Checkout The Sports Media Watchdog Podcast of 3-31-13

<

Listen to internet radio with Mike Silva on Blog Talk Radio

>

 

 

Mike and Steve talk about start of the baseball season. Hear them remember Johan Santana’s career, talk about the promising Mets prospects and Hal Steinbrenner’s media tour. They also will chat about the NCAA tournament championship game and Tim McCarver’s retirement.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Johan Santana Stepped Up When He Was Needed

Can’t say I’m surprised about the news of Johan Santana and his re-injured left shoulder, what I was surprised about was the Mets not following Johan’s workouts over the winter and the laissez-faire attitude the front office had with the Ace lefty.  It seems no matter what regime runs this team there is always questions about how they operate.  

This re-tear of the shoulder didn’t just happen overnight, some want to blame the no hitter, some want to blame Sandy Alderson calling out Santana for reporting to camp in less than optimal condition and then responding by being a petulant child going into “I’ll show you mode” by throwing the hell out of a bullpen session that should have never been allowed to happen.   

Santana is the last of the Minaya bad signings and I have the feeling the Mets front office are not exactly pulling out one Kleenex after another mourning the loss of Santana. If they are mourning anything it’s the fact that they will pay Santana $30 mil dollars to have surgery and re-hab the shoulder for a second time.  

Safe to say, Johan Santana is now a former Met and the final piece in the purging of the Omar Minaya Era. Mets fans today are in full reminiscent mode regaling each other with stories about the June 1st no hitter and the Game 161 of 2008 when Santana kept a running on fumes Mets team in contention to the last game of the season. The game that will define Johan Santana’s time with the Mets for me though will be the game he pitched on July 27th of that year.

2008 was a year of turbulence as Willie Randolph flew with his under achieving team to Anaheim only to be told to turn around and go home as he was relieved of his managerial duties in a very unprofessional way.  Jerry Manuel took over and the team responded by making a run and landing in first place in July. On July 26th the Mets lost to the Cardinals in 14 innings using 8 pitchers in defeat.  The bullpen was in dire need of a rest and Santana gave them that the next day pitching a complete game 9-1 victory over the Cards. That is what an Ace does; he steps up when needed and performs at his best. You can bemoan the injuries Santana suffered as a Met, you can bitch about the contract he received although at the time Mets fans were tripping the light fandango over the trade and long term deal he signed and you can try to place the blame on anyone and everyone over this latest announcement of bad injury news, but never forget that Johan Santana gave the Mets everything he had when he took the mound.

As I say the 7-27-08 game will stick with me, but so will the Saturday game against the Fish on that next to last day of the season and Shea Stadium that year as well and no one will ever forget the no hitter especially Mets fans of my generation, we will always have a spot in our blue and orange heart for Johan Santana.    

 

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Spring Traning Roster Lag

 

It seems as if we are getting close to hitting the wall of the 2013 spring training marathon. Due to the World Baseball Classic, spring training started earlier than usual and the writers and bloggers covering the training camp are starting to drone on. So I thought maybe this is good time to take a look at how the 25 man roster of the Mets is shaping up:

Pitchers

(Starters)

Jon Niese

Matt Harvey

Dillon Gee

Shaun Marcum

Jeremy Hefner

 

I don’t think anyone is looking at Johan Santana starting the season at Citi Field, which is fine with me. This should be the season we see Jon Niese make the next step as a starter. Niese has improved every year he’s been up in the bigs and he looks to have shed the conditioning and stamina problems he’s had in the past. It also helps when you have two studs like Harvey and Zack Wheeler as teammates as well pushing you to keep pace.

 

Bullpen

Bobby Parnell

Brandon Lyon

Josh Edgin

Scott Atchinson

LaTroy Hawkins

Pedro Felicano

 

Those six barring injury look like they will be lined up on the first base line of Citi Field on April 1st. That would leave one spot left. Will Frank Francisco be ready for opening day? That’s a big question mark. So who would get the last spot in the pen? It could go to Collin McHugh even though he really doesn’t excite anyone when he’s on the mound.  Jeurys Familia would have to step it up in the next few weeks to stick as well. Even with a small sample size it would seem that Greg Burke would grab that last spot in the pen.  

 

Infielders

 

Ike Davis

Daniel Murphy

Ruben Tejada

David Wright

Justin Turner

 

The last infield spot could come down to Brian Bixler, Brandon Hicks, Zack Lutz and Josh Satin. Jordany Valdespin will most likely make the team as a hybrid Inf/Of.  Hicks, Lutz and Satin have shown some power in the minors and all hit from the right side. It will come down to the wire as to who becomes the 25th man on the Mets roster.

 

Outfield

 

Lucas Duda

Collin Cowgill

Marlon Byrd

Mike Baxter

 

Again Valdespin works his way here as the righty caddy for Duda and also as a fill in at 2nd base for Murph. Kirk Nieuwenhuis deep bruise of his knee hurts in more ways than one and Matt Den Dekker is the best defensive outfielder in camp but his bat is still under construction. We’ve beaten this outfield topic to death but a big question is, as bad as this outfield looks now, what happens if one or two of these guys go down with injury??? GULP!!!!!

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

NY Mets Need Johan Santana Ready, But Not For Opening Day

 

The NY Mets hired a new Strength and Conditioning coach for 2013, his name is Jim Malone. Malone was hired in early November in an effort to upgrade the way the players in the organization physically conditions themselves for the 2013 season and beyond, especially when little nagging aches and pains have some guys taking time off due to soreness not injury, you would also think his first duties as the S&C coach would be to meet with Johan Santana and oversee a workout plan for him after the abrupt end of his season. I mean, it stands to reason right that Santana’s health would be of optimum importance to the Mets?

I don’t just look at Santana as the Ace of this Mets staff, I also look at him as Sandy Alderson’s prime blue ribbon steer, the one commodity that Alderson has left to sell off for some much needed calf’s to restock the Mets farm. Santana should have been given the best feed and a comprehensive workout program that would strengthen his surgically repaired shoulder and his endurance. He was given none of that by the Mets, and now Alderson is surprised that Johan Santana cannot make the proclamation that 99.9 % of players make when they report to spring camp that “he is in the best shape of his life”.

Talk about not doing due diligence, how in the world did the Mets not monitor the lefties off season workout activities?  I would think that every player in the organization sits down with the training staff and strength and conditioning staff and charts out a winter routine to make sure guys report to St. Lonesome in tip top shape. This isn’t reserve clause era baseball anymore where players have to take jobs selling insurance or laying brick, the biggest job most players have is staying out of their wives way, so I’m sure vast majority of baseball players hit the gym in the winter time, because as I said in the above paragraph all we here from players today at reporting time is they are “in the best shape of their lives”.

All the talk now is about getting Santana ready for an opening day start at Citi Field. Seriously, that should not be the top priority, no the Mets need for Santana to work at getting that left shoulder strong and if that means he doesn’t come up North until the beginning of May then so be it. Santana’s value to the Mets isn’t what he brings in his starts, no, his importance to the Mets is what he can bring back in trade.

Johan Santana is the last of the high priced players of the Omar Minaya era and the last real trade chip Sandy Alderson has left that isn’t named Harvey or Wheeler, if he is healthy.  Right now the Mets need Santana and Malone to sit down and work out a conditioning plan that gets him back on the mound with a strong left wing that throws strikes. If it takes the next 4 weeks of spring and a DL stint and a couple of rehab starts in Las Vegas then so be it.

This is not to disparage Santana or to call him out for not working out this winter, not at all. Santana when healthy was a force with the Mets  a guy who not just competed but rose to challenges  when faced with them.  Of course there was last years no hitter which will leave Santana (and Mike Baxter) mark on Mets history.  His first year with the Mets on July 27th 2008, a day after the Mets used every pitcher on the roster in a 14 inning loss to the Cardinals; Santana pitched a complete game and beat the Cards 9-1. Then on September 27th Santana beat the Marlins 3 hit shutout on 3 days rest to keep the Mets playoff chances alive. Oh yeah he did that with a torn meniscus in his knee as well.

Santana is as tough as a two dollar steak, coming back from the meniscus tear, elbow chips and reconstructive shoulder surgery. No question Santana will now work to get back into the rotation but now in the last year of his contract with the Mets, the cold reality is, he’s a short timer.  The question Mets fans should have about Santana isn’t if he will make the opening day start, it should be can Sandy Alderson move Santana to a contending team for a blue chip outfield prospect by the July trade deadline.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

When I’m Told, “Don’t Worry About Johan Santana”, That’s When I Worry About Johan Santana

 

After a hectic weekend I finally have time to gives some thought son the Mets and the beginning of spring training:

Sandy Alderson and Johan Santana can spin his shoulders woes all they want, Santana not being ready to pitch due to fatigue in his shoulder is a red flag. Sure it’s good that there isn’t any structural issue with his left shoulder but the fact that he needs to build up strength in the shoulder is problematic.  I hope the club and Santana use good judgment and work at a pace where Santana is fit to pitch and if it means a stay in extended spring training then so be it. Truth be told, I’d rather see Matt Harvey pitch on opening day any way.

With Daniel Murphy out nursing his sore intercostal muscle the last guy I want see playing 2nd base in his stead is Justin Turner. In a perfect world Reese Havens would get the nod to show what he’s got and remain healthy to take the job form Murph. I like Murph but let’s be honest, if Havens or Jordany Valdespin or Wilmer Flores got the chance to play 2nd base on a daily basis in spring and show themselves capable on offense and more importantly a better choice on defense, then Murphy could be unseated as the everyday 2nd baseman. As much as I like Murphy he shouldn’t be guaranteed an everyday job. So it would be quite interesting to watch someone make it uncomfortable for management to make a decision at 2nd base.

I think I’m going to enjoy baseball more watching Collin Cowgill enjoy himself playing baseball.

Got to feel bad for Pedro Feliciano as he deals with his heart problems. Taking two weeks off and carrying around a heart monitor puts Perpetual Pedro behind the eight ball as he tries to regain his LOOGY role with the Mets since the team is ripe with left handed relievers.

There’s comedy and then there is high comedy. High comedy is reading my Twitter timeline as Lucas Duda was striking out and striking out and striking out and striking out and striking out and striking out

Last week I went to buy a new dishwasher for my home. I got the dishwasher and another rather unexpected purchase, a new television.  My son persuaded my wife and I into this purchase to replace a projection TV we had for close to sixteen years. So now we have a brand new 60 inch LCD television that has a built in browser and wifi and everything else you can think of, so Saturday being that is was rainy, grey and cold outside what better way to spend the afternoon than to watch Mets spring training baseball.  I made a sandwich, got a cup of coffee and sat down with my feet up in my recliner and sat back to enjoy Mets spring baseball. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! What a wonderful experience, and that’s the problem.

I have loved going to live sporting events since I was six years old. I still get all pumped up going to a ballpark or arena for a sporting event. I love that feeling because it validates that I still have a deep rooting passion for my sports teams. But I have to tell you, with this new TV, I started to wonder, do I need to go to games in person anymore?

Last week I went to Madison Square Garden for the first time this season to watch the Rangers take on the Montreal Canadians.  The Garden has gone through its second phase on renovation and it looks a lot different inside. Thankfully the iconic ceiling is still the same but that’s about it. The Green Seats and Blue Seat section have been combined into one big sloping seating area. The only nostalgic feature left in the arena is the narrow seats and sparse leg space and the long bathroom and concession lines. It was while I waited on the men’s room line that I kept thinking if I were home I’d be able to watch something else other than this dog of a game plus I could grab a snack without waiting and use a clean bathroom.

This is a new phenomenon to me because there has never been any doubt about watching a sporting event in person or staying home to watch on TV as I always felt being at the event always enhanced the experience of watching a game. Damn you 60 inches of LCD gorgeousness, why must you put these bad thoughts in my head.

If you ever doubted that Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Kevin Burkhardt are the best sports broadcasting team in all of sports broadcasting, just take a look at Saturday’s Mets-Nat SNY broadcast of last Saturday.  The Four-some picked up right where they left off at the end of last season. There is chemistry with this group that no other announcing team has and they make watching Mets baseball that much more enjoyable.

I also love having Bob Ojeda sitting behind the plate give pitching play by play. Can we see that during the regular season as well? Please SNY?

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Mets-cetra

 

As the equipment truck heads down I-95 towards St. Lonesome there is a few pieces of Mets information in the news today, so let’s take a look-see shall we?

According to the NY Post, Fred Wilpon and Uncle Saul Katz would like to build a casino on the soon to be re-developed Iron Triangle. Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.  The one think the Mets have going for them in this new scheme business venture is that Governor Cuomo is a proponent of having casinos in New York State but mostly he wants them upstate New York and not in the NYC limits. This reminds me of the time years ago the urban legend around Brooklyn was that Frank Sinatra was buying up a whole bunch of real estate because casino gambling was coming to Coney Island. Of course that never happened. Neither will Willets Point Casino. The part of the story that made me choke on my bagel was that the city has “handed” the Wilpon’s 23 acres of NYC real estate back in 2011 that they have turned into park spaces. Nice of the Bloomberg administration to be giving away land maybe folks in Staten Island, Rockaways and Breezy Point can get a nice gift like that.

Are the decision makers in the MLB Commissioners office on vacation or just asleep?   Can someone give a ruling on whether the Mets can have their 11th pick in the Entry Level draft protected or not so the club can get down to business and sign Michael Bourn. The Pirates are being reward for not doing their due diligence on Mark Appel  taking the RHP with the 8th pick in the last year draft and having the pitcher turn down $3.8 mil to go back for his senior season at Stanford.  It’s not just the draft pick that concerns the Mets it’s the slotting money that the club would lose that has them in the conundrum they’re in concerning Bourn.  Not an easy decision for Sandy Alderson.

I really, really, really like Johan Santana but can he stop with the” I want play in the WBC” proclamations?  How about getting in shape and being ready for opening day for the team that PAYS you?  I get all this Nationalism and stuff but Santana finished the season on the disabled list so the Mets are within their rights under the CBA to tell Santana no way and I would bet that Sandy Alderson will stick to that. This is Santana’s last year (months?) as a Met so what’s he gonna do? Besides the Mets need for Santana to show some positive starts so he can be used as trade bait in July.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Hope Shines For Shannon Fund Raiser

As most of you know Shannon Forde of the Mets Media Department is battling Stage IV breast cancer and fund raiser has set up to help her and her family with the expenses that have come up during her fight.  There will be a dinner and Greet and Meet on Thursday November 1st from 7PM to 11PM at the Westmount Country Club which is located in Woodland Park NJ. Ron Darling will emcee the evening’s proceedings which will include an open bar, cocktail hour and dinner.  There will also be a silent and live auction for memorabilia from all the teams in the New York area and other teams from MLB as well. Tickets for this event are $100.

There will also be a special Meet and Greet at the same time and same venue as the dinner. Tickets for this are $250 and includes meeting and receiving autographs form  Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, John Franco, Bobby Ojeda, Edgardo Alfonzo, Ed Charles, Ed Kranepool, Matt Harvey, Daniel Murphy, Willie Randolph and Joe McEwing.

Along with the dinner/Meet and Greet there is an ongoing online auction that includes some truly once in a lifetime experiences that you can bid on like personnel pitching lessons for R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana, hitting lessons from David Wright, meeting Kelly Rippa and Michael Strahan and touring their studio, visit ESPN headquarters in Bristol CT and get a behind the scenes look at Baseball Tonight set with a guided tour and how about this one? You can bid on being a New York Highlanders P.R. Department employee for the day!

As you’ve read and heard (excellent job by WFAN and Mike Francesa who have made mention of the charity every day during the drive time show) Shannon is revered by everyone who has had the great fortune to be around her, especially the group of Mets bloggers that she and Danielle Parillo have graciously taken under their wings and provided us with access we never thought we’d ever have to cover and be around the team we’ve loved our whole lives.

If you cannot attend the dinner/meet and greet you can still make a donation to this great cause, you can send you generous donation via check made out to Hope Shines for Shannon and send it C/O DTRF P.O. Box 3145 Point Pleasant, NJ 08742.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Does Anything Surprise You When It Comes To R.A. Dickey ?

As we head into the last game (thankfully) of the 2012 Mets season, we are looking at an off season that could make our heads spin. As we Mets fans question why the manager and his coaching staff gets to come back intact for the 2013 season, I think the answer is clear, Sandy Alderson is holding the players responsible for this lousy season.

All we’ve ever heard as sports fans for lousy teams is you can’t fire all the players so fire the coach or manager, well it seems Alderson is going to reverse that old bromide as it looks like a big majority of the roster will be traded or released.

I side with the majority of Mets fans who can figure out how Dan Warthen gets to come back. It seems as though the starting pitchers, especially R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana, are Warthen allies as is the manager but I doubt you will find and Mets relievers who are members of the Dan Warthen Fan Club.  Granted most of the Mets bullpen problems were caused by sucky relievers but Warthen has to take a hit for not having open lines of communications with his relief pitchers. Terry Collins needs to take some accountability on this as well for not providing any structure with how guys are used and assigning roles. It’s great for us as fans to say it’s a bunch of bullshit that every reliever should be ready when called on but again you need to know your personnel and if they are pining for leadership from the manger and pitching coach then it’s up to them to provide that.

Just when you think R.A. Dickey can’t add to his legacy we find out now that he has pitched much of the season with a torn abdominal muscle that requires surgery. Are you kidding me? Last year Dickey pitched with a plantar fasciitis injury that required him to be shot with pain killers before pitching. And you don’t want to sign this guy to an extension? You’re thinking of trading him? Are you fucking kidding me? Dickey isn’t looking for a big time deal, I would guess if you add two years to his option for next season he’d sign on the bottom line and if you have to give him $20mil for those two years you do it. If the money is that tight with the Skill Sets that you can’t keep a guy who not only excels on the field but is the best representative you have off the field then you deserve every hateful comment that will come your way.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Sunday Mets-cellaneous

As this Mets season drags on, it’s not the wins and losses that matter but individual performances are the focus as the front office and fans try to determine who on this year’s team is worth keeping around to draw the franchise out of the loses abyss they’ve been swallowed up in. Last night Jon Niese put on a pitching display that shows he’s a solution and not a problem.

Niese had outstanding command of his cutter last night, his most effective pitch, to strike out seven Nats and not walk anyone. Not only that but more importantly Niese went 7 1/3 innings to bring his innings pitched for the season to 152, just 5.1 innings off his total for 2011 and 21.2 innings off his mark in 2010. If Niese has a flaw in his game its consistency and stamina so his outings are now must see as the Mets need Niese to this season strong.

I would think the prudent decision to make on Johan Santana is to shut him down for the rest of the season. Is he hurt or just fatigued or just good old fashion infective? I have no idea but I do know sending him out for more starts makes no sense at all.  For all the paralysis by analysis, maybe the problem is Santana is just out of gas? Have the Mets doctors sign him off as having fatigue and place him on the 60 DL, this way you free a spot for RHP Collin McHugh, who certainly deserves a call up and would be a more interesting watch that seeing Jeremy Hefner again.

By the way, Santana has no trade value whatsoever between uncharted territory with his type of shoulder surgery and the $31 million price tag that he drags around with him. Scouts saying that Santana could be taken in a deal are just taking Andy Martino for the fool that he is.

Mike Baxter is definitely part of the solution and not the problem. Baxter is what he is, a solid fourth outfielder and a terrific lefty bat off the bench. A gamer as I like to say.

Justin Turner gets another start today at second base and I am very puzzled about the love Terry Collins has for Turner of late.

Do the Mets have a rep around the league as soft? First we had R.A. Dickey and his bracelet troubles that should have gotten Terry Collins thrown out of the game, because as soon as Jim Joyce said there was an edict from the Commissioner’s office about bracelets, jewelry any other minutia that were against the rules, Collins should have told Joyce to stick his hand up his ass and pull out the memo. Add to that any Mets opponent that wears anything other than a baseball uniform, Collins needs to call time and have the object removed.

Then the other night, Davey Johnson pulled a ball breaker move by having Umps check Santana’s glove and have a gold emblem removed or blocked out on his glove. I’d have told Davey “no problem but tell your boy Zimmerman he’s getting the first pitch if his next at bat right in the ribs”. At some point, the have to stop being the games mud room.

 

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Metscellaneous

While the Mets were off yesterday they still made some news albeit bad news that Tim Brydak is suffering from torn capsule in his left shoulder, same injury that Johan Santana and Chris Young suffered, and is done for the season and maybe for good.

A real shame that Brydak has gone down injury and this one is devastating when you factor in his age (38) and he doesn’t have a contract for 2013. I would not count Brydak out from returning to pitching after rehabbing this injury but I doubt he’s come back to the Mets if he did.

If you are in the Tarrytown area today between 12 Noon and 1:30 PM, head over to the Citi Bank branch at 2 South Broadway to meet John Franco and get a handshake, picture and an autograph.

Ike Davis and country music performer Lee Brice will join in a benefit for Solving Kids Cancer at the City Winery on September 9th at 7 PM. City Winery is located at 155 Varick St in Manhattan.  Along with the concert there will be an open bar, raffles and an auction.

The Mets will unveil a new concession tonight at Citi Field, Pat LaFrieda’s Steak Sandwich. The sandwich is made with 100 % Black Angus Filet Mignon, Monterey Jack cheese, caramelized onions, special au jus sauce on a toasted baguette. The only thing this sandwich doesn’t have is power and the abilty to play right field. The sandwich will be sold at the Taste of the City food court on the field level behind centerfield.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

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.

Visit BangTheBook.Com for daily free MLB Mets Picks and gameday previews, also join the baseball handicapping discussion in the forum or track your plays in our sports monitor.