Playing Pepper: New York Mets Edition

 

Baseball Bloggers Alliance founding father and Cardinal blogger par excellence Daniel Shoptaw was kind enough to invite myself and other Mets bloggers in the BBA to participate in his Playing Pepper series.

Besides myself the Mets bloggers interviewed for this series were Paul of Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff, Kerel Cooper of On The Black, Jon Preser of The Shea Faithful, Jeff Yurcan of Metsprospectus, Freddy Vasquez of Mets Hot Corner, Jon Lewin of Subway Squawkers, and AC of Mets Public Record.

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METS INJURIES SPRED TO FRONT OFFICE, PODCASTS, PODCASTS AND MORE PODCASTS AND 9-11-11 GAS BAGS ON PARADE

Before I get started here let me first send out best wishes and speedy recovery to Mets VP of Media Relations, Jay Horowitz and to Director of Media Relations, Shannon Forde who are both hobbling around on injured ankles. Jay seems to have it the worst as he scheduled to have surgery Monday on his broken ankle, so hopefully both Jay and Shannon get better soon.

Time for a little self- promotion, first for all you who are football fans reading this site, I co-host a football podcast on Blog Talk Radio called NY FOOTBALL BLOGS LIVE with Frankie “The Sports Guy” Maniscalo. Last night we had running back Chris Ogbonnaya  of the Houston Texans as a guest. Tonight I will be co- hosting another episode of NY FOOTBALL BLOGS LIVE at 9PM ET with Anthony DiMoro of SportsRantz.com. Our guest will be Green Bay Packers blogger, J.C. Lombardi of PackerBackerBlog.com.

Last night, I was also a guest on Baseball Bloggers Alliance President, Daniel Shoptaw’ Cardinal 70 podcast. Daniel and I spoke about the Mets and the upcoming 10th Anniversary of September 11th and about how I became a Mets fan.

Also on the podcast front, the folks over at Mets Kult of Personality had the pleasure of interviewing former Mets pitcher Gary Gentry last night on their show.  Gentry in his rookie season of 1969, got the win in Game 3 of the NLCS and a win in Game 3 of the World Series. Both games were saved by Nolan Ryan and the World Series win was a nice tidy 5-0 shutout where Gentry and Ryan out dueled Jim Palmer.

I’m already overwhelmed with the coverage of the 10th Anniversary of the attack of September 11th 2001, maybe its because every day for me is a remembrance of 9-11, since I work four blocks from Ground Zero. I also see the U.S. Coast Guard ships equipped with machine guns escorting the SI Ferry I ride to and from work, and the NYPD Hercules Task Force, decked out in their full fighting regalia guarding the Subway stations. I see the Angel’s Corner in the Grasmere section of Staten Island just off Hylan Blvd where the residents of Staten Island who were murdered that day are memorialized.  I see the people who have moved downtown and in Tribeca, young people, young couples with young children who give me hope that maybe this city, this part of town, after ten years is back and as vibrant as ever.   There is nothing better than walking down Greenwich St on a late summer afternoon with the restaurants busy and kids from Stuyvesant High School and Manhattan Community College filling the streets laughing and enjoying each other’s company.

Sunday will be a very solemn day in NYC as the people who lost friends and loved ones will meet at the sight of their murder but instead of having their time to reflect and mourn, they will be inundated by gas bag politicians who will give speeches and make sad faces and make believe they actually give a shit about them and those they lost. In the days after the attack, the country pulled together and showed the pride and guts that makes the United States the great country it is, but ten years later, that’s all gone.  It’s all about prepackaged, over made up, and uniformed media whores going on every cable news channel to tell you that they are the person to lead this country to glory when all they are style without  substance.

Think about it, in the ten years since the attacks, the U.S. Government has spent trillions on two wars we should have never had been involved in nor could win and even if we did win what was the prize, while schools are still underfunded, a health care system that would ensure all Americans the right to have medical coverage is mocked and torn apart which wouldn’t be so bad if the critics had a another plan, which they don’t, we’re told that Social Security is a bad thing as is raising taxes on the richest 1 % of Americans. But it is still ok to fuck over the working class American who does more in an hour than some ass hat Congressman or Senator does in a full term of office.

Yes they will all be here downtown on Sunday in their dark suits with speeches in hand, especially the Dwarf Emperor of NYC who defied the law that said all you get is two terms in office and you move on but that law did not pertain to a man with billions. He will praise the FDNY, the same FDNY that he wanted to close the firehouses they work in and are at the ready to leave at a moments notice into situations most would run away from. He will then talk about the heroism of the NYPD the same NYPD that he decided had too many member’s and needed to be cut.    

Yes they will all be there, gas bags of every size, shape and political party trying to outdo each other in the grief and outrage of the day. Me? I’ll go get a slice a pizza and hang out on  Greenwich St and marvel at the people of NYC who deal with terrorist attacks and threats, earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards, heat waves and phony do nothing politicians by never giving up and never backing down. That’s the American way.

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PLAYING PEPPER WITH C70 AT THE BAT

Daniel Shoptaw is the President of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and he is also a St. Louis Cardinals fan and runs a Cardinal site called C70 at the Bat. Daniel does a feature where he does a Q & A with bloggers of other team called Playing Pepper. His most recent PP is up at his site and it featured yours truly along with my fellow Mets bloggers Anthony of Long Live Shea, Paul of Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff , Kerel Cooper of On The Black, AC Wayne of Mets Public Record, M.W. Strout of Mets Fans For Life, Phil Hoops Jr. of Hoops Approved, and Dave Doyle of the Mets Report

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TODAY IS BASEBALL BLOGGERS ALLIANCE DAY

Today is Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) Day, and as a member from the beginning of the Alliance and the NY NL Chapter President, I’d like to tell you about the BBA.

The BBA was founded in 2009 by Daniel Shoptaw, who blogs about the St. Louis Cardinals at his C70 at the Bat site. Daniel had e-mailed me about the BBA and asked if would like to join up and I immediately said yes. What I liked about the BBA was it was a place for someone like me who is passionate about my team to meet up with other passionate baseball fans who are also bloggers.  My membership in the BBA has been a tremendous help in doing my THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN radio show and in hosting the BASEBALL BLOGGERS ALLIANCE BASEBALL TALK SHOW on Blog Talk Radio, as I can always find a blogger to come on and talk about their team when they are facing the NY Mets, to give me a fans/bloggers eye view of ups and downs of their team, which helps myself and my listeners get a better idea of the opponent facing the Mets in that series.

Besides the BBA Talk Radio show, we also vote on season ending awards in the same fashion as the Baseball Writers of America, in fact they seem a bit worried about our views as they issued a cease and desist letter for the BBA not use the terms they use for their award. We wear that C & D as a badge of accomplishment.

The BBA is 230 members strong, with chapters which are history oriented, cover fantasy baseball, the analytical part of baseball and those who cover general baseball news and views. The majority of the membership though is of team specific sites and I am very proud to say that the New York Mets have the highest number of bloggers in the BBA at 19.

So I’d like for you to take a little time today and visit our BBA site and also check out our broadcasts on Blog Talk Radio.    

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SOMEDAYS YOU’RE A PEACOCK, OTHER DAYS A FEATHER DUSTER

A very busy couple of days kept me away from here yesterday. It all started Tuesday morning. I had a 5:30 game that evening so I wanted to get my work done in the morning so I could take a couple of hours off. I get an e-mail from fellow BBA member, Daniel Shoptaw of C 70 at the Bat to see if I could pinch hit as host for the BBA Baseball Talk podcast that night. With my game at 5:30, there is a curfew of 2 hours after first pitch as we have no lights at the field where we play. The podcast was scheduled for 11PM so it all works out for me.

The way the game started for our team I thought it might even be an earlier night as there is a 10 run mercy rule after 5 innings. We were down 6-0 after 3 as our pitchers didn’t throw many strikes and the one’s they did were hit hard. After showing my annoyance with my offense for not being aggressive at the plate (“enough window shopping fellows, time to make purchase, swing the bats, next guy who takes a called third strike will need some big tweezers pull the splinters out of their butts”) they took my advice and got aggressive, that and the opposing pitcher getting gased, we get back in the game and make it 6-5 in the bottom of the 6th (we play 7 innings) and it’s getting darker and darker. Now to this point we have bases loaded two outs and as I say not much offense, I tell my runner on 3rd to get a good lead as he’s not being held and the pitcher is focused on the batter. First pitch, my runner goes more than half way down the line, and the pitch is a strike. When he gets back I tell him, if the ball gets past the catcher, run to the plate. Sure enough the next pitch is in the dirt, I scream to my runner (I coach 3rd base) GO! GO! GO! So he tears down the line and as he attempts his slide in the plate the catcher puts the tag right on his lead leg and is called out. Game over.

It took me a good half hour to leave the field. The kids were pissed off and I told them this loss is on me, I told him to run and if you guys want to be mad at anyone be mad at me. I know one of my other coaches wasn’t happy with my decision and I’m sure some of the parents weren’t happy either but to tell you the truth I don’t care. I play aggressive and sometimes it works sometime it bites you in the ass, so Tuesday night I had a sore ass.

Now by the time I get home, it dawns on me, “oh shit, I’ve got to host the BBA Podcast.” So I scramble to get some material together and at 11PM Daniel and I are on the air. Check out the show here I think it went pretty good for two guys pinch hitting at the last minute.

So yesterday I took a mental health day as my managerial decisions were still driving me crazy.

Metsermized online has a great must read post on the events of April 22, 1970, the day Tom Seaver struck out 19 San Diego Padres, the last 10 batters in a row. How fitting is it that The Franchise is in town to help inaugurate the new Mets Alumni Association where former Mets players from all eras of Mets history will be on hand at $iti Field and also represent the Mets at community events. I’m ecstatic over this new Met Alumni Association because, it’s long over due and the initiative of the association of having former Mets on hand at the ball park and having them rep the organization at events has been something I’ve been advocating for some time. Maybe someone in the front office is reading this stuff if they are, thank you. 

Looks like my projection of Carlos Beltran coming back to the lineup around the All Star break now looks like an optimistic view.

If Mets fans want to be ignorant enough to boo David Wright that’s there prerogative, but as bad as Wright has looked at the plate the last week, I still believe if Jason Bay and the suddenly ice cold Frenchy could start getting productive it would help Wright. No doubt the middle of the batting order is not very productive right now and maybe it’s time for a big shake up like say, moving Wright to the lead off spot and Reyes to the 3 hole? Then move Castillo to 8 and Pagan to 2 ? The lineup would look like this:

Wright

Pagan

Reyes

Bay

Francouer

Davis

Barajas

Castillo

Pitcher

All this is moot if you have a healthy Beltran and a productive Bay, in fact with both those player in the lineup and productive with the very good pitching the team has gotten early, the 6-9 record the Mets have would be no worse than 9-6 or 10-5 and with the Phillies at 9-5 in first place, Mets fans would be in a much better state of mind.

Ryota Igarhashi going down with a strained hammy is a killer right now. I guess Tobi Stoner can’t be called back up for 10 days from the time he was sent down so it looks like we’re stuck with Manny Acosta.

Now that we know Carlos Beltran is a couple of months away from rejoining the lineup, can we please give GMJ his release and bring up Chris Carter ?

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THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN: TONIGHT AT10PM ET ON BLOG TALK RADIO

I hope you can join me tonight at 10PM ET  on Blog Talk Radio for THIS  CALL TO THE BULLPEN. My guest will be be Pat Nester, who write for NYB Blogs and Daniel Shoptaw of the Cardinals blog C70 At The Bat and the founder of  the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

Pat and I will talk Mets and Yankees to start the show and then I will discuss the weekend series between the Mets and the St Louis Cardinals.

If you can’t join us live,  you can listen to the archived show right here at Kranepool Society (sroll down on the left hand side) or at the show page at Blog Talk Radio,

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TUNE INTO BLOG TALK RADIO FOR THE DEBUT OF BBA BASEBALL TALK

Tonight at 11 PM ET, on Blog Talk Radio, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance will debut its new weekly radio program, BBA Baseball Talk.

The show will feature a rotating cast of bloggers (yours truly will be co-hosting the April 13th show along with Adam Bernacchio of The Ghost of Moonlight Graham) tonight BBA founder and St. Louis Cardinal blogger, Daniel Shoptaw of the site C70 At The Bat will co-host with Ron Kaplan of Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf.

Daniel and Ron will be taking listeners phone calls so call in at (347) 884-8690

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MURRAY CHASS TOOK AN AX, GAVE BASEBALL BLOGGERS 40 WHACKS

I’ve told my kids, if I start to get crotchety and nasty when I get old they have permission to dump me at the Port Authority and never worry about me again. I don’t think Murray Chass made that deal with his kids.

As you see on the right hand side of this site, I am a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and I should say a proud member. I am also honored to be a member from the beginning when Daniel Shoptaw, writer of C70 At The Bat (a St Louis Cardinals blog) sent me an e-mail about his idea. I could not write back to him faster to say “thanks for asking me and yes, I’m all in”. It was one of the best moves I’ve made since I started blogging.

The BBA has grown so much between writing, podcasting and having our own SABR chapter that I guess with success comes the slings and arrows of jealousy. That’s where Murray Chass comes in.

Even though he wrote with a pro-Highlander slant, due to being the Highlander beat man for the Times until 1985 when he was bumped up to the National baseball beat. His baseball columns in the NY Times were always must reads. When labor strafe hit baseball, no one had the access and the coverage of the negogation like Chass. He is also in the Baseball Hall of Fame by way of wining the J.G.Taylor Spinks Award in 2003. Chass “retired” from the NY Times in 2008. I put quotation marks on retired because it was more a buy out that a voluntary decision on Chass’ part. Chass was in poor health for awhile and I can sincerely say I am glad he is back to full strength and healthy once again.

But I do have a problem with Chass and that is because he has a problem with me. Well, not just me, but baseball bloggers in particular. The BBA sent out a press release which had a few spelling, math an grammar errors on them. Instead of just hitting the delete button, Chass thought this would an excellent time to prove his point that bloggers are an embarrassment to the written word. He pointed out every grammatical mistake and ridiculed the spelling errors. He laughed  at the BBA because we felt that with Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven getting 74.468 % of our votes in the BBA Hall Of Fame, because we rouned the number off to 75 %. Chass berated us for not having basic math skills.

Now, when Daniel sent out the response he received in a e-mail from Chass that made the bloggers of the BBA seem to uneducated buffoons, my first response was to act like an uneducated buffoon. I was ready with a post filled with F-bombs, and disparaging remarks about his employer showing him the door, but one of the best reasons to be a member of the BBA is I was the only uneducated buffoon to act this way.

See, even though Chass has a strong dislike to the folks who make up the BBA because we don’t have a college degree in English or Journalism, or some of the membership write and analyze baseball via Sabermetrics, or the fact that some of us are just fans who have played, coached, or watched baseball our whole lives and have now found a new way to express our love for the game, just like Ol’ Murr. In fact, while old thinkers like Murray Chass are sent to the showers, the NEW kids on the block are getting hired for jobs at websites to show their graphs with pitch f/x, UZR, VOPR BABIP and all the other facts and figures that not only give insight to fans but to front offices all around baseball as well, to that the old fedora, cigar smokin’ writers react to like Dracula to a cross.

The other thing that set the BBA apart is they know how to respond to such slights. As I said, I was ready to go jihad on old Murray, but Daniel Shoptaw said “no” and so did a bunch of other members. What Shoptaw did was send Chass a reply e-mail, thanking him for pointing out the errors in the press release and for making him send out future releases for proof reading by other members of the BBA before the are published. Clear, rational, ADULT behavior but Daniel Shoptaw proved that he is twice the man that Murray Chass is.

Oh by the way Murry, I see you have a website now and I really shouldn’t link to it since you can’t stand me or what I do but I link to your site as a public service to my readers to show what you wrote about the BBA and to hopefully show my readership it’s best to grow old with gracefully.

I apologize for any grammatical mistakes or spelling error in this post. I’m not a writer, I just play one in cyberspace.

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