Sunday, January 31, 2010

Shea Flashback - a final farewell

It was a year ago today that a group of Mets fans, about 200 strong, came out to the see the remains of Shea Stadium, one last time together, a few weeks before the final pieces fell.

Here's the start of a multi-post recap that I wrote a year ago on the event. It's quite long, but there was so much to say.

I also took a lot of pictures.

Let's hear your stories...

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Naming rights issues in Port St. Lucie?

An interesting piece coming out of the Treasure Coast in Florida about the naming rights of "Tradition Field" in Port St. Lucie, which you can read here.

To fill you in, it looks like the group that owns the name "Tradition" hasn't made their payment to St. Lucie County for the naming rights to the Mets' Spring Training ballpark (it was due a month ago), and there's speculation that they won't make their payment to the Mets in another month. You can catch up on the story here, here, and here.

While nothing's changing now, columnist Ray McNulty has an interesting idea for the Mets (from the first article linked above)
Pay for it yourselves — at least until Core Communities comes through (which now appears highly unlikely) or you can land another title sponsor.

Just write a check to the county for the $75,000 its not getting from Core Communities and, if necessary, eat the $75,000 you’re probably not going to get in March.
This is a wonderful opportunity to step forward during this economically challenging stretch and show your gratitude to the county and its money-strapped residents for 22 years of loyal support.

It’s a chance to buy a priceless amount of goodwill in the community at a bargain-basement price.

You’d come across as caring and compassionate, sensitive and generous, even noble.

All for a paltry $75,000.

And if you do this now, before pitchers and catchers report to camp, you’d create a feel-good buzz that would resonate throughout the team’s spring-training stay.

Some interesting stuff going on down there. It really shouldn't affect the Mets as a team at all. But Ray's idea of the Mets imposing some good will really could be a gold star on a blank sheet that they have right now.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Meet the Mets

This morning I woke up and started reading the headlines and blogs and saw a few posts on the passing of Jane Jarvis this past Monday at age 94. Aside from her career playing jazz music, she was also known to the first generations of Mets fans as the organist from Shea Stadium.

Her playing days at Shea were before my time. I only know her from the history that I've learned in my 23+ years as a Mets fan. So I'll send you to two of my favorite blogs to get some perspective.
Greg Prince shares a story of meeting her a few years ago.
And over at comes this post from almost 2 years ago about Jane. Update: -'s post today marking her passing.
In honor of Jane, please take a few minutes to find your "Meet the Mets" CD, and play the organ version of the 1964 Meet the Mets song. For me, it comes 3 weeks earlier than I would normally go to find it.

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Shea was better than the cookie cutters

Watching some classic games and highlight films on MLB Network and SNY (including the 1976 and 1984 Mets Yearbook videos and a classic (1995) Mets loss on MLB Network) and reading some comments to the programming note I posted on the facebook version of this site, I realized that Shea was better than the cookie cutter ballparks of a slighly later vintage.

There was Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Vetrans Stadium in Philadelphia, Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, all opened in the early 1970s, and all had no charm. All were round, gray, and had artificial turf. They were multi-purpose stadiums. There was no character. The "cookie cutters".

They were all trying to follow Shea, Busch Stadium, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Those were the multi-purpose stadiums of the 1960s.

The ballparks of the '60s had color. They all looked different. Most had natural grass. The ballparks of the '70s all looked the same. They all had artificial turf. No imagination.

Of them all, only Oakland's ballpark still stands (and still hosts both baseball and football). Of the others, Shea was the first to go up, and Shea was the last to come down. It widthstood the the other ballparks from the same era, and the next era. Most of those other places needed to be replaced, and have been, with something much nicer looking. Shea, well, I won't go there.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Proof that the fan bloggers are smart

Bloggers and fans have been saying this for most of the offseason. Some probably since last summer (myself included). Now it's in the mainstream media, thanks to Ken Rosenthal on

What have all of us been saying? That the Mets are dysfunctional. I won't go into why. It's like preaching to the choir. But what it does mean is that we, the fans and fan bloggers, ARE NOT WRONG. Something we have been saying for several months is now being said by a well respected national journalist. It means that WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. We're not just some cranky, upset fans making up excuses.

I'm just saying...Not that we can do anything to fix the problem. Or can we?...

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Top 10 Mets injuries and mishaps in 2009

From the home office at the William A. Shea Municipal Stadium Memorial Parking Lot in Flushing, Queens, it's tonight's Top 10 List. Tonight, the top 10 injuries and mishaps to befall the Mets in 2009.

Number 10 - Oliver Perez shows up in camp

Number 9 - Alex Cora plays half the season without the use of his thumbs

Number 8 - Mike Pelfrey claims an earthquake shook the pitcher's mound in San Francisco

Number 7 - Jose Reyes is on the DL day-to-day for the last 3/4 of the season

Number 6 - David Wright is beaned on the head by a pitch and when he comes to, he thinks he's "huntin wabbits"

Number 5 - Dozens of Mets fans get carpel tunnel syndrome complaining on their blogs about their first experiences at Citi Field

Number 4 - Someone saves Jeff Wilpon from jumping off of what was then called the Gil Hodges bridge

Number 3 - Omar Minaya removes his shirt during a press conference and challenges Adam Rubin to a fight in the parking lot after work

Number 2 - Ryan Church slips on a banana peel rounding 3rd base causing him to miss the bag in a game in Los Angeles

And the number 1 mishap for the Mets in 2009...

Luis Castillo falls down the dugout steps

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

We need another Frank Cashen

A great article in the Port St. Lucie area newspaper yesterday (available online at by Ray McNulty on former Mets GM, and soon-to-be Mets HOFer, Frank Cashen, here. This is the type of GM that we need in Flushing.

Some items that I was unaware of.

Frank Cashen was an award winning sportswriter in Baltimore before joining the Orioles front office.

Frank Cashen created the Mets Hall of Fame.
“I started it because I think it’s good for an organization to honor its past and have successful alumni around,” said Cashen, who already has been enshrined in the Orioles Hall of Fame. “For some reason, the Mets stopped doing it in 2002. I was gone by then, so I don’t know why, exactly. But I’m glad they’ve started it up again.
Like I said, this is the type of guy we need running the Mets.

Starting with the 1984 season, under Frank Cashen (until 1990), the Mets never finished worse than 2nd place in the 6-team NL East, with 1989 being the worst of those years (87 wins, 6 games back).

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prime 9 - Mets edition

In the style of MLB Network's series "Prime 9", I am here to start the debates - what Mets are next in line for the Mets Hall of Fame, and what Mets are next in line for having their uniform number retired?

Before I throw out my 9, I should note that I didn't start following the Mets until very late October in 1986, so there's about half of the Mets history that I didn't live first-hand.

9 greatest Mets
9, tie) Frank Cashen and Davey Johnson - without them, there would be do fond memories of the 1980s. Being inducted together into the Mets Hall of Fame in 2010.
8) Ed Kranepool - Longevity says something. Inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1990.
7) Keith Hernandez - the captain 25 years ago and popular announcer now. Inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1997.
6) Gil Hodges - singlehandedly brought the Mets to respectibility in the late '60s. His number 37 is retired, and he was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1982.
5) Mike Piazza - He brought fans to Shea and led the Mets to the playoffs twice and the World Series once.
4) Darryl Strawberry - Another piece of energy from the 1980s Mets. Being inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 2010.
3) Jerry Koosman - Widely regarded as the #2 guy from the 1969 championship team. Mets Hall of FAme class of 1989.
2) Doc Gooden - I've heard that Shea was electric when he pitched. He will be indcuted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 2010.
1) Tom Seaver - "the franchise". His number 41 is retired, and he was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1988.

So where does that leave us?

The next 9 to be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame (not including active and future Mets players)
9) Filax Milan - maybe the best of the rest from the 1970s
8) David Cone - another ace from the good days
7) Edgardo Alfonzo - 3rd all time in Mets career hits.
6 & 5) Gary Cohen and Howie Rose - the voices of summer for a generation. The original announcing trio was inducted during the club's 23rd year, and these guys are almost at that point themselves. I'm not sure who would be the MC of the ceremony though.
4) Al Leiter - the ace of the staff that brought the Mets back to respectibility (again)
3) Bobby Valentine - he led the Mets to the playoffs twice
2) John Franco - longevity speaks for itself.
1) Mike Piazza

The next 9 numbers to be retired (not including active and future Mets players)
9) Edgardo Alfonzo
8) Al Leiter
7) John Franco
6) Ed Kranepool
5) Keith Hernandez
4) Mike Piazza
3) Darryl Strawberry
2) Jerry Koosman
1) Doc Gooden

I hope some day David Wright and Jose Reyes lead us to good times in the next 10-15 years and can get themselves on this list.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Hall of Fame

The Mets announced today a quadruple-hall of fame induction in the 2010 season. Actually, it will be all on the same day - Sunday, August 1.

Davey Johnson, Frank Cashen, Darryl Strawberry, and Doc Gooden. I like this. I cannot say that enough. I had recently read (thanks, Coop, for reminding me that it came from your post on MySummerFamily) a case for the Mets to retire Davey's number 5. I like this. I like the sheer fact that the Mets are opening the doors to the Mets Hall of Fame, and that this group, 4 of the 6 most important Mets from the 1986 World Championship, are going in together. This is a great re-start. I should note that the other 2 Mets from the 1986 championship have already been inducted (Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez).

I like this. I really do hope the Mets do the physical museum justice. Let me make a suggestion. They should buy back, or pull from their own archives (I don't know what the Mets thought to keep) a couple pair of Shea seats, some Shea signs, and maybe some of the other Mets-ie items that never sold in the Shea Memorabilia sale in the past year and a half. The Mets should buy/collect/steal all of these items and find a home for them inside the museum. Don't have it just be the 25 plaques that the Mets say will be "one of the main attractions at the new Mets Hall of Fame and Museum".

Wait. The Mets Hall of Fame has plaques? Where have they been hiding all this time? Was it in the Diamond Club at Shea? Where were they inside Citi Field in 2009? Oh I don't want to open that can of worms.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pitchers and Kvetchers report February 19 is reporting that Mets Pitchers and Kvetchers have their first workouts on Saturday, February 20. I deduce that they report on February 19, and that marks another season of New York Mets baseball.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Will there be ice hockey at Citi Field?

Will there be ice hockey at Citi Field?

That's tough to say. Jeff Wilpon wants it and has told the NHL "that the Mets are ready, willing and able to host it at Citi Field". I think a lot of fans want it. Does the NHL want it? Is it the best place to stage an outdoor hockey game in the NYC area? It sounds like the NHL is going to figure this one out.

Let's break down the different venues for staging this event in the NYC area.
  1. (the soon to be opened) Giants Stadium - It's certainly a top venue in the area to hold this event. But the logistics would stand in the way. 2 teams play there, so in 17 weeks, there's 16 games. If the NFL starts is season on the weekend after Labor Day, which they've done for the past several years, then the season would start September 9 & 12 and it would end January 2. The Winter Classic is played on January 1. The NHL needs to be in the venue "by Dec. 23 in order to get the rink assembled in time for a New Year’s Day game". And I don't think it could be torn down and the field readied for football in 24 hours time, so that pretty much means 2 Sundays without football at Giants Stadium to make this work. The NFL would need to schedule both teams home one week during the season (certainly possible with a Thursday night game), and have both on the road for 2 weeks to end the season.

    Now, let's say they do all that. The NHL would have a tough time justifying having any team other than the New Jersey Devils as the home team. The Devils are interested in playing. A Devils-Rangers game would seem natural, and this is a stadium that plays host to two teams called "New York", so it would be hard keeping the Rangers out. But I know that the NHL's TV partner, NBC, is deathly afraid of the Devils. They're like a small market team, and the NHL wouldn't risk that in a big event. They want the Rangers. But they wouldn't have 2 teams from the same market playing each other.

    Bottom line - A logistical problem for Giants Stadium and the NFL, and another one for the NHL and NBC. The Giants Stadium problem will be the one to prevent the game from being played. But if they can work it out, how about playing two - one Devils home game and one Rangers home game, and bring in 2 opposing teams. Worth a thought.

    The NFL schedule comes out in April. If we see something funny with Jets and Giants road games ending the season, we'll know that something's up, even if the NHL sits on the news until the summer when their schedule comes out. But I just don't think it will happen.

  2. the new (some call it "fake") Yankee Stadium - I think the NHL would love it. Rangers vs. Montreal is the rumor I've heard. I'm a Devils fan and a Mets fan, but I'd go to the Bronx for this one.

    But Yankee Stadium is getting involved with College Football (the likes of Notre Dame, Army, Rutgers) and is almost signed on to have a College Bowl game the week after Christmas. That pretty much eliminates Yankee Stadium hosting an NHL game on New Year's Day. And this isn't the same place as the old Yankee Stadium, which had all the history.

    Bottom Line - Maybe they can work something out to push back the Bowl game by a year and play hockey instead. But it may be too late. Yankee Stadium may have to wait for the Bowl's contract to end before getting an NHL game.

  3. Citi Field - The Wilpon family, Mets ownership, have come out and said they'd be interested. They almost had a football game last November, so we know they're interested in things besides baseball. But I've read that the NHL doesn't think the venue is "sexy enough" for what they're looking for. I can't really see Citi Field in the same company as Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, but aside from the destructed Yankee Stadium, I don't see who else could go in that company. If you want the game in or near New York City, this may be the place.

    If it happens, I'll go. I'm sure a lot of you will too. Who would we see on the ice? Citi Field is in Queens, which is part of New York City (remember, New York City is more than just Manhattan), so the Rangers must be involved. But Queens is also part of the sandbar called Long Island, which has its own hockey team (for now). So the Islanders should be involved too. Again, the NHL's TV partner, NBC, doesn't want the low rated Islanders cluttering up their telecast (like the Devils, the Islanders are a small market team in the larget TV market), and they really don't want two teams from the same market playing in this contest, so someone may be complaining in the end.

    But let's play this out. How about a home-and-home matchup between the Rangers and Islanders? Keep the ice up all winter and let the Isles play a few games there after the New Year. Maybe move in full time (it's not quite the Lighthouse project). Do you think Howie Rose would get confused calling a hockey game from the same broadcast booth where he calls Mets games from? What about the NBA getting into the act and playing a New Year's night game at the Tennis Center for a Queens sports winter time doubleheader?

    Bottom Line - Having a game at Citi Field seems to me that it's the most likely scenario for NYC, but I'm just not sure who would be involved.

  4. Others: Hofstra Stadium (diagonally across the street from the Islanders' home on Long Island), Ichan Stadium (on Randall's Island), Red Bull Arena (a new soccer venue in Harrison, NJ, not far from the Devils' arena in Newark) - Well, if Citi Field wasn't "sexy enough", then we can pretty much cross these off the list too.

  5. What about Central Park? Don't they have a hockey rink? It would be a different type of venue to set up for an NHL game. Hmm...

With all that said, I'd love to be able to go to an outdoor hockey game and support the Devils, but a New Year's trip to Queens would be fun too. I would have loved to see hockey at Shea (I'm too young to even remember football at Shea). But I think Minnesota should be the next host. They have a new outdoor baseball stadium opening up in April to showcase, and they're crazy about their hockey (on the top with New England). It could be another case for College Hockey on the ballfield.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The countdown to Pitchers and Catchers is on

From Adam Rubin, Brian Costa, David Lennon, Steve Popper, and Matt Cerrone comes official dates for Spring Training.

Pitchers and Catchers Report - Feb. 18, 2010
Physicals - Feb. 19, 2010
Jerry Manuel Media Availability - Feb. 19, 2010
Pitchers' first workout - Feb. 20, 2010
Position Players Report - Feb. 23, 2010
Physicals - Feb. 24, 2010
First Full-Squad Workout - Feb. 25, 2010
First game - March 2, 2010
I arrive in Florida - March 18, 2010
My first game in Port St. Lucie - March 19, 2010

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Oh Baby It's Cold Outside

Think warm thoughts....

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