Check Out a Night with Ike Davis and Teammates to Benefit Kid’s Cancer Research

 

Ike Davis and several teammates are putting on a charity benefit concert to raise funds for children’s cancer research on Sunday, September 9 after the Mets-Braves game. There will be an open bar – Ike and other Mets players will be guest bartending for the evening as well as auctions, interviews by emcee Evan Roberts from WFAN, and a live musical performance by country music star Lee Brice (a player favorite).  Join Ike and the gang at City Winery to “Knock Childhood Cancer Out of the Park”. All proceeds benefit two NYC children’s cancer charities that Ike partners with.  Some tickets are still available.  Tickets and more information here.

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Was Last Night’s No Hitter The Start Of Something Bigger ?

 

This post will be all over the place, so let me apologize in advance because I still can’t get my thoughts all in one place after watching Johan Santana’s no hitter last night. What has me all verklempt is this was more than just the first no hitter in the history of the NY Metropolitan Baseball Club, it was more a display of what this little thing of ours, being a Mets fan means. If the non-believers don’t grasp the concept of Mets fandom after last night, they never will and that’s their loss.

The look of determination on the face of Santana will stay with me for a long, long time as will the image of Terry Collins who was put in the worst spot of al,l worrying about the health of his Ace and the historical place this game was headed. Later we would learn that Santana would sing his own version of The Weight as he told Collins he was not coming out of this game taking the load off the manager and putting on him.

I thought of Josh Thole, just activated after suffering a concussion guiding Santana along. After a week- ten days of working out in a back field of Pt. St. Lonesome to this electrifying moment, I was hoping his head wasn’t hurting.

I thought about Mike Baxter who went above and beyond the call of duty crashing into the left field wall to make a catch that is now another in memorable catches in Mets history. Watching him come off the field with Ray Ramirez holding his arm, I thought the worst but then this morning I read Baxter quotes where he said “I’ll be ok, it’s not about me it’s Johan’s night”. Baxter typified the all for one, one for all attitude this team has taken on.

I thought about Gary Cohen calling the game on SNY and Howie Rose calling the action on WFAN, they are not just the Mets play by play men, they are one of us. I feel even closer to them since we are all from the same generation who got into Mets Fandom on the ground floor. I’ve always wondered if our paths ever crossed way back when in the Upper Deck at Shea maybe during a Craig Swan start or cheering a Willie Montanez home run, complete with the stutter step home run trot. When the no hitter was “in the history books” as Howie noted, Ron Darling, who was extremely fired up in the late innings of this game, and Keith Hernandez, who was astonishing quiet maybe superstition took over, asked Gary if he thought the no hitter drought would ever be broken and without missing a beat Cohen said “NO” I got a bit misty in the eyes when Gary said that because I knew exactly where he was coming from.

I thought a lot about Johan Santana. I thought about all the hard work he put in to get back on a Major League mound and like Bobby Ojeda said on the post-game show pitching “on back fields in front of tumble weed and three legged dogs”. This is part of the professional athletes life that many fans either ignore or just don’t care about. The work that Santana put in after his shoulder surgery is what separates him as one of the top pitchers in MLB to the guy holding on or trying to get a roster spot. All pitchers at this level can throw a baseball, it’s the few who have the work ethic and the intelligence to make the climb to the top that stand out. When Santana went down with his shoulder injury that needed surgical repair he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. He worked his ass off in rehabilitating the shoulder and in getting himself back on his game right where he left off.  After last night’s performance all those days with the physical therapist and then on the back fields of the Mets minor league complex with the sweat dripping off him to the scrutiny of Dan Warthen and Terry Collins in spring training to the skepticism of the media and fan base, wondering which Johan Santana we would see, has paid off big time. What we’ve seen is one of the best pitchers in Mets history and a player with the heart of a lion.

Last night was not about the owner and how much money he has or doesn’t have  nor was it about whether this team is playing over their heads, no, it was about what it’s like when you sign on to become a Mets fan. There are good days and some bad days and then there are days like yesterday that wash away all the bad.  If you’ve decided not to support this team because of your disdain for the ownership, well you’re stupid. If you learned anything last night it’s not about the Skill Sets, it’s not about the Robinson Rotunda, it’s not about the outfield walls and it’s not about the Shake Shack, it’s about the 25 players and it’s about us and for all of you who have been avoiding Citi Field, you better hop back on the bandwagon and buy some tickets and come out to watch this team play because I don’t think they are done making history, the no hitter might just be the beginning of something very special.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Guess You Wouldn’t Be A Mets Fan If You Didn’t Overreact

There is a segment of this fan base that really needs to stop listening to sports talk radio for your own good. There are too many of you that take the word of the gasbags on WFAN and WEPN as sports gospel. The biggest offender seem to be the wanna- be shock jock on WFAN in the early AM who threw out a line that a Mets “official” said the club was going to honor Chipper Jones during the Braves last visit to NYC. I guess the fact that the wanna- be shock jock’ partner, the fair haired Norman Esiason has been taking days off here and there (maybe NFL Norman is trying to tell wanna- be shocks partner Norman that this morning gig is bad for you imagine and credibility) left the wanna-be shock with nothing to talk about since his scope of sports knowledge seems to be whatever is in the daily fish wraps and what he reads on blogs, so with no partner to banter with he decided to join in on every media types favorite target of belittlement, the NY Mets.

After it was broadcast over the biggest waste of 50,000 watts in radio, that the Mets were thinking about honoring Chipper Jones, the lunatic fringe of Metsopotania flew into a Tweeting rage. If it weren’t for the fact that I’m a lifelong Mets fans I’d have laughed my ass off over the over reaction by some fans but instead I’m left shaking my head and letting out a great big “sigh”.

The Mets are not going to hold a “Larry Jones Night” at Citi Field. If anything they will have a short and sweet pre-game annoucemnt that no one will even see as it will be so far from game time you will still be on the Shake Shack line. The will give Jones a plaque and acknowledge his Hall of Fame career and wish him the best on his retirement. It will take you longer to decide what dipping sauce you want with your Box Frites Belgian fries.

Yes I understand that Jones was a one man wrecking crew against the Mets for his career but I also understand the he thoroughly enjoyed competing on the New York stage and he appreciates the rich history of New York baseball.  As I’ve mentioned many times, he loved to interact with Mets fans and always found time to sign autographs. Ask David Wright about Jones and how he has helped Wright with encouragement or a batting tip here or there.

I guess if you haven’t been witness to Jones’ mingling with Mets fans all you would see is a guy who beat our brains in but if you’ve seen Jones up close at Shea or Citi dealing with Mets fans you know he’s a classy guy. The Mets are just acknowledging that class.

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GOTTA GO GET SOME ROCK SALT

First off congratualtions to the St Lousi Cardinals for winning their 11th World Series in franchise history. Some folks on Twitter can’t understand why I was rooting for the Cards to win this Series. With the exception of 2008 and 2009 when I just couldn’t bring myself to rally for the Phuck Phaces (in 2009 I abstained from rooting as much as I hate the Phuck Phaces, rooting for the Bronx Bastards would be a mortal sin) I always support the NL and I’ll say this the Senior Circuit has won the last 4 of 6 World Series.

Now that the World Series is over and we are getting out our snow shovels (WHAT?) it’s time for the Hot Stove to rev up and of course the first order of business will be the signing or non-signing of Jose Reyes. Sandy Alderson will handle the negotiation with the team coming first and the fan base second. For those of you who clamor for Reyes back at any price, haven’t we gone down that road of destruction too many times in Flushing ? The days of winning the tabloid back pages in the winter are over. Of course I want to see Reyes back as the Mets shortstop but not at a ridiculous price. I’m more concerned about the years than I am the money. Four years, I’m fine with five would have to be an option with incentives; six would be thank you for your years of service Jose.

The Highlanders were smart to sign a 1 year extension with WCBS 880 for the rights to broadcast their games on radio. The Met deal on WFAN is up after this season and I’d bet anything that WFAN wants those Highlander games badly.  That’s fine by me as that would then conclude me from being a WFAN listener ever again. As it is now, I turn on the station out of boredom or just tired of listening to music at work.

If I were the owner of a MLB team I’d be pissed with Bud Selig today as he stated the deadbeat Skill Sets have not paid off their $25 mil loan to MLB. I wonder what Frank McCourt has to say about that. Call it BuddyCare.

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TIME FOR A MEDIA INTEGRITY TEST

I’m sure by now most of you have either heard or read the attack article by T.J. Simmers of the LA Times about Marcus Thames. There have been a whole lot of opinions on how Simmers went after Thames with the nastiest of attitudes, basically calling Thames are no talent bum and also calling out Don Matingly as being clueless on how to manage a big league team. If you have ever read Simmers columns before this one, you know he plays the Angry Old White Guy perfectly and he takes pride in being an asshole.  As much of an asshole as Simmers may be, I have to give him credit for being an accountable asshole.

Everything Simmers said about Thames and Matingly he said to their faces and both knew it doesn’t pay to argue with and asshole, especially an Angry Old White Asshole but again he wrote what he wrote and walked into the Dodger Clubhouse the next day to face the men he besmirched. Got give him credit for that.

Yesterday on Twitter, I got into a bit of a “Tweet debate” with Evan Roberts of WFAN. Roberts sent out this Tweet that I felt made him look like an ignoramus:

“ I’m certainly not a booer, but the guy I will be first to get on if he doesn’t perform would be Jason Bay…”

My response to Roberts was:

“why would you boo Bay? by the way have you ever been in a pro clubhouse or locker room to interview players?”

The reason for the second part of my question was, Roberts and his partner Joe Benigno love to rip players, managers/coaches , GM’s and owners on the air, which is fine but I never remember either of them ever saying they have been in a locker room or clubhouse of the area teams to confront the folks they’ve blasted. I felt the statement that Roberts made was unbelievably stupid.

The Tweets went back and forth with Roberts refusing to answer my question of facing the guys he criticizes but when he finally answered, I felt bad for him:

  @kranepool You think higher of me and my co workers then I do…most of these players don’t know or care who I am..   

My Tweet before that was about Roberts doing a mid morning show on a 50K watt NYC radio station, and doesn’t think the players know who he is? I call bullshit. I think Roberts is either scared or intimidated by the folks he goes after.  Roberts loves to tell listeners that he buys his own tickets to Mets and Nets games and would rather watch the game in the stands than in a press box. Nothing wrong with that. But why not go into the clubhouse after a game and talk to the players or manager/coaches about the game or team’s performance? If Roberts put as much time and effort into his craft as he did in his Twitter baseball games, maybe the players would know who he is.

I think the reason I was so stunned by Roberts’ comments is the fact that the Mets have been gracious in granting Mets bloggers access to players, Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson and I’m not going to lie any time I can talk to someone affiliated with the Mets, I jump at it.

I’m very critical of the ownership of the Mets but believe me I would love to sit down with Fred, Jeff and Dave Howard for an interview.  If they wanted to rip me for sucky writing and poor grammar that would be fine with me, hell they could tell me to hit the gym and drop a few pounds, I’d be glad to take it because if you dish it out, you have to take it, but seriously a sit down between myself and management would allow them to see where I’m coming from as a long time Mets fan who just wants to see the team he roots for given more respect,  work on building a winner, and treating the Mets fans better that they do.  No screaming or yelling just conversation and debate.  I can act like adult when I have to.

I all come back to accountability, I stand by whatever I write and I have no problem going into the clubhouse and talking to whoever I have a beef with.

How the media tide has turned, it’s the bloggers now who are now the most responsible reporters of news.

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A BLOGGERS PARADISE

I was fortunate to be one of the bloggers  invited  to attend the Mets Holiday Party  yesterday and it was quite the experience.

From the time I arrived at the frozen tundra of Flushing (it was a bit surreal as I was the only passenger getting off at the Citi Field-Willets Pt. stop on the 7 train and the wind was whipping and there was still wisps of snow on the platform. Then walking out of the station there was not a soul around the ball park.  It felt like the kind of dream I’ve had after one too many late night slices of pepperoni pizza before going to bed) and walked into the Seaver entrance of the ball park, I had a very awkward feeling. The guard at the door asked me if I was “media” or a guest.  I immediately turned into Ralph Kramden “Aaaaaa Humm-a-na-Hummm-a-ana, I don’t know” and with that I shoved a copy of the e mail of my invite at him. The guard made a call and told me to have a seat and when the check in begins, look for your name on the “media list”. Say that again but a bit slower? Sure enough on the “media list” we’re my name and my site along with other bloggers.  After checking in, I walked to the elevator with Sweeney Murti, the Highlander beat man for WFAN. When I asked what he was doing here ( like I’m now the keeper of who belongs and who doesn’t) he told me he was covering this for the MLB Network (oh ok permission to come on board the ship) Knowing that he has mentioned he’s a one time Phillies fan, I asked him about the Cliff Lee signing and if he was happy or sad since he covers the Highlanders. It was here where I realized how much difference there is between the MSM and bloggers, Murti told be it didn’t matter to him as he has not rooting interest either way.  It finally hit me, this is the man’s job. It doesn’t matter who wins or losses or who’s a nice guy or who’s a prick, he just covers the Highlanders as that’s his assignment. WFAN could tell him tomorrow that they are going to switch it up and have Ed Coleman cover the Highlanders and him cover the Mets and it would not phase Murti in the slightest.

There’s the difference, as a blogger I have an emotional attachment to the New York Mets.  There isn’t any objectivity here. There is anger some (most) times and sarcasm and general wise ass-ness here but it stays within the Mets fandom. We can call the owner names and curse the OP and Castillo contracts for burdening the organization but if someone outside the “family” says anything we get our backs up and we stick up for the team and the organization. Now the last few years, this has been quite difficult. So my trek to Flushing yesterday was as much a fact finding mission to see what this new regime will do to cleanse the sins of the past administration as it was to try to find out if the team is headed in the right direction.

As our little group of bloggers stood around basically trying to figure out where to stand, where to leave our coats, and where the bathrooms were, we were saved by Danielle Parillo of the Mets P.R. who gave us the itinerary for the day (and for that I am grateful, Danielle) we were led to the media area and split into three groups, print, TV and bloggers. Yes, we had our own section. After the GM, MGR and players were done with the first two groups they were led to the bloggers section.

Sandy Alderson was the first to meet with us, we introduced ourselves and shook hands with the GM and then began the Q & A.  It’s hard not to be impressed by Alderson. I perceive him as a man of cool and confidence, I don’t think much rattles this man. Each question was met with direct eye contact with the inquirer and there were no one or two word answers.  The main questions were of course about pitching , Alderson made it known that was his main concern as well. He is not going to sign a pitcher just because his name is familiar with fans; this front office will do its due diligence from scouting reports to in depth analytical study on pitchers to find the right fit. Alderson’ personality is the polar opposite of most Mets fans, he’s patient.

Terry Collins was next to talk to us and if anything the man is intense. It is going to be quite intriguing to see how his high energy” if you’re not part of the solution your part of the problem” style will play in the Mets clubhouse. I explained to him my biggest grip with the team and organization over the last few years  was the “woe is us” attitude from the ownership to the front office to manger, coaches and players where losing was accepted and injuries were used as a crutch. Collins let me know that this will not happen with this team, those days are over. He also said that this will be addressed on day one of spring training.  As with Alderson, the Ollie Castillo question came up and Collins gave the same answer as the GM that both these guys won’t stay on the roster if they cannot produce.  Collins also said that Ollie is on the list of starting pitchers come spring, so if anything the Ollie Castillo question will not be answered until the end of March. Patients Mets fans, patients.

Ike Davis was the first player to talk to us, when asked about Dave Hudgens the new hitting coach, Davis said he was thrilled as Hudgens is an “ASU (Arizona State University) guy and he also very happy that Ken Oberfell will be on the big league staff telling us that playing in Buffalo for Obie was the best baseball experience he’s had.

Carlos Beltran came by and the first impression I got meeting him in person for the first time, was how big he is. He’s very broad in the chest and shoulders so you can see where his gets his power from. He told us his knee feels great and that his has been working out and is ready for spring training. He said the Mets have told him that he is the centerfielder and that he is happy about that but if there is someone in the organization that the club feels is better suited for the position, he has no problem moving to right field. I get the sense that he wants to show he’s a team guy but I can tell he wants to show the skeptics he can still man the middle of the outfield. I asked him, since the knee is feeling better will we see the speed come back, he joked and said that at soon to be 34 years old he can’t run like when he was 24 and then asked me if I can still run when I was 24 (I was the oldest of the group) I laughed and said “I can’t run like I did when I was 44”, we laughed and Carlos said “I’m only kidding with you” like I’d take offense? We bonded Beltran and I get that contract extension ready Sandy!

Jason Bay says he is headache free and has no signs or symptoms from his concussion. He looks fit.  Last season is still gnawing on him and spring training can’t come soon enough to suit him. I asked him how do the players stay below the noise and by that  I mean the extensive media coverage, the talk radio loudmouths, the many bloggers and playing in a city where baseball season is 24/7/365. Bay said that playing in Boston helps with that but he said coming from Pittsburgh to Boston was a definite shock. He said that as professionals they can’t let the outside forces take away their focus.

After entertaining the kids by playing Santa Claus (Marty Noble who was attendance really should have donned that Santa suit he has the physic for the job) David Wright came over to us. I remarked to him “is there anything you won’t do for this organization”? He gave me that patented D-Wright smile and said he will do whatever it takes to help this organization. From talking to Wright, the impression I got was, he’s happy about the regime change. He didn’t say anything specific but the word he used a lot in our conversation was “discipline”.  This is something that Matt Cerrone spoke about on my THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN show last night, the players in the last few years have felt this sense of entitlement like they didn’t have to prove anything to anyone and that playing for the Mets was like a Supreme Court appointment. That is over and done.   When asked about meeting Sandy Alderson, Wright  again mentioned the discipline aspect of Alderson and how much he respected his baseball resume and just as important his dedicated service to the country. Wright told the group,he sees a lot of his father, a police officer, in Alderson.  Wright also spoke of Collins and again this is just me speculating, I don’t think David was a big fan of Jerry Manuel . Wright mentioned how Collins is a motivator and will instill (that word again ) discipline. My take is that the clubhouse has been dominated by a bunch of players who feel they are on scholarship when all they are, are walk-ons.  From listening to Wright it seems it the Mets were overdue for this change in management.

For more on the day at Citi Field with the Mets check out the great job that Rob Castellano of Amazin’ Avenue did in putting together a great video recap of the interviews.

Back when I started doing this blog eight years ago, I was envious of the bloggers at a now defunct site Elephants in Oakland who wrote about the Oakland A’s as they were given an audience with Billy Beane.  As we all know the A’s under Alderson and Beane were the most progressive of front offices. The same thing when Theo Epstein  took over the Red Sox and Paul DePodesta ran the Dodgers. Here I was as a Mets fan stuck with Joe McIllvaine a GM who much better fitted for a head scout or head of minor league development, Al “The Empty Suit” Harrazin, Steve “Lively Libido” Phillips, Jim “Never Had A Chance” Duquette and Omar “See Joe Mcillvaine Description” Minaya running my favorite team, turning a blind eye to present and future of baseball management.  When I knew that the Minaya regime was ready for over throw, the first name on my wish list was Sandy Alderson and ownership came to its senses and hired him and not only Alderson but his top lieutenants Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi. To the average everyday Mets fan, who gets his Mets news from fish wraps and entertainers on talk radio, they don’t get the excitement of this new regime that resonates from those of us who sit on our laptops all day wondering you will manger Appalachian League Kingsport Mets but in due time they will.  All the bitching and moaning about not signing a big ticket free agent is off base, this front office may be the best free agent signings in Mets history.

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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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METS ACQUIRE GARY MATHEWS JR

according to Jon Heyman, the Mets have traded for Gary Mathews Jr. Still waiting to hear who the Mets gave up, but if it’s more than two Shake Shack burgers then we wuz robbed.

Listening to Jon Heyman on WFAN he says the Angels will pick up close to $20 mil of the $23 mil owed to Mathews but Luis Castillo is NOT part of the deal. 

The only thing that sucks more than Mathews Jr coming here is that Castillo is not going to Anaheim.

Much a fucking do about nothing.

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HEY MIKEY, WHADDA YA SAY, WADDA YA KNOW?

 

So the whole world of Metsdom is in an uproar due to the proclamation from the Drive Time Bloviator on WFAN that he has some major update about our favorite baseball team. So what could this major update be?

 

Well, I speculated on Twitter last night, that the team is in talks with Bombo Rivera to make a comeback and man left field. Rivera has Expo blood in him so that’s enticing to Omar.

 

Or it might be that Frank McCourt, the owner of the Los Angles Dodgers of Brooklyn, who is in a nasty divorce with Madame Jamie, needing cash will sell the name DODGERS to the Skill Sets who will finally get their wish to own the Dodgers.

 

Then again it could be that the Skill Sets have decided to have the team take a year off and cancel all plans to field a team in 2010. $iti Field will then be turned into a combination Chuck-E-Cheese/Catering hall to be rented out for birthdays, weddings and bar mitzvahs.

 

Who knows? Only the Pontiff Mike knows.

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FORK PLEASE!

I’m glad I didn’t watch last night debacle but I’ll say this as I was coming home from a day in the city I put on WFAN and Tony Page was on. Page never has a bad word for anyone but he was killing the Mets on his program. I didn’t even need to hear the score to know this was one awful loss.

So maybe we are all delusional thinking that one bat or one arm will make a difference maybe it’s time Omar, John Rico, Tony B and Little Jeffey sat down like men and make a decision to blow this team up and start over.   

Thnik about it what’s worse trading Carlos Beltran for big gotten gains or dealing Fernando Martinez for David Eckstein?

We’ll know by the end of this month but I’m ready to file for the demoltion permits

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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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