FROM THE BOOTH

8 Jul

So in an effort to promote MLB Baseball, the Mets fans were treated to a different broadcast team for the fourth and fifth innings in San Francisco.

Gary Cohen and Ron Darling went to the MLB booth while Bob Costas and Al Michaels took over the SNY booth.

I happen to like Costas although there are many who cannot stand the voice of the Olympics. While he is not a play-by-play man like Cohen, he attempts to be poetic and for me, entertaining.

The two treats of the segment was Michaels return to baseball and the booth and the highlights of the 1999 NLCS.

Listening to Michaels, it brought me back to Monday Night Football and a voice that served as the background to Monday nights in the Walters house.

It was also a treat to hear Costas’ call on the Ventura Grand Slam Single.

I could’ve done without the obsession on how clean the booth was or the flashback to the 1988 Dodgers-Mets series.

In the end, it was a nice change for a Friday night. But I will still take Gary, Keith and Ron any day.

THE BOSS AND THE METS

20 Sep

As the Yankees pay tribute to their deceased owner tonight in the Bronx, one has to wonder how the game and how the city would’ve been different if history took a different turn.

Steinbrenner, before becoming principal owner of the Yankees, had his heart on owning his hometown Cleveland Indians.It was a done deal in Steinbrenner’s mind.

As the sale fell through, the Yankees positioned eventually opened. The Yankees new owner would invest profits from his shipping industry to build a championship ball club and change the business of baseball.

If Steinbrenner owned the Indians, the direction of the Yankees would’ve went in a different direction. Depending on the owner, the Yankees were a struggling franchise owned by CBS and unless another owner came in with deep pockets and a willingness to spend, the history of this franchise would’ve been surely different.

The Indians may have been the Yankees as there is no reason to believe Steinbrenner would have spent less. The lure of the city may have changed some free agent’s minds, but it was and is always about the money which brings big names to certain teams.

As the Mets look back at the Steinbrenner legacy, excluding a handful of years in the mid-1980s when Steinbrenner spent money foolishly and the Mets recaptured the city, it has been a Yankees town. The Mets have been the little brother, always a move or two behind.

The Yankees drew the big stars and played the games under the biggest of lights. From the size of the new sandlots to the size of the payrolls, the Yankees were and are always bigger under Steinbrenner’s reign.

Steinbrenner changed the game and pushed the Mets to second in a town of number ones. He sold history and legacy and blank checks while the Mets couldn’t match any of the above.

It may have been a different story if Steinbrenner was an Indian and the Mets may have never developed an inferiority complex that has haunted this team for decades.

As the Yankees unveil a monument to their deceased owner, they continue the legacy he started. The Mets look on, still waiting for an owner or a day that changes their path in history to make the little brother the biggest show in town.

WHAT’S NEXT

19 Sep

It is time in another lost September for Mets fans to turn their attention to the week of October 4th.

The season will be over and press conferences will be called to begin the overhaul of the New York Mets.

As the cross town rivals prepare for another playoff run and when the Phillies down the turnpike open their gates to another playoff series, Citi Field will be empty, and Mets fans will be richer for not having playoff tickets to overpay for.

While fans will open their wallets in a second to see some late October baseball, the Mets need a flawless winter to make that a reality in 2011.

So, we offer our two cents on what the Mets should do this October.

The Mets need to start with Omar and either fire him or re-assign him to a scouting position. He is always a move short and although he pulls a rabbit out of his hat once in a while, a la R.A. Dickey, foolish contracts have cost him flexibility and now his job.

The next move is on the managerial front. The Mets need to bring Bobby Valentine back.

Like Rex Ryan, Valentine will make as many enemies as he does friends with his mouth. But Bobby V will re-ignite the clubhouse and fan base. His baseball knowledge cannot be questioned and history shows how teams overachieved for him in 1999 and 2000.

Valentine will say the right things. He will tell the fans that not hustling will not be tolerated and the team will win with pitching and defense. Valentine will talk about Shea Stadium in the turn of the century and how he wants Citi Field to rock like the old place.

He will also say this is the job he wants, the job he has waited for. He has won in another country, now it’s time to win in New York.

Valentine will cost money, but he will fill the stadium with seats as the style of play that the manager demands is the type of baseball that this city desires.

No matter what the Mets do on the managerial front, it really does come down to the players on the field. While the Mets have a solid group of young, cheap players they have a handful of overpriced fallen stars that symbolize all that has gone wrong with this team.

It begins with cutting Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. It means a lot of money but the team needs to dump this baggage. They will try to trade them but those two cannot be in Port St. Lucie five months from now.

Although Carlos Beltran brought bad karma to Flushing, he is a player on a walk year. If healthy, he can make 2011 a productive season. Given his large contract, he is practically immovable, so the Mets should move him to right and see what they get.

They will live with Thole and Ike, David and Jose. Bay will be in left, leaving second base and center field as the two positions where they need to add offense and talent.

While he is older, a player like David Eckstein is a nice talent to play at second base. He can add a grittiness to the position that will excite fans and perhaps his leadership will be contagious in the clubhouse. If not Eckstein, Orlando Hudson will be knocking on the door once again hoping the Mets answer.

As for centerfield, they can live with Angel Pagan if they get offense out of Beltran and Bay. If not, they will need to either look for a bat with some pop (Jason Werth) or look to trade away Davis and go hard after Prince Fielder or Jorge Cantu.

As for the pitching front, the Mets need to go hard after Cliff Lee. There only hope is that they offer him top dollar and that Lee wants revenge on the Phillies. Lee with Santana is a dynamic duo that can launch the Mets back into contention. Throw in Pelfrey at three, Dickey at four and Niese at five, the Mets will have a solid rotation.

Question over Santana’s health are even more of a reason why the Mets have to stop acting like second citizens and bring in a pitcher who eats up innings and wins ball games.

The other question facing this team in Francisco Rodriguez. He is talented and he has trade value, even if the Mets have to eat some of his contract. While they will look to void the deal, the more likely choice is trading him away and looking to the Soriano or Wood.

They player movement will begin in November, but the offseason of change begins October 4th when the Mets hand over the reigns to someone else.

WE’RE BACK

19 Sep

Well, its been a while. Too long in fact.

But after a busy summer filled with a wedding and after a busy time at work, CITI2SHEA is back.

I was hoping to return to the site with news of a pennant race. Instead, it’s another lost summer in Queens where we spend most of our time talking about next year.

It will be a busy offseason, at least on the management front, but there are  concerns once again on the actual players and what reinforcement is available to make next September different from this one.

So stay tuned for a look to the future while many other teams are playing for the present.

MR. MET ATTENDS MY WEDDING

16 Aug

Simply because my wife is the greatest woman EVER, Mr. Mets made an appearance at my wedding this past July. Check out these photos capturing the Hall of Fame Mascot, who surprised me by appearing after the Wedding Mass.

LOOK WHO’S BACK

16 Aug

CITI2SHEA is back.

After a 6-week hiatus, Citi2SHEA is back and running, just as the Mets fell off the cliff of this baseball season.

The reason for the absence was my wedding that we will capture on this site in coming days. Mr. Met paid a visit to the wedding which was the cherry on top of a simply amazing day.

After the wedding and honeymoon, I returned to see the Mets were out of any serious contention. Unless this team manages to pull off one of the great comebacks in baseball history, 2010 will be no different from 2009, and in the end, the same result as every season since 1986.

While I hope to write about a wild card and pennant race, it is more likely for this site to become a blank canvas for the rebuilding of a fallen franchise.

This week, we will focus on the glimmer of hope that remains. We will also examine possible adjustments to the line-up and management for this season and the seasons to follow.

Thank You for your readership and we hope the last month and a half of this season gives us something worth writing and reading about.

MESSAGE SENT?

27 Jun

The four losses this past week were good losses for the Mets and their franchise.

With Santana losing two starts in his worst week of his career, on and off the field, the Mets have questions about their ace.

I am not as worried about Santana as much as the radio callers on WFAN were yesterday, but he is not the dominant starter that he once was.

Takahashi isn’t a front line starter and he is better suited to pitch in the bullpen. With John Maine still injured, the Mets need another starter to fill Takahashi’s shoes.

That person needs to be an ace. Omar Minaya owes it to this fan base to make a run at a starter who can solidify an October visit, the same way Cliff Lee did for the Phillies last year and the way C.C. Sabathia did for the Brewers two years ago.

While Lee was with the Phillies all year in 2009, he lifted the team on his back throughout the summer and fall months. He can do the same for the Mets.

Even if it means giving up Jenry Mejia for a rental player, you have to wonder if Mejia will ever impact this team the way Lee can this season.

If Lee leaves after the year, the Mets will still get draft picks. Remember, it was the draft pick from Mike Hampton leaving that gave the Mets David Wright in 2001.

While Roy Oswalt may cost less and he will stick around longer, the Mets have the opportunity to bring in one of the game’s best pitchers in Lee.

Even if it is for three months, it is a move that makes sense for minor league talent.

If the Mariners ask for Angel Pagan, he should go too. I know he is the Mets most valuable player this season, but he is also a fourth outfielder.

He would’ve been traded last year if the opportunity came along and he will be traded next year when another opportunity arises.

If Carlos Beltran is healthy, Pagan can go. He is the Mets’ Endy Chavez of 2006. Where is Chavez now? We will ask the same about Pagan in a few years.

Pagan cannot stand in the Mets way for brining in Lee.

There is only one Lee out there.

Lee is the ace who can bring the Mets back to October.