Redemption Weekend

The mantra of Terry Collins the second half of this dismal season has been “this is the time for some guys to show they belong here’ here being in the big leagues. So far the vast majority of Mets players have not measure up to that test. What should infuriate Mets fans even more is that the wild card race has become a wide open affair in the National League.

For most of the season it looked as though the Braves and Pirates would be playing in the one game knockout tournament. The Dodgers then went out and made the deal of the millennium and the Giants lost Melkey Cabrea to doping charges. It seemed like the Giants would drop out and the Dodgers would take over the NL West.  The opposite occurred with the Giants players bonding in the wake of the Cabrea suspension and the fact that the Melk Man wasn’t man enough to face his teammates to apologize for abandoning them. It seems that back turn by Cabrera has been a rallying cry for the Giants. The Dodgers on the other hand have stopped scoring runs (sound familiar?) and the Pirates returned to form losing 15 of their last 20 games, same for the Cardinals who have dropped 12 of last 20 while the Braves have tread water at 10-10. While those teams hit the skids the left for dead Phillies and Brewers have both gone on 15-5 streaks to get them back in the thick of wild card contention.  Have you noticed I’ve failed to mention our beloved NY Mets in this conversation? Why is it that some teams like the Phillies and Brewers can go into slumps but then not give up the season and fight for a spot? How is it that team’s like the Pirates, Dodgers and Cardinals are now in slumps, at the worst time of the season to do so, but are still fighting to stay in the hunt while the New York Eeyores just plod along?  

This should be the message that Terry Collins sends his players in his pre-game talk with them. Let them know that these three games with the Brewers are a test, a test to see if they have the heart and guts to compete with a team that rose from the ranks that the Mets have made permanent residence in, the also ran’s, to a team in contention.  Let them know that this is their time to have an impact on the season to help alter the course of the post season race. To me this is a real test of Collins and his players to show that they actually give a shit about winning.  If this team can’t find it in itself to show some competiveness and some pride in this series and Terry Collins comes out in the post-game and says he saw some good things and that guys tried, I’m going to sue the Mets for the price of a 55” Samsung TV because I will throw the remote control through my television if that happens.

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Sandy Sez

This will be a quick post as I just received my copy of R.A. Dickey’s book and I can’t wait to read it. So I want to get my work done early so I can get at it this afternoon.  

Sandy Alderson was on with Sports Bloviator to talk about the Mets spring training and the season just one week away.

It was an interesting conversation, save for Alderson battling a bad cold and the Sports Bloviator talking over Alderson while he was answering a question, and a few things I got from listening to Alderson were:

Jason Bay is more of a problem for this team than any other player due to his untradeable contract and his inability to hit a baseball. Alderson all but put up the white flag on Bay by saying “he’s healthy and he’ll be the everyday left fielder”  it will be worth watching how the club reacts to Bay if he is as unproductive at the plate as he’s was last year. If Bay announced his retirement today, Alderson would throw the retirement party to end all retirement parties

Mike Pelfrey is here only because he’s durable and for what the Mets are paying him, there weren’t any pitchers out there that can give you the quantity of innings and starts that Pelf can at the price. Now are they quality innings or starts? Not really, but it speaks to the state of pitching in baseball where a guy like Pelfrey at $5.6 mil is a bargain.

If Kirk Nieuwenhuis stayed injury free this spring I get the feeling he would have been the opening day centerfielder.   Alderson seems to be a big Capt Kirk fan and he could be up and in the lineup much sooner than later.

Alderson seems to ignore the elephant in the room when talking about Jordany Valdespin, his immaturity and poor work ethic.

With the Madoff fiasco in the Sill Sets rear view mirror if the club becomes a contender for a wild card spot, Alderson made it known there will be funds to bring in reinforcements to make a run at a  post season run. Yes, that’s getting wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy ahead of ourselves.

Every start by Johan Santana and the day after, will be scrutinized up, down, inside and out. The plan seems to be, get Chris Young ready to contribute by late May-early June, to give Santana more rest by going to a 6 man rotation.  When pressed for innings/starts projection for Santana, Alderson couldn’t put a number on it, seems Johan will be on a start by start evaluation. We are in uncharted territory here

You can tell Alderson is very concerned with the teams defense as he said a few times there are positions (2B, RF, C )  where they are sacrificing defense for offense and he hopes it doesn’t come back to bite the team in the ass.  Another big concern for Alderson is the lack of depth at the big league and Triple A level, he all but said straight out if the team is hit by injuries we’re fucked.

 

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SECOND WILD CARD? WHY NOT US?

There is a very interesting post on NY Baseball Digest today by Joseph Del Grippo on Johan Santana and his comeback from shoulder surgery. I find myself becoming obsessed with Santana’s comeback for many reasons, his impact on the Mets winning baseball games by anchoring the starting pitching staff, coming back from a surgery that takes a much longer time to rehab from and one that other pitchers have failed to comeback from and how does he prevent his arm/shoulder from being injured again.

DelGrippo touches on Santana’s mechanics and how from watching video he sees no change in the way Santana delivers a pitch, thus his feeling is Santana’s injury problem comes from the way he delivers the ball and if he doesn’t tweak that he will hurt himself again .  Mechanics are the bedrock of pitching or I should say the ability to be consistent with repeating ones mechanic.     

What conflicts me with this is, the way Santana delivers the ball has made him a huge success and even though DelGrippo may be right that by altering his pitching motion, Santana could stay in good health but would he be effective plus at this stage of his career it may not be the easiest task for Johan to alter his delivery style.

Looks like MLB will add a second Wild Card team starting this coming season, something I have no problem with especially since it gives the Mets a little more of a chance for a post season berth. For 2012, it will still be a bit unfair as the inter-league schedule and unbalanced schedule tilts the scales in favor of some teams over others but it does validate and makes winning the division much more important and rewarding. With the Houston Astros going to the AL West next season it would make sense that a balance schedule will be implemented as with 15 teams in each league there will be an inter-league game every day.  As much as I’m not of fan of inter-league play, I’ll live with it for an extra playoff spot.

Howard Megdal touches on the Mets catching situation and his hope that the Mets would bring back Ramon Castro with the extra fins that Freddy Skill Sets has in his shallow pockets. I always like Shriek when he was here and he would be an improvement over Mike Nickeas, who it seems Mets fans are trying hard to convince themselves can contribute as Josh Thole’ backup, but the truth of the matter is Sandy Alderson doesn’t have much faith in Thole/Nickeas or any backstop in the Mets system. That’s why names like Castro and Pudge keep coming up.

I’m starting to lose faith in Reese Havens

October 4th 2012 Cincinnati Reds @ NY Mets in the Wild Card Knock Out Game at Citi Field!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who’s with me?     

 

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MORE WILD CARD TEAMS? THANK YOU UNCLE BUD!

A few quick hits as my workload is piling up and next week is a real shorty for me:

I guess I’m numb to MLB screwing with the game that I’m not upset over the adding of a second wild card, maybe as soon as this coming season. In fact as a Mets fan, I should be ecstatic about it as it gives the team a better chance to reach the organizations goal of “meaningful games in September”.

 I would even go further even further with the destruction of what was once sacred the 162 games season and a true league champion, and abolish the division structure and make two 15 team leagues and have the first 8 teams make the playoffs. I guess it’s the NHL/ (defunct) NBA fan in me that would like to see this. Cut the season to 148 or 150 games and start 1 plays 8, 2 play 7 and so on, 7 game series.  You’d have to have a balanced schedule, which  you should anyway with a wild card spot in play, and with 15 teams per league, there has to be an interleague game every day. Hey can’t have anything but anything that gets the Mets closer to a post season berth gets my vote.  

Check out Ed “Rusty Jr.” at the Real Dirty Mets as he has posted video of the Mets bloggers talking with Howie Rose and David Wright.

I guess you heard that the Skill Sets have seven investors lined up to buy a minority share of the club for $20 mil. I am proud to say I have inquired about buying in and have 20 of these bills ready for delivery to get my piece of the Mets pie.  NYUCK! NYUCK! NYUCK!

As we get closer to Thanksgiving I just want to say how thankful I am that I am not a fan of the NY Jets. Being a Mets fan is agonizing enough but I really feel for the Mets/Jets fan of which they are plentiful. With that said, Dirty Sanchez sucks, Rex needs to shut the fuck up and Brian Schottenheimer makes the awful Kevin Gilbride look like Vince Lombardi in his heyday as NY Giants OC.  By the way, for all the insults hurled at Tim Teabow, he may not be a work of art and statistically unimpressive but the results are there as the Broncos are tied for the AFC West lead with Oakland. Who’da think it Teabow in the playoffs and Dirty Sanchez on the couch.

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MY HEADQUARTERS IS UNDER RENOVATION

Busy morning for me as I Have to finish empting out the contents of the Kranepool Society World Headquarters (a/k/a my basement) as renovation of the command center will take place next week. I need to get a lot done this morning so I can head downtown to St George to watch the Brooklyn Cyclones take on the Baby Highlanders. The Cyclones clinched the NY-PENN League wild card spot last night and will play the Baby Highlanders in the 1st round of the playoffs starting Tuesday.

Check out this great post that Shannon of The Mets Police has today about bringing back the traditional Banner Day celebration they many of us grew up with as Mets fans. This may be the pet project of the off season writing posts about what should be included in the 50th Anniversary celebration.  No matter what the Mets do the Mets blogging community needs to get together to let the Mets know, NO BANNER DAY, NO PEACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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A FRIDAY QUICK HIT

I’ve got a ton of work to get to today and if the rain holds off a baseball game to manage tonight so just a few quickies before my nose meets the old grind stone:

Good medical news finally as Davis Wright will head to Port St. Lonesome and engage in baseball activities that hopefully gets him back to the Mets by the All Star break. I love Jose Reyes telling Wright to “Have fun in St. Lucie” then laughing to reporters “There is nothing to do there”

Hopefully all Chris Capuano is suffering from is a cramp in his abdomen from not being sufficiently hydrated and not some oblique-intercostal bullshit muscle pull thingy.

The whole back page of the NY Daily News today is just bunch of sensational bullshit, in fact I just spent more time on it than I should have.

The Jim Riggleman resignation is the talk of baseball today. After reading Ken Rosenthal’s article on Riggleman walking out on the Nats you can say there are two sides to the story and when you start hearing the manager and scouts all agree that GM Mike Rizzo has a problem with communicating with them, you could see that Riggelman’ ultimatum that his contract option for 2012 be picked up or else was a cry to get the GM’s attention. Bottom line is Riggleman quit on his team and what makes it worse is his team is on a roll as they are just 4 ½ games off the Wild Card and they have been winning at home so Riggleman comes off as a real selfish prick with this move. I agree with Rosenthal as I definitely see Davey Johnson being the first choice to take over the Nats for at least the rest of the season as this is the perfect Davey Johnson situation.

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I DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY, IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE ANYWAY, WHATEVER IT IS, I’M AGAINST IT

This was in the comments section from my post yesterday where I mentioned this Day of Fan Outrage at Citi Field to let management know they do not want Jose Reyes to be traded:

I am the organizer of the above referenced event for JOSE REYES…so I must write to defend the people who are attending this with me…WE ARE NOT THE UNIFORMED EVIL TWITS that have been tweeting bad stuff about our players nor are we the ones who turn on our players the second they are doing poorly. Yes we all get cranky when the boys are sucking but we are not ignorant or hypictites (sp) SO please do not generalize those that you do not know…HAVE A NICE DAY. Donna

First off, thank you Donna I did have a nice day yesterday, second, I didn’t mean to lump you in with uninformed evil twits who kill the Mets pitch by pitch on Twitter and besides it’s one of the great functions of our democracy to protest what we feel is a wrong that should be righted but I must say holding a SAVE JOSE REYES Rally is silly.

It’s pretty simplistic thinking that mean old Sandy Alderson wants to dump Jose Reyes, in fact I bet Alderson wishes he didn’t have to deal with this issued this early in his stewardship as GM of the Mets but the reality is, he does and it’s his job to do what is best for the NY Mets organization.

Most Mets fans would love to have Reyes here for years to come and give Jose credit, he’s staying healthy and he is doing exactly what you need to do on the field in a walk year and he has put the pressure on the organization to make what could be a franchise changing decision. No one wants to deal Reyes or Beltran at the trade deadline because that means the Mets are also ran’s for another season. If the Mets are in the Wild Card hunt (look at the records of the NL teams in the hunt. There is not much difference, in fact the Mets by going 14-8 since that awful 5-13 start have jumped 7 spots in the Wild Card standings. What, too soon?) the question will be can the Skill Sets and the Minority Owner To Be Named Later,  afford to let Alderson be a buyer.

Instead of getting involved with a fans “look at me moment” I prefer sitting back and watching what will unfold with this ball club over the next month and a half. Let’s enjoy this nice run the team is on now, let’s hope the offense can figure out a way to get some hits off the very stingy Josh Johnson tonight and that Ronnie Paulino can do Big Pelf’s thinking for him and take a very important game from the Fish.

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TONIGHT AT 9PM IT’S NY FOOTBALL BLOGS LIVE ON BLOG TALK RADIO

Tonight I will be co-hosting NY FOOTBALL BLOGS LIVE on BLOG TALK RADIO. Kenrick Thomas and me will be talking about the NY Jets win in Indy and what’s in store for Gang Green in Foxboro next week.

We will also be joined by Pat Schuster of Football Dialogue to talk about all the Wild Card action of the weekend and by Glen Warciski of Ulitmate NYG to talk about the NY Giants.

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OK, SO NOW WHAT?

Adam Rubin on ESPN NY has a fine column today that sums up the State of the  Mets organization and the non-moves at the trade deadline to a tee. Some excerpts that intrigued me are:

The reality is the Mets are not legitimately in a race right now. They entered Saturday trailing the division-leading Atlanta Braves by 7½ games and trailing the wild card-leading San Francisco Giants by 6½ games. Fifty-nine games remain on the schedule. Four teams, including the hard-charging Philadelphia Phillies, who acquired Roy Oswalt this week, are between the Mets and Giants.

Management can’t come out and say it but they know the Mets have no shot at the post season.  The Mets are what they are, a .500 team that plays like the best team in baseball at home but then plays like the Mets of 1962 on the road, hence the .500 record. Their play this season is a big improvement over last year’s crew who mailed in around this time last year at least this Mets team plays hard.

You can clumsily cite principal owner Fred Wilpon and his family supposedly being stingy for such a deal not materializing, but that would be misguided — even if ownership isn’t blameless. The bottom line is the payroll is still hovering around $130 million this season.

The better answer: If GM Omar Minaya had shown restraint in his other salary commitments — say, not giving Luis Castillo four years and $25 million or Oliver Perez three years and $36 million or guaranteeing seven years to Carlos Beltran — he likely would have had the flexibility to pull off an Oswalt-type trade now.

It’s far more about no discipline than no money.

That does not absolve the Wilpons.

Forget the Perez and Castillo contracts, the one deal Mets will be screaming about will be the Francisco Rodriguez deal, look it over if you dare but I must put a disclaimer that if you are pegnant suffer from high blood pressure or have a sleeping disorder, check with your doctor before viewing the details of K-Rod’s deal

Minaya’s stated plan when he took over as GM in September 2004 was to offset the draft picks forfeited for signing free agents by owning the international market. It sounded good, too. After all, how could a Dominican-born GM walk into any household in that country, throw around dollars and fail to persuade the teenager to sign with the Mets?

The problem? Ownership never threw around the money. After signing Martinez for $1.3 million in 2005, Minaya’s first full season as Mets GM, the organization did not have another seven-figure signing bonus for an international teenager until signing 16-year-old pitcher Juan Urbina, Ugueth’s son, last year.

The Mets knew Venezuelan Jesus Montero, who was coveted in trade proposals involving the Yankees in recent days, was a superior catching prospect to Francisco Peña, Tony’s son. Yet the Mets signed Peña in 2006 because he cost $750,000. The Yankees paid $2 million for Montero.

My question here is whose fault is it? Omar’s or the Skill Sets for the inability to not get any thing done in the International market? You would think having a Latino GM would place the Mets way ahead of other teams but as we learned when they were in pursuit of Carlos Delgado as a free agent, Scareface Bernazard was a little to “street” for Delgado so  I wonder how many more families were turnoff by the Mets resident hoodlum?

The Mets have not been blame-free in their draft conduct from an ownership perspective, either. With apologies to Chris Carter, the Mets essentially gave Billy Wagner  to the Red Sox last season for nothing, in essence to save $3.3 million (Wagner’s $2.3 million remaining salary and a $1 million buyout). As a result, when Wagner signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Braves last offseason, the Red Sox — not the Mets — got two first-round picks as compensation for losing Wagner, which they used on Ball State’s Kolbrin Vitek and Middle Tennessee State’s Bryce Brentz. (Remember those names a few years from now.

This is why Omar needs to be relived of his GM duties and the baseball ops needs a complete overhaul. Unlike any time in baseball, teams a coveting receiving draft picks for aging ball players. The new wave in baseball is to get younger and more athletic as the ban on PED’s is changing the game back to where pitching, defense and youth as the way to go. That’s not Omar’s bag, he’s still into old and ineffective which unfortunately describes Omar himself.

(Fred) Wilpon was sued Friday by the widow of a former employee of Wilpon-owned Sterling Equities. The federal suit alleges Wilpon bears fiduciary responsibility for investing his employees’ 401(k) funds in Bernard Madoff-operated funds. Sterling Equities called the suit baseless, but the potential liability — coupled with the Wilpon family’s own losses in the Ponzi scheme — has to create some hesitance to freely spend.

Yet even if the Madoff ordeal never occurred, it would be perfectly reasonable to expect the Mets to act conservatively from a financial perspective. Attendance is likely to plummet at Citi Field the rest of the season. A further erosion in the season-ticket base is expected heading into 2011.

You knew this was coming and the question is if Freddy Skill Sets loses this suit, which I believe is a class action suit among the Sterling Equities employees, and it cost him hundreds of million’s of dollars to pay, will he have to sell the Mets? I believe Freddy when he says he wants the Mets to be in his family for generations to come, but it may come to a head when he has to either sell or take on a partner. The Mara family owned the NY Football Giants on their own for years and years but when Tim Mara died his estate put his shares up for bid, that’s when the Tisch family got their half, so it’s possible the Skill Sets sell 49% of the team and keep the other 51 % controlling interest for as long as they can.

Yet even if the Madoff ordeal never occurred, it would be perfectly reasonable to expect the Mets to act conservatively from a financial perspective. Attendance is likely to plummet at Citi Field the rest of the season. A further erosion in the season-ticket base is expected heading into 2011.

The one MAJOR move the Skill Sets must make for next season is dropping the ridiculous pricing tiers that are an extreme point of contention with Mets fans. The whole Platinum, Gold, Silver, Value scale would work if the team was a contender every year and seats at Citi Field were in demand but the organization has none of these going for them. They tried going the corporate route and it hasn’t worked. Now they need to try and win back the fan base, the blue collar core who frequented Shea Stadium who stick by you through thick and thin. The Skill Sets have had their fling with the Metro area elite and must now realize it’s time to get the REAL Mets fan back to support the team.  The Mets fan has the upper hand here and now Freddy, Jeffey and Uncle Saul have to come to us with hat in hand, and ask for our hard earned dough. They have never gotten it though their thick skulls that Mets fans are not about the Championships (although we all want to win one or ten of them) but we’re all about playing hard and playing with pride. That’s the one saving grace with the 2010 Mets team they have that quality.

Next year the Skill Sets need to let fans pick their own ticket packages and also set aside seats in the promenade for 5 bucks a piece. They could also sell a “roaming ticket” no seat but you can walk around and stand in centerfield or down each base line sort of a standing room ticket, they need to be creative to win fans back in 2011, time to turn on the Skill Sets charm fella’s

Manager Jerry Manuel, asked if the inaction was a signal the front office was content with the team as presently constituted or if it was an indication the team is not really in the race, wisely did not want to touch the issue.

“That’s a tricky question,” Manuel said. “Trying to catch me, huh?”

Minaya did acknowledge the standings were a factor.

“That played something into it,” the GM said. “When you look at the standings, you just have to be careful.”

I can’t wait until October 4th for the press conference announcing Wally Backman as the Mets manager for 2011

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THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN THIS WEDNESDAY 10PM ET ON BLOGTALKRADIO

Join me tomorrow night, Wednesday March 31st for THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN on BLOGTALK RADIO. My guest will be Adam Bernacchio of the website The Ghost of Moonlight Graham. Adam and I will preview the 2010 MLB season, looking at the division and Wild Card races and our prediction of the NL/AL Pennant winners and our pick for the World Series.

Join us live at 10PM ET on BLOGTALK RADIO or later on the podcast which you can download on BLOGTALK RADIO or you can listen right here on Kranepool Society (click on the icon on the lower left hand side) or at my THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN site.

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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.

Visit BangTheBook.Com for daily free MLB Mets Picks and gameday previews, also join the baseball handicapping discussion in the forum or track your plays in our sports monitor.