THE ALDERSON TAPES

I was so pissed that I missed hearing Sandy Alderson on the SNY telecast last night. But, thanks to Chris McShane at Amazin’ Avenue who transcribed the whole interview Alderson did with Gary Cohen and Ron Darling, I’m caught up with what the Mets GM is looking to accomplish going forward with the team. What has me puzzled is the Mets fan/blogger fixation on what Alderson said about changing the dimensions and height of the Cit Field outfield wall, from reading the McShane’s transcript of the conversation, that was the least interesting feature to me.

I’m not saying reducing the height of the Great Wall of Flushing or bringing in the right/center Mo Zone is not good thing, in fact I’m all for it but Alderson’s insights on player personnel and his approach to the off season was much more newsworthy.

To me more important than wall renovations is what is the GM’s plan of attack for re-signing Jose Reyes. It seems like Alderson has a preempted strike ready to fire as he has tabbed October as Jose Reyes Month. I get the vibe that he has an offer already to be presented a figure in years and money that he won’t go over. Alderson has made it known he will not get into a bidding war over Reyes. He has been nothing but complimentary of the shortstop as has Terry Collins, who is on record as saying he can’t fathom the Mets without Reyes or David Wright for that matter which I’m sure is the company line. I’m interested in this negotiation to see if Reyes takes a little less money or years to stay with the only organization he’s ever played for or does he move on and take the best deal out there. I still think that while Alderson will make a very good offer to Reyes, he won’t be heartbroken if another team comes in and blows the Mets deal out of the water. No question he wants Reyes back but he won’t break the Skill Sets fragile bank account to sign him.

One of Alderson’s concerns was rushing pitchers to the big leagues but also doing a balancing act getting some of the minor league arms a bit of a push to move them along. Under Omar MInaya’s regime the club loved drafting collage pitchers to where a team like St. Lucie is overstocked with 24 and 25 year olds which it sounds like is very frustrating to Alderson. When you’re that age and still pitching in A ball, you’re at the shit or get off the pot stage of your career.

Alderson sounds like a Mets fan when he talks about the bullpen and how blowing late game leads, a la Bobby Parnell, takes the heart out of everyone when it’s on an almost daily basis. Safe to say, Alderson has seen enough of Parnell closing to know he needs to put finding a closer on the top of his shopping list. Also clearly stated, he will go outside the organization to find one.  Looking at guys like Greg Holland of the Royals, Mike Adams of the Rangers, Rafael Betancourt of the Rockies and Sean Marshall of the Cubs there are some interesting options for Alderson out there.

Alderson is happy with the number of innings his starters have given him but now he wants them to improve the quality of those innings. I believe that Jon Niese and Dillon Gee will and of course R.A. Dickey will give a quality start just about every time out but we still have no idea what Johan Santana will give you on the mound next year and of course there is the elephant in the room known as Mike Pelfrey. From Alderson’s comment it seems that Pelf will be back next season but in what capacity?

What we have Mets fans is one busy and interesting winter coming up ahead of us and the brain trust of our team. Right now is the lull where the team plays out the string as October on will be the most interesting time for the Mets since before the All Star break.

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EXIT STRATEGY

 

After bailing out my basement of water, and trying to find  a place to rent an industrial size fan (after four attempts I finally found one) I thought this would be a good time to check on our beloved Mets.

The Amazin’s have lost 5 in a row and 12 of the last 20 games as the wheels are falling of the Mets bandwagon. The last month has not been pretty. Jose Reyes making his second trip to the DL , Ike Davis waiting for clearance to have surgery that he probably should have had more than a month ago, a bullpen that is of expansion quality and a lineup that strikes fear in the hearts of teams in the Can-Am League but not the Majors. With all that, Terry Collins still has that carrot out in front of his players that they are playing for job security, all of them.

Gary Cohen and Ron Darling had an interesting conversation during the game (as did Howie Rose and Wanye  Hagin as Howie compared yesterday’s game as eating a turkey dinner and the Tryptophan kicking in and making you sleepy) about how many players on the current 25 man roster would you say will be with this team in 2012. Cohen and Darling named Wright, Niese, Duda and Dickey, everyone else is on notice.  Now that’s not counting Reyes, Ike or Johan but if you do that is just 7 players who could say they could be Mets next season and out of all 7, the only lock on that list is Niese.

Last off season was a getting to know period for the front office, this up coming off season there could be a lot of exit interviews.

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COSTAS/MICHAELS OR COHEN/DARLING ?

I guess I missed the vote to have Al Michaels and Bob Costas call the 4th and 5th innings of tonight’s Mets-Giants game on SNY, while Gary Cohen and Ron Darling go over to the MLB Network to call the innings in their broadcast booth.  I don’t mind Michaels who is more associated with the NFL( and the 1980 USA hockey team as well) than he is with baseball even though he was a top notch baseball play by play man early in his career. I could do without Costas who is way too pretentious for me. I subscribe to the if it ”ain’t broke don’t fix it” school of thought especially when it comes to watching the Mets.      

What a tragedy last night in Arlington, where Josh Hamilton went to flip a ball to a fan after the third out of the inning and the fan leaning over to catch it, fell 20 ft landed on his head and died. The fan a 39 year old fireman was at the game with his son who was reported to be 8 or 9 years old. This is heartbreaking for the family but also for Hamilton who was reported to be distraught over the event.  I’m not one to be a reactionary type when freak accidents occur but I think it’s time to stop the ball toss in the stands. I’ve written here many times how I hate the bullshit Pepsi Patrol t-shirt launches into the stands. People turn into total assholes when some two dollar t shirt is blasted into the stands. It’s totally ridiculous. The same with foul balls. I have never caught a foul ball at a game and I could care less if I ever do. I have five full buckets of baseballs in my garage it doesn’t matter to me if it’s a ball from a Major League game. I’d rather keep all my bones and extremities intact than have a ball with Bud Selig’s name on it.

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GARY COHEN & RON DARLING WILL BE TENDING BAR AT FOLEY’S NY TOMORROW NIGHT FOR CHARITY

Gary Cohen and Ron Darling will team up tomorrow night to bartend at the fabulous Foley’s NY all in the name of charity, specifically the Pitch In For Good Cause, that Gary’s wife Lynn is the head of :

WHAT:           Gary Cohen and Ron Darling guest bartend at Foley’s during the Mets-Yankees “Subway Series” game to raise money to help victims of domestic abuse.

WHO:              Gary Cohen, Mets Broadcaster

Ron Darling, 1986 WS Champion, Mets Broadcaster

 

WHEN:           Saturday, May 21, 2011

                        6:30 – 9:30 p.m.

 

WHERE:         Foley’s NY Pub and Restaurant

18 W. 33rd Street (near 5th Ave, across from Empire State Bldg)

 

WHY:              All proceeds go toward building a safe house for victims of domestic abuse and their families.

For more info, visit www.pitchinforagoodcause.org/index.php/get-to-know.html

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BATS IN THE PELFREY

As I sat and watched last nights game and another Mike Pelfrey melt down I wondered if Mike Pelfrey still had minor league options and would the Mets make a move to send him to Buffalo? I was set to tweet this to find an answer  and just as I was about to type, Gary Cohen (belated Happy Birthday to Gary by the way) answered my question for me, yes Pelf has options and Cohen took it a step further and asked would the Mets send him to Buffalo? Cohen and Ron Darling thought that might be the move to make but Keith Hernandez was not in favor. If you ask me, if you can option Pelfrey to Triple A then you have to do it for his sake, the teams sake, and maybe the least, for the fans.

It’s to the point where watching Pelfrey pitch has become very uncomfortable. The hand licking thing is really, really annoying, it’s like a nervous twitch.  I always get the feeling we are one hit or walk or balk away from Pelfrey  curling up on the mound in the fetal position and sucking his thumb. Especially in Philadelphia where he routinely melts down.

The 4th inning last night was a prime example. You knew as soon as Ryan Howard hit that home run, Pelfrey was done for the night. That home run would stay in his head for the rest of the start. There is no “turn the page” in the Mike Pelfrey Playbook.  After the home run, next batter Ben Francisco gets a base hit and steals second because Pelfrey is still thinking about the home run and Josh Thole is still a green horn behind the plate and that’s a problem as well. Pelfrey needs a veteran catcher to call the game for him. He’s stated this as the less he has to think the better he is, that’s why he loved pitching to Henry Blanco, and to an extent pitched his best game of the year throwing to Mike Nickeas. If the front office feels they want to keep Pelfrey up here then they should make Pelf become Ronnie Paulino’s pet project and have him become his pitching chauffer.

The decision on what to do with Pelfrey becomes even dicier with Dillion Gee still here. It’s clear, if the Mets are not going to put Gee in the rotation then they need to send him to Buffalo and let him pitch every fifth day. It’s not fair to him. His mind set is as a starting pitcher and I felt Terry Collins (who did an awful managerial job last night, how do you walk Brain Schneider intentionally with two out and the pitcher up next?) did Gee a real disservice by bringing him in relief like he did. Collins wanted to start Gee last night to give Pelfrey a couple of more days to get over the flu bug that wore him out. Collins let Pelf talk him into giving him the ball. I hope TC learned always go  with your first instinct next time.

So my patience is up with Pelfrey and a shuffle up to Buffalo or a trip to Dr. Phil’ couch look to be in order. As for Pelfrey being the ace of the staff, that was some made up main stream media mumbo jumbo bullshit. As Bobby Valentine says, the ace of your staff is that day starting pitcher. Amen!

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ONLY ON YUCK!

pic courtesy of Bob’s Blitz

No Mets game last night so I tuned into the NY Highlander-Chicago White Stockings game from the South Bronx. I had two options on where to watch the festivities, ESPN or YUCK. The one outlet I wanted to watch it on CSN-Chicago (I know I’m in the minority but I enjoy listening to Hawk Harrelson do White Sox games) was blacked out because MLB Extra Innings feels that since I live in a NYC zip code I enjoy watching the YUCK Network, which could not be further from the truth. In fact, I rarely watch the YUCK Network, but last night I did and all I can say is, whatever SNY is paying Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez and Kevin Burkhardt they are getting away cheap, in fact if I were the agents for those gentleman I would use tape of the games on YUCK to get my clients big pay raises.

I started off watching this game on ESPN and was quite happy that Sean McDonough was the play by play man. Then when I heard Rick Sutcliffe and Aaron Boone chiming in, I ducked for cover. Sutcliffe always sounds like he had a few Rob Roy’s before the game and Boone brings nothing of substance to the telecast. In fact these three men in a booth is a disaster on every sporting event except for Mets games on SNY. Gary, Keith and Ron are the gold standard for the three man booth. The Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy duo would work very well as a three man booth if the third man wasn’t Mike Breen.Put Marv Albert with those two and you’d have the basketball version of sports broadcasting nirvana.

So back to YUCK I go and as I tune in Michael Kay brings in Kim Jones to the broadcast. Jones is a very good nuts and bolts reporter having been the Giants beat writer and general NFL correspondent for the Newark Star-Ledger but as a “personality” well she’s lacking in that department . When she fills in on WFAN she comes off at times as a female version of Mike Francesa, but anyway, Kay brought her in to take about Phil Hughes and his “dead arm”. Jones went on a dissertation that made me think Highlanders fans have a problem comprehending information as Jones spoke…….very……..slowly…….and…..accented……some….key…..words……in…..her……report……like….it…..was…..remidial…….tv………watching……….

The fact that she reported that Hughes stopped his throwing session because his arm felt very heavy, to me was a major story and one if I were of the Highlander persuasion would cause me some alarm. When Jones threw it back to Kay, he acted like it wasn’t a big deal. To his credit, Al Leiter, a man we all know who pitched in the big leagues, showed the kind of concern I would have thought the newly wed Mr. Jodi Applegate would have.  As Leiter spoke about the effects of this on the Highlanders and on Hughes himself, Mr Applegate asked “Al did you ever go through a dead arm period”? Now if Leiter and Kay weren’t BFF’s I’m sure Letier would have exposed Kay for the fraud he is. Just about every pitcher deals with a dead arm problem, mostly in spring training but the bounce back after a day or three and Leiter was making it known that this situation with Hughes could be very serious. I guess Kay was more concerned with going home and having some Chicken Parm and then sharing the wedding bed with Madame’ Applegate.

For an extra added attraction, former Met Philip Humber, now a ChiSox pitcher was in the midst of no hitting the Bronx Bastards. It was hard not to know the BB’s were hitless as Kay mentioned it every ten seconds. When Alex Rodriguez got the first Highlander hit in the 7th    there was a sigh of relief coming from the YUCK booth because not only was the calamity of the Highlanders being no hit averted but now it was time for some good old fashion  Mets bashing, everybody take your pants off WOOOOO-HOOOOOO.

Kay went into full rant about the Mets never having been on the celebratory side on a no-no but of course pitchers who at one time toed the rubber for the Amazin’s have and of course he couldn’t wait to felate  his partner Leiter by bringing up his no hitter against the Colorado Rockies when he was a Marlin.

After ten minutes more of the reading of names of former Mets pitchers who pitched no hitters with clubs other than the Mets I was done.  I watched the rest of the game on ESPN which was more entertaining anyway as Rick Sutcliffe was on his 5th drink by the time I tuned in.

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PUT ON YOUR EASTER BONNET WITH BLUE AND ORANGE ON IT

Happy Easter to one and all. It’s a great day to head to Citi Field to watch the suddenly hot NY Mets. I have a bunch of family coming over or else I’d head to the ballpark. I’d sneak out but with my luck I’d end up on TV like George Costanza with chocolate ice cream all over my face.

You hear the rumblings, how can the Mets send Dillon Gee back to Buffalo. In fact Ron Darling said during the telecast yesterday that Gee has nothing to prove at Triple A that he belongs in the big leagues and I concur. But if he stays, who goes to either the pen or Buffalo?

The names Chris Young and Chris Capuano come up as bullpen squatters which I think is ridiculous. One of the traits you need to be a reliever is the ability to warm up quickly and sometimes as in Tim Brydak’s case, often. With the pedigree and injury history neither pitcher fits the profile of a reliever.

For some reason today’s starter, Jon Niese’ name doesn’t come up when it comes to removal from the rotation or bullpen relegation and I can’t understand why it doesn’t?

Since a fine start on April 2nd against the Marlins, Niese has not been very effective getting blown up by the Phillies and Rockies and allowing 7 hits and 5 BB in 6 innings to the Astros in his last start a 6-1 Mets loss. I hope Niese throws a gem today at Citi Field but if he has another of these more hits than innings pitched along with 4 or 5 BB, then maybe Gee takes Niese’ spot in the rotation and Jon take a turn or two or three in Buffalo.

The St. Lonesome Mets of the FSL are 15-2 after another win last night and another outstanding pitching performance. After rising star Matt Harvey pitched himself closer to Binghamton on Friday, RHP Jeurys Familia tossed 7 outstanding innings for the baby Mets.

I know the strikeouts make fans crazy but really, how in the world do some Mets fans hate David Wright? There are some of you who think Wright is a JAG (just another guy) but with Bay back in the lineup and Ike on fire and Beltran back to being a solid everyday mainstay in the lineup, Wright will have the protection in the lineup that will make him not only more productive but getting it out of his head that he needs to hit 6 run home runs to get the Mets a win. It just seems to me all the Wright haters are just lazy louts who parrot what they hear on talk radio.

The Murph giveith and the Murph takeith away. Daniel Murphy is a work in progress at 2nd base to say the least but the boy can swing a baseball bat.

It’s tough to say anything bad about R.A. Dickey but Bobby Ojeda went off on The Dickster for his interview with Matt Vagisil and Tim McFullofshit last Saturday. Dickey was asked about his trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro that he will partake in in the off season. Bobby O filliped his rug  about R.A. talking about an off season endeavor in April. I can see Ojeda’s point, in fact I hate all these in game interviews and I’m sure the players and managers dislike them as well but Dickey was asked specifically about the trip and it is for charity so what was The Dickster to do?

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AHHHHHHHHHHH BASEBALL

Observations from the first game of spring training and how nice it is to talk about on the field issues:

The best part of the game for me were the pitchers who worked yesterday. Collectively, the six pitchers used struck out 9 and walked 3. Of the three walks Jenry Meija walked 1 and Manny Acosta walked 2. In fact , Acosta  was the only pitcher used who had trouble throwing strikes (8/7 BB/K)

Meija  was not only effective with his breaking ball but he looked happy and relaxed.  It’s just one appearance and maybe it’s just my giddiness over seeing baseball for the first time this year but my fear that the past administration may have ruined Mejia has been somewhat relieved.

I had and still have no idea who John Lujan is.

Fernando  Martinez had a throwing error and ran into a railing in foul territory chasing a fly ball and looked like he banged his knee and was limping a bit. All I could think of is, will he ever make it in the big leagues and if in order to keep Pedro Beato or Brad Emaus in the organization is via trade then hopefully the Orioles or Blue Jays would take F-Mart. Then Martinez goes and cracks a two run home run to tie the game with the replay showing just a beautiful swing and I totally change my mind about him. This is what is so frustrating about F-Mart. I hope this kid stays healthy all year and gets 450-500 AB’s in Buffalo so we can finally find out if he’s  worth keeping or if he becomes a very valuable trading chip.

It’s spring training for the Mets announcers as well. It was wonderful to turn on the TV at 1PM yesterday and see Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez  and “SNY Celeb” Kevin Burkhardt but Cohen made the first faux pau of the season as he referred to Sandy Alderson as “Sandy Martinez” . Hernandez picked up where he left off last season with his marvelous comments, yesterday’s Mex-isim was calling  Braves catcher Brian McCann “portly.  Can’t wait until he gets a gander at Bartolo Colon.

Mets Twitterverse lit up when Willie Harris belted a 2 run HR to tie the game in the bottom of the 10th inning but the most impressive part of Harris day was when in the middle of being interviewed by Kevin Burkhardt , Harris just stopped as F-Mart hit his home run and started cheering and then went to congratulated him then he went back to the interview.

Nick Evans is not going down without a fight.

Scott Hairston is going to be a guy we talk about this season in a very positive way. Harriston is going to win a few game for the Mets this year. Hairston has pop in his bat and will be a very useful 4th outfielder.

I’ve been killing Evan Roberts of WFAN all week for his non-stop NJ Nets talk and going ga-ga over the Deron Williams deal (I would say the NJ Nets have the smallest fan base of any team in the NY metro area. The NY Red Bulls of the MLS have a bigger fan base than the Nets) but today I have to give him mad props for his interview with Sandy Alderson yesterday.

It was good to see Jason Bay get a base hit in his second and last at bat as he looked awful on his time up in the first inning. After the game he did say he felt rusty but he feels great.

Let’s hope like last year with the Dickey jokes that Mets fans get the Hu Who? Jokes out of their system by the end of spring training. Chen lu Hu looks like the best defensive player on the team. No joke.

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SATURDAY OCT 2 2010 THE BEST DAY OF THE SEASON AT CITI FIELD

As sad as the season has been with another post season less autumn in store for Mets fans, yesterday was a glorious day at Citi Field.  It was Gary, Keith and Ron Day at the ballpark which is sponsored by Pitch in For A Good Cause, a charity endeavor run by Gary Cohen’ wife Lynn who by the way, would make a great GM of the Mets as she is the most organized and passionate about her work  more than any one currently involved in the Mets organization.   I got to meet and take pictures with Gary and Ron Darling (I’ll post them up sometime today) but I was most happy to meet Kevin Burkhardt who I’ve enjoyed trading Tweets with all season. Kevin is also a reader of this site and for that I must have thanked him a hundred times. As great as Kevin is on TV is an even nicer guy in person.

I was so happy to meet up with Kathy Foronjy and Joe Coburn who I first met about five years ago when they were starting to film their award winning documentary  on Mets fandom,  Mathematically Alive. Kathy and Joe and Stephen (sorry I never got your last name) were kind enough to follow myself and my family as we gathered to go on the outfield warning track for the National Anthem and I thank them for that.

It was a nice afternoon to commiserate with fellow Mets bloggers Dana Brand and Greg Prince, two gentlemen who should be on the search committee for the new baseball czar of the Mets.

Top that off with home runs by Chris Carter, Lucas Duda (a majestic blast that went about 15 rows up in the Pepsi Porch) and David Wright, who really Cadillaced around the bases after getting buzzed by Tyler Clippard, I was waiting for Wright to do the Willie Montanez stutter step at each base.

I watched Jerry Manuel make a strange move by bringing R.A. Dickey into the game in relief in the 8th inning. On the ride home listening to Mets Extra, Wayne Hagin felt the media was going overboard on their questioning of the move (Hagin is clueless and in fact I wouldn’t mind seeing him get a pink slip either) , as Manuel said he wanted to show whoever is here in the future, that Dickey could pitch on his bullpen throw day and to let Dickey get an ovation from the fans. From reading Dickey’s locker room response it doesn’t seem like he was totally in agreement with the move, but R.A. being the well spoken and savvy guy we have grown to love, handled it perfectly.

No matter how happy you are that there will be a change in the manger and GM for the Mets and make no mistake both Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya should be fired, the way the Skill Sets are handling this is really bush league, but then again when it comes to comes to these difficult moves the Skill Sets have never been known for being classy.

In the next week, I’ll be posting my who should stay and who should go list but I’ll say one thing here about the next GM, he or she should come from outside the organization.  This organization needs a whole new set of front office personnel and if the Skill Sets want to keep Minaya on payroll then make him a scout and send him out on the road and let it be known he has absolutely no say in any personnel moves. If he wants to travel Latin America then by all means go but I really want the next person in charge  to be THE person in charge. With Jeffey Skill Sets still involved though that might be a pipe dream.

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THREE METS WITH SOME EXPLAINING TO DO

First let me say Shana Tova to all of you celebrating Rosh Hashanah at sundown this evening.

Well just when I want to abandon this Mets season along comes Dillon Gee to shed a bit of light on the darkness of another post season-less season in Flushing.

Gee’ start even energized the broadcast booth last night as Ron Darling was as excited as we seen him in a long time as he watched Gee show a nice grasp of the art of pitching. Gee was quite effective using a sharp breaking ball that the TV crew said was a curve but Gee himself told Kevin Burkhardt that it was a slider that he relied on most of the evening as he could not get good command of his curve and that helped him set up his low 90’s fastball to keep the Nationals hitters off balance. That is the definition of pitching ,staying  ahead of batters and keeping them off balance and for one night at least, Gee showed a ton of promise as an arm to look at for 2011.

For all the grief I give the Skill Sets, the one thing I’ve always admired about them was their commitment to our armed forces. If you go to games at Citi Field you know that the club acknowledges wounded vets by giving them much deserved VIP treatment at Mets games. They were the driving force in the caps worn and sold during Memorial Day and 4th of July by players and fans with proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior program and they make sure that the players make a trip to Walter Reed Hospital when the club plays the Nats in D.C., which has a profound effect not only on the heroes who were injured in battle but on the Mets players as well. Guys like David Wright, R.A. Dickey and Angel Pagan are up front about their feeling toward the trip in fact the whole Mets organization steps up big time by going to Walter Reed to lift the solders morale.  Well, almost everyone.

It seems Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and Carlos Beltran were the only member of the team to not make the trip to Walter Reed.  Why these three decided not to go has not been explained. Hopefully those with access to the players will ask them why they blew off this very important trip.  The fact that it was these three who were absent proves out why the vast majority of Mets fans can’t stand the trio.

Perez and Castillo should have been dumped a longggggggggggggggggg time ago but it should not be a shock that these two selfish shitheads would not go to a hospital to visit injured soldiers. Maybe they were embarrassed that as much as they suck at what they do and lack any balls to step up and make a positive contribution to the team ,shamed them from showing up. As for Beltran, he did himself no favor in the eyes of Mets  fansfor not showing up.

As far as I’m concerned Perez, Castillo and Beltran are three no good scumbags for not appearing.  I defended Beltran when he came back from injury and a lot of folks blamed him for the second half demise of the club. I have never been a fan of Beltran even though he is a great player (most long time readers know I was no fan of Mike Piazza’ either as Piazza and Beltran have the same “me” attitude just my opinion) and I think he is sometimes attacked unfairly but after being a no show yesterday, my Beltran defense rests.

If there is a silver lining to this embarrassment, it’s that maybe NOW Jeffy Skill Sets, getting embarrassed by these three, will finally realize that they all need to go no matter what the monetary cost.  I would have a ton more respect for the Skill Sets if they sent both Perez and Castillo home right now and informed Beltran that the club will do all they can to move him to a new team. I just hope that Beltran didn’t blow off this hospital visit because of his discontent with Mets management because if he did then he’s a gutless coward.

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Tickets

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