Archive for February, 2011

Hump Day Thoughts

February 24, 2011

TAKE IT EASY TC

“[Davis] is going to become one of the premier first basemen in all of baseball. He’s already as good defensively as there is in either league. He has absolutely enormous power, and I think he’s going to learn to be a better hitter and therefore a little more selective hitter. He’s going to get better pitches to hit, and he’s going to do a lot of damage. I can see Ike Davis in the future being that certainly legitimate number four hitter.”

Like many others, I am a fan of Terry Collins’ passion and excitement. However, comments like the one above can lead to unrealistic expectations. It is one thing to believe in a player, it is entirely different to proclaim a guy is the next coming of Lou Gehrig.

Ike is coming up on his first full season. There will still be a few hurdles for him to leap.

“His range to his right is incredible, and those left-handed first basemen, the [Will] Clarks and some of those guys, that’s what they did,” Collins said. “That just changes the whole defense of the infield. The second baseman can play up the middle, and it changes the whole dynamics of how they play.”

This is more like it. It is extremely complimentary but doesn’t go too far. Not to mention it is pretty insightful in terms of the overall impact on the defense.

COURAGEOUS

Rich Coutinho shared on MetsBlog that TC politely dealt with a fan venting about the team’s lack of power.

These types of fans amaze me. I admire their courage, no matter how misguided it is.

Note to courageous fan: The team’s alleged lack of power isn’t really something the manager can control. This is more of an issue that you should address with the Wilpons or Mr. Alderson.

However, kudos to you sir or ma’am. If I was fortunate enough to be at spring training I freely admit I wouldn’t have the stones to confront the manager about an issue with the team.

It is far more likely I would utter some sort of uncomfortable greeting and maybe muster up the guts to shake his hand. Maybe.

I am content to voice my opinions hidden quite nicely behind my laptop hundreds of miles away.

BEATING A DEAD HORSE

Today, Terry Collins commented on whether or not he would have used Jenrry Mejia in the bullpen last year. It is my assumption that someone asked him his opinion on the matter. Why else would he bring it up?

A question to the media: What is the point of continually kicking Jerry and Omar now that 2010 is far removed from our rear view mirror?

Move on people. It is clear to all that this was a mistake.

As I have said in the past, I probably would have done the same thing if I were in Jerry’s shoes. Put things in perspective. If you were fighting for your job would you not do anything in your power to try to win? The front office is as much to blame as Jerry was. They should have put their foot down at the very beginning of this poor idea.

Let’s stop writing about 2010, please.

UPDATE (2/24): TC’s actual comments verifying he was prompted to comment on this subject.

“You’re putting me on the spot, aren’t you?” Collins replied Wednesday. “Well, I understood exactly what happened last year. I certainly don’t blame the decision that was made. I will never second-guess that decision.”
“I, in turn, as the guy on the other side of the field, in the development side, from what I had heard, thought he should go start [in the minors].”

“They made the decision, which they thought was right for them. I’ll certainly back it up and support it. But everybody I have talked to on the other side [at the minor league complex], who are good baseball people, think this guy has got a chance to be a top-of-the-order starting pitcher. So I’m going to give him his chance.”

TAKE IT EASY TC

“[Davis] is going to become one of the premier first basemen in all of baseball. He’s already as good defensively as there is in either league. He has absolutely enormous power, and I think he’s going to learn to be a better hitter and therefore a little more selective hitter. He’s going to get better pitches to hit, and he’s going to do a lot of damage. I can see Ike Davis in the future being that certainly legitimate number four hitter.”

Like many others, I am a fan of Terry Collins’ passion and excitement. However, comments like the one above can lead to unrealistic expectations. It is one thing to believe in a player, it is entirely different to proclaim a guy is the next coming of Lou Gehrig.

Ike is coming up on his first full season. There will still be a few hurdles for him to leap.

“His range to his right is incredible, and those left-handed first basemen, the [Will] Clarks and some of those guys, that’s what they did,” Collins said. “That just changes the whole defense of the infield. The second baseman can play up the middle, and it changes the whole dynamics of how they play.”

This is more like it. It is extremely complimentary but doesn’t go too far. Not to mention it is pretty insightful in terms of the overall impact on the defense.

COURAGEOUS

Rich Coutinho shared on MetsBlog that TC politely dealt with a fan venting about the team’s lack of power.

These types of fans amaze me. I admire their courage, no matter how misguided it is.

Note to courageous fan: The team’s alleged lack of power isn’t really something the manager can control. This is more of an issue that you should address with the Wilpons or Mr. Alderson.

However, kudos to you sir or ma’am. If I was fortunate enough to be at spring training I freely admit I wouldn’t have the stones to confront the manager about an issue with the team.

It is far more likely I would utter some sort of uncomfortable greeting and maybe muster up the guts to shake his hand. Maybe.

I am content to voice my opinions hidden quite nicely behind my laptop hundreds of miles away.

BEATING A DEAD HORSE

Today, Terry Collins commented on whether or not he would have used Jenrry Mejia in the bullpen last year. It is my assumption that someone asked him his opinion on the matter. Why else would he bring it up?

A question to the media: What is the point of continually kicking Jerry and Omar now that 2010 is far removed from our rear view mirror?

Move on people. It is clear to all that this was a mistake.

As I have said in the past, I probably would have done the same thing if I were in Jerry’s shoes. Put things in perspective. If you were fighting for your job would you not do anything in your power to try to win? The front office is as much to blame as Jerry was. They should have put their foot down at the very beginning of this poor idea.

Let’s stop writing about 2010, please.

UPDATE (2/24): TC’s actual comments verifying he was prompted to comment on this subject.

“You’re putting me on the spot, aren’t you?” Collins replied Wednesday. “Well, I understood exactly what happened last year. I certainly don’t blame the decision that was made. I will never second-guess that decision.”
“I, in turn, as the guy on the other side of the field, in the development side, from what I had heard, thought he should go start [in the minors].”

“They made the decision, which they thought was right for them. I’ll certainly back it up and support it. But everybody I have talked to on the other side [at the minor league complex], who are good baseball people, think this guy has got a chance to be a top-of-the-order starting pitcher. So I’m going to give him his chance.”

It’s Not In The Cards

February 22, 2011

What is it with the New York Mets and playing cards? Is it some sort of epidemic that will plague this franchise for eternity? Or is the latest card playing embroilment a whole lot of nothing?

First you have Bobby Bonilla and Rickey Henderson playing cards in the final innings of their playoff loss to the hated Atlanta Braves in 1999.

For some reason every time I think about this incident I have a strange vision of the movie Revenge of The Nerds playing inside of my head. Instead of Booger and Takashi, it’s Rickey and Bobby:

“Rickey wants to know, what the f&^%$ is a frush?”

Apparently, last season a number of players were more worried about what was dealt on the river or what the flop had in store for them then preparing for that day’s game.

Never fear, Terry Collins is here. He has emphatically put his foot down. Mean old Terry has informed us all that in order to stop this impending distraction he will institute a clear deadline for card playing in the clubhouse.

So what is the reality of this story?

This card playing “controversy” makes for great fodder for the media. After all, what else is there to talk about right now? The beginning of spring training doesn’t exactly sell a lot of newspapers.

I doubt that the card playing was a major factor in last season’s disappointing outcome.   Had it been, we probably would have heard more about it prior to spring training of this season.

I imagine that players in the San Francisco Giant’s clubhouse played cards last year. For some reason we aren’t hearing anything about it affecting their performance.

I guess some people feel it necessary to give the 2010 Mets one last kick before moving on to 2011.

Hu’s Hitting

February 22, 2011

Every time I read Chin-Lung Hu being described as “slick” fielding I get worried.

Normally when a player is frequently described in this manner, it is really a euphemism for a player that is solid in the field but can’t hit a lick.

Hopefully, my worries will be proven unfounded.

Channeling Your Inner Dick Weber

February 20, 2011

Nothing spells team unity like B O W L I N G.

Here’s a breakdown of highlights from tonight’s team building activity:

  • David Wright showed everyone his inner Dick Weber and rolled an impressive 259 tonight (actual fact). He might be able to give Ishmael a run for his money. Hopefully he doesn’t pull a Munson.
  • Francisco Rodriguez’s custom ball actually arrived the night before the competition. The rest of the players used house balls.
  • R.A. Dickey couldn’t hit the pocket consistently as it appears that knuckle balls don’t seem to translate to the game of bowling. He called it a night early, unlocked his ten speed, and went home.
  • Mike Pelfrey was fined for licking his fingers too much during his address.
  • Luis Castillo showed up midway through the third game.
  • A little hazing took place as New Met, Chin-lung Hu, fell victim to the old Icy Hot in your wrist master gag.
  • Oliver Perez was proudly showing off the cutter that he had been working on in the Mexican bowling lanes this winter. He started off his first game with a Turkey, followed closely by six consecutive gutter balls, and two 7-10 splits.

In all seriousness, I think this is great. Anything that can keep this group loose while potentially building comradery is ok in my book. I applaud Terry Collins for this idea.

Don’t Count On Johan In 2011

February 17, 2011

Johan Santana’s official rehab time table has been set. We are looking at late June to mid July according to Mr. Alderson’s math.

The thought of Johan on the hill for his customary seven innings is a pleasant one in late February. Yet another glass is half full thought during the most optimistic time of the year for many baseball fans.

I want to take this time to apologize, as I am about to bring the room down for a minute. Time to be “Debbie Downer”, the wet blanket, the office complainer. It is prudent for us not to expect much from Johan in 2011.

It takes six to twelve months to recover from this surgery. So right away there is potential to take us into September or October. My Midwestern logic (similar to Spidey Sense for the lay person) tells me it is more realistic to expect the full year due to the fact that this man has put a considerable amount of stress on this shoulder for a number of years. More so than you or I for certain.

We may see Johan take the hill prior to September. The anticipation that will build up to that start will cause many to start talking about immediate impacts. It will be hard not to. Just remember, this won’t mean he is 100 percent.

Remember how long it took Jose to come back to full form last year? How many games would you say it took David Wright to shake off the affects of Matt Cain’s beaning? Hell, we are still waiting on the 100 percent return of Carlos Beltran. The probability is pretty high that when Johan first returns he will be limited and will have to shake off the rust.

It is a lot like chasing fool’s gold (I really have no idea what fool’s gold is, the closest I can come to is Texas Tea which is oil. Thank you Jud Clampett). We tend to want to believe that a player’s first game back means he will return right where he left off. Name the last player that actually accomplished this.

Don’t take this the wrong way. If anyone can make something happen like this, it is Johan. I still have very fond thoughts of a particular game he threw with a torn meniscus. The pragmatic side of my brain keeps telling me that was his knee, not his throwing shoulder.

Over and Over Again

February 16, 2011


There are at least three issues that members of the Mets organization have to address on a daily basis with the media. By saying organization, I am speaking of owners, players, on down to interns. These issues have staying power, which means the organization will potentially face them all season.

For fear of vomiting all over my keyboard or insulting your intelligence, I will not list these issues.

Could you imagine having to deal with the same issues over and over and over again in your daily work life? No? Just for shits and giggles, let’s try to imagine what it would be like.

You are the manager of a local McDonalds. You wake up ready to start the day with your typical cup of McCafe and hot apple pie, turn on the news and are faced with a piece on how fattening McDonald’s food is.

You change the channel to NBC just in time to catch Matt Lauer calling your owner glib after answering a question about how McDonald’s unfairly markets to kids causing them to be obese.

“Screw this” you think. You turn off the tv and open up your McLaptop to check your email. Among the various messages from family and friends you see four separate requests from various different news agencies and blogs to comment on how fattening your food is. So much for email.

You climb into your McHyundai and put the key in the ignition. Warning…there will be plenty of random McWhatevers in this post, so I apologize in advance. For some unexplained reason I think it is hilarious and can’t stop. Off to the Golden Arches you go.

As you enter the parking lot you see three different news vans accompanied by reporters and cameramen. Guess what? They are there to ask you what your thoughts are on how fattening your food is. There is one soul with a refreshingly new question. He asks you how you felt when you served your one billionth customer.

Per your McPublicist, you provide answers that highlight all of the healthy options on your menu and speak about moderation quite frequently. You have spouted the same drivel in at least 223 previous interviews up to this point.

Once you are done with this morning’s round of interviews you are greeted at the door by your assistant manager. It appears as if the McFrier is malfunctioning and there is a potential for disaster if it cannot be fixed. After all, what is a meal at McDonald’s without fries?

As you are troubleshooting the McFrier, your assistant manager asks you how the reporters were this morning and whether or not you saw the Matt Lauer interview. You both laugh about the hair piece on the reporter from Channel Eight who is currently sifting through your dumpster.

The day goes on. Luckily the french fry disaster is averted when you realize the drive through attendant accidentally unplugged the McFrier.

You move to inspect the lobby. As you gauge the condiment counter you are approached by a sweet 77 year old woman named Erma. She asks you, “Is it true? Is the food in here as unhealthy as they say it is?” You tell Erma that the quote she read was taken out of context, and that in moderation, McDonald’s food does not equate to instant death.

Throughout the day, you are asked about the unhealthy food issue at least 24 separate occasions. At the end of the day you tell your assistant manager that you are going to suffocate the next person that asks you about unhealthy food with your paper hat.

Of course, you both know that won’t happen. The last time you dealt with a reporter in an unfavorable way, you were fined $25 by the fast food restaurant commissioner and lost your manager’s only parking space across from the drive through menu.

Fortunately, no one asks you about the food in the last five minutes of your shift as you restock the McSundae machine for the night (the night manager can barely count to ten, let alone pour the appropriate amount of chocolate syrup in the McSundae machine). You hang up your McApron and make your way to the parking lot.

On your drive home, food talk radio is doing a special feature on “Just How Bad McDonald’s Food Really Is”. The panel of guests will include the former CEO of Burger King, a former grill man from the McDonald’s over on 5th street, and Mark Cuban (who has been rumored to be buying the McDonald’s).

You just want to crawl in bed and focus on next week’s employee schedule but you realize your are scheduled to do two interviews that night, one for The O’Reilly Factor and a quick two minute sound byte for Sixty Minutes.

A manger’s job is never done…

Summing Up The Madoff Mess

February 4, 2011

If you are like me, trying to ascertain the true impact of the Madoff mess is a gargantuan task. Did they or didn’t they? One billion or $300 million? Positive net worth or negative net worth?

One thing is certain, this situation is not drivel created by the media to entertain the masses. This is an affair that Met fans should pay close attention to.

Howard Megdal summed it up best as he wrote the following:

“But make no mistake: the resolution of Irving Picard’s suit against Fred Wilpon is not a mere distraction. Reasonable people can disagree about the need for steroids coverage, but it is indisputably re-litigating the past. The result of Picard’s suit, and the financial maneuvering it forces upon Fred Wilpon, will impact the way the Mets are run for years to come. This will be true whether with a new owner, a financially-compromised Wilpon ownership, or a minority partner empowered in some way with the team (authority or cut of profits).”

Typically, I believe that the truth lies somewhere in the middle in most matters. This lawsuit is probably no different. The problem is, the middle of one billion and 300 million dollars doesn’t exactly drum up thoughts of smooth sailing for the Mets operationally.

The Wilpons have sealed the deal in terms of starting us off with another season of uncertainty. Sadly, the financial issues the Mets face are ginormous in comparison to Carlos Beltran’s knee or Jose Reyes’ impending free agency.

Thanks for the annual bout of pre-season torment Frank, Jeffy, and Uncle Saul.

Look at it this way, paying Oliver Perez 12 million dollars this season doesn’t seem like all that much money anymore. There is always a silver lining……

Originally published on Mets Gazette.

Thanks Mark Cuban

February 2, 2011

 

Mark Cuban had the following to say about the possibility of becoming a minority owner of the New York Mets:

“I’ve just come to the conclusion that if I’m going to write a huge check, I’d rather have my ass kissed than have to chase.”

I’m not entirely clear as to why, but I appreciated this quote. It provided a small amount of levity amid all of the doom and gloom surrounding the Wilpon/Madoff mess.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the thought of the ownership of my favorite franchise potentially risking it’s fiscal security on a Ponzi scheme is downright depressing.

Editor’s note: It should be pointed out that this lame ass colossal winter storm may have something to do with the level of gloom.

Check out Ian Begley’s article at ESPNNewYork.com for more from the eccentric owner of the Mavs.

Originally published on Mets Gazette.

New Content! Well, Kind Of….

February 2, 2011

The other day I revisited Midwestropolitan and felt a little tug at the old heart.

I started to remember fondly the beginning of my Mets blogging life.  As I looked at the site I decided it might be fun to re-post all of the material I have published at Mets Gazette.

Why?

The Gazette has grown since its inception and I find myself editing a number of pieces from our talented writers as much as I write my own material.  I wanted to keep Midwestropolitan alive and use it as a place to save my individual work.

Also, there are times when I have a quick thought that may not fit the Gazette’s direction.  So why not post these random tidbits here?

I have no clue how many people will actually read them.  Nor do I care.  I love being part of a team on the Gazette, but it is also nice to know I still have a home that I can call my own.

If you stumbled across this and decide to come back, you will start to see more of my older posts start to appear.

Maybe that makes sense to you, maybe it doesn’t.  Enjoy either way.


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