WELCOME TO OPENING DAY, LET THE SCREAMING BEGIN

Turned on my computer this morning to check my e-mail and lo and behold there was a message from Mets manager Terry Collins. What? You got one too? And you? You mean you all got an e-mail from the Mets skipper? Shit, I thought I was special.

The crux of the letter was that after years of awful baseball played in Queens, the Mets will now play the game the right way. In a roundabout way, Collins is letting us now that after his years as minor league coordinator his suggestions fell on deaf ears, that the organization was run by a bunch of clueless dolts who were fundamentally bad at teaching the fundamentals of baseball.

But now the time to talk about the season is done, it’s time to put up and show Mets fans that this is the dawning of the age of good baseball, the kind of baseball we, as paying customers don’t mind being priced gouged over (The Mets still don’t understand that the prices they charge for tickets and concession are, as Jimmy Macmillan would say, “TOO DAMN HIGH” you want to build goodwill with the Mets fans, you should have lowered your ticket prices by 50 %  and allow families to buy kids meals at the food stands at a discount) if the team does all the things that TC said in his opening day missive, the fans will come back. The problems the last few years in Flushing was the fans cared more than the players did about the team but it’s time to put all the horse shit of the past behind us, new front office, new manager, new attitude? I hope so. LET’S GO METS!!!!!!

I’ve always felt NY Ranger fans were the most passionate of all New York Sports Fans (I don’t want to get into the late season swoon by the Blue Shirts as I’m trying to have a positive day even though the Rangers are going into the tank and as I walked from the Subway to my office this morning, I had to deal with ice cold rain hitting my face, so far, so shitty) but I think the Mets fans have taken over the top spot. Yesterday afternoon, the Mets announced their opening day lineup:

Jose Reyes, ss

Willie Harris, lf

David Wright, 3b

Carlos Beltran, rf

Angel Pagan, cf

Ike Davis, 1b

Brad Emaus, 2b

Josh Thole, c

Mike Pelfrey, rhp

With the sight of Harris in the 2 hole and Thole in the 8 spot, a little bit of holy hell broke out on Twitter over this slotting. What other fan base is that passionate that they look at the opening day line up on the eve of the opener and go into shit storm mode? Had they waited to hear Collins reasoning maybe they wouldn’t be popping blood pressure pills today:

“Not only will Willie Harris start on Opening Day in left field in place of injured Jason Bay (left rib-cage strain). Harris also will bat second in Terry Collins’ first lineup as Mets manager.

The reason: Harris is hitting .267 with one homer, two RBIs and seven walks in 22 career plate appearances against Marlins ace Josh Johnson — good for a .500 on-base percentage.

“Strictly numbers,” Collins said about selecting Harris over Lucas Duda or Scott Hairston. “We talked about the importance of getting out of the gate. This guy [Johnson] is one of the best in the league, one of the best in baseball. And if you’ve got a guy who hits this guy, it would seem to me you should get him in there.”

Duda has never faced Josh Johnson, and Scott Hairston is 0 for 5 with a walk and two strikeouts vs. Johnson. If Jason Bay was healthy, all this fan angst would have been avoided as Angel Pagan would have been in the #2 spot and Bay in the 5 spot and Harris on the bench. By the way, to make things worse, Bay is 4 for 9 with a home run vs. Josh Johnson. Can’t we just enjoy the day, Mets fans?

Another stain on the Minaya/Manuel resume, Big Pelf pitched in pain last year.

Hopefully the Mets will be so good this season that Gary, Keith, Ron and Kevin Burkhardt won’t have to discuss the Skill Sets/Madoff financial fiasco. By the way, yesterday at work I listened to the Highlanders-Tigers game on WCBS. I don’t know how Highlander fans do it, listening to Suzyn Waldman made me want to punch someone in the face; the screeching of her voice was making my skin crawl. I thought she was just there to read commercial spots and give out of town scores? Yesterday, she wouldn’t shut up, even as I begged her through the radio (please you annoying yenta SHUT THE FUCK UPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP) which kept my co-workers in a jolly mood. Sterling doesn’t bother me that much. Sure he is the worst play by play man in the history of sports broadcasting but for some strange reason I get a kick out him. Even his schmaltzy home run calls make me chuckle (“you’re on the Mark, Texiera” or “The Grandy Man Can” are so lame their hysterical) the TV side is no better as the male version of Waldman, Michael Applegate, is as much a shill as Sterling but nowhere near as entertaining. Mr. Applegate is in fact down right annoying and what pisses me off more is I have no choice if I decide to take in a Highlander game on TV I have to watch YUCK as MLB Extra Innings blocks the feed from the out of town team. Plus I’m spoiled as Gary, Keith, Ron and Kevin are the Gold Standard of baseball broadcasting.

Check out THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN Podcast on Blog Talk Radio or as a download on iTunes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GAMO-RAYS

In the latest missive from the WWL, Peter Gammons is trying to sell the fact that the Skill Sets are not swimming in cash as it appears:

{The Mets don’t have the kind of money everyone thinks, especially having to pay Billy Wagner $10M next season. They will spend to get a starter, a reliever and a bat to supplement Ryan Church in right and the Daniel Murphy/Fernando Tatis platoon in left.

 

No one knows what impact the economy will have on baseball, especially in New York, but someone is going to pay a price for the national debt increasing by $450B in October. The Mets are not going to jump over the luxury tax threshold, so they will continue to build around David Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, figure Mike Pelfrey will continue his quantum leap forward, and do their best to fill in around them.}

So a team that owns a television station, has a brand new ball park in the most populous city in the country and has sold all his suites and will draw a minimum of 3.5 mil fans has no money to improve the team? And tell me what the National debt has to do with the Mets finances? Sorry Gammo I’m not buying it. I’m not ready to go out and buy a pennant because I don’t think building through free agency is the answer but don’t you dare insult the Mets fan base and cry poverty. By the way to read the whole article you have to pay to read it.

 

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