It Was The Best Of Nights, The Worst Of Night’s At Citi Field

The photo was from Mets Merized Online and taken by Clayton Collier who also has a great write up of the Q & A the Mets Bloggers conducted with Phil Niekro, R.A. Dickey and Tim Wakefield

It was another Mets blogger-rattzi day at Citi Field yesterday and it was almost the best bloggers day ever. I say almost because there was an unfortunate incident late in the game that put a damper on the events of the day. Josh Edgin and Andres Torres with his ability to kill a rally with a signal ground ball, played the sad clowns. So instead of all of us heading home with the wonderful memory of chatting with 86er Barry Lyons, Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, R.A. Dickey and Tim Wakefield along with an outstanding performance by the 2012 winner of the Clff Floyd Light At The End Of The Tunnel Award Matt Harvey, the lasting image of the day was a Ryan Howard 2 run home run off closer of the day Edgin.

The day started with Terry Collins and his daily FEMA update on his club. Collins is the definition of a ‘fox hole guy”, as bad as this team is, as inept as they are at the basic fundamentals of baseball, as dismal as the outlook for next season appears, Collins still talks about his players being talented and how they are playing out the season to the fullest and those of us in the conference room feel our pant legs getting drenched from being pissed on but being told it’s just condensation from the air conditioning unit.

So after a few eye roles we head out to the field to watch and schmooze while our heroes stretch and take BP. After a few minutes of observing and kibitzing, the blogger group was introduced to former Mets catcher Barry Lyons.  We spent a good 20 minutes with Lyons talking about everything from his days as an 86er, to Davey Johnson to catchers calling pitchers other than the pitching coach and how the 1986 Mets would have fared in the new social media world.

Lyons spoke of the special bond he and his 1986 Mets teammates have and how winning a championship builds that special bond forever. Lyons was wearing his Mets Alumni golf shirt and mentioned how even though he played for other teams (Dodgers, Angels, and White Sox) he will always be a Met. In fact, Lyons even spoke of maybe getting back on the field as a manager in the Mets minor league system. I told Lyons that if he needed an advocate for him to take over the helm in Brooklyn I would be honored to head the campaign. Hopefully the Mets front office acknowledges that Lyons is interested in getting back to coaching to managing in the organization as gives him strong consideration for a job.   

From our session with Barry Lyons, we headed over to meet the stars of the movie KNUCKLEBALL , which I can’t stress enough is a must see for all baseball fans, Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro, our own R.A. Dickey and Tim Wakefield. We first spoke with Niekro and Wakefield, and then R.A. Dickey joined the group. It was nice to see the camaraderie between these three men who belong to a special fraternity or as Niekro said “the freaky group”. We then talked about who are the next knuckleballers on the horizon. Dickey talked about Frank Viola’s son, who Dickey worked with a bit in spring training, who was trying to learn the pitch and another young many name Steven Wright. I asked Dickey whether the Mets or any other organization seeing the success that has had with the pitch, would work with pitchers who have fallen from prospect status to just organization fillers to become an asset to the big league club. His answer was all it takes is one organization to take a chance and be bold enough to take on that initiative, to which both Niekro and Wakefield nodded in approval.

All three men stated that they would do all they could to help any pitcher who had the patience, the competiveness and the work ethic needed to master the pitch. If anyone does get to work with these gentlemen and with Charlie Hough or Tom Candiotti, they should consider themselves fortunate.  

With the pre-game Q & A’s over, we went up to the Champions Club to enjoy the ambiance and watch Matt Harvey’s 2012 Farewell Tour. After getting some food and a beverage, myself, Ed Marcus, Matt Falkenbury and Randy Medina sat down to discuss this lost season and what is on the horizon for the off season and 2013. In a room with, I’ll say roughly 100 people milling around the bar area and food stations, the four of us were the only one’s talking Mets baseball or anything remotely  close to baseball talk and even in a fine establishment like the Champions Club, you still get douchenozzels walking around in Highlanders garb.  The lack of etiquette is appalling.

Matt Harvey was on the bump as we made our way to the seats, first batter Jimmy Rollins home run just over the orange line on the right field wall. UGHHHH!!!! , but then Harvey gets the next three batters , 86 year old Juan Pierre, Life Alert spokesman Chase Utley and the ghost of Ryan Howard to end the inning on a high note. From innings 2 to 5, Harvey faced just 12 batters and was in full Ace mode. But of course the Mets being the Mets and being at Citi Field all they could muster was a run to tie the game until David Wright hit a baseball over an outfield wall for a go ahead home run. A Festivus miracle I tell you.     

So going into the 9th inning we have the Mets, at home, with a lead, Josh Edgin filling in as closer with Frank Frisco nursing a right elbow riddled with tendonitis, 2 up 2 down, open the book as we are ready to put this baby……..in…….ah…………shit…………..!

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Ike Davis Gets A Vote of Confidence From Terry Collins

 

I’m trying to process the words of Terry Collins earlier today as he has declared Ike Davis will stay a big leaguer for the time being. Is this the best thing for the Mets? Is this the best thing for Ike?

Yesterday during our Mets bloggers conference call with Rusty Staub, Staub thought that Ike would benefit from a trip to Triple A and not look at it as a demotion but a way to get his game right (big time tip of the Mets cap to Mathew Artus of Amazin’ Avenue for putting together the transcript of the Staub conference call) :

Mike Branda (Mets Merized Online): My question is actually currently in regards to what we’ve seen with Ike Davis lately. Every hitter is obviously going to see a tough time at the plate. There’s going to be maybe a month where you’re just not going to see the ball right. You’re just not getting the hits, the swing, anything. What are things that a hitting coach or has done to just help you through a tough time at the plate?

 

Rusty Staub: Well, the most important thing you have to understand is yourself, okay? I don’t know what’s happening; I’m not privy to anything that’s being said down in that dugout. I don’t have an idea what the hitting instructor is talking to Ike Davis about. But, Ike Davis came up as a very good young prospect as a hitter and he had very good talent. And right now he’s so messed up in his head, it’s beyond comprehension.

 I’ve watched the Mets on TV quite a bit and I mean he’s had the bat in different positions. He’s pumping that thing up and down. I don’t think he’s giving himself much of a chance. I think he’s got to slow it down and be quieter and not have so much… especially if your hands start moving down when that ball is coming, you’re not getting there. He does that a lot.

He’s going to get out of this thing. Whether he’s got to go to the minors and get himself together… I had to do that once myself in my career. What Ike has to start doing is starting himself in knowing why he’s doing well what he’s doing well and have an idea. Every pitcher has a strength and a weakness. Some of them don’t have as many weaknesses as others, but you can’t go up there hoping. You have to go up there with an idea of what you want to do against that pitcher and you try to execute that. Right now, I think he’s so confused. I’m not too sure getting a little time to get his act together wouldn’t be the best thing in the world for the young man, as terrible as that sounds. Ike will be back. It’s just not easy to hit the type of long-term injury he had in the previous year and come back automatically swinging the bat great.

 

With the season ending injury last year and the bout of Valley Fever this year, you’d figure that Davis would take a little time to get his offensive game on track but no one thought he’d struggle like he has so far. Maybe it’s effecting his defense as he has not been as crisp at 1st base as we are used to seeing. Rusty mentions Ike’s hands as Keith Hernandez has as well on Mets telecasts, it seems Ike has developed this bad habit of dropping his hands and brings them back up then down again when he’s ready to turn on a ball; this seems like a habit he can’t break.

On the other hand, Ike seems genuinely touched that Terry Collins is showing faith in him to get back on track and I understand Collins making the statement he did today as he hopes it stops all the is Ike going to Buffalo talk for a while but with news that Jason Bay is ready to start playing DH in rehab games in extended spring training, if Ike is still on the Interstate when Bay is ready to rejoin the team, the Mets will have no choice but to send him to Buffalo.

So all Collins vote of confidence does is but Ike some time to get right on offense and maybe stop all the third degree from the media about his inevitable re-assignment.

It’s now up to Ike to back up his managers words.

 

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MORE REPORTING FROM THE METS CHRISTMAS PARTY

Four of my fellow bloggers have documented the Malta Mets summit from Tuesday and all are great reads so go get a cup of coffee and a little nosh and enjoy:

Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing

Rob Castellano of Alderson (Amazin’)  Avenue

Jim Mancari of Mets Merized Online

Matt Artus Always Amazin’

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METS FANS “MANAGING” TO STAY SANE

In a story today in the New York Post, Davey Johnson is quoted as saying that Terry Collins would be the right choice by the Mets to be the next manager.  As much as Johnson loves Wally Backman, it’s his opinion that Collins’ experience as the Mets Minor League Coordinator would help with the organization making a determination as to which farm hands are of immediate help to the big league club.

On the same day of this story comes word that Scouting Director Rudy Terrasas will be reassigned in the organization. So if Collins does get the job then the message sent will be that main job by this front office is to rebuild the farm system and the way they draft talent. Even if Bob Melvin gets the job I think the rebuilding of the farm system will still be the Alderson mission statement with Collins staying with the organization and working with DePo in such a capacity.

That’s why as Mets fans you need to forget about any big splash signings of free agents and unless Alderson is bowled over with a great return on a trade, the best moves you can hope for this off season would be the release of Ollie Perez (and the more he’s sucks in winter ball the better the chance that Alderson tells the Skill Sets “EAT THE CONTRACT “) and Luis Castillo. I’m fine with that.

There is a segment of Mets fans who feel the Mets should have gone after Dan Uggla. That would be fine if the Mets were a player or two away from being a contender but they’re not, so Uggla is not the answer.

This doesn’t mean the winter will be boring around here, just the opposite. This will be the most interesting hot stove since 1980 when Frank Cashen came aboard and was handed a mess to clean up and clean it up he did. Let’s hope history repeats itself.

Hojo’s Mojo at Mets Merized Online posts that the Sports Pope broke from his Pop Warner persona this morning to report that the Texas Rangers have inquired about Carlos Beltran and are willing to take on $10-$12 mil of his contract. If this is true, the Mets have to make this deal. Even if you get back a couple of prospects just the fact you’re freeing up $6-$8 mil dollars to spend on much needed pitching would push me to make this deal.

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“COME WATCH CRAZY JERRY MANUEL HIS IN GAME DECSION ARE IN-SAAAAAAAA-NE

Unfortunately last night, Doug Glanville had a family emergency to tend to and had to cancel his appearance with me on This Call To The Bullpen but we are both working on finding another day for Doug to come on the program to talk about his book The Game From Where I Stand (Henry Holt/Times Books) and we hope to have that hashed out in a few days. So I had to decide, cancel the show or just go on and rant for an hour and the hour rant won out. So if you want to hear me talk about Jerry Manuel, playing games that count in Puerto Rico, Bobby Valentine and Wally Backman, then check out last nights This Call To The Bullpen.

don’t forget to check out the THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN shop at Cafe Press

It’s game like last night that stirs the demons of my Mets soul. I want nothing more than to stand on Broadway decked out in every piece of Met clothing I own and celebrate the ticker tape parade that no other city in the world gives to his championship sports teams. What has me conflicted is, if that happens, then Jerry Manuel will be the Mets manager for a minimum of three more years. Last nights game showed just about ever deficiency in Manuel’ game. Stephen Hanks of Mets Merized Online lays each and every flaw (save maybe for number one and the author agrees that my be picking at nits as well) from not running for Rod Barajas and even the pinch hitting for Ruben Tejeda but the big one for me was using Frankie Rodriguez in the 8th inning last which goes with Manuel’ “throw a reliever against the wall and see what sticks” bullpen management.

We are starting to get inundated with Cliff Lee rumors, not just every day but just about every hour. I don’t think there is a Mets fan out there who doesn’t want Lee on the team, as his presence alone will make the Phuck Phaces and Squaws go “GULP”. But at what price would you pay for this rental Ace? At this point there is no way you can trade Angel Pagan. Saying that, when Carlos Beltran does come back, Beltran is THE CENTERFIELDER and he is the centerfielder until he shows he physically can’t play the position any longer. However, Beltran will not be out there day after day so Pagan gets say two days a week in CF, then another couple in the corners with more time in RF. Beltran is not a corner outfield and there is a huge difference between playing CF from playing a corner outfield spot as we saw with the horrific collision between Mike Cameron and Carlos Beltran back in San Diego a few years ago. Pagan has played corner outfield so the transition is easier for him.

The price on Roy Oswalt may not be too high but Drayton McClain is an Al Davis clone. He wants to shed payroll but he hates to part with his good ol’ boys like Oswalt and Lance Berkman, even when both player say it’s best for the organization to trade both of them.

The most intriguing move would be to get Carlos Zambrano as the Cubs would move the high strung Z and take players non grata, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. The problem is when all the contracts change hands it could cost the Mets $18 mil for Z . Ted Lilly is attractive as well after pitching a great game last night so there are some options for the Mets (Jeffey Skill Sets and John Ricco that is I still say Ricco is running the baseball ops with Jeffey and Omar has been relegated to high paid scout)

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REMEMBERING THE QUIET MAN

I for one, can not get enough of reading about Gil Hodges and after reading Taryn Cooper’ (a/k/a The COOP) posting on Mets Merized Online, It gave me time to reflect on this great player, manager and man.

  I always point to the death of Hodges on April 2,  1972 as one of the two darkest days (the other was June 15, 1977 and is you don’t know what happened on that date you are reading the wrong blog asshole) and the day the promise of the Mets organization died.

I also remember as an 8 year old Mets fan/Brooklyn gutter snipe, going to Hodges wake with my firends and our dads. We wore our baseball uniforms and walked past the resting Hodges and just cried like it was a family member, HELL he was a family member.

As Mets fans we bask in the fact that Hodges was not just the man that led the Mets from misfits to champions but he was also one of us, as he lived with his born and bred  Brooklynite wife Joan in Mill Basin, It’s a shame that Mets ownership doesn’t put together a campaign to get Gil Hodges into Cooperstown where he belongs.

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WORSE THAN THE SWINE FLU, THE PHILLIES ARE COMING TO TOWN

 

 

 

 

Maybe it’s that phenomena of the Mets playing down to the competition as they come off a 2-4 abbreviated road trip against the Bucs and Nats the suck and suck more teams of baseball and now the biggest three weeks of the Mets 2009 season starts tomorrow here in the Greatest City on the Planet against the Phucking Phillies in the biggest series of the season.

 

To start off this series I sat with an enemy correspondent , Bill Bear of Crashburn Alley who has been a guest on PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL and a guy I like to e mail back and forth during the season as I like to be an annoying ball breaker but even though Bill has a major character flaw being a Phucking Phillies fan he’s a good guy and is always great when he comes on PBC and I like his in depth stat work on Crashburn Alley so click here to read the Q & A I did with Bill .

 

Over at Jorge Says No they have a very good interview with Wally Backman who is now managing in the Northern League for the Joilet Jackhamers. Backman of course would love to get a shot at a big league managerial job and the hard work as a player and perseverance as a manager at the most obscure outposts of baseball only make his resolve stronger. Maybe some day he will be back in Flushing where his work ethic and passion for the game would be a boost for the organization and the fans.

 

Doug Branch at Mets Merized Online is getting drawn and quartered for a post that suggests that the Mets might look at being sellers and if they do maybe Carlos Beltran would be the guy to trade. Well if you read the comments Branch is called out for not only suggesting that the Mets become sellers but think about trading Beltran. I won’t speak for Branch but as for myself I’ll say I don’t want the Mets to be sellers and I don’t want to deal off Beltran but as I wrote in a post over the weekend maybe it’s time for the front office and ownership to take stock in what it is the team and what this franchise is looking to accomplish. The reason I think like this is that as much as I think Omar Minaya has done a pretty good job he could do much better and I never feel like there is a plan in place or a course of action for this team. Sure Omar went out and retooled the bullpen to the point it’s one of the best in baseball but he never addressed the need for a left fielder with power and seems to be more enthralled with finding players left on the side of the curb than being creative in making a deal for bona fide major league talent.

 

It is good though to see the Mets fan exuding passion like the commentators are doing on that site and of course here. Too bad that ownership is to inept to realize what a great fan base they have.

 

 

The Mets Police checked out the cuisine at Highlander Stadium and found it to be overpriced and bland just like its tenants.

 

After watching my kid’s soccer games yesterday I had to make a trip to the mall to buy a sports jacket (one that didn’t have METS or an NY on it but a sports jacket that adult men wear. The two that I own are way too big and my son is graduating from grammar school this Friday and I need to dress up like a grown up so hence the sports jacket. I guess it’s a shame that a soon to be 51 year old man owns just two pair of slacks but 12 pairs of jeans, and has more than 200 t-shirts and maybe three dress shirts, one pair of shoes but  2 pair of Cons’ 3 pair of running shoes, 2 pair of basketball shoes, and 2 pair of baseball cleats and the only neck ties I have are hand me downs from my brothers. I’d be more than happy to live everyday in shorts, a t shirt, flip flops and my Mets cap) when I returned home I relaxed by watching the Padres-D’Backs game that went to 18 innings. I picked the game up in the 10th inning and when it ended in the 18th I realized the D’Backs bullpen did not give up a hit from the 10th to the 18th inning an extra inning no hitter! The D’Backs blew a 6-0 lead and the Padres had shortstop Josh Wilson pitch the 18th and he almost got out of jam with two on and 0-2 count on Mark Reynolds before Reynolds put one just over the right field wall. Wilson by the way was a D’Back just a month ago before he was claimed by the Padres. Even stranger was of the 27,000 plus who were in attendance for the beginning of the game morphed into empty seats by the 18th inning.

 

I’ll leave you with this from Henry Aaron on the release of Tom Glavine and the apology from John Schuerholz:

 

“I wouldn’t have said anything if I were John Schuerholz. I think that was a mistake, because it was a no-win situation in his case, as much as [Schuerholz] tried to patch up the differences,” Aaron said. Then he laughed, adding, “This is the first time I’ve ever been on management’s side. I mean, Glavine got paid very well through the years to play here, and there’s never a good way to handle these situations. But if you’re the Braves, you’ve got to throw those kids out there and let them pitch. If you’re Glavine, you have to be gracious enough to step aside.”

 

Why don’t the Glavines of any sport do so? “The hardest thing for anybody — especially athletes — is to wake up in the morning and realize everything has stopped for them,” Aaron said. “The cheering. The booing. The traveling. All the things that you used to be doing are no longer there, and it’s hard for you to realize that, along with the idea of losing all of the money that I made. It’s just not there any more.

 

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