Category: New York Mets

Shut Up Already This Isn’t American Idol ………..


Shut Up Already This Isn’t American Idol ………..

Ah the somber days of early Spring and all is meant to be well . At least across the sporting landscape it’s meant to be. The MLB season has started off in its usual indomitable fashion with teams rising to expectations while others have simply underperformed . That being said it’s still early days yet and the season is a long one of 162 arduous games over the course of six tenuous months before the postseason kicks in .

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Slide show for your perusal .

As of now the divisions are looking rather interesting with the teams jockeying for position with regard to early season series . Now in the midst of finally making a decision as to where I’ll throw my hat in terms of supporting a team I’ve come to the decision that it’ll end up being a team within the NL . Well right off the bat let me say this without further ado it won’t be the Pittsburgh Pirates , Los Angeles Dodgers , Milwaukee Brewers , New York Mets or Florida Marlins . The latter for the reasons of which I’ve repeatedly stated because of the mismanagement of the team and organization as a whole by the ownership group ! The teams that seem to have my attention are the Colorado Rockes , Atlanta Braves and the St Louis Cardinals but I hate to say this as much as I like the Cardinals as a team I simply cannot stand their manager Tony La Russa ! He’s disingenous , an ingrate and someone whom I believe to be completely dishonest ! Suffice to say that to my mind he makes the fictional character Pinocchio seem like almost angelic nature !

So a choice has to be made and ultimately I choose the Atlanta Braves ! This has been a team and organization I’ve long admired because of their sheer longevity in terms of their success within the NL East and though they may only have that one World Series title to their name . It has to be said that period of consistency where they were repeating as divisional champions and making the playoffs had to be admired no matter where one’s allegiances may have laid . Now in their present guise this team is managed by Fredi Gonzalez and his coaching staff with a front office led by GM & EVP Frank Wren .

In terms of veteran presence the team is in that of the hands of Chipper Jones but his heir apparent to be sure is Jason Heyward , a player who has all the attributes desired to lead this ballclub long into the future and hopefully some real semblance of success. But there’ll also be contributions from teammates such as Dan Uggla , Brian McCann and Nate McClouth That being said with a pitching staff led by Tim Hudson , Jair Jurrjens , Derek Lowe , Tommy Hanson , George Sherrill and closer Craig Kimbrel , I’m fully hoping that this will undoubtedly be a season of success for the team and its fans who show up in attendance at Turner Field .

It’s long been felt that the Braves’ fans only came out in droves when they had perennial success or when the Hawks , Falcons or Thrashers were simply pedantic or downright mediocre . I’ll leave you all to be the judge of that because any and every team tends to have its ups and downs , no matter what their sporting endeavor might be . And the Braves are no different from no other professional sports franchise unless they happen to be the Los Angeles Clippers or Cleveland Browns for that matter !

The NL East the team will have to contend with the defending divisional champions the Philadelphia Phillies who look to be not only to be class of the division but the clear cut favorite to be the NL pennant winner this upcoming season . Whether or not that scenario actually pans out remains to be seen but I’m of the belief that the Atlanta Braves will do their utmost to deny the Phillies of that privilege ! . And I certainly believe that the Braves have as good a chance as any to make the postseason albeit that their division on the face of it isn’t an overly contentious one . I do believe that they will be challenged by the Florida Marlins and quite possibly by the Washington Nationals . And unless Terry Collins can in fact pull off the improbable , I certainly don’t see the New York Mets doing all that much this season within the division. Their situation is already tenuous at best from a financial standpoint and with both managing partner Fred Wilpon and team President Saul Katz under investigation by the Justice Department as well as there being a multi million civil lawsuit being lodged against the two as well as the organization their company Sterling Equities . I can’t help but wonder if the Mets can survive this season under its present ownership without Bud Selig , the league hierarchy and team owners intervening in some form or another to make sure that the team doesn’t fall into bankruptcy or be forced to cease operating should the Federal verdict go against the defendants Katz and Wilpon . At stake is in excess of $750 million and the very financial viability and existence of the New York Mets .

No word has been forthcoming on this matter from anyone within the MLB league hierarchy . Certainly no formal statement from Bud Selig or any of his subordinates such as EVP ,Administration & Chief Information Officer, John McHale Jr , EVP , Labor Relations & Human Resources Rob Manfred or EVP , Baseball Development Jimmie Lee Solomon . Kind of makes you wonder who’s in charge of the lunatic asylum otherwise known as Major League Baseball (MLB) ? With there now said to be a great deal of speculation that if Katz and Wilpon aren’t able to find a willing investor to purchase a stake in the team they could very well be forced to sell the team . A number of interested parties are said to have made private inquiries as to the duo’s willingness to sell at a stake in the team at a reasonable price .

This season within baseball could be one those that surpasses the events last season and the postseason by a long way . Granted the World Series itself ended up being something a one sided affair with the San Francisco Giants easily taking command of the series in defeating the Texas Rangers with a great deal of ease .

I’d certainly like to think that teams thought to be in contention won’t fail to deliver and at the same time I’d like to think that Commissioner Bud Selig and the owners are finally coming around to seeing that their game cannot continue to survive under its present financial structure . Especially where teams at the top of the pecking order in terms of payroll are now having to subsidize their small market peers . It simply hasn’t created that perceived level playing field that the owners and Selig had hoped for . And as far as the MBLPA is concerned, seeking any common sense from Executive Director Michael Weiner and his members is akin to trying obtain blood out of a stone . This being the very same union that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twentieth century along with baseball’s hierarchy merely adopt a steroid policy that could be even remotely considered to be fair. It’s rather idiotic to think that Selig as commissioner can’t even be succinct even when it comes to explaining the game’s most acute problems it now faces. I’ve heard so called purists and fans try to explain how the game has made great strides from those infamous years during the nineties , wherein the illicit use of PED’s was at its most rampant .

I’ve read on a contributor’s site and a baseball fan who fan even tried to justified the fact that both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa can be considered appropriate candidates for Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame ! The fact that the two players in essence are cheats doesn’t seem to have bothered this individual or the mere fact that they each profited financially in terms of the fraud perpetrated upon the fans of the game . Guess what , the duo both broke not only the law but also one of the most inherent doctrines of the game. That patron in particular who tries to justify this hypocrisy is an out and out idiot in making a case where it was wrong for two consenting adults ,one of whom happened to be an athlete (basketball player) at a parochial establishment of higher education chose to have sex , within the hallowed halls of Brigham Young University . The player was suspended albeit that there’s an honor code involved at the establishment but given the fact that there have been far more serious incidents that have gone unreported of at the school . Unless I’m mistaken there’s been more hypocrisy going on within the Mormon Church and on the campus than most would even care to admit . But that’s what you tend to get with the hypocrisy of organized religion and the de facto piousness that it espouses and that concerns all forms religion , be it Islam , Judaism , Christianity , Catholicism or otherwise . It breeds intolerance and it purveys it even to this day, with the still rather asinine notion that theologians and preachers , priests or Imams are above reproach . They’re human and they have their fallibilities or hadn’t anyone noticed ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the season and as it slowly meanders along its arduous path ? And how do you see things panning out for the Atlanta Braves this season in terms of their fortunes within the NL and the league as a whole ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and the points raised within this piece . .

Alan aka tophatal …………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) LOS ANGELES – APRIL 18: Jake Harris of the reality TV show Deadliest Catch throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the game between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images …….

(2) Left fielder Jerry Sands (47) of the Los Angeles Dodger, playing in his first major league game, chases down a fly ball ball against the Atlanta Braves on April 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 4-2 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……..

(3) Pinch hitter Brooks Conrad (7) of the Atlanta Braves reacts after striking out to end the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ………

(4) Alex Gonzalez (2) of the Atlanta Braves reacts as he strikes out during a ninth inning Braves rally which fell short against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dogers won 4-2. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……

(5) James Loney (7) of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a two RBI single in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves on April 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) ……

(6) Tim Hudson(15) of the Atlanta Braves throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……..

(7) Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones (10) swings for a solo home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Florida Marlins on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, in Atlanta. The RBI was the 1,500th of his career. Only two other switch-hitters have reached the 1,500 milestone. AP Photo/John Bazemore …….

(8) Atlanta Braves’ Jason Heyward runs to first after connecting for a home run in the fourth inning of a baeball game against the Florida Marlins on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 5-0 . AP Photo/John Bazemore …….

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MLB news

MLB Standings

MLB scoreboard scheduled game 19th April 2011

MLB results 18th April 2011

MLB Schedule team by team schedule

MLB Team Stats

MLB Player stats

Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves news

Atlanta Braves’ history

Atlanta Braves front office

Atlanta Braves coaching staff

Braves’ active roster

Braves’ depth chart

Atlanta Braves team stats

Atlanta Braves’ team stats 2010

Braves historical team records Single game

Braves historical team records – season

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No Stone Will Be Left Unturned , No Idea Will Go Unheard , No Thought Process No Matter How Stupid It Appears To Be Will Be Listened To…………..Blah , Blah , Blah This Is Change That We Can Believe In


Well the winter season MLB meetings are over , baseball is doing its level best to remain in the mainstream. The ‘NFL is still King , baby’ and don’t you forget it ! And at this point of the season it is essentially all that they (MLB) can do. MLB itself , becomes about as interesting at this time of the year as a speech being given by a member of Congress on the country’s trade deficit. We all know its there and it hasn’t really improved at all on a month, to month basis. What little improvement that comes about incrementally, economists are gleaning over like ‘Cheshire cats’, trying to tell us that the economy is changing course and we’re gradually moving out of a recession. Any statistic can be read differently , to garner whatever information what you want put forth. Much like the asinine statements you tend to hear coming from Bud Selig on the financial health and state of the game.

Trades asides and the signing of free agents , all the fans can do at this stage, is to speculate what those maneuvers will mean for their teams.

Omar Minaya speaks here about the ‘Tony Bernazard firing’ and the fallout from it all. Clearly a person who when he’s stressed, doesn’t like the spotlight of the media upon him .

And speaking of health , how is that the New York Mets GM , Omar Minaya still remains in a position of power after all that he’s done to all but ruin the organization? Essentially as the General Manager and de-facto ear of the owner , he’s entrusted in making sure that the best talent available is placed on the field, at the behest of the manager, Jerry Manuel and the manager’s coaching staff. Never mind the fact that Fred Wilpon, the team’s owner , might not live to the current team win another World Series at this stage of life. The septuagenarian has seen a great deal over the course of famed career as a businessman and entrepreneur. But for the lone World Series’ triumph in 1986 over the Boston Red Sox, with that improbable ending. Fred Wilpon still yearns for another championship for his organization.

Mets' GM  Omar  Minaya (left) seen  here alongside  team  President  Jeff  Wilpon , son of team  owner  ,  Fred  Wilpon.    Minaya   recently acquired  free agent  slugger  Jason  Bay  , formerly  of   the  Boston  Red  Sox.  The  player   was signed  to  a   four  year   $65 million  contract.     There  are  those  who  are  questioning  the  deal   as the  rotation of  the  Mets'  pitching  is   deeply  lacking  a  reliable  starter  besides  Johan  Santana.  picture appears  courtesy  of nydn/   David  Pokress (freelance)  ......................
Mets' GM Omar Minaya (left) seen here alongside team President Jeff Wilpon , son of team owner , Fred Wilpon. Minaya recently acquired free agent slugger Jason Bay , formerly of the Boston Red Sox. The player was signed to a four year $65 million contract. There are those who are questioning the deal as the rotation of the Mets' pitching is deeply lacking a reliable starter besides Johan Santana. picture appears courtesy of nydn/ David Pokress (freelance) ......................

The Mets have been an abysmal organization over the past five years and much like a race horse with a great deal of speed and not much stamina, or shall we call it saying power ? Each year over the past five seasons they’ve fallen out of contention in the NL East divisional race. Much of the time through their own sheer ineptitude. Many also place this upon the injuries suffered by star players at inappropriate times during the regular season. But I consider this as a poor excuse for an organization with its vast financial resources and its so called ‘stocked farm system’. Obviously the so called farm system isn’t as burgeoned with talent as first thought.

Courtesy of New York Daily News

Omar Minaya, New York Mets get Jason Bay for four years, but strike out on pitchers

By John Harper , New York Daily News

The way the winter was going, it seemed inevitable that some other team would jump in and steal Jason Bay at the last minute. Only it didn’t happen, and so while Bay is hardly a cure-all for the Mets, landing him is at least reason for them to believe that the curse of 2009 won’t carry over into 2010.

GM Omar Minaya and Mets ownership still have plenty of work to do, but you have to give them credit for playing the Bay negotiations exactly right, as it turned out.

Considering the mounting pressure on them to make a big splash, the Mets had to seriously weigh the PR value of offering the fifth year that Bay’s agent was demanding, just to get the deal done. Still they were determined not to get suckered, not to bid against themselves when they were convinced no other team was seriously pursuing Bay.

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To read more click here

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In order to read John Harper’s article just click unto the link
provided herein
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 Los Angeles Angels pitcher Kelvim Escobar throws to the plate during the first inning of baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Anaheim, Calif. The New York Mets have signed Escobar to a one-year contract. The team announced the deal on Monday, Dec. 28. He was expected to get $1.25 million.
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Kelvim Escobar throws to the plate during the first inning of baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Anaheim, Calif. The New York Mets have signed Escobar to a one-year contract. The team announced the deal on Monday, Dec. 28. He was expected to get $1.25 million. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mark J. Terrill .................

The unfortunate thing for the New York Mets in all of this , is that their crosstown neighbor and rival, the New York Yankees are now once again back atop of the ‘baseball world pecking order’, as World Series champions. And they too, like the Yankees have essentially spent their way to their present situations. In the case of the Yankees however, they’ve been able get the right stars at the premium prices and simply plug them into an organization that has been built for continued success over the years. Whereas, the Mets just continue to plug away with assorted pieces , that in some respects are like that of a jig saw puzzle . But what Minaya and the team’s manager Jerry Manuel and Manuel’s predecessor, Willie Randolph, had failed to realize, is that when the pieces are ill suited for the puzzle, there’s no way in hell that you can attain success. But yet they continue to repeat the process over and over again.

Stars have come and gone within the Mets’ organization and some have remained. And it has been the same also in terms of the managers of the organization. On average they’ve lasted no more than three years over the last three decades. The longest tenured manager over that period was and still is ,Davey Johnson (1984-90). Whose six year tenure with the team brought them their only World Series win.

 Yakult Swallows' Ryota Igarashi pitches against Orix BlueWave in Osaka, western Japan.  Hoping they've found their setup man on the other side of the globe, the New York Mets agreed to a $3 million, two-year contract with Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009.
Yakult Swallows' Ryota Igarashi pitches against Orix BlueWave in Osaka, western Japan. Hoping they've found their setup man on the other side of the globe, the New York Mets agreed to a $3 million, two-year contract with Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Kyoto News Agency ...........

Fans of the Mets have seemingly remained patient and loyal, though some have also been very vocal in what they see as the lax attitude taken by the organization in showing a real determination to become competitive. They’ve gone out and spent money either on aging veterans who’ve passed their prime or in some cases on players who’ve struck lightning in a bottle in terms of their form over a short period of time and then hit ‘pay dirt’ when pursued and then signed to a monumentally exorbitant contract. See Carlos Beltran ! Prodigious and prolific for the Houston Astros , not so for the Mets and on it goes . And much of that is down to Minaya and his haste to always try and outdo the Yankees. It’s like giving the keys to a drunk driver and then asking him if he’s able to drive you home . You know no good is going to come of it and it is the same with the personnel moves of Omar Minaya.

Another situation that the fans will also find exacerbating about this Mets’ team , is that it doesn’t posses anyone who’s prepared to be a team leader on or off the field. It certainly hasn’t come from Carlos Delgado, for all of his heroics. And it most certainly hasn’t come from David Wright their so called ‘glamor boy’ and best player. And when they did rise to the occasion with the determination shown by their ace pitcher, Johan Santana, his teammates reciprocated by either performing poor defensively , or gave him no run support whatsoever. Minaya’s insight into sound judgement when it comes to personnel decisions for the Mets border on being asinine and is akin to the sort of ineptitude that was shown in later stages of George W Bush’s second term in office by his administration. The danger signs were there but there was never any sound decisions being made. Something of which, it appears his successor , President, Barack Obama seems to want to painstakingly follow on with, in some of his decision making. You can have, print or borrow all of the money in the world. But you’d better know how the hell to spend it judiciously and you’d better be able to explain yourself succinctly when you screw things up. And it appears to be something in common that this triumvirate has . As to either of them offering up a comprehensive and succinct answer. I’ll leave that up to you , to decide ! Make of it what you will.

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If the New York Met are to compete for the NL East division as well as the NL Pennant, then they’d better be ready to deal with the ever present Philadelphia Phillies, present division champion and NL Pennant holder. Also too, there are the Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins and the lackluster Washington Nationals bringing up the rear. The bone of contention will be which teams amongst the triumvirate of the Braves , Marlins and Mets will step up to challenge the supremacy of the Phillies within the division ? This question and whole lot more will need to be answered most certainly by the Mets and the the duo of the Braves and Marlins.

And in what will be Braves’ manager , Bobby Cox’s final season. This Atlanta Braves’ team will be looking to send him off with one last big stab at winning a divisional title and perhaps another World Series. And as remote as those chances might appear to be. Look for the Braves to pursue this with a great deal of gusto. And as to the chances of the Florida Marlins ? Well that will be down to the progress that has been made by this young team under the direction of their manager, Fredi Gonzalez. And if they’re to fulfill the promise shown last year , then the likes of Dan Uggla, Cameron Maybin and their All Star short-stop, Hanley Ramirez , will have to be extremely productive – the same can be said of their pitching.

The Phillies for their part coming off last season’s loss in the World Series to the Yankees will look to regroup and replenish their roster. And that’s something which they appear to have done with such urgency, that the swiftness in its execution was staggering. They traded Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners and in his place they acquired former Blue Jays’ ace, Roy Halladay. Talk about addition by subtraction ? Wow, this is just stupendous. They are the ‘clear favorites’ in the entire National League (NL) to make a third consecutive trip to the World Series. Perhaps the only thing that could deter them from that might just be ‘divine intervention’ from up above ? And if the baseball gods are listening and they love the New York Mets , then perhaps they could provide some assistance ? I’m no Mets’ fan but Omar Minaya certainly hasn’t been helping the organization’s cause with many of his personnel moves in recent years. Can I get an amen here ? Amen, amen , hallelujah !

With the Mets acquiring Jason Bay as a free agent and then signing him to a four year $65 million contract , this may or may not be the last singular personnel move made by Minaya. God knows the moves that he’s made haven’t exactly panned out. They’d be deemed a disaster in certain cases and in others, well the jury is still out. And as I much as I like to see teams strive in their drive for excellence. I can’t but now wonder how much more the Wilpon family can withstand in the depletion of their overall wealth. Especially as it has been rumored that the family may well have lost in excess of $ 500 million in the Bernie Madoff ‘Ponzi Scheme’.
Not the sort of money that any affluent billionaire can afford to lose in these uncertain economic times. A million here or a million here. But a half a billion dollars ? Holy shit ! I’m surprised that no one has put ‘a hit’ out on Madoff , as of yet ! But I’ve no doubt that he’s been well taken care of in the Federal Prison system. Well at least I’d like to think so , but in a certain type of way. Can I suggest that he’ll become a ‘pillow biter’ while a prison inmate has his way with Madoff in certain way,sexually ? Here’s hoping anyway !

Well alas, this piece must end though not on a somber note. The travails of the New York Mets have been well documented in recent years and I expect that to be continued for the foreseeable future. I mean, life in general when it comes to sports in the ‘Big Apple’ is tied primarily to the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Islanders, Rangers and the Buffalo Bills. And each of them in their own way will run the wrath and adulation in the print media as the case maybe. And things being what they are, it appears the Mets and Knicks are on the receiving end of it all in terms of their wrath at the moment. No need for me then to pile on them anymore . I think that the New York print media, sports talk show hosts and tv broadcasters are just doing fine all by themselves with regard to this matter.