The Eddie Kranepool Society

Monday, March 20, 2006

JUST A FORTNIGHT TILL THE REAL FIRST DAY OF SPRING. Sure today�s the first day of spring, although in NYC you wouldn�t know it by how cold it is but two weeks from today my ass will be in a seat at Shea and I can�t wait. I just hope the temperature is at least 10-15 degrees higher that the 40 degrees it was this afternoon. But before we can enjoy opening day, there are issues and what would the New York Mets be without issues. ISSUE 1 THE PITCHING STAFF Yep, Jorge Julio scares that living shit out of me. And Professor Rick can make all the analogies about losing weight and being a Navy Seal to pitching the last innings for the Mets I�m not buying. Julio has a fabulous arm but there are plenty of guys with big arms but don�t have the head or the belly to handle the late innings of a ball game. I look at Julio and I see Doug Sisk, Mel Rojas and Armando Benitez. If that doesn�t make you shit your pants, then your colon is made of Kevlar. So what to do? With the emergence of Brain Bannister as a bona fide option for the rotation maybe it is time to put Aaron Heilman back in the pen. I was for Heilman going into the rotation but looking at the big picture, a late inning troika of Heilman, Dauner Sanchez, and Billy Wagner could be the best close out trio in baseball. Here is how the staff could look come April 3: Petey Galvine Trax Zambrano Project Bannister Petey doesn�t think it�s a big deal if he starts the first game of the season or the third or fourth. But in the same way FDR was never shown sitting in his wheel chair, it�s to the Mets advantage that Petey starts opening day. Just giving the Mets 5 innings and turning over to the bullpen would be a boost. Image is everything you know. The last thing I want to see is a replay of last opening day. Glavine looks very strong and could be ready for his best season as a Met. Even though his heart looks to still be in Atlanta. Trax is Trax a middle of the rotation guy that keeps you in games. We are now into the second full season of The Zambrano Project and I just wonder if someone on the coaching staff whispered in his ear when he got back from the WBC �pisst, see that kid over there (Mike Pelfry) that�s your competition. If you continue to suck, this kid will be here in a Manhattan minute to take your spot� This is the shit or get off the pot season for The Zambrano Project. Brain Bannister has projected throughout his minor league career for the spot he looks very comfortable in, back end starter. From his minor league performances and his stellar spring the worst he could be is league average and that�s good for the 5th spot in the rotation. BULLPEN The question is does Willie Randolph go with six or seven relievers to start the season? With KazMat on the DL and Petey� toe trouble, I can see Willie going with seven relievers to start the season. (The bench of Castro, Woody, Franco, Diaz, Jose Valentin is adequate or better. Woody and Valentin are versatile enough for Willie to prove he has mastered the double switch.) So which seven? Wagner, Sanchez, Heilman are locks. As is Julio and Chad Bradford. That leaves two spots. Rumblings are the Omar likes Lima Time and may keep him for the month of April. Mitch Wylie is a Rule 5 guy and would have to be offered back to the Giants or the Mets could work a deal and put him in Norfolk. Darren Oliver has shown to be a descent LOOGY. Then you have Yishii Iriki who up until his last appearance looked pretty good. Everybody�s favorite reliever Heath Bell will likely go to Norfolk to be the best relief pitcher in minor league baseball. And back from the injured list the mysterious Bart Fortunato. My guess? Lima Time makes the staff for a month; if he is sucking then he goes bye-bye when KazMat is ready to come off the DL. ISSUE 2: I OWN A TELEVISION BUT I CAN�T SEE THE METS I�m more puzzled by this than angry, although if it�s April 3 and I still don�t have SNY on my DirecTV system I could go postal. I call DirecTV and they tell me what great customer I am and how they want me to remain happy. The customer service reps are clueless but I don�t blame them, I blame DirecTV management. No one can give you a straight answer about the availability and what the sticking point is in getting SNY. You call SNY you get switched to a young lady named Meagan Bosset (not sure of the spelling of her name) with whom I left two messages to call me. So far, no call back. I just want someone to let me know what the issues are that is blocking DirecTV from carrying SNY. To me the fault lies with SNY. From the time I spoke to customer service reps at DirecTV who were on the ball, they all say the same thing, �We love to add programming� and I believe that. So again, what�s the hold up? Could it be the fee paid to SNY? You�d think both SNY and DirecTV would reach a consensus to the price, I mean how far off can they be? At least with the YES/Cablevision war (which DirecTV benifitted from with new subscribers in Long Island) we knew it was over money, the SNY-DirecTV stalemate is a mystery. ISSUE 3: TAKE YOUR NEW BALL PARK AND STICK IT UP YOUR MIDDLE AGED ASS. The venom that�s has been spewed from the young radical wing of Mets Nation over the design of the new �Shea� is freighting. I have read comments on various message boards and web sites that trash the Skill Sets for trying to bring back the look and feel of Ebbets Field. I�ve read comments where the young guns are sick and tired of the Freddy�s nostalgic look back at his Brooklyn roots and that the ballpark looks too much like Camden Yards. And what�s wrong with that? It�s clear anyone who feels it�s an insult to have a ballpark that looks like Ebbets Field with the amenities of Camden Yards is fucking clueless. I�ve never been to Ebbets Field (or the Polo Grounds for that matter) but I�ve been to Camden Yards and to the brand new Shea Stadium. As I�ve said on numerous occasions, as much as feel Shea is way past its usefulness, I will cry like a baby when it comes down. I saw my first baseball game there on the first weekend it was opened in 1964. I saw a kid name Seaver give the team stature. I saw Gil Hodges turn a bunch of lovable losers into the most popular winners in NYC. I�ve felt the field level stands shake like an earthquake during the 1986 World Series. I�ve had raw sewage just miss me as pipe exploded in the mezzanine back in 1976. I�ve see rats running around the upper deck as the crowds (ha!) could count in the hundreds. It�s time! It�s time for Shea Stadium to be put down and if the Skill Sets build a Camden Yards style ballpark all the better. Oh and another thing, be a little more respectful you little piss heads, you�ll be an old angry bastard soon yourselves. < |