Friday, April 30, 2010

I Just Can't Hide It

I have to admit something...

I am a WEE bit excited about the series this weekend in Philly.

The last few seasons, there was always some kind of different feeling. Doesn't it always seem like the Mets are coming off a hot stretch, cool off on a day off, then come into Philly not looking like the team they were just two days prior? That was how I always looked at things in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

This year is different. The last circa two weeks see a different team operating. It will also be interesting to see how the Mets fare against the Phillies, the only team they have yet to face in the NL East.

We're not the only ones. Right now, the Mets are the class of their league, and with the Yankees uninspiring play as of late, are the toast of the sports back pages here.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Mets are in first place right now, but if there is anything we've learned over the past three seasons, it's that divisions aren't won a month into the season and that there is ALWAYS a lot more baseball to be played no matter what the date is on the calendar.

That said, who the Phillies have been the last three years are, well, not who they are today in 2010. They have been hit by the injury bug themselves, with Jimmy Rollins out for an extended period of time, and Brad Lidge returning to the 'pen after a furlough to the DL. We'll miss Cole Hamels this weekend (not that it matters, he's still a little bitch), but we get to face Roy Halladay, who faces the red hot Mike Pelfrey on Saturday's Fox marquis game of the week.

I will say this: I give SLIGHT edge to the Mets this weekend with the injection of new blood in the form of Ike Davis, a streaking Jason Bay and overall better health team, I could easily see a two-out-of-three series win from the Mets. On the other hand, I do think that this series will separate the men from the boys.

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Speaking of Ike Davis and new blood, The Coop is moonlighting once a week over at the storied Mets fan site, MetsMerized Online. I have been friends with JoeD and crew for years, so this collaboration is a long time coming. My post this week is on the young Mr. Davis, referring to the Big Lebowski by calling him the Rug That Ties The Room Together. Enjoy.

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I have created a new community over at Facebook called Bay-Root and the Frenchy Riviera. I'm not quite sure what I plan on doing with it, right now it looks like a collection of photos of the two players. Join in, what's the harm?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Red Flags

I don't want to sound alarmist. In the past though, I have been slammed for expressing my concern about certain things about the team and was told in no uncertain terms that I was crazy and alarmist and I didn't know what I was talking about.

In 2007, I was concerned that the Mets were not taking advantage of lesser teams when they had the chance, thus making September a "must-win" month. And what d'ya know? They lost the division on the last day of the season. It was more than just that one game. There were games in the course of the season they should have won and did not.

The bullpen was clearly falling apart in 2008, especially in critical games down the stretch, I said that this team would not go anywhere without a stronger bullpen. Omar Minaya in an interview recently (of course I can't find the link, so this is not verbatim) that bullpens don't win championships. They may not; however, I have seen them lose championships.

I said that while trading for Johan Santana was probably the smartest move ever made by Minaya, the loss of prospects, even if they didn't pan out, needed to be replaced. Moises Alou and his brittle body, for example, would not figure in. His salary and roster space really killed the team in 2008, and I swear had after-effects later on. His bat was needed but not exercising his option really hurt the team when they needed to go after a big bat. Instead of that, they should have gone after an Aaron Rowand or Jayson Werth-type of player. Who, by the way, were huge difference makers on the Phillies.

Sometimes a marquee player or pitcher is not the "gamer." Mets needed one of those.

I have gone on a tangent. My point is, the Mets are on a tear right now, and headed into Philly in first place. Sole possession, a half game over Philly. The team has swept two series against the hated Braves and the flailing Dodgers, and won SEVEN IN A ROW.

Life is good, right?

Of course it is. I am happy as a clam, regarding my life as a Mets fan, and I hope they continue the progress in Philly. They friggin better!

My concern is not for now, but for later though. And it's Jerry Manuel's overuse and misuse of the bullpen so far this year.

Right now, for whatever it's worth, the bullpen has been the apple of our eyes not an eyesore as it usually is for us Mets fans. They've been holding leads, they've been winning games and overall, just SAVING the starting pitching, as they are wont to do. This is unusual for us Mets fans. We are just not used to it!

I'm thinking...we should not get used to it. The way we are using certain relievers, unless they are eating their Wheaties sprinkled with HGH, their arms are going to fall off in no uncertain terms.

Until the starting pitching can give us 7-8 strong innings (I'm looking at YOU, Oliver Perez, and well, John Maine gets a reprieve for being damn fine in yesterday's game against the Dodgers), I'm worried about the longevity of the bullpen.

Ryota Igarashi is already on the DL, a fluke injury while fielding a ball. Hisanori Takahashi, in my eyes, should be starting which means either Oh Pea or John Maine would be converted to be long-men in the 'pen. You and I both know those scenarios will never happen. I guess the coming of Darren Oliver II is a good thing, no?

If Pedro Feliciano is "Perpetual Pedro", then call Fernando Nieve "Frequent Fernando" (this name was coined by GK&R the other night. It will have to do for now). Feliciano aint going anywhere, but Nieve has been overused in this short season already. He's been used in 14 games, slightly ahead of P.P. at 12 games. At this rate, Nieve is on track to be in 84 games. In 2009, P.P. appeared in 88 games, but bear in mind, he is established as a LOOGY already. Does Nieve even have an established "specialty" as a "specialty pitcher?" Does that make Nieve the "ROOGY?" I'm serious. I guess Manuel has established roles in the 'pen, but I'm not even sure the 'pen is aware of them (excepting Feliciano, who is who he is).

By the same token, Nieve's IP is not that high, averaging about an inning a game, which is still more taken over an entire season what P.P. did last year. At that track, even with 84 games, it will still be slightly lower than his max in 2006 of 96.1. According to Baseball-reference.com, the most games he's appeared in was 40 in 2006 for the Astros, and 11 of those were starts. Something to chew on.

Don't get me started on Jenrry Mejia. He should be starting in AAA. Boom. End of story. He is already being used in mop-up duty in blow out games (luckily, on the Mets end). On one hand, sure, he is learning the ropes. But what he needs to work on is STAMINA if the Mets are truly serious about him being an elite starter in the future.

The only bullpen arm I am not overly concerned with is K-Rod, however he's appeared in 10 games, only three saves to show for it. I think it was evident Mets fans were pissed off over his blatant misuse in the 20-inning debacle in St. Louis a few Saturdays ago, when he threw something 100 pitches in warming up. I'm sorry, is Manuel just NOT aware of restraints in using his bullpen arms? That is just common sense, is it not? I would hope so.

I hate to get alarmist, especially this early in the season. However, I do not think I am AS bad as some fan friends I have, who are basically ready to print World Series tickets now! I am enjoying the wins, I like how the offense seems to be clicking at this point, I am even enjoying the starting pitching which has been gangbusters. It is simply too soon to talk about playoffs, when in recent years, we couldn't even realistically talk about it in September.

As Mets fans can attest, the bullpen has always been a sore spot in previous years and they do seem to be clicking. Could this be the year they keep their shit together? Or will it just falter in the stretch from overuse this early in the season? I don't have a crystal ball but I can pull something out of my ass right now and tell you, I am concerned about that very thought later in the season.

Therefore, I am calling the bullpen a major X-factor in this series and down stretch this year. If we can stretch their use out and get more bang for our buck, then they will make the team.

Their overuse could break them. Not even the most powerful offense can help a flailing bullpen.

The Coop abides.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Asshats

This is written in honor of RD. You know who you are :).

I've had it to *HERE* (imagine me holding my hand sideways to my eyebrows) with Mets fans judging other Mets fans for their perceived "fandom."

I've had it with judging others for their attitudes. I've had it with judging others for supporting certain players. I'm tired of male Mets fans automatically thinking that female Mets fans are only "in it" simply because a player is "cute" or has "nice buns." I'm tired of being discounted by male Mets fans if I want to celebrate the achievements of a Met, simply because the rest of the world has mentioned he might be an eligible bachelor. I've had it with fans judging others for their time spent rooting for the team, as if tenure correlates to passion or vice versa.

Enough.

I am a Mets fan. I have stuck with this team since I was 7 years old, and I'm not about to stop. No one ever said being a Mets fan is ever easy, but you learn to handle it.

Now as a fan, if I feel like hating on Oliver Perez, I will do it. I figure my season ticket dollars or money spent on Shake Shack is somewhat contributing to paying his salary, so if I do not like his performance, I will boo him.

Of course, *I* is loose for collective *I* since I consider myself a voice for Mets fans who don't have time to blog or complain about it in a public forum. I, personally, don't boo my uniform. However, I don't fault those who choose to because I believe they may be booing something abstract. Last year, Luis Castillo got booed, and the theory was, we were booing the *contract,* and not the player, the guy. Of course, as fans, we're not going to sit there and explain it. But if a grown man who gets to wear a cool uniform, get dirty, play a kid's game and get paid handsomely for it can't perform, well, shut the fuck up and take some Viagra. And take your lumps as a man.

Why is the Coop going off? Well, the impetus for this is that David Wright got his 1,000th hit on Wednesday night during a doubleheader. Which by the way the team SWEPT and not only that, took game three in a period of less than 24 hours. Now, *that,* as a wise man once said, is "simply amazin'."

But David Wright. Mention that name to Mets fans and you get mixed reactions. He's overrated. He should be a leader. He'll "never be Jeet-uh." He's streaky. He slumps too much. His time has come and gone.

I am far from a David Wright fan-girl. Ask me who my favorite player is, and I will tell you it is Jose Reyes. That's just the Mets though. In MLB, it's Tim Lincecum. Contrary to popular belief, I don't like a player or follow one because he's "hot" or "cute" or whatever terms are used to discount female fandom, I like them because they are good...or they are performing well for my Fantasy Team.

But David Wright hit a milestone Wednesday night. And people were made to feel inferior simply for enjoying it and for congratulating him in open forums. Why?

Because David Wright is a good looking guy who plays ball well? What, we can't be happy that a franchise-type player hits a milestone and we want to celebrate it?

That's bullshit. We should be celebrating together!!

But we won't because there is little unity in the Mets fan community.

This needs to change and quickly.

Why are we Mets fans?

There are multitude of reasons. Some are born into it. Some fall in love with a player who happens to wear the uniform. Some simply don't want to root for the Yankees. Hey, whatever floats your boat, far be it for me to judge why you are a Mets fan. But don't you dare go judging me or any of my contemporaries for their fandom. Just remember, you were a clueless little fuck at one point who formed opinions. Do yourself a favor, and don't base your opinions on He-Man Woman Haters Club manifesto or worse yet, the New York Post, for your thinly veiled Mets and self-loathing.

I've had enough of you asshats. Do us all a favor and just...don't root for the Mets anymore if you hate the team and the players that much.

It will leave room for the real fans who appreciate the good times, stick around during the bad times, and want to enjoy milestones, which by the way, the Mets are tough to come by.

Sorry if that was brutal, but I was very pissed off over some events over the last few days. Carry on.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Home Is Where the Heart Is

To many Mets fans, Shea Stadium will always be home and will the only home for the New York Mets in their eyes. I know for me, I had a tough time adjusting to CitiField at first, especially in 2009. There wasn't an emotional attachment yet, and I even remember the night of the Fernando Tatis Grand Slam game, I was feeling nostalgic and missing Shea. I wanted to go to a game THERE, but that would never be again, since it was no longer there. Even after the grand slam, I thought, "That's nice. Where's Shea?"

It was more than that. Shea Stadium to me is a culmination of memories, feelings, smells (yes, even the nasty bathrooms that I once saw a sign at Banner Day in 1986 proclaim were "Worse Than Chernobyl"), and talking points. "Remember that game...?" Chances are, even if you weren't there, you'd appreciate the visuals we'd construct in our heads after listening to someone else's Shea Stories. As an example, F-O-C Metstradamus has a great story about September 11, 1987, after the Terry Pendleton home run that I won't repeat here, but when he tells it, although I was not there, I could feel the feelings they had and even see in my head what he could talk about.

We have not had those feelings at CitiField yet. That doesn't mean times like that will never happen. In fact, it's up to us Mets fans to create our own memories in our new house and look to the future.

I have been going to Saturday games with the team at Studious Metsimus in the new Coop seats. We have been trying to build a community in the Outfield Reserve, called "Bay-Watch"
or "The Frenchy Riviera." Hopefully they catch on, but it is hard to build a community when people don't go to all the games. I used to see the same people and faces all the time at Shea, but that could have been years of going to the park that cloud my judgment. Although I have had to correct people calling me "Co-Op" instead of "Coop" because they always said my name in their head, not out loud. The recognition is all there, it's just tough to build a community in these new stadiums.

Getting back, one part of CitiField I have taken to call my own is the Shea Bridge. Although I've called it several different names. There was an underground movement (I want to say at Brooklyn Met Fan, but I'm not too certain) to call it the Gil Hodges Bridge, which I liked, but the Mets handling of his memory at CitiField is good, I can't complain about not calling it Hodges Bridge (Though I do think that when the Mets do retire Mike Piazza's number eventually, the Tastes of the City should be called Tastes of the City at the Piazza).

I called the bridge (and still do) the "F-Mart Bridge." The night he made his debut, a few of us hung out on the bridge. I have an Italian family, and the gathering that night was like a family get-together. People brought over calamari to share, bought beers and chatted up while the game was going on, trying to glimpse the future of the franchise. Of course, I started calling it the "Ike Davis Bridge" after his monster home run on Friday night, and I called it so in my Saturday home game gathering manifesto.

If you have not done so already, please visit MSF's Facebook fan page. Each Saturday game, I try to organize a meet-and-greet on the page to get that community-feeling going. This week, we had a small turnout, Uncle Gene and his son Funguy showed up (though I had a brain cramp and forgot to take a picture), and even JimD showed up with his friend Mike. Steve, who is a regular at Crane Pool Forum, dropped by on his way to his seats. It's always good to see good people before the game.
The family of bears of Joey Beartran, Jerry and Billy Bear, even hung out, literally, on the bridge this day, trying to catch some rays
(You can catch plenty of rays in Section 138 - still selling tickets as part of Coop's Consortium, please inquire within!).

Something else stuck out for me this game though.

At one point, I turned to Bear Man and said, "You know what? I feel like I'm home."

I know I am in the minority, and trust me, there are some things that I *don't* like about CitiField. However, I wanted a new stadium, knew that it was needed, and I am fine with the adjustments the organization has made to make the experience more fan-friendly and yes, Mets-centric, which was certainly lacking the first year. That whole idea of connection was not there. Something about last Saturday's game was.

Forget the fact that the Mets won that game and it was against the hated Braves, although the rivalry has waned in the past few years, I always enjoy seeing a nice Braves-beatin' on a Saturday afternoon (especially in Larry Jones' birthday).

Forget that I was chatting up fans for the first time in years (although there was a Yankee fan in the mix in my row -- his seat buddies though made sure to point out they were ALL Mets fans, and heckled their own friend for wearing a Yankees jersey in a park where the Yankees clearly were not playing).

There was a feeling in the air to me that was comforting, that I could finally accept CitiField as my home. It was also nice to share it with some others in the park as well, and wondered if they did as well.
Take for example, the folks in this photo. See, in the back, the dude in the sunglasses is beaming, and the guy in orange looks very happy to be there! The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day!

What? Were you expecting something else?

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If you haven't seen it already, former Mets beat writer John Delcos has his own New York Mets Report website, which is a comprehensive analysis and summary of the Mets. There is also live chat during the games, which Delcos is very active in during the games. You can easily sign up for an account, simply register on the top right hand corner of the site and take it away.

Also, become a fan of his on Facebook.

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In some more shameless self-promotion, please visit Frankie the Sports Guy's NY Baseball Blogs site, where I am a contributor. My last piece was on Dan Warthen, whom I knew absolutely nothing about, but am pleased with how he's handled the question marks in the pitching staff thus far.

Become a fan of Frankie on Facebook as well.

Maybe I should just work for Facebook. Heh.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Little Bit of This, A Lot of Braves Errors

We got a little bit of everything this game.

John Maine was absolutely dealing (for him anyway, 63 pitches 3 2/3 innings into the game) against the Braves but was pulled due to left arm spasms and pain in his elbow. Then Hisanori Takahashi came in for relief, throwing 50 pitches in 3 innings. Domo origato, Mr. Takahashi. And to think, at the beginning of the season, we had qualms about the "long man" in the 'pen.

We saw Ike Davis' first-ever MLB home run, which hit the what I used to call F-Mart Bridge, what is officially called the Shea Bridge, but I am now re-christening the Davis Bridge (clever, I know).

We saw Jose Reyes not only bat third in the lineup but hit a triple as well. Which was followed by him scoring a run on Jason Bay's triple.

We saw Larry Jones still giving Mets fans world over agita, but we also got to see the "future" of the Braves in rookie Jason Heyward, who was one strikeout away from a Golden Sombrero, but went 0-for-4 anyway.

We saw K-Rod make the 9th interesting, as most Mets closers are wont to do, after having a rare 5-out save the night before.

Most of all, we saw the Braves make a whopping 4 errors (who do they think they are? The Mets? I keed, I keed), but also saw them muff a rarely-seen-these-days infield fly rule. Which led to the most miraculous feat of the game.

Angel Pagan making a SMART baserunning move, and scoring on the Braves ineptitude to grasp the infield fly rule, giving the Mets an additional insurance run in their overall 5-2 win.

If there ever were a turnaround game, perhaps this is it.

In the meantime, a few hits from the Coop:

I am actually quite at peace with Reyes batting third. He seemed to adjust well to it although truth be told, since Jerry Manuel brought it up a while back, and it hadn't happened (additionally, with Pagan batting leadoff), I just figured it would not happen. Well, it did, and the Mets won. Coincidence? Perhaps. But it seems like something sort of clicked.

Although I do have to say back when the topic was brought up in February, I was so against it. Now, not so much. What I'm more "against" is Jason Bay batting clean up, but he did well tonight so maybe that old saying is true: Change is good.

I had to giggle, a little, when I saw Luis Castillo slide into home and he walked away limping.

Hearing that Fernando Nieve warming up in the 'pen during the game is akin to a bear shitting in the woods.

And I still fuckin' hate Larry Fine after all these years. Just seeing his face makes my skin crawl.

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For tomorrow's game (Saturday April 24), the staff of Studious Metsimus and I are doing another meet-and-greet on the Bridge-formerly-known-as-F-Mart at 12:15. I will be the blonde drinking a beer. Feel free to BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer). See you then.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Baseball Chicks Rock

I attended the first Mets loss since Sunday April 18 (okay, so that was four full days ago, but they have a mini-win streak going for a bit). I attended the game Wednesday night with MSF HOF all-star and F-O-C SNK (enough acronyms for ya?), this was probably the first game she and I had attended together in...I don't know. Two years maybe. Sure, we'd attended a few games at CitiField last year at the same time, but not sitting, you know, side-by-side.

I'm fortunate that I can attend games with people like SNK and others who knows as much about the team as I like to think I do personally. I guess that's why I like to write about my experiences as a Mets fan here at MSF, attending as many games as I do at home and on the road in a given season. When I write a blog post though, it's like having a conversation that's one-sided. and no one can interject until I am done. I'm one of *those* annoying fans who likes to comment on everything, make wisecracks or try to provide some thoughtful commentary during the game, whether watching it on TV or live. Kind of the image I *try* to project here (not sure if I succeed at times, hence the operative word is "try"), of course about 24 hours later trying to remember what I thought exactly in the 5th inning might be tough especially at my age.

Talking about your feelings and opinions on the team in real-time is just like buttah, nothing else compares to it. Of course, if you follow me on Twitter (@Coopz22) during a game, you'll see that I'm a wisecracker there as well, with tons to say. So I guess you can call me passionate too. It's about as close to the real thing Coop you will get in real time, only cyberspace-ly.

Anyway, some of the things we discussed (besides catching up on what was going on in our respective lives) ranged from whether Jason Bay was overrated (verdict: he is, but a decent player getting star money), Carlos Beltran's presence or lack thereof in the lineup was hurting the team more than Jose Reyes' return was helping, that David Wright was more feeling the pressure of batting 3rd when he's really a clean-up hitter (thus going back to the whole aforementioned Carlos Beltran thing), "too high, too high" in response to a pop-up (Major League references never get old with The Coop), Ollie Perez WALKING THE PITCHER, Lou Piniella taking a pitcher out of the game after throwing three pitches (literally) and do the Mets realize they are facing Carlos Silva? We also met up at McFadden's prior to the game due to the rain. The place still looks a bit "unfinished" but okay enough that we could meet there before the game and I didn't have to trek to Will Call in the Rotunda beforehand. (Pics below of some of the action)




Anyway, I could have this conversation with anyone really at a game. But SNK and I just prove that baseball chicks do indeed rock, every day of the week, twice on Sundays!

To give a brief background for those just following MSF, I met SNK three years when we both started our own Mets-centric blogs, and wrote for Flushing University. I am very grateful for this and appreciate having her in my life. I am still devoted to MSF, although SNK no longer blogs. Her old site, You Can't Script Baseball, will always hold a special place in my heart though.

Raise a glass to family we choose!
Moving right along, the Mets lost on Wednesday in case you couldn't figure that out. I'd like to think in honor of their not losing a series (can't officially, since it's a 4-game series), and Earth Day celebrations, Chap and I decided to "pitch in for a good cause," literally, and head over to East Harlem today to put our nose to the grindstone and garden!
Everyone who knows the Coop knows she has been a supporter of the Gary Keith and Ron or "Pitch in for a Good Cause Foundation" since its inception; however, today was a bit different since I did not attend a game under the GKR umbrella but rather got hands on for the organization they support, The Nourishing Kitchen of New York.

To give a little background, the kitchen is a non-profit soup kitchen devoted to enhancing their local community by providing hot and nutritious meals, but by offering cooking classes to enhance the neighborhood by contributing to overall health. Their newest project is participating in a community garden, which I've heard many exist in NYC, but I've never actually seen one. Frightening, since I friggin live here.
Chap and I had a small window of opportunity, but we were enlisted to help build out some of the signs and planting a few seeds for the garden. Namely, sunflowers, peppers, squash, and zucchini. It wasn't terribly taxing, but I thought it was so cool.
Being in the city doesn't really afford me a "green thumb."
I also learned about composting, which is something that intrigues me. I am all about sustainable living.
We also painted signs that would denote where each plant would be. It wasn't intentional, they just wanted a bright color, but Mets orange was the color. How apropos!


I joked that the signs looked like Bugs Bunny wrote them, since they were written in crayon. "Kar-its" anyone? (Oh and if you are digging the sporty GKR shirts Chap and I are wearing, visit Pitch in for a Good Cause's website!)

The community outreach may have not been entirely devoted or related to baseball. However, this ties in with the relationships we form by being baseball and Mets fans. Otherwise, I probably would have never heard of this effort. I am really excited to see how the Community Garden turns out. Can't wait to return.

Of course, though, since we are baseball fans, and Chap and I are chicks, the underlying theme today is that Baseball Chicks Rock.

Print the T-Shirt!

That is all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The True Catalyst

Yesterday, the blogosphere and Twitter (@Coopz22, in case you were wondering) blew up with the news that Carlos Beltran has not been cleared for baseball activities as of yet, which realistically puts his start date with the Mets back - waaaaaay back - to I am guessing All-Star Break. Even by chance he *is* cleared before then, don't rush him, why bother? If he's cleared around then, just have him start on the West Coast trip in July.

Of course, my gut is simply telling me that he is not coming back any sooner than July 31, and that in the going-into-2011 offseason, how many of us would truly be surprised if he were traded (I know, before I get hammered with the whole "He has a no-trade clause" comments, he can waive it. That's all I'm sayin' -- barring any kind of postseason with the Mets of course). I do truly believe he will simply be offered arb when his contract is up if he does not approve a trade, the Mets will get their compensatory picks and he gets a bigger pay day in a smaller market.

I know that I have been incredibly hard on him in the past, but he's grown on me, especially his flawless defense in centerfield. I always felt like Beltran had some unfinished biz here with the Mets, especially in 2009 which was also a shortened year for him being injury prone. While F-O-C John Delcos said that the Beltran signing was a good one on his site today, I have to sort-of disagree with him there. I think Beltran could be one of the biggest disappointments or rather one of the biggest "neutral" signings they have ever made.

That said, I got to think while writing my post for NY Baseball Blogs yesterday, about how the Mets have been suffering from a parallel-universism issue this season. The beginning of the season, we fan bloggers have been up in arms about pitching. The pitching, no doubt, has been the backbone of the team this short season, turning goat piss into gasoline. It is the offense that has been questionable. David Wright and Jason Bay are two historically incredibly streaky players, both going through a down-period right now. I have no doubt they will wake up, but until then, be sure to see lots of men left-on-base.

Last night's game against the Cubs saw Jose Reyes get on base four times including a triple, driving in two runs and getting a stolen base. It's always good to see Jose in his element, it's like seeing an old friend.

But is he the true catalyst of the team? The old saying, as Jose goes, so do the Mets. Jose, however, is who he is. He's an exciting player with flash, style and tons of moxie.

My argument is that Carlos Beltran is the true catalyst of the team. Traditionally hitting third in the lineup, there is a big black hole that is sucking the life out of the team. Nothing against David Wright, but he should be batting cleanup or fifth in the lineup. With the talk about Jose Reyes potentially batting third in the lineup with Beltran out and having Pagan hit lead off was asinine. Then again, Pagan hitting third is a travesty.

Even with Jose back, seeing his wheels and his exciting way of play was great, and the Mets winning last night was even better. However, my heart sank when I heard that Carlos Beltran will be out for longer than expected. Though it was not truly a surprise for me, without him, the Mets lost, and there is no replacement -- even F-Mart -- in the system that can remotely replace his strong, silent type of play.

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How about that Big Pelf? I always liked that kid. Mark my words: I guarantee he will be named NL Pitcher of the Month for April. He still has at least one more start this month according to my calculations (Have I mentioned that I can barely add?), but I know I am keeping him around on my CoopDeVilles Fantasy Baseball team for now. With his save in the 20 inning fiasco, coupled with the scoreless innings thing (19 at the moment, hopefully more by the time the month ends), it is no contest: Mike Pelfrey is fucking shit up this month. Let's hope to continue the progress.

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Two short things: first, get on my Facebook fan page if you have not done so already. If you like the Coop's smart-ass remarks, you get more of them in greater volumes there.

And who is going to the game tonight (Wed) versus the Cubs and Saturday's game, versus the Braves? Coop will be at both!! On Saturday, though, I am trying to do the meet-and-greet again on the Shea Bridge. We had a decent turnout the last time. Let's start a tradition!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jenrry, Isaac and Jon

Does everyone like Ike?

That seemed to be the prevailing opinion about our boy wonder who was brought up from the minors for the game yesterday. Since 2006, I have seen the debut of two over-hyped prospects in Lastings Milledge and Fernando Martinez, and their debuts weren't that great. I would hardly have called them saving the organization.

The Mets lost both those games, while 'Stings hit a double in his last at-bat of the game (as far as I remember, it was a long time ago, and my brain sometimes plays tricks on me), F-Mart didn't do anything except cause me to name the bridge in RF after him. (You had to be there to understand)

Of course I didn't go last night, and everything fell into place. It was just as well anyway. I think the underlying story not getting attention is that Jon Niese looked really great last night, he pitched certainly well enough to win, only giving up one run on 8 hits, with 7 strikeouts. His pitch count was a bit high, but he's young and nothing appeared to rattle him, which is a good thing. Of course, he did not get the win (that went to Nieve, one letter off his name) but I was totally afraid about Niese's hamstring injury rendering him useless or at the very least, not the same pitcher he was. I'm excited to see his next game (actually, I might be there for it I think).

And Jenrry Mejia came in to shut down the 9th inning.

While I think deep down that bringing up Ike Davis is an act of desperation (although quite frankly, I think he was the only so-called "prospect" who was ready after spring training, more so than the junk we were throwing at 1B every night before him), as is Mejia pitching out of the bullpen (let's screw with the mechanics of a guy who could be a front-line starter), I have to say I am encouraged by Niese and encouraged by the future.

I have glimpsed the future, folks. And their names are Jenrry, Ike and Jonathon.

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John Delcos today was warning us not to get ahead of ourselves though over at his blog. And I do agree with him. I know how exciting it is to not only get a win but some encouraging play from your prospects, but remember Gregg Jefferies? Yeah, unfortunately, so do I, although I think that Davis has a little more poise and potential than he ever did (that's beside the point).

Last night's win was about the team taking advantage of some mistakes here and there (not to mention a big ass HR by Angel Pagan!), which has been the case in many of their wins so far this year. Then again, it's against a Cubs team that has more question marks than we do, so maybe this will be a first series win of the season or at most a SWEEEEEEEP. Hey, I can hope, right?

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Trying to schedule a meet-and-greet on said F-Mart Bridge on Saturday, April 24, around 12:15 again. We had a pretty good turnout this time, if you will be there, come on by!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Aim Low

There's a bit of the yin-and-yang coming into play with the Mets this weekend.

The Mets and Cardinals played a total of 38 innings over 3 games. That would tire anyone out (but mostly the fans, where I think after a 20-inning game on Saturday has most of us back on our Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder meds again).

The Mets took one out of three, once again losing a series to start the season (making the total four series lost in 2010). On the flip side, Omar Minaya must really be jazzed that they took one of three, since he said he'd be pleased with that scenario.

The reason for that is, well, St. Louis is a tough team. With Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday anchoring the team's hitting and Adam Wainwright looming in a start against a struggling John Maine earlier in the week, that would be acceptable thinking...if the team were 20 games out in say, August, and there was no chance of salvaging the season.

The yin-and-yang of the series? Pujols and Holliday were non-threatening. Pujols was miserable with RISP and Holliday had gone 0-for-5 in Saturday's debacle while going 3-for-3 Sunday night.

Wainwright was Wainwright, but for a dude who hasn't faced the Mets since, well, that fateful October night in 2006, and he dominated. Maine did okay, but if anyone didn't see that tying home run coming when it did, well, get your PTMD meds in order again. Someone tweeted tonight that Jerry took out Ollie with a 97 pitch count and dominated. That's cool. Leave in a tired Maine with over 100 pitches? That's cool.

Jerry Manuel should just change his name to Joe Fucking Cool.

Look, the Mets had a lot to achieve this series. It's hard to though when they can barely get in base, let alone not strikeout. As an example, Jason Bay has quickly become Jason "K"ay and David Wright is starting to show shadows of his April self that tends to appear, with 2 Ks Sunday night.

Let's get real: The only reason the Mets won the game on Saturday was due to the fact that the Cardinals sucked worse in bringing in RISP. And the reason for scoring three runs at ALL Sunday night? Due to idiot moves by the Cardinals. They deserved to lose this series. Can't say that about the others thus far, but nobody on the team tried to take charge at all this road trip (except for maybe Mike Pelfrey who, as Ed from Studious Metsimus pointed out, leads the team in wins AND saves. Heh).

Leadership? Look no further to Jerry "Joe Fucking Cool" Manuel and Omar Minaya to speak to that. After all, we got what we wanted. A win. Woo fucking hoo.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

First Guessing

There was no second guessing what Jerry Manuel did tonight when he yanked Oliver Perez at less than 100 pitches in the 7th inning (6 1/3 SHUTOUT innings, I may add).

It was the WRONG FUCKING MOVE.

Coupled with our fearless GM (who is not named Coop, by the way) saying before the game that St. Louis is tough, that winning two out of three would be ideal, but we'll just take one win. Nothing like aiming high there, Omar. Thank you for playing.

I am no longer sugar coating this shit. It is inexcusable the level of play we are getting out of this team. Out of all the talent on this club, they are not even playing to the level of their competition. They are not competing, period.

Back to Jerry. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion the second he took Oliver Perez out of the game that it would be a disaster of unmitigated proportions. The reaction from Nieve was bad Ollie-like, with a hit-batsman, then walked Holliday with an 0-2 count (I think you learn in Pitching 101, you CANNOT LET THAT HAPPEN, that's almost as bad as a batter taking a bunt on a 3-1 count), subsequently loading the bases.

Of course, we all knew that since Denny's sponsors the team, that Raul "Don't Call Me Exxon" Valdes, would give up a Grand Slam. Unfortunately, Denny's is tastier.

I guess it was bad that my guests and I left Donovan's in Woodside in the 8th inning, and missing an almost-comeback. Too bad the Mets don't believe in "almost" comebacks, they are supposed to be believe in comebacks.

I guess they could argue they didn't let the GM down at least. After all, there is at least one more game to blow. And I do mean "blow."

Anyway, my point is, this all goes back to Jerry. Anyone who says that a manager really has no impact on how a game turns out needs to take a crash course in Managerial 101 and use tonight as a reference in what NOT to do.

Jerry -- you don't take your pitcher who was owning everyone including the best hitter in baseball, period, out of the game with one out with less than 100 pitches. You just don't. There was no second guessing on that. It was a FIRST guess, you don't fucking do it.

Kthxbye. Love, the Coop

Friday, April 16, 2010

Theory of Relativity

So the Mets won yesterday and Big Pelf brought his Big A Game to Colorado, while along the way capitalizing on some fundamental mistake the Rockies made.

Likewise, the Mets caused some concern at some points of the game. For example, Jose Reyes missing the double-steal signal, with Luis Castillo being caught in a rundown. Then again, Big Pelf managed to get out of a rundown and scored a run subsequently, so I guess in the end, it all evens out.

But I don't really want to talk about game specifics. Sure, it was good to see the Mets win, but let's keep things relative. It's the third series of the season. They've lost all three series and only won ONE game each series. They have started the season 3-6.

Is it really the end of the world, though? According to most (or at least the most vocal), it could be, especially since John Maine has been confirmed as the ESPN Game Night starter on Sunday. Quite possibly, he is the one pitcher who has showed us the least hope thus far, but who knows? He could bring it, as he promises he will.

However, we have heard nothing from other teams who have had probably craptacular starts as the Mets have had. For example, the Astros won their first and only game this year yesterday, going 1-8 to start. Of course, the 'Stros don't have the type of expectations that the Mets have had this year. But keep in mind, that it took them THAT long to win a game.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, have started the year 3-7. These are the reigning AL West Champs.

Speaking of L.A., the Dodgers have some of the most dynamic young players in the game with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Their SS Rafael Furcal has absolutely been on fire starting this season, and they are treading water at 4-5.

The Red Sox have also had a lackluster start, 4-5, but are also getting the help of reinforcements with returning players.

My point? It's too early to get up in arms, it's too early to compare our start to the Phillies, who have had their players dropping like flies to injuries yet still hold first place. It will take a while, but they'll be facing us soon. Not that it will matter (ha), but keep in mind, they have also started the season against the Nationals (home-and-home), and the Astros. Yes, the same team that just won their very first game of the season yesterday.

I won't discount good teams, since it's obvious the Phillies have one of those. Before we claim the season is over before it started, let's think that some teams that are actually very good have also not been as "great" out of the starting gate.

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Speaking of the Phillies, there was an interesting story about how classy the fans are with a guy who got arrested for intentionally vomiting on a family in front of him. Uh, gross. And I believe they were all Phillies fans, so it wasn't even a rivalry type thing (not that that is an excuse, but at least it would sort-of kind-of make sense? Maybe? OK, I'm reaching here).

Anyway, the story has been circulated in cyberspace for sure, but I was also reminded that back in 2008, I was at Citizens Bank Park for a road trip. I was in standing room with a few other Mets fans, yet there was a Phillies fan standing towards the end of us. I thought he knew the Mets fans we had struck a conversation with, so we just sort of ignored him.

Till we hear him prepare to hock a massive loogy on the rows in front of him.

We all looked at each other like, WTF? Yet, there was no punishment for this guy, I believe he simply walked away. When I talked to the Mets fans next to me, I was like, You don't know that guy? They said they didn't, he was just sort of standing there, minding his own business.

So there was no back story, no heckling, no problems they witnessed. Yet this guy had it in him to spit for no reason.

Stay classy as always, Philadelphia!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Break The Rusty NAIL...And Run

(That title is for Solly)

In 2008, I had a rant of a post called "WWCD" or "What Would Coop Do?" that consisted of me throwing shit to the wall and seeing if it stuck. I will reiterate now as I was vocal back then and in years prior that I was never a fan of Willie Randolph being the Mets manager. Great guy, I certainly respect his baseball "pedigree" but I always thought he was too inexperienced to be a major league manager. Shit, this was a guy who wouldn't take a position in the minors (even for a year!) because he thought it was "beneath" him.

I advocated firing Willie, even as far back as 2005. I thought the Mets won despite him. Clearly the finish in 2007 was not something to be desired.

I digress. In that same post, I made a mention of Jerry Manuel, and said something to the effect that the last thing this team needs is that "stiff" we call a bench coach as our manager.

What happens? Jerry Manuel gets promoted to "interim" Manager and Willie-gate occurred. That was fine, believe it or not, I feel like the Mets got a lot of flack for how the firing went down. If you ask me, the real "disgrace" was losing a 7-game NL East lead with 17 to play and the only encouraging thing you had to say was "Champagne is sweeter." STFU, Willie.

However, I was "okay" with Jerry's title for the time. Please note, I said the "title" which the operative word was "interim" and not "full-time Mets" manager. I thought, finally, maybe the Mets will do something right here.

After 2008 was over, I was certain that with the fateful finish, Omar & Co would have open interviews (maybe even appeasing the Mets fanbase by bringing in say, Wally Backman, even though we know he wouldn't be seriously considered, just throw us a bone).

I don't think Jerry is a bad guy, he's just not right for the team. Then or now.

However, I have always thought that Ken Oberkfell has been the RIGHT guy.

Obie, as I like to call him, has been in the Mets system as a coach/manager for years. As I've heard from fans who follow the minors, he has a game plan. The players respect him, and overall he knows how to handle his players. I believe he is a good scout for talent and knows how to best maximize their potential.

Turns out I am not the only one who believes this. Besides my inspiration for blogging, which was the old site The Metropolitans (which is no more - cry, sob) had an Oberkfell for Manager movement, today Mark Healey over at Gotham Baseball has a superb piece today on Obie being the answer for the Mets malaise.

I sat around wondering what angle I would take today due to the performance of last night's game. I can rip John Maine, but choose not to, I think as DyHrdMet suggests, he needs an "extended spring training" in the minors. I can rip the fact that the team still cannot hit with RISP, but again, stat heads will tell me to shut the hell up, so I won't do that either.

Please let it be known that I am a firm believer that firing Omar (or demoting him or whatever) or firing Jerry is not *the* solution to the Mets problems, but rather indicative of the Mets problems. The Front Office has no one to blame but themselves without having a game plan or something in place that has us encouraged for the future. I don't even think THEY know what's what. You can't fire a team, so you fire the fall guys.

You know what will happen, they will make HoJo manager (big mistake, if you ask me) or give Razor Shines a promotion. WTH? Do right by us and bring a guy in who not only gives a shit but is not afraid to make the team do pushups.

Everyone who knows The Coop knows she is a big ol' Bobby V fan girl. I am, I freely admit it, I love Bobby V and in my dreams, he will always be my favorite Mets manager (besides Davey). However, I am not advocating bringing him back. I truly believe RIGHT NOW that would be a disaster of unmitigated proportions.

I will re-echo what Healey wrote today, and bring up Ken Oberkfell. It's time now, it's always BEEN time, and this is something I could get excited about.

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Something else I'd like to bring up is that everyone is making a big shit stink over Mets ticket sales thus far for 2010. I'm not blind, it was evident over the weekend that many were dressed as green seats and for the first weekend after a long winter, I think it's safe to assume that fans are not feeling the love about the Mets this year.

I guess you know the whole, fool me once, shame on you philosophy, etc etc.

Mets Police did a great job of finding fans who have been solicited by Mets ticket sale officers after the opening week homestand. Reiterating their mini-plans, discounted seats, etc etc.

It's easy to point the finger and say, well if the Mets had a better product, they'd be selling out, period.

Not so fast.

According to some sleuth work by F-O-C CoreyNYC, the Yankees had not only tickets for their home opener and Championship Ring Ceremony on StubHub for as little as $11 the day OF the game...today's afternoon game fared a little worse, with tickets (including added fees from StubHub) going for $10.50 in the upper boxes of the stadium.

This is a team that is putting a QUALITY product on the field. Granted this is a Wednesday afternoon game. But I'm looking at the big picture. If the Yankees aren't selling out Opening Day, with a quality product, then the Mets are certainly not going to with a "questionable" product.

How come no one is coming down on the Yankees for this? Is it because of the perception that they actually care about product and quality?

Or is it because people like to bash the Mets?

DISCUSS!

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I'm gonna drink tonight and Tweet (@Coopz22) during the game. Should be amusing. Mets fans are on fire already. Good times.

Monday, April 12, 2010

In Mourning

Last night, I found myself in a panic. I felt like I was missing something.

I checked my keys, and they were there. My wallet, everything was intact. My cats, well, they were both there. Did I feed them? That had to be it. No, food bowls filled, everything was fine.
Then I realized that what I was missing was the Rangers making the NHL playoffs. In case you are not a hockey fan, they lost yesterday in a critical shootout game, a culmination of a home-and-home series against the Flyers, who will be advancing to the next round.

It's easy to say that they lost their chance yesterday. But if you have been following them all season, you know very well that their playoff chances simply were not squandered yesterday. In fact, I can think of a few games, even as much as a month ago, that they could have won and did not, that would have been the difference maker. Being a Mets fan, I can certainly sympathize. It's easy to point to the last games of the season they simply needed to win, and did not. When in reality, all they needed was one more game earlier on. I think with Mets 2007 and 2008, we can easily point to games they could have won but did not. It's never about the last game. It's about the entire season. (Another reason why I think Mets fans are freaking out now as well)

Since I am a masochistic sports fan, and I seem to gravitate towards teams that break my heart in continual fashion, it should not surprise me that the Rangers would lose a really tight game in a shootout mode, and thus not giving me at least a welcome distraction for a few days away from the Mets' dismal start.

I am done speaking about hockey for the rest of the baseball season...

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So how's Jose Reyes doing?

Sorry, I need to make light of the abomination of a weekend series against the Nationals, and the abysmal start of the Mets in 2010. I am also p'd off because I had written a post on Jose's whimper-ish return at NY Baseball Blogs that got eaten up and missed the last several paragraphs. Boo!

Remember folks, as Jose goes so do the Mets. And he went 2-for-8 in his first two games back. No stolen bases, a few errors in the field. At the same time, I find it very telling that the Mets just mailed it in (against Livan Hernandez, no less) after being down 4-0 after a first inning Josh Willingham grand slam. I could say squandering a Johan Santana start is a bad thing, especially this early in the season, but it was clear that yesterday, even prior to the slam, that Johan did not have his best stuff.

Yes, even the ace is going to have a bad day. However, our offense needs to wake the fuck up.

Far be it for me to dictate how fans behave, but to boo Johan Santana is absolutely ludicrous. I was not at the game on Sunday, but to play devil's advocate, I wonder if some fans were booing just the overall situation. You know, a first inning grand slam to a guy who only does well against the Mets. A loss the day before in a game they SHOULD have won.

The sitch that after months of prognosticating, months of waiting, months of saying the Mets need to do this, this and this to be successful and win back fans' trust, they are doing all the little things wrong. In fact, it was Jerry Manuel, fearless leader himself, who said that yesterday they were unprepared.

Un-fucking-prepared. Un-fucking-believable. I really want to follow THIS guy into the trenches. I am no Willie Randolph fan, but when someone makes Willie look like Willie Coyote, Super Genius, on a daily basis, then what the fuck are we doing with this guy as manager?

I hate to say, but we need to come back from this road trip over .500. Not AT .500, OVER. If not, expect fans to riot simply by not showing up to games. I heard many fans were dressed as green seats, camouflaging themselves this weekend.

Seriously, a common refrain that I heard all offseason was that the Mets need to run out of the gate. They need to be strong and give us hope. Perhaps a .500 start would have done that (against the Marlins and Nationals at home though, I'm sure most would have found something to complain about). However, a 2-4 start is NOT what we expected.

Jose Reyes needs to turn it on this week. So do David Wright and Jason Bay. ENOUGH ALREADY. None of this "easing" into the season. You had all spring to prove your worthiness to us.

If this is not a successful road trip, the team is going to be under the microscope once again.

Carlos Beltran returning is NOT going to help that whatsoever if they are so far in the hole by the time he returns, it won't be worth it.

Far be it for me to dictate how fans react. I won't boo the team, and I'm not upset (yet, but give me a few days though). But I know why fans are upset, and I can't blame them.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saturday in the Park, A Summer Family Reunion

The first Saturday game is usually a special game for me. Many of my old Summer Family contingent (from back in the Shea days) all have Saturday weekend "plus" packages and not to mention, since it's the first official weekend game for several out-of-towners, it's a time to meet-and-greet with many who you do not normally see during weekday or weeknight games.

It was also a special game since Jose Reyes was returning to the lineup...FINALLY!...after an almost-year hiatus from the team.

At 12:15, we met on the Shea Bridge. DyHrdMet from Remembering Shea showed up, after visiting the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum, to which he described personally as "overwhelming" (in a good way!).
It was DyHrdMet and sister-blog of MSF, Studious Metsimus, hanging around, then our crowd got bigger. CoreyNYC and his wife Em joined us for a bit, then decided to grab some warm stuff (I was not at Friday night's game, but from what I understood, Saturday was a LOT better, wind chill factor be damned). Always good to see them.

Then my buddy JimD came out of nowhere! I knew he had Saturday seats, but forgot he is a "silent reader" of MSF, and he surprised me. Always good to see him.

Coop and Jim for GM!! (co-GMs, of course!)

Last but certainly not least, the biggest surprise of the day was seeing Uncle Gene and his son BW at the park! Usually, Gene-oh's oldest son, FunGuy, gets the Saturday tickets, but he couldn't make it, so it was Uncle Gene's first day at the park.
Something to know about Uncle Gene: he and Mr. E (Coop's dad, for the new readers) have been best friends since they were 10, and I have not known a life and especially have not known a life being a Mets fan without him being a prominent part of it. So although we are not technically "related," he is the family we choose, and it doesn't matter what the calendar day is. It's Christmas Day whenever I see Uncle Gene at the ballpark!

Meanwhile, DyHrdMet made a comment that I was the most popular person on the bridge. I doubt that, it was just that I am good events coordinator, ha ha.

No meet-and-greet with my sister blog is complete without a pic of us and the bears...taken by DyHrdMet himself.
Thanks to everyone and let's do this again for the next Saturday home game -- April 25!!

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I have a post up at NY Baseball Blogs on Jose Reyes' return today. I'm hoping that he becomes THE sparkplug sooner rather than later. It may take some time...but he'll be back.

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In the meantime, ONE WIN AND IN! Go Rangers today!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What The McFadden's?

From the sounds of it, McFadden's is THE place to be before, during and after games at CitiField.
I, for one, was thrilled to hear that McFadden's would be franchising in CitiField, as there is one at Citizens Bank Park in Philly. (Well, I just wanted an on-site bar that one did not need club access to get there, but also I was hoping said bar would be an offshoot of Donovan's in Woodside, home of the cheap beers and best burgers -- and they really *are* the best!). Anyway, what I was thinking was, dang, I had upgraded my seats specifically to get club access since I had missed it when Shea turned into CitiField, I missed having that luxury.

Anyway back to CBP's McFadden's. I had never been in there, but that's because there are fewer restrictions on "clubs" there from what I saw. I sat in their version of the promenade during a game in 2008 and when it started to drizzle a little, one of my friends suggested we go to the bar on site. I thought - do we have access? To which they said, you don't even need to sit up here. And it was lovely and everything was wonderful to get out of the rain, even for a little bit. So I never had a chance to visit their version. From what I understand though (and nothing is said on their website) that one can come and go into the park (so long as they have a ticket I presume) and stay during the game.

So with all the massive promotion, all the commercials, all the signs in the stadium reminding us that, oh yeah, CitiField has a new on-site bar, can we not get in there during the games?

When we went downstairs to capitalize on our $2 draft beers (from when they were promoting the place on Sunday at the Open Workout). The security gentleman said we had to go outside to enter the facility. We said, "Uh, we are trying to get to McFadden's?" Thinking, I don't know, maybe they thought I was trying to break into the Mets front office or something. They were like, oh you can only get in from out there (pointing to the outside). And I said, wait, will we be able to get back in the park? No -- you're one and done.

Okay. So you were going to let me WALK OUT OF THE PARK, to spend money in a stupid ass bar that isn't even fully finished yet (from all reports I've gotten), and then tell me when I try to get back in that -- oh, by the way, you used your get out of jail free card? It certainly would have been nice to KNOW that before I went outside. Well, I did, but hey, it's only 'cause I asked first.

But that wasn't even why I was upset. Watch ANY Mets game on SNY, go to ANY game at CitiField, even merely HANG AROUND the park or go to any affiliated Mets websites, and they are promoting the beejeezus out of this place, the first week it's opened no less. And you mean to tell me that me, a paying ticket holder at CitiField, cannot even go INTO said bar once I've "checked into" CitiField? I cannot use the facility before or after the game. This is an onsite bar that once I am in the stadium, I cannot enter. I am just trying to be as crystal clear as possible here.

As I said when I walked away from security -- that is BASS ACKWARDS. But, as Chap said in her wisdom, "This is the METS we're talking about." Yep, no sense makes sense. And when I'm quoting Charles Manson when I'm dealing with the Mets, you know I'm riled up.

It was then brought to my attention from other members of the summer family that McFadden's IS open to ticketholders...just before the game (when you can enter the park, since they haven't scanned your ticket yet) or after the game.

In fact, walking back to my seats after hitting the Caesar's Club (where they were more than happy to accept my money for overpriced drinks) on the Shea Bridge in the 8th inning, the McFadden's ladies were again promoting the crap out of the place. Now I understand why. The game was ENDING and they want bodies in there to spend money. At this point, why would I want to hang around the Iron Triangle, when I can take the 7 train a few stops to Woodside to Donovan's or Saints and Sinners?

I guess, I mean maybe someone can explain it to me. I go to the Mets website and it does say paraphrased) that McFadden's is open year-round, seven days a week, and should have peak times before and after games. While one does not need a ticket to the gameday to get IN the establishment, you will need one to get in the stadium. Fair enough.

However, "any guest leaving the ballpark to return to McFadden's will not be able to re-enter CitiField -- AS IS THE CASE AT ANY OF OUR BALLPARK GATES." (Caps are mine for emphasis)

I have news for you Wilpons: McFadden's is a PART of CitiField. Therefore, if I am at a game, and want to bail for a few minutes for whatever reason (even if it's too hot, say, and I don't feel like walking all the way to the Caesar's Club, which by the way, the left field reserved people had to claw and scratch to get even THAT on our plans), why SHOULDN'T I be able to go in there for a beer (money, I'm sure, you won't mind me spending) if I AM a ticket holder already in the game? Why should it matter? You are penalizing people who want to go to the game, and actually want to patronize your establishments. What a grand idea. Not.

In the meantime, please try to make it clear, that even though you are promoting the heck out of this place, remind your fans already in the stadium that you can't go NOW, you can only go AFTER the game, that is, if you plan to return to your seats. Seats, you know, we more than likely paid for.

Of course, I am hoping that this is only temporary and that they purposely want to keep crowds low for the first week, since I did hear that it plans to be 100% complete by the next homestand. If they get the "commoner" area right this year (added food stands in the Promenade, gluten-free and vegetarian stands), let's hope they get this right too. Otherwise, it will be just another misjudgment call on the Wilpon's part.

Like that should surprise anyone, right?

What the McFadden's is that all about?

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So what to say about today's game?

Twelve Mets left-on-base.

That about says it all.

I can't complain about Oliver Perez. He was actually somewhat of a good Ollie today. He had plenty of strikeouts, of course he walked a few but that's just Ollie, good or bad. As far as what I was thinking about today, he was potentially my biggest concern. He did just fine, actually.


Again, the Mets offense, in this quite early season, failed to show up. The Nationals scored two early, with the Mets getting those two runs back, then Ollie gave up two more...and the Mets answered with one more.

It wasn't even the starting pitching that stymied the Mets today. The Nationals bullpen (world beaters right there, fwah) held them at bay (no pun intended) after John Lannan left the game. There was a questionable incident in later innings when Fernando Tatis bunted on a 3-1 count, against Tyler Clippard who absolutely DOMINATED today. As if we expected anything less. Heck, Toasty Joe used to call this phenomenon "S.U.C.K. M.E." (Shaky Unknown Chuckers Kill Mets Everytime). Here is a bullpen guy on the Nationals who struck out SEVEN Mets in THREE innings. Are we regressing to the Rick Down days, when we couldn't hit crappy pitchers and slam good ones? Mind you, this is a guy with a lifetime WHIP of 1.356. And we couldn't only NOT buy a hit today, we couldn't even draw a fucking walk.

The 9th inning showed some promise when a quiet-all-day Jose Reyes (I can let him off the hook, he was "rusty"), in his debut for the season (!!!!), finally got on base. Woo woo! Then Cora bunts Reyes over, which led to a David Wright walk, but then...Jason Bay. Jason Bay looked absolutely stunned by the first two pitches by Capps, the Nats closer, then swung through strike three. I thought Jason Bay was supposed to be the guy everyone feared. Not exactly.

But Frenchy...he would hit one to the "Frenchy Riviera" (which is what Jim D. has coined the area where Frenchy hits his HRs). Not so fast...He did not, but Rod Barajas MIGHT have, COULD have, very well saved the day (our offensive "might" from the night before).

While noted Met-killer Willie Harris made the show-stopping catch to be the last out of the game with the tying and winning runs on base, it was another Willy who killed the Mets today, and that was Willy Taveras. Hello, he drove in all FOUR runs for the Nationals today!!! Unbelievable.

I could easily chalk this game up to, we can't win 'em all, boys. I really could.

But today was a game this team SHOULDA won.

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I actually had a great Saturday in the Park with my Saturday partner-in-crime and had a Summer Family Reunion. I will post pictures tomorrow!

Friday, April 09, 2010

A Perfect Storm

Did you see that?

The Mets won!

The Rangers won!

And the Yankees got SPANKED! (That was just simple gravy though, I can care less about them losing at this point in the season, or at all)

What else? The Mets turned it on with 2-HRs a piece from Jeff Francoeur and Rod Barajas (hello!). It was also the first time in the history of CitiField that the Mets have hit 4 HRs in a GAME, period (and since 2006, according to the post-game report). Not to mention, they scored runs late in the game and didn't mail it in or simply play to their competition.

It appeared to be a desolate night at CitiField, but Metsgrrl sent me a picture of the crowd and it didn't seem as empty as SNY's cameras sought out. But we could tell one thing from the television.

It was windy though. A truly telling April baseball night.

It was a perfect storm.

Tonight was a perfect storm for those of us who are emotionally invested in not only the Mets, but the Rangers hockey team too. It was almost ironic, as I told old buddy Matt the Met Fan, the Rangers postseason hopes hinge upon how they play against the Flyers. To reiterate, a New York team hinging upon the Philadelphia team.

Funny, isn't it? I'm going through it all over again. However, as I told Matt and our buddy Irish Mike, I called victory. Just call me Mark Messier, I said called that the Rangers would win, and they did. Now they just need to win one other game.

Sorry if this has turned into a hockey post. I wrote in an earlier piece today over at NY Baseball Blogs that as a Mets fan (and baseball chick) that at this time of the year, there are conflicting interests in my life, that it's hard for me to decide where baseball season officially begins because I am usually invested in how my hockey team is doing. Right now, the Rangers have me hopeful that there will be postseason play in the Garden and I have to keep that hope up.

Of course, with the Mets winning a good game and beating the teams they are SUPPOSED to beat is the proverbial icing.

As always, watching the Yankees get spanked in Tampa is truly special.

Not sayin', just sayin'.

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It's the first home Saturday game of the year, and in conjunction with Studious Metsimus, we'll be coordinating a very loose and informal meet-and-greet at the Shea Bridge before tomorrow's game. If you are nice to me, I'll let you buy me a beer. No kidding, but for real-real, not for play-play, they do offer $2 drafts at McFadden's. Again, not sayin', JUST sayin'.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Hitting Well Enough to Lose

Tonight, Jonathon Niese made his debut in 2010, his first start since he limped off the mound with a season-ending hamstring injury in 2009. His line: 6 IP/ 3 ER/ 2 BB/ 3 K. Not a bad start for a quasi-rookie coming off a traumatic injury, eh?

Yes, Jon Niese pitched well enough to win tonight.

Unfortunately, the offense did not get that memo, as the Mets lost a pretty nondescript game against the Marlins, 3-1, dropping 2 in a row, and starting the season 1-2.

Most of us are concerned about the state of the Mets starting pitching staff. Heck, I even wrote a piece for NY Baseball Blogs the other day about how the rotation consists of Johan Santana and the Four Rainouts (of course credit for the name goes to Studious Metsimus). John Maine and his bullpen supporting cast last night. Of course, the game was the Marlins to lose, and they didn't, and you can't win them all, etc etc etc.

And it's still early. When does it get too late? Who knows?

All I know is, it was a shame that the Mets could not come through with the win for Jon Niese, who pitched well enough to win. The offense hit well enough to lose tonight.

Back in 2007, there were several games where we'd look back and say, "Dang, if they only HIT situationally, the pitching was unbelievable tonight." Or "They hit well tonight, but the pitching didn't keep them in the game." And don't get me started on the damn bullpen that year either.

Such a shame. However, I hope this start is the first in a long line of encouraging starts to Niese. I like him a lot, and he may very well be a viable #2. (Just don't step in it)

Now if only they hit situationally...

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On the My Summer Family Facebook page, I wrote the following statement: I'm going to the game on Saturday. Good news: Jose Reyes is projected to return that day. Bad news: Oliver Perez is still projected to start.

Others responded as: Saturday is also Scarf Day. Or: Shake Shack is always open.

Of course, if YOU are going on Saturday, please join up with me on the Shea Bridge after 12, for the first weekend meet-and-greet of the season!

That's some good news right there!

Faraway, So Close

We're already two games into the season, and it was already one of them there games.

It was a bit disheartening to see John Maine struggle so early in the season. As someone pointed out to me on Twitter, his velocity is down to 88 mph from 92. I still think it's in his head. For one, he was injured in 2008, then rushed to get back in 2009, only to reinjure himself and was out again last season. It was clear he struggled last year, and is struggling again. I believe the velocity is down so he doesn't re-aggravate his shoulder. That said, John Maine is a fan fave, and we want him to do well. Since he usually owns the Marlins, though, it would have been nice to see him back in form. Turns out Jorge Cantu owns him as well, hitting a home run in early innings.

Then again, John Maine has proven himself to be a no more than six-inning-starter. So perhaps it's time to rethink his role. Again too early, but I would say after the fifth game, he's still struggling...something needs to be done.

Anyway, this was one of those games I watched on television from first pitch to the very last out. I know we can't win them all, but the Marlins did their best to lose this game, by being up at one point 6-2, then tied and having a few lucky breaks go their way with the Mets making some boneheaded baserunning mistakes. Namely, Fernando Tatis running on a Wild Pitch and being thrown out at the plate, thus ending a rally where David Wright was at the plate with the bases juiced. I was pretty interested to see how Dubs was going to handle this pressure, since it seems like he's matured quite a bit over the offseason.

Of course, one thing that sticks out in later innings, in an effort of being aggressive, David Wright stole second base with Jason Bay at bat. Shortly after, Bay was intentionally walked, and was basically the rally-killer right there. He had marbles all right, but in a close game, turned out to be just enough for the Marlins to come back and win in the 10th.

One more thing. I'm certain the experiment of Mike Jacobs hitting cleanup has been proven to fail. Do we really need a strike-out artist there right now? I think it's safe the assume the only reason he's even friggin playing is because Daniel Murphy is out for six weeks. Then if that's the case, why not demote Jenrry Mejia (Stop messing with the kid already!), and bring up Ike Davis? I'm not a fan of bringing prospects up before their time, but Davis has proven he has the maturity level and can keep up with major league pitching.

Otherwise, I am on the fence about this game. The Mets didn't back down and fought tooth and nail. However, at the same time, they had a LOT of lucky breaks/calls go for them as well. However, the Marlins were trying their best to lose this game, yet still won in extra innings. It's still early, yes, and perhaps the Mets will continue to stress fundamentals in the sense of taking advantage of the other team's mistakes when they are made.

But this is the Marlins. They always have the Mets' number at one point.

On the other hand, it's only the second game of the season. We may get some better memories this season, that we'll easily forget about this disappointing loss.

Till then though, we have 160 of these puppies to play. I hope we are not talking about the games that got away so early in the season. It's easy to, though, after the longest winter ever.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Fourteen Forever

In honor of the off-day, I decided to pay homage to a guy who usually doesn't get enough recognition in today's Mets world, though plenty recognition in dealing with Mets history. And that's Gilbert Raymond Hodges, aka Gil Hodges.

This post is inspired by not only seeing the great reams of Mets history in the Museum and Hall of Fame on site at CitiField, but also by a conversation with Jon Springer of Mets by the Numbers. What inspired the conversation was asking the simple question -- besides Gil Hodges, did anyone else on the team wear the number 14?

Of course, Gil Hodges was part of the original Casey Stengel's "Amazin' Mets," a bridge to New York National League's baseball history by being a part of Brooklyn Dodger history (and went to LA for a time), prior to returning to NY in '62. Being #14 for the Dodgers in both Brooklyn and L.A., he immediately was issued #14 in his return to NY NL baseball. According to MBTN, he was the original #14, until his retirement from playing after the 1963 season.

We all know #14 is retired by the Mets in honor of Hodges. However, it was retired with Hodges' success as a Mets manager, not due to his playing (Tom Seaver holds the honor of being the only Mets player with a retired number).

With Springer's due diligence, we are able to see that in addition to Hodges as a player, Ron Swoboda wore the number from in 1965 (and was #4 throughout the remainder of his Mets career), and Ken Boyer wore the number from 1966 to 1967.

Hodges joined the Mets as team manager in 1968 and no one has worn #14 since, with it being retired in 1973, one year after his death.

So why am I reinventing the wheel, since clearly the whole numbers thing was covered by Springer and pretty easy to figure out with some simple research? I know since I've been old enough to understand baseball and since I've been a fan, #14 and #37 were always retired numbers, with #41 being retired in 1988 (and I attended that ceremony at Shea too!). Numbers are one of those arbitrary things that we agree or disagree with vehemently as fans. Agree to the extent that honoring a player with a team by retiring his number is a classy act, or disagree to the extent that it's overrated. I side that it's a classy move. I think the Mets need to get on the boat with this, and acknowledge there is more to Mets history than Gil Hodges, Casey Stengel and Tom Seaver (though they'd have to redesign the entire stadium with its acknowledgements of these "forever" Mets).

I'm here to say in Gil Hodges' case, retiring #14 was not only a classy move, but he is truly the embodiment of Mets history. He was one of the original Amazins, and led a young Mets team to believe in themselves and reach for the stars as manager of the storied 1969 Miracle Mets. Truly, there are few like him today, and few like him before. Gil was a hero in Brooklyn Dodgers lore and in New York Mets lore, truly gone before his time.

Although two other players wore the #14 as a Met, Gil Hodges is truly the one who is forever 14, not just because it's retired, but with his legendary status as original Met to Met manager bringing that all together. He was truly one of a kind.

Now in light of that fluff piece today, let's play some damn ball!! Follow me on Twitter tonight @Coopz22, and watch Mets vs. Marlins, 7:10 pm tonight!