Is There More To the David Howard Departure from the Mets Than Meets The Eye?

With the ominous dark cloud of injuries and lack of overall pizazz that engulfs the 2013 version of the NY Mets, I should be concerned with the product that I and all Mets fans will be observing for better or worse this season but the thing that has me most intrigued about the New York Mets is why did David Howard leave the organization to head Madison Square Garden Sports?

When I heard that Howard was leaving the Mets to run the Garden sports properties I was taken by surprise to say the least. Howard has been a Mets exec for 20 years and in the last few years since the Madoff debacle, he has been the public face of the Mets Ivory Tower. Howard was outstanding at being the top talking head of ownership but then again following the awful displays of public speaking from Omar Minaya, Jeffy Wilpon and the rants of Freddy Skill Sets, those are not tough acts to follow, But Howard was the perfect front man for the club as he’s intelligent, articulate and able to spin the Mets angel better than any Capitol Hill spokesman.

I could be taking this whole departure way out of context; Howard could be leaving for a better position and more money. He could be leaving the Mets just because 20 years in one spot is a long time and he could want a new challenge.  But this being the Wilpon Mets, I always have the hint of disaster in the back of my mind.

Does Dave Howard know something is around the corner that could cripple the franchise again?  Does he see that Freddy Skill Sets crowing about all the cash he will have at his disposal after Michael Bourn signed with the Cleveland Indians as a heap of horseshit being that there is debt on the team, ballpark and a re-finance of SNY that could take a large chunk out of the organization’s ass?  Could it be he’s tired of going public about the ridiculous ticket and concession prices the Mets charge and just can’t put a happy face on a team that has a load of opening day tickets still available?  On a bit of a side note about ticket prices and concessions, the Boston Red Sox, one of the best baseball franchises in MLB, will see their 793 home sellout streak end the first week of the season. To counter that the Red Sox, THE BOSTON RED SOX!!!! Will cut the concession prices on food (buy 1 hot dog get 1 free) drink (5 bucks for a beer , 2 bucks for a hot chocolate ) and start 11 of the first 17 home games before 7PM so the cranks of Fenway don’t freeze their arses off in the April chill. Hello?????? Anyone home in the Flushing home office??????

Back to Dave Howard leaving, I wouldn’t question Howard leaving for MSG as nothing more than a corporate transfer going from one board room to another for a loftier title and higher pay but after reading that at least three other front office honchos will take over Howard’s tasks, it makes me think the club was caught off guard. Being that Howard was a 20 year employee of the organization wouldn’t you think that he would have gone to the Skill Sets and explain to them that he needed a new challenge a fresh start and the opportunity to run all the functions of the Gardens sports properties except for drafting, trading and constructing team rosters was too good to pass up, but before I leave I will help any way I can with finding my successor and showing he or she the ropes. That didn’t happen. We have a group of executives from different units reporting to, and this is where I come close to soiling myself, Jeffy Skill Sets. That is what has me the most frightened.

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NY Rangers-NY Mets Daily Double

I’m having a tough time putting my thoughts into words this morning after spending my night at Madison Square Garden and witnessing one of those great sports moments   that will talked about for years and years.

The black and white of the box scores says Rangers 3 Capitals 2 but that in no way describes how this game was played.  This NY Ranger team is simply one of the best teams in the history of my sports fandom.  It hasn’t much to do with the winning but more with the amazing work ethic and the fact when I was ready to write them off they dug down deeper than me and many other Rangers fans could ever imagine. Funny thing is as I watched the pre-game warm ups, I thought about how many games I’ve witnessed in this building and how times have changed over the years.  For some wild reason images of John Fergurson, Phil Esposito, Ron Greschner and my favorite whipping boy Willie Huber were entering my head.  I looked around the Blue Seats and thought about Nick Fotiu throwing pucks to “his people” in the upper reaches of the 400 section after warm-ups. I thought of the day Bryan Trottier was named coach of the Rangers (that’s when my hatred for Glen Sather began) as the day I was ready to turn in my Broadway Blueshirt and of course the  euphoria of 1994 Stanley Cup winning team.

I don’t know where this playoff season is going for the NY Rangers but as nerve wracking as the ride is, I’m riding with a lot of Ranger fan pride. Time to close this series out boys tomorrow night!

I had no idea what was going on between the Mets and Phuck Phaces until my phone buzzed with a text telling me the Mets had won 5-2. When I got home I went searching for Rangers highlights to find out how the hell Broadway Brad Richards got that puck by Braden Holtby and to relive the resurrection of Marc Staal, I stopped on ESPN as Baseball Tonight was queuing up highlights of the Mets win (by the way, what’s up with John Kruk? He’s sitting behind a desk all hunched up like someone was lobbing hand grenades over his head. Why so tense Krukie? )  and I know there is this whole controversy over hitting batters for no reason but because they are young and talented and many times fans go overboard on wanting their pitcher to take off someone on the oppositions head with a pitch but to me if Shane Victorino doesn’t hit the dirt on his first at bat tonight I will be very angry. Victorino’s take out try on Justin Turner was an out and out dirty play and a scumbag like Victorino will continue to make that kind of play until someone sends him a message.  I don’t want Miguel Batista (YIKES!!!!) to drill Victorino in the noggin but I do want to see a pitch just under his chin.

 How do you figure out Jordany  Valdespin ? I’ve heard a few stories on how he is immature and was such a problem he was read the riot act by a few folks in the Mets minor league system. So far he seems to be exuberant as a young man should be in the big leagues and a player his teammates have embraced. Maybe it’s the fact that Terry Collins can handle a young guy feeling his oats and the fact that the team has solid mature veteran players unlike the cranky red asses who gave rookies a hard time in the clubhouse in years past. Hopefully with a little success in the big leagues, Valdespin will see what it takes to stay up here and matures before our eyes.

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REMEMBERING GARY CARTER

What a great touch last night by SNY to show Gary Carter’s first game as a Met ( a game I attended), opening day 1985. That game brought back a flood of memories about the era in Mets history and Carter’s legacy as a NY Met.

I was at Madison Square Garden on the night of December 10th , 1984 watching the NY Rangers play the LA Kings,  between periods I strolled down to the concourse to grab a beer (my drinking days) and call Sports Phone  (once upon a time this great new service came out called SportsPhone known by its great jingle  “get all the sports scores in-stan-leeee dial 976-1313) to get some out of town NHL and NBA scores (this was also my gambling days, oh and along with the beer in my hand and the phone receiver to my ear there was a cigarette dangling from the corner of my mouth, yes I’d indulged in all sorts of vice back in the day, that why I loved the 1970’s and 80’s) came a voice on the other end of the line telling me that the New York Mets have acquired Gary Carter from the Montreal Expos for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans. HOLLLLLLYYYYY SHIT!

As I made my way back up to Section 432, it seemed all the other degenerates checking scores and their bets, heard the Mets news as well as the Garden was buzzing. There was great debate amongst myself and my friends over this deal. At the time it looked like Frank Cashen gave up a King’s ransom for Carter. Brooks was coming off a nice season with 16HR and 73 RBI, Fitzgerald, Wininngham and Youmans were top prospects in what was at the time a fruitful Mets farm system, but hey we got Gary Carter, add him to Keith Hernandez and the two kids, Gooden and Strawberry and god damn, the Mets are going to kick some serious ass in 1984, and they did, going from 68-94 in 1983 to 90-72 in 1984 finishing 6 ½ games back of the division champion Chicago Cubs (somewhere in my basement is my florescent yellow CUBS BUSTERS t-shirt that had the bear cub in a circle with a red line through it, yeah baby THE MAGIC WAS BACK AT SHEA)

So many on the field memories, pop into my head when thinking of Gary Carter but so do many off the field ones as well.

I got married in 1986 (same year I dropped two bad habits, gambling and smoking, drinking would come ten years later) the last of four kids to leave the nice secure nest my parent had made for us. Most weeknights, I’d come from work have dinner with my parents (dinner always on the table when I got home, told you it tough leaving my happy habitat) and afterwards, head to the living room with my dad to watch Mets baseball.  My mother, a woman surrounded by sons, nephews and cousins who were sports fanatics, a woman who washed more uniforms than any clubhouse person, never cared for sports, that is until I move out of the house. The sight of my old man sitting with no one to talk about the games with, she decided it was time to take up watching sports particularly Mets baseball.  Not only did she start watching Mets games, she now wanted to go to Mets games, WHAT? “Ma, you want to go to Shea”  “Oh yes, I want to go see Gary Carter” So we took her to see “her guy” Gary Carter.

I thought about that all the way on my commute home last night, then I listened to all the tributes for Carter and I really felt overwhelmed, Gary Carter was much more than a baseball player, he was as inspirational as anyone who has ever hit this city. To hear Keith Hernandez weep when talking about Carter was heartbreaking. Listening to Ron Darling speak of Carter you could tell he held him in such high regard. Then I heard Doc Gooden, who told the story of how Carter would come to the Smithers Institute where he was residing to combat his drug and alcohol addiction, on Sunday’s after home games to make sure Gooden was okay. Strawberry may have given Carter the best compliment anyone can give to another human being when he said that Carter “lived his life the way I wish I could have”.

Carter was at times mocked for his goody-goody ways, which some felt were phony but as they got to know him they found out his love of family, baseball and God was genuine. I found it stunning that those four players who played hard and partied even harder in their youth and would ridicule Carter for his clean living ways back then, now in their middle age wish they could have had the life that Gary Carter had. Don’t you wish we all could be remembered that way?

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IN NYC YOU CAN GET GREAT PASTRAMI,BUT GREAT SPORTS TALK RADIO? I’M AFRAID NOT

It will be tough to read any Mets news this week as NYC has turned its sports eye to this Sunday’s Super Bowl (with a squint at Madison Square Garden as Knicks fans await the firing of coach Mike D’Antoni and Mike Woodson taking over for the season) and the over saturation of information that will come out of Indianapolis all week. One of the more interesting aspects of this fountain of information is the two sports radio station in town going head to head on Radio Row.

David Hinckley has a column in today’s NY Daily News on how both station will be on Radio Row fighting for guests and for the ears of the New York sports fan.  What makes it even more interesting is FAN is the flagship station for the NY Giants games and WEPN carries NY Jets games. Both station have players under contract for weekly spots with Anonte Rolle , a provocative weekly guest of Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts and Eli Manning who calls in to Michael Kay show each week.

WEPN has never made a dent in the ratings and as the Great Sports Pope, Mike Francesa likes to say, “Dey cum ta wawr wit pea shootas” .WEPN’s biggest problem is they can’t decide if they want to be national sports radio broadcasting in NYC or a hybrid National/Local station. To be honest here, I’ve kind of weaned my way off WFAN. I’ll listen to the station at work but when I’m in the car I’ll listen to Sirius/XM radio, mostly MLB Radio.   

As much as I would love to listen to someone other than Francesa, when I tune into the Michael Kay Show it’s the sports talk equivalent to fingers nails on a chalk board.  What make it worse is I really like Don LaGreca and I’ve always felt he was being wasted as a second banana on the Kay show.

When you look at the WEPN line up, it’s no wonder it gets miniscule ratings.  Even though Mike and Mike is an ESPN infomercial, I kind of enjoy listening to them but again they are a National show which makes it more puzzling why they follow M & M with the totally unlistenable Colin Cowherd, again another National show.  At 12 noon the station puts on its best effort of the day in airing Ryan Ruocco and Robin Lundburg. Ruocco and Lundburg are young and come with a fresher, hipper way of doing sports talk that is quite refreshing, the problem is they only get two hours of air time as at 2pm WEPN turns into old foggey radio with the Mike Lupica Show. Lupica has not been relevant on the New York sport scene in about 10 years when he was at least watching sporting events on television (stories were all around that Lupey never attended games he wrote about it seems he’s beneath siting in a press box) what line of thinking is going through WEPN program director Dave Roberts head that he feels an hour of Lupey is better radio than an extra hour of Ruocco and Lundberg?

Sure it’s a tough task to overtake WFAN in the ratings as they are the founding fathers of sports talk radio not just in NYC but the country but it can be done if you go out a get younger hosts who are social media savvy who can talk about multiple subjects instead of beating listeners to death with Rex Ryan coaching critiques and 1960’s Yankees retrospectives. WEPN is missing a great opportunity to reach hockey fans by not giving LaGreca a weekend hockey show especially with the station airing NY Rangers games. Same for doing an NBA show. I know Stephen (Screamin’) A. Smith can polarized listeners but he is in tune with the NBA and by paring him up with the underutilized and underrated Larry Hardesty I’m sure they would move the rating needle north.

When you think about it here we live in a city that is sports crazy with multiple teams in four major sports but we don’t have a decent sports talk radio station to listen to. Sad, don’t you think?

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A VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE FOR THE WILPON’S

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and enjoyed the extra day off yesterday to recuperate or to return gifts at the mall. I’m still fighting off fatigue this morning, my first day back to work in 3 days, from the holiday and from a huge sports weekend.

It all started for me on Friday night as I attended the Rangers-Flyers game at a jammed packed Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are playing their best hockey in years and with a win last night against the Icelanders have the best record in the NHL Eastern Conference. The Garden rocked like it hasn’t in many years and Rangers fans have fallen in love with this team made up of mainly homegrown players with top notch free agent signings (Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards) that have made the Garden faithful cautiously optimistic  for a deep Stanley Cup run.

Then on Saturday, I was in front of my TV totally engrossed in the Giants-Jets battle in the Meadowlands. The Jets got the ball first and tore through the Giants soft as a marshmallow defense for a touchdown and I thought the G-Men were going to ruin my Christmas but thanks to Brian Shottenheimer and Roarin’ Rex Ryan who forgot that Mark Sanchez and not Joe Namath was QB’ing there team. It was a 99 yard TD from Eli Manning to the newest Giants star Victor Cruz (my family did not appreciate my Cruz Salsa dance I performed in the living room after Cruz crossed the end zone) that changed the whole game and put Rex and Shotty into a panic giving the Giants a big win. As the game ended two guys who are more similar than they realize, Rex Ryan and Brandon Jacobs, traded insults instead of holiday greetings. I now had two of the three wins I wanted for Christmas.

On Christmas day while everyone wanted to open presents and eat and eat and eat, I watched the clock hit high noon and screamed out ‘WELCOME BACK NBA!!!!!” I was thisclose to going on Stub Hub and grabbing a couple of tickets for the game at MSG between the Knicks and Celtics as I try to never miss a chance to see my C’s when they come to town. However it is not in my nature to get into a screaming match on the Baby Jesus Birthday with my wife so I as much as my finger was twitching to click on “BUY”, I stepped away from the computer and went back upstairs to spread holiday cheer and make sure I secured the TV for 12:00. My favorite Celtic player is Rajon Rondo, in fact of all the teams I root for Rondo and Henrik Lundqvist are neck and neck for the title of my favorite player of any team I root for (Eli Manning would be my favorite Giant as for the Mets…hummmm… I’ll get back to you on that….) and to watch that performance by Rondo against the Knicks, made me even more joyous that Danny Anige didn’t deal him off for Chris Paul.

Last night after another Rangers win and sitting with my family and reflecting on a having just a great holiday weekend, I looked around the room at our Christmas tree and the stockings hanging from the mantle and back to reality I returned. First I stared at my Mets Christmas stocking, then I studied the various Mets ornaments on the tree, Mr. Met, 1986 World Champions, David Wright and on the top of one of the dining room chairs, my Mets Christmas hat. It hit me and hit me hard, it’s quite likely that the Mets will not bring me the joy and excitement in 162 games, that the three other sports teams I root for gave me in a weekend.   Quite depressing.

It got me thinking, I cannot be the only one who feels this way. How many of you are multiple sports fans?  I then started to think about the men who own the teams I root for and how different the all are.

The Rangers are owned by Cablevision and Jim Dolan is in charge of both the Rangers and Knicks. Thankfully for Rangers fans, Dolan hates hockey, he loves the revenue it brings in but he leaves the hockey folks alone and for that we Ranger fans are grateful. One thing about Dolan, he has no problem spending money and if Slats Sather feels a player (Gaborik, Richards) is worth the dough and fits the salary cap he always gets the green light to spend.

The NY Football Giants are owned by both the Mara and Tisch families but John Mara is the man who makes the decisions for the team.  Mara is what you want in a team owner, his family is football royalty, he has a presences in the league that is second only to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , and he’s all about winning.

The Celtics are owned by a syndicate but the managing partner and NBA Governor is Wyc Grousbeck. Grousbeck has brought back the history and mystique of the Celtics. Just about every game at the TD Garden, there are numerous Celtics of the past attending the game.  I’ve mentioned before that I had the pleasure of meeting Grousbeck a few times at MSG and not only had great conversations with him but he even let me try on the 2008 Championship ring. Now that’s an owner. Which brings me to the Skill Sets.

No matter how bad a season any of those three teams have, I’ve always been confident that the ownership of those teams will pull out all stops to make the teams better. I never, ever get that feeling with the Wilpon’s.   Even when they were flush with In Bernie We Trust currency, I’ve never had confidence that they would just supply the resources to the men running the team to make baseball decisions that would make the Mets better.  It was never the Wilpon’s allowing the baseball people make baseball decision it was always, sure you can visit Player A to talk contract, but you have to take Jeff with you.  Now I cannot say for certain that the other owners I’ve named are not meddlesome (especially Dolan but he is more hands on with the Knicks than Rangers) but if they have it’s never been brought out like it has with Jeff Wilpon. Whether it was flying to meet Mike Cameron on the Mets private jet to get him to sign as a free agent, or being golf buddies with Tom Glavine and Al Leiter or just  forcing himself on the baseball operations when he had no baseball knowledge  what so ever.

With all the money woes the Wilpon’s have the one good thing has been that Sandy Alderson has run the baseball ops as he wants and with no money to spend ,Jeff has been a non-factor in player moves, which would be a positive if the Mets had money to spend.

Yesterday the Chicago Cubs signed RHP Andy Sonnestine and RHP Manny Corpas to non-guaranteed deals. The Mets with the lack of depth in the pitching department both on the big league and Triple A level should have been in on both these chuckers. I know neither Sonnestine nor Corpas are enough to really get Mets fans hot and bothered about but it just shows how the cash situation is so bad with the Mets that they can’t even bid on two arms like this.

The angst of the Mets fan is not towards the players or the front office; it’s all on the owners. Mets fans who decide to not go to Citi Field or watch games on SNY or buy Met merchandise will do so because of their anger at the Wilpon’s for not falling on the sword and doing the right thing by selling the team. No matter what happens on the field this coming season, this team will be followed by the Wilpon black cloud all season long unless the financial situation reaches to catastrophic proportions and Fred, Jeff and Uncle Saul are thrown out on their ass .  What sucks most of all, many Mets fans that I talk to don’t want to talk actual baseball, they all want to talk about the Wilpon’s selling the team. That is the number one subject on the Mets fans mind, not will Wright and Bay rebound or will Santana bounce back or will Ike have the breakout season, nope, it’s when the fuck are the Wilpon’s selling the team and that won’t end until the Skill Sets are gone. It’s shame for them , a shame for Mets fans and a shame for baseball.

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BACK BURNER FOR METS BASEBALL

gotta love Hank and the Broadway Hat

Most under-rated athlete in NYC

I’m soooo happy Danny Ainge didn’t my favorite Celtic RAAAAAAJJJJOOOONNN RONDOOOOOOO    

It’s tough to spend time on Mets minutia today with trying to finish up loose ends at work and get ready for what should be one of the best nights Madison Square Garden has seen in quite a while as the Rangers and Flyers meet tonight and the Giants-Jets get together tomorrow and the Knicks-Celtics start the NBA season on Christmas, it’s hard to get worked up over Rob Johnson signing a minor league deal to fight for a backup catcher spot with the Mets .

I am pumped up for tonight’s Rangers-Flyers match up at MSG. Between the way the Rangers have been playing along with all the hype of HBO’s 24/7 (I need to tape Coach Tortorella’s between periods ass ripping of his team against the St Louis Blues last week  “Fucking screw it on straight, screw it on and let’s get ready to go each shift” has become my new mantra I’ve been using it at work all day the non-hockey fans think I’ve lost my mind but then again most of them don’t know what to make of me anyway)  and Winter Classic and first place (though very early in the season ) on the line, I can’t wait to get to the Garden tonight.

For as long as I can remember as a NY Football Giants fan, I have never given the NY Jets much thought. Sure I have friends who are Jets fans but there has never the animosity like I have with buddies and relatives who root for the Bronx Bastards. The Jets were…. Well just the Jets. They played in the other conference and since they played each other, except for every 4 years, only in the preseason there really hasn’t been any reason to have an opinion positive or negative on the Jets. Until now.

It really hurts me to write this but there are four teams in NYC that are sports royalty, The Highlanders, Giants, Knicks and Rangers. The Mets are the closest of the underling teams that could break into the big four, but not these days. For all the bluster that comes from Rex Ryan, the Jets are not close to being in the same stratosphere as the NY Football Giants. I don’t dislike Rex Ryan although he really, really needs to shut the fuck up, I do respect his coaching acumen but it’s too bad he has to take the personality of his dad Buddy because all this hot air he spews sooner or later has to be backed up with something. Sure he has had success as HC of the Jets but he needs to mind his coaching manners.

Head coaches, no matter what always show respect to one and other in public (look at the fall out from the Jim Schwatrz, Jim Haurbugh brew ha ha earlier this season) it’s great that Rex thinks that he is better that Bill Belichick or Tom Coughlin but when you disrespect these men who have accomplished more than you ever had in this game, you come off like a fucking buffoon.

Neither team in this contest has much to crow about this season. Both teams are huge disappointments with flaws a plenty and as much as Tom Coughlin has told his players to let the Jets do the talking and keep their mouths shut, when you have motor mouths like Antrell Rolle and Brandon Jacobs it’s a hard to rein them in.   

Like I say I never gave the Jets much thought but thanks to Rex’s big mouth not only do I want to see the Giants beat the living shit out them, if the Jets make the playoffs, I’ll be rooting hard against them. By the way, all Giants fan should be thanking Rex and his players for doing what Coach Coughlin has had trouble with so far this second half of the season, motivating the Giants players. Rex should have gone with the let sleeping dogs lay but after seeing how the Jets put a picture of a bleeding Eli Manning on the cover of their defensive play book, I hope JPP knocks Mark Sanchez out of the game on the first offensive play from scrimmage.   Oh and Fireman Ed is an asshole.

Celtics-Knicks is a great way to start off Christmas Day and as a fan of the C’s, it’s good to see the Knickerbockers relevant again. I am my Celtics have one more run left in them and a good start would be by beating up the Knicks on Sunday.   

 

 

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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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“HEY KEEP IT DOWN, WE’RE TRYING TO ENJOY A QUIET EVENING AT THE BALL PARK ”

For those of you who are still interested, Mets single game tickets go on sale today at 10AM. When you click on the link you’ll see that opening day is still available. It wasn’t long ago that opening day was one of the toughest tickets of the season to obtain. You either had to be a season ticket holder, of a partial plan holder to get a first game ticket and regular price. I remember some seasons paying a premium price on the secondary market to make sure I was in the ball park for the season opener. This year I bought my opening day ticket on a special pre-sale but not to worry if you haven’t purchased yours yet there should be plenty for sale.They’ll be plenty of concourse space to stroll around the ballpark on April 8. Sad.  

Mets management has come up with a very good move in making sections 338 and 339 the Mr. Mets Landing. Ticket for kids under 12 years old are 10 bucks and for adults $20. That’s well worth it. Now if the organization would just understand they are not in a real strong position to have price tiering and how it is an absolute turn off to fans and the fact they really need to stop catering to the fat cats who could care less if the Mets win or lose as long as the Chablis and brie is flowing and price their tickets to a more middle class fan friendly level, it would be better for business. I see all these ads with the catchy slogans but I guess I missed the one that said all tickets 50 % off.

It’s very rare that I link to Phil Muschnick on this site but today(Thanks to Eagle for the link) he had a column that sums up what Citi Field, Highlander Stadium on eventually Madison Square Garden have become, a mall with sporting events going on.

No need to rehash my assessment of Citi Field as a food court with a baseball diamond but all the new stadiums in the area have become just that. There is no home field advantage anymore for any of the NYC teams, they play in gentrified playgrounds where the emphasis is on the cuisine and drink rather than the home run, touchdown or power play goal.

Another must read today is Larry Brooks column on the NY Rangers having no home ice advantage anymore at MSG. You need not be a hockey fan to read this article as it pertains to all the sports teams here in NYC. Back in the late 70’s and through the decade of the 1980’s if you were a visiting hockey team coming into MSG, you were intimidated by who was in stands more than who was on the ice.  I sat in the late lamented Section 432 of the Blue Seats back then and every game night at the Garden was intense. When the Islanders came in the building during the National Anthem all you could here were screams of POTVIN SUCKS and banners were unfurled from the seats in the obstructed section of the Blues proclaiming Mike Bossy’ enjoyment of anal sex. (thanks to Blutto for that correction how could I forget “Bossy takes it up the ass doo dah doo dah”) Today if you yell too loud in MSG you’re looked at as someone strange.

Shea was the same way. Ask the Cubs of 1969, the Astros and Red Sox of 1986. How many games did the Mets play at Shea that were either rain delayed or into extra innings or they were down double digits runs and all you could hear were the die hards screaming LET’S GO METS, LET’S GO METS. How many LET’S GO METS chants have you heard at Citi Field? Not many, Have you ever been to a game at Citi where  Johan  Santana, Big Pelf or Frankie Rodriguez had a two strike count  and two outs and you got up from your seat the clap and encourage that third strike because as fans that’s what we do, and be told to please sit down? I know you’re nodding your head because if it happened to me I know it has happened to you.

The Skill Sets made a deal with the devil catering to those they thought were kind of folks with deep pockets who would pay any price to sit in a suite or club seat at Citi Field but all they got was a pitch fork stuck in their ass.

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YO’ METS FAN, SEE THE KNICKS? THAT COULD BE US SOON!

Most times when the Boston Celtics hit the city, I make it my duty to go see my favorite basketball team in person. During the last decade, securing a ticket to a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden was as cheap and easy as a Hunts Point hooker. That has now changed.

I went looking for a couple of tickets for last Wednesday’s Knicks-C’s tilt at MSG and the best I could find were blue seats for a hundred or a hundred and a quarter. That’s what I’d spend for two games plus a couple of hot dogs and a beverage. What the hell happen?  Winning and exciting basketball by the NY Knickerbockers is what’s happened.

Yesterday in NYC the talk around town was all Knicks, Knicks and Knicks. The last time I can remember the Knicks being this relevant I was fighting my wife for use of the blow dryer, quite a while ago.  It’s not just that the Knicks sucked or that they were run by a complete asshole or that owner was fucking clueless (sound familiar Mets fans?) the team was run so bad, the fan base gave up on them and if you are of a certain age and grew up in NYC in the 60’ and 70’s you know basketball was THE game .  Tickets to Knick games were scarce.  A night at a Knicks game and being welcomed by the voice of John F.X. Condon (Welcome to The World’s Most Famous Arena) was electric. All that was lost, but now it looks like it’s been found again.

I bring the Knicks up today because the Mets are where the basketball team was before new management took over. When Donnie Walsh of the Bronx came home to rescue the premier basketball franchise in the NBA, he inherited a total mess. Same as Sandy Alderson has with the Mets. The Knicks have been saddled with over priced players who couldn’t care less if they won or lost as long as Jim Dolan signed off on the payroll. Same as the Mets. The GM of the Knicks was a cluessless, sexual harassing douche bag. Just like what the Mets had. The Dolan family along with the board of directors of Cablevision, the parent company of MSG stepped in and told Jimmy Dolan stay the fuck out of the basketball business, just like it seems the Skill Sets family has told Jeffey.

First thing Donnie Walsh did was try to rid the organization of bad players and bad contracts. Walsh did something that most deemed impossible, he brought the Knicks payroll under the cap and out of luxury tax hell.  He then put together a staff from head coach to assistants to scouts then used the draft well and signed players of talent and character  like Amare Stodumire. Stodumire is THE face of the Knicks and after one month of playing for the team, he hated what he saw and called his team out in public:

    “I’m not sure if it’s the fact maybe a winning mentality has never been here. I’m just not used to it. I’m used to winning. I’m used to talking about winning and having that confidence toward winning. You just can’t have guys complacent and comfortable with losing.”   

“I don’t understand why we’re not playing with the urgency. I’m not used to that. We’re not playing like we’re on a four-game losing streak, now five. We don’t have that sense of urgency. It’s almost as if it doesn’t matter.”   

 

WHOA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Do they make one of these in a baseball player? If they do, Sandy Alderson needs to get us one.

Now that the Knicks are playing not only good basketball but exciting basketball and have a player in Stoudemire who has stepped up to lead on and off the court and has reached one name status in the city. AMARE. Because of this the ugly element of the NYC fan base has raised hi ugly head, The Band Waggoner.  You know who they are, the most clueless and insecure people this city has to offer.  You go to a party and in passing conversation you ask if they are a Mets fan or Yankee fan or Jets or Giants fan and they reply “I’m a New York Fan” which my ears interpret as “I’m an asshole”.  That’s when I excuse myself find my wife and tell her  “I’ll meet you in the car, 15 minutes A.I.S (ass in seat)”     

A splinter group of Mets fans are clamoring over Sandy Alderson not going out and throwing money at free agents. This group confesses to hate the NY Highlanders and all they stand for but they want the Mets to copy their plan. Why they don’t just grow some balls and move their allegiance to the Bronx Bastards, is a question you’d have to ask them. This group doesn’t get it that the Mets did make a big free agent signing this winter, they signed Alderson, J.P. Riccarrdi and Paul DePodesta to go out and bring this franchise back to its rightful place of prominence in NY sports.

Don’t take this as me saying Alderson will part Flushing Bay or will put his hand on Ollie Perez’ left shoulder and turn him into Sandy Koufax, all I’m saying is he has run organizations before and he has been very successful, so let’s give his way a chance before you scream and yell about not buying tickets or Mets merchandise. If that’s the way you want to roll that’s fine but remember I know who you are, you’re the same the person walking around the city in that brand spanking new Knicks jacket and hat and the big foam KNICKS #1 on your finger.  How do you people live with yourselves? You disgust me.

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HOCKEY NIGHT IN CORONA ?

Someone needs to get Howie Rose one of those Queens Real Estate handouts they have at the supermarket, as it might be easier to move back to the boro of his birth as none other than Mr. Islander, Chris Bota says the Skill Sets are ready to build an arena in the Iron Triangle and the Icelanders will move down the L I E and call it home:

  Jones Lang LaSalle, the project management company for the upcoming $500 million renovation of Madison Square Garden, has begun work on a feasibility study for an Islanders arena at Willets Point — the property surrounding Citi Field, the second-year home of the Mets.

“This is beyond the preliminary stage,” said the source. “You don’t bring in a big hitter like JLL unless you’re serious. This tells me the Islanders and Mets have made progress in a partnership to take the hockey team to Queens. If Charles Wang and Nassau can’t cut a deal, this will be a great option.”

It’s a bit puzzling why the Skill Sets would get involved in building an arena if they were not looking to either buy the Icelnaders from Charles Wang or just become a partner.  There is always the the idea of the Icelanders becoming much needed winter programing for SNY but I believe the team has a big time contract with MSG so that my or my not be tough to break.

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