Gee, The Mets Go For The Sweep

I’m sure many Mets fans bailed out of this game after the 2nd inning, down 4-0 with Miguel Batista on the mound in Filthadelphia really doesn’t make Mets fans very optimistic but maybe this team and the manager are telling the truth that they don’t listen to the negativity from the media and some in the fan base and they really don’t give a shit what the naysayers think of them.

Last night Batista started off shaky but after the 2nd inning, he settled down to give the team a very good 3.1 innings until he ran out of gas. Manny Acosta took over and came up huge getting out of a 2nd and 3rd 1 out jam with a ground out by Joe Blanton and punching out J-Roll to keep the score deficient to 3 runs.

I love when a player steps up when all eyes are on them to make decisions by the front office difficult. Andres Torres came back to the team when his understudy Kirk Nieuwenhuis broke out as a major contributor to the team.  Torres has stepped in and produced both at bat and in the field and now the Mets will have a major decision to make when Jason Bay comes back. There is no place for Bay on this team right now and if Bay is force fed into the lineup while this outfield is as productive as it is, the front office will take a huge credibility hit with the fan base.  While Bay’s ribs are healing hopefully Sandy Alderson is exhausting all options to deal Bay. Any type of removal from the team of Bay is going to coast money so if the Skill Sets want to prove to the fan base that they are back in the game they will authorize Alderson to move Bay by any means necessary.

The word on Josh Thole is not very encouraging. It seems Thole has been concussed before so it looks like a stay on the 15 day DL is more realistic than the short stay 7 day concussion DL. This will be a huge problem for the Mets in two areas. Between Mike Nickeas and Rob Johnson, the Mets just took a major downgrade in the catching department. Nickeas can’t hit but he’s superior to Johnson behind the plate and quite frankly Johnson is only in the big leagues because of the dearth of catching talent in baseball. One thing is for sure, Johnson will not be behind the plate with The Dickster is on the mound as Johnson has a problem catching conventional pitches he’d need a tuna net to catch the knuckle ball.

The other obvious problem is replacing Thole’ bat.  With Ruben Tejada on the DL, the bottom third of the Mets batting order could become a Black Hole. The Mets have to hope that Valdespin can hit at least .250 and get on base at least MLB average of .315 because what can you expect from Nickeas at the plate a .220 BA ?  When Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey start it would not be crazy to bat them 8 and Nickeas 9th.

While your sitting at your computer at lunch time checkout Greg Prince’s writeup of the Mets 50th Anniversary Conference at Hofstra University. You can thank me later.

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Oh Yeah #IMWITH28

There is nothing better than watching your favorite team come from behind to win a game, then to top it off, one of your favorite players not only makes a game saving defensive play but then comes up to the plate with the winning run in scoring position and comes through with the game winning hit.

There is something different about Daniel Murphy so far this season. I saw some of it this off season when I got the chance to interview him at the Thurman Munson dinner with other writers and media people but when the main streamers moved on, it was just me and Murph. I shut off my recorder so I could have an “off the record” conversation with Murphy as we talked about some stuff other than baseball, mostly how the weather in NYC this winter was almost as nice as his native Jacksonville, where he worked out all winter and his getting a kick out me trying to sell him on living in Brooklyn as I brought up his short stay as a Cyclone.  We also spoke of the negativity that from outside forces that was surrounding the team and Murphy gave me a smirk and told me that stuff doesn’t bother him or his teammates as the players, coaches and especially the manager won’t let negativity enter the clubhouse.  So far Murph was right this team as the club seems to have stayed below the noise with this hot start.

I agree 100 % with what Bobby Ojeda said in the post-game show though, everyone is sky high happy as they’re winning ball games, what you want to look at is if this attitude remains during the first 4 or 5 game losing streak as Bobby O pointed out, in the past this team would wilt and get real quiet during the tough times. That will be the real test for the 2012 Mets, their reaction to adversity.

I’ve said it before that sometimes I enjoy seeing a pitcher who is struggling try to find himself during a game and righting himself than watching a guy dominate a line up and last night Mike Pelfrey gave one of those find yourself performances.  His first inning had me squirming in my chair after three straight hits by Danny Espinosa, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche as it looked like it was going to be an early Big Pelf meltdown but only one Nat crossed home plate so disaster averted. Pelf threw a lot of pitches and it seemed he was getting squeezed by home plate ump Todd Tichenor especially in the 6th when it looked like he stuck out Xavier Nady to end the inning but Tichenor blew the call and gave Nady life and on the next pitch Nady singled to center, prolonging the inning and ending Pelfs night and his attempt to go 6 full innings.

Pelf threw strikes and walked only one but he was tagged for ten base hits. He relied a lot on his sinker and slider most of the night but cranked up his four seamer to 90+ MPH when he needed it. It wasn’t a great start or an awful start but it was better than normal Big Pelf start.

I want to see the Mets get into a bench clearer this season just to see who is dumb enough to take on Jon Rauch, that’s one guy I’d hate have mad at me.

Ed Marcus a/k/a Rusty Jr over at Real Dirty Mets has a great review of R.A. Dickey’s book. If you haven’t bought Dickey’s yet shame on you.

By the way I will have a special announcement of a contest I will be running here on Friday that you won’t want to miss.   

 

 

 

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THE SKY IS NOT REALLY FALLING

I’m already feeling Mets fatigue as the stories out of St Lonesome other than Santana’s healthy and Matt Harvey is a stud, all the other news has the stink of negativity to it. But is it really that bad or is it because it’s the Mets that it’s portrayed that way?

Sure the rash of pulled obliques is a concern but is it serious enough to where some fans are going off the deep end? Of all the pull muscles in the abdomen area that bother me it’s Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ because I thought he had a real shot of making the team but this will most likely stall his major league debut. Scott Hairston’ is somewhat disconcerting but he’s a 4th outfielder who can be replaced by a waiver pick up at end of spring. Lucas Duda’ back looks to be fine as his Grand Slam yesterday is testament to.

Tim Byrdak is having his knee operated on today and contrary to all the bridge jumpers he’ll be back by mid-April. Is there a fan base in baseball that would get all worked up about a LOOGY missing 4 weeks of action in spring, some Mets fans reacted like idiots over the news of Byrdak’s injured knee.

If you want to throw yourself on the ground and kick up a tantrum, then do so over David Wright’s sore side. That’s the injury to watch.

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HATERS GOT TO HATE I GUESS

It was just the first exhibition game of the spring but that won’t stop the negativity surrounding the Mets to permeate via the MSM and some in the fan base.

First up with anti-Mets propaganda is Joel Sherman, who feels that Mets fans are idiots and expect Sandy Alderson to turn around this clusterfuck in a season and a half. There are certain guys I usually avoid reading and Sherman is one along with Filip Bondy, Ian O’Connor and Andy Martino as they seem to have a real deep hatred for the Mets and zero objectivity.  The three hacks, Sherman, Bondy and O’Connor are just Highlander shills whereas Martino wishes he was anyplace else but the Mets beat.

It’s hard to get all work up over last night’s game. Sure as Mets fans we were excited just to see baseball on our flat screens but you have to remember one thing THE GAMES DO NOT COUNT!!!! That is why they are exhibition games, practice games, an exercise on working on different aspects of hitting pitching and defense to get ready for the season.     

But with all that some things did stand out:

The Mets may lead the majors in hair, lots of hair.

That is some outstanding chin hair that Dillon Gee possesses. I would grow one of myself but it would look like a big bundle of steel wool.

I’m pulling for Mike Baxter to make the 25 man but he’s got use his head better in the field. I believe it was in the top of the 5th with a runner on 1st, Lombardozi executed a hit and run with a single to left. Baxter rushed to the ball and tried to throw the runner out at 3rd   instead of looking at the batter/runner to hold him at 1st this allowed Lombardozi to take 2nd base.

Adam Loewen sure looks like a pitcher in the batter’s box. He’s big with a lot of hair so he fits the mold of the modern Met

What was up with all the bases the Mets were stealing? Did Terry Collins summon his inner Al Lopez ? Will the Mets be the Go-Go Mets of 2012?

Matt Harvey had some command issues  but nothing to get worked up over.

Josh Thole look pretty good behind the plate.

Bryce Harper is going to be a pain in our ass for the next 15 years.

I liked seeing Kirk Nieuwenhuis get into the game. He looks bigger than the listed 6’ 3” 215 lbs  and he made a nice diving catch in the 5th but then got a little cocky in the 8th trying to make a one hand catch that he dropped. Two hands Capt Kirk.

From today’s NY Times we get Scott Boras crying about the ownership of the Mets and Dodgers in a crock of shit lament that it’s bad for baseball that both major market teams are in bad financial straits. No Scott you mean not having both team especially the Skill Sets making dumb ass baseball business decisions and agreeing to bad contracts is bad for the business of Scott Boras.

Also in that story is word that Nails is headed to the big house for a 3 years stretch, a sad ending for sure.

Good to see Mike Steffanos is back to blogging about the Mets at his Mike’s Mets site, do yourself a favor and check out his site.

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INTERVIEWS WITH R.A DICKEY, DANIEL MURPHY AND CARLOS DELGADO AT THE THURMAN MUNSON DINNER

Last night I attended the media hour before the Thurman Munson Dinner to benefit AHRC of New York. Among the many guest invited to the event were Mets Daniel Murphy and R.A. Dickey and a surprise guest that I chatted with, former Met Carlos Delgado.

In talking to Murphy he has to be the most optimistic person of Irish ancestry I’ve ever met.  As you can hear in this clip, Murphy feels the Mets can contend in the NL East and beyond.  He also speaks of the work he has to do in order to play 2nd base this season and the fact that he has been working out with the cooperation of the fine weather in his hometown of Jacksonville Florida .

After Murphy, R.A. Dickey was made available to us for a Q & A session and of course R.A. was in fine form with thoughtful answers about his climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro, his hope that Johan Santana can come back and reclaim his spot as Ace of the pitching staff and his pragmatic view of the upcoming season for the Mets in a very tough NL East as you can here is this clip and this clip.

After talking to both Dickey and Murphy, I thought about all the angst and anger of Mets fans over this off season towards ownership of the team. I thought about all those who say they won’t come out to Citi Field as they feel it’s a show of support of the Wilpon’s.  To those fans I say, I feel sorry for you. While talking to Dickey and to Murphy , the thought came to me that I can’t wait for the season to begin because I can’t wait to root for both these guys as they are more than worthy of positive support.

Murph is the guy who blocks out the negativity. When the media scrum dispersed from the group Q & A, I was lucky enough to hang around and got to talk to him one on one (I turned off the recorder because I just wanted to have casual conversation) and one topic we discussed was the negativity of the organization from a segment of the media and the fan base and does that negativity ever creep into the clubhouse. He told me it doesn’t because the manager, who I believe Murph has tremendous respect for, would never allow it and he also felt that the guys in the clubhouse are united in such a way that “woes is us” would never make it past the outside clubhouse door.

From Dickey I get a guy who is very confident in his ability and seems to have grown as a big league pitcher but the days of struggle are always in the forefront of his mind. Where Murph seems to be the half full guy, I wouldn’t say that Dickey is a glass half empty guy but more of a realist who has been around a while and knows the score.

A pleasant surprise of the evening was running into Carlos Delgado who looks in great shape (dare I say The best shape of his life?) and was quite gracious in giving me a portions of his time to talk about the Mets of the present and his experience as a Met and playing in New York in this clip.

When I was done talking to Murphy and Dickey I went over to the refreshment table to grab a bottle of water, it was there I met up with legendary  St. John’s coach Lou Carnesecca, who was on hand to present an award to Chris Mullin at the dinner. Again I didn’t have my recorder on as my conversation with the Coach was more a casual deal than an interview.  He told me about having dinner with John Franco on Monday night and how happy he was that the Mets will honor him on June 3 with induction into the Mets Hall of Fame. It was easy to see the love and pride Carnesecca has for Franco, the coach then asked me if I thought Franco would get into Cooperstown, I was as diplomatic as could be in saying it would be very tough. I went on to tell the coach about my wedding day and how happy I was there was a TV in the limousine, as I’m seen and heard in our wedding video wanting to watch St. Johns-Auburn second round NCAA Tournament game.  Carnesecca laughed and then said “Jesus, you remember that game”? He then asked me to sit down with him and talk about basketball. That was quite an honor.

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IN THE METS CLUBHOUSE IT’S ALL PRESENT ARE NOW ACCOUNTABLE

It’s nice that the teammates Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez have left behind in the Mets clubhouse have nothing but high praise and fond memories of their released comrades but as has happened in the Mets clubhouse over the last few years, the big picture is out of focus, it is no longer business as usual as the new front office has made it known accountability is back in Flushing.

Maybe that’s why Jose Reyes is a bit stunned by the event of the past few days. He’s never seen anything like it before in his 8 years as a Met. There has never been accountability in the clubhouse, the former GM and managers made excuses the way parents do for their delinquent kids. Thankfully those days are over. Last year the Mets put up a sign in the clubhouse proclaiming Prevention and Recovery in dealing with injuries, this year’s motto should be “Produce or Get Cut Loose”

Enough of the negativity here are some positive vibes as we stand one week away from opening day 2011:

The Mets pitching staff overall has been terrific this spring, pitching to a 3.87 ERA (good for 5th best in the NL) It helps that the defense has been tight, committing just 22 errors.

As a team,  the Mets have hit at a .267 clip, drilling 53 doubles and more importantly 83 walks good for 3rd most in the NL.

Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy lead the team in Rib-Eye Steaks with 10 apiece

Scott Hairston is hitting a blistering .425/.500/.725

When Chin-Lung Hu was obtained from the Dodgers he was known as great glove shaky bat but so far this spring he’s gotten 10 hits in 34 AB’s of the 10 hits 3 were doubles plus he stolen 2 bases.

Chris Young and Chris Capuano have been more than effective this spring. Young has thrown 20.1 innings with a 1.33 ERA and a miniscule 0.89 WHIP. Capuano has pitched 10.2 innings with a tidy 1.03 WHIP and just two walks.  

Last night I was a guest on the Who’s On First: The Seamheads . Com Radio Hour for a panel discussion to make our picks for division winners, wild card, pennant and World Series winners along with league MVP’s and Cy Young Award winners. It’s would be well worth your while to check out the podcast as there were some real out on a limb picks by the panel with great  analysis to back them up.

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MORE ON ALDERSON

Just  a few more comments on last nights conference call with Sandy Alderson, a doff of my Mets cap and a bow to the guys at Amazin’ Avenue for transcribing the entire call, thank you guys.

Last year at this time I was quite disgusted with the Mets front office, the manager, players and the owner. After listening to Alderson last night my attitude has done the ol’ 180 degree spin.  He took over an organization that had some huge cracks in its foundation and as any home owner knows cracks in the foundation spell disaster.  Alderson is not just going to patch the foundation of the Mets, he is going to rebuild it so it’s rock solid.

The Tea Party segment of the Mets fans base are clueless in their negativity on the direction of the team. For all of you dolts who are calling talk radio and ranting how you’re not going to buy tickets or Met merchandise, I guess you were happy with the past administration (for now on the past GM name will not appear on this site ever again) and maybe if the former GM get another job running a team (doubt it) you can switch your rooting interest.

Howard Megdal ran a campaign for GM this past summer on a platform of Logic, Transparency and Passion well we didn’t get Howard as Mets GM but Sandy Alderson has embraced those three characteristics very well.

So all you disgruntled so-called Mets it’s fine that you stay away from Citi Field but when the ship gets back on course don’t be a hypocrite and jump on the band wagon, use your heads and jump on now.

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ROD BARAJAS MAY WALK OFF, BUT HE DOES NOT WALK OFF ALONE

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the Mets win in walk off fashion, in fact the last time was August 7, 2008 as David Wright took Heath Bell of the Padres yard, so watching the mosh pit at home plate for Rod Barajas was special. With all the negativity that has surrounded the Mets just seeing all the players waiting for Barajas at home plate and slamming him around was wonderful. But the best part of the celebration was after they mugged the catcher for his blast, the players all ran to Ike Davis and hugged him and patted him on the back  not just for the fact he hit two bombs in the game but his defensive play in the 9th inning saved the game.

For the second time in his short stint with the Mets, Davis grabbed a foul pop and then used the dugout railing as a parallel bar which at 6’4” is an astonishing act of athleticism and kudos to Alex Cora for breaking his fall.

Listening to Barajas in the post game interview with Kevin Burkhardt its clear the Mets have taken on a “no one believes in us but us” approach. Barajas deflected all the talk of what he did to talking about what the team did and he also sent a message to Mets fans who have sworn off attending games at $iti Field, get your tickets now or you’ll be shit outta luck latter.

The biggest improvement with the Mets is all the news on focused on the field. No one is talking about ownership or the front office. Sure Jerry Manuel gets slapped around every other game but that’s part of the managers job to take the hits as the out front guy. Talk to Mets fans and you here real live baseball talk, sure after the Cincinnati defeats we wanted to cut a lot of guys but still it’s on field baseball talk.

If the Mets keep playing as hard nosed as they have the past couple of weeks, I’ll put up with clueless “Hospitality agents” , snail like speed of concession workers, and even the dreaded black jerseys, just keep giving us games like last night and Mets will put up with anything management tosses at them.

Not only was Rod Barajas the hero last night but he hit that home run while Bengi Molina was behind the plate. Molina did not start the game and during an interview with Kevin Burkhardt, Molina whined about how he wanted t be a Met sooooo badddddddddly and was upset a deal could not be reached. What a cry baby, I wonder how Bruce Bochy and Brain Sabean feel hearing this whine session. The Giants did Moilina a favor by bringing him back as they’ve wanted top prospect Buster Posey to take over the job. When Posey was brought up late last season, Molina was pissed and never helped the young catcher that’s why the Giants didn’t want Molina back. But once they figured to give Posey a little more time in Triple A, they threw Molina a bone, and after hearing him last night with KB, one of the best moves Omar made this past off season was not bringing this ingrate on board.

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HAS JERRY MANUEL THROWN IN TOWEL ?

On March 1, 2000 Rick Pitino then the coach of the Boston Celtics after a loss to the Toronto Raptors that let Celtic fans in a state of despair and booed and jeered the C’s with gusto, came out with one of the classic rants in the history of sports:

 

  “Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door, and Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they’re going to be gray and old. What we are is young, exciting, hard-working, and we’re going to improve. People don’t realize that, and as soon as they realize those three guys are not coming through that door, the better this town will be for all of us because there are young guys in that (locker) room playing their asses off. I wish we had $90 million under the salary cap. I wish we could buy the world. We can’t; the only thing we can do is work hard, and all the negativity that’s in this town sucks. I’ve been around when Jim Rice was booed. I’ve been around when Yastrzemski was booed. And it stinks. It makes the greatest town, greatest city in the world, lousy. The only thing that will turn this around is being upbeat and positive like we are in that locker room… and if you think I’m going to succumb to negativity, you’re wrong. You’ve got the wrong guy leading this team.”

 

This is the kind of Rant I want out of my Manager of the Mets the self pro-claimed GANGSTA’ I want him to tell everyone that “Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter are not walking through that door”. I want him to tell the media, fans and his players to shut the fuck up about who isn’t here and worry about who is here. I want him to order his players on the field today in Milwaukee to take infield as I don’t give a rats ass what time they got into town after last night’s embarrassment. I want him to call out which ever sniveling veteran it was who went crying to the papers whining that “A deal would send the message they want to win and will do what it takes to helps us” and let him know the he and the rest of the 25 man roster needs to grow some balls and get their heads out of their ass on defense. You want to give teams 5 and 6 outs and inning? Babe Ruth couldn’t saved your sorry ass.

 

Does this team need a slugger DUH!? But if you think by obtaining Adam Dunn, Adam LaRoche, Nick Johnson or the new flavor of the week Mark Teahen is going to make a difference then you’re blinded by the J-Man smoke screen. This team’ piss poor play is a direct reflection of the manager in the words of the great Bobby Valentine, “Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance” and this latest piss poor weekend is on Jerry Manuel.

 

J-Man is starting to show cracks in his amour. He moans and groans about the team keeping its head above water, and trying to stay in it until the injured get back it seems it had got D-Wright to get his back up when he said he didn’t know about treading water that he plays every game to win. You have Gary Sheffield saying “Management is going to take care of what they think we need, people shouldn’t think we come in here and do double takes at the lineup every day. We should have what it takes to win and we should be doing better, if they got a bat it would be great and everyone would applaud it. That doesn’t mean it should be necessary”

 

Exactly that goes back to players not coming through the door.

 

Maybe Omar should take some time from burning cell phone minutes to go straighten out his manager and let him know if he can’t handle this adversity there’s a guy in Japan who thrives on it.

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Tickets

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