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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NEW YORK METS WILL CONDUCT WINTER COAT DRIVE ON WEDNESDAY AT CITI FIELD

On Wednesday December 14th the Mets and New York Cares will join forces for their 5th Annual Winter Coat drive. For donating one or more winter coats you get a voucher for  two tickets to a Mets game at Citi Field for select April games. Here are the full details of the coat drive:

The New York Mets, SNY and New York Cares are teaming up for the 5thannual Mets “Warm Up” Holiday Coat Drive Wednesday, December 14 at Citi Field.

 Fans donating one or more coats will receive a voucher redeemable for a pair of tickets to a select Mets game in April 2012 and a coupon to receive 15% off regularly priced merchandise at the Mets Team Store on December 14 only.  Season Ticket Holders who donate coats will get 20% off regularly priced items upon showing their Season Ticket Holder ID card.

 

Coats will be collected at the Seaver VIP entrance of Citi Field between 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.  Fans may use parking Lot B (Entrance 8) on the north side of the ballpark off Shea Road.

 

In addition, the New York Cares’ Youth Service Club team that collects the most coats through December 23 will be honored by the Mets during a special on-field, pre-game ceremony at Citi Field in 2012.  The Mets will also give the winning team tickets for students and a friend to attend the game at which they will be honored.  The New York Cares’ Youth Service Clubs provide community service opportunities at 48 New York City public schools.

 

The goal of the New York Cares Coat Drive is to collect 100,000 coats by December 31 for men, women and children in need in New York City.  There is a special need for children’s and large men’s coats this year. 

 

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HEY METS FANS, WHO NEEDS TWO?

After the news broke yesterday about the NY Mets Third Annual Adjustment of Ticket Prices, I got an e-mail inviting me to a conference call with Mets Executive VP of Business Operation, David Howard to ask questions about the new dynamic pricing on Mets tickets. As most of you know, I’m not a fan of Howard’s and from what I hear the feeling is mutual. After last night’s conference call nothing has change in our relationship.

Howard started the call by reiterating what was in the press release where the organization has scraped its Platinum, Gold, Silver, Tin Can tier pricing to a new pricing program where Mets tickets will be priced like a commodity. Just like gold, silver and pork bellies (the Skill Sets have really morphed into the Duke brothers   ) the price of a Mets ticket will now be set by market demand, however there is one caveat, there is a minimum price a ticket will go for and it will be what a season ticket holder paid for their ticket, which is fair as the organization is protecting its best customer. Ah,  but this being the Mets there always a “read the fine print” moment  and in this case it’s giving season ticket holders a deadline of November 7th to make a payment to commit to 2012 season tickets. This is a full  month earlier than usual and as Howard Megdal points out right at the time teams can have exclusive negotiating rights with its own free agents.  The Mets fan cynic in me says this means that there is no way the club will resign Jose Reyes and  they want to make sure those who hold season tickets  make an early commitments  before they can decide if a Reyes-less Mets team is one they want to invest their discretionary income.

I’m not a season ticket holder but I did at one time buy partial plans but with different commitments and such, I decided to buy game tickets when I know I’m free to go to games. So under this plan I will have to play Russian Roulette Mets style to buy my tickets. The price of tickets will vary as to who the opponent is and if the team is in contention or an also ran. So a seat for a game against the San Diego Padres on a Monday night in September will  a whole lot less than a game against the Highlanders on a June Friday night.  Classic supply and demand.

The question I posed to Howard was about all the seats with no ass’s in them behind home plate and how watching the current post season games from Citizen Bank Park, Comerica Park and Rangers Ballpark where there are real good old fashion baseball seats with fans in them as opposed to Citi Field where fans would rather sip Chardonnay and talk about how happy they are that the financial intuition they work for is sucking the country’s economy dry, than watch a baseball game. So courtesy of Amazin’ Avenue, who has done a fantastic job of transcribing the conference call (a big tip of the Mets cap to Chris McShanne and James Kannengieser )  here is my question and Howard’ response:

Steve Keane, Ed Kranepool Society: This is the 3rd year in a row that the organization has revamped its ticket program and it seems like the organization has a problem reading its fan base. Watching these postseason games, especially games at Citizens Bank Ballpark, Comerica and Arlington, you see the seats behind home plate are regular stadium seats, whereas at Citi Field they have these big expensive luxury seats. Has there ever been any thought of taking those seats out by the Champions Club, and putting in seats where fans will actually sit in those seats during games.

 

DH: The Champions Club is behind home plate but not immediately behind home plate on the field level. It’s actually technically off of the field level concourse. They sit above the Sterling Seats. With regards to the Champions Club in particular, we are actually changing that club and making it an all-inclusive club. While the prices are essentially remaining constant, there is going to be complimentary food and non-alcoholic beverages served.

 

I think in regards to the Delta Club, which is the club that’s on camera from the center field view during games, those are upholstered theater-style seats. They are very comfortable. They are a premium seat. They are basically sold out. Again, you may not see people sitting in those seats all the time. They may be in the club, they may be in the back, they may not be there. Those seats are sold, so we don’t have any plans at this point to change those. What happens is that the team starts to win more, it gets more exciting; people will be in those seats on an increased basis.

So in essence, who gives a shit if someone is sitting in the seats, THEY’RE PAID FOR!!!! And they are sold out (I guess those were the tickets that sold like “hotcakes” last season) Howard’s thinking is we can get the corporate suit here to wine and dine during games but it’s you annoying Mets fans with your rent and mortgages and families to take care of and on top of that insisting on having a winning team that we need to buy tickets.  There has to be some bloodline between David Howard and M.Donald Grant .

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“HEY KEEP IT DOWN, WE’RE TRYING TO ENJOY A QUIET EVENING AT THE BALL PARK ”

For those of you who are still interested, Mets single game tickets go on sale today at 10AM. When you click on the link you’ll see that opening day is still available. It wasn’t long ago that opening day was one of the toughest tickets of the season to obtain. You either had to be a season ticket holder, of a partial plan holder to get a first game ticket and regular price. I remember some seasons paying a premium price on the secondary market to make sure I was in the ball park for the season opener. This year I bought my opening day ticket on a special pre-sale but not to worry if you haven’t purchased yours yet there should be plenty for sale.They’ll be plenty of concourse space to stroll around the ballpark on April 8. Sad.  

Mets management has come up with a very good move in making sections 338 and 339 the Mr. Mets Landing. Ticket for kids under 12 years old are 10 bucks and for adults $20. That’s well worth it. Now if the organization would just understand they are not in a real strong position to have price tiering and how it is an absolute turn off to fans and the fact they really need to stop catering to the fat cats who could care less if the Mets win or lose as long as the Chablis and brie is flowing and price their tickets to a more middle class fan friendly level, it would be better for business. I see all these ads with the catchy slogans but I guess I missed the one that said all tickets 50 % off.

It’s very rare that I link to Phil Muschnick on this site but today(Thanks to Eagle for the link) he had a column that sums up what Citi Field, Highlander Stadium on eventually Madison Square Garden have become, a mall with sporting events going on.

No need to rehash my assessment of Citi Field as a food court with a baseball diamond but all the new stadiums in the area have become just that. There is no home field advantage anymore for any of the NYC teams, they play in gentrified playgrounds where the emphasis is on the cuisine and drink rather than the home run, touchdown or power play goal.

Another must read today is Larry Brooks column on the NY Rangers having no home ice advantage anymore at MSG. You need not be a hockey fan to read this article as it pertains to all the sports teams here in NYC. Back in the late 70’s and through the decade of the 1980’s if you were a visiting hockey team coming into MSG, you were intimidated by who was in stands more than who was on the ice.  I sat in the late lamented Section 432 of the Blue Seats back then and every game night at the Garden was intense. When the Islanders came in the building during the National Anthem all you could here were screams of POTVIN SUCKS and banners were unfurled from the seats in the obstructed section of the Blues proclaiming Mike Bossy’ enjoyment of anal sex. (thanks to Blutto for that correction how could I forget “Bossy takes it up the ass doo dah doo dah”) Today if you yell too loud in MSG you’re looked at as someone strange.

Shea was the same way. Ask the Cubs of 1969, the Astros and Red Sox of 1986. How many games did the Mets play at Shea that were either rain delayed or into extra innings or they were down double digits runs and all you could hear were the die hards screaming LET’S GO METS, LET’S GO METS. How many LET’S GO METS chants have you heard at Citi Field? Not many, Have you ever been to a game at Citi where  Johan  Santana, Big Pelf or Frankie Rodriguez had a two strike count  and two outs and you got up from your seat the clap and encourage that third strike because as fans that’s what we do, and be told to please sit down? I know you’re nodding your head because if it happened to me I know it has happened to you.

The Skill Sets made a deal with the devil catering to those they thought were kind of folks with deep pockets who would pay any price to sit in a suite or club seat at Citi Field but all they got was a pitch fork stuck in their ass.

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JONAH KERI’ “THE EXTRA 2% GOES ON SALE TODAY

Jonah Keri’s new book “The Extra 2% How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Team From Worst to First” (Ballantine/ESPN Books Hardcover) hits books store today, a day many baseball devotees have been waiting for.

The book chronicles the rise of the Tampa Bay Rays, under the management skills of Stuart Sternberg and Mathew Silverman, using their expertise in economics learned from their days together at Goldman Sachs.

The Rays were once the most disrespected franchise in baseball, on and off the field. You could say the Rays were an undervalued commodity being that their continuous last place finishes; their reward was drafting very high in the June entry draft and getting the best choices of the top American amateurs out there. Upon taking ownership of the club, Sternberg and Silverman put together a draft strategy, and acquiring players who were proficient in the defensive end of baseball.  

Sternberg and Silverman also changed the culture of the franchise by bringing in a positive dynamic to the front office and administrative staff who were beaten down under the Vince Namoli regime. They also did an intense rebranding of the team, first dropping the name “Devils” and going with just Rays as the team nickname as well as ridding themselves of the weird color designs on the uniform.  

While Sternberg and Silverman have been successful with the Rays on the field, they are still fighting an uphill battle off the field, dealing with issues of an antiquated and hard to get to ballpark and a depressed economy in Central Florida, which has kept attendance down.

Sternberg has also been linked to becoming owner of the NY Mets as he is not only a Brooklyn native and Westchester resident but he is a lifelong Mets fan and season ticket holder still to this day.    

As a Mets fan, this book is of great interest to me (and it should be to you as well) as the franchise is entering uncertain times due to money problems of ownership that has been chronicled all winter and that we have a new front office headed by Sandy Alderson whose management style is the bench mark for what Sternberg and Silverman have used in Tampa.

The Extra 2 % can be obtained through Amazon, Barnes & Noble (both on line and the good old brick and mortar) and all book stores. No matter how you buy your books these days (Kindle and Nook) I recommend highly that you either buy or download The Extra 2 % today.

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THE DOG SLED EDITION OF METS NEWS AND VIEWS

The only good thing about staying outside and shoveling snow for 4 hours yesterday was the baseball chatter between me and my neighbors. Your back and arms don’t hurt as much when your discussing the Mets and Highlanders starting rotation (there were four of us out there, two Mets fans, two Highlanders fans) the future of Derek Jeter (we all agree he needs to get off shortstop) and what teams announcers are the best (Highlander fans conceded this one early as the only guy the like is Paul O’Neil)    I guess the baseball talk keeps us sane as we look forward to pitchers/catchers in 17 days because I need something as I’m totally SNOWBLIND.

I had quite an interesting encounter this morning near my office. I’m standing on the corner of Thomas St and Church St headed up to Broadway. As I waited for the light to green so I could cross the street, a guy standing next to me is staring at me. Just as I was ready to ask him “What the fuck are you looking at” the guy says “oh a Mets fan uh”? Now I’m wearing a Mets jacket with my classic blue Mets cap so Sherlock Fucking Holmes has cracked the case.  As we both cross the street, this little hobit then says “You know I’m a season ticket holder. Maybe we can exchange e-mails and if you ever need tickets…..”? I turn to this cretin and tell him “Chief, the only way you’d get my e-mail address is if you morphed into Christina Hendricks in the next three seconds”   Of course he didn’t. What a douchebag.

Time for News and Views:

NEWS: Freddy Skill Sets wants Omar Minaya to stay with Mets

View:  What’s the fucking point? The biggest weakness the Skill Sets have is they never can say good-bye (no, no, no, now)Nothing against Minaya but for Christ sake man, you got canned as GM and all of your staff was given pink slips have some pride and walk away. Look if Freddy wants to give you a desk and a phone so you can stay in contact with folks around MLB to find employment that’s fine but com’on Freddy, I know breakin’ up is hard to do but stop making Omar you’re Calendar Girl. I don’t want to think of you as the King of Clowns.

NEWS: Freddy Skill Sets says he’ll cut your ass if you can’t play.

View: Now that’s how to walk like a man

NEWS: Mets Farm System is Rank

Views:  Seems the folks who are expert in minor league baseball feel the Mets crop of farm hands is not of fine vintage. It seems Sandy Alderson is of the same mind set as he has spoken about rebuilding the minor league system and doing so in a uniform fashion.  Last year we saw the near destruction of RHP Jenry Mejia but the mission failed so it seems, but Mejia is ranked #1 or #2 in just about every ranking survey (great job by Ed Ryan of Mets Fever by the way of posting the links) with Wilmer Flores right behind him and RHP Matt Harvey right behind them.  The Mets have two picks in the Top 50 picks of the 2011 First Draft, hopefully Sandy Alderson will not stir this draft with a slotted spoon.

NEWS: Strawberry to run in the Race To The Top of The Empire State Building   

VIEW: Outstanding!  I hope he wears Mets gear while running.

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THINGS MAY NOT BE A BLEAK AS WE THINK

If anyone is going to $iti Field tomorrow night, I’d suggest that when Carlos Beltran comes up for his first at bat, you stand up and give him a hand. Beltran backed up the talk last night as he tried to 7-10 split Chase Utley and Wilson Valdez in the 7th inning. Beltran’s only regret is that “he didn’t hit anyone”. Too bad this didn’t happen in August as the incident has seemed to give the club a little spark. It’s also a shame that the manager wasn’t fired in August and another voice brought in to challenge the manhood of the players as Utley and the Phuck Phaces have, the second half of the season might have been much different.

I posed the question on Twitter last night, other that Ton’s O Fun Sabathia, what starting pitcher on the Highlanders would you take over any of the Mets starters? The only pitcher who got any mention from the Bronx side was Phil Hughes but would you take Hughes over Big Pelf? Hell to the No! Someone mentioned Ivan Nova which tells you the state of the Highlander rotation when Burnett and Vasquez got nary a Tweet. By the way Mets fans, it may be time for us to get into full Tampa Bay Ray mode as the GP Stu Steinberg, of the Canarsie Steinberg’s,  grew up a full blooded  Mets fan and I believe is still a Mets season ticket holder. It won’t be a total loss for the Bronx Bastards if they go one and done in the post season, it will give the maintenance crew enough time to set the Jerry Kenny Memorial in Fossil Park for an April unveiling.

What makes this September easier to take over last September is the fact that, a new GM and manager will be hired, that Ike Davis and Josh Thole have certainly shown they belong in the big leagues, that the pitching staff has the potential to be good to solid next season as RA Dickey should be back, Big Pelf continues to mature mentally, Jon Niese continues his progression and the emergence of Dillon Gee as a solid 4 or 5 in the rotation. The team will miss Johan Santana for sure and hopefully they can add another vet arm in the winter (money permitting and a savy front office man to boot) so I’m getting a bit more optimistic about the future than I had been say a month ago. It all depends on who get the GM and managers spot if my optimism will bloom into down right excitement.

Steve Popper says it’s time for Mets ownership to go all out and hire Bobby Valentine as the next manager of the Mets. I have to say with all the young talent and the need for a much needed shot of enthusiasm both on the field and in the stands if the Mets don’t go full bore for BV it will be a big mistake. This team as it will be loaded with young players and veterans who need to be challenged and no one does that better than Valentine.  This whole Utley incident has shown a light on Jerry Manuel that proves he’s not fit to manage. Instead of saying in his post game presser that “ well that’s how we played back in the day” and “I would think the players would respond” He should have closed the clubhouse door after the game and told his players that the Phillies have played you guys for chumps for four years now and will keep playing you for chumps until you fight back. No one is saying to clear the benches (although that would be fun) but there comes a time when the manager had to challenge his player’s manhood, their pride to tell them it’s time they stopped squatting to pee and stand up like men. That’s not Jerry Mnauel’ style and that’s why we’re also rans again in 2010.

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HOWARD MEGDAL FOR METS GM

Ladies and Gentlemen I am proud to announce that Howard Medal has accepted the call of duty and will run for General Manager of the New York Mets. The Eddie Kranepool Society whole hardheartedly supports Mr. Megdal’ candidacy for this very important office, please read this press release from Megdal Headquarters:

On Monday, June 14 at 11 AM, Howard Megdal, writer for SNY.tv, MLBTradeRumors.com, New York Baseball Digest, and Poet Laureate of Amazin’ Avenue, will reveal his decision concerning an electoral campaign to become the next General Manager of the New York Mets. Mr. Megdal will make a statement and take questions from the media.

The event will begin promptly at 11 AM on the fourth floor of the Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway (at 45th Street). At the conclusion of the event, lunch will not be served.

Megdal, 30, would be making his first-ever run for General Manager of the New York Mets. His career-to-date has included a wealth of relevant experience, however, including writing about the team for the New York Observer, authoring a definitive profile of Cowbellman, and finding several different rhyme schemes for the phrase “Big Pelf”.

Megdal also understands the fan perspective. He is also a Mets partial season ticket holder, attended David Cone’s 19 strikeout game on October 6, 1991, and served one day as a political prisoner over his love for the New York Mets during Phillies Hat Day at Beck Middle School in Cherry Hill, NJ.

WHAT: Announcement/Media Availability by Howard Megdal

WHEN: MONDAY, JUNE 14, 11 AM

WHERE: New York Marriott Marquis, Fourth Floor


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Tickets

The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

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