Matt Harvey Is No Punter

 

 

 

Maybe all is not gloom and doom with the Mets as we see not only is David Wright ready to hit St. Lonesome but Matt Harvey can’t wait to get to camp as well. Harvey says all the right things in this story about competing this year and not using the coming season as a warm up for 2014. That’s why it would seem in Terry Collins best interest for this team to not only get off to a good start but show more fight than in past years  or Wally Backman will be large and in charge by Memorial Day.

It’s bad enough the Mets have not had a FanFest or Winter Caravan in a while but to add insult to injury, the former New York Giants are bringing their World Series trophy they won last year as the San Francisco Giants, back to their homeland this coming Saturday at Finnerty’s Bar at 2nd Avenue between E 13 St and E 14 St.  When the Giants won the World Series in 2010, Managing General Partner, Peter Magowan   a born and raised New Yorker and NY Giants fan, felt it would be a nice gesture to bring the World Series trophy back to his and his baseball teams hometown. Magowan is not with the club anymore but the tradition lives on.  Is anyone in Flushing paying attention????????

Give the Mets credit though as they have not forgotten that there are still victims of Hurricane Sandy who are still hurting. Tomorrow from 1PM to 2PM Daniel Murphy will be at the Church of the Nazarene 1414 Central Avenue in Far Rockaway to distribute food and supplies along with New York Cares Volunteers to residents still trying to rebuild their homes and their lives since the storm.

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BOOK REVIEW: A MOMENT IN TIME-RALPH BRANCA

I know, not another book about the Brooklyn Dodgers, there have been more book about them Bums than tomes on dieting, aging and becoming rich, put together, but “A Moment In Time by Ralph Branca with David Ritz” (published by Scribner) is a bit different, it’s a look at a man who has led a great life both on the baseball field and off but is still haunted by an event that happened 60 years ago.

Branca tells the reader of the great upbringing he had and his love of his family comes through quite clearly. A couple of subjects that Branca talks about that made me pause while reading was that his mother was born Jewish but converted to Catholicism’s and his wife is the granddaughter of Steve McKeever, a part owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Of the two, I wish Branca went into more detail on what it was like dating and then marrying the daughter of one of the team owners and what was their mind set during the upheaval of the team leaving Brooklyn.  Branca does let us know that he puts most of the blame of on Robert Moses than O’Malley for the team’s departure to the West Coast.

The strongest parts of this book are Branca’ frank talk about the managers he played for and of course, October 3, 1951. When Leo Durocher was the Dodger manager Branca was one of Leo’s boys and Branca felt that he was a baseball savant. When Durocher left and went to the hated cross town rivals, New York Giants, Durocher tried to deal for Branca by offering Bobby Thomson in return. WOW! It wasn’t until Branca finds out about the elaborate sign stealing operation the Giants were using did he declare Durocher dead to him. Branca had problems with the field bosses who followed Durocher in Brooklyn. Burt Shotton, sat on the bench in street clothes, with a sharpened #2 pencil and kept a score card. That was the extent of his tactical prowess. Charlie Dressen had a bad case of Durocher envy which Branca doesn’t hold back his disdain for.  Reading between the lines a bit, I got the sense that Branca/Dressen relationship was testy due to Branca’ involvement with the owner’s daughter, as Dressen comes off as a very insecure man, especially down the stretch in 1951.

The final couple of chapters of the book deal with Branca hooking up with Bobby Thomson and hitting the card show circuit. Both men made a very nice piece of change teaming up and signing autographs for a fee, but Branca always had the fact that the Giants were stealing signs and his feeling that Thompson got the sign of the 0-1 fastball he hit out the Polo Grounds for the most famous home run in baseball history, clearly on his mind whenever he and Thompson teamed up. I got a chuckle when Branca writes about not wanting to be a “whiner” about the subject but continues to whine about the subject.     

Branca tells the reader up front that he is an old timer who is very opinionated and that comes through loud and clear. This is the “one more Brooklyn Dodger book” that’s worth a read.

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IRISH-AMERICAN BASEBALL HALL OF FAME ANNOUCES 2011 NOMINATIONS

What better day to announce the nominees for the Irish-Amercian Baseball Hall of Fame than St. Patrick’s Day.The Hall and the ceromonies are held at one of my favorite places in all of the city, Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (run by Shaun Clancy and his dad John, two great men of County Cavan) 18 W 33 St across from the Empire State Building. SO if you are at the parade today stop by Foley’s as I’m sure the joint will be jumpin’ for sure.

Here are the nominees :

HALL OF FAMERS and LEGENDS

Big Ed Walsh – Baseball’s All-Time ERA Leader

Wee Willie Keeler – A .341 lifetime hitter who shares the longest ever NL hitting streak (44 games) with Pete Rose

Mighty Casey of the “Mudville Nine” – Character in Ernest Thayer’s famous poem

 

CURRENT LIVING EX-PLAYERS

Nolan Ryan – Baseball’s All-Time Strikeout Leader, now president of the Texas Rangers

“Super Joe” McEwing – Popular versatile player, now a White Sox minor league manager

Jeff Nelson – Four-time World Series champion, now a broadcaster with MLB Network

 

MANAGERS

John McGraw – Legendary New York Giants manager

Tom Kelly – Minnesota Twins two-time World Series champion manager

“Walpole Joe” Morgan – Former Boston Red Sox manager

 

TEAM EXECUTIVES

Gene Monahan/Steve Donohue – Longtime New York Yankees trainers

Mike Kindle – President of Baseball Ireland (Dublin)

 

ENTERTAINERS

John Fogerty – Writer/Singer of “Centerfield”

Terry Cashman – Writer/Singer of “Talking Baseball” (30th anniversary this year)

John Fitzgerald – Filmmaker of “The Emerald Diamond”

 

“The nominating committee has come up with some intriguing names this year,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia outside of Cooperstown.  “We believe it is significant that baseball’s all-time strikeout king and its all-time ERA leader are both of Irish descent and have New York connections.  So do the legendary manager John McGraw, players Wee Willie Keeler, Joe McEwing and Jeff Nelson, Yankees trainers Gene Monahan and Steve Donohue, and songwriter Terry Cashman.”

 

With the blessing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Foley’s, a popular destination among baseball players, executives, umpires and fans, created the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame to recognize players, managers, executives, journalists, and entertainers of Irish descent.  Inductees are chosen based on a combination of factors, including impact on the game, popularity on and off the field, contributions to society, connections to the Irish community, and, of course, ancestry. 

The game of baseball has welcomed immigrants from its earliest days, when an estimated 30 percent of players claimed Irish heritage.  Many of the game’s biggest stars at the turn of the 20th century were Irish immigrants or their descendants, including Michael “King” Kelly, Roger Connor (the home run king before Babe Ruth), Eddie Collins, Big Ed Walsh and managers Connie Mack and John McGraw.  Today, major league teams regularly sign players born in Latin America, Japan, Canada, and elsewhere.

 

Shaun Clancy, an amateur baseball historian, created the Hall after learning about the rich heritage of Irish Americans in the sport dating from its infancy – a legacy overshadowed in recent years by other ethnicities.  He decided to celebrate his roots and those who helped make the game great by creating a shrine to Irish Americans in baseball in 2008.

McGraw has to be a lock to be named to the Hall. I will always have soft spot for McGraw for if it wasn’t for him I might be a Highlander fan today. When my father and one of my uncle’s decided to leave Boston after a living there a year when they arrived from County Sligo, they both had jobs laying gas pipes in Canarsie for Brooklyn Union Gas. On a day off they both decided to take a trip to the Bronx to see Babe Ruth and the Highlanders. When they got the Stadium, there were surprised by the lack of people around. That was because the Highlanders were on the road they were told by the cop on the beat. The cop told them if they wanted to see a baseball game, take a walk over the bridge to the Polo Grounds and go watch the Giants. So off they went.

As they took their seats they noticed a guy barking orders at players, they asked who he was, a fan told them “That’s McGraw, he runs the team” They looked at each ‘What ? An Irishman is the boss?” That was it my dad and uncle became die hard NY Giants fans, even though they lived in Brooklyn and stayed in Brooklyn to raise families in the heart of Dodger country. When the Giants left town both of them and the Mets were born they became Mets fans as did my brothers and my cousins. Things happen for a reason who knows, if the Highlanders were home that day, this site might have been The Tom Tresh Society. I hope Mugsy gets elected to the Hall with a landslide vote.

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SAY IT LOUD, I’M A METS FAN AND I’M PROUD

The only team in baseball having a better October than the Mets are the SF Giants. The introductory press conference for Sandy Alderson proved a point on why the Highlander organization and fan base fear the Mets more than any team in baseball.

Highlander high strung manager, Joe Girardi was signed to a three year extension the other day and the reaction by the NY sports media was “that’s nice but did your hear? Sandy Alderson will hold a press conference on Friday”. To those too young to know this, there was a time around here that everyday was like yesterday, where folks walked around town with Mets hats and jackets and greeted one and other with “Hey, how ‘bout those Mets”. The Alderson era brings Mets fans hope and that has not been in abundance around here for a long time. Sandy Alderson also has a plan, another strategy missing in Queens as well, and most importantly he wants the same exact thing for the Mets franchise that we all want, respect and accountability.

Alderson knew just what to say yesterday. First when he talked about the NY Mets being an iconic franchise, my face was flush. I’ve gotten on my soap box time after time here about the Mets being the flagship team of the National League and how our lineage goes back to 1876 when the New York Mutuals played the first NL season and then of course in 1883 when our ancestors the New York Giants came to be. The NY Highlanders were not even a glint in Ban Johnson’s eye when NL ball was featured in NYC and for Sandy Alderson to acknowledge that made an outstanding first impression on me.

Alderson was asked about his choice for manager as Mets fans are nervous nellies because the reports and track record of Alderson’ is he goes for the weak silent type. After surviving the Dead Manger Era (Art Howe) and the Clueless Manger Era (Jeff Torborg) we waited to hear what our the new leader of free Mets world would say. When the words “I like a manager who kicks ass and takes names” rolled off his tongue, it was 1964 at the Ed Sullivan Theatre all over again. All I needed to hear was “and the Black uniforms and caps have already been shit canned” then I’d have had to been resuscitated. Alderson gets it. He knows that he not only has to build a winning team but he has to build an entertaining team and a team Mets fans want to embrace. Rooting for a losing team sucks but being a supporter of a team you can’t stand is heartbreaking.

Think about the dimension we are about to enter Mets fans. We have gone from a GM who had no time for statistical analysis of which he called “false hustle” which was really Omar Minaya verifying he was behind the times and quite frankly lazy as a GM, to a man who will use those numbers and a consensus from his staff and scouts on player evaluation for drafting, trading and free agent signing purposes. Welcome to the 21st Century Mets fans.

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BELIEVE IT OR NOT THERE IS GREAT BASEBALL BEING PLAYED AROUND MLB

The days watching baseball get tougher and tougher now that our Mets are non-entities but last night I watched what was one of the best baseball games I have seen in years.

 The Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox hooked up last night in a game that if it were a post season game would be an instant classic. King Felix Hernandez and Mark Buehrle worked fast, threw strikes and neither one gave an inch. King Felix was helped out by great defensive plays by Adrian Beltre and Ichiro and Buehrle had impeccable command, The game went 14 innings until Junior Griffey drove in the game winner with a single to right to give the M’s a 1-0 win.

 

So Carlos Delgado has pulled an oblique muscle as he tries to come back from hip surgery. Only the NY Mets could get a guy hurt rehabbing from an injury. Nah, nothing wrong with the team training staff <eyes pointed up to the sky>

 

I watched part of Petey’s return and it gave me a big YAWN!!!! I watched the Philly telecast and Tom McCarthy nearly pissed his pants going wild over Petey hitting 91 on the gun. He looked hittable and I’d bet by his third start he’ll get his tits lit.

 

By the way Mike Silva has video of the Shane Victordouchebag getting a beer bath from some fat slob in the Wrigley bleachers. Phillies fans are outraged by the Cub fans gross behavior. That’s like Hugh Hefner calling Dennis Hoff a pimp.

 

The Mets have decided to wear throwback uni’s this weekend but they will not not be “Mets Throwbacks” but more like the uniform worn by the 1905 World Champion New York Giants. The difference though will be a Mr. Met patch on the sleeve and the sleeve cuffs will be blue and orange. Next season the Skill Sets have planned to rename the team the Bridegrooms.

 

Check out Pro Baseball Central tonight at 9PM EDST as Joe McDonald and I talk about the mess that is the NY Mets and what the future of the franchise looks like you can join the conversation as well at (646) 595-4462. If you can’t join us live you can listen on the podcast right here at TEKS or on our Pro Baseball Central site.  

 

More than Beltran, or Delgado or anyone of the dozen players on the DL The player who is missed the most is Jose Reyes, not just for his bat and glove but for his energy. Love him or hate him you can not deney this lifeless bunch of Mets could use a does of Jose-Jose-Jose.

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NEW BOOK: BOTTOM OF THE NINTH BY MICHAEL SHAPIRO

 

 

 

After Walter O’Malley got Horace Stoneham good and drunk and persuaded Stoneham to move the New York Giants along with his Dodgers to the Left Coast a movement went through baseball to start a third Major League to be called the Continental League. This league would help NYC replace the Dodgers and Giants and allow cities like Houston, Toronto, Denver and Minneapolis-St Paul to join and have big league baseball.  The league would be headed by Branch Rickey. The creation of this league put pressure on MLB to expand and from this league sprang the Houston Colt 45’s (now the Astros) The LA Angels, Washington Senators and our beloved NY Mets.

In the Bottom Of The Ninth, (published by Henry Holt and Co) Michael Shapiro lays out in detail the behind the scenes negotiations that led to the threat of a new league helping bring back National League baseball to NYC plus the drama between Bill Shea, Casey Stengel and the Mahatma himself.

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I’M SLOWLY TURNING INTO YOU

 Then something else came to mind

That was the mirror

It made everything clearer

That you’re more beautiful compelling and stronger

It didn’t take much longer

Just for me to realize I love all the little things

And the beauty that they’re gonna bring

I dig your little laugh and I’m lovin’ your quick wit

I even love it when you’re faking it

And it might sound a little strange for me to say to you

But I’m proud to be you

 

And I’m slowly turning into you

And I’m slowly turning into you

And I’m slowly turning into you

And I’m slowly turning into you

 

The more I see of $iti Field the more I’m coming around to the fact that this will be at least from a structural point, a baseball palace.  From looking at the pictures that Joe McDonald took while on a tour of the new ballpark the first thing that strikes me is the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. It is magnificent. I know there is alot of anti-Brooklyn Dodgers sentiment among Mets fans and the naming and the reproduction of the Ebbets Field rotunda of $iti Field has been debated as some segment of Mets fans feel the Mets should honor their own and other part of the fans base wants the New York Giants/Polo Ground element to be added and both sides make fine arguments but to bash the design of the ball park and to be upset that the rotunda is named after Jackie Robinson is ridiculous in my view. In fact I wanted the ball park named after Robinson but I know that is just a pipe dream.

 

Any way not just the rotunda is breath taking up the view from the section show that Mets fans will have that up close and personal feel and be right on top of the action. I also LOVE the forest green seats which will give the park that old time feel.

 

Maybe it’s the cold weather and wishing it was 80 degrees and sunny or maybe it’s the Rangers getting the ass handed to them last night by Les Habitants that has me getting antsy for spring training and then opening day at the new place. (We have to come up with a better name though as I’m still going to use $iti Field so if you have any suggestions for me pass them along through the comments or e-mail sinymets@aol.com )

 

 

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An October Run

Since Jerry Manuel took over, the Mets haven’t just been good, but wicked good. As a result, Mets playoff tickets are out there as the team looks to play into October.

After last year’s collapse, the Mets rebounded from the Willie Randolph era with Manuel taking over and revitalizing the players. Carlos Delgado had a MVP-like year and this one of Carlos Beltran’s better years, which is surprising after having his knees scoped this past offseason.

It’s one reason why New York Mets tickets have been as hot as Broadway tickets and Boston Red Sox Tickets.

Now all the Mets have to do is hold serve over the next 14 games and make an October run.

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Tickets

The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

Visit BangTheBook.Com for daily free MLB Mets Picks and gameday previews, also join the baseball handicapping discussion in the forum or track your plays in our sports monitor.