Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hey Ruben, YOU'RE LATE!

Is this some kind of parody on SNL? The Mets let Reyes walk in the off season, inflaming the fan base. They then tell us that Ruben Tejada will be "The Guy", and how "he gives professional at-bats, and has baseball instincts". And what happens before a Grapefruit League pitch is thrown? Tejada, our new "Guy", is late for camp. Then the story is, well, he's just not early. You know what? When Wright, Davis, Bay, Duda et al are there, Tejada is late. And it's exactly the wrong message to send to an antsy fan base. Stuff like this does not need to happen. It's one thing to claim you're broke, sell off players at a baseball yard sale and then take helicopters to basketball games, but it's another when your up-and-comer shows up late to camp. The reason? He was late in applying for his visa. Oy vey.

Other news:

Ryan Braun gets off on a technicality. I guess the right thing happened, because protocol was not followed and that is a right we have as Americans. But do I believe the guy is a cheater? Yes, I do. And I admit that my feeling is tainted by the fact that I don't like him, find him cocky, and generally annoying. I hope he gets what's coming to him-a suspension some day.

Santana seems to be progressing. This is good. Reports are all over the place on what to expect from the Ace. Collins says opening day. Other reports say that the Mets will be happy with 100-150 innings. There's no way to know with this "Chen Ming Wang" injury, apparently the location of the injury involves so many moving parts that it's impossible to predict.

Catching situation- Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society asks why the Mets can't scrape enough money together to sign Pudge, who is seeking employment. I agree, Steve. I think, if the Mets found the money, Pudge would end up catching 80-90 games. Thole is not the answer, folks. Remember Casey Stengel's story, when he asked a young SS prospect why he was wearing shin guards, and the prospect said, "I'm a little weak on ground balls"? In Thole, we have a catcher whose weak spot is catching the baseball. Add in the fact that pitchers whisper that he does not call a good game, he can't throw out runners, and he can't hit-and you have a 40-year-old who would get the playing time if he were on the team.

I heard Sandy on WFAN last week. He said he thinks the offense will be ok, but he wonders how much defense they've given up to get there. I agree, sir. I'm very interested to see how this plays out. I hope I'm wrong, but I see DHuda taking his sub-par D to the plate and struggling badly. If you've ever heard him speak, you know he does not have confidence in himself. Not the recipe for success.

9 days until the first game. I don't know why, but I'm excited!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

1954-2012

"Two outs, nobody on, Mets down by 2 in the bottom of the tenth. The Mets bench is very quiet, hoping against hope that something will start to happen. And a line drive, base hit to left by Carter...." Those were the words of Bob Murphy on October 25th, 1986. If you're a Met fan, and were around for that moment, you love Gary Carter. It's that simple. That AB symbolized his career, and his life. Never give up, keep fighting until the end. Gary provided the impetus for a comeback that may have provided the only WS I'll see for the Mets in my adult life (I was 5 in 1969). Thanks, Kid.

Since Thursday, fans have been telling their Gary Carter stories on the radio, in the blogs, and all over social media. Some gathered at Citi last night, near the Shea home plate to pay proper tribute. My hat is off to those who did, and I wish I could have been there. I'd like to tell my Gary Carter story now. It was 1987, and I was doing my annual Mets-on-the-road vacation, which I still do. We were in San Diego at a bar after the game (Mets had won, but interestingly, in that game, Gary had popped up near the plate and not run to first. Benito Santiago, Padres catcher, dropped the ball, but threw Gary out at first, as Carter stood at the plate). In walks Gary Carter, with former Chargers kicker Rolf Benerschke. I see Gary, walk over to mention my Met fandom and the voyage from the NY area to see the team, and congratulate him on the win. After I do this, I start to walk away. "Hey, where ya goin"? Have a seat!" So, I sit with them (my friends were too embarrassed to join) and talk baseball for about 30 minutes with Carter. He literally apologized for not running out the pop up. As the conversation ended, his words are forever planted in my brain. "Are you planning to see us on the road again? If you do, contact Jay (Horowitz) and tell him that I met you, and that I'd like to have you on the field during BP to meet some of the guys. Don't forget." I never took him up on his offer, but no, Kid, I'll never forget. RIP.

This brings up another point. Carter had the reputation for living a clean life. This, to many, made him a "phony". Isn't it interesting that if someone leads a clean life, loving family, and being spiritual, our society brands that person a "phony" as a knee-jerk reaction? Yet, we tend to idolize the "bad boys". Why does Roethlesberger have fans? Why does Kobe Bryant have fans? Why does the entire Bengal team, most of whom have been in jail, have fans? What has happened? We cast aspersions on the "good guys", and heaven forbid if they mention spirituality. Sandy Koufax refused to pitch on Yom Kippur. Good for you, Mr. Koufax. Gary Carter talk about his Christianity. Good for you, Gary. If a Muslim player wants to do a daily devotional, good for him/her too. There's nothing wrong with being devout. What's wrong is that our society seems to value the "mystery" of the bad boy. That's messed up, in my mind.

I'll have more to say on the 2012 Mets in a day or two.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A picture is worth 1,000 words

Says it all, doesn't it? Today is the first day of spring training (at least for the Mariners). They're getting a head start because, for some reason, MLB thinks it's a good idea to screw the fans who pay loads on money for tickets, etc., and have two teams open in Japan, so the real fans can't be a part of opening day. SMH. Do you remember when the Mets opened in the far east in 2000? I remember that the games were at 5 a.m., and I went to work late two days in a row. I still have no idea what the point of all that was.

Speaking of the Mets, it shows that we've been in a news lull when the biggest story is that Sandy Alderson has a Twitter account (@MetsGM). Sandy had a few funny tweets this week, and some thought these tweets were factual, and others were shaken by them as comments on the team's financial situation. Folks, we're going to need to have a sense of humor this year. Hey, I'll still watch, listen to, or attend every game, and even block my Outlook calendar every time there's a weekday day game, so I can sit in my office and listen to it without interruption. But let's be real, this may be a struggle. I believe this may be one of the worst defensive teams in the history of baseball. DHuda has no business playing RF and is trying to learn the position in the big leagues, as Murphy is with 2B. We love DW, but he's prone to the defensive miscue, and in my opinion, Thole is an unmitigated disaster behind the plate. So, let's lighten up, hope for the best, and enjoy baseball. Make sense? The Mets are doing everything they can to appeal to fans, since they know this may get ugly. They are developing a strong social media presence, they moved the fences in (sharp pain as I typed that) and they're reaching out to bloggers (not me, or many others, so they're selective). The first grapefruit league game is three weeks from Monday, and it's on SNY. I'll be watching.

One more note. This week, I've read some anti-Tebow comments here and there. What amuses me is that many of them come from self-proclaimed "liberal, open-minded people". These folks, in other contexts, taut the first amendment, and how people have a right to demonstrate (Occupy Wall Street, this movement or that movement), but then say they're bothered by Tebow's demonstration of religious devotion. Oh, I see...People can demonstrate, burn flags, march for a cause, as long as YOU like what they're saying. I should have known. People who stand for a cause that you don't agree with should NOT have the right to demonstrate. I get it. So, you're a hypocrite. It's clear now.

I had to write that, as it's been bothering me. I promise, more frequent, baseball-only posts from now on.