Sports Beat – Defending Bobby V

Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine stirred things up when he complained that the Yankees did not reach out to their community in the days following September 11, 2001. There is little argument that Yankees players and ownership did reach out to responders and to those whose lives were uprooted at the time.

Bobby was probably still steaming about a 2004 HBO Sports documentary, “Nine Innings From Ground Zero,” which spent the lion’s share of the time concentrating on the Yankees playoffs and seven-game nail-biting World Series loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fall of 2001 and how that helped cheer up New Yorkers needing a diversion. The Mets barely rated a three-minute mention in it from what I remember even though Valentine and his players spent a lot of time preparing boxes of food and supplies. Shea Stadium was used as an emergency center for first responders because of its sizable parking lot which Yankee Stadium lacked.

I spoke with Mets outfielder Mike Baxter about his memories of that cataclysmic day on the twelfth anniversary of 9/11. “ I was in an Advanced Placement Psychology class at Archbishop Molloy High School when the planes hit the World Trade Center. No one could believe what was happening,” the Whitestone native recalled.

Just in case anyone was starting to forget about terrorism in 2013, the Boston Marathon bombing was a jolting reminder. The evil allegedly done by the Tsarnaev brothers did not escape the attention of the National Football League. Fans are now prohibited from bringing most bags into stadiums as the NFL will only allow transparent bags for your necessities.

This is a case of overreaching in my opinion. Why can’t security personnel check all bags as they have done in the past? Evildoers will always find ways to commit nefarious acts even with see-through totes.

New Jersey Devils press box announcer Richard Nashmy was ahead of the curve and created a line of durable, thick-polymer clear vinyl tote bags in various sizes a few years ago. If you are planning on going to a Jets or Giants game this year you should check out his company’s website, www.carryitclearly.com.

It’s another meaningless September for the Mets. The fact that they never really had any post-season aspirations this year is the least of their problems. Even if Matt Harvey, David Wright and Ike Davis had stayed healthy the entire season the best that Mets fans could probably hope for would have been third place in the NL East. Nonetheless the weakling lineup that the Mets put together for their four-game series against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field during their last homestand was arguably the most impotent in their history. The Nats did not break a sweat in sweeping the Mets but that wasn’t what was humiliating. During the four games they hit a total of 13 homers while the mighty Mets hit a grand total of 0.

It is no wonder that CBS Radio executives have had their fill of the Mets and were delighted to announce that the Yankees would be replacing them next year on WFAN. The Yankees have always been the more popular team in New York and the Mets’ ineptitude since 2006 has only widened the gap.

Some are wondering about whether CBS is making the right decision since the Mets appear to have more exciting young talent than an aging Yankees team does. My answer to that is to ponder the following. If someone offered you $10,000 to invest in a long-term stock fund, would you choose one that was run by Hal Steinbrenner, Lonn Trost, Randy Levine and Brian Cashman or one that was headed by Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson?

The Jets are probably not going to make the playoffs this year but rookie QB Geno Smith has given Gang Green fans a flicker of hope. Yes, he throws occasional interceptions, misses open receivers, and stays in the pocket holding the football a bit long at times, but he is exciting to watch. He led the Jets to that fluke Opening Day win against Tampa Bay when Bucs defensive end Lavonte David stupidly hit him out of bounds with scant seconds left on the clocks and the Jets were out of timeouts. That late hit penalty set up Nick Folk’s 48-yard game winner.

Although the Jets lost as usual to the New England Patriots a few days later, the score was close (13-10) and Smith was every bit the equal of his counterpart, Tom Brady, that night.

While Jets fans are probably thrilled with Geno, it still would have been better if Mark Sanchez were healthy. When head coach Rex Ryan writes his memoirs he will have to reveal why he put Sanchez into the fourth quarter of a meaningless preseason game with the Giants when the Jets had their third stringers in there. It is not surprising that Sanchez got hurt in that situation and will probably miss the entire 2013 season.

The recently concluded Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week always brings out some sports celebrities. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire are regulars. Two weeks ago OKC Thunder All-Star guard Russell Westbrook made the fashion scene as he was undoubtedly trying to elevate his profile for commercial endorsements.

My favorite moment from Fashion Week was being greeted by a pair of Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders at the GBK Lounge at the Empire Hotel. The girls were modeling their new skimpy uniforms that were designed by Vera Wang.

Fox Sports 1 has done a nice of getting out of the ratings gate strong. The wannabe chief competitor to ESPN raided Bristol for a pair of its popular female personalities, Erin Andrews and Charissa Thompson. Both ladies are fine sports anchors but there is no doubt that Fox executives are hoping that the “babe factor” will deliver male viewers. Will Sage Steele be jumping ship next?

Posted under Archbishop Molloy High School, Arizona Diamondbacks, Bobby Valentine, Hbo Sports, League Fans, Lloyd Carroll, Manager Bobby Valentine, Mets Outfielder, Mike Baxter, Molloy High School, National Football League, New York Mets, Nine Innings, Placement Psychology, Psychology Class, September 11 2001, Shea Stadium, Thick Polymer, Top Story, Transparent Bags, Twelfth Anniversary, Yankee Stadium

Sports Beat “Jay gets his day”

Bobblehead doll giveaways have long been popular promotions at ballparks. Normally the souvenir is a likeness of a current or former player. Tomorrow the Mets will probably have what has to be a first as they will be giving all who come to Citi Field a bobblehead of their longtime public relations director Jay Horwitz.

I have known Jay since 1980. Yes, we’ve had some disagreements over the years and some of the arguments have been heated, but to Jay’s credit, he has always been willing to listen; hasn’t held grudges; and most importantly, has given me the access that I need.

There is no doubt that Jay will be enshrined into the Mets Hall of Fame when he retires but that won’t be for another 30 years. Congratulations, Jay!

The most important aspect of Jay Horwitz Bobblehead Day is that a portion of the ticket revenue will be earmarked for the Hope Shines for Shannon Foundation. Shannon Forde, a St. John’s University alumnus, has been working in the Mets media relations department for 20 years. In 2012 she was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. The costs associated with fighting that insidious disease are staggering. Amazingly, Shannon continues to work with enthusiasm and vigor while raising a family.

The National Hockey League announced that a pair of games involving the three local teams will be played at Yankee Stadium during Super Bowl week. The Devils will play the Rangers in one game while the Islanders take on the Blueshirts in the other. The Rangers will be the visiting team in both contests.

It makes sense that the Devils game would take place at Yankee Stadium since it’s located very close to the GW Bridge, I find it disgraceful that the NHL has turned up its nose at Citi Field.

While I understand the economies of scale of having two games at one venue, Citi Field is adjacent to the Islanders’ Nassau/Suffolk fan base. Queens has more Islanders fans than any other borough including Brooklyn where the team will be moving in 2015. It also would have created more buzz for the NHL to utilize both of New York’s ballparks.

The US Open gets underway at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Monday but you can catch some quality tennis there today and tomorrow for free as the US Open Qualifying Tournament for a number of wild card spots will be taking place.

The PGA Tour makes its annual stop in our area as the Barclays Tournament will take place at Liberty State Park Golf Course today through Sunday. There will be free shuttle buses running from the Pavonia PATH stop in Jersey City.

Posted under Blueshirts, Director Jay, Economies Of Scale, Fan Base, Forde, Grudges, Gw Bridge, Hall Of Fame, Insidious Disease, Lloyd Carroll, National Hockey League, New York Mets, No Doubt, Public Relations Director, S University, Stage 4 Breast Cancer, Ticket Revenue, Top Story, Two Games, University Alumnus, Yankee Stadium

Stars Shine At Citi

The prelims were over and it was time for the main event.

The 2013 All Star Game, the 84th Mid-Summer Classic since a sportswriter in Chicago named Arch Ward brainstormed the idea in 1933, was met with great fanfare last night. With 39 first time All-Stars on both squads, an All-Star record among others set, the players were as eager to participate as were the sellout audience that filled Citi Field.

By the way, it was the 84th All-Star Game, even though its been just 80 years since the first one, as two games were played per season from 1959-62. And it was before TV execs took over, as both games each year were played in daylight!

Mets starter Matt Harvey broke the ice on this new classic at 8:19 P.M., just minutes after legendary Mets hurler Hall of Famer Tom Seaver threw out the first pitch to the other Met All-Star, David Wright.
Harvey first serve resulted in a double down the right field line by the Angels’ Mike Trout.

It wasn’t a pretty first inning, as Harvey next plunked the Yankees’ Robinson Cano on the knee. Boston’s Dustin Pedroia was soon sent in to pinch run. Harvey then settled down by striking out reigning Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera swinging. Harvey got out of the inning unscathed by punching out Toronto’s Jose Bautista swinging.

Harvey became the first Met to start an All-Star game since Doc Gooden in 1988, and one of only 11 pitchers to start an All-Star Game in their home park. This list includes Roger Clemens in 2004 (Houston), Pedro Martinez in 1999 (Boston), Whitey Ford in 1960 (Yankee Stadium), Don Drysdale in 1959 (LA Coliseum), and Carl Hubbell in 1934 (Polo Grounds).

As the starter, Harvey got to complete two shutout innings. He sat down David Ortiz and Joe Mauer on flyouts and got Adam Jones swinging.

And Harvey’s All-Star appearance creates a Mets connection factoid as the answer to a future trivia question. The last time the Mets hosted an All-Star game in 1964, and the only time it was held at Shea Stadium, the Mets’ first elected starter to the lineup was second baseman Ron Hunt. The Harvey-Hunt connection? Both wear/wore #33!

Wright led off the second against Chicago’s Chris Sale and grounded to third.

The Mets’ team captain also captained the Home Run Derby held the previous night. He didn’t fare well there, either, accumulating just five home runs in his first round appearance. Cano preceded Wright with just four longballs.

Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes topped Washington’s Bryce Harper with a final round comeback to win the annual Home Run Derby crown. Cespedes wowed the sold out audience with a blazing first round set of 17 homers, many of which reached the rarely struck third deck in Citi Field’s left field.

This was the ninth All-Star Game to be played in New York, which gives the Big Apple the title for most All-Star Games hosted. The Mets’ original home, the Polo Grounds, layed out the figurative red carpet for the second game in 1934.

Prior to this year’s celebrated exhibition, the National league held the all-time edge, 43-38, with two ties, the most famous of which going back to 2002 in Milwaukee, when both teams ran out of pitchers in extra innings. The AL, however, has been prevalent more often in the past 25 games (18-6-1).

Ex-Met Carlos Beltran was met with mixed cheers and boos during the introductions, but mostly cheers with his first at-bat. He grounded out and singled in his two at-bats.

Harvey spoke midway through the game about his appearance and his touch of wildness which found cano’s knee.

“Obviously, that was the last thing I wanted to do was go out there and possibly injure somebody. I apologized and made sure he was okay. I think he understood it wasn’t intentional.”

As for the whole All-Star experience, it lived up to Harvey’s expectations. “It was, absolutely. It was so much fun. Just being in the locker room with all the guys, the Red Carpet in New York, starting. I don’t think you could have dreamed of doing something like that. It was a tremendous honor and something I’m very thankful for.”

The highlight for Yankees fans was seeing their hero, Mariano Rivera, come in to “close” the eighth. The stadium gave him a very unique introduction/sendoff in his last All-Star Game. First, you heard his music, “Enter, Sandman.” The entire field was devoid of players or personnel. Mariano Rivera trotted in from the bullpen to thunderous applause. And even all the players in the NL dugout came to the top step and applauded.

Rivera began warming up with just a catcher until the rest of his AL mates joined him halfway through. And with typical resolve, Rivera settled his inning one-two-three, with groundouts from Milwaukee’s Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez, and the Cardinals’s Allen Craig was retired on a liner to left.

The only odd thing about seeing Rivera was that it was the eighth, and not the ninth, since the AL was leading, 3-0, at the time.

Texas Rangers’ closer, and Long Island native, Joe Nathan, drew the assignment of closing it out for the AL in the ninth.

AL skipper Jim Leyland admitted it was a predetermined plan to get Rivera into the game, even if it wasn’t his usual ninth inning stint.

“For obvious reasons,” Leyland said after the game, “in case something freaky happened in the eighth and they scored some runs and there wouldn’t have been a ninth, I brought him in for the ninth.”

And he didn’t want to infuriate any Rivera fans in case he “messed up.” “I wanted to make sure I was going to get out of here alive tonight,” Leyland joked.

The AL made up for losing the last three All-Star games as Nathan put the 3-0 win “in the books.” The NL was held to just three hits. AL fans are happy they now get home field advantage in the World Series.

Rivera, perhaps more so as a “lifetime achievement award,” was named the game’s MVP, and was handed the keys to a brand new Corvette.

As always, Rivera was humble and respectful in the postgame conference. Surrounded by family, he was grateful and thankful for the win. “That’s the most important thing.”

He was not surprised by the eighth inning appearance, as Leyland had notified him before the game that he was getting no matter what.
Warming up on a lonely field, however, felt odd.

“That’s not baseball,” Rivera commented, but not in any demeaning way. “It felt so weird, all alone with my catcher. At that moment I didn’t know what to do, so I thought just (to keep warming up).”

Along with All-Star teammate Torii Hunter, Rivera gave the team a pre-game pep talk.

“I just said it was a privilege and an honor to play with them. This was my 13th All-Star team. I said, enjoy it, cause it goes so quick.”

And just like that, the 84th all-Star Game went by so quick and is now history. next year, the 85th Mid-Summer Classic will be played in Minnesota.

It’s a Home Run

The 2013 Home Run Derby was won by Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes, who banged out nine home runs in the final round to surmount Washington’s Bryce Harper for the annual crown.

Eight participants battled the heat and humidity to thrill the sold out crowd at Citi Field. Local products Robinson Cano, both captains of the their respective AL and NL HR lineups, didn’t fare as well. Cano clipped just four home runs in the first round. Wright clobbered five.

Posted under Andy Esposito, Carl Hubbell, Doc Gooden, Don Drysdale, Game Even Though, Joe Mauer, La Coliseum, New York Mets, Shea Stadium, Tom Seaver, Top Story, Tv Execs, Whitey Ford, Yankee Stadium

Amazins Have Chance To Bury Bombers

Another day, another shutout by the Mets, who now have crawled back to one game under .500 before the Subway Series this weekend.

And what a great time to find their game as the club may be catching the Yankees at just the right time this year.

For those who have been under a rock or at least try to ignore what is happening north of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, the Yankees are a team in turmoil. Sure they won last night, but that came on the heels of a seven out of eight skid, which saw the Bombers throw their icons under the bus.

First Jorge Posada asked out of the lineup last Saturday after getting dropped to ninth in the batting order. After sitting out for a couple of days, he played on Tuesday in Tampa, but still is in Joe Girardi’s doghouse. His average is still on the Interstate at .179.

Then Derek Jeter irked Yankee officials by daring to defend his friend, instead of toting the company line and his got into the Yankee brass’s crosshairs.

Well, at least Mariano Rivera kept quiet over the past week, and there is no truth to the rumor Reggie Jackson was flown in for a tongue lashing, just for good measure.

And all of this turmoil, losing, and Bronx Zooery up there at the House that Jeter Built may be a good thing for the Mets, as the Amazins are playing their best ball of the year without the services of Ike Davis and David Wright, and relying on – of all things – strong starting pitching and solid relief.

Add to that a few rookies that just don’t know any better and things seems nice in Queens.

“We got to get to .500 and that’s all we are thinking about right now,” said pitcher Jason Irsinghausen, who was on the Mets back in 1998 and 1999 when the Subway Series was in its infancy. “It’s a May series. It’s just another baseball game for all of us. It’s nice to go to Yankee Stadium, though.”

A sweep by the Mets would be even nicer as the Yankees could be pushed over the edge. With R.A. Dickey, Chris Capuano, and Mike Pelfrey going for the Mets against Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett, and Ian Nova, the pitching matchup is there.

Add to that Jose Reyes being Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran playing for a contract and Frankie Rodriguez pitching like there’s $17 million dollars on the line, you have to at least give the Mets a better than average chance.

Imagine what would happen if the pass the hat Mets sweep the mighty Yankees. Posada would probably be released. Players would be demoted. Derek Jeter would be dropped down in the lineup and maybe a coach or two would get whacked.

Although George Steinbrenner is no longer with us, over the last week, we have seen the Bronx Zoo alive and well on 161st Street.

And the Mets will get a chance to make a statement. For a team so desperate to sell tickets and so e desperate to remain relevant, this is their weekend to get back in the good graces of their disillusioned fan base and maybe change the tide of New York Baseball for both teams.

Two shutouts against the Nationals were a nice start, but now this is their chance to shine.

Posted under Baseball Game, Bombers, David Wright, Derek Jeter, Doghouse, Good Measure, Infancy, Joe Girardi, Joe Mcdonald, Jorge Posada, Kennedy Bridge, Last Saturday, Mariano Rivera, New York Mets, Reggie Jackson, Robert F Kennedy, Rookies, Shutout, Subway Series, Top Story, Yankee Brass, Yankee Stadium

This post was written by Joe McDonald on May 19, 2011

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Karpin Paints A Perfect Mets Season

Howie Karpin is a fixture at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. The Bronx native and Riverdale resident is an official scorer for Major League Baseball, and for the past 30 years has covered the World Series and Stanley Cup Finals as well as being an accomplished radio sports reporter.

His passion is baseball, reporting games for radio stations in the tri state area, and now scoring a good amount of Yankees and Mets games as the guy who determines a hit from an error on the field up in the press box where we sit. A fan of the New York Mets contemplate when good fortune will return for their franchise because the team is off to their third worse start since their inception in 1962.

So here is Karpin, during the past year, in between scoring games, doing his research. And plenty of going back in time to select the greatest wins in Mets history and for those who joke about the Mets, they would say, “How many great games have the Mets played?

There could be more than the 162 games that Karpin chronicled in his latest work, “Imagine a Mets Perfect Season – 162-0” published by Triumph Books. Yes, 162 games, the schedule for a team in regular season play. But the Mets going 162-0, especially for a Mets fan is far from reality.

“The nature of the game-the grind of a 162-game season does not lend itself to team perfection as it does in the National Football League or college football,” says Karpin. “There have been undefeated teams in both pro and college football, but not in baseball. Nor is it likely to ever happen. But within the boundaries of this book, it does happen to the Mets.”

Meaning, as Karpin, says, “In nearly 50 years of existence, the New York Mets have provided many memorable regular season moments.” Of course, always remembered was the run to a World Series championship in 1969 and how the Mets became the team in New York City.

The memorable moments, that is a theme about the 162 games that are highlighted by Karpin. Because as every Mets fans knows, there have been more than a share of unmemorable moments, a huge amount at their old ballpark, Shea Stadium, in Flushing Queens.

You don’t have to be a fan of the New York Mets to share in the memories that Karpin recaps. There is the emotional game of the first sporting event in the city since the September 11, 2011 disaster. Titled “Emotions Run Deep in Tribute to Post 9/11 America,” the game at Shea Stadium against the Atlanta Braves, a game where rivalries meant nothing and a start of the healing process in New York.

There is no particular order of significant games with the 162 that Karpin recaps so well. “The history of the Mets was thoroughly researched to put together a mythical, undefeated season,” says current New York Mets third baseman David Wright who provided a perfect foreword to the book.

“In this book, time is no problem,” says Wright. So well put because you can don’t have to go from page-to-page, and the summations of each game are captured with the highlights Mets and baseball fans always remember.

Because the Mets, as much as they have become the secondary baseball team in New York, have a brief and interesting history, though not as long, as the Yankees on the other side of town. The managers and players that have worn the uniform have been interesting personalities from Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver to the Hall of Fame New York outfielder, the great Willie Mays.

“From the very first season of 1962 to the miraculous championship year of 1969, to a second world title in 1986, right up until a new era at Citi Field, the Mets have put together a glorious history in their own right,” says Karpin.

Each game selected is chronicled by month, again in no particular order. The box score of some games and photos of the players that are a part of this 162-0 season provide smiles for Mets fans that have not much to be happy about as of late. And there are of course, some of the less memorable moments.

The book is dedicated to the memory of Bill Shannon, the longtime official scorer of New York baseball and writer who tragically passed away last October. A longtime friend of Karpin who gave him his opportunity to score games in the press box, Shannon was an inspiration in putting this must read together.

Because as everyone knows, in New York the Yankees have been the memorable team, but after going through the pages of these 162 games, it certainly appears the past 49 years have been memorable for the New York Mets.

E-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Bronx Native, Game Season, Going Back In Time, Good Fortune, Great Games, Major League Baseball, Mets Games, National Football League, Nature Of The Game, New York Mets, Official Scorer, Perfect Season, Radio Sports, Rich Mancuso, Stanley Cup Finals, Top Story, Tri State Area, Triumph Books, Undefeated Teams, Yankee Stadium

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on April 18, 2011

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A Lot Of Work To Clean Up The New York Mess

Goodbye Omar Minaya. You should have been out of here a long time ago for making the New York Mets the “Mess” they are, now something that a new general manager will inherit. As for Jerry Manuel, nice guy who was never the right fit for this team calling decisions in the dugout.

What took Fred and Jeff Wilpon so long to pull the plug and finally make their move to fix this “Mess” in Flushing at Citi Field? They made a rare and must appearance together Monday at Citi Field. They addressed their public, the fans.

Jeff and Fred, father and son gave their assessment and had to give the answers. Because they saw the empty seats at their new and sparkling ballpark these past two Septembers. The fans truly had their voice heard by staying home and finding something better to do than watching losing baseball.

So, where do we go from here? Minaya collects another year of his million dollar salary and contemplates what to and surly knows the new GM will not require his services. Manuel goes home to Sacramento, picks up some rocks and reflects on what went wrong during his tenure in the dugout

And Mets fans wonder, will they see pennant winning baseball in the near future? As one Mets insider said to yours truly last week, “It will take another five years to clean what Omar put together.” Truly believe that it will be that long a duration if Fred and more so, Jeff, move visible, and the CEO, allows the new GM to have full autonomy on baseball decisions.

You see it never worked that way across the Robert F, Kennedy Bridge in the Bronx. Though Brian Cashman supposedly has most if not all the baseball decision making at Yankee Stadium, we all know the late George Steinbrenner made the final call about player acquisitions, scouting, development, and the overall baseball operation including the manager.

The new regime for the Yankees, the sons, Hal and Hank, Randy Levine and company will make it known that Cashman has that autonomy, But we all know the Steinbrenner billion dollar empire knows baseball. They make the final decisions as Cashman gives them their evaluation and opinion. As much as Fred and Jeff said that losing made them suffer, and as Fred said, “We don’t pick baseball players, we never had,” perhaps they should hand the team over to people or investors that know baseball.

They trusted their money with Minaya. The Mets this year, with the fifth highest payroll in baseball will carry about $130 million of that into next year, coming off another fourth place finish and second straight losing year at Citi Field.

Just a brief overview of the “Mess” Minaya hands over to the new regime, and it does not matter who the new head of command will be, Or who the new manager is. Whether it is Wally Backman or Bobby Valentine, or someone else, the new field general will have to suffer with more losing.

Because the youngsters that Manuel put on the field in August, and in September have a lot to prove. They could be parts of the rebuilding via a trade or two. Or continue to develop with the right manager and coaches in place.

What to do with the Minaya “Mess” that comprised these Mets the past few years?  You can’t love Omar “like a son” as Fred Wilpon said Monday because of this: It’s October and the Mets are once again in hibernation.

Because Oliver Perez is owed another $12 million of a $36 million dollar contract and in two of those years the Mets pitcher had a 6.81 ERA in 31 mound appearances, and did not make a start this season after May 14th.

Because Luis Castillo with his four- year $25 million contract extension hit .235 this year, had his share of injuries and most of the second half sat on the bench and second base went to youngsters Luis Hernandez and Ruben Tejada.

Because when a Mets top prospect Fernando Martinez was a hot item, and a coveted trade commodity, numerous opportunities to get value for Martinez were bypassed. Martinez became a true disappointment and now damaged goods with injury after injury.

Because the Mets never had a reliable closer on the mound, even with bad boy Francisco Rodriguez and it was Minaya who had no hope for Heath Bell who was traded to San Diego for Ben Johnson and Jon Adkins. Where are Johnson and Adkins now? No longer with the organization and Bell was second in National League saves this season with the Padres who were in contention.

Because there were so many more bogus transactions done by Minaya that fail to address his sometime success with obtaining Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Delgado, plus giving Jose Reyes and David Wright extended contracts,

Said Jeff Wilpon “We have a lot of fans out there; we just have to bring them back. And from Fred “I love the New York Mets. I love this franchise.  We made investments that weren’t good investments. We take the responsibility, the buck stops here.”

And it certainly does stop here now. Hopefully, it will end, this “Mess” of the Mets that Minaya caused. Even with some success, one game away from a National League pennant and back to the World Series in 2006. Fred and Jeff now get another opportunity to get it right with a new regime.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Acquisitions, Brian Cashman, Dollar Salary, Dugout, Father And Son, Final Call, George Steinbrenner, Gm, Gm Autonomy, Kennedy Bridge, Levine And Company, Mets Fans, New York Mets, Nice Guy, Pennant, Rich Mancuso, Robert F Kennedy, Septembers, Staying Home, Tenure, Top Story, Yankee Stadium

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on October 6, 2010

Ike Having Time of His Life

New York – Ike Davis ran out of the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium on before the game on Saturday. He was quickly reminded he had a very important task to do.

“Got it done,” he proudly would say afterward.

Davis wasn’t doing anything Met related here, actually he was doing a more important assignment, leaving tickets for his dad Ron who was in for Father’s Day.

“He probably would have gone back to Arizona,” Ike would laugh.

Well, there was no Joe DiMaggio-like incident that day and like everything else Davis has been doing this year, he has doing it well. The freshman first baseman has been a godsend for his club, as he has fit very nicely into the middle of the Met lineup.

In the year of the rookie, where young players like Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heywood, Austin Jackson, and Brennan Boesch have taken all the headlines, Davis has quietly become one of the leading rookies in baseball.

“I don’t think I am under the radar,” Davis said. “I am just here trying to help my club win.”

After starting out sixth in the lineup, manager Jerry Manuel moved Davis to the cleanup position. Although he has tailed off from hot start, the 23 year-old is second in among rookies in home runs with eight while his .268 batting average is fourth in the freshman rankings.

And Davis is doing it in the field as well with tremendous defense at first base, including three over the railing catches into the dugout at Citi Field.

More importantly, Davis was there when the Mets needed him last night, going 3-6 with three RBI and one run scored in the Mets 14-6 win over Jackson, Boesch and the Detroit Tigers.

“We played hard today and found some holes,” Davis said. “We were patient at the plate and we were keying on pitches.”

Davis seems to be having a lot of fun with these Mets. His attitude is contagious, smiling out there, while the club looked for an identity, especially at home.

He has become a fan favorite with chants of “We like Ike” coming down from the Citi Field rafters even when he wasn’t at the plate.

“It’s great to play here,” he said. “It’s good to be able to sleep in our own beds and we are real comfortable playing on this field and seeing this hitting background.”

It’s a comfort his dad had with the Yankees back from 1978 to 1982. But now Ron is a full Met fan as his No. 1 player is staring with the club.

And yes, Dad was able to see the Mets lose to his Yankees this weekend, but more importantly, Davis was able to go fishing off City Island with his father on Monday’s off-day.

“I caught three stripers,” he said.

It’s a good thing he left the tickets.

Posted under Batting Average, Brennan Boesch, Chants, Cleanup Position, Clubhouse, Detroit Tigers, Dugout, First Baseman, Freshman, Godsend, Having Time, Holes, Home Runs, Joe Dimaggio, Joe Mcdonald, Mets, New York Mets, Pitches, Railing, Rbi, Rookies, Strasburg, Top Story, Yankee Stadium

This post was written by Joe McDonald on June 23, 2010

One Bad Inning Dooms Santana

New York -Prior to the rubber game of their three game series in the Bronx Sunday against the Yankees, New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel was asked about his starting pitcher Johan Santana.  Is this the typical first half of the season for Santana, 5-3 and a 3.13 earned run average?

“That’s just his history,” commented Manuel “Just hoping it’s the same thing,” he said when asked about the usual strong second half that comes from his ace.   Santana still has about four more starts before the All-Star break next month after losing to the Yankees Sunday. The damage was giving up his third grand slam of the season to Mark Teixeira. That gave the Yankees their four runs and taking two of three from the Mets at Yankee Stadium.

“He’s a guy I’m never concerned with, said Manuel.  However the Santana fastball has seemed to have lost some speed. Teixeira off a 1-1 pitch hit a low fastball to left clocked at 89. It may have not cleared the wall at Citi Field.

The ball kept going to left and bounced off the wall into the stands, a typical Yankee Stadium home run. The home run by Teixeira, his 12th of the season gave the Yankees the 4-0 lead. It was the Yankees seventh grand slam hit this season, the seventh given up by the Mets pitching staff.

“In this ballpark it’s a home run,” said Manuel. In defense of Santana Manuel added, “In out ballpark, it’s a different story.” But it was still a home run and it goes in the books. An inning that started with a Derek Jeter single, an infield hit, and the bunt by Nick Swisher that Santana and first baseman Ike Davis could not handle.

Those plays happen sometimes to Santana, who has allowed four runs in his last three outings, “We have a routine play, one we were not able to make it,” he said about the play at first that was followed by the Teixeira slam.

“I stayed focused after the home run and was able to throw my fastball,” added Santana who has allowed 17 earned runs in 16.2 innings pitched in three career starts , and a 1-2 record in games at Yankee Stadium.

If the Mets were going to send a message, or provide some dominance to this inter league subway series, the one to cement that was Santana.  With the exception of that home run Santana was able to hold the Yankees to eight hits, striking out three.

“He’s historically been a second half pitcher,” said Manuel “I think he’s starting to gear up for that and, not that he’s not trying but that’s been his history. But I’ll take what he’s been giving us. A few bloop hits and then he gives up a fly ball that ends up going out here because of the ballpark, I still see a guy who competes,”

For now Manuel will count on his ace to close out the first half with a strong finish.  Maybe it is the rubber game of a series that also hindered Santana, because the Mets are now 2-8 in those situations this season.

“When all is said and done, however, if you would have told me that we’d go 7-2 on this nine game road trip, I’d take it,” said Manuel when asked about coming into the Yankee series with a 6-0 trip and then Mike Pelfrey and Santana losing the last two games.

Manuel said putting that into perspective, he was satisfied. But the Mets can never be satisfied unless Santana gives them a solid outing.

ADDED NOTE: After the game the Mets optioned 20-year old right hander Jenrry Mejia to Double A Binghampton to prepare him as a starter and recalled right hander Bobby Parnell from Triple A Buffalo. Mejia threw a scoreless sinning of relief Sunday and it is obvious now that the Mets want to groom him as a starter.

“We felt that his development and progression kind of leveled off,” said Manuel about the move. “But to get him to the next level he needs to pitch on a regular basis.”

Added general manager Omar Minaya, “The only way he’s going to get better is to throw more.  We just feel we have to stretch him out a little bit more.”  Minaya also added it was something planned and Mejia was enthusiastic about the opportunity to pitch more that would help with his development.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Ace, All Star, Bunt, Derek Jeter, Different Story, Dooms, Fastball, First Baseman, Game Series, Grand Slam, Johan Santana, Mark Teixeira, New York Mets, Nick Swisher, Pitch, Play One, Rubber Game, Starting Pitcher, Top Story, Yankee Stadium, Yankees New York

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on June 21, 2010

Pelfrey Was Off In Loss

Mike Pelfrey and Phil Hughes both 9-1 coming into Saturday’s game at Yankee Stadium have been nothing but spectacular for the Mets and Yankees. The Mets winners of eight straight games, and the Yankees, losers of their last three were hoping for something special from their premiere pitchers.

But Jose Reyes of the Mets connected on the second pitch of the game, a home run to right field off Hughes, The Yankees would even things up in their half of the first on a ground ball double play hit by Mark Teixeira.  In the end though, Hughes was better and Pelfrey struggled.  The Yankees would take game two of the Subway Series in the Bronx 5-3.

Reyes would connect again in the third after Henry Blanco the ninth man in the order walked. It was the sixth multihomer game for Reyes, his fifth homer of the season that was almost hit in the same spot as the first one. The ball was flying out of the ballpark at Yankee Stadium on a sunny and warm afternoon, but Pelfrey could not keep the Yankees quiet, a team that struggled to score runs the past few games.

“I didn’t have a fastball today,” admitted Pelfrey (9-2) who let the leadoff hitter reach base in five of his seven innings pitched. He allowed five runs the most since allowing six to the Phillies on May 1. “I ended up getting behind guys,” he said. “They gave me a lead, I just couldn’t hold it. We’re playing well. I just feel bad.”

Mets manager Jerry Manuel has seen the development of Pelfrey, who has become one of the premier pitchers in the National League. And he realizes that sometimes he is still young and prone to mistakes.

“I think that he’s been elevating a few of his pitches,” said Manuel. “He is still a young pitcher who over the course of a season and in his career will hit small bumps. He just has to look back on them and get better.”

A reason the Mets have been playing well is because of Reyes and number two hitter Angel Pagan. Also the Mets starting pitching coming into the game was 18-3 with a 2.49 ERA over their last 29 games dating back to May 17. Pagan went 2-for-3 with a walk, single and double extending his hitting streak to eight games, batting .352

Reyes, 2-for-4 extended his hitting streak to 11 games and is batting .438 in that stretch, and with his day has now hit safely in 10 straight road games at the Yankees. “Some stadiums you feel comfortable hitting, I feel comfortable here,” said Reyes about his streak at the old and new stadiums in the Bronx.

“I feel at home,” said Reyes with a smile about once again being comfortable in the leadoff spot.  Mets batters though, after the Reyes one-out home run in the third, had just three hits and two walks

The Mets had a few opportunities against Hughes but failed to capitalize. As hot as they have been, there was still that confidence they could get to Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera who pitched the eighth and ninth innings to close the door

Rivera got his 16th save of the season when he got Ike Davis swinging, Jason Bay on a ground out to second and Chris Carter on a ground out in the ninth “He throws hard and can challenge you,” said the rookie Davis about Rivera.

As for the missed opportunities, the Mets leaving runners on second base in the sixth with Hughes on the mound, and in the eighth Manuel said, “Their guy (Hughes) made some good pitches at the right time or was able to get a double-play or pop up when he needed to,”

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Double Play, Fastball, Fifth Homer, Henry Blanco, Jose Reyes, Leadoff Hitter, Losers, Mark Teixeira, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Pagan, Phil Hughes, Phillies, Pitchers, Pitches, Straight Games, Subway Series, Top Story, Warm Afternoon, Yankee Stadium, Young Pitcher

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on June 20, 2010

Audio: Mets Take Game 1

Bob Trainor of Trainor Communications offers these soundbites from yesterday’s the Mets 4-0 win over the Yankees yesterday at Yankee Stadium.

Angel Pagan drove in two runs to give the Mets a 3-0 lead in the seventh inning backing Hisanori Takahashi’s six shutout innings en route to the Mets eighth in a row and 12th out of 13th.

We have full audio coverage below.

David Wright

Jose Reyes

Rod Barajas

Alex Rodriguez

Jorge Posada

Javy Vazquez

For More Info contact Bob at TrainorComm@gmail.com.

Posted under Alex Rodriguez, Angel, Audio Coverage, Contact Bob, David Wright, Game 1, Jorge Posada, Jose Reyes, Mets, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Pagan, Rod Barajas, Seventh Inning, Soundbites, Top Story, Trainor, Yankee Stadium, Yankees

This post was written by Bob Trainor on June 19, 2010