WHERE THE BIG BOYS ARE

So far this postseason each series has been a thrill to watch. Great story lines, terrific pitching and big stars coming through in big spots. Another plus of the postseason is getting to see and hear Jim Leyland. Leyland in the dugout is on top of every pitch and his pre and post-game pressers are fun to watch. After last night’s Tigers win, Leyland was asked about Miguel Cabrera’s hit that gave the Tigers the lead early in the game and the answer Leyland gave had me thinking, on the Mets who are our big boys? Answer is we don’t have one.

David Wright was a big boy at one time, but since getting beaned by Matt Cain, he’s lost his bigness. Jose Reyes was a big boy for most of this season but not the same kind of big boy that Leyland is talking about, one who puts a team on his back and carries it. We used to have a big boy in Carlos Beltran but he was sent away for a prize pitching prospect Zack Wheeler who could be a pitching big boy soon. Jason Bay at one time was a big boy but now he’s just a sorry middle aged boy. Lucas Duda may blossom into a big boy as he has the size for the moniker but does he have the big talent to go with it? The closest Met right now to big boy status is Ike Davis, who before his fluke injury knocked him out for the season was reaching big boy status; will his injury and inactivity stunt his growth? Tune in, in March.

Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Albert Puljois, and Miguel Cabrera all big boys ,all putting their teams on their backs, Sandy Alderson needs to find us a big boy.

I apologize for not posting this sooner. Metstrdamus is running his 2011 Hall of Hate, where you pick the most hated person in Mets history. As you can see from the match ups, which are done in a similar style to the NCAA Basketball Brackets, it doesn’t have to a Mets player or someone in the Mets front office or management to be hated.

Sometimes what gets Mets fans riled up, makes me laugh. Reports yesterday were rampant that Wally Backman was going to jump the Mets ship and head to Washington D.C to join Davey Johnson’s Nats staff. Why Mets fans would care that Backman would bolt to join Johnson astonishes me. I’m a Backman fan and have been since he played for the club back in the day, but whether Wally stays in the Mets organization or not isn’t a real pressing issue as far as I’m concerned.  Now today I see where Backman is staying with the Mets and most likely he will manage the Buffalo Bisons in 2012. I hope Backman gets a shot at a big league managerial job, but with pitching concerns,  re-signing Jose Reyes, whether Jason Bay is done, can Lucas Duda become a serviceable right fielder and middle of the order power hitter and can Ike Davis come back 100 %, is paramount to the Mets concern not where in the world is Wally Backman going to wind up.

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METS FANS NEED TO LOOK OUTSIDE THE CITI FIELD BOX

With all the gloom and doom about the big club, there is some good news coming out of the Mets on the farm. Last night Dillon Gee, made his case to get the spot start necessitated by last nights rain out with a 7 inning gem on the North Pole in Buffalo.

Last years 1st round pick Matt Harvey had another outstanding outing for the St. Lonesome Mets as well. The former Tar Heel struck out 8 in 6 inings of work and looks to be a few more A ball starts away from joining Wally Backman’s Bingo Mets

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“FOR THE GOOD OF THE TEAM” STARING CARLOS BELTRAN

When Sandy Alderson was hired to run the Mets baseball operations, the phrase we heard over and over again was “Now there are adults running the show”. When Terry Collins was hired as manager it was not the most popular choice to make since the bulk of the fan base wanted Wally Backman to get the job because if there is one thing that Mets fans love it’s former Mets players with World Series rings (that should be an incentive to present and future Mets, if you win a World Series as a Met your set for life. Meals will be free, endorsements plentiful; no matter if you are the star or 25th man you’re revered) but so far this early in spring, it’s safe to say, the on the field Mets are doing much better than the off the field Mets.

Before camp even started, Collins showed strong leadership by naming Big Pelf the opening day starter and the first seven spots in his lineup. He also made it known that the question of who will be the centerfielder will be answered quickly and decisively.  

Alderson and Collins showed Carlos Beltran the veteran respect he has earned and deserved. They laid out the centerfield scenario; Beltran will be given every chance to prove that he and his knee are up to the task of covering the vast canyon that centerfield in Citi Field is. If he can’t, then the move to right field will be made and Angel Pagan, who has proven to be a terrific centerfielder, will take over the job. The key in this plan was, once the decision was made, it will be final, no yo-yoing back and forth.  

I guess with that information and the fact that he has been treated with respect for the first time in his Mets career and knowing that his knee will be a problem for as long as he plays baseball, Carlos Beltran got to camp early yesterday, asked to meet with Collins and Pagan to let them know it’s time for him to shift over the right field and let Pagan take the helm of center field. It was a crowning moment for Beltran, Collins and Pagan.

Beltran has gotten a bad rap by the segment of Mets fans. It seems that called third strike he took from Adam Wainright in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS has followed him his whole Mets career. I’ve said before, the folks who criticize Beltran for taking that pitch obviously has never played baseball beyond Little League. The reason a curveball is such a potent pitch is when you’re standing in that batter’s box, pitchers who can throw a hook like Wainright, can throw the pitch with such a big break, that the pitch looks like it’s coming straight at you but then breaks over the plate. It’s the pitch that separates all stars from journeymen but I digress.

His first year as a Met was not as good as hoped and his last two seasons have been injury riddled but from 2006 to 2008 he was the best player on the Mets and one of the best in all of baseball. Hopefully the move to right field works for Beltran and helps keep the stress off his arthritic knee. This will be his last season as a Met but hopefully he goes out on the same high note as he has started this spring.

Who knows, maybe this is something Mets fans will look back on in September as a galvanizing moment for a club that might just be figuring out that if they stick together and block out the noise from ownership and the media barbs that this team is not worthy of having New York in its name, they can do something special. So far this early spring it’s been all positives coming from camp even when Ollie Perez pitches the team puts a positive spin like” no children or animals were harmed during Perez’ performance.”   Who knows? One thing is for sure I can’t wait for a month from today.

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MY TOP 50 NY METS OF ALL TIME

As I posted here the other day, Ed Marcus a/k/a lagranderusty is looking for readers to post a list of top 50 Mets of all time. What follows is my 50 All Time Mets, some are no-brainers and some are “are you kidding” the names are in no particualr order:

Ed Kranepool

Tom Seaver

Jerry Grote

Jerry Koosman

Tug McGraw

Ron Hunt

Al Jackson

Bud Harrleson

Rusty Staub

Tommie Agee

Cleon Jones

Felix Milan

Jon Matlack

Dwight Gooden

Ron Darling

Sid Fernandez

Keith Hernandez

Gary Carter

Darryl Strawberry

Nolan Ryan

John Olerud

Edgado Alfonzo

Rey Ordonez

Robin Ventura

David Wright

Jose Reyes

Mike Piazza

Randy Myers

Jesse Orosco

Roger McDowell

Al Leiter

John Stearns

Todd Hundley

Craig Swan

Ron Swoboda

Frank Viola

George Theodore

John Milner

Ken Boswell

Wayne Garrett

Turk Wendell

Carlos Beltran

Lenny Dykstra

Wally Backman

Bob Ojeda

Mookie Wilson

Kevin Mc Renyolds

Cliff Floyd

Bernard Gilkey

Richie Ashburn

 

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WALLY BACKMAN, STILL PART OF THE FAMILY

As expected, Wally Backman will remain in the Mets organization as manager of the Binghamton Mets. Although there was an outcry in the some parts Metsville on Backman getting the big league job as skipper, a jump from managing short season team to a Double A team is very impressive.

Nothing sparks debate better than a list of all time players and Mike Silva has stoked the fire of Mets fans hearts with his Top 50 All Time Mets list. I will be quite curious to read the comments on Mike site over this list as I found out with Kerrel Copper writing about retiring Ed Kranepool’s #7, there is a bit of a generation gap between the guys of my generation and the 20-30 something Mets fans. 2011 will be the 25th Anniversary of the 1986 World Champs, that means the twenty something’s have never witnessed a Mets parade down the Canyon of Heroes (my old ass has seen both Mets parades) and the thirty something’s  have a vague memory of the festive day on Broadway. I don’t blame the younger Mets fans for getting tired of old farts like myself waxing poetic about the Mets of yesteryear but then again don’t discount the players of the era either.  

By the way, I e-mailed Mike with my displeasure of John Franco being ranked higher that Ed Kranepool on his list.  Same with Johan Santana at #20, a bit high. Tug McGraw and Rusty Staub should definitely be ranked higher than Santana.  Jerry Grote at #30?  Com’on way tooooooooo low and by the way all you kids better get off my lawn. What about George Theodore, Joel Youngblood, Ron Swoboda, Ron Hunt and Dennis Ribant, okay Ribant is a reach.          

The best part about the end of the holidays is that the Mets front office should be open for business next week and maybe we can start seeing some signings or trades for pitchers. Yeah I’m beyond antsy.

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IMAGINE THERE’S NO REYES OR BELTRAN, IT’S EASY IF YOU TRY

Wally Backman has signed on to stay in the Mets organization and will mange somewhere in the minor league system. In reality, Backman didn’t have much choice. Backman is still miffed that Sandy Alderson didn’t hire him for the top job in Flushing, and the one area where I agree with Backman is on his lack of major league experience as a manager. I think the fact that Backman played 14 seasons of Major League ball should  have  had a big advantage over Terry Collins not even having a cup of coffee in the bigs. If the managerial criteria is big league experience then hands down Backman should have gotten the job over Collins.

But I see Collins getting the post as a sign that this organization will become younger, much younger and therefore hungrier than what we’ve seen from past Mets teams. Let’s face fact, the last three seasons, most Mets fans have despised the team and why? Most of us felt they were just a bunch of highly paid veterans you were more worried about there financial situations than the on the field situations. Then there is the off the field stuff like Johan Santana (who if he was healthy I’m sure Alderson & Co would have put on not only the trading block but the trading platter with an apple in his mouth but with $97 mil owed over the next 4 years we are stuck with a once upon a time Ace who if we’re lucky will be a back of the rotation starter in the next four seasons) and of course Frankie Rodriguez and Charlie Samuels. Sandy Alderson was brought in here not just to find better players but to win back the respect of Mets fans and teams around the league as well.

That’s why you are seeing, little by little that Alderson would like to rid this team of. Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. I’m a fan of both players but it seems to me the new front office looks at both these players as part of the losing and unprofessional culture of the team. I have never had a problem with Reyes’ antics, in fact the guy plays better when he’s dancing and hand shaking but the perception around baseball is he’s immature jerk. When the Cardinals won the 2006 NLCS they were signing the Jose-Jose-Jose chant in their clubhouse and of course Reyes’ teammates just sat in their clubhouse licking their wounds listening to the mocking chants and did nothing. When it comes to doing nothing, no team takes shit better than the Mets.  I mean the guy leading the mock chanting was Bradden Looper who sucked ass when he was here and laughed in his former teams face and why? He knew no one would do anything in the Mets clubhouse.

Now this is not to blame Reyes for that not at all but what Alderson is looking at is Reyes worth a long term investment? Probably not.

Reyes will turn 28 during the 2011 season and the last two seasons have been plagued by injury and illness and maybe he does have a big season in him and especially if the Mets hire a new physical training staff that would help Reyes but if Alderson can get some pieces the Mets need for this renovation (I know you folks hate the term rebuilding so I’ll use renovation sounds less severe) I have no question he’d send Reyes off to the highest bidder.

Carlos Beltran right can be had for fifty cents on the dollar. If any team were to approach the Mets with a deal in which that team would take at least half of Beltran’ salary he’ll be an ex-Met faster than you could say “at the end of the day”.

Now I’m sure there is a large segment who disagrees with me on this and that’s fine but you can start to read between the lines here with Alderson. He’s already told you that there will be no big ticket free agent spending this off season. The best he’ll do is look over the non-tender list and hope the market of free agents will be so ample that some players, will panic and sign for under value. See, the interesting part of this new management team is it’s a patient bunch and they are dealing with a “I want it yesterday” fan base. It’s going to be fun to watch.

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THE “DEVIL-ISH” TERRY COLLINS

Listened to the Terry Collins presser on WFAN and the two whinny hosts, Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts who I think were more upset that the Collins intro took away from them rubbing Rex Ryan’ ample belly in worship. But a couple of observations:

WHOA!!!! Collins is a bundle of energy that’s for sure and complete opposite from Jerry Manuel. It felt like Collins picked a couple of Four Lokos at a bodega on Roosevelt Ave before hitting Citi Field.

Collins said all the right things (all the things we’ve heard in the past 10 of these pressers) about stressing fundi’s, pitching and the big one, ACCOUNTABILITY .  Like a batter spouse, we’ve heard this all before.

I understand the love for Wally Backman but why turn it to hate towards Collins? That I don’t get. As I said I would have loved to see Wally on that podium today but Alderson & Co. thought otherwise, so at this point in the first month of the new management I have to give them the benefit of the doubt .

By a show of hands (or comments) how many of you think the Mets will be Pennant contenders next year?

Don’t forget to tune into THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN tonight on BLOG TALK RADIO as Doug Gladstone and George  “The Stork” Theodore will be my guests.

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TAKE A DEEP BREATH METS FANS

The way some Mets fans are acting toward the hiring of Terry Collins, you’d think he was taking over a contending team. Do you people realize that the NY Mets as constituted today are barely a .500 team?  I guess I have to be the myth buster around here, the Mets will not make the post season in 2011. Sorry for the smack in the face but some Mets fans need a dose of reality.

As I’ve written before there are times the Mets fan base just amazes me, Terry Collins hasn’t even put pen to contract yet and fans are ready to fire him. Can we wait at least one week into the regular season before we make up the Twitter account @FireTerryCollins?  

Am I 100% happy with the Collins hire? No not really, but I’m not screaming about it as a disaster waiting to happen either.  I look at the positives here, that Alderson and not Jeffey Skill  Sets  is making the baseball decisions. Collins was the minor league coordinator so he has knowledge of what’s worth keeping and what’s not in the Mets farm system. I watched Collins at a pre-season workout for the Brooklyn Cyclones this summer and he and Mookie Wilson were running from station to station working with players and conferring with Wally Backman, Benny DiStefano (hitting coach) and Rick Tomlin (pitching coach) so energy and instruction are definitely  Collins strong suit.     

Collins intensity can make some players uncomfortable, but isn’t that what has been sorely lacking in the Mets clubhouse? Haven’t the bunch of underachievers that reside in that room been living the high life for too long? Isn’t it about time somebody with authority dealt with these “woe is me” players and get them to man up and stop shitting in their snow white pants when the Phillies or Braves come up on the schedule?  Mets fans have been crying for a tough guy right? So here you are. Maybe for the first time in years, the players will be held accountable.

The biggest reservation I have with Collins is he quit as manager twice, with the Angels and in Japan. That scares me it’s as if the going gets tough; it seems Collins gets going, out the door. Of course Sandy Alderson brought this up during the interview session I’m sure and he was satisfied with the answer he got so I guess I should be too.  Collins has not run a team in ten years and that raises a red flag with me as well.

The Collins hire is not outrageous enough for to be well.. outraged. Sure it would have been nice to see BACKMAN 6 strutting to the plate on opening day with his first lineup card as a big league manager but that’s the Mets fan in me talking. The guy who is now in charge feels that Terry Collins gives him all that he’s looking for in a manager with an edge in personality. At this point in the Alderson Era who am I or you to question the move?   

What it tells me also is the Mets are going to get younger and there is a big premium going to be placed on home grown talent. Sandy Alderson on day one said the farm system he has inherited is in the middle of the pack and for a team like the Mets with its resources, that’s unacceptable. That’s what should be the focus of Mets fans, not who will be the manager for the next two seasons. Cliff Lee at 32 years of age with back trouble? Let the Highlanders over pay in years and money for him. Jayson Werth? Let the Tigers spend all that awful pizza money on him. If the Mets eat the Perez/Castillo dough then the off season is a success and you know now there is no way in hell either of those two slugs are coming back.

 Rejoice Mets fans that we  have guys with a clue and a plan running the baseball operations for our beloved Mets. I know it’s hard to optimistic with the all the horseshit we’ve endured the last few years but I think the new regime will get us out this mess and back on the road to winning.

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BREAKING NEWS: TERRY COLLINS NAMED METS MANAGER

News was just reported by Adam Rubin. Mets will name Terry Collins manager. Let the shit storm via Wally Backman Fan Club begin.

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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

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