Tag Archives: new york

We Made It Through

18 Mar

By Jim Walters

Today, college basketballs bounce throughout the country and generations of fans stop in their tracks to watch the country’s greatest sports tournament. As the NCAA road to the Final Four begins this afternoon, it marks the start of a new sports season.

What makes this time of the year different is that it starts after the biggest lull in the sports year. Following the Super Bowl, there is this 4-6 week drop-off that ends with this tournament. When the tournament runs its course, baseball is waiting for us to carry our imaginations into the late Fall.

Last season’s lull was calmed by the World Baseball Classic which teased  fans with games between the world’s best. While it provided early competition, most fans spent their time rooting more for their players to stay healthy than for execution on the field.

This year, we had the Olympics which moved February along at a quicker pace. Watching curling was fine for a short while, and hockey became relevant in this country for two weeks. Yet, there was still a sports gap in this country that melts away today with each last-second shot.

We ride this tournament until the Sunday of Championship weekend. The Yankees and Red Sox open the baseball season that night.

On Monday, April 5th, we are presented with one of those special days in sports. The Mets and Marlins open the 2010 season at Citi Field in the afternoon. Later that night, the championship game is held in Indianapolis.

So, we made it through the snow, the cold and the harshness of the sports lull.

Finally we can say it, let the games begin.

Irish Mets

17 Mar

By Jim Walters

As the world celebrates St. Patrick’s day, I can’t help but remember two  memories of the Mets that connect to the Irish culture.

My first is an obvious one, the green hats on St. Patrick’s day. It’s a shame today’s game will not be on television, and I am not even sure if they are wearing green as they face the Red Sox at 1pm.

I remember being a kid and watching one of the late 80s teams wearing green Mets hats. It was a reminder that the season was close and soon we would be celebrating Opening Day.

My second memory is my first Irish night in August of 1998 at Shea Stadium. I went with a group of friends, and we purchased tickets to the upper deck. We moved down to the loge section and I, for the first and only time, slipped the usher $20 to sit our group together.

The usher sat us in left field, but he had to keep moving us as the crowd filled in. We ended up getting pretty good seats when all was said and done.

I also remember as if it was yesterday the feeling of excitement when the Mets turned a triple play. With the echo that you received sitting in the loge under the mezzanine, it was a great memory. To this day its the only triple play that I saw live.

I looked up this game and the NY Times story brought me right back to those exciting days. The story by Steve Popper really captures the nervousness surrounding Mike Piazza’s future.

As much as I remember from that night, I didn’t remember the fact that the Mets lost and that Lenny Harris failed in the team’s last at bat. I guess the green hat made up for it.

See Mets in the Bronx

16 Mar

This Friday, March 19th at noon, Yankees single game tickets go on sale and the three game series with the Mets from June 18-20 appears to be on sale.

Friday’s game is scheduled for 7:05pm, Saturday for 1:05pm and Sunday is still TBD. Sunday may be an ESPN game at 8:05pm. ESPN has not picked their game yet. The Mets-Yankees Sunday night game at Citi Field will be aired on ESPN.

The Mets did not include the Yankees games at Citi Field in their single game ticket sales. You can see the Yankees, but you have to buy a package that is one of the following: four games of premium seat value, a six-pack in the upper deck level, 15-game pack, 40-game pack or full season.

Mejia Debate Continues

16 Mar

By Jim Walters

Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports adds his two cents about the Jenrry Mejia debate.

Rosenthal highlights the risk of bringing such a young, in-experienced pitcher into the pressure cooker of New York.

He does give an interesting variety of quotes from Mets players about Mejia and what they see in the young pitcher.

One has to think that even if they don’t call him up at the start of the season, management will call Mejia up during the season as the bullpen falters. With Kelvim Escobar out of the mix, New York will have many questions in the bullpen and with Manuel and Minaya’s job on the line, Mejia may be the last hope for the manager and GM.

Mets Youth Movement

16 Mar

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By Jim Walters

All of  a sudden, the New York Mets look young.

Consider this. Johan Santana is the oldest pitcher in the starting rotation. This is a far cry from the days of Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez.

In the outfield, Carlos Beltran is the veteran at age 32. In the infield, Luis Castillo takes the crown at the age of 33.

Yet all around the team, you see a youth movement. The following players are some of the 30 and younger Mets:  David Wright, Jose Reyes, Jeff Francoeur, Jason Bay, Daniel Murphy, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, John Maine, John Neise, Francisco Rodriguez.

When the Opening Day rosters are determined, this team will rank near the top as one of the younger teams in the game. Give Minaya credit as the Mets turned young before our eyes.

Unfortunately, they will depend on this youth  in the starting rotation to compete in a division that’s starting pitching is as young, but only better.

Manuel, Stay of Go

16 Mar

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By Jim Walters

Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News reports this morning that Jerry Manuel should stay as  the coach of the Mets this season, despite whatever happens during the course of the season.

Lupica depicts Manuel as the product of bad luck. He also looks back to 2008 when Manuel replaced Randolph, listing other coaches who would’ve lost that final game at Shea.

The media in this town is interesting. When they love a guy, he gets more passes than he deserves. But when the media dislikes a guy, they can write him off before the season even starts.

Manuel is loved in this town, probably due to his easy demeanor and sense of humor. He is an easy guy to root for.

However, he is no different that Willie Randolph who the Mets showed the door at the early morning hours on a west coast trip.

The only difference is that the media likes Manuel, and the injuries of last year and this spring will always be included into the explanation for his failures. Yet for Randolph, the lack of starting pitching during his tenure was his fault, not Minaya’s.

Last year, in addition to the injuries, the Mets did not play fundamental baseball. This falls on the manager. You don’t see this with Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa.

Manuel and Minaya are on thin ice despite what the media says because Mets ownership is as dysfunctional as the starting rotation is.

Perhaps the winner after this season will be Manuel who may get kicked out-of-town and doesn’t have to deal with the nonsense of this franchise anymore.

F-Mart Not Heading North

15 Mar

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By Jim Walters

Fernando Martinez is not heading north with the big club in a few weeks. GM Omar Minaya said that Martinez will head to Triple-A to get at-bats and prove he can stay healthy for a full season.

New York will live with Gary Matthews Jr. and today’s hero, Angel Pagan until Carlos Beltran returns in either late April or early May.

You have to wonder if Martinez will see action with the big club until September when the rosters expand. If the regular outfield of Beltran, Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur stay healthy, Martinez will not get the call up because of the need to get regular bats in as an everyday player.

As we consider his future, you have to also think of him as a trade chip. If New York is going to contend, they will still need a chip during the season. If they showed interest in a starting pitcher or batter like Adrian Gonzalez, Martinez’ name will be mentioned.