Sep 11

Bobby Valentine Off Base In Criticism Of Yankees’ 9-11 Presence

Bobby Valentine was a loose cannon when he managed the New York Mets and not much has changed.

VALENTINE: Off base in comments.

VALENTINE: Off base in comments.

Today, one that should be about reflection and remembrance of those lost their lives, do we really need Valentine to open old wounds and accentuate pettiness?

That’s exactly what Valentine did while speaking on WFAN, the soon to be ex-flagship station of the Mets. The former manager who doesn’t always have a filter between brain and mouth, was at it again. The only thing missing were the fake glasses and mustache.

The Mets, as I wrote earlier, should be commended for their actions following the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Mets were certainly visible as Shea Stadium was used as a staging ground for trucks unloading supplies.

Valentine and his players, in uniform, maintained a high profile helping unload those supply trucks. The Mets also made numerous public appearances to police and fire stations, as well as visiting the injured. And, with the Mike Piazza homer, no single post September 11 baseball moment was as emotional and unifying.

The Mets were to be commended, but Valentine came off as petty, not to mention wrong, when he fired a shot at the Yankees 12 years later.

“Let it be said that during the time from 9/11 to 9/21, the Yankees were [not around],’’ Valentine said. “You couldn’t find a Yankee on the streets of New York City. You couldn’t find a Yankee down at Ground Zero, talking to the guys who were working 24/7.’’

What did he have to gain by saying this?

Let it be said Valentine is totally wrong and came off as reminding us why, in large part, he lost his job managing the Mets. Valentine, quite simply, has a tendency of rubbing people the wrong way. As knowledgeable he is as an analyst, he’s way off base on this one, and today was not the day to inflame old wounds.

The old Yankee Stadium, because of logistics, wasn’t ideal for a staging ground, but I covered the Yankees then, and I know they made their share of appearances to fire and police stations. Roger Clemens, as creature of habit as there is for a pitcher, made appearances on the day he started.

As if Valentine couldn’t get his foot in his mouth any deeper, he sure tried.

“Many of them didn’t live here, and so it wasn’t their fault,’’ Valentine said. “And many of them did not partake in all that, so there was some of that jealousy going around. Like, ‘Why are we [the Mets] so tired? Why are we wasted? Why have we been to the funerals and the firehouses, and the Yankees are getting all the credit for bringing baseball back?’ And I said ‘This isn’t about credit, guys. This is about doing the right thing.’’

The way it sounds coming from Valentine, it does seem about credit. When you do something, volunteer as the Mets did, you do it without fanfare. It sounds as if Valentine is seeking a pat on the back. It comes off sounding like the Mets made all those appearances for the public relations impact. I know this isn’t true because the Mets are as generous any New York team when it comes to giving back to the community, but Valentine’s comments come off as craving acknowledgement.

If it really is about doing the right thing, Valentine should extend a formal apology to the Yankees, because he’s wrong. The Yankees got credit for bringing baseball back because they played in an emotional World Series that season, and let’s face it, they are more high-profile nationally than the Mets.

The Mets?

They were 82-80 in 2001 and largely irrelevant after Piazza’s ball cleared the wall. That’s something Valentine conveniently forgot, but when you operate without a filter, that happens.

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Jan 04

Mets Matters: Chris Young Again?

I’ve written it several times, and it could be true: The Mets might add Chris Young to fill the void left by the trade of R.A. Dickey. For those scoring at home, Young won four games last year while Dickey won 20.

Yeah, that should be enough.

When contemplating bringing back Young, the key numbers are 20 starts and 115 innings, important because he is coming off surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder.

Should Young stay healthy he’s worth it, but nobody knows for sure. Of course, if he’s healthy and pitching well at the break, he could be a chip that could be traded.

SOCCER AT CITI FIELD: You know things aren’t going well when soccer doesn’t want to deal with you.

Reportedly, the Mets want to bring an expansion MLS team to Citi Field, but the league prefers building its own stadium at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. That’s a pretty arrogant stance considering where soccer rates in this country.

Unless the MLS wants to fund the project 100 percent, New York City should tell the league to take a hike. There are so many other priorities for New York, and this was prior to the damages caused by Sandy that a soccer stadium shouldn’t even be left open for discussion.

“An MLS team at Citi Field is a nonstarter for us,’’ MLS spokesperson Rita Heller said. “A soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is a win for soccer fans, a win for the Queens community and a win for economic development.’’

What else would you expect her to say?

When a team begging for public funds talks about “economic development,’’ for the community it is time to run.

DUDA SAYS HE’S ON TRACK:  Lucas Duda, two months removed from surgery on his right wrist, said he would be ready for spring training.

He already has started throwing in California and plans to begin hitting in the next week or so.

Duda, projected to the left fielder, is already throwing and should start swinging the bat next week.

Currently, the Mets’ outfield is Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis in center and Mike Baxter in right. One bench option is Collin Cowgill, who was acquired from Oakland. The Mets are also thinking about using reserve infielder Justin Turner off the bench.

The Mets don’t have any plans to re-sign Scott Hairston, who is seeking two years on his contract extension. The competition for another right-handed hitting outfielder could fall between Andrew Brown and Brian Bixler.

 

Nov 05

Cody Ross To The Mets? Don’t Bet On It.

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, The Mets could target free agent OF Cody Ross this winter.

“The Mets have a glaring need for outfield help”, Puma points out, and “multiple baseball officials yesterday pointed to Cody Ross as a possible free-agent target for the team.”

The righthanded hitting Ross batted .267/.326/.481 with 22 home runs and 81 RBI in 476 at-bats for the Red Sox this season. He was particularly effective against lefthanded pitching against whom he batted .295/.373/.636/1.010.

Ross, 32, signed a one-year deal with Boston last season for $3 million dollars.

While the Mets had shown interest in Ross last season, when he was coming off a poor .240 campaign with the San Francisco Giants. I simply can’t see that level of interest now when he will be much more costly and is lobbying for a 3-year deal, although I’m betting he won’t get more than two years guaranteed. Click to view odds. If Ross does get a third year it most likely will come in the form of a vesting or team option.

They way things stand now, the New York Mets can’t even afford to bring back Scott Hairston who proved to be the only productive player in their outfield. It’s a shame that a team that plays its game in the sports mecca of the world, New York City, are not only going to let an outfielder like Scott Hairston walk, but that they are still grappling with extending their face of the franchise David Wright and their ace R.A. Dickey as we speak.  How palling and frustrating is that?

Anyway, getting back to Cody Ross, I just don’t see how he can fit into the team’s budget unless a significant player was traded to make room for him on the payroll.

It’s common knowledge that the Mets have only about $10 million or less to spend this offseason which makes it difficult to see how they can net someone like Ross who will cost in upwards of $5-6 million per season and that he’s looking for a multi year deal.

Then there’s the other question of whether Ross would even choose to play for the Mets over the 6-7 other teams who are said to be very interested in him including the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves.

I think this is a great rumor to entertain Mets fans, Ross would certainly fit in very nicely. But unfortunately it’s a rumor that has no legs.

Oct 26

Mets’ nightmare comes true ….

The worst case scenario for Mets’ fans of a World Series between their two greatest rivals – the Yankees and Phillies – has reached fruition.

The Mets were left eating the dust of both, and they don’t appear to be in position to challenge either any time soon.

New York City, which some have argued is a National League town, belongs totally to the Yankees, who are in their 40th World Series seeking their 27th championship. Four World Series; two titles for the Mets.

YANKEES: Always the Mets' yardstick.

YANKEES: Always the Mets' yardstick.


The National League, for the second straight season, is owned by Philadelphia, seeking to become the first repeat champion since the Yankees, 1998-2000.

Many fans I speak to say they won’t watch, saying they don’t know whom to hate more. Selfishly, that’s not good news for me and the blog. Hopefully, the “baseball fan” in them will tune in.

However, the Mets and their fans, instead of lamenting their closed window, which slammed shut after a second straight September collapse in 2008, should step back and learn from their two tormentors.

The Mets, and probably nobody else, will match the October success the Yankees built over the last century. So what? What’s important is now.

Both teams opened new stadiums this summer, but the Yankees brought with them a revamped and retooled team. The Yankees took care of multiple needs last winter and added power in Mark Teixeira and pitching in CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. The Mets, also having multiple needs, but addressed only the bullpen with the belief things will get better with a veteran closer.

Rarely does it work that way, as building one area of a team doesn’t address the other voids. Watch, win or lose over the next week, the Yankees will address their team aggressively in the offseason. They know they don’t have enough starting pitching; they know there are bullpen questions; the outfield is an issue with the possible departures of Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon.

The difference between the Yankees and Mets is that the team in the Bronx has a mission statement every season of WINNING the World Series. Getting there is not enough. And, please, let’s not hear about the Yankees’ unlimited resources. The Mets’ payroll is also formidable, but their approach is not nearly as aggressive.

PHILLIES: The team to beat.

PHILLIES: The team to beat.


As for the Phillies, they’ve also been more aggressive in filling holes than the Mets. The Phillies have a home grown core (Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins) as do the Mets (David Wright and Jose Reyes), but Philadelphia has been superior in filling its holes (Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Cliff Lee).

The Phillies will not stand still, even should they repeat. Unlike the Mets, the Phillies have the minor league resources to package should they decide to pursue Roy Halladay. The Yankees, of course, have always been known to be willing to part with minor league talent to win immediately.

Compounding the Mets’ dilemma with the Phillies, is that they aren’t their only competition in the National League East. Both Florida and Atlanta improved this season to overtake the Mets.

Both the Phillies and Mets, from the front office to the dugout, have a mindset beyond that of the Mets’ thinking, which gives the appearance of settling to become competitive.

The Mets had a good year at the gate, drawing 3.1 million (averaging 38,000), which was seventh in the majors (the Yankees and Phillies finished 2-3). However, rave reviews for Citi Field aren’t what’s important in the big picture. To keep drawing, and even increasing attendance is dependent on the quality of the product on the field.

Eventually, Citi Field will stop becoming a fan magnet, which is what happened in Baltimore and Cleveland when the Orioles and Indians hit the skids. Citi Field is too expensive, and New York City offers so many other diversions, for fans to keep coming out of curiosity.

Right now, Mets’ fans should only be curious about one thing: What is their team going to do to close the gap on the Phillies and Yankees?

Sep 26

Mets Chat Room: Pelfrey goes fishing/Shea Top Ten

The Mets announced today the top ten moments at Shea Stadium:

1. Game Six of the 1986 World Series highlighted by the Bill Buckner team.
2. Mike Mike Piazza’s dramatic two-run home run in the eighth inning, Sept. 21, 2001, to beat the Braves in New York City’s first sporting event after the 9-11 attacks on America.
3. The Mets beat the heavily-favored Baltimore Orioles, 5-3, in Game Five of the 1969 World Series.
4. Endy Chavez’ Game Seven 2006 NLCS catch.
5. The Mets 7 1986 World Series victory.
6. Robin Ventura’s “Grand Slam Single” in Game Five of the 1999 NLCS.
7. The Beatles play Shea, Aug. 15, 1965.
8. The Mets, on June 30, 2000, scored 10 runs in the eighth inning vs. Atlanta.
9. Tom Seaver’s one-hitter against Chicago.
10. Todd Pratt’s walk-off home run in Game Four of the NLDS vs. Arizona.

Let’s talk about them during the game, if there is a game. For the second straight season the Mets’ last hurdle to October are the Florida Marlins.

“We have three games left and it’s going to be hard,” said Carlos Beltran, who is hitting .315 (17-for-54) with three home runs and 12 RBIs against Florida this season.

The Mets are 9-6 against the Marlins this season, including 4-2 at Shea. None of that success is by Mike Pelfrey, who is 0-3 with a 7.91 ERA in four starts against the Marlins this season and 1-4 lifetime in seven appearances.