See Your Four Aces And Raise You A Joker

You know we have endless material to write daily articles on the dysfunction and demise of the Mets. I fully planned to take advantage of this not only because of the abundance of low hanging fruit but also the way it fits in so nicely with my years of frustration with this team.

However, while I will continue to call a spade a spade, call out unspeakable wrongs, do a fair amount of second guessing  when obviously called for and the like – I have decided to attempt to buy  into some of the things the triumvirate are trying to accomplish.

I stick to my guns regarding not attending the games, not supporting SNY network, basically hitting the Wilpons in the pocketbook until they sell  to somebody  that will go all in to commit to a winner year after year . We deserve no less than that and would not be wrong in demanding it after 50 years.

I am not naïve enough to not know that a fan is a fan. Any real fan, especially a Met fan knows you can’t stop watching. You can’t stop rooting and hoping. It’s part of who you are. It is a lifetime commitment and can’t be turned on and off like a faucet. I have MLB Extra Innings. I declined SNY.  I watch them on ESPN and FOX when they are on. I think I do my part fulfilling my need to watch while limiting any benefits to the Wilpons.

In any case, back to  current events. A .500 road trip against division opponents who were expected to beat us like drums is not all that bad of a start. The vaunted Phillies were lucky to even win the second game of the series, and thus the series. Each team dominated one game. It is somewhat obvious that the best we have at least in theory is a joker to put up against their 4 aces. That is if you insist on labeling Big Pelf an ace, and therefore forcing us to reclassify him as a joker. Niese went against their Ace of Spades and if Wright  came through early, and Niese being as young as he  is, could  have worked with a lead and got on a bit of a confidence, momentum building roll the 11-0 game might have been a very different story. Sometimes the score really does not reflect the game. Our 7-1 victory over Hamels was just as dominating.

One thing they have to stop doing is labeling everything. What is the purpose of calling Pelfrey your ace until Santana gets back? Just let him pitch, let him learn to change speeds, get an out pitch and see what happens. Otherwise start looking into what we can get for him. But no need to put him front and center with almost no upside and a strong chance for failure and embarrassment to both the player and the organization. Pagan should be a good centerfielder. Talking him up as the natural with a rifle arm AND a guy that is going to hit 300 with 25HRS and 100 RBI will bury him in expectations and undue pressure. I have seen him surrounding balls in center, very weak throws to third and home and as could have been expected his hitting is still a bit off so far this season.

David Wright being anointed our fearless leader and savior. Why? He is a very good third baseman. He failed numerous times with 2 and 3  men on base during the Phillies series. He came through once. As we all know if he came through 2 out of 6 times he is an all star. 1 out of  6 is a failure. What is a very thin line comes across as miles apart between a winner and a loser – because of expectations and because of necessity due to the lack of more viable options. Don’t label him and let’s see 1 or 2 other guys pick him up in those situations and before we know it he may come though consistently 3 out of 8 times. Hall of  Fame numbers.

Harris and Hairston are exactly what they are. They will never sustain hitting at a high level  if they play too much. Once a week fill ins and pinch hitting.  You want to develop people ,work in Duda, Evans, Murphy.

We have Flores, van Dekker, Havens, Vaughn, Familia, Mejia, Harvey,Holt , Valdespin, Tejada,  Niewenhaus, and of course Fernando. We have prospects.  Develop them. Develop some  of them to free  up existing players  as trade bait. Package some of them to get  studs back to play with  some of the  existing star players if that works better.  Lose the tunnelvision. Cast a wide net. As much as I love Ike Davis there is no way the  Wilpons even think about  Pujols if he ever was available – based on the fact that we are already set at first.  I think the Yankees had 3 first baseman set when Texiara  became available.

Not sure about the triumvirate’s current philosophy but I know they were never scared to sell high or trade stars for studs. Moneyball or just no money being the driving force or whatever, they all made some nice moves over the years.

Posted under 4 Aces, Ace Of Spades, Demise, Division Opponents, Faucet, Four Aces, Joker, Lifetime Commitment, Low Hanging Fruit, Mets, Mlb Extra Innings, New York Mets, Niese, Phillies, Pocketbook, Road Trip, Second Game, Second Guessing, Spade, Top Story, Triumvirate

This post was written by Frank Salamone on April 8, 2011

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The More Things Change….

Opening day has come and gone.  On the plus side the Mets have one  of the  best  all time winning percentages  in opening day games – and we all know how  that has worked out over 50 years.

On the down side, it looks an awful  lot like they could  use today’s game as  the oft referenced “microcosm” game for what looks like the inevitable 48th year of futility.

Pelfrey being hyped as ready to assume the mantle of staff “ace”?  In reality, he would not legitimately be looked at as the ace of any number of college teams and most,  if not all,  minor league teams. He may end up having a serviceable Bobby Jones like career, and may turn out to be a serviceable 5th starter on a major league team, but he has never found a bat that he could not hit. He may get 27 people to hit the ball directly at fielders over a 3 hour period, but he can never be really good unless and until  he can get HIMSELF out of trouble on occasion. This will not happen unless and UNTIL  he learns to change speeds.  Every pitch looks exactly the same. OK  sometimes he has good movement. Sometimes he throws a heavy ball all game – but he never changes speeds. Hell, even if he couldn’t get people out with it he should learn to do it just to put something in a hitters mind.

Which brings me to the next problem. Who does Dan Warthen have pictures of  in the Met’s organization. My guess is Jeff Wilpon. Can’t be any of the triumvirate. What are his qualifications as a pitching coach? At least Peterson had the whole kinetic research combined with psycho babble thing going – and some  sort of strategy regarding the art of pitching. Hell Leo Mazzone is out  there begging for a job. I know, I know, he doesn’t fit the mold as a speak when spoken to guy – but  he sure knows how  to be a pitching coach, with years and years of proven  results. Is Warthen’s plan to have the pitchers pound the strike zone = which they still don/t do enough. Round  up and  develop 95 MPH pitchers and teach them secondary pitches? Seems it is more like the Mets 50 year plan – just throw as much crap against the wall as you  can and hope something  sticks.

It would be considered noble, heroic, insightful, moneyballish, whatever – watching  a front office assemble a rag tag team of  no names, cast offs, rule 5’s (come on 2 out of your 9  players on the field on opening day are rule 5 players), but  this is New York. Even being the second city team in New York should make you a Billion Dollar Franchise. Not Northeast Kansas City.

Which brings us to the biggest problem. Ownership. There is no sympathy. They pocketed millions from Met fans – not  counting  Madoff’s  money  and what they knew or didn’t know. They always did just enough to act like they cared but never went all in like Steinbrenner. They never had the whatever it takes mentality like Steinbrenner and now the Red Sox and Phillies. Why? General principles?  Good business skills – which we already know they do not possess? Why? Because you can only sell so many tickets and once  you  sell them all, or all you think you  are going to sell in the best case scenario, you can stop trying to impress anybody, you can stop trying to win, you can stop spending or investing as there is no  ROI  left for you to squeeze out. The actual pennants, world series, winning and all that comes with that culture  and reputation is not important to them-and never has been for the entire  Mets history.

From the time they were born they were a joke, an attraction. They hired a guy Casey Stengel who by  that time was a washed up carnival hawker and he toured the land with his Metsies, Metsies schtick and his fabulous one liners about why they drafted a catcher first in the expansion draft – your gonna need somebody to go get the balls. They were known point blank as lovable losers. And they marketed the hell out of it  for all it  was worth. And it lasted for  50 years.

 

1969 was a MIRACLE. No other way to describe it. No other explanation for it. But it  happened and so did 1986. And that should  have been enough to open somebody’s eyes to what could be. What should  be. But it didn’t. Again, lovable losers that they are, ROI focused  as ever, just getting into the Subway Series was enough. Winning it didn’t matter. Getting maybe one curveball away from the world series in 2006 insured the max ROI for the next 3 years minimum, and take out the unscripted colossal collapses in 2007 and 2008 and they would still be living off 2006. Just like  SNY  still  lives off  1986 replays – and Yankee info and commercials. (could  you ever  imagine Steinbrenner allowing a David Wright  commercial  airing during  a YES broadcast?) The Met’s  don’t care  about that kind of stuff. They care about the  bottom line. Hell if the  Yankees  don’t pay them to run their commercials who else will?

Now having said all this, I always hated people who criticized for the sake of bitching and moaning alone.  I always felt if you weren’t part of the solution, you were part of the problem. Or at least if you didn’t have any ideas on what the solutions should be – then shut the hell up.

In this case however, the answers are obvious and can no longer be ignored or  tip-toed around.

Selig needs to have the Wilpons  sell the team – immediately if not already in the process. Otherwise he needs to move up his date and leave tomorrow and let the next guy make them divest themselves of what should be the  Pinta  or  Santa  Maria  of  MLB,  if  not the Nina itself.

The front office needs to bring in all their own people. And not shopping in Filenes Basement. It  is killing the Phillies  they can’t  go right  after  Michael Young  to fill in at 2nd base. Of  course,  they paid  more than the GNP of ¾ of  the  world for their  starting  rotation, and Howard and Utley. But don’t be shocked if  they get  desperate  enough they don’t  go  ahead  and get  him anyway.  It’s called doing whatever  it takes.

Start selling high on players  like Pagan, Pelfrey (based on last year), Reyes if he starts looking like  his old self, Beltran to an AL team if he  proves he can DH, and David Wright before he completely  flops.

Trade these guys  for aces, or  potential  aces,  or  potential  all stars. Restock the farm with top talent.  Get established  talent.   Reyes  or  Wright could have  brought a Lincecum a few years ago. They can still bring monster packages from the Red Sox,  Giants,  Dodgers, etc. Move them. Move on. Rebuild in your own image and see what happens.

We have already seen what happens  with  50 years of the wrong vision, or  no vision whatsoever. And it ain’t pretty. Somebody has to lead the poor Met  fans out of the desert. 50 years of  futility is enough.

And if we can’t go to the mountain – then we should bring the mountain  to them,  in the  form of balled up  season ticket  applications.  Stop supporting the same people who make fools out of us year after year after year after year. Stop buying 6 game packages. Stop going to the games altogether. Stop watching them on SNY. Stop watching SNY. It is the only thing these people respond to and unless and until we show them we understand how they operate the vicious cycle will continue in perpetuity. And the best we could hope for is some sort of purgitory if not outright baseball fan hell.

Posted under Bobby Jones, Dan Warthen, Fielders, Futility, Hyped, Jeff Wilpon, Leo Mazzone, Major League, Mantle, Mets, Microcosm, Minor League Teams, Mold, New York Mets, Percentages, Pitchers, Pitching Coach, Psycho Babble, Strike Zone, Top Story, Triumvirate

This post was written by Frank Salamone on April 2, 2011

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