It’s Matt Harvey and I’ll Cry If I Want To…………….

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I enjoy participating in the world of social media. I’m on Twitter more hours than I really should be but for the most part it’s a very informative vehicle for breaking news, links to interesting stories and taking in all different views and opinions. What sucks about social media is the segment of participants who turn into your mother, grandmother and  Aunt Sadie, you know the one’s, they tell you how you should react to news or statements that infuriate you or lure you into debate. It used to be a debate was an exchange of views, ideas and opinions that although were different, they were respected. In today’s social media world debate consists of I’m right and you’re an asshole. The news about Matt Harvey was a prime example of this new way of debate.

I saw the news about Matt Harvey’s partially torn Ulnar Collateral ligament when it hit the Twitterverse, Mets Twitter erupted, as you knew it would. How could this have happened?  Who fucked up? Whose head will role because of this? The Wilpon’s are broke,SELL THE TEAM!(that one is universal in times of Mets disaster news) Mets Twitter didn’t care, like a bunch of Third World dictators they wanted a scalp any scalp, didn’t matter.

When the tweets went out for the call of the heads of Terry Collins and Dan Warthen, the pearl clutchers, who I mentioned above, came out in full force. Some were beat writers who sit at press conference after press conference and never ask a pertinent or compelling question.  Maybe that’s the best way these days as we have seen recently with NY Daily News NY Jets beat writer Manish Mehta who has been getting killed for asking the Jets cartoon character of a head coach, Rex Ryan to name his starting quarterback for the first game of the Jets regular season, and when not getting an answer, not letting Ryan off the hook and demanding an answer.  Since when is that wrong? Dick Young must be shaking his pitch fork in hell over this reaction.

Anyway, so Mets fans wanted not just a head on a stick but answers on how or why did this happen to the Heir to The Franchise Throne? The first two heads fans wanted was Collins’ and Warthen’, doesn’t matter if neither guy was directly responsible for Harvey tearing the ligament but because the majority of Mets fans would like to see a change in manager and pitching coach anyway, this was as good as time as any to raise the rhetoric.

I’m as guilty as anyone in this. It’s not that I don’t like Collins or Warthen, its more I feel there needs to be a change not just in body but in philosophy. Collins to me is much more valuable and a better fit as a minor league coordinator than a field manager and since his contract is up after this season as a manager, I would have no problem whatsoever with the Mets reassigning him for next year, but I’d like to reassign him as a Director of Minor League Field Operations.

My beef with Warthen is that I don’t agree with his passive direction to pitching. Warthen loves his pitchers to nibble around the plate and to throw a lot of off speed and breaking balls. Mets pitchers hardly ever throw inside to establish that part of the plate is as much theirs as it is the batters. I also feel both Warthen and Collins are woeful at bullpen management. Pitchers are overused not just in game situation but in preparation to enter a game situation. Too many times relievers warm up, then sit down, the warm up again, and then sit down again. Mets relief pitchers are subject to more wear and tear on their arms warming up than they do in an actual game situation. To analyze Collins in game strategy would take another 1,000 word post.

All this spewing of anger doesn’t mean I hold Collins and Warthen responsible for Matt Harvey‘s injury.   I am confused about Sandy Alderson stating the organization knew that Harvey was complaining about soreness in his forearm but didn’t do anything preventive about that. Also Collins it seems was out of the loop on this vital piece of information as well. There seems to be a fracture in communication here that needs to be addressed.

What also needs to be addressed is the number of injuries the pitchers in the organization have suffered;  Frank Francisco, Jurys Familia, Jeremy Hefner, Jenry Mejia and now Matt Harvey, all out with elbow injuries. If I’m the GM I have to look at this pattern and think about revamping the way the organization handles the care and prevention of these types of injuries. I understand completely that you can do so much prevented care and study on pitchers, even Rick Peterson  who is at the forefront of Pre-habilitation with his use of the facilities at the American Sports Medicine Institute , claims that with all the preventive measures you can take, injuries still happen:

“It’s like driving the speed limit, wearing your seat belt, doing everything right, accidents are still going to happen”

After the initial ranting and raving over the injury to Harvey, seriously how did you expect Mets fans to react to the Harvey bad news? We were programed to thinking 2014 was the breakout season under Sandy Alderson. The only reason to be a bit optimistic was every five days being Matt Harvey Day and then watching Zack Wheeler start to understand what to do on a big league pitchers mound and the fact that enough money was coming off the books this off season for the Mets to be free agent buyers again, pointed to the end of the non-competitive seasons and back to not just respectability but to be one of the teams in baseball to be talked about as World Series contenders; all that was sabotaged by a torn Ulnar Collateral ligament, and you expect me to pause and be reflective? Are you fucking kidding?    

 

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WHICH ORGANIZATION HAS THE BEST UPSIDE? NY METS OR NY JETS?

 

I had a thought this morning while I was reading two interesting sports stories the fish wraps , which organization was in worse shape, the NY Mets or the NY Jets? In my estimation, it’s the Jets.

I put the question out there in Twitter-land and no one in my time line agreed with me, in fact I got a lot of “The Islanders are worst of all” which may be true (see DiPietro, Rick franchise wrecking contract) but with the stories today that the Jets players feel that QB Mark Sanchez is a lazy piece of shit and has a sense of entitlement and the Wilpon’s look to be getting a cash infusion of $100mil with the sale of minority shares in the club, it made we wonder which team is worse shape?

The responses I received all dealt with money, Woody Johnson’s got it and Fred Wilpon doesn’t, I can’t argue with that.  While the Jets are definitely the more monetarily rich team the Mets are wealthier organizationally.

As much as Mets fans focus (obsess?) over the financial failures of the Skill Sets, the situation would be much worse if the Mets had a Mike Tannenbaum/Rex Ryan first line of management than the stronger Sandy Alderson/Terry Collins front line.

How Mike Tannenbaum escapes the Jets fans wrath is beyond me. Tannenbaum’ highlight in his resume is that he is a capologist , which means he’s an expert on the NFL salary cap as a GM in charge of putting a team together he’s not a good mixoligist, and please spare me the two AFC Championship games the Jets have gone to, let’s look at the big picture, after this season as a Jets fan can you truly feel your team is headed in the right direction? I didn’t think so.

We Mets fans know this sale of minority shares is just a blip on the Skill Set financial failure radar. If anything, it buys them some time to pay off some loans that are due or past due such as the loan from MLB with a little leftover capital to bring in a pitcher or two. If you are going to have a payroll that keeps dropping like the temperature on a February night, you would want to have a guy running your team that not only has the experience with this kind of situation but has been successful at it like Sandy Alderson.

See the Jets were the team with the high expectations and the head coach who spends more time bloviating than getting a handle on the pulse of his locker room. Terry Collins learned from his past failures as a field boss and last season did as good a job with a team that was hit by injury and without strong reinforcement from the minor league system than anyone could have hoped for. Ryan could take a lesson from Collins on how to reign in a clubhouse.  Ryan has always been looked at as the ultimate players coach but what he truly is, is a coach who doesn’t know how to instill discipline or to be the adult in the room.

Woody Johnson seems to be suffering from the same malaise that the Skill Sets suffered from during the Madoff halcyon days when the cash flowed like water; he and his Jets brain trust have no clue on how to spend it. Just as the Mets were awful at building their organization the right way, through player development, the Jets operate the same way, when you bring in guys like Santonio Holmes for big money that you can’t get rid of and Plaxico Burress another bad attitude and team wrecker as we Giants fans saw  when he refused to work with Eli Manning during the off season at OTA’s and is not a franchise receiver, you find yourself in a deep hole just like the Mets used be in when they would reward players with big money for long terms for performances they achieved with other teams.

That’s why the Skill Sets not having money to spend may turn out to be a blessing for the Mets organization as the philosophy of the team has gone back to what had made the Mets good in the 60’s and 80’s, player development. I know many Mets fans don’t have the patience for a rebuilding program but quite frankly it’s been overdue.

 

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A VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE FOR THE WILPON’S

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and enjoyed the extra day off yesterday to recuperate or to return gifts at the mall. I’m still fighting off fatigue this morning, my first day back to work in 3 days, from the holiday and from a huge sports weekend.

It all started for me on Friday night as I attended the Rangers-Flyers game at a jammed packed Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are playing their best hockey in years and with a win last night against the Icelanders have the best record in the NHL Eastern Conference. The Garden rocked like it hasn’t in many years and Rangers fans have fallen in love with this team made up of mainly homegrown players with top notch free agent signings (Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards) that have made the Garden faithful cautiously optimistic  for a deep Stanley Cup run.

Then on Saturday, I was in front of my TV totally engrossed in the Giants-Jets battle in the Meadowlands. The Jets got the ball first and tore through the Giants soft as a marshmallow defense for a touchdown and I thought the G-Men were going to ruin my Christmas but thanks to Brian Shottenheimer and Roarin’ Rex Ryan who forgot that Mark Sanchez and not Joe Namath was QB’ing there team. It was a 99 yard TD from Eli Manning to the newest Giants star Victor Cruz (my family did not appreciate my Cruz Salsa dance I performed in the living room after Cruz crossed the end zone) that changed the whole game and put Rex and Shotty into a panic giving the Giants a big win. As the game ended two guys who are more similar than they realize, Rex Ryan and Brandon Jacobs, traded insults instead of holiday greetings. I now had two of the three wins I wanted for Christmas.

On Christmas day while everyone wanted to open presents and eat and eat and eat, I watched the clock hit high noon and screamed out ‘WELCOME BACK NBA!!!!!” I was thisclose to going on Stub Hub and grabbing a couple of tickets for the game at MSG between the Knicks and Celtics as I try to never miss a chance to see my C’s when they come to town. However it is not in my nature to get into a screaming match on the Baby Jesus Birthday with my wife so I as much as my finger was twitching to click on “BUY”, I stepped away from the computer and went back upstairs to spread holiday cheer and make sure I secured the TV for 12:00. My favorite Celtic player is Rajon Rondo, in fact of all the teams I root for Rondo and Henrik Lundqvist are neck and neck for the title of my favorite player of any team I root for (Eli Manning would be my favorite Giant as for the Mets…hummmm… I’ll get back to you on that….) and to watch that performance by Rondo against the Knicks, made me even more joyous that Danny Anige didn’t deal him off for Chris Paul.

Last night after another Rangers win and sitting with my family and reflecting on a having just a great holiday weekend, I looked around the room at our Christmas tree and the stockings hanging from the mantle and back to reality I returned. First I stared at my Mets Christmas stocking, then I studied the various Mets ornaments on the tree, Mr. Met, 1986 World Champions, David Wright and on the top of one of the dining room chairs, my Mets Christmas hat. It hit me and hit me hard, it’s quite likely that the Mets will not bring me the joy and excitement in 162 games, that the three other sports teams I root for gave me in a weekend.   Quite depressing.

It got me thinking, I cannot be the only one who feels this way. How many of you are multiple sports fans?  I then started to think about the men who own the teams I root for and how different the all are.

The Rangers are owned by Cablevision and Jim Dolan is in charge of both the Rangers and Knicks. Thankfully for Rangers fans, Dolan hates hockey, he loves the revenue it brings in but he leaves the hockey folks alone and for that we Ranger fans are grateful. One thing about Dolan, he has no problem spending money and if Slats Sather feels a player (Gaborik, Richards) is worth the dough and fits the salary cap he always gets the green light to spend.

The NY Football Giants are owned by both the Mara and Tisch families but John Mara is the man who makes the decisions for the team.  Mara is what you want in a team owner, his family is football royalty, he has a presences in the league that is second only to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , and he’s all about winning.

The Celtics are owned by a syndicate but the managing partner and NBA Governor is Wyc Grousbeck. Grousbeck has brought back the history and mystique of the Celtics. Just about every game at the TD Garden, there are numerous Celtics of the past attending the game.  I’ve mentioned before that I had the pleasure of meeting Grousbeck a few times at MSG and not only had great conversations with him but he even let me try on the 2008 Championship ring. Now that’s an owner. Which brings me to the Skill Sets.

No matter how bad a season any of those three teams have, I’ve always been confident that the ownership of those teams will pull out all stops to make the teams better. I never, ever get that feeling with the Wilpon’s.   Even when they were flush with In Bernie We Trust currency, I’ve never had confidence that they would just supply the resources to the men running the team to make baseball decisions that would make the Mets better.  It was never the Wilpon’s allowing the baseball people make baseball decision it was always, sure you can visit Player A to talk contract, but you have to take Jeff with you.  Now I cannot say for certain that the other owners I’ve named are not meddlesome (especially Dolan but he is more hands on with the Knicks than Rangers) but if they have it’s never been brought out like it has with Jeff Wilpon. Whether it was flying to meet Mike Cameron on the Mets private jet to get him to sign as a free agent, or being golf buddies with Tom Glavine and Al Leiter or just  forcing himself on the baseball operations when he had no baseball knowledge  what so ever.

With all the money woes the Wilpon’s have the one good thing has been that Sandy Alderson has run the baseball ops as he wants and with no money to spend ,Jeff has been a non-factor in player moves, which would be a positive if the Mets had money to spend.

Yesterday the Chicago Cubs signed RHP Andy Sonnestine and RHP Manny Corpas to non-guaranteed deals. The Mets with the lack of depth in the pitching department both on the big league and Triple A level should have been in on both these chuckers. I know neither Sonnestine nor Corpas are enough to really get Mets fans hot and bothered about but it just shows how the cash situation is so bad with the Mets that they can’t even bid on two arms like this.

The angst of the Mets fan is not towards the players or the front office; it’s all on the owners. Mets fans who decide to not go to Citi Field or watch games on SNY or buy Met merchandise will do so because of their anger at the Wilpon’s for not falling on the sword and doing the right thing by selling the team. No matter what happens on the field this coming season, this team will be followed by the Wilpon black cloud all season long unless the financial situation reaches to catastrophic proportions and Fred, Jeff and Uncle Saul are thrown out on their ass .  What sucks most of all, many Mets fans that I talk to don’t want to talk actual baseball, they all want to talk about the Wilpon’s selling the team. That is the number one subject on the Mets fans mind, not will Wright and Bay rebound or will Santana bounce back or will Ike have the breakout season, nope, it’s when the fuck are the Wilpon’s selling the team and that won’t end until the Skill Sets are gone. It’s shame for them , a shame for Mets fans and a shame for baseball.

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OKAY BACK TO WORK!

For most people the holiday season is over but for baseball fans we are anticipating our holiday season, the day pitchers and catchers start stretching out hammys and arms in what is really (no offense to those who like to use rodents as weather prognosticators) the first sign that daylight will be longer and temperatures higher, spring training.  As Mets fans we are entering a new era in the history of the franchise with Team Alderson running the Baseball Ops and I don’t know about you but I’m still trying to figure out the direction in which we’re headed.

Alderson has a lot of Clint Eastwood movie role qualities, he seems to never get rattled or sweat. In fact I bet if Alderson were advising Mayor MoneyBags during the worst snow removal operation, we would not have had the disaster, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the late 1970’s when John Lindsay forgot that Queens was not part of Nassau County. The problem we have here though, the Mets fan base is the exact opposite of the front office.

The NY Jets fan base has bought in to Rex Ryan’ bravado and bluster. Knicks fans are starting to boast about having a top 10 NBA team. NY Rangers fans are looking with admiration of their team as it has become a real blue collar bunch that works it’s ass off. Even NY Giants fans are still believers in their head coach (some, not all I know. Even though I’m not a big Coughlin fan I agree with John Mara bringing him back next season. I bet he gets a one year extension and then retires)   I just wonder if Mets fans will ever take on the persona of Sandy Alderson ?

Most of us Mets fans are feeling very antsy about the pitching staff, there are two starting spots open along with at least three spots in the bullpen, and just a few shekel’s available in the Skill Sets budget to fill the spots.  There are also six bench spots that have to be filled as well and all I keep thinking is “How is Sandy going to do this”? Not only how but how and make this team competitive?

Adam Rubin did a whole roster breakdown and of the starting eight, only second base is an open competition. The outfield is set with Bay, Beltran, Pagan so the only question here is who will play centerfield and who will be in right? Talking to Carlos Beltran, he feels fine and looks fit but the biggest obstacle I see is that big bulky brace he will have to wear for as long as he plays baseball.  I got the impression from Terry Collins, that Beltran will be given every chance to win the CF job but if he and his staff feels he’s not up to it, he’ll be the RF’er with Pagan taking over CF. What choice does Beltran have if this move is made? None.

The second base quagmire is most compelling. If Luis Castillo can’t beat out the competition he’ll be given his release. The feeling I get is Alderson hopes he craps out so he can release him. Castillo fits on this team about as well as a eunuch in whorehouse.  I’m very interested in seeing Brad Emaus play as I think he’s the guy the front office wants to win the second base job. Dan Murphy will get reps at second as well but he looks to be more a utility guy and lefty bat off the bench. Same with Nick Evans as his righty counterpart who can spell both David Wright and Ike Davis and maybe play a corner spot in the outfield as well.

That still leaves about four spots to fill the bench. One player who won’t be a benchmark is Lucas Duda and that’s a good thing. Duda needs to play every day and that can only happen in Buffalo. It’s a win-win for the Mets, if Duda hits like last year, he’s prime trade bait or he is the first call up if the any of the three starting OF’ers go down injured.  How about signing Andruw Jones as a fourth outfielder? Maybe the longer he’s unemployed, the easier he could be to sign for an incentive laden contract.

The storyline that will be most prominent in 2011 will be what becomes of Jose Reyes beyond this season. I’d say it’s a given that no matter how well he plays, this is Carlos Beltran’ last season as a Met, in fact we could be talking months as Alderson will have to decide if it’s worth trading Beltran for prospects or taking the draft pick? With Reyes it’s a lot more difficult decision. What Jose Reyes will we see in 2011? If it’s the Reyes of the last two seasons, where injury and production limit his playing time, then no way you go long term, in fact if 2011 is a carbon copy of 2010, then Reyes will be an ex-Met but if he bounces back and has a 2008 type season, then Sandy Alderson will have a real tough decision to make. Let’s hope Reyes has a 2008 type season as that would mean not only seeing how Alderson handles a tough decision but I’m sure the Mets will have  better season than most fans think they’ll have.

The Francisco Rodriguez saga will be compelling as well. What happens if Rodriguez is closing in on the magic 55 games finished and the Mets are out of contention? Do the Mets hold him back and damn the consequences of a grievance? What if everything starts to fall into place and this team is still in post season hunt?  It’s the $17.5 mil dollar question.

I’m getting mighty itchy for some positive Mets news. This front office is keeping its plans very close to the vest and all the leaks in the organization seemed to have been plugged so we sit here waiting for a moves to be made so we can analyze and try to track how this team will go forward.  Please Sandy, throws us a bone!

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THE “DEVIL-ISH” TERRY COLLINS

Listened to the Terry Collins presser on WFAN and the two whinny hosts, Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts who I think were more upset that the Collins intro took away from them rubbing Rex Ryan’ ample belly in worship. But a couple of observations:

WHOA!!!! Collins is a bundle of energy that’s for sure and complete opposite from Jerry Manuel. It felt like Collins picked a couple of Four Lokos at a bodega on Roosevelt Ave before hitting Citi Field.

Collins said all the right things (all the things we’ve heard in the past 10 of these pressers) about stressing fundi’s, pitching and the big one, ACCOUNTABILITY .  Like a batter spouse, we’ve heard this all before.

I understand the love for Wally Backman but why turn it to hate towards Collins? That I don’t get. As I said I would have loved to see Wally on that podium today but Alderson & Co. thought otherwise, so at this point in the first month of the new management I have to give them the benefit of the doubt .

By a show of hands (or comments) how many of you think the Mets will be Pennant contenders next year?

Don’t forget to tune into THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN tonight on BLOG TALK RADIO as Doug Gladstone and George  “The Stork” Theodore will be my guests.

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DAVID WRIGHT HAS MOURNING SICKNESS

Sorry for the late post but I was conferring with my attorneys, to see is we Mets fans can file a grievance against the MLBPA for filing a grievance against the Mets in the Mets v. K-Rod case.

I did not watch any of the Mets-Astros game last night and I’m glad I didn’t as it seems the play of the field made people wretch.

Rod Barajas will be activated some time today and word is Josh Thole’s spot is safe. So the Mets will go with 3 players out of 25 who play catcher. Then they have a pitcher who may as well sit in the bullpen in a Snuggie with a bowl of pop corn as he never gets to see the light of the pitchers mound. Now you know why the Mets organization is baseball’s equivalent of the person coming out of the bathroom with toilet paper sticking out the back of their pants.

I  have my doubts about people like Tony Dungy, who is one of  these holier

 than thou types, than I do about a guy like Rex Ryan. In fact, I would trust Rex Ryan more than I would Dungy. 

Matthew Cerrone thinks Bobby Parnell should be the Mets closer now and next year in the event that Francisco Rodriguez is gone from the team. Hard to argue that point in fact I’ve been saying for awhile the most overrated position in sports is the closer, with the exception of Mariano Rivera.

If you haven’t heard my THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN show with Howard Megdal, it’s well worth your while, also don’t forget to vote of Howard for Mets GM right here.

Alex Belth has touched on a great subject at his Bronx Banter site, film crews in NYC. Where my office is located downtown we have crews for the now off the air Ugly Betty, Law and Order, and Rescue Me. There is nothing funnier than a crew trying to shoot a scene and telling pedestrians to please wait before crossing a street and having New Yorkers telling to go fuck themselves and keep walking.    

Now that the Mets are done for the year, are you following any other team that’s on the march to the post season? I always have a soft spot for the Giants so I like to watch their run (even though they’ve dropped 4 of 5 to the Padres and Phillies, two teams that if they needed to beat) for the NL West or Wild Card and the watching the White Sox-Twins series has been a thrill. So tell me is their a team your following or are you just waiting for football season?

Don’t forget to check out my NO PSL REQUIRED Fantasy Football League as there are some spots remaining.

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TODAY IS NOT ABOUT THE M-E-T-S, IT’S ABOUT THE J-E-T-S

As a NY Football Giants fan, my main enjoyment this past weekend should be that the Dallas Cowgirls choked again in the NFL post season (how about a great big Kranepool Society  FUCK YOU to Jerry  Jones the owner of the Cowgirls and how about that fat fuck Flozell Adams, left a playoff game with a boo-boo on his calf, fucking coward!) but in fact I am actually happy with the Jets winning yesterday in San Diego.

The Giants fans-Jets fan relationship is strange by New York sports fan standards. As a NY Ranger fan, I hate the Icelanders immensely (da-da-da-dada da-da-da-dada da-da-da-dada da-da-da POTVIN SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!)  and as most local hockey fans, I’m blasé about the K.C. Scouts/Colorado Rockies/NJ Devils. They only player well known in Newark is their over weight and overrated goaltender. As a Boston Cletics fan the good thing about having the Knicks and Nets around is I get to see the C’s in person four times a year. As for the Bronx Bastards, the hatred between us and them is well documented. But as far as Giants-Jets fans go, we just go about our business come football season.

I got wrapped up the Jets game yesterday because the style of football they play is the antithesis of what the NFL is all about these days and a style I love. It’s all about spread offenses and quarterbacks throwing 35 times a game Wildcat formation (which is a basic Pop Warner offense) and high flying wide outs and games in domes under controlled climates but then here come the Jets with a page out of” simple still works” playbook. Pound the ball on offense, control the clock, have your QB mange the game and not have to make a big play, then on defense attack the line of scrimmage like a jail break and make the QB as uncomfortable in the pocket as you can, hit the wide outs hard early to get them out of their rhythm  . Add in a few turnovers and you have a wining formula.

During the season Jets coach Rex Ryan annoyed me with his big mouth and bluster. The reason being I was so used to the Same Old Jets who are great in April on Draft Day and then again in August in games that don’t count in the standings but then come the regular season, well Same Old Jets. But Ryan has taken that Same Old Jets stigma and turned it into a positive, a rallying cry. Last night on the SNY Jets Post Game show the played a clip of Ryan and his team in their jubilant locker room. Ryan gathered his team around him and said something that has converted me to be a Rex Ryan fan:

“ok fella’s listen up, great game today, great effort and you should be proud of everything you’ve accomplished so far. But tomorrow the headline in the papers will be THREE FIRST PLACE TEAM ADVANCE……..AND THE FUCKIN’ JETS”

With that his players roared in delight. This is Rex Ryan’ team  and the story of the Jets season so far is an unbelievable one and as crazy as this sounds from a Giants fan, I hope they win the Fuckin’ Super Bowl.

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