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Monday, February 27, 2006

Watcha gonna do?

The return to baseball reminds me of the bloom of winter into spring.
No, no, wait…
The return to baseball reminds me of hope and promise.
That’s not it either…
The return to baseball reminds me of life’s struggle…
Wrong…wait, I got it
The return to baseball reminds me of a re-run COPS

Yes that’s right baseball reminds me of the show COPS.

Think about it...

The start of the season is like a great romance. Everything is new again. Every prospect has got amazing stuff. Veterans thought of as washed up turn back to form. Every manager says the same thing. The Mets have a legitimate claim to the East, Hell the National league. We are gonna clinch in August.

Seems like I’ve been here before…

My Team is perfect every April 1st. We have some rough spots in the early go. We limp into the All-star break. We stick around and they make us feel like they are moments away from turning the corner. How many times were we waiting for that hot streak, that 7 games in a row turning point that never came. Then they completly fall apart on us.

Every august I’ve got a bloody nose and a black-eye standing in my drive way demanding,
Starts to cry, “I’m never gonna put up with this again” sniff “I’m leaving for good this time, you bastards.”

Cut to next spring

Sitting with my newly purchased Jersey for the season. (This year its Wagner #13) and swearing to myself and anyone who will listen:
They said they would change. They’re a good team. They didn’t mean to hurt me. Really it’s my fault. I made them hurt me. Sure they’ve had their problems but they worked them out. Things are gonna be different from now on, they promised…

Who knows maybe the portion of me with battered wife syndrome from every episode of COPS is right.
Maybe Willie has learned the lessons and gained the game situation mentality he seemed to lack. Maybe he can effectively manage a bullpen. Maybe he has realigned his thinking and doesn’t label people into roles. Maybe Willie will try Wright in the 3 hole and 5 hole. Maybe Beltran will see the 2 hole from time to time.

Maybe Kaz has worked like a man on a mission to become the player we all wanted to be when he came to Shea.

Maybe Rickey Henderson doesn’t have a personal vendetta against me and will teach Jose a thing or two about leading off. (I mean, really, did I piss that guy off?)

What if Brian Bannister comes in to be a dominant starter during the season to make an impact?

Maybe Pedro’s got a full tank. Maybe Sanchez, Julio, and Maine are the missing link and will keep the pressure off the rotation.

Pennant? Maybe. It’s fun to think about easy to picture

…and yet strangely familiar.

Don’t take the COPS off the speed dial yet.

Yep, just like a rerun of COPS.

Ah, spring!

"132 and Bush, I’ve got him at gun point"

Friday, February 24, 2006

I Love the Swedes

I’d like to welcome my new visitors. Thanks for taking the time to read my little scribblings. I am having some technical difficulties with my comments section lately. I am trying to make it easier for readers to comment and take part in any ideas or notions that I put forth. I would really like people to state their point of view and make Lonestar Met a place for Mets fans to exchange thoughts and opinons. Please keep reading and commenting.

Props to Cerrone and Greg. The two best in the business.

There will be a long post later today. Sorry for the delay.

Last Night I caught MLB late edition, Channel 175 on XM Radio. Joe called in from Port Saint Lucie and reported the following:

Kaz Matsui hit a homerun off Billy Wagner. Joe noted Wagner is not 100%
Jeez, I hope not. Kaz took Billy Bad Ass deep? Gives me chills. I know it’s still early

Rick Peterson is raving about Bannister’s stuff.
Great, get ready quick Brian, but not Humber quick…

Joe also told the story of a strange occurance when attempting to speak to Pedro one on one.

Apparently Horowitz is physically shielding Pedro from individual reporters. It was also stated the only PR rep in baseball that Gammons publically rips is Horowitz. Referring to Jay as “She.”

As far as Saint. Gammons goes, I don’t think he is the patron saint of baseball as I have heard most make him out to be. I read the guy occasionally and he has some valid points. He has been around awhile and maybe his staying power is what is admired. I think it’s pretty obvious he is a true red dyed in the wool Red Sox homer. When ever I see him on TV talking about any Met, Mets related subjects, or a division the Mets are in, I see a angry old man still experiencing sour grapes over 86.

As Far as Horowitz’s actions, this gives pretty good circumstantial evidence that the toe isn't as bad as previously made out to be. Jay Omar and the Wilpon's may be confident that Pedro will quote the company line but in a private setting he might slip if his competitiveness is challenged. I think this is the organization’s way of backing out of the WBC in a way that:

Most importantly, protects Pedro from losing face. Pedro is a winner and a guy who has never hesitated to speak his mind. I think they sat down with the staff ace and convinced him that the Mets playoff hopes depend on him.

Keeps up the facade that this tournament is important to every one.

No one really cares about the WBC. Ive thought this from the beginning. Overhyped, overblown. Underwhelming. Yes, it’s a shot at the IOC for not keeping baseball an event but honestly how could it compete with the Majors? The Olympics are to boring for baseball. Sure baseball won’t be played in the Summer Olympics but guess what? No one’s watching anyway. (Except foriegners, no offense Linda, I love you!)

If my assumptions are true, then this signals a shift in Organization thinking.
Are they finally not making moves that hinder the teams future?
I’m not ready to declare this team the dynasty of the late ‘oughts but I think the 06 season will be remembered long after the novelty of the WBC wears off.
That is if we can just get rid of Wille…

More to come
(Please wait to blast me about Willie, etc when I get my comments section in order)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Going to the Chapel

The consensus reports suggest the Mets Lineup to be the following.
1. Reyes S
2. Lo Duca R
3. Beltran S
4. Delgado L
5. Floyd L
6. Wright R
7. Diaz/ Nady/ Chaves
8. Matsui/ Anderson/ whoever

I think Willie made his decision before spring training started.

Wait, one last formality:

Father Mazzilli: "Ladies and Gentlemen: We gather here today to witness the uniting of players to the Line-up. As you all know Willie is a devout JoeTorrean so this ceremony is binding for the complete season, with out exception. Let us begin."
"Do you, Willie Randolph, take this shortstop, to be your leadoff hitter, despite on base percentage as long as you manage the Mets?"

Willie: "I do"

Father Maz: "Do you, Willie, take this catcher to be your number 2 hitter, in slumps and streaks, despite all logic as both as you both shall be Mets?"

Willie: "I do"

Father Maz: "Do you Willie take this Centerfielder, to be your third hitter regardless of past performance in the 2 no matter how much he struggles in the 3 hole?"

Willie: "I do"

Father Maz: "Did you not watch the 2004 playoffs?"
Willie: "I did and I do"

Ok cleanup is a gimmie...

Father Maz: "Do you Willie take this Leftfielder to be your number 5 Hitter?"

Willie: "I do"

Father Maz: "Do you take this third baseman phenom, budding superstar to be your 6th hitter despite being the best hitter on the team, offering him no protection, single handedly guaranteeing him see bad pitches?"

Willie:" I Do"

(Skipping ahead as the concept is wearing thin)

Father Maz: "Do you Willie Randolph take this lineup to be your sole lineup, in injury and in health, through All-Star Break and trading deadline, for winning and for losing, never wavering from it as long as you manage the Mets?"

Willie: "I do"

Father Maz: "Now by the power invested in me by the state of New York, I now pronounce you Willie Randolph, Married to this lineup. As you have vowed here today by the religious laws of JoeTorreism you must never consider altering this lineup as long as you manage the Mets. You have now married your lineup"

Sniff, beautiful ceremony, don’t you just love weddings?

Marrying your lineup before training camp. Vintage Willie. I can speculate the honeymoon will be short and sweet before all the good will is gone.
Beltran in the 3 hole again, huh? The only thing I can think of besides JoeTorrean philosophy is that Willie’s “gut” tells him that the Beltran-Delgado relationship will strengthen both players. First of all lets, I think Willie “going with his gut” means “I don’t understand the numbers or even the logic of my line up and with this answer you can’t prove it”

For the sake of argument let’s stipulate that Willie’s gut is correct and Beltran returns to that player we saw in the 2004 NLCS. Delgado hits a little better than last year.

That being said, the lineup is still flawed. Every team in the league except the Mets have a LOOGy (Lefty one out guy). If we had a LOOGy Willie would use him incorrectly at the wrong time. A Delgado, Floyd, Wright lineup is an invitation to the other manager to use his LOOGy in the key situation of a close or tied game. Consider this:

Tie game, start of the eighth.

Righty long relief pitcher in the game.

Lo Duca pops out to start the inning

One out

Beltran singles to left.

One out, one on.

Dusty Baker, Tony Larusa, Bobby Cox, whoever (just a manger that has a clue how to manage a bullpen) looks at the potential of his righty facing Delgado and Floyd OR his LOOGy facing two guys who's number against Lefties: OBP SLG AVG
Delgado .308/.461/.234
Floyd .284/.427/.224
With this lineup
1. Reyes
2. LoDuca
3. Beltran
4. Delgado
5. Wright
6. Floyd
7. Right field
8. Punching Judy 2B
If Wright had the 5 hole the LOOGY would not be brought in or brought in to face Delgado as David Wright against Lefties is .415/.602/.336
Between two lefties power hitters is a supurb place for Wright to power this offense.
That's right POWER the offense. He can and deserves the oportunity. I don't think Floyd would have a problem with 6th behind Wright.
I know Willie does.
Maybe Floyd is a veteran and afforded more responsibility in Willie’s eyes.
Didn’t David Wright report to camp months early to get ready for the season? Yeah Willie,
the guy obviously handle the reponsibilty
I don’t care if Floyd is a 13 year veteran; seniority dictating strategy is not what wins championships.
Maybe Floyd in Willie’s mind is a “5 hole Guy.”
I don’t know what that means.
I don’t think this will ever change with Willie. “Willie’s way” is the only way to explain it.
Imagine what Bobby Valentine could do with this team. I remember the 99 Mets. I can’t recite their lineup because it was always changing. Valentine had a lesser team and found a way to beat the other guys. Bobby exploited mismatches rather that creating mismatches in the other guys favor. Willie may be a good “clubhouse guy” and created an attitude of winning in the Locker room. I believe he did a good job motivating guys to want to win (if they needed motivation in the first place, I don’t think anybody had to motivate Wright.)
It is time to show Willie the door. He will never learn. The sooner the better. For the Mets to win this season they will have to do so in spite of Willie's actions rather than because of them.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Keep Shea Mets-ified

If this new Ebbets Field is going to be the Mets new home I would rather just keep Shea. Where is the Ebbits field pressure coming from? What is the obsession with Ebbets field and the new Shea? They tore it down. Deal with it. If the Dodgers are so important to New York the Dodgers should build a new stadium and play there. I don't live in the same city as my team. I moved away. Why don't they model the stadium after my apartment. Let's just change the Mets' name to the Dodgers. Would that make you happy? How about we call it Dodger Stadium? Jackie Robinson never played for the Mets. Why would we name a stadium after him? Where does it end?
I thought I would come up with a radio ad to market our new stadium and game experience in the stadiumduim. As spoken by Vin Scully:
"Come out to Jackie Robinson Stadium in New York City where the Dodgers and Giants used to play and the Yankees still do.
Wear any National League West hat and get in half off a seat in our new outfield box section, Campanella's corner.
Be sure to stop by the newly designed concession stands featuring:
Bomber Beer or Lasorda Lemonade in Martin Mantle and Ruth sizes
Derek Dogs Hotdogs (the hotdogs people think are much better than they really are).
Make sure you visit Memorial Park in center.
Get your picture made next to the statues of Kirk Gibson and Barry Bonds.
In the New York Baseball Leaning center learn about the great Dodger career of Darryl Strawberry and Giant great Gary Carter and the legends from other teams that don'y play in this team's stadium.
Register to win tickets to the June 2nd-4th and September 7th-9th series for Dodger/ Giant Appreciation Night.
That's right come on out to the New Jackie Robinson Stadium, where the rich history isn't ours!"

I don't know. Major League Baseball has never mastered the mysteries of modern marketing so I guess I should expect them to try and appeal to, I don't know...Mets Fans. I am proud to be a Mets fan and I consider any other team inferior and substantially less signifigant. I don't care about Dodger history because I am a Met Fan. I Like giant top hats and large apples. I live in Texas and watch games on TV but Shea feels like home even on TV. Knight hoping on home and Jessie tossing his glove are burned in my mind. In 1999 you could feel the electricity all the way in the Lonestar state when my heart stoped as Dunston made it to second in the 15th;. it started again when Pratt walked. I feel like I was at Shea when Ace hit the best single ever. I'm going to miss Shea when its gone and I think I will be joined by a lot more fans when the novelty of Dodger Memorial Stadium fades away.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Where’d Ya Get Those Shoes?

. According to the Los Angeles Daily News the Angels have placed a deadline on a one year offer to Weaver with a second year team option. Supposedly the deadline for the offer is Wednesday. I don’t know if Weaver is worth the 9 mil the offer is rumored to be. I say he’s worth 7-9 million to us and here’s why:

Kris Benson
Over the Last 2 seasons: Games Started: 39- Innings Pitched: 242
Jeff Weaver
Over the Last 2 seasons: Games Started: 68-Innings Pitched: 444

I am not one of the stats guys so I don’t want to debate their VORP or RIBSY or whatever. I’m looking at durability. We can all agree that Benson is not the diamond in the Pittsburgh we all thought he was when Duke dealt for him. He was mediocre to decent. But besides a crazy wife the guy had problems down the stretch or weak armed, Weaver is capable of giving 220 innings. With the shaky make-up of this staff 7 million for a guy that can chew innings like that is a bargain. Look, I’m not saying that this guy is an ace but for what we were paying Benson it’s not outrageous. What makes you less uneasy?
A 1. Pedro
2 Glavine
3. Trachsel
4. Zambrano
5. Hielman

B 1. Pedro
2. Glavine
3. Weaver
4. Trachsel
5. Zambrano/ Hielman
A or B? Now many people I talk to dismiss the claims that Hielman may get lit up his 3 time though the order and think that he can easily transition. I’m not one of those people. But let’s say he is serviceable. What happens, and I hate to write this, if Pedro gets hurt. I’m not predicting anything but we all know it’s in the realm of possibility. Now pick one
1. Glavine
2. Trachsel
3. Zambrano
4. Hielman
5. Iriki?
1. Glavine
2. Weaver
3. Trachsel
4. Zambrano
5. Hielman
If the answer is A then you obviously don’t remember Kaz Ishii to fill Trachsel slot. Hey, Maybe Lima will have a comeback year! And maybe Danny Graves would make us not want to sign Billy Wagner the second the World Series was over. Offer the guy 7 with performance based options to be worth 9.5; if he meets them, maybe a second year option. Without a solid and legitimate back-up plan the season may hinge on a shoe. With out a solid staff there might not be a lead in the 9th- and I like Enter Sandman. Omar, send the offer now - or wait for the deadline to pass and you might get him cheaper. Boras owes us one (if not many).

Monday, February 13, 2006

Last of the Met-hicans

In case you haven’t read, and according to my counter you haven’t, I pondered the Mets rotation and my hopes of getting Zito. No Zito deal coming and what you see is what you get. This CAN’T be true. I guess I should start clinging to a move of less magnitude. I can’t take another year of watching a Mets team that is almost good and then sit helplessly as Willie “your not helping” Randolph makes the wrong move over and over again. At least Gerald Williams and Jose Offerman won’t be around for Willie to shoe horn in the game every night. I guess I have to start thinking about the possibility that our rotation will be Zito-less. Sigh! If Omar doesn’t have a plan and there is no other trades coming not only are we in for another mediocre season but its time to start worrying about who’s driving the bus. I really hope Omar is the genius we think he is and not making moves like the Benson trade just to make them. I’m not a big Benson fan but I was comfortable enough with him in the 3 spot. Is anyone else skeptical if Hielman can make a flawless transition to the rotation? That is a big if.

Marty Noble addresses the Mets Lineup today on www.MLB.com http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060211&content_id=1310004&vkey=news_nym&fext=.jsp&c_id=nym
Marty speculates that Reyes and Delgado are set in the 1 and 4 hole respectively and all others are up for grabs. I would love to see the Mets put Beltran in the 2 Wright in the 3, and Floyd in the 5 despite the possibility of putting the lefties back to back allowing the LOOGY to face them both. I speculate that Beltran anywhere else beside the 3 hole would be like asking Puff Daddy to stop singing songs about Notorious BIG.
And what kind of Jackass does something over and over again refusing to look at his mistakes refusing to change because somebody is a 3 hole guy. Incredible. Hey Omar, fire this guy already! Yeah I know, nice guy, good for morale, atmosphere, blah, blah, blah. Daniel Day Lewis is a nice guy but it doesn’t mean I want him running my baseball team. Of course it could be funny.
Last of the Met-hicans:

Lewis, dressed in American Indian garb that has cursive Mets written in war paint across the chest, grabs Reyes by the jersey pulls him close and demands, “Get on base, no matter what occurs. I will move you over, I will bring you home!”
(not sure how many will get a Last of the Mohicans reference but no one really reads this site what the hell)

So while Gary Carter is being groomed for an MLB gig (hopefully Willie’s job) I think we have to live with Beltran in the 3. That being said I would be intrigued to give Kaz one more shot at the 2 hole. He seemed to be improving toward the final months of the season and if he finally comes around to the player the Mets thought he was in 2004 that could be a formidable lineup. Now, I’m not saying Kaz will be a .350 Olerud-esque hitter with speed but I think he may be the second part of the “table setters” we thought he was when we signed him. The guy was touted as a defensive wiz with a cannon arm, lightning speed and power to the gaps and so far the only thing he brought from Japan was his speed. With Kaz's work ethic and desire to be a sucess I think he can improve defensively and improve his plate discipline and pitch recognition. And if Beltran does not make the bounce back (I think he will regain Stros form) they will need speed for Beltran's grounders to second on an inning ending double play. I may be the only Met fan that thinks Kaz can be a contributing factor but I can’t help pulling for him. Better late than never.

By the way, Brokeback Mountain has been a huge hit at the box office. I haven’t seen the movie and probably won’t as it doesn't appeal to me. But it got me thinking and I think I have a come up with a can't miss blockbuster.
The film tells the story of two young men who meet in the summer of 2004, and unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection, one whose complications, joys, and tragedies provide a testament to the endurance and power of love. Both young men seem certain of their set places in the heartland – obtaining steady work, marrying, and handling the pressure of the spotlight– and yet hunger for something beyond what they can articulate. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez make their film debut in Spike Lee's:

Brokeback Infield

"Brokeback Infield is a groundbreaking film because It's a deeply felt, emotional love story that deals with the uncharted, mysterious ways of the human heart just as so many mainstream films have before it. The two lovers here just happen to be Yankee infielders." – LA Post

“When Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez wrestle their way into the sack together for the first time in Spike Lee's Brokeback Infield, they are ripping away at much more than their dirt-caked uniforms. With one tumultuous lovemaking scene - it's more like love-attacking, actually - the two intrepid young infielders manage to bust up several mythologies at once.
The most obvious is the myth of the New York Yankees greats. The two strangers are, conventionally speaking, made for each other. Jeter is personable, playful, a talker. A-Rod is stoic and repressed, parceling out the gift of speech mostly to express how tired he is of playing on the Rangers” - New York Sun Shopper Tribune

Come on- it’s more believable than cowboys

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Pic Dump

Friday, February 10, 2006

picture dump

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Shea Then and Now

Baseball news has been slow lately. Pitchers and catchers will report soon so it’s about to get a lot more interesting. I have just found Delta is offering a $200 fair for DFW airport to LaGuardia and promptly purchase passage aboard said airline to attend the April 17th-19th series against the Braves. I have not secured lodging or Game tickets yet and still have some planning to do but it’s enough to fire me up.

I have a different aspect of Mets Baseball as I live in Texas. I do not have regular access to the Mets or Shea. Hell, I can’t even watch 162 games on television. Catch all of the big league, hard hitting action with MLB EXTRA INNINGS my ass. Although I’ve been to Shea only once and The Ballpark in Arlington more times than I can count, I still feel like Shea is my home Stadium. I’ve been to Shea once in 1985, saw a Mets win, got a free Batting helmet, took one picture (pictures are coming soon), saw one Carter homerun and I’ve couldn’t wait to get back ever since.

The times I’ve seen the Mets I’ve been in enemy territory. The Rangers fans didn’t seem to care I was there to support the Visiting team. I spent many days and nights at the Old Stadium the Rangers played in, which was a minor league park converted for the Rangers. I saw a triple play there, met Bobby V. several times there, once saw Dave Valle go after Valentine there, waited out a rain delay to see Nolan Ryan and many other countless experiences in the old park. I have some great memories there but honestly the place was a leaky hole that was poorly lit and had no unique feel to it.

The Ballpark in Arlington (Ameriquest Field just doesn’t seem right) is a beautiful place. The food is unbelievable. I saw the 2nd game ever played there. The Mets visited to take on the Rangers in a 2 game exhibition before opening day. I saw the 1999 Mets play an exhibition before opening day and met Captain Franco and Dennis Cook and took, my then fiancé, Della to her first big league game as the Mets came for inter-league. I went for the whole series and say Reyes’s first game in the Bigs.

I first felt the hatred from the Houston fans when I was 10 and visited the astrodome 2 years after they were knocked out by the 86 Mets. Those people loathe us. People were actually swearing at a 10 year old who just wanted to see Cone pitch. But hey, if you can’t beat them, berate them.

They have a new stadium now and guess what? Nothing changed. Last year my fiancé (at the time) and I left at 5 in the morning from Arlington to get down to Houston for the last game of a 4 game road trip The Mets were in danger of suffering a sweep as Ishii would take on Oswalt for the Sunday day game. I was now 27 and I actually used to being a Mets fan surrounded by the other team’s fans. Della (My then fiancé) and I entered the building and surveyed our surroundings. Again beautiful ballpark. Della, new to the game and sick of hearing my drone on about 1986, 1988 and 1999, leans over and says, “I can’t believe people actually wear Clemens jerseys.” I remember thinking, “If my mission was to vilify Roger Clemens in her mind, consider that mission accomplished.” Unfortunately the Astros don’t have Sunday batting practice so we watched various pitchers stretch. I saw Benson bristle as someone yelled out a question regarding the whereabouts of Anna and missed out on a Braden Looper autograph. After that let down of an experience that was in no way worth waking up that early for we proceeded to our seats. The Astros have the worst ticket sales scheme I have ever heard of. You can’t call on the phone and talk to a live person. You can call and enter in how much you want to spend. No matter what price you enter you are told by an automated voice, “there is nothing available in this price range.” Under no circumstances can you choose what section you will sit in. Some random formula puts you in some random section with no logical reason. So as we walk up to our god awful seats we got jeers from every Astros fan in the joint. The Astros took an early lead and diligently booed Beltran during every at bat and defensive play he was involved with. The Mets broke through later in the game and with the Tying and go-ahead aboard Beltran stepped to the plate to a thunderous booing. When he promptly drove in the runners Minute Maid Park became silent until Lonestar Met stood up and bellowed, “HOW DO YOU LIKE HIM NOW?” I was met with some of the deadliest looks I have ever seen. A woman grabbed Della’s arm and instructed her, “You better tell him to watch it!” The Mets salvaged the last game of the series. I walked out of the stadium high-fiveing any and all Mets fans I passed on the way to the exit and visited the sports bar across the street to drink in the conquered foes bar.

As fun as that was, I am about to revisit the home land in April. I can’t wait to experience the friendly confines of Shea accompanied by a majority of Mets fans. I am curious to see what that feels like as well as see what Shea has to offer. I have secured passage and am currently trying to find affordable lodging and I am planning to use the subway to see the city. If anyone who reads this site has any suggestions, travel tips, don’t miss or must avoid places in New York please feel free to comment or email me at Danjziegler@yahoo.com Pitchers and Catchers hurry up and report already- I can’t wait!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

15 questions for Joe Castellano

Apparently there are some technichal difficuties with my Blog. Appologies to the tens of you that have not been able to check my site, anywho...
For anyone, like me, who has been completely unaware that there is another sport in America, I heard a rumor about a big game this weekend, XM Radio has been a fantastic way to get through the off-season. The best show by far is Joe Castellano’s MLB Late Edition. He is impartial but also a Mets Fan. He is very well informed on any Mets topic. For anyone who listens to Joe’s show Dan in Arlington, Texas is yours truly. Joe C. was kind enough to give an interview with Lonestar Met. I asked Joe the Following:

I try not to show too much that I grew up as a Mets fan…Trying to be impartial…to answer your questions.

Lonestar Mets: Joe Castellano is credited in The Natural. Were you in the Movie?
Joe C: No, that is a different Joe C.
Lonestar Mets: Do you think baseball’s popularity is at an all time? If so what do you attribute it to?
Joe C:Yes…people are more into sports than ever and baseball is the best sport
LM: What is the most important issue Major League Baseball has to face today?
Joe C:...The salary structure…some teams can’t afford to compete anymore…also the average fan is getting price out…they can’t afford to buy bleacher seats anymore.
LM: Now that the Steroid issue has had national attention, do you think that there is another potential scandal that will come to the forefront in the foreseeable future?
Joe C: I’m sure there will be…wouldn’t be surprised if a gambling situation happens again.
LM: Do you think a team will ever be "contacted"?
Joe C:do you mean like the 1919 White Sox…I think so.
Lonestar Mets: Will Major League Baseball ever have a commissioner with absolute power?
Joe C:No..the owners will not allow it.
LM: With Latin America producing great prospects and players where do you think the next prospect "hotspot?" will come from?
Joe C:Asia…we’ve already seen Japan…Maybe China is next. LM: Follow-up: Is the World Baseball Classic intended to find it? Joe C: Not really, it’s just a way to show off the game and make money.

Enough about baseball, Lets talk the Mets

LM:I know you are a Mets fan. What made you a fan and why do you still pull for them?
Joe C: My first game in 1969 as a 7 year old was at Shea…I was hooked…I don’t pull for them that hard anymore since I have to follow all teams and living in SF has made me lean more towards the Giants.
LM: Do you see the NL east as the Mets Division to Lose?
Joe C: No…It’s Mets and Braves neck and neck.
LM: What do you see as the Mets major weakness in the Lineup?
Joe C: Possibly Nady and of course Matsui.
LM: Do you see another major move by the organization? If so who?
Joe C: A 2nd baseman …but hopefully Bret Boone has a comeback yr.
LM: With Gary Carter seemingly being groomed as the future Mets manager, how long of a leash does Willie Randolph have this season if the Mets stumble out of the gate?
Joe C: I think he will be there no matter what…UNLESS it is a disaster start.
LM: Did the Mets Overpay for Billy Wagner?
Joe C: No…he is the most intimidating closer in baseball.
LM: Is there any possibility that Barry Zito is a met by opening day?
Joe C: No…the A’s have Series aspirations and they need Zito
LM: Should Dan from Arlington Texas stop calling you with Barry Zito trade speculations?
Joe C: Let’s talk about it again if the A’s get off to another 15-30 start.

Thanks to Joe Castellano of MLB late eddition.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Pitching rotation

I preface this with I have been a HUGE Omar fan. Hang on to Millege, get Beltran, get Wagner, get Delgado, get LaDuca. The guy is golden. I didn’t panic when the Benson trade happened like most of the other Mets fans I hear on MLB radio. I wore a smirk when people would ask me what I thought about the Benson deal and gave a knowing nod and answered with "just wait… you’re not gonna believe what Omar has planned next." That all changed today as I returned from the weekend and spent the better part of my free time combing the blogs for the wonderful "sources inside the organization report the Zito trade is expected to be announced later today/this week" story. I found nothing. Not even the unreliable blogs even touched the idea. For the first time the possibility dawned on me that Zito may not be coming. Say it ain’t so! I turn to you and ask with desperation, "Will the Mets make us a top notch contender by bringing in another top notch starter (Zito) or will they go with the Pedro, Glavine, Trax, Zambrano, Heilman rotation? Is there a blockbuster trade around the corner?" How is New York dealing with this situation? Does Omar really think that there will be no injuries and that the Braves are going to lay down while we win the East in a Padres fashion? Please tell me Omar is not a Phillips\Duke clone that will go into a season as ill prepared as this. Instead of the papers with headlines asking the ridiculous question "Is Omar a racist?" can we see the reasonable "Has Omar a lost his mind?" Tell me he knows what he is doing and I won’t have to sit through July with Pedro and Glavine on the DL, one of them out for the season. Tell me we won’t start the second half of the season with Trax as our number one and Ishii clones in the 4 and 5 spot that guarantees me reading "the Mets limp into the All-Star break after getting swept by PIT and FLA at home by a combined score of 84 to 36."
Look, I live in Arlington, Texas- 3 minutes from The Ball Park in Arlington, so I have seen it first hand year after year after year. You can’t expect to compete for the pennant with a bunch of bashers and no pitching. Having Batting champions, MVPs and homerun leaders is exciting and all but with no pitching it means last place. Ask any Ranger fan. (By the way a Ranger fan is someone who is passing time waiting for Cowboys training camp to start)
Think Cowboys are to Red Sox as Rangers are to Patriots.
They get all excited if the Rangers have a good season, but nobody really cares if they don’t. I wear my Mets colors to the park, even when the Mets came for inter-league play (Reyes’ first start), and the only people who seemed to even notice were other Met fans. Apathy is the worst thing fans can have. Living here is probably like being a Brave fan with out all the NL East titles. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all of Texas. Houston is a great baseball city. A fan wearing Mets colors to Minute Maid Park/ the Astrodome has never been safe. That’s another story. Anywho…
…back to the Mets. Tell me the contingency plan for injuries is not to call up Pelfry a season too early and ruin his promising future in a David Clyde-esque-Gregg Jeffries manner? (sorry for the Clyde reference but I couldn’t think of a Met pitcher that was as promising and brought up to early- excluding Gen K. as they were overworked- and hey, I do live in Arlington, Texas) Will I see Zito in spring training; will I see the rotation of a contender? Was that light at the end of turnaround tunnel of 05 really the return of Mets baseball or was it the headlight of the fright train that ran me over in 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 02, 03, and 04? Is the move of Heilman to starter as doomed as Juan Samuel to center? Will I be able to come to work without being taunted by my Braves loving boss? Ya know, I ignored football and basketball the day they announced the Wagner deal as I couldn’t get the image of Wagner, Delgado, Beltran, Jose, Wright, Pedro, Benson, Glavine and Seo and Co. smiling as they rode down Canyon of Heroes. "Hell, even Randolph cant F-this up" I thought. I was actually worrying that I wouldn’t have enough vacation time to enjoy the playoffs. (I work funny hours). Then the world champs of my November imagination trade a reliable starter and a promising one for… who? Wait, wait Omar will make a deal by Wednesday …OK Friday…well maybe they want to wait until after the weekend for the Monday news cycle. Here I am to day and Gulp. No way can the current rotation win the East or even the wild card. Is Omar a sadist? Did I upset the baseball gods? Did I just wake up and have the feeling of misplaced trust in Omar like the feeling of learning you left the kids with an pyromaniac axe-murdering babysitter for the weekend?.
He made the Benson trade to be in a position to trade for Zito…right? Omar and Beane have a gentlemen’s agreement already in place…right? I mean Beane is probably negotiating an extension with Zito as a condition of the trade…right? Everybody knows it but nobody is reporting it…right? Julio, Heilman, Maine, and Bannister for Zito,done deal…right? Omar has a better plan for the rotation then Petey, Glav, Trax, Zam and Heil… right? Tell me its so. Please! So I can get on with the rest of my life!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

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