The Eddie Kranepool Society

Sunday, March 14, 2004

"5th AND LONG FOR THE METS STARTERS" Pete Abraham of The Journal News has a look at the race for the 5th spot in the Mets rotation. Scott Erickson has suprised many people with his strong showing especiaaly when you relize he's a year removed form pitching. Aaron Heilman has taken to Professor Rick and his training methods, the way we Mets fans had hoped. Grant Roberts has gone into "take no prisoners" mode and has exceled so far this spring. Tyler Yeats, once thought of as closer material has shown he is more than a "one pitch pony" and has added an breaking breaking ball and change to his repertoire. Artie form Queens and Professor Rick will have a tough decisions to make about the pitchers who will come North with the Mets. Add Dan Wheeler and Rickey Bottalico into the bullpen race, and the next 2 weeks or so will be very entertaining. <

"BARTENDER, I'LL HAVE A DOUBLE MAALOX WITH A PEPTO CHASER......" Jose Reyes left today's game with what is being called a "strained right hamstring". I am starting to get very leery of the Mets front office when they diagnose injuries. Kaz Matsui was supposed to miss a few days after getting a couple of stitches in his right index finger and so far he has not played a game a short in any spring training game. Mike Piazza just has soreness in his right quad, but he has not seen any playing time at 1st base in over a week. Now Reyes is hurt. I know Reyes and Matsui went to St. Lonesome a couple of weeks earlier than their reporting date to work out together, but there should be a lot of concern about the chemistry of the double play duo. But of course Little Artie Sunshine still sees seashells and balloons when asked about the impacted of Reyes injury: "It's a real concern. But he is young, and he plays hard," Howe said. "It's one of those things." I bet he had that dopey grin on his face when he said that as well. <

"THEY'RE WEARING OVERCOATS IN HELL" Joel Sherman has written a POSITIVE story on the Mets. He just found out what we all knew for about a year or so, that David Wright is the real deal. I guess his next column will have him railing that the Mets should trade Wright to the Tigers for Bobby Higginson. <

Friday, March 12, 2004

A good time was had by all at the Baseball Prospectus Pizza Feed in NYC last night. The best part of the evening, besides eating all the pizza you could hold down, was meeting some heavy hitters of the baseball blogging world. It was a real treat to finally meet in person, Alex Bleth of Bronx Banter fame and Jay Jaffe of the Futility Infielder.,Daren/Repoz, Alex Ciepley, and Cliff Corcoran. Also in attendance was the right honorable David Pinto of Baseball Mussings. The staff of Baseball Prospectus really put together a great evening. Special thanks goes to Steve Goldman of the Pinstripe Bible and Baseball Prospectus for �Making this night necessary� �NOW BACK TO THE VENOM��.� A very interesting piece in the PAGE 6 gossip page of the New York Post today told of how the recently canonized A-Rod prepared for his first spring training with the Highlanders: A-RODS FAVE Cynthia Rodriquez do you know where your husband is? Our spies say that before spring training began, new Yankee superstar Alex Rodriquez was paying regular visits to the VIP strip club on West 20th Street to enjoy lap dances from a certain Brazilian-born beauty. �he sees her and only her� says our insider. �He was coming in every other week. He�ll come in, sit at the bar and wait for her to come over. Then they go into the VIP room and she dances for him. He usually spends about $500 to $1,000 on her, getting lap dances and drinks.� A spokesman for the Yankees declined comment. As a public service to my loyal readers, I�ll be doing some in depth investigating reporting at the VIP Club once the Highlanders return to NY. �IT GETS LATE EARLY AROUND HERE����. The Mets right field situation is making me a tad nervous. Last night Karim �Wizzer� Garcia went 0 for 2 and Roger Cedeno went 0 for 1 with the obligatory botched fielding play in RF. I checked the results from yesterday�s spring games and it does not seem like the Mets played a spilt squad game, so the question I have is �Where the Hell was Shane Spenser�? Floyd and Cameron were in their proper spots but you would think that Artie from Queens would want Spenser to get some AB�s. I understand the Expos went with four right-handers but com�on it�s spring for Christ sake. I�m starting to see what the rest of the Mets bloggers are seeing and I may be looking for a seat on the �get Craig Wilson bandwagon� I can�t believe I just type that. If I�m the Duke, I have to be burning up the phone lines and scouring the wavier wires for someone to grab this spot. I just hope RF does not become a black hole position in �04. ��.AND THEN I SAW HIM PITCH�.NOW I�M A BELIEVER�� Aaron Heilman it seems has taken to the Tao of Professor Rick, as he went out and had another strong outing. After the game, Heilman was more upbeat and confident as I have seen since he came on the Mets scene. He said �He could have gone another 3 innings at least and that working with Peterson has really change his game and his thinking on the mound� So now in the race for the 5th starter spot, Scott Ericsson, Grant Roberts, Heilman, and add Tyler Yates in the mix, have been impressive. Add in Rickey Bottalico and the Gang of 3, Weathers, Stanton, and Franco (These geezers are like the workers on the Staten Island Ferry, they think they have a job for life.) along with Dan Wheeler plus closer Braden Looper along with the BIG 4 starters, that makes 14 pitchers for 11 spots. Let�s look at the lead pipe cinches to make the staff: Leiter Glavine Trachsel Seo Stanton Weathers Franco Looper That�s 8 spots filled. Now I would think that Grant Roberts has a spot either as the 5th starter or the long man in the pen. If Scott Ericsson continues to flourish, he could take the 5th spot and move Roberts to the pen. That leaves out Heilman who may have to start the season a Norfolk, as it makes no sense to put him in the pen. So that�s 2 more spots with one more to fill. Rickey Bottalico has the edge over Dan Wheeler with his experience as both set up man and as a closer. A healthy Bottalico could be the man to spell Looper to close out games. I�m not sure if Wheeler has any options ( I doubt he does) so if he went on the wavier wire he�d be snapped up by any team that�s been paying attention to Mets camp. How great is it to have depth in pitching? Remember you can never be too thin or too rich or ever have too much pitching. <

Thursday, March 11, 2004

�BASEBALL RAISES (Mc)CAIN� Senator John McCain took MLB and the Don Fehr of the MLBPA out to the wood shed and gave them a thrashing. Well his angst was more toward Fehr, the head of the Players Union, for dragging his feet and not giving in to tougher testing and punishment for players using performance enhancing drugs. The one problem I have with Sen. McCain and Sen. Joe Biden�s quasi-grandstand play is the current drug testing policy in the CBA was collectively bargained. For a tougher drug policy to be imposed that would mean that the CBA be reopened and that the management would have to give something to the union to get this done. If the Congress or fans or media types think that Don Fehr will roll over and give in to any revision to the CBA for steroid testing without getting something of significance back, their delusional. All Commissioner Used Car Salesman needed at the hearings was a shawl over his shoulders and his glasses perched on the tip of his nose. What an old lady he turned into in front of the committee. He played the victim card to the hilt, saying that drug testing was the last item in the CBA that was negotiated and how he did not want to shut down the game because it would send the country back into depression after 9-11, (which must have gone over well with the White House, since 9-11 is the official tragedy of the Republican Party) and in a effort to keep baseball going, he agreed to this drug policy. He told McCain how much he agreed with what he had said and wished that management and the union could work out a policy that was the equivalent of the NFL�s. All that was missing were the violins. How about those wussy�s from the NFL? You would never think that NFLPA President Gene Upshaw was one the best and toughest offensive lineman to play the game. Could they have sucked up any more to McCain and his fellow Senators? Man, it was as bad as a Joel Sherman/Highlanders are the best column. �A PESSIMIST IS AN OPTIMIST WHO�S BEEN AROUND����..� That quote is from former NBA Coach Chuck Daly, who is a world class pessimist After watching last nights Mets game, I was not feeling very chipper about the outfield situation. Then after I read Lee Jenkins story in the NY Times on Mike Cameron and Cliff Floyd�s ailments I just hope I�m not reaching for the Welbutrin by May. The bone spur that Mike Cameron has on the big toe of his right foot seems to be something that will liner all season. How much will it hinder his play, remains to be seen. This paragraph had me in a bit of a cold sweat: �In the week before spring training, Cameron said he could hardly walk. He had to limit his activity at the beginning of camp, receiving extensive treatment and taking anti-inflammatory drugs. At one point, Cameron told Floyd, �This is killing me� and Floyd instructed him to take a few days off. Cameron now gets the toe taped every day and wears inserts in his shoes� Then Cliff Floyd claims he felt some burning and soreness in his repaired Achilles, and made this statement: �I�m disappointed� Floyd said, I want to tell you I�m ready to start the season right now. But I can�t.� GULP!!!!! That�s not what Mets fans want to here. Add that quote to what I witnessed last night, I�m a little concerned. Now, I know one game in March does not make a 162 season, but I saw Wiz Kid, Karim Garcia, strike out 3 times. I mean he was so off balance on each at bat and looked clueless on the breaking balls and off speed pitch. Roger Cedeno was in mid season form, as he took an 0'fer in 3 at bats. Timo Perez at least drew a walk; unfortunatly there was no short pier to be found. On a positive note, the pitching was outstanding. Jae Seo looked a little rusty in the first 2 innings but he was able to change speeds and get his command in his last 2 innings of work. Scott Erickson had his sinker dropping like a lead weight and the ground ball outs were plentiful. Rickey Bottalico was giddy after his 1 inning of work telling Professor Rick (who wore a mic for MSG telecast) �This is the best I�ve felt in a year� and �For the first time in my career, I don�t feel I have to strikeout every batter I face�. <

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

"LOOPY FOR LOOPER" Pete Abraham of the Westchester Journal News has a story on Braden Looper and his initiation into the Mets: There are certain ways a ballplayer can tell he has been accepted on his new team. Mets closer Braden Looper knew he was one the guys when Grant Roberts grabbed his cell phone and used the digital camera feature to take a photo of Scott Strickland's backside. Looper returned to find Roberts and Strickland giggling and a nice photo of his wife and kids temporarily replaced. Sophisticated comedy it wasn't. But Looper laughed anyway. "It's been pretty easy for me and that says a lot about the guys on this team," Looper said. "Everybody has been great." Yup that's why I'm a proud Mets fan. Also check out the part of the story about the World Championship ring the Fish will be doling out. The rings cost about $20,000 a piece. Remember that next time The Art Dealer and his whinny little step kid moan and groan about having no cash to sign players. <

"PIZZA BOY IS S.O.L" Eric Vidal the pizza boy who alleged he got his head handed to him by the tag team duo Karim Garcia/Shane Spenser looks to be"shit outta luck" in his attempt to cash in on Urine-Gate incident. St. Lonesome Police have decided to not press charges against the platooning RF'ers. It seem Vidal had more holes in his story than Janet Jackson's fish nets. He claims that Spenser hocked a loogy at him from the back of Garcia's Hummer but he then says he was on the sidewalk when it happened. Police investigators determined that the loogy would have to travel about 20 ft if that had happen. I believe someone for Ripley's Believe IT or Not wants to interview the loogy for it's next record book. <

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

�JOEL SHERMAN: MY LIFE AS A HIGHLANDER GROUPIE� Sherman is suffering form an extreme case of EHCD (Excessive Highlander Compulsive Disorder) The man is totally obsessed with everything Highlander. I mean this guy when he orders breakfast says � I want my eggs over easy, like a Mussina fastball, toast just right like A-Rod, and some pancakes stacked like Jeter�. He can�t help himself he needs to check into the Zimmer-Witson Institute for some much needed rehab. Here is the first two paragraphs of Sherman's column: "The Yankees are the most exclu sive club in New York. Every VIP - Very Impressive Player - wants to get beyond George Steinbrenner's velvet rope and experience the scene. Hey, isn't that Derek Jeter there talking with Alex Rodriguez? Which makes Al Leiter kind of unique. Al Leiter actually wants to be a Met. He does not ache to be with all the moneyed guys, with all the beautiful people, within an atmosphere in which you are as likely to bump into paparazzi as sports writers. Why would you not want to go where the wins flow like Cristal? "Because I'm a Met," Leiter said. Being a Met in 2004 means playing for a team resistant to doing what is necessary to upgrade its lineup and image by getting Alfonso Soriano. Meanwhile, being a Yankee in 2004 means we already are up to speculating on July deadline trades." Can you believe that was printed in a major metropolitan newspaper by their top baseball writer? Mind-boggling! Sherman is shocked that there is a player in the Major Leagues who is actually happy to play on a team other than the Highlanders. Then of course he has to put in the obligatory �bring Sori home� line that has become a Sherman trademark. What has happened to this guy? I use the enjoy reading his stuff. He was always well informed and had great insights on baseball and especially NY baseball. This �Highlanders are great, Mets suck� is so juvenile that it borders on embarassing. Please Joel, seek some help. �WEATHER FORECAST FROM PT. ST. LONESOME: CONTINUED GOLDEN SHOWERS� Urine-Gate won�t go away. It should have been a closed case by as I wrote yesterday, the Mets-Freddy Skill Sets-did not write out the check to make it go away. If the Mets had given young Eric Vidal a grand or two and a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon for his pappy, this case would have been closed. But since it is still simmering, we have dead horse beater- Bill Madden-checking in with the Mets should release Garcia/Spencer column. It�s funny when both guys were cashing Georgie Porgies checks we never heard what incorrigibles these two were. But now the Freddy Skill Sets signs the checks, we hear that Spencer has a rep as a carouser and party boy and that Garcia has anger management problems to go along with his bladder difficulties. The only thing that will get the Pee-Pee brothers bounced out off the Mets is lack of production. <

Monday, March 08, 2004

From everything I've read and heard about John Henry Williams foucused on how he treated his father Ted Willams very badly in his declining years. JHW made Teddy Ballgame sign memorabilia till he was on the verge of exhaustion. John Henry it seems, could not make it on his own so he used his fathers fame to make a buck. Whenever old friends and teammates would venture down to Florida to spend time with Ted, JHW would sit there an watch and listen like a hawk. Then when Ted died and JHW had him sent to an Arizona cryogenics lab, he aired the William's dirty laundry in public and became joke fodder for late night TV hosts. You know somewhere Teddy Ballgame was embarrassed and infuriated by what his only son had done. John Henry Williams passed away at the age of 35 yesterday in California. As per his last wishes he will join his famous father in a tube at the lab in Arizona. As bad a guy as it seems John Henry was, it's is still an awful shame that someone so young had his life taken. <

"I FEEL LIKE BILL MURRAY AT THE ACADEMY AWARDS" Pete Abraham of the Journal News had his story on baseball bloggers printed in the USA Today" today. Unfortunately, the section of the article that mentions yours truly, was left on the editing floor. Que Sara Sara At least I have my health. <

�URINE-GATE JUST WON�T GO AWAY� Here�s the mistake the Mets made after this ridiculous incident. When VP of Security Rob Kasdon, went to visit pizza boy, Eric Vidal, he should have brought Freddy Skill Sets checkbook and left a little �aboost� for the kid. Someone got to this kid (most likely his old man) and told him he should be cashing in on Karim Garcia�s golden showers. All Kasdon had to do was write a check for a couple of grand and this incident would have been closed. Now Vidal is hiring lawyers and is worried that his name has been trashed from St. Lonesome to NYC. This kid must have taken some shot to his head to have such delusional thoughts. My advise to Vidal is take the check from the Mets and never eat yellow snow. �NO QUEST-TECH AT DODGERTOWN� Look, I hope Titan Tommy Glavine wins 20 games this year because as Titan Tommy goes so will go the Mets, so let�s hope he is over all his �issues� that he suffered last season. It seems with the added defense up the middle, Glavine can relax and get back to his way of pitching, by using his pin point command and getting those ground balls that have made him a border line Hall of Famer. He seems more relaxed and is more than glad to not be the center of attention this spring. Aaron Heilman gave up back to back HR�s yesterday but he also had 0 walks and 4 K�s in 2 innings. I�m not going to get to concerned about the homers, I�d rather think that the BB/K numbers mean more. Dan Wheeler has done nothing so far this spring to lose his bullpen job, and Rickey Bottalico has been a pleasant surprise. �MY BIG FAT OBNOXIUOUS TALK SHOW HOST AND GILBERT GOTTFIRED II ARE IN PT. ST. LONESOME� First thing, Russo claims he will call Tradition Field, Thomas White Stadium because he likes calling that. So I�ll call Russo, A-Hole because I like calling HIM that. Their first guest was The Duke and of course he�s optimistic about the team. He was very happy how the kids from the farm system have looked and it�s given the Mets brass a reason to be optimistic. So of course Francessa has to throw cold water on the enthusiasm and the Lap Dog just goes along with what Mike says. Then the great pontificator Francessa says the Mets and Mets fans should not expect more than 80-85 wins this season. Gee Mikey, that would be a 14-19 game improvement over last year. What�s wrong with that? I would say most Mets fans would be happy with that. I don�t think any of us think the Mets are going to win the pennant this year. Both these schmucks embarrass themselves by their blind hatred toward the Mets. <

Sunday, March 07, 2004

"WHERE HAVE YOU GONE ROD GASPAR.............." It didn't take long for Mets Hater Joel Sherman to take his head out of A-Rod's ass to rehash his Soriano to the Mets diatribe. For this we can thank two former highlander and current two-headed RF'ers Karim Garica and Shane Spencer. As we all know by now, Garcia could not hold his water late Thursday night and figured it was too much of an inconvenience to go back into the bar he just left, to urinate. So in a move that shows how much he disrespect his wife and Spencer and his wife, he decides to take a leak outside in the street while walking to his car with them. Very classy. This just shows how desperate the Mets are in the OF that both of these jabronies were not sent packing. It also gives the meat heads in the media more fodder for their trade Kazmir for Soriano pap. The most bizarre aspect of the whole story though is the 18 year old delivery boy, who is told by his boss to keep quiet about the incident or he'll lose his job. Gee, if they can this kid does he get to cash out his 401K? Maybe the kid should find Gene Orza and see if he can organize a Pizza Delivers Association? <

Friday, March 05, 2004

BILL MADDEN OF OLD IS BACK Just when I thought we had a convert from the Pinstripe Ass Kissers Club, Bill Madden renews his mebership. Pinstripe Bill has a column today about what a loner Mike Piazza is and how he acts so aloof around the clubhouse. Well, no shit Sherlock! I ranted about this last season about the Island of Mikey so Madden is breaking no new ground here. However, from all the other newspaper reports and from TV interviews I've seen with Piazza this spring, he looks as happy now as I've ever seen him as a Met. Piazza has resigned the fact that he will be a part time 1st baseman and play the majority of games behind the plate. He has busted his ass learning to play 1st and has spent ton's of time with, not just Jason Phillips and Vance Wilson, but with the Mets two top catching prospects Justin Huber and Mike Jacobs. Madden makes a fuss because Piazza move his locker after a pipe sprung a leak over his assinged spot. What is he supposed to do, sit there and have water drip on his head? Give me a break. So let me get this striaght, Piazza moving his locker because a pipe above his head is busted is cause for conceren but Madden fav the Giambino having an unhealthy obbsession with his strength coach is not a casue for conceren? Please! <

Thursday, March 04, 2004

�GO LEAFS GO� We interrupt our talk of the NY Mets to vent about the darkest day in NY Rangers history. Brian Leetch the greatest player to ever wear the Rangers sweater, was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a first round draft choice in the 2004 draft and two prospects I have not been this disgusted with the Rangers since October 31, 1975 that's the day Ed Giacomin was shipped out to the Detroit Red Wings for the grand total of $100. How the hell can Little Jimmy Dolan allow Slats Sather to destroy this franchise? How does he sit by idly while Slats goes on Vancouver radio and bad mouths NY and Ranger fans? Slats was upset with the fans chanting �FIRE SATHER� and claimed that was one of the reasons the Rangers were underachieving. What Sather fails to mention is that when he should have been working to all summer to make sure the Rangers make the playoffs for the first time in 6 years, (now 7 years) he was on the golf course in Palm Springs and at his cottage in Banff Alberta. If Little Jimmy had any brains, he�d work out a buy out of Sather�s contract (he�s owed $8mil over the next 2 years) and hop in his limo for a ride through the Lincoln Tunnel, up the NJ Turnpike to exit 16 W, around Rt. 3 to the Meadowlands and throw himself at and a blank check at Devils Pres. Lou Lamirello, and beg him to take over the Rangers. Screw you Slats and Screw you Little Jimmy GO LEAFS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! �HEYMAN�S METS BASHING CONTINUES���� NEWSDAY columnist Jon Heyman had a great day yesterday. He saw the Dodgers thump the Mets in a spring training game and he got to write about Mike Piazza�s sore leg. He also was able to get a quote from an �anonymous scout�: �He doesn�t have good hands. He�s not a good catcher, so how�s he going to play first base? �I�m not sure he can make the switch�and he�s slow. It�s not a prerequisite but it doesn�t hurt either� We all know that Piazza is not Wes Parker but I can�t see where anyone thinks Mike will be that brutal at 1st. With Reyes at 2nd with his athletic ability and the great range he has, how much mobility will Piazza need at 1st? Just get back to 1st and catch the ball, that�s all he has to do. I don�t think anyone expects Piazza to make highlight film plays, just make the routine plays, that�s all. As for the statement about Piazza being a bad catcher, aside from throwing to 2nd base the last 2 years or so, he�s not that bad blocking balls in the dirt or his ability to call a game has not really been questioned. The main reason I have railed and I think most people as well, to put Piazza at 1st is to keep his potent bat in the Mets impotent line up. �LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WELCOME TO JACKIE ROBINSON FIELD���.� The dream of a new home for the Mets may be closer than we think. Today�s NY Times is reporting that the city is looking into condeming the land just outside the parking lot on 126th Street known as the �Iron Triangle�. This area is known for junkyards and auto repairs shops. It has the feel and look of the streets of Calcutta. There are no sidewalks or proper drainage, so rain water, auto fluids, and god knows what else lays stagnant in the streets. City officials PLUS Community leaders are in agreement that this tract of land-approximately 13 blocks in diameter-should be used for greater good. What could be better than a brand new baseball only park for the Mets called �Jackie Robinson Field�. With the land where Shea sits now, they could build a village with baseball themed shops and restaurants and a New York Baseball Museum. Freddy Skill Sets could build a replica of his beloved Ebbetts Field, with more seats of course. There is no need to waste tens of millions of dollars on a dome or roof over the ballpark. A nice opened air park with a nice bleacher section, wide concourse, and state of the art plumbing system is the way to go. <

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

I'm sitting here perusing the web and a thought just hit me. Can you imagine how great Kiner's Korner will be this year when Ralphie interviews Kaz Matsui? I mean this may be the only show that can rival "Curb Your Enthusiaim" for the greatest comedy in TV history. Just think, Ralphie with his interpreter, Francis X. Healy and Kaz with his mouthpeice. Can you imagine the poor bastard who has to type the closed captioning for that one? <

"CALL THE FBI, BILL MADDEN HAS BEEN ABDUCTED" I nearly choked on my sesame bagel this morning while reading avowed Mets hater Bill Madden's coulmn. For the first time since Casey Stengel was named manager, Madden had a pro Mets story. He outlines how the plan of building through pitching and defense is the RIGHT way to go for the Amazin's. He also gives great information on the Mets droping out of the Soriano sweepstakes. You get the feeling from all the stories about Soriano that the Highlanders would have moved him even if the A-Rod proposal never came up: But just for the record, here's what a highly placed Mets source said yesterday about these creative rumors: "Why would anyone think we would trade any of our best young players for a guy we'd have only two years of control over?" He did not bother to add the underlying factors - Soriano's refusal to listen to advice, his periodic brain locks and his stated reluctance to move off second base - that deemed him expendable by the Yankees. But of course not everybody can shake their addiction to Sorriano. Bob Klapisch in an ESPN column is can't give it up. But there is hope as you see in this quote from his story: "For what Soriano costs today and next year and the year after, I wouldn't trade for him. He's not worth it, not for Kazmir," said the executive. "Soriano strikes out too much, he doesn't walk and he can't play defense. What else is there to think about?" Enough is enough. <

"HEADS ARE GOIN' ROLL" Only kidding! Don't get your Jockeys in a bunch over today's 13-4 bitch-slappin' by the Dodger. If your upset over this loss here is a mantra for you to meditate on "Spring Training Games Don't Count". There is a reason they are called "Exhibition Games" all they are is to get in work and give the old farts of Florida something to do until Early Bird dinner is served. I will say this though, the Mets let Jaime Cerda, Matt Watson and the cult like figure Marco Scutaro go for nothing but Jason Anderson who has not shown a damn thing since he was acquired last year, takes up a much coveted spot on the 40 man roster. <

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

�HEY BARRY IS THAT A VIAL OF HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE IN YOUR POCKET��OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME?� Folks, the THG has hit the fan in the BALCO indictments. The defendants in this case are singing like Pavarotti at the Met. The SF Chronicle is reporting the following have received performance enhancing drugs form BALCO. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent. Barry Bonds Garry Sheffield Jason Giambi Marvin Bernard Benito Santiago (he was given the �Age You Ten Years� hormone) Randy Velarde (he was given the �I Can�t It�s A Steroid� hormone) Through all this mess, Alan H. Selig sits by and fiddles while MLB burns. Little by little the rank and file of the MLBPA are becoming outspoken about testing for performance enhancing drugs. The two-headed monster of Fehr/Orza has been superb in putting out the little brush fires that have erupted form time to time. This one could turn into a forest fire if they are not careful. I�ve always felt that the PA have held drug testing as a trump card when negotiations of the CBA comes around, put the time has come to throw in the cards. Every player in baseball is now being looked at with a jaundice eye. The broad brush of guilt is spreading and ugly coat over all the players. Someone from the rank and file that has the juice (no pun intended) has to step up and take a leadership role before baseball becomes the W.W.E. where 30 year olds go to die. NOW BACK TO THE HAPPY NEWS. It seems the mainstreamers have finally caught on to what we Mets aficionados have know for a year that Scott Kazmir is a legit prospect. Kevin Kernan has discovered the Joy of Kazmir, as he watched him pitch in an inter-squard game. By the way leave it to �wet blanket� Jon Heyman to rain on the Kazmir parade. THE GOOD Jose Reyes flexed his 15 pounds of new muscle (I hope is was from a steady diet of rice and beans) by homering off Jason Anderson. But the star of the day was 3rd baseman David Wright, who went 3-3 (a 2run HR and 2 singles) and showed off a terrific glove at the hot corner. Tyler Yates and the under appreciated Dan Wheeler had impressive outings on the mound. Cliff Floyd stretched a single into a double running full steam ahead and reported no pain in his repaired Achilies. THE BAD RHP Jason Anderson, who had a lot to say when he was acquired from the Highlanders last summer, gave up the HR to Reyes. THE UGLY Victor Diaz in his first chance at 3rd base made 3 errors. Jason Phillips dropped a pick off throw. �I MADE THEM AN OFFER THE COULDN�T REFUSE� Hey piasians, Italian night is back on the schedule for August 30th at Shea. After an avalanche of phone calls and e-mails the Mets had no choice put add on one more night to International Week. THE FINAL WORD ON SORIANO TO THE METS After reading this article in NEWSDAY, I think it�s safe to say that Lil� Sori to the Mets is a closed case, judging by this quote from Soriano: �I want to be a second baseman� said Soriano �I don�t want [to] change to another position. I want to be a second baseman forever. I�m comfortable there� <

Monday, March 01, 2004

IF IT AIN�T BROKE, STICH IT Kaz Matsui became the first casualty of the spring when he was hit in the middle finger of his right hand with a ground ball. The grounder split his nail and required a couple of stitches to close. X-Rays of the finger were negative (WHEW!) and it seems Kaz will be sidelined about a week. That means the Wilpon Ward Joe McEwing will fill in at short. (Memo to self: remember to write a post on how the Mets desperately need a back up infielder that can actually play) Here is a sign on how Artie from Queens feels about Super Joe: �Joey is capable of backing up the middle� Art Howe said. �He showed that last year. As the spring goes along, I know our people will be keeping an eye on other players and if something comes along that�s going to give us some security if we need it, we�ll do it� Translation: If this isn�t a wake up call to The Duke that we need a backup shortstop, I don�t know what else to say. You saw what happened last year when �Joey� became a regular! Forget about Sorriano, we need SCUTARO!!!!!!!!! SPEAKING OF SORIANO TO THE METS���.. To Whom It May Concern: I�m Dead! Yours truly, The Horse Can we stop with the (Prospect of your choice) for Alfonso Soriano trade talk. Its amazing, Jon Heyman of NEWSDAY must bored shitless because he won�t stop with this. Now he has the Dodgers in the mix offering young pitchers Edwin Jackson and Greg Miller as trade bait. Both Jackson-who was the reason the Dodgers let Kevin Brown go to the Highlanders-and Miller are blue chip pitching prospects. As much as the Dodgers need hitting there is now way Paul DePodesta makes that deal. �ADDRESS THE BALL�HEEELLLO BALL�.� Lee Jenkins has a how to play centerfield story by Mike Cameron in today�s NY Times. Remember, The Say Hey Kid, said that Shea Stadium CF was the toughest ever for him to play. PITCHING UNDER THE RADAR Newsday has a story on RHP�s Tyler Yates and Jeremy Griffiths, who are quitely going about their business and impressing the Mets brass. Both pitchers are 26 years old so they are on the cusp of going from prospects to suspects. Yates has been hampered by injury but his arm is live enough that there was talk of him being the closer before the Looper signing. I have been a fan of Griffiths since I watched him pitch a spring training game last year. With his imposing size (6�6� 235 lbs) Griffiths has the look of a ML pitcher. Even though he gives the appearance of a power pitcher, Griffths is more of a finesse guy who has had control problems but has great movement on his pitches. Both pitchers need to add a little more zip on their fastballs to make Artie and Professor Rick final decisions on the pitching staff more difficult. �ALWAYS CHECK THE FINE PRINT� From Bob Herzog�s Mets Notebook in NEWSDAY on 23 year old pitcher Jose Diaz: �His high heat induced mostly empty swings with an occasional foul ball. Hitters muttered and left the cage shaking their heads. �Gas-o-line!� jeered observer John Franco. �Whew�! said (Jose)Reyes after several futile swings.� Diaz is the pitcher formally known as Joselo Diaz. <

Sunday, February 29, 2004

THE "SORI" THAT WON'T GO AWAY The Alfonso Sorriano to the Mets for (fill in the prospect) just keeps growing legs. Jon Heyman of NEWSDAY and Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record are reporting today, that the Texas Rangers have set their sites on Scott Kazmir as the gotten gains for Lil' Sori. But wasn't it just the other day that Freddy Skill Sets proclaimed that Kazmir was as close to an untouchable as there is in the organization? Wilpon watched Kazmir throw live batting practice yesterday and said, "He's not going anywhere." I know all the pluses on Lil' Sori. The power and speed and his placement in the batting order at the 3 or 5 spot and the protection that Piazza would have is very very inticing and intriguing, but I do not want to loses Kazmir. I admit I have never seen Kazmir pitched ( I missed seeing him at Brooklyn by a day) but the reports that I have read make it impossible for me to believe the Mets would let this him go. John Sickels in his 2004 Prospect Book rates Kazmir an A-. Sickles also states he believes Kazmir to be the best LHP prospect in baseball. So far Kazmir has shown a FB that is close to unhitable and a slider that�s as nasty as Courtney Love. Sickels also states that the only thing that could derail Kazmir's career is injury, and you could say that about any player. However, with Rick Peterson as the CEO of Pitching, I'm sure his "Preabilataion program" will cut down the risk of that. Looks to me the Rangers are desperate to unload Sorriano. The Duke has to play this like a savvy card shark. Tell Hicks and Hart no on Kazmir and take it from there. I have no problem going after Soriano but let's get him on OUR terms. No Reyes and No Kazmir. <

A MAINSTREAM DISCOVERY It's time for us bloggers to stand proud today. Peter Abraham of Gannett Journal News of Westchester has an article today on the world of baseball bloggers (of which yours truly was interviewed for and is mentioned) If your a regular to this site, you know the names in the story and I'm sure you have clicked on the links to read there fine work. If your a newcomer to this site after reading Peter's story, Welcome, look around, get comfortable, and please do not hesitate to ask questions. <

Saturday, February 28, 2004

"HELLO? IS IT ME YOU LOOKING FOR?" I think it may be time for The Giambino and his personal trainer Bob Alejo to go house hunting in New Paltz. I hear they have a fabulous Bed Bath and Beyond there <

OLD TIMERS DAY AT PT. ST. LONESOME Al Goldis and Bill Livesey, the Mets two "Super Scouts" are the subject of a terrific story in today's NY Times. Goldis and Livesey have a combined 80 years of experience beating the bushes and sandlots looking for talent. Both men have impressive resume in that area. More and more it seems the Mets front office is getting it's act together. First we see they have blended the old-Goldis & Livesey-with the new- stat man Ben Baumer-along with some good planning by The Duke on the path he wants the organization to follow, pitching and defense. This quote from Livesey is one that should be etched in stone and given to Freddy and Jeffy Skill Sets with a note saying, LIVE IT, LEARN IT, LOVE IT: "I learned there that in this day and age, you have to have a core group of your own players," said Livesey, who was hired by the Mets after Bill Singer was fired for making racially insensitive comments to a Los Angeles Dodgers executive. "We don't just want to build a championship team, because that can go away. We want to build a championship organization. That's the job here." That says it all. As a Mets fan do you want to win one World Series every 20 years or do you want to build an organization where your a major contender every year? Then also have the depth to reach down to your farm system and grab a player to step in when one of regulars go down? That seems to be the philosophy that just might invigorate the Mets. Look at all the great stories so far this spring, of Matsui & Reyes working together. Piazza hagin' with Jason Phillips and Vance Wilson plus lockering next to Justin Huber and Mike Jacobs. That's the leadership we have been looking for from Mike. The old heads of the pitching staff seem to have taken a shine to Professor Rick. The Mets players just seem to have done a 180 degree turnaround with their attiutdes toward going out and winning. My God, even Artie form Queens looks down right managerial. <

Money, get back I'm all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack Money, it's a hit Don't give me that do goody good bullshit I'm in the high-fidelity first class traveling set And I think I need a Lear jet Welcome to the links section Dugout Dollars. Where you get the low down on where all the Bling-Bling is in MLB <

Friday, February 27, 2004

WE'RE #22 ! WE'RE #22! ESPN.COM has released their pre season power ratings. Looks like the Amazin's have some ground to make up here. <

"THERE'S A VILLAGE SOMEWHERE THAT HAS LOST IT'S IDIOT" So Jeff Kent can apply. You remember Kent when he was a Met, don't you? As the great philosopher Bugs Bunny would say "What a Marooon"! Kent ranks right up there with Richie Hebner, Bobby Bo, and Vince Coleman as Mets we would love to forget about, but after reading his quotes in the Houston Chronicle, this was too good to pass up. Kent wonders why fans and the media are clamoring about today's players and the questions of who is and who isn't taking performance enhancing drugs. Kent wants to know why we don't question whether Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig were on the "juice". Here's a quote: "Babe Ruth didn't do steroids?" he said. "How do you know? How do you (expletive) know? People are saying Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. How do you know those guys didn't do steroids? So all of a sudden, you've got guys doing steroids now in the 20th century, 21st century? Come on. Of course the Bambino was not on 'roids, everyone knows he was on hot dogs and Knickerbocker Beer. It's a shame the Kent has not fully recovered from the head injury he suffered when he fell "washing his truck" last year wink!wink! Kent was not done with the 'dis job on the Bambino: "They were shooting horses with steroids in those days, and that's the same kind of steroids they're putting into human bodies right now," he said. "So we don't know. Am I right? Babe Ruth was huge. He was fat, couldn't even run around the bases. He had knee problems, the same problems that happen to guys taking steroids right now. He was an alcoholic. WHOA Jeffy why the hatred toward the Babe? Sure ole George Herman Ruth was a drinker and a carouser, but he is also the greatest player to ever play baseball. Sure the Babe was a drunk and you Jeff, your a a-hole. Hey I guess everyone has their demons. Then by some miracle Kent makes sense when he questions the lifestyle of the players from the era of Ruth and Cobb: "Well, back in the day when the game was invented (and) with Babe Ruth, we had guys doing the same things. They had drug and alcohol problems then, and they had questionable attitudes then, too. Like the broken clock that's right twice a day, Kent makes an excellent point here. Every book you read about that era in baseball is full of stories of players drunk or hungover. Alcoholisms was the biggest factor to missing games than pulled muscles. <

MORE SORI TO METS It seems the Texas Rangers will not take no for answer when it comes to sending Alfonso Soriano to the Mets. Knowing that Reyes and Scott Kazmir are off limits, it seems they are enamored with the Mets rich crop of pitching prospects. Mets Analyst has posted an interesting proposal of Matt Peterson and Victor Diaz and or Justin Huber or Mike Jacobs for Sorriano. That is quite enticing. The big question is will Sorriano resign himself to playing RF? He was adamant about playing 2nd base in Arlington as he would tell anyone who would question him about moving to the outfield that he is a "2 time All Star 2nd baseman". Is it worth trading a potenial 2 or 3 starter like Peterson? I don't think The Duke is ready to pull the trigger by this quote: We've never had a plan that combined a core of veteran guys with a core of signed-and-developed guys in our system," Duquette said yesterday. "Not since the '80s anyway. "Now we've got guys coming through the system who are growing up together, learning to win together. I think that's important." This is what has me on the fence with this type of acquisition. We have a core of young guys who have grown together and have won at the minor league level. That's how you build a winning atmosphere in your organization. While I straddle the fence, I'm leaning more and more to no deal! <

Thursday, February 26, 2004

�..SO MY THERAPIST SAID I MUST CONFRONT MY FEARS� So it seems that Artie from Queens had lots of time on his hands yesterday as the skies opened up at Pt. St. Lonesome as he named Titan Tommy Glavine the Mets Opening Day starter. Hopefully, Titan Tommy has gotten over his fear of his former team as the Mets open the 2004 season at The Field Named After an Eccentric Yachtsman. You have to figure he cannot do any worse than he did last year. TT was just dreadful last year, but he was particularly awful against the Bravos. He was 0-4 with a 10.35 ERA that includes going 0-2 15.26 ERA at the Ted. It would have been worse but TT said �no mas� when his number came up during the Mets last trip to �Hotlanta. I guess knowing that Gary Sheffield, Javy Lopez and Vinny Castila are employed elsewhere have help Titan Tommy overcome his fears. �IT�S FUN TO STAY AT THE Y.M.C.A� �EAST IS EAST AND WEST IS WEST BUT THE CENTRAL DIVSIONS ARE NOT AS GOOD� Mark Hale has and interesting piece in today�s NY Post on collective record of the 6 divisions of MLB. Here is the breakdown� NL EAST 427-382 .528 AL WEST 337-311 .520 AL EAST 416-394 .514 NL WEST 407-402 .503 NL CENT 472-500 .486 AL CENT 370-440 .457 Another interesting fact in the story is from the Elias Sports Bureau which came up with the stat that no divison since division play began in 1969 have had all of it�s teams finish above the .500 mark. The closest any division has come to do this was the 1991 AL West when Angels came up a game short by finishing 81-81. You�d have to expect the AL East to be the best division in baseball this year with the improvement of the Blue Jays, Orioles and D-Rays. �IS TURK WENDELL A PLAYA HATA OR IS BARRY BONDS JUST A HATED PLAYER?� Circle these dates on your calendar baseball fans, May 28, 29, and 30 Rockies at Giants at SBC Park. It was not just Wendell but also Denny Neagle tossed a grenade toward Jason Giambi stating, �I don�t know what Giambi looked like in his early days but I know he wasn�t as big as he is now�. But it was Turk who came out swing against Bonds: �If my personal trainer, me, Turk Wendell, got indicted for that, there�s no one in the world who wouldn�t think I was taking steroids. I mean, what, because he�s Barry Bonds, no one�s going to say that? I mean obviously he did it� Wendell just said what everyone has thought but I guess maybe the threat of a slander suit has kept that quiet. One thing here, Bonds has made his own licensing deal which means he has divorced himself form the MLBPA�s agreement where by all the money from licensed merchandise is spilt amongst the players. So I�m sure his fellow players are not very happy with Bonds and that may explain the silence coming form the two-headed monster known as Fehr-Orza. On the other hand, NEWSDAY columnist Jon Heyman challenged Gary Sheffield to give a urine sample in a �pee cup� and have it tested for steroids. In fact, Sheff had agreed to go with Heyman to a lab in Tampa but they found out that a note signed by a doctor was needed to go ahead with the test. So they decided to do it the next day. Well it seems Fehr-Orza found out about this break in the ranks and pulled a little intimidation on Sheffield ala the juror in Uncle Juniors racketeering trial. In fact when Heyman came to Sheffield�s locker the next morning, Sheff was hardly cordial. He told Heyman if he did not leave and drop this whole testing thing he would not talk to him the rest of the season. What ya gonna do when Fehr-Orza comes after you? �METS WILL DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT WITH GRASS THIS YEAR� No, Grant Roberts has nothing to do with this story. The Mets have decided to buzz cut the outfield grass after the players have complained about the grass holding back hits into the gap. Also, the outfielders say it�s easier to play the carom off the LF and RF walls as the ball picks up speed on the short lawn. It seems as well that the pride of Co. Roscommon, Ireland Pete Flynn will be replaced. �CALL KOFI ANNAN METS DROP ITALIANS, GERMANS, AND POLISH� While perusing the Mets schedule, I noticed that during International Week at Shea the Mets have dropped Italian, German and Polish Nights. When you operate in a city with the diverse population like NYC, you could honor a different group every game, and I would have absolutely no problem with that. But, what did the Italians, Germans and Polish do that got them bounced form the International Week? <

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

"Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed" The crown jewel of the farm system is Scott Kazmir. John Harper has a story on the Mets taking baby steps with Kazmir in his development. The set backs of the Gen K trio of Wilson, Pulsipher and Isringhausen still haunts this organization. Hopefully under the direction of Professor Rick and of former major league pitcher jerry Reuss handling the staff in Binghampton, Kazmir, and Matt Peterson will flourish. What helps as well is, The Duke was in the org during the crash and burn of Gen K and he sites fatigue as one of the problems the trio had. So the trip that the young arms took with Peterson to the lab at ASMI should help in that respect. I also remember how Senator Al and John Franco were livid when Bill Pulsipher took the afternoon of when Sandy Koufax was visiting camp and wanted to meet with the pitchers to share his insights on pitching. Pulsipher felt he was above that. That's why Pulsipher is beating around as a stumble bum looking to make a ML roster <

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME! Today marks the 1st anniversary of the Kranepool Society. I must say I am deeply fortunate to have had guys like Alex Bleth of Bronx Banter and Sean of Purgatory Online and the great guys over at Elephants in Oakland helped me when I decided to start up this site. I am also very appreciative of everyone who comes by here to read what's on my mind. When I put in the site meter I was just hoping it moved from 1 to 2, so you could imagine how I felt when it went past the 26,000 mark. Again, my heartfelt thanks to those you helped me and to those who enjoy reading my rants. <

LETS LOOK AT THE HEADLINES: Mets say �NO� to Sorriano For Jose Reyes that is. After further review I still think the Mets made the right choice. It�s funny, when Mo and the Diva were stinkin� up the joint, the cry from Mets fans was �PLAY THE KIDS� �THE KIDS PLAY WITH PASSION� YADA YADA YADA! So The Duke charts the course of the team by building a foundation on defense and pitching. With Scott Kazmir, Matt Peterson, Bob Kepel and the like waiting in the pitching wings and players who seem to have passion and talent like Matsui and Reyes, and the always popular �hard-nosed� player (known in hockey circles as grit) in Wiggy, Jason Philips and Vance Wilson, some in Mets fandom want to scrap the plan. Folks, you can�t have it both ways. I know patients is not a sports fans virtue but let�s just take a deep breath and let the Duke do his job. I have a little more bad news for you; I don�t think we are winning the World Series this year. I�m just looking to be mediocre. A .500 season or better is the best you can hope for. Let�s look at this season as something to build on. THE FOLLOWING POST WAS PAID FOR BY FRIENDS OF SENATOR AL LEITER The good Senator from Flushing was on the stump yesterday in Pt. St. Lonesome and he seem a bit agitated by all the question about our neighbors to the North, the Highlanders: "Guys in here absolutely better not be thinking about what's going on across town. It doesn't matter. Who cares? So they're getting the back page? That's not our problem. If talk-radio is talking about us in a negative way - we deserved it the way we played last year. "It's a concern for the organization, for marketing and all that. But as players, we've got a nice new core of players and we've got to go out and make pitches, win games. We do that and people will get excited about our club again. Nothing else will do it." Senator Al wants to leave the bitching and moaning to professionals like me. Good for the Senator. The message is out there loud and clear, pay attention to your job and don�t worry about the other guys. I would tell the little splinter group of Mets fans in the �Woe is We� collation to pay heed to the senators words as well. THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING 1ST BASEMAN Kate Moss���.errrrr I mean Jason Giambi reported to Highlander camp yesterday. I think it was Giambi, I mean there was a picture in the paper of a guy who looked more like Lance Bass than the Giambino, but the caption said is was Jason Giambi. Maybe the papers will print a retraction to tomorrow. NEW ERA CAP CO. RUNS OUT OF WOOL MAKING A CAP FOR BARRY BONDS BALCO client Barry bonds arrived in Scottsdale Az showing no signs of any weight reduction. In fact he look his super human self. Bonds still maintains that he does not take any performance enhancing drugs even though his childhood friend and personal trainer/lackey Greg Anderson is under indictment in the BALCO scandal. UNION OFFICALS ESCAPE INJURIES CROSSING MIDTOWN STREET MLBPA officials Don Fehr and Gene Orza escaped serious injury yesterday when they did not see an on coming car as they crossed Park Avenue. Fehr and Orza claim the blinders both men were wearing made impossible to see the on coming vehicle. NON-BASEBALL DADA DADA DADA DA�.DADA DADA DADA DA�.DA DA DA DA �THE RANGERS SUCK! There has to be a way that the Hockey Hall of Fame can recall the induction of Glen Sather in it�s hallowed hall. When is �Slats� going to step up and resign as coach/gm/president of the Blueshirts? And Little Jimmy Dolan, can you get head out of Isaiah Thomas�s ass and look at the fall of the Ranger Empire. When is the Weasel Betman going to step in and order Dolan to get his icehouse in order? Sorry Kansas City Scout and Icelander fans, when the Rangers are bad like this no one gives a rat�s ass about hockey. That�s what makes this the worst time in NYR history; Ranger fans have gone from anger to who gives a shit. When it gets to the who gives a shit stage, your organization is in very serious trouble. <

Monday, February 23, 2004

A must read is The Shea Hot Corner explaining the wave of "metrosexuals" on the Highlanders. The Hot Corner hits this one "way,way back seeeeee ya" out of the park. Damn good stuff <

IT DON�T COME EASY�YOU KNOW IT DON�T COME EA-SAAAAAAY��� I was enjoying all the feel good stories coming out of Pt. St. Lonesome. Senator Al and Titan Tom Glavine in shape and ready to take on the NL. Mike Piazza, healthy and raring to go either at catcher or 1st baseball, doesn�t matter as Mikey says what�s good for the team is good by me. Then Lee Jenkins of NY Times had a piece on the THREE RECLOMATION PROJECTS, Scott Erickson, Ricky Bottalico and James Baldwin. The NY Post with a little blurb that 2nd baseman Victor Diaz, coming off a strong Winter League season, is 20 lbs lighter and getting in some work at 3rd base. That would lead one to believe that Diaz will be given a chance to make the 25 man roster as a backup infielder and a right handed bat off the bench. Then I see Kevin Kernan�s column also in the NY Post on Kaz Matsui and Jose Reyes clicking like Fred and Ginger and all of a sudden I�m envisioning a team that could be much better than most folks think they will be. I start staring at the schedule for the up coming season thinking,�hummm the Phillies May 25 & 26 at Shea, maybe I should get tickets for those games and how about September 10,11 and 12 Mets-Phillies at Shea will those games be B-I-G games?� Then I leaf through NEWSDAY and there it is �SORIANO-REYES DEAL?� Can�t I enjoy one day of Spring Training? Now the whole morning I am tossing this scenario in my head. Soriano-power, speed, All Star-established major leaguer, can�t field for shit. Reyes-potential for power and batting championships, blazing speed, home grown talent, off the charts defense, not yet proven, which way do you go? I�m a fan of Lil� Sori but his World Series failure has made his stock take a bit of a dive. Then add to the fact that he aged 2 years in a matter of months-went from 26 years old to 28 years old-but just thinking of him in the line up of Piazza-Floyd-Soriano has me light headed. But then I look at Reyes and I see Gold Gloves, batting titles, stolen base titles, highlight film plays in the hole, and you know what I get a FRIGGIN� HEADACHE!!!! As I write this My Big Fat Obnoxious Talk Show Host (Mike Francessa) and his sidekick Gilbert Gottfried�err I mean Chris Russo have announced that Sr. Skill Sets has said �On the issue of trading Jose Reyes for Alfonso Soriano NO WAY, JOSE Now WFAN Mets reporter Ed (make mine vanilla) Coleman comes on to talk about what Freddy Skill Sets thinks of these rumors. As Coleman tries to explain to Obnoxious Mike and the Shrieking Russo that the Mets would still listen to a deal for Lil Sori but Reyes would not be in the package, Mike and Chris are shouting incoherently as Coleman tries to make a point on why he would not make the deal. As Coleman tries to explain that he has been wahtching Matsui and Reyes make plays that show him they could be the best DP duo in baseball,. Francessa all but calls him an asshole. This is not an easy call but I have to agree with Freddy Skill Sets. Even though Sori is an All Star, I think the Highlanders would have moved him even if the A-Rod trade did not come up. The Highlanders seemed to have soured on Sori but his digits are still very very enticing. The Mets have a plan in place (are you sick of me writing that phrase yet) and pitching and defense is the benchmark of this plan. From all the early accounts from Pt. St. Lonesome the Matsui-Reyes entry, will something to build on. Plus the strikeout numbers from Sori make me a jumpy. Mike Camereon is a triple digit wiffer as is Wiggy, so to add a third windmill is tough to do. <

Sunday, February 22, 2004


LOST IN TRANSLATION That's how I feel after trying to purchase Mets tickets on line. Once you get hooked in to the Mets web site and click on the game you want, you are thrust into this black hole called "The Virtual Waiting Room". It's sort of like a purgatory for ticket buyers. Well after sitting there for an hour, I decide enough was enough. I headed over to e-Bay were I bought 2 tickets for opening day April 12th. I won't even print how much I paid for the tickets, but they are box seats in the Upper Deck (My favorite level by the way) behind home plate. By the way there were loads of listings on e-bay for THE openning day in Atlanta. I was very tempted to click on those as well. It looks as all the games at Shea versus the Highlanders are sold out. The bad part is lots of Highlander fans have purchased those tix. I guess it's the convient parking that brings them out. <

The NY Times and NY Daily News had great stories today on the young arms in the Mets organization. One of the lessons the organization has learned is not to spout off over minor league prospects. Former GM's Joe McIllvaine and Steve Phillips were the worst offenders of that practice. McIllvaine waxed poetic about Gregg Jefferies that Mets fans thought he was the second coming of Ty Cobb. Instead he turned out to be the second coming of Don Bosch. Phillips went ga-ga over Generation K-Paul Wilson, Jason Isringhausen and Bill Pulshiper-and all three-well maybe not Izzy-were busts. The Duke is more low key on the farm hands. Having been in the organization as long as he has, he 's seen first hand that the big build up helps no one, especially the players. But as we have seen the Mets minor leagues are turning out some very good prospects. <

Saturday, February 21, 2004

MIKEY'S IN DA HOUSE!!!!!!! Mike Piazza hit Port St Lonesome yesterday and put on a show for folks at camp. This birds eye view from Mark Hale of the NY Post: {Piazza began the drills after doing some catching work and putting on a thunderous power display in his first batting practice, wrapping up his session with a booming drive off the blue-netted Monster in center field. Just for reference sake, the fence is 410 feet away from home, and the shot spiked off the net, some 30 feet up in the air.} After that he headed over to another field to put in some work at 1st base. It seems Mikey is ready, willing and able to play 1st base. I had a great chat with Joe MacDonald the head honcho over at MOFO SPORTS, I asked him how many games he thought Piazza would play at 1st. He broke it down this way: 1st base-50 games Catcher- 90 games DH-9 Sounds like the right break down to me. If Artie form Queens and The Duke presented that to Mikey, I think he sign on for that. Mikey seems primed and ready for the season from these quotes in Kevin Kiernan' column in the Post: "No matter what happens in these next two years, I think it's important for me to get over there at first, and you know what, it is going to help my career," said Piazza, who worked three weeks over the winter to begin to learn the new position. "It is going to help me play into my 40s if I want to do that. "And that's what, for me, I think is important to realize." Mikey also touched on the failure to communicate that seems to be one of the aspects of managing that Artie from Queens needs to improve on: Piazza admitted yesterday that Howe's actions stung him last season, but maintained the two now have a positive relationship. "My rules and sort of ideas about being a man are very simple: You come to me, tell me what you think," Piazza said about the Mets' handling of his move. "You may not like what they say, but at least you have to respect someone when they talk to you about it. Just the fact that it wasn't really done as far as talking to me face-to-face and there was a little bit behind-the-scenes thing, that's always a little bit of a turnoff for me. "But I just want to do what's best for the ballclub. It wasn't like it was a catastrophic event. It was just one of those things. In any relationship, you have sometimes a little bit of a miscommunication. "It's important for myself and the organization to turn the page, and I'm very positive. For myself, personally, I think it's an interesting next phase, or whatever phase of my career I'm in, to show that I can do that and be more versatile as a player." If Artie and The Duke would have went to Mikey and laid out their plan for him to play some 1st base last season, a whole lot of bullshit could have been avoided. Live and learn guys, live and learn. <

Friday, February 20, 2004

The previous years, our expectations were - and we came out publicly and said it - the playoffs," Duquette said. "I think that's a little bit unrealistic. I think [playing] meaningful games is a much more realistic goal until we are able to make a trade or two to get us over the hump." And with that quote The Duke has set some Mets fans in a tizzy and I can't figure out why. If he said "Well we should be in line to win the World Series" we'd all think he was nuts. He gave an honest and forthright opinion on what he and the Skill Sets think they can accomplish this season. What exactly are you looking for in the 2004 Mets? For me, I'm looking at the development of the younger players. Can Aaron Heilman make a positive contribution to this team? Can Jason Phillips continue to improve (by the way, I am leading to Avkash's line up projection with Phillips batting 3rd) Can Piazza play healthy all season and make the adjustment to 1st base? Will Wiggy improve both at the plate and on "D"? Is Jae Seo the real deal? Do the geezers of the bullpen have anything left? Is Scott Kazmir ready for the bright lights of the big city? Can Titan Tom Glavine recapture the glory days? Is David Wright the best prospect the you have not heard of? If the Mets were to win 85 games this year would you be disappointed? I wouldn't. That's a 19 game improvement. Plus, that would mean they would be in contention for at least a Wild Card berth. As much as I ridicule and criticzie the Skill Sets, I really believe they want to win very very badly. The problem is they have gone about it the wrong way. The Duke may have gotten through to them by taking the emphasis off winning the back pages of the tabloids. I've also come to the conclusion that most Mets fans, if not the majority of sports fans, get their news and views from The NY Daily News, the NY Post and talk radio. There is a definite lack of thought that goes into the negativity that has taken over these Mets fans. If some of them would bother to read any of the Mets bloggers, or Baseball America they might see the light that the Mets are building an organization that should blossom. <

AHHHHHH SPRING WHEN A YOUNG MAN'S FANCY TURNS TO PITCHERS AND CATCHERS. There is nothing that warms me more than the byline in the papers from Port St. Lonesome. That plus the fact that individual game tickets go on sale Sunday at Shea. In the past I've made the trek to the Flushing Projects for my tickets but last year I decided to make my ticket purchase from the comfort of the Kranepool Society headquarters. The biggest problem with that method was, the server was jammed by people with the same idea. Maybe this Sunday it will be different, between the fact that the Mets are hooked to a better high speed server and that all the crybaby wussies who have vowed to never set foot in Skill Sets Stadium ever again, they will be enough tickets for us die hards to scoop up. The one thing that could get to go to Shea on Sunday is, that my Lord and Savior Eddie Kranepool will be in attendance signing autographs. That and the free Dunkin' Dounuts. HERE IS SOMETHING WE HAVE NOT SEEN IN A WHILE, AN A-ROD STORY! The Stepford reporters really need to be re-programmed. Instead of asking about the bullpen competition or the need to acquire another infielder to come off the bench or if Artie from Queens remembers what he ate for lunch today, they have more A-Rod questions. Hopefully Jr. Skill Sets (who is IN CHARGE) set then straight with this quote: "I don't think A-Rod wanted to come here," Wilpon said as he hopelessly tried to steer the conversation to the renaming of the Mets' spring-training stadium, Tradition Field. "... The reports we had were that he wanted to go to the Yankees or the Red Sox and that was it. Those are the only two teams they (the Rangers) were authorized to talk to. That's what we know." I give Jr and The Duke credit for one thing, they have much more patience than I would with media. If I were in their shoes, I would tell them "If I get one more A-Rod question I going to lock all of you in the clubhouse with a naked Jay Horowitz ". That'll stop em' TIME TO END THE TIMO PEREZ ERA A report in today's NY Daily News, says The Duke will not release Roger Cedeno and eat the $10 mil on the remaining two years of his contract. If they could find a trading partner, I'm sure the Mets would swap Cedeno for a couple of jock straps, if they would take his contract as is. But in the economic climate that baseball is in these days, I don't see that happening. So it looks like Timo Perez will be either given his walking papers or trade. I was never a Timo fan. I always felt he was mentally challenged when it came to baseball sense and his inability to hit lefties make him a liability. I guess ole Jolly Roger will be a very expensive bench player this season. <

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

MR. SPEAKER, I RELINQUISH THE REST OF MY TIME TO THE SENATOR FROM FLUSHING. Senator Al has commented on the A-Rod to the Evil Empire. He takes a shot at the MLBPA of which he serves on the executive board: "I don't see how it's a financial gain for a player to get a (hotel) suite on the road," said Leiter, a member of the executive board of the players association, which approved this deal but not the one with the Red Sox. Leiter was referring to how A-Rod will get a hotel suite on the road and also will have his Web site linked to the Yankees site." It's no secret that VP of the MLBPA Gene Orza is a huge Highlander fan. I know for a fact that Orza was dancing a jig in a private suite inside Sodom and Gomorrah Stadium the night Aaron F'in Boone hit the HR to beat the Olde Town Team. In fact Orza is a frequent guest of the Evil Empire during the season. Leiter also added this quote: First of all, the Mets are definitely on the right track, going for younger, more athletic players," he began. "But whatever our failure was not to sign him -- and we've been reminded of that over and over again -- at least before he was buried away down in Texas. Now he's just a few miles away across the river in the Bronx, and we get to hear about his exploits all the time. "I don't think salt in the wound describes it enough. It's more like rubbing salt, and then pouring hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol and rust in there at the same time." Maybe, just maybe this is the carrot that could motivate the Amazin's this season. How long do you allow yourself to kicked in the ass, when you finally take that "Kick Me" sign off our back. You know what will show me if the Mets have onions? The first game of the Mets-Yankees inter-league series,(June 25th at Sodom and Gomorrah) someone puts a pitch right under A-Rod's chin. <

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Eric McErlain of the entertaining and informative Off Wing Opinion, has joined myself and Avkash in the No Whine Zone of Mets fans. Sidebar: I forgot to bring my music CD's to work today so I listened to some sports talk radio here in NYC. There was more and more so called Mets fans whining again especially to My Big Fat Obnoxious Talk Show Host aka Mike Francessa, about how bad the Mets will be this season. When the Mets are in the hunt for the Wild Card in September all of you can kiss my Royal Irish arse! Sorry about that. Back to the subject at hand. Eric has a truly brilliant post on his site about the Mets pedigree. We are the legacy left by John McGraw and of Jackie Robinson and we should always celebrate our National League roots. I also agree with Eric about the Mets uni's. Go back to the original Mets uniform with blue and orange as our colors and no names on the back. It's a classic. But the most important part is go back to the philosophy that was the most successful, Pitching and Defense. <

HEY, JOEL: F YOU! I figured all the papers today would be wall-to-wall A-Rod and the NY fish wraps did not disappoint. But, just when I thought I�d seen it all, I read Joel Sherman�s column in today�s NY Post. If I were the editor of the Post, after reading Sherman�s column today I�d demand he be drug tested. It�s bad enough that he was given the assignment to write the obligatory �Mets Suck� column for the Post (that job at the Times goes to Murray Chass, Fillip Bondy does the honors at the Daily News, John Heyman holds that position for Newsday, and Bob Klapish takes care of anti-Metsism in suburbia for the Bergen Record) Sherman starts off with telling the Mets to go after Alfonso Sorriano and put him in RF. Which of course makes perfect sense, since Soriano has never played the OF before (PUUULEEZE) then came the part that had me scream WTF? out loud on a Queens bound R train this morning: �Mets GM Jim Duquette needs to be on the phone with counterpart John Hart today to say native Texan Scott Kazmir is available. The lefty is viewed among the major�s 20 best prospects. It�s a great start of a trade. Throw in Aaron Heilman and Royce Ring and it�s darn attractive� WHEW!!!!! Read that paragraph again and tell me that Sherman has not become the Jerome form Manhattan of print media. Hey, why not include Jose Reyes and Lastings Milledge as well. What makes it worse is that I always enjoy reading Sherman�s columns but now I have to read him with a jaded eye. Here�s a bulletin for the Joel Sherman�s of the world, The Duke has a plan and it may take 2 season for it to take fruition and Scott Kazmir is a major part of the plan. Here is more manure from Sherman, who must have been listing to �Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds� while writing this: �Would Kazmir be tough to lose? Of course. But he is 20 and pitched in A ball last year. He has a questionable makeup, according to an executive from another team, and the kind of delivery that raises worry about injury. �High risk, great reward� the executive said.� First off the �nameless executive� seems to have a bad case of the sour grapes. Where was it ever reported that Kazmir had a �questionable� makeup? Remember, the teams that drafted ahead of the Mets bypassed Kazmir because they were afraid of his signing demands. So the Mets ignored that and picked him and signed him quickly and got his career started on the fast track. But because the Mets made a move that was positive it was glossed over. Second, has Sherman heard about the Mets signing Rick Peterson as their pitching coach? Does he read his own newspaper, where colleague Kevin Kiernan did a piece on Professor Rick taking the Mets top pitching prospect to ASMI for a complete evaluation? As we all know Professor Rick�s philosophy is �Pre-Hab instead of Re-Hab� As I�ve said, there are a plethora of events that Mets management have done that have set my blood pressure to 200 but when you read columns like Joel Sherman�s it makes you appreciate the baseball bloggers who are out there. George Vecsey has aterrific column today on Lawrence Ritter and of the monthly luncheons he presided over with some of the great baseball writers in NYC. I know a few members of The New York Giants Historical Society attended these monthly gatherings as Ritter was a great NY Giants fan and latter gravitated toward the Mets. But if it weren�t for Evelyn Bagley there would not have been these terrific get togethers. Ms. Bagley is a major force in SABR and in the Casey Stengel Chapter of NYC. She was able to turn Ritter away from his recluse lifestyle to meet with the members of the NY baseball community. <

Monday, February 16, 2004

Lost in all the Highlander and A-Rod minutia was the passing of Lawrence Ritter. Ritter was the author of arguably the greatest baseball book ever written "The Glory of Their Times". He went around the country with a reel to reel tape recorder interviewing ball players from the early 20's and 30's. Ritter was also a fixture on the New York City literary scene and held monthly luncheons with top baseball writers in the city. <

Sunday, February 15, 2004

IF THERE IS ANYTHING I HATE MORE THAN BLOW HARD HIGHLANDER FANS, IT'S WHINING METS FANS Please if your the type of so-called Mets fan that is stamping your feet over A-Rod going to the Evil Empire and your rehashing the Rodriguez to the Mets and your getting your boxers in a bunch and crying "I'm not going any games at Shea WAHHHH!!!!, WAHHHHH! WAHHHHH!, then go buy a little Highlanders cap and a pennant and NEVER COME TO THIS SITE AGAIN! Do the Skill Sets piss me off? YES. Do I think the expiration date on Artie from Queens has passed? YES Will I ever stop going to Shea Stadium and ever not root for the Mets to win? NEVER IN A MILLION F"IN YEARS. Stop worrying about what the Evil Empire is doing. That's one of the characteristics I like about The Duke. He doesn't give a rats ass what the Highlanders are doing. They are not our competition. He has tried to get that message through to Freddy and Jr. Skill Sets, "forget about winning the backpage of the newspaper and lets' win the NL East" is what The Duke has told them. He knows the keeping up the Georgie Porgies' is counterproductive. Leave that up to the Olde Town Team to deal with. One thing on the A-Rod, he is not the key to the Yankee season. The key is Kevin Brown staying healthy and the ability of Jose Contreas and John Lieber to be productive in the 4 and 5 slots. Add in the health of Mariano Rivera and Flash Gordon in the pen, that will be the difference between winning a World Series and coming up short again. <