My Day At Highlander Stadium with Terry Collins, Joe Girardi and Dunkin Donuts !

This isn’t the best commercial acting I’ve ever seen but you have to admit, it beats the hell out the SUBWAY ads with Joe Torre and Willie “But it’s toasted Joe “Randolph

Yesterday I was invited to an event at Highlander Stadium by Dunkin Donuts that featured an appearance by Highlander skipper Joe Girardi and our own Terry Collins. This was a much different experience than I’ve had at Citi Field when myself and other Mets bloggers have been invited to participate in the pre and post-game activities that the main stream sports media attend daily.

Before I get to the access I had to the managers, a little about how they do things media wise in the South Bronx. When I arrived at the stadium I headed for Gate 4, the press gate, as I entered there are two x-ray machines just like what you see at the airport. I had to put my knapsack on the conveyor belt so it could be scanned, I didn’t know if this was a routine for everyone or just anyone affiliated with the Mets that had to be screened in such a way, maybe my 50th Anniversary pin set off a red flag. From there I checked in and was told to wait for a member of the Highlander security force who would then escort me to the Audi Club.

As the Highlander constable along with a rep from Dunkin Donuts walked me to the club, the DD rep asked me if I was impressed with the way the suite numbers were named after Highlander players who wore that corresponding number, I just looked at her and said, “I’m here as a Mets blogger so I couldn’t care less” to which she started staring at the carpet like she lost a quarter and the Highlander constable started talking in his wrist. Still the long journey continued until finally we hit Yonkers where I believe the Audi club is located.

There I was surrounded by Dunkin Donuts coffees, both hot and cold and so many donuts that I thought of dialing 911 to alert Mayor Bloomberg of the felonious assault by calorie in progress at the Audi club. I grabbed an iced coffee and headed to the area where the presser was to be held. To my surprise, this wasn’t a bloggers/writers event; it was more of an owner/operator of a Dunkin Donuts event.

As Terry Collins and Joe Girardi are introduced, I see Girardi is wearing his Highlander home jersey, just the jersey not full uni and Collins is wearing his “business casual” sport coat slacks and open collar shirt as he said he knew that a Mets jersey is not a welcome site around here. That kind of pissed me off, I would have loved for him to come in in full uni or at least his Mets warm up and cap just to make a statement and stop giving in to the Mets are the step child bullshit that’s allowed to go unchallenged. It got my blood boiling enough to go on a bit of rant that I thought may have gotten myself an early exit from the event.

There weren’t any main stream media at this unveiling of Collins and Giraridi as spokesmen for Dunkin Donuts ice coffee it seems Girardi reps the iced caramel and Collins the ice moca, and the fact that the team that wins the Subway Series that manager will received a $25,000 donation to their favorite charity. When it was brought up that the teams could split the series 3-3, the DD execs looked confused and a bit embarrassed and gave the” we’ll come up with something” answer. How about giving both managers $25k a piece? For what they charge for a dozen donuts I’m sure it’s doable.

So after a lot of playful banter between the managers, the floor was open to questions. Myself and the few other bloggers (I didn’t see anyone I’ve met before but there was one other Mets blogger there or at least one other person asking Terry Collins questions besides me) were off to each side of Collins and Girardi but we had to fight for Q & A time with the fans in attendance so it was time to get aggressive.

I’ve mentioned a few times here that of all the people I’ve met and had a chance to talk to at Citi Field, Terry Collins is the only one who intimidates me, well after yesterday I think I’m over that. I think it was the location Highlander Stadium and the fact just about everyone in the room was a Highlander supporter, that I started to assert my Mets blogger self.  While most of the questioners were raising their hands to ask questions I had enough and just called out to Collins and have him look my way so I can get some queries in.  I ask about Jason Bay and his availability for last night’s game and Collins told me he’s be in the lineup he wouldn’t tell me where in the lineup as I guess he didn’t spring it on Bay that he was batting 8th  , at 11 Am,  I followed up with where will he play LF or DH and was told LF. I then continued my bogarting of the event by asking about Omar Quintanilla’ fractured  finger and my new obsession, when Ruben Tejada will return as the everyday shortstop. Collins gave a look of “yo ixnay on the injuries-ay” and the rest of the attendees were like yeah enough with the Mets questions. Well too damn bad ! I don’t care about David Robinson or Brent Gardner on the DL or how many home runs Curtis Granderson will hit (Girardi is a baseball manger folks not a goddamn fortune teller) so have some fucking manners, let me get my Mets questions in and then you can go back to your inane Highlander inquires about the style of underwear Derek Jeter wears.

I asked Collins about David Wright and how it seems that now that he is the most tenured Mets player he has taken his leadership in the clubhouse up a notch. Collins agreed saying that his treatment of the young players is fantastic and when other players see his work ethic and preparation they follow suit. I then inquired about Ike Davis and if there was anything he has seen in his last few games that would lead him to believe that Davis is ready to break out of this horrendous start. Collins gave a politicians answer going on how Ike’s teammates are behind him and how he’s working so hard to get back to where the club feels he should be but nothing on if Collins thinks he’s ready to bust out. After watching Ike last night it’s going to be a very hard sell by the front office to keep him on the big league roster. Whatever it is, losing most of the last season to injury or the bout of Valley Fever, Ike’s not right and has become an almost automatic out at the plate.

The last question of the session came from a Highlander blogger I believe (I’m kicking myself in the ass for not asking his name and who what site he wrote for) who asked Joe Girardi if he could do something to help the Highlander Bloggers  get access to the team. Girardi had no idea what he was talking about he told the blogger he has no control over who what or where when it comes to media access. At that point I had to give the Mets props and tell the audience that the Mets have been very gracious in letting me and other bloggers have access to Collins and his players and how fortunate we are that they give us the opportunity. Up yours NY Highlanders brass!!!

When the Q & A broke up, the Highlander blogger came over to me and said how he wished the Highlander’s would follow the Mets line of working with the bloggers. I said to him “The Highlanders are run by a bunch stuffed shirt tight asses who have no use for social media” I guess I said that a bit too loud as the Highlander constable started to walk towards me, I just put up my hand and said “it’s fine, I’ll show myself out” with that I grabbed another free iced coffee and head for the downtown 4 train. My work there was done.

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TURNING THE SPORTS PAGE

I think I’m just about making my final landing from my Giants Super Bowl high to where I’m ready to concentrate on baseball.  In fact I have to go to a meeting tonight to place my Babe Ruth team in a league for this coming season. What has me excited about the league we are about to join is we will play some of our games at the College of Staten Island field that was once home to the Staten Island Highlanders and we will play games in Brooklyn at the field at Bay 8th St where many of my childhood sports highs (ROCKNE football league championship as a 12 year old) and lows (getting a tooth knocked out with a forearm playing same league as a 13 year old).

As for our Amazin’ Mets well there finally is some Mets news to talk about so let’s take a look see shall we:

Story in today’s NY Times tells us something we all know, the Mets are under that old Sicilian curse  “Fundsalow” thus Sandy Alderson and his troops have had to be creative with the nickels and dimes that are at their disposal.  The real trick to see if Alderson can truly turn water into a microbrew when one or two of the starting pitchers go down with injury and he has to find help from outside. With his options limited and desire to leave the crown jewel arms on the farm we as Mets fans should start to follow the Atlantic League and some of the other Independent baseball leagues around the country as I wouldn’t be shocked it a Long Island Duck or two pitch in Flushing this season.

Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

In regard to you buying the New York Mets and your response of “Who would want to own a sports team”?  Let’s me just say “I WOULD! I WOULD!” problem is a lack of dead presidents to accomplish this.  Now you sir are a man of considerable financial means of many billions of dollars, all you would have to do is donate about $1 or $1.2 billion of those tens of billions to me so I can buy the NY Mets, with all due respect your honor, Bill Gates and warren Buffet are wayyyyyyyyyyyyy ahead of you when it comes to philanthropic ventures, a move of this magnitude would most definitely raise your charitable profile.    

Big Pelf is looking to get the sinking feeling again on the mound in 2012

What in the name of Joe Verbanic is going on in with the Bronx Bastards? First, Pee Wee Cashman’ wayward ways seemed to get out of hand as the trollop he has been stepping out on Mrs. Pee Wee  with has gone into full fatal attraction mode and now we find out that the face of the YUCK network, Bob Lorenz, was sippin’ too much Old Grand Dad, got behind the wheel of his fine automobile and was pulled over by Connecticut’s Finest.  Is this just the being of the end of the Highlander reign of terror?

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MAYOR BLOOMBERG WON’T BUY NY METS CITES TOO MANY IRISH PEOPLE IN FANBASE

 

Not for anything but as long as Mike Bloomberg has been Mayor of NYC, the town ran like Swiss clock. Crime dropped, tourism rose, snow was removed in a timely fashion and there was never much controversy, until he told the voters of NYC to shove their term limits referendum up their ass, “I want to be King of NYC forever”

Unfortunately, like a  rotting fish or a visting relative who over stays his welcome, Bloomy is starting to stink. Whether it’s his appointment of Cathie Black as President of Board of Education, whose solution to over crowding in NYC public schools is to tell people to practice birth control and then at a meeting of parents of children who will be displaced by their school closing, ignores them as she falls into a Blackberry induced stupor. Of course there is his cluster fuck of snow removal, his annoyance with cops and firefighters who after pulling out bodies and trying to save lives on September 1tth 2001, have developed illnesses that have rendered them disabled and are collecting pensions. Pensions that were earned from blood, sweat, tears and collective bargaining.

Now to add to his tarnished legacy he is failed attempted at a joke against the Irish  while speaking at the Irish Historical Center in Manhattan has solidified to me that Bloomy has lost his mind and this city.

Bloomberg own the NY Mets? HA! He can kiss my narrow back Irish-American ass.

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YOUR MOMENT OF ALDERSON ZEN

I think we all need to take a big deep breath. This Skill Sets Cash Call has gotten the fan base acting like a bunch of blue and orange Chicken Little’s.  The skies of Flushing may look dark and ominous but it’s not falling. This may in fact, be the best thing that could happen to the Mets.

There seems to be a misunderstanding in the fan base that thinks spending lots of money equals championships, if that’s the case, how come there are only two World Series trophy’s on display at the Mets Hall of Fame? No one was better at pissing away the Skill Sets cash than Omar Minaya but his administration had no structure or foresight  or the balls to tell Jeffey stay out the baseball operations way. The minor league system, the life blood of any organization, has been run about as well as Mayor Bloomberg’s snow removal system. The biggest indictment of the failure of the Mets system is the image still burned in my memory of Fernando Martinez in his first day as a major leaguer, failing to run out a ball hit in front of home plate. At that point, F-Mart should have been taken to La Guardia Airport and sent back to Buffalo and then the whole minor league system should have been bulldozed and built back from the ground up. It didn’t because there was no one in charge with balls or brains to fix it. Until now.

The best move in the last couple of days by the Mets (besides signing R.A. Dickey and Angel Pagan clearing the arbitration eligible list) was hearing Sandy Alderson in his straight shooter way, talk to us like intelligent adults. There was no spin or sleight of hand like we’re used to, there was a right between the eyes shot of reality (Adam Rubin’ transcript of the Alderson conference call is required reading for the Mets masses)

“First of all, I want to emphasize that the plan that we have pursued the last couple of months was limited by only one fact, and that was the level of the existing payroll. Our payroll going into the season will be somewhere between $140 million and $150 million. I think that is significantly higher than we’d like to be on an annual basis — a product of adding some additional players that we felt the roster needed as well as some existing commitments. The plan and the approach that I’ve taken over the last two months has not been affected at all by any other outside factors.

 

“From my standpoint, when I took this position, when I interviewed and took this position, I was of course aware of the pre-existing involvement of the Wilpons and the Mets with Bernie Madoff. I wasn’t privy to all of the detail, nor am I or most of us at this point privy to all that detail. And I wouldn’t expect to be. At the same time, none of that has affected what I have done over the last two months. I don’t expect that it will have any impact on what I do over the next several months, including into the 2012 offseason.”

Gone are the days of wasting money on has beens and underachievers as bench players just because they are your friends or are good at playing Hearts. Why give a 35 year old utility infielder $2mil when you can use a minor leaguer for $450K or a journeyman for a make good deal where performance equals a pay raise? We’re not used to such competence around here and I guess it takes time to understand, there is spending money and there is spending money wisely.

Alderson also showed his leadership qualities by turning negative news into a positive when asked if he was worried about having the cash resources going forward:

No. I mean, obviously there’s a certain level of ambiguity surrounding this news. But from my standpoint, the facts are as they currently exist. And to some extent the decision to find a minority partner or some other source of recapitalizing the franchise is positive news from my standpoint. If there was an initial problem before, that can only be positive from my standpoint.”

There seems to be a panic by a small group of Mets fans about the future of Jose Reyes and his tenure with the Mets. From hearing Alderson address this it will be Reyes performance and his contract demands that will dictate if he stays a Met for years to come. Ken Davidoff of Newsday has said of Pee Wee Cashman, that he is “a stone cold killer” in the way he deal s with players as we’ve seen with Derek Jeter and the Rafael Soriano signing. I would say Alderson is a more of a calculated assassin.  Alderson will do what’s best for the Mets not Reyes and for that Mets should be grateful.  Alderson is not going to make the Mets a small market team he is going to make then a more efficient organization when it comes to handing out long term deals.  Anyone have a problem with that?

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