Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bob Feller

Bob Feller passed away yesterday. He was the senior (living) member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and in a way, a face of the Cleveland Indians. So that brings me to my "Bob Feller" story. The end of the story is that I also caught a foul ball for the first time since playing in little league that day.

It was Spring Training, and I think it was 2005. The Indians were called Winter Haven, Florida, home at the time (they've since returned to Arizona, but Winter Haven is a whole other story), and I was making the rounds on my second annual Spring Training trip, trying to see all of the ballparks. It happened to work out where I could see the Mets on some long road trips, including against the Indians. But that's not the story.

For many years, Bob Feller was present at Indians Spring Training games (at least home games), in uniform, signing autographs over in the picnic area of the ballpark. So after watching BP and getting my usual pre-game player autograph(s), I decided to get on line to get the autograph of a Hall of Famer.

It's about 20 minutes before first pitch, and Mr. Feller has to stop what he was doing to head onto the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, which was a custom at Indians Spring Training home games. And we all kept in line knowing that he would come back.

Somewhat typical of Florida, a freak little rain storm moved over central Florida about 15 minutes before game time. I'm next on line for Mr. Feller, and we all have to scramble for cover. The infield upper-level seating at that park is covered with room to set up a table behind the seating that's still under cover, and that's where the ballpark staff took him, and all of us. Those of us in line even tried to stay in line, while starting to get wet.

They try to set up, and the first few of us in line are also trying to help, including running to the concessions and bathrooms for paper towels to dry off the table for him. We eventually get that settled during what is now a poorly managed rain delay, and I get my autograph. I think it was $5 for an autographed poster with the money going to his museum (which I'll consider a good cause), and I also had a baseball on me for some reason and go that autographed as well (the poster was a present for my father, who I assume had seen him play more than I had).

And I got my autograph. My first Hall of Famer (I've added a couple others since then). The game got rained out. I've tried two other times to see a game in Winter Haven, also against the Mets, and only one time did the weather allow the 9th inning to happen.  I headed off to another game that night in Lakeland (longtime home of the Tigers) and caught a foul ball.  The picture of Mr. Feller was taken before the game in 2006 against the Mets entering the Indians team store.

And that's my Bob Feller story.


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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Well-written Mets fan and blogger liked Shea Stadium

Greg Prince ranked Shea 6th among the 34 Major League Ballparks that he's visited in his lifetime. He said so yesterday in his weekly ballpark review from his Flashback Friday ballpark review countdown.


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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Guest Post - Review of The Last Play At Shea

Editor's Note: I have not seen The Last Play At Shea myself. I wasn't at the concerts at Shea in 2008, for which I regret not going, and I wasn't at Citi Field for the premiere of the movie in 2010, for which I regret not going. I've missed it in the theaters too, another regret. But I was lucky enough to be approached by my friend, let's call her "Coop", best known for her work on the Mets themed blog My Summer Family and her contributions to Metsmerized Online, asking if she could write a review of The Last Play At Shea for my blog. So here is Coop's review...

Let It Be

Those of who know The Coop know that she never hides her feelings, never minces her words and is never afraid to admit she's made a mistake. And here – thanks to DyHrdMet's generous offer to have me jump into the booth here at Remembering Shea from time to time a la Ralph Kiner – I have an admission for you all.

I never attended a music concert at Shea Stadium.

That may not be a big deal. After all, my father raised me on two things: music and the Mets, which shaped a lot of my personality today. When I was 7 years old, I was introduced to two of my true loves: the Mets and Duran Duran. Anyhow, my dad claims he never went to a rock concert at Shea Stadium either (well, as he claims, at least he doesn't "remember" – and if you "remember" it you really weren't there but that's besides the point).

However, I had plenty of opportunity to have done so. I was invited to see Bruce Springsteen in 2003, but I had just seen him at Giants Stadium so I passed. In 2008, when Billy Joel announced the last shows there, I was nonplussed. I am not a Billy Joel fan, but I don't dislike him. I probably know most of his songs, even lesser known quantities that weren't played on the radio. I wouldn't say that I was exactly dying to see him live. The so-called "Last Play at Shea" was horribly mismatched. Why get Billy Joel, a Yankee fan, to close out MY favorite baseball team's home? I thought they could do better, but I was proven wrong seeing this movie. Potentially, my biggest regret is never having seen a rock concert at Shea, but most importantly, not seeing Billy Joel due to my stubborn shortsightedness.

That's the backdrop.

So at this point I've seen the documentary Last Play at Shea twice. Those of you who are looking for a Mets documentary will be disappointed. Those of you looking for a documentary on rock concerts at Shea will be as well. While the backdrop of the movie was Billy Joel's last shows at Shea Stadium, there is a heavy concentration of Joel's career and lifespan, but that in and of itself isn't the movie. Those who are looking for a history of New York, how Shea Stadium came to be and how it tied in to how the Mets were born and how rock concerts became a mainstay of Shea Stadium…that is the story. So in effect, it's an obituary to a stadium we loved so much, a home that we probably can replay each nook and cranny in our mind's eye, and a place I took very much for granted even to this day.

No matter what your reasoning for seeing the film, whether it's to see old concert footage from the Beatles, or Billy Joel or seeing the great days of the Mets, I don't think you'll dislike it. There are many underlying themes here. I swear I will bring them all together.

One is the history lesson. Billy Joel called Shea Stadium where "New York meets Long Island." Literally, Shea was in New York City, but geographically, it was on Long Island. There are many historical and symbolic themes in the documentary.

One is Robert Moses, the man almost solely responsible for the landscape and infrastructure of Greater New York and Long Island specifically. No documentary about the Mets would be complete without a reference to Brooklyn Dodgers leaving town. However, the tie-in to Moses is that the Dodgers wanted clearance to build a stadium in Downtown Brooklyn; Moses declined, and offered them a plot in what we now know as Willets Point. As history has it, the Dodgers left for the West Coast. But Moses still wanted that stadium built. Bill Shea made a few phone calls and got a team to fill it, the team we know as the New York Metropolitans.

The other story is the real-life lesson. The element of irony here is that we all know Billy Joel as a kid from Levittown, the ‘burbs, which Moses was responsible for providing the infrastructure behind. In fact, I doubt anyone would disagree that if Billy Joel was just some kid from the Bronx, we wouldn't have all the art he created today. However, Joel was also uprooted from his family home in the Bronx due to a freeway Moses himself was responsible for building.

So like the landscape of greater New York, the Mets' birth and the root of who Billy Joel is, was indirectly and directly shaped by Robert Moses, the Power Broker himself.

As a result, the Mets themselves and Billy Joel's existence really paralleled one another. The Mets were new and coming into their own, and Billy Joel was making his mark as a musician in the ‘60s. The Mets were floundering in the ‘70s, and Joel was trying to get out of bad record deals. The Mets had a heyday in the ‘80s, and Joel became the pop star most of us know him to be.

What's more is that the Mets really tied into the history of New York City. I remember reading a while back that the reason why New York City fell into fiscal ruin in the ‘70s was years and years of Moses' policies of getting the blue collar and middle class out of the city and into the suburbs, yanking out that income that was pumped into the economy. When the Dodgers and Giants left in the ‘50s, that took out a lot of money out of the city's hands that was still very much felt in the ‘70s. Look at the Mets: they were broke, Shea was falling apart as was the team. New York City started to enjoy a renaissance with the greed-is-good and drugs-are-better era in the ‘80s, as did the Mets. Baseball became a stay of normalcy after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and then came full circle in 2008.

The main character of the Last Play at Shea was the last part of that title. This was a movie about how Shea Stadium meant to volumes of people, from Mets fans, to music fans, to Pete Flynn (the head groundskeeper at Shea who figures prominently in the film), to even musicians themselves. Gordon Sumner, aka Sting from the Police, reportedly decided on stage at Shea Stadium that he was leaving the band, that he wouldn't top it.

To those of us who were intimately involved with Shea Stadium, many of us would agree with Darryl Strawberry's sentiment, "It was a dump, but it was our dump." During the last concerts at Shea though, the idea that Robert Moses had to build the Colosseum of Rome in the middle of Flushing, Queens, certainly resonated. With the lights out, and the only thing illuminating were the screens in the background of Billy Joel's show and the lights in the corridors provided the backdrop of something that was lost. Shea Stadium WAS a work of art. Those who graced her fields were artists to an extent. All that time, I was certainly one that took it for granted. If anything, this picture was so lovely to see Shea again in all her glory.

One of my biggest regrets in life was to have never attended a rock concert at Shea Stadium. I do know that I have it better than most: some have never attended a playoff game, or a World Series game, or even the last baseball game ever at Shea Stadium. That, to me, is absolute music. When I find myself in times of trouble, as Paul McCartney sang to close out the park, Shea Stadium is what brings me back to my happy place. And I'm certain those of you who follow this site know that to be a fact.


Coop, thanks for writing this review

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Dream Has Come True

And following up on the very short post from 2 days ago, this is what I wrote a year ago today. So much joy in the voice of Bob Murphy. Next year, I'll watch the entire series on DVD.


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Monday, October 25, 2010

A little roller...

24 years ago today. This is what I wrote last year. Next year on this date, I break out the DVD collection.


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Saturday, October 16, 2010

The GM Search

The Mets are looking for a new GM. I really haven't paid attention to this at all. I don't know who these guys are, or who is the best candidate. I've just quickly glanced at MetsBlog.com to see reports of various interviews. But here's an idea in this, blog post #401.

Have the candidates debate the issues. Get a panel of noted Mets fans, announcers, and beat writers asking questions of the potential GMs, set it in an open forum and show it on SNY and SNY.TV (heck, even on Mets.com), and let's see who comes out the best. Maybe it will keep the Wilpons from hiring the wrong guy when they find out that he folds under pressure and attacks a beat writer. The fans could gain confidence in the "winner" of the debate, assuming that he/she's the one given the job, or the fans could bypass the time of false hope if the "loser" of the debate is hired. It'll make for a good alternative to watching the Yankees and Phillies in the only baseball games being played next week.


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Sunday, October 3, 2010

The season is over for the New York Mets

For good or bad, the 2010 Mets season is officially over. There are no more games to be played. They lost more than they won. Again. It's time to do what some have been doing for a few weeks already, and that is to start to evaluate what went right and what went wrong over the past 6 months and the past 6 seasons.

It's also time to start looking at what potential changes need to be made, and included in that, what to do with the manager and general manager jobs. Then beyond that, what to do about the dead weight and the players (and coaches) whose contracts expire at the end of the season or who have options or arbitration coming that need to be decided on for 2011. Then there is the list of needs and the list of free agents and the players that are tradeable and what they could possibly get in return. Then there are the prospects that deserve at least a look in Spring Training, including some of those that may have had that opportunity during September Training.

And hopefully, most of that can be done in parallel and not in a particular order, aside from deciding the futures of Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel (which we expect to hear about before Monday night, and if not that soon, within the week).

For me, I don't think it's right for either of them to be back next season. Neither is a bad person, but they've both made mistakes that led to the team's overall record not being as good as it could have been. Omar also made some mistakes in handing certain situations that have to go as black marks against him.

As a fan, I'm tired of inconsistent and losing baseball. It's not just this era (since 2005). In my 24 seasons following Mets baseball, it's been up then down and up then down, and so on, with the downs much longer than the ups. And it's all been without a championship team. If the Mets don't win it all next year, they will have gone exactly half of their existence without winning a World Series. I'm tired of trying to figure out what they need to do (aside from saying they need to make changes). I'm tired of hearing the same shtick (excuses and promises) over and over again from ownership. I'm tired of hearing things get reported about people's fate before those people hear it and before it becomes official. I'm tired of the heartbreak that happens during a season. I'm tired of looking at the hot stove league and seeing game-changing players that the Mets are just watching them go by while the Mets can only focus on one player at a time. I'm tired of seeing high prices for bad-view seats at Citi Field while there isn't wise spending of my money of the product.

For me, I think it's time for an overall change in direction for the Mets. And I've been saying it for some time. I'd like to change ownership, but maybe it's just the need for those in ownership to change how they behave. Get someone smart to run the baseball operations (I really don't know who that is), and leave that person alone and trust him to make the baseball decisions. ALL OF THEM. Get someone who can get the players motivated to play and to learn how to win. Get several of these players to manage at all different levels. I think that needs to be taught to a lot, if not all of the players on the club (both now and future). And leave these guys alone to do what they think best for making decisions for his club. If at any point it's clear that any of these guys aren't doing their jobs well, and that ownership doesn't trust them to do it right, fire them. Don't let them linger making the "wrong" decisions because that only hurts the club, sinking them deeper into a hole that ultimately has to be dug out of. And don't try to sugarcoat it. Be honest with the fans about what the plan is. Ownership may be signing the checks, but we supply part of the money used to back those checks. You don't want to lose us - you actually need to win us back.

I'm tired of not winning, and that needs to be fixed, before I get tired of going to games period. I'm tired of hearing how to fix this team. I'm tired of saying this every year. Just do it (yes, I know they can't actually do that today, and to some extent, they can't do it until the end of the World Series). Ownership should put a plan in place, execute it, and make us trust it. And remember. We're not stupid, so it has to be real. If you say that a few little things will fix it, I won't believe you. It didn't work after 2007. It didn't work after 2008. It didn't work after 2009. And after see how it failed, I see no reason why it should work after 2010. So don't try to sell it like that. To fix things, it will take some time.

If you're not sure of some of what I'm talking about, go back to the video tape of today's game to what Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Kevin Burkhardt, and Ralph Kiner said during the game today (especially the later innings).


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It was a Beautiful Day for Gary, Keith, and Ron

I've been posting more on the Facebook page for this blog than I have on the actual blog. And I did it again last night, and again today with photos.

For those that don't follow the site on facebook, you should. In any event, here are my photos from the day. I couldn't see a way to embed a Facebook photo album as a slideshow on a webpage, but Webshots can do it.



Just to recap briefly. The weather was beautiful. The Mets won. And in between, I got to see some of the friends I've made over the past 2 seasons through the self-sustained social network of Mets fans known as blogging.
  • Gary Cohen and Ron Darling came out to sign autographs for the group. Mets catcher Josh Thole also came down to sign.
  • The GKR group had t-shirts, sweatshirts, and even sweatpants for sale (among a few other things), where I purchased two different shirts of the new neon GKR design (really cool - one in Mets blue and one in black with long sleeves).
  • They had their big raffle for a chance to win one of 100 gift baskets. I didn't win one this year, but I did last year and they're all pretty nice.
  • They had scratch off tickets where every ticket gives you something. I played several times and game home with things like a Seton Hall Men's Basketball prize pack (which is good because it went to a long time Seton Hall fan - and if you didn't know, Gary Cohen calls play-by-play for Seton Hall on the radio) and a key chain of the Shea Scoreboard Skyline (one of my favorite items from Shea). I also won a GKR cookbook.
  • We got to go onto the warning track for the National Anthem. That's always cool. I'd say I saw myself on the video screen except that it was hard to see it looking high up when you're that close (I was standing pretty close to CF).
  • Kevin Burkhardt was hanging around the party area, posing for pictures and signing a few autographs. His son celebrated a birthday by joining the group on the warning track and he's at the age where he can run around the party area and it looks cute. He even sold me on buying one more scratch off ticket. Lynn Cohen (the group's organizer) brought out a cake for him to the CF seats and had those of us in the area sing to him.
And this recap wouldn't be right if I didn't do these two things. First, go to GaryKeithAndRon.com or PitchInForAGoodCause.org, not only to see their recap, video and/or photos (which I'm sure will be there soon) from the day, but to take a look at what they do and buy merchandise. The other is to say a big THANK YOU to Lynn Cohen and the GKR elves (lots of helpers - that's what they're called on their t-shirts) for putting this together. Everything on Saturday was great. It's such a great way to end the season as a group. These are all Mets fans doing something good.


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Oliver Perez and what he does to keep busy during a game

I want to share something funny with you that I noticed during the game today. I spent some time down in the Citi Field picnic area at the GKR event today. And this picnic area is situated right behind the 2 teams' bullpens. Right where, through 2 fences, the fans can see right into the back of the Mets bullpen. It doesn't quite translate onto film with the fences in the way, but it is visible.

Anyway, on more than one occasion during the game, and I forget if this was in between innings or during play (I doubt that it was the latter), I saw one Oliver Perez, in uniform as if he were an active player, get up, walk out of the little clubhouse-like structure in the bullpen, walk out the back of the bullpen itself (which I think a player would have to do in order to get to the clubhouse), and come around between the 2 fences into the tunnelish area between the back of the picnic area (where the tables are) and the front of the backside of the bullpens, and look at the fans that were looking back at him.

I couldn't see if there was any type of stretching and it didn't look like there was any type of medical work going on as he was alone. It was more like Ollie was an animal in the zoo poking its head out from underground to get sunlight and look at the people that are there to view it. He'd come out, I think maybe up to the fence for the picnic area. I don't think he was there for very long, and then he'd go back into the bullpen house where he and others from the bullpen club not doing anything would sit. And maybe 1 inning, maybe 2 innings later, he'd come out and do it again. I have no idea what he was doing out there.


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Friday, October 1, 2010

I'll be going to the game on Saturday

On Saturday I will out at Citi Field as part of the Gary Keith and Ron (a.k.a. Pitch In For A Good Cause) group. By now, I shouldn't have to introduce you to them. It's a good group. A good cause that good Mets fans can rally around. Being with a group like this is a good way to end a season.

Anyway, follow me throughout the day at on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RememberingShea and my mobile pictures page.

You know what would be really cool? If the real Gary, Keith, and Ron wore t-shirts from the GKR collection.


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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thank You Fans

I just saw a very brief commercial from the Mets saying "Thank You Fans". So let me pose a question everyone out there.
What is the best way for the Mets organization to really show its thanks to the fans for the 2010 season?
I'm thinking a commercial that airs after Mets pitching faced 10 batters in 1 inning late in a game isn't going to cut it.


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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bob Murphy Day

I was 7 years ago today that we as Mets fans bit farewell to the voice of the Mets.

MLB.com has a tribute page up from when he passed away the following summer. It includes the pregame ceremony from before his final game.

It's worth watching. Find the item called "Mets pregame tribute to Bob Murphy" and click on the link next to it. I can't seem to mimic the scripting to link to the popup window directly. While you're there, check out the other links. A few of them still work.

Watch it. He tells a good story of his 42 seasons with the Mets. That may be worth including in the 50 year history of the New York Mets.

I still say SNY should rebroadcast these pregame ceremonies as winter/rain delay/filler programming like they do with Mets Yearbook.


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Sunday, September 19, 2010

The End of the Baseball Season

2 weeks left. For good or bad, the baseball season only has 2 weeks left in it. It doesn't matter how your team is doing, whether they've been out of it since mid-May, mid-July, mid-September, or if they're still in it. There's only 2 weeks left to watch regular season baseball. The 6 month journey is quickly coming to an end. One more home series. One more road series. 2 weeks left to say goodbye to the National Pastime. 2 weeks to find out if there may be joy in the season, or 2 weeks left to end the misery.


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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another Day, Another Mets Injury

One point on today's game and Luis Hernandez's injury and home run. I was watching on TV and saw it live. I said to my dad that based on the pain he was in and the length of time that he was being looked at by the "trainer", that he had a broken bone in his foot.

Then why was he allowed to stay in the game to continue the at bat? He hit the home run, made it about 5 steps on adrenaline, and had a terrible limp the rest of the way around the bases. It was clear from there that he had to come out of the game. It was also a bit dramatic watching this kid limp around the bases hitting the home run with a broken foot.

When the trainers are looking at him, if they aren't convinced that he must be removed immediately, why not do a running test with him like they would have a possibly-injured pitcher throw a couple pitches?

The only thing that's changed since last year regarding injuries for the Mets has been luck.


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Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Pulsipher of the Nation

A few days ago, I was approached by Frank Gray of MetsGazette.com to share my opinion in their weekly segment "The Pulsipher of the Nation" (named of course for the ex-Met prospect whose name sounds like "pulse").

Frank's question to me, and also to Matthew Falkenbury of The Daily Stache, was "Which Mets pitcher has performed like an Ace this season and why?". I'll put the disclaimer now that I basically had my answer written up when it was announced that Johan Santana was going to be shut down for the season with the tear and pending surgery.

Since I don't give short answers to questions (and I was asked to make it take more than 2 sentences), I wrote several paragraphs breaking down the 4 Mets main starting pitchers before coming to my conclusion.

Go read my answer as well as Matthew's here, in this week's edition of Mets Gazette's "Pulsipher of the Nation".

Thanks go out to Frank for the opportunity to share my opinion and put me in the company of some really good bloggers/Mets fans as guests in this segment.


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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Is It Better To Have Won And Lost Than To Never Have Won At All?

This is a comparison on being a fanatic of different teams in different sports in different seasons, looking at how they have brought joy and sorrow to me over the past almost quarter century. The title of the post it meant to ask the question - which is better to be a fan of? I am NOT here to start finding fault or solutions with the reasons for failure and losing.

My sports year is divided (with lots of overlap when you consider pre- and post-seasons, and the hot-stove action) between the New York Mets of MLB and the New Jersey Devils of the NHL. For the color enabled browsers, I will draw out the comparisons using the colors that you saw in mentioning the names of the teams.

I am finishing my 24th full season, and next month, my 24th calendar year as a Mets fan. Over that time, I've had just a taste of the ultimate success when I was too young and too fresh to fully appreciate it, and a few fuller but shorter tastes even coming close. Most seasons have ended long before their time in ultimate failure with some good enough to have just a disappointing ending instead. Maybe the disappointing ending is the best I can ask for.

I am going into 13th full season as a full-time die-hard Devils fan, with about 5 or 6 seasons as a more casual Devils fan before it mixed in, and 1 season without the NHL entirely. Over that time, I've seen the Devils win 3 Stanley Cups, including 1 in person, 1 other Finals appearance, and make the playoffs all but 1 season since 1994. But most seasons have ended with great regular season success and failure in the playoffs.

Between the two sports and seasons, failure and success can be measured differently. If you think about it, any season that ends without the championship can be considered "failure", but it's all relative to the overall success of the team. For some teams, just being in the playoffs can be a "success". For others, not going far in the playoffs can be a "failure" even if they qualify every season. The success and failure for playoff teams not winning the championship is relative to how often they qualify for the playoffs. It should be noted that it is different between the two leagues on how many teams qualify for the post-season. After each takes the division winners (6 overall for both), MLB takes 2 wild card teams while the NHL takes 10. With the additional teams in the NHL, their playoff is 4 rounds compared to MLB's 3. But the playoff structure isn't necessarily the point here, rather a bridge between comparing apples and oranges.

In the 24 seasons that I have been a Mets fan, the Mets have made the post-season 4 times. I would call 3 of those post-seasons an ultimate failure based on the expectations of the club. I've written before about how I think each of those 3 failures sent the team into a downward spiral (and with the latest of them, I'm starting to see credible writers leaning towards that opinion as well). Only 1999 was a success, mostly because they were back from the abyss and just happy to be there - and they did make it back the next season. Like I mentioned earlier, most of my 24 seasons as a Mets fan have been an utter disappointment. Just using the .500 mark as a barometer, this could be the 11th season below .500 over that time. 2 others are known for the "collapses". 3 others had 2nd place finishes (before or without winning the Wild Card).

In 20 years of following the Devils (I'll draw that line in the fall of 1990), I've seen them miss the playoffs only once (with the league itself missing the playoffs one other time), but most of those seasons have ended in playoff disappointment. In that time, 18 playoff appearances and 10 first-round exits. The first couple were in the team's phase of being in the playoffs as a "success". 6 of those 10 were in seasons in which the Devils finished 1st of 2nd in their division (in fact, they've finished outside of the top 2 in the Atlantic Division only twice since the division was formed in 1993-94). 3 other times, they finished 1st in the Division and failed to make the Conference Finals (3rd round). But every season has been fun to watch, filled with hope and relative success, It has only been in the playoffs where constant success has eluded the team (relative to the regular season success).

So I ask the question. Which is better? To have won (a lot in the regular season) and lost (a lot in the playoffs) or to have never (or hardly) won at all?


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Friday, September 3, 2010

The 5/6 report - 27 games left

Only 27 games left.

After 27 games, the Mets were 15-12, 1/2 game back.
After 54 games, the Mets were 27-27, 5 games back.
After 81 games, the Mets were 45-36, 3 games back.
After 108 games, the Mets were 54-54, 7.5 games back of Atlanta in the NL East and 8 games back in the Wild Card.
And now, after 135 games, 66-69, 12.5 games back of the Braves in the NL East and 10.5 games back in the Wild Card.

I'll keep it short and sweet. The Mets have no life in them right now. In the last 27 games, they were 3 under after alternating win and loss for most of that stretch. K-Rod went down for the year. Reyes got hurt again (not that he's injury prone or anything). I said back on August 1 that the Mets season was over, and despite people getting up on every win, the Mets have shown me nothing to contradict my statement. It's getting harder and harder to keep watching them. Changes need to be made, and maybe they've been decided on (with the decision kept quiet until October 4). One change won't make a difference. Changes need to be made at multiple levels during the off-season. I'll get to that another day.

The good news is that Spring Training starts in 6 months, and we get to do this all over again for the 50th time.


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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Word of the Day: "September Training"

Last season, I invented a new vocabulary word - "September Training". I described it here last August.

Let me explain it again.

September Training is a combination of Spring Training, when teams use meaningless (exhibition) games to evaluate their player pool, and September callups, when the rosters expand beyond the 24 25 players allowed. It's the start of looking towards the new season with some younger players (I'll leave Omar's quote out of it for now).

This year's examples are Jenrry Mejia (as a starter), Fernando Martinez (if he's healthy), and Lucas Duda (and probably some others later on).


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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where I've been...

I haven't written much lately. Since I found facebook as a tool for communication, I've been posting a lot of 1-liner statuses on Remembering Shea's facebook page (jokes and some commentary, along with some links including everything that I post here). But it's a lot of things that just seem like they're too small to post on the blog itself.

That being said, please head over there and "like" my page if you haven't already. I just saw something new on facebook where I can have a vanity URL for my page (I know they've had it for actual user accounts for a while).

So go visit me at http://www.facebook.com/RememberingShea. I do want to integrate the feed from the facebook page into the blog so that readers can see it all in one place.

Thanks for reading!


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Monday, August 23, 2010

2010: A Mets Odyssey

No time in my day to comment on what was written (maybe later), but there is a good recap of the 2010 Mets season from the point of view of their off-field problems, courtesy of ESPN's Adam Rubin, which you can read here. Be sure to read his follow up article tomorrow on the 2011 Mets. Get your season ticket deposits in soon!


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Friday, August 20, 2010

Kiner's Korner

There are rumors on the internet that our beloved show Kiner's Korner will return to public view beginning next Tuesday on SNY.TV under the name Kiner's Korner Revisited.

From Neil Best
Speaking of beloved New York sports figures, SNY is bringing back a baby boomer fixture with "Kiner’s Korner Revisited," set to debut Tuesday on SNY.TV.

The show will use surviving footage from Kiner's iconic postgame show as a starting point for discussions on past and present baseball topics with host Ted Berg.

Alas, little survives from the early years, but the nine episodes will feature interviews with Pete Rose, Bobby Valentine, Johnny Bench, Richie Ashburn, Ed Kranepool, Tommy Lasorda, Davey Johnson and Eric Davis.

I would print more, but I don't subscribe to Cablevision's IO TV service or Newsday newspaper. If anyone does and can help me out by copying and pasting the contents of that blog post to me, I would appreciate it.

I would guess see that old video tapes of Kiner's Korner would make up the content along with new discussions. I like this idea. And I vaguely remember a blogger (and I don't think it was me) suggesting that SNY should bring back Kiner's Korner. Well done to the idea man, and well done to SNY. Ralph won't be with us forever.

Another statement from another sports media columnist. Not really any more in terms of details, but I play fair. From Bob Raismann at the NY Daily News...

KINER'S KORNER CAUGHT IN WEB
Ralph Kiner has plenty more to give, especially when he's confined to "cameo" appearances on SportsNet New York's Mets telecasts.

So, starting Tuesday, Ralphie's invading the Internet. He's dusting off a classic, bringing "Kiner's Korner Revisted" to SNY.TV. Over the course of nine episodes, Kiner will ransack the Korner Vault withdrawing classic interviews (Pete Rose, Richie Ashburn, Davey Johnson, Ed Kranepool and others).

Kiner, and SNY.TV host Ted Berg, will also talk about current baseball issues - like Keith Hernandez's extremely heavy work load.


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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Francisco Rodriguez and the MLBPA vs. the New York Mets

As expected, the MLBPA (the union), filed a grievance against the Mets on behalf of disqualified Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez. Reading the report by Adam Rubin on ESPN New York.com, the contention is over WHEN and HOW K-Rod injured his thumb.
The Mets maintain Rodriguez tore a ligament in his right thumb during an altercation with his girlfriend's father at Citi Field last week. Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said Tuesday that Rodriguez confessed to a team trainer that the injury occurred as a result of the incident.

Rodriguez's agent, Paul Kinzer, and the union have been noncommittal about when the injury occurred. And a team source told ESPNNewYork.com on Wednesday that Rodriguez will claim he slipped, but not as a direct result of the incident.

Of course, both sides are saying that they believe that they are right (that's usually the case).

My message to all involved. Guys, don't fuck around. This is a legal case. I'm not a lawyer, and I don't always understand big words, but if this thing comes to trial, the injured thumb may come up as proof that K-Rod really did strike the grandfather of his children. In a court of law, and in probably just about everything else related to a legal case, the parties involved are sworn to tell the truth with sever consequences for lying. The truth will come out in court, and one of these sides will be very embarrassed. And before the stories start getting out of hand, there were supposedly witnesses. It's a bad spot to be in for a teammate or a teammate's family member. This grievance should sit in limbo until the legal matters are sorted out, and then we should see what really happened. Whichever side is found to be either lying or wrong about when/how the injury occurred is going to look mighty foolish once the truth comes out.


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The Mets have handled K-Rod correctly

Here's my take on the developing K-Rod saga...

First a few facts (and I know that I'm leaving out the word allegedly)...
  • Last Wednesday after the game, in view of some players/families/children, he punched his father-in-law (or the father or his fiance or the father of his girlfriend, I'm not really sure what their relationship is). The man was removed via ambulance and K-Rod was held in custody at Citi Field until his arraignment the next day. I don't actually know how he pleaded. A court date is scheduled for September 14 (about 4 weeks later).
  • The Mets suspended him for 2 games, without pay, allowing time for the legal matters to sort out and allowing the Mets to replace him on the roster.
  • He returned to the club and clubhouse on Saturday, and was brought in to pitch the 9th with the Mets losing.
  • He complained of a problem in his thumb on Sunday and was examined on Monday. It turns out that he tore a ligament in his pitching/punching hand during the altercation. Surgery was recommended, and given the time to recover and where the Mets were in the season, it meant he would be out for the season.
  • K-Rod had the surgery on Tuesday.
  • On Tuesday, the Mets also placed K-Rod on the Disqualified List, where he will not receive pay or MLB service time until he is reinstated.
  • Word on the street is that the Mets are going to try to void or renegotiate the remainder of K-Rod's contract with the Mets because of this (which I'll get into my thoughts on it in a bit) and that the MLB Players Association will try to contest some of this (which I will also blast later).

For the most part, I actually think that the Mets have handled this correctly, save for Jerry Manuel not realizing that K-Rod would be inactive on the day in which he appeared in court, and for Omar to say anything.

You're looking at a couple of things. First, there is an unsettled legal matter. Second, there is an injury directly related to this incident (a claim which nobody has disputed). The injury is probably evidence, which makes it harder to defend K-Rod in the legal sense. Some of what will eventually happen with K-Rod will depend on how things go in court.

The Mets have every right to a) not pay him for time missed this season and b) renegotiate his contract after he is allowed to return. First off, it is hard to punish him for more than the 2 games from last week for being arrested. He did need time to get legal matters sorted out, and it's very justified that K-Rod could be suspended while that took place. After the trial, when the verdict is handed down, the Mets could act much more swiftly.

Now throw in the injury. K-Rod has made himself physically unable to play due to what's essentially committing a crime against another person. The result of the injury is that he won't be able to pitch again this season. In a way, the Mets catch a break with this because it means removing the distractions by fans and media that would have been caused by having him active with all this crap pending. Based on this, there is no reason why K-Rod should be paid for the time spent on the DL since it was a non-baseball (and illegal) activity that resulted in his inability to play. And I really don't see what the MLBPA could do about it without coming off looking like they condone his behavior.

As for the future...like I said earlier, some of it will depend on the outcome of the legal case against him. But something like this could take a mental toll on a person (aren't all players people?). He could come back from the injury and not be himself. He could go to prison for a period of time (and I guess if that happened, and dragged into next season, he wouldn't be reinstated until he is a free man). All of these are very just reasons why the Mets can and should either void or renegotiate his contract for next season (and why they shouldn't say anything else about his status for next season). Would you want the financial commitment to a player who can no longer perform his job after an injury sustained while committing a possible crime? I'm sure that the Mets wouldn't (and this isn't a knock at them being cheap for once), and they should do everything in their power to get out of such a situation.

A number of fans have been saying that they want the Mets to get rid of Oliver Perez and/or Luis Castillo (among others), crying that they can get rid of K-Rod. The two things are entirely different matters. If Ollie Perez broke a knee cap stealing a car next week, then we can talk about him.


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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Giants win the Pennant

R.I.P. Bobby Thomson. Let me share a quick story about him.

My father grew up in the the '50s as a New York Giants fan in Passaic, New Jersey. Mostly a Willie Mays fan, he was a fan of the entire team and took joy in their victories, especially 1951 when he was 9 years old (not dissimilar to myself with the 1986 Mets).

Sometime in the late 1980s, after he had gotten me into baseball and collecting baseball cards (which was a fun hobby that I can tell you about another time), we went to a baseball card show, which we did lots of over the few years that I was collecting. And Bobby Thomson was signing. I don't know if we (and I mean my dad) knew this going in, or if it was a nice surprise for him. And we stood in his line, my dad paid whatever the fee was for his autograph (I'm assuming there was a fee - I was oblivious to some of these things), and the time came for "our" autograph.

My dad will probably deny what I'm about to say, saying that he was teaching me a little bit about baseball history by having me be the one to receive the autograph of someone who brought him great joy, but I'll say it - my dad used me to get an autograph of someone who hit an important home run from when he was my age (which seemed like it was 100 years earlier). I certainly did learn a bit of baseball history that day. I don't remember if I had heard about it prior (not everything sticks with you when you're 8 or 9 years old), but I certainly learned about Bobby Thomson, the New York Giants (a team before the Mets), and The Shot Heard 'Round the World that day.

I sort of remember Bobby himself, just being the nice humble man that he's always been made out to be. The autograph itself was on a gigantic posterized black and white photograph of the home run with the ball circled and an arrow pointing to it (it wasn't too easy to see without it as they didn't have 10 megapixles or color back in 1951). My autographed copy of it still exists somewhere. I don't remember throwing it out after moving out of my parents' house, but I have no idea where it is.

R.I.P. Bobby Thomson, one of the great former players around.


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Monday, August 16, 2010

Oh this can't be good

According to MetsBlog.com, the Mets' troubled closer (TKO-Rod, K-Fraud, or simply K-Rod) tore a ligament in his thumb during an altercation last Wednesday night, surgery has been recommended, and he would then be out for the remainder of the season.

I guess this is actually now evidence in the assault case against him. But maybe, just maybe, the Mets can use this to cut ties with him after the season (and after his trial). He committed what I guess is considered a crime against another person, and at the same time, made himself physically unable to perform his job (aside from a possible prison term). Don't forget he's innocent until proven guilty. But he's committed acts that have hurt the team (remember they fired Tony Bernazard, K-Rod's old sparing partner, last year for what was essentially bad conduct). Now, voiding K-Rod's contract or suspending him without pay, cutting him, or other type of punishment against K-Rod (and placing him on the DL does not count) would need to be cleared by the MLBPA.

But if Freddy Coupon & Son really want to be cheap, they can open up a lot of room in their self-imposed salary cap (let's not argue on that point) by cutting ties with their troubled closer. It also shows that they're really paying attention and have some balls. So what if what they attempt to do gets blocked or goes into litigation. Don't be afraid. Just do it. Wake up. Just don't pin this on Adam Rubin like Omar Minaya did last year.


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Sunday, August 15, 2010

2010 Mets Hall of Fame on SNY Spotlight

This is a programming note courtesy of a commercial seen on SNY:

SNY Spotlight has a show featuring the 2010 Mets Hall of Fame this Thursday at 7pm. Runtime is 30 minutes. It will replay next Sunday at 5:30pm and the following night at 6:30pm as well as a week from Wednesday (8/25) at 1:30pm.


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Friday, August 13, 2010

Embarassing question

a new poll - vote here, on the "Polls" tab, or on facebook.





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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oliver Perez and Giving Up

I read today on MetsBlog.com that Oliver Perez might start Saturday night's game. Of course I have a ticket for that game, but that's besides the point. This is what I read into that decision, if indeed it is made:

Oliver Perez is the pitcher exiled to the back of the bullpen (any farther back, he'd have to buy a ticket to enter Citi Field). The last resort. He wouldn't go to the minor leagues to work things out, and the Mets faked his injury just get him off the roster for a relatively brief time. No helping him.

So what does it say about the Mets' willingness to reach into the minor leagues if they do indeed choose Oliver Perez to start? Dillon Gee and Pat Misch are much better candidates. Are they afraid of making a roster move in the bullpen? I could name about 10 of them that I'd make just to solve the Saturday starter problem. This one doesn't even make sense.

So what does it say about the Mets' realistic hopes for the season if they are willing to consider the ultimate last resort as the spot-starter for the game on Saturday? I can see it. Most fans started giving up about 10 days ago.

At least I bought the ticket at the box office and didn't have to pay any fees.


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Friday, August 6, 2010

This and That

A few observations while I enjoy being home and not being jet-lagged for the first time in a month.
  • the Braves are inducting Tom Glavine into the club's Hall of Fame. Let's put aside feelings towards him from his days as a Met and his last appearance in 2007. Let me make this observation. The Braves are also retiring his number 47. The Mets have inducted many former players, among others, into their Hall of Fame. How many of them have had numbers retired? I'm just saying...
  • SNY does a great job showing the old Mets Yearbooks as time fillers. But here's a new idea to throw into the mix (as an hour-long program). Replay old Mets pregame ceremonies. Wouldn't it be cool to see Tom Seaver's jersey retirement ceremony, the 40th Anniversary celebration, Bob Murphy Appreciation night, and so on? Shea Goodbye and the 1987 Opening Day ceremony with the world championship rings would be like the sweeps week specials.
  • I don't know when the new season of SNY's Beer Money will air. I don't know if I made the cut. I was filmed and won some money before a game in June.
  • I've decided on going to 2 more Mets game this year - next Saturday night (Aug 14) and the GKR Main Event (Oct 2). 6 games is enough for me with this club. I'll see them again in Spring Training.
  • Is it me, or are the new Mets commercials now sponsored? They're really good, but they look like they're sponsored by Citi. And I saw one for Xerox with Mr. Met.


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Thursday, August 5, 2010

The 4/6 Report - A .500 Season

I was thinking of what to write for the 4/6 Report (or 2/3 for those that don't know the math), so I decided to look back at first 3 1/6th of the season reports.

After 27 games, the Mets were 15-12, 1/2 game back.
After 54 games, the Mets were 27-27, 5 games back.
After 81 games, the Mets were 45-36, 3 games back.
And after 108 games, the Mets are 54-54, 7.5 games back of Atlanta in the NL East and 8 games back in the Wild Card.

I was thinking how quickly they've fallen in the past 27 games since the half-way mark (3/6) when they were 9 games over .500 to where they are now at .500. But then I saw that 54 games ago, after 1/3 of the season (or 2/6), they were also .500. Just as much as they rose, the fell. Those last 54 games have been a bit of a roller coaster. These last 27 games have been the downward slope, with the Mets falling fast.

With various activities going on for me over the last 27 games, I can't say that I've seen much of this happen live. I was told that Carlos Beltran came back after the All-Star Break. I think that disrupted the rhythm of the lineup and outfield from what had been working well. Luis Castillo came back at some point, aging the lineup in front of our eyes. Jason Bay ran into a wall in Los Angeles (I think during a game), and getting on the airplane to come home, the injury became a concussion. OK, that helped balance things out in the outfield with Beltran and Pagan, although I think Pagan should be the CF over Beltran right now. Some of the "ace" starting pitchers have hit a wall.

But I think the team has lost focus. Jerry Manuel may be managing like he knows that he's a lame duck manager. Maybe that's not the case, and he's just bad at managing. But he's lost the players. And the players are starting to lose the fans. I joked when I came up with the moniker "DyHrdMET" in 1997 that I'm a die hard Mets fan, and I have died hard with the club over the years. Imagine what I've seen in 13 1/2 years since then. I see it again.

While I was in Florida for Spring Training back in March, I came up with the number 75 for my prediction for the number of Mets wins. For a while, I thought I was way off. I'm starting to wonder. I won't consider myself wrong until the Mets hit 80 wins or 90 losses. 21-33 over the last third of the season is probably too low for this club, but if they give up, you never know, but 26-28 isn't.


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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

6 years ago today, we lost our voice

I'm just re-posting what I wrote a year ago today about the 5 year anniversary of the passing of Bob Murphy, forever the voice of the Mets.

In addition to the posts that I linked to a year ago, Mets Gazette wrote about him today.


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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Frank Cashen, GM

On Mets Hall of Fame Induction Day, I go back into the Remembering Shea archives from this past January to a post that I wrote this winter...We Need Another Frank Cashen...I actually talk about a great article from the local newspaper in Port St. Lucie, Florida about Frank Cashen.

Must re-read.


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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mets fans unite

Mets fans unite. Come together next Sunday to see the Mets honor Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Davey Johnson, and Frank Cashen. Forget about the troubles that Fred and Jeff Wilpon have brought on Mets fans with Citi Field (bad seats, high prices, expensive parking). Forget about the troubles of Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel and the coaching staff with the current day Mets and the Mets teams of the past few seasons.

Come together to support the team's history, in a rare occurrence in which ownership chooses to honor it. We don't have Old Timer's Day. We no longer see the fan-favorite Banner Day. In the past 4 years, the Mets have honored milestone anniversaries for both of the team's championships. It's about damn time they did something beyond that.

I'll be there, bright and early, and probably jet-lagged from having just returned from England.


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Monday, July 19, 2010

Ollie or Takahashi?

Given how Takahashi has pitched in his last few outings for the Mets, and given how Oliver Perez has pitched in his last few rehab assignments, which would you rather have as the Number 5 starter, and why?

I've read that the Mets are going to allow Ollie to rejoin the team, but he will pitch out of the bullpen, instead of trying to make another rehab start or sending him down to the minor leagues. But I have to think that Ollie would be better than Takahashi right now in the rotation.

And who would be demoted to make room? Is there really someone pitching worse than Ollie and Taki right now?


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Monday, July 12, 2010

The Only All-Star Game at Shea Stadium

I asked my readers on facebook for an idea of what to write about as a feature for the All-Star Break. Something not related to the 2010 Mets, but still of interest. Last year, I posted something short about Gary Cohen called "Gary Cohen, Hockey Announcer". You get the idea. My friend Coop suggested that I write about the 1964 All-Star Game at Shea. Perfect.

So what do I know about it? From my Mets History classes, I know that the 1964 All-Star Game was played at Shea Stadium as part of the ballpark's first season, along with the 1964-65 World's Fair that was taking place next door. Ron Hunt was the first Met to start an All-Star Game (remember, it was only the 3rd year of the team's existence, and well, the Mets rosters of the 1960's overall were not filled by good players). I found out today that Casey Stengel was a coach for Walter Alston's NL squad.

I've never seen a highlight from this game. I've never seen a replay. Remember that it took place in a time in which there wasn't video tape of every game like there is now. Replays of live events from that era are pretty rare. MLB Network recently showed the 1965 All-Star Game. I wish that I could include a video clip of Ron Hunt getting hit by a pitch in the 1964 game (after all, that's one thing he was famous for as a Met). But that didn't happen. Hunt did go 1 for 3 with a strikeout playing second base.

Johnny Callison, Outfielder then with the Phillies hit what's know known as a "walk-off homerun". I highly doubt that Lindsey Nelson or Buddy Blattner used that term on the NBC telecast. Callison won the Game's MVP Award for his performance that day in front of 50,850 at Shea.

From Baseball-Almanac.com,
Red Sox ace Dick Radatz was on the mound and had already thrown two hitless innings. Willie Mays, in a tough at-bat, got the walk and then stole second. Orlando Cepeda followed with a soft looper to right field scoring Mays due to a bad Joe Pepitone throw to the plate. Two quick outs and a walk later, Johnny Callison hammered a fast ball into the right field stands scoring three runs, giving the Nationals their sixth win in seven games and finally evening up the series.
The winning HR went out towards the Subway in RF. Soon-to-be Hall of Fame Umpire Doug Harvey was officiating down the LF line.

Not much else has been written to tell the story. Nothing with pictures or video that I could find. Shea never hosted another All-Star Game for whatever reason. Citi Field is likely to receive the next game assigned (2013 I believe).


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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fixing the All-Star Game

I was inspired by a post on Morgan Ensberg's Baseball IQ about how the "All-Star Game is Broken". So inspired in fact that I wrote a nice big comment. Morgan is asking for ideas from his readers on how to fix the game. (Morgan Ensberg for Commissioner?) Are you watching the game next week?

You're right that the All Star Game is broken. I think you left out a few players from your example, but no matter since you got your point across (and it seems like this happens every year). I'll give a few ideas, both big and small, on how to fix this (some seem contradictory to each other):

The fans today choose the starters, and in a way, influence the reserves (but position players only). The fans vote like it's a popularity contest rather than voting for the most deserving player at each position. They vote very early, and often. First, I'd let fans vote for pitchers. I don't know how many pitchers are taken for the game, say 11 or 12, and vote for 9 starters and 4 relievers. Second, start the voting later in the season. With online voting widely available in many forms, voting doesn't need to start in late April just a few weeks into the season like it did 20 years ago when fans had to go to the games to vote. The internet changed that whole model. April is too early to figure out if a player is great. Start voting on Memorial Day. Third, get rid of the rule where every team should be included. It dilutes the product on the field.

Fourth and biggest, I'd take it out of the fans' hands and give the vote to the sports writers and baseball broadcasters. It kills the marketing of the ASG, so I see it as somewhat controversial, but give it to the people most capable of determining who deserves to be an All Star. In the end, it will make for a better game, one worthy of letting the winner determine who's league has home field in the World Series (and if you don't go with change #4, then remove the implications of winning). Maybe we can let the fans have a say to influence tiebreakers (but see also changes #1 and 3). I'll go a step further and say that the new class of voters also selects the manager and maybe even coaches (still mostly being other managers).


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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mike Pelfrey, All Star Snub

A few things that I wrote on facebook earlier today after the All-Farce Star Game. Discuss...
Mike Pelfrey deserved to be an All Star, and was snubbed. Putting aside the part where he's scheduled to pitch on the last day before the break and can't pitch in the All-Star Game itself, he deserves to be on the NL pitching staff. Now I thought there was a new rule that starting pitchers pitching on the last day before the break couldn't be added to the roster. Even without that stupid rule in place (if I didn't make it up), select players based on merit, so they can be introduced on the field before the game with everyone else, and then make them ineligible because they pitched on the Sunday, selecting another player in their place. Douche move not to include Pelfrey simply because he will pitch on Sunday. What if it rains between now and then?

On the matter of Charlie Manuel, I thought there was a rule that a manager couldn't manage the All-Star Game 2 years in a row, which Charlie Manuel is going to do. Now I'm not advocating Jerry Manuel to be managing, though he would like all the pitching changes, but the the game has become a farce.

One other thing I never understood was why the fans don't vote for pitchers. MLB can make a rule that after the top vote-getters are announced that a taxi squad could be announced with it to replace any pitcher actually pitching on the Sunday before the game (or choosing not to work in the ASG).


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The 3/6th report - 81 down, 81 to go

What a roller-coaster ride it's been so far through the first 81 games. The Mets are 45-36, 3 games back of Atlanta, and leading the LA Dodgers for the Wild Card by 1/2 game. The numbers most curious to me are the home/road splits. The Mets are 28-12 at Shea Stadium Citi Field and 17-24 on the road. The winning percentages actually come out to nice fractions - 5/9 overall (.556 winning percentage) and 7/10 at home (.700), and on the road is not a nice fraction with a .416).

I still think the Mets true identity is a team that plays almost like a champion at home and can't find their way on the road. I have to think that at least one of two things accounts for this - Citi Field truly is a unique ballpark built for the Mets and the Mets are conditioned to win there and only there - and/or the manager of the Mets only knows how to manage the Mets in a "home" game and can't quite figure it out in a "road" game.

On to the players of the first half of the season. Coming into the season, I don't think most knew what to expect from the Mets 2 best starting pitchers - Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese - or the thought that those would be the 2 best starting pitchers. The Mets have a good crop of in-season callups from Buffalo as well - Ike Davis, Chris Carter, Ruben Tejada, R.A. Dickey - to go with the homegrown core of the team (Wright, Reyes, Pelfrey, Niese).

There's a few players from past years that seem to be "missing". Carlos Beltran, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo. I almost think that the Mets could do without at least 3 of these guys and bringing any one back would be a big disruption to something going well.

Let me ask a question in jest. The Mets are playing well in an 9 game home stretch. Name 2 things that can disrupt it. Answers - one of those "missing" players returns, or the homestand ends.

The biggest concerns for me for the 2nd half of the season are Johan Santana, the bullpen, and the return of the injured players. Yes, you heard me right. I'm concerned about Johan Santana. He hasn't recovered from his offseason surgery. He has the mentality of an ace, but doesn't have the physical abilities, at least this season, to back it up. The bullpen is weak and overused. The overuse is on Jerry Manuel's shoulders. Something's wrong with the Mets closer. Maybe he isn't being pitched enough, or in the right spots, but he's paid to get guys out and just isn't able to. This will be 2008 all over again when Jerry Manuel ran the bullpen into the ground and cost the Mets a playoff berth. And the aforementioned injured players, older, rusty, and/or overpaid, coming back could disrupt what the Mets already have. Think about where you, as a fan, would want those players inserted into the lineup and starting or bullpen rotations.

For the 2nd half, well, I think my March prediction of 75 wins might be a bit short, but I don't see 85 wins happening. I expect a deja vu of 2008 (which I admit is better than a deja vu of 2009), and I expect the Mets to miss the playoffs again.


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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Can't close the door

My facebook news feed is lighting up with comparisons of K-Rod to Benitez. Fair comparisons at this point. I saw this one and remember telling a few people of it 2 months ago. It also reminds me of the 2008 Mets, where the bullpen made fans sick. In total fairness, blame for those comparisons should be split between the manager and his misuse of the 'pen and those pitchers.


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Friday, July 2, 2010

Stat of the Day

Through July 1, 2010, almost half way into the season...

the Mets have 20 saves, tied for 13th in the Majors.
Washington has 24 saves, tied for 3rd in the Majors.

the Mets have 44 wins and Washington has 35.

Let's do the math. 20 of 44 wins (45%) were saved for NY compared to 24 of 35 (68%) for the Nats. 9 more wins and 4 fewer saves for the Mets compared to Washington.

Make of it what you will...



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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Former Met broadcaster passes away

From BallparkDigest.com comes the news of the passing of former Met broadcaster Lorn Brown. The Chicago Tribune covers his career the best. Click the links above to read more on his career.

Lorn Brown called Mets games on television in 1982, sharing Mets broadcasting duties with Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner (of course) and radio broadcaster Steve LaMar. He was first hired into MLB by Bill Veeck in 1976 to work alongside Harry Caray on White Sox broadcasts.


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Monday, June 28, 2010

The Big Mid-Season Test

We're almost at MLB's mid-season point. A few more games to officially reach 81 played. And the Mets are facing their latest big test. 7 games on the road for a team that's 15-20 on the road, and that includes 6 straight wins on the last road trip against the 2 worst teams in the American League. Are the Mets a changed team, after the removal of both John Maine and Oliver Perez from the rotation last month, or are the Mets still the same team that wins a lot at home and loses a lot on the road?

These next 7 games, against 2 teams within their division that are also below them in the standings will show me what the 2010 Mets are all about. The Mets are 0-4 on the road against Florida (I know these 3 games are in San Juan, not the normal Florida road-trip the Mets usually enjoy with their Florida fan base) and 1-1 in Washington this year. These are teams they should beat (though the matchup against Strasburg should be interesting).

Personally, I think the trip to Baltimore and Cleveland was an anomaly. Had they played their normal .333 winning percentage on that part of the trip, the Mets would be .314 on the road (11-24 record) and 39-36 overall (.520 winning percentage), 4.5 games behind Atlanta in 3rd place.

But maybe they take 2 in San Juan and 3 in Washington and prove me wrong going into the half-way mark (Saturday's game is game #81). Then it could be a fun summer in New York. If not, we'll be hearing cries to overpay for Cliff Lee, fire Jerry Manuel, and rush Carlos Beltran back to the lineup.

2010 New York Mets, it's your pitch!


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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Beer Money

Thursday night, I was at the Mets game against Detroit. Thanks to the tickets I had, I had access to the Caesars Club on the fancy-named Excelsior level at Citi Field. During Batting Practice, I decided to wander the entire Excelsior level since it's not something I have access to all the time (don't get me started on that). Within a minute of entering through the glass doors into the secure area of the concourse, I was approached by a producer for SNY's Beer Money and asked if I wanted to play the game and possibly appear in the upcoming season. I decided 'what the heck' and agreed to play.

After a bit of paperwork and choosing to play the standard game (3 questions) instead of the 'Beer Run' game (name 10 people who...), and choosing Mets questions over others, they had to setup to tape me. Now, I'm thinking during this time "don't have (co-host) Chris Carlin be the one to interview me". Ya, that's bad to think, but I'd rather have the female co-host. I learned a little while later that there were 2 new co-hosts (the Beer Money facebook page mentions 2 new co-hosts for this season. But I got the female co-host...Amber Wilson (on the Beer Money page, you can see photos of her with other contestants from Thursday night's game, but not me). I decided to take a few photos of the crew (these are the only ones that weren't blurry) to prove that I played the game in case I don't make it to air. The two guys at the concession stand in the photo on the left were part of the 4 person crew.

Anyway, on to the game. After a few attempts and finding good light for video on the Excelsior concourse, we moved down to the bottom of the steps next to the camera well on the 1B side, on the last aisle (going towards home plate) before the start of the press box (I think the video control room was next to us). Plenty of light there and we got started.

For the sake of suspense, I won't give the answers to the questions which I was asked, but only to say that (after an amount of thought unintentionally proportional to the monetary value of the answer) I got them all correct. I'll have to paraphrase the questions because I don't remember the exact wording...
for $10: What 1986 Mets reliever retired after the 2003 season (she may have said "1986 Mets lefty reliever")?
for $20: Who was the Mets Opening Day catcher in 2007 and 2008?
for $100: Who was the Mets Opening Day third baseman in 1962?

You can try to answer the questions in the comments, but I promise you that no more money will be transferred.

After it was done, and I signed to say that I received money, they told me that these shoots (and they did others at Citi Field and elsewhere in the city the night before, according to facebook) would air in late July or August, and that there was not a guarantee that my turn would air. I think the producer said that they shoot 12 people and air 7, or something like that. So we shall see. I'll post updates here and on facebook as I find out more about the show airing.


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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Not the Worst Mets team ever

It's still (or it's only) June. And we've learned one thing already. This Mets team will be no worse than the worst Mets team ever. Good going guys!


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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pardon the dust

Pardon me while I test and change a few things on the blog's layout. Blogger.com, the host for blogs at "blogspot.com" (a Google product) has implemented a new template designer that has easily allowed me to redesign the blog in a way that I was trying to do by hand.

Let me know what you think. The biggest thing I need to work on is the right sidebar.


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Friday, June 18, 2010

One quick note

it's very possible that I launch a redesign of my site this weekend. in the meantime, you can hit Remembering Shea's wall on facebook and join the group heckling me over my 75 win predicition.


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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Perfect Games

Looking over the record book on Wikipedia a few weeks ago after the near Perfect Game in Detroit, I noticed that yesterday, June 12, was the 130th anniversary of the first ever Perfect Game in Major League Baseball history, involving 2 teams that haven't existed in over 125 years. There have only been 2 occurrences in which 2 or more perfect games were thrown within a calendar year - the first two 5 days apart 130 year ago, and 3 going back to last July 23.

Someday Mets fans...Someday...


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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Baltimore and Washington

Last weekend, as noted on this site's facebook page, I took a baseball road trip to Baltimore and Washington to see each stadium for the first time in person. I had my father with me, and we met my cousin and his 6 year old son in Washington on Sunday.

click to read on...

Friday, June 4, 2010

The two-sixth report

The Mets have played 54 games in this 2010 baseball season. That is exactly 2/6ths of a regulation season.

The Mets are 27-27, 5 games back of Atlanta for first place in the NL East, currently in 4th place. They're also 4 full games back of San Diego for the Wild Card lead.

Going back to the 1/6th report, they had a semi-bad 27 game stretch, going 12-15 to balance out the 15-12 that came before it. The Mets are 19-9 at home, and 8-18 on the road. That's quite a difference. They're home for 6 games before going back on the road. I won't count over the entire schedule, but I think they play 81 games at home and 81 games away from it (unless you're the Phillies and Blue Jays). A month ago, I looked at who the Mets had played, thinking that they beat bad teams and lost to teams better than they are. 9 teams in the NL are better than the Mets, and 6 aren't. I don't know how much all that means.

It strikes me that this team does not have what it would take to realistically contend with other teams in their division. The pitching staff has been erratic. Guys in the bullpen who got off to great starts aren't pitching as well, and they're also getting overworked. The starting staff became better by subtraction when Oliver Perez was demoted to count his money in solitude and John Maine came up with an injury to get out of the rotation. The starting rotation as it stands now is enough to get by, but the way Jerry Manuel uses his bullpen leads me to think that we'll see flashbacks to the end of the 2008 season (also managed by Jerry Manuel) with the bullpen failing to hold leads, etc. It was that way in the Mets' 57th game, even after a stellar 8 innings from our first ace.

There isn't much of a bench. We have a good backup catcher (who expected me to say that 2 months ago). But beyond that, it doesn't seem very useful. Alex Cora is a rock stepping in on the infield, I don't think I've noticed Chris Carter lately, and there's a few guys just keeping the physical dugout bench from flying away. The starting 8 finally seems consistent. Some days they can't do squat, but they're all in it together, and other days they can all hit the ball.

If that part of the team can get back to its 2008 level, and Jerry Manuel can stop his over-reliance on the bullpen and push his starters more, then maybe, just maybe, we'll have some interest come September.

As far as cutting ties with anyone mid-season, I just don't see Jeff Wilpon paying anyone off to go away. That includes Oliver Perez, Jerry Manuel, Dan Warthen, and Omar Minaya. And that type of mindset in the higher up reaches of the team is going to ultimately hurt the club in both the short and long term.


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Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Perfect Game

looking over some stats related to Perfect Games, since we almost had one last night...this is an unprecedented time in MLB modern day history regarding perfect games. had Galarraga gotten the call, it would have been the 3rd perfect game this year (when only 365 days ago, the standard was to go years between prefect games), and the 3rd consecutive Perfect Game to (relatively) smash the record for shortest time between Perfect Games.

With all that, this may be the time...there may be hope for a Mets no hitter after all.


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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Not Quite Perfect

Weird. Nice effort of what someone called a 28 out Perfect Game. But it also evoked memories of memories of Don Denkinger in the 1985 World Series.

From the Cleveland Indians TV broadcast tonight on SportsTime Ohio
...And now he is facing Jason Donald. The only man who stands between Galarraga and Major League Baseball history...
oh if they only knew what would happen 3 pitches later.

The Detroit broadcaster on Fox Sports Detroit actually said "he's out" before having to correct himself (and having to correct himself many times over).

Jim Joyce blew the call. I've heard for many years that umpires listen for the ball in the glove at first while looking for the runner's foot on the bag. The last play was a soft toss to first, and maybe there wasn't any sound to go by. It was caught (by the pitcher covering) in the top webbing of his glove. That's no excuse. Maybe it's something for Major League Baseball and the umpires to consider fixing how umpires make calls like this. Too many blown calls in MLB this year. But I don't think replay should be in the future.

Both teams' broadcasters were in agreement that Jim Joyce blew the call, had replays, and were just down. You could hear it in the Tigers broadcasters. The Cleveland broadcasters did correctly predict the scene after the game. For me, I've never seen a bench-clearing argument with an umpire like what happened after the Tigers game with the near perfect game. Detroit's broadcasters were getting on the Tigers for the scene. I can't blame them. Jim Leyland should have argued until he got tossed defending his pitcher after the play.

Just imagine if this had been a Mets pitcher...


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