NY Mets Bloggers Conference Call with Rusty Staub

Just about an hour ago (took a look around which way the wind blows) I had the privilege to be on a conference call with fellow Mets bloggers to talk to Rusty Staub. Rusty is in town for a big weekend, first on Saturday the first 25,000  Mets fan attending the 1:10PM game against the San Diego Padres will receive a Rusty Staub bobble head and then on Sunday, Rusty will be a judge for the big Banner Day presentation.

Staub was a two term Met (1972-1975 and then 1981-1985) and is one of the more popular Mets of all time. When my turn came up to ask a question, I wanted to focus on the adjustments he had to make when he was traded to the Detroit Tigers of the American League. Staub was a 13 year National Leaguer and back then, pride in the league you played in was a major characteristic of big league players. I asked Staub about what it was like to learn the American League style of play which was more a power league and of course the league with the designated hitter. Staub explained he was not a fan of the DH and he made it known to his manager Ralph Houk. The Tigers had traded Willie Horton to the Texas Rangers and Houk named Staub his DH for the season. Staub said he wanted no part of DH’ing and put The Major on notice that he would do it for one season. It ended up Staub was the Tigers primary DH for 1977 and ’78 putting up some very impressive numbers but Staub was clear he was not very happy being a full time DH.

I also inquired about playing in the All Star games back in the 1970’s when the game was a very big deal. I remember reading about NL President Chub Feeney going into the NL clubhouse to give “his” team a pep talk same as Lee MacPhail with his American Leaguers. Staub spoke on no matter which All Star team he played on winning the game was paramount in the minds of all the players.

When talking about switching leagues, Staub touched on Albert Pujols and his struggles so far as an Angel. Rusty said it takes time for any player even one the caliber of Pujols to learn the pitchers and get comfortable with his new team. He emphasized that learning about pitchers you have never faced before as a big obstacle as it seems all hitters keep a “book” on pitchers they face so when switching leagues it means a whole new tome.

It was quite a thrill to get to speak to Rusty who was one of the most productive and popular players in the team’s history and very much worthy of a bobble head day and to be a judge for Sunday’s Banner Day  Parade.

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NOLAN RYAN JOINS KULT OF METS PERSONALITES TONIGHT ON BLOG TALK RADIO

My friends over at Kiner’s Korner will have a their guest tonight on their Kult of Mets Personalitities Podcast on Blog Talk Radio, former Met, Baseball Hall of Famer and President of the Texas Rangers Nolan Ryan.

The podcast goes live at 8:30PM ET you do not want to miss this.

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WAYNE HAGIN OUT, JOSH LEWIN IN ?

Metsblog has a link from Neil Best of Newsday stating that former Texas Rangers and current San Diego Chargers radio play by play man Josh Lewin, is the favorite to replace Wayne Hagin in Mets radio booth.

Hagin just never clicked with Mets fans, myself amongst them, as he had that generic radio announcers voice and always seemed to be a second or two behind the action on the field. The Hagin/ Howie Rose partnership just never seemed like it meshed with Howie being “one of us” and Hagin not having a Mets or NYC connection.

Lewin is a curious choice as it seems he left the Rangers due to his other commitments of doing baseball on FOX Saturday Baseball and his gig with the Chargers. Lewin enjoys tossing out a lot pop culture quotes during broadcasts to the point it becomes forced and a distraction. Being that Lewin was born in Rochester NY and grew up in the Boston area, he has knowledge of what the East Coast/NY fan is looking for in a sports broadcast so this could be a very interesting hire by the Mets.

With Lewin having Sports talk radio show experience as well maybe he could add working Mets Extra and taking phone calls or who knows him and Howie could take phone calls during games.

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IN ALDERSON WE TRUST I THINK?

I know we of the Blue and Orange persuasion are not patience but to get bent out of shape over the lack of moves made by Sandy Alderson so far this off season is really off base and this is coming from a guy who is not known as patient. To fillip your Mets cap over Jonathan Broxton signing with the KC Royals is very shortsighted and again this coming from a guy who wanted to see a back end of a bullpen of Broxton and Joe Nathan.  The Texas Rangers really over paid for Nathan and his Tommy John repaired elbow and his diminishing WAR at 2yr/$14 mil as did the Royals taking on Frenchy’s new BFF at a $4mil tab for the sore armed Broxton.   As much as I would have like to take a flyer on both Nathan and Broxton it wouldn’t be worth it at the price. Sandy Alderson felt the same way.

We all know that relievers are as unpredictable as a house full of Kardashians, that’s why instead of being so damn jumpy, Mets fans need to sit back a bit and let this off season play out. If I could give Alderson some advice I’d feel out the Royals about a deal for Greg Holland and talk to Texas about a deal for arbitration eligible reliever Mike Adams.  I’m sure Alderson will speak with Chisox about a deal for Matt Thornton who would fit nicely as well in Flushing pen. There are options out there for the Mets fans and Alderson and his staff know it and have a plan of attack.

Let’s just stay calm and let the man do his due diligence and if on reporting day at St. Lonesome this team is not improved on the overrated “paper”, then we can have a mass melt down, this is not pie in sky horseshit and I understand that the fan base is not in a positive frame of mind, and believe me I don’t fault you for that, but let’s just see what this front office has up its sleeve before we light the torches and converge on 126th St and Roosevelt Ave.

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SCRATCH JOE NATHAN OFF METS WISH LIST, JACK WILSON? REALLY?

Well scratch Joe Nathan off my wish list for Mets closer. Nathan has signed a two year $14.5 mil deal with the Texas Rangers who will now move Netfli Perez back to the starting rotation.  I would have loved to have Nathan coming out to save games for the Mets, I really wanted Sandy Alderson to get both Nathan and Jonathan Broxton for the back end of the pen but that won’t happen.

I can’t blame Nathan for jumping on the Rangers offer as they are coming off two straight World Series appearances. I doubt the Mets would have made an offer so much better that Nathan would come to the Mets.

On the other hand, it seems the Mets are looking to sign Jack Wilson. Yes Jack Wilson <eyeroll>

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BBA Names Arizona’s Gibson, Tampa Bay’s Maddon Top Managers

BBA Names Arizona’s Gibson, Tampa Bay’s Maddon Top Managers

Top Blogger Organization Awards Connie Mack Award For 2011

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson and Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon were named the 2011 Connie Mack Award winners today by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  The Connie Mack Award recognizes those considered the top manager for the season.

Gibson took over an Arizona team that finished last in the National League West in 2010 and led them to a divisional title in his first year on the job.  Gibson’s Diamondbacks led all year long and finished a comfortable eight games ahead of defending World Champion San Francisco to move on to the postseason stage.  Voting was done before the Diamondbacks lost to the Milwaukee Brewers in five games in the National League Divisional Series.

Gibson was a unanimous winner, scoring the top slot on all 21 ballots cast by the portion of the membership that voted on the National League award.  Ron Roenicke, whose Brewers defeated Gibson’s squad, finished second in the balloting, while St. Louis Cardinal manager Tony La Russa finished third.

Maddon was rewarded after leading his team to the largest September rally in history, leading his Rays from nine games back in the wild card race to passing up the Boston Red Sox on the last day.  As in the National League, voting did not take into account the Rays falling to the Texas Rangers in four games in the American League Divisional Series.

Maddon received the top billing on 22 of the 25 ballots cast for the American League voters, easily outpacing Detroit’s Jim Leyland and Texas Ranger manager Ron Washington.  Washington garnered the three first place votes that did not go to Maddon.

The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):

American League
Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay (22) 113
Jim Leyland, Detroit 48
Ron Washington, Texas (3) 37
Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles of Anaheim 13
Joe Girardi, New York 9
Manny Acta, Cleveland 5
John Farrell, Toronto 1

National League
Kirk Gibson, Arizona (21) 105
Ron Roenicke, Milwaukee 39
Tony La Russa, St. Louis 16
Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia 13
Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh 7
Terry Collins, New York 5
Bruce Bochy, San Francisco 3
Freddi Gonzalez, Atlanta 1

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of this writing, the organization consists of 316 blogs spanning all 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.

The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into “chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted. The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split between the two leagues.

Chapters generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot.  Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for voting or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their votes.

Notably, though the Alliance’s awards come out well before their official counterparts, the BBA selections have matched those of the Baseball Writers of America in all but two instances in the past two years.  This, of course, does not include the Goose Gossage Award that is exclusive to the BBA.

Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and for this award, were tabulated on a 5-3-1 point scale for first through third place. In the interest of transparency, links are given below for the ballots. Chapter affiliation is in parenthesis.  Those chapters that decided on the group method are noted with an asterisk.

American League
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)
Baltimore Sports and Life (Baltimore)
Baseball Is My Boyfriend (Texas)*
Baseball North (Toronto)
Boston Red Thoughts (Boston)*
Contract Year (Oakland)*
500 Level Fan (Toronto)
The Flagrant Fan (General)
Kings of Kauffman (Kansas City)*
Misc. Baseball (History)
Monkey With A Halo (Los Angeles of Anaheim)
Motor City Bengals (Detroit)
North Dakota Twins Fan (Minnesota)
Old English D (Detroit)
The Rays Rant (Tampa Bay)
Rise of the Rays (Tampa Bay)
Seattle Mariners Musings (Seattle)
The Tribe Daily (Cleveland)*
Twins Trivia (Minnesota)
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)

National League
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)
Appy Astros (Houston)
Blog Red Machine (Cincinnati)
Cincinnati Reds Blog (Cincinnati)
Dugger Sports (Philadelphia)
The Eddie Kranepool Society (New York)*
The Flagrant Fan (General)
I70 Baseball (St. Louis)
Left Coast Bias (San Diego)
Misc. Baseball (History)
On The Outside Corner (St. Louis)
Padres Trail (San Diego)
Prose and Ivy (Chicago)*
Raise The Jolly Roger (Pittsburgh)
Rockies Woman (Colorado)
22 Gigantes (San Francisco)*
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)

Prior Winners: 2010: Ron Washington, Texas; Bud Black, San Diego
2009: Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles of Anaheim; Jim Tracy, Colorado

The official website of the BBA is located atbaseballbloggersalliance.wordpress.com. The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba.  For more information, contact Daniel Shoptaw at founder@baseballbloggersalliance.com.

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BRING ON THE HIGHLANDERS!!!!!!!!!!!

A quick note before I get rolling here, posting will be sporadic the next four days as I head off to a mini family vacation in Pennsylvania, after an 8:30AM baseball game tomorrow I’ll be off to the Pocono’s where I may or may not have a lot of internet access. I will try to fit in some posts in the mornings if I do since I get up with the roosters even on days off if not here I may just throw some stuff out on Twitter (follow me there @ kranepool )

My heartfelt condolences go out to Willie Harris and his wife on the loss of their child. I cannot think of anything more heartbreaking than what the Harris’ are going through. My prayers and thoughts are with them.

I thought that gesture the Mets make when they reach base when the put their hand over there head was a way to say the spotlight is on you. I thought I read that or heard some place early this season but I guess it’s not. It seems it’s similar to what the Texas Rangers made famous last season as the Antler but the Mets call it the “Claw” which is quite ironic since the owners are involved in a claw back suit against them by the Madoff trustees. If Irv Picard wins this case and wipes out the skill sets I wonder if he will give the “Claw” in the courtroom.

Being that I’ll be away for the Subway Series, I doubt I’ll get to see any of the games live (my  wife decided tonight would be a good night to go see “Catch Me If You Can” on Broadway) unless of course I can get everyone to agree to a late lunch/early dinner at restaurant with a TV, a good possibility, but this should be one of the better Subway Series in a while. Both teams are playing winning baseball; the Highlanders are the hottest team in the game, closing in on the Phuck Phaces for the best record in MLB. They have gone 21-9 in their last 30 games. The Mets though are not that far behind them winning 18 of their last 30. As it is, this series is more important for the Mets as they try to continue to keep pace in the NL Wild Card Race. They come into the series on a high note (Yesterday’s loss the exception as Mike Pelfrey was bad again, more on Pelf in a minute) taking 4 of 6 on the road from the Rangers and Tigers and really needing to keep winning series. We have reached July 1 with the end of the month the trade deadline so if the Mets want to put the pressure on the front office and ownership to decide to buy and not sell at the end of the month they need to continue this string of winning. If the team is in striking distance of a Wild Card spot, no more than 5 games behind, Sandy Alderson will have to make an effort to upgrade the bullpen as it’s the bullpen that will decide if the Mets stay in the post season hunt. As well as the team has played the last two months, the bullpen is a problem and it doesn’t look like there are any candidates in Buffalo or Bingo to help out. Since Jeffey Skill Sets proclaimed that Alderson can add whatever he feels is necessary to make run. We’ll see. Talk is cheap.   

What to do with Big Pelf? Yesterday was his second straight bad start as he proclaimed after the game that just like Arlington, he could not command his fastball for strikes. So his fastball contributed to his walking 5 batters and falling behind in the count and coming in with pitches that were quite hittable, led to Pelf’s downfall. You wonder what the front office makes of Pelfrey? Terry Collins does what any good manager would do, he protects his player, although I don’t think he even believes the positive spin he has put on Pelfrey’s last two starts but I’m sure Alderson already feels like Mike Pelfrey will not be a Met in 2012. Pelfrey makes a shade under $4mil and is arbitration eligible I believe for the last time this off season so what kind of deal do you offer him?  A multi year deal? Hell no! A one year deal at $5mil+ ? Not with the tight budget the club is projecting for next season. So with that it looks like either Big Plef gets dealt or non-tendered. Kinda sad though but deserved.

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NOLAN RYAN LEADS THE INDUCTEES TO THE IRISH-AMERICAN BASEBALL HALL OF FAME

On Tuesday June 14th at 12 Noon, The Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame will induct Nolan Ryan, John McGraw, Big Ed Walsh, Gene Monahan, Steve Donohue and Terry Cashman at Foley’s NY (18 W 33rd St) Here are the bio’s for the newest inductees:

  1. Nolan Ryan (Current Living Ex-Players)

Among the most dominating right handers in Major League history and known as the “Ryan Express,” Nolan Ryan is baseball’s all-time strikeout king (5,714).  He holds numerous records including seasons played (27), no hitters (7), and strikeouts in a season (383). During his storied career, Ryan recorded 324 wins for the Mets, Angels, Astros and Rangers.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1999 and was a member of MLB’s “All-Century Team.”  Ryan played a key role for the 1969 New York Mets by recording a 2 1/3 inning save in Game 3 of the World Series.  He is currently part owner and team president of the Texas Rangers.

  1. Big Ed Walsh (Hall of Famers and Legends)

One of the top pitchers of the early 20th century, Big Ed Walsh is baseball’s all-time ERA leader (1.82).  In 1908, he had one of the greatest seasons in history, winning 40 games and posting an ERA of 1.42.  Born in Plains Township, PA, Walsh had four 20-win seasons, six sub-2.00 ERA seasons, and was a World Series champion with the Chicago White Sox in 1906. He owns the second-best WHIP (1.00) in Major League history, compiled a win–loss record of 195–126, and recorded 1,735 strikeouts primarily for the White Sox.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1946.  A meteoric star of the “Dead Ball” era, Big Ed Walsh is the quintessential great but overlooked Irish American in the game of baseball.

3.   John McGraw (Hall of Famers and Legends)

With his 2,763 managerial victories, John McGraw ranks second only to the legendary Connie Mack in Major League history.  A dominant figure in early baseball, he led the New York Giants for 31 years, winning 10 pennants and three World Series.  McGraw managed in both the first World Series and the inaugural All Star Game in 1933.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1947.  John McGraw was also an exceptional player who hit .334 lifetime and stole 436 bases.

4.   Gene Monahan/Steve Donohue (Trainers)

Long time New York Yankee trainers Gene Monahan and Steve Donohue have attended to numerous World Series teams.  They were named MLB’s best trainers by the Professional Athletic Trainer Society in 2010.  Monahan, who is proud of his Irish roots, is a throat cancer survivor and is one of three employees to span the entire length of George Steinbrenner’s ownership.  Earlier this year, he announced his retirement at the end of the 2011 baseball season.  Donohue, whose ancestors hailed from Cork and Wexford, has been part of Yankees’ training staff since 1986.

5.   Terry Cashman (Entertainers)

Terry Cashman is best known for his hit song Talkin’ Baseball, which was inspired by a photograph he saw of 1950s icons Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Duke Snider.  The song struck a chord with fans during the 1981 baseball strike and has grown in popularity ever since.  Over the years, Cashman has revised the lyrics of Talkin’ Baseball to accommodate every Major League team’s history.  Now widely known as “The Balladeer of Baseball,” Cashman played for the Detroit Tiger organization during the early 1960s. Born Dennis Minogue in New York City, Terry Cashman’s Irish roots are in Co. Clare.

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THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN TONIGHT AT 9PM ET ON BLOG TALK RADIO

Lots of baseball news breaking today with Cliff Lee returning to Philly-a shocking development to say the least-and putting a huge hole in the Highlanders and Texas Rangers off season plan and of course the Tea Party Mets fans are slobbering over themselves with vitriol over the Mets not spending any money after Sandy Alderson has said over and over again in every interview he’s done that the Mets will not sign a big ticket free agent this offseason. Speaking of Sandy Alderson, I had the pleasure to meet his acquaintance today at Citi Field, as myself and other Mets bloggers were invited to the Mets holiday party at Citi Field and we were given time for Q and A with Alderson, Terry Collins (quite the intense fellow) Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and David Wright.

Tomorrow here at Kranepool Society, I will have a more in depth post of my day at Citi Field, but tonight at 10PM ET on THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN on BLOG TALK RADIO, I will talk about my meeting with Alderson, Collins and the palyers as my guests will be MatthewCerrone of Metsblog and Alex Belth of Bronx Banter. Alex is also the author of the book “Lasting Yankee Stadium Memories: Unforgettable Tales From The House That Ruth Built”

It should be a great hour of baseball talk. If you can’t join us live the be sure to download the podcast at the show page or listen right here at Kranepool Society (lower right side bar) or download the show oniTunes

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METS FANS “MANAGING” TO STAY SANE

In a story today in the New York Post, Davey Johnson is quoted as saying that Terry Collins would be the right choice by the Mets to be the next manager.  As much as Johnson loves Wally Backman, it’s his opinion that Collins’ experience as the Mets Minor League Coordinator would help with the organization making a determination as to which farm hands are of immediate help to the big league club.

On the same day of this story comes word that Scouting Director Rudy Terrasas will be reassigned in the organization. So if Collins does get the job then the message sent will be that main job by this front office is to rebuild the farm system and the way they draft talent. Even if Bob Melvin gets the job I think the rebuilding of the farm system will still be the Alderson mission statement with Collins staying with the organization and working with DePo in such a capacity.

That’s why as Mets fans you need to forget about any big splash signings of free agents and unless Alderson is bowled over with a great return on a trade, the best moves you can hope for this off season would be the release of Ollie Perez (and the more he’s sucks in winter ball the better the chance that Alderson tells the Skill Sets “EAT THE CONTRACT “) and Luis Castillo. I’m fine with that.

There is a segment of Mets fans who feel the Mets should have gone after Dan Uggla. That would be fine if the Mets were a player or two away from being a contender but they’re not, so Uggla is not the answer.

This doesn’t mean the winter will be boring around here, just the opposite. This will be the most interesting hot stove since 1980 when Frank Cashen came aboard and was handed a mess to clean up and clean it up he did. Let’s hope history repeats itself.

Hojo’s Mojo at Mets Merized Online posts that the Sports Pope broke from his Pop Warner persona this morning to report that the Texas Rangers have inquired about Carlos Beltran and are willing to take on $10-$12 mil of his contract. If this is true, the Mets have to make this deal. Even if you get back a couple of prospects just the fact you’re freeing up $6-$8 mil dollars to spend on much needed pitching would push me to make this deal.

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Tickets

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

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