Thursday, July 24, 2014

Former Met Gets Pranked

Former Met Jeff Francoeur was the subject of an "interesting" practical joke from his teammates of the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas, the affiliate of the San Diego Padres. Francoeur, who is a great baseball character, did things his Frenchy Way.



 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

To All Those Fathers Out There, Happy Mother's Day!



Happy Father’s Day to all father’s out there. Today is a day to appreciate “dad” and give him a day of peace and quiet, relaxation, yard work, etc. – whatever he wants…as a father of three, every day is father’s day. This is not to say that we, as fathers, don’t get angry of our children…of course we do, we love them and want them to do well and not make the stupid mistakes we made.

As a father, I try a few simple things: to be 100% honest with my children, show them an uncompromised ethic where you never allow anyone coax you to do what you know is wrong, and to be respectful; respectful to one another, respectful to your elders, respectful to ladies, and to treat your mother as if she were a saint. You know why? Because she is a saint. She gave you life, gives you breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a band aid when you scrape your knee. Oh yeah, one more thing, to give whatever you do your best effort. Whether it’s sports, school, clubs, work, relationships – give it your best.

It’s not to say if I am good at what I do; I’ll leave that verdict to my children, wife, and friends.
Here is the way I break it down:

I was fortunate to grow up in a relatively large household, being the youngest of five. My parents were quite a bit older when I was born; my father was 48, my mother was 39.

Growing up, dad rarely had a catch with me, but that was OK. He attended every one of my little league games, would always give me the “go get ‘em Sport” as I was stepping to the plate. I was fortunate enough to play baseball until I was a freshman in college, when I was cut. That rejection didn’t bother me too much, as I didn’t care for the coach and I finally realized I wasn’t going to be the next Jerry Grote. My father was sorry I didn’t make the team, but he knew that with this door closing in my life, another would open.

My father was a very well educated man; he was valedictorian of his high school graduating class (1936) in Ohio, attend Ohio State University for two years, transferring to Michigan where he graduated with a  Bachelor’s degree and masters in forestry. He then went to Duke for his second masters in engineering. Education was very important to him…not to me.

Dad and I rarely saw eye-to-eye on school. I always worked hard at school, but test anxiety turned me into a C+ student instead of a B+ student. “Don’t worry Sport, hard work pays off…”
I was finally able to get my act together after my second year at a community college on Long Island, and transferred to the school of my desire, SUNY Cortland, because I was going to be the best Phys Ed coach ever…how little did I know.

Dad was proud that I finally got to the school I wanted to go to, and told me to work hard and take different classes to see what I might like. Phys Ed was nothing more than an unfulfilled dream. I found Radio and Television production, and it fit like a glove. My GPA, perpetually a 2.5 average started to climb.

At the end of my second year at Cortland (my fourth year in college where I should be getting ready to graduate, but was still a year away), a friend of mine came into my apartment and said she heard from my sister, and my father was in the hospital. I was living in a frat house, and our phone usually lay on the floor in the main hallway on the 2nd floor, and would invariably get kicked off the hook, rendering it useless. My sister couldn’t get through, so she had gotten the number of my friend from my girlfriend at the time.

My friend woke me up (it was a Saturday) and I quickly made a call to Huntington Hospital, where I was able to track down my father. I was told that he was having problems with his diabetes. After speaking with him on the phone, I realized that story was utter baloney.

I called my sister, and she was towing the family line that he had problems with his diabetes. I knew her story was an extension of my mother’s ill conceived “let’s protect them from the truth.”
With finals finished, I went back home, and I could see something wasn’t right in both my sister’s and mother’s faces. My three other siblings were on their own at this time, and not being there when I got home. It was then truth ultimately made its way into the conversation, and that dad had cancer….the BIG C.

I visited dad at the hospital over the next week or two, and I remember telling him once my grades came in that I had done the best to date…a 3.0 average. From his bed, he said he was proud of me and knew I could do it, and would do even better.

Dad came home on June 3rd, the day after my 22nd birthday, and passed on June 6th. With one more year left of school, I was contemplating not going back, but mom would have none of it. I did make a promise to my father that day in the hospital that for the first time I knew I was going to actually finish college. What did he say? “I know.” Once again, he knew more than me.
After taking 48 credits my final year, I did graduate; I also had received an award for the highest GPA in the Communications program (3.7) the first semester of that year. Graduating a year late, my faith permits me to know that dad was there at graduation, smiling down from Heaven, “I told you Sport.”. 

He has missed the greatest achievements of my life, meeting the wonderful lady I would marry and have three children with, missing our wedding, buying our house, promotions at work, this blog (what’s a blog?).

He’s missed none of it. He is always in my heart, as is mom who passed 4 years after dad.
Dad was a Yankee fan, but a fan who would always root for NY teams. He was thrilled for me when the Mets won n ’86.

I was thrilled for him when the Giants won their four Super Bowls (three of which he didn’t see).
My children never met their grandfather, a man that I always respected, and respect more with each passing day. There is not a person I have ever met that I have more respect for.

This is a day to remember our father’s, alive or not. This post is not meant to be melancholy; although I lost both parents early in my life, I was fortunate to have had two tremendous parents that taught me the meaning of respect. That is what I want to be able to pass on to my 18, 16, and 11 year old children.

Last week marked the 26 anniversary of my father’s death. Has it been that long?

Still less time since the Mets last won a World Series.

Happy Father’s Day dad, and Happy Father’s Day to all father’s out there.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mets win ! Win a series in May!

Great weekend weather wise but not for the Mets as they couldn't beat the D Backs more then once.  So they lose to the Bucs on monday and fire there hitting coach. Somewhere in Seattle Ho Jo is laughing!  Ok yes they won the Yankee series but that was 2 games come on!

Now the Mets beat the Bucs the last 2 games and scored 5 runs at home for the first time since Ike Davis was still on the team.  Duda and Wright had homers.  Wright has all his homers at the friendless confines of Citi Field.  Lamar Johnson effecting this team already..  LOL    

Lots of Drama following the Mets these last couple of days but at least we have some wins as they head to Cheesesteak land for a 5 game set for the Phillies who are like the Mets and cant get out of there own way this year.   

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Davis Traded; Once Again Mets Don't Get Major League Player In Return

The Ike Davis Saga came to an abrupt end just before the Mets took on the Atlanta Braves at GHMP last night.

There is no great surprise that Elvis pulled the trigger on a deal including Davis, but the timing was a bit of a surprise to me. I do believe Davis will have a better career than Duda, mainly because I have never seen anything remarkable from Duda, and with Davis, we did witness a lot of power and a solid glove at 1B.

My take on Davis' failures over the last two seasons boils down to one thing, and one thing only: the Sandy Alderson mantra of taking pitch after pitch stifled Ike's aggressiveness, and Davis has to be aggressive to be successful. Howard Johnson first put this thought in my head last year when he said that Davis needs to be aggressive, and under Alderson's tight-fisted rule, it was detrimental to Davis' production and progression. I agree with what the former Mets 3B surmised.

Another problem I have with this trade is that the Mets (as of yet) didn't get back a Major Leaguer. What they did get back, like in most all of Alderson's trades, is another "prospect' - this one is a 26 year old relief pitcher named Zack Thornton and a player to be named later. Usually a player to be named later isn't a starting big league player, but according to some accounts, this player will be significant. Unfortunately, that came from the Mets brass who can never be trusted.

As Alderson said:

“There were a lot of positives for Lucas,’’ Alderson said. “Ike has done some great things here in New York, 32 home runs one year. But we think Lucas has the same potential, might be a little more effective against left-handed [pitchers]. I think he can play first base well. This was a close call.’’

~ Kevin Kernan NY Post ~

 I tweeted last night that I am sick of the Mets getting nothing but "prospects" for major leaguers, and 213 Miles From Shea reminded me that they did get Buck for RA Dickey. Two things though:
  1. Buck was the throw in
  2. Buck was traded midway through the season (with Marlon Byrd) for Vic Black and Dilson Herrera.
...not quite Major League talent in my book.

I am really pulling for Ike to go on to have a wonderful career. Yes he was frustrating with some of his strikeouts, but he played a solid first base, and is the only true power hitter this team had. Yes, they do now have Granderson, but I don't expect the big power numbers to be the same in Flushing as they were in the Bronx. 

Either way, the Mets management wants nothing more on this team than droids; players that aren't permitted to think, and must just go by the book of Sandy. 90 wins? I think not.

Sources: Ultimate Mets Database, Kevin Kernan NY Post

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cleaning Out Junk Unearths A Forgotten Mets Moment

Having been a Mets fan now entering my 42 year, I am constantly remembering the bad old days of sub .500 baseball, the near misses of 1973, 1988, 2006, 2007, and 2008, and the wonderful run of 1986.

I am also fortunate enough to remember my youth listening to Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner keep a young boys interest whether on TV or radio.

With the final piece of the Mets Trinity joining the Mets broadcast booth in the sky, I am left with many fond memories.

Not boring all with my personal memories, I have one little bit of memorabilia that I came across today.

Mrs. metsfan73 had me laboring in cleaning up, throwing out, and getting rid of much "junk" that had accumulated over the almost 21 years of our marriage. So, for most of this afternoon I spent shredding unnecessary papers, mail, bills, etc of yesteryear - when I came across the wonderful poem by former Met third baseman Ed Charles. 

Charles penned this wonderful tribute to Ralph Kiner in time for Ralph Kiner day on Saturday July 14, 2007...just before Tom Glavine earned his 298 Major League win.


One Moment in Time

A Tribute to Ralph Kiner
By: Ed Charles
Life to us is just a moment in time
When we sing our songs and write our rhymes
When we audition for a role upon life's great stage
Then act out the scripts as written on the page

But some might resent the way the scripts were written
No one prefers the role of a loser snake bitten
We would like a role that brings honor and fame
Not some little bit part that belittles our name

For life to us is just a moment in time
Welcome to the big stage without a nickel or dime
We dream lofty dreams like others before
Then set out to achieve them like the ones we adore

But oft-times some of us misread our scripts
And meet with failure for our bumbling little slips
We replace the original scripts for those of our own
Putting our trust and fate in a destiny unknown

For life to us is just a moment in time
A personal struggle to keep our heads above the slime
A daunting task that beclouds our days
Until the curtains are drawn upon our plays

For the songs that we sing and the rhymes that we write
Are but spiritual reflections of our souls in flight
Some soar gracefully and some are like wingless birds
Grounded and stage frightened for frail are their nerves

But you Ralph Kiner are as composed as one can be
Nothing could sway you from the goals that you set for thee
For you aced your audition with a bat and a glove
Then astounded us with spiels about the game that we love

You kept us in touch with the Glory Days of yore
When character not steroids were the hallmark of a pro
When egos were kept in check by codes of conduct
And ostracism befell those who dared act up

So today we pause to celebrate your climb
From the boondocks to Shea to this moment in time
And to say with affection how grateful we are
That you chose baseball and big Shea to fashion your star

For you are an original, a beloved New York Met
A Pirate and a Hall of Famer, as good as they get
For your moment in time is a mighty fine show
And today the Mets family wanted to tell you so

For now you are a legend like Mays and DiMaggio
And all honors upon you today we admiringly and proudly bestow

As usual, the Glider knew exactly what to say. The only difference is the Glider had it right almost 7 years ago. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Niese Numbness: To NY For MRI

As has been reported all over the Twittersphere this afternoon, Mets (believed) opening day pitcher, Jon Niese is headed back to NY for an MRI because of a "dead arm" - believed to be caused by discomfort in his triceps on his left pitching arm.

Here we go Mets faithful - only a week into spring training and the Mets are already being bitten by the injury bug, which for most Mets is the DL bug.

Niese was slated to be the Opening Day starter in Flushing against Strasburg and the Washington Nationals. Bartolo Colon was/is expected to be the day 2 starter, but he is also not participating today due to tightness in both calves.

It boggles the mind how players can be injured before games have begun. More bothersome is the fragile health of Jon Niese.

As Bill Price tweeted:


The Bitter Bill is accurate in his tweet. Niese has been oft injured in his relatively short career. Just last year alone he had: 

  • A partially torn rotator cuff
  • Left shoulder tendinitis
  • Lower right leg contusion
What better way to deal with this news than to run a poll? Feel free to provide your belief. Poll is located on the left hand side of blog.

Source: Fox Sports

Friday, February 7, 2014

Remembering Ralph: Tribute To A Mets Legend

The Mets baseball universe came to an abrupt stop...pause if you will, when we learned of the passing of Mets broadcasting legend Ralph Kiner.



Kiner, along with Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy, formed the famed Mets broadcast team from 1962 - 1978 - an amazing run by the broadcasting team, and an amazing era for Mets fans.


"Hello everybody, I'm Lindsey Nelson": Nelson was the first to leave the trio when he left after the 1978 season. In 1988 he was elected to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame. Nelson passed away June 10, 1995 at the age of 76.


"Back with the Happy Recap": Bob Murphy's broadcasting career with the Mets lasted an amazing 42 years (1962-2003). Murphy, who split time between radio and TV, was another Mets icon. Murphy always painted a positive picture of the game, and as a fan listening, Murphy was  like listening to your grandfather talk about the game while you were sitting at his feet on the front porch. Like Nelson, Murphy was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1994. Murphy passed away from lung cancer on August 3, 2004, shortly after his retirement.


"Hello, everybody. Welcome to Kiner's Corner. This is....uh. I'm...uh": Ralph Kiner. Just saying the name draws a multitude of emotions. The two most prevalent emotions that come to mind are: his Kinerisms and his knowledge of the game and his ability to tell stories of yesteryear. Kiner, like Murphy and Nelson, was a Mets mainstay, with his tenure being the longest. Kiner was with the Mets from day one in 1962 until last season. Over the last many season's Kiner would appear periodically on Mets broadcasts. It was great listening to Gary Cohen and Howie Rose, ultimate Mets fans, just listen in  awe as Kiner told of the days of times past. Even at the age of 91, Kiner could still see flaws in a players swing at the plate. The man was a PhD in the art of hitting. 


With Kiner's death yesterday, at the age of 91, a chapter in Mets history is closed. Unlike his broadcasting brethren (Nelson and Murphy), Kiner is the only one not elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a broadcaster, which is a crime. Although he earned enshrinement to the Hall as a player, Kiner has been overlooked for his remarkable announcing abilities which is a crime. He is broadcasting's Gil Hodges.




I was fortunate to have grown up listening to the trio, and I remember how bummed I was when Nelson left, opening the door for Steve Albert. Murphy, Nelson, and Kiner were the Mets Trinity. For those reading this post who were too young (or not yet born) to have spent your summers listening to and watching the Mets Trinity, you missed out. Gary, Keith, and Ron are awesome, and possibly the best in the game right now, but they are not (yet) the Mets Trinity. That's how special the original Mets broadcasters were.





Ralph is now in God's broadcast booth, probably telling God the tales of time spent with starlets and baseball stars from the 1940's.


Rest in peace Ralph...you will be sorely missed.


Kinerism's:



  • "All of his saves have come in relief appearances"
  • "All of the Mets road wins against the Dodgers this year occurred at Dodger Stadium."
  • "If Casey Stengel were alive today, he'd be spinning in his grave."
  • "Kevin McReynolds stops at third and he scores."
  • "On Fathers Day, we again wish you all happy birthday."
  • "Solo homers usually come with no one on base."
  • "The Hall of Fame ceremonies are on the thirty-first and thirty-second of July."
  • "Tony Gwynn was named player of the year for April."
  • "This one deep to right and it is way back, going, going, it is gone, no off of the top of the wall."
  • "Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water. The other third is covered by Garry Maddox."

Sources: Baseball Almanac