The Bronx Sure Ain’t Burning With Highlander Fever

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Check out last nights Sports Media Watchdogs Podcast where Mike Silva and I talk about my day  at Highlander Stadium, Mike’s bet with Michale Kay, The Giants season preview and a look at the NHL Lockout.

I haven’t had much time to post this weekend as the last holiday of the summer has been a whirlwind between having a big barbeque at my house, the up early to get to Highlander Stadium (more on the in a minute) and now today off to Coney Island to see and root for the Brooklyn Cyclones as they try to get the NY-Penn League Wild Card spot.

Yesterday I was at Highlander Stadium for an event where the NY Highlanders were honoring young men who had achieved the status of Eagle Scout in the past year. So with my son and nephew achieving this we were all invited to the game between the Highlander and Orioles.

All the Scouts were brought on to the field for a pre-game ceremony and they too a group shot that was shown on the giant TV screen in centerfield but no player joined them to take a picture or shake their hands, oh well. We were given seats in the terrace section of left field which is just below the upper deck. Problem with that section is you can’t’ see left field or left/center field, so I missed Mark Reynolds two home runs which made my delayed cheering a bit awkward, oh yeah I was rooting for Buck’s Birds yesterday for sure.

The stadium is massive, so big that to see everything there is from food and stores would take you all game to see. If you sit up in the upper reaches of the stadium and would like to go all the way to the field level where they have a food court, you’re going to miss at least two innings getting down there another inning getting food and another couple of innings getting back upstairs.  Not really worth it.

The seats, especially the bleachers are so far back from the action that even when fans make noise they’re not a factor in making a difference. I’ve heard louder fan noise at Shea/Citi Field after a 2 hour rain delay when maybe 1,500-2,000 fans were still in the park. It could be the weekend crowd in the Bronx is different than the weeknight crowd as the upstate contingent of Highlander fans show up regularly on the weekend for day games (leaving the parking lot it’s funny to see the Major Deegan northbound bumper to bumper and the southbound entrance to the FDR south a breeze) but the stadium was monastery quiet most of the game and for a game that was crucial to the Highlanders it was a bit of a shock to me.

Ok time to watch Collin McHugh take on the Cards for a few innings then head to Coney Island

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NY Rangers-NY Mets Daily Double

I’m having a tough time putting my thoughts into words this morning after spending my night at Madison Square Garden and witnessing one of those great sports moments   that will talked about for years and years.

The black and white of the box scores says Rangers 3 Capitals 2 but that in no way describes how this game was played.  This NY Ranger team is simply one of the best teams in the history of my sports fandom.  It hasn’t much to do with the winning but more with the amazing work ethic and the fact when I was ready to write them off they dug down deeper than me and many other Rangers fans could ever imagine. Funny thing is as I watched the pre-game warm ups, I thought about how many games I’ve witnessed in this building and how times have changed over the years.  For some wild reason images of John Fergurson, Phil Esposito, Ron Greschner and my favorite whipping boy Willie Huber were entering my head.  I looked around the Blue Seats and thought about Nick Fotiu throwing pucks to “his people” in the upper reaches of the 400 section after warm-ups. I thought of the day Bryan Trottier was named coach of the Rangers (that’s when my hatred for Glen Sather began) as the day I was ready to turn in my Broadway Blueshirt and of course the  euphoria of 1994 Stanley Cup winning team.

I don’t know where this playoff season is going for the NY Rangers but as nerve wracking as the ride is, I’m riding with a lot of Ranger fan pride. Time to close this series out boys tomorrow night!

I had no idea what was going on between the Mets and Phuck Phaces until my phone buzzed with a text telling me the Mets had won 5-2. When I got home I went searching for Rangers highlights to find out how the hell Broadway Brad Richards got that puck by Braden Holtby and to relive the resurrection of Marc Staal, I stopped on ESPN as Baseball Tonight was queuing up highlights of the Mets win (by the way, what’s up with John Kruk? He’s sitting behind a desk all hunched up like someone was lobbing hand grenades over his head. Why so tense Krukie? )  and I know there is this whole controversy over hitting batters for no reason but because they are young and talented and many times fans go overboard on wanting their pitcher to take off someone on the oppositions head with a pitch but to me if Shane Victorino doesn’t hit the dirt on his first at bat tonight I will be very angry. Victorino’s take out try on Justin Turner was an out and out dirty play and a scumbag like Victorino will continue to make that kind of play until someone sends him a message.  I don’t want Miguel Batista (YIKES!!!!) to drill Victorino in the noggin but I do want to see a pitch just under his chin.

 How do you figure out Jordany  Valdespin ? I’ve heard a few stories on how he is immature and was such a problem he was read the riot act by a few folks in the Mets minor league system. So far he seems to be exuberant as a young man should be in the big leagues and a player his teammates have embraced. Maybe it’s the fact that Terry Collins can handle a young guy feeling his oats and the fact that the team has solid mature veteran players unlike the cranky red asses who gave rookies a hard time in the clubhouse in years past. Hopefully with a little success in the big leagues, Valdespin will see what it takes to stay up here and matures before our eyes.

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“WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE”

The current state of the New York Mets is abysmal. The long term state of the New York Mets is very promising. This is a tale of two states.

 

As a fan base we Mets fans need to come to grips that the only place we will see post season baseball is on our televisions. I hate to break this news to Freddie Skill Sets that the only meaningful games being played in Flushing in September will be the Bingo games at St Andrew Avelino Church and until Freddie and Jeffie come to grips with this the organization can move forward and re-organize the goal of building a contending team.

 

The upper reaches of the farm system is bankrupt of immediate talent as we have seen this season but when you look at the lower end that’s where the future lays and the word we hate to hear “patience” will have to be practiced.

 

I’ve heard calls for the team going out on a spending spree in the off season and that is the exact wrong approach to take. As much as I kill the Skill Sets, it’s hard to call them cheap when they have a $140 mil payroll. It’s not cheapness it’s cluelessness. The Skill Sets have absolutely no baseball acumen, they are real estate men, and would serve the team best if they did what they do best, collect rent.

 

Is Omar Minaya a great GM? NO! Is he an awful GM? NO! Is he a good GM? Ahhhhh here is where the debate begins. There is a ground swell in the fan base to FIRE OMAR and I admit that even though I’m an Omar fan, the thought has run through my head would the team be better served with a new GM? Most of this thinking is out of frustration that the team keeps crying about injuries which have nothing to do with lack of hustle and overall retarded baseball the team has played of late. The biggest indictment of Omar regime as the head of the baseball ops is when F-Mart did not run out a ball in his first game as a Met. The excuse that he is “only 20” holds no water as he has been in the Mets farm system since he was 16 years old so to me it shows that the farm system is broke. Now does it just need some repair or does Omar need to clean house and bring in some new blood with new ideas? Tony Bernanzard seems to be a polarizing force in the organization as he has Jeffy’s ear (maybe he tells him that Shemp Howard hair cut is becoming) and that goes back to the problem of Jeffy being way to close to the baseball operation and until he stays out of personnel moves, the better for the organization.

 

I guess the whole Mets organization is like the Home Run Apple yesterday it’s not ready to go when we want it but after a little bit of  patience it could function nicely.

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GOOD JOHNNY, BAD JOHNNY?

The game of the day was not at $iti Field or the Park in the South Bronx but in Staten Island where our Babe Ruth team charged back from a 12-0 deficit to down  to 2 runs, 12-10 when the game was caused due to darkness. Our home field is just off the Green Belt and is stunning but we have an old time Wrigley Field scenario so when you start a game at 5:30 you better get it in in 2 hours or it’s a suspended game. It was the first time for the vast majority of the players to have to play by MLB rules and dimensions and at the start was a bit overwhelming for them and me, coaching 3rd base. But the boys showed a lot of heart and determination coming back like they did.

 

John Maine could use a bit of that determination himself after imploding in the 3rd inning last night. You knew as soon as Maine threw for straight balls to Henry Blanco and then you get ahead of the 8th batter in the lineup (Everth Cabrera) and you don’t finish him off? Basic god damn baseball, there is a reason those guys bat 7th and 8th go after them no bullshit get them out. UGHHHHHHHHHH!

 

If I’m J-Man I start Shrek at catcher for the next three games. He might pass out from the work load but right now he is a better choice both as a receiver and a hitter than Brian Schneider. I not saying Schneider is not banged up but I think it’s more J-Man is starting to loose faith in him.

 

The Skill Sets can not be happy with the amount of empty seats in the Stuffed Shirt Circle Jerk behind home plate. But it’s not just at $iti Field either. Every non-Mets game I watch on MLB Extra Innings is the same story, the upper reaches of the ball parks are full and the Aristocrats are MIA.

 

But when the SNY cameras show the outfield stands, it looks like LaGuardia on the day before Thanksgiving.

 

With all the hand wringing about the economy and being priced out of sporting events the WWE had an outstanding weekend with its 25 Anniversary of Wrestle Mania (I’m proud to say I went to the Inaugural event at MSG I know it’s not a “real sport” but the sound of The Garden that day, it was Palm Sunday 1984, was Game 7 Stanley Cup Finals loud) Check out this story in today’s Daily News with the facts and figures showing Vince McMahon is a marketing genius.

 

The lack of Mets history at $iti Field has the war drums pounding as is what seems to be a majority of Mets fans wanting the team to go with Pinstripes at home and Grays on the road with the solid blue hat at all times. I’m totally on board with this and if the Skill Sets had any kind of clue they would be too.  

 

In honor of Willie Randolph’s return to Flushing tonight we have this little musical interlude.     

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Tickets

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