Will Terry Collins Get To Enjoy The Fruits of His Labor ?

 

I’m amused at some Mets beat writers who can’t comprehend the mind set of Terry Collins for having his players report before their mandatory arrival time. It says more about the writer who can’t grasp this reasoning behind it than it does about Collins being anal.

I arrive at my office every day at 7AM. My shift doesn’t start until 8AM so why do I get in early? First off I hate to be late and I have a low tolerance for people who are late. Once when I had to interview a young man for a spot in our unit, he was told to be at the office at 9AM. He strolled in at 9:45 with more excuses than a 5th grader who didn’t hand in his homework. I just looked at him and told him no need to waste your time or mine; you’re not getting the job”. He couldn’t believe it. When he returned to the main office and told my boss what happened he was told “ I should have warned you to be early, Keane hates lateness but I can’t say anything to him as he traveled from Staten Island to Queens every day for 12 years by ferry and subway and was always early” So you see, I get what Terry Collins is selling. If you love what you do or have a true passion for something (I get to Mets games before the gates open, so again I’m a bit extreme) you show it.

The optimistic part of this is the Mets players have bought into TCT-Terry Collins Time-especially Ruben Tejada.  We all remember Tejada and his visa troubles last spring and how TC wanted him in camp early so he could work with Daniel Murphy at their Keystone position. I said it then and I’ll say it now that Collins was 1,000 % right in the way he dealt with Tejada then and it seems the message has been received as Ruben has been an early participant this spring. In fact everyone is on TCT with the exception of Marlon Byrd and Jordany Valdespin who have legitimate reason for lateness in that they both participated in the Caribbean World Series with Byrd’s Mexico team winning the championship over Valdespin’s Dominican team and Jenry Mejia and Wilfredo Tovar who are late due to visa issues. So put one on the plus side for Collins, whose lame duck status is starting to have Mets fans and main streamers wondering about his future as the helmsman of the Mets.

The Mets are at a crossroads of the Alderson Era. With the proclamation from Freddy “Zimmo” Skill Sets that the club is solvent and ready to spend to contend, Mets fans are demanding that the team show its fit to fight.  Collins has presided over losing teams in his two years as Mets manager in fact his first year the team won 77 games and last year they declined to 74 wins with another second half collapse, so it stands to reason that Collins was not approached with a contract extension, even though there is only so much a manager can do if he doesn’t have the talent around him to put the team in position to win, no manager or coach survives three losing seasons.

Collins has to hope that Ike Davis claim that he’s ready to have a breakout season does just that and that Lucas Duda proves once and for all that he is not intimidated by the big leagues and that he is ready to bust out his offensive game as well. Collins needs the centerfield tag team of Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill to become a two headed offensive and defensive monster along with Mike Baxter and whoever wins the right to be his right-handed accomplice to provide some power and run production from that right corner. Collins can only hope that he mixes and matches correctly each game to the max out his liquidator outfield.

Another area that will be crucial to Collins managerial stay will be the bullpen. Last year as we all know the Mets bullpen was one of the worst pens in baseball and was the biggest reason for sucking the life out the team. For Collins to survive not only does this pen have become a strength (the bullpen can’t be any worse than last year) he has to get a better grip on how to utilize his relievers. Not just in articulating their assignments better but also the physical wear and tear they are subject to as well. Collins, Dan Warthen and Rickey Bones did a bad job last year in communicating with the relief staff . Pitchers would get up, warm up, sit down, warm up, sit down…..and on and on. Not only did this wear out much of the staff it also gave off a sense of panic and unpreparedness by Collins and Warthen.

Collins has been around the game a long time and he knows his job is only as secure as the teams wins and loses. It’s kind of a shame because the future of the Mets is bright with what looks to be a solid pitching staff on the horizon and (again I’ll believe it when I see it) new found cash flow to sign some free agent talent that odds are Collins will not be in the Mets dugout when all this comes to blossom. When it does he should get credit as he had to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

Terry Collins can hold his head high on this though, he has proven that he can manage a big league team so he does have some redemption from the failures he endured in Anaheim and Houston. I think he realizes that as well.

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Sorry To Have Been Out Of The Loop

 

Well, instead of worrying about David Wright’s and R.A. Dickey’s contracts and how the Mets would put a contending team on the field for 2013, me and every other person in the NY Metro area’s lives has been side tracked by the devastation Hurricane Sandy brought upon us.

As you see in the picture up top, I lost the roof over the extension of my house. Underneath that roof is my living room that had rain coming through it on Monday night during the height of the storm. After grabbing some tarps from my basement and running to the yard to grab garbage cans, hoping the tree in my yard did snap while I was out there, we staved off a disaster.

Thankfully my contractor that I’ve used for renovations on my house, sent his guys over Tuesday to fix my roof and tear down the ceiling in my living room and as I type this they are re-sheet rocking the ceiling they just put in a year ago. But I am a very lucky guy.

The Atlantic Ocean is a mile and a half from my house. In the summer it’s a nice walk straight down from my door to the fishing pier and boardwalk on Father Capadano Blvd. My daughter plays soccer on a beautiful Field Turf pitch by the pier and I’ve used the baseball fields next to it for many baseball practices, from t-ball through high school. It’s one of the best spots in Staten Island. Today it is a Federal disaster area.

Never ever in my wildest imagination did I think the Atlantic Ocean would ever land on my doorstep. The ocean water came within two blocks of my house, just think, the ocean is a mile and half from my house and the surge just miss my front door.

Television doesn’t do justice to the devastation in the area of South Beach or the whole south coast of Staten Island. The death toll from this disaster has been under reported. Many cops and firemen have told us they are finding bodies under the ruins where homes used to stand. Yes, the area is in Zone A and yes folks were given ample warning to leave but you have to remember the folks who live down there are veterans of hurricanes and severe Nor’easters and have toughed out many a storm. But there has never been a storm that hit like Hurricane Sandy.

Like I say myself and my family were spared in fact I never lost electricity so friends and family who needed to charge phones, computers or needed a hot shower or a cup of coffee came over. In the wake of such a hearting breaking tragedy, it was amazing having friends over for pot luck dinners and hearing kids laughing in my basement as they played games or watched TV.

It’ll get better here on Staten Island and in Breezy Point where my aunt and uncle had a home  for years when as a kid my father would tell us we were headed to visit relations on the “Irish Rivera” to have lots of food, lots of drink and watch lots of Mets baseball. What is stunning is the two hardest hit areas of NYC, Staten Island and Breezy Point, are home to the largest concentration of the city’s first responders.

Give me a couple of more days and I’ll be back worrying about David Wright’s contract and whether it’s better to keep R.A. Dickey or trade him and which outfielders the Mets should be in hot pursuit of it’s just right now I got a few other things on  my mind.

and that’s the ceiling or what used to be the ceiling

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

We Say Never Forget But In Some Way We Have Forgotten

Today here in Lower Manhattan it looks like business as usual, folks are stopping at the coffee carts and then running to their office, the SI Ferry was packed with working folks and school kids and the weather, after one of the hottest and most humid NYC summers in a long time, is bright, cool and crisp, just like it was 11 years go.

I hear and see the words “Never Forget” every anniversary of the attacks of September 11th 2000 and I say to myself how can you forget? Every day I report to work I’m reminded since I have to pass the now construction site where a new 1 World Trade Center has risen high to the sky.  I’m reminded like I was last night when I stepped out on the front steps of my house and looked up to see two powerful beams of light shining high into the clear night sky. This is same from steps that my wife and then 6 year old son and 2 year old daughter sat waiting for me to return home and then busting into tears of joy that I did return home unlike many of my Staten Island neighbors.  Over 300 of the murder victims of that day were from Staten Island.  Some were men men who I had been coaching against at Staten Island Little League and some were parents of kids playing in the league. Some were firemen and cops who made the ultimate sacrifice that is still to this day underappreciated by the public they serve.  When you travel through Staten Island you see names attached to street signs, the names are of people who lived on those blocks that were killed in the attack. There is a beautiful memorial in the Grasmere section in a triangle in the middle of the road that leads into Hylan Blvd, it’s called Angels Way. It was started by a woman who lives across the street from the triangle who lit a votive candle and planted a pray card on the fence. From there more people came with candles, pray cards and pictures of loved ones lost. From there it grew to where a local nursery donated flowers and shrubs and people devoted many hours to build the site into a beautiful shrine. It always amazes me how people can come together in times of sorrow but why does it take tragedy to bring us together? That’s what hurts the most.    

Eleven years ago today in Lower Manhattan when the Towers crumbled and people ran to help save as many lives as they could, no one cared if you were a Christian, Jew, Muslin or an Atheist. No cared if you were born in this country or were an immigrant. No one cared if you were White, Black, Brown or Yellow. No one cared if you were Gay or straight. All we cared about that day was you were a human being who needed help and comfort from another human being.   

So when we say and write “Never Forget” it should cover not only the attack of that day but the compassion, kindness and total concern we had for one another.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

NY Mets Not Interested In Marquis Pitcher

Looks like the Mets have no interest in signing RHP Jason Marquis which means either of two things; Marquis has nothing left as a pitcher or the Mets have enough faith in Chris Young making a contribution very soon and the young arms in the system are progressing nicely.

I’ve felt that taking on Marquis to a minor league deal could help both the Mets and Marquis who is what I’d call the journeyman’s journeyman and maybe being able to pitch at home here in NYC would recharge him a bit.  Marquis lives on Staten Island and was a star pitcher for Tottenville High School, this past winter his daughter had a mishap on a bicycle that landed her in the hospital and was serious enough of an injury that Marquis was summoned from Twins camp in Florida back home to Staten Island.  Thankfully, his daughter recovered and is doing fine today but you wonder how much of a toll that took on Marquis and what his mindset has been playing in Minnesota while his family is back in SI.

After looking over Marquis page at Baseball-Reference it’s hard to take the Mets to task for not pursuing the 33 year old righty, but I wouldn’t rule out the Highlanders taking a chance on Marquis .

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

“COME IN” SHE SAID “I’LL GIVE YOU SHELTER FROM THE STORM”

 

 

 

 

 

Suddenly I turned around and she was standin’ there
With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns
“Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

 

That is the Willowbrook section of Staten Island. The pond in Willowbrook Park  over flowed

 

There is never a good time for a hurricane to hit your town but when you are in the middle of remodeling your basement and your yard is full of debris and trash you want to get rid of, well 7 inches of torrential rain and 60 mph winds are not what you need to add to your everyday life upheaval .

My new French drain did its job as it should but I did get a leak in my dining room ceiling but my biggest fear of losing power did not happen and I‘m real thankful for that otherwise my basement would have been under a few feet of water. After all this a portable generator is on my must get list.

A couple of final thoughts on Hurricane Irene, while watching TV and following on Twitter you could tell who rents and who owns, the people who were out getting wine and movies to ride out the storm were renters. The folks out buying plywood and filling sand bags were owners. I was up all night Saturday hoping that the drains and sump would work, at one point of the storm I sat in the basement just watching the rain water flow into the pit like Niagara Falls praying the sump and sewer system could handle all the water, I’d much rather have been sleeping off a drinking and movie binge. Second, I’m not real crazy about living on Staten Island but god damnit do the local TV news outlets know the place exists?  I saw more reports on LI and Westchester and Hoboken NJ than I did on Staten Island. I know it’s the forgotten boro but the only TV station to cover anything on the Island was FOX5 who had reporters in the Bulls Head section and by Midland Beach.   Memo to the NYC Media, close to 300 residents of Staten Island lost their lives on September 11th 2001 please don’t forget us during your over the top coverage of the tenth anniversary of the attacks.

Back to baseball today as Mets play a twi-nighter against the Fish. Let’s hope that Dillion Gee can have a strong performance today and that R.A. Dickey get a much deserved win and a big welcome back to Jose Reyes and his healed hammy.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

MAGIC WON’T CURE JOHAN

Two more days left of my vacation and another day at the Magic Kingdom, where I swear our family are the only Americans visiting Orlando this summer. The Brits seem to be the leading European visitors here with “Name Any Spanish Speaking Country Here” as the runner up.

I guess it’s good news that Johan Santana has “only” a fatigued shoulder and will be shut down for a while to build up strength. The question it seems is “what’s the rush”? Does it matter at this point if Santana pitches a game for the Mets this season? Hopefully, this latest set back shows that it’s better to look forward to February 2012 for Johan.

Speaking of pitching, Howard Megdal has a great piece today on Jon Niese and his strong season.

The Mets are having a luncheon today at Citi Field to honor Military vets of the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars. The Mets Alumni will be there including Tom Seaver, Ralph Kiner Ed Kranepool, Bud Harrelson, Ed Charles and Joe Pignatano. The Mets organization has really stepped up big time when it comes to honoring our military heroes and also involving the Mets Alumni this season. Great job.

That’s it for now, the next post will be from the Kranepool Society headquarters in Staten Island

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

WORST….GAME…EEEVVVVVEEEERRRRR………….

When it’s 87 degrees at 5AM you just know it’s going to be a day when putting a complete thought together is going to rough (or rougher than usual) so as I wipe the svitz off my forehead he are some thought’s for a Friday where my fingers and toes are crossed that Con Edison doesn’t fuck us over today.

Last night, I attended maybe the worst baseball game I have ever seen . It was a tilt between the Staten Island Highlanders against the Tamp Bay Rays NY-Penn League affiliate the Hudson Valley Renegades . It wasn’t bad enough that the heat and humidity in the soulless Richmond County Ballpark was suffocating, the play on the field was atrocious. Both teams combined for NINE ERRORS, the baby Highlanders account for six of them. The home plate ump Brain Miller made the night even more unbearable, allowing both teams to conducted marathon visits to the mound to the point I had to scream out to him “Blue com’on move it along” which could be heard clearly by the umpire as the stands were inhabited by about 1,000 or so sweaty ass’s in the seats and I was right behind home plate. Umpire Miller glared at me and I gave him an “are you fucking kidding me look” when he used his best judgment of the night and put his mask back on and continued the game. Asshole.

Oh by the way, the baby Highlanders won 8-7 and have an incredible 25-8 record that no one on Staten Island gives a rat’s ass about. This is one of the biggest head scratchers for me, Staten Island is Highlander country, you see about 10 Highlanders t-shirts/jersey’s to every Mets piece of apparel but for some reason the Baby Highlanders can’t draw anyone to the downtown ball park except when the Brooklyn Cyclones make the trip over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  I get a few different reasons from Highlander friends and acquaintances on why they don’t patronize the minor league team. Some tell me they’d rather see the “real” Highlanders, some live on the South Shore of the Island and hate making the trek downtown. Some will go on the weekends when the club draws a bit better but the biggest segment of the fan base comes by ferry from Manhattan.  Manny of the fans at last night’s game were Manhattanites who live in Tribeca or SoHo and love taking the ferry over watching the game and then head back to the city.  

Give me MCU Park and the  Coney Island Boardwalk anytime.

David Wright is back tonight (as is Kevin Burkhardt on SNY) so it will be interesting to see how the offense works with Reyes lighting the fuse at the top and Beltran, Wright and Murph in the middle of the lineup. How long Beltran will be a Met is an ongoing saga. It seems from what you read Alderson is more than willing to trade your team Carlos Beltran and about $6 mil to cover his paychecks for the rest of the year for one of your prized farm hands. If you feel Beltran is the missing piece to your post season run you can have him, but he’s not coming cheap. Seems most of the GM’s who are in position to deal suffer from irritable bowel syndrome when Sandy Alderson rings the phone.  Bottom line, one of these contenders will cave as the bat of Beltran is too powerful to pass up and the Mets will get a top prospect in return.

I can’t stand the NJ Devils but I am very sad that Doc Emrick is leaving MSG and Devils play by play to be the exclusive voice of the NHL on NBC/Versus. I’m sure most of you have read the articles on Emrick on what a great guy he is and his play by play of hockey is unmatched and having met Doc I can tell it’s all true.

About 5 or so years ago, my wife and I were Christmas shopping at the Paramus Mall. As usual I had  enough of shopping and Christmas, so I told my wife to continue her spending spree while I hit the bench with a Starbucks Latte for a while.  A few minutes after I took a load off, a gentleman sat next to me, it was none other than Doc Emrick. I sat and talked hockey and baseball l with him for about a half hour when he had to leave. When he got up, he put out his hand and said to me “thank you for making this trip to the mall worthwhile for me, I enjoyed our conversation” I was like, “are you kidding, thank you for making me  glad I came here” we both laughed  and shook hands. Great guy that Doc.

(Sorry the link button is not working)

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

JUST AN AWFUL DAY

After coming home from a long weekend I found out that one of the people killed in that crash in New Jersey played baseball for me for two seasons and competed against me in  Staten Island Little League for eight years.

Eric Colligan 15, was killed in the early morning of July 4th as he and his friends and his friends family were returning home from Atlantic City. Eric played baseball and football for McKee/SI Tech. He was also the ace pitcher/3rd baseman and cleanup hitter for my Babe Ruth League team up until this season. The only reason he didn’t play for us this season is due to his football career was really taking off and he couldn’t commit to baseball due to football camp.

I’m at a loss for words here, this was one terrific young man and to be taken at the age of 15 is just staggering to me. As much as I wanted to write about some Mets stuff today especially about Jason Bay, it all means nothing to me right now.

My heartfelt condolences to Eric’s family for their tragic loss

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

HIGHLANDER STADIUM, A NICE PLACE TO VISIT BUT I WOULDN’T WANT TO CALL IT HOME

As I mentioned yesterday, I took a trip to the South Bronx to watch the Highlanders-Indians game which was my first visit to the new Highlander Stadium, so I’d figure I’d give you  some of my observations of the ball park.

It’s big, very big much bigger than Citi Field and because of that you are much further away from the field than at Citi.

As soon as you head down the stairs of the 4 train you know you’re at HIGHLANDER STADIUM because the Highlander brand just suffocates you. Maybe suffocates is too strong or maybe as a Mets fan I wish Citi Field was as Mets-centric as Highlander Stadium. Hell, even the hot dog stand is named Highlander hot dogs. Every single inch of the place is decorated in Highlander colors and there is no mention of the old Baltimore Orioles , who became the Highlanders and then the Yankees. No its’ Yankees, Yankees and more Yankees.

They sell t-shirts for just about every member of the team and of course all the retired stars. I was very, very tempted to buy a MARTIN 1 t-shirt as I always admired Bill Martin and his style of managing. His off the field way left a lot to be desired for sure but as a manager Martin was as good if not better than anyone who ever ran a baseball team.

For me to get to Highlander Stadium is a breeze. I took the 10:30 AM ferry out of Staten Island, then walked up to Bowling Green to get the 4 train and I was in front of the ball park by 11:45. It takes me that long to get from my house to the Gowanus /BQE merge going to Citi Field.

There are no ushers at Highlander Stadium. There are security people and the Highlanders post a number you can text to report a problem in your section. I sat in Section 420B yesterday and while everything was fine there was this one young lady who kept getting up looking for friends of hers and blocked the view of some fans. One of the blocked fans must have texted the number given as a security guard with ear piece came to the section and went right to the row where this gal was and asked if everything was ok here. Pretty impressive.

The Stadium itself (it’s not a ballpark it’s a STADIUM) has no charm. As you walk in the concourse level is just like entering a high end shopping mall. There are many, many workers who hold up signs “How May I Help You” and whatever you’re looking for at the Stadium they can tell you where it is. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen at Citi Field.     

The food choices were ok I guess, there wasn’t a concession that I said I have to have that. The garlic fires looked enticing but the smell of the garlic was so overpowering I passed. There was a Boar’s Head deli which I guess is very good but I can have a Boar’s Head deli sandwich any time I want. Johnny Rocket’s? There’s one in the SI Mall. Brother Jimmy’s BBQ? I have that before NY Rangers games. Hard Rock Café? If there was ever an organization that was the antithesis of Rock n Roll it’s the Highlanders   So I settled for my favorite sausage and peppers hero.

As for the fans, I guess because it was a Sunday there were a lot of families mostly from NJ, Rockland and Orange County and beyond. Listening to some of the conversations, many were of the casual fan variety but the fan of the day had to be the woman in back of me decked out in here Rivera jersey, cap who cheered and cheered for Jeter and A-Rod who upon seeing a man walking down from the upper rows of the section with a Highlander jersey with the number 5 on it asked her the guy who was with her, “Who’s number 5” to make it worse the guy who was with her didn’t know. My son who was with me just stared ahead watching the action, shaking his head back and forth. That was the best part of the day.

Citi Field has a lot of warts, most of them brought on by ownership but the atmosphere at Citi is much better and more of a festive block party, hanging out in the back yard BALLPARK whereas Highlander STADIUM is a massive high rise apartment building  where no one knows your name and they like it that way.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

REMEMBER THE DAY

Nothing Mets today, I’m off to the Memorial Day Parade on Staten Island, hopefully the euphoria of the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden hasn’t worn off yet and the good folks of SI will be out in full force to honor the men and women of the military who gave their lives for the country and to thank all who have served our country . All of them true patriots.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

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.

Visit BangTheBook.Com for daily free MLB Mets Picks and gameday previews, also join the baseball handicapping discussion in the forum or track your plays in our sports monitor.