Thursday, December 30, 2010

Backman's Found a Home in Binghamton

According to Adam Rubin, Wally Backman has landed himself the managerial gig at Double-A Binghamton.

Tim Teufel, Binghamton's manager this past season is expected to be named the manager of Triple-A Buffalo. He will be succeeding Ken Oberkfell who is joining the big club as the new bench coach.  

Backman last managed at the Double-A level with Birmingham in the Chicago White Sox organization in 2002 and '03.

The Triple-A staff also is expected to include Ricky Bones as pitching coach and Luis Natera as hitting coach. Natera was the Bisons' hitting coach during the first half of the 2009 season, before being sent to Binghamton.

Buffalo's hitting coach for the '10 season, Jack Voigt, will take over for Mookie Wilson and his role as minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator.

Wilson is returning to the Mets as first base coach.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mets Acquire Who?

The Mets got who? Hu, that's who.

The Mets got shortstop Chin-lung Hu from the Dodgers for left-handed pitcher Mike Antonini.

Hu, 26, hit .317 with four homers with Triple-A Albuquerque last season, and .130 in 23 at-bats for the Dodgers. Hu is a .299 career hitter over eight Minor League seasons, while hitting a whopping .191 as a big league hitter in 173 at-bats spread throughout four seasons.

Antonini, 25, had a 4.32 ERA in 23 starts for Double-A Binghamton last year and a 5.11 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Buffalo.

Hu was placed on the 40-man roster. It's a long shot he makes the team, but if he does, be prepared for a long season of Abbott and Costello skits.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Oh 1999, How I miss Thee

Found this photo today. SI's cover of the Mets infield from 1999. This was my favorite Mets team of all time.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fireside Chats with R.A. Dickey

I could listen to R.A. talk baseball all day. He's so relaxed. Reminds me of another voice we know...

                                    Photo courtesy of

He clearly knows his stuff and has taken his success from this past season in stride.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Makin' Moves

It's been a month since my last post, and what's new with the Mets? Well...not much.

That's a lie. They did get the great D.J. Carrasco and Ronny Paulino.

While it seems as though every other team has been makin' moves this off-season, the Mets appear to be sitting back and waiting for the perfect opportunity to make their move.

Unfortunately for them, like the sales in a store, once the hot ticket items are gone, they're gone, and all you're going to be left with is whatever junk is left in the clearance section.

First thing's first, they need pitching. Johan Santana will be out for who knows how long, and with a rotation consisting of Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee, let's face it, this team could use another arm. A collection of Cy Young winners they are not.

The big name floating around now is Brandon Webb. He won the Cy Young in 2006, but has not pitched consistently since 2008. He pitched a total of 4 innings in the 2009-2010 season due to a shoulder injury.

Umm...Sandy, if you're reading, let's steer clear of that one. Thanks.

The one name I am glad the Mets passed on is Zack Greinke. This kid had, and probably still has to some degree, severe anxiety issues. The last place he needs to be playing is New York.

That being said, now that Kansas City has traded him to the Brewers, I hope he gets lit up by the Mets each time they meet.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rubin: Dave Wallace Strong Pitching Coach Option

Uh Oh...Dan Warthen might have something to say about that.

I heard throughout the 2010 season how much respect the players had for Warthen as their pitching coach. I have to admit, with the exception of one pitcher whose name shall never appear on this blog (unless he gets traded), Warthen seemed to be a good thing for the Mets pitching staff.

I wouldn't mind Dave Wallace though. He was, after all, the Mets pitching coach in 1999 and 2000, the two greatest years I've had as a Mets fan, and the two closest years I've ever had to seeing them win it all (Yes, I was alive in '86, but being 8 months old at the time, I can't say I was all that interested).

Wallace spent 17 years with the L.A. Dodgers organization, much of that time was during Terry Collins tenure.

According to Rubin, if the Mets were to go with Wallace, Warthen may have the option of being the team's minor league pitching coordinator.

Next few months should be interesting. At least I hope they are.

Mets Hire Bobby Valentine Lite

The Mets have been wheelin' and dealin' to fill in vacancies in the front office. The Mets brought on Sandy Alderson as their new GM, followed by Paul DePodesta who will take over as vice president of player development and scouting. The only thing left...manager.

It was JUST announced that Terry Collins has been offered the job as the new skipper of the Mets.

So let's GM: Check, new manager: check, same 25 guys playing on the field: check.

Filling up your front office with Harvard grads and then adding Terry Collins to the mix, well...doesn't really do much for me.

At the end of the day, the same players are still here.

Great managers don't necessarily make great players. Great players definitely make great managers. Just ask Charlie Manuel.

Only time will tell whether the 2011 season will be any different from seasons past.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Dirty Dozen

Ken Rosenthal: Giants like the island of misfit toys

I've said it once, and I'll say it again. I want a bunch of no-name, crazy folks.

I want a team like the San Francisco Giants.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bobby's Running Out of Options

Bobby Valentine took himself out of the running for a job as manager of the Marlins. Seattle has now informed him that he will not be their next manager.

Hey Bobby, I hear there's job opening in Flushing.

Jon Heyman wrote for SI.Com that the Mets appear to be third or fourth in line as possible destinations for Bobby V. Now that Florida and Seattle are out of the running, perhaps his chances of coming to New York are looking a little better.

We can only hope.

Letters From Jeff

I got this e-mail from Mets ownership through Flushing Flash (which I still don't know how I get).

Dear Mets Fans:
We have heard from many of you over recent weeks offering suggestions and ideas on how to assemble a winning team. Thank you for taking the time to contact us. Your interest and support of the Mets is greatly appreciated.
We have been hard at work since the end of the season exploring ways to improve our club. As you likely know, this week we interviewed five candidates for General Manager - Allard Baird, Rick Hahn, Josh Byrnes, Sandy Alderson, and Logan White. They all are intelligent, creative and passionate about winning. They conveyed their honest assessment of our franchise and discussed how we can move forward on our pledge to give our fans the winner that they deserve.
We are continuing our search and expect to hire our new GM in the next few weeks. We will be in contact with you with more information and details soon.

Thanks, Jeff. Glad to hear the all the GM candidates discussed ways of making the franchise better. Now hire one of them, get out of the way, and let one of them actually do it. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Say Break Up the Core

Break up the core. I don't care anymore about the big names and so-called talent.

How long have David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran been together? Too long in my opinion.

After a while you just have to stop kidding yourself Mets fans and come to the realization that certain things just don't work well together: Oil and water, Democrats and Republicans, the New York Mets core.

So I say set 'em free. Put them on the auction block and see what happens.

After the way the past few season have gone, no one is untouchable.

FYI...for more entertaining Mets photos and "stories" check out Read the Apple

Bobby V? I'll take Him

Can New York handle having Bobby Valentine as manager of the Mets again? I would love to have Bobby V back here.

Could he turn things around for this team and make them a winning ball club? Your guess is as good as mine.

One thing I do know he will bring...entertainment.

During his time with the Mets, Bobby V had two memorable seasons, 1999 and 2000. The rest I would like to forget.

Can you think of any other manager in baseball who had more failure than success and is still to this day, beloved by just about all fans? I can't.

Despite the years of crappy baseball that was played, I always tuned in to watch the games because, although they lacked talent, they did have some characters.

Those teams had what this current roster does not: Entertainment value.

Who could forget Turk Wendell and his rosin bag tossin', shark-tooth necklace wearing appearances?

What about Robin Ventura's run around the bases dressed as Mike Piazza during a rain delay?

Granted none of these memories have to do with actually playing baseball, but nevertheless it was fun to watch.

That's the problem with this current team. Even if they are winning, they aren't fun to watch. They're a bunch of duds.

As far as grit (a word that seems to be thrown around these days by Mets fans), I don't see it with the current team.

They're biggest attempt to show "grit" came in the final week of the regular season when Carlos Beltran decided he would like to take out Chase Utley at second base (in retaliation of Utley's slide the night before into Ruben Tejada).

Problem with this was Beltran had a chance to take out two Phillies players with his slide and missed both.

That was it. One takeout attempt and done. If it were me, I would have said, "Okay Utley, I'll just go after you next time too." But no one ever did that. They just went back to the clubhouse and said how they were mad and wished they had succeeded at taking Utley out.

I'm sick of all the talk from the clubhouse. Put up, or shut up.   

I think with Bobby V back at the helm, the Mets could be back on their way to playing gritty, entertaining baseball.

The Great Debate

A fellow Mets fan has recently started debating my stance on who's to blame, management or players.

This fan wrote:

"...the manager is ultimately responsible for his teams efforts on the field...the lack of "fight" in this team has been brought on by managers like Howe, Randolph, Manuel. The management change is greatly needed to address the inability for the players to act like they even care now."
My reply: That's nonsense.

I don't accept the excuse that it's the manager that inspires "fight" in a team. Sure, they should always encourage it, but, as a player, if you don't automatically have that feeling every time you step out on the field and can't muster enough "fight" to continue to play the game properly, then that's on you as a player.

The manager shouldn't be held responsible for the players inability to care. If the players pick and choose when to care now, you can change the manager, but that doesn't mean you'll change the attitude of the players.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cheap Seats?

For anyone who watched games toward the end of the season, it was obvious that attendance was down. Teams only look at the number of tickets sold, not the total number of people who make it through the turnstile.

According to Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger, attendance was down from 3.15 million to roughly 2.56 million.

As a result, the Wilpons are looking into possibly lowering ticket prices to bring back those fans turned off by the high prices and poor play.

"We have thought about it," he [Jeff Wilpon] said. "And I think we'll have some good announcements for the fans in the near future."

Adios Amigos: Mets Part Ways with Manuel, Minaya

The Mets said so long to GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel this morning. Assistant GM John Ricco will serve in the interim.

On Mike Francessa's radio show, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said that the team has compiled a list of about 30 people who could replace Minaya. That group will be cut to 6 or 7 possible candidates and the situation will hopefully be resolved by the end of the month.

In his opening remarks at today's press conference, Mets Principal Owner and CEO Fred Wilpon said, "I am responsible, I have the last word." Jeff Wilpon later stated, "This is a results business in a results town and the results were not there."

In my opinion, this whole organization needs to clean house, and yes that includes you Fred and Jeff.

The Wilpons have had a stake in the Mets organization since 1980. Have there been a few years of success since they've been aboard, yes, but the Mets have been an overwhelming disappointment.

GM's have come and gone. Managers, coaches, and players have come and gone. One thing that has always remained the same...the Wilpons.

Do I think Omar and Jerry needed to be let go? Definitely.

But if history tells us anything, if this team really wants to change, it all comes down to Fred and Jeff and them parting ways with the team.

The Wilpons say they are looking for a GM candidate with some fresh, new ideas. Problem is, that GM will have to run their ideas past these two.

No matter how much the Wilpons say the GM has autonomy when it comes to decision making in the organization, the only thing I still hear echos from today's press conference are Fred's statement..."I have the last word."

There's Enough Blame To Go Around

The Mets decided to get rid of GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel this morning which was no surprise. The thing is, while these two were part of the problem, they are hardly the only ones to blame for what has been one disastrous season after another.

It's easy to blame ownership and management when a team is not performing well. Blame, however, also needs to be placed on the players. There needs to be some sense of responsibility taken by players for bonehead moves made on and off the field.

If you are lucky enough to make it to the Major League level, it is assumed that you have some idea how to play the game. I assume Jerry didn't just grab nine guys off the street and throw them on the field (although that's what it looked like at times this season).

I am not going to sit here and act like the game is easy, because I know it is not. To get to this level, however, and drop pop flies because you don't use two hands, or to throw to a wrong base, is all unacceptable at this level. These are things you learn in Little League.

This team does not need another big-name player. We've gotten a few of those over the past few years and let's just say it hasn't worked out so well. Instead, give me a team of 25 guys I've never heard of.

Twenty-five guys who will win as a team and lose as a team; 25 guys who bust it all 162 games, through success, slumps, or injuries. Heck, here's a crazy request, give me 25 guys who will bust it out of the box and around every base. Give me 25 crazy kids like Chris Carter.

It's the little things that lead to success in my opinion.

It might not be pretty all the time, but at least there would always be hustle. I'd take that any day over a few big-name guys who pick and choose when to hustle, or decide that since it's their walk year that it must be time to show a little hustle.