Baseball Fever: Catch It!

Putting my Mets fandom on the side for the moment (although I am wearing my Mets cap & sweatshirt today) yesterday was a baseball fans paradise. Four games, four series, some great games, one not so great game but even a bad baseball game is better than no baseball games, am I right?

Some observations:

The Strasburg Shutdown will haunt Mike Rizzo all winter if the Nationals do not advance at least to the NLCS. How much do the Nationals miss their ace since both Jordan Zimmerman and Edward Jackson have not come up big in games 2 and 3? Leo Mazzone didn’t hold back in his criticism of the Nationals not just shutting down Strasburg but the way they did it with so much pomp and circumstance. I wonder if Rizzo when staring into his morning oatmeal regrets how he and the organization went about handling Strasburg. Maybe a skipped start or reassignment to the bullpen was the better move and maybe Rizzo is finally coming to the realization that the postseason is a privilege not a birth right unless of course you were born in the South Bronx.

I have made it known here that I am a big Tim Lincecum fan and I’ve been as stumped as everyone why The Freak lost his mojo this season. As much as deep down Lincecum was seething over being demoted to bullpen duty, he didn’t sulk, didn’t throw a tantrum and said all the right things but make no mistake when you are a two time Cy Young Award winner and a wear a World Series ring, you have that certain something that separates also ran’s from champions . Lincecum stepped up like a champ yesterday as a Bruce Bochy’s stomach was doing flips every time Barry Zito delivered a pitch until he couldn’t take it anymore and lifted the sorry lefty. After great relief work by George Kontos and Jose Mijares it was time for The Freak to come in and step up. Not only did Lincecum step up, he dominated. That’s what winning players do.

As pissed off as I am over Raul Ibanez becoming the next fairy tale hero of Highlander lore, you can’t help but smirk a bit at the busted ass luck of the NY Highlanders. The last innings of the Highlanders-O’s game is the essence of how great a game baseball is. Joe Girardi made the biggest move of his managerial career in pulling the hitter formerly known as Alex Rodriguez in favor of Ibanez. Rodriguez made a wonderful grandstand move jumping up and down as if he was really thrilled for Ibanez. A-Rod said all the right rehearsed lines after the game talking up team before me and how he’s matured and is all about winning and a lot of other happy horse shit. There is no way in hell when Rodriguez went home last night and stared at his I AM CENTAUR mural above his bed that he didn’t shed a tear and spend a sleepless night trying to figure out where it has all gone wrong.  A-Rod is the Anti-Freak/      

I’ve loved watching the Oakland A’s games this year, especially the games at the Coliseum.  I have no answer why the A’s fans don’t come out in force all season as they do in the post season but I’ll say this, for all the fan bases involved in this post season , they are the most vocal and creative of them all. Every crowd shot you see is of fans deck out in A’s clothing, with banners and signs and beating drums and tom-toms, can you imagine trying to get a drum into Citi Field or Highlander Stadium? Imagine real live working class baseball fans left to be baseball fans? I lasted until the 7th inning on this game since it was after midnight and I had to get up at 5:15 this morning for work. Add to that I had watched baseball from 1PM that afternoon, I didn’t need to count rosin bags to fall asleep. It wasn’t until I turned on 101WINS while shaving that the great Mark Ernay relayed the news that the A’s came back from 3-1 down to win 4-3. Before leaving for work I just had to take a peek at the highlights on my At Bat app to see Coco Crisp come through with the game winning hit, the 15th time the A’s have walked off with a victory. The A’s get to live another day for a Game 5 showdown with Justin Verlander. Don’t count these A’s out as you can see from this quote from Josh Reddick, the A’s have a winning attitude:

“We’ve heard a lot of people say we’re not smart enough to know when to lose a game like most people do,” said Josh Reddick, who started the rally with a single. “We’ve been battling till the 27th out all year and we’re not going to stop now.”

WOW! Battling till the 27th out, what an outstanding concept are you listening Sandy? Terry? Anyone?

 

 

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CONGRATULATIONS TO JOHN FRANCO BUT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN US

Yesterday the New York Mets announced that John Franco will be indicted into the team’s Hall of Fame this coming season with the pomp and circumstance commencing on June 3rd.

There has been much speculation this winter on who would be selected as the next honoree to the Mets HOF, some folks feel Mike Piazza should have been named and of course he should but it looks like the Mets are waiting for his enshrinement into the Baseball Hall of Fame so they can throw a really big shindig with Mets HOF honors and a number retiring ceremony as well.

Franco gets the honor this season for many reasons, he played 14 seasons with the Mets, holds the record for most saves in franchise history and most importantly he’s a Wilpon loyalist. Franco holds a job with the club sort of like the Mets Ambassador to Public Functions, in which he’s perfectly suited for. Late season, he volunteered his services to mentor Bobby Parnell in finding his way to the craft of closing baseball games, which if I were the pitching coach I would have strongly voiced my opposition to but it seems the front office didn’t have a problem with since it seems the GM really has no use for Parnell as we see with the addition of Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco which relegates to Parnell to fighting for a bullpen job.    

As I say, I really don’t want to piss in the punch here on Franco’s honor of Mets Hall of Famer but in my opinion, this year’s Mets Hall of Fame honoree should have been us, the New York Mets Fan.  How great a ceremony would it be to honor the long suffering Mets fan? The team could have selected the longest tenure season ticket holder to accept the award in our behalf and then commission a plaque with a nice mosaic of Mets fans who may be the most diverse of all sports teams in this town.  What better way to celebrate 50 years of Mets baseball than honoring the folks who really are the heart and soul of the organization, the Mets fan. Without us there is no NY Mets and in this upcoming season of apparent discontent, what better way to show how much we mean to this organization but to honor is with a plaque in the Hall of Fame.

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CRICKETS, CRICKETS, CRICKETS………………….

Remember this? Mex’s power nap!

I don’t know if it’s the calm before the storm or a sign that the Mets will remain dormant in winter time news but there is absolutely  nothing baseball wise coming out a of Flushing. I can get pushing the new uni and all the pomp and circumstance for this season 50th Anniversary but for the love of Casey Stengel is there any baseball news of substance coming from the front office?

Here’s what we’re stuck with today as “Mets news”

Lenny Dykstra fucked up his life and now is in rehab and when he gets out he will be a new man and yada yada yada. You know what, Frank Cashen should be given more credit than he ever has for when you look back at the Mets of the 80’s for all their on field success there were a lot of them who couldn’t handle the fame, fortune and everything that goes with it (I thank you all-Freddie Mercury) . With all the celebrations of the ’86 Mets maybe we should reflect more on this bunch as failures, who if they had any kind of self-control would have won multiple championships.

Adam Rubin writes about the Skill Sets asking for a non-jury trial when their case against the Madoff trustees goes to trial next March.  The judge in the case however ruled in favor of Piccard so the case will be heard by a jury. I agree with Michael Kline who feels the Skill Sets will be hurt by a jury trial as this case is complex and a jury of 12 laypeople may not get the whole understanding of the facts to make a fair judgment.  A jury trial will hurt the Skill Sets for sure.

Please Sandy gives us something to chew on, a bone, anything………………………..

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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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