Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Join In On The Fun!

Shannon over at Mets Police has posted an informal survey of five questions, for the average Mets fan.

You all know The Coop is FAR from average...but the questions are fun, and you should take part too. Contact details are in the post.

1. When did I start following the Mets?

In 1983 -- 1984 was my first vivid memories associated with the Mets but then, a dude named Seaver was pitching and a guy named Keith was traded to the team. Dad could not stop talking about them.

2. Favorite Mets memory?

I have three -- top being in attendance at Game 7 in 1986. I was old enough to understand but too young to fully appreciate it.

The next one has to be watching Game 4 of the 1999 NLDS (The Pratt HR) at my old apartment with Mr. E, Uncle Gene and two of his three kids. If you remember correctly, the Mets don't win that game, there was force back to Arizona against The Unit himself, Randy Johnson. I remember turning to my dad right before the at-bat, saying, "I DON'T want to go back and face Unit. We can't." A few seconds later, as I like to describe it, four cautious hineys (Kay Jay wasn't a Mets fan at the time yet) lift off the respective sofas...as soon as we saw Finley's face, it was time for cathartic Zorba the Greek-like dances.

Close tie with that game is the grand-slam single game in 1999...Watching that with the same crew except it was at Aunt Melissa and Uncle Gene's house. Same cautious hineys lifting off the sofas...and then of course the Zorba-the-Greek-like dances.

3. Worst Mets memory?

Last game of 2007. Nuff said. After the high of the day before, with John Maine's almost no-no, it was such a deflator. I think I slept most of that offseason.

4. One off-field change I could make?

Start buying out the chop shops in the Iron Triangle and start razing, to make a little community there for fans, and gathering places to watch sports events, even in the offseason. I can't tell you what it's like to go to other stadiums and there are so many fan-friendly options in and around the stadium areas. And what it's like to have to get off a few stops earlier on the train to enjoy some pre-game cocktails.

5. First thing I would change if I owned the team?

Fire everyone. And I mean everyone. And start paying overslot in the draft.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Philosophy 101: Change for the Better

Now that the Season from Hell is over, with the added insult (Yankees World Series win over the Phillies) to (multiple) injuries having occurred, I can finally concentrate on Hot Stove Season and what the Mets can do to improve themselves.

So Happy Hot Stove Season.

We've been hearing quite a bit in the form of trade rumors and faux proposals. I do have to say that in light of previous years where we would hear some crazy-ass stuff on the table (including what was to me the improbable trade of Johan Santana to the Mets which actually did happen), this year the trade rumors seem to be reasonable. As an example, yesterday a pretty strong rumor verified by multiple sources came out that Luis Castillo might be going to the Cubs in a three-way involving Toronto (Mets would get Lyle Overbay) and Chicago (Chicago is looking to dump Milton Bradley). A typical garbage-in garbage-out deal. As I was saying to my Mets office buddy DiLo, this is the year to trade Castillo. He'll NEVER look as good as he did this year. Looks are deceiving. Like fly balls (yes, that still hurts months later). If that's all we have to do, I say pull the trigger and pull it yesterday. We'll worry about 2B when we have to.

Of course the free agent market is very thin this offseason, with the crown jewels unarguably being John Lackey and Matt Holliday. Ed and Joey at Studious Metsimus give us a sounding positive argument as to why the Mets should go all out for John Lackey.

I wouldn't mind getting Holliday. But it also raises the issue of how the Mets operate, why we've gotten into trouble the past few seasons and why, hoping beyond all hope, we'll get out of the mess called 2009 and move on with a strong team.

The current philosophy the Mets employ simply is not working. To move forward in not only a positive manner, but to get the fans back on the side of the team we need something to believe in.

What is the current philosophy? As someone put it to me the other day, the only thing Omar Minaya has demonstrated that he does well is plug in holes. But if you think about it, if there is a hole in a dam, and you keep plugging the holes, chances are more holes are going to pop up and cause more leaks and before you know it...leaks are everywhere and you are stuck with a bizillion dollar repair that could have been avoided SIMPLY if you had fixed the original problem, a good foundation, reinforcements and a game plan to keep that motherfucker tip-top.

I will say that I was a pretty PrOmar person when he first got on board. He got us Pedro Martinez (I was excited about it at first, I'll admit), Carlos Beltran (which is turning out to be one hell of a steal) and went hard after Carlos Delgado. He did what he had to do. That was, get the stars at what was then Shea, get the fans reinvigorated and get the Mets significant again. Then 2006 came and we thought - that's it! We have a foundation. But soon the leaks were exposed and the Mets are pretty much back to irrelevance.

But what a misfire that was. Look at what Frank Cashen and Steve Phillips demonstrated. They can build something strong, then easily dismantle it with one false move. With Phillips, it was a few false-moves that led to the demise of those exciting late-90s-going-into-2000 teams. The problem here I think is Omar Minaya seemed to really believe his hype. Throwing money at a problem doesn't necessarily FIX the cause of it.

What the cause is a lack of fundamentals on the ownership, the management and front office executives and the management of the field teams. It's a classic case of one hand doesn't know what the other is doing. And unfortunately, the root cause is the Wilpons who also believe that if they open the checkbook for overpriced and back-loaded free agents, the fans will get all excited, forget about previous years, and think all our problems are solved.

As long as they are in charge, nothing philosophical is going to change with the Mets. We could trade Castillo for a bag of cow flop, and I may be happy about it. Until they come out with a game plan and say - you know what, we're going to start paying over slot in the draft, we're going to go all out and the young studs of the future are going to WANT to play for the New York Metropolitans. Screw our "gentlemen's agreement" with Selig. Nice guys always finish last.

What I want to see is that they will no longer go after FOO's (Friends-of-Omar) as coaches, managers OR players, and will focus on young exciting players who have exhibited a history of health. Look at Jeff Francoeur. Never liked him on the Braves and he may be allergic to walks. But he is a decent defensive outfielder and can hit. No more Fernando Tatisses or any nonsense. I no longer want to see anyone old enough to be my grandfather playing every day.

Clearly, the issues over the years with the Mets hasn't been their inability to spend money. They can, do and will continue to do so, thinking that money solves everything. What we've seen is that it hasn't. Frankly, it's a little unnerving to me that businessmen like Sterling Enterprises can manage to stay successful in other areas of their business and make money...but fail to have the most rudimentary of business philosophies in tact for the baseball team.

Or maybe they do and that's the scary part. Which to me says -- stay profitable and relevant enough to get the fans invested in us again. Who cares if we don't make the postseason or put competitive teams up after the trade deadline.

As long as we make more money than we spend, we'll be golden.

That philosophy scares the shit out of me. Get better at running the baseball ops, and then we'll talk.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Does This REALLY Surprise Any Of Us?

I have taken a moratorium on the World Series this year. I mean, why bother? It's only gonna piss me off to watch. Then again I hear enough talking from the Yankees fans and other baseball fans in my office or on the street for that matter that I kind of figure out what's going on. (Also if you have a Twitter or Facebook account, you CANNOT get away from it). But I can proudly say I have not watched an inning of this Series from Hell.

As I tell people, I am not rooting for the Phillies, but I'm not exactly rooting against them. But I am definitely NOT rooting for the Yankees. I can however glean SOME joy from things I hear. Cole Hamels looking like the bitch we all know him to be. Derek Jeter is in fact NOT god. A-Rod shutting up his detractors (hey, I hate him as much as the next person but I kind of like that he showed up to the playoffs). Jimmy Rollins shutting the hell up and Shane Victorino looking like an asshole. Pedro not coming through for the Phillies, but also shelling CC Sabathia in the first game, to get the Yankee fans quaking in their boots, even for just one game. And you know what, out of all those douchephuck Phillies, I am glad that it's Chase Utley who is doing so well. I actually like him.

But I have to say I was mentally prepared for the series ending yesterday. I was ready. I didn't have to go to the office today, so I wouldn't have to listen to the blowhards who showed up to my desk waiting to throw my Rally Monkey down the stairs after the ALCS was finished. I could get satisfaction from the Yankees not christening their new stadium but also dancing on the Phillies lawn. I'd kind of like that, even if I wasn't happy about the Yankees winning. But I was NOT mentally prepared for the Series to come back to New York.

There is a lot of in-fighting between Mets fans about the "who" and the "what" they should be rooting for in this Series. Lots of disagreements. Which is silly. This season was terrible for us, it was pretty much a non-issue after July. So are we still that angry about what's happened that we need to take it out on each other? There is no need for it. You want to root for the Phillies, root for the Phillies. Root for "New York" to win, go right ahead and do it.

One thing we could ALL agree on, though, is that we'd want a swiftly won series, so we can concentrate on our offseason and subsequent hot stove.

Those bastard Phillies. They couldn't just BLOW the game last night so that ideal scenario would play out. We all know that even if they win Game 6, Game 7 will not be an NL winner unfortunately. Cause that punk ass bitch Cole Hamels is starting and he'll be going wee-wee-wee-wee-wee all the way home since that's where he wants to be. We all know we'll have to hear about that whole "mystique" and "aura" and all the other verbal masturbation we hear about the Yankees in this town, and how it's the House that Jeetuh Built, although the superior shortstop on that team is playing third base.

Those bastard Phillies. Couldn't make it easy for us, could they. Noooooo. So wait it is. We'll wait. Simply because there is no choice. But does this really surprise any of us? Of course 2009 is prolonged, OF COURSE IT IS. Cause that means most Mets fans will keep torturing themselves by watching the games and being emotionally invested. Well, that's redundant, the whole Mets fan torturing ourselves. We are, after all, Mets fans. If it were easy, we'd be Yankee fans.

Here's the ideal situation now. The Phillies win Game 6. Pedro redeems himself. Andy Pettitte gets old in a matter of days. Then comes Game 7. Yankee fans have visions of 2004 once again, although this time the stakes are higher. Jimmy Rollins starts running his mouth again. Cole Hamels is still crying like a little bitch.

But there is a tie game in the 9th inning. They go into extras. Charlie Manuel and Joe Girardi go through each and every pitcher they have in the 'pen and each starter, because no matter what, there is no Game 8 or Game 9. There is only Game 7. The Phillies go ahead in, oh let's say the 14th inning. The Yankees come back immediately to keep the game going.

There is a tie game in the 21st inning. This is Game 9. They've gone through each pitcher. Even the position players who can pitch are done.

Both managers have to forfeit the game. There is no World Champion of 2009. No parades. No banners. No flags going up on Opening Day. Bud Selig is ousted as MLB Commissioner. He's replaced by Keith Hernandez who automatically legalizes greenies. This is the absolute best case scenario for all Mets fans.

It won't happen. But a gal can dream, can't she?