Sep 09

Hospital Flap: Just like the Mets.

BELTRAN: Skips hospital showing with Perez and Castillo.

The New York Mets had planned, as they usually do when they are in Washington, to visit the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to comfort  injured servicemen from Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a pet project of the Wilpons and the team knew well in advance what was to happen this week.

That night’s starting pitcher, Dillon Gee, was making his major league debut and was excused. Everybody else was expected, not required, to attend. It was one of those unspoken gestures of team unity.

The firestorm is in that Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez, and Luis Castillo, three players who have clashed with Mets’ management this year and who carry heavy, yet unproductive contracts, opted not to attend without prior explanation.

Beltran said he had a meeting with his foundation to build a baseball academy in Puerto Rico; Castillo said he was uncomfortable at seeing the injuries; Perez offered no explanation.

Maybe Beltran could have rescheduled; maybe he could not have. But, it was his foundation, he knew of the conflict in advance and said nothing. He could have rescheduled. That’s pretty lame. Beltran was aware of this visit to the hospital, and although he was supposedly doing charity work, it’s still a weak effort on his part in communicating. Had he taken a more proactive approach, he wouldn’t be lumped in with Perez and Castillo.

Still, it can’t be forgotten how the Mets and Beltran clashed over surgery this spring, and if surgery had been done last summer how he might have recovered for this season. Instead, Beltran is owed $18.5 million for the final year of his contract, which the Mets would gladly unload.

Beltran’s unexcused absence, regardless of the subsequent explanation, brings these other issues to light and puts him in an uncomfortable position. Beltran isn’t stupid, he knows how the media operates and what would be made of this. Beltran is too smart to do something like this unless he was trying to make a statement.

Meanwhile, Castillo’s comment that this would make him queasy is an insult to those who are injured. It is a high insensitive comment. It reminds me, that he didn’t seem to have this reaction when he visited in the past.

You can insert your jokes about Castillo making you queasy here.

Still, the thing that sticks out with Castillo has been his disappointing, unproductive and tumultuous season and the $6 million remaining on next year’s contract. He’s not playing and is angry at the Mets. Was this the right way to express that anger?

Then, there is Perez, who was smart enough not to offer a lame excuse or lie. He just refused comment, which automatically makes anybody speculate what his agenda is. Perez is bitter at how he has been treated, although he brought on a lot of it himself. Perez is owed $12 million this year and next year and has refused all requests to do things that would make him better.

There’s no doubting the Mets want somebody, anybody, to take these contracts off their hands, and it’s no secret these guys want out. It’s also no secret the Wilpons hate eating these contracts.

All what the hospital flap has done is make me wonder whether the boycotts were orchestrated as a way of forcing the team to say “enough is enough,” and cut them loose with their 2011 contracts owed them. I’m thinking it is their way to force the issue on a release.

As far as conspiracy agendas go, it’s a good one.

What also makes me scratch my head on this is Jerry Manuel’s weak response, saying they are adults and can act they way they want. That’s the way Jerry for spitting on the concepts of team and accountability and responsibility.

Aug 19

Mets Chat Room; trying to win on the road.

The Mets will try to win their first road series tonight since a three-game sweep of Cleveland in mid-June. They are 10-20 on the road since then, a stat that pretty much says it all about their slide from contention.

Game #121 at Astros

They’ve only won two road series this season, both in interleague play.

Here’s another one: they are hitting a major-league worst .214 since the All-Star break. For good measure, they haven’t scored more than three runs in six straight games.

The frustrating thing is their weakness going into the season – their starting pitching – has been lights out lately. Definitely good enough to contend if they had any offense.

Tonight it will be Pat Misch going for the Mets.

The Mets activated Rod Barajas this afternoon and he’ll be in the lineup tonight. Jerry Manuel said the Mets are still in the race and Barajas is likely to get more playing time than Josh Thole.

The catching situation typifies the dysfunctional nature of the Mets. They are carrying three catchers, which makes no sense in the National League. And, making it worse is they continue to play shorthanded because Oliver Perez is useless.

Here’s tonight’s lineup at Houston:

Jose Reyes, SS

Luis Castillo, 2B

Angel Pagan, CF

David Wright, 3B

Ike Davis, 1B

Jeff Francoeur, RF

Chris Carter, LF

Rod Barajas, C

Pat Misch, LP

Aug 19

On Backman ….

There’s no way Jerry Manuel will survive after this season. Whoever replaces him will have to be marketed to a disgruntled and discouraged fan base.

The one guy who will work and won’t break the bank, and who has won at his level, but hasn’t managed on the major league level is Wally Backman.

The Mets need to market fire and intensity, something that has been lacking, and Backman meets that description. Because of his background and ties to the 1986 championship team, Backman is somebody the team can market and the public will buy.

The downside is his lack of major league experience, but the Mets have to weigh this against the public relations upside.

Jun 30

Mets Chat Room; Pelfrey hopes to stop sweep.

Game #78 vs. Marlins

The Florida Marlins are not a team Mike Pelfrey (10-2, 2.71) enjoys facing, but then again, this is a different Pelfrey.

Pelfrey beat the Marlins in his major league debut, July 8, 2006, but has gone 0-6 with a 5.82 ERA in nine starts since.

He has not faced Florida this season.

But, this year we’ve seen a different Pelfrey, who is 6-1 with a 2.38 ERA in his last eight starts, including beating Minnesota last Friday.

“I wouldn’t way it’s beyond where I thought I could be,’’ Pelfrey said of his hot first half. “It’s a good start.’’

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Jun 22

Mets Chat Room: Tigers in for key series.

Game #70 vs. Tigers

The Mets come off their 7-2 road trip – had the offense not take the last two games of the Yankees series off it could have been 8-1 or better – yet another example of their streakiness.

After winning seven straight on the road the Mets scored all of three runs on 10 hits in the last two games of the Yankees series, and in the process dropped to 2 1/2 games behind the Braves.

The Mets have been all or nothing this year, either sizzling or freezing. They should not be penalized because they beat up on Baltimore on Cleveland, because playoff caliber teams should maul the weaker teams.

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