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My pessimism for the upcoming season of my beloved Mets intensified a bit because one of our cats woke me up before I wanted to rise and shine for a bit of breakfast.  So after filling the bowls with leftover grilled chicken breast, I went to the living room with the intent of browsing Netflix for a movie. But first I took a tour of the 1763 channels on my FiOS system and lo and behold I stumble on to The Last Play at Shea on The Movie Channel.  I was going to turn the channel quick so as not get involved in this film but then the face of an old friend, the late Dana Brand came on my screen and that made me sit up straight with a touch of sadness. Then another blogger buddy was present on the TV, Greg Prince sitting in a seat at the our old house, Shea Stadium talking about all the great times we had at that place and more sadness fell over me. I started to think out loud and staring at Mittens our cat and shouting to him “Where did we go wrong”???? Mittens looked up for a second and went back to cleaning himself off after his satisfying breakfast.

Where did we go wrong? When did this organization make the turn from Ya Gotta Believe Boulevard to Embarrassment Lane?   I’m watching the film and seeing the Mets of the 80’s I just stared and drifted off into the Way Back Machine of my mind. Everyone hated us back then.  As a Met fan of that era we all had a “Do you know who the fuck we are” attitude that rubbed off on the fan base from our beloved team.  Keith Hernandez was that guy who rolled the cigarette pack in his sleeve, Darryl Strawberry was a physical specimen who hit baseballs liked they owed him money,  Ray Knight would smack the shit out you because he could,  Gary Carter was the definition of don’t mistake kindness for weakness.  Dwight Gooden had guys coming down with the flu on days he took the mound and they were led by the chip on his shoulder skipper Davey Johnson. The New York Mets were MLB’s Bad Ass’s

Today the Mets are the kick ass’s as in they have been on the receiving end of the ass kicking they use to hand out. Not to mention a team that plays in a tidy baseball McMansion, Citi Field as the old Mets with bad attitudes played in a tenement called William Shea Housing Project.  As much as I try to accept Citi as the new home of the Mets and try hard to let the past of Shea go, when I see movies like Last Play at Shea, I wonder if we are cursed. Is there a Curse of Shea Stadium?

Think about it the Mets haven’t been the same since the move to Citi. The owners were taken in by a flim flam man named Madoff, real fans have been moved out to outfield stands while the areas around 1st base, 3rd base and home plate have been surrounded by cement and security guards stationed to make sure no real fans try to sneak into the plethora of empty padded seats vacated by the swells who would rather sit in air conditioned luxury of a club while drinking expensive wine and eating gourmet foods.  Back at Shea the food sucked but the baseball was good, I’ll take winning baseball with an over cooked hot dog, half thawed pretzel washed down with watered down Bud any day.

There is hope, hope that the tide is turning. Where the everyday eight are not much to look at, the pitching staff has some talent and charisma. Matt Harvey looks like he could have anchored a staff in the 70’s or 80’s. Zack Wheeler and Travis d”Arnud should make a solid contribution once they are freed from Super Two purgatory.  Other than that and few wet behind the ears minor leaguers, there is much to be optimistic about with this 2013 edition of the NY Mets.

I hope I’m wrong.  I hope Lucas Duda visits the Wizzard of Baseball Oz to  get some baseball confidence. I hope I’m right about Colin Cowgill that he is the surprise of the season. I hope Ike Davis has the breakout season he and Mets fans have been waiting for. I hope David Wright finds some support in the lineup, I hope Freddy Skill Sets is not pissing on our legs and does have money to allow Sandy Alderson to bring in a big league bat with power. I hope the bullpen doesn’t suck like last year. I hope Citi Field is full of METS FANS in September making noise and rooting for a team that plays hard and wins baseball games. I hope I’m not setting myself up for disappointment.

 

 

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I didn’t watch one pitch of yesterday’s Mets-Phillies game. With opening Sunday of the NFL in full swing and the New York Football Giants on Ch. 5 and Tom Brady and the Pats on Ch. 2, there was no reason to move the dial any further. Oh I didn’t blow off baseball altogether, by 4PM I was ready for the Giants-Padres game and the match up of Tim Lincecum and Matt Latos, in fact my baseball viewing from today on will include watching the Giants, Padres, Rockies, Rays, and the on the downward spiraling Highlanders.

It hit me around 7PM last night when I didn’t even know that the  Mets lost to the Phillies 3-0, that the NY Mets franchise has collectively climbed in the Mr. Peabody and Sherman’s Way Back machine and have arrived at 1979.

What year 1979 was. I was 21 years old with more hair than I knew what to do with (give me a moment please………………………..sniff! sniff!……………..ok back to the post) hanging out at Max’s Kansas City and CBGB. Going to the Palladium to see The Clash and Graham Parker and the Rumor (The Palladium was a great venue, first time I ever saw Bruce Springsteen ad the E Street Band was there in 1976, YES I SAID 1976!) I spent my winters and spring watching the NY Rangers from Section 432 in my Blue Seat all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals where they lost to Les Habitants but at least the Blueshirts beat the Icelanders as that was the year that no good scumbag Denis Potvin took out Ulf Nilson and the POTVIN SUCKS Chant was born.

More to the point of this post though, 1979 was the year the NY Mets drew 788, 905 live bodies to Shea Stadium, less than 10, 000 a game (9, 621 to be precise) and I can not remember if I were a part of that 788, 905-details are very hazy-but I’m sure I was because it was Richie Hebner’s one and only season as a Met and I remember him giving Mets fans the finger. I also remember it was Ed Kranepool’s last year. I remember Bob Murphy telling the tale of Ed Glynn a relief pitcher who also hawked hot dogs at Shea as a youth. The one bright spot of ’79 was that miserable, no good, saboteur of the franchise; M. Donald Grant was no longer around, dumped by Lorinda de Roulet after the 1978 season. But the team still sucked.

Right after the season, de Roulet thankfully sold the team as she had no clue on how to run it, she sold it to the dynamic duo of Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon and the rest as they say is history.

Myself and many Mets fans lived through 1979 and not only was it not fun but it was painful. Painful because of what could have been. What if Tom Seaver was never traded ? What if Joan Payson wasn’t sick and then dying during the advent of free agency with that asshole Grant advising her ? Remember Mrs. Payson had no problem spending money on her team, in fact when the Mets were born in 1962 she told Horace Stoneham that she wanted to buy the contract of Willie Mays and money was no object. What would have happened if Whitey Herzog would have been named manager after the death of Hodges instead of the overmatched Yogi Berra?

As much as I would to re-live 1979 all over again I wouldn’t want to relive the Mets season of that year as the Mets were so bad no one cared. At least we still care, we still have passion for this team, though it’s mostly negative, it’s still passion. Let’s hope the right moves are made for a new GM and manager and that deadwood and players who don’t like it here are sent off, no matter the cost monetarily. It’s time to restore some pride in this organization but I’m not optimistic the people in charge are intelligent enough to pull it off. All Jeffey Skill Sets needs to do is start collect batting practice baseballs, clean them and use them again and he’d be Linda de Roulet all over again.

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A must see is this interview by Mike Douglas of Tom Seaver as talks about the deal that sent him to Cincinnati.   Tip O’ The Mets cap to Mets Police and Neil Best at Watchdog for the link and the Tweet. Oh that Twitter,  it’s the tits!

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