SPRING TRAINING BETTER GET HERE FAST BEFORE METS FANS KILL EACH OTHER

My good buddy Ed “Rusty Jr.” Marcus over at The Real Dirty Mets has a very good column posted this morning on the patients Mets fans will have for the team this coming season. Ed asks the questions will fans show up at Citi Field, if the team gets off to a slow start will fans call for Terry Collins and Sandy Aldersons head and how much more cat calls will we hear from the stands of Citi Field for the Skill Sets to sell? All very good questions.

This off season has been as dormant of any positive Mets news in a long long time. The specter of the Madoff trustee law suit and the teams financial straits have overshadowed any baseball move made by the club as all the moves and non-moves have been money driven. That being said, I can’t wait until training camp opens as we can finally get back to discussing hitting, pitching and defense and hopefully some baseball related story lines.

The die hard “the Mets are in my blood” fan will come out to Citi Field no matter what this coming season brings.  With all the talk of boycotts and protest and insurrection by a part of the fan base, let me say don’t count on me for support. Am I pissed off about the way the Skill Sets have run this franchise and besmirched the good name of the New York Mets? Oh hell yeah! Do I wish they were gone from their seat of power as owner of the team? Double oh hell yeah? But will I abandon my Mets fandom? Infinity hell no!

If Terry Collins can continue to move this team in the direction he has and improve on how they fundamentally play baseball, then this could be a very interesting season. Two major things have to happen for the Mets to play above all expectations this coming season, they must master the fundamentals of baseball and they have to stay healthy, those two aspects of the game will be the difference in whether the dormant Mets fan will come out to Citi Field or will stay home. The Mets do not have the raw talent to be a contender for a division or a wild card berth, but if they limit the mistakes on defense and on the bases along with staying healthy, especially the very fragile starting pitching, the Mets could be the big story of the 2012 baseball season.

If the Mets do become this out of the blue story ,no one in the fan base will give a rat’s ass about the owner. We care about the Skill Sets now because we’re bored and angry, bored because there hasn’t been anything baseball related to discuss thus we’ve started to turn on ourselves (just check out Twitter any afternoon) and angry because we want to have a team we can be proud to call ourselves fans of.  What the Skill Sets have to worry about is that the die hards don’t become the minority among the fan base.

 

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“ALL THE FANS ARE TRUE TO THE ORANGE AND BLUE”

Tomorrow at Citi Field there will be a press conference to announce plans for the New York Mets 50th Anniversary celebration. There will be special days to commemorate past Mets players and moments in Mets history. The big news however is the 2012 Mets will look like Mets, dressed predominantly in blue and orange.

Of course this is a blue and orange letter day for The Mets Police who has fought the good fight for a years to bring back the traditional Mets home and road unis , even going as far to concede the use of the dreaded black tops on a limited basis to get the organization to stay strictly blue and orange.  

The Mets have gotten the message as the black tops and hopefully the black and the garish black and blue caps will be relics of the past.

More about this tomorrow as I’ve been invited along with other Mets bloggers to attend the presser to get a firsthand look at the new/old uni’s.    

I have been called a “Sandy Alderson apologist” by some but I have to hang my Mets cap on to something positive and Alderson’ track record says he can be successful with limited funding and his way of doing business, building the farm system and implementing a regiment throughout the Mets minor league system is exactly what I believe in. Ed “Rusty Jr.” Marcus writes about the Alderson honeymoon today at The Real Dirty Mets and how some Mets fans want a miracle but what is needed is patience.

If the balmy temperature’s here in NYC don’t have you thinking baseball, how about the release of the Mets 2012 spring training schedule then.  There is a bit of a twist for next spring as the Mets and Bronx Bastards will meet at the end of the exhibition season. The Mets and Highlanders used to meet regularly during spring but once Dave Kingman blasted two home runs off Catfish Hunter in a televised game back to NYC in March of 1975 (big build up for this one as it was Tom Seaver vs. Hunter who had signed the biggest free agent contract in baseball over the winter, New Years Day to be exact) Big Baby George said he had enough of the Mets. See the Mets used to rule the NYC baseball world.

Oh, and mark Wednesday March 7th on your calendar as that’s the day the Mets face ex-teammate Jose Reyes and his Flamboyant Fish for the first time in Jupiter.

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METS NEWS AT A MINIMUM

Not much going on in Mets Land these days. In fact I’m more concerned about the NY Rangers heading to the West Coast of Canada for a four game swing before they get to come home to an under renovation Madison Square Garden.  I’m far from panic mode with the Blueshirts as I follow the Freddy “The Fog “ Shero philosophy of waiting until New Year’s Day to evaluate where the team is and what moves need to be made, but I do hope I see some piss and vinegar out of Torts Boys tonight.

The NY Daily News has a book out on commemorating the 50 th Anniversary of the New York Mets and Ed “Rusty Jr.” Marcus has a positive review of the book in his post this morning. As I tweeted to Ed, any book with the Andy Martino a/k/a Lupica Lite listed as author makes it a pass for me.  As much as I am excited for the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Mets this coming season, knowing that Dana Brand won’t be a part of really really hurts.

Mike Silva posts again about what kind of deals are out there if the Mets look to trade David Wright. I love these posts because Silva looks at moving Wright as it pertains to making the Mets better and the fan reaction of all the Wright-aholics who curse folks like Silva and me for even bringing up the idea of trading the so called face of the franchise is priceless.

This upcoming World Series has a lot of potential to be a very good boarding on classic. Both teams are evenly matched and both teams have starting pitching that’s running on fumes. The bullpens, as we’ve seen all post season, will be the difference between winning and losing. The managers will also be on display as The Genius may be more hands on than usual and Ron Washington will give us a few “what the fuck” moments. On offense can Nelson Cruz and David Freese continue their hot hitting and will the Rangers be able to use their running game to their advantage against Yadier Molina? Good stuff. Got to root for the Cards as they are the NL reps but I’m looking at seven games and a better Texas bullpen leading the way to the Rangers first ever World Championship.

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THIS COULD BE THE WILDEST OFF SEASON OF OUR METS FANS LIVES

While I was riding the Staten Island Ferry on my way home from the Mets finale at Citi Field yesterday, I was reading over the notes I took during the game. I decided to invoke my “sleep on  it before writing” rule because it was quite an emotional day and even after “sleeping on it” I’m still having a tough time deciphering where this organization is headed, positive or negative. It’s the most confused and befuddled I’ve ever been in my 47 years of Mets fandom.  

Before my stream of semi-conscience begins please turn to page 1986 in your Mets Missalette to read the words of fellow Mets blogger/fan/Staten Islander by way of Brooklyn, Ed “Rusty Jr.” Marcus who lays out the events of yesterday quite eloquently.

Usually when I ride the 7 train to Citi Field, it’s filled with a full platoon of uniformed Mets fans excited to be headed to see their beloved Metropolitans. Yesterday on an 11AM 7 train out of Times Square, I was the lone infantry man in the car. If there was an invasion of Loyal Order of Red Legs. I’d have fought a losing battle.

I spent the time on the train reading this outstanding book, I had no real emotion about the day. It wasn’t until we left the 111 St station and Citi Field was on the horizon, I stared having flashbacks to Mets games of yore, good days, days when you could not get to the ball park fast enough. Games I went to that Tom Seaver pitched in, for some reason the game he struck out Manny Sanguillen for his 200 K back in 1975 to become the first pitcher to K 200 batters in eight straight seasons, popped in my head, another obscure game I was at that flashed in my mind was the walk off home run by Steve “Hendu” Henderson against the Giants in 1975. What sticks out for me in that one is, my friends and I bet on the Mets in this game for the sole reason we had hung out at a bar in Bay Ridge with Pete Falcone the weekend before and he was the games starting pitcher. I have to come clean and let you know we didn’t stay for the whole game, and we didn’t know the outcome until we got back to the neighborhood when we were informed of our “busted ass” luck.

When I got off the train at Citi Field-Willets Point the depression set in. The weather didn’t help that grey muggy one second it’s warm, the next it’s chilly temps, just like our Mets. After a summit on the Shea Bridge that Ed reported on, I headed to the Shake Shack for a burger (the line was long but not the usual four wraparounds) and then made my way to my $2 (Stub Hub-a Hub-a) buck seat in Section 519, just in time to see Jose Reyes’ first at bat of the day. Little did I know it would be his only at bat of the day.

This is why I invoked “my sleep on it rule” because at the moment Reyes came out of the game I was one ornery fucker. What bother me the most and still does was THE WAY he came out of the game. Reyes should have gone to his shortstop position and have Bastia step off and call time and then let Turner enter into the game. Would I have liked to see Reyes play the whole game? Of course, but his coming out of the game to protect a batting title is not unprecedented.

What also conflicts me with Reyes is the fact I really like him as a player and a person and I hope he’s back as a Met next year but if he signs elsewhere I’m not going to be sad or heartbroken. I still feel that Jose wants to stay a Met but I’m sure there will be One Dumb Owner who will make an offer that Sandy Alderson can refuse.

It’s time for us Mets fans to face facts, and the to face those facts we are fortunate to have someone like Howard Megdal to report the facts as he does here in his piece for New York Magazine which lays out the awful truth about the Skill Sets, their finances and the direction the club his headed due to money that would have been funneled into the baseball team will instead go to lawyers, creditors and maybe the Madoff Trust.

If you don’t have the stomach for some tough times in Flushing, it may be time for you to find another rooting interest in baseball because it looks like a very rocky road here for a couple of years. The team in the Bronx may have some openings, especially after the Mowtown Cats sweep them in the ALDS.

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OPENING DAY AT CITI FIELD IN A WORD, UNCOMFORTABLE!

I think that’s the proper word to describe yesterday’s Mets home opener. The weather turned from not bad to uncomfortable rather quickly.  I know there have been reports of empty seats and there were pockets of them through the ball park but you have to understand that Citi Field was built for those who like to stroll and for those who like to remain inside.  I’m sure all the ritzy clubs were filled with sissy fans and folks at the game that could not care less that the Mets went 0 for 10 with RISP. Then there is the Shea Bridge, which has become the meeting spot for fans to meet with friends at the game. Yesterday I met up with Ed “Rusty Jr.” Marcus, Kerel Cooper, Taryn Cooper, Ed Leyro and Shannon for a pre game summit that should have been covered by SNY. That’s what SNY is missing, a Meet the Press type show with Mets bloggers in a round table setting. I bet it would beat any show on the network in ratings.

Citi Field is starting to grow on me.  There were a few issues.  I went to get a hot dog on the Concourse to enjoy while watching batting practice. The concession stand is one of the self service ones that reminds me of a rest stop on the NJ Turnpike. I get my hot dog, pay for it and then head over to the toppings island. There is a  woman stationed there who puts the onions and sauerkraut on for you. I can not believe this is the woman’s sole function. I mean, how much do you pay a person to be a condiments distributor? Is there special training needed to execute this task? Next time I have a bar-b-que at my house, I think I’m going to offer the job of condiment distributor to one of my kids,  next time I go to Citi Field I’ll ask the woman how much she makes so I know where to start my salary negotiations. By the way, by the time I put on the mustard and the fine condiment lady lathered my hot dog in onions, the frankfurter was cold. UGH!

They have added a Hot Pastrami station on the Concourse where you can get a kinish as well. I never understood why the team never put a full deli concession in the Worlds Fare Market to go along with Mama’s of Corona. Suhi. YUCK!!!

Outside the Worlds Fare Market they have added an area that makes frozen daiquiris. The drinks look very refreshing and would be great on an 85 degree day but when it’s 45 and damp, I’ll pass.

The opening day ceremonies were very good,  except for the booing of Mike Pelfrey and Frankie Rodriquez, Pelfrey gave a little smile which was good and Rodriquez stood stone faced which was good too as he must have known what to expect. M ookie Wilson got a great ovation but then again if Tim Corcoran was introduced he’d get a round of applause as well since he has a ’86 World Series ring  for the 7 at bats he had in helping the cause that season. Anyone associated with the 1986 Mets is an immortal.

(Update: What a schmuck I am for forgetting to mention Ralph Kiner tossing out the first pitch. Ralphie was a picture of sartorial splendor in his fur collared over coat. When Mets toast master general Georgie Jessel, Howie Rose announced  him to the crowd, a roar went up throughout the ballpark. Kiner then doffed the overcoat like a boxer does his robe at the start of a prize fight and headed to a spot near home plate, assisted by his daughter and son in law. He then tossed the first pitch to Mookie Wilson, who ran out to give Kiner a big hug. I guess I’m a Mets romantic because I love moments like this)

The shocker of the day for me was Alex Cora getting cheers and applause when he was introduced as a Nats bench warmer. So Mets fans boo Big Pelf and cheer Cora. Mets fans are fucked up.

So on to the game. Right away you could see R.A. Dickey was in distress after a 1-2-3 first inning. I thought it was the cold weather that was causing his grip on the knuckle ball to cause him problems, it wasn’t until after the game I found out about his split finger nail but I’ll tell you this, when the temperature is in the mid-40’s and it’s damp sitting at a game of deep counts and a tone of walks is not fun.

Jose Reyes made a spectacular play to get an inning ending double play to avert a big inning by the Nats but at the plate he was woeful.  I’m sure Sandy Alderson has that 7th inning AB etched into his mind. I can’t put all the blame on Reyes. Angel Pagan hasn’t hit and came up short in the 7th as well and Ike Davis, who I adore, really needs to stop contesting every strike call by the umpires. He’s going to get a bad rep and one of these days either Douche Bag Joe West or Incompetent Angel Hernandez will behind the plate  and either stick it to him with a phony strike call or toss him  from the game for just glancing over his shoulder.

I know Willie Harris has been hitting and playing real well in LF but I’d much rather see Lucas Duda out there every day until Jason Bay comes back. If you’re not playing Duda every day, then why is he here?

If I were Jason Issringhausen I’d be on the phone this morning asking to be promoted or released. As bad as the bullpen has been the starting pitching has been as bad as well. Bad pitching and the inability to drive runners in with less than two outs is a recipe for disaster.

I just wonder when does Sandy Alderson’ patients run out.  I’m not saying he needs to do anything now but after a month if the team is floundering does he shake it up with a blockbuster deal or a release of players or demotions to the minors. I guess this is what happens when you freeze your ass off at an opening day stinker  it leads your mind to Armageddon.

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