Turning The Page…

…Yesterday, seems like such a long time ago. Once I was young and winning was taught just like Math, English and Spelling. Winning was an attitude one had to have in order to compete, you understood that a losing attitude resulted in a losing effort. It wasn’t so much about the results you achieved but the attitude you took into the game. Losing while playing winning baseball wasn’t something you where ever ashamed about. Now I understand just how old I am. After 48 years of believing in something so strongly the Wildon’s have changed the rules. They placed “profit” before winning ignoring a long standing baseball law that explicitly states that winning bares profit.
…The Met players will now be asked to compete in an “unbalanced” market. Here is a team that plays baseball 81 times a season in a pitchers paradise and won’t have a class pitching staff. 36 of their Home games will be played against teams playing to win from the top down. 72 of the games altogether that way. They hired a General Manager who acknowledges ” Chicks digs Homers” despite where his team plays 1/2 of the season, he maintains ” the chicks dig Homers”. That’s great. It’s very likely they’ll be as many “chicks” in Citfield as there are going to be Met Home runs there. Sandy Alderson has his eyes wide shut.
…Not since 1978 have things looked so bleak for the Mets. Even last September one could envision a starter or two added to the club would send it in as a contender in 2011. Today, just how the team can win 60 games is a heck of a good question.
….Some people think the Mets wrongfully fired Omar Minaya, I don’t today. I believe they did him a favor. They took him out of a picture that will only get worse. They have saved him the embarrassment of facing the NY Media day in and day out in what appears to be the worst possible period of ever leading this club. It’s understandable to me today why Clint Hurdle would choose manging the Pirates over the Mets. He heard all he needed to here at the initial meeting to know he wanted nothing to do with this club or it’s current ownership.
…48 Years, that a long time. I’ve grown old. I’m bitter and disgusted with the current direction of the team I followed Casey to. I have my memories and I guess now that is all that is left. Somewhere there is a 12 year old dreaming of playing baseball in the streets of Brooklyn, Queens or even the Bronx, whose memories will never begin today and that is the biggest loss of all.


For the Mets today is a lost to their Fans at the MLBB Draft

**….Growing up in New York City, is a blessing to a young boy who loves Baseball. It once upon a time was played openly in the streets as “stick-ball”, where circular sewer covers place eqi-distanced from each other could serve as distance markers as well as Home or Second Base. In school yards as Softball. In Neighborhood Parks sometime as both. “Punchball” or “Off the curb” on a city corner with any combination of sewers or Telepoles that had at least one for each base. As many ways as a 9 year old could create a new form of the game he loved, it was done. To me that has always been the Spirit of Baseball. So you see, before you read any further, I am very biased on this subject. It has always been true to me, that the Fan, not the player, not the Club nor it’s owner(s) or a league or conbination of Leagues is the One item that made everything else work. It was the Child. It was you, it was me and the next poster to read this, we are Baseball, in all it’s forms, all it’s dreams. We are Baseballs past and it’s future. We are Fans.

…..The draft of players might well be my second largest beef with MLBB after it’s failure to deal with Steroids.. It rewards teams for losing, Games, Players and fans. See what I did there. I capitilized Games and Players, but I left fans in small print. I did it to make a point, we are not considered or rewarded for our dedication to a Baseball Club. In fact we’re ignored. Our love and support of the game and our Team means nothing in terms of picks. That’s wrong. I have a solution and it’s what I consider a “common sense” solution. Yes Balance is always a good thing, but it isn’t the only thing. Drafting of rounds 1, 2, 3 should be based on three criteria not ONE. Compensation should not be a “Christmas” Gift for those clubs who are not reinvesting in their Club or their Fans. A fairer solution tells anyone “award” clubs who also do these things well. Show small Markets an incentive to keep players in years 5 or 6 who are proving themselves. Use the Tax money in these cases only, not as a “Welfare Check” to owners who don’t have enough time to count their money to begin with.

…..I fully understand the “need” of balance in the game. Here again Balanced is not restricted to one item. Balance is just that. Viewing the items necessary for the good of the game and using balance correctly for each item. The fan was left out of the MLBB frist year player Draft. The loser was considered. The Teams that allow losing to effect their fan base is rewarded for losing. The team that refuses to re-sign its young stars is rewarded. Now Bud Selig suggest the team who doesn’t sign it’s first pick should recieve 2 first picks the following year. All this maybe good for the Players, their agents and even the Owners but to the fan in small town America or it’s largest City, it stinks. The fan in both these area’s is the loser. To the fan in the great small town City of Pittsburgh, it’s losing for 17 years in a row. To a Met fan in the New York Area, it’s knowing if your first pick at # 65 isn’t right on target your dead in the water somewhere down the line.

…..Attendance needs to be rewarded. That isn’t rewarding the Club, it’s rewarding the Fan who is again the first step in all this progression. It tells Management of any club, by serving the FANS the club too shall be rewarded. People who will suggest to me that large cities would have an “unfair advantage” no more then what today’s system provides owners who do little to next to nothing for their fans to begin with. St. Louis is a small town City in America, so is St. Paul and Cincinatti. They are small town Cities whose records show success with the fans can bring success on the field. Fans often drive 150 miles or more to see their Cards, or Reds. Do You see where I’m going with this. Balance isn’t just who has the highest attendence, but the fans do indicate through attendance how they view their teams attempts at being “fan friendly”. You don’t need to be WS Champions in the South or Mid-West to be your area’s favorite team, you need to be “Fan friendly” doing whatever you can and the FANS do respond.

…****.Increase in attendence needs to be rewarded just as much as “poor performance” does if not more so. If Round 1 is dedicated to the placement of a teams finish , then round TWO, should represent the FANS interest in all this. In less then a year, the Pirates dealt away Nady, Bay and McLouth. For that the Pirates should be ashamed. That might be one of the best outfields found anywhere in the game today. Yelling “poverty” is not an excuse for poor management. Baseball should not reward Organizations who have a record making their FAN base both the Victum and the criminal of the offense. This is the kind of thinking that says…” She was raped because she was beautiful, it’s her own fault “. Owner’s are rapping the Fans of it’s game each and everyday accross this country in the name of “Poverty”…it’s about time for MLBB to acknowledge it’s error’s and fix them. Make then fairer to all the Fans in America not to a few losing Owners who are laughing all the way to the Bank.

The Miracle Mets of 2009

….Well 1/4 of the 2009, this composistion of Mets is one of the weakest since Grant’s Tomb was open. How this team is winning is more of a mystery to me then then how in 1969 The Mets won it all. I’m not at all in panic, in fact to quote Casey again…’it’s Amazing, Amazing, AMAZING….lol…Schneider, Delgado, Reyes, Church, and Beltran. Five regulars are now missing from the line-up. Can you sit there and honestly tell yourself any other team in Baseball could have a winning record no less be in first Place in their division and be missing 3/4 of their core and 5 regular posistion players from their starting lineup. That’s a bit much to expect. Anyone who thinks this team doesn’t have heart, doesn’t understand the place their getting their Temporary help from at AAA is in last place there and falling fast. The Buffalo Bison are the equilviant of the 1962 Mets. A collection of “journey-men and gifted kids”. Everyone loves a winner, that’s easy. When your club has a starting line-up payroll of over 56 M and add to that one night’s starter is 20 M while his set-up and closer are 13.5 M along with an additional 10 M for a closer already DL you have a team with a working salary of just under 100 M for that nite. The only problem is the team your fielding is geting paid less then 15 M and 11.9 M of that is going to two of the 8 players who are on the field. Now add the fact here, they win that game. Now what more of a miracle are you looking for ? This is amature hour baseball in the Major Leagues. Think not ? The Flordia Marlins are running out 8 regulars and paying more money to them then the Mets are and what sort of results are they getting ? The Phillies starting 8 last nite was over 50 M and they have lost ground to these ” Dollar Store Mets ” ….

….What really needs to be said is simply this from the Fan Faithfull….” Let’s Go Mets ” because just as in 1969 this bunch of Mets truely deserve to hear it, this group of Rag-tag Players deserve for once in their lives to hear those cheers they have often dream of but have never heard…..These are the real “Mets”…………

Mounting Injuries plague Mets…Casey, I need your help….

…Well now it’s May of 2009, and the Mets club of June 2006 seems like a lifetime ago. The Steamroller team that was eating up everything in it’s path, suddenly began to lose it’s engine parts almost as quickly as the daylight minutes disappear as the days of summer wane. Something as simple as a Taxi-Cab accident began a slide into an injury abyss from which there appears no escape. Is there an answer to breakdown, a prevention to injury, logic tells me no. Yet history tells maybe there is. Maybe it’s something so simple we’re blind to it. Why is it, injuries always come when least expected ? Because, oddly enough I think we ask for them.

….I know in my own life, every sport related injury came because I forgot for a moment just how human I was. I took a talent past it’s capability and paid a physical price. I always did that. I can think of countless numbers of Sports figures who did the same things. Afterall isn’t the true characteristic of every born athelete is that ability to ever expand their playing capabilities. Isn’t that included in the Spirit of Competition. Why is it we all know “you never intentionally run into a wall” yet, watch outfielders practice doing it “just in case” they need to someday. This sounds alot like practicing “Russian Roulette”, just in case we want to play it someday…..

…..So where in my life was the mentor with this answer, Casey of course. Casey must have discussed it at sometime, he talked about everything, why can’t I place it now. I can see him standing there with his arms moving in all directions and cocking his head to stress an issue. Did he intentionally hide it beneath something else ? The more I consider those words I heard now some 50 years later I realize indeed he often said it. “playing within Yourself”, meant simply that. Casey stressed knowing not just your strengths but maybe even more so “your limitations”. It’s sounds so easy, could it possibly be the answer, that somehow just skips us by. The secret isn’t in your strength, that the secret lies within your weakness. It’s as much the ‘id” as anything else. When we forget how human we are, we are truely human and our humanity will remind us very quickly. Casey told us about small players playing big and Big players playing small. Is that the answer ? That by knowing and understanding our limitations we expand the things we can and cannot do ?

….Life is so unfair, here it is all these years later and now I need what is no longer possible to have. Casey isn’t around and his words now are just echos from my past. Those things I was so sure I understood now I realize I never knew at all. Well, I hope this reaches Omar, I know Casey had to leave me the answer, but I just can’t seem to find it. Maybe he can. I’ll just do the intelligent thing and pass the issue on to a Higher Power, afterall didn’t I say Casey was stressing understanding our own limitations…..

Yes, there’s a difference in hitters between the NL and AL

…..One of the first things that struck me in the Boston Series was the attitude of Youkalis at the Plate. He owned it

….In truth what it shows is a real difference in hitters attitude at the plate. American League hitters believe in their stats. They have a feeling of “entittlement” at home plate. Big Poppy hit our catcher in the head once every game. It is time for pitchers to throw at “Big Poppy’s” head. I mean that ! I don’t believe in “head hunting” but when a batter feels he can “accidentially” hit my catcher in the head 3 times in 3 different games, it’s time Big Poppy found out he too has a head. Six Red Soxs were out of the batters box. Six of their starting 9 hitters. This is an attitude. No wonder Santana was so successfull over there. He doesn’t stand for it. All Pitchers in both leagues can learn from what Johan help to expose Friday evening. I also realize not every pitcher can throw as hard as a Santana, Parnell, Pelfrey, Putz, Feliciano or Rodriguez, but they can toss an 88-89 mph in on an elbow. Once swollen the intelligent hitter feels the pain. His pride is hurt more then his elbow but he’s unlikely to allow that pain in his elbow not to dictate a few inches of space.

…How important is it ? HUGE ! Stop a pitcher from throwing inside and mistakes are a common happening. Mistakes out over the barrel of the bat. Mistakes like those are often termed “HOME RUNS“. In short I saw no difference in the Red Soxs hitters next to a full Met lineup, and might even given a full Met line-up the edge whenever our “Heaters” are on the mound.

…Santana deserves a great deal of credit here. His attitude was what many of our “hard throwers” saw and followed. Johan just didn’t win on Friday nite….he also deseves credit for the win on Saturday and the tight pitching from Pelfrey, Feliciano and Putz.

Omar Minaya…”Work-Around” Management

…,,Faced with just might be considered the worst part of this season from a physical stand point, Omar hasn’t panic and doesn’t appear likely to do that anytime soon. Still when viewing the ever increasing list of players down to injuries my first question was …”Why not ?” How can a club lose it’s Catcher, it’s numbers 3 & 5 Starters , have limited use of it’s number four hitter and First Baseman and then here it’s Set-up has a bone spur on his throwing elbow and not be in panic mode !

…The answers really aren’t that hard to find. Some of them I touched-on in evaluting the clubs chances of winning in 2009. ” If healthy” is a favorite phrase of mine, it’s the reminder that no matter how good sometime looks it’s only as good as it is “healthy” at any time. Each of the past three seasons the Met outfielders have gone down faster the April rains and the wins needed to secure a pennant went out with them. The biggest difference we saw last season was how Omar went into the farm to bring-up his second choice at the time a kid named “Murphy”. A healthy Murphy and Beltran and Omars concerns became “surplus” in the outfield instead of “who’s available today”. Have no doubt about it, Murphy is the sole reason for the decided change in the Met outfield. Now , Church, Tatis, Sheffield and Reed can be utilized for their best results. In the recent three game set with the Braves at Citifield, Brave announcers were quick to point out Murphy’s outfield play had improved faster then anyone had imagine. By the end of the three game set Murphy was no longer the defensive concern their Scout notes had him made out to be. How important is this ? in one word ” extremely “. What it did was simply this. Allow Tatis and Sheffield and maybe even Murphy himself open to play First Base. Church can, but to do so is to also lose one of the primiere defensive outfielders of the game for alot less then that at first base. While Gary Sheffield isn’t the 28 yearold Wonderkind at age 40 he still causes pitcher’s concern and insome cases worry. Tatis who we often forget is a third baseman now can play firstbase helping to ward off that loss of Delgado at the plate. The fact is simply this a loss of “Delgado” is huge. It’s nearly impossible to fill a hole that big. What Omar has in place isn’t the practice of filling the hole but rather a very do-able “work-around plan” and there is a differnce. Last night’s game was a fine example of ” we aren’t the same team without Carlos, we are a different team without Carlos”….Dimished in power we have the other weapons to win, the Mets are a Multi-faceted team as a result of the past three seasons and it never was seen more clearer then last night.

….When a team loses it’s #1 catcher it’s a given ” you play for .500 ball”. So how did the club gor 16 – 11 in the last 27 games without it’s #1 cather ? Who is Omar Santos and how did someone skills go for so long un-noticed by so many ? The answer is very simply this, Omar couldn’t hit enough to get on the interstate. His skills as defensive catcher were lacking in actual game numbers to support his consideration as a back-up at the major league level. There were too many other catchers available for that role with an “excellent ” this or that. What Omir was a “good defensive, good skills” catcher without a bat to support a chance to play. What happen was a drill Jerry Manuel used this spring. It has made a huge difference in at least 2 hitters on the Mets already. Beltran and Santos. Both learned how to not only use their wrist better but to use their wrist to hit the ball to all fields even deeper in counts. There isn’t anything spectacular about Omir Santos not unless your looking at the the team numbers of 9 and 5 when he’s behind the plate and Mets are 8 and 2 in last ten games he had started while the once confused starting rotation also righted itself. You can’t replace a #1 catcher overnight. Here again Omar Minaya never intended to. Omar had another “work-around”. Some plan !

Entering the 2009 season, Omar made no bones about it, he rebuilt the pen. I wasn’t always in favor of some of the deals because I felt then as I do today, it wasn’t always a pitcher as often as it was the “Pitch-count” that had brought about this terminal condition. Heilman and Smith were not bad pitchers, they were and are good pitchers badly used. Those types of results are the type you see when you send in the Carpenter to do the Plummers job. That’s just bad management. Omar did fix the pen he looked past the “conditions or causes” and took action. He was correct there. The loss of confidence suffered by Smith and Heilman for whatever reason might not have been correctable at this point. Rodriguez, Putz and Green are not part of the “Peterson” effect. Neither are Stokes, Parnell, Feliciano, Figueroa, Knight, Kunz, Muniz and a list of others too long too mention. The loss of a “Putz” cannot be measured nor can you just replace a “Putz”….but yes here again you can “work-around” the loss of a “Putz”. Just a week ago someone here asked me ” wheredo I see Parnell being in the future” my answer then was based on what Parnell has shown through these early years of his career, I see a potential closer. Well the future arrived alot sooner thenI or anyone would have liked, but that doesn’t effect what I wrote then or now. Parnell will never be a “Putz” but he will be a “Parnell”. Whether for a day , a week, a month or even for a Season Bobby Parnell has the stuff to be a tremendous asset and setup man today for Frankie Rodriguez, as well as the set-up man to the missing “Putz”.

…Lastly Out your #5 starter since week 2 of Spring Training, then 5 weeks into the season your #3 starter, how does a starting rotation recover ? Well Bobby Niese showed us maybe not today, but it won’t be long. Orlando Hernandez say’s maybe today but I don’t know for how long, lol..and Omar smiles as his crop of young pitchers in “A” , “AA”, and “AAA” progress faster then anyone in Baseball America or any other Scouting reference has reported. Just last night Jerurys Famillia who took a “no-no” to 2 outs in the 7th and nearly a perfect game to that point. An infield error in the early innings was removed by the double play ball. An accident you ask ? Not here , he leds the league in starters in the all important WHIP with a 1.02 in ERA he’s 5th with an 1.24 in 6 starts and get this second on the staff with those number. Behind young Jeff Kaplan who has been “lights-out”. This “unknown ” 19 year old is just another of Omar’s “Workarounds”

….As a manager…I always had a plan “A”, I always truted in it. I always believed that no matter how big a job was “Plan A” could handle it. It wasn’t conceit. It was my knowledge with the work force I had, I always had the talent to “work-around” whatever promblem that might have popped up…..Omar Minaya recieves an “A” in my book…..

Running up the Red Flag over Citifield

…..Just when you thought it was safe to think “Yes”….I’m sending up a RED FLAG, Yep here I go playing party popper. There are no less te three Relievers now on track for 90 appearence this season. Two more on track for 80 appearences. This is the “pitch count” and if Omar and Jerry aren’t concerned about it today, all they need to do is review last Septembers bull-pen activities. It’s hard for me to believe after last year, Jerry hasn’t learned a thing. That is excately how I feel. The Mets will need fresh arms in the Pen by August 1 if they intend to hold off any late charge from the Phillies or any other club.

…What baffles me the most is the total lack of logicial thinking here. Anyone can sit down and examine how a season effects an overall staff. Pitchers Arms so fresh in April will tire, they tire pecentage wise to the amount of use. Relievers are Pitchers too, they are effected by these numbers as well. If you see a fall off after 50 appearences you can rest assured after 60 it will be at an accelrated pace. At 70 your crossing your fingars and at 80 your closing your eyes and praying they have something anything left.

…What baseball people seem to be missing here, or ignoring is the simple fact the “Pitch-Count” doesn’t work everywhere. It needs Strong young arms who carry teams constantly into later innings. Without that the burden becomes a “staff” burden. Rick Peterson success was based on his starters. The entire success of the Braves rotation throughout the 90’s, again on it’s starters. They didn’t over worked pens. They always had 3 sometimes 4 starters taking their games into the 7th , 8th and even at times completing games.

…How can the Mets prevent it ? They can if they want to try something “new” and yet very old. Starting in June each week rest one reliever. I mean give him the week off. I don’t care how much you think you need him, you’ll need him semi fresh in September if you want to win. Putz , needs to be fresh after the Allstar break so give him the week off before it. Rest Frankie after the break, allowing Putz to close for that week to 10 days. Do the same for Parnell, Green, Feliciano and Stokes by using Fossum, Takahashi, Knight and Figueroa to fill for the resting long or set-up men. What law is it that says you can’t expand your active roster by using summer help. Every successful Company on the face of the earth does it, why not baseball, why not the Mets. By allowing these periods of rest, you not only delay the wear and tear, you help to restore a little arm strength. This is what pitching is all about. It is as we often here “cerebal” but you can give me the best thinking pitcher in the world with a tired arm and I ‘ll show you a tired arm without a clue.

….Dan Warthen needs to sit down with Jerry now, not later. Dan needs to layout a “rest schedule period” a summer vacation sort of schedule like we all need to get a breather from our jobs. Now go ahead with your dopey pitch count knowing you have at least taken the “Natural” percautions necessary for survial……..