Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What Did the Media Expect Him to Say?

Now, to be clear, I have no love for the Yankees. I do enjoy when things go wrong. I get great joy out of hearing Giuliani get eviscerated by the media for rooting for the Sox (note to Rudy, when you are a fan, you never, repeat NEVER root for your fiercest rival, unless they are playing the other team in our city, and even then, you need to think it over very carefully (I sat out the Braves/Yanks World Series). There is no "I am an AL guy". Rooting for the Sox is like a Giants fan rooting for the Cowboys, an Islander fan rooting for the Rangers, or a Mets fan rooting for the Phillies or Braves. It is not done.) Now, I am enjoying all of the reports about the Yankees manager search, and how the press is working themselves into a lather over what Girardi, Mattingly and today, Pena, have/will said/say.

Today, all the headlines were of Mattingly saying "I can do it". Well of course that is what he said? Did these nimrods really think Donnie as going to walk into the meeting with George and the Spawn (Hank and Hal) and say "I don't think I can manage this team? What idiot walks into a job interview and says they can't do the job? Seriously? This was the shock of the day?

The best part is that everyone with half a brain knows that Donnie is getting the job. No matter how ill George is, he is still "The Boss", and he will get his way. Shit, if he could, he would dig up Martin and name him manager. The Spawn can crow all they want about how they are "in charge", but until George passes, he has the final say. Mattingly was a good soldier for George, he was a bright light when the team was down in the dumps, and missed out on getting his ring when he retired after 1995. He came back after pleas from George. You think George is going to change his addled mind now? No chance in hell.

The whole process is a sham. Pena is being interviewed so the Yanks follow the edict from MLB about interviewing minority candidates. He has little in the way of Yankee ties. Girardi won rings, and Mattingly played his whole career in the Bronx. Pena had little shot going in. Too bad really, because he did a fine job with the Royals, a crappy situation, and would do well with the Yankees.

What really irks me, and should piss off Selig as well, is that the Yanks are doing all this during the World Series, when all organization moves are supposed to be quiet, so as to not distract from the Series. Once again though, George bends Selig over and does what he wants, and Selig says nothing besides "thank you George, may I have another?" We are about to see the Rockies, who are a great story right now, face the Sox, who toppled the Yankees in the regular season. There is the Rockies feel good story, and the star power of the Sox. We have the Rockies, who have some good young players who have gotten insanely hot for the last month, facing a juggernaut in the Sox. Yet all the media in NY (and ESPN as well, with their wall to wall coverage of the Torre saga DURING THE FRAKING ALCS) are talking about is the Yankees managerial search. Stories about what each guy said, how the Spawn feel about each guy. In other words, Yankee media comination during a time that should be spent covering the World Series. And MLB wonders why ratings are down. Tell your TV partners to forget about the Yankees and concentrate on the playoffs. Talk about the Rockies, and how they are giving a full share to the family of their AAA first base coach who died after being struck in the neck with a ball. Talk about how good Beckett is, and how good Tulowitski is (we can stop with the "Mets should have kept Matsui stuff though). This is a time MLB can have new stars put in the spotlight. Instead, all we get though is coverage of Torre checking his mail, and how Mattingly says he can do the job.

The Spawn will have to wait a while before they can name their manager. Of course, they will be able to frak things up royally with player moves and the like. I see the Yankees reverting to the late 80's, early 90's, with bombast from the front office and lots of losses. And this brings a smile to my face.

Monday, October 22, 2007

So Much Crap, So Little Space

Where to begin? I have thoughts on a lot of items today, the Mets, the Yankees, the Jets, the Islanders and other stuff. Hmmmmmm.

Let's start with the Jets. Ugh. That about sums it up. Chad comes out firing, giving a large F U to critics by throwing a ball 50 yards in the air to Coles for a touchdown. Of course, his arm was then done for the day, so they didn't attempt anything tha long again. Smart gameplanning there Brian Scott. For all the tooth gnashing over Chad, maybe someone ought to think about BS. Some might say too bad the Dolphins didn't hire him after last year.

Once again, they get away from the running game. It must be nice to be Thomas Jones, making millions to run 12 times. Jesus guys, can you give him 20 rushes at least? Might have helped control the damn game and kept the awful defense off the field.

Speaking of the defense(less), fandom to Eric, it is time to scrap the travesty of a 3-4 alignment and go to a 4-3. Vilma and Robertson are not built for a 3-4. You are not getting any pressure on the QB. Smell that Eric? It's not lasagna from Vesuvio. It's stink emitted by your defense.

So next week, Chad will be the back-up and Kellen Clemens will start. What will the excuse be that fans and critics will use when Clemens can't get it done either?

Islanders -

If I told you they would be 5-3 after 8 games, would you take it? I would have. Pleasant surprise so far on the Island. Bill Guerin has 4 goals in his last two games. Comrie got off the schneid against the Devils (Poor Brent, they are in deep poop right now). The defense has been good, with Campoli showing that his rookie year of 2 years ago wasn't the fluke, last year was. Bryan Berard is playing very well, and the special teams are doing very well. Ricky has been good when he has had to be. Now, they get a week off. A week. What the hell is wrong with the schedule makers? They played 5 games in 7 nights recently, now they get 6 days off? Un-balanced schedule + stupidity.


Nothing to report here, except some are calling for Torre to join the organization, either as bench coach (and I made this joke on Metsgeek last week), or on SNY. The thought is that he can be ready to replace Willie if need be. Yeah, that'll work. Bring in Torre and Willie will be running scared all year. Plus, who do you think Willie learned his Proven Veteran® theory from? It is a recipe for disaster. No thanks.


Loving the turmoil in the Bronx. They tried to give Torre a performance incentive laden contract in the hopes he would reject it and that the kool-aid drinkers would bash Torre. Of course, that is what happened. I like how Yankee fans say "well, he hasn't won anything in 7 years". If that is the feeling, well, what about these guys:


If they all get passes for what they did, why not Joe? Is it Joe's fault that Damon throws like my 7 year old daughter? Is it his fault Giambalco can't play any position other than DH, along with 3 other guys? That Matsui keep getting hurt? That A-Rod can't handle the pressure of the playoffs? That 19 game winner Wang blew it in two playoff starts? That Clemens sucks?

Nope. But that is what the "braintrust" thinks. It is quite breathtaking to watch Hank turn into George and belittle Torre. I wonder how many free agents are going to want to play in the Bronx? Oh, I know they can offer a lot of money, but one day, a player is going to stand up and say "you know what, I don't care about the money, I am not going to work for a bunch of incompetents." Will Johan Santana really want to play there next year? Time will tell I suppose.

As for the next manager, it could be Girardi, Mattingly or Pena. Now, we all know the Yankees are going to interview all 3 of them, because they have to follow the guidelines in regards to interviewing minority candidates. But we also know George has his heart set on Mattingly. The process is a farce.

Other Stuff -

I love reading on various web-sites that Red Sox fans are the new Yankee fans. Sorry, I don't buy it. They won 1 World Series. For the most part, the Sox fans I know are not obnoxious pricks like a lot of Yankee fans I know. Of course, there are exceptions, and there are surely a number of "Mass-holes". But they have a long way to go to reach Yankee-Hole levels. Part of the problem is the internet, where you have Simmons crowing about the Sox and Patriots, and fans of other teams project that upon non-media related fans. Is Simmons right to crow? Sure. He is a fan, he should be happy about the Sox. Of course it is fair for people to think he is a twit for crowing in every column he writes. I do not agree that people paint all Sox fans with the same brush. Again, I am sure there are a number of twits in the Sox fan-base, but to me it reeks of jealousy over the fact the Sox won. Now that they are going to face the Rockies with a 2nd WS on the line, this perception will only grow. I guess we will have to see who Jesus loves more, the Rockies, or the Mass-Holes.

Patriots fans on the other hand are Mass-holes. Every last one of them. :)

That's all for today folks. Depending on what breaking news happens, I may post later this week. Since we are not in the Hot-stove yet, I won't be posting every day. Once it starts, I will be a tad more regular.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sadly, It is Time For Chad to No Longer Hang

It pained me to write that heading (partly because it is awful). Seriously. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chad. The guy plays his heart out every week. He took them to within Doug Brien's faulty leg of the AFC Championship Game with a shoulder that made Pedro Martinez's look healthy. He came back from 2 shoulder surgeries to lead them to the playoffs last year despite a running game that misfired more then the Mets offense the last week of the season. However, with each passing week is is becoming clearer that Chad just is not going to be able to succeed in this offense.

It has taken me a while to see this. Like all the players I have looked up to in all of the sports I follow, there comes a time when you realize that your favorite player is no longer getting it done and the time has come to move on. With the Mets, it was Mike Piazza. With the Islanders, Alexei Yashin. With the Jets, it was Marvin Jones and Mo Lewis. Now, I am seeing it with Chad. The guy just can't throw a ball more than 10 yards to scare a defense. Even with a strong running game, they are going to collpase on the wide-outs. They will let them go long, stacking the box, since they know Chad ain't throwing it deep.

I tried to rationalize this with the usual excuses. Paul Hackett has taken over Brian Schottenheimer's mind. Herm Edwards is haunting them. Bill Belicheck sent tapes to all the other teams. Sadly, none of those are the reasons. Quite simply, Chad is not a starter. Sure, he is a leader, and guys will run through walls for him, as will he. Sure he can hit the quick slant. But the guy throws as hard as Tom Glavine, and we all know what happened to Tom in the last game of the season. The same is happening to Chad.

There is just one problem. His replacement, Kellen Clemens. How the hell am I, as a Mets fan, supposed to root for a guy with the last name Clemens? Not only that, his first name starts with a "K", just like Roider does with his kids.

Seriously now, the concern with Kellen is that he has little experience. I know he looked good inthe 4th quarter a few weeks ago, but he also looked like crap the first 3 quarters. Teams are going to blitz like crazy to get in his head. They are going to dare him to beat them more than once until he makes them honest. Can he do it? I know he has a strong arm, but so did Browning Nagle, and we all remember how that turned out (shudder). Where is his head? It is funny, because in training camp, the media kept talking about how poorly he was doing, until he did well in a couple of pre-season games against the scrubs. This is the same media that chastised Mangini last pre-season for making Chad wait out a "competition" before he was named starter.

The calls for Chad's head began a few weeks ago, and figure to grow louder after yesterday. Will Mangini make the move? Hard to tell. However, it is time to do so.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Weekly Occassional Observations

1. So, the Yankees went down in flames again. Problem is, this time Yankee fans can't blame A-Rod.

2. Britney lost custody of her kids. She celebrated drowned her sorrows in bottles of vodka.

3. The Braves are announcing that GM John Schuerholz is resigning. The Braves are kind of thankful, since now they can release his minor league for life son.

4. Rudy Giuiliani is trying to get conservatives to back him by bashing Hillary Clinton. Problem is, he is still Rudy Giuiliani.

5. Michael Vick has been ordered to repay $20 million in bonus money to the Falcons. Vick is upset saying "How am I supposed to repay it, all my dogs are gone?"

6. I am shocked, shocked I say that Reggie Bush allegedly received $280k in benefits while at USC. I would have put the money at $500k.

7. Allan Houston is returning to the Knicks. Just what they need, another over the hill shooting guard.

8. Don Imus is returning to the NY airwaves in December. Just in time for the holidays. I wonder what special programming he will unveil for Hanukah and Kwanzaa?

9. ESPN will air the first 2 rounds of the Master starting next year. Great, another sporting event ruined.

10. Just wondering, do the Yanks think it was $22 million well spent on the Depleted Rocket?

11. Pamela Anderson Lee Rock whatever the hell her name is got married recently to the guy who did a porn tape with Paris Hilton. She is also pregnant with his child. I guess once you have Hepatitis C, herpes is the least of your problems.

12. This just in, Britney did not show for a court appearance today. I expect wall to wall coverage of this on all the cable news channels for the next week.

13. Former President Jimmy Carter has called VP Cheney a "disaster". Pot, meet kettle.

14. Speaking of disasters, Meet the Mets!

15. All those Yankee fans who sent that lovely "Mets Fans Conversion Letter" email must be feeling a tad stupid right now eh?

16. Isles 2, Rangers 1. Combined goals this season for Chris Drury and Scott Gomez - 1. Combined Points - 3. Combined Salary - about $14 million. Yep, good contracts.

17. Al Gore has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Odd, I thought Al invented it?

18. Let's get something clear, Joe Torre's contract EXPIRED. He is not being "fired" if he does not return as manager, he is simply not being re-signed. This is basic stuff that seems to have escaped the minds of 98.26% of the NY and National media.

19. Tony LaRussa is being linked to the Yankee job. Oh, please make this happen. He'd be the perfect 21st Century Billy Martin.

20. The family of deceased Notre Dame football star George Gipp had his body exhumed this week. Word is the Republican Party wants to do the same with Ronald Reagan.

21. Vinny Testaverde has signed with the Carolina Panthers. Shit, there goes the Jets shot at the #1 overall pick.

22. Someone explain to me why after their god-awful showing against the Bills for heaven's sake, we are supposed to think the Cowboys stand a chance against the Patriots?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ed Tries to Fix The Mets

It's been nearly two weeks since the end came. Ten days since Tom Glavine and the boys shit the bed against the Marlins and allowed the Phillies to win the NL East and get blasted by the Colorado Rockies. Ten days in which I have thought about "what's next?" How do we fix this team?

People elsewhere have opined on the idea. John Delcos in the Journal News had a 10 step program. Bloggers and commentators elsewhere have chimed in. I've posted here and there, but have not posted my definitive ideas. Some of what I have read I agree with, and I will note that below. Some of what I have read has made me quite angry (trade Jose Reyes? Are you F'in kidding me?)

So, without further ado, let's begin. Today I will go over the roster and say who stays and who goes.

Sticking like the final out in 1986:

David Wright
Jose Reyes
Carlos Beltran

Those three are the cornerstones for this franchise. A 24 yr old 3rd baseman who continues to amaze, a 30 yr old center fielder who plays his ass off even when hurt, and a 24 yr old catalyst who, despite some thoughts, will not be traded simply because you cannot get equal value for him. The key for next year, rest, and fewer attempted steals, please. Of course, this would require the Mets obtain a SS to back him up. Perhaps Anderson Hernandez? I doubt it, he can't hit. David Eckstein? Well, the scrappy quotient would go up. Problem is, David will probably want to play every day.

Beyond that we have the following:

Pedro - like there is any question about this.

John Maine - ONLY goes if part of a deal for Santana. Otherwise, John will be here for a long time.

Oliver Perez - Same as Maine. If he can get his head in the game full time, he can win 20 easy.

Billy Wagner - um, are we forgetting how lights out he was until he had back problems? Do we think closers grow on trees? Please see our recent history with closers, not exactly Goose Gossage in there.

Scott Schoeneweis - No chance he is bought out, and no one is going to trade for him. So long as Willie uses him as a LOOGY, he will be fine.

Pedro Dos - the man was great until overuse wore him down. He goes nowhere.

El Duque - he has another year left on his deal. He is great when healthy. Put him on the DL for 15 days every other month to rest him.

Moises Alou - The man can flat out RAKE. If only he could play 120 games. A $7.5 million option makes this a no-brainer.

Carlos Delgado - Um, $16 million contract makes him the Mets Giambi, without the HGH. Hopefully he will be healthy next year and can put up 2006 numbers. A back-up plan is essential.

Hanging on like Endy's Catch

Jorge Sosa - Free Agent. Also was good until Willie burned him out. I like him in the pen.

Paul Lo Duca - Free Agent. He could be back, but it is tenuous. If Omar can't find a replacement cheap, PLD will be back. I don't see teams beating a path to his door with 3 year deals.

Luis Castillo - I liked what he did in the #2 spot. If Jose can continue to get on base, the speed with Castillo is dangerous. Please have your knees MRI'd and scoped if necessary. Grass field may help his legs. The guy played hard until the end, and you could see the pain etched on his face.

Gone Like a Aaron Sele Batting Practice Fastball

Guillermo Mota - Do I really need to explain this?

Aaron Sele - see Mota.

Brian Lawrence - Free Agent. He should have to pay to get work.

David Newhan - name 1 thing he did to help this team this year. Go ahead, I dare you.

Shawn Green - Free Agent. I like Shawn, I really do. He plays hard, he has a sweet swing, and played pretty good first base. But we already have a lefty bat who can't hit lefties at first. Wants to play every day. I will not make the Israeli Baseball League joke.

Ben Johnson - let's just forget the Heath Bell trade, shall we.

Tom Glavine - I respect his career. I do not respect his craptacular outings at the end of the season and the repeated slurping of the Braves. Time to go Tom, and don't let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya.

Jeff Conine - well, he already said he was done, so I won't pile on much. Too bad he didn't realize he was done before last season. Everyone else did.

I Hope They Stay, but...

Lastings Milledge - I fear Omar is going to be told to trade him. He will come back to haunt us for years if this happens. Put him in right, bat him 7th and leave him alone.

Carlos Gomez - Trade bait. Good field, can't hit. Could be great, could be Jason Tyner.

Aaron Heilman - I like Aaron, I think he is a good arm in the pen. All guys have bad outings. He just gets crapped on by fans more than most. Some team will see him as a starter. Good for us, not for them. I see him as a closer. I would love it if it were here after Wagner is done. But he is probably the best trade chip.

Jose Valentin - Free Agent. Did real well in 2006. Injuries killed him this year. Sadly, he will probably not be back. Depends on what happens with Castillo and others. Odds are against his returning.

Endy Chavez (Thanks for the reminder Fakehead) - Arb Eligible. Endy is a nice bench player and a great 4th outfielder. Probably one of the best fielding centerfielders in the game. Problem is, Endy is exposed with continuos playing time. Here, he is a good fit to fillin for Alou once or twice a week, and even Beltran 2X a month (this is a must, as Carlos needs to stay fresh). Other teams might like him, so Omar may get offers, or might be willing to include him in a deal. I hope not, but you never know.

Philip Humber/Mike Pelfrey - I'm not willing to give up on Pelfrey yet. The guy missed a lot of time thanks to Boras being an ass in negotiations. I would love it if the Mets would be like other teams and let their young arms learn MLB in the pen. As for Humber, that hammer curve and fastball would look real nice in the 6th or 7th inning. Also missed time with his TJ surgery. I throw out his start the last week of the season since Willie blew it by not using him in blowouts to keep him fresh. I see one of them as the 5th starter and the other in the pen. I could also see one of them go in a trade. I hope not.

Bring Em Back

Marlon Anderson - Free Agent. Good bat off the bench. If Willie asks you to play center, please pull out tape of last time he tried it. Thanks.

Ramon Castro - good #2 catcher with pop. Please drop 20 pounds, it will help your back.

Damion Easley - good bench guy. Can fill in at 2nd. Maybe SS ocassionally.

Ruben Gotay - I like his potential. Could platoon with Castillo, which would probably eliminate Easley.

Willie is back, we know this, and anyone who thought otherwise does not know the Wilpons. As for his coaches, this will be interesting.

Rickey - Rickey thinks he was fine. Ed thinks that Rickey was a detriment to the team. Ed thinks Rickey told Jose to run too much, and Ed thinks this was a factor in Jose's slump. Ed thinks that the Mets should give Rickey a nice parting gift of a folding table, chairs and 25 decks of cards.

The Jacket - Really, is there a better option out there? "Dep" over on Metsgeek put it best, even Rumpelstiltskin couldn't make gold from shit. Rick had a lot of shit to work with.

HoJo - Hitting Coach. RISP numbers improved. David Wright improved. Even Delgado showed signs. Only negative was Reyes trying to hit everything in the air. I think he stays in some capacity. May be replaced as hitting coach by Rudy Jaramillo (Rangers)

Sandy Alomar Sr. - 3rd base coach. Designated punch taker for Reyes. Needs to learn the STOP sign.

Jerry Manuel - Bench coach. I have no problem with his return.

Guy Conti - He's Pedro's guy. He ain't going anywhere.

Tom Nieto - Catching instructor. This is the Mets, not the Yankees. He's safe.

In the coming months, I will opine on Free Agents, trade possibilities and youth from the minors. Feel free to comment.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Media Bias, But What Else is New

Below is from Peter Abraham in the Westchester County Journal News from Sunday October 7th:

...The Next order of business is to remind Jose Reyes and David Wright that they haven't been elected to the Hall of Fame quite yet. Reyes should have been an MVP candidate this season but his biggest contribution to the team was inventing new handshakes. The New Derek Jeter will be the new Royce Clayton if he keeps sliding like he did in September.
Wright, while certainly an earnest young man, would be wise to cut back his personal appearances and focus more on the 75 errors he has made in 541 games or the 381 strikeouts. The Mets ask too much of him.

Well Peter, I grant you that Reyes slumped horribly in September, but to say his biggest contribution was "inventing new handshakes" is to ignore the fact that from April to August he was a huge reason why the team was able to maintain its hold on first. Anyone who watched the Mets knows that for most of the season Jose was getting on base just as much as in 2006, but it was the middle of the lineup that was failing to drive him in. I do agree that something was bothering him, and it needs to be fixed, but before we start killing the kid, let's give him a chance to rebound, shall we? And the last time I checked, the media were the ones who crowned him the New Derek Jeter. But keep on coming with the venom Peter, it suits you.

As for Wright, let's look at the final line:
AVG .325 HR 30 RBI 107 OBP .416 SLG .546 OPS .962 Stolen Bases 34

But you are right Peter, it is quite obvious that the personal appearances are getting in the way of David being a good ballplayer. Considering his awful April, those numbers are pretty damn good.

Now, I grant you that David's fielding could use some work. His strikeouts are a tad high. Then again, he is 24, and not even close to entering his prime.

Let us take a look at what Mr. Wright did in August and September.

Avg - .394
OBP - .516
SLG - .657
OPS - 1.173

Avg - .352
OBP - .432
SLG - .602
OPS - 1.034

Post All Star Break
Avg - .364
OBP - .465
SLG - .596
OPS - 1.061

Yep Peter, you are right, the personal appearances definitely took a toll as the season went on. Putz.

Odd that no one says a damn thing about Jeter making too many commercials. I wonder if that is the reason The Captain hit .167 in the ALDS.

I am sick and tired of this same old BS being thrown out about Wright doing too much outside the lines. The numbers do not support the theory. This is a guy who works hard, takes extra practice and has improved. He is far from the reason why the team failed to make the playoffs.

As for HoF talk, that is on the media, who likes to start the little debates over the best SS or 3rd baseman in NY. None of the Mets do this. It is guys like Abraham, looking to generate talk or readers, who do this stuff. Since Abraham writes for The Journal News, and he likes to incite stuff each week in his Sunday "Around Baseball" blurb. Every week there was a little slam against the Mets in his power rankings. Every weeks there was slurping of the Yankees. Of course, he is the Yankee beat writer, so I gather he watched all of 6 Mets games this year.

I look forward to next season. I look forward to David continuing to improve, and Jose bouncing back. I do not look forward to more BS from Peter Abraham.

I hope someone prints this out and gives it to David and Jose. I mean, after all, words can fire players up right? That's what the media said after the 2nd game against the Marlins.

Friday, October 05, 2007

T-2 - Nolan Redux

Season 2 of the Ted Nolan regime begins this evening with a game versus the team that eliminated the Isles from the playoffs last year, the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo (part of a home and home with the Isles opener Saturday). So, what can we expect from Ted's boys this year?

Last year the Islanders had the element of surprise in their favor. Nobody (even I) expected much. All the experts picked them to finish last. And why not? Nolan hadn't coached in the NHL in years. There was turmoil in the front office. Yashin was still here, there was youth on defense, questions about DiPietro, and little scoring. Somehow, mostly through hard work most nights, the Isles made the playoffs as the 8th seed. Scoring came from Blake (gone now) Yashin early in the season, Sillinger proved to be a wise pickup as he chipped in. The team actually had 5 players score 20 goals, and Yashin had 18 while missing 24 games. The defense proved capable. DiPietro played very well, finishing in the top 10 in GAA and SV%. They actually were contending for a higher seed until DiPietro suffered a concussion, leaving the final games in the hands of Wade Dubielewicz (and if you think I typed that from memory, you are wrong), who played very well the last week, allowing the team to sneak in.

However, this offseason saw more change. Blake, Tom Poti, Sean Hill, Ryan Smyth (mid-season acquisition), and Voctor Kozlov all left for greener pastures. Yashin was bought out. All told, nearly 100 goals were removed from the offense. The defense was hurt by the loss of Poti, who did quite well, surprising me and others. The big question as we enter the season is who is going to score?

Give Garth Snow credit. He tried to go after some of the big names, but many signed ridiculous contracts elsewhere. Instead, he went more towards youth with a chance to blossom and dependable veterans. Let's take a look at who was added:

Bill Guerin - Named the Captain of the team. This is a smart move as Bill is widely respected. He scored 36 goals for San Jose and St. Louis last year. He was quiet in the playoffs however. Is he going to replace Blakes 40? Nope. But he will replace Yashin's output, and bring a better leader to the ice. No nights off from Billy.

Mike Comrie - Center for the #1 line. 27 years old. Garth got him cheap, and he was a kind of package with Guerin. 20 goals last year. There are some questions about whether he is a top #1 center. You know what, I don't care. He is the #1 here, and I think in the right system, he can thrive. He's on a 1 year deal, so he has a lot to play for.

Ruslan Fedotenko - LW for #1 line. Signed away from Tampa Bay. Scored 26 goals two years ago, only 12 last year. Good skater, should mesh well with Comrie and Guerin.

Josef Vasicek - Center. Wild Card. Scored 19 goals in 2004 in 82 games, but played only 23 and 25 the last two years for the Hurricanes (he also played 38 for the Predators last year). Talent is there. If he lives up to it, this could be a very wise signing by Snow. If not, well, he could be Oleg Kvasha. Let's hope not.

Andy Sutton - Defense. Replaces Sean Hill, who took his steroids and went to Minnesota. Tough player. Not a points guy, a stay at home crease clearer, which is vital if the Isles are to keep DiPietro from getting hit by punks like Sean Avery.

Also added to the mix for this year are Jon Sim (last seen in Atlanta), as well as Sean Bergenheim, who will get his shot in the NHL after missing last year in a stupid holdout. Bryan Berard may also be signed to help on the power play.

Overall, the defense is not going to be all that much better than last year, though Sutton will be an upgrade over Hill, and having Bergeron around for the whole year should help on the power play. They need Gervais and Campoli to continue to improve, both are still young and have good potential. Hopefully this is the year Radek Martinek can be healthy for the entire season. He has a lot of talent and could blossom.

Offense is going to be tough. There are no big scorers. This team is going to have to capitalize on mistakes by other teams and take advantage of the power play. Special teams hurt them last year, as the Power Play was poor and the penalty killing was abysmal. Improvement on both is key. Trent Hunter needs to get back to his form of 2 years ago. Hopefully he can. The guy is a prototypical power forward and has a good shot. How he works with Vasicek is key. Berard could help the PP, as teams would not be able to key on Bergeron, who has a hellaciously hard shot.

The key of course on the ice is DiPietro. If healthy, he can be a top 5 goalie. So long as the defense can keep the crease clear, he should stay healthy. He had minor surgery on his hip in the offseason, and has looked good. Dubie won't play more than 15 games, tops. He needs to keep the team in those games. Rick needs to work on his risk taking. He needs to pick his spots to roam better. He is like another defenseman, so long as he is smart about it.

The key overall though is Nolan. Can he get this group to gel? There are a lot of new faces. The loss of Yashin and Blake is seen as addition by subtraction in terms of the team ethic, but they did lose a lot of offense when they left. I am not going to cry over the loss of Smyth, he wasn't here long, and the guys given up are not top flight prosepcts. Guerin will make an excellent Captain, and will make sure the youngsters show up to play every night. Those few youngsters there are of course. Nolan can be a little Willie Randolph-ish when it comes to using Proven Veterans © (thanks Metsgeek Geeks). Jeff Tambellini should be on this team over Andy Hilbert. I think we will see Jeff here soon. Campoli and Gervais will see reduced time in favor of Witt and Sutton. He relies on his vets. Hopefully they are up to the task, and hopefully the youngsters take advantage of the opportunities they get and force him to play them more.

So, what does my crystal ball say? Nothing, I threw it away after it failed me with the Mets.

What does my gut tell me? This team will fight to the end and barely miss the playoffs.

One last thing. I am very disappointed to see Chris Simon back. His actions last year were despicable. He needs to make sure he does nothing stupid this year. I will support the team, as I am a fan, but I wish he was not here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


You know, I know the collapse was hard to take as a fan, I'm with you. I know it was awful what we witnessed over the past 2 weeks. I get it. But for the love of Pete, sit back before you spout ridiculous trade proposals, OK?

It is bad enough when the airheads on WFAN start talking about "Milledge gone, Beltran should be traded" (Mr. Russo, Beltran has a FULL NTC you tool. It was what tipped the scales in our favor over Houston you dolt. Now go enjoy Barry Zito in the playoffs. Wait, what's that?) We are used to this. It is not unusual for the lunatic fringe of fans to call up and agree with pap like this, since there is always a section of the fan base that can't help but take everything Fatso and Fruit Loops say as gospel. Like the story that Luis Castillo was the reason behind Reyes' slump. Castillo was apparently a bad influence on Jose. Really? The same guy who was loved in Minnesota? Who was looked up to by all his teammates suddenly was able to make Jose sulk? Now, it is possible I guess. However, if I am a betting man, I put my money on Rickey being the bad influence. But I have no proof of that, so take it with a grain of salt.

Besides the airheads on WFAN, we have fans coming up with brilliant ideas. I happened to turn on ESPN Radio last night on the way home from the gym ('cause Ed is nothing if not healthy) to get the score of the Padres/Rockies game. Instead, I hear Brandon Tierney talking to a caller who was saying the Mets should trade Jose Reyes. Yes, Reyes. It seems that since he had such an awful month, it is time to forget 2006 and move him for help. Let's take a close look at what this would mean.

As this season ends, the Mets are faced with openings at the following positions:

Right Field
Second Base
Starting Pitching

So, it would be smart to create another hole by trading Reyes. Now, I know we would get back a nice package, probably filling a couple of those holes. One proposal was to trade him to the Dodgers for Billingsley and Loney. OK, tell me something. We are supposed to trade a 24 yr old leadoff hitting shortstop for a pitcher with 237 career major league innings and a 1st baseman who will sit since Delgado can't be traded due to his contract? Who plays shortstop then? Who leads off? Plus, you still have the other holes to fill.

As I said at the top, I understand the pain. Frankly, this hurts so much more than last year to me, since it took longer. The loss in the NLCS was quick, and frankly, given the injuries, it was somewhat expected. This year, being in first alone since the middle of May until Friday was long and painful. Changes do need to be made, and I think they will be. But lets keep the trade ideas somewhat sane OK?

And let's remember one more thing. There was another NY player who slumped in 2006 and the fan base wanted him traded. He wound up with a damn good 2007. I'm not saying Jose will put up those numbers, but lets give him another chance, shall we?

A couple of other things are burning me right now, mostly from the media.

1. Omar not giving Willie a blanket vote of confidence. Look, Omar needs to talk to the Wilpons. This is pretty simple. I don't care how much autonomy Omar has, at the end of the day, if the Wilpons want Willie gone, he will go. Omar isn't stupid, he is not going to make a promise only to have Jeff and Fred say "Nope, fire his ass".

2. Rick Down revisionist history. I get the Rick was a hard worker. I also know that before he was fired, the team was AWFUL with runners in scoring position, and had horrible game plans when it came to hitting. I also know the RISP #'s went up when HoJo took over. I also know that Down would have early success in his past jobs, only to falter after a couple of years. Pity the media doesn't see this.

3. Leave Lastings Milledge alone. So he did a little celebration with Reyes the other day after his second home run. Big Fat Hairy Deal. Reyes does it, and no one says boo. Milledge does it, and he is a punk. You know what, I like it. I like the fire, something that many fans were saying there wasn't enough of over the last month of the season. I've seen Delgado do the dances with Jose as well, you wanna call him out as well? Frankly, if it was me, I would have done the same damn thing. The kid was suspended (rightfully so) for 3 games, but then Willie continued to pinch hit the likes of David Newhan even after he was back. The kid gets a start and goes off. Good for him. Next year, I want him in right every damn day.

4. Willie's demeanor. It's funny, everyone wanted Torre to go off on his players. He didn't (at least publicly). What happened? They made the WC. Everyone wanted Willie to go off. He didn't. Should he have? Would it have mattered? We will never know. It shows that sometimes the media and fans aren't right when it comes to what has to be done.

Over the coming weeks, I will have posts about possible rosters, who should stay and who should go. I'll have something about Willie as well. I think he will be back. And he should be.

As far as the other two teams I follow, the Jets and Islanders, frankly, the Mets have had all my attention. In the case of the Jets, that is a good thing, as things look real bad. As for the Isles, I will have a preview up later this week.

Monday, October 01, 2007

It's Over

Mike said...
They didn't hear your prayers, Ed.There are no baseball gods. The baseball gods are dead.

Mike is right of course. I spent the better part of yesterday and last night trying to come up with something witty to say. As per usual, I found nothing.

What is funny about this? What is funny about a team blowing a 7 game lead? With going 5-12 over the end of the season, including 1-5 against the dregs of the NL East? Nothing. Nada. Zip.

A beat-down delivered on Saturday, where we came thisclose to getting our first no-no is followed up with a beating received. Poor starting pitching again. Listless bats, again. Hey, at least the pen did a good job yesterday right?

So the calls for head begin. Willie, Rick, Rickey, and the rest are on notice perhaps. Will the Wilpons' fire Willie? I don't see it happening, the backlash would be huge in some quarters. Did he preside over the collapse? Yeppers, but there is plenty of blame to go around, in the dugout and the front office.

The coming weeks will be telling. Omar needs to get to work now and figure out who stays and who goes. Blogdom will do the same, I'll have something this week. I can't do it right now because I am angry and typing while angry is not the best way to write clearly and wisely. It would be real easy for me to say "Go away Glavine, and take Mota and Sho and Green with you." That may very well still be what I write, but I want rational analysis behind it, not just "Well, Glavine sucked Sunday, and Mota all year". Well, the Mota part will be rational at least.

So we begin winter sports. At least I have the Jets.

Oh wait...

At least I have the Islanders...

Oh wait...

It's gonna be a long long winter.

April can't get here soon enough.