OK Freddy Now Show Us Why We Should Care?

Why is Freddy smiling? Well, he just beat the rap! picture credit to John Marshall Mantle of the NY Times

I care about Fred Wilpon’s finances as much as he cares about mine which is nil.  Yesterday was a win for Fred and Uncle Saul but was it a win for Mets fans? That remains to be seen.

My concern in this whole clusterfuck of finance is how and when do the Mets get back to being championship contenders and that Jeffy Wilpon is kept away from the big boys running the baseball operations. It doesn’t matter if the Skill Sets discover gold, oil and a poppy field in Mo’Zone, as long as Sandy Alderson and his staff are allowed to do the baseball work, things have a good chance of working out for Mets but if they go back to business as usual then yesterday could be looked at as a dark day for Mets fans.

I have no problem with the Skill Sets owning the Mets what bothers me is when they get themselves involved in things they have no business in like obtaining players either by free agency, trading or drafting. Right now you have very competent people employed to run that end of the business like you did in the mid 60’s when Whitey Herzog ran the farm system and in the 80’s when Frank Cashen ran the organization, both times the Mets had their best success. I believe if Wilpon leaves Sandy Alderson alone this could be a renaissance of Mets baseball and if Fred was smart he’d understand this.

The Skill Sets are still faced with massive debt on the team, ball park and SNY so all yesterday really did was drop one of their 99 problems now that Irv Picard ain’t one. One of those 99 problems for the Mets is how to get ass’s in the seats of Citi Field, of course winning would help solve that but in order to get the fan base revved up the ownership had to show there is a commitment to winning. By commitment I don’t mean spending stupid money like in the past but showing the fan base that they really want to improve this team. As it stands today the club is deficient in starting pitching and bench depth as well as not having a bona fide veteran catcher to go along with a crippling contract of Jason Bay who doesn’t look like he’s going to have a turnaround season. You want to win back your fan base, allow Alderson to deal Bay with the team that will take half of the $35 mil that owed to Bay ($16 mil this season and next with a $3mil buyout in ’14) and the Skill Sets take the other half then I’ll say there is a commitment to making the Mets better and the fan base will know it and maybe that will get folks back to attending games at Citi Field. But again with the massive debt still on the Wilpon’s shoulders I doubt we’ll see this. You know maybe if they just started telling Mets fan the truth about the financial commitment they are making towards the team would be a good start to mend fences with the fan base.

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PSSSST, HEY BUDDY OVER HERE, WANNA BUY A SHARE OF A BIG LEAUGE BASEBALL TEAM?

With Time Warner and Comcast reaching in to their deep pockets to help out their SNY partner the Skill Sets , it has all the earmarks of the old 3 Card Monte games you used to see around the ol’ Forty-Duce back in the day. Instead of having a kid yell out “5-0!! 5-0!!” to warn that the cops were in route, I picture Jeffey standing on the corner playing chickey yelling “PICARD!! PICARD!!

I guess it makes sense for TW and Comcast to help bailout the Skill Sets as the Mets are the main TV programing on SNY, speaking of SNY do you watch any of their programing other than the Mets or any Mets related programing? I didn’t think so. I’m waiting for them to broadcast Classic Giuseppe Franco commercials. Wouldn’t that be the kicker if old Joey ended up buying a share of the Mets?

The Kid toughed it out last night as he headed out to see his Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team open it’s season.  A very bittersweet night is was as Carter hasn’t made any public appearances since his fight with cancer and with the tumors retuning who knows if he ever will again. If you were shocked by the Carter’s appearance then I guess you have never had a friend or family member stricken with this insidious disease. Consider yourself fortunate.   

Sunday is shaping up to be one of the great sports viewing days in a long, long time. Start off the morning with Chelsea-ManU at Stamford Bridge at 10AM; follow that up with Grizzles-Celtics at Noon with a switch over to Rangers-Flyers at 1PM then a little break and head over for a Super Bowl party with some friends-A Giants fans only party I might add-for Giants-Patriots.  Good thing I’ve been training for years for this kind of endurance test.

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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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“JUST WHEN I THOUGHT THEY WERE OUT, THEY PULL ME BACK IN”

Just when you thought the Mets would fold up the tents and head into the off season with the refrain of “Same Old Mets” from the Flushing Faithful, echoing in their ears,  they not only reverse course but do so in impressive fashion.

After dropping 4 in a row to the Brewski’s and Phuck Phaces, the fan base was going over their fall/winter plans just glancing at SNY or tuning in to Howie, Wayne and engineer extraordnaire,  Chirs Majkowski   but then something amazing happened, two of the most unlikely players, Nick Evans and Mike Pelfrey led the team to a win against the Phuck Phaces to save face since the Philly Phucks embarrassed the Mets in the first two games of the series.  After the off day, Chris Capuano gave SNY some winter programing by pitching the game of the year for the Mets.  If you don’t think this was the game of the year, find a clip of Howie Rose making the call of the final out as it was classic Howie, staying in professional mode but letting you know there is still a lot of Mets fan in him.

Then came the hurricane and the Bravos ran out of town and in came the Fish and a good ol’ twi-nighter at Citi Field. The first game was started by Mets fan fav R.A. Dickey who was stellar as usual but this time he got the WIN but personal wins are not what Robert Allen Dickey is about:

“Wins and losses are nice, but it’s not the metric that I measure my season by,” Dickey said. “If the team gets the win, I know it sounds cliche, but that’s what you want as a starting pitcher, to go out there, put up quality starts and the result be a win for your club. So that’s what I try to focus on. We’re playing pretty good ball right now.”

Then in the second game, Dillion Gee had a great bounce back game which is quite encouraging in such a young pitcher. Maybe it was having Jose Reyes back, or maybe the it was the BP Jersey’s the team wore or maybe Old School Dan Warthen threatened to send Gee into the Iron Triangle draped in a suit of pork chops to fight off the pit bulls (are people really surprised there are dogs roaming 126 Street chop shops? They ‘ve been there since Jack Fisher and Joe Christopher were Mets) whatever,  it’s stellar pitching and the mighty bats of The Dude and DFA Evans have the team back on track.

Another reason why you should be proud of your NY Mets. A kid was stuck between the eyes last night by a foul ball. Justin Turner saw the kid get hit and it made him sick to his stomach, he was so bad off he had to go confide with Nick Evans who also watched the flight of the ball strike the young man. Turner was still worried about the kid after the game that he tried to get info on how he was, and sent word on Twitter he was still waiting and hoping to hear from the boy’s family. Justin Turner is a good man.

The Mets are also ready to make a PSA for an Anti-Bullying Campaign:

 The New York Mets today announced the launch of an anti-bullying public service awareness campaign designed to educate and support our children about all forms of bullying. The PSAs will begin airing today, Monday, August 29, during games at Citi Field and on SNY to help deliver the message to the broadest audience.

 

 

 

Jason Bay, Chris Capuano, R.A. Dickey, Daniel Murphy and David Wright are among the players who participated in tapings for the segment.  The content was developed in conjunction with StopBullying.gov, an official U.S. Government Web Site managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Education.

The Mets place a high priority in supporting children in the community.  For 18 years, the organization has been a proud sponsor of the Student Athlete Leadership Conference Series, a mentoring program that includes an anti-bullying and civility message with particular attention paid to language and behavior that is derogatory and offensive based on racial, sexual and ethnic biases.  Over the years, thousands of high school athletes have been trained to promote positive activities to hundreds of thousands of elementary school students across Long Island.

This is another great job by Mets management and their outreach in the community. I would hope they would also add  “It Gets Better” video to help stop the attacks and homophobia that Gay and Lesbian teens face too many times in their everyday lives.

 

 

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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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A GREAT NIGHT OF FOOD TASTING AT CITI FIELD AND A SEAT IN THE PRESS BOX FOR DESERT

Quite the evening at Citi Field last night. This post may start to ramble for a while so if you want to stay for the full ride I suggest you make a trip to the rest room, grab some coffee and get a comfortable chair.

Last night was another installment of Mets Bloggers Gone Wild at Citi Field.  In this episode, which by the way, SNY is making a huge mistake not taping our blogger outings at Citi Field. The reaction of me and my fellow bloggers in arms when we gain access to areas of the ball park we never thought in a million years we’d enter is priceless.  I know for myself I feel like a 5 year old again and I’m at some old relatives home and my mother grabbing me by my arm imploring me to not to touch anything and mind my manners.  

At the last bloggers gathering, we were invited to listen to Terry Collins pre-game press conference and we were given access to be on the field during batting practice. As the main streamers sat in the Mets dugout, Shannon Forde, the Director of Media Relations (and all around sweetheart who sets up these events) told our group we could sit in the dugout as well. What? Say that again? So into the Mets dugout we went.  As hard as I tried to stay out of people’s way, I felt an arm on my shoulder and voice saying “excuse me” the arm belonged to Daniel Murphy, the shoulder was mine. I apologized for being in the way (“Oh sorry Daniel”) and Murph patted my back and said “not a problem”. So just when you think that was a best day ever, you have a day like yesterday.

My day at Citi Field started off with the bad news about David Wright and his stress fracture in his back. I arrived a bit earlier than expected and as I waited to get my credential, Shannon saw me and invited me to sit in on the Wright press conference. I told you she’s a sweetheart.  As Wright spoke about the MRI and then revealed he had a stress fracture in his back from the play in April involving Carlos Lee, I wanted to yell out “oh shit” and kick the chair in front of me but I had to remember that in these situations I can’t be a fanboy. It was interesting watching the media taking notes and asking questions nice and calm, while all Mets fans receiving this news were freaking out.    

As I waited for the rest of the blogger-ratzi to arrive, Caryn Rose, Kerel Cooper, Mike Silva, Matthew Artus, Rob Castellano and Ceetar,  I sat near Jay Horowitz who was on his phone spreading the word that Wright was going for a second opinion on his back and relaying the successful surgeries of pitchers Chris Young and Jenry Mejia . As Horowitz got off the phone, he let out a sigh and looked over at me with a smile and said hello. I almost did one of those look over the shoulders and then point at myself as to say “you talking to me” and with a “hiya Jay, busy day eh”? he replied shaking his head “that’s for sure”

When the other bloggers arrived, we were set to start out tour of the new food products available at Citi Field and of the clubs in the ballpark.

I’ve been a critic of some of the food stands and the emphasis that is put on what to eat at the ballpark, but after meeting Scott Kleckner, Resident District Manager, Sports & Entertainment for Aramark, I have to switch my position. The enthusiasm that Kleckner has for the food concessions and clubs reminds me of how Terry Collins talks about his team.  I still would rather sit in the stands at a ball game on a warm summer night with a hot dog and drink and from talking to Kelckner, he not only understands folks like me, he respects that fan mindset and wants you to be able to go to any concession stand and get the best hot dog and drink that you could possibly have.  He puts his degree in Hospitality and Management to excellent use. Kleckner is proud of the quality of the food and the amenities of the clubs at Citi Field, and he should be.

Kleckner and his staff brought us around to different concessions to try some of the new food items available at Citi Field. We first went to Catch of the Day stand to sample Popcorn Shrimp and Shrimp Po’Boy ‘s.  I’m not a big seafood eater but I loved the Popcorn Shrimp. The shrimp had a nice breading and wasn’t overly greasy (that was the one thing with the fried food we tried it never had a greasy taste) from there we moved to Keith’s Grill to sample the Mex Burger. This burger was put together by Keith Hernandez and consists of a Brooklyn Burger, cheddar and jack cheese, bacon, guacamole, chipotle aioli and jalapenos. That’s a spicy burger. I’m not much for spicy food so I favor the Gold Glove burger myself, which has cheese ,bacon lettuce, tomato, ketchup on one side of the roll and mustard on the other   . My one problem with Keith’s Grill is they make the burgers one at time which is great but they need to add another Keith’s Grill somewhere else in the ball park. During the last home stand, my wife waited 30 minutes on the line to get four burgers; on her behalf I field a protest with Mr. Kleckner.

We then went over to Cascarino’s Pizza.  This is my least favorite concession, the pizza is good (we sampled the thin Sicilian with fresh mozzarella) but I just have a tough time paying over 6 bucks for a slice.  We also tried a new fried chicken sandwich at Blue Smoke which was good but a little too much on the mayo but then again any mayo is too much for me. I hate mayonnaise.

We then went to what I feel is the best new concession to taste the Hot Pastrami. WOW!!! The meat is hand carved nice and thin and very tender and seasoned to perfection. The pastrami may move ahead of the turkey and mozzarella at Mama’s of Corona as my food at choice at Citi Field.

After stuffing ourselves at the concessions we moved on to the clubs. As I say I’m not one for the stadium clubs but again I loved Scott Kleckner’s enthusiasm and passion for the product the staff puts out.  Kleckner raved about the eggplant parmigiana hero in the Delta 360 Club. It was outstanding. The eggplant was just how I like it, sliced thin, seasoned and breaded nicely and not tough or stringy or mushy, and the tomato sauce had nice flavor not acidy, the roll was nice and crusty as well. You were right Scott that is a hell of a sandwich.

After all that noshing, we were set to watch the game. Shannon then informed us that we, the bloggers could sit in the press box. Yes you read that right, we, the bloggers were invited to sit in the Citi Field press box during a real live Major League game. Talk about an awkward feeling. It’s nowhere near Jackie Robinson breaking the color line I know, but never in my wildest imagination did I think I would go from a non-pants wearing , basement dwelling lunatic ranting about his favorite baseball team to having a seat in not just a Major League press box but the Citi Field press box.  We all handled ourselves correctly, no cheering in the press box and when we spoke to each other it was in hushed tones as people were working. We got a few stares but the box wasn’t very crowded. The best part for me were all the stat sheet  handouts they have, it reminded me of when Sal “Red Light” Messina did color on  NY Ranger games on radio, he’d always slip me the media notes for the game, class all the way was Red Light.

So the state of baseball reporting survived an invasion of Mets bloggers sitting in their Ivory Tower. The bedrock of Manhattan didn’t shift, the Atlantic Ocean didn’t erupt and flood Coney Island and Jay Horowitz didn’t suffer a nervous breakdown. Now if one of the beat writers would have come over and put his arm around us, like Pee Wee Reese did to Robinson, the night would have been complete.

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WAITING ON IKE’S MRI…..AND WAITING….AND WAITING…AND…

I got so busy yesterday that I wasn’t able to put up a post and I so wanted to mention the passing of NY Daily News sports cartoonist, Bill Gallo. Everyone who grew up a sports fan in NYC knows of Gallo’s work as a cartoonist and as a boxing writer at the News. Gallo was also a WWII vet and is one more loss of that Greatest Generation. Hopefully the News will run some of his classic cartoons with characters like Yuchie and Gloomy Gus and of course the iconic, Basement Bertha.

I know NYC has the best restaurants, museums, and entertainment and of course there are some of the best medical facilities in the world here, but I have to think that the city of Denver has competent doctors and medical technicians who are proficient in administrating and MRI, so why would the Mets fly Ike Davis back to NYC to have an MRI of his leg? Add in the inclement weather in Denver and that adds to the mystery. By the way, where do the Rockies send their players when they need medical procedure? I doubt it’s to NYC.

So as we await the results of Ike’s MRI, F-Mart is on standby in Denver in case Ike goes to the DL .

Yesterday was not a good day for the Skill Sets, first they learned that Steve Cohen, the man they picked t join them as a part owner, decided he didn’t want in. Could be he didn’t to answer questions by the Commissioner about his being looked at by the SEC for insider trading (an allegation he strongly denies) or Cohen wants full ownership or the right to buy a majority share of the club if or when the Skill Sets have to sell off the club and its assets.

To get great insight on the ownership problems of the Skill Sets and more evidence that there is no other solution for them but to sell the team, SNY, and ballpark, I urge you to listen to my conversation with Howard Megdal of the LoHud Mets Blog and author of a great new book “Taking The Field, A Fans Quest To Run The Team He Loves “(published by Bloomsbury) on THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN Podcast from yesterday. Also when you check out LoHud Mets blog be sure to click on the Facebook “Like” button for a chance to win a copy of Howard’s book, which details his candidacy for Mets GM. The book details Howard’s ideas for running the Mets on the platform of Logic, Transparency and Logic  as well as intertwining  some great Mets history.  

Second piece of bad news for the Skill Sets was the indictment of former clubhouse man Charlie Samuels on charges of thief of equipment and jerseys that he sold for profit.  Seems Samuels was padding bills to the club and skimming the excess off right into his pockets. The trial should be a doozy as I’m sure Mets players will be called to testify. I hope Jeff Francouer gets a subpoena because I’d sure like to hear about the $50,000 check he had Samuels cash for him to buy his parents a car in cash.

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OPENING DAY AT CITI FIELD IN A WORD, UNCOMFORTABLE!

I think that’s the proper word to describe yesterday’s Mets home opener. The weather turned from not bad to uncomfortable rather quickly.  I know there have been reports of empty seats and there were pockets of them through the ball park but you have to understand that Citi Field was built for those who like to stroll and for those who like to remain inside.  I’m sure all the ritzy clubs were filled with sissy fans and folks at the game that could not care less that the Mets went 0 for 10 with RISP. Then there is the Shea Bridge, which has become the meeting spot for fans to meet with friends at the game. Yesterday I met up with Ed “Rusty Jr.” Marcus, Kerel Cooper, Taryn Cooper, Ed Leyro and Shannon for a pre game summit that should have been covered by SNY. That’s what SNY is missing, a Meet the Press type show with Mets bloggers in a round table setting. I bet it would beat any show on the network in ratings.

Citi Field is starting to grow on me.  There were a few issues.  I went to get a hot dog on the Concourse to enjoy while watching batting practice. The concession stand is one of the self service ones that reminds me of a rest stop on the NJ Turnpike. I get my hot dog, pay for it and then head over to the toppings island. There is a  woman stationed there who puts the onions and sauerkraut on for you. I can not believe this is the woman’s sole function. I mean, how much do you pay a person to be a condiments distributor? Is there special training needed to execute this task? Next time I have a bar-b-que at my house, I think I’m going to offer the job of condiment distributor to one of my kids,  next time I go to Citi Field I’ll ask the woman how much she makes so I know where to start my salary negotiations. By the way, by the time I put on the mustard and the fine condiment lady lathered my hot dog in onions, the frankfurter was cold. UGH!

They have added a Hot Pastrami station on the Concourse where you can get a kinish as well. I never understood why the team never put a full deli concession in the Worlds Fare Market to go along with Mama’s of Corona. Suhi. YUCK!!!

Outside the Worlds Fare Market they have added an area that makes frozen daiquiris. The drinks look very refreshing and would be great on an 85 degree day but when it’s 45 and damp, I’ll pass.

The opening day ceremonies were very good,  except for the booing of Mike Pelfrey and Frankie Rodriquez, Pelfrey gave a little smile which was good and Rodriquez stood stone faced which was good too as he must have known what to expect. M ookie Wilson got a great ovation but then again if Tim Corcoran was introduced he’d get a round of applause as well since he has a ’86 World Series ring  for the 7 at bats he had in helping the cause that season. Anyone associated with the 1986 Mets is an immortal.

(Update: What a schmuck I am for forgetting to mention Ralph Kiner tossing out the first pitch. Ralphie was a picture of sartorial splendor in his fur collared over coat. When Mets toast master general Georgie Jessel, Howie Rose announced  him to the crowd, a roar went up throughout the ballpark. Kiner then doffed the overcoat like a boxer does his robe at the start of a prize fight and headed to a spot near home plate, assisted by his daughter and son in law. He then tossed the first pitch to Mookie Wilson, who ran out to give Kiner a big hug. I guess I’m a Mets romantic because I love moments like this)

The shocker of the day for me was Alex Cora getting cheers and applause when he was introduced as a Nats bench warmer. So Mets fans boo Big Pelf and cheer Cora. Mets fans are fucked up.

So on to the game. Right away you could see R.A. Dickey was in distress after a 1-2-3 first inning. I thought it was the cold weather that was causing his grip on the knuckle ball to cause him problems, it wasn’t until after the game I found out about his split finger nail but I’ll tell you this, when the temperature is in the mid-40’s and it’s damp sitting at a game of deep counts and a tone of walks is not fun.

Jose Reyes made a spectacular play to get an inning ending double play to avert a big inning by the Nats but at the plate he was woeful.  I’m sure Sandy Alderson has that 7th inning AB etched into his mind. I can’t put all the blame on Reyes. Angel Pagan hasn’t hit and came up short in the 7th as well and Ike Davis, who I adore, really needs to stop contesting every strike call by the umpires. He’s going to get a bad rep and one of these days either Douche Bag Joe West or Incompetent Angel Hernandez will behind the plate  and either stick it to him with a phony strike call or toss him  from the game for just glancing over his shoulder.

I know Willie Harris has been hitting and playing real well in LF but I’d much rather see Lucas Duda out there every day until Jason Bay comes back. If you’re not playing Duda every day, then why is he here?

If I were Jason Issringhausen I’d be on the phone this morning asking to be promoted or released. As bad as the bullpen has been the starting pitching has been as bad as well. Bad pitching and the inability to drive runners in with less than two outs is a recipe for disaster.

I just wonder when does Sandy Alderson’ patients run out.  I’m not saying he needs to do anything now but after a month if the team is floundering does he shake it up with a blockbuster deal or a release of players or demotions to the minors. I guess this is what happens when you freeze your ass off at an opening day stinker  it leads your mind to Armageddon.

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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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IF THE SKILL SETS NEED TO EMBRACE THE FAN BASE, MAKE US YOUR PARTNER

As a guy who has trouble balancing a check book, all this financial talk of the Skill Sets and the financial stability of the franchise has my head aching. What The Skill Sets knew and when they knew it about the Madoff Ponzi scheme is still not known and if an out of court settlement comes about, we may never know but what we do know is the brand of the New York Mets has been tainted.

Maybe this is why the organization has embraced the Mets blogging community, why not go to the folks whose love for the team is undying and let them be involved in events that we never dreamed we’d be a part of. I am very much appreciative of the organization for the opportunity they have given me with access to Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins and various players but the folks the organization really needs to reach out to you guys who read this site and other Mets blogs and buy the tickets and watch SNY and buy team merchandise because you are the life blood of the franchise.

The news of the Skill Sets cash call could not come at a worse time. Season ticket sales are down and there doesn’t seem to be a big demand for single game tickets either, those go on sale in March. The biggest argument and it is a very fair criticism, is that the ticket prices are way to high. Now add in the news that the Skill Sets are strapped for cash most fans will feel that by buying a ticket to a Mets game will be paying for the Skill Sets Defense Fund. I’m not saying it is but that’s the perception.

A couple of pluses could come out of this firestorm. Yesterday I attended SABR DAY at Foleys Bar in Manhattan an event that was put together by SABR and Baseball Prospectus. It was a great afternoon of baseball talk with baseball fans and writers. Two of the panelists were Mets play by play man, Gary Cohen and Newsday baseball writer, Ken Davidoff. When the Q & A session began the Skill Sets money woes came up. Cohen didn’t have much to say on the topic and with good reason I guess, but Davidoff claimed that as far as the baseball operation goes it may be good for the team. It seems this had been brewing for some time and Davidoff confirmed what I’ve been told for years and what I’ve written about here, that Jeffey Skill Sets is a big part of the problem. Between Jeffey and Omar they wanted to be friends with everyone from players to front office people and anytime a tough decision had to be made neither man could pull the trigger. The Tony Bernazzard firing is a prime example, the team had to be humiliated by the media before they’d let Bernazard go as he was friends with both Jeffey and Omar. Davidoff stated this will not happen under Sandy Alderson as he will not tolerate it. The panel consensus was by putting Alderson in charge it takes Jeffey out of the baseball ops decision making except on money issues. So if there is a plus out of this fiasco it’s muzzling Jeffey. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard folks who cover the team say “Now there is an adult in charge” well, you’d be looking at a 25 % owner of the Mets.

The Mets will have to really work hard on marketing this team for 2011 and beyond. The best way to start is by ripping out those club seats behind home plate and replace them with seats that honest to goodness baseball fans can purchase. Not only would be good business but it go a long away to getting some positive baseball atmosphere in Citi Field. Every time you tune into a Mets game on TV, those seats are empty because the ticket holders for those seats couldn’t care less about the game going on as long as the free booze and food are flowing in the Delta Club. The organization lowered some ticket prices but they are still ridiculous. The Skill Sets have taken a massive hit on their credibility, if they want to win the fans back they have a lot of wooing to do. This is year three of Citi Field and the place still has no identity. Is it a playground for the well to do? Is it a food court with a ball park attached? How games have you sat in your seats watching a game a looked out toward centerfield marveling at the line of people who stand on line waiting to buy a hamburger? When people would rather wait on a line for a half hour to forty-five minutes for a burger than watch your team, you have a problem.

It’s time Mets ownership comes to the realization that in order to make this franchise great again it has to embrace the working stiff Mets fan. One thing you know about us working stiffs, we are loyal to the team and we show up and support the club in good times and in bad. Not like some rich thieving scumbag who but a knife in the Skill Sets back.  You want to sell 25 % of the club? Just make the real true blue and orange Mets fan feel like you actually care about them and make the Citi Field experience that wants fans to  come back rather than say good riddance and I guarantee you’ll see so much success that this cash call will be just a bad dream.

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