When I’m Told, “Don’t Worry About Johan Santana”, That’s When I Worry About Johan Santana

 

After a hectic weekend I finally have time to gives some thought son the Mets and the beginning of spring training:

Sandy Alderson and Johan Santana can spin his shoulders woes all they want, Santana not being ready to pitch due to fatigue in his shoulder is a red flag. Sure it’s good that there isn’t any structural issue with his left shoulder but the fact that he needs to build up strength in the shoulder is problematic.  I hope the club and Santana use good judgment and work at a pace where Santana is fit to pitch and if it means a stay in extended spring training then so be it. Truth be told, I’d rather see Matt Harvey pitch on opening day any way.

With Daniel Murphy out nursing his sore intercostal muscle the last guy I want see playing 2nd base in his stead is Justin Turner. In a perfect world Reese Havens would get the nod to show what he’s got and remain healthy to take the job form Murph. I like Murph but let’s be honest, if Havens or Jordany Valdespin or Wilmer Flores got the chance to play 2nd base on a daily basis in spring and show themselves capable on offense and more importantly a better choice on defense, then Murphy could be unseated as the everyday 2nd baseman. As much as I like Murphy he shouldn’t be guaranteed an everyday job. So it would be quite interesting to watch someone make it uncomfortable for management to make a decision at 2nd base.

I think I’m going to enjoy baseball more watching Collin Cowgill enjoy himself playing baseball.

Got to feel bad for Pedro Feliciano as he deals with his heart problems. Taking two weeks off and carrying around a heart monitor puts Perpetual Pedro behind the eight ball as he tries to regain his LOOGY role with the Mets since the team is ripe with left handed relievers.

There’s comedy and then there is high comedy. High comedy is reading my Twitter timeline as Lucas Duda was striking out and striking out and striking out and striking out and striking out and striking out

Last week I went to buy a new dishwasher for my home. I got the dishwasher and another rather unexpected purchase, a new television.  My son persuaded my wife and I into this purchase to replace a projection TV we had for close to sixteen years. So now we have a brand new 60 inch LCD television that has a built in browser and wifi and everything else you can think of, so Saturday being that is was rainy, grey and cold outside what better way to spend the afternoon than to watch Mets spring training baseball.  I made a sandwich, got a cup of coffee and sat down with my feet up in my recliner and sat back to enjoy Mets spring baseball. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! What a wonderful experience, and that’s the problem.

I have loved going to live sporting events since I was six years old. I still get all pumped up going to a ballpark or arena for a sporting event. I love that feeling because it validates that I still have a deep rooting passion for my sports teams. But I have to tell you, with this new TV, I started to wonder, do I need to go to games in person anymore?

Last week I went to Madison Square Garden for the first time this season to watch the Rangers take on the Montreal Canadians.  The Garden has gone through its second phase on renovation and it looks a lot different inside. Thankfully the iconic ceiling is still the same but that’s about it. The Green Seats and Blue Seat section have been combined into one big sloping seating area. The only nostalgic feature left in the arena is the narrow seats and sparse leg space and the long bathroom and concession lines. It was while I waited on the men’s room line that I kept thinking if I were home I’d be able to watch something else other than this dog of a game plus I could grab a snack without waiting and use a clean bathroom.

This is a new phenomenon to me because there has never been any doubt about watching a sporting event in person or staying home to watch on TV as I always felt being at the event always enhanced the experience of watching a game. Damn you 60 inches of LCD gorgeousness, why must you put these bad thoughts in my head.

If you ever doubted that Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Kevin Burkhardt are the best sports broadcasting team in all of sports broadcasting, just take a look at Saturday’s Mets-Nat SNY broadcast of last Saturday.  The Four-some picked up right where they left off at the end of last season. There is chemistry with this group that no other announcing team has and they make watching Mets baseball that much more enjoyable.

I also love having Bob Ojeda sitting behind the plate give pitching play by play. Can we see that during the regular season as well? Please SNY?

 

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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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