protein gluten found in
wheat, barley and rye.  Along with a
visit by Mr. Met and a menu of gluten-free food and beverages, SNY Field
Reporter Kevin Burkhardt, who suffers from celiac disease, will be on hand to
host a silent auction of sports memorabilia and special packages, including an
opportunity to shadow Burkhardt pre-game at a Mets home game and a chance to
watch the Mets take batting practice from the field.

The Mets have gluten
free options available at every game at the Kozy Shack Gluten Free Stand,
located in the Taste of the City on Field Level in Right Field, which offers a
variety of Kozy Shack puddings and gels, sausage and peppers, hot dogs,
hamburgers, buns and Redbridge beer. These options will also be available in
the Left Field Landing on this special night.

The View’s ElisabethHasselbeck, who also suffers from the disease, will be honored before the game
for her contributions in the Celiac community. Hasselbeck has written a best-selling
book “The G Free Diet” about the disease and started her own line of gluten
free protein bars called nogii.

Celiac disease affectsone in every 100 Americans.  Cases of
celiac disease have increased fourfold since the 1950’s, yet 90% of those
affected by the ailment live undiagnosed.
Left untreated, celiac disease can lead to further complications such as
autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, thyroid disease and some cancers.  Currently, the only known treatment for
celiac disease is a complete gluten-free diet.
Citi Field offers several gluten-free concessions stands for fans all
season long.

Tickets for Celiac
Disease Awareness Night can be purchased through Mets.com/celiac or by calling (718)
507-TIXX.  Net proceeds from the night
will go towards celiac education and awareness programs through the NFCA and
R.O.C.K. Long Island.  Fans purchasing tickets through this offer will receive a Mets ticket holder and a
lanyard.

About the National
Foundation for Celiac Awareness:

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of celiac disease in order to gain prompt and accurate diagnoses for those suffering, supporting the health and wellbeing of those with the disease, and facilitating research that will better understand the disorder and find a cure. For more information, visit www.celiaccentral.org.

About Raising Our
Celiac Kids Long Island:

Raising Our Celiac
Kids (R.O.C.K.) Long Island is a free support group for parents, families and
friends of kids on a gluten-free diet. R.O.C.K.
Long Island is raising funds to benefit the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia
University which is the premier Center in the United States that provides
comprehensive medical care, including nutrition, for adult and pediatric
patients with celiac disease.  The Center is diagnosing and treating more
than 2,800 patients annually from around the world.  For more information, visit www.rockli.com.

 

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YO’ METS FAN, SEE THE KNICKS? THAT COULD BE US SOON!

Most times when the Boston Celtics hit the city, I make it my duty to go see my favorite basketball team in person. During the last decade, securing a ticket to a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden was as cheap and easy as a Hunts Point hooker. That has now changed.

I went looking for a couple of tickets for last Wednesday’s Knicks-C’s tilt at MSG and the best I could find were blue seats for a hundred or a hundred and a quarter. That’s what I’d spend for two games plus a couple of hot dogs and a beverage. What the hell happen?  Winning and exciting basketball by the NY Knickerbockers is what’s happened.

Yesterday in NYC the talk around town was all Knicks, Knicks and Knicks. The last time I can remember the Knicks being this relevant I was fighting my wife for use of the blow dryer, quite a while ago.  It’s not just that the Knicks sucked or that they were run by a complete asshole or that owner was fucking clueless (sound familiar Mets fans?) the team was run so bad, the fan base gave up on them and if you are of a certain age and grew up in NYC in the 60’ and 70’s you know basketball was THE game .  Tickets to Knick games were scarce.  A night at a Knicks game and being welcomed by the voice of John F.X. Condon (Welcome to The World’s Most Famous Arena) was electric. All that was lost, but now it looks like it’s been found again.

I bring the Knicks up today because the Mets are where the basketball team was before new management took over. When Donnie Walsh of the Bronx came home to rescue the premier basketball franchise in the NBA, he inherited a total mess. Same as Sandy Alderson has with the Mets. The Knicks have been saddled with over priced players who couldn’t care less if they won or lost as long as Jim Dolan signed off on the payroll. Same as the Mets. The GM of the Knicks was a cluessless, sexual harassing douche bag. Just like what the Mets had. The Dolan family along with the board of directors of Cablevision, the parent company of MSG stepped in and told Jimmy Dolan stay the fuck out of the basketball business, just like it seems the Skill Sets family has told Jeffey.

First thing Donnie Walsh did was try to rid the organization of bad players and bad contracts. Walsh did something that most deemed impossible, he brought the Knicks payroll under the cap and out of luxury tax hell.  He then put together a staff from head coach to assistants to scouts then used the draft well and signed players of talent and character  like Amare Stodumire. Stodumire is THE face of the Knicks and after one month of playing for the team, he hated what he saw and called his team out in public:

    “I’m not sure if it’s the fact maybe a winning mentality has never been here. I’m just not used to it. I’m used to winning. I’m used to talking about winning and having that confidence toward winning. You just can’t have guys complacent and comfortable with losing.”   

“I don’t understand why we’re not playing with the urgency. I’m not used to that. We’re not playing like we’re on a four-game losing streak, now five. We don’t have that sense of urgency. It’s almost as if it doesn’t matter.”   

 

WHOA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Do they make one of these in a baseball player? If they do, Sandy Alderson needs to get us one.

Now that the Knicks are playing not only good basketball but exciting basketball and have a player in Stoudemire who has stepped up to lead on and off the court and has reached one name status in the city. AMARE. Because of this the ugly element of the NYC fan base has raised hi ugly head, The Band Waggoner.  You know who they are, the most clueless and insecure people this city has to offer.  You go to a party and in passing conversation you ask if they are a Mets fan or Yankee fan or Jets or Giants fan and they reply “I’m a New York Fan” which my ears interpret as “I’m an asshole”.  That’s when I excuse myself find my wife and tell her  “I’ll meet you in the car, 15 minutes A.I.S (ass in seat)”     

A splinter group of Mets fans are clamoring over Sandy Alderson not going out and throwing money at free agents. This group confesses to hate the NY Highlanders and all they stand for but they want the Mets to copy their plan. Why they don’t just grow some balls and move their allegiance to the Bronx Bastards, is a question you’d have to ask them. This group doesn’t get it that the Mets did make a big free agent signing this winter, they signed Alderson, J.P. Riccarrdi and Paul DePodesta to go out and bring this franchise back to its rightful place of prominence in NY sports.

Don’t take this as me saying Alderson will part Flushing Bay or will put his hand on Ollie Perez’ left shoulder and turn him into Sandy Koufax, all I’m saying is he has run organizations before and he has been very successful, so let’s give his way a chance before you scream and yell about not buying tickets or Mets merchandise. If that’s the way you want to roll that’s fine but remember I know who you are, you’re the same the person walking around the city in that brand spanking new Knicks jacket and hat and the big foam KNICKS #1 on your finger.  How do you people live with yourselves? You disgust me.

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GO GET ‘EM JOHAN!!!!!!!

As much as I would have loved to win that game yesterday I can’t be too upset with Big Pelf, he struggled with command and he made two big mistakes to Texieria  and the killer the 2 run homer to Curtis Granderson but as the Highlanders stated after the game, they’d rather face a hard thrower like Pelf than junkballers like Jamie Moyer and Hisinori Takahashi.

If you are a Highlander’s fan I am sorry to give you the bad news that the Era of the Bronx Robber Baron is over. It ended after Friday night’s game when that skanky Lady GaGa paraded herself into the Highlander locker room in her underwear after a loss to the Amazin’s. I can guarantee you that not only would Pee Wee Cashman been fired on the spot but Hank and Hal would have been put up for adoption if the Boss was still in charge. For an organization that takes such pride in its uniform to have a no talent trollop like GaGa wearing the Highlander jersey must have Marilyn Monroe rolling in her grave.

John Maine has become a problem. I had Tweeted that no way Maine goes back to the rotation if or when he comes back to the big league team and should be used as a reliever. But as General Manager Candidate Howard Megdal pointed out to me, Maine is still not throwing hard and he has not shown he’s suitable for bullpen duty as he does not show the ability to get up and get warm to come into a game. As always Howard is right on the mark and that’s why he needs to be named the nest GM of the NY Mets.

Mike Silva tackles the Maine question as to DFA or trade John Maine for a reliever from a team looking to start selling off talent. I think it comes down to John Maine’ Mets career is just about done.  In fact if the Mets can’t trade Maine and they do DFA him it will show they are serious about winning, if you don’t produce then you’re gone. Its PRO baseball no one gets hot dogs after the game.

Very nice feature in todays Daily News on Big Pelf and how between embracing fatherhood and working with Harvey Dorfman on the mental side of the game. Big Pelf also talks about his estranged dad  and how that has motivated him to be a better father to his son.

Happy Fathers day to all the Dads out there I don’t know about you but everyday for me is Fathers Day

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JEFFEY SKILL SETS PUTS ON HIS BIG BOY PANTS

Kids, I was thisclose to getting a word with Jeffey Skill Sets yesterday, thisclose.

I left my office on W.Broadway at 4PM to go to the game last night. I grabbed an uptown 2 train to Times Square and jumped on the 7 which just happened to be an express and I arrived at $iti Field by 4:45. To my surprise the gates at the O’Malley Shrine were opened and fans were filing in. I went down the left field line to watch BP after awhile I moseyed around the park, grabbed a hot dog (I swear Nathan’s makes two different brands of hot dogs, one for Coney Island and the other for general distribution as the Coney Island dogs are superior to the any other Nathan’s dogs off site. I swear on Coney Island they boiler the hot dogs in ocean water before grilling them) walked a little more, looked at sites, listened to the sounds and all of a sudden I saw a commotion in front of the Mets dugout. There with microphones, cameras and note pads was the CEO of the New York Mets, Jeffery S. Skill Sets holding court and me just 20 rows and a security guard away from my ultimate goal to heckle Jeffey. Now I knew there was no way in hell I was getting down there not with James from Woodside (that’s what it said on his badge) guarding the section.

So I had to wait until I go home from the game to hear what Jeffey had to say (just as well I didn’t get down to the dugout, who wants to get tossed out the ball park before a game and on your birthday no less) but from listening it seems that Omar acted out of frustration against Adam Rubin and what I found interesting was that Jeffey who usually calls his daddy and uncle by their first names, keeping it business like, said that Monday was an “embarrassment to him his father and his uncle” WOW this is personal. Omar’s in trouble here and it will take some big time fence mending with the Skill Sets and the press to save him. He better hope this on field resurgence continues as he is on thin ice and the temperature is getting hotter by the second.

This is where Minaya made his biggest mistake he made this personal and not business. His buddy got caught doing some nasty shit and Adam Rubin reported the facts and Omar got caught covering up Tony B’s transgressions. Omar wanted his pound of flesh and made himself into an ass doing it. Let’s see if he can recover from this.

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CAMP HAS BECOME UN-BEAR-ABLE

With one more night left in our camping trip we just finished a leaders meeting to deal with the two young bears that are now stalking the camp site.  I’ m operating on about 2 hours sleep as we were alerted last night around 10 PM that a bear about 2 yrs old and standing well over 6 ft tall and over 200 lbs was in our general vicinty. So we the leaders stayed up most of th enight keeping vigil on the camp site.

To make matters worse my son and four other boys from our troop spent the night in the woods about 5 miles from our camp to fullfill thier wilderness survival reqs for a merit badge. The boys go into the woods for a night with just a sleeping bag, knife, water, mat, and two hot dogs and an apple. When they returned to camp this moring around 6 AM my son informed me that he saw a bear near their shelter but he was scared off by the noise.

With all that I’m ready to go home and get some concrete under my feet by the way Jerry Manuel needs to play Daniel Murphy every day and Omar needs to give Livan Hernandez his release, and Jeffey and Freddie Skill Sets need to come out hiding and speak to the fan base on how they are going to get this franchise back on track not for this season but for 2010 and beyond.

Time for everyone in the Mets organization to man up and realize this season is done and work on dealing off guys like Ryan Church, Garry Sheffield, Brian Schineder  and Fernando Tatis to name four.

It would be nice if someone in the Mets organization had the guts of a 13 year old Boy Scout

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Tickets

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