My BBA Hall of Fame Ballot

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, every year we cast our Hall of Fame ballot to compare our results with those of the Baseball Writers Association of America.  I’m pretty sure my ballot is a lot different from many in the BBWAA who enjoy going on witch hunts rather doing real honest to goodness research on the candidates.  Without further ado here is the ballot I just cast:

Mike Piazza

Only someone seeking attention would NOT cast a vote for Piazza, and this is coming from someone who is not overly found of the former Mets catcher. But I won’t let that cloud my view that Piazza was not only the best hitting catcher of his era but he was one of the best right handed hitters as well. The majority of BBWAA members who vow not to vote for Piazza because the suspect he was a PED user, even though they have no proof whatsoever except for their short attention minds, the same short attention minds that feel playing Words with Friends in a big league press box is more fun than actually watching the game they are being paid to cover, are just making ass’ of themselves.  Piazza is a without a doubt first ballot Hall of Famer.

Jeff Bagwell

Again no proof of being a juicer but the voters of the BBWAA get their rocks off snubbing him on the ballot.  His lifetime slashes of .297/.408/.540/.948 is certainly Hall worthy and when you add in the power (449 HR), speed (202 SB and only 78 CS) and defense, Bagwell was the total package as a ballplayer.

Craig Biggio

The other half of the Astros Killer B’s his 3,060 hits makes him an automatic

Barry Bonds

All of the main streamers hate Bonds and will hold off voting for him due to PED’s even without proof (remember Bonds was guilty of perjury the only charge the government could get to stick and made sure the tax payers of California paid a lot of money that could have went to building schools or hospitals to convict Bonds) but they voted him the MVP 7 times including 4 times during the Era of Taint.

Roger Clemens

I’ve come from not giving a shit about who took PED’s to today where I feel the game is much better and more enjoyable than it was during the Steroid Era. I still don’t feel the players who took PED’s were cheaters since my definition of a cheater is someone who breaks the rules and at the time there were no rules in MLB or in the CBA that said use of PED’s by players were against the rules. Players have taken narcotics and stimulants since the beginning of baseball time to get an advantage same as when players corked bats or went for Lasik surgery to better their eye sight, every athlete looks for an edge. Add in that the Steroid Era followed the cancelling of the second half of the 1994 season along with playoffs and World Series due to labor strife, the game needed something to bring back disgruntled paying customers and I’m still not convinced it wasn’t a juiced ball as much as juiced players . Even before the Era of Taint, Clemens was a Hall of Famer and with 354 Wins, 4,672 K and 7 Cy Young Awards, even though I hate ya’ Roger I gotta respect ya!

Tim Raines

One of the most exciting and better players of his era Raines was right there with Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the cog that ran the Montreal Expos of the 1980’s. Raines stole an amazing 808 bases and was caught just 146 times in his 23 year career and was an on base machine.

Allan Trammell

Trammell could always find a way to get on base or hit you a Home Run or steal a base while playing a stellar shortstop.

Jack Morris

Hey Bill Madden I saw Jack Morris play and he was damn good. If Morris were a Highlander for most of his career, Madden would have pleaded with his fellow BBWAA members to get him Hall of Fame enshrinement.

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Oh Yeah #IMWITH28

There is nothing better than watching your favorite team come from behind to win a game, then to top it off, one of your favorite players not only makes a game saving defensive play but then comes up to the plate with the winning run in scoring position and comes through with the game winning hit.

There is something different about Daniel Murphy so far this season. I saw some of it this off season when I got the chance to interview him at the Thurman Munson dinner with other writers and media people but when the main streamers moved on, it was just me and Murph. I shut off my recorder so I could have an “off the record” conversation with Murphy as we talked about some stuff other than baseball, mostly how the weather in NYC this winter was almost as nice as his native Jacksonville, where he worked out all winter and his getting a kick out me trying to sell him on living in Brooklyn as I brought up his short stay as a Cyclone.  We also spoke of the negativity that from outside forces that was surrounding the team and Murphy gave me a smirk and told me that stuff doesn’t bother him or his teammates as the players, coaches and especially the manager won’t let negativity enter the clubhouse.  So far Murph was right this team as the club seems to have stayed below the noise with this hot start.

I agree 100 % with what Bobby Ojeda said in the post-game show though, everyone is sky high happy as they’re winning ball games, what you want to look at is if this attitude remains during the first 4 or 5 game losing streak as Bobby O pointed out, in the past this team would wilt and get real quiet during the tough times. That will be the real test for the 2012 Mets, their reaction to adversity.

I’ve said it before that sometimes I enjoy seeing a pitcher who is struggling try to find himself during a game and righting himself than watching a guy dominate a line up and last night Mike Pelfrey gave one of those find yourself performances.  His first inning had me squirming in my chair after three straight hits by Danny Espinosa, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche as it looked like it was going to be an early Big Pelf meltdown but only one Nat crossed home plate so disaster averted. Pelf threw a lot of pitches and it seemed he was getting squeezed by home plate ump Todd Tichenor especially in the 6th when it looked like he stuck out Xavier Nady to end the inning but Tichenor blew the call and gave Nady life and on the next pitch Nady singled to center, prolonging the inning and ending Pelfs night and his attempt to go 6 full innings.

Pelf threw strikes and walked only one but he was tagged for ten base hits. He relied a lot on his sinker and slider most of the night but cranked up his four seamer to 90+ MPH when he needed it. It wasn’t a great start or an awful start but it was better than normal Big Pelf start.

I want to see the Mets get into a bench clearer this season just to see who is dumb enough to take on Jon Rauch, that’s one guy I’d hate have mad at me.

Ed Marcus a/k/a Rusty Jr over at Real Dirty Mets has a great review of R.A. Dickey’s book. If you haven’t bought Dickey’s yet shame on you.

By the way I will have a special announcement of a contest I will be running here on Friday that you won’t want to miss.   

 

 

 

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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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JERRY MANUEL YOU JUST KEEP ME HANGING ON

Sorry for the late posting today especially after one of the most biziare loss the Mets had suffered in awhile.

Someday the main streamers in the press and talk radio will give fans the credit they are due for knowing their team better than they ever could. Why is everyone in the media so shocked that Jerry Manuel has no use for Ryan Church? We knew this since late February when J-Man made it known that Church would platoon with Fernando Tatis in RF. Back then Daniel Murphy was the fair haired boy but now he is closing in on Church status.

Just viewing the video of J-Man giving Church his ass to kiss after Church missed 3rd base. I have no doubt that Church missed that base in fact Church deserves to grab some pine after that but Manuel HAS TO go out and argue that call no matter what. Let’s face facts, Manuel is no Earl Weaver when it comes to moves and counter moves from the bench his strength is holding his clubhouse together but after last night there could be a crack in that clubhouse. Manuel not going out to argue was reminiscent of Willie Randolph not fighting for the home run taken away from Carlos Delgado in Highlander Stadium last year.

Carlos Beltran is 100 % right that Angel Pagan (the new Jerry Manuel flavor of the month) should have backed off when he called for that ball. The center fielder is the ruler of the outfield roost, but throwing Pagan under the bus in the press is not what a leader does. Flame his ass in private Carlos.

With D-Wright stepping up big time with his bat (after taking Omar’s “this team has no edge” remark personally) now with Delgado on the shelf for 2 months minimum Wright needs to grab that clubhouse but the balls and get his teams attention. After that embarrassing loss last night maybe a gathering of teammates only is in order before tonight s game.

Lost in the slop of last night was the stellar effort by Tim Redding and the bullpen’s strong outing as well.

Can we please just put Daniel Murphy at 1st base everyday and see what he can do? Go with Tatis in RF if you want and Sheffield in LF. I don’t know what the hell Murphy sis to J-Man but it’s time to forgive and forget if you’re J-Man. I swear Manuel is part Irish the way he holds a grudge.

When the manager is more upset about losing Alex Cora than Reyes then we know we’re in for a turbulent summer .

I have a 5PM game today and you know making sure you touch all the bases willbe brought up in my pre game talk

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