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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BBA Names Arizona’s Gibson, Tampa Bay’s Maddon Top Managers

BBA Names Arizona’s Gibson, Tampa Bay’s Maddon Top Managers

Top Blogger Organization Awards Connie Mack Award For 2011

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson and Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon were named the 2011 Connie Mack Award winners today by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  The Connie Mack Award recognizes those considered the top manager for the season.

Gibson took over an Arizona team that finished last in the National League West in 2010 and led them to a divisional title in his first year on the job.  Gibson’s Diamondbacks led all year long and finished a comfortable eight games ahead of defending World Champion San Francisco to move on to the postseason stage.  Voting was done before the Diamondbacks lost to the Milwaukee Brewers in five games in the National League Divisional Series.

Gibson was a unanimous winner, scoring the top slot on all 21 ballots cast by the portion of the membership that voted on the National League award.  Ron Roenicke, whose Brewers defeated Gibson’s squad, finished second in the balloting, while St. Louis Cardinal manager Tony La Russa finished third.

Maddon was rewarded after leading his team to the largest September rally in history, leading his Rays from nine games back in the wild card race to passing up the Boston Red Sox on the last day.  As in the National League, voting did not take into account the Rays falling to the Texas Rangers in four games in the American League Divisional Series.

Maddon received the top billing on 22 of the 25 ballots cast for the American League voters, easily outpacing Detroit’s Jim Leyland and Texas Ranger manager Ron Washington.  Washington garnered the three first place votes that did not go to Maddon.

The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):

American League
Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay (22) 113
Jim Leyland, Detroit 48
Ron Washington, Texas (3) 37
Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles of Anaheim 13
Joe Girardi, New York 9
Manny Acta, Cleveland 5
John Farrell, Toronto 1

National League
Kirk Gibson, Arizona (21) 105
Ron Roenicke, Milwaukee 39
Tony La Russa, St. Louis 16
Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia 13
Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh 7
Terry Collins, New York 5
Bruce Bochy, San Francisco 3
Freddi Gonzalez, Atlanta 1

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of this writing, the organization consists of 316 blogs spanning all 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.

The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into “chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted. The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split between the two leagues.

Chapters generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot.  Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for voting or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their votes.

Notably, though the Alliance’s awards come out well before their official counterparts, the BBA selections have matched those of the Baseball Writers of America in all but two instances in the past two years.  This, of course, does not include the Goose Gossage Award that is exclusive to the BBA.

Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and for this award, were tabulated on a 5-3-1 point scale for first through third place. In the interest of transparency, links are given below for the ballots. Chapter affiliation is in parenthesis.  Those chapters that decided on the group method are noted with an asterisk.

American League
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)
Baltimore Sports and Life (Baltimore)
Baseball Is My Boyfriend (Texas)*
Baseball North (Toronto)
Boston Red Thoughts (Boston)*
Contract Year (Oakland)*
500 Level Fan (Toronto)
The Flagrant Fan (General)
Kings of Kauffman (Kansas City)*
Misc. Baseball (History)
Monkey With A Halo (Los Angeles of Anaheim)
Motor City Bengals (Detroit)
North Dakota Twins Fan (Minnesota)
Old English D (Detroit)
The Rays Rant (Tampa Bay)
Rise of the Rays (Tampa Bay)
Seattle Mariners Musings (Seattle)
The Tribe Daily (Cleveland)*
Twins Trivia (Minnesota)
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)

National League
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)
Appy Astros (Houston)
Blog Red Machine (Cincinnati)
Cincinnati Reds Blog (Cincinnati)
Dugger Sports (Philadelphia)
The Eddie Kranepool Society (New York)*
The Flagrant Fan (General)
I70 Baseball (St. Louis)
Left Coast Bias (San Diego)
Misc. Baseball (History)
On The Outside Corner (St. Louis)
Padres Trail (San Diego)
Prose and Ivy (Chicago)*
Raise The Jolly Roger (Pittsburgh)
Rockies Woman (Colorado)
22 Gigantes (San Francisco)*
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)

Prior Winners: 2010: Ron Washington, Texas; Bud Black, San Diego
2009: Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles of Anaheim; Jim Tracy, Colorado

The official website of the BBA is located atbaseballbloggersalliance.wordpress.com. The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba.  For more information, contact Daniel Shoptaw at founder@baseballbloggersalliance.com.

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HERE THEY ARE YOUR 1962 NEW YORK METS

 

On this  date in 1961, the National League held it expansion draft as it welcomed two teams into the league for the first time in 70 years, the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club (Mets) and the Houston Colt .45’s (who became the Astros )

Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times takes a look at how both teams went about putting together their inaugural teams.  The Mets were run by former Highlander GM George Weis and went more for players with New York baseball roots, like Gil Hodges, Duke Snider and Don Zimmer whereas the Colt .45’s under Paul Richards, took a Moneyball approach looking for undervalued commodities especially in the pitching department in the later rounds of the draft.

A lot of stories this weekend were about the Big 3 getting bounced out of the postseason.  The Highlanders and Red Sox are strapped with bloated contracts that can’t be moved and the Phillies are stuck with payroll restrictions and an older lineup with not much farm help in sight. This is why it won’t be the devastating blow that many Mets fans think it will be if Jose Reyes signs elsewhere.  If Reyes is up for a 4yr/$80-$90 million deal with the Mets, that would be perfect, any more years than that, then take care Jose. Remember all that talk about Reyes getting a Carl Crawford like contract? There is no way Sandy Alderson would ever do that; even if the Skill Sets still had Bernie Madoff money he wouldn’t do it. I still say Alderson hopes there is the one dumb owner out there who will go six years  for Reyes so he can bow out of the bidding. As we see this post season you can have all the bling, bit it don’t mean a thing.

I’ll make this prediction now; Joe Girardi doesn’t last the season in 2012 as Highlanders manager. I could see Lou Pinnella taking over as interim while grooming Jorge Posada to take over as skipper in 2013.

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SAY IT LOUD, I’M A METS FAN AND I’M PROUD

The only team in baseball having a better October than the Mets are the SF Giants. The introductory press conference for Sandy Alderson proved a point on why the Highlander organization and fan base fear the Mets more than any team in baseball.

Highlander high strung manager, Joe Girardi was signed to a three year extension the other day and the reaction by the NY sports media was “that’s nice but did your hear? Sandy Alderson will hold a press conference on Friday”. To those too young to know this, there was a time around here that everyday was like yesterday, where folks walked around town with Mets hats and jackets and greeted one and other with “Hey, how ‘bout those Mets”. The Alderson era brings Mets fans hope and that has not been in abundance around here for a long time. Sandy Alderson also has a plan, another strategy missing in Queens as well, and most importantly he wants the same exact thing for the Mets franchise that we all want, respect and accountability.

Alderson knew just what to say yesterday. First when he talked about the NY Mets being an iconic franchise, my face was flush. I’ve gotten on my soap box time after time here about the Mets being the flagship team of the National League and how our lineage goes back to 1876 when the New York Mutuals played the first NL season and then of course in 1883 when our ancestors the New York Giants came to be. The NY Highlanders were not even a glint in Ban Johnson’s eye when NL ball was featured in NYC and for Sandy Alderson to acknowledge that made an outstanding first impression on me.

Alderson was asked about his choice for manager as Mets fans are nervous nellies because the reports and track record of Alderson’ is he goes for the weak silent type. After surviving the Dead Manger Era (Art Howe) and the Clueless Manger Era (Jeff Torborg) we waited to hear what our the new leader of free Mets world would say. When the words “I like a manager who kicks ass and takes names” rolled off his tongue, it was 1964 at the Ed Sullivan Theatre all over again. All I needed to hear was “and the Black uniforms and caps have already been shit canned” then I’d have had to been resuscitated. Alderson gets it. He knows that he not only has to build a winning team but he has to build an entertaining team and a team Mets fans want to embrace. Rooting for a losing team sucks but being a supporter of a team you can’t stand is heartbreaking.

Think about the dimension we are about to enter Mets fans. We have gone from a GM who had no time for statistical analysis of which he called “false hustle” which was really Omar Minaya verifying he was behind the times and quite frankly lazy as a GM, to a man who will use those numbers and a consensus from his staff and scouts on player evaluation for drafting, trading and free agent signing purposes. Welcome to the 21st Century Mets fans.

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In the eyes of a ranger, The unsuspected stranger Had better know the truth of wrong from right, ’cause the eyes of a ranger are upon you,

Happy Highlander Elimination Day to ya! I can’t wait to see Michael Kay’s head explode on the YUCK post game show if Bronx Bastards lose game five. I hope Joe Girardi studied that binder of his and found the page where it says, “when a suck ass pitcher like AJ Burnett gives you five innings, take it an run”

No Mets news today except for Frankie Rodriguez getting a mere $3mil deduction from his personal worth for his altercation and embarrassment of himself and of the Mets organization. Hopefully who ever takes the reigns of the baseball operations let’s K-Rod know his days as a Mets closer are done. Welcome to a setup role K-Rod.

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HOW YA DOIN’? NONE OF YOUR BUISNESS.

Last week Angel Pagan arrived late to $iti Field, the Mets had no problem with this since Pagan contacted management that he a family issue to take care of.  No problem. The next day while I was reading the Daily News, it was reported that Pagan was taking his daughter to the doctor and afterwards got jammed up in traffic getting to the game. Again no problem, but was it any of our business that Pagan was late due to taking care of his daughter ?  No.

A.J. Burnett shows up at Camden Yards with a black eye. He goes on to pitch the Highlander’s to victory, when questioned after the game about how he got yoked in the eye, Burnett gave the MSM nothing. When Pee Wee Cashman was asked about the black eye he said it wasn’t any of his business and if Burnett keeps pitching like he did Friday with the eye, Pee Wee would look to blacken his eye at every start. HA HA HA so funny.

Highlander pitching coach Dave Eiland leaves the team for about four weeks in June for what was called personal reasons. When asked about Eiland ,manager Joe Girardi told the media he was taking care of a personal matter and that’s all you’re getting.

Staten Island Yankees pitching coach Pat Daneker, lost his World Series ring when after spending a night in a drunken stupor with a prostitute. The story came and went. Were any of these stories our business? Nope and the Highlanders made sure it stayed that way.

How is it the Highlanders get to clam up on incidents involving their personnel but the when a Mets player takes his kid to the doctor the details are printed in the paper’s ?

Maybe when The Skill Sets re-configure the front office and the way the baseball ops does business, they also pick up from the Highlanders the gift of allowing no leaks to the press and also letting them know when to go fuck off.

Blogging at this site will be sporadic over the next week as I’ll be on the move as our office is getting a face lift with a badly needed paint job and a new carpet. Our office could have double as a set for the old NYPD Blue TV show. So during the daytime I’ll be all over the city but mostly in Queens with no computer access. So anything  I do post will be at night if I’m not exhaust from gallivanting from boro to boro.

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A VIEW FROM THE MANGERS OFFICE AT HIGHLANDER STADIUM

I don’t know how he got in there but Michael Leggett of RANDOM FANDOM RED SOX NYC got a picture of the place St Joseph of Torre did most of his writing for his new book and where Joe Girardi went to cry after not making the post season. Also check out the link to Harvey Araton; story on the lucky folks of the South Bronx having two stadiums to call their own and the pics of the final days of Shea.

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Tickets

The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

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