My Recap of The NY Mets All-Time Team Annoucement Show

Last night I attended the naming of the All Time Mets team at the 92nd St Y. The venue was terrific as was the host for the evening, Kevin Burkhardt  Mets voices Gary Cohen and Howie Rose who joined Burkhardt on stage to talk about voting for the team and to greet and interview the honorees who attended the event.

Although the show was announced as a sellout, there were many seats in the first three or five rows that were empty. Since this show was being recorded to be shown on SNY this Thursday night, a frantic SNY director was offering seat upgrades galore so there would not be any empty seats shown on TV. The Mets should implement this exercise at Citi Field.

For the most part the results of the voting went the way you’d expect, so let’s look at the nominees and the winners:

First Base nominees :

Ed Kranepool, Keith Hernandez, John Olerud, Dave Kingman

Of course my heart says Kranepool and Olerud was a great all around player but a short tenure as a Met and Kingman? I’d rather have seen Willie Montanez nominated. The winner of course was Keith Hernandez, who came on stage and as you might suspect, was quite engaging. His story on coming to Mets and why he stayed are classic. I won’t spoil the show for you folks so I won’t relay any of the stories but I’ll tell you this it’s a must see program.

2nd Base nominees:

Edgardo Alfonzo, Felix Milian, Doug Flynn, Wally Backman

No secret I love Howie and Gary not only because they are great announcers but they are also my contemporaries as a Mets fan.  After the nominees were announced, Howie mentioned Ron Hunt and how he was as worthy of being on that list with the other nominees. Gary then spoke about watching Milian and how he held the Mets record for hits in a season for the longest time. The winner here was no surprise, Fonzi.

Shortstop nominees:

Bud Harrelson, Raphael Santana, Rey Ordonez, Jose Reyes

Reyes is the winner but Gary told the audience how Harrelson was his favorite Mets player of all time and it took all his resolve to vote with his head and no his heart. By the way the voters were Howie and Gary along with Mike Vaccaro of the NY Post, Mike Lupica of the Daily News and Marty Noble of MLB.com

3rd base nominees:

Charley Smith, Roy Staiger, Lenny Randle, Felix Mantila

Do I really have to tell you who won this one?

Catcher nominees:

Jerry Grote, Gary Carter, Todd Hundley, Mike Piazza

This is where my middle aged head and heart becomes very stubborn.  I am a Jerry Grote fan then, now and always, so if I was on the voting committee I’d vote Grote and then leave the room. The winner was Mike Piazza who should be the next Mets player enshrined on Cooperstown. Now all of the players named to the Mets All-Time team were present at the event except for the one’s still active that sent their thanks and humble acceptance via video message, the only no show in person or on video was Piazza. I’ve not seen or heard a reason why Piazza didn’t show or at least send a video but as many of you know I am not a Mike Piazza fan and its things like this (and other’s) as to why I’m not.

Left Field nominees:

Cleon Jones, George Foster, Kevin McReynolds, Cliff Floyd

The winner was Cleon Jones. As I posted on Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Cleon this past Friday night at Citi Field so I was very happy he was named to the Mets All Time Team as the left fielder. Gary Cohen spoke of McReynolds as one of the most talented players to ever wear a Mets uni but his personality convened a guy who wished he was someplace else. Cohen was 100 % on point. The baseball cliché of the “5 Tool Player” fits McReynolds to a tee, but K-Mac had two huge flaws, he played the game like it was a job he didn’t enjoy and he hated NYC. That was a real shame as if he had a bit of passion for the game and opened his mind to what the city and region had to offer he may have been one of the best players in Mets history.

Center Field nominees:

Tommy Agee, Mookie Wilson, Lenny Dysktra, Carlos Beltran

If Beltran never signed with the Mets, this would have been a very interesting category as I bet they would have nominated Lee Mazzilli at which point I’d have gotten violently ill. Thank you Carlos. By the way, Beltran sent a video thanking the voters and fans for this great honor and he also wished he could have been healthier during his Mets career. Beltran is one of those players who won’t be recognized for his contributions until he retires . He’s kind of a Phil Simms of the Mets

Right Field nominees:

Ron Swoboda, Rusty Staub, Bobby Bonilla, Darryl Strawberry

Mets fans are not shy about showing their emotions. When Bonilla’s name was announced there was a loud grown of disgust from the crowd. It got me to think, who is the most hated Met of all time? Bonilla is right there along with Jeff Kent who was also a  world class asshole, Richie Hebner or Armando Beneitez  and I guess I’d put McReynolds on that list as well. Oh yeah Straw was the pick.

Right Handed Reliever:

Skip Lockwood, Neil Allen, Armando Benitez, Roger McDowell

I think Kevin Burkhardt was slightly embarrassed when he read Benitez’ name as I thought the crowd was going to burst into a BULLSHIT chant. Gary Cohen represented for us old guys when he spoke of how good a reliever Lockwood was but then he spoiled it by trying to justify Benitez on the list. The winner was McDowell who sent a nice video acceptance but no hot foot.

Left Handed Reliever nominees:

John Franco, Tug McGraw, Jesse Orossco, Randy Myers

When I saw the nominees I was hoping for either Tug or Jesse but I thought this was going to go to Franco. I was pleasantly surprised when it was announced that Tug McGraw was the winner. Tim McGraw sent a video of thanks and Tug’s son Mark and his brother Hank were both there to accept in Tug’s behave and Hank’s stories was outstanding.

Left Handed Starting Pitcher nominees:

Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Sid Fernandez, Al Leiter

Had to be Koos.  Matlack, El Sid and Leiter were worthy Mets but Koos was as strong and as tough as any pitcher of his era as a Met. Koos was also a guy who earned the rep as a big game pitcher

Right Handed Starting Pitcher nominees:

Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, David Cone

He was then, he is now, and he will always be THE FRANCHISE. It’s a shame they didn’t just do this as the All-Time Mets pitching rotation so Doc could have gotten the acclaim he deserves but it’s hard when you are in the same category as THE FRANCHISE! Seaver was in excellent form, as funny and animated as I’ve seen him in a long time. Seaver knows he was great and he knows he is still the greatest player in the history of this franchise and as he gets older he has taken on that role with a lot of pride. I know how much he loves taking care of his vineyard and how he loves to be home on the West Coast but I just wish he come around Citi Field more often like how Ralph Kiner is doing now. I can’t tell you how fortunate I feel knowing I watched Seaver pitch, same with Doc when both pitchers took the mound, it was a special event.

Manager nominees:

Casey Stengel, Gill Hodges, Davey Johnson, Bobby Valentine

How the hell did they get this wrong? Believe me I love Davey and I will never have a bad word to say about him but how could you not name Gil Hodges as the All-Time Mets Manager? When Seaver came out on stage his jovial mood changed when he started speaking about Hodges. Seaver was choked with emotion and said he knew he start crying once he started talking about Hodges and when he said how he wished “Gil was here with me right now” I have to say my eyes were a bit runny as well. It’s tough enough dealing with the disrespect Hodges gets from the Baseball Hall of Fame voters but to be snub like this for a Mets voting committee is even more disturbing.

 

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“I’M GONNA SIT RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE THE FANS A LETTER”

By now you’ve read the missive sent out by our GM, giving us a floor plan of Alderson Collins Boot Camp and after reading it I stress as I did before, if you’re a Mets player heading to St. Lonesome next month, don’t even bother bringing the golf clubs, as it sounds like the Alderson Way will take up a lot of your time and energy.

Let’s take a closer look at the letter from Sandy:

 Yesterday, we wrapped up two days of meetings in Port St. Lucie where we went over organizational philosophy and how to implement it throughout the major and minor leagues. It was also the first opportunity for Terry Collins and his staff to sit down and discuss the mechanics of Spring Training and determine how they will emphasize fundamentals, mental and physical preparation and hard work. As Terry has said, the driving force will be playing the game the right way, which will lead to more wins.

I think Alderson has gotten the message that this team is known for weak fundi’s, not being particularly sound of mind and body and generally a bunch of lazy bastards. That’s going to change.

Over the past two months, we have followed our plan of filling out our roster with reasonably priced players who have significant upside potential. As I have said before, our payroll – which will be among the highest in baseball – gives us limited flexibility, but we do have money to spend. We have acquired players who we think can thrive at Citi Field and complement our existing group of players.

I guess Alderson has to keep repeating to the naysayers that the payroll is high and will not go much higher. Now most say it’s due to the Madoff loses or the cheapness of the Skill Sets and for the longest time I was in that camp but the more I hear and read statements from Alderson, I get the impression that he feels there is no free agent out there worthy of big money.  We heard his mocking of the Jayson Werth contract with the Nats and his outright telling the fan base from the jump that the club would not even talk to Cliff Lee or Carl Crawford. One of the things I admire about Alderson is he could not give a rat’s ass what the fans want. I think it has something to do with age for as I get older I don’t give a rat’s ass what people think of me either. It’s like Alderson feels if you can’t put a pennant contender together with $130+ mil you shouldn’t be in this business (I’m looking at you Pee Wee Cashman) Just because a player is a one-time big name doesn’t mean he’s worth big money. Sometimes No Frills is a good as premium.

As you likely know, earlier this week we signed pitchers Chris Capuano and Taylor Buchholz. Chris is a former All-Star and 18-game winner who last year came back from his second Tommy John surgery. We are confident he has the ability to re-establish himself as a dependable starter who can excel in our ballpark. Taylor has fully recovered from elbow surgery and has the potential to be a solid arm out of the bullpen.

 Every year players come out of nowhere to become success stories. Look no further than R.A. Dickey. He signed a minor-league deal last January, became a fixture in the starting rotation in May, and finished the season with 11 victories and a 2.84 ERA. I believe some of our offseason acquisitions can be this year’s version of R.A.

Classy. A tip of the Mets hat to Omar for Dickey.

We are excited about 2011. We have a solid core group of players who we expect will make significant contributions to making the Mets a success. As we have said all along, we will put ourselves in the best position possible to succeed both in the short and long term.

Last year at this time I would tell whoever would listen that the Mets looked like a last place club to me and would finish there if not for the Nationals. Unfortunately I was right. This season? Maybe it’s the regime change to the guy I wanted as my first choice and maybe it’s because there seems to be a real blueprint on how to turn this team from the butt of jokes to one that demands respect but I can’t wait until opening day as I just want to see if all the winter buildup of accountability and demands on the players are more than lip service to a cranky fan base.

There will be an exciting brand of baseball played at Citi Field this year that matches the passion and intensity that you have for the team.

Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to seeing you at the ballpark.

Nice little tribute to the Mets fan for the loyalty and vigor of our support to the team.

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