Sunday, April 24, 2011

Writer's Block And Some Other Thoughts

I realized that I haven't written very much on the blog in the last 6 months, outside of some news pieces about the NY Sports Emmys, some sound bytes, and my Spring Training trip. At work, I had a busy few months that started right after the season ended (thank goodness it wasn't during the season) and ended right before Spring Training started. And frankly, there wasn't a whole lot to say that hadn't already been said.

I also think I've had a case of writer's block for some time. Facebook has sort of ruined me in that respect. If you don't follow my blog on facebook, please do so. I post a lot of smaller items (small enough to fit into a facebook status update) there, that just wouldn't work as well as full blog posts that follow my style of blogging, and I've found there is more interaction on facebook. Of course, I like comments and dialogue on the posts written here as well (and as always, thank you all for reading/following my writings). I just noticed that I had exactly half as many posts in 2010 as I had in 2009 when there was so much more original thoughts to speak. At first, I looked at this as a sort of therapy for following the Mets. It's helped, but I think I need a little more. I'm actually getting a little bit of inspiration by sitting in my Shea seats watching Billy Joel Live At Shea Stadium for the first time (buy the DVD, CD, and/or BluRay, and the documentary).

The Mets were utter failures last season. Changes in the GM's office and the Manager and coaching staff were made. I really didn't know enough about those new guys (and still don't) to write anything insightful. With this blog, I like to write some sort of unique-ish feature article and commentary. You may realize this, but I don't post news, game previews, or game recaps. I leave that to the professionals who have the inside scoop, and to other blogs. Anyway, there just wasn't anything to write about that hasn't already been said, either by me or by someone else.

All that being said, we're in a new era of Mets baseball. It's the 50th season, and the first time since 2005 that there is new leadership at the top two levels (the "top two" being one and two levels below the owner, where the ownership is a whole separate issue). I like the overall change in direction that the Mets have made. These changes should have been made during or after the 2009 season. But they weren't, and maybe it will work out for the better.

But I started saying this in 2009, and I was thinking it a lot in the first 3 weeks of this season -- the Mets need to clean house and rebuild. Get rid of anyone who was around for the playoff failure of 2006, the collapse of 2007, and the redux of 2008. Those players in my mind are tagged as "losers". Since they didn't clean house going into 2009, and 2009 utterly sucked, I'll go and add on players from the 2009 Mets to that list. I don't have an exact number of players (I'm not big on research like that), but it involves some real core players. They need to go. What was that line about Ralph Kiner?
On June 4, 1953, Kiner was sent to the Chicago Cubs as part of a ten-player trade. This was largely due to continued salary disputes with Pirate general manager Branch Rickey, who reportedly told Kiner, "We finished last with you, we can finish last without you."
from Wikipedia
The Mets haven't won, and have been labeled "losers" with the likes of David Wright and Carlos Beltran leading the team. Quite an endorsement, isn't it? Cut 'em. I'll admit, I haven't been high on David Wright for a couple of years now, but this is more than just him. I was throwing around the idea of packaging up Wright and Mike Pelfrey in a trade and I wasn't exactly shot down on that one.

Sandy Alderson started going in the right direction over the offseason, but he needs to make the big jump. And this has nothing to do with the money problems that the Mets face. Every time the Mets have come close to success in their 49 years, there has been a moment where it fell apart, and within a few years, it was a very low point. I wrote about it in 2009. Nothing was fixed until the team brought in a new regime and cleaned house. That's been a pattern for most of the team's lifespan.

Now, since I started mulling this part over in my head, Jason Bay returned to the lineup, his head seems to be clear, and the Mets look like a different team. 3 wins in a row now. I think the expression is "break up the Mets". Well, that's what I've been thinking. I don't think a 3 game winning streak (or however long it winds up being) changes anything in the long run. But I also have to ask the question if this is a .500 team (which is in the neighborhood of what I had predicted) that just had a bad week and things will even out, or is this a really bad team that's currently in a short hot streak. The 2008 team that suffered the franchise's second collapse in as many seasons was a .500 team that had a good stretch, not long after the manager was fired. This year's team had a good stretch after a long lost player returned from a new short-term injury from Spring Training.

Well, it's April, so I don't really know the answers. That's why they play the games.

But looking long term, the biggest factors are whether or not Sandy Alderson will listen to what I have written here (I doubt he reads my blog, or at least would have the message passed to him, and it's not like I'm sending this out to him, but maybe he has similar ideas), and how the ownership situation will play out. I wrote back in my lone post from January what I thought of the Madoff-related lawsuit and boldly said that within a year (of that point) that the Wilpon family will no longer be in control of the Mets. I even followed it up with another realization on the matter.

Since that post, where I speculated that they would have a hard time selling off 25% of the club (now that's up to 49%) without giving up some control, which has played out, we learned that the Mets needed a loan from MLB (and tried to get a second loan) during the offseason just to make ends meet. That's just scary, especially for a New York team. And the lawsuit, which really really should be on the owners personally and not on the team, hasn't even been settled/judged, so that's just a huge wildcard. And now the Dodgers are in an even worse situation than the Mets are. How ironic! MLB has even had to step in and assume control of the Dodgers. I'm sure if Bud Selig and Frank McCourt (the Dodgers co-owner) were buddy-buddy like Selig and Fred Wilpon are, maybe it would play out differently. Bud Selig needs to do the same thing with the Mets that he did with the Dodgers, and that is to appoint someone to oversee anything that goes on with the ballclub. Maybe that's what Sandy Alderson is doing in Flushing. And he needs to step up and force out owners who are bad for the game, such as the two mentioned here. Unfortuately, the Mets will have been run completely into dire financial straits before that happens.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

49 years ago tonight

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Mike Pelfrey

Before the game goes too far (1 inning down into Pelfrey's 3rd start as I write this), here's my quick take on Mike Pelfrey.

He's pitched poorly in 2 starts, but it's only been 2 starts. If I'm a fan in the stands or in my recliner, I'm on the verge of booing Big Pelf and saying he needs help or that we should trade him and get something good in return. But if I'm someone inside the clubhouse, I can see much more closely exactly what he needs without getting down on him. We as Mets fans need him to turn it around...let's hope someone close to him can see what's wrong and fix him. Maybe it's just some home cooking.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

SNY wins some Emmys

Announced last night on

SNY won for a feature on Mike Westhoff as part of their Jets coverage and for their coverage of the LeBron James signing last summer on SportsNite. Ray Lucas from the SNY Jets coverage won best analyst.

The "NY NY Sports Sports" commercials also won and SNY's "NY Sports Local" commercials won for best graphics.

And winning for DIRECTOR: LIVE OR LIVE TO TAPE - Bill Webb.

Congratulations to all the winners. You can see all of the Mets-related nominees here.

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