I AM A RANGER

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I know we are supposed to be all hopped up for baseball, with opening day just days away (I am very anxious to get to Citi Field early on Thursday) but I have to take time out to salute my NY Rangers on win #50 last night.

This has been the best Rangers season in years. This may not be the most talented Rangers team ever but it may be the best loved by the fans, with the exception of the 1994 Cup Champs. Even the most jaded of Rangers fan has a tough time criticizing anyone on this team, oh they try by getting on Dubi or Boyle or Richards but they look foolish doing it.

I have no idea what will happen in the Stanley Cup playoffs, I will be rooting my ass off for a Cup and a parade but right but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

But before the playoffs start I want to thank the Rangers players, Coach Torterella and a guy I have been nasty to for years Glen Sather for giving Rangers fans a great season and for bringing us a team we are so proud of.

The video I posted gives me goosebumps every time I see it when I’m at MSG. I had NY Rangers season tickets from the mid-70′s to about 1990 when kids and a mortgage made me shift my time and money obligations but I still make sure I watch every game on TV and try to get to at least 10 games a year.

Like the message in the video says “I AM A RANGER”

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Sandy Sez

This will be a quick post as I just received my copy of R.A. Dickey’s book and I can’t wait to read it. So I want to get my work done early so I can get at it this afternoon.  

Sandy Alderson was on with Sports Bloviator to talk about the Mets spring training and the season just one week away.

It was an interesting conversation, save for Alderson battling a bad cold and the Sports Bloviator talking over Alderson while he was answering a question, and a few things I got from listening to Alderson were:

Jason Bay is more of a problem for this team than any other player due to his untradeable contract and his inability to hit a baseball. Alderson all but put up the white flag on Bay by saying “he’s healthy and he’ll be the everyday left fielder”  it will be worth watching how the club reacts to Bay if he is as unproductive at the plate as he’s was last year. If Bay announced his retirement today, Alderson would throw the retirement party to end all retirement parties

Mike Pelfrey is here only because he’s durable and for what the Mets are paying him, there weren’t any pitchers out there that can give you the quantity of innings and starts that Pelf can at the price. Now are they quality innings or starts? Not really, but it speaks to the state of pitching in baseball where a guy like Pelfrey at $5.6 mil is a bargain.

If Kirk Nieuwenhuis stayed injury free this spring I get the feeling he would have been the opening day centerfielder.   Alderson seems to be a big Capt Kirk fan and he could be up and in the lineup much sooner than later.

Alderson seems to ignore the elephant in the room when talking about Jordany Valdespin, his immaturity and poor work ethic.

With the Madoff fiasco in the Sill Sets rear view mirror if the club becomes a contender for a wild card spot, Alderson made it known there will be funds to bring in reinforcements to make a run at a  post season run. Yes, that’s getting wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy ahead of ourselves.

Every start by Johan Santana and the day after, will be scrutinized up, down, inside and out. The plan seems to be, get Chris Young ready to contribute by late May-early June, to give Santana more rest by going to a 6 man rotation.  When pressed for innings/starts projection for Santana, Alderson couldn’t put a number on it, seems Johan will be on a start by start evaluation. We are in uncharted territory here

You can tell Alderson is very concerned with the teams defense as he said a few times there are positions (2B, RF, C )  where they are sacrificing defense for offense and he hopes it doesn’t come back to bite the team in the ass.  Another big concern for Alderson is the lack of depth at the big league and Triple A level, he all but said straight out if the team is hit by injuries we’re fucked.

 

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R.A. Dickey Profile In Courage

Of all the things that have happened to me since I started blogging about my beloved NY Mets, the club reaching out to myself and fellow bloggers, granting us access to the team and front office folks has to be the best and most rewarding part of covering the team. If you’ve read my posts from the times I’ve been out to Citi or to any other baseball event where I’ve had the honor of speaking to R.A. Dickey, you know my respect and awe for the man, well if the excerpts of his new book “Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball are any indication how the rest of the book will read, my admiration for Dickey will be off the charts.

It takes a certain kind of courage to come out and bare your soul to the masses as Dickey has done in the excerpts he read yesterday.  If a positive comes out of Dickey’s revelation of sexual abuse as a child and thoughts of suicide as an adult, is the Mets follow through with the promise they made last year of coming out with a PSA on bullying and teen aged suicides. No team in sports has a better spokesperson than R.A. Dickey, the organization shouldn’t pass up this great opportunity to educate the masses.

The blogger-ratzi was invited to Citi Field this past Monday night for a noshing on the newest food offerings at the ball park this season ( I was invited but had to decline the invite since this nasty head cold I have has now made its way to my chest making me more miserable than a normal day, a trip to the doctor is on tap for this afternoon) you can read the reviews from Faith and Fear in Flushing, Mets Police, On The Black, Optimistic Mets Fan  and top Mets foodie Ted Berg .

Great news by the Mets that the family of Gary Carter will be throwing out the first pitch next Thursday at opening day. Shannon of Mets Police has an interesting thought on a surprise that could happen on Thursday.

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Mets-cellaneous

I just hope a week from Thursday the weather is better than today in NYC. I’ll take the sunshine but this morning at 6AM it was 31 degrees which meant I had to retrieve my winter coat from my basement closet. I hate wearing my winter coat.

Speaking of a week from Thursday, I’m more than ready to get the season started as it will put up and shut up time and we get to talk about games that count.  But before we do there is some Mets Miscellany to discuss.

ITEM: Johan Santana Decreased Velocity

There was a bit of a panic in Metsville yesterday as the beat writers were sending Tweets from the frontline on Johan Santana’s start. It seems all the JUGS guns had Santana with less than Autobahn numbers, along with an ineffective first inning sent the sky is falling Mets fans out in droves.

It would be great if Santana was hitting 90+ but according to the stories from the game his velocity increased as the game went on. He walked 3 in the first inning but then regained his command to settle in and pitch very well:

 ”I was struggling locating my fastballs,” Santana said. “I threw two-seamers. And, then, by the time I threw my breaking ball, I wasn’t able to throw strikes. But then I made some adjustments and I started hitting the inside corner and I was better after that. … It was just one of those days where things take a little longer. That’s all it was.”

See what gives you optimism with Santana that he will come back to form is he’s a very smart pitcher and knows exactly how to execute and how to adjust. I didn’t think we’d see Santana until the end of May but now I’ll be disappointed if Santana is not on the Citi Field bump on opening day.

ITEM: David Wright Back In Action

Good to see Wright back in action but let’s see if (when) he can go a couple, three days straight without aggravating his stomach injury. As Wright stated there is getting into physical shape and then there is game shape. Wright will be off today but then I’d like to see him play the rest of the week .

ITEM: Chris Young Signs Minor League Deal

Never have enough arms. Low risk high reward but there are still some Mets fans  that will knock this signing because that what those Mets like to do.

ITEM: Carlos Beltran pays Jon Niese $10K

Someday I’d love to carry that kind a coin around with me to just write a check to a co-worker for cosmetic surgery. I’d have my office look like the waiting area of the Bunny Ranch.

ITEM: Texas Rangers Release Connor Jackson

We are going to see a bunch of these releases as Jackson fits the description of players signed to minor league deals who are guaranteed $100 K if they are still in camp on March 30th. The Rangers are hoping to strike a deal with Jackson to start the season in the minors but it wouldn’t be bad for the Mets to swoop in a sweeten the pot a bit to add Jackson to the 25 man squad as he’s a right handed bat who can play the corner outfield spots and 1st base.

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Don’t Rush Wright

 

So it looks like David Wright is still not….well….right.  Wright has yet to make an appearance in a exhibition game and although he has begun participating in team workouts he is nowhere near ready to start the season.

Why is it so important for Wright to be at 3rd base on opening day? Isn’t it more important that he gets himself healthy and in baseball shape? I believe it’s more of psychological to fans that they see Wright lined up on the 1st base line of Citi Field doffing his cap to the patrons than it is savvy baseball thinking. What could be so bad that Wright stays in extended spring training for a week to ten days and comes up ready to perform?

Fans get too amped up for opening day, sure we all love the festivities and the atmosphere that the first day of baseball brings but I’d rather have a dull opening day than a dismal Labor Day ?

I really feel bad for Jason Bay. He has worked his ass off all spring to get his game in gear but it’s just not happening. His head is so far gone Dr. Sydney Freidman couldn’t help him. Maybe Bay should take the good docs advice and “pull down his pants and slide on the ice”. I will bet anyone a whole one dollar bill that the Mets front office discusses everyday how to rid themselves of Bay.

I have no problem with Mike Baxter starting in centerfield on opening day or Matt Den Dekker for that matter as well. I do think Den Dekker needs more time in the bushes to get his offense on par with his defense but Sandy Alderson is so worried about this team’s awful defense that he would be willing to sacrifice offense in a key spot in centerfield for Den Dekker’s potential golden glove. This is all moot of course if Andres Torres sees a faith healer for his aching calf and is fit to fight for opening day, but I still like to see Baxter make the 25 man roster.

Mets are on SNY today at 1PM with Big Pelf pitching for his big league life. Get ya popcorn ready!

 

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If Fred Wilpon Was Thinking Of Addressing The Crowd On Opening Day, He Better Think Again

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Hat tip to Jeff Pearlman for this link

 

You would think the owner of a team that hasn’t won anything in ages and knows that he presides over a hostile fans base would think twice about taking to the microphone to address a sold out crowd on what was supposed be a night of celebration and have it turn into a fiasco.  No this is not about Freddy or Jeffy Skill Sets as even as clueless as they both are they know and the Mets P.R. staff is savvy enough to know that the club owners are not very popular with the fan base, so you wonder what was the P.R. staff of the Golden State Warriors thinking by letting team owner Joe Lacob speak during Chris Mullin Night in Oakland.

The Warriors fans it seems hates ownership and it may be unfair to Lacob who is the new owner and is trying to fix what previous owner Chris Cohan broke, like firing the iconic Mullin as the teams GM but Lacob, as the video shows, looks totally shocked at the response he received from the fans and was totally unprepared on how to deal with the hostile crowd. Instead of just sticking to the script and getting on with the unveiling of Mullin’s retired jersey in the rafters, Lacob looks like he’s ready to piss his pants, if it weren’t for the great job that Mullin and Rick Barry do in supporting Lacob, I’m sure there would have been a puddle at center court.

After watching that video I wondered if Mets fans would do the same to the Skill Sets. They wouldn’t because I doubt we would get the chance. The Skill Sets know they are personas non grata with the Mets fans and as inept as we all think they are they’re not that out of touch that they don’t understand the shit storm of a reaction they would get if they tried to make a speech at Citi Field.

It’s a shame that Mullin’s night was marred by this display of fan revolt but there is also something refreshing about a fan base that sells out an arena game after game letting an owner have it for not putting a winning team on the court.

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Yes Mets Fans, It’s Time To Be Concerened

At what point during this spring training are we as Mets fans allowed to be concerned? See there is a segment of Mets followers who feel that some of the fan base overreacts to things in the spring but as we find ourselves just a mere 16 days away from opening day there are so many questions and so many concerns about the Mets team that will open the 2012 season.

Now you can say your expectations of the 2012 Mets are not high so this spring is just par for the course. As I type up this post, Mike Pelfrey is pitching like a guy who is closer to being released than sure up a spot in the starting rotation. Pelf’s line on the day is so bad the Mets should try to get FEMA to send them disaster aid money, 2.2 innings pitched with 8 runs scored all earned 8 hits and 4BB and oh yeah 4 K’s.  At this point when do Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins sit down and make a baseball decision and either release Pelfrey or pursued him to take a minor league assignment. It’s not just today’s start  but the other two he’s made this spring weren’t any good, add that into his lousy 2011, how can you give him a roster spot? I’d rather see Miguel Batista or Chris Schwinden get Pelfrey’s starts until Matt Harvey is ready to take a big league turn every 5th day.

I hate to question the seriousness of a player’s injury but is Ruben Tejada coming back any time soon? Is he hurt or injured? There is a big difference. I don’t blame Terry Collins for being a bit of a red ass over Tejada’s inability to get back on the field with what was reported as a “strained groin”. Is it more serious than the club is letting us know? Tejada hasn’t played in 7 days so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say his groin is more than strained.

You may not think its panic time for the Mets but I can guarantee the folks in the back offices of the team that are trying to sell tickets and advertising and secure sponsorships are concerned.  Collins has said time and again this spring, it is imperative that the team gets off to a good start of the season.  There isn’t enough big league talent or depth on this team to overcome a 5-15 start. With the difficulty of selling tickets and the negative vibe with the fan base and media who cover the team, even a 12-8 start would be seen as a success.

 

 

 

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GET YOUR NY METS TICKETS WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 29TH WITH A SPECIAL METS BLOGGERS PRE-SALE

The New York Mets have teamed up with some of your favorite Mets blogs to offer our readers a special ticket pre sale this Wednesday February 29th starting at 10 AM and concluding on Thursday March 1st at 11:59PM

To get in on this special pre-sale, just logon to Mets.com/blogs, click  on the BUY TICKETS button and enter the special pre-sale code: HODGES

Tickets for opening day against the Atlanta Braves on April 5th and the Subway Series for June 22-24 are included in this pre-sale

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ON OPENING DAY, LET ‘EM WEAR 8

 

The Montreal Canadians conducted a beautiful tribute to Gary Carter complete with a moving, emotional video tribute and an appearance by Youpi

The Mets have not yet announced what they will do to honor Kid, so if I may, let me make a suggestion. How about on opening day, every member of the Mets uniform personnel wear CARTER 8 on their brand new 50th Anniversary uniform jerseys.  Then after the game, each Met autographs the jersey he wore and auction it off for charity with the money going Carter’s Foundation.

I feel this would be perfect tribute to not only a great Mets player but as we’ve seen that last few days a man who touched so many lives.

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CURBING MY JOHAN ENTHUSIASM

 

 

 

With the Mets closing their training camp for the weekend as they get ready for Monday’s reporting day for pitchers and catchers, they won’t be much news coming from St. Lonesome today. It would be nice though, to get some sort of report on Johan Santana and how he feels after yesterday’s bullpen session.

So far it seems Santana is feeling good, in fact he says he’s not rehabbing the shoulder but getting it strong for the season which is great to hear but I would hope that he and the Mets take the slow lane in his comeback.

If Santana can make it back to the mound on Tuesday for another pitching session, it will be a huge step in his comeback but I just hope the team and the fan base don’t get overly optimistic on what Santana will bring to the Mets this season. Anything the team gets from him will be a plus and I still don’t think we will see Santana until late May at the earliest, pitching in a real game for the Mets.

Today is another 50 degree and sunny day in NYC and the winter has been unbelievably uneventful as far as the weather is concerned. So you know what that means? It will snow on opening day

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Tickets

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