Apr 10

Ike Davis To Sit Tonight; Tested For Valley Fever

Ike Davis will take his 0-for-15 to the bench tonight against Washington. The night off was planned, said manager Terry Collins, and it is presumed he’ll be back in the line-up Wednesday. Davis will be re-tested again today for Valley Fever, the ailment that shelved him for part of spring training.

DAVIS: To sit tonight

The rest coincides with the tests, and is a good move because Davis is a mess at the plate. When he first hit the Mets, Davis showed a propensity for patience and going to the opposite field. We’re seeing very little of that through the first four games of the season.

I don’t doubt Davis will eventually find himself, but giving him the night off to clear his head can only help. With the Mets off to a good start Davis should feel less pressure to carry the offense.

Davis said he’s not feeling any symptoms of the fever, nor is he complaining about his ankle. What’s ailing is his plate approach and swing.

ON DECK: Tonight’s batting order

 

 

Oct 05

My Question To Mets VP Dave Howard

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of participating in a conference call with Mets Executive Vice President of Business Operations, Dave Howard. I was joined by Matt Cerrone, Ed Marcus, Shannon Shark and other notable Mets bloggers. There’s a link to the entire transcript at the end of this post.

I knew going in that the call was basically to discuss the new dynamic pricing the Mets announced on Tuesday as well as the new rescaled ticket pricing which you can read about here. But my bigger concern was not so much about the lower ticket prices and all the perks for season ticket holders, as it was about getting attendance up again by putting a better product on the field.

I know that this concept is lost on many, but consumers in any industry want value for their dollars, especially their discretionary and entertainment dollars. All baseball fans, particularly in this market – the grandest and most storied of them all, want to see a competitive product. At minimum, you want a better than 50/50 chance that you will see the team win that day – in other words a better than .500 club. That’s the minimum most fans will accept.

I used to manage a big box store in New York that had 12 million dollars in annual sales, but was bleeding cash badly. When I accepted the transfer to the store, after a few weeks I gave our front office my overall assessment and action plan for making one of the top stores in gross sales in our region profitable again. Most of them were shocked when my top recommendation was to increase payroll 15%. I explained that we needed to have people on the floor offering better customer service and that their increased presence on the sales floor would have the cumulative benefit of increasing security and reducing shoplifting, which I concluded was very high based on previous years inventory shrinks. I was willing to risk my career that this strategy of increasing payroll would not fail and I emphasized to them not to look at it as simply escalating our already high expenses, but as making a very smart investment in one of the company’s most valuable assets. In one year the store was number one in the region in net profit and I was off to fix another problem store in New Jersey the following January, along with a fat bonus envelope and a 15% raise.

That same principle could be applied to the Mets. Yes, the Mets had an extraordinarily high payroll going into this season, that much is certain, but it might have been more prudent to spend a little more to make the team more competitive and thereby keeping the fans engaged for a full season instead of a half season. And of course, the season-long fan interest would have led to higher revenues and increased profit margins… And maybe lucking into a Wild Card… That was the basis for my question.

Joe D: My question is, last offseason you rolled out Amazin’ Mets Perks as an incentive to increase ticket sales only to see attendance drop a reported 8% from 2010.

I’m of the belief that the longer a team stays in contention, the more the fans will continue go to the park, support the team and buy tickets.

I would imagine that these new reduced ticket prices, the Amazin’ Perks programs, and all the free tickets that were given away this season cost the organization a very significant amount of money.

In the grand scheme of things, might it have been better to simply invest an additional five-to-ten million in improving the roster so that we could’ve kept the season more relevant through September? Wouldn’t it have been more beneficial, and maybe profitable, to spend just a few more million at the front end in exchange for tens of millions more at the back end, even with the high payroll?

Dave Howard: Obviously, you can’t predict what’s going to happen before the season begins. Things played out as they did, Injuries played a significant role as well. If you looked how well Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy were performing, in particular, before their season-ending injuries. That’s something you can’t predict.

With regard to what we have done from a promotional standpoint, the Amazin’ Mets Perks program was intended to bring added value and benefits to our season ticket holders because they are so critical to the success of our business. We wanted to treat them sort of like we treat our major corporate sponsors, in a very special way, give them exclusive access, exclusive benefits. There was some cost there. I wouldn’t say the cost is extraordinary. The primary benefit of that program is, number one, to provide incentive to renew season tickets. That was effective, because we renewed last year at over 85%, which was a very good renewal given the performance of the team. From that standpoint, that was successful.

Obviously our payroll was high last year, at about $145 million. The value wasn’t there – we did have two players who were released in spring training in Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, we had Johan on the disabled list all year, so we didn’t get the full benefit of that high payroll. Again, I don’t think anyone can criticize our ownership for not supporting a high payroll. Perhaps you can criticize us for not spending the money wisely.

That’s where I’m very optimistic that Sandy Alderson and his team will be doing that much more effectively as we move forward. I think we have to balance everything and it’s very important for us to treat our fans, season ticket holders, and sponsors in a first-class way on the business side, and obviously baseball operations is charged with elevating the value of the team and getting appropriate value out of the money that we are spending on players.

* * * * * * *

I’m not sure that Mr. Howard grasped the totality of my point, but he did bring up some valuable points in his response and I thank him for the opportunity to engage him. Maybe someday we can both talk again so we can establish a clearer understanding of what I was trying to convey. By no means would I ever criticize the organization for not supporting a high payroll, in fact we may have the highest in the league if you tallied up the last ten years. His point on spending all that money more wisely is valid and of utmost importance, and may have avoided this quagmire we now find ourselves in.

Thanks to the guys at Amazin Avenue for transcribing the whole conference call which you can read here.

Aug 30

Mets Sweep The Fish 2-1, 5-1

New York Mets Catcher Mike Nickeas (13) Congratulates

GAME ONE: Mets 2, Marlins 1

Game Summary

Nice start by Dickey with seven shutout innings. Duda and Evans combine for five hits, and the Mets score two just enough to win 2-1 in the first game of the double-header.

Game Notes

RA Dickey pitched another gem today. With a weekend full of rain and no Mets baseball, it was nice to get a win off the bat, and good to see it didn’t affect the pitchers at all. Seven shutout innings for RA with seven hits, one walk, six Ks. He’s now 6-11 with a 3.57 ERA, but he’s better than what his numbers show right now. Definitely a nice pitcher to have in the rotation. Also, being able to throw 100+ pitches each outing without tiring is nice too.

Izzy pitched a hitless inning in relief, striking the side out in order. Parnell still yet to have a comfortable outing as the closer pitched an inning of work with one hit, a homerun, to give up the only Marlins run. Parnell got one K and his second save of the season.

Not much offense being a 2-1 win and all, but Evans and Duda combine for five hits and two runs. Turner and Thole were the RBIs.

Bay is 2-for his last-40. Yikes.

Game Ball

RA Dickey with a nice scoreless outing.

GAME TWO: Mets 5, Marlins 1

Game Summary

Dillon Gee continues on the nice starting pitching for the Mets, with one run in six innings. Bullpen holds up, and the offense delivered. Mets sweep the double header and get on a four game win streak with a 5-1 win.

Game Notes

Dillon Gee continues on the nice starting pitching for the Mets. After Dickey’s nice start in the first game, Gee put out a nice outing himself. Six innings, six hits, one run, two walks, and two strikeouts. 101 pitches thrown. Twelve wins for the rookie. Nice.

Beato and Acosta combine for two innings in relief. One walk, one K for Beato, three Ks for Acosta.

Parnell pitched the ninth inning with one hit, and one K.

Game two Mets offense did a little better, with five runs on eleven hits.

Jose Reyes returned from the DL in the second game and went 1-4 with a run scored. Welcome back, Reyes!

Wright went 2-4, with a double and two RBIs.

Nick Evans had two more hits in the second game, four in the day, with a run scored.

Game Ball

Dillon Gee with a nice start and gets his 12th win.

Up Next

Mike Pelfrey and Javier Vazquez face-off again on Tuesday night at 7:10 PM as they continue their 5-game series.

Special Note: John is still without power due to the hurricane and is not expected to have his electricity restored until the end of this week. I will try to post game coverage for him until he returns.

Jun 27

Mets Take Series With 8-5 Win Over Rangers

Dillon Gee pitched around some early inning trouble, and the offense put up enough runs to put the game out of reach as the Mets won the game, 8-5 and the series versus the Rangers

Game Notes

Dillon Gee was effective, if not spectacular in his six innings of work today. He allowed three runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out one while allowing one HR. Gee looked to be doomed in the first inning, giving up numerous hits. He settled down and looked very good in the later innings for the most part. He hasn’t shown that good control recently, and thus has been getting hit because he cannot locate.

Four of the bullpen boys came out today. Beato went an clean inning, Byrdak a clean two-thirds, Izzy a clean one-third and K-Rod came out in a game that was five runs ahead and managed to make it only a three run win. K-Rod has consistently looked…bad. It isn’t a matter of pitching himself in and out of trouble now. He is walking batters, giving up extra base hits and being forced into situations. His ineptitude to “close” also hurts some of his trade value.

The offense today existed thanks to major Ranger errors. The first run scored on a wild pitch, the second on an error and the fourth and fifth on a failed “intentional walk”. Its good to see the Mets winning with some timely hitting and aggressive baserunning, but at what point will the lack of any power create problems?

Jason Bay – 0 for 5 with an RBI and a strikeout. 51 K’s in 187 AB’s. Eek.

Daniel Murphy – 3 for 4 with two runs and an RBI. Also, caught stealing. Great to see Daniel put up some hits.

Ronny Paulino – 2 for 4 with two runs. He may not be hitting the lefties for power right now, but he is hitting them. Much more then can be said about..

Scott Hairston – 1 for 5 with a strikeout. Hairston only hit wasn’t hit very hard. How much longer is he the acceptable fifth OF?

Turning Point

Mets second inning after Gee gave up two runs. It just gave Dillon confidence to know he wasn’t going to have to win the game, he just couldn’t give it away.

Game Ball

Jose Reyes – 4 for 5 with three runs, an RBI and an SB. Honestly, he slumps for three games and does this. If thats how long he will slump for, opponents will begin walking Jose.

On Deck

The Mets have off tomorrow, and then will face off against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday in Detroit. R.A. Dickey will toe the rubber against the Tigers Rick Porcello. Game Time is 7:05 P.M.

To read my thoughts on this game and the Mets in general, follow me on twitter @TheSeanKenny

Jun 20

Today’s lineup at Yankees

Here’s today’s lineup at Yankees:

Jose Reyes, SS

Angel Pagan, CF

David Wright, 3B

Ike Davis, 1B

Jason Bay, LF

Rod Barajas, C

Fernando Tatis, DH

Jeff Francoeur, RF

Ruben Tejada, 2B

****


Johan Santana, LP