Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mets To Honor Carter With No. 8 Patch

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, following the memorial services Friday night, Fred Wilpon presented Gary Carter's wife, Sandy, with a No. 8 patch.

The patch will be worn by all Mets players this season, as well as during Spring Training.

David Lennon of Newsday said the patch will be a "No. 8 patch over a home-plate cutout."

As soon as an image is available, I'll be sure to post it.

Mets Morning News: Carter Remembered, Francisco Likes A Challenge, AndMets Skeptical Of Braun

Hundreds of friends, family, and former teammates gathered at Chris Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens, Fl. Friday night to remember Gary Carter. Read more about the service in The Times.

Mike Puma of the New York Post sat down with new Mats closer Frank Francisco. Francisco said he is up for a challenge.
"I got excited, because it’s a young team with a lot of potential," Francisco said yesterday. "Everybody has their eyes on the Mets to see what’s going to happen, and I like that. I like challenges — that’s me. I like people watching me."
According to Andy Martino of the Daily News, there was plenty of skepticism in the Mets clubhouse after Ryan Braun won his appeal.
"Ryan Braun is out there saying this shows he is innocent," one Met said. "Does that mean O.J. Simpson is innocent, too?"

"Oh, wow," a Mets player said on Friday, after hearing of Braun's chain-of-custody explanation. "That was his defense? Now every positive test is going to be challenged. That could be a mess."

Added a third player: "What a joke."

Another Met said: "Seems like he's guilty."
A few Mets did go on the record about the case. David Wright, R.A. Dickey, and Jason Bay all spoke with Newsday about Braun's victory.
 "I wasn't rooting one way or the other," Wright said. "I've gotten a chance to be around Ryan a little bit -- whether it was the World Baseball Classic or the All-Star Game -- and I think he's a great guy. I've had a blast playing with him and against him. Whether you agree or disagree with the decision, I guess the process worked."

"If you're guilty, I'm hoping that you're found guilty," Wright said. "If someone knowingly tries to cheat the system or cheat the game, I hope that they're caught and I hope that they're punished. In this case, I see what everybody else sees, but that's why you have the appeals process."

"I was surprised because it set a precedent," Dickey said. "I totally expected for them to find that it was legitimate. The fact that, through a technicality, they found that it wasn't, that is a surprise.

"I think that people still have doubt, like, 'Oh, here's another way to get away with it,' that type of mentality. But we've also seen a high number of people caught by it. The fact that Ryan Braun, the NL MVP, is not beyond the arm of what's going on, that's encouraging, too."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mets Morning News: Mets Lose Expert Witnesses, Seven Commit To Buying$20 Million Shares, Nickeas Working On Offense

According to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who is presiding over the $386 million clawback lawsuit against Mets, will decide whether or not to toss the case on March 5.
Jed S. Rakoff, a United State District Court judge, heard more than two hours of oral arguments by both sides before deferring his decision. His only ruling was to toss out the trustee’s two expert witnesses and the one offered by the Mets’ owners, John Maine, who has the same name as a former pitcher for the team.

A jury trial is scheduled to begin on March 19.
The Mets now have a commitment from seven investors to become limited partners in the team.  Among the seven is Steve Cohen, who is also trying to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers.
New York owes $25 million to Major League Baseball, a loan whose repayment was extended from November until March, and $40 million to Bank of America. The team chose to sell limited partnerships following the collapse of a deal last summer with hedge fund manager David Einhorn.
Andrew Keh of the New York Times sat down with Mike Nickeas. Nickeas understands that if he wants to back up Josh Thole behind the plate, he's going to need to hit.
"My offense is something I worked tremendously hard on in the off-season," he [Nickeas]said. "We’re going after it. I’m all in. I know I need to get it done now."

"I’m removing all the inefficiencies from my swing, so I have more time to recognize pitches and see the ball," Nickeas said. "My goal is to be an extremely tough out. I don’t want to be the guy they get to, put a couple of pitches in, and be done."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mets Create Yet Another PR Mess For Themselves

I'm not a pro when it comes to public relations. Never have been, and probably never will be. But even I could tell you that if you're strapped for cash and on the verge of losing an organization you have run for the past few decades, you probably shouldn't fly to an NBA game in a helicopter.

But, again, what do I know? I'm not the Wilpons.

Yes, the Mets front office went to Miami in style this afternoon to check out the Knicks and Linsanity first hand.

Photo from @AnthonyDiComo

Photo from @DPLennon
So not only did they supposedly spend the money on a helicopter, but knowing the Mets' luck, they will probably also have to shell out some dough to make repairs to the field.

Even if for some odd reason this joy ride was paid for by another party, it still doesn't look good.

I don't even know what to say anymore.

Ike Davis Back In Mets Camp After Seeing Doctors In NY

After flying back to New York to see team doctors for an ailment that was not related to his ankle, Ike Davis returned to Florida to begin Spring Training. Of course, the fact that the team was vague as to why he had flown back to New York, allowed for speculation to run wild.

Well there's one mystery solved. Now on to the second. Are there no doctors in Florida that could have handled this?

Mets Morning News: Mejia To Throw From Mound, Tejada Already In TheDoghouse, Owners And Madoff Trustee Go Before Judge

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Jenrry Mejia, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, is expected to throw from a mound today.
The right-hander is scheduled to toss only 15 pitches. And he will do so from the slope, not atop the mound -- and with the catcher moving closer than 60 feet, 6 inches.
Terry Collins is not happy with Ruben Tejada. Tejada has not reported to camp early due to visa issues in his native Panama.
"I take great pride in the game itself, and respecting the game itself," Collins said. "And I wish everybody had the same respect for it, that they wanted to get started as early as possible."
Lawyer for Mets owners and Bernard Madoff trustee Irving Picard will go before Manhattan federal District Judge Jed Rakoff this afternoon to try and avoid a March 19 trial.
Picard's lawyers are asking Rakoff to immediately award the trustee a judgment for $83 million, the amount of Madoff profits which Picard maintains the Wilpon family and its Sterling Equities partners received. That cash was essentially money stolen from other investors, Picard has said.

Picard also wants back more than $300 million in original investments made by the Wilpon group because, the trustee contends, the partners either knew of the scam or were blinded by their dependence on Madoff's annual profits to see warning signs that he was a fraud.

To derail Picard, lawyers for the Wilpons have been digging into the woodwork to prove their clients are immune from the trustee's clawback attempt. The $83 million they received, the Wilpons argue, actually represents a "debt" Madoff owed them by virtue of their investments. Perhaps more important, the Wilpons charge that they didn't ignore warning signs about Madoff and wouldn't have knowingly invested in a Ponzi scheme. As regular investors, they weren't obligated to probe into Madoff's operation, said the Wilpons.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mets Morning News: How Long Will Collins Last? Is Santana Ready? TejadaHas Visa Issues, And Wilson To Return in 2012

Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal asked whether Terry Collins will be another Joe Maddon or Jim Riggleman.
The answer will determine whether Collins becomes more like Joe Maddon or Jim Riggleman. Maddon, the Tampa Bay Rays manager, presided over two last-place finishes before leading the Rays to the World Series in 2008. He is now regarded as one of the best managers in baseball.

Riggleman, a friend of Collins, managed the Washington Nationals for parts of three losing seasons before quitting in the middle of 2011, upset over the team's unwillingness to pick up his option for 2012. It was Riggleman's choice, but it was also clear that Washington wasn't yet convinced he was the best fit for a new era of relevance.
Speaking of Collins, the Mets manager believes Johan Santana will be ready to take the mound Opening Day at Citi Field. Santana is not quite as optimistic.
"To have an opportunity to be out there on opening day is always good, but again, I’m approaching everything one day at a time," said Santana, who compared the ups and downs of his recovery to a roller coaster. "So far, I’m feeling good, and hopefully toward the end of spring training, we’ll have a better idea of where we’re at and see if we can be ready for opening day."
Ruben Tejada may be late to Spring Training. Tejada is having visa issues in  his native Panama. According to David Lennon, he plans to  hopefully sort out the issue at embassy today.

The Mets announced on Tuesday that Mookie Wilson will return to the team this season. Along with working with Major League and Minor League players in Spring Training, Wilson will also be responsible for visiting minor league affiliates, and representing the Mets at sponsorship and charitable events throughout the season.
I look forward to both roles, Wilson, 56, said. I am glad to be back. I will get a chance to work with the players in the spring and during the year. Plus, I will be able to look at some of our younger players, which I love doing. This year we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mets baseball and Im looking forward to getting out there and talking to fans both at the ballpark and in the community

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mets Morning News: Wheeler Tweets His Life Away, Dickey Is MLB's LoneKnuckleballer

Terry Collins will hold his first official press conference of Spring Training at 10 a.m. It will be aired live on SNY.

Top prospect Zack Wheeler is quite the tweeter. As Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger writes, the 21-year-old right-hander is not afraid to tweet about his life, not matter how boring it may be.
His public persona creates a contrast with fellow hard-throwing prospect Matt Harvey. "People have asked me that before," Harvey said. "'Why aren’t you on Twitter?'" He shrugged. "I don’t really like people knowing what I’m doing all the time."

Wheeler harbors none of those inhibitions. Each day he provides updates on his life. On Mondays, he likes to visit Moe’s Southwest Grill for their $5 burritos. He shoots pictures of his offseason bullpen sessions and provides running commentary during the Grammys. He watches "Eastbound and Down" and "Swamp People."
R.A. Dickey expressed how lonely he is now that fellow knuckleballer Tim Wakefield has retired.
"I’m sad because I want [Wakefield] around — it’s fun to watch somebody who does what you do," Dickey said. "In the past he has lent me some things I needed to see, but now, I’ve got to go to the film and watch him pitch instead of seeing him get to throw a bullpen.

"I don’t know if there’s anyone outside of [Haeger] even tinkering with it. It’s fairly lonely. I feel a little bit of loneliness. My hope is someone is going to see the real value in it and want to keep doing it. There’s a lot of adversity that comes with it."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Spring Training, Day One: Niese Gets A Nose Job

Photo: Adam Rubin's Twitter Account (@AdamRubinESPN 

Day one of Spring Training is now out of the way, and what was the biggest story of the day?

Jon Niese got a nose job. Yup, the schnoz is no more...sort of, and it's all thanks to Carlos Beltran.

Before being traded to the San Francisco Giants last summer, Beltran offered a lovely parting gift to Niese.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Niese said:
"He wanted me to have a new nose," Niese said about Beltran. "So he offered to pay for it. I was just like, 'All right.' Then it turned into seeing doctors and to getting it fixed."
The rhinoplasty did have an unintended side effect. Niese can now breathe easier.

Will his new nose help him on the mound? Who knows. If not, you know who to blame.

Side note: Did Niese offer to pay for the removal of that hideous mole on the side of Beltran's head?

Mets Morning News: Pitchers And Catchers Report, Gee's Struggles WithFatigue, Wright Has Something To Prove

Pitchers and catchers officially report today, and their first official workout is Wednesday.

Dillon Gee tells Mike Puma of the NY Post that he ran out of gas halfway through last season.
"I would be lying if I said I wasn’t really tired," Gee said. "But it was important for me to experience that.

"I know now what I need to do better. I don’t think that first half was luck at all. I just think I was pitching well. I knew what I was doing. But as soon as I had a couple of bad outings I started pressing a little bit."
Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger writes about how just like every other Met in 2012, David Wright has something to prove.
His time as a Met could be drawing to a close. Members of the front office are still privately mulling their options. They could trade him this summer. They could pick up his $16 million option for 2013 and deal him next winter. Or they could work to retain him long term. Much depends on how he performs this season.

Wright turned 29 in December. He is approaching baseball’s version of middle age, that cruel moment when reflexes slow down and bat speed declines. So perhaps 2011 was an outlier. Or perhaps it was a harbinger. That knowledge limits his current trade value, one talent evaluator explained this winter.
A memorial service will be held this Friday for Gary Carter in Palm Beach Gardens, Fl. The Mets expect to send a "sizable" group to honor the late, great Mets catcher.
In lieu of flowers, a donation be made to the Gary Carter Foundation, 580 Village Blvd., Suite 315, West Palm Beach, Fla., 33409. Donations will go to support the Autism Project of Palm Beach County, Hospice of Palm Beach County and Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mets Morning News: Murphy And Duda Are Corner Infielders, Ignoring OffField Distractions, & Pitching Prospects

Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that Mets officials believe Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda are best suited as corner infielders.
"The Mets also privately fret if Davis will hit lefties consistently; something they have far less concern about with Duda. What worries them with Duda is if he will subtract from his offensive value — which even executives around the league believe is legit — by being such a defensive liability in right. Murphy, meanwhile, has been seriously injured each of the past two seasons turning pivots at second.

Thus, the Mets want to verify their beliefs that Duda and Murphy are above-average hitters. If so, they will at least have the option to consider dealing Wright and/or Davis to continue to deepen the young talent base."
Terry Collins sat down with The Star-Ledger to discuss the 2012 season. He won't let his players feel sorry for themselves or be distracted with off the field issues.
"You know what? Jose’s not here...The first time I hear someone say, 'Oh, Jose would have caught that ball,' we've got problems...So our payroll’s down...How many guys here care what our payroll is?"
David Lennon of Newsday writes of how the trio of Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia, and Zack Wheeler shouldn't be labeled the next Generation K. Also, don't expect to see any of them called up before their time.
"The temptation with those three guys doesn't really exist at the moment," [Sandy] Alderson said. "Obviously, when you bring somebody up -- whenever you do -- they still have to perform. So on the one hand, you're tempted to bring somebody up to fill innings, but on the other hand, they better be ready. Because if they're not, there are obviously consequences to that, too."