Coming Up On The 4th of July and We Are In A Pennant Race

 

Looks like the Mets roller-coaster season is rising to the top again with last night’s 3-2 win over the Hollywood Bums.  So far as we near the completion of the first half of the season, Mets fans emotions and view of this team has spun around like a weather vane in a tornado, they put together a nice little win streak and we feel this could the one of those season where the club can grab what looks like a wide open NL East and win the division. Then there are the losing streaks and we’re ready to slump our shoulders and look at each other with that “ I knew it was too good to be true” expression we’ve worn since Mike Vail looked like the second coming of Mickey Mantle until a shattered ankle ended that dream.

But here we are, at the end of June and the Mets are but a mere 3 ½ games out of 1st place. I think most of us are still stunned by that as all winter the number of wins predicted for this Mets team hovered between 75 and 81 with everyone who bleeds blue and orange saying a .500 season would be a dream come true. Has this first half changed your view of that dream?

This is what the summer should be about, your team in contention for a pennant where you’re not just following your team but every team in the division, that’s where we stand now with the Mets especially this weekend. With the Mets and Dodgers playing at 10PM, it sets up perfect for us to follow the Phillies at the Fish and the Nats at the Braves right into Mets (with the Dickster on the bump) Dodgers. Its weekends like this that I pity those who aren’t baseball fans.

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WHEN THE WALLS COME TUMBLIN’ DOWN

 

Here’s the Mets news of the day:

The Mets are in a pennant race but on the wrong side of the track. The red-hot Redbrids are breathing down the necks of the Bravos of whom the Mets took two out three games from last week and have made the Washington Generals Mets look like stumblebums the last two nights.

Lucas Duda came out of the game last night after running into the right field fence. Doctors say he does not show symptoms of a concussion. Duda will announce his retirement from baseball Monday at Citi Field due to effects of the head injury he suffered last night.

The Mets organization have made the decision it’s better to go to Home Depot and invest in plywood, nails and Scotts Turf Builder to rebuild the Great Wall of Flushing into the Grotto De Corona complete with a small wall, a grassy knoll and votive candles, than to go out and get better players. If this doesn’t work, the Skill Sets will petition MLB to allow David Wright to take all his home at bats at the 2K Sports Fan Fest Wiffle Ball Field.  

Pedro Beato was ineffective again last night out of the pen. Beato claims to be fatigued due to pitching for close to 20 months straight between Winter ball, Minor Leagues and this full year with the Mets. NYC Department of Child Services is looking into Beato’s claim of abuse by his foster parents, Dan Warthen and Terry Collins.

Sandy Alderson was surprised when told that the vast majority of Mets fans want the outfield walls painted BLUE. I guess he’d be shocked, SHOCKED to find out that we think the Black Jerseys suck ass as well.

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GO GET THE SYM-PHONY THEY’RE PLAYING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP IN BROOKLYN

I’m about fried with this Walter Reed no show debate but it just shows how badly the Mets need a PR firm to come in and do a much needed makeover on how this organization does things and how to get a POSITIVE message not turn into a negative one . When an event like a trip to meet with injured soldier’s turns into a frenzy of negativity something is definitely wrong and it’s time refocus and reinvent how your franchise is viewed by your fans and throughout baseball.

One way would to bottle or just promote the folks running the Brooklyn Cyclones who do a great job on Coney Island year after year with game day promotions and making the overall atmosphere at MCU Park very enjoyable. It doesn’t hurt to put a talented, hustling team on the field either.

The Cyclones took game 3 of the NY-PENN League Semi-Finals and will now move on to meet the Tri-City Valley Cats, a Houston Astros farm team, in the Championship best of 3 series. Darrell Ceciliani has bounced back from knee injury to get back to his hitting ways and C Blake Forsythe (who has not impressed me at all at bat and most definitely behind the plate) had a big 2run HR over the center field wall that is 412 ft from home plate and has not been cleared too often.     

Who’s on second for the Mets in 2011? My guess? Daniel Murphy and a defensive infielder (Joaquin Arias or Luis Hernandez) start the season. Reese Havens if we can stay healthy, gets about 200 AB’s in the minors, and takes over the position, moving Murph to a super sub role.   

I’ll watch Mets-Phillies tonight because Jenry Mejia is getting another start in a match up with Roy Halladay but come 9PM I’m switching over to what has become must see TV, the NL West pennant race. The Rockies are on a roll with 7 straight in the win column and then at 10PM it’s Giants-Padres from Petco Pk. The only way this night gets screwed up is if the game is not on CSN Bay Area and I don’t get to here my second favorite announcers Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow. The way the Mets are going, I’m starting to sway back to my roots with the Giants since I have the MLB Extra Innings, I’ve enjoyed these late night romps with Kruk & Kuip .

 Check out my NFL WEEK 1 picks at NY Football Blog and don’t forget I will be joining Frankie Maniscalco on NY Football Blog LIVE on Blog Tak Radio Sunday Night at 9PM ET to talk Giants-Jets and the Buffalo Bills football  

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2010 NY METS: THE HALF EMPTY TEAM

48 hours until opening day and Mets fans are getting their finest Mets regalia ready for opening day.  The jersey’s are washed and hung, the Mets caps with a nice bend of the brim and you can almost taste the garlic-parmesan  fries . The weatherman claims it will be 70 degrees on Monday so a nice blue three quarter sleeve under your brand new egg shell pinstripe home uni may do. By the way , what will the Mets be wearing on Monday ?  I would home the new pinstripe uni’s and all blue caps. Pomp and Circumstance will be there as well (Pomp never travels without Circumstance but Circumstance has had a stellar solo career).  So the fans will there, the new uni’s will be there, the new Mets Hall of Fame will be there, the old Home Run Apple will be there, the new  and improved Mets décor of $iti Field will be there but there will be something missing on Monday ? Know what it is? OPTIMISIM. Sure there will be some in attendance who preach “My Mets Right or Wrong”? but those of us who have waited through a winter of frigid temperatures, snow storms, and record rain and flooding not seen in these parts since an ark ferried animals in pairs, know  the motto for the 2010 Mets: HOPE FOR THE BEST, EXPECT THE WORST.

I would love to be optimistic, to sit here and tell you this Mets team will contend in the NL East and come September, will be in the thick of the pennant race. I would love to tell you I feel the Mets will be a n “Aw Shit!”  team:

“Who we playin’ in our next series”

“The Mets”

“Aw Shit, there on tough team right now”

But………..I can’t.

Now that’s not to say I won’t root, root-root for the home team and it’s a damn shame if they don’t win, but looking at the 25 players coming North and the management making the decisions , I can’t make a case for the NY Mets to make it to the 2010 post season.

The biggest mistake management made this off season was not deciding to either  fire Jerry Manuel  or extend his contract for another year.  Manuel’s job status is going to become daily fodder on blogs, newspapers and most importantly sports talk radio. You know early on Manuel will make a move or non-move that will have Mets fans heads explode and odds are he’ll makes such a misstep when the next day is an off day so the angry mobs can spew and spew.  You either have confidence in the skipper or you don’t , right now the only reason Manuel was not fired is because the Skill Sets couldn’t stomach paying him $1 mil to sit on his front porch back home in Cali.

Omar Minaya is a bit of a different case. He’s still around due to money but he won’t be fired not when he is owed three more years of salary if anything he will be given a position as a high paid scout. There are no more free lunches in Flushing.

Just looking at the personnel, the best you can hope is 81 wins, and that’s without any of the medical disasters of last year.  The front office talks about confidence in the starting pitching, especially Ollie Perez and John Maine but they jettison Jon Niese ,a player who at the start of spring training it was said would be used slowly due to his surgically repaired hammy.

The bullpen will be made up of an All Star closer (Frankie Rodz) a LOOGY turned set up man (Vitamin Pedro) two pitchers from the Japanese League (Ryota Igarashi and Hisanori Takahashi) who are not the first Japanese pitchers to fling for the Mets but hopefully they are the first two to do it with some success, a middle reliever who made the team because he makes $975K (Sean Green) over a guy who is a Man of the People (Nelly Figs) who would make just over league minimum, a guy who is a long reliver in starters clothing in Fernando Neve and a twenty year old, Jenry Mejia who really should be learning his craft in the bushes but is here to save the manager from an all expenses paid summer vacation.

The offense is in disarray as well with three starters out. Carlos Beltran is working out and could be ready by sometime in May (June?) he’s on the DL because he went to a doctor to get his aching knee looked at instead of subscribing to the Mets method of handling injury by rubbing dirt on the injured body part  and having the gall to let the doctor remove twenty five bone fragments without saying “May I?” to the Jeffey Skill Sets. The other  two  starters on the shelf,  were struck by illness (Jose Reyes) and a good old fashion baseball injury (Daniel Murphy sprain knee sliding into second base) Reyes should be back by the weekend and Murphy hopefully in a few weeks , but both these injuries wreck havoc on the line up as Alex Cora and Mike Jacobs are hardly the right understudies for the jobs. Neither  is Fernando Tatis, a nice man from what I’m told but he has this nasty habit of killing rally’s by hitting into double plays at the most inopportune times and quite frankly should not be on this team over  a guy like Chris Carter who is younger and has a work ethic and intenseness that is sorely lacking on this team.

The other problem and unlike Jay-Z the Mets seem to have more than 99 problems, the biggest being that  every team in the NL East has gotten better.  Last year the only team in the division the Mets won the season series from was against the Nationals (10-8).  Against the Braves they were a woeful  5-13. The Phillies beat the Mets 12 out of 18 times and they dropped 11 of 18 to the Marlins. It wasn’t just injuries that lead to this kind of suckitude.

So where do I think our beloved Metsies will finish ?  Believe me I ‘d love to say the Mets will be a positive surprise this season but I doubt they will even be a .500 team.  The Mets and Nats will fight it out for 4th place

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CAN THE METS SUCK ENOUGH TO BE IN LINE TO DRAFT BRYCE HARPER ?

 

 

After yesterday’s ass whipping by the Braves a game where another player went down with a leg muscle strain and a player who allegedly is getting released by today pitched like his usual shitty self the thought came over me as maybe the Mets should get involved in a reverse pennant race, the race for the top pick in the 2010 Entry Draft.

 

Right now the Nationals again lead the way for the first overall pick in the next draft with a 26-65 record and lead the Mets by 17 games for that pick. Unless the Mets assign the rest of the big league team on the DL (not a bad idea, eh?) and bring up the whole Buffalo Bisons team then the Mets have no shot at beating DC for the top pick. The next team in line would be the Cleveland Indians who at 36-57 lead the Mets by a mere 8 games. Now passing the Indians could be done with the help of keeping Tim Redding not only on the team but putting him in the rotation and giving D-Wright the rest of the summer off and pitching Ollie Perez on two days rest.

 

Say this happened, no not Wright’s vacation or Redding and Perez every other day but say the Mets tank to the point of finishing with the second worst record in baseball, they would have a shot at drafting Bryce Harper.

 

You’ve all read about Bryce Harper, who has been hailed as the next great thing since the birth of Jesus. Harper just 16 years old will skip his junior and senior years of high school by obtaining a GED and enrolling in Junior College with the sole purpose of being drafted number 1 in the next draft. Now where this gets interesting is if the Nationals have that pick would they draft Harper who will probably ask for part of the franchise to sign after dealing with Scott Boras in their dealing with Stephen Strasburg? Can the Nationals shell out big bucks for two potential super start players? Would Freddy Skill Sets call in his marker with the Used Car Salesman to rig the draft so the Mets could get their hands on Harper? Am I drunk? Oh sorry no,  but when your team is 10 games off the pace and players are dropping to wayside every game the only thing to hang your hat on is securing a top 10 draft pick. Sad isn’t it?

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JOIN US TONIGHT AT9PM EDST FOR PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL

 

 

Tonight on PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL I will be joined by Bill Reynolds, author of the book “78: The Boston Red Sox, a Historic Game, and a Divided City (New American Library) as we discuss his book which covers the 1978 Pennant race and playoff game between the Red Sox and Highlanders as it intertwined with the court order school busing in the city of Boston.

I’ll also be talking Mets-Philies with a game recap tonight from 9PM to 10:30PM EDST on Blog Talk Radio. If you can’t join us live then you can listen at your leisure on our podcast either here at this site or at our PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL site.

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……AND ANOTHER THING (OR TWO OR THREE)….

I

 

 

 

 

 should be working but a few things have caught my eye:

 

See ya Rocky Cherry too bad you didn’t make the final 25 I would have loved to here you come into a game with WARRANT’ “Cherry Pie” blaring on the $iti Field speakers

 

Ollie Perez is back in camp after getting his tits lit while pitching for Mexico in the World Bullshit Baseball Classic and thank you Vinny Castillia for letting OP throw 85 fucking pitches in his last start. You know what I shouldn’t blame Castilla in fact I apologize to Castilla instead thank you Omar and you clueless Skill Sets for  not telling MLB to fuck off and for not having the balls to tell your players NO WAY ARE YOU PLAYING IN THAT BULLSHIT TOURNEMENT. Add in OP’s 85 pitches, Frankie Rodriguez throwing 4 out saves, David Wright getting kicked in the head and J.J. Putz throwing likes it’s the middle of a pennant race ENOUGH ALLREADY!!!!!!!!!!!  

 

I will never ever understand why people enjoy sleeping outside a venue to buy tickets when you can go online order your tickets and print them out without even wearing clothes. I put this in the same category as tailgating at a sporting event. What’s the fucking point?

 

Now that my blood is pumping all I need is for someone to wish me a Happy St “Paddy’s” Day so I can put a foot in their ass.

 

 

 

 

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NIESE NOT SO NICE

Very inconsistent pitching by Jon Niese in his ML debut. All of his three innings were a chore as he had base runners and deep counts each of the innings. 73 pitches (39K/34B) in three innings is the definition of laboring. The first inning Niese was clearly nervous as he gave up a HR to Rickie Weeks on the second  pitch of the game. It wasn’t a total loss for Niese as he showed a real good curve ball that had a great break and he was able to change speeds as well, hitting 90 mph on the fastball and then coming in with a curve and change in the mid 70’s. 

Niese’ biggest problem on the night was location early, then fatigue from throwing so many pitches early as the Brewers just were teeing off on him in the 3rd. Hopefully Niese will have gotten over his bad case of big league-itis before his next start if there is a next start as J-Man has let it be known that this no time for auditions as we are in a pennant race.

Nelly Figs has come on and pitched well as it’s 5-5 in the top of the 6th so it will be up to the bullpen to keep the Brewskis off the board. Secure that pair of Depends folks it could be a rough night.

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TIME FOR A NEW APPROACH

What, you didn’t see it coming? Of course the Mets were going to lose that game last night just the fact that Warlord Jerry was caught a bit short in the pen. Luis Ayala was a sore hammy and Mush Schoeneweies has his period. That left him Feliciano, Smith, Sanchez, Figs, Stokes and of course Heilman.  With that group available I have an issue with the way J-Man used them.

 

Big Pelf came up big again with a very good 6 2/3 inning and I have no problem with the Feliciano and Sanchez to end the inning but why do you come back with Dirty in the 8th when your best reliever Brain Stokes is warmed up in the pen? You go Stokes and then Heilman in the 9th to close then I have no problem but to try to go further with Dirty when he flat out sucks has not gotten through a full inning of relief since 8/11 was a big mistake. This mix and matching bullshit has to stop. Stokes has been great and Ayala has been fine in the 9th even with J-Man trying to exhaust him Friday night. As it stand now the late innings should be Feliciano/Smith, Stokes, Ayala and let the chips and earned runs fall where they may.

 

You just knew that after giving up a earned walk then throwing eight intentional balls, Heilman was a dead duck. This bullpen is not hard to figure. If the Mets do not score in double figures there in trouble of losing a game. That’s sad.

 

Maybe it’s time for J-Man to take a page out of Brewer GM Doug Melvin’ and my book on pitching and start your relievers in the beginning of a game. Melvin is on record as saying if the Brewers were not in the pennant race he would like to start his closer for the first two innings and then come in with a starter. This is a tactic I used this season in Little League and it worked. I did it due to strict pitch counts in the LL rule book. My 11 yr old pitchers could not pitch more that 85 pitches and if they hit that mark they required three full days of rest AND had to skip one game. Silly and unproductive rule. Three days rest yes but an additional game is ridiculous but I digress. Since I saw a pattern that my top guys were hitting that 85 pitch mark towards the late fourth inning, early fifth inning (LL games are six innings) it set up having to bring in lesser taltent kids to close out close games. After dropping three game like this I decided to start my lesser guys and let them give me 20 pitches (this way they needed no days of rest) the worst that could happen is we’re down five runs as there is a mercy rule of no more than five runs scored in an inning and five runs in a little league game like a Mets game is no big deficit. So I would use two lesser pitchers for two innings (unless I was down more than five runs in the second then I went with my best guy) and bring one of the two best pitchers I had to get through the rest of the game. So every game I had at least one of my better pitchers available. If this worked for me why not for J-Man.

 

Look Aaron Heilman wants to be a starter in the worst way right so let him start and pitch two innings, then say Stokes for an inning then come with your starter. Now this wouldn’t work with Johan Santana or even Petey (more due to his psyche than anything else) but how about having Big Pelf pitch the last five innings of a game or even OP? What’s the worst that could happen? This bullpen save for Stokes, is a crap shoot so why not flip the order around and see if that works.   

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BRAVO OMAR

The best move Omar Minaya made yesterday was standing on the sidelines and doing nothing but take phone calls. Could the Mets use a Jason Bay or Manny Ramirez, (forget Jr. Griffey) of course but Minaya felt the price was too high player wise and he has realized it’s time to let the farmhands grow up to be Mets. I think a lot of fans feel the same way. It’s funny that when a player comes up through the teams farm system the fans seem to be more tolerant of mistakes and of lesser play than they are of guys who sign here for big free agent  money like Carlos Beltran or a money driven trade like Carlos Delgado and Johan Santana. So let Jon Niese, Dan Murphy, Eddie Kunz and the Teen Aged Hitting Machine come up and make their  debut in a pennant race. It may not pay off this year but it could pay huge dividends down the road. Mets management has finally come around to the mind set of build a team that will contend for a few years instead of the one and done approach the Skill Sets have been famous for during the reign. The Phillies and Marlins did nothing to have us take notice so with two months of baseball left let the race begin.

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry Remy yesterday in Hyannis. He was appearing at a restaurant there for a local Cape Cod radio station and I ask him about Manny being traded and he was hoping that Manny would not be delt. I asked about clubhouse reaction to the latest Manny Being Manny episode and Remy felt they have all seen this before so it’s nothing new it’s more management being disrespected than anything that fueld this deal. After Manny said that the Sox didn’t deserve him that set off the front office who felt the team has been around over 100 years and they will still be around another 100 years Manny or no Manny. I think the players were relived as well that Manny is gone even if his bat can not be replaced but his lack of hustle and desire and his disrespect for Terry Francona had become a major issue. 

Go get’em tonight Petey!!!!!!!!!!!!

As much as I love being here on vacation I MISS THE METS!!!!!!! I miss watching and listening to Gary, Keith and Ron and I almost miss Yalloff and Mazzilli (I said ALMOST)

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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.

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