Oct 06

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

In 2000, the Mets tied their NLDS at a game apiece, 5-4, in 10 innings on Jay Payton’s RBI single. The Giants tied the game, 4-4, in the bottom of the ninth on J.T. Snow’s three-run, pinch-hit homer off of, well, who else? Right, Armando Benitez.

Edgardo Alfonzo’s two-run homer in the ninth had given the Mets the lead. Al Leiter pitched eight innings for the Mets.

*************************************************************************************

They Said It

They Said It

A lot of things were said yesterday at Citi Field, with one of them coming from Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon, who left little doubt GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel would be operating on a short leash.

Said Wilpon: “They are very much on the hook now to work hard and correct the problems and flaws of the team. Injuries are not an excuse. They need to get us back to being a championship caliber team.”

*************************************************************************************

ON TAP FOR TODAY

Bonus baseball from the Metrodome. The Twins and Tigers have a one-game playoff, with the winner to take on the Yankees.

Oct 05

METS CHAT ROOM: The Post Mortem.

It was a busy day today with the firing of several coaches, the announcement Jose Reyes will undergo surgery, and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon’s pronouncement that the Mets will spend this winter.

How much they’ll spend remains to be seen. I’m not convinced how big a player the Mets will be this winter. They need a No. 2 starter, a left-fielder with power, and bullpen and bench depth.

Let’s talk about the Mets and the upcoming playoffs, and then we can talk about the Monday night game between Minnesota and Green Bay.

I hope you’ll join me.

Oct 05

The reconstruction of the Mets. Day 1.

It was a busy day at Citi Field this afternoon. Let’s get you caught up on the highlights:

* Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon confirmed GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel would return. “They both deserve a chance to redeem themselves,’’ Wilpon said. “They are very much on the hook now to work hard and correct the problems and flaws of the team. Injuries are not an excuse. We need to be better. … I wouldn’t say (win) or else, but we need to be at a championship caliber level. We need to be competing down to the end.’’

* Wilpon said the Mets would spend to improve. “We will have one of the highest payrolls in baseball as we have had the last number of years,’’ Wilpon said. “There are no handcuffs on Omar. He’s free to go and get this team to be a championship team.’’

* Wilpon said improving the pitching staff and adding a power bat were the off-season shopping priorities.

* Bench coach Sandy Alomar Sr. and first base coach Luis Alicea will not be retained. Third base coach Razor Shines will be re-assigned. Pitching coach Dan Warthen, hitting coach Howard Johnson and bullpen coach Randy Niemann will keep their roles. Alomar Sr. will be invited to remain in the organization in some capacity.

* Wally Backman was invited to interview for a minor league job. Reportedly, the Mets have been in contact with former San Diego GM Kevin Towers and former Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi.

* Wilpon said the medical staff would be retained but some of the “medical protocols’’ would be re-evaluated.

* Jose Reyes will have surgery on the right hamstring that kept him sidelined since May 20.

Oct 05

Just say no to Bobby V.

One of the most interesting things I’ve read lately in the papers and on the blogs has been the slow drumbeat for the return of Bobby Valentine as Mets manager. All these people who should know better, who blast the Mets for repeating their same mistakes over and over again, are clamoring for them to return to the not-too-distant past in bringing back the flawed Valentine.

Why?

Can you really go home again? Can you reheat a souffle? Can a torn relationship be made whole again? Experience tells me probably not. Valentine had his chance, and in 1999 and 2000 had playoff teams that fizzled out. Yes, they reached the World Series in 2000, but after blowing Game 1, they were essentially done.

VALENTINE: Returning to the past not good for Mets' future.

VALENTINE: Returning to the past not good for Mets' future.


Could Valentine without Steve Phillips work? I doubt it. Valentine is a lightning rod for controversy and in much the degree of Billy Martin, a quick fix. He energizes at first, but then things regress. He does not sustain.

As bad as Jerry Manuel was this year, it must be remembered the team was in first place until injuries sacked the season. We can’t say with certainty the Mets would be in the playoffs had they stayed healthy, but they were headed in that direction.

Manuel definitely has shortcomings, but the season was so hideously fractured by injuries it would have been unfair to not give him another chance. Remember, it wasn’t Manuel’s fault the Mets didn’t have the reserves to bring up from the minor leagues or to make a trade.

Yes, Manuel should have handled some things differently, but the argument can be made many of his mistakes were made because he didn’t have any other options. I’ve not been shy in listing what I didn’t like, but looking at things objectively, I can see his reasoning.

Given the same situation, I don’t believe Valentine would have been any better. I’m not sure anybody could have been any better.

For those wanting Valentine, it must be remembered no championships were won during his tenure, and that reaching the World Series was in large part because they didn’t have to face the Atlanta Braves in the playoffs that season.

From what I remember about the Valentine Era is there was always a controversy. There was always a distraction. Valentine was constantly at odds with somebody, whether it be his general manager, a player or somebody in the media. Valentine liked to play people off of each other and the clubhouse was about taking sides on one issue or another.

Those wanting Valentine either have short and selective memories, an agenda, or don’t know what they are talking about.

In the long run, we’ll need 2010 to see if Manuel is the answer, and odds are he’ll get a short leash because of the impatience that comes from being in New York. But, the Mets have been there and done that with Valentine.

A return to the past would not be good for the Mets’ future.