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.

Oct 05

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

One of the greatest catches in World Series history took place on this date in 1947. It was the bottom of the sixth inning in Game 6 at Yankee Stadium when Joe DiMaggio launched a long drive to deep left.
GIONFRIDDO: Robs DiMaggio.

GIONFRIDDO: Robs DiMaggio.


With two runners on it was certain the Dodgers’ three-run lead would be erased. However, Al Gionfriddo, acquired from Pittsburgh earlier in the season, closed the gap and reached over the wall to rob DiMaggio. The catch brought a rise out of the normally dour and unemotional DiMaggio, who kicked at the dirt out of frustration.

The Dodgers would hold on to win Game 6, but the Yankees won Game 7 to clinch the series.

TODAY’S SPORTS BIRTHDAY

1937 – Barry Switzer, football coach (Oklahoma).

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They Said It

They Said It

With their season over from a competitive standpoint, there were those – myself included – who believed Carlos Beltran should’ve shut it down for the remainder of the season.

Beltran said he needed to play to prove his health to himself, and yesterday indicated he doesn’t anticipate his knees would become a problem.

Said Beltran: “People asked me, ‘Why are you coming back?’ But, as a player you have to come back and I did. Now I can go in to the off-season feeling good about myself. I can get ready, be in the best condition I can be in, and get ready for spring training.’’

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ON TAP FOR TODAY

Today the lockers at Citi Field start to get cleared out. Players will be drifting in for the next few days. Some who don’t think they’ll be a part of the Mets next season, could come early and leave before the media is brought to the clubhouse.

Manager Jerry Manuel said there could be some announcements regarding his coaching staff. Third base coach Razor Shines, who waved on over 20 runners that were eventually thrown out at the plate, could be gone. Pitching coach Dan Warthen could be dismissed because of a staff that walked over 500 batters, and regressions by Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez.

ELSEWHERE IN SPORTS

The Tigers and Twins will have a one-game playoff tomorrow in the Metrodome. The stadium couldn’t be used tonight because the Packers-Vikings Monday night game is scheduled. ESPN is expecting huge ratings as the game pits Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre against his former team.

THE WEEK AHEAD

In addition to what news comes out of the Mets, I will also be reviewing the season and analyzing who will be available in the free agent market. I will also be handicapping and previewing the Division Series, and, of course, live blogging the playoffs as I did last year. … I also hope you’ll be with me tomorrow night for the Monday night game between Minnesota and Green Bay.

Oct 05

Thank You Friends ….

I received a note yesterday thanking me for the blog and providing a place to hang out and enjoy the Mets’ games.

The truth is I should be thanking you. This has been the hardest year of my life after being laid off, going through a relationship break-up and coping with death of a cherished pet.

I am grateful for your support.

I am grateful for your support.


I didn’t have a great year at the blog early, as a I mostly went through the motions and mostly posted the Mets Chat Rooms, which is the only interactive live blogging during the games done by any New York sportswriter. I am proud of that and have it on my resume.

During periods of frustration and depression, the blog was something I could count on for several hours to take me out of my doldrums. I thank you guys for that.

At the urging of several of you, I believe I did more writing the last two months and also added little tidbits that were common when I blogged for the newspaper.

It is my pledge to you to keep up the blog, which includes the playoffs and World Series, and comprehensive features and analysis with the Hot Stove League.

I am also talking with someone about design changes and the addition of a football blog. I write, that’s what I do, and the blog is a vehicle I hope to ride into another full time position.

Again, I am grateful for your support, as it drives me.

Thank you, friends.