Wednesday, December 30, 2009

F-Mart, You Forgot Didn't You? We're Going to Need Him.

Fernando Martinez. He even came with a built-in nickname...F-Mart.

What happens to him now? Where does he fit into the Mets' future plans now that they signed Jason Bay? Is he a trade chip now? Did he turn off any advanced scouts with his play? Did he turn any on? Funny how our once most prized prospect's name wasn't even mentioned once this winter, about anything. Does he at least get to go back to being our top prospect again? Hmmm?.

I like Angel Pagan coming off our bench. I like Angel Pagan, period. He just needs to stay injury free if he wants to stay here and play for the Mets. Carlos Beltran is the X-Factor here. Is he going to stay healthy? He's becoming quite the fragile one. Can Jason Bay cover enough of CitiField's expansive left/center field. Heck, can Beltran's creeky knees keep after it in that big outfield? These are the things that concern me. Jason Bay can leg out a double OK, but he's not the swiftest of foot shagging balls in the gap. Jason doesn't have the Monster behind him here. At Citi he'll have an overly contrived, impotently high, black wall lined with orange laughing at him behind his back all game long.

The CitiField outfield demands swift footed fielders with good arms. The dimensions practically demand it. With Jason Bay out there I fear all we did was give city pigeons another statue to land on. This is not the second coming of DoNN Clendenon here folks. Donn's team had better PITCHING!

In a couple of years, 2 or 3, Jason Bay's contract and the contract of 7 other players will account for $110 million alone as a result of these back loaded contracts Omar has been giving out. Fred WILPON is going to freak!-just like he did in 1993 and 2003. He's going to be up to his earlobes in bad, late ballooning contracts of aged players and be fielding a miserable team with no young talent coming up from the farm in the near or distant future. I will scream this all day and all year. We keep mindlessly throwing money at second rate solutions to revolving and repeating problems, (see everyone other than Reyes, Wright & Beltran, the only stable elements the last 5 years). Meanwhile, we keep losing draft picks signing these free agents, and our farm system that has come to a grinding halt, a system with drying blood and lacking pulse, a thriving system since 1964, a proud system, is blue and orange in the face suffering lack of talent as a partial consequence. Whatever Tony Bernazard was or wasn't doing, and Omar Minaya not really following through with his reputation of scouting and evaluative acumen he originally was reknown for, sped up the decay of our lethargic minor system.

I'm a capitalist folks. I do not want a salary cap. You can't begrudge the Mets. They spend money. All I'm asking for is a plan...A freakin' PLAN and stop throwing away perfectly good money on mindless out the door purchases. Be smarter. Use free agency sparingly to put you over the top or to get that last piece of the puzzle. It shouldn't be used to stock your roster. Farm production, astute trades then free agency, in that order, is what I'm all about. Any dummy can write a check. Any GM can spend over a billion dollars in 10 years and walk away with one World Series to show for it. *(Holy Cow...I went there!)* You think that's smart GM'ing? I call it going to Vegas and doubling-down until you win back your losses and walking away with some cash too.

Where are my TUMS?


METS' HISTORY is, was and always should be ensconced in Pitching and Defense. With CitiField's dimensions, that traditional Mets' philosophy is never more appropriate, never more ideal, for this team, than right now!

Captain Chaos and his sidekick Confusion (that would be Mets-R-Us featuring lil'Jeff), need now, more than ever to hire outside consultation.

We are heading into the iceberg but in the First Class section no one has a clue.


Jason Bay is another patch in the quilt, not a piece to a puzzle.

Another short sighted move fostered by an organization that has no real plan in place? Check.

This team has not developed anyone since Wright and Reyes that have had impact. That covers a 4 to 5 year drought. I like Pelfrey. Yep, I sure do. Just don't talk impact to me yet.

Fernando Martinez. Don't forget about him Met fans. I know you did! Someone is going to get hurt in our outfield in a New York Minute. I hope he's there to step in and step up.


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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jason Bay? OK......... Perez & Maine...Oh The Pain!

The Mets signed Jason Bay today to a 4 year contract worth $66 Million. Well...At least they didn't do anything foolish like sign him for five. I'm on record as wanting to offer him a 3 year take it or leave it deal. It works out $6 million more than the Red Sox were willing to give him.

Here's what I think. BIG WHOOOP!!! I'm not gonna say anything silly. Jason Bay is a good player. Our bench is instantly made better by having Angel Pagan sitting on it (that was not sarcasm). But he is not changing anything at Citi Field until the Mets get a pitcher that can shotgun with Johan Santana. Period.

Don't plan on any trips down I-95 looking for success unless you're looking to buy a PHILLY-CheezSteak. Until the Mets get that pitcher, Jason Bay is inconsequential and a year too long.

Let me make this clear also. I like John Maine and I still believe Ollie Perez is correctible as ridiculous as that sounds, I really do. His problems are simple if you ask me. Allow me to digress a moment on OLLIE.

When Ollie Perez learns how to plant his landing foot perpendicular to home plate; - When he gets his toes pointed towards his catcher, most of his problems will go away. Psychotherapy is not the answer. I can't believe no one sees this. Any weekend pitching coaches out there? Do you concur? His landing foot falls everywhere it's not supposed to. He consistently lands closed to the catcher and you're always having to throw across your body. The rock rolls down the hill from there. I'm Done.

But honestly, has anyone even heard about Oliver and Maine? Hello? Realistically, what can we expect from them in 2010? C'mon, I'm a fan too. I'm just being pragmatic. We are closer to PRAY FOR RAIN vs OLLIE and MAINE than we are trusting them every fifth day.

So now I guess the Mets turn to their fan base and say 'SEE! The winter was fruitful. We told you. - We got R.A. DICKEY to sign a minor league deal. We stole Kelvim Escobar from under every one's noses and now we just hit a scorching line drive with Jason Bay. Bengie Molina looks close to joining as well - SEE?!

I can hear them now.

Let me ask you something.....All you Met optimists out there, are you feeling good right now? And all you Met pessimists out there, are you feeling a little grumpy right now?

Hear this. It doesn't change anything in the N.L. East yet. We had bigger needs to fill than LF. Our outfield is now BAY-lf - BELTRAN-cf >(is he going to stay healthy?) - and FRANCOEUR-rf.

*sigh* I've seen worse. I've seen better. Funny how Jason Bay didn't mean much to us when he was in our minor league system but now he's worthy of over payment for services yet rendered (raising one eyebrow).

Jose Reyes' hamstring? How's that coming along? Will he be able to run like he used to? This is the second season he's lost to hamstring issues. If he can't run......(fill in the blank).

Blog ya later. I've spent the last two days preparing a Fred Wilpon/Mets' General Manager rant. Sheeesh... this blogging ain't EZ. I give you good folks credit for tsome of the things you have going on in your sites. Looking forward to checkin them out in 2010.

HAPPY NEW YEAR BLOGGERHOOD!!!

Philly Fans, I hope you've been enjoying your view from the top of the division. We just didn't want to be there. I'm throwing you guys a bone. I'm in a good mood today. Here Philly....Chew on this!!!!



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Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Concise Concatenate of Mets' GM's & Life Under WILPONianism

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET










The Metropolitans Baseball Club of New York
est. 1962


Our Matriarch; Mrs. Joan Whitney Payson





The partnership group headed by Nelson Doubleday (and Fred Wilpon) purchased the New York Metropolitan BBC on Jan. 4, 1980 from Charles Shipman Payson; who assumed control of the team after his wife Joan passed away 5 years earlier; and from their daughter Club President Lorinda de Roulet.  The Mets' original and only owner to that point passed on October 4, 1975.



We owe everything as Met fans to Mrs. Joan Payson; the New York Baseball Giants fan and season ticket holder at the Polo Grounds; and to an honorable Mr. William Shea; who knew enough to threaten capitalists with that they understand best - direct competition.  For he threatened to create a new Baseball league and upset the game's landscape, which he forced anyway.  Hence, the expansion era.



Joe McDonald had been the General Manager for the previous 5 years under the out-going ownership. The way I understand it, the new ownership told Mr. McDonald the last few years at Shea weren't his fault but that they (Doubleday and Wilpon) wanted to go in a new direction.  The club extended an offer to Mr. McDonald to stay with the team in a different capacity however, which he did for one year to help make the new ownership's transition smoother.  But by 1981 he was gone from the Mets' employ and moving on to other endeavours.








Heading into the 1980 season, the Mets selected Frank Cashen, architect of the mighty Baltimore Orioles teams of the late 60's and early 70's to be their new General Manager.  But before we get into Frank Cashen, these are the things I didn't know about Joe McDonald in 1978 when I was only 11 years old.



FIRST ~ He was Director of our Minor League Operations in the 60s busy farming-up Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry, Nolan Ryan, Tug McGraw and a bevy of our positional players that went on to win the World Series in 1969 and a N.L. flag in 1973.









SECOND - One of my favorite seasons EVER was 1976.  By then, collecting baseball cards and flipping them in the school yard, going to games, watching on TV, listening to the Mayor's Trophy Game on the radio, and playing stick ball on the block all came together for me.  It's all I lived for as a nine year old in Brooklyn.



In 1976, my team for the most part, was still in tact.  But unbeknown to me, what I didn't understand then was, that it was time to break that edition of the Mets up.  THAT TIME had come for them.  From 1977 through 1979, one by one, I watched all my beloved Mets disappear.  I was stung when they traded Tug McGraw, Cleon Jones, and Rusty Staub in '74 and '75.  But those were only tremors. The big shake-up started in earnest during the Black-Out summer of 1977 and lasted the rest of the decade.   Tom Seaver, Koosman, Kingman, Grote, Harrelson, Wayne Garrett, Skip Lockwood, Jon Matlack, John Milner, Roy Staiger, even Nino Espinosa, were all gone.  Eddie Kranepool retired and who can ever forget ED OTT; then catcher of the Pirates; ending Felix Millan's career with a WWE wrestling style body slam?  I thought Lee Mazzilli was going to play with all those guys.  But I watched my team get dismantled and thought who might be responsible for this?   My Dad was a Yankee fan so no help there.



What I didn't understand then about Joe McDonald was, like I said, it was time to break the team up.  But as an 11 year old, I certainly didn't know that Lorinda de Roulet ordered every budget in sight capped or slashed.  Not even used baseballs, pencils, or paper clips were safe from the financial reaper.  The Mets was hemorrhaging money and looking for a buyer.  I was nine, ten and eleven years old. WHO KNEW?!  I sure didn't.  And I blamed Joe McDonald for everything back then, to include trading Tom Seaver.









I know all that to be false now.  This is what I now know about JOE McDONALD:



FIRST ~ If the choice to replace him was anyone other than Frank Cashen,- It could have gone down as one of the worst decisions the post-Payson Mets ever made.  There is more to Joe McDonald's resume no one bothers to address, in part because, well...., Frank Cashen is the best executive hire the post-Payson Mets ever made.  I will revisit this later and elaborate.



SECOND - Even as bad as it got between '77 and '79, the farm system was still working fast and furious.  Joe McDonald had warm blood pumping through the system.  He just was never allowed to acquire free agents or make trades that would increase payroll.  He was operating under a mandate from the Team President herself.  I will elaborate later in this post on what kind of talent he was grooming in those dark years..



Trust me, there's a point to all this.  And if you're a younger Met Fan, you may learn something.



* The FRANK CASHEN ERA, 1980-1991 General Manager and Executive Lord of all things METROPOLIS:



The first and to date only Mets Executive that came from off-Campus.



He presided over the greatest period of Mets' prosperity.  Between 1984-1990 no other team in baseball won more games.  I'll spare you all the details.  I forget I'm 43yrs old sometimes.  But you should be pretty up to snuff with 80's Baseball.  Mr. Cashen gutted a bad team even further between 1980-1982; refitted an already effective farm system with even more pistons; and were off and running.



Many say under his watch, the team partied too much - drinking and drugs, getting into on and off field brawls at clubs, getting arrested, and things of that nature.  They reveled in their cockiness.  Read Darryl Strawberry's recent book for tales of more high-jinx.  Hindsight says they underachieved.  Regardless, the whole time (!),  Fred Wilpon was acting like FLOUNDER from ANIMAL HOUSE.   Remember at the end of the movie how the Delta Guys wrought havoc on the Home-Coming Parade? - And Flounder, after pouring out his 2000 marbles for his part, looked around at the chaos and thought to himself aloud, - "OH BOY, THIS IS GREAT!"  -  Remember that part?  Well?  That was Fred Wilpon in the 80's!   Flounder.



Throughout Frank Cashen's years, the thriving farm system Joe McDonald left behind continued to thrive and kept pumping out prospects.  In addition to the farm system, Frank Cashen procured a lot of executive talent that was at the time, the envy of Baseball.  The Wilpon's continued to feed off that buffet into the present day with Omar Minaya (that connection will be tied together later in this post).  The next five Met GM hires after Frank Cashen, would all stem directly or indirectly from the same Frank Cashen, and cover the Wilpon's behinds for the next 20 years.



When Frank Cashen stepped down as General Manager heading into the 1992 season, he stayed on as a Vice President and Team Consultant into the late 90's.  As a matter a fact, he resumed his GM post briefly in 1998 when Steve Phillips was out whoring around and had to take a leave of absence from his GM'ship.  GOOD GRIEF!! - More about that dummy later.









* Al HARAZIN, METS' GENERAL MANAGER 1992-1993:



First off, I don't know how the hell this guy rose through the ranks faster and higher than Joe McIlvaine within the Mets' executive talent pool.  He was the accountant for crying-out-loud.  Secondly,  I wish I didn't know who's decision it was to make Harazin GM and not Joe McIlvaine. Was it Cashen's idea or was that decision lobbied by.., by someone else?  How could this be?  Did Doubleday/Wilpon have a say?  Was that really Cashen's hand picked replacement?  I don't really know.  What I do know is that Al Harazin was an unmitigated disaster as General Manager.



Al Harazin is the genesis of when I believe Fred Wilpon first became gun shy about going out and pursuing free agents with vigor.  Al Harazin, in part because of the overwhelming backlash from the Mets not signing Darryl Strawberry, went out and spent all kinds of' cash on Vince Coleman, Willie Randolph, Bobby Bonilla, Bret Saberhagen et'al.  The only professional outta the motley crew Harazin signed was Eddie Murray (I'm sorry, and Willie; but an over-aged Willie).  Outside of Eddie Murray, 1992-93 was...Fuhgeddaboudit Horrendous.!



Those were two mighty dark years in Flushing:

* Doc Gooden couldn't stay clean
* Jeff Kent was always angry with everybody.
* Bonilla was threatening to show reporters "the Bronx".
* Vince Coleman was throwing fireworks at fans in the L.A. parking lot.
* Saberhagen using a super-soaker filled with bleach to spray down reporters.
* And manager Jeff Torborg couldn't keep his foot out of his mouth.

Oh my, how the media wrecked Jeff Torborg.!



Fred Wilpon deserved credit for showing a backbone and in a press conference declaring, "Vince Coleman will never wear a Mets' uniform again" over the fireworks show.  But it was from this time on, Fred Wilpon began his aversion with free agency until Omar Minaya came back in 2005 and convinced him to once again, up the ante a little.



Things went very wrong for the Mets in 1991-93 indeed.  And Wilpon seemed proactive in wanting a new direction.  Nelson Doubleday didn't say much about anything.  He was really backround'ish but he was the Board Chairman.  Nelson was the Big Daddy but Fred Wilpon was always the front man.  That was always odd.  But Nelson always knew how to let the Baseball people do their jobs.  Fred was always buzzing around.  The partners were fast becoming Frick and Frack.



The Mets, as mentioned, had executive talent on the books.  Bob Mandt seemed to be in the mix but seemed to top out along the way and slipped.  His expertise lied elsewhere anyway.  But he was under consideration once for the GM job.  Joe McIlvaine was the rising star.  Other teams knew it too.  But somehow the Mets GM chair went to Harazin.  Because McIlvaine was impatient and tired of waiting for the Mets job, he took the San Diego Padres offer in 1990.



Now, if Frank Cashen knew he was going to retire in another year.....then..? Why not...?  ...never mind.



That's one the Mets let get away.  But not for long.  Al Harazin was fired during that infamous 1993 season; unable to complete his second year on the job.  What happens next is lucky break number two for the Mets. The first was getting Frank Cashen in the first place.  This time, the Wilpons were lucky McIlvaine came back.



Fred Wilpon pretty much begged Joe McIlvaine to return to the nest.  Joe Mac obliged.  In addition to getting tired of waiting for the Mets job, he left in the first place, in part because of all the Mets' behind the scenes, Front Office in-fighting.  That usually meant between Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday. Yes, at times it was often ugly and public.



* JOE McILVAINE, METS' GENERAL MANAGER 1993-1997:


This is the last Mets GM who had a clearly defined rebuilding PLAN and put it into effect, post haste! Joe McIlvaine was coming in to completely rebuild this team.  It would be piloted by the firm but fair Dallas Green.  I was all for it.  I was in total agreement with everything McIlvaine wanted to do.  The whole plan was built around Generation-K.  It was gonna be great!  The new product was to be home grown.  From this era came a member of my very select Mets I call "MY GUYS" - TODD HUNDLEY.



The plan to rebuild the Mets was an utter failure.  GENERATION-K never took off due to injury to all of them.  Joe McIlvaine got fired in 1997 because he was a little thick headed.  Fred Wilpon always used to get on him for being away from the team too much and not keeping the owners in the loop or returning their calls.  McIlvaine just had his own way about him.  He was a bit of a Diva.  But the truth is he deserved to get fired because he stopped caring.  He would literally disappear for days.  When situations demanded his presence, he seemed to always be off scouting somewhere; or so he said.   Bobby Valentine, the manager at the time, started complaining about him out loud.  By this time, Steve Phillips was turning tricks in the back allies of the organization as a young up-and-comer.  Steve Phillips was biding his time, waiting for his chance too.



Jerry Hunsicker, another highly prized executive in the Mets' Front Office, also tired of sitting around waiting for his chance, and by 1996 went to become GM of the Astros.  Fred Wilpon's hand was forced by the departure of Hunsicker.  He then tapped on the shoulder of Cashen's last available pupil. McLlvaine was out, STEVE PHILLIPS the rising (porn)star was in.







* STEVE PHILLIPS METS' GENERAL MANAGER 1997-2003:


This is where all starts to go awry for Fred-A-Licious Wilpon - my fellow Brooklynite - the Dodger fan - the man who went to high school in my neighborhood like Lee Mazzilli, and John Franco before him - my team's owner who pitched for Lafayette H.S. in Bensonhurst while Sandy Koufax played first base.  That Fred Wilpon.



Whatever assessment you have concerning the years 1997 through 2000 (2001-2003 LOL!!!) if they're positive, attribute them to Bobby Valentine; do yourself that favor first.



Steve Phillips had been a part of the Mets executive pool since 1990.  He was the last of the personnel brought in by Cashen to work for the Mets.  Besides being horny, here's Steve Phillip's major achievement ~ Steve Phillips was the beneficiary of a Florida Marlins' fire sale.  The inability of the Marlins to retain their talent was the biggest reason behind the acquisitions of Mike Piazza, Al Leiter, and Dennis Cook.  After the Florida fire sale and the 2000 season,  his acquisitions were incredible failures and that includes the Melvin Mora trade.  You know the names.  Don't make me do it.


Steve Phillips did draft David Wright, whom would turn out to be the compensation for losing Mike Hampton to free agency.  He also drafted Jose Reyes and Scott Kazmir.  That's not bad work right there!



But Steve Phillips obliterated any respect he built for himself  up to the 2000 season.  He set his reputation as well as Wilpon's cash a-blaze with some acquisitions made between 2001-2003 which shell shocked Fred Wilpon even further.  For the second time, Fred Wilpon was stuck with one of the highest payrolls in baseball with nothing to show for it but shame, like in 1993.  This was bad for Fred.  He always had a delicate psyche.  He doesn't like bad press and controversy.  A guy named Steinbrenner loved it though.  But not Fred.



Back to Mike Piazza, only Nelson Doubleday knew enough to sign Piazza for his worth.  Fred didn't want to write that check and that kind of thinking drove Nelson crazy.  At this point, Fred Wilpon's partnership with Nelson Doubleday was falling apart like wet toilet paper.



STEVE PHILLIPS also had to take a leave of absence from the team because he was out and about being a slut.   No this isn't 2009 and ESPN I'm talking about.  He was an adulterous whore back in 1998 too.  Frank Cashen had to come in from the BULLPEN and temporarily take over while the Mets dealt with the first Steve Phillips Scandal.



Moving forward ~ After sitting by while Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Kevin Appier, Mike Bordick, Jeremy Burnitz and company stole his money, Wilpon, sporting the second highest payroll in baseball, was kicking around with a last place 2003 team, a bickering GM, and a rabies afflicted manager.



Fred Wilpon backed Phillips in his blood feud with Bobby Valentine and the manager was out.   It was a bad move but definitely the easier choice to make.  Valentine didn't hesitate venting frustration with the organization.  And with Wilpon, that's a no-no.  So, Valentine basically got to fill-out his own pink slip.  But Phillips also read the writing on the wall and knew Wilpon was tired of his act as well.  The Wilpons fired Steve Phillips shortly after.



By the time Fred limped into the 2003 off season, all direct remnants of Frank Cashen were gone and the resources he left behind were suddenly exhausted.  Additionally, Nelson Doubleday couldn't deal with his partnership with Wilpon anymore.  The sentiment was Nelson found Fred Wilpon  insufferable.  Nelson and Fred finally worked out a deal and Doubleday's half of the team would be bought by the Wilpons.   "FLOUNDER" had now lost BLUTO, D-DAY, OTTER and HOOVER.



The S.S. Wilpon officially became rudderless.  Doubleday left with the team's fortitude to gamble and dream big in tow.  Frank Cashen took away all the team's brains and know-how.   FLOUNDER was about to find out things can and would get worse....and more treacherous.  Fred Wilpon and the Mets made their first 10 degree turn towards the ICEBERG.  But what's a Wilpon to do?



Omar Minaya was previously brought into the fold by Steve Phillips via the Texas Rangers.  He was the Mets Assistant GM and Lord over minor league and international development since Sept. of 1997.   He left to take a precarious Expos GM job in 2002.  So with Frank Cashen's influence a distant memory,  Wilpon turned to another Phillips appointment, Jim Duquette.  It would be Fred Wilpon's first decision as a solo artist.  He was the only one around now.



Wilpon was UNPLUGGED.  Minority Partner Saul Katz was kicked up a notch from his position of obscurity within the ownership group, as the rest of us were all left thinking what the Son of 'Pon - Wilpon the Younger - Lil Jeff - really knew about Baseball.



At this point the Mets' fan base is about to get subjected to two Steve Phillips' imports; Jim Duquette and Omar Minaya.



* JIM DUQUETTE, METS' GENERAL MANAGER 2003-2004:



Ever since Fred Wilpon had to pay down the 2003 disaster of a season, his mandate became to do things second rate, and from a mindset shackled with timidity.  It's hard to argue against paying up for Piazza and Ventura and that over-achieving team of 2000.  But it was the Alomar's, Mo Vaughn's and Baerga's that made Freddie break out in a rash; just like Vince Coleman and Bobby Bonilla made him schizoid before that.  And this was the owner's mindset Duquette was inheriting.


You have to feel sorry for this guy.  Fate cut him a little slack by bringing in Art Howe to manage, and getting the era named after the manager (i.e. the Art Howe years).  Howe only bought Jim Duquette a little time, for Jim was determined to put his ineptitude on display for all to ridicule.  Somehow, pitching coach Rick Petersen got into his right ear and polluted Jim's, and Jeff Wilpon's judgement.  That meeting of the minds cost us Scott Kazmir.  Petersen thought he'd be able to get more out of Victor Zambrano.  Really?  Between Art Howe, Duquette trading Kazmir, poor play on the field, and no indication things were going to get better in the era under Wilpon's sole ownership, Met fans were stewing.



Fact is, since day one, Jim Duquette never had a chance.  He was manipulated by Wilpon like a Jim Henson Muppet the entire short time he was GM.  During Jim Duquette's very brief tenure, in a quite publicly known secret, he was ordered to freeze payroll.  The new Mission Statement called for Met Mediocrity.  Band-aids would plug the team's needs just long enough until the Wilpons could see if they could come up with a clue.



Wilpon sensed the discontent, and before even firing Duquette, he hired Omar Minaya.  No..., the Wilpons begged Omar to come back and work for the Mets, in effect creating a two-headed GM for the latter part of the 2004 season.  The appointment making Omar the official GM, and Duquette's formal dismissal from his position didn't officially occur till the 2004 season was over.  But the handling just wreaked of desperation by the Wilpons.  Regardless, the Mets had their man most Met fans were content with.



Wilpon is always monitoring what we're saying because he's that paranoid, not because he's that in touch with the fan base.  But with our increasing decibels of discontent, an idea was born. "I know - Let's ask Omar Minaya to come back ~ Because the bottom line here is, I don't know anybody else. Where's Frank Cashen when you really need him?"



Fred Wilpon used his third and last "Lucky Break" card.  Omar was someone who Fred Wilpon was familiar with.  Fear of the unknown is paralyzing for some..(Fred).  Wilpon had a comfort level with Minaya.  Omar had a good reputation.  But c'mon, the truth is Wilpon just couldn't pool together a well educated baseball brain trust since Frank Cashen left.  This organization is at the mercy of Steve Phillips' proteges now.  I do not believe the Wilpons have the industry insight to hire someone better than Omar.  So yea, here in this instance, Fred Wilpon lucks out; again.  Omar came back like Joe McIlvaine did once before him, both at Fred Wilpon's behest.



* OMAR MINAYA, METS' GENERAL MANAGER Sept. 2004-present:



Omar's record since 2005 is 427-383.  However, 2006, as the years pass seems to be the aberration.  The win totals each year are 83, 97, 88, 89 and 70 in 2009.  Ninety seven wins in 2006 seems to be standing alone.  Ever since Carlos Beltran watched that curve ball fall in during the '06 NLCS, it seems like this team put it's tail between it's legs and has been heading in the opposite direction since.  I'll be fair and take last year off Omar's docket.  Injuries crippled the team.  But from 2005 to 2008 the team is a plus six.  The '08 team was six games better than the '05 edition.  So you decide.  The book is still open with Omar.  We're all watching.  I wouldn't be telling you anything you don't already know.



But if Fred Wilpon fires Omar Minaya because he can't turn the S.S. Wilpon around, this team will be in a world of hurt, more-so moving forward than at the present time, and we'll head into the uncharted depths of Tartaros.  I mean it.  Duquette didn't leave any hand picked executives behind.  He was here for a cup of coffee really.  He was like a front office version of Stump Merrill.  SO, who else is there?




One of Omar Minaya's closest lieutenants, Tony Bernazard sizzled in a blaze of Binghampton MMA Bravado.  Then there was Omar's own Blubbering Flushing Meltdown at the press conference announcing the termination of said Tony Bernazard.  It truly was BIZARRO WORLD scene.  Another Minaya guy, Manny Acta took a managers job with the Nationals.  So who do the Wilpons look to if they relieve Omar?



Here's another concurrent problem folks.  Our minor league system has come to a grinding halt pretty much for the first time since 1965.  For 9 years now, I've watched my graduating Brooklyn Cyclones of NYPL sent to Binghampton AA and get stuck in the mud.  Additionally, there are no more prospective Front Office executives the Wilpons can tap into anymore.  They are all done.  Cashen started a line of executive hires that were all in-house.  At present they've all been exhausted by the Wilpons.




And now, Fred Wilpon is at a crucible.  This is the most important year of his entire time owning the Metropolitan BBC.




If he fires Omar Minaya, the next decision he makes could have cataclysmic and far reaching ramifications.  The dark ages are looming for this franchise.  I am a little thin on confidence the Wilpons will get this right.  I fear ICEBERG DEAD AHEAD.  There is still time to save this however.  There's plenty of time to prevent panic.  This operation is very salvageable.  Fred is not an imbecile.  Mawkish?  Perhaps.  Ignorant and dumb?  Certainly not.  Lacking baseball acumen, timid and paranoid?  You betcha.



Finally, I'd like to bring Joe McDonald back into the conversation.  Even though the Mets were miserable on the field between '77-'79 under Joe, the farm system was busy.  Get your knife and forks Met fans and dig into this.



Wally Backman, Jesse Oroscoe, Neil Allen, Mookie Wilson, Hubie Brooks, *Mike Scott, *Jeff Reardon were all getting farmed-up during that time.  Hubie Brooks allowed us to acquire Gary Carter.  Neil Allen allowed us to acquire Kieth Hernandez and Lee Mazzilli got us Ron Darling in return.  And then we reacquired Mazzilli.



It's fair to say that Joe McDonald directly and indirectly deserves credit for..oh...28% of the World Champion New York Mets of 1986.  Am I way off on that?  The only reason I point that out is if we're going to truly assess the body of work of this ownership group, it's imperative we know how they got to this very moment, attribute the credit where it's due, and examine what needs our attention.



Joe McDonald has truly been the gem of the Mets organization. He gets a bad rap for those late 70's teams. What was closer to the truth of the Mets demise back then was the dynamic between Joan Payson's husband and daughters, and the infamous Boris Kolaff of an executive, Board Chairman, M. Donald Grant.  He was the real reason Tom Seaver got traded.  He is where my childhood rage should have been directed towards back then.  He was the Mets' true Phantom Menace of that ERA.  But that's for another day.




Today, I'm worried for the future of the Mets franchise under Wilpon/Katz control moving forward.  If the last 6 years of Wilponianism UNPLUGGED is any indication, I wanna get put back in the Matrix.



This is the way I see it.  I'm not saying I'm right or wrong.  It's just how I see life going into Met Year 8 A.D.  "After Doubleday"


Thank you for your time tonight.



Mike

http://thebrooklyntrolleyblogger.blogspot.com/

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Montague and Court, Jackie Robinson Dedication and Ebbets Field Mural

The Mission Statement ~  It's too easy using readily available pictures of Ebbets Field and the old Brooklyn Dodgers from books and other sites, etc. etc. for purposes of reflection, waxing nostalgic, and driving ourselves crazy.  That's not what I'm doing.  I'm looking for the footprint in the dried up river bed.  I'm cracking slabs of shale, and breaking slate to find what is left behind.  I'm looking for evidence, underneath layers of urban sediment.  I'm looking for the fingerprints of Baseball left upon Brooklyn.

Here in the Borough of Kings, the soul of the Boys of Summer, Dem Bums, Brooklyn's beloved Dodgers still lives on.  Whether we wear our Brooklyn Dodger jersies at a Cyclones game in Coney Island,  paying a toll to drive over the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, or walk into any sporting goods store in Brooklyn, the essence of the Dodgers is everywhere.  Somewhere there's an old season ticket holder on 18th Avenue wearing his Dodger cap carrying a brown bag of fruit or vegetables as part of a daily routine.  I'm telling you as fact, before the sun goes down on the day, that person would have spent at least a couple of seconds thinking about his/her Bums.

Today the Trolley is pulling up to the corner of Montague Street and Court Street, in Downtown Brooklyn.  On this corner stood the building where the Brooklyn Dodger Baseball Club Offices were.  Their offices were not located within Ebbets Field.  The offices and Ebbets were a short distance from each other within 2 miles or so.


Today there is a bank occupying the location.  Outside, on the front of the building, in 1998 a plaque was dedicated honoring the sight, and the history which took place within it's offices.




Inside the bank itself is a marvelous mural depicting play at Ebbets Field.  If you notice the buildings in the backround behind center field, they are still there on Bedford Avenue.


I hope you enjoyed your ride to the site of the Bum's old offices 
with the BTB.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Mets, Alex Cora, Winter League & "RaysRenegade"

RaysRenegade.....THIS ONE'S FOR YOU BUDDY!!


I,  like many people this morning spent time on the phone connecting with loved ones and the like.  My most trusted person I call for my doses of Winter League updates and inside stories is none other than my Uncle.  He attends games of the Puerto Rican Pro League religiously and is connected through friendships and from umpiring.

He shared some news with me this morning and it affects the Mets too.  ALEX CORA injured himself during this winter season and I believe he's packing up his things and foregoing the rest of his work for the/Los Criolles de Caguas.

The news is extremely preliminary.  I can't stress that enough.   I'm probably the first to "report" this, and who knows, the story may not even get out depending what kind of injury, if any he incurred.  I feel obligated to inform you, and as practice I don't normally offer family information, but yes, I, we, me and Alex are related....obviously Joey Cora too.  Their Aunt, my mom, is here opening up presents with me today.  Again,  I do not know what kind of injury Alex Cora sustained and I certainly don't know what this means to the Mets.  I was told this morning as an aside during my conversation with my uncle.  I'm not even sure when  it might have happened either.  So, until then perhaps we should just go on with our lives.

But while I have your attention, here's your little Winter League update.  As of this post, Alex's team, los CRIOLLOS de CAGUAS were in last place sporting a 10-19 record, 7 games behind the first place  LOBOS de ARECIBO who have a 16-11 record.  The league is currently on holiday break.

If I may....Lobos are "The Wolves" and the Criollos, translated would be the "Originals".  There, this concludes today's Puerto Rican Pro League update.


               (mural is from Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

When I learn something more, I will definitelty pass it along to you good folks.  Here's a couple of pics to compliment this..  One picture is the cap worn by los Criollos de Caguas about 20 years ago.  It belonged to another uncle of mine who passed away 10 years ago this year.  I kept many items he had.  And here's a pic of their current cap too.  The banner is from the Leones de Ponce (the Ponce Lions).  It is signed by most of the team sometime in the late 80's.  I  forgot what year exactly.  Two notable autographs are that of JOEY CORA and CARMELO MARTINEZ.






Enjoy the rest of your holiday everyone.  Be well.

Santa Just Left the CITI....What did he leave under the Met Tree?


Man-Cave - Brooklyn - Christmas - 12:30a.m.

Santa came to Citi Field tonight and left those Wascally Wilpons a little something.  At least it wasn't coal.  Omar Minaya is reportedly signing Kelvim Escobar to a one year minor league deal.  Not bad.  I've been killing the Mets all week for their hybernation this winter.  That twitch the other day that resulted in R.A. Dickey maybe was an indication the Mets are waking from their slumber.  Really?  Nah!  But this signing isn't bad at all, and if it is a minor league contract, even better.  The twitch has graduated to a full spasm now.  Maybe we can get some real motion going soon?  Aye?

Escobar pitched one game last year - DL'd since 2008.
2007 - 18 wins 7 losses  3.40 era  160 strikeouts/66 walks in 195 innings.....in the American League.
If he can stay healthy this guy is better than decent.  He can come out of the bullpen, but he already qualifies as the Mets' #2 starter (remember...Pray for rain, instead of Perez and Maine).  No one associated with the Mets, no fan, no doctor, no clairvoyant or psychic knows what Perez or Maine will be capable of in 2010.

Escobar is 101 - 90 lifetime splitting his career between Toronto and Anaheim of Los Angeles of Orange County of Southern Cali of the West Coast of the counrty.  Since 2004 he has been sporting an ERA under 4.00, again, in the American League.

Verdict?  Omar did good this time.  The Mets have nothing to loose, pending a minor league contract.

Escobar is conditioned to being on a winner.  The Angels are a good environment to come from.  Coach Scioscia runs a tight ship.  It's a step in the right direction.  If we was kicking a '3.change' ERA in the A.L., I'm hoping Escobar can get better from there.  This signing could work out very well for us.

BUT..........I'm not letting this MESS off the hook just yet.  This is just another example of the Wilpon's operating model.  There is no plan in place.  This was what you call opportunistic feeding.  The Wilpons are not predatory creatures.  This is akin to being a bottom feeder waiting for the next whale carcass to gently make it's way down to the Ocean Bottom Diner.  The sun shines on a dog's behind at least once a day too.  Could my judgement be clouded by fustrations with this club?  Could we just call this an astute GM move by Minaya?  I'll answer that.  Omar?  OK, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.  Those 'Wascally' Wilpons?  My mind is clear about them.

Mets operating model?  Flawed.    Signing Kelvim Escobar?  Not bad at all, regardless of how opportunistic it was.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Brian Cashman Hints There'$ Nothing Left..


I heard Brian Cashman on the radio saying the Yankees were not actively, and have no intention of signing a high priced solution for left field.

Really..?

Is Brett Gardner the left fielder now?  It's apparent the Yankees want nothing to do with Johnny Damon under the terms Scott Boras is seeking to secure for his client.  However the Yankees freely admit Damon was and still could be their perfect #2 hitter in the line-up.  With Melkey shipped out, Damon unsigned and Xavier Nady being an even bigger question mark, you would think their plan is to go with Gardner.  And the Yanks have given indications they are prepared to start the season with him in left.  I heard Brian Cashman say with certainty the Yankees will not entertain an expensive option for left field.  Sounds noble.

The Yankees have an offensive philosophy, No Holes In The Line-Up, they operate by.  That sounds outstanding if you can afford it.  No?  Remember how they addressed right field when Gary Sheffield was DL'd?  They traded for Bobby Abreu.  Remember Kenny Lofton?  Remember last year when they told everyone they were through spending money, then went and signed Mark Teixeira?  Remember how the Yankees told us they were prepared to start the 2006 season with Bubba Crosby in center field?  Remember they signed Johnny Damon because they didn't want to start the 2006 season with Bubba Crosby?  ...Damon, Melkey and Gardner for two outfield spots?  Last year they said they were cool with that.  This winter they went and acquired Curtis Granderson and Gardner is the lone man standing of the forementioned three.  When the Yankees say they are prepared to go with somebody, Yankee speak translated, that means until we get someone better.  After all we're the Yankees.  We can afford it.

Cashman said he's committed to maintaining a payroll under $200 million.  He says they are not entertaining expensive ideas concerning left.

I'll believe it when I see it.   And if I were Brett Gardner I wouldn't Twitter anyone saying he's the starting left fielder for the New York Yankees.  With Swisher in right not being the steadiest fielder, my Spidey-sense tells me the Yankees aren't through dealing.  They just re-acquired Nick Johnson to replace Matsui.  Nick Johnson could also be the #2 hitter.  He fits.  Johnny Damon is loosing bargaining power fast.  The Yanks took away what leverage he had.  If Gardner can fight off visions of grandeur, he'd be better off for it.

Cashman talks a good game.  I am calling his bluff.

(Photo - N.Y. Post)

Merry Christmas to All






Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Boys of Summer...at least what's left anyway.

This is part of what will be a continuing effort to bring you the glorious baseball past of Brooklyn and greater NYC.  Climb aboard the BrooklynTrolley on my trips to explore baseball archeology.

This mural can be found on the side of a building where Ocean Avenue, Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard converge.  It's painted only 3 blocks from where home plate at Ebbets Field once was, at the corner of McKeever Place and Sullivan Place.  The wall with the Ebbets Field lettering is located in the parking lot of the Ebbets Field Apartment complex.  Intended or not, the wall symbolizes where the right field wall once ran parallel along Bedford Avenue.




I'm out to find whatever I can.  It's easy to understand how whole civilizations get lost.  In any era, it's not the erosion, weathering, destruction incurred my man or nature, or neglect , abandonment or even apathy that affects us and our institutions most.  You, me and all things are powerless against it.  That "it" is very simply,  TIME.  For every wound Time heals, another is opened.  I'm one of those Brooklynites, upset Brooklyn lost their beloved BUMS, to L.A. no less.  I still have neighbors and know folks in the neighborhood, who still wax poetic about their Dodgers No-More.  They moved a profitable team.  Sure Robert Moses was unmoving in negotiations for a new park location within the borough.  I hold him largely responsible also.  But it was still Mr. O'Malley's decision to move a very profitable team and take it away from a fan base that loved, supported, cherished, suffered and literally lived and died with them.  O'Malley took them away from fans who looked out after the players if they lived on your street.  The block's kids all played together.  Trust me, nothing was gonna happen to a Brooklyn Dodger if he lived on your block.  And as fact, leaving on their way to the park, several Dodgers took the train to the field and everyone made sure they got to Ebbets safe.  Don't take my word for it, this is what the people who were there tell me.

As a kid I hated the Dodgers.  I still do.  But back then I had no idea why, I just did.  I remember a game at Shea in 1976 I went to.  It was a June night game, Mets vs. Dodgers with my POP, his cousin and my friend.
When my friend and I finished our soda, we poked out the bottom of the wax paper cup and used it as a megaphone.  I couldn't stomach Steve Garvey.  Every time he'd get up I'd announce through my cup, "Now batting #6  Steve GARBAGE! -  Garbage,  #6."  When you're a kid it makes for a hysterical night.  I don't remember who won.  I think I was too busy being nine years old.
I guess hating the Dodgers is just in the Brooklynite's blood.  I didn't know and didn't care then why I hated them.  There is no doubt why I can't stand them today.

..but isn't Hate just a fuzzy baseball term us fans use?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NYY - Vasquez in, Melkey out. Hey SoxNation, remember him?

Yankee fans should have seen this coming. Melkey has been playing himself right out of town. He's good defensively and has a good arm. But his offensive skills were negligible and his progression was moving like the blob. He was too much of a clown in the dugout, especially teaming up with Robbie Cano for a real goofy time. Joe Girardi and Cashman shared a brain when they demoted Melkey to the farm in 2008. He was having too good a time and not really producing. He had his moments, but it didn't add up to quality playing time. Getting Granderson was basically the little push out the door. Who knows? Maybe Melkey will be better suited for the National League in Atlanta.

Moving Melkey for Javier Vasquez was a damn good move in my humble opinion. Sure Vasquez fizzled out after a great start of the season for the Bombers in 2004. He made the All-Star game with a very good 10-2 record (I think, but 10 wins is correct), going into the break. His second half was miserable. It turned out is arm was hurting and he didn't tell anyone.

His work in Chicago wasn't exactly stellar either. But I am willing to say it seems like he's an improved pitcher since 2004. He has nice strikeout totals and good BB/K ratio. He's serviceable. Most importantly, he is insurance against the Yanks continuing mishandling of Hughes and Joba, and a hedge because nobody is certain what Pettitte will have left. He will be facing other team's 3 or 4 starter depending on how the Yanks play it. So I'd say that's a good position to put him in to succeed for Javier's second stint in the Bronx.

Javier Vasquez. Is it giving you a sour taste in your mouth Yankee fans? Did this trade jar some bad memories for you?

C'mon SoxNation, this is your opening to jump in. Let me take you back; Back into time. The year was 2004 in typically crisp October. Game 7 of the ALCS, Bronx, and Joe Torre is in a quandary. It's the biggest game of the year against their hated rivals and Saint Joe has little pitching options for the game. The choice is between Kevin Brown (LOL) and Javier Vasquez. Vasquez must have fell out of favor for not being forth-coming during the second half of the season about his arm trouble. So, Joe Torre went with Kevin Brown. Boy did the SAWKS light him up. Papa Joe comes out to yank Brown, and calls upon Javier Vasquez to keep the Yankees in the game. Johnny Damon hits a grand slam off Vasquez. Yankees never had a chance that night. RedSoxNation was headed to the World Series. The Red Sox danced on the famed Yankee Stadium grass that night. Big Papi was the DJ spinnin' monster jams that series. The lifting of THE CURSE has as much to do with Kevin Brown and JAVIER VASQUEZ as any other reason.

Nation? I hope you'll give me props for holding down the fort down here in Brooklyn. I enjoyed that game and night incredibly. I won't say as much as you Beantowners because that wouldn't be right coming from a Mets fan. But I am Sox fan since the mid 70's too. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Outside the Mets my favorite player in life was Yaz. I must admit though, between my Mets and the Sox, there is no conflict should they play in a World Series (again).

Hot Stove baby! Warm up!

There's Life in Flushing.....? Barely

The Mets Twitched!
Stop the presses!!

EXTRA!! EXTRA!! Read all about it.



The Mets' winter just started to show life; a twitch. They're reportedly on the verge of signing a knucleballer named R.A. Dickey to a minor league deal.

I know he's no John Lackey, but he IS - R.A. freakin' Dickey!!!



ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! Pedro, Dickey? Is this where the Mets' minds are?

C'MON !! Really?

4x4 Yanks-Red Sox



The Starting Front Four of the Red Sox vs. the Yankees:
(eh..hem - allow me SoxNation)


Evil Empire

vs.

RedSoxNation

C.C. Sabathia
Josh Beckett

A.J. Burnett
John Lackey

Javier Vasquez
Jon Lester

Andy Pettitte
Dice-K Matsuzaka


The ACE - Both are aces. I give the edge to Beckett. Two rings to one. Both won rings with their present team. Beckett closed out the Yankees in 2003 with the Marlins. C.C. wasn't enough to get the Brewers to a W.S. Make your own call when he was in Cleveland. Fugeddabou'th stats. I think it's fair.

Two Spot - Burnett, when he's on, he's really on. When he's off, he's befuddling to watch. He's been a headcase with respect to his catchers, but NYC seems agreeable enough with him. Lackey is a bulldog and more consistent on a game to game basis. I watched A.J. throw his arms in the air after surrendering a HR and yelling aloud "Why did I throw that pitch?!", somewhat showing up his catcher Posada. We all watched Lackey yelling at his manager, "This is my game skip!" in the ALCS. What say you?
EDGE? It's close, almost a wash. It's Lackey by a nose.

Three Spot - Let's not waist too much time with this. Vasquez didn't do too well here, literally, since he went to the All-Star game for the Bombers in his first stint. Foolishly, they wanted Randy Johnson instead. He has improved somewhat since then. He has nice strikeout numbers since those days. But currently he's a really good aquisition for the Bombers, giving up Melkey and a bag of balls.
....(say this fast, for effect)> LesterIsBetterNuff'Ced!!!
Edge - Jon Lester.

Four Spot - Dice-K? Hmmmm. Tough call. Versus all Andy Pettitte has done, key word here being "has", it's Andy. C'mon SoxNation it's true, today. But what does Andy really have left. At least we think there is still a promising future for Dice-K. Don't we? Last year was a nice Swan Song for Andy. Is there anything left? Perhaps. Now-Now Yankee fans, if I pit Andy against Jon Lester instead of Vasquez, Andy looses to Lester. There's way too much ahead of Lester and Andy's career is in the rear view mirror. So, does it matter?

The Verdict - three rounds to one.....TheNATION has a better starting rotation than theEMPIRE. The Brooklyn Trolley Blogger has spoken.


P.S. What comes after the four spot is another matter. The Sox have Buchholz, while the Highlanders continue to mismanage Joba and Hughes, and seem about ready to delete Wang. Is Wakefield still able to flutter a knuckler or is he retired for good?

The Hot Stove is a-burnin' folks.

METS, Winter, BAY, MOLINA...the Silence is Deafening

The Bengie and Bay Show?

Jason Bay wants a 5th year from the Mets. Ben Molina wants a 3rd year from the Mets. If I'm the Mets I counter Bay with a 3 year offer and with Molina I stand firm on 2 years.

If these two individuals were in such demand, they would have signed already, here or anywhere.

NOBODY wants them! The Mets are competing against themselves for their services. Where are the other offers for these players? Where are they?

Aside from that, these are just stop gap players in the Mets' scheme of things, what ever that is. They have no plan in place. These two signings would just be more random acts of futility by the Mets front office. The Mets aren't in as bad a shape as I may portray, currently. But we are headed in the wrong direction and we're picking up speed.

Jason Bay.....3 year deal. I'd rather see Angel Pagan in left over a full season anyway. He just can't stay healthy it seems. Please Mister Met, bust into the Met Think Tank and give'em a good headbutt. Tell them not to sign Jason Bay for 5 years. I'm cool with Bengi for 2 years. That will buy us time till our kid catcher, Josh Thole is ready.

Why aren't the Mets showing interest in Matt Holliday? No gumption!

If anyone wanted Bay or Molina they would have signed already. Mets, you have all the leverage right now, considering there are no more pitchers left on the market. Bay is not going to change the overall direction of this organization. Don't get bogged down with an onerous contract in years (3), 4 and 5.

When Omar got here the Mets needed to address catcher, first base, second base, the outfield corners, #2 and #3 starting pitchers and the bullpen. That was 2005. Today, entering Omar's 6th year as GM, the Mets need to address catcher, first base, second base, the outfield corners, #2 and #3 starting pitchers and the bullpen. Sorry Omar, your predecessors gave you the only stability you have in Wright and Reyes. Johan Santana? You've earned credit for that. Nice job. Billy Wagner and K-Rod? OK, I'll give him that too. Beltran? Yep, you've earned that badge too. That leaves 20 other roster spots that are still in disarray since 2005 with no real improvement in sight either from the farm or the market and certainly not trades; we just don't have the chips for trades. right Omar?

This team was one pitch away from a World Series in 2006. It's seems they put their tale between their legs and have been fleeing in the opposite direction ever since.

Enjoy the silence everyone.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mets Make Me Shake My Head


My Room, Brooklyn - I'm currently listening to sports radio. Apparently the Mets have an interest in bringing Pedro Martinez back, as is being reported by Jayson Stark.

Apparently the Mets have shown interest in bringing Pedro back.

The METS....WANT To brING Pedro BACK?

I still can't believe what I'm hearing. I still can't believe it after typing it 3 times. The Mets want to bring Pedro Martinez........, back.

Let me tell you exactly where I stand, post haste. The biggest reason John Lackey is not a Met today is because Fred and Jeff, Jeff and Fred, the Wilpons, don't have the gumption to operate as a New York entity should. We are the largest market in the country. The Metropolitans' enterprise rakes in money. Period. But the Mets continue to be run like a small market club. They sported a $140 million dollar payroll last year, good for 3rd highest in baseball and tops in the NL. The Wilpons have been agreeable with regards to payroll for the most part. But the Wilpons must be feeling over extended. How else can you explain the Mets' inaction this winter? It's been reported the Wilpons actually made money off the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme scandal. So what gives? I call it timidity. Yes! Good word....TIMIDITY. The Wilpons just don't seem to have the convictions, and the acumen to run a sporting entity. Remember in a previous post I told you it was Doubleday who knew enough to re-up Piazza after aquiring him in the trade with Florida. Fred Wilpon didn't want to cut that check. They, Fred, is a mawkish owner. There!! I said it! He knows real estate, but he don't know Didley (a little Brooklynese for ya) about running a sporting enterprise. That's where I give Boss Steinbrenner all glory. He understood it takes money to make money, and you can't be afraid to fail. The Wilpons operate terrified! The Wilpons made it a policy this past season or before last, NO NEWSPAPERS IN THE CLUBHOUSE. They didn't want the team to read all the bad press they thought the Mets were enduring. What does that tell you?...About paranoia? It's not the money that concerns me. Like I said, the Wilpons have been agreeable, for the most part. They did make Duquette operate on the cheap though. That was indeed a mandate. I'm just saying the Mets need to hire someone from the outside who the Wilpons can't set a mandate upon, someone whom the ownership is virtually unfamiliar with, someone who will take it to the Wilpon's wheelhouse and TELL them what's in their best interest. As long as the Metropolitan Club is profitable there will be little preventative maintenance. That's the Wilpon's undoing. They'll wait till things start going sour in the stands and inevitability in the wallet, then they'll get reactive. There in lies one of my biggest criticisms about the Wilpons; Pro-active vs. Re-active. The Wilpons are the latter.

How can you not call him mawkish when his highest, loftiest stated goal to his fan base was a want to play meaningful games in September. That's it, no more no less. That is a Limbo Bar a jelly fish couldn't wiggle it's way under. - Talk about setting low standards. Nothing ventured nothing gained Mr. Wilpon. This is so far beyond Omar Minaya.

Their biggest need this offseason was a number 2 pitcher. Lackey filled that need perfectly, someone who was big game but who could shotgun Johan Santana. The Mets made minimal efforts to pursue him.

When the trade deadline passed and the Mets made no improvements (for arguement sake), Omar tried painting a silver lining on this club's black cloud by telling us he learned how highly other organizations thought of our prospects. Really?! When the Phillies completed their deal for Roy Halladay, Omar reasoned and I paraphrase - I guess other teams had better options than we did. Uh......DUH ! OK, not getting Halladay isn't anyone's fault really because better chips were found elsewhere. But not pursuing Lackey with verve is inexcusable. However I kept that sentiment in the backround of my mind.

Today, first off, I hear the Nationals...Yes the NATIONALS are signing Jason Marquis. Jason wanted to pitch for the Mets...! He said as much. It's not that I wanted him in earnest, but then I'm not running the club. I'm just a fan right? So, Halladay? - Mets get a pass. John Lackey? Inexcusable. Marquis could have been very useful. He's very servicable and a nice pitcher. Nothing, nein, nyet, nada !!

Strike one, two ,three strikes........YER OUT!!!! (think Bugs Bunny when he played the GasHouse Gorillas).

So their grand master plan is to talk to Pedro's agent? Really? Really. Really!? I suppose Ben Sheets is in their cross hairs too?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained Mr. Wilpon. Timidity. Yea, that's it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Brian Cashman says it's Joba vs. Hughes

NYC- Last week on 1050ESPNradio, Brian Cashman said Joba and Phil Hughes would compete in spring training, for one starting rotation spot.

My question, why bother?
I'll make my case for Joba being in the bullpen and why Hughes should start.
And I'll give you my opinion on why I think the Bronx Bombers botched the whole developmental process of Joba and to a lesser degree Hughes. here goes...

Why Bother? Cashman already intimated the Joba Rules will apply to Hughes as well next season; the "Hughes Rules" if you will. Tom Verducci did a study on pitching the Yankees loosely based their "rules" on. But the Yankee interpretation does Mr. Verducci's study an injustice. Last year it meant 2 and 3 inning starts on the bad side, 5 innings on the good. It meant pitching knowing the inevitability of the bullpen loomed ahead. It meant the Yankees self inflicted need for another starter down the stretch and for the playoffs (crisis averted, but none-the-less). It meant inconsistent work routines in the form of 5,6,7,8 and 9 days rest between starts. I've never seen such a developmental process. For that you leave them in the minors. Remember the minors? I know Cashman is trying to re-establish a developmental philosophy for the Bombers. But it's a process and the Yankees were NEVER good at it. They buy other team's players. Boss George never met a rookie prospect he didn't want to trade or think of trading. The Yankee system never needed kids. It was what it was.

Joba has already demonstrated dominance in the 8th inning role. As a starter he lost velocity, focus, concentration, confidence and most importantly, the strike zone. His pitch economy was terrible. Oh yea, and he got hurt too. The Yankees fast tracked him to the majors after only 88 innings pitched in the minors. 88! Juan Marichal had over 600! I digress. Phil Hughes has, off top of my head, over 300 innings pitched in the minors. He was also fast tracked and I believe about 70 of those innings came after he too, got hurt and rehabbed his way back. Hughes looks more polished as a pitcher in my opinion, because he has more minor experience than Joba. Joba is loaded with talent. Yes. But he's so raw and you learn in the minors, not on-the-job training for the Bombers. I believe Joba and Hughes already demonstrated their strengths and one, Joba, belongs in the pen, and Hughes should be the starter. If they still want to impose the HUGHES RULES, that's fine. Unlike Cashman however, I think their roles are already clear.

Ron Guidry, when Goose Gossage hurt his arm in a clubhouse fight, volunteered to come out of the bullpen until Goose got back. He said, and I'm paraphrasing here, he could help the team more coming out of the pen 3 or 4 times a week rather than pitch once every 5 days. That was a temporary solution, a different time and different reason. But Ron Guidry said that.

Imagine having a Cy Young award winner as your 8th inning guy? The Yanks created that very scenario when they signed Goose. Sparky Lyle just came off a Cy Young year as the Yankee closer and he became their 8th inning guy with Goose on board the next year. But this is when I think the Yankees truly invented the 8th inning set-up role. Ron Davis was given that role specifically, to set up Goose. He was damn good at it too. And there you have it, the SET-UP man. After Goose, the Yanks I believe misguidedly converted Dave Righetti into a closer. They never had a stable closer after Righetti until they signed Wetteland many moons later.

Now let's remember Mariano Rivera came up as a starter and didn't make it as such. He became the Yankees' 8th inning guy by default, and because Joe Torre typically abuses bullpens, Mo put up great numbers setting up Wetteland in 1996. We know what happens next in the MO story.

I give the Yankees credit for establishing the Set-up guy in baseball. It goes back to Ron Davis. It's a proven formula, (although my opinions about relievers, set-up and firemen are another matter for another day) and the Yankees have, in hand, the variable in that formula to preserve continuity in the closer role. We know Mo is great and he's a freak. But we know he's well beyond the shelf life of a closer and he's on borrowed time now at 40 years of age. Put Joba in the bullpen, he's your successor to Mo, and you're set for at minimum, a good block of years.

The Yankees have tortured and misused these kids enough, and that includes the since departed Ian Kennedy. I liken the Yankees to a spoiled kid who opened up his/her Christmas presents too early, wound up breaking them all lest we forget Joba, Hughes and Kennedy were all DL'd. Then when it came time for X-mas and opening of the presents, the Yanks had nothing to play with except broken toys. All three should have been held in the minors till this year.

Let's face it, under The Boss in the last 35 years, the Yankees groomed all of four pitchers from their system that have done anything worth speaking about. One of them, Wang, is about to be deleted. Ron Guidry, Dave Righetti and Big HGH himself Andy Pettitte are the others. I defy you to name another. The Yankees have always paid the premium for other team's pitching. The Yankees don't know how to develop pitchers, evidenced by these convoluted rules. I know, Cashman is trying to change all that, right? I know. Of course he is. He's been GM for a decade plus. He proclaims wanting to bring the Yankee payroll down and be more fiscally responsible, and reinvigorating their farm system. He even managed to break up the little Tamper Team in Tampa the BOSS used to keep in his back pocket. His resoluteness to these principles impelled him to sign C.C. for $60 million more than the next highest and really only other offer, made by the Brewers. His dedication to development and fiscal responsibility also secured A.J. for another wheel barrel of cash. No? And the Tex signing too? New rules, new direction, new philosophy = same Yankee$.

In the long run, I think Joba and Hughes will turn out fine and be very good pitchers, in spite of the Yankees, that is. I'm sure Cashman will refine his developmental strategy. After all, only the Yankees can afford to sign free agents the way they do, pay to retain the talent they groom, and still be able to afford the grocery list of mistakes Cashman (and George) signed for big money. We know the names; Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Vasquez, Wright, the infamous Carl Pavano, the $40 million dollar minor leaguer Igawa.....do I need to go on? Most teams can't even afford to make one of those mistakes, much less two. In the mean time though, I think "The Bankees" are ruining their kids. We'll see.

What say you Yankee fans?

Brooklyn digs out from the snow






One Foot. That's how much snow fell last night. It's nice and serene when it's coming down, although last night was just a little more blizzard like because of the wind. It's the digging out part that's not too fun. If you're home in, I dunno...Green Bay and you're reading this, I hear you laughing at me. That's cool! I almost moved to Florida back in the mid 90s. I can't even explain to you how happy I am I never did. There were many reasons why I didn't move. Nothing necessarily stopped me , per say. One big reason is simply, I love the change of seasons. Autumn is my favorite. I need my four seasons. Another reason is I'm just a major urbanite at heart. My sister lives in FLA. I'm in Florida all the time; I'm very familiar with it. The truth is I just love living in NYC too much. Now this is the one you're going to get a kick out of. One of the biggest reasons why I didn't move, AND I didn't even want to move upstate which for a long time I've toyed with doing, is because of something that happened 10 years ago as of this coming June2010. They put a baseball team in my backyard! The Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League were born in 2001 and play in a beautiful park in Coney Island. That ended any notions I had of ever moving from Brooklyn. I've lived in Argentina when I was young for a short time for familial reasons but was back in the States for school. I lived in (West) Germany for 2 years. The point is I've been out of this country and like to get to as many places in this country as I can, money, time and work permitting of course. I say this in all humbleness and in admiration for my little plot in life....I love Brooklyn. I think this is the greatest place in the world. And if The New Jersey Nets basketball team can overcome their legal battles and get their financing issues straight and sucessfully complete their migration to Brooklyn...? FUGhEDuBOUDIT!!!!

Enjoy the pictures.

P.S. I typed up a nice big log about Joba and the Yanks last night for some good HOT STOVE....and hit delete by mistake! Grrrrr! I'll try to get that thought through today. I'm all shovelled out and my wife made some soup. Blog ya later.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gray Snowy Day in Brooklyn







These pics were taken earlier in the day just as it started to snow. Brooklyn Borough Hall is decorated for the holidays. The castle-style downtown post office made for a nice picture. And before the snow started to stick, I picked up some Nathan's on the way home. The weather currently at 7:53pm is indeed pretty frightful, but in my man-cave it's delightfully bloggy! What a perfect night for a Hot Stove post. I'm just going to show my face to the family for a bit and I'll throw a nice big log in the Ol'Hot Stove oven. I'd say there's about an inch of snow by my way so far. A perfect night for Hot Stove indeed. Blog ya later.

2009 world baseball classic



This is the only picture I have of the 2009 World Baseball Classic. It was taken in the second round in "Miami" by my cousin with her cell phone. I planned on being there for 2 games but those plans fell apart like wet toilet paper. I have since started a WBC collection jar in preparation of 2013. It's Classic or bust. And I don't know about you, but I like the Classic!

so...?! Who likes the Classic. Who does not?

Ebbets and Gil Hodges Way




Gil Hodges is the Quiet Man and will forever be loved in Brooklyn.  My 1955 Topps Gil Hodges card is one of my most prized possessions. I'd also like to extend a personal thank you to Mrs. Joan Hodges for coming out to Keyspan Park from time to time, and taking in a Brooklyn Cyclones game. Bedford Avenue runs, what was then behind the right field wall of Ebbets Field. I'm one Brooklynite who wishes one day Bedford Ave leads to the Hall of Fame for "The Quiet Man". What could the Veteran's Committee have had against him all this time?  This was a man who at his retirement ranked 10th all-time on the career Home Run List and maintained a .992 fielding percentage.  As a manager, he brought respectability to the Washington Senators and was the pilot of the Miracle Mets of 1969.  A World Championship caliber player in addition to being a Championship caliber manager strikes me as a rather unique Baseball Man; The Quiet Man.

Gil Hodges... Hall of Fame Now!

What say you? Is Gil Hodges a Hall of Famer?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The S.S. Wilpon....Rudderless!

Winter is just a couple of days away. Another season bereft of Met Magic has elapsed....again. This is as good a topic as any to kick things off. The quicker the Mets get their act together, the better.

Welcome to my blog fellow fans. I am the Brooklyn Trolley Blogger and I am a Mets fan.

If the Wilpon's have a plan, what is it? Are they keeping it a secret? What exactly are Omar and Jeff Wilpon talking about? If they have a plan they've given us fans no indication that it's even in effect.

So right off the bat, it is my opinion the Mets suffer from the field manager right on up to Mr. Fred Wilpon himself. Our roster issues truly are secondary to me. Our organization suffers from the neck, up, and I think it's time this organization went off campus to bring in new ideas to a barren and stale, inbred front office think tank. I say inbred in the sense that Omar, Duquette, Phillips and Mcllvaine before him were all familiar to the Wilpons and the Wilpons to them. First off the Mets begged Joe Mcllvaine to come back after Wilpon's insistance they hire Harazin. Later, with sole control of the team, Mr.Wilpon created the 2-headed GM, remember? They begged Omar to come back without relieving Duquette first. They are out of options to beg anyone back. Before I forget about Phillips...he was lucky to be around for the Florida Marlins' firesale. The players we imported from Miami had more to do with the Marlins' weak financial footing than any GM savvy Phillips excersized. Let's be honest. Every trade Phillips made after the Marlins' sale was ineffective if not misguided. Except for J.Hunsicker who never came back, the Wilpons have exhausted everyone they knew AND everyone they did know was brought into the fold by Frank Cashen. Additionally, ever since Nelson Doubleday endured all he could stand from Mr.Wilpon and sold him his half of the team in 2003 because he found Fred to be an insufferable partner, the S.S. Wilpon has been rudderless since. Doubleday ensured Piazza stayed in a Met uniform. Mr.Wilpon didn't want to cut that check.

This organization needs a transfusion. Someone help us because Mr.Wilpon is fresh out of ideas and there are no more remnants of Frank Cashen to fall back on. Ask the Marlins for permission to talk with Larry Beinfest. I know thats a remote possibility but they should be looking outside the organization this time. The thing is I like Omar, but business is our Mets and our Mets need fixing. The book is still open on Omar for the coming year, I'd imagine. But that book is closing fast. If Mr.Wilpon needs to shell out a couple of million to a consultant and help him make a solid executive hire, so be it. Left to their own machinations the Wilpons will turn right into the iceberg. Fellow Met fans, I do not like what I see growing on the horizon.

I intended one little paragraph to say hello tonight. I ranted instead like the Frustrated Flushing Fatalists. You can't fire the owner, so is this our fate?