All We Have Is Hope

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My pessimism for the upcoming season of my beloved Mets intensified a bit because one of our cats woke me up before I wanted to rise and shine for a bit of breakfast.  So after filling the bowls with leftover grilled chicken breast, I went to the living room with the intent of browsing Netflix for a movie. But first I took a tour of the 1763 channels on my FiOS system and lo and behold I stumble on to The Last Play at Shea on The Movie Channel.  I was going to turn the channel quick so as not get involved in this film but then the face of an old friend, the late Dana Brand came on my screen and that made me sit up straight with a touch of sadness. Then another blogger buddy was present on the TV, Greg Prince sitting in a seat at the our old house, Shea Stadium talking about all the great times we had at that place and more sadness fell over me. I started to think out loud and staring at Mittens our cat and shouting to him “Where did we go wrong”???? Mittens looked up for a second and went back to cleaning himself off after his satisfying breakfast.

Where did we go wrong? When did this organization make the turn from Ya Gotta Believe Boulevard to Embarrassment Lane?   I’m watching the film and seeing the Mets of the 80’s I just stared and drifted off into the Way Back Machine of my mind. Everyone hated us back then.  As a Met fan of that era we all had a “Do you know who the fuck we are” attitude that rubbed off on the fan base from our beloved team.  Keith Hernandez was that guy who rolled the cigarette pack in his sleeve, Darryl Strawberry was a physical specimen who hit baseballs liked they owed him money,  Ray Knight would smack the shit out you because he could,  Gary Carter was the definition of don’t mistake kindness for weakness.  Dwight Gooden had guys coming down with the flu on days he took the mound and they were led by the chip on his shoulder skipper Davey Johnson. The New York Mets were MLB’s Bad Ass’s

Today the Mets are the kick ass’s as in they have been on the receiving end of the ass kicking they use to hand out. Not to mention a team that plays in a tidy baseball McMansion, Citi Field as the old Mets with bad attitudes played in a tenement called William Shea Housing Project.  As much as I try to accept Citi as the new home of the Mets and try hard to let the past of Shea go, when I see movies like Last Play at Shea, I wonder if we are cursed. Is there a Curse of Shea Stadium?

Think about it the Mets haven’t been the same since the move to Citi. The owners were taken in by a flim flam man named Madoff, real fans have been moved out to outfield stands while the areas around 1st base, 3rd base and home plate have been surrounded by cement and security guards stationed to make sure no real fans try to sneak into the plethora of empty padded seats vacated by the swells who would rather sit in air conditioned luxury of a club while drinking expensive wine and eating gourmet foods.  Back at Shea the food sucked but the baseball was good, I’ll take winning baseball with an over cooked hot dog, half thawed pretzel washed down with watered down Bud any day.

There is hope, hope that the tide is turning. Where the everyday eight are not much to look at, the pitching staff has some talent and charisma. Matt Harvey looks like he could have anchored a staff in the 70’s or 80’s. Zack Wheeler and Travis d”Arnud should make a solid contribution once they are freed from Super Two purgatory.  Other than that and few wet behind the ears minor leaguers, there is much to be optimistic about with this 2013 edition of the NY Mets.

I hope I’m wrong.  I hope Lucas Duda visits the Wizzard of Baseball Oz to  get some baseball confidence. I hope I’m right about Colin Cowgill that he is the surprise of the season. I hope Ike Davis has the breakout season he and Mets fans have been waiting for. I hope David Wright finds some support in the lineup, I hope Freddy Skill Sets is not pissing on our legs and does have money to allow Sandy Alderson to bring in a big league bat with power. I hope the bullpen doesn’t suck like last year. I hope Citi Field is full of METS FANS in September making noise and rooting for a team that plays hard and wins baseball games. I hope I’m not setting myself up for disappointment.

 

 

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Sandy Alderson’s Mets Honeymoon Ends Wednesday Night

This winter will be more of an inferno than a hot stove for the Mets and it will be the defining off season for the Sandy Alderson regime. From reading Mets news this morning the hottest topic of the winter will be what becomes of David Wright and from where I sit I’d say we are looking at Wright becoming an ex-Met by the new year than a long term Met with a contract extension.

I’ve gone through this exercise before, it may be best for both the Mets and Wright to separate, this isn’t to say I want Wright to go, not at all, if he signed a long term contract to be a Met For Life that’s fine with me and if he and Sandy Alderson can agree on terms that are beneficial to the team and Wright well, hallelujah but the odds of that happening are as slim as Tom “The Blade” Hall in the stretch position.

What Alderson has to worry about is getting back players of value for Wright if he and Team DW are so far apart in negotiation that he has to think about moving him, if he lets Wright walk a la Jose Reyes, I’m heading for the nearest fallout shelter because it will Mets fan Armageddon in Flushing.

At some point we in the fan base have to make up our minds do we want a winning team or do we want this bunch of great guys to hang around and win 70-75 games every year?  There are some in the fan base who treat the Mets as a Lifetime Network movie, they get all emotional when players they love are mentioned as trade bait (or should I say traid bate ?) You can’t keep everybody. One of Frank Cashen’s successful management moves was to shuffle the roster even when coming off a successful season.  Cashen was drawn and quartered for not giving in to Ray Knight’s contract demands after the 1986 World Series in which Knight was the MVP of the series. As it turned out, Cashen made the correct move in letting Knight walk.  Alderson will make the same decision on Wright and do what is best for the New York Mets.  If Wright leaves there will be outrage and nastiness not seen in these parts since June 15th 1977, unless of course the Mets win the 2013 or 2014 World Series, then it will be David Who?

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GREATEST…………….GAME………..EEEVVVEEERRR….

 Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times has another great post today as he goes in depth on the Mets-Reds game that was played 25 years ago today. This game is famous for the Davey Johnson use of Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell shuttle from pitcher’s mound to the outfield and for one of the best baseball fights ever when Ray Knight knocked out Eric Davis for sliding into him at 3rd base.

I don’t know if this game has been available to SNY for its Mets Classics but if not, they need to pay whatever amount need be to obtain it even if it’s the Cincinnati feed because this was one of the best games ever!

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FAITH AND FEAR IN FLUSHING-THE BOOK

 

 

I was thrilled to come home yesterday and see that my copy of Greg Prince’ book “Faith And Fear In Flushing” had arrived. As soon as I saw the front cover I knew that this is THE book for Mets fans to add to their library as nothing sums up Mets fandom like the picture of Gary Carter and Ray Knight hugging after Game 6 of the 1986 World Series and the bottom picture of Yadier Molina watching Aaron Heilman’ pitch in the 9th inning of <reaches for a Kleenex> Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS go out of Shea Stadium. Best of times, worst of times indeed and isn’t that what being a Mets fan is all about?

This book is more about what it’s like to be a Mets fan and how it is that we became a fan of this team. In fact Greg, shows we are more than fans, this team in imbedded in our DNA we are so hooked we couldn’t leave if we wanted to.

My family and friends know how I live and die with the Mets and they get their jollies by asking me “What team would you root for if the Mets cease to exist”?  I usually turn red and start cursing as that is akin to asking which of my two children I love the most.  As there are no other kids I could ever love like mine and I could never live and die with another team like I do with the Mets.

As far as I’m concerned this book is a must read for all the younger Mets fans. You guys need to know the history of this organization. You need to see your roots. As much as we all love David Wright and Jose Reyes you need to know about Roy Staiger and Teddy Martinez. As much as you all wear your 31 PIAZZA and 17 HERNANDEZ you have to learn about 31 PARKER (Harry) and MILLAN (Felix) and by reading Faith And Fear In Flushing you will be a better educated Mets fan.

This book is for the REAL Mets fan. The fan who couldn’t wait to attain drinking age to have a cold Rheingold  or  open a bank account at Manufacturers Hanover or pick out a car at your NY, NJ Fairfield County Plymouth dealer. The fan who feels that the 7 train is the ultimate stretch limo. The fan who sits in the Upper Deck of Shea and brings his sandwich and can of soda (placed in the freezer the night before and wrapped in tin foil for the ride to Shea) The fan who no matter how bad things are going in there life can smile at the sight of Mr. Met and feel secure that Gary Cohen and Howie Rose are on the job brings us the sights and sounds of Mets baseball. The fan who could sit and listen to Jane Jarvis play the Thomas Organ and for all of us who look to the late great Tug McGraw when things look hopeless and say YA GOTTA BELIEVE!    

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