NY Mets Bloggers Conference Call with Rusty Staub

Just about an hour ago (took a look around which way the wind blows) I had the privilege to be on a conference call with fellow Mets bloggers to talk to Rusty Staub. Rusty is in town for a big weekend, first on Saturday the first 25,000  Mets fan attending the 1:10PM game against the San Diego Padres will receive a Rusty Staub bobble head and then on Sunday, Rusty will be a judge for the big Banner Day presentation.

Staub was a two term Met (1972-1975 and then 1981-1985) and is one of the more popular Mets of all time. When my turn came up to ask a question, I wanted to focus on the adjustments he had to make when he was traded to the Detroit Tigers of the American League. Staub was a 13 year National Leaguer and back then, pride in the league you played in was a major characteristic of big league players. I asked Staub about what it was like to learn the American League style of play which was more a power league and of course the league with the designated hitter. Staub explained he was not a fan of the DH and he made it known to his manager Ralph Houk. The Tigers had traded Willie Horton to the Texas Rangers and Houk named Staub his DH for the season. Staub said he wanted no part of DH’ing and put The Major on notice that he would do it for one season. It ended up Staub was the Tigers primary DH for 1977 and ’78 putting up some very impressive numbers but Staub was clear he was not very happy being a full time DH.

I also inquired about playing in the All Star games back in the 1970’s when the game was a very big deal. I remember reading about NL President Chub Feeney going into the NL clubhouse to give “his” team a pep talk same as Lee MacPhail with his American Leaguers. Staub spoke on no matter which All Star team he played on winning the game was paramount in the minds of all the players.

When talking about switching leagues, Staub touched on Albert Pujols and his struggles so far as an Angel. Rusty said it takes time for any player even one the caliber of Pujols to learn the pitchers and get comfortable with his new team. He emphasized that learning about pitchers you have never faced before as a big obstacle as it seems all hitters keep a “book” on pitchers they face so when switching leagues it means a whole new tome.

It was quite a thrill to get to speak to Rusty who was one of the most productive and popular players in the team’s history and very much worthy of a bobble head day and to be a judge for Sunday’s Banner Day  Parade.

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Signs of Progress Within The New York Mets

Very interesting news coming from the Mets yesterday and today. First the team seems to be on the verge of locking up Jon Niese for the next 5 years, that will reward the lefty pitcher during his arbitration eligible years and buy back a year of his free agency eligibility.  This quite a progressive and proactive move by the Mets front office, something not seen in these parts in many ,many years.

Some reports have the deal at 5 years and $28mil, the 5 years is a big commitment to a pitcher who has suffered from fatigue and injury issues in his brief major league career but it speaks to the high esteem the front office holds Neise in.

During the winter there were rumbles that the Mets put Niese’ name out on the trade market (at the same time Billy Beane made it known that Gio Gonzalez was available in trade and of course the deal was made with the Nationals) that wasn’t an indication that the Mets were looking to rid themselves of the young lefty as some Mets fans jumped to that conclusion, it was more to see what was out there in trade for his valuable services as the Mets front office is trying very hard to add depth to the farm system.

Tying up Niese seems like a smart move by Sandy Alderson. As we see in this column by Mark Simon of ESPN, Niese put up some very impressive numbers involving K/9IP, BB/9IP and HR/9IP, add to that he is 25 years old and left-handed,  it’s hard for even the most jaded Mets fan to go against the front office in this move.   

Seems like the verbal kick in the ass that Mike Peflrey received last week when it was reported the club discussed however informally about giving Big Pelf his release,  has now made its way to Jason Bay as Mike Puma reports there has been some talk about Bay becoming a platoon player if he continues to struggle at the plate.  This should show Mets fans that last year’s getting to know segment of Sandy Alderson’ reign as Mets baseball boss is over and now we are entering the “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” phase of rebuilding the Mets.

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YAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWANNNN

I don’t know about you but I’m bored to tears already by the search for the next Mets Manager. It’s starting to take on an American Idol feel to it.  Sandy Alderson playing the Randy Jackson role as he tells each managerial interviewee,” Yo dawg, I dun know man, when you walked in the door I was like WHOA! But then you got some pipes dude, and then that resume Dawg, you were killin’ it, good lookin’ out dawg.  Then J.P. Ricciardi doing his Simon Cowell “ so tell me, have you had any formal managerial experience ? No? I didn’t think so. This is a managerial interview and really if you know you have no bloody shot why waste our time and your time? Off you go? And then there is Jeffey Skill Sets the Paula Abdul of the trio “Ohhhhhhhhh Wally YOU COMPLETE ME<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

I’ll say this for Sandy Alderson every coach, ex-manager or minor league coordinator is getting a shot at the job, but when I think of it did Alderson miss the boat by not getting Ron Roenicke in for an interview before the Brewski’s hired him? Roenicke comes from the Mike Scioscia coach tree. The same tree that bore fruit like Joe Maddon, and Bud Black and now Roenicke.

So anyone interested in Dan Uggla ? If you look past his defensive shortcomings, his bat at the 2nd base position would look mighty purdy as a Met. Uggla turned down a contract extension of 4yr/$48mil but it might not be because of money. It seems that Uggla has not gotten over his BFF Cody Ross getting exiled to San Francisco and may be feed up with that the Lord of Douchenberry, David Samson.

The Oakland A’s have made the highest bid for the rights of Japanese RHP Hisashi Iwakuma. The 29 year old Iwakuma has some impressive numbers pitching for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Iwakuma’ won-lost record doesn’t do justice to his overall numbers. A 10-9 record doesn’t measure up to 201 IP 2.82 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 8.52 K/9IP and 1.61 BB/9IP. Details of the amount of the bid have been reported. The A’s now have 30 days to get Iwakuma’ to sign on the dotted line.

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