Must Read of the Day Ron Darling Guest Column of Shannon Forde

 

Ron Darling has a guest column in today’s NY Daily News about Mets Sr. Director of Media Relations Shannon Forde and her fight with Stage IV breast cancer and information on the fund raiser on her behalf. Check out Hope Shines For Shannon for all the details of this great event

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We All Like Ike But……………

 

I’ve been away from my duties here at Kranepool Society for a couple of days, so I’ve got a lot to catch up on:

Anthony McCarron writes about David Wright today in the NY Daily News on how the Mets have for the first time in his close to 8 year career, become HIS team. Wright has always been deferential to vets like Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran and made a concerted effort to share the spotlight with Jose Reyes but now that they are dearly departed it’s finally David Wright’s team and though he would never say it, he has to be thrilled to death that it is.

Wright is not the rah-rah fiery type, although he did show that side of him after the Carrasco-Braun hit by pitch affair, Wright shows the leadership a young team like the Mets needs. When a 7+ year vet is the first to report to spring training and the first one to the ball park and the last one to leave, plays through pain and never skirts from his responsibility to speak to the media win or lose, it sets the tone to the rest of the team that Wright’s Way is the Mets Way. One doesn’t need a long term history lesson to see that this Mets clubhouse is more professional and more cohesive than we’ve seen in a long time and it bodes well for the future of this franchise.

Credit for the professional turnaround has to go to Terry Collins as well. Think back to when TC was hired as Mets manager, we all had our doubts due to his previous track record as the manager but it’s a real testament to Collins that he re-invented himself at an age when most folks are rock solid set in their ways.  Most Mets fans clamored for Wally Backman to run this team and while I’m a Wally fan, I can’t see anyone else but Terry Collins running this team for the next two seasons at least. If anyone deserves a hike in pay and a two year extension of his contract it’s Terry Collins.

Boy if I could take anything back that I’ve written on this site, it may be what I posted the other day about moving Scott Hairston to make room for Jason Bay when he comes back from his rib injury. I’ve taken what Hairston brings to this team for granted and if anything having Mike Baxter and Hairston on the bench for the Mets is a great strength.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ bat has cooled off, as to be expected but his strikeout rate has to give the front office some concern that the word has gotten out to throw Kirk a steady diet of breaking balls, so a trip back upstate may not be the worst thing in the world for Nieuwenhuis who seems to have the mindset to take a demotion not as a negative but a chance to work on his deficiency of hitting breaking pitches as his ticket back to the big leagues for good.

The one thing that could keep Captain Kirk with the Mets is the fact that it is now not if Ike Davis should be sent to Buffalo it’s more like a lock he’s going once Bay comes back.  The Marlins just sent their struggling 1st baseman Gaby Sanchez to Triple A to work his way back to being the All-Star he was last year. The Mets just cannot afford to play Ike every day with zero production and a stint in Buffalo should not be taken as a punishment but as an opportunity for Ike to get his groove back.

It’s amazing that the sports media dickheads in NYC who have been given the assignment to cover the NY Rangers during their playoff run are so lazy and so lacking in talent that they can’t see what this team is built on hard work, commitment to the team and the mindset that everyone is responsible for their actions on the ice and if you fuck up, you ride the pine. Doesn’t matter if you’re a multimillionaire all-star or a kid fresh off a college campus if you make a mistake that hurts the team you sit, you stew and you make damn sure you don’t do it again. It’s the same with some of these idiots who now question the Rangers commitment to blocking shots, guess what assholes, how do you think this team has gotten to where it is? Oh and for all the fawning you schmucks have been doing over Marty Brodeur, stop acting like lemmings calling him the greatest goaltender in hockey history, just because you’ve heard some of your overheated brethren say it. Sure it’s easy to look at his career stats and says he’s the best ever and I am by no means saying he isn’t a Hall of Famer but to say he’s the best ever is a slight to Jacques Plante, Terry Sawchuck, Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy. Take some time to read up on those four before you give Marty the crown of greatest ever and remember as good as Brodeur is, he’s no KING!

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Last Night’s Loss Still Stings

Photo of great catch by Capt. Kirk from the NY Daily News

There are days the Mets fan base annoys and puzzles me and then there are days I can see they get it, today they get. From reading through my Twitter timeline it seems the majority of Mets fans agree, last night’s loss was the toughest of the season to take.

What has made my day is that Mets blogger extraordinaire, Metstradamus wrote a post on last night’s game that is exactly how I feel, so like a hobo hoping on box car for free ride, if you read Metstradamus post twice, you will get his take and mine on last night’s game.

I will add it was nice to see the maturation of Jon Niese on the mound last night. Niese tried to muscle the ball the first three innings going heavily with his fastball and not keeping the ball down. In the 4th he started to get a good feel for his curve ball and cutter and then pitched more effectively.

I really wish Terry Collins would stop talking about Andres Torres getting the centerfield job back when he returns from the DL. Torres is not even a league average player, so TC and the Mets have to stop acting like there are brining Willie Mays back, Torres had one solid year, he’s 33 years old and he’s not the future of the NY Mets, Kirk Nieuwenhuis is.  The young core of this team is what gives me hope that the future is bright for the Mets. I don’t expect Nieuwenhuis to keep hitting at a .371 clip but I’d rather he’d stay up here go through a dry spell at the plate and learn how to battle through in the big leagues.

It’s easy to dump on Jason Bay for striking out in a big spot but as per the Pitch f/x of his 10th inning at bat against Clay Hensley, the real villain of that AB was home plate ump Kerwin Danley.

Don’t forget tonight is the World Premier of Knuckleball! At the Tribeca Film Festival with a free showing of the film at the Tribeca Drive-In  (World Financial Center Plaza, West Street between Vesey and Liberty Streets) the festivities kick off at 6PM with the film showing at 8PM

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CAMP FIRE

That is the patch the Mets will wear this season in remembrance of Gary Carter. I’d still like to see all uniform personnel wear CARTER 8 uni tops for a game and auction them off for charity


You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be a Mets fan who feels Terry Collins is being a hard ass to Ruben Tejada for not getting to camp early and then complain that the team isn’t very good.

Collins is stressing to his team that they have to work harder than anyone else and be  focused better than anyone else if they are to succeed this season. You can see from the early interviews of TC down in St. Lonesome that he wants his team to stick it up all the naysayer’s asses and show that the Mets are a winning baseball team.

The maturation of Matt Harvey continues to be an early training camp story line. As Josh Thole has raved about Harvey’s pitch repertoire, the manager and coaches, especially Wally Backman, have raved about his willingness to get their advice on what he needs to do to reach the big league level. Sandy Alderson is on the record as saying Harvey will not break camp with the Mets but Harvey is determined to make that a difficult decision, it’s hard to get giddy over Matt Harvey.

Same for Jeurys Familia who along with Harvey was profiled in the NY Daily News today as two guys who are competing for a job in the big leagues but have grown close as teammates and hope to join the big league club together at some point this season.

It’s so early in spring training but from reading stories about the mood of the camp and camaraderie  of the players, the Mets are staring to give me a feeling that they could be baseball version of the New York Rangers.

If Jason Bay struggles against right handed pitching as he did last season, the more reason to root for Kirk Nieuwenhuis to make the team as a platoon partner for Bay in LF. No one in the front office will say it but I bet the leash on Bay is short this season especially if he struggles against rhp.

 

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IN NYC YOU CAN GET GREAT PASTRAMI,BUT GREAT SPORTS TALK RADIO? I’M AFRAID NOT

It will be tough to read any Mets news this week as NYC has turned its sports eye to this Sunday’s Super Bowl (with a squint at Madison Square Garden as Knicks fans await the firing of coach Mike D’Antoni and Mike Woodson taking over for the season) and the over saturation of information that will come out of Indianapolis all week. One of the more interesting aspects of this fountain of information is the two sports radio station in town going head to head on Radio Row.

David Hinckley has a column in today’s NY Daily News on how both station will be on Radio Row fighting for guests and for the ears of the New York sports fan.  What makes it even more interesting is FAN is the flagship station for the NY Giants games and WEPN carries NY Jets games. Both station have players under contract for weekly spots with Anonte Rolle , a provocative weekly guest of Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts and Eli Manning who calls in to Michael Kay show each week.

WEPN has never made a dent in the ratings and as the Great Sports Pope, Mike Francesa likes to say, “Dey cum ta wawr wit pea shootas” .WEPN’s biggest problem is they can’t decide if they want to be national sports radio broadcasting in NYC or a hybrid National/Local station. To be honest here, I’ve kind of weaned my way off WFAN. I’ll listen to the station at work but when I’m in the car I’ll listen to Sirius/XM radio, mostly MLB Radio.   

As much as I would love to listen to someone other than Francesa, when I tune into the Michael Kay Show it’s the sports talk equivalent to fingers nails on a chalk board.  What make it worse is I really like Don LaGreca and I’ve always felt he was being wasted as a second banana on the Kay show.

When you look at the WEPN line up, it’s no wonder it gets miniscule ratings.  Even though Mike and Mike is an ESPN infomercial, I kind of enjoy listening to them but again they are a National show which makes it more puzzling why they follow M & M with the totally unlistenable Colin Cowherd, again another National show.  At 12 noon the station puts on its best effort of the day in airing Ryan Ruocco and Robin Lundburg. Ruocco and Lundburg are young and come with a fresher, hipper way of doing sports talk that is quite refreshing, the problem is they only get two hours of air time as at 2pm WEPN turns into old foggey radio with the Mike Lupica Show. Lupica has not been relevant on the New York sport scene in about 10 years when he was at least watching sporting events on television (stories were all around that Lupey never attended games he wrote about it seems he’s beneath siting in a press box) what line of thinking is going through WEPN program director Dave Roberts head that he feels an hour of Lupey is better radio than an extra hour of Ruocco and Lundberg?

Sure it’s a tough task to overtake WFAN in the ratings as they are the founding fathers of sports talk radio not just in NYC but the country but it can be done if you go out a get younger hosts who are social media savvy who can talk about multiple subjects instead of beating listeners to death with Rex Ryan coaching critiques and 1960’s Yankees retrospectives. WEPN is missing a great opportunity to reach hockey fans by not giving LaGreca a weekend hockey show especially with the station airing NY Rangers games. Same for doing an NBA show. I know Stephen (Screamin’) A. Smith can polarized listeners but he is in tune with the NBA and by paring him up with the underutilized and underrated Larry Hardesty I’m sure they would move the rating needle north.

When you think about it here we live in a city that is sports crazy with multiple teams in four major sports but we don’t have a decent sports talk radio station to listen to. Sad, don’t you think?

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METS NEWS AT A MINIMUM

Not much going on in Mets Land these days. In fact I’m more concerned about the NY Rangers heading to the West Coast of Canada for a four game swing before they get to come home to an under renovation Madison Square Garden.  I’m far from panic mode with the Blueshirts as I follow the Freddy “The Fog “ Shero philosophy of waiting until New Year’s Day to evaluate where the team is and what moves need to be made, but I do hope I see some piss and vinegar out of Torts Boys tonight.

The NY Daily News has a book out on commemorating the 50 th Anniversary of the New York Mets and Ed “Rusty Jr.” Marcus has a positive review of the book in his post this morning. As I tweeted to Ed, any book with the Andy Martino a/k/a Lupica Lite listed as author makes it a pass for me.  As much as I am excited for the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Mets this coming season, knowing that Dana Brand won’t be a part of really really hurts.

Mike Silva posts again about what kind of deals are out there if the Mets look to trade David Wright. I love these posts because Silva looks at moving Wright as it pertains to making the Mets better and the fan reaction of all the Wright-aholics who curse folks like Silva and me for even bringing up the idea of trading the so called face of the franchise is priceless.

This upcoming World Series has a lot of potential to be a very good boarding on classic. Both teams are evenly matched and both teams have starting pitching that’s running on fumes. The bullpens, as we’ve seen all post season, will be the difference between winning and losing. The managers will also be on display as The Genius may be more hands on than usual and Ron Washington will give us a few “what the fuck” moments. On offense can Nelson Cruz and David Freese continue their hot hitting and will the Rangers be able to use their running game to their advantage against Yadier Molina? Good stuff. Got to root for the Cards as they are the NL reps but I’m looking at seven games and a better Texas bullpen leading the way to the Rangers first ever World Championship.

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MORE FROM MY FRIDAY AT CITI FIELD

On Friday the Mets invited some Mets bloggers back to Citi Field to participate in Terry Collins’ pre and post game press conference and to watch the game between the Mets and Brewers from the press box.  I want to thank Danielle Parillo Director, Communication and Shannon Forde Director, Media Relations for the hospitality they’ve shown us and for the invitations to these events and the Mets management for trying and so far succeeding in changing the atmosphere around the club and bringing transparency and communication back to the fan base via the voice of the fans, the Mets bloggers.

During the evening I sat with Mike Silva of NY Baseball Digest and Mike mentioned to me a post he was writing dealing with Mike Pelfrey and how the Mets should explore making Pelf the closer for 2012. We tossed the subject around with the pros and cons and mostly if Pelf can handle the day to day pressure of closing and if he could get a strikeout when he needs it. All in all it was a subject that stirred a debate and was great conversation. That being said, I was shocked to see the lightweight Mets beat reporter for the NY Daily News write the same exact story that Silva posted on Saturday in today’s paper. I won’t link the News story but if you see someone using a Daily News to pick up after their dog in the street ask if you can have the sports section to read the ripped off story.

I still feel a bit intimidated when I go to these Mets bloggers events. Before the press conference, Danielle informed the blogggers that we could ask Terry Collins a question but she warned, he wasn’t in a very good mood. Now I had a question for the manager as I wanted to know if in the Mets minor league system, of which Collins was the Minor League coordinator, do the coaches and managers have classroom sessions, kind of like they do in other sports, where they go over video of a game and correct mistakes in base running or on defense like throwing to the wrong base or being out of position and to go over the rules of the game?  

When Collins entered the room the first thing he said to Jay Horowitz was “I’m out of here at 4:05” it was 3:55 when he said that. The media in the room that I recognized were Adam Rubin, Howie Rose, Gary Cohen, George Vesey and Ed Coleman.  The bulk of the questions were about Jose Reyes and his sore hammy. It seems Reyes was able to run on a track at a training facility in Long Island and I guess the manager wanted to see him run the bases at Citi but whatever, the look and mannerism of the manager gave me the impression the last thing he wanted to do was answer a questions from the media much less from bloggers.  

When Shannon approached me with the microphone to ask a question, something in my mind told me, “ehhhh you better pass here. It’s a pretty good question but maybe save it if you meet the manager in the off season when it’s a little calmer” So I passed my turn to the next blogger, who passed to the next blogger who passed to…..Well, I guess you see my point, none of us wanted to raise the skipper ire.

One of the pleasures of watching the Mets warm up and take BP is interacting with Jose Reyes. Reyes was taking some ground balls and playing catch with Justin Turner, then hit the cage for BP. When he was done he headed to the clubhouse and as he got close to me I asked him how he was feeling and how the hamstring was and he answered. “I’m feeling good Papi, I’ll be ready soon” This was the second time I’ve spoken to Reyes (the other was during an event in the offseason)    and both times he called me Papi and you know what, it made my day both times.

Yesterday I posted the audio from the bloggers sit down with R.A. Dickey. Before R.A. came out we were hanging out in the Mets dugout. I put my bag down and hopped up on the wall in back of the benches to sit down. As R.A. came out he sat right next to me. Luck of the Irish eh? We all introduced ourselves and of course I had to add that I’m @kranepool on Twitter to which Dickey gave me a laugh and said “ahhhh ok pleasure to meet you in person” No R.A. the pleasure was all mine.

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A FRIDAY QUICK HIT

I’ve got a ton of work to get to today and if the rain holds off a baseball game to manage tonight so just a few quickies before my nose meets the old grind stone:

Good medical news finally as Davis Wright will head to Port St. Lonesome and engage in baseball activities that hopefully gets him back to the Mets by the All Star break. I love Jose Reyes telling Wright to “Have fun in St. Lucie” then laughing to reporters “There is nothing to do there”

Hopefully all Chris Capuano is suffering from is a cramp in his abdomen from not being sufficiently hydrated and not some oblique-intercostal bullshit muscle pull thingy.

The whole back page of the NY Daily News today is just bunch of sensational bullshit, in fact I just spent more time on it than I should have.

The Jim Riggleman resignation is the talk of baseball today. After reading Ken Rosenthal’s article on Riggleman walking out on the Nats you can say there are two sides to the story and when you start hearing the manager and scouts all agree that GM Mike Rizzo has a problem with communicating with them, you could see that Riggelman’ ultimatum that his contract option for 2012 be picked up or else was a cry to get the GM’s attention. Bottom line is Riggleman quit on his team and what makes it worse is his team is on a roll as they are just 4 ½ games off the Wild Card and they have been winning at home so Riggleman comes off as a real selfish prick with this move. I agree with Rosenthal as I definitely see Davey Johnson being the first choice to take over the Nats for at least the rest of the season as this is the perfect Davey Johnson situation.

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THE METS KNEE-ED THAT ONE

 

photo courtesy of the NY Daily News

When you haven’t had a walk off win all season you take what you can get, and last night after Frankie Rodriguez came one strike away from saving a stellar start by R.A. Dickey (any of you dinosaurs out there still rely on won-loss record to evaluate starting pitcher’s?) but spit the bit and sent the game into extra innings. It wasn’t until Ginger Turner took one for the team in the 13th taking a pitch to the knee to force home Lucas Duda for the win.

What a game and what a day yesterday. First the news that Ike is not progressing well and we still have to wait three weeks to see if Ike will be back in August or February. Today we get more medical news on David Wright and with the way the Mets luck has been with injuries I wouldn’t be shocked to hear he’s done for the year as well. When you’re a Mets fan it’s “expect the worst and hope for the not so bad”.

All this medical talk has gotten in the way of Mets fans favorite past time, figuring out if Jose Reyes will be traded, re-signed or lost as a free agent. The subject it seems has not been beaten enough so let me give my opinion on the Reyes situation that changes daily:

I want Jose Reyes to stay with the Mets but:

If Sandy Alderson gets bowled over with an offer from a team that feels they are a World Series contender that includes a young ML ready starting pitcher or a top flight number one pitching prospect then he has to make the deal.

If there is no top offer like that then keep Reyes and take a chance you can match any offer he gets in the off season.

Again Mets fan this is not about you, you do not figure in any of the Reyes negotiation. It’s about Reyes and the financial security of his family, it’s about the Mets committing years and money to one player when this team is not one player away from being a winning team , it’s about Reyes making the biggest decision of his life whether to leave the only organization he has ever known to go to parts unknown. So does Reyes take in the old devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know adage, or does he say baseball is baseball and follows the money. Rally’s and signs and t-shirts are nice and shows ownership that there is still passion in the fan base so maybe a small part of the discussion to keep Reyes will be the fan reaction (a/k/a buying tickets) bottom line is Sandy Alderson has to do what’s good for the Mets and Jose Reyes has to do what’s good for the Reyes’s .

Right now it’s all in a holding pattern, check back on July 10ththe last game before the All Star break to see which way the wind blows in Flushing. If the Mets are still part of the Wild Card pack then they could be buyers (a catcher, reliever or if Ike is done for year a right handed bat for 1stBase) if they are also ran’s then the selloff will be on.

Right now let’s concentrate on the Mets beating the A’s today for a series win.

Here is something we can all agree on, we can’t stand Joe Buck and hate when his new gravel voice comes on the FOX Game of the Week. So it is your duty to sign the petition put forth by Matthew Falkenburry of The Daily Stache to have FOX give the World Series play by play job this season to Vin Scully. Since the day I subscribed to MLB Extra Innings I’ve found a new appreciation for Scully doing Dodger games solo. His play by play and storytelling are still spot on. I don’t know if Scully would be up to doing another World Series as he doesn’t travel past Denver to do Dodger games plus we’re dealing with FOX here, a place where closed minds are pre requisite for employment but it’s worth a shot to show FOX and MLB that a change is needed in the national broadcast booth and to send a message to Vinny that baseball fans still love him.

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METS ON BOARD WITH ANTI-BULLYING CAUSE

As happy as last night’s win in the Mets House of Horrors made me I was even happier to read in today’s NY Daily News that Sandy Alderson , Jason Bay and R.A. Dickey were quoted as being interested in making a “It Gets Better” anti-bullying video like the one made by the SF Giants. The “It’s Gets Better” campaign focuses mostly on gay and lesbian teens that face awful discrimination and have a high suicide rate but it also includes all kids who are subjected to bully tactics by their peers. That part of it seems to be lost on the ownership of the Mets (shocking right?) as we see from a “team official”:

“We had already been looking around trying to find an organization to partner with on the bullying issue,” a team official said. “We are interested in inclusiveness. If you target one specific subset, what about the other groups that are bullied?”

Gee, I guess it’s a huge task to work with a group that is trying to help kids who are not only trying to come to grips with their sexuality and accept that’s who they are and not be ashamed and also work with kids who get bullied for no reason due to the inadequacies of the bully.

Thankfully there are stand up guys in the organization like Bay, Dickey and Alderson who have said they would lend their voices for this cause, Hopefully between them and  Mets fans there will be enough pressure put on the organization to get behind this cause.

Lisa Swan and Jon Levin over at Subway Squawkers are running a contest on their site, sponsored by Blimpies Sandwich Shops where you can win tickets to this Sunday’s Mets-Angels game at Citi Field.

Taryn Cooper gives her take on the future of Jose Reyes with the Mets by following the money.

Tim Smith would have been better off taking a sick day than writing this column. And you wonder why newspapers are going under.

It’s kind of refreshing to have a manager who plays his 8 best players on the field every night but I have to think the handling of Jason Bay and the fact that Bay sits more than he plays has to come to a head sooner or later. The biggest obstacle with Bay and his sudden inability to hit is that no one-Bay, Dave Hudgens, Terry Collins or  Sandy Alderson know how to get Bay back on the hitting track.

The Atlanta Braves have now gone to flooding the infield to slow down Jose Reyes and that didn’t work. What’s next kidnapping?

Matt Falkenberry has a great interview with The Immortal Chris “Maj” Majkowski the man who keeps the Mets on the air on WFAN

Ed “Rusty Jr.” Marcus has a great write up on today’s 34 Anniversary of the Midnight Massacre which I commemorate each year  by sitting in the dark all night in the fetal position crying like a baby. This day and the day Gil Hodges died are the worst days in the history of the NY Mets.

 

 

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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.

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