Will Terry Collins Get To Enjoy The Fruits of His Labor ?

 

I’m amused at some Mets beat writers who can’t comprehend the mind set of Terry Collins for having his players report before their mandatory arrival time. It says more about the writer who can’t grasp this reasoning behind it than it does about Collins being anal.

I arrive at my office every day at 7AM. My shift doesn’t start until 8AM so why do I get in early? First off I hate to be late and I have a low tolerance for people who are late. Once when I had to interview a young man for a spot in our unit, he was told to be at the office at 9AM. He strolled in at 9:45 with more excuses than a 5th grader who didn’t hand in his homework. I just looked at him and told him no need to waste your time or mine; you’re not getting the job”. He couldn’t believe it. When he returned to the main office and told my boss what happened he was told “ I should have warned you to be early, Keane hates lateness but I can’t say anything to him as he traveled from Staten Island to Queens every day for 12 years by ferry and subway and was always early” So you see, I get what Terry Collins is selling. If you love what you do or have a true passion for something (I get to Mets games before the gates open, so again I’m a bit extreme) you show it.

The optimistic part of this is the Mets players have bought into TCT-Terry Collins Time-especially Ruben Tejada.  We all remember Tejada and his visa troubles last spring and how TC wanted him in camp early so he could work with Daniel Murphy at their Keystone position. I said it then and I’ll say it now that Collins was 1,000 % right in the way he dealt with Tejada then and it seems the message has been received as Ruben has been an early participant this spring. In fact everyone is on TCT with the exception of Marlon Byrd and Jordany Valdespin who have legitimate reason for lateness in that they both participated in the Caribbean World Series with Byrd’s Mexico team winning the championship over Valdespin’s Dominican team and Jenry Mejia and Wilfredo Tovar who are late due to visa issues. So put one on the plus side for Collins, whose lame duck status is starting to have Mets fans and main streamers wondering about his future as the helmsman of the Mets.

The Mets are at a crossroads of the Alderson Era. With the proclamation from Freddy “Zimmo” Skill Sets that the club is solvent and ready to spend to contend, Mets fans are demanding that the team show its fit to fight.  Collins has presided over losing teams in his two years as Mets manager in fact his first year the team won 77 games and last year they declined to 74 wins with another second half collapse, so it stands to reason that Collins was not approached with a contract extension, even though there is only so much a manager can do if he doesn’t have the talent around him to put the team in position to win, no manager or coach survives three losing seasons.

Collins has to hope that Ike Davis claim that he’s ready to have a breakout season does just that and that Lucas Duda proves once and for all that he is not intimidated by the big leagues and that he is ready to bust out his offensive game as well. Collins needs the centerfield tag team of Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill to become a two headed offensive and defensive monster along with Mike Baxter and whoever wins the right to be his right-handed accomplice to provide some power and run production from that right corner. Collins can only hope that he mixes and matches correctly each game to the max out his liquidator outfield.

Another area that will be crucial to Collins managerial stay will be the bullpen. Last year as we all know the Mets bullpen was one of the worst pens in baseball and was the biggest reason for sucking the life out the team. For Collins to survive not only does this pen have become a strength (the bullpen can’t be any worse than last year) he has to get a better grip on how to utilize his relievers. Not just in articulating their assignments better but also the physical wear and tear they are subject to as well. Collins, Dan Warthen and Rickey Bones did a bad job last year in communicating with the relief staff . Pitchers would get up, warm up, sit down, warm up, sit down…..and on and on. Not only did this wear out much of the staff it also gave off a sense of panic and unpreparedness by Collins and Warthen.

Collins has been around the game a long time and he knows his job is only as secure as the teams wins and loses. It’s kind of a shame because the future of the Mets is bright with what looks to be a solid pitching staff on the horizon and (again I’ll believe it when I see it) new found cash flow to sign some free agent talent that odds are Collins will not be in the Mets dugout when all this comes to blossom. When it does he should get credit as he had to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

Terry Collins can hold his head high on this though, he has proven that he can manage a big league team so he does have some redemption from the failures he endured in Anaheim and Houston. I think he realizes that as well.

 

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Freddy Says He’s Flush But are Mets Fans Buying It ?

Poor Freddy Skill Sets, whenever he speaks Mets fans shout “BULLSHIT”. Every spring, Freddy usually with his sidekick/brother in law Uncle Saul Katz, putz around on a golf cart and stop long enough to tell the main stream media that covers the Mets that everything surrounding the team is sunshine and fucking lollipops. This spring is no exception except for Freddy tag team partner Uncle Saul not in attendance.

There is nothing more side splitting funny than following along on my Twitter timeline when Freddy gives his State of the Mets Spring Speech. You know the old expression “If bullshit were electricity you’d be a powerhouse”? Well, if I had a buck for every time the word “bullshit” came up in Tweets on my timeline, I’d have enough money to buy a ML outfield and donate it to the Freddy’s club.

Freddy told the masses today at Port St. Lonesome that he and his family are flush with cash, thank you very much for asking. Between the real estate businesses and his stock holdings rebounding and the success of SNY (which puzzles the living shit out me because other than Mets games what the hell is there to watch on the network? Beer Money???? Loudmouths???? Suckitude TV) has helped the Skill Sets Empire to rise again. In fact, Freddy says that times are so good, we Mets fans could see the payroll rise to the heights it was at during the Minaya administration, when Ex-GM Omar Minaya was handing out overinflated contracts like he ran Haliburton. And to that the Mets fan base rises as one and replies “BULLSHIT”

Poor Freddy not matter how he tries to convince Mets fan that he has enough Dead Presidents to sign players that will make major contributions to his team and make Septembers in Flushing meaningful again, no one believes him. It’s got to suck to be Freddy.

Maybe Freddy is telling the truth, maybe there is cash to be spent. It seems the Mets were willing to give Michael Bourn 4 years and $48 million dollars to be a Met but when Bourn and his agent wanted that 5th year vested option that it seems would be easy to attain, Sandy Alderson pulled the plug on the negotiation leaving the Cleveland Indians to get bamboozled into give giving Bourn/Boras what they wanted. Can’t say I blame Alderson for not going 5 years on Bourn.

Alderson was very forthcoming with Pope Mikey I when he stated that they miscalculated on the dealing with Scott Hairston. It seems from listening to Alderson, Justin Upton was his number one target to trade for and he thought he had enough trade chips to make a deal but it seems Kevin Towers insisted on either Zack Wheeler or Matt Harvey as headliners in any deal for Upton, which of course killed that dialog. So Plan B was go after Bourn but that draft pick, slot money and vested option became a major road block and that went south as well. During all this Hairston signed with the Cubs and as Alderson said letting Hairston go wasn’t due to contract reasons but playing times issues as it seems the Mets GM was sure of landing either Upton or Bourn and instead he has neither.

Now for this next part, you will have to put on your Freddy Says Decoder Ring because I’m pretty sure Freddy is speaking on code or in tongues, I’m not sure:

“I think we would anticipate being big investors if that were appropriate,” Wilpon said. “That depends on what the market is. If the market is such that that’s where we have to be to be competitive and winners, yeah.

Let’s see the Mets need better players and since many of the better players in the organization are barely old enough to shave I’d say yeah to be competitive you will have to invested in some proven major league talent and that will cost money, but if Freddy is on the level, he claims he has the cash to make that dash.

“This is, to me, a breakeven business. I always strive to break even. I’m not looking to make any money. I strive to break even. So if [fans] don’t show up, that’s hard. So you have to balance it. We fed it pretty good the last five or six years. I think if the market was such, yes, the payroll could go up, but not to just have payroll go up so you can write headlines — if that, in fact, improves the team.

OK now this is Bullshit.  When did the New York Mets become a no-profit organization? What did you feed that last five or six years? Your attorney’s? CRG Partners to access the damage of the Madoff mess? Sure wasn’t invested in baseball players.

“I don’t know what the market will be at that point. But the payroll will be commensurate with anything we’ve ever done because we can do it. Remember, the people have to come to the ballpark obviously. If you have a competitive team, they will. Everything that was in the past, that you guys saw the pain that we went through, is gone. It’s gone.

Freddy, Freddy, Freddy there are only a few of us diehards left who support your team in good times and bad. You have lost a whole generation of fans to the Bronx Bastards. If you have the financial wherewithal you claim now would be a good time to show it off. The amount of diehard fans for any sports franchise in this town is much less than the bandwagon “I love a New York event “crowd. If what you are telling us is correct and you are ready to go back to being Big Bad Freddy and make an investment in quality Major League players that will have your team in contention for a pennant and GULP!!! A World Championship, Citi Field will be overflowing with customers on a nightly basis. Remember the 80”s Fred? Remember 3 million customers making the Shea Stadium turnstiles wiz like a carousel of cash ? Remember the television ratings that boosted a thrid rate TV station called SportsChannel into a must buy for FOX Sports? Break even? Freddy if you do this right and you are being honest with us, you and Uncle Saul will be farting through silk boxers my friend. JUST DON”T BULLSHIT US AGAIN!!!!!

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Those Were The Days: Growing Up In NYC In The Ed Koch Era

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The Good Old Days

To say Ed Koch was the quintessential New Yorker would be a huge understatement. Everything about Koch was New York, his accent, his brashness and his combative style all New York. Sadly those of us of certain age see that kind of New Yorker fading away.

The New York of the Koch era was one of the most exciting times the city ever witnessed, good and bad. I was 20 years old when Koch took office, working for Salomon Brothers a pretty big financial institution at the time, headed by a flashy trader named Mike Bloomberg, in fact I worked in the computer room at 1 NY Plaza. On some weekends I’d come in to do an overtime shift where I’d stay out all night, mostly in the East Village at Max’s Kansas City, and head to work and grab a two hour nap on some big executives leather couch until one of my shift mates would wake me up, but I digress. The Koch Era was the last of the gritty, nasty days of New York. I’m just glad I grew up then.

I laugh when I see folks get on the subway and anoint themselves with loads of hand sanitizer, I think of the days of subway trains decked out in graffiti and who knows what else. With all the uproar over gun control and curbing of violence, how about growing up in an age where 2,000 murders were the norm and riding the subway after 10PM meant you had better be armed with some sort of weapon to survive the trip. I get a real kick out of going to Time Square with my kids to go to the theater and look around at the Disney-facation of the area. It’s kind of hard to articulate this without sounding like a complete asshole, but I do miss a lot of the nastiness and out right debauchery of the old 40 Duce.

 

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I guess it’s because there were no big wave of tourists coming to see the sites and the neighborhoods were still full of neighborhood people. I grew up on a block in Brooklyn where everyone on the block knew everyone. During the summer you could hear the TV’s blasting Mets games and Highlander games on to the streets with the familiar cry of “Yo Whad’s da Score??? “ . The moms and grandmas would take their folding chairs outside to sit in front of the house or under a tree after the chores of the day were done. Kids played in the street all day and night. That was New York. That was the New York that Ed Koch governed and governed so well because he was one of us. Koch would tell a heckler to “shut the hell up” and it was fine because hey that’s what we do, when Bloomberg does it, we say, “look at this little pampered prick, who does he think he is”? It’s not just the fact that Bloomy is out of touch with his constituents because he’s a rich guy, it’s also because he’s not one of us, he wasn’t born here didn’t grow up here and that makes all the difference.

I think about all the hot dogs and orangeades I devoured as kid at the stand at the 42 St Subway station while transferring  from the Sea Beach line (N train) to the IRT Flushing Line (7 train) to  get to Wiilets Pt/Shea Stadium. I doubt that stand would have gotten an “A” rating back then. Same with Dave’s Luncheonette that was on Canal and Broadway where you could get a hot dog in a natural casing (great crunch) a knish and a chocolate egg cream at 3 in the morning. That’s all gone and sadly a whole generation has missed out on what gives New Yorkers such a hard shell.

Sorry for the old guy trip down memory lane but with Ed Koch passing away yesterday it just conjured up so many memories of the era where this city was unruly and imaginative, filthy and cutting edge, menacing and remarkable. Just like Ed Koch I am and always will be a proud New Yorker.

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Wright On, Baby Wright On!

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Yo! this one goes out to my boy D-Wright, I feel ya D I feel ya!

Yesterday on Twitter I tweeted out that I felt the Mets were the drunken uncle at the holidays of baseball, meaning that no fan base feels more uncomfortable about their team and ownership than Mets fans. It seems that every piece of baseball business that the Mets get involved in makes Mets fans feel as awkward as going on a double date and the other couple fights the whole night. The latest issue with the club that has the fan base squirming is the now public David Wright contract re-negotiation.

In a perfect baseball world, a world we of the orange and blue persuasion will never inhabit, the star player of the team would sit down with management and hash out a deal that makes everyone look like a winner. They would hold these negotiations in a quiet business-like manner. Instead, we get a leak from a Mets Jeff Wilpon source that the club has made a starting offer of 6 yrs/$100 mil extension to the  Face and Future Team Ambassador (as one org member stated “Tom Seaver won’t live forever”)David Wright. As soon as that offer hit the social media, the magpies were chirping, “Cheap ass Mets are lowballing Wright”, “Mets are going overboard on offer Wright they should trade him” “Don’t buy tickets to Mets games” (that one is the morning prayer for some) Word came from the Wilpon propaganda machine, the Daily Lupica, that Wright was angry with that the offer was made public, so the Wilpon house organ played a tune called “did we say 6 yr at $100mil? What we meant to say is 8 yrs at $140 mil”. To which Wright and his agents screamed that the song was out of key.

Now there a couple of ways to look at this, first, it puts Wright in a spot where he has to choose between being a Met 4 Life at some nice coin or decide to go to another team that has a better chance at winning and a better lineup that would protect him in the lineup. David Wright has to do what’s best for David Wright. So what right for Wright?

If he turns down this Mets offer (and why would we not believe the Daily Snooze with men of integrity like Andy Martino and John Harper doing the reporting that this offer is legit? Yes the captain has activated the sarcasm sign) then the Mets have no choice but to trade him and Wright becomes public enemy #1 greedy bastard in the eyes of Mets fans. If Wright takes the offer then everyone is a winner, Wright a Met 4 Life and set financially, the Mets show they are back in business and the fans get a glimmer of hope that all is not as awful as some perceive in Flushing.

Again this is the biggest decision of David Wright’s baseball life. I’ve always felt that Wright needs to be protected in the lineup to play at his best. Put Wright on the Reds between Joey Votto and Jay Bruce or the Dodgers between Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez with the Dodgers or even to Toronto with Joey Bats and his brother from another mother Jose Reyes (would that be a kick in the nuts to Mets fans if Wright turned down Mets offer and he’s shipped up North and he and Reyes lead the Jays to a World Series championship? YIKES!)

The Mets have not made it easy for Wright, yes that sounds a bit ridiculous but think about this, the Mets are not going to up that offer, so Wright and his agents have to decide to take the Mets offer and the word of Sandy Alderson that the team will be making moves to improve and that the future of the franchise is not the unmitigated mess that some media and fans portray it to be or make a new start of his baseball life where the grass may be greener or it could be all crab grass.   

It seems many Mets fans worry about the Mets back loading this deal to defer money in the late stages of the contract.  Yes the Skill Sets have made the back loaded contract their benchmark in these type of negotiations but with the new network money coming in in 2014, and the team in some dire financial straits now, it would seem to be in the clubs best interest to free up some cash to add the players needed to place around Wright and Ike Davis in a lineup that could help support the starting pitching that is as good as any team in baseball.   

Any plan that keeps Wright and R.A. Dickey as Mets and frees up some money to add a first string catcher and a power hitting outfielder I support 100 %. When you get past the entire Mets fan and Twitter nit wits belly aching bullshit, the bottom line is I want the Mets to win by any means necessary.

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$63? Yeah That’s The Ticket !

 I’m pretty sure the hold up in the R.A. Dickey, David Wright contract negotiations is how to deal with the Sanity Claus  

I’ve been off the blogging grid the past week so I missed out on commenting on some Mets news of the past few days. So with sometime to pontificate let me do so without further ado.

The $63 opening day Promenade Reserved ticket price was received by the Mets fan base as expected, with anger, vile threats, and calls for ownership to get the hell out of the baseball business also known as business as usual.

Seriously, how did the policy makers of the Mets organization think this would go over?  I was SHOCKED when I clicked on the BUY TICKETS icon to secure a couple of opening day tickets as Christmas presents but when I saw the $63 price tag (that’s before the all-important handling charges and the fee that that you are charged to print your tickets at home using your own computer, printer and ink…I need more coffee….I’ll be right back….) I thought I clicked on the wrong section or was I suffering from a sudden case of dyslexia but low and behold that was the” outrageous inflated you’ve got to be fucking kidding me” price. Thank you but I’ll pass.

The Mets can charge whatever price they want for tickets and you and I as Mets fans/consumers can either buy or pass em’ by and from the reaction of sticker shock by Mets fans it seems they are ready to pass em’ by.

Buying tickets for Mets games has become a real chore.  I would love to buy a weekend plan except you are not guaranteed the time of the game on your ticket is the time the game will start. How many times have you bought a ticket for a 1PM Saturday afternoon game and thought this is great, I can go to the game and still have time to plan a late afternoon early evening date with friends or other event. But then you find out that the game has been taken hostage by FOX and game time is now 4PM. So now you have to rearrange your plans which as us married folks/parents know is a huge pain in the ass. Even worse is buying a Sunday game that was advertised as a 1PM game only to be hijacked by ESPN for the very family unfriendly and extremely unpopular 8PM start time. I don’t know about you but I’m fed up.

No more buying tickets in advance for me, I’ll pick the games I want to see and I’ll go to Stub Hub on that day and buy my tickets. It’s the beauty of supply and demand and I’m not going out on a limp when I say when it comes to Mets tickets they will be a huge supply and little demand in 2013.

Jeffy Skill Sets strikes again. Jeffy went out with Johan Santana to Coney Island  (word id Uncle Saul Katz was upset to find out that Nathan’s has not re-opened yet as he wanted Jeffy to bring back an order of frogs legs)  and with Matt Harvey to Far Rockaway to serve food to those still suffering from Hurricane Sandy (what? Staten Island wasn’t on the team’s radar? I would have personally squired young Jeffery down to South Beach for a photo op) a noble gesture indeed by the ball club. But as usually happens when Jeffy is left alone without parental accompaniment, he starts talking “Wilponese” and makes everyone’s head spin:

But chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said Tuesday that trades would be only a last resort, and that if deals can’t be reached, he’d rather have both play out the final year of their deals. The goal remains signing both to long-term extensions.

 

“That’s the first preference; that has been the first preference,” Wilpon said. “Second preference is probably keep them and have them play out the season. Third preference would be to trade them. They’re both very important to the franchise; they’re both fan favorites, so we’d like to keep it that way.”

Wilpon declined to elaborate on why he believes trades are the least desirable option.

“We’re dealing in hypothetical now,” he said. “So I don’t want to go there. In terms of right now, the process is ongoing, and we want to get something done.”

Oh brother!!!! I love the last paragraph as it seems Jeffy realizes that he is talking out of turn and knows that Big Daddy Fred has the Time Out chair waiting for him when he gets home. The guy just can’t help himself, instead of telling the media at the event that he was here to give food and comfort to those whose lives have been affected by the storm and this was not the appropriate time or place to talk about baseball and his daddy’s line “Talk to Sandy about that” Jeffy did what Jeffy does, talk nonsense.

There are only two options, re-signed Wright and Dickey or trade Wright and Dickey. No way both players make opening day as Mets without new deals. Now should both players get new deals? That’s the great debate.  I’d love to have both players in the fold for the long term but what I’d like better is for Sandy Alderson to make a solid baseball decision. If trading Dickey or Wright brings back pieces of solid value then make a deal.  Sure I’d miss them and the fan out cry would be fierce but I want Alderson to do what is best for the NY Mets in the long term not appease the fan base and worry about selling tickets. If Dickey and Wright can bring back a young power hitting outfielder, a front line catcher and some bullpen depth then pull the trigger.

Congratulations to Ike Davis who will be honored at the 33rd Annual Thurman Munson Dinner on Tuesday February 5th at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Davis will be given an award for his work with charities that help children stricken with cancer. For tickets and information about the dinner call (212) 249-6188

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Observations From Opening Day at Citi Field

Observations from opening day at Citi Field:

I’ve been going to Mets games for 48 years, I was 6 years old in 1964 when I went to see Bob Gibson beat the Mets  on May 9 th, and as excited as I was back then I was just as excited yesterday to be at Citi Field for opening day.

Outside the ball park before the game there was a great positive energy that non-Mets fans just do not understand. I stood near the SNY broadcast area where Bobby Ojeda, Chris Carlin and the iconic Ralph Kiner conducted the pre-game show. There is a segment of younger generation Mets fans who really don’t appreciate Kiner and what he means to charter member Mets fans like me. Ralph, Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson were a constant summer time companion on TV and radio. Nelson left in 1978 and that was shocking, but we still had Ralph and Murph. Murph left in 2003 and that was sad but through it all Ralph Kiner remained, albeit on a limited basis but Ralph always knew when to show up when you needed that boost of Mets elixir because when you’re a middle aged Mets fan the sight and sound of Ralph Kiner brings back memories of a simpler and great time of your life.

Lots and lots of CARTER 8 jersey’s and t-shirts on display yesterday along with signs and banners praising Carter and mourning the loss of Gary Carter. The Mets held a wonderful pre-game ceremony starting with the players, coaches and manager all wearing their warm up jerseys with CARTER 8 on the back and having Carter’ jersey hanging  up in the dugout.  It was also touching to see Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Bobby Ojeda and Mookie Wilson catch the first pitch from Carter’s wife and children along with the unveiling of the KID 8 patch on the outfield wall and video of Carters Mets career that would make even the most cynical Mets fan dab their eyes.

Seems the only people who are obsessed by the Mets attendance are the Mets Media Haters and Highlander fans.  The Mets Media Haters harp on this due to their lack of talent and originality, I mean how much talent does it take to answer a telephone for five hours a day while reading a newspaper and sucking down soda after soda or sit at a laptop staring lovingly at your Derek Jeter gift baskets while writing what a great GM Pee Wee Cashman is because he is so brilliant in having a $200 mil payroll to cover up his fuck ups. The Highlander fan knows that the first time the Mets show any success the Highlander reign of attention in this city will be over.

Citi Field was jammed packed yesterday, the line at the Shake Shack was a couple a hundred deep, the fans lined the Shea Bridge soaking up the sunshine which could explain for some of the empty seats you’ve seen. The crowd responded well to the player introductions, sure some folks felt it was a good time to boo Mike Pelfrey and Jason Bay but for most part the Mets faithful was happy to see their beloved team back in action.

I didn’t see any of the usual Highlander fan jerk offs who come to Citi Field wearing their Jeter jerseys and caps which is encouraging.

The Mets have made an upgrade on the main scoreboard to where it’s  setup like Gameday on MLB.com a virtual scorecard showing not only what the player has done in previous at bats but also showing you the location of balls put in play in those AB’s. The pitchers line as well as pitch count, pitch selection and pitch count are there as well as both lineups, the player at bat’s season stats and career numbers as well.

I have never bitched and moaned about the prices at the concession stands but $6.80 for a Nathans Hot Dog is ridiculous. Compare that to $11.50 for a turkey with mozzarella and gravy on a semolina hero at Mama’s of Corona, why would you go for the hot dog?

Nothing better than watching Johan Santana work. Frist two innings he had a bit of a command issue, which is to be expected as I’m sure his adrenaline was flowing like Niagara Falls but it was the 5th inning that really sent the message as to what a competitor he is and why Santana is one the best starting pitchers in baseball. He wanted badly to get 5 innings in today as his pitch count was limited to 80-85 so he knew this was his last frame of the day. Getting Freddy Freeman out on strikes to start the inning was big because Santana killer Matt Diaz doubled to left and you could see the finish line of this start was near.

After getting Jason Heyward to fly out to Bay, all Santana needed was one more out but he struggled against Tyler Pastornicky and Tommy Hanson walking both of them to load the bases for leadoff hitter Michael Bourn.  This was the at bat of the game. Santana fell behind Bourn 2-0 giving the crowd of Mets fans an uneasy feeling since it was September of 2010 when we last witnessed Santana pitch we forgot how much heart this man has on the mound. He got Bourn to hit a comebacker to him and with what adrenaline was left nearly threw the ball over Ike Davis head but Ike caught it stepped on first inning over with no Braves crossing home plate. Welcome back Johan.

Andres Torres pulled up lame in the 7th on Pastornick’s triple and while I hate to see anyone get hurt, I hope Torres takes all the time he needs to get that calf 100 % so we can get a good look at Kirk Nieuwenhuis as the everyday center fielder. Hopefully when Torres comes back it will be as the 4th outfielder,

Daniel Murphy 2 for 4 yup #ImWith28

 

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THE NEW YORK METS ARE UNDER MY SKIN

Now that we have the holidays out of the way, we can now look forward to spring training for what should be quite the interesting Mets season.

Eric Simon of Amazin’ Avenue had an interesting post today on how bad will the Mets be in 2012? Of course the number one item on his list of things that will impact the season is the Skill Sets financial situation, something that will most likely overshadow what goes on, on the field but Simon also touches on the health and availability of Johan Santana, the hitting of Jason Bay and David Wright and where the offensive production lost from Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes will come from.

So my question to you my loyal readers, what is your expectation for the Mets this coming season? What is a realistic expectation of this team and what will be their standing in the NL East, a division that could be up for grabs if the reports of Prince Fielder signing with Washington are true. Can you see anything short of a last place finish in the division? Right now, I can’t.

Where do you see Johan Santana this season? For me, I’d be surprised if we see Santana pitch for the Mets before June.

What to do with David Wright? Wright is not a player, right now that could realistically bring back a treasure trove of young talent but what if he is invigorated by good health and more friendly dimensions of Citi Field and puts up a .300/.380/.500 line with 15-17 HR’s and 75-80 + RBI by the All-Star break, do you keep him and hope a new owner comes in with cash to re-sign him or is the lure of young robust baseball players to tempting to turn down in a trade?  I’m still undecided on this one but I am leaning towards a deal if the Mets get back a blue ribbon prospect or a young Major Leaguer under club control.

When I go to opening day at Citi Field, who else will be there? If you are a true blue Mets fan and having been going to Mets games your whole life I can’t see how now you decide to sit this season out. No one has a right to tell you how to spend your time or money but as Boggy said, “a hot dog at a ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz”. So true, I mean today when I left for work I had on a sweater, coat, scarf and wool hat. You know what? That sucks. I want to wear shorts and t-shirt and have a scorecard in my hand. I have made peace with myself that the Mets will not be very good this season to the point that 100 losses would not shock me. However, there is still a part of me that small sliver of Mets fan naivete` that still has me holding out hope that this season could be full of surprises and I want to be there to enjoy them.  I know all the die-hards will be out at Citi Field on Thursday April 5th at 1:10PM, will you be there? If not tell me why not?

It’s funny the other teams I root for in other sports are playing at a level where they are contenders for championships in their respective leagues but it’s the Mets that are on my mind the most  and my biggest concern. Crazy shit eh?

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A DAY IN THE LIFE

I read the news today oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well I just had to laugh

You know what I want for Christmas? Just one day of positive stories about the Mets. I just want to read that they are in final negotiation with a player that has potential to be the missing piece to making the team a serious pennant contender or that if you are thinking of going to a Mets game at Citi Field you better get your tickets now as it looks like every Mets game this summer will be a must see or that Baseball America has rated the New York Mets their Organization of the Year or that Kevin Burkhardt has been named as Howie Rose’ partner on the Mets games on WFAN More on that below). Just something I can smile about. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every morning I turn on my computer and say out loud, “Can’t wait to see what happy horseshit the Mets are up to today” it’s become my morning mantra. Well, today if Mets horseshit were dollar bills the Wilpon’s worries would be over.

First there was the story in the NY Times about what you get as a $20 mil minority investor in the NY Mets. I have to say after reading some of these “perks” I’m not rushing out to sell a kidney to raise cash to get these lucrative advantages of ownership:

Access to Mr. Met, the team mascot, although the degree of access is not entirely spelled out. It definitely means you, as a part-owner, can schmooze with Mr. Met at Citi Field. It’s less clear whether you could get him to come to your child’s birthday party without a fee.

I love Mr. Met but to tell you the truth he’s not a great conversationalist, he never has anything to say, kinda like Ed Coleman’s Mets Reports on WFAN

A formal business card, complete with the prominent designation: “Owner”.

Only if I can get a business card with a picture of me and Jeffey that says “I’m With Stupid”

And if you are a wealthy doctor, commodities trader or real estate mogul who wants to try to swat the ball over the newly pulled-in outfield fences at Citi Field on a Mets day off, you are entitled to attend what appears to be an exclusive kind of fantasy camp: “Owners’ workout day.”

Yeah great idea so I hit a ball out over the right center field fence and David Wright drops down in the fetal position sobbing and sucking his thumb

Parking will not be a problem for new owners, the document makes clear. A single spot at the ballpark is reserved for anyone who signs on for $20 million. The chance to throw out a game’s first pitch will be an annual privilege. Every minority owner will be assigned a team executive, who will be charged with tending to an array of possible needs, season tickets for family members among them. The document suggests, however, that those tickets will cost money beyond the $20 million investment.

Parking is not problem for me now, the 7 train “parks” at the Willets Pt station and then picks me up at the same place after the game, for $4.50 round trip, such a bargain. An assigned team exec? No way, I want my own usher, in fact I want the fat usher with the long greasy hair in a ponytail in the field level who was telling everyone to leave after the final out of last game of the season just so I can fire the fucker. By the way as a minority owner can I fire and hire people? Forget throwing out the first pitch you can keep all the perks just give me that privilege and you have a deal.

 

Moving on, it looks like the reports of the Mets shutting down their Rookie League Kingsport team was erroneous; it’s the Gulf Coast Mets who play on the back fields of St. Lonesome that will be axed. Either way this is not good news and just proves that full blown bankruptcy for the Skill Sets is on the horizon as they nickel and dime their way as owners of NYC’s National League baseball team.  When you can’t afford to run a minor league team at the lowest level of pro ball it’s really a cry for help.

Pretty soon all they will close all the concession stands at Citi Field and every game will feature a Pot Luck Dinner. Bring your own plates and eating utensils too.

Word on the street is Wayne Hagin will not be back in Mets radio booth next season. Hagin is a nice guy but I won’t miss him and I doubt many other Mets fans will either, he just did not click with the fan base, a fan base I might add that is spoiled due to the great announcers of Mets games over the years (no not you Lorne Brown or you Steve Zabriski) the names being mentioned to replace Hagin are Sirrus/XM’s and former Mets GM Jim Duquette who is terrific on MLB Radio, Ed Coleman (thumbs down) Chris Carlin (no thank you) and Billy Sample ( no Mets or NY ties so no way)   but the man I nominate to work side by side with Howie Rose is Kevin Burkhardt. Burkhardt is currently the radio play by play voice of the Dallas Cowboys and has been with SNY covering the Mets as an in game reporter, studio host and play by play man as well.  With all due respect the gentlemen mention in the NY Post article for the job, Burkhardt’s name should be at the top of the list.

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THE 2012 NY METS SEASON WILL BE GOLDEN

It was quite the day at Citi Field today as the organization announced plans for the celebration of its 50th Anniversary.  I was fortunate to have been invited to the festivities of the day and as I left Citi Field I felt invigorated about being a Mets fan.

I’ve all but given up trying to explain to non-Mets fans why it is I love this team so much. It’s like looking at one of those pictures where if you stare at it a 3D figure pops off the page or when you look at a cloud formation and see a horse or George Washington’s face and the person with you says they don’t see a thing, when I see a Mets uniform or a collage of events like the video we saw at today’s press conference it’s makes you want to shout I SEE IT!  I SEE IT! I BELIEVE! I BELIEVE!

Hard to imagine it is 50 years since Joan Payson brought National League baseball back to NYC. What’s even harder for me to believe that I’ve been attending Mets games for the past 47 of those years.  When  I saw David Wright come out in the retro home uni,  ivory colored with blue pinstripes and Mets in blue with orange trim and WRIGHT 5 on his back and Lucas Duda standing tall in the classy road gray with NEW YORK in old English style letters  (Ike Davis wore the snow-white uni with the same blue and orange Mets and NO BLACK SHADOW!!!!!!) all I could think of was Jack Fisher handing me a peach between games of a double header in 1965, weekend series at Shea when the Dodgers and Giants would come to town with Koufax and Mays, listening to my father talk about “this Seaver kid” in 1967, relatives and family friends who were Brooklyn Dodger s fans happy in 1968 that Gil Hodges was coming back to the Mets to be their manager, being 10 years old and shocked to find out that Yogi Berra played for the Yankees???? WOW! Crying when Jimmy Quals broke up Tom Seaver’s perfect game and brought to tears again nine years later when Seaver was shipped out to Cincinnati, the euphoria of 1969 and 1986 and the heartbreak of the 2000 World Series and 2007 NLCS. The Mets are a microcosm of life, great times, tough times, and puzzling times.

As I said Mets bloggers were invited to the presser and I was pleased to sit with Ed Marcus, Greg Prince and Matt Cerrone but there was one blogger at event today who in the words of Yogi “made this day necessary” and that’s Shannon of The Mets Police. Shannon through his site pushed management to bring back Banner Day and to drop the black jerseys and caps (I am thrilled to report that the black cap with the blue bill is gone for good) and for that we Traditionalist Mets fans are forever grateful.

With so much gloom and doom coming from the fan base so far this offseason it was nice to be a part of a positive Mets day.

Now for the hold on to your Mets cap part of the post, I got to meet David Howard today and it was a very pleasant experience (no, I’m not going soft here I’m just being honest) we shook hands and spoke  and had a few laughs and we even talked about our kids, see on the kick off of the Mets Golden Anniversary it’s all good.

 

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LET’S RAISE A GLASS TO THE ’86 METS

Man, 25 years ago. So where was I 25 years ago tonight when the most famous ground ball in baseball history went through the wickets of Bill Buckner?

I wasn’t at the game, I was home watching with my wife as we were in month seven of our marriage. The only game of the series I attend was Game 1, the game that turned on a ball getting through the legs of Tim Teufel, a play that gets lost in the Buckner Blunder, ruining a beautifully pitched game by Ron Darling with help from Roger McDowell.  

One of the issues with watching Mets games on TV back in ’86 was Bay Ridge Brooklyn was NOT wired for cable television back then. There was a whole quagmire with franchise rights by the cable companies, if you wanted the lucrative Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights account you had to take the less desirable East New York, Flatbush area as well. So after all the graft and bribes were dished out, I think it wasn’t until 1988 when we Bay Ridgeites  got  hooked up to Time-Warner Cable, so back in ’86 I spent most of my time in the numerous bars of Bay Ridge that were equipped with these enormous satellite dishes on their roofs to watch Mets game televised on SportsChannel.  So when games were on “free TV” I’d give my wallet and liver a break and stay home.

Game 6 was on a Saturday night, I remember we went for an unusually early dinner (my kids have a hard time believing that the same couple who fall asleep on the couch at 9PM used to go out until 4 or 5 the next morning on a regular basis. It’s the same way their stare at our wedding picture in which I have this incredible crop of curly brown hair. The tilt their heads from side to side like it’s some abstract painting in a gallery trying to figure out who the guy is with their mom. Lovely.) and then came home. Before getting home I stopped at the deli on 5th Ave to pick up some Molson Golden for my game libation. My wife sat with me for the first few innings (she is not big on watching Baseball or any sport on TV, she’ll go a games in person and enjoy it but to sit and watch on TV? Ain’t happening) then decided she go to the bedroom and watch something else. Of course she fell asleep, so it was just me, Vin Scully (Mets fans were very upset with Scully’s critiques of the Mets during this series)  Joe Garagiola and my six bottles of Molson.

Everyone knows about the bottom of the 10th inning of this game but the inning that gets lost in history is the bottom of the 8th where the Mets were down a run. Former Met, Calvin Schiraldi comes in for the Red Sox to help preserve the lead and bridge to Bob Stanley, the Boston closer. After a Lee Mazzilli (pinch hitting for Jesse Orosco) leadoff single, Davey Johnson went against the Earl Weaver book he was weaned on, to play small ball. Lenny Dykstra comes up (by the way after six Molson on top of the cocktails I had at dinner, I’m now talking to the TV like I’m sitting with Scully and Garagiola. I wish there was Twitter back then, my drunked Tweets would have been memorable) and lays down a sac bunt that he beats out, so now the Mets have 1st and 2nd no outs.  Wally Backman comes up and he lays down a sac bunt that moves Maz to 3rd and Nails to 2nd after an Intentional Walk to Keith Hernandez to set up a double play at any base, up stepped Gary Carter.

Here is why Mets fans love Gary Carter, nobody loves a pressure situation and came through in those situations like Kid.  That’s why when you sit in Citi Field and the Get Well Soon video comes on the screen, everyone stops and watches. That’s why when I see Ron Darling in the Stand Up For Cancer PSA, with his I Stand Up For My Catcher sign, I get a lump in my throat. Gary Carter was a great Met, retire his #8 PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I digress, Kid comes though with a Sac Fly scoring Maz and we are tied at 3.

After the top of the 10th where Rick Aguilera gave up 2 runs, all I need is a hand gun as I’ve turned into Elvis Presley , looking to shoot my TV. After two quick outs in the bottom of the 10th I am one ornery intoxicated Mets fan, with my TV remote in my hand I was ready to turn off the set as there was no way I was watching the Red Sox celebrate this World Series (the pain of 1973 was flashing through my mind) but then, he comes that man again, Gary Carter with the base hit but here I was pissed at Kid for that hit. Please put me out of my misery already but my misery turned to ecstasy.

“HONEY, WAKE UP! WAKE UP! THEY WON!!! THEY WON!!! THE METS WON!!!! YYYYYYEEEEAAAAHHHHHH!!!! GAME FUCKIN’SEVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”

My wife thought I’d lost my mind, I told get up and get dressed we got to go out. She looked at me like I was nuts but then she heard all the commotion coming from 5th Ave and then the phone started ringing as friends and family wanting to talk about the most improbable win in Mets history. There was no sleep that night/early mornings, bars and clubs of Bay Ridge were hoppin’ till sunrise and so was I.

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