Will Terry Collins Get To Enjoy The Fruits of His Labor ?

 

I’m amused at some Mets beat writers who can’t comprehend the mind set of Terry Collins for having his players report before their mandatory arrival time. It says more about the writer who can’t grasp this reasoning behind it than it does about Collins being anal.

I arrive at my office every day at 7AM. My shift doesn’t start until 8AM so why do I get in early? First off I hate to be late and I have a low tolerance for people who are late. Once when I had to interview a young man for a spot in our unit, he was told to be at the office at 9AM. He strolled in at 9:45 with more excuses than a 5th grader who didn’t hand in his homework. I just looked at him and told him no need to waste your time or mine; you’re not getting the job”. He couldn’t believe it. When he returned to the main office and told my boss what happened he was told “ I should have warned you to be early, Keane hates lateness but I can’t say anything to him as he traveled from Staten Island to Queens every day for 12 years by ferry and subway and was always early” So you see, I get what Terry Collins is selling. If you love what you do or have a true passion for something (I get to Mets games before the gates open, so again I’m a bit extreme) you show it.

The optimistic part of this is the Mets players have bought into TCT-Terry Collins Time-especially Ruben Tejada.  We all remember Tejada and his visa troubles last spring and how TC wanted him in camp early so he could work with Daniel Murphy at their Keystone position. I said it then and I’ll say it now that Collins was 1,000 % right in the way he dealt with Tejada then and it seems the message has been received as Ruben has been an early participant this spring. In fact everyone is on TCT with the exception of Marlon Byrd and Jordany Valdespin who have legitimate reason for lateness in that they both participated in the Caribbean World Series with Byrd’s Mexico team winning the championship over Valdespin’s Dominican team and Jenry Mejia and Wilfredo Tovar who are late due to visa issues. So put one on the plus side for Collins, whose lame duck status is starting to have Mets fans and main streamers wondering about his future as the helmsman of the Mets.

The Mets are at a crossroads of the Alderson Era. With the proclamation from Freddy “Zimmo” Skill Sets that the club is solvent and ready to spend to contend, Mets fans are demanding that the team show its fit to fight.  Collins has presided over losing teams in his two years as Mets manager in fact his first year the team won 77 games and last year they declined to 74 wins with another second half collapse, so it stands to reason that Collins was not approached with a contract extension, even though there is only so much a manager can do if he doesn’t have the talent around him to put the team in position to win, no manager or coach survives three losing seasons.

Collins has to hope that Ike Davis claim that he’s ready to have a breakout season does just that and that Lucas Duda proves once and for all that he is not intimidated by the big leagues and that he is ready to bust out his offensive game as well. Collins needs the centerfield tag team of Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill to become a two headed offensive and defensive monster along with Mike Baxter and whoever wins the right to be his right-handed accomplice to provide some power and run production from that right corner. Collins can only hope that he mixes and matches correctly each game to the max out his liquidator outfield.

Another area that will be crucial to Collins managerial stay will be the bullpen. Last year as we all know the Mets bullpen was one of the worst pens in baseball and was the biggest reason for sucking the life out the team. For Collins to survive not only does this pen have become a strength (the bullpen can’t be any worse than last year) he has to get a better grip on how to utilize his relievers. Not just in articulating their assignments better but also the physical wear and tear they are subject to as well. Collins, Dan Warthen and Rickey Bones did a bad job last year in communicating with the relief staff . Pitchers would get up, warm up, sit down, warm up, sit down…..and on and on. Not only did this wear out much of the staff it also gave off a sense of panic and unpreparedness by Collins and Warthen.

Collins has been around the game a long time and he knows his job is only as secure as the teams wins and loses. It’s kind of a shame because the future of the Mets is bright with what looks to be a solid pitching staff on the horizon and (again I’ll believe it when I see it) new found cash flow to sign some free agent talent that odds are Collins will not be in the Mets dugout when all this comes to blossom. When it does he should get credit as he had to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

Terry Collins can hold his head high on this though, he has proven that he can manage a big league team so he does have some redemption from the failures he endured in Anaheim and Houston. I think he realizes that as well.

 

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Mike Piazza Jumps Into The Literary Field

Not much Mets on field news today as we await the official opening of camp tomorrow with pitchers and catcher ready to check in, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any off field Mets news.

Mike Piazza has written a book with Lonnie Wheeler called Long Shot (Simon & Shuster) which I hope to get my hands on tomorrow. But before the book drops, there have been some excerpts of what to expect in this tome that I can guarantee won’t come close to approaching R.A. Dickey’s book in both substance and style. If the excerpts I read this morning with my bagel and coffee are any example I hope I don’t get whiplash from all the head shaking I’m anticipating while reading Long Shot. You know what? That’s really not fair, I should hold final judgment until I read the complete work but still there are some things I’ve read so far that made me take notice.

Piazza is still haunted by Roger Clemens and the night he took one Clemens fastballs off the side of his head.

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Piazza talks about taking karate lessons after the beaning with the premeditated thinking of confronting Clemens if or when he faced him again. That time came just about three months later in Game Two of the World Series when Clemens threw the barrel of a shattered bat at Piazza who did turn and walked toward Clemens but as he said:

“There were complications,” he ( Piazza) recalls. “The least of them was the realization that Clemens was a big guy, and I stood a pretty fair chance of getting my ass kicked in front of Yankee Stadium and the world. That was a legitimate concern.”

Maybe in the book Piazza goes into more detail and at least using getting tossed out a World Series game and possible suspension of another game in the series as reason for not charge at Clemens because turning tail fearing an ass kicking is mighty weak.

It seems not only was Piazza intimidated by big powerful pitchers he also got smacked around by ex-girlfriends as well:

One of his best-known girlfriends was Debbe Dunning, the actress who played the “Tool Time” girl on the hit comedy “Home Improvement.” One Halloween night when Dunning came over with a pumpkin and her dog, Piazza decided to break off the relationship.

There was screaming and crying and then the Tool Time girl waffled my ass,” he recalled. “I hadn’t taken a punch like that in a long time.”

WOW!

Piazza speaks about taking androstenedione and of course everyone’s skirts go up in the air when they hear this. This morning on WFAN, Richard Neer was all up in arms over this revelation and in his ranting over this proclamation by Piazza failed to remember (I could see him falling asleep listening to his own voice) that Andro was both legal  to use in MLB and was sold over the counter at health and nutrition  stores like GNC. This never occurred to Neer who acted like he was Bobby Goren cracking a Major Case.

Piazza also fesses up to taking amphetamines which puts him a class with over three-quarters of those enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Piazza also states that he needed to grab some Vioxx on those days when the grind of squatting behind the plate was taking its toll. Vioxx,, a powerful anti-inflammatory has since been banned in the U.S. due to the bad side effects from the drug, the most harsh being death.

The excerpt goes on about the stories of Piazza’s sexuality and his rough relationship with Latin teammates, which will be more strained after the read his quotes about “Latin’s should learn English and not be as pampered as they are by MLB teams” and the “Latin Mafia” that had it in for him. Safe to say a managerial or coaching spot in pro baseball is not in the cards for Piazza.

Again I shouldn’t pass judgment on the book until I read it, I just pray it’s better than this book which may be the worst written book of all time

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NY Mets Could Contend in 2013 But They Won’t

 

 

We are somewhat back to normal, whatever normal is. Roof is back on and today my ceiling should be finished and tomorrow I have someone coming in to steam clean and deodorize my carpet and couches just in time for the next storm tomorrow afternoon/night.

I’m starting to catch up on some of the Mets news of the last week or so and I see a lot of good opportunity for the Mets to add some players that bring a of of what’s missing on this team, unfortunately these moves will take money something the Mets don’t have a lot of and that’s a damn shame because I think with a couple of key signings the Mets would morph into the SF Giants East.

I’ve said from the end of the season that the organization has an acceptance of failure as we’ve seen through the second halves of the last four seasons. This happens when you have a lack of battle tested players who know what it takes to win. From looking over the free agent list, there are players available who fit that bill such as:

A.J. Pierzynski would be #1 on my wish list. I’ve been a fan of Pierzynski’s for a long time and have hoped the Mets would have traded for him as well, now here he is sitting right there on the free agent front ready to picked by the Mets who are the neediest of teams when it comes to catching. You not only fill your huge need for a front line catcher but you add a guy with a World Series ring and a lot of snark and the Mets are sorely in need of snark.  How would a catching combo of Pierzynski and David Ross look in blue and orange?  Yes I know I’m asking too much.

I know we all hate Shane Victorino but if he were in a Mets uni that would all change for me. Please don’t give me he was Phuck Phace as a reason for the Mets not to sign him, again he has a World Series ring and is an annoying little prick and that’s what the Mets need both a winner and annoying pricks. I’d take a shot at using him as the everyday center fielder even though he’s not the center fielder he used to be, he’d still be a major upgrade over Andres Torres and don’t think if he became a Met he wouldn’t  ramp it up when the Mets take on the Phuck Phaces.

Cody Ross, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh Cody Ross. Word out of Boston is Ross is looking for 3yrs/$25 mil a bit steep but then again it’s an negotiation and one the Mets should get involved in. Ross again comes with a winning pedigree and an edge which I know I’m sounding like a broken record, the Mets sorely need. An outfield of Bay/Duda in LF, Victorino in CF and Ross in RF with Ike, Murph, Tejeda, Wright and Pierzynski added to the starting rotation and a couple of relievers added in make the Mets a true contender in NL. Sadly the odds of these moves happening as nil

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Please Support the Fund Raiser for Shannon Forde

 

Last week at our monthly Met Bloggers night at Citi Field the friendly face I always look for was right there in the conference room where you see Terry Collins before and after every game. Shannon Forde, the Mets Senior Director of Media Relations came over to give me and the other bloggers a big welcome.

Shannon and Danielle Parilleo the Mets Director of Communications are the Mets bloggers den mothers. They take us into the places we’ve all dreamed about being in, the managers press conference, on the field for batting practice, arranging players for us to interview and assuring Jay Horowitz that we are not bad people. It’s people in the organization like Shannon and Danielle that make me root harder for this team to win because they work so hard they deserve a World Series ring as much as any player.

While watching BP last week at Citi Field myself and Ed Marcus went over to say hi to Shannon and tell her how much we missed her at the last bloggers meet up. Shannon has that personality that just makes you want to hang out with her to the point where she is much more interesting to talk to than any of the players, the same players by the way who seem to have much love and admiration for her since they know firsthand how hard she works at her craft. Her work at Citi Field is just a part of what she does as she is a mom and a wife and handles all those responsibility flawlessly and with her trademark smile.

It was while we were hanging out by the Mets dugout that Shannon told Ed and me that she was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. At that point both of our knees kind of buckled. But leave it to Shannon to stay positive and tell us she’s going to fight this and beat it and with the great support group she has both with the Mets and within her family, I have no doubt that she will beat this insidious disease and continue to be one of the best and most important members of the NY Mets and continue to lead a bunch of nomad bloggers around Citi Field.

To support and give back to Shannon for all she has done for so many, her friends have organized a fund raiser for her at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park NJ on Thursday night November 1st for 7PM to 11PM. Tickets for the dinner are $100 and that includes dinner dancing a cocktail hour and open bar. From 7:30PM to 9:00PM that evening, there will be an autograph session featuring Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, John Franco, Bobby Ojeda, Edgardo Alfonzo, Al Leiter, Ed Charles and Eddie Kranepool. For $250 you get to meet with these members of Mets Royalty and get an autograph as well.

If you cannot make it to the dinner you can still make a donation. All the information is at Hope Shines For Shannon.  

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NY Mets Guilty of Erroneous Assault

 

Nothing angers me more than errors. I HATE ERRORS! When you give the opposition 4,5, 6 outs in an inning you’re just putting the game on a platter for your opponent and saying “here, help yourself to a victory”. Nothing demoralizes a team more than errors. Pitchers lose faith in their fielders, the acid in the managers stomach boils and the players on the bench start to question “why is he out there and I’m sitting here”? The Mets are the worst fielding team in baseball and it’s a testament to the players and to Terry Collins that between that bad defense and shoddy relief pitching, that this team hangs in as it does and is still four games over .500 but if last night starts a trend that mood will change quickly.  The Mets need to give the Cubs an ass whippin’ tonight.

Jason Bay is ready to begin baseball activity, he’ll ride the stationary bike today if he survives that without a setback he should be able to go down to St. Lonesome and begin hitting and fielding. Last time Bay was on a rehab assignment, Terry Collins felt he came back to quickly as his bat was slower than usual, which for what we’ve seen so far in his Mets career means it moved at glacial speed, so I’d think his time in St. Lonesome will be weeks instead of days.

So what happens when Bay comes back? Well as we seen that past couple of weeks, a little bit of Scott Hairston is fine, a lot of Scott Hairston well, you get to see the imperfections that have makes him more valuable as a bench player than a starter.  Bay gets his left field job back but it still leaves the team woefully short of a right handed bat that has some potency. The guy I’d love to get to fill that right handed hitting void is Cody Ross, Ross would make a huge difference in the Mets line up with his power and the guy has a World Series ring so you’re adding a guy who has won which is huge in my book.

I don’t know if the Red Sox would deal Ross off but it seems with the trade of Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox, the Old Town Team is ready to rebuild so if Ross is available Sandy Alderson should jump on a chance to add him to the Mets. Here’s how much I want Ross on the Mets, I’d offer Daniel Murphy as part of the deal.

I hope Justin Hampson becomes the reliever the Mets need to hold late inning leads but I wish he was wearing a different number. You cannot give a journeyman pitcher 45 com’on Kevin Kierst find Hampson a number in the fifty-somethings will ya!

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1987 NY Mets Ch.9 Promo

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Ah, 1987 we were coming off a World Series championship and all was right in our baseball world

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SCRATCH JOE NATHAN OFF METS WISH LIST, JACK WILSON? REALLY?

Well scratch Joe Nathan off my wish list for Mets closer. Nathan has signed a two year $14.5 mil deal with the Texas Rangers who will now move Netfli Perez back to the starting rotation.  I would have loved to have Nathan coming out to save games for the Mets, I really wanted Sandy Alderson to get both Nathan and Jonathan Broxton for the back end of the pen but that won’t happen.

I can’t blame Nathan for jumping on the Rangers offer as they are coming off two straight World Series appearances. I doubt the Mets would have made an offer so much better that Nathan would come to the Mets.

On the other hand, it seems the Mets are looking to sign Jack Wilson. Yes Jack Wilson <eyeroll>

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IF I HAD A HAMMER, I’D HAMMER IN THE MORNING I’D HAMMER IN THE EVENING ALL OVER CITI FIELD

With the report yesterday that the Mets will construct an 8 ft wall in front of the 16 ft Great Wall of Flushing in left field and the more dramatic change in right center field where the Mo’ Zone little alley way will be no more and the distance from home plate to right center field goes from 415 ft to 390 ft tells me unless he is bowled over with a huge return, David Wright will be a Met in 2012 and most likely beyond that.

Not only have the dimensions of Citi Field been altered for the benefit of Wright but they should aslo help Jason Bay as well as both he and Wright have been traumatized by the fly balls to nowhere in Citi Field. I guess you could call it psychotherapy through carpentry.

The Mets announced they have released Ryota Igarashi. This move is about six months too late.

A lot of talk about Albert Pujols not talking to the media after Game 2 of the World Series, a game where El Hombre made what could have been scored an error, allowing what proved to be the winning run to advance to 2nd base. There were some folks on Twitter that felt it was no big deal that Pujols not only blew off the press by not being at his locker to answer questions but hid in the back of the off limits section of clubhouse until they were gone.  As a baseball fan how could you not be insulted by Pujols action? This wasn’t some game in August against the Astros, this was Game 2 of the World Series. Of course Tony La Russa had Pujols back he always does right or wrong but someone in the Cardinals organization needs to let Sir Albert know he has a responsibility to speak to the media after a World Series game.  What they’re afraid of that he’ll sign elsewhere as a free agent?  Pujols is better off in St Louis or another small market as he would never survive in NY, Boston, Chicago or LA

I hope the Jose Reyes saga plays out fast instead of the slow festering ache I believe it will. I have come to grips with the fact that Jose Reyes will be an former Met in 2012. Just read this post from Howard Megdal who knows exactly how the organization is ready to play out the Reyes Passion Play. Oh by the way, Reyes, no Reyes I will still but tickets to Mets games in 2012 and hopefully beyond that, and please when Reyes signs with the Nationals or Angels or Red Sox please don’t compare this to Tom Seaver getting traded to the Reds, that is too fucking ignorant for me to comment.

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THE METS KNEE-ED THAT ONE

 

photo courtesy of the NY Daily News

When you haven’t had a walk off win all season you take what you can get, and last night after Frankie Rodriguez came one strike away from saving a stellar start by R.A. Dickey (any of you dinosaurs out there still rely on won-loss record to evaluate starting pitcher’s?) but spit the bit and sent the game into extra innings. It wasn’t until Ginger Turner took one for the team in the 13th taking a pitch to the knee to force home Lucas Duda for the win.

What a game and what a day yesterday. First the news that Ike is not progressing well and we still have to wait three weeks to see if Ike will be back in August or February. Today we get more medical news on David Wright and with the way the Mets luck has been with injuries I wouldn’t be shocked to hear he’s done for the year as well. When you’re a Mets fan it’s “expect the worst and hope for the not so bad”.

All this medical talk has gotten in the way of Mets fans favorite past time, figuring out if Jose Reyes will be traded, re-signed or lost as a free agent. The subject it seems has not been beaten enough so let me give my opinion on the Reyes situation that changes daily:

I want Jose Reyes to stay with the Mets but:

If Sandy Alderson gets bowled over with an offer from a team that feels they are a World Series contender that includes a young ML ready starting pitcher or a top flight number one pitching prospect then he has to make the deal.

If there is no top offer like that then keep Reyes and take a chance you can match any offer he gets in the off season.

Again Mets fan this is not about you, you do not figure in any of the Reyes negotiation. It’s about Reyes and the financial security of his family, it’s about the Mets committing years and money to one player when this team is not one player away from being a winning team , it’s about Reyes making the biggest decision of his life whether to leave the only organization he has ever known to go to parts unknown. So does Reyes take in the old devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know adage, or does he say baseball is baseball and follows the money. Rally’s and signs and t-shirts are nice and shows ownership that there is still passion in the fan base so maybe a small part of the discussion to keep Reyes will be the fan reaction (a/k/a buying tickets) bottom line is Sandy Alderson has to do what’s good for the Mets and Jose Reyes has to do what’s good for the Reyes’s .

Right now it’s all in a holding pattern, check back on July 10ththe last game before the All Star break to see which way the wind blows in Flushing. If the Mets are still part of the Wild Card pack then they could be buyers (a catcher, reliever or if Ike is done for year a right handed bat for 1stBase) if they are also ran’s then the selloff will be on.

Right now let’s concentrate on the Mets beating the A’s today for a series win.

Here is something we can all agree on, we can’t stand Joe Buck and hate when his new gravel voice comes on the FOX Game of the Week. So it is your duty to sign the petition put forth by Matthew Falkenburry of The Daily Stache to have FOX give the World Series play by play job this season to Vin Scully. Since the day I subscribed to MLB Extra Innings I’ve found a new appreciation for Scully doing Dodger games solo. His play by play and storytelling are still spot on. I don’t know if Scully would be up to doing another World Series as he doesn’t travel past Denver to do Dodger games plus we’re dealing with FOX here, a place where closed minds are pre requisite for employment but it’s worth a shot to show FOX and MLB that a change is needed in the national broadcast booth and to send a message to Vinny that baseball fans still love him.

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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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