Sunday, February 28, 2010

Snowbirds

The term for people who make their primary residence in the Northeast yet "winter" in the South are called "Snowbirds." Little did Ms. Chap and I know that in our quest to get SOME semblance of Spring Training time with our beloved Mets, that term would be taken almost literally.
(photo from Chap's flickr feed!)

This trip, even from the time we decided to take a stab at going this year, almost didn't happen. But we worked our way around it. Chap had some timing constraints and from advice given to me and when I went in 2008, I knew I preferred to go during the early part of Spring Training, and maybe catch some open workouts. That said, we had a window of only two and a half days basically to go if we wanted to go together.

We were okay with it though. I was only going to miss a day of work and she had some stuff "set in stone" anyway that could not be rescheduled. Plus, after open workouts are done, there's not much to do in Port St. Lucie except to maybe drink, eat and shop (or go bowling at Duffy's, but neither one of us is a huge fan of it anyway). Save stimulating the local economy, we both thought we'd have a ton of fun with the drive-by style of visit anyway.

Until Mother Nature decided to intervene. As early as Tuesday of last week, the weather reports were starting to suggest that snow was going to happen. And we're not talking nice pretty snow. No, we're talking accumulations and accumulations, piles over piles of snow, making it impossible to get out of the New York area.

I refused to believe it. Until I saw it...

It suddenly dawned on me that Chap and I were, in effect, snowbirds on a snowy bird heading to a snowbird
destination. And don't ask me how I didn't manage to try to jump off the plane when it was being de-iced. At that point, I was resigned to whatever. I just knew I was going to make it to Port St. Lucie, though. Ye have little faith who disagreed with me!! (though Chap later admitted to *not* quite believing)

(photo credit to Sharon Chapman)

And after about an hour and half of delays at the airport though, we were finally up in the sky. By the time we got to Florida, Chap looked out the window and said "What is that yellow orb in the sky?" I said we must be third rock from the sun, if that's the case.

So we made it, and everything after that was just gravy. I didn't get to meet as many players as I did in 2008, but I did get some pics with some ex-Met greats Bobby Ojeda (current SNY analyst) and another one with Darryl Strawberry, who according to ALL accounts, did not turn one kid, big or small, away from an autograph or photo. Thank goodness, cause the little furry kid I am holding in the pic below would have been TRES disappointed if I did not get another.
(apologies for the bad hair day -- damned wind)

It seems like my PSL visits are usually wrought with some kind of drama related to travel and this was no different. But this time the weather-related drama, double booking the rental car (resolved), our room not being ready at check-in (no biggie) and them not having waffles our last day in the hotel's complimentary breakfast (how DARE they not get the memo that the world revolves around me).

I will be posting some pics of the players at the practice in the next few days, telling the stories of how I went Saturday and Sunday morning to the open workouts. Stay tuned, MSFers!

(Note to my 2.5 readers: I messed up the font sizing and now blogger is on strike. I have been having technical issues from hell on all fronts, so deal with the larger font!)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

On the Road Again...

To me, the start of the baseball season is not defined by a date or a certain timeline, you know like "Pitchers and Catchers Reporting" or "Opening Day" or whatever else is contingent to defining something very baseball-esque and welcoming and spring-y.

My definition of when baseball season starts is...when I go on the road to follow the team. Baseball season starts for me approximately at noon Friday, February 26, as I head on down to Port St. Lucie with the one and only Ms. Chap to support our teams and their spring workouts!

Say it with me folks -- w00t!!!

Of course, Mother Nature has other plans at the moment, but what's a Mets fan, if not to believe. And I believe Chap and I are meant to be down there. Perhaps our flight gets delayed...perhaps we get bumped to another flight. The point is, we were doing a drive-by visit anyway, and as long as we have all day Saturday to chum around and take pictures of our boys (especially with a special guest who is tagging along with us), I'm fine with being delayed. Besides, what's a Mets fan to do...if not to BELIEVE???

(Which reminds me, if you haven't yet donated to Chap's Ya Gotta Believe efforts to fund raise for Tug's charity...do it NOW!!)

I've waited this long for Mets baseball to be back. I can wait another few hours than I had originally planned.

But in light of everything, despite the snow, sleet or freezing rain that may be occurring tonight, springtime is officially here with the Mets at camp, baseball in PSL and just a little over a month to wait till our first game at CitiField.

LET'S GO METS!!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

*Rolleyes*

Thanks to Metsblog, I am able to see a live feed of Jerry Manuel's Q&A with reporters down in Port St. Lucie since I cannot watch it.

I know that the team was really hit by a catastrophic amount of injuries, but there are some of us (The Coop at the top of the list) who believe that a.) Jerry Manuel is not qualified to be a major league manager and 2.) that in line with "a," he allowed the team to mail it in (save the last weekend of the season) in 2009. What manager does that? I hate sounding like a Bobby V fan-girl ('cause you know, I am one) but Bobby V would have NEVER allowed that behavior. An outfield with Timo, Benny and Payton MADE the World Series in 2000 and yet, a game against the Nationals wasn't a "gimme."

Even if they were destined to be a fourth-place team with all those injuries and re-re-re-replaceMets anyway, Bobby V would not have conceded any of those games anyway. When Willie Randolph makes YOU look incompetent, you don't belong managing a baseball team on any level, period. Boom. End of story.

Anyway after that rant, I am very curious to see what Rusty Nail himself had to say about the state of the team and what they are going to focus on in 2010.

"Fundamentals."

Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit! Of course we are going to stress "Fundamentals!" What team doesn't, jack ass? I'm sure that the Pirates are stressing "fundamentals," but they should because they have nothing else to stress upon. They are a LAST PLACE team.

For a team that expects to go "deep into October" (D-Dubs words, not mine), fundamentals is a poor excuse for a person who is supposed to be THE leader. Not "A" Leader - "THE" LEADER of the team. The general marching them into battle and subsequent victory. At this point, he looks more like Douglas C. Niedermayer getting killed by his own troops in Vietnam.

But let's examine 2009's stress on "Fundamentals" as well. In 2009, the team did not do things such as tagging each base in the regular season which would come back to bite any team in the ass, but of course it stands out with teams that are supposed to be very good and be exposed to be "very very bad." In fact, if you wax intellectual, the team failed miserably at stressing fundamentals.

Let's remember his unusual hitting drill, detailed last year as an 80-pitch-in-six-minutes drill and it's usefulness was that it was "to increase stamina and fight off fatigue at the plate while the season progresses by forcing his hitters to use their hands more." And bear in mind that with this type of drill, the team had a noticeable drop-off in offensive numbers (even with golden boy Wright most evidently). Too much, too soon, Jerry Berry. In fact, he later stated that it was to stress hand-eye coordination. Isn't that something pro baseball players learn in fucking LITTLE LEAGUE. In fact, I would contest that most baseball players, ya know, NEED that little skill to make it to the pros. Dumb ass.

Of course, we can all lean back on the whole injury excuse for that drop off in offense and who wouldn't? It's just easier to blame the intangible. My gut says that Jerry Manuel doesn't know what the fuck he's doing/talking about and therefore, should not talking about fundamentals.

Meet the "New" Mets, folks. Same as the old Mets. I think I've decided that this is the year I am going to get the grassroots effort for getting Jerry Manuel fired.

JUST SAY NO! And as always, Coop for GM. Kthxbai.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Don't Dance, Don't Sing -- JUST PLAY!

Happy P's and C's Day, y'all!! Of course, reports out of Port St. Lucie spared no drama, mostly from the fan blogging community but the players helped themselves, naturally.

Normally, I do not like repeating what others have written so far nor do I like reinventing the wheel. However, my philosophy for 2010 is Shut-the-Fuck-Up and PLAY. Yeah, I said it. Kind of like the Dixie Chicks movie. When I go to Ranger games in the offseason, I always tell them to STOP FIGURE SKATING!!! I don't want to see any la-la-la-la-las, looking pretty, finesse, NO! And the fodder from today is really giving me ammo for this season in being the MPOMF (most pissed off Mets fan).

Anyway, two FOCs (Friend-of-Coops) had differing opinions on the same topic, which was David Wright commenting on the Mets state of affairs for 2010, basically stating that the we (uh, meaning the Mets) "expect to win the NL East." Steve over at Kranepool Society had a more positive take on Davey's comments while Tanya over at CitiField of Dreams had, well, a more "spirited" take on the comment. Great stuff, both of them.

While sentimental and hokey (what else do we expect from DW), I actually have no problem with the statement itself. The only thing I *do* take umbrage with is...well..Davey, you gotta back that shit up. I won't go there with Jimmy Rollins in 2007, but take Mark Messier in 1994. He carried the New York Rangers ON HIS BACK during the playoffs, after declaring a must-win victory in the Eastern Conference Finals and then scoring a hat-trick. Leading by example was Joe Mauer in Minnesota in 2009, when he not only won the league MVP title but was basically the sole reason why the team even sniffed the playoffs last year. Noticeably, he does not say a word.

After a falling-just-short of the World Series in 2006, the team has managed to total collapse in 2007, falter again in 2008 and well, let's not go there with 2009. So to say we expect to win is a nice sentiment but falls short of the glory. David Wright is a curious character, all right. He's been gifted with being the "franchise player" of the CitiField generation, and yet he is sort of Mike Piazza-lite in that he refuses to take charge, gives canned and PC responses to the press and would never ever call out a player on his team. At least Mike Piazza spoke softly and carried a big bat.

David Wright, especially after his abysmal 2009 campaign, needs to speak all right, but with his bat and with his play (like my boy Mauer). As Metsgrrl said in the comments over at Kranepool Society, David Wright (at this time - those are Coop's adds) lacks the depth to be a true leader on the team. (Here's her take with an open letter). Perhaps with the absence of Carlos Delgado's intimidating presence, we can see DW take those steps TO be a leader. Right now, he should lead by example and that's by playing hard and getting his power back.

And please, do not say we "expect" to win anything. I'm sure the Washington Nationals "expect" to win the NL East...someday. You haven't won dick as a team or as a player yet. What I would have liked to hear from David Wright's ass is "Well, we've disappointed ourselves, we've disappointed our fanbase and we do believe in comebacks. The Phillies have won the right to say they are the team to beat but we are planning on surprising them this year." And let's not talk about getting a veteran like an Uncle Cliff back will help get his head back on. David needs to learn this on his own and not cede any power to anyone.

Next up is Johan Santana, a guy who did not pitch past August last year. Although I like the spirit behind it, here is what he said. "Santana," in response to being asked "who is the best pitcher in the NL East?"

Of course, I love that he has these cajones, even with him being injured last season that he has it over say Roy Halladay. Believe me, I agree, I was pretty non-plussed when the Phils got him along with losing Cliff Lee (who I believed to be the superior pitcher with more upside). Personally, if he can carry that attitude over into his pitching (and doesn't regress into "First-Half" vs "Second-Half" Johan), more power to him.

Alternatively, Johan has at least EARNED the right to talk about who's the best in what since, you know, he was the very BPiB ("Best Pitcher in Baseball") for years and is still very young.

But isn't too early to start talking shit already when no one has even thrown a pitch, even in exhibition?

No, seriously, Kelvim "Pumpkin" Escobar cannot grip a baseball (as reported by Metsblog, per Adam Rubin). Is it starting already? The injuries? The brain freezes?

My take on this whole thing? Just beat writers looking for a quote after a really BORING offseason.

Things are getting a little heated with the Bloggerati today which is always a good thing, makes for great thought provoking commentary. I think there is one thing all of us fans can agree on is that the offseason was WAY too long. Make like Daniel Murphy and just play, for fuck's sake already!

Kthxbai
Love, The Coop

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Some of you may be feeling the after-effects of one last hoo-rah for Mardi Gras last night (I hope you were able to enjoy some Jambalaya, Crawfish, Hurricanes and beads)...I, for one, am not (even though I participated in most of those last night). Even if I was, I can't be too down with anything today...since we are one day removed from...PITCHERS AND CATCHERS DAY, Y'ALL!!!!

I've often joked that I will not take time off in the holiday season or around New Years because my "holiday season" starts on Opening Day. No matter how much work I need to do, the Mets Home Opener is something I need to attend. Boom. End of story.

I have nothing else to report. Just anticipating some fun stuff with the Stems this year (but talk to me again come All-Star Break). I will be in attendance at Open Workouts at the end of the month with Chap and Joey from Studious Metsimus. I will not be live-blogging (too lazy to bring my laptop) but will be posting pics up on Facebook and Twitter (@coopz22) intermittently I'm sure.

Oh by the way, this reminds me, get on Facebook and "fan" My Summer Family if you are already on Facebook...according to the ranks, I guess I do have more than two readers! And I garnered a following when I did my west coast trip last year, so definitely follow me on my many road trips this year as well!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Really Big Shew

I like batteries. Oh get your head out of the gutter. I'm talking BASEBALL batteries.

I like my pitchers and catchers and not just for the cool term I look forward to once per year, those two weeks where football season is over, hockey season is still not exciting enough for playoff hopes and where I anticipate baseball season to start. Even throughout the league, I have what I called "Fan-girl crushes," like Giants' Tim Lincecum whom I enjoy watching, even when he's beating my team. Usually the case, especially in 2009.

But I would have to say my "fav'rit" (in honor of...someone) player on the Mets now is Jose Reyes, and we all know he is neither a pitcher nor a catcher (discuss). Of course, I was horrified and mostly saddened to have lost him all last season, and more so because I had bought his jersey at the beginning of the season, which led to me believe I was a jinx. But I loved Jose Reyes and still do, certainly I mostly miss his infectious way of playing. He just has so much fun out there and we reap the rewards of those benefits for sure.

It's been tough for me to be excited about the 2010 season. I am excited about road trips, about going to open workouts with Chap and about heckling Jason Bay (in a good way of course) from my seats in the outfield now.

After reading this article today, from Kevin Kernan, Jose sounds "back" and better than over, ready to put on his show. I remember telling a friend last offseason after signing K-Rod, GREAT, another thing for the Phillies, Marlins and everyone else basically to hate. My friend said, well, let them hate us, because I love it!

Well, Jose may have been the catalyst, and as he goes, the rest do. Now we can get back to the real part of this game -- the showboating, and getting the rivalries to mean something again, especially in the NL East.

Of course, it doesn't mean much till he actually plays and I can see his leg isn't about to fall off. But something did concern me in this article, and ties in with my next topic on "shows," (and by "shows," I mean "shit-shows"). Jose says he is "100%" and is confident in the medical staff. Well, clearly, he is the only one. As the next topic I want to weigh in on is J.J. Putz and "Putz-gate," where he claimed that the Mets told him to downplay his level of hurt and whether he was hurt or not. Mostly, in an interview with Comcast Chicago, Putz says the Mets made the trade with nary a physical or any questions about his health. For a dude coming off a season where he WAS hurt, didn't this thought cross their minds, that, I don't know, maybe again he'd be ineffective. Considering all they gave up for Putz too, it was a bit of thinking with the head-downstairs in Omar's case. Erm, no pun intended.

I can understand, however, not telling the media he's hurt. Why should he? If he's hurt, everyone is going to know. I mean, talk about a shit-storm that would cause. The point is, he was made to play with the injured arm. That's the story here.

Of course, it all ended up being moot because the entire team was hurt. News flash: JJ Putz didn't matter last season. The fucking Mets didn't matter in 2009.

What matters now in 2010 is that all those who say that are healthy (Jose Reyes), who are on their way to being healthy (Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana), and were pretty much healthy to begin with (David Wright, Jason Bay, Daniel Murphy) stay healthy.

Forget comeback. The New York Mets, staying healthy in 2010. Now that will be a hell of a Really Big Shew, if you ask me.