Archive for the 'Commentary' Category

Too Negative, Mets Fans Tune Out

January 30, 2010

Adam Rubin of the NY Daily News was a recent guest on WFAN this past week. Rubin has made a name for himself as a New York Mets beat writer. Most notably, he was accused of instigating the firing of former Mets VP of Player Development Tony Bernazard. In contrast to what Mets GM Omar Minaya strongly believed at the time, Rubin wanted to make it known that he had no specific agenda heading into this upcoming season. However, he did mention that that particular chapter in his career still wasn’t sitting well.

“I have a range of emotions about it…to question my integrity,” Rubin said. “It still bothers me.”

Many baseball writers according to Rubin see Minaya as a dead man walking a general manager whose job is on the line if his team is unable to put a winning product on the field this season.

“Maybe a GM vacancy soon,” Rubin said jokingly along with host Steve Somers.

It’s no secret that those that make their living covering the Mets have their doubts in the current structure of the Mets front office. Aside from signing free-agent Jason Bay this off-season, Minaya has made more headlines defending his autonomy than acting on it.

With assistant GM John Ricco and former Cincinnati Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky sitting on the back-burner, even the passing Mets fan can see the writing’s on the wall.

Rubin goes on to blatantly say that “the Mets are a joke” and predicts that they will end up being closer to five hundred than to the Phillies. Feeling somewhat “neutered” by all of Omar’s allegations, Rubin seems to put forth a challenge to Mets fans by sternly saying, “I don’t care,” when questioned for not having regard for the current Mets starting lineup.

In my opinion, Rubin may have lost some of his edge since being scolded by Minaya during that infamous press conference. However, any disrespect he has gained since then was brought on by his own doing. His tone now replicates that of other young baseball journalists who spend too much time criticizing how things are run instead of watching the players run.

Maybe it stems from most of them, the writers, having grown up witnessing the game of baseball suffocated by enormous payrolls and the stain that remains from the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

In closing, Rubin ends off the interview in fitting fashion. “There’ll be shorter lines at the Shake Shack this season.”

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Madoff, Backman, and an Old Baseball Jacket

November 17, 2009

Amidst an array of wood-carved ducks, Rolex watches, and uninspired artwork, a shiny blue and orange jacket with a number 2 on one sleeve and a NY Mets emblem on the other was proudly displayed. Looking at it from the front, you might think it could have belonged to any Mets fan that made their way to Flushing Meadows over the years. You may even envision Tom Seaver standing safely at first base due to a botched sacrificed bunt ready to run the bases. Or perhaps this was the one shred of paraphernalia worn by a family friend who vowed to never take it off until the Mets won the World Series again.

Whatever the case may be, when you proceed to investigate who this particular piece of clothing belongs to, it’s hard not to recoil in disgust. “MADOFF!” That’s right. The notorious mastermind of the most lucrative Ponzi-scheme of all-time was a New York Mets fan. So much so that he decided to pony up with the team’s ownership in hopes of expanding his evil empire until it all came crashing to a devastating halt. Nevertheless, to imagine Bernie Madoff donning his most prized Mets possession (bought at auction for $14,500) brings to mind our most recently notorious Mets aficionados.

Up first is pitcher Jerry Koosman. The legendary left-hander had his best years as a Met. But as the saying goes, it’s not how you start its how you finish. Koosman felt he was above the law or in this case the IRS and is currently serving a six-month jail sentence for tax evasion. Lenny Dykstra, who is fortunately not behind bars, owes tons of money to several financial institutions. “Nails” is so far in debt that he had to pawn away his championship rings and other sought after memorabilia that he acquired over the years as a professional baseball player.

As Koosman and Dykstra continue their honorary fall from grace, the Mets organization has recently announced that Wally Backman, another of the team’s black sheep, will be taking over the managerial duties for the Brooklyn Cyclones next season.

“He has always been a fan favorite in New York, symbolizing the blue-collar work ethic and unbridled dedication to winning that this city – and particularly this borough – values above all else in its sports stars,” Cyclones general manager Steve Cohen said. “Brooklyn and Backman were made for each other.” Perhaps, we will be seeing those exact words atop the Kosciusko Bridge on our way into Kings County.

As if Brooklyn doesn’t have enough of a slightly skewed reputation, now it has to embrace someone who has been arrested twice and has had financial problems in the past. Not to mention that Backman was also canned after just four days on a job once. I guess everybody deserves a second chance. I, personally, think the hiring of the fiery Backman is a good thing. It makes perfect sense. As long as he keeps his shirt on or jacket (haha) in this instance, he should have nothing to worry about.

Oh, by the way, Backman was released from the Chicago White Sox organization in 2003 as a minor league manager. Why? He was lobbying for the White Sox manager position. From who, you ask? Jerry Manuel.

With 23 Games Left, It’s Okay to Be Pessimistic

September 10, 2009

In basketball, with just thirty seconds left to play and one team up by double-digits, coaches tend to swap out their starters for the least likely of players. By substituting scrubs for stars at the very end of a game, enthusiasts have coined the phrase “garbage time” to describe the last few seconds on the clock. Unfortunately, the same could be said for the Mets.

With just 23 games remaining of what has been a very disappointing season, it’s easy to see that the Mets are playing baseball’s version of garbage time. By dropping the first two games to the Florida Marlins, the Mets have clinched another three-game series in defeat. As more and more teams around the league battle to earn the slightest bit of respect, the Mets have lowered the bar on their expectations to unprecedented levels.

Too Many Mets Losses Has Made Me a Dull Boy

September 1, 2009

As the Mets proceed headlong in their attempt to hit rock bottom this season, I too, have begun to slip into a creative wasteland. My motivation to watch this Mets team, let alone write about their many flaws and missteps, has reached a point of stagnation. How many blog posts can you muster up that show just how bad this team really is? With all the disappointment and frustration I have had to undergo so far this season, I feel very strongly that it is starting to catch up with me.

As a Mets fan heading into the final leg of a miserable season, I have been forced to rationalize one losing month after another. Unfortunately, I do not see any way out of it. I have tried taking a day off here and there to minimize the pain. Nonetheless, every time I seek redemption another Mets player falters and is labeled incompetent. If any of you reading this have any suggestions, I am all ears. If not, I guess my only solace will have to come by way of the pending return of the face of the Mets franchise, third baseman David Wright.

Another Mundane Night with the Mets

August 4, 2009

After watching Mets pinch hitter Fernando Tatis pop up to Arizona second baseman Ryan Roberts for the final out last night, I calmly walked into my kitchen and began washing the evening’s dirty dishes. I proceeded to run the water until the temperature was hot enough to cut the grease from my plate left over from an enjoyable meal. As I scrubbed and rinsed, I recalled in my mind the numerous times I have performed this particular task under the malaise of a Mets loss. With each knife and fork I cleaned, a disturbing thought regarding the Mets would ensue. After taking three out of four from the Colorado Rockies, how could they go on to lose three out of four from the Diamondbacks?

Upon realizing that I still had to scrub down a sauce pan and a large cutting board, my job was far from over. Another revelation donned on me. For the first time this season, I felt strongly that I was beginning to lose faith in my favorite team. Per last night’s fourth loss in five games, I saw the Mets climb back from a 6-0 deficit to close within one and then watched them come up short when it was all said and done. With dejection, I finished my last piece of silverware and made my way over to the television set hoping to catch the remaining moments of last night’s post-game show on SNY. As I stared on the screen at the list of teams ahead of the Mets that were in the running for the NL Wild Card, I felt a sense of helplessness come over me that reinforced my previous notion.

With slight intrigue, I listened as Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran relayed to the media that his knee was still bothering him. The pain that he was feeling was not the same pain as before but a different pain. With that, I prompted myself to speak out and say, “Carlos, I know how you feel.”

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Are Left to Blame

August 1, 2009

With the July 31st trade deadline in the rear-view mirror, major league teams that professed themselves as buyers, bought and those who promised to sell, did just that. The Cleveland Indians, one of the league’s top sellers, took another step towards earning a set of steak knives yesterday by shipping out their first baseman/catcher Victor Martinez to the Boston Red Sox for two minor league pitchers and reliever Justin Masterson. Perhaps feeling giddy from their previous discharge of left-hander Cliff Lee, last year’s AL Cy Young Award-winner, to the first place Philadelphia Phillies, the Indians can know hold their heads high for acquiring so much raw talent. In exchange for Lee, Cleveland received a bunch of young prospects as well.

In an economic environment that has plagued a large part of major league ball clubs from signing big lucrative contracts or at the very least, holding on to what they still have; taking the poor man’s approach has become front and center. Looking at the current standings, you can’t help but notice the same cast of characters either leading their respective divisions or residing in second place. On the flipside, teams such as the Pittsburg Pirates or the aforementioned Indians have gladly distinguished themselves in a state of perpetual rebuilding.

With reports that this season’s attendance is at its highest level in years means that the sterilization, and I don’t mean ridding the game of performance-enhancing drugs, has not quite settled in to the current baseball fan’s mindset. Aside from the Tampa Bay Rays of last year, fans can expect the same song and dance with each and every post season.

Despite Ending on a Good Note, Mets Still Have a Mighty Hill to Climb

July 13, 2009

Listening to Jerry Manuel after the game yesterday, one cannot help but feel a sense of relief in the Mets manager’s voice on having these next three days off. Even with his team’s ability to finish off a series on a winning note for the first time in four tries, the goal for this fourth-place team for the last two months has been to make it to the All-Star break. Not only will the majority of the current Mets players be able to concentrate on other things unrelated to baseball but those who are recovering from injury will benefit from the inactivity as well.

With the understanding that the first half of the Mets season is, using Manuel’s words, “the toughest first half” that he’s ever been a part of, the remaining seventy-five games could very well be just as excruciating. Putting things into perspective, the first place Phillies are currently ten games over five hundred. The Mets, on the other hand, are competing just to reach five hundred. One factor on the Mets side is the presence of a softer schedule throughout the second half of the season. Aside from the Colorado Rockies (July 27-30), the Mets will play fourteen out of their next eighteen games against sub or at five hundred clubs.

If we are to believe that these last two wins were not a fluke, than the next three weeks after the break could prove to be a worthy barometer in which to gauge this Mets team. If they come out with guns blaring, perhaps their misfortunes to this point will begin to slowly disappear. However, if similar issues ensue as they did before then these last two victories may be seen as a precursor for more problems and lesser solutions.

Mets Hope These Little Town Blues Are Melting Away

July 12, 2009

On June 22nd, the Mets placed Carlos Beltran on the disabled list. Looking back on that date, you could also say that since that time the New York Mets have been marching towards a slow death. After a solid four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Little Engine that could seized to exist. Manager Jerry Manuel and his band of overachievers were found limping on the side of the road with no road map in tow. In a span of eighteen games in which the Mets lost twelve, all those affiliated with this team found no other way to escape its failures than to demand the team make a trade.

Days and nights went by and the Mets continued to depress and suck the life out of every soul that crossed its path. Young mothers were betrayed by their grandparents’ tales of how the Miracle Mets of ’69 came back from obscurity to win the World Series. Nieces and nephews were made to feel envious instead of proud by stories of an ’86 Mets team that literately beat up on the opposition and winning the Fall Classic in come-from-behind fashion. Contemporary adults were left feeling disdain because they were not a part of the overwhelming camaraderie administered by Mets fans during the 2000 Subway Series.

After pushing through all that nostalgia, we then decided to take a step back. We began to see the situation for what it really was: another wasted Mets season without a taste of the World Series. This was a grave reality that could not be shaken with just one step forward here or there. For a moment, we believed that what was left of our team was enough to get us through the rain. This was never meant to be. Things will get worse before they get better. But how much worse and when does it get better? Last night’s win might be a start.

With their ace on the mound, a formidable lead-off hitter, and a fresh new face eager to get his hands dirty, the Mets got the job done last night. This time around the goose egg was compliments of the other team. Perhaps, we just needed someone like Jeff Francoeur to remind us that these last eighteen games were just a tough stretch. Six and half games behind may not be so bad after all. We still have a lot of baseball left to play. Listening to the Mets new starting right fielder before the game opened my eyes to all these things. Most importantly, it made me realize that there’s something special about playing in New York. Maybe, some of these current Mets players need to realize that sentiment, too.

Mets Fans Need to Take It to the Streets

July 11, 2009

The stage is set. All the necessary phone calls have been made. Attention, all Mets fans! Grab your favorite Mets t-shirt, hop on the 7 train, and proceed to the right field gate entrance. Once we are all assembled adjacent to the old Shea Stadium apple with placards in hand we will introduce our demands. First off, we want some extra-base hits. Second, we could use a stolen base or two. Since this list of demands is long, I am not going to read them all but you get the picture. We want offense and we’re not going to leave until we get some. We have been made to play the fool long enough. We don’t care if David Wright has already stated that our team stinks. We want to hear it from the manager himself. Get Jerry Manuel out here.

We have a lot of grievances that need to be aired out. What happened to the starting pitching? What happened to the crisp defense? What happened to Ryan Church? Why did you ship him over to our old arch-nemesis, the Atlanta Braves? He was batting .280 with twenty-two RBIs. Ryan would have complemented the core group if and when they were healthy enough to return this season. Defensively, he was as good as any outfielder currently in the league.

If it’s one thing Mets fans do, it’s that they stick together. We can read between the lines, Omar. We may be gullible but we’re not stupid. I love the Shake Shack just as much as the next fan but we need runs not tacos or French fries. We want some bases-clearing doubles! We want some three-run bombs! We want to win! Is that so much to ask?

This is not 1973, this is now!

I May Have Single-Handedly Figured Out the Mets

July 9, 2009

For the past three months of the season, I had been carrying Mets left fielder turned first baseman Daniel Murphy on my head-to-head fantasy baseball team. As Mets fans know, Murphy started the season off strong, struggled a bit in May and June, and now has remained stagnant at best. Prior to last night’s game, Murphy’s last 31 at-bats have managed to produce just five hits, drive in only one run, and score just the same. It would be fair to say that his statistics are hurting my fantasy team and not helping it. Being the loyal Mets fans that I am, I decided to stick with the young left-handed hitting first baseman for as long as I could.

Then, something dawned on me. By applying Murphy’s law (no pun intended), I conjured up the theory that if I dropped the promising Mets farmhand he quite possibly could start producing like he did earlier in the season. I know what you’re thinking. My quick judgment to abandon a struggling Mets player in need could be considered a tad harsh. But, hear me out. Since I have given Daniel Murphy the heave-ho, he has gone 2 for 4 with a run scored. In my opinion, those are mighty good stats for a fantasy player who does not start everyday. Not to mention that his performance offensively was a spark for an otherwise ailing ball club. Add in his defensive gem last night which I must say is one for the highlight reel and you’ve got yourself a proven theory.

What we have learned from this is if all Mets fans proceeded to drop every Mets player on their fantasy rosters then there may be the possibility that the Mets may never lose another game again.